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The EvO:R Street Journal
The EvO:R Street Journal
Dedicated to the culture, business and interests of the indie artist.
EVJ delivers controversial points of view, hard-news commentary, Industry Insites,
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Debunking another web music marketeer
By Frank Cotolo
Every time I bring up the matter of internet marketing of indie music I get slammed
by one person or another. Usually the critics are either the author of a book or article
who claims to have a formula to "make it" marketing music on the web, or it's a musician
or two or ten who want to believe there is a formula to "make it" marketing music on the web.: True, but the sheer number doesn't equal popularity. Nor does it mean that
thousands of normal people are tuning in or any influential music industry folk, either.
No author or specialist has yet to prove any marketing devices on the internet lead
to any kind of success. So-called "marketing geniuses" just pass on old marketing gimmicks
applied to the web and make the reader believe these steps will make inroads on the journey
to success. If any of it were true, the major record labels and the RIAA would have already
shut down every free indie on-line music distribution web site. Or, the book presenting the
information would have sold fifty billion copies.
I recently read a post by Mark Curran, on imaginotionsongs dot com, called "Using Internet Radio
To Market Your Music Online." Mr. Curran is the author of a book that claims to provide the
necessary information for indie musicians to "profitably" sell their music online. In this
particular post Mr. Curran focuses on using web broadcasts as marketing tool for building a
successful musical career through the internet.
Let's look at Mr. Curran's article and apply a reality check to his approach,
using excerpts from his article.
Curran: One of the biggest growth areas for online music, internet radio [IR]
stations are proliferating by the hundreds.
Curran: IR can take on many formats and forms, but essentially any station that plays indie music is a good target for your marketing efforts.
Cotolo: This statement is an opinion, not fact. Yes, some people somewhere may hear your music if it is played on IR. However, what good does that do? Why is it a good marketing effort? Most of the stations Mr. Curran means to lead a performer to are swamped with CDs from thousands of performers and barely have the airtime to play one cut from each. When they do, it could be any time and to few to no listeners; a listenership so minute that it consists of another performer or two waiting to hear their music played. Someone with a CD would get more attention if they went to a college campus and dumped a box of their CDs in the cafeteria.
Curran: Many online radio stations have an online method set up for you to submit your material, but some do not.
Cotolo: Most do not.
Curran: You should make an attempt to always make your initial contact through e-mail, if possible.
Cotolo: Always possible but don't hold your breath for a reply.
Curran: By contacting the radio station via e-mail, you are looking to establish a contact there for your contact list. Your first contact method should be a brief letter of introduction, with links to your web site for the radio contact to view your online press kit, as well as the listen to a few of your songs.
Cotolo: None of which will be done. There does not exist at any of these stations the staff to take the time necessary to do any of these tasks.
Curran: You should send a follow up 1-2 weeks later, thanking them for taking the time to review your materials, and if they would be open to having you add them to your contact database and mailing list.
Cotolo: And you should continue to follow up for the next three years, hoping someone even saw your CD package, no less looked at anything else, online or off.
Curran: By keeping careful notes in your database, you will be able to build a very effective marketing list of online radio stations to market your material to.
Cotolo: And the cow jumped over the moon. Really, Mr. Curran, you act as if IR is filled with establishments and works like a normal business. DUH!
Curran: Let the station owner know you want to take an active part in promoting your music online, and that you would be willing to offer him content, (your music) in exchange for promotional consideration.
Direct him to your online EPK to make a further positive impression.
Cotolo: If you can find whoever claims the title of "station owner" you will likely find someone who could not give a rolling donut about you wanting to help in your own promotion. The person suggested here has enough problems-like how to make any money to pay for bandwidth or where to get more volunteers to be DJs.
Curran: Offer to do live or taped interviews, live audio/video performances, call-in periods, contests, giveaways, even host a segment of the show in the genre of your own music. You might even be able to get he station owner to trade you some banner advertising space for your
Cotolo: None of this is proven to be at all helpful in the internet theater. There is not enough public and too many performers to expect enough attention for it to make a dent in your career as an entertainer.
Curran: Even if you don't get the banner space, by going on a program that has high visibility, you will be getting free exposure, and that is the key to using online media for promotion.
Cotolo: Why not give a list, Mr. Curran, of the shows with "high visibility" in the area of indie music? Do you know of any?
Curran: Make sure you make it clear to the listeners that your music is for sale, and where they can get it.
Cotolo: This won't work. Tell the listener(s) that you music is for free and where to get it. Then watch them order. This is better promotion than anything Mr. Curran suggests.
Curran: Online radio is an excellent way to build a following.
Cotolo: Wrong. It's another Curran opinion trying to be passed off as fact. The field is too crowded and there are not enough average listeners to create a following. Not yet, not on IR.
Curran: It is also a great place to send your ad specialties, like T-shirts, mouse pads, screen savers, and a promo copy of your CD.
Cotolo: Will you suggest CafePress, where every one and his mother has a store that cannot move promo items? How many coffee cups with a monkey's face on it have you bought, Mr. Curran?
Curran: Getting your name in front of the site owner and keeping it there -- that is your primary objective.
Cotolo: No it isn't. Getting a fan base is your objective and none of Mr. Curran's suggestions will get you one.
Curran: Rating the online stations in order of their importance means getting statistics on how many hits they are getting from listeners. This is not always simple to do, and in some cases, unless they have hit counters and published statistics, you may have to rely on popularity lists.
Cotolo: You won't get statistics and would be disappointed if you did. As far as "popularity lists" are concerned, you will be equally disappointed to find out that most search engines list the pay-for-music sites on top in most lists-and those are sites few indies can get onto.
The ones Mr. Curran suggests --
http://www.100hot.com and http://www.100hot.com/directory/arts/music.html - are useless, and even Mr. Curran writes: "They do not, as of this date, have a top list for online radio stations rated in order of their popularity." I rest my case.
His profile reads: "Mark W. Curran is a recognized expert in online music marketing, and author of the book "Sell Your Music: How To Profitably Sell Your Music Online" He has authored many articles on the subject, and currently runs a music marketing consulting company in Los
In the case of internet radio, Mr. Curran's information is sketchy at best and misleading at
every juncture. None of the traditional methods he offers will get your music to first base in
the complex, crowded and unproven waters of the internet. So don't listen to him and be wary
of others who present you with information on how to "profitably" market your music on the internet.
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