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reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false
promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians
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4 WAYS TO ATTRACT MORE MUSIC FANS FASTER
By Bob Baker
Attracting more fans. Admit it, that's what music marketing
is all about -- getting more people to come to your shows
and buy your CDs. And hopefully, getting a lot more people
to do those things.
Why else do you work so hard to travel and play as many
places as you can? For what other reason do you
meticulously write and record songs? I don't believe the
reason is so you can practice and keep up your chops in
obscurity. It's not because you want to impress influential
managers or A&R people. You work hard because you know
you have something of value to offer ... and you want to
reach as many people as possible with your music.
Marketing is the thing that helps you reach that goal. But
marketing is also a subject that confuses a lot of musicians.
Songwriters and band members the world over know they
need to promote themselves. But many don't know where
to start, much less know how to continue effectively.
Does this describe you? Do you ever feel like you're
spinning your wheels, not sure exactly what you should be
doing next to market yourself? If so, this would be a good
time to cover some basic marketing concepts for independent
The VFW Hall Principle
Let's say you went to an average U.S. city (such as Kansas
City or Denver) and you rounded up 1,000 people and gathered
them in a giant VFW hall. These 1,000 folks would be randomly
chosen and made up of people from all ages, genders and
backgrounds. Next, you'd distribute information about your
act to these people and play tracks from your new CD for them.
After this direct exposure, what are the chances that one
person out of those thousand would be attracted to your
music and identity enough to buy your CD or come to your
next show? Most musicians, regardless of what style they
play, should feel pretty confident about being able to win
over at least one new fan from this group of 1,000. That's
a one-tenth of one percent conversion rate.
Now let's multiply that formula by the entire U.S.
population of 285 million people. One-tenth of one percent
would be 285,000 people. Mind-boggling, isn't it? That would
be enough fans to make you a bonafide star.
Next, switch gears and consider how major labels market
themselves. They select and promote acts that they feel
have the potential to appeal to 10 or more of those same
1,000 people. Then the labels spend millions of dollars in
what I call shotgun advertising. They spray their marketing
message over a targeted chunk of the population (which often
amounts to many millions of people), knowing well that only
a small percentage will be interested enough to respond and
become fans. Sometimes, this widespread tactic works well
enough to sell lots of CDs and concert tickets -- but it's
As an independent artist, you can't afford that type of
marketing campaign. But you know those potential fans
are out there, and you know that you can be successful by
connecting with far fewer people than a major label requires.
It's just that your ideal fans haven't found out about you
yet -- and you're not quite sure how to find them.
What's a frustrated musician to do?
The answer: You must find creative, low-cost ways to go
directly to those one-in-a-thousand fans. Don't waste your
time and money promoting yourself to people who will most
likely never embrace your music.
Here are four steps to take to reach new fans:
1. Define Your Distinct Musical Identity
You must have a firm grasp on what your music is about.
And you must be able to define it clearly and quickly. What
are your strongest musical traits? What sets you apart from
other acts? What attitude or social statement do you make?
Being a generic rock, pop or hip-hop act won't cut it. Dig
deeper and discover your unique identity. When you do
finally reach some of those rare potential fans, don't lose
them by not being clear about who you are.
2. Describe Your Ideal Fan
Once you have a handle on who you are musically, it's time
to paint a clear picture of your ideal fan. Can you
articulate how your fans dress, where they work, what TV
shows they watch, what they do for fun and who their
favorite cultural heroes are? Observe the types of people
who come to see you perform and note what they have in
common? Knowing precisely who your fans are will dictate
what avenues you use to reach them and how you
communicate your message once you do reach them.
3. List Ways of Getting Access to Your Fans
Once you know exactly what type of music fan you're going
after, start making a list of the various resources these
specific people are attracted to. What magazines and news-
papers do they read? Where do they hang out? What radio
stations do they listen to? What retail outlets do they
frequent? What web sites do they surf to? What e-mail
newsletters do they subscribe to? For example, if your fans
are mostly Harley riders, go to a search engine like Google
and start entering keywords related to motorcycles. Evaluate
the search results and compile a list of the many good
sources you uncover.
4. Network and Promote Your Music
Armed with this targeted list of contacts, get busy! Send
e-mail press releases to niche media outlets. Contact the
webmasters and editors of appropriate publications. Post
messages in specialized forums. Visit and interact via the
web sites of similar-sounding bands. Contact organizations
and charities related to your musical niche.
In short, go to where your ideal fans are. And market
yourself through these outlets relentlessly. Why waste time
and money trying to promote to everyone ... when you can
save money and be far more effective by going directly to
those valuable one-in-a-thousand fans?
Bob Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing
Handbook," "Unleash the Artist Within" and "Branding
Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com,
a web site and e-zine that have been delivering marketing
tips and inspirational messages to music people of all kinds