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The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section
Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete
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
so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.
Sales are a By-Product of Promotion
By Jef Peace
Sales are a by-product of promotion. Let me say that again: sales are a by-product of promotion. If you're an independent musician, the worse goal you can set for yourself is to sell x number of cds. In fact, you should totally ignore the very concept of sales and concentrate instead on letting as many people as possible know you exist. Another way to look at this concept is that you should be acquiring fans, not customers. Once you have a solid fan base, sales are assured, but without fans, sales are practically impossible. So, I'll say it yet again . . . sales are a by-product of promotion.
About the author
So many musicians make the mistake of thinking along the lines of if they build a better mouse-trap the world will beat a path to their door. This results in their decision to have a thousand or more cds pressed. More often than not, five years later 700 or more of those cds will be gathering dust in someone's garage with no hope of ever selling them because the band that recorded them had long since dissolved. Or even worse, they shell out the money to have a thousand cds pressed and receive an inferior product that sounds bad and looks horrible and their own mothers won't buy a copy.
I'm not saying you shouldn't have cds made. It's good business to have cds available for sale at gigs and to include a cd in your press kit. So, the trick is to purchase a short run of your cd to test its viability. Until recently, this wasn't economically feasible because the pressing companies charge the same huge set-up fees for a run of 100 as they do for a run of 1,000 or more and most of them simply won't press less than 1,000. Until recently, it made sense to go ahead and get 1,000 cds or more because you had to buy that many to make the individual cd price reasonable.
BEGIN SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
If you order cds from PeaceWork Music Net (www.peaceworkmusic.net), you can order as few as two cds and you won't be paying a huge set-up fee. In most cases, you won't pay any fees at all. If you sign up for distribution services when you order, the entire time you're busy promoting your music, your cd will be available world wide.
END SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
If you have requests for sales during this promotional phase, you can give folks the url to your buy page. This allows you to make money without having to shell more money right away. The money you would have spent on a huge batch of cds would be better spent on promotional materials such as postcards, posters, flyers, stickers, buttons, t-shirts, coffee cups, etc., not to mention audio equipment, postage, travelling expenses and the more mundane everyday expenses incurred by performing musicians.
Once you have your short run (say 100 cds) and you have the posters, coffee mugs, etc. you can then send 50 cds to radio stations that play your type of music. Send 20 cds various music magazines and ezines and request a review that you can use in your publicity. Sending promotional "gifts" such as the coffee mugs along with your cd will almost guarantee the recipient will listen to it and he or she will be in a good mood while listening. Hand out 10 or so of the remaining cds to acquaintences and ask for honest impressions. This will leave you about 20 cds to take with you to your next gig.
Please note, the 20 cds left over are extras. You haven't purchased a single cd at this point with the intention of selling any. The plan is to promote your music and those cds you mail off should result in hundreds (hopefully thousands) of people reading about and hearing your music. If your music is good, chances are this promotion will result in folks contacting you or their local music store to find out how they can get more of your music.
Building a better mouse trap is only the first step. Before you can sell any, folks need to know it exists and just how good it is. So you see, sales are a by-product of promotion.
(c) 2003 - Jef Peace - all rights reserved.
: Jef Peace is the co-founder and Senior Partner of PeaceWork
Music Net (www.peaceworkmusic.net), founder and owner of PeaceWork Records
(www.peacework.com/Label) as well as the co-founder and main writer and vocalist for
the band Jazza Diction (http://www.peacework.com/Label/jazzadiction.htm). He has
been writing, composing and performing for over 20 years and has been involved in
the business side of the music industry since 1999.