Abbreviated Pundit Round-up
1 hour ago
Birmingham's Cameron Jerome (left) in a kit chosen by fans
Zignum Mezcal label
D.R. 2010 Zignum Me
Ulises Ruiz inaugurates mezcal plant “Casa Armando Guillermo Prieto”
D.R. Photo 2008 El Piñero
If you are an unknown / lesser-known artist trying to get noticed / established:
* Establish your goals. What are you trying to do / accomplish? If you are looking for mainstream super-success (think Lady GaGa, Coldplay, U2, Justin Timberlake) - your best bet in my opinion is to look at major labels and prepare to share all revenue streams / creative control / music ownership. To reach that kind of critical mass these days your need old-school marketing muscle and that only comes from major labels. Good luck with that one.
If you're forging your own path, read on.
* Forget thinking you are going to make any real money from record sales. Make your record cheaply (but great) and GIVE IT AWAY. As an artist you want as many people as possible to hear your work. Word of mouth is the only true marketing that matters.
Parter with a TopSpin or similar or build your own website, but what you NEED to do is this - give your music away as high-quality DRM-free MP3s. Collect people's email info in exchange (which means having the infrastructure to do so) and start building your database of potential customers. Then, offer a variety of premium packages for sale and make them limited editions / scarce goods. Base the price and amount available on what you think you can sell. Make the packages special - make them by hand, sign them, make them unique, make them something YOU would want to have as a fan. Make a premium download available that includes high-resolution versions (for sale at a reasonable price) and include the download as something immediately available with any physical purchase. Sell T-shirts. Sell buttons, posters... whatever.
Don't have a TopSpin as a partner? Use Amazon for your transactions and fulfillment. [http://www.amazon.com/]
Use TuneCore to get your music everywhere. [www.tunecore.com]
Have a realistic idea of what you can expect to make from these and budget your recording appropriately.
The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact - it sucks as the musician BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So... have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process (plus build your database).
The Beastie Boys' site offers everything you could possibly want in the formats you would want it in - available right from them, right now. The prices they are charging are more than you should be charging - they are established and you are not. Think this through.
The database you are amassing should not be abused, but used to inform people that are interested in what you do when you have something going on - like a few shows, or a tour, or a new record, or a webcast, etc.
Have your MySpace page, but get a site outside MySpace - it's dying and reads as cheap / generic. Remove all Flash from your website. Remove all stupid intros and load-times. MAKE IT SIMPLE TO NAVIGATE AND EASY TO FIND AND HEAR MUSIC (but don't autoplay). Constantly update your site with content - pictures, blogs, whatever. Give people a reason to return to your site all the time. Put up a bulletin board and start a community. Engage your fans (with caution!) Make cheap videos. Film yourself talking. Play shows. Make interesting things. Get a Twitter account. Be interesting. Be real. Submit your music to blogs that may be interested. NEVER CHASE TRENDS. Utilize the multitude of tools available to you for very little cost of any - Flickr / YouTube / Vimeo / SoundCloud / Twitter etc.
If you don't know anything about new media or how people communicate these days, none of this will work. The role of an independent musician these days requires a mastery of first hand use of these tools. If you don't get it - find someone who does to do this for you. If you are waiting around for the phone to ring or that A & R guy to show up at your gig - good luck, you're going to be waiting a while.
Hope this helps, and I'll scour responses for intelligent comments I can respond to.
TopSpin Media info:
On July 15, the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors decided to boycott Israeli goods at their two locations in Olympia, Washington. The July 15 meeting was packed with Co-op members when the Board reached this consensus. The Co-op becomes the first US grocery store to publicly join the international grassroots movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) on Israel for its human rights abuses. AC / JSC
President Barack Obama struck an optimistic tone over the ongoing oil disaster Monday afternoon, saying that "things are going to return to normal" on the stricken Gulf Coast after much pain and frustration, and that the polluted waters will eventually be in better shape than before the leak began.These are reassurances offered by parents to children whom they treat as doltish objects fit only to be manipulated. The parent or other authority figure -- here, Obama -- does not expect his words to be credited after a process of independent evaluation. He expects, in fact he demands, that you take his word for it, that you believe him without question or challenge. He demands that you obey. This is the way our political leaders treat their subjects both abroad and at home. (In addition to rejecting this method of forcible "persuasion," I also reject such reassurances for further, more specific and compelling reasons, as do many others. I recognize that we are provided only such information about the Gulf catastrophe as the government and BP, which are one and the same in this context, wish us to have. We have close to no idea what is actually going on, or the damage that has already been inflicted and that may manifest itself in the future. Moreover, I recognize the dangerous folly of entrusting any kind of solution to a crisis of this kind, or to the crisis of climate change however one may conceive it, to an inherently, fatally corrupted corporatist State.)...