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Songwriter's Market Music Marketing Music Industry Handbook
Songwriter's Guide to the Music Business
With the instant publishing power of the internet, the lowly individual can easy market anything, including music. But like all marketing, music marketing needs the proper strategy if it is to succeed. This eBook gives insight into the world of music publishing and is full of insider tips on how to succeed as a music marketer.

Learn how to Start a Record Label


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What is the secret of music marketing?
If you're an independent musician, or looking to become one, then you've really got your hands full. Once you've mastered your musical instrument and found some other like-minded musicians, written some original songs, recorded them, mixed them, mastered them for distribution - well, the work is just beginning.

Next you have to market your music, so that people will buy it! But it's not all bad: at least you won't have to deal with the music business, the way musicians and labels were once forced to.

How music marketing used to be

Before the internet, and in the golden years of radio, television and records as the sole distribution and promotion methods of music, this process was simpler: if more limited. But it involved surviving in one of the most cut throat industries modern western civilization has ever known: the music business.

Commercial bands would sign to a big record label with the budget and muscle to fully promote the music through all the traditional channels, as part of the contract with the band and management.

"Indie" bands would sign to an independent label, who usually dealt with the distribution and marketing aspects. Record labels, even smaller ones, are generally better equipped for and more experienced at marketing music, but wouldn't try to influence the music as much as a major label. This was one of the reasons for the surge in popularity of indie music at the end of the 80s and throughout the 90s: the music buying public liked its purity and artistic credibility.

Times, they are a-changing

With the commercialization of the internet, and when internet technology matured enough to make digital distribution of media a feasible reality, it empowered independent musicians to effectively be their own record label. The internet is not just a means of transmitting media files, it is also a marketing and communications tool that anyone can use to reach a wide audience. In theory, all you need is some original music, a PC and an internet connection to become a record label.

This empowerment meant that many musicians had to start thinking about music marketing for themselves, for the first time ever, as the indie record label was effectively removed from the equation. It meant thinking about branding, website design, mailing lists, promotions and, more recently, social media channels.

Has music marketing really changed that much?

However, even with all these new marketing channels and possibilities for reaching audiences, the concept of music marketing has not really changed a great deal. It is all about building a fan base by spreading the word about your music - by whatever means necessary. The artist needs to connect with each and every fan, somehow - that was the main purpose of the music business, which you'll be circumnavigating with this approach.

Of course, if you want to market your music on a tight budget, then you'll have to focus on the channels that have the highest returns for the least amount of effort: and the greatest chance of success. To know and learn more about the secrets of these channels, that every artist should know about and be aware of in 2013, read on!

Building a Music Fan Database

Use an Excel or Open Office spreadsheet to gather the email addresses of your fans (or potential) fans - you can always import this into a database later if it becomes unmanageable. You'll want to capture the basic contact details of each fan, such as first and last name, email address and geographical location. Just add these as separate columns.

Next, make sure your band's website has a sign up page where this information can be captured. Offer them a free track for parting with their details, or another tempting offer!

If you don't yet have a site for your band, then get one built ASAP using WordPress or another site template. All artists have a website, and without one, you're not going to see many sales for your band!

Make sure fans can listen to a preview of your band's music, as well as purchase and download it. If you want to implement an easy payment gateway and add buy buttons to your site, why not sign up as a Tradebit merchant? We have dozens of successful artists utilizing Tradebit's buttons and widgets to sell their music on their own site.

Using WordPress also means you'll have a built in blog, which can be used to make press releases and other announcements related to the band activity. Make sure you leave comments open as this is a really useful way to get feedback from fans and communicate with them directly.

Get hooked up to Social Media

Twitter is a great tool for increasing traffic to your band website and getting some sign-ups. Use hashtags for the genre(s) of music your band is associated with to ensure it reaches the right audiences. Just tweet about upcoming album releases or other band news with the #hashtag included in the tweet, and a link to the related blog post on the band site.

Perhaps the band name is already a hashtag if it has had some live exposure or released previous albums - just try searching for it in Twitter to see how many people are using it.

Facebook may well be a closed network, or ""walled garden"" as some call it, but it can still be a useful source of traffic and a great tool for increasing awareness of your band.

Set up a fan page that links back to your band website and be sure to post links to your latest blog content. Blogs are a crucial marketing and promotion tool for ANY kind of product in 2013, and your music is NO DIFFERENT.

Other Sites and Services to market your music

Get your music on to Spotify (if possible). This means users can create Spotify playlists and share them amongst each other - another easy and effective way to increase awareness.

Create a fan page on Last.FM to really produce a buzz about your band in the message boards there. Be sure to check out the Last.FM profiles of users that discuss your band to see what other bands in the same genre they like. Find the fans of those bands and you can often get them into your music quite easily.

Finally, no list of modern marketing channels would be complete without mentioning the user generated content video platform YouTube. Youtube is the THE best way to promote your band online. Create a custom YouTube channel dedicated to the band and fill it with interviews, promotional videos, live clips - all the media you can muster. Leave comments open so that fans can discuss the band - even negative comments can cause a buzz! Make sure you use plenty of links back to purchase the music from your band website.

Emailing and Mailing Lists

Emailing is still a fantastic way to connect with your fans, once you have got hold of their email address using the methods above. Contact each fan directly, personally, with a unique introduction to the band and special message. It will create a great first impression and a bond with that fan that should last a lifetime if properly nurtured.

As your fan email database builds, start to build a mailing list and use great tools like MailChimp to send out regular updates about the band. The frequency here is the key: limit this to once a month at the most, or you'll get fans unsubscribing or hitting spam.

That's the bottom line, and the secret for music marketing on a tight budget in 2013. We hope you enjoyed the tips - and wish you and your band the best success as it sails past the treacherous music industry and forges its own path to stadium glory!