Saturday, May 16, 2009

The A's and E's of Digital Music Marketing

After having this conversation a few times this week with managers and bands, I figured I'd try to distill it into a blog post for the masses. The "As" are accessibility and authenticity; the "Es" are exposure and exploitation.

Digital music marketing is a rabbit hole. So many tunnels lead to dead ends of worthless social profiles, half-updated accounts and empty widgets. And it's easy to be seduced by the snake oil salesmanship. Here's a standard promotional bargain they offer and the t

  • Register your profile on our site using Friend Connect which saves you the step of entering your name!
  • Add this widget to your MySpace page in a space not already used by all the other widgets and videos advertising shows from 4 months ago are
  • Carry a video-enabled cellphone to the bathroom
  • Compose a haiku about each fan that adds you as a friend on MySpace
  • Burn an effigy of Don Passman while forwarding Weezer's Pork and Beans video to 100 friends
  • You'll sell a million tracks on iTunes and keep 10000000% percent of the revenue!!!!!
That feels better. Here's how the "As" and "Es" often get confused in marketing:

  • Accessibility does not equal Authenticity. Authenticity is a legitimate and powerful strategy to connect with fans today, yesterday and tomorrow. If your marketing is authentic to your music and your audience and you - you are on the right track. For some bands this may be a Twitter following contest or constant Facebook posts. But for other bands it can be free live music or acoustic covers or even complete distance from social media.
  • Being Authentic does NOT require constant accessibility. Think about your audience and who you are and what you want to be and communicate accordingly.
  • A lot of web exposure is exploitative. Fully free albums on a random website tends to be exploitative of your music. To wit:
  • Stereogum posting a brand new band's debut single / video = exposure
  • 500 blogs posting Green Day's leaked album = exploitation
Whether you are starting out or releasing your tenth album, consider which actions are authentic, and what offers exposure without being exploitative. Spend your precious time wisely. Be authentic. Get exposure. Watch out for the traps of accessibility and exploitation.

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