If you're wondering how companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google are kicking ass and taking names, even in a "down" economy, here's the answer...
This stuff isn't just for the supernerds who program iPhone apps and websites; it's something you can use in your music marketing and it's a lot more simple than people make it out to be.
For example, take a look at this letter I received in my mailbox yesterday...
It's a simple letter, which probably took all of 10 minutes to write, address, and send. Yet it says something very important to the customer-- you've made the right decision by purchasing from us and you should feel good about it.
If you've never been to a high-end hotel, restaurant, clothing store, or shopping center, you should go, if for no other reason than to observe. In general, everything a customer experiences at these places gives a similar message.
In addition, everything you'll experience at a high-end provider is designed around these two things:
Postal mail worked 100 years ago and it still works today. If you're looking for a good way to have your message cut through the noise of voice mails, emails, and text messages, think about using it.
This post isn't about the power of postal mail though; it's about the power of comfort, ease, and reinforcing the good decisions your customers make. You can do this any number of ways, from a mobile phone that needs no instruction manual, to a search engine that finds you exactly what you're looking for, to a free toaster when you open a new checking account.
How will you do it with your music business?
This is an example of a great way to get content for your video, build connections with fans, and spread the word about your music...
Why it works...
The idea is not limited to just dancing. You can do it with any action. Driving, walking, running, playing with dogs, climbing stairs, hammering nails, etc.
Want to know more about Butterfly Boucher? Listen to her interview on Music Business Radio.
This question was recently asked to Andrew WK...
"I’m dating a guy who refuses to give up on his dreams of rock stardom. While it’s admirable in a way, I need a little bit more stability if we’re going to make this work. How can I gently break this to him?"
"Don’t you dare say anything to him about giving up his dream. You’re not the right person for him. Never ask someone to give up on their dream just so you can feel more stable. It’s his choice and his choice alone, no matter how ridiculous his dream may seem to you, or to society, or even to himself. Dreams make humans into self-realized individuals. Your only responsibility is to love everything about him, including his dreams. The idea of 'making this work' sounds more like a way to make his life more boring and predictable. At worst, it’s a genuine sadistic desire to control someone else because your own life feels out of control — or a cruel need to dominate and break someone’s spirit for the sake of your own peace of mind. Look for stability and peace of mind inside yourself, and not in your relationships or the dreams of others."
Shawn Huberts wrote a book called How to Pack Like a Rock Star. He also wrote the following post...
Whether you're going on tour for 2-3 days, or 2-3 months, the idea is still the same...
While getting ready to leave on tour, there are always a couple of things that must be done first.
1. Make sure you have all your proper gear and instruments.
2. Make sure you've packed your bags for the road.
Warning: the pure joy and excitement of tour can often overshadow the latter… but don't let it! This is a very important step.
I've found that one of the best ways to help a tour run smoother comes directly from a properly packed suitcase.
You think I'm crazy? Well think about it this way... It's 2 minutes till showtime and you've just spent the entire day recovering from your exhausting drive through the night; you and your bandmates are grumpy and hungry (among other things) and the last thing you want now is a 5-minute rummage through your bag only to find out now that you didn't bring your favorite stage shirt. No one wants to go on stage with that attitude!
You say to yourself, "If you had just packed properly before you left, if you had just been a little more organized, you wouldn't be in this conundrum right now when you should be focusing on the show!”
It seems minor, but trust me, after a few tiring days, not to mention after the three-week mark on tour… this can be what puts you over the top…
Let your suitcase be the Zen in your life…look down at it…feel the warm glow of comfort that may arise in your soul. No matter how stressful a show or tour can get, a well-packed suitcase can be a breath of fresh air. And trust me, fresh air is hard to come by when you’re crammed in a van with band mates who haven’t had the luxury of regular showers.
Ok maybe all I'm saying is this… There are enough distractions and frustrations on a even a smaller 3-date tour, so do yourself a favor and create your own source of inner peace and inspiration within the madness, and you'll be able to more freely enjoy the amazing experiences that touring and traveling has to offer.
Now here's a little advice to get you started and on your way:
In order to make my shorts and jeans the same height (vertically in my pack), I fold my jeans in thirds and then again in half (1/6 total) and my t-shirts in half, then half again, (1/4 total), but modify it to suit your own specific suitcase.
I don't roll my clothes because it ends up causing more wrinkles in the end… not to mention it's impossible to tell which shirt is which if you have two similar colored shirts… oh and don't even get me started on the "it saves space" argument… just think about this, are building blocks square or round? Exactly.
For some people, it still is...
Know your impact.
Every musician needs to watch what is happening to the Susan G. Koman Foundation. This is exactly what will kill your music career.
To summarize... Koman cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, some people got pissed, Koman reinstated funding to keep those people happy, and now almost everybody is pissed.
Comments the organization's Facebook wall:
"When I heard you dropped Planned Parenthood.....I made a donation to the Koman charity......and today I called visa and had it canceled.....what a fraud organization you are......on the national Susan G Koman website you have women wearing pink t-shirts which read....we celebrate life but then you monitarily support abortion which kills life.....unbelievable!!!!!"
"I applauded you for defunding PP. Now that you have caved in, you are to be pitied for lacking the spine to confront baby killers."
"I will never give this organization a dime! Planned Parenthood is primarily an abortion factory!"
"Do you realize next year all this controversy will return? READ THE PRESS RELEASES. The only thing Komen changed their stance on is the policy to not fund orgs under investigation. They will honor this year which they said from go...next year PP will be "eligible" for a new grant...this is just a back pedal to save a little face...I ain't biting this slimy hook!"
"If I didn't think SGK would change their mind again I would write them a check. Ill just send it straight to planned parenthood."
"Susan Korman-You are spineless and never again will I donate to your cause. You are just as bad as the baby killers of Planned Parenthood!"
You cannot please everybody.
Try to do that, which is what Susan G. Koman is attempting, and you'll end up right where they are. Everybody will be skeptical of you and nobody will be happy.
You're much better off taking a stand, isolating some people, and giving those that are left exactly what they want.
Wonder where all those packages you send are going? The majority end up in the landfill. Worse yet, they end up in a landfill...unopened!
The first step to creating a good press kit is to package what you've got in a way that it will be opened. I've gotten some pretty "extreme" packages over the years, and those work, but there are also more subtle ways to stand out, which is what I'll be looking at here.
(Click on the images below to see a full size version.)
Nothing extremely fancy about this one from Dan Garnett, but it stands out for a few reasons...
For one, there are some tickets attached to it. It's an image music business people would be familiar with, but not in this context, so that will get attention. Plus, it opens curiosity...
Who are the tickets for? I did an interview with Mat Kearney a couple of years ago. Did this guy know? Was it just a coincidence? Regardless, it's something that would make me take a closer look.
Then, there is the uniqueness of the package. Who's the old guy on the front? What's inside when I open it a certain way?
The answer, by the way, is a one-of-a-kind, collage-style "poster" that says, "Music is worth the wait, deep, mystifying, soul-stirring, its own, real, inside us. It's about the heart, time, the pain, surreal meaning, creatvitity, the pain, passion, feeling love, dreams, and escape."
Here is another from Micah Zumar...
This one is pretty simple. Just a basic envelope, but it came from Canada and has a customs form on it, which makes it stand out and appear to be a little more valuable. If you're shipping something out of your home country, don't discount this.
Same goes for unique stamps people may not have seen. These are just holiday stamps and have nothing to do with the package successfully getting to me, but they're still something you'd notice standing out from a big pile of brown/yellow envelopes, which is what most people send their stuff in.
Have something that stands out?
Send it to me. I'll play and review your music on Music Business Radio and, if it's really good, write about it here.
Here is the address to send a CD to:
Tuned In Broadcasting, Inc.
ATTN: Music Business Radio
1310 Clinton St. Suite 200
Nashville, TN 37203
54 weeks ago, I decided to write a new book on music marketing. I thought it would take about six weeks.
But I'm not really a writer, so...
Today, I finished the first draft. It's 47,257 words.
The first round of editing has already started and, from the initial talks I've already had with the editor, I have a long way to go. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel though.
Once things are a little more polished, I'll be sending out advance, draft copies to musicians in order to make sure that the concepts I'm talking about are clear and that I'm not leaving anything out. After I've made those changes, there will be another round of editing, the final manuscript will go to a layout person, we'll put a cover on it, and the final book will be released to the general public.
If all goes as planned, a finished version of the book should be here within the next two months.
If you're interested in receiving an advanced copy and willing to send me honest feedback, good and bad, about what works and what needs to be impoved, please contact me via Twitter.
If you've been reading this blog or following me on Twitter for a while, you may know that I've been working on new book for the last year. I'm really close to being done, with maybe 10,000 words to go, but as I get closer, I find that I'm running into more resistance.
In short, it's getting harder and harder to write.
Have been working with a business coach for the last year and talked to him about this earlier today. His solution was something called a "punitive nudge."
So I've just written out several $250 checks to Westboro Baptist Church and sent them to him. If I miss a day of writing, he mails one.
And I'm not going to let that happen...
Which means the book will be available very soon.
Last month, I wrote a post about Mr. Billy and how he leveraged the popularity of Angry Birds to sell music and get attention for himself. Since it's the first week of the new year, I think it's appropriate to talk about his current plan to release 12 albums in the next 12 months.
With the ease and low-cost of both recording and distribution, this is something that any music can do. So why not you?
As we're in the first week of a new year, a couple of days ago, I talked about How to Reach Your Music Business Goals in 2012. If you've gone through that exercise, perhaps you've asked yourself, "Are my music business dreams attainable possibilities or just wishful thinking?"
If your answer is "wishful thinking," there are ways you can take your dreams out of that category and put them into the realm of possibility by using the following strategies...
1. Want it for the right reasons.
Before you go off chasing a big dreams, stop and ask yourself, "Is this what I personally want?" Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in what your family wants or what society dictates that you lose sight of what’s important to you.
2. Take small bites.
Once you’ve decided that your music dream is really yours, you’ll need to create a game plan for achieving it. A big part of that is to break down your humongous goal into smaller, more attainable goals.
As the saying goes, "No man is an island." Take advantage of the knowledge, skills, help, and support of others around you to help you meet your goals.
Most successful people will tell you of sacrifices they had to make in order to attain their goals. Turning big dreams into reality takes time and effort, but the end result is that you'll be able to live the life you desire. However, if you continue to do things the same way you always have, you can only expect to get the same result!
There’s no reason why you can’t turn your music business dreams into reality. You’re the only person who dictates whether or not what you want is possible. So do it!
Here's a quick exercise you can do to reach your music business goals (or any goal) in 2012.
1. Make a list of 10 goals you want to achieve in 2012.
2. Below each goal, list three things you can do right now take to make it happen.
For example, if your goal is "Play 50 shows in 2012," action steps can include, "Call the booker from Club ABC," "Update press kit," and "Call Band XYZ about an opening slot."
3. Take action.
Do this daily and you'll be amazed when 12/31 rolls around.
Your goals should be big enough that it will take a while for you to achieve them. If you can achieve a goal this month, you're thinking too small. Stretch yourself.
Can a goal be too big? Only if it's something that will cause you to sabotage it. A good rule of thumb I use, especially when a goal is sales related, is to think of the highest number that you can realistically sell now and then double it.
By doing this exercise every day, your capacity to make things happen will be expanding, so take that into account. The goal has to be something you can get your head around though or else you'll give up, using the excuse that it's "impossible."
"Impossible" only means it hasn't been done yet. Still, you have to sell 10,000, and then 100,000, before you can get to 1,000,000. Take things in chunks and you'll get where you're going.
Want a system that's a litte more fancy? Try Move Your Music Forward - Goal Achievement System for Musicians, Songwriters, and Music Business Professionals.
NOTE: This is a repost by Willie Jackson. It's not specifically about the music business, but this is a common mistake that I see a lot of musicians make and, even if you're not making it yourself, you've likely experienced it.
If you like what Willie says and want more general marketing advice from him, check out his blog.
Following networking events, conferences, and meetups, there are usually well-intentioned followups that take place electronically as a result of business card exchanges.
Sometimes, however, people will add you to their mailing lists without your consent. In addition to being slimy and ensuring that your spam newsletter does not get read, it dehumanizes the previous interaction.
If I get a newsletter from someone whose mailing list I didn’t sign up for, I opt for one of the following approaches, depending on how I feel:
The last one might be a little surprising, but I think it’s a teachable moment, and a little discomfort never hurt anyone (much). I once inquired of a spammer sender (who fit the profile of someone whom I might have crossed paths with) if he and I had met. His reply? “No, but I would like to.”
Sometimes people will be offended if you request removal from their lists, and I think that’s fine. Spam is a problem, and I have no problem aggressively guarding my inbox against unsolicited mail from dishonest marketers. It’s tactics like those that give people a general distaste of marketing in the first place.
And if someone I don’t know adds me to a mailing list I didn’t sign up for and provides no mechanism for unsubscribing (which is illegal, of course), I just report the message as spam, occasionally letting the sender know this by replying to the message.
It would be wise for you to to have some kind of presence on Google+. If you're like a lot of people though, you're sick of new "social networks" popping up every week and don't feel like learning how to use a new one.
Have no fear. Here are some shortcuts to make your life on Google+ easier...
The true power of "social media" was unleashed earlier today when a rumor spread via Twitter and Facebook that Jon Bon Jovi was dead.
Here is how he handled it...