The following is a guest post from Chris Bianchi. Chris is an Artist Manager, Musician, and Entrepreneur and has over fifteen years of experience handling overall management and day-to-day operations for artists at different levels.
Very often artists of all sizes and styles approach me. They might send me a photo, extremely long-winded bio, a billion links to things and a plethora of songs to take a look at. Usually it includes the statement “We have this new music ready to go” or something similar.
If you are an artist or a band, you obviously need music for the audience. However, music, in my opinion is not the only focus in one’s overall brand any longer. It is a part of a bigger marketing and financial picture, which also includes video, artwork, subscriptions, concert tickets, merchandise and many other ways an artist can now earn revenue beyond the traditional album or single sale.
Just having a well recorded song is not usually enough to “go get a record deal” or “land an opening spot on the next major tour” these days.
At the end of the day, there needs to be value associated with your brand in order to gain further opportunity. If you think about this from the perspective of say, a major booking agent or record label, their thought is simply this: “What’s it worth to me?”
We live in a great time where basically anyone can create and release music. But just because you create music doesn’t automatically mean it has value. And “belief” doesn’t keep the lights on for professionals and their employees. The old music business models offered artists major advances, and the powers that be in the industry were willing to take more chances. The time when these old business models existed was also a time when not just anyone could record and release music within a matter of minutes. You needed a studio, an engineer and much more to get any sort of music created and distributed to the consumer.
The best advice I can offer is to first take a look at the overall audience that fits with the style of music you are playing. Establish the message you are trying to convey and determine who you should be marketing to. From there, create a plan of how to best target said audience with your material. Not surprisingly utilizing social media is one of the strongest tools available today. Most of this is available for free but I do highly recommend running paid ad campaigns on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
A key focus is to associate the appropriate merchandise and designs to your current and growing fan base. Staying unique and creative with your merch will prove profitable to the overall brand and value as well growth because every fan with merchandise is a walking billboard for you.
Once you’ve established the basics – like good music, a well-defined brand and an engaged social media presence – I would focus more on live performance. Focus on the idea of “less is more.” Build your hometown or regional draw before taking the extended touring leap.If you have value, it will prove easier to secure a booking agent or paid shows to play new cities. In time, this will pair with growing merchandise and music streams and sales. It’ll also create further digital and physical promotion for your band, which will offer proof of your value to major agents, labels, managers and other companies that may become partners. You will be able to approach people from a position of strength with more than just a song, picture, bio, and a “we hope to make it.”