how to succeed as a music artist today?
OK, so this is the deal: I am a composer and music artist who has spent countless hours, days, weeks and even years on making the best music I can. I have my tracks available as digital files for download, and on audio CD. I am sitting here in my studio, with my computer, and I am wondering: How on earth can I reach out with my music and begin to earn something from it?
I start by finding web sites for so called independent artists, I register, I upload a couple of tracks, with album graphics and details about myself and my music. I visit these sites several times each day - to check out if anybody have been listening. I'm happy because one listener even left a nice comment! I visit his page, listen to his music, and comment back. I create a new listening station and add other artist's music as well as my own. I invite other artists to listen, and I listen to the station myself. This goes on for a few weeks, and suddenly I realize that I have spent every evening on these sites, trying to get attention and listeners. I then understand that my music will not climb those precious music charts, unless...
...i promote much harder! Should I spend the whole night online, merging with other artists in their endless discussions about what sucks and what doesn't? Should I be brave and promise these artists that if they listen to my tracks, I will go and listen to their tracks? I suddenly realize that 99% of the people who are active on the discussion lists, are there because they want me to play their music - not because they want to play my music. If I invite them to purchase my music CD's or digital downloads, I forget that they are in the same situation as myself: They have spent all their savings on instruments, software, printing CD's, trying out promotional packages - and there is no money left to buy other artist's music...
So, what I need to do, is to reach out to ordinary people, music lovers, listeners - not other artists. And how on earth can I do that?
And also, after a few months, I realize that if I continue promoting my music the way I have been doing, I will loose money, not earn money. It feels so unfair. My music is good, people enjoy it, it has value, hundreds of online music sites are alive because of the music of independent artists like me - and yet I have to loose money when I share my music? Or is the problem that I do it all in the wrong way? Is there a magic clue, a "follow these ten steps" list that could change all this?
I search on the web for tips about promotion, and I find Perry Marshall and other guys, experts who want to sell me their ebooks and share their secrets about online marketing. OK, I try it, and I sign up for Google AdWords, I spend three evenings finding the best keywords that can give me unique visitors to my artist page - and I am hoping so much that some of them will listen to my music and order my CD's. Please!
After two weeks, it's time to fill up my AdWords account with more money. The USD 50 I spent on the first two weeks of my campaign, gave med 2000 clicks and visitors to my artist page. Great! But how many CD's did I sell? Only one, and I don't know if that sale was a result of those clicks. I have a net income of USD 4 when I sell one CD from my home page, after I have deducted the printing of the CD and expenses to promotion, postage etc. - USD 50 minus USD 4 equals USD 46. That's my loss, USD 46. So for me, AdWords didn't help me earn money, but lose money? Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that AdWords is bad, only that in my case, AdWords wasn't the right tool (or right place to spend money for promotion).
It's time to slow down and think. - And that is what I am doing in the Musician's Report 2009 on the next page. My goal is to be down to earth honest and to share the best ideas and tools for reaching out with our music. - I have just started, so I invite you to visit again to read more - and to participate by taking the survey on the next page, if you want.
- Helge Krabye (August 4, 2009)