Greg Rollett: Outsource These 5 Things Now And Focus On Your Music

image from www.murraynewlands.com So many musicians that read our site or go through some of our training go back to the same problems.

They are musicians, not marketers or internet superstars.  This post is not meant to be an argument for the musician / businessman, but rather for those that want to get some things off their plate.
We have been experimenting with outsourcing firms, VA's and local workers (college students/super fans) to see what we can dish off a musician's plate so they can focus on the bigger picture items.

Here are 5 things that can be outsourced and give you a sigh of relief:

1. Blog research.

You can spend a good amount of time looking through blogs to find relevant sites looking for authors who accept your kind of music and have enough traffic to warrant some effort. Having a team member do this research will give you the upper hand in this equation. Be sure to collect the site name, URL, contact info, Twitter handle, Compete traffic data and Google PR so you can sort both their relevance and the priority you give each site.

2. Tour and venue research.

Similar to the blog research, when looking for venues, bars and clubs to perform at live, have your new VA or super fan look through sites like SoudClick, ReverbNation, similar bands tour history and physical outlets like the Musician's Atlas to find the venues and some minor research like how they like to be approached, open dates that fit your schedule and other bands in the area that you may be able to open for/play with.

3. Stats and analytics.

As a musician you more than likely will look at Google Analytics or a music based data company like BandMetrics and just see a bunch of lines and colors. Have someone with some backgorund in these programs look at them weekly for you and track some of the important stats like unique visitors, traffic sources and conversion rates. This will save you some Advil.

4. Video editing.

This is my favorite because I shoot a lot of video and I don't have the time to wait for things to render or mess with them to make shiny transitions or cuts. Video editors are all over the net looking to work on your project. Hattip – look for college students in video programs that need portfolio or class work.

5. Copywriting.

Just because you can write a song doesn't mean you know how to write for the web and write powerful sales copy. A copywriter can write SEO and visitor friendly bios, sales pages, email copy and more to help fans find you online, tell them who you are and more importantly buy stuff when they get engaged with your music.

There are countless other things that can be outsourced.

Think about the recording process. You outsource to get your tracks mixed and mastered. You outsource for duplication.
Now just apply those same principles to your marketing. But remember, the more hands on you are the more you are going to understand the business and more importantly understand your business.

This post was written by Greg Rollett from the music marketing company, Gen-Y Rock Stars. He has some free resources for musicians on outsourcing and can answer any followup questions on Twitter or in the comments below.

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  1. I think especially for #4, I’d ask fans who are up for it to get involved with editing videos and supply them with the raw footage/audio to do it.

  2. It’s definitely worth it to invest some money into outsourcing this kind of stuff! I may be a bit biased because that’s what I do, but my opinion is that a) if you’re fortunate enough to be a talented musician, you should be free to spend your free time on creating and performing and b)the money you spend on paying someone to do this stuff for you is an investment that can turn into increased revenue from your music.

  3. @Ryan – fans and college kids are top choices for video on a budget. Nothing beats a professional, but many indie bands can get away with creative work.
    @April – You said it right by calling it an investment. That’s exactly what it is. Like the food you put in your body is an investment towards your health, the money you put into your music business will help you get places with your career.

  4. I’ve been looking into viedo editing myself. I can totally do it, but I would rather get it out sourced. Ive posted on craigslist and freelancer. on craigslist you can get it for free (if you have a good sales pitch) but over on freelancer your looking at around $110 USD. but those guys know what they are doing!
    worth checking out.
    I just wish I had the money to pay them 😛

  5. Greg,
    I think your article is spot on! This fall I’m launching a service that does exactly what you’re talking about for musicians (helping musicians outsource stuff like marketing, research, and administrative work like studio booking and filing paperwork). I’ve been helping artists out with their marketing and they say it takes a whole lot of pressure off of them. Seems like that’s the way the industry is headed, which is great! Musicians should be able to focus on their creativity and not be bogged down with trivial work.

  6. Greg,
    In response to to your comment directed @Ryan,
    Should it be noted that in this day and age of the music industry there is a greater importance in creating interactivity between artists and there direct fan-base. It should not be a concern having a low budget music video because of its benefits with fan participation.

    And what better way to suffer than to do all that non musical marketing stuff like twitting and blogging and contacting and collecting. The more non artistic the job the better.
    Then and only then will artists appreciated and make the best use of the little extra time they can find for making music. And that is when they will create GREAT ART.

  8. The question is not what to outsource, but where and how. I’ve had a couple disastrous experiences on elance – highlights include a VA copying and pasting booking agent contacts for performers over and over instead of researching the actual promoters/venues and several dispute assistance calls. Would be excellent if someone could post links to places where they succeeded to get a simple job done, cheap. Because I haven’t found such an outlet yet.

  9. @Attila – That is always tough. The thing that has worked for us is actually hiring people on full time instead of on a per project basis. We also do pretty heavy screening and tests. Always have them perform a job or 2 either for free or at a discount to test their services.
    Look at sites like odesk or Craiglist is the Philippines.

  10. I used to be one of those do-it-yourself freaks where I wanted to control everything about my music. I don’t regret that for the fact it was a learning experience, but the product however is not so usable. My last album was probably 20X better because I outsourced the mixing and mastering. Local studios were kind of expensive but I used http://VirtualMixEngineer.com and I was really happy with the way it turned out! So I am much more open to outsourcing now, but also reading up on how to do the audio side of things myself 🙂

  11. @Sam – great case study there. My take is that you need to know enough so that you could do the project. That way you can lend feedback and also know that you aren’t getting hosed in the deal. Mixing and mastering is a great thing to outsource, especially if you find the engineers who know what kind of sound you are looking for. http://www.soundops.com is another great company that does mastering in the cloud.

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