Conventions & Awards

10 Expert Insights Into Great Music Marketing

This post is by Hypebot intern Hisham Dahud. His Twitter: @HishamDahud.

Cal lawyer music biz seminar This past weekend, the California Lawyers for the Art's held their 28th Annual Music Business Seminar at Ex'pression College for the Digital Arts in Emeryville, CA.  

Here were some of the highlights:

On getting a marketing and distribution campaign started:

Danny Dee Aguayo of Topspin Media insists that the music business is more data driven than ever before. Learning the benchmarks of analytical tools and measuring where potential and current fans are (both geographically and socially) is key to tapping into a niche. Artists need to make sure they know whom they want to reach and communicate directly to them.

Glenn Goldman of IRIS Distribution asserts that artists must have enough drive and ample web traffic before even considering any sort of distribution deal. He also believes that the artist doesn't (shouldn't) need to be involved in the technical aspects of the marketing effort, but they do need to be involved somehow.

DJ Shadow's Product, Marketing, and Merchandise Manager Mike Fiebach feels that some artists may in fact need a "fifth Beatle" – a person or group of people dedicated to helping them manage their marketing efforts. He makes the point that not all artists think like marketers, and it's a hard time for an artist now because there's so much to get done.

On what an artist needs to consider in regards to their website:

Mike Fiebach: "The website is the face of the artist's brand- it needs to act as the central hub. Your website should be about appearing professional and having everything in place (email capture, data capture, and social networking integration). A strong social media presence is great, but it ultimately should lead back to your website in order to sell product directly to your fans. It's important to distinguish between your potential fans ($0/year), casual fans ($.99-$20/year), regular fans ($20-$50/year), and your super fans ($50-$150+/year)."

Glenn Goldman: "These days, it's literally plug and play. To not have a website as an artist is ridiculous. There are many services now like Bandzoogle that offer all the tools to get started for relatively little expense." 

Danny Dee: "By using strictly social networks, you're building a permission-based asset; you're in essence 'renting' fans. You need to gain direct access to them and that's through capturing email address. Your call to action needs to be more than simply 'Buy the Album.' We're transitioning from an ownership-model to an access model now."

On advice for artists considering utilizing a mobile application:

Naveen Jain of SparkArt says while applications have amazing distribution, monthly and daily active users are the two key analytics to consider. Also, an artist should pinpoint exactly how they will benefit from their mobile app (distribution purposes, raising awareness, fan monetization, etc…).

On terrestrial radio vs. Internet radio:

Gabrielle Wilson of KPFA Radio feels that online radio and terrestrial radio will grow together, but online radio will grab a bigger chunk of the audience. She also mentions that non-profit radio stations tend to build relationships with artists directly. With the emergence of Internet radio streaming, fans from other countries are listening to local artists. Regional bands are winning fans from all over the world.

Michael Zapruder of Pandora Radio feels that personalization is key. But ultimately, the single best thing an artist can do is being as excellent as they can be. Does it (the music) clear the bar? Once it does, you're in the game. He goes on to mention that Pandora is merely 2% of the American radio market.

Skyler Jett of First Kiss Records points out that the United States encompasses only 23% of all music and music revenue and that artists should really start to think globally with their music.

On Music in TV, Film, and Video Games:

Chris Austria of IDC Licensing recommends distinguishing who owns what in regards to copyright long before submitting a track. A good quality mix and master are also essential before submitting any music. He also recommends actually watching the programs or playing the games you're considering licensing your music out to and ensure your music would be an appropriate fit.

Greg Gordon and Paul Lipson of Pyramind Studios mention that gaming companies are not just in the entertainment business, they're software companies at the core. They also pointed out that the video game industry is now a $50 billion industry when combining hardware and software sales. Paul goes on to stress the importance of understanding how business affairs operate. While the music may be fantastic, one needs to be of service to their clients first. 

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  1. Good stuff! I like Mike Fiebach’s comment about “a fifth Beatle” for the non-musical tasks. I suggest this to all bands who just don’t have enough time in the day.
    When I was in a touring band, we had an additional, jack-of-all-trades bandmate. He didn’t play an instrument, but was just as involved in the day-to-day dealings of a struggling band as the rest of us. He was treated as a band member, as well as, credited as such. He joined us on tour and in the studio; and ultimately had equal input in the band’s decisions. He wasn’t just anyone, though. He started out as a hanger-on donating his graphic design skills. We never hired him, per se. He just made himself so useful that we couldn’t have gone as far as we did without him.
    My point w/ that story is, if artists go the ‘fifth Beatle’ route be sure it’s someone just as passionate about your music & consider them a band member…not just some guy that was hired to do the dirty work.

  2. Really agree with Mike Fiebach. Websites really are the “face” of a band, a central hub for media and fans to connect. Bands should stop relying on Myspace alone as an info portal!

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