What Is Working? – An Indie Label & D.I.Y. Series

Later this week we’ll begin publishing a series of posts produced in conjunction with U.S. indie label trade group the American Association Of Independent Music (A2IM) called "What Is Working". I’ll beA2im asking some of the leading figures in independent music:

  • In this fractured media landscape, what is working? 
  • What outlets and tools are helping your artists build an audience?

The Hypebot community also has a lot to contribute to this conversation. Your comments to recent posts about the indie band Mobile loosing then getting back their MySpace URL and the subsequent cautionary Never Forget: It’s Your Data about capturing and controling your fan data included many great suggestions.

A Simple But Brilliant Strategy That Works

One of my favorite suggestions came from indie artist Allison Sharp,  "About a year ago, I decided that every time a friend request was exchanged between myself and another MySpace, Facebook, etc. user, I would always send them a note back thanking them and also including this… "I’d like to include you in my group of friends outside of {the social network}. Please reply with your email address if you are ok with that," she wrote. "The majority of those people do reply with their personal email address. I have accumulated a large email database from this one simple habit."

If you still need convincing, Dave Hooper of MusicMarketing.com remembered…

"…all the bands on mp3.com who were getting MILLIONS of plays and lots of attention. Once in particular got signed to Interscope, had a big launch on radio, etc.

Sold about 200 copies the first week.

That wouldn’t have happened had somebody let the MILLIONS of people who downloaded know the album was available. And they could have saved a ton of money on radio, which obviously wasn’t very effective in doing the job."

Dave’s right and thank-you Allison for sharing a major part of the solution.

HYPEBOT READERS:  Share with us "What Is Working" for you?

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  1. I personally put everyone on my email list and I send out a monthly newsletter with info, news and contests. When people are put on the mailing list they are also asked if they want to be on my Street Team, if they opt-in, I send them special messages. I know there is probably more I can be doing with my list, but for now, I am focusing on making sure my small following feels appreciated. One friend at a time right?

  2. For me I give away my songs and do free guitar lessons on youtube and other sites. This helps get ‘attention’.
    What works for me is ‘selling access or the experience’ as Gerd Leonhard talks about. I have a membership site and charge a monthly subscription fee. Youtube brings lots of traffic and so does ultimate-guitar.com. The 80/20 rule applies where most of your traffic will come from just a few places.
    I know this from google analytics and tracking it. I also collect email addresses using getresponse.com over time and control my own following.

  3. So often I see bands not utilizing or even having a mailing list. It’s so easy to comment back on MySpace and ask for an email address. Small steps to success! Great tip from Allison.

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