Move Over Billboard: Here Comes Ariel Hyatt And Friends’ “Indie Maximum Exposure List”

(UPDATED) When I read "BILLBOARD’S 2009 MAXIMUM EXPOSURE LIST" a few weeks ago, I thought The Onion had taken control of the venerable music trade magazine with a satirical piece. 

"Today the ways artists can promote their music have proliferated so rapidly that it can be hard to keep up with what's new – what's actually cutting through the clutter,'  the article began. "It's in this context that Billboard decided to geek out with 25 promotions and publicity experts across genres and mediums to create the ultimate multimedia metric: Our first Maximum Exposure List.”

image from www.glendavidandrewsband.com

Sounds fine until you read on and find a list of filled with old school, unachievable and down right "this might actually hurt your career" advice. A small sample:


image from www.neo-sage.com Indie music marketing guru and author Ariel Hyatt (twitter: @cyberpr) of Ariel Publicity also read the same Billboard article; and unlike me, who just found the list sad and amusing, she decided to do something about it.  As with all things Ariel, her response, "THE INDIE MAXIMUM EXPOSURE LIST" (A GUIDE FOR THE REST OF US) is filled with realistic and achievable suggestions. 

It's also a collaborative effort, bringing in a team of industry experts who are, like Ariel,  in the trenches with independent artists every day. She also asked several artists who make a living as musicians to contribute. Her dream team includes Derek Sivers (Sivers.org), Jed Carlson & Lou Plaia (both from Reverb Nation), Tom Silverman (New Music Seminar & Tommy Boy ), Emily White (Whitesmith Entertainment) and musician Jonathan Coulton.

The resulting "INDIE MAXIMUM EXPOSURE LIST" is a must read if you're an artist who wants to move their career forward, someone who works with those artists or even if your a fan who just wants to  understand how this whole Music 2.0 thing works.  Read on and comeback to share your comments and suggestions for any additions to the list. (PDF) Give it a minute, its a large file and can be slow to load.

Share on:


  1. This is the kind of information that indie artists need to see. Enough of the one-off, “get of Twitter and Facebook” business. I love that the PDF actually gives practical advice.
    Thanks so much to Ariel for curating the document. I too laughed at the New Music Seminar when you highlighted the Billboard list. It is amazing how much people don’t get that advice to “make it big” no longer entails plugging into the Big 4. They cannot even guarantee success these days.
    It’s about hard work and stick-to-it-tiveness (yep, I just did that). The artists that will succeed will have that survivor nature and be innovative while trying to “make it” somehow.

  2. I loved this pdf, I loved the content, and I am grateful for all of the folks who contributed to it. Thank you.
    The problem is not the availability of this type of information, it is the lack of willingness on the musician’s part to do it. Sorry in advance if you are one of the indie artists who is already DOING IT.
    Hey starving indie artist – start with two or three things from this PDF and DO IT and if they don’t work for you, pick two or three other things and DO IT. Continue this until you find what is working for you.
    Not trying to sound like Mr. Negative here. I just encounter way too many indies who have grate potential, but don’t take control of making something happen with their music.
    Motivational tip for the day – DO IT. (I am starting to sound a bit like a Nike commercial.)

  3. Yes, unfortunately, a lot of musicians don’t want to hear the advice. They still want to believe they make great music and that if only the right people would hear it, everything would fall into place.
    I’ve worked with young writers, business people, athletes, and musicians, and the musicians have been the hardest to give career counseling to.

  4. In the state of flux that this industry is currently in, this post is a breath of fresh air. People are constantly picking our collective brain here at Ariel Publicity for just one thing that they can do to help propel their careers; this article offers 100.
    I must say, that Chris Gesualdi sure is knowledgeable (unbelievably handsome as well).

  5. One thing I didn’t see (unless I missed it) is to have ways to measure what you are trying, and then if you aren’t getting results, think about trying a different approach.
    I’ve done a lot of grassroots music marketing, and sometimes, after you’ve tried a promotional technique, there’s no noticeable change in show attendance or online response. So it didn’t accomplish what you wanted.
    Or maybe you are getting a ton of online fans, but no one is coming to shows or buying your CDs. So you may be successful in one aspect, but not achieving your ultimate goal.
    Another challenge is that once an idea proves to be successful with a few artists, everyone tries it, and it’s value may go down. So what works now may not continue to work as well in the future. You don’t necessarily want to be constantly trying to new things just to do them, but when what you are currently doing isn’t working as well any more, you may need to do some fine-tuning or try a different approach.
    On the other hand, if you make changes and then start losing your hardcore fans and don’t make new ones to compensate, you may want to go back to the tried-and-true.

  6. Excellent, I’ll tweet it.
    Can I let people know about our music video commissioning and promotion service? We’re a music video director network of over 2000 members worldwide, we promote commissioned music videos (well over 4,000,000 views across our networks), all you need is a track and a budget. RadarMusicVideos. Many thanks

  7. Ariel’s collaborative “List” is an excellent tool where artists at every level should be able to find something helpful to enhance their growth and/or development. No one has said that navigating the new music business waters is easy but the “List” is as good a place as any to start learning the process.

  8. When you do version 2.0, cut down on the repetition. I understand that’s because you’re dealing with a panel of people who have different ways of saying the same thing, but still — trim the fat. This could have been 10 pages shorter, easy, and been more effective, too.

  9. When I saw the Billboard story – I had the same reaction I have when people recommend the Trent Reznor model to small indie bands.
    The Oprah line had me laughing out loud.
    Ariel, on the other hand – kicks ASS.

  10. HI Taylor – Ariel Hyatt here. There will be a bookmarkable version within the next day or so available at Musicthinktank.com and each entry will be open for comments! Thanks for asking.
    Cheers, A

  11. People like Ariel and Bob Baker are the new Messiahs for independent musicians. As the old adage goes: Knowledge is power. The information I have derived from Ariel and Bob has literally “saved” my career!

  12. And this is why Ariel and her crew ROCKS.
    I also agree with what Suzanne was saying about measuring and tracking results. I do this type of stuff for bands and I know its sometimes discouraging to them when something doesn’t seem to produce much of a result so its good to be able to kind of chart the progress and give them something in black and white, even if its just as small as 5 new mailing list subscribers.
    Thanks to Ariel and the gang for taking the time to put this together.

  13. DIY bands never have enough resources, time or money. So rarely can you do everything. That’s why it’s important to try maybe a handful of promotional techniques and then abandon those that aren’t working for you.
    And fan bases are different. For example, some bands have lots of potential fans on Twitter and others have relatively few.
    As the tools develop so that you can update a status once, and have it go to MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, etc., it becomes less time-consuming to have a presence on a variety of places.
    But still, some fans don’t have time to monitor feedback from fans at all sites. So if that is the case for you, then focus on what seems to be working the best.
    It’s probably better to do a few techniques well than trying to do all of them at a shallow level.

  14. Great to see so many artists looking for ways to get their music heard. We at whotune.com have invested heavily & continue to do so to enable artists to find useful tools in a real ‘Social Network’ type environment. We invite all serious musicians, bands/artists, music based businesses & fans to join whotune & enjoy our features. We have Radio playing only unsigned music, Jam Cam-perform LIVE anytime,anywhere via webcam to ppl all over the world! we are adding a ‘pay per download’ service soon too so u can sell ur music directly from your whotune profile. Theres tons of cool stuff there already & we work closely with artists to ensure we keep innovating! Hope to see you there soon! Karl George, Founder http://www.whotune.com

  15. Great list! I wanted to add a suggestion that I didn’t see mentioned by anyone: create a Nimbit store for your band. You can create an online storefront to sell MP3s, CDs, t-shirts or any other kind of merch and place it on your official site, MySpace, and Facebook. Your fans can even post the store on their own pages. You have direct control over what you are selling, you get the money immediately, and you get contact info for people that buy from you. I don’t think it’s going to supplant iTunes anytime soon, but it’s a terrific option for indie artists (and no, I don’t work for Nimbit 😉 )

  16. You might as well have posted a message saying “I AM A GREEDY TALENTLESS PARASITE SEEKING ATTENTION, PLEASE IGNORE ME”.

Comments are closed.