Music Marketing: Why Social Media Isn’t The Answer For All Indie Musicians

Shutterstock_188490479Guest Post by Eric Eckhart on CD Baby's The DIY Musician Blog

I’ve been part of the DIY musical community for nearly 10 years, creating my own label, booking agency, PR team, being active in social media and speaking at conferences and writing blogs on how to survive and thrive as an independent musician. But lately, I have been talking with colleagues about the approach we have been advocating over the years and I have come to some new conclusions.

The pressure to break through the noise as an independent musician has led many of us to allow our focus to be skewed.

While we were posting, tweeting and instagraming, being manager, publicity director and booking agent, maybe we should have been spending more time delving into the deepest part of our creative selves to reach for greatness.

Maybe spending the time and energy needed to be a modern DIY musician is not worth the loss of time being creative. Because no amount of social media activity can ever substitute for writing a great song.

The hard honest truth is this – the reason many of us have not had the breakthrough we desire is our songs haven’t been great enough. Not because we didn’t have the right social media approach.

I’ve made good music, sometimes even with a hint of possible greatness, but not enough great music. Getting yourself in that headspace and that soulspace to write a great song, and I mean a seriously great song, is no easy feat.

Air-sound-recording-studios-640For DIY musicians like us to succeed, writing just good songs will never cut it. We have to be better. We have to write better, sing better, record better, play better and most importantly never stop reaching for the greatness that lives within us all.

We are meant to be the new pioneers of rock music. We are the underground, the undiscovered, the untamed. We are meant to reinvent, push boundaries and discover our true artistic selves and constantly explore deeper.

So, close that laptop, shut off the smartphone, find a quiet space and allow the time, the struggle and the possible heartbreaking amount of work needed to channel that magic that some of use will get to be a conduit for that brings inescapable musical beauty into the world.

I’m ready to be a channel for bringing great music into the world. If I can do that, I believe the rest will sort itself out.

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  1. This is the worst advice I have read for a long time. “I believe the rest will sort itself out.” – no, it will NOT. Without promotion and marketing, NOBODY will know about it. Hello! It’s 2015, there are tons of really great bands who are struggeling because they don’t give a shit about marketing. And there are tons of successful bands with shitty music. So STFU with this bullshit.

  2. Lol. This article is a pretty nice locker room pep talk but it’s pretty out of touch with the reality of the music industry. The music has little to nothing do with the success an artist sees. You can make the best or worst album ever but what if no one past you facebook friends sees it what good is it? Bottom line is it takes proper brand development for the artist to grow and become a presence and to condition people to see their likeness, music whatever and whenever all the time. It’s called MARKETING. Brands like http://www.viewmaniac.com offer affordable corporate style marketing for indie musicians at all levels. There is no easy way to be successful musicians. Just like every other industry it is a BUSINESS that requires knowledge, time, money and dedication. This is completely aside from the music. EVERYONE can play an instrument or sing you have to be musical but you also need something with the experience and connections to make you discoverable using methods that are effective, relevant, affordable and then to help you become a big enough brand that people will pay you for using your name. Artists don’t make their money from record sales or shows. The bulk of the money comes from placement and content monetization. For anyone looking for me hit me up by email.

  3. I have received a lot of feedback about this article over the last week and there is one thing that jumps out. Musicians, songwriters and artists in general get what I am saying and love it. Others, who are part of the music machine and put their focus on the non-artistic side of the industry, in general get their back up. Doesn’t that say a lot and reinforce what I’m talking about? Love to you all!

  4. Thank you for the article, and I appreciate and respect the point. I am an artist, but I also have doubts about this advice. Rather, it’s only partial. Indeed you have to make stellar work; but you also have to play the promotion/marketing game, or have someone on your team who will do it for you (agent, manager, label, publicist, whoever).
    I wish that artistic greatness were the only ingredient required for success, but so much great music is lost in the chaos, and so much mediocrity rises to the top (financially and in terms of popularity).

  5. Eric… I believe you are writing on one of the most important topics of our time. You are not off base. DO NOT LISTEN to these jokers who are blinded by the love of money and numbers. The current social media model says that we have to have a presence online, yada yada, must keep fan base “engaged”. Fuck that noise. Did Zeppelin or the Beatles send letters to their fans during the album writing process? FUCK NO. If they were worried about pleasing their fans with letter responses and communication, nothing great would have ever been written. With the immediacy of the modern DAW and digital recording it’s easy to keep a steady stream of mediocrity feeding into the social media “trough”. It’s the equivalent of a McDonald’s art gallery. Yeah people will eat the shit, but is it really nutritious? No. Nothing is timeless anymore. It’s all here today, gone tomorrow. I’m sure this sentiment will strike some dissonance with some people, and I can understand their viewpoint on the importance of media to sell the music. However, like Eric said, you must put down the effin’ computer first and stop thinking about how you are going to sell the song before you even write one.

  6. Eric, well said.
    Important for a lot of indie musicians to read this article.
    A great reminder and counter-balance to the hundreds of click-bait links we see everyday like “5 things you MUST do on Social Media as a DIY musician.”

  7. Totally agree with your article Eric, I still believe that social media is important, but I think the most important thing in the success of a DIY artist is by far greatness, and without that promotion cannot take you too far.

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