on the Cutting
by Christopher Knab,
Back to The Academy
Also: "Income from a Song"
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1) Give your music away, hell...if you are
a new act, you are unknown anyway, so by giving your music away in either
analog or digital ways you can help create a ‘Buzz’ and stand out from the
other 75,000 other releases that came out last year. (That is a FACT, by the
way). Then, pay attention to how your popularity grows, and as it does,
give-a-way less and begin to sell your music at affordable prices for your
2) Every record is a new release...if people
haven’t heard it. Remember to put ANY and ALL past recordings up at your
website as mp3 downloads, and on sale at all your live shows....remember the Long Tail Theory, (www.thelongtail.com)
IT!! As your fanbase grows your fans will want anything you ever did, and this
will expand as you attract more fans over the months and years ahead.
3) If you lent out ‘promo’ copies to various gatekeepers in retail, radio, the
print media, and at live venues, and one day you see them for sale in used record
stores, don’t get angry about it...BUY THEM back, no matter if you initially
gave them away for free....then on your website have a special USED CD sale.
4) Another tip from Chris Anderson’s book ‘The Long Tail’... reduce the price of your music, and then
cut 50 percent off all your recordings. (Do this for analog AND digital
5) Don’t laugh!...come up with some kind of coupon sale. Think up a marketing
idea where your fans have to enter a
coupon or promotional code at your website to get a discount on one or more
of your recordings.(You can do this for digital downloads or for CDs.) and/or
for ticket discounts for upcoming shows.
6) Offer to “include” the sales tax in
your CDs sales, maybe even "for a limited time only” or for loyal repeat
customers...or offer free shipping and
7) Remember this golden thought. “If you
are not out there promoting your music, someone else is out there promoting
their music”. There is a tremendous amount of competition out there.
THINK....what can you do that no one else has done, or better yet...steal a
creative idea from someone else...hell, every advertiser in the world does
this, why not you?!
8) Offer a free CD for every 3 CDs bought.
You can do this at your live sales booth when you do concerts, or on your
website...or BOTH! This way your fans can help you get the word out in an
inexpensive way, and all fans LOVE to help their favorite band or artist.
9) Arrange to record a special ‘LIVE’ CD and
invite only the fans who signed your email list to attend. You could do
this in multiple markets, close to your home base. Charge them $25 for the live
recording experience, (feed them spaghetti and salad as part of the deal), THEN
tell them if they buy a copy of the LIVE CD that night, in advance, you will
autograph the CD and remind them that they can hear themselves applaud and
whistle on the recording....everybody wants to FEEL SPECIAL.
10) Never forget WHO your fan is. Study your
fans at live shows...what kind of clothing do they wear? where did they buy
it? where do eat before or after your gig?
their lifestyle habits...and then use
YOUR IMAGINATION to think up a clever co-promotion with an appropriate local
merchant, restaurant, or coffee shop.
11) Get a local record store to help you
with a sale promotion...If a customer buys one, they get another one free.
(This is different than the buy one-get 2 free idea listed earlier. You have to
be understanding of the records store’s needs...they don’t want to be giving a
lot of your product away, in fact they would only do this if they felt that
your promotion idea would help THEM sell more of the other CDs they carrry.)
12) When your catalog of recordings grow
to multiple CDs etc. offer your fans price/packages, i.e. 1 CD at a given
price, 2 for a slightly discounted price, and 3 for a more generous discount
price, and ALL your back catalog for a super discounted price. You can do this
for live concert sales, as well as offering the deal online at your website.
13) Invest in a CD duplicator, and at your
gigs, offer fans a CD of ‘tonight’s concert’ for $15, and tell them it will
be ready for them either within a few days of the concert by mail, or if you
can afford a more elaborate duplicator, make it available to them RIGHT AWAY
after the show. (And of course, YOU will be there to autograph that recording
of the show you just performed.)
14) NEVER forget to have your email sign
up list handy wherever you perform. AND have a place for them to write down not
just their email address, but their birthday as well. The point is ....
never forget that your fans appreciate being remembered, anyone does who has
been a loyal customer, so email them a special song you wrote where you can
drop in their name somewhere in the lyric, and send them a link to the song on
their birthday....they will remember your kind gesture forever!
15) THIS IS AN EXERCISE! DO
IT! Go back over this list and wherever you see the word ‘fan’ or
‘customer’ substitute the phrase “tribal member”....that’s right...I have been
using traditional words used in traditional marketing, but really...in the
music world today, the niche, or part of the greater music community you have
as your fans....they are really like tribal members. In fact think of it this
way. Your fanbase belongs to a unique group of individuals who not only like
YOUR MUSIC, but music similar to your music. And if you DO STUDY your fans you
will see they truly act like TRIBES, where the clothes they wear, the haircuts
and body-wear they choose reflect a way of living....So, tap into that phrase
“tribal member’. It is much more intimate, and will reveal many secrets to
making your fans, LOYAL fans. DO IT!!
FourFront Media and Music WEBSITE @ WWW.FOURFRONTMUSIC.COM
out the free podcasts and articles,
and consider purchasing Music
is Your Business, co-written
by music marketing consultant
Christopher Knab and Entertainment
Law Attorney Bartly F. Day.
It's available as a downloadable
PDF or in a print edition.
Christopher Knab is an independent music business consultant based in Seattle, Washington. He
is available for private consultations on promoting and marketing independent music, and can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Knab's book, 'Music Is Your Business'
is available from the Music Biz Academy bookstore.
Visit the FourFront Media and
Music website for more information on the business of music from