Home | Articles | BookstorePromote Your Music | Music is Your Business | Subscribe
Twitter | Start a Record Label | Radio Promotion | CD Art Design | Music Career Help

Click to email ChrisThe New Paradigm in
Marketing Your Music
is Here Now
by Christopher Knab - Fourfront Media & Music -
February, 2010

Back to Music Business 101

Its been awhile now, but recently Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy Records fame has been back in the news with his revised New Music Seminar. He first had it going in the early 80's, and it was a great place to go then to get caught up with how to market and sell independent music. He is back now, for the second year in a row, with a revised New Music Seminar. And we are all the better for it. I would suggest that you check out the New Music Seminar. Because there is a lot of good stuff coming out this year's program. I have been keeping up with some of the highlights of the conference,and I must say that one of the most useful quotes I have heard coming out of it is this one.

"The value chain is not....


               marketing partner

That was stated by TopSpin's Ian Rogers...and he has it down pat!!

I could not have stated it better myself. I love that quote from him so much I have made it part of my on-going DUH 101 series. (You can find the first 150 DUH 101 statements in my Blog archive, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook to get the latest gems.)

So, if Ian is right, and he is very right....once again, as I have said over the years...STOP LOOKING FOR A RECORD DEAL!!! That is SO 70's. Really!

Check out the data folks: major record labels until the late 70's were the only way to go for most new bands and indie artists. Yes there was a groundbreaking new trend that developed over the 80's and now are still a good option for some artists, but indie labels usually don't have the bucks to put up for an old traditional marketing plan. But that has all changed over the last 3 decades. More and more strong Indie labels MAY have the ability to take you from nothing to something. Having owned my own label back in the 80's, I can tell you first hand that finding a Major record deal is usually not the answer. Don't get me wrong, tons of great music from indie labels and bands have come out over these last many years. But today, NOW, things are different, and what Ian Rogers is talking about is right on.

YOU, the artist...YOU, the band have to be what a label used to be. The Internet and MP3 file sharing changed the paradigm over 10 years ago. So, what is Ian saying?
Lets take his 'flow chart' apart:

1) ARTIST: YOU are in charge or need to be. It is YOUR music after all, and so you have the responsibility to write and record the best damn songs you can, songs that make people wanna die to have them...to listen to them over and over again

2) LABEL: Once you have written those songs, when you record them YOU are acting as a label...NO...YOU are a record label. You put up the money for it, and YOU have to have the money, like a good label does, to have the money to do what labels do after songs have been recorded...YOU have to get the word out about your music, and get it noticed out of the 134,000 other new releases that are out there every year now. YOU have to do that.

3) Distributor: God, I still get so many requests/calls about "All I need is a good distributor to get my records into the stores" What are you talking about? What record stores? Haven't you lamented the closing of a great record store in your city?

That is what traditional distributors USE to do, and a few still do...but YOU should no longer do that. What do you think Tunecore, and Top Spin, and iTunes etc etc are all about...YOU have to change and wake up from your slumber...really the 70's is a TV show rerun!

4) Retailers: Yes, there are and hopefully always will be a good indie record store in your area. But probably not. So, you sell your music online, and at your live shows...and move over to the Internet retailers!

5) Fans/Customers: Now we're taking...your fans are your customers. From the recording session on THEY are what matters. And today YOU can have direct access and communication with them. What do you think Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, LinkedIn are all about? Join them and any other social networking tools you can find and use.

So, maybe now you understand what Ian Rogers is saying with his flow chart.What is it again?

               marketing partner

Its that simple. Take the challenge up. Just do it! Who is your marketing partner? (Oh come on now, can't you read between the lines?)

I already helped you transition your thinking into this new paradigm of thinking about marketing YOUR music. Never at any time in history have we had SO many technology tools to work with as musicians. Stop already with this "I want a record deal stuff...look in your mirror...YOU are what you have been waiting for!!

One more word about your fans, your customers. Think like them, BE like them, honor them, do stuff for them, be the best for them. Do that and they will follow you like you were some special music messiah!


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: chris@chrisknab.net

Chris Knab's new book,
'Music Is Your Business' is available NOW from the Music Biz Academy bookstore.

Visit the
FourFront Media and Music website for more information on the business of music from Christopher Knab.

Submit An Article for Consideration!
Would you like to submit an article for publication at MusicBizAcademy.com? If you have music-related expertise you'd like to share with other musicians including career tips, how to's, or general music business-related articles, please feel free to send them our way. We'll be glad to consider them.
Submit your article!


The Four Fronts...
Artist/Product Development

Get Educated...
Master the Music Biz!
Online Courses. Many Programs. Learn Day or Night.

Details Here

Christopher Knab

Music Is Your Business
Christopher Knab and Bartley F. Day's expanded edition of "Music Is Your Business" is filled with more insights into the business side of being a successful musician or band. Included are chapters on both Internet and traditional music marketing methods. The essential legal issues you need to know are explained as are music contract tips, how to license your music, attract distributors, get radio airplay and create a demand for your music. More...

How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet

How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet
Our in-depth guide to music promotion demonstrates how you can combine powerful internet marketing techniques to sell your music merchandise online! Learn what works, what doesn't, and what you shouldn't waste your time and money on.

Our Top 25 Articles
How to Write an Artist Bio
Performance Contracts
Mastering Your Music
How to Copyright Music
21 Songwriting Tips

Tax Tips for Musicians

Sell Your CDs Online

What's a Record Deal About?
Artist/Band Interview Form

Inside Record Labels
Internship Do's & Don'ts
How to Make a Living w/ Music

How to Write a Press Release
Reasons Demos Are Rejected
Facts About Music Licensing

Trademark Your Band Name?
Planning A Radio Campaign
A Legal Checklist
Industry Quotes to Live By
Songwriting Techniques
Guerrilla Marketing Tips
Starting a Music Business
Live Performance
Music Marketing Plan
Can U Afford Distribution?

Lots More Articles...

All Content 1996-2013
Midnight Rain Productions.
All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy