Plug it, don’t flood it by Tushar Apte (@harpt)
Perhaps it’s because we’re generally inclined to live ‘on the fringes’, or that we wouldn’t want to tarnish our artistic integrity and slave it out to the man. Perhaps it’s just too much time spent practicing, limiting experience out there in the big bad world. Either way, I’ve noticed many musicians have little grasp of effective practices to raise awareness of their music, i.e. to sell their product.
One thing we’ve all been told perhaps too many times, is that it’s all about who you know. Facebook and Twitter have suddenly given musicians ways to:
1) Adopt a flexible position about what it means to ‘know’ someone, and
2) To ‘know’ more people, and break down those degrees of separation
On both points, it’s easy to treat our social networks as pure ‘numbers’ games – the more friends you have, the more you can plug your stuff to and then a bunch of people are bound to check out your latest Soundcloud upload.
But amongst the cacophony of (often unbearable) Facebook/Twitter self-promotion, quality always beats quantity. By this I mean quality of interaction versus plain and simple, non-direct DM’s. This is common knowledge in every musician’s social networking guide, so let’s go one level deeper.
Before leaving it all for music, I worked in a technical sales team selling complex systems and hardware to large corporations. In this environment there is virtually no scenario where customers (or companies) are making impulse purchases.
So the skill becomes one of the ‘soft sell’, of building relationships and creating stories around your product that tie in with the values and needs of potential clients. Sure it takes a while, and it doesn’t always work out, but once you had a customer you were practically an extended division of their companies, their family, their inner circles.
It might not be cool to say it, but great music marketers make the same connections with their fans. The product (music) is complex and you’ve put in plenty of hard work to get it sounding hot. So with so much out there and even less many listeners actually pay for, impulse purchases can’t be counted on. In this regard, it’s all about quality interactions, even if that means getting friends or a team to do some of the legwork.