I recently got an email from a subscriber who professed to be a big fan of what I do. The request, however, showed that she doesn’t actually understand what I do.
It’s a request I get pretty frequently, though. Even from musicians who have been following me for years. So I want to take this opportunity to clarify what is is I ACTUALLY do… and WHY.
The request I received went something like this: “How much would it be just to hire you to do all the marketing glory for me? I’m busy and would rather hire somebody to do a push for me before my album comes out.”
Here’s my response:
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I REALLY appreciate the request.
But that’s not what I do. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of what I do.
I don’t do marketing. I teach relationship building, which can’t be outsourced.
In fact, I approach the whole notion of album creation in the opposite way of how the “traditional”industry approaches it.
Investing a lot of money into creating and album AND THEN using a marketing campaign to try to build an audience is a recipe for disappointment. That only works when you have something to sell to an audience that you ALREADY have.
I could recommend some PR and Marketing companies that could put a “traditional” campaign together for you. It would cost several thousand dollars. And it’s not likely that you would make your money back on the campaign, let alone your production costs for the album.
This is what REALLY pisses me off about the music in-DUH-stry! They not only let musicians believe untrue things, but encourage them to misunderstand how business works. The TRUTH is that for the music in-DUH-stry, the musicians are the customers. The expensive studios where they tell you you need to record don’t care if musicians sell any music because they have already been paid by the time the album is complete. The PR and Marketing companies will happily collect on a $3,000 invoice without mentioning the fact that unless you already have an audience you’re not going to make that money back. Because they get paid just for “putting you out there”. The relationship-building that leads to income is still up to you.
I teach musicians to spend time growing their audience and building relationships with superfans AND THEN monetize their audience through crowdfunding and other ways to generate the money to pay production costs in advance.
That way you don’t have to worry about “making your money back”. Instead you start generating income that you can invest in your business without being out of pocket.
If I were to work with you, I would recommend that you finish the album, but scratch the release date and start building your audience right away. Then release the album when you actually have enough of an audience to make it worthwhile.
When you have the audience to pre-sell too, you know what budget you have to work with. But if you throw a bunch of money into a project before you have an audience there is no way of knowing how much you can make from it or whether you will even be able to recoup your investment.
That being said, if you’ve already spent a lot of money on the project it’s not a loss. It’s what we call in business, “sunk cost”.
Having a completed album of your music is definitely something to be proud of. You can work towards making some money with it. And it’s also a good tool for promotion and audience building. But you have to look at it as a business investment rather than a money-maker.
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