Dotted Music Blog

How To Power Your Music Marketing With Your Hobbies

Stuck with finding new and effective ways of getting more fans? Then open your favorite note taking app or grab a pen and a paper and listen.
Here’s a new We Spin Recipes podcast episode, a conversation with Jesse Cannon – a music producer, founder of Musformation and author of “Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business” – and here you will hear enough practical tips and tricks to keep you busy growing your fanbase.
Here are some of the topics we discussed with Jesse on the podcast:
  • Things an artist should dedicate time to daily.
  • Building a database of music blogs 5 mins a day with Google Alerts and Mention.net.
  • Sending music to the right non-musical blogs.
  • Communicating with influencers on Twitter (yet not trying too hard).
  • Doing free giveaways the right way.
  • Segmenting, targeting and analysing fans.
  • Tips on local promotion (including something bands forget these days… print ads!)
  • Being persistent and patient with goals settings.
  • Doubling and tripling merch sales through personalisation.

Listen to the episode below:

Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, or by searching “Music Growth Talks” in your favorite podcast app.

A few notable passages from the episode

Daily Habits

One of the best tricks I know is finding some artists to target. So, let's say that you're a London-based electro house music producer. I would try to find other artists you see your fans talking about. Maybe you see on SoundCloud that they're also listening to these people. I would try to find some that are small, some that are medium-sized, some that are big, some that are local, some that are not local. Load them into google alerts, or another such service I really like called mention.net. Put them into those services and everyday you're going to see some people tweeting about them, mentioning them on Facebook, writing about them on blogs, mentioning where they will be playing and so on. Gather all that information about those people who are interested in these other artists and that's who you should be approaching. This method should help you find people who will potentially like your music. So my advice is to do that everyday and stay on top of it. Create a database spreadsheet and contact these people. This will be the first thing that can really make a quantum difference in your promotion. For me, especially when I first start working with bands, some blogs would be writing about them so I would just start approaching them. I see a lot of musicians get very discouraged with the blog thing because you're pretty successful if you get one out of every ten to twenty blog pitches go through. And if you actually get written about, you're doing pretty well. Even with the best written pitches, a lot of these blogs aren't even going to read them. But the one out of ten that does can be a big thing. A great example is Todd Thomas, with whom I wrote my book. He got on a smaller blog that was then read by BigStereo. And then, from their feature on BigStereo, Pitchfork picked it up and then all of a sudden they have a hundred thousand streams.
Take this technique and stay persistent about it. It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be something you can just do every three months. It’s a real and actionable task that you can be working on each day.

Make Your Merch Personal

With one of the groups I managed, Man Overboard, we were selling a lot of merch. They were one of those bands that, on a good month, would sell ten thousand t-shirts sometimes, which was absolutely insane. But we bundled the sampler with everything somebody bought. So even if you just bought a $3 sticker, we would give away ten songs out of the 55 they had released at the time. That would give fans something to get addicted to, and then they would buy those other 45 songs that we had.
As the band got popular, we hired a friend who started off working Mondays and Fridays for two hours to do the merch. Then eventually the job got to the point that we had two full-time employees doing the merch. One of the ways we got there was that on every piece of merch a band member would write a “thank you” to the fan. Then, we'd write a nickname on the package. For example, we’d have your name on the package with something silly next to it. All the fans would then take pictures, put them on their Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter profiles, because they couldn't believe the band took from their time to do that. All of a sudden our merch orders nearly doubled. We were getting orders from the Philippines. It's little personal touches like that that are just something slightly eventful, and, like Tony Hsieh the President of Zappos calls it, “random acts of wow”. Finding something cool and nice, taking a little bit of time, especially in your early days, can really help that stuff spread.
As another example, I recently ordered this cool thing called a Nomad ChargeCard for my iPhone. It's basically a business card-sized charger, so I can keep it in my wallet, I don't have to carry a cable when I want to charge my phone when I'm out. They sent me a card that said, “Hey if you share this on social media, we'll send you another for free.” Now, obviously, you cannot necessarily afford to send another piece of your same merch for free, but what you could do is ask everybody who orders your merch to take a picture of them wearing it, post it on their social media profiles and tag you in exchange of you sending them free stickers. That will cost you maybe a dollar of your profits, but it will also help spread the word about you. Little things like that add up to more fans. Clocking those hours adds up to getting a bigger fan base.

Live Performance Tips

Here’s one of the biggest things I think is neglected these days, and I don't know why bands ignore it: Every time you play a venue, it's an opportunity to put up free advertisement. The second your show is booked, you should have posters. Posters are a pretty cheap thing to do. Send two to three of them to each venue because they can also have street teams that bring them to record stores for instance. Getting that out there, allowing that free advertisement to be seen with your branding, your logo, your website, it all allows for people to think they know you. We all experience this, when we hear a band's name three times or ten times before we check them out. Every time they see your name, it’s another reminder to check you out. But seeing your name on that poster, knowing that you're coming soon, knowing that they want to see something good, that can be the breaking point to get them to listen to you and then tell ten of their friends to listen to you.

Show Notes:

Andrew Apanov is the founder of the Dotted Music digital marketing agency, and host of the Music Growth Talks podcast.
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