Dotted Music Blog

Chris Knab's Four Fronts Of The Music Business

Christopher Knab, the co-author of the “Music Is Your Business” book (now released in its fourth edition), has been in the music industry for over 30 years – and knows what it takes to succeed in music.
Over the years he’s been sharing all his knowledge with artists, and developed an easy to understand and follow system called the FourFront Marketing Plan. In this We Spin Recipes podcast episode Chris explains it in details.
Listen to the show to learn what skills you need to develop for turning your music career into a profitable business (and not losing everything), how one of the Warner Bros Records’ Presidents started out, and much much more.
Some of the highlights of the conversation with Chris:
  • Entering the music business world “on accident.”
  • Importance of radio airplay throughout years.
  • The origin of the FourFronts term and frequent use of war language in the music industry.
  • Each of the four fronts described: Artist & Product Development, Promotion, Publicity, Performance.
  • Why most of the music sucks.
  • Perception of the word “business” in music.
  • “The more successful you get in music, the more time you spend on the business, and not the music.”
  • “If you are not going to give 110% of everything you have and to give up a lot to be a growing musician, you are going to lose everything.”
  • People in the industry want to help you, but they first want to see that you are serious about your career.
  • “The very beginning of social networking starts with artist development.”
  • How to convince the buyer why they want your music.
  • What clubs and promoters want in reality.
  • Connecting the Four Fronts together.
  • Work for little victories
  • On having patience. Don’t focus only on the destination, enjoy the process.

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.

Take the Business of Music Seriously

To be rather rude about it, I would say: don't bother us in the music business if you're not serious – because we're serious. If it's a hobby for you, and you're not going to be giving 110% of everything you have and give up a lot to develop your career, then you're going to lose everything. People in the industry do not want to hear things like “I’m just doing it for the fun of it.” Believe it or not, they want to help you with the skills that they have, but they have got to know that you are truly and completely committed to your music. That's what I tell artists all the time. In the beginning you won't have a manager and you're not going to get one quickly. So maybe one or two of your band members have to be the people that go out and create a website, update it with your gigs, and so on. It's what I call grunt work, stuff that's not fun to do, but you have got to do it. This applies for both solo artists as well as bands.

Show what’s in it for them

With whomever you talk to in the industry, they will first want to know the main reason why they should care about your music. Next, they will want to know whether they’re alone in supporting you or whether there are others, including yourself, that are supporting the music. That is why you go to the other fronts and you talk about your successes and plans. It's good to have small successes or plans for doing such and such with your music. But you have to reassure everyone that you're not alone, that they won’t be alone in supporting you, and that there are other things happening in your life that will help develop your career.
If you’re talking to professionals that want to invest in you and they ask why they should buy your music, you have to be able to say, “Well we're getting this kind of broadcast. We're getting this kind of blogger response and newspaper coverage. We’re performing live at these venues,” and so on.
If you want a station to broadcast your music, whether online or otherwise, you have to tell the music director, which is the person you're going to deal with, why they should play your music. Give them a reason, anything in the lines of “Well, I'm a local band. I'm in this area and I'm putting up this kind of live show. I'm getting this kind of wonderful publicity from bloggers, magazines, and newspapers, and it's selling.” And you can add that you have X amount of downloads or X amount of streaming activity.
When it comes to performing, it’s a tough one because a club wants to make money. I want people to really understand this because I get so many complaints from people about live clubs everywhere. They say, “They won't book me,” and similar remarks. A live performance venue is a business, and their job is to get people to drink alcohol, to eat food, to dance. And if you as a performer can't help with that, the booker is not going to book you. You have to tell the booker of the venue how you can help them with that so they can book you. What you can do is show them that you have some kind of a following already and that they'll show up at this venue. And then you tell them about your CD sales, your downloads, and streaming activity as well as what the bloggers and writers are saying about you.
Podcast Interviews