So Why Is Everyone Ignoring ME?

I got this article in my Inbox. Normally I don’t even bother to open these emails but this one offered something that might be useful: 8 reasons you aren’t getting publicity for your music. And it was useful.

In many ways I covered all of these things in my “How To Get It Out There” series of articles. So if nothing else it is nice to see someone really say the same things.

Damn The Torpedoes

Ruprecht sticks a fork in his eye
Ruprecht sticks a fork in his eye

All too often we still tend to approach self-marketing as if it were a Kevin Costner movie – If you film “The Postman”, they won’t be impressed. Or something like that. They don’t come by magic.

There are so many things against you when you are trying to get your stuff out there so it really is pretty silly to start out by getting in your own way. Internet surfers are most likely never going to stumble on your opus. And what is worse is that if they do, they will probably be leaving in about 5 seconds (and I think I am being generous there).

I’m going to add my two cents to their eight reasons you got ignored.

1. You don’t have a story – I am delighted that this was #1 on their list. So many self-marketers just don’t seem to get that everything has to have a narrative. Idol contest shows are masters of that. I hate them but they did work out that the kids are not very good at all and won’t have great careers, but if you get the audience to buy into their grey little lives the ratings will be good and CDs will fly off the shelf (for 10 minutes). Nothing to do with the limp songs and woo-woo shouty vocals; its all about people feeling involved in the story. What is your story? Not what your age is, how many wives you have had, or even how much you like music (who ever says they hate music) but what is your unique selling proposition? Are you a couple of lads with bad haircuts and a song called “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” or are you some snappy effetes with great hair and a song called “Girls On Film”? Both the Beatles and Duran Duran offered something that was a great narrative. If you don’t offer something that people want to buy into then you won’t get fans.

2. Your pitch was bad – If you have a story but don’t present it well then you are sunk. Torpedoed and sent to the bottom in pieces. Your Website, YouTube and Facebook are most likely where you are trying to make your main pitch. Is your marketing collateral well presented, classy (yes even if you are taking the Punk route) and consistent across all your avenues? All too often bands create ghastly logos and over-colorful marketing that honestly looks like an explosion in a spew factory. Don’t do this ever. You may think more color, more moving things and more gadgets make your marketing look better. Spew factory explosion. Look at serious professionals and see what they are doing (and some are doing it badly but their fame lets then get away with it). Do that. If you can’t do something that looks as grand then DON’T even try. Cover the basics: clean and simple. Let your music speak for itself and stick to nice simple photos, clean fonts and a white background. Oh and make sure everything matches from place to place or I won’t know it is you, or even who you really are.

3. There’s no buzz – If you don’t create interest, no one will be interested. Simple logic. Sadly no one is going to start your buzz for you. You have to start that cold sore, sorry I mean fire yourself. You need to pound those interweb highways and get involved in the right places. Let people, one at a time, find you. Give them something they feel excited to share with others. That is buzz. Remember that Managers and Record Execs can only be interested in you when you have proven that you can build and maintain a buzz. Buzz = money. No buzz = zzzzz.

4. Your music doesn’t appeal to the publication’s audience – I write instrumental electronic Space Music. You might write Gangsta Rap or Death Metal. Some fans like me love lots of genres (actually no Rap for me thanks) but most music fans don’t really. Most people are after a sound to reinforce their current pair of trousers. If I lob up to a Rap battle with my, almost New Age, music I am mismatched. Profile your art and profile your potential audience honestly. Tip, don’t be one of those people who thinks that everyone from 8 to 80 is a potential buyer. Sure that is possible but it most likely isn’t probable. Learn the difference. There are about 7 billion people on this rock and I know that only a very few of then own a Michael Jackson CD. I don’t.

5. You’re using old material – I hate, hate, vomit when I’m seeing a band and they have only 1 ratty CD, that they are saying doesn’t really represent where they are at now. If I liked the show enough to want to get a CD then I want to take home what I just heard and relive the fun I had. Seth Godin was dead right when he called the CD the “souvenir” of the the show. If you are serious then you need a new CD at least every 6 months.

6. You need new press photos – Photos are a huge part of your story or narrative. If you aren’t expanding your story with where you are now then you’re not wanting fans to be interested. Sure your new haircut may scare some of the old fans but if you hide the new do they will just get the shock of their lives when you walk on stage. Or when your old CD doesn’t look like you do today.

7. You don’t have any upcoming shows – Sadly being a musician these days is even more about playing shows. Most people have always seen music as only being “real” when it is played live so do all you can to have a show. A damn good show. And always be telling fans where and when that is. If there aren’t shows then explain why. Make that part of your story. Me I don’t play live because I was too scared to ever learn to play properly in case I wasn’t any good at it. Might need a spin doctor to sell that one.

8. You haven’t developed any relationships – The internet is NOT ENOUGH. You need to be wearing out shoes. Walk around after your show and meet your fans. Engage them in your story and make them feel special through being involved. Even if you aren’t Elvis, just the fact they saw you strum some chords makes you special to them. Wouldn’t you love to meet & shake with just about any musician you admire. Do it. That is the easy bit. You also need to pound tarmac and get out there and be creating relationships with people down the local community radio show. They don’t have to play your choonz but if they get to know you they probably will want to. It makes them look good to support local and also to be breaking new talent. How cool would they be if they were the first DJ to have played Metallica or Nirvana! It is part of the DJs story.

Do It Again

You may notice that I am talking about this from the perspective of grass roots fans, punters down the pub. The other article was mostly pitched at you sending CDs to a record company or manager. Same rules exactly. They record exec is looking to see if you are marketable and professional enough to be molded to make him money. Always pitch to the end user.

Please have a very honest look at all your marketing and see if you are letting yourself down in any of these areas. If you are then do yourself a favor and take Steely Dan’s advice above.

If you are not sure what to do then there are people who can help you. But first make sure you are helping yourself.

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