For anyone wanting to learn about marketing their business understanding the industry is vital to your success. What follows are some examples of things my time in the music business has taught me. To be honest some of them relate even in non- musical business situations. What these instances have taught me is invaluable although many are basic common sense they are good to be reminded of. These are just the start of what you’ll learn but they are a good set of principles to hold onto.
In any industry really the more you network the more opportunities you open yourself up to as well as potential customers. Also your network can help you big time with booking shows and finding promotional outlets.
2. Treat everyone the same
Don’t be afraid of someone’s fame, respect them but go approach them like any other person. If you can be assertive you won’t limit yourself in the field you want to conquer. Also do not underestimate someone’s worth you never know who could end up making the difference for you.
3. Use free resources
Any way you can create press is vital; submit music to be reviewed in magazines. Look for online directories, any place your company name can be seen is a potential sale you gain. Among my favorite places to look are E-zines.
4. Be selective about who you work and or partner with.
If you want to be taken seriously you must have an attitude of commitment but you must also demand this of your artists as well. Choose the right people to work with it will go a long way toward your success.
5. Building working relationships is more important than money
You will read that your business should be formed with the goal of turning a profit. The truth is it should still focus on building relationships your first couple of years you may not even make much. If you can build a name for yourself the money will follow.
6. Be wary of special services who say they have worked with big names
Especially when in a band still trying to build a name you will sometimes run into promotional services that claim they have worked with the next big thing or helped someone reach the big time. Especially early on you will be offered to pay huge fees in exchange for placement on a compilation or as part of a special promotional campaign avoid these services like the plague if they aren’t lying they are likely to have very little to brag about except that they profit from beginning musicians.
7. Never Give Up
No I’m not saying don’t plan and keep trying if something obviously isn’t working. What you should strive for is to never abandon your dream if your game plan is already laid out just go for it with your full heart and soul. Thomas Edison once said that failure is only realized when you give up.
Jason Baudendistel is a US Navy Veteran who runs his own indie label. Among my other projects were a web business and helping market a legacy startup. My Label Bored Student Records has worked with artists including Electric Valentine, Don’t Wake Aislin, The Dollyrots and Oh Hush (Atlantic Records)