The music industry is highly competitive. It requires you to hone your musical skills continuously for a higher level of artistry. Musical talent alone, however, is not necessarily enough. Being a musician also requires the ability to think in business terms -- you must know how to get your music out to the public in cost-effective ways. This means developing and implementing an effective marketing strategy.
A music marketing strategy is a marketing plan designed to increase knowledge and sales of an artist's music. Usually an artist has many marketing strategies over the course of his career because music trends evolve and because an artist does not need to promote all of his events or songs at the same time.
Music Marketing Strategies vs. Regular Marketing Strategies
Normally, a person or business looks at what a particular type of customer wants and then figures out what products or services meet the needs of those customers. In this regard, it is the customer that determines what is to be sold. With music marketing, just the opposite is true -- the artist already has a product ready to go. Music marketing strategies thus must match a musician's music with an audience. The fact musicians are not guaranteed a large matching audience is one of the challenges of music marketing.
Music Marketing Techniques
Music marketing strategies involve one or more marketing techniques. Examples include giving free promotional singles or other paraphernalia, telling an audience specific reasons to buy the music product (e.g., the only CD with a particular track), putting advertisements that link to the musician's online store on social networking sites and setting up sales tables at every gig. Other good techniques are sending consistent newsletters, and getting email addresses at concerts so audience members can get updates about the artist. No two musicians have to use the same techniques in their marketing strategy, but a good marketing strategy in music always uses the techniques familiar to the matching audience.
Marketing and Money
In many cases, music marketing strategies are limited by the artist's funds. Many beginning artists don't have the money to promote their work heavily and have to rely on techniques that are free or low-cost. This is why most beginning artists dream of being "discovered" by an agency talent scout -- once the agency gets behind the artist, the musician has access to the agency's resources for marketing purposes. Agencies are more than willing to provide these resources and develop a marketing strategy, because a good strategy translates into revenue for the agency. As technology increases, however, it is becoming cheaper and easier for artists to promote their work themselves.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.