In the first installment of the Musicvein Advice Series, we learn from Kathryn Ballard-Shut of TimKat Entertainment, USA about Marketing Your Music.
About TIMKAT Entertainment;
Founded in 2007 by Jazz and Soul artists Tim Ballard (1948-2009) and Kathryn Ballard Shut, TIMKAT is passionate about promoting and producing world-class and independent jazz and soul talent. Based in Denver, Colorado, USA, the company serves as a multi-faceted live performance booking agency, online music distributor, ASCAP-affiliated publisher and record label.
TIMKAT focuses on building strong and long-term partnerships with entertainment industry professionals. Proud members of NARAS (Recording Academy, aka ‘Grammys‘) since 2008 and ASCAP publishers and writers since 2012.
In October 2012, TIMKAT, proudly launched the popular monthly syndicated radio programme, ‘Modern Soul Sauce,’ which is currently broadcast on 13 Internet radio stations worldwide (US, UK, FR and AUS).
Here’s what Kathryn has to say;
“The quality, production, and writing now from independent artists on many albums is stunning to say the least, so the best advice I could give an artist on Marketing themselves and their music is as follows:”
- Create a Plan – Think about the kind of sound you are going for? What sets that sound apart from everyone else? Who is your target audience? Planning ahead will ensure that you stay focused on the music you’re creating, the audience you have and will keep your goals in sight.
- Don’t try to be all things to all people – Focus on making the music you love and target your efforts within that base. It is better to have a dedicated but small fan base that tells all of their friends and family about you, than to have a huge amount of followers that never share your work with anyone.
- Be Patient – Music is NOT an “Overnight sensation.” There may be rare instances where someone was discovered on YouTube, but the grand majority of artists work very hard every day to improve their craft. If your labor of love isn’t a hit, take a look at where you could have improved and do so the next time around. Before you know it, you will have a hit, or a catalog of music – but either way you show that you are working and prolific!
- Learn where the most effective places are to Market your music – Many artists concentrate entirely on the creation and recording of the music, but are then dismayed and quit when they find that their albums are not selling. You need to make a budget, no matter how small which should include things like advertising. Get write-ups on reputable websites and blogs. Try using Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation these are just a few examples of platforms that can aid in getting your music out to a wider audience – ply it EVERY DAY! Making music is work and it’s the main reason why our TIMKAT T-Shirts say Music Is My Day Job! because we work it all day, every day to get the word out!
- Employ Friends/Family to be your Street Team – Word of mouth is still the biggest and best way to get yourself heard of, in addition to submissions to radio stations and podcasts.
- What to do if the second album sells first – If sales from your debut album are dismal, keep working and don’t give up. A great example of this is with Italian funk and jazz group Camera Soul – their first album ‘Words Don’t Speak’ has seen a renewed interest as fans now into their second album ‘Not For Ordinary People’ are looking through the back catalogs and finding they have more work.
- Distribution – CDBaby is an excellent source for distribution (USA/Canada). $49 buys your album a spot on not only CDBaby.com but also every major mp3 site out there (iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, eMusic, Last.fm etc) and, if you choose, can also place the music on Spotify for people to stream. This option is called ‘Everything That Pays’ when you set up the album on CDBaby. Bandcamp is also a useful platform as it allows people to do ‘pre-sales’ of albums. This free site allows an artist to post a single on a contingency that once the album is released, a message will go to the customer’s email, stating that the entire album is ready for download. This can help to generate excitement and anticipation of an albums release.
- Promoting your album – Whilst using Bandcamp is great for generating a buzz and people can listen to your whole album, the downside is that some people often listen to the entire album but never compensate the artist for it. My advice is that, if you want to keep making excellent music, listeners need to pay for it. If you walked into a bakery every day and did nothing but eat samples on the counter, pretty soon, your favorite bakery would be out of business – the same goes for music too. A lot of artists use Soundcloud, however I don’t think this is a good idea for sales. People can listen to your music for free but Soundcloud doesn’t allow the artist to earn any income, on the chance that a listener really wants to support your music by paying for it.
Next week, Monique Pennie of Purple Reign PR talks PR Agencies and how they can work for you.
Still to come;
- Music Law – Martine Alan & Elliot Chalmers
- Radio Airplay – Helen Mayhew and More
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