Today the world and its wife are showing off their tracks online. When people see a track advertised their reaction is pretty much the same as it would be to banner-advertising: It’s become seen as just more visual noise rather than any sort of of success, and it’s largely ignored…
You’re giving people something musical with a special value that is unique and can only be obtained from you.
You’re catering to a one-off niche which nobody else inhabits.
The people viewing your products know and like you; they trust you.
In this article we’ll be looking at some ways aimed toward accomplishing the above 3 points, which I’m going to call “The three pillars of success”.
– But first a little piece to do with having your own website as a musician: –
Some say that it’s not a good idea to start a website as a musician before you have developed your talent and have something real to offer.
I disagree: A website, no matter what stage of your career you’re at, is your own personal piece of internet real-estate and is the hub of your music business. – Your shop-window if you like.
By setting up your own website you’re making a statement. You’re saying that you’re at least intending to hopefully become a serious player in the music industry.
When you start a website you’re setting up your premises online: You’re a business and you need premises. Maybe you don’t have any significant product to sell yet. Maybe you’re not at a level of competence where you feel up to creating your own product yet for general distribution and asking people to part with their cash in exchange for it. That’s fair enough: sell other people’s products until you have your own product: Put up a notice saying something like “More product ranges + additional (original) product ranges coming soon. – Stay tuned.” and work on creating your own product ( Just an awesome single to start with.) while you’re making money to help fund doing so as someone else’s’ affiliate. At the same time you should be building your email list too, by displaying a lead magnet at or near the top of your Home page.
I’ll mention, at this point, that it’s far better from a perspective of profit as well as logistics, to sell your own, unique, product. As an affiliate it is possible to generate some finance; but it’s not your product that you’re selling, and you only get around a maximum of 50% of sales-value. – That’s a whole article’s worth in itself.
DO NOT start off with a free website. – That is definitely a no-no – and you will get instantly branded as ‘unprofessional’, which will limit your success. There are times when you have no option but to shell out some money in this game; and this is one of the most important of those times: first impressions = lasting impressions.
What would starting off with a Wix website which has “THIS IS A FREE[LOADER] WEBSITE” plastered all over it say to any prospective fans and/or partners?
I’ll tell you: –
It says “I’m looking for a free-lunch in the music industry (which is an impossible goal) and I’m just starting out: I’d like you to help me and pay for everything as I’m not prepared to do so.”
As a result any fans you gain will all be similar freeloaders, and any offers of help you get will be from con-artists.
I suggest you should always have a self-hosted WordPress website (from wordpress.org , not wordpress.com) from day 1.
If you’re worried about not having any affiliate products or products of your own to sell at first then put up a notice saying something like: –
“Hi and thank you for visiting. I’m a new musician just starting out in this wonderful world of music and all that it entails.
I’m at the very start of my journey, and I have much to learn and even more to get done. I want to share as much of it as I can with you. – Follow me on my journey to the top. – ‘More soon: Watch this space.”
Maybe I’m getting side-tracked here: For now I want to at least touch on those points in the numbered list above near the beginning of this article: –
1. You’re giving people something musical with a special value that is unique and can only be obtained from you.
Every musician is making ‘noise’: ‘Look at me; I’m the best: Here’s my latest track…’
If you’re creating a track or tracks and saying exactly the same then you’re exactly the same as every other Tom, Dick, Harry, Harriette, Auntie and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all in this industry.
You’re also a newbie. Being the same as everyone else means you blend into the overall ‘noise’ and vanish: Perfect camouflage from any prospects of success! Being a newbie in that situation also means that even if, by chance, anyone does notice you, you’ll carry less weight than an established player and possibly be ignored in favour of an established act. Even if you eventually fork out a small fortune and, when you’ve honed your talent, gig every night ad-infinitum, you’re still blending into the noise.
You might get a few extra fans that way – but you’re still “just another artist” among many.
You need to really stand out, not simply blend in.
Imagine you were on the blind auditions for BBC The Voice: You want to come up with something which would make those celebrity judges all hit their button before the end of the act. If you sound like whatever established act then you blend in, and you’re going to be left with 4 chairs with red backs facing you at the end of your act. OK maybe you get to meet the celebrities; but that’s not the reason you’re there for.
(It always makes me chuckle when I’ve heard a contestant say “Well it was all worth it just to meet you…” when their act sucked, had no success, and has failed to turn chairs. – If that was the only reason they were on stage then they shouldn’t have even bothered performing. I bet the celebrity judges think exactly the same too.)
This is again a huge subject, and it deserves an article of its own.
2. You’re catering to a one-off niche which nobody else inhabits.
“How the Hell can I do that?” You ask. “Do I invent a new genre’ or something?”
I did: I invented Glam Punk – even though it hasn’t really taken off yet. – But you don’t have to invent a whole new genre’ yourself necessarily.
As an artist you want to stand out, to have that ‘something special’ that makes you unique. – So ask yourself: “What else am I good at?”
It doesn’t necessarily have to be music-related: For instance I’m a computer-wiz as far as Windows and PCs are concerned, plus I’m a qualified electronics technician. I market myself primarily as a musician; but a musician who can do all kinds of things with PCs and knows a lot about electronics. (I’m not talking about knowing what brands of sound equipment are the latest fad here, I’m talking about I know a lot about how it works internally.)
So I’m a tech-geek musician; a qualified electronics technician and PC wiz. – How many other people are there in my particular niche? Not a lot. – A lot less people than people who are musicians who create electronica and a few other genre’ works too. – Including Glam Punk. Is that a recipe for success? ‘Not in itself; but it helps.
You can do similar.
3. The people viewing your products know and like you; they trust you.
There are several articles worth of facts to be written about this one; otherwise known as “relationship marketing”. – I’ve linked the term to a definition to avoid having to type reams of text.
In short, if your customers, your fans, know and like you – and they build up even a restricted-type of interpersonal relationship with you – even if they’ve never met you – then they’re much more likely to buy your songs, merch, and recommend you to their friends than if you’re just ‘another name’ to them.
I’m not going to go too deep into this subject, even in future articles, as it can be deep and complex. However I will in the future direct you towards someone with much experience in this field who can teach you many times more than I even know on the subject of relationship marketing, and more still on this and other marketing subjects.
– That’s maybe for another article though: I’ve touched on 3 of the main pillars of success, and maybe I’ll got into more depth on them and subjects pertaining to them in future articles on this site.
Right now though I’d like to ask you to ask yourself some questions: –
A) Am I passionate about music?
My answer: The word “passionate” is very much overused these days, particularly in business. You don’t necessarily have to be passionate about something to succeed in its field… However as far as music and the performing arts are concerned I have a deep conviction that you do have to have a passion about them for you to succeed in them.
B) Do I want a career in music for free?
My answer: If you do them my advice is forget about it as a career. Do it as a hobby instead.
C) Am I prepared to give it LITERALLY 101% of my time and effort?
My answer: If not then don’t expect to be the best. – Put it this way: Beyonce’, Rihanna, will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones, and all such celebrities give it a MINIMUM of 100%; which contributed to their success.
*Remember; these 3 pillars we’ve discussed are only supports: They won’t bring you success by their sole use alone. You should build the online part of your music-career on top of these and other pillars.
On that note I’ll end this article.
Keep safe, have a great day – whichever day it is – and enjoy music!
Peace. – x