Trent Reznor is also a marketing genius.

August 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

It feels good when an industry giant echo’s your own words.

It’s a good feeling when you only have peripheral knowledge of an industry put you hit it square on the head and get confirmation from an industry heavy weight.

I’ve been medaling with a friends musical act partly uninvited, but I can’t help myself. When I see or hear about a practical business model problem, my brain starts seeking solutions.

My two friends are having a problem making money as an independent label. It’s the music industry’s old catch-22, you have to have an agent or label if you want to make money, but you need to be already making money to attract an agent or label.

These guys are already turning out really good music in quality and volume, even more so than some of the already established artists. But they are young, creative types not concerned with business side applications and processes, but I am! So I give them this spill about how they can make a little money while they are waiting for the big. A few months later I read this from Trent Reznor the leader of the band Nine Inch Nails.

ORIGINAL POST: [by Trent Reznor]

nin-logoMy thoughts on what to do as a new / unknown artist

I posted a message on Twitter yesterday stating I thought The Beastie Boys and TopSpin Media “got it right” regarding how to sell music in this day and age. Here’s a link to their store:

Shortly thereafter, I got some responses from people stating the usual “yeah, if you’re an established artist – what if you’re just trying to get heard?” argument.

If you are an unknown / lesser-known artist trying to get noticed / established:

* Establish your goals. If you are looking for mainstream super-success (think Lady GaGa, Coldplay, U2, Justin Timberlake) – your best bet in my opinion is to look at major labels and prepare to share all revenue streams / creative control / music ownership. Good luck with that one.

If you’re forging your own path, read on. (This is what mimics my own opinion.)

* Forget thinking you are going to make any real money from record sales. Make your record cheaply (but great) and GIVE IT AWAY. As an artist you want as many people as possible to hear your work. Word of mouth is the only true marketing that matters.
To clarify: …build your own website, but what you NEED to do is this – give your music away as… Collect people’s email info in exchange … and start building your database of potential customers.

Then, offer a variety of premium packages for sale and make them limited editions / scarce goods.

Base the price and amount available on what you think you can sell. Make the packages special – make them by hand, sign them, make them unique, make them something YOU would want to have as a fan. Make a premium download available that includes high-resolution versions (for sale at a reasonable price) and include the download as something immediately available with any physical purchase. Sell T-shirts. Sell buttons, posters… whatever.

The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact – it sucks as the musician BUT THAT’S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So… have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process (plus build your database).

The database you are amassing should not be abused, but used to inform people that are interested in what you do when you have something going on – like a few shows, or a tour, or a new record, or a webcast, etc.


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