MARKETING TACTICS AND STRATEGIES USED IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS
Music has become a fast growing industry that is getting very popular to
consumers. As David Baskerville states, “the music business in recent decades has
grown so rapidly” (3). Many new and upcoming artists and bands are trying to make a name for themselves in the music business. It is difficult for newcomers to start
marketing themselves and many strategic steps must be taken. In fact “the successful
musician can hardly function without the ongoing professional assistance of a whole
array of associates” (Baskerville 3). With the rapid growth of the music business, it is
becoming more and more competitive for artists/bands to get their music sold on the
market. However, this is only assuming that the artist has been able to successfully get
their music recorded, marketed well enough to get a store to distribute the music and have
established a sufficient fan base, who will actually buy the music. This can get quite
discouraging for a new artist/band or even am artist/band that has been around the
business for awhile.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to inform the general public, as well as musical artists
or anyone involved with marketing an artist/band, the key elements of the marketing
process. This study will cover an array of marketing strategies that every musician, or
those involved with musicians must know. This includes a recommended step-by-step process to elements such as (1) promotion, (2) different styles of marketing and (3) a marketing/street team. In addition, (4) performance marketing and (5) a basic overview will be discussed. This study will prove to be quite effective and even inspirational to a developing artist/band.
Scope of the Study
This study covers the most effective marketing tactics that should be used for promoting music. All of these strategies can be used with music in general, but are focused more on the new and upcoming artists and bands that are trying to make a name for themselves. The costs to implement some of these strategies, such as manager costs, promotional costs and other variable costs are not covered in this study. This study just describes the strategies and recommended steps that should be considered and followed for success. Also, this study does not cover making the record album or any other technical side of the artist’s music. Consider, that during this study, it is assumed that they band has already been formed, if it is not a solo artist, and the music has already been recorded. This study is not directed towards getting a record deal, but simply to market the artist/band and their music. The main focus is to get the artist/band a substantial fan base that will buy music, attend shows and spread the word to their peers. Additionally, it is important for the artist/band to understand the proper way for them to achieve the most success out of what they do with their music and to show them the best way to market it.
Sources and Methods of Data Collection
Numerous articles of information were consulted and collected as the research for
this study. These articles individually covered the aspects of marketing a musician and
their work. Along with these articles, published books were used as a resource to convey
different methods, as well as the tactics that should be followed. Finally, a personal
interview was made with a manager to a band, who is helping a new and upcoming artist.
These interviews offer personal experience to the various trials and tribulations that may
not be discussed in a book or an article.
RESULTS OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study will be presented in four categories: styles of marketing,
promotions, street teams and a basic overview.
Styles of Marketing
There are several styles of marketing that must be considered when dealing with
music marketing. This section will cover (1) retail marketing, (2) lifestyle marketing, (3)
high school and college marketing and (4) performance marketing.
Retail marketing deals with the sale of CD’s and any other product that the artist/band has to offer. The first step in this style of marketing is to make a list of the
stores to have the music sold. While doing this, it is important to keep in mind that these
steps assume that the artist/band does not have a record label that will take of this already,
as well as taking care of the distribution. According to Vivek Tiwary, this list of music
stores must “make the most sense for your band to work with—i.e. find out where your
fans are shopping” (“Retail Marketing” 1). It is very important to find out where the bulk
of the fans that listen to the artist/band’s music are shopping. It doesn’t make much sense
if a rock band tries to sell its music where classical music fans shop. After a list has been
made of where the target fans shop, the next step is to talk to those stores to get them to
stock the record. The best place to start this stage is a local store or an independent
“Mom-and-Pop” record store. Tiwary also states, these places are “generally more
supportive of developing bands than larger chain stores” (“Retail Marketing” 1).
Furthermore, the larger chain sales deal mainly with record labels and do not take much
time to market an unknown developing artist/band. While performing these steps of
retail marketing, or any of the steps in marketing, it is always important to be well spoken
and professional at all times. After the store has agreed to promote the music, it is
important to keep them informed and updated about the artist/band’s development.
These steps are designed for in-store retail, however that is not the only type of retail
marketing. Sales can also take place online. In addition to retail marketing there is
In the article “Lifestyle Marketing”, lifestyle marketing is “marketing that appeals
to their (the fans) activities, interests and opinions. More specifically, it involves creative
and unique promotions of non-music outlets” (Tiwary 1). This style of marketing can
prove to be very effective because it will target a fan base that will be more attracted to
the artist/band’s genre of music. It is one of the more important and key styles for
success in marketing. It “connects your music with someone’s day-to-day activities and
interests” says Tiwary, (“Lifestyle Marketing” 1). This will make the fan feels like the
music is a part of their everyday life. The work involved with this is comparable to retail
marketing in the respect that contacts must be made and kept current. In lifestyle
marketing the desired image should first be considered. In the article “Lifestyle
Markreting” Tiwary states, “A marketing or street team can also be instrumental in
identifying and contacting lifestyle accounts.” (1). A marketing/street team will be
discussed later on in this study. Lifestyle accounts consist of coffee shops, clothing
stores, tattoo parlors, dance clubs, gyms, etc. To acquire lifestyle accounts the same steps
of retail marketing should be used. The key to success in this type of marketing, along
with all types, is creativity and motivation. To sum up lifestyle marketing, the goal is to
find the target audience and try to get them involved. This includes selling the music at
stores they are most likely to be found in and causing it to be a part of their everyday life.
One of the best places to start this out, is at a college campus environment.
High School and College Campus Marketing
High school and college campus marketing can be just the place for a developing
artist/band to get recognized. Typically, high school and college aged people are more
willing to listen to new music and be open-minded. It is extremely important to keep that
in mind. “To be truly successful at high school/college marketing, you will need to
identify truly unusual, creative opportunities to promote your act” (Tiwary, “High School
and College Campus Marketing” 1). This goes back to the strategy of creativity and
motivation previously mentioned. The more creative a promotional campaign for an artist/band, the more likely there will be a response from the students. A way to accomplish this would be designing strategic cross promotions. Cross promotions will also be discussed later in the study. Another excellent way to get into the high school and college circuit is to create a street team, that is partially composed of high school and college aged students. Their primary focus would be campus marketing. The best way to handle marketing on a high school or college campus is to promote as much as possible. This includes advertising the artist/band at bookstores, campus groups, fraternities and sororities, athletic departments, program/event/concert boards, internet and college marketing representatives. This style marketing can be an extreme advantage to artist/bands who are high school and college aged themselves. It will help them expand a fan base greatly.
Performance Marketing / Tour Support
Performance marketing will deal mainly with live shows. This can also be one of the best ways to develop a new artist/band. It can also get people motivated and interested in buying their CD, radio stations to play a song, or a publication to review their album/demo. To accomplish this properly, it takes “tour support”. Tour support is
“the efforts of members of your business team (record label personnel, marketing reps, your manager, etc.) to promote your shows and take advantage of marketing
opportunities surrounding a live performance.” (Tiwary, “Performance Marketing / Tour
Support” 1). Performance marketing can get very involved and detailed. It should be started a few weeks prior to the show date, if possible, and last until a week after. While
reading this section, keep in mind that it is assumed that the show has already been booked. One of the first things that must be done for marketing a live show is to use a mailing list. Send out an email or some form of letter out to as many people as possible at least 10 days before the show. Included in this letter should be the time, date, location, and most importantly, directions. An additional tip while writing this letter is to print the most important information, such as place and directions in a small block of upper case. This way, the reader will not have to hunt through the letter to find this information. The next step is to go to the location of the show a few weeks prior to the show and promote the event to the local music community. The best way to do this is to distribute flyers and hang posters. The posters should not only be hung throughout the music community, but should be in the venue where the event will take place. It is also a good idea to try to promote the show at someone else’s show. Of course the other artist/band should be consulted first. If there is a problem getting people to attend shows, a promotional
th person giveaway is an excellent tactic. Find some thing you could give away to the 50to enter the door, etc. The more creative the better with this and it is also a good opportunity to establish cross promotion. A pre-show can also be beneficial to the performance. This should be done near a local coffee shop or on air at a radio station. These work best when they are acoustic and get the musical community interested and excited for the upcoming show. Finally, the artist/band must do a follow up of the show. This includes calling the venue and thanking them, calling family and friends to thank them, and distributing flyers to the musical community letting them know where they can purchase the album. These different styles of marketing are very effective if time and effort are put in. They can also be beneficial to promotions.
Promotions are another important aspect of marketing music. They deal with
getting the artist/band’s name out to the public so that they will be recognized. This will help them to create a fan base.
The first thing to do after an innovative website has been established is to get it
listed in a directory so it will come up during a search engine. One of the features that
should be included in your website is an online mailing list. These members should
receive updates on shows or any other news that the artist/band has to offer. “Once a user
registers for your online mailing list, you should send him a sign-up confirmation email”
(Gibson 8). Additionally, the URL should be placed on every flyer and promotional item.
Not only can the site be used for information, but it can be used to market the shows as
well. This can be done by using some kind of web promotion that involves a venue. An
example would be “print out this page and show it to the bartender during our set, and get
a free drink!” (Gibson 8). However the promotion is done, as always, the most important
thing is to be creative.
One of the most creative forms of promotion is cross promotion. Cross promotion
involves two accounts that help promote each other, via a particular artist. For example,
a record store will agree to promote a certain artist, while a radio station will agree to
promote the same artist. Now that they are promoting the same artist, they can use the other to promote itself. This can be done by the radio station telling its listeners to go to the record store to sign up for a contest (usually involving the artist/band) the radio station has set up. At the same time, the record store will agree to advertise the radio station in their store. A marketing benefit will occur for all participants involved. The more accounts that are involved with these cross promotions, the better. This process is not difficult or time consuming. Once the cross promotion is set up, it practically runs itself.
Radio promotion can be the key to success in the music business. The first thing
to do to get started is to create a list of potential radio stations where the music will be played. College radio stations are the most effective with developing artists/bands because college students are usually running them. They are more likely to play an artist/band that they never heard of and be open about, as with the college radio listeners. The people that should be contacted in radio stations are the Music Director (MD), Program Director (PD) and Promotions/Marketing Director. At a commercial radio station, the best person to contact is the Musical Director, however they are usually the hardest to reach. Once the music is played on the radio, the artist/band should: track it to find out how many times the song is getting played (spins), check the charts to see how it has effected the chart position of the music and keep in touch with the radio station contacts to keep them updated on the artist/band’s progress. If for some reason the radio station decides to not play the music, do not give up yet. This can still be used to the
artist/band’s advantage. “Go meet the fans directly, that you wanted the station's airplay to put you in touch with in the first place” (Sweeny 1). This way the fans can still
get a chance to hear the music. To help with these promotions, it takes many dedicated
A marketing or street team is very critical to the success of the different styles of
marketing and promotions. A street team is a cost-effective way to help the efforts of
marketing. The more people involved, the more successful it will be. A street team
should be established as soon as possible. As a matter of fact, a street team will be the
most beneficial earliest in the artist/band’s development. The role of a street team is to
assist in the marketing and promotion for the artist/band. “The idea behind street
marketing is that young fans can spread the word about new bands more effectively than
record-label PR machines, which are perceived as overly corporate.” (Binelli 31).
However, one should keep in mind that the street team should not be expected to be
professional enough to handle serious marketing business. They are only there to assist.
They can distribute flyers and other promotional items, as well as spread the word about
the artist/band and upcoming shows and CD sales.
Recruiting a Street Team
To recruit a street team, it is best to start with friends and family. They are the
most willing to help out. This way it will be easier to get others to join, if they are not the
first ones. It is also a good idea to try to get a few people who are interested in, and want