I liked that a lot Tom, thanks. It just go to show that if you are waiting for someone to give you something, either a record deal or a gig, you have to be creative and make it happen yourself.
I always spend the off months working on promotion and what can I do to keep ahead of the pack. I would love to see a thread started about how we as musicians promote ourselves and what works in your area. It seems in my area Face Book is the dominate promotional tool for the target audience I am seeking. I still have a active web page and use other local sites as well. I never found a need for myspace. It just didn't fit my needs. Anyway.... Thanks Tom
Hmmm. I've been using FaceBook a lot myself, and then today I get this from CD Baby:
Why Your Website is More Important than Facebook
Personally I'm thinking of giving away more music and making more videos to try to create buzz.
That was an interesting article. They are all tools and the trick is figuring out how to use them. I see FB as the appetizer and the web site as the meat and potatoes. You can get more detail on your web page. I use to tell my guitar students to major in marketing in college. It doesn't matter how good you are if you can't sell it. Ahhhh... for the good old days when your only worry was trying to figure out if that is an E or Em chord in Louie Louie.
In that same CD Baby mailer there was another article I'm contemplating.
Learn from Comic Books
This talks about telling the story of your music and career in bite-sized chunks that keep the audience interested. I do this a little, but I think I'll try it some more after reading and thinking about this. I mean, we have all these tools at our disposal, so we should use them. I'm thinking about getting a Mac soon so I have a little better video and editing tools at my disposal to start this process in earnest.
I've also just obtained licenses and released my entire catalog of albums for digital download (except for a couple obscure old albums). This is part of my overall effort to be more accessible to my audience. I expect to start seeing things pop up on iTunes within a couple weeks.
It seems this thread is becoming that now.
Can I contact you in private space about digital release?
Thats a good move Tom. CD Baby has been good to me. As you know you get a spreadsheet showing as many as 35 -40 different distributors all over the world. I still sell CD's at gigs, on line and thru CD Baby but by far Digital downloads is where I made the most money.
I also work hard to keep my name out front on the web and local print media just for the name recogition thing. I have flashy business cards and everybody I meet gets one. I pass out or sell bumper stickers and other promo stuff with my name on it. All of this aimed at more gigs and more CD sells.
I've had a web site since 1996 and rely heavily on Facebook and other social sites to get and keep my name accesible and outfront.
On stage I have several large and colorful banners that I hang behind me.
But the most important thing I do by far is I have a gimmick or a niche. Like Roy I play a steel drum and do many Jimmy Buffett tunes for the tourists and my original CD's are brightly colored and loaded with Island flavored songs. But again I live at the beach at a oceanside tourist destination and this is what the tourista are looking for and as you know.... you gots to give em what they want.
Other areas I am looking to go include releasing a CD on a flash drive and even selling downloads at a gig.
Now a days most people trash the CD anyway and load mp3's on a player and stick in ear buds, so at my shows they can pick up head phones and listen to sample songs to buy.
I'm gonna keep going here. Most of my gigs in the summer months are usually outdoors and during the afternoon and early eveing are family friendly, so I get the kids involved and award cheap "prizes" for best dancer or or singer. The kids love it and the parents take pictures of the kids with me and they always put money in my jar and maybe buy some songs or CD's....workin' em
More stuff later but this gives you an idea of some of my PR....hey...why am I sitting home this weekend?
"It don't mean a thang, without that tropical twang"
Is there a "short answer" on the correct procedure for including famous artists' songs on your own CD, licensing rights, etc?
Good stuff, Leo!
I've noticed that CD Baby has a lot of promotional tools like digital download cards that you can give out to the audience. I'm planning on pursuing that for the summer.
I still haven't quite figured out how and whether to do the live tracks from the show to each audience as we talked about here on the forum a year or more ago. I think that can be a good thing too. Of course you have to get all the licensing right for cover tunes then just like the digital downloads. I'm using LimeLight for that now. They gave me a good rate and they take care of the licensing permanently so you don't have to keep re-registering every year. Of course you have to pay for the downloads as they happen. If I can just get my original catalog beefed up I won't need to pay for so much licensing.
So much to talk about. Thank God the L1 takes care of the sound situation that used to dominate so much of the conversation in our daily lives. Now we have time to think about all the other aspects of our careers.
You were writing while I was typing. Check out LimeLight. They take care of all the licensing of cover tunes for a rate that's cheaper than the Harry Fox Agency.
Briefly, you just fill out the form on their site for each song with songwriter, publisher, and how long your version of the song is and when it will be released. Then you choose how many to license, and pay the pauper. It's pretty simple - so much more so than it used to be.
I've listened to several CD Baby DYI podcasts (that you can get on iTunes) that talked about licensing procedures. There are also several pages of FAQ's and help files over there about all aspects of songwriting, recording, and licensing.
I did some reading up on the download cards. I guess it's just a card that's good for a download of whatever album you choose to have printed on it from CD Baby. This would be good to sell albums that you don't have on CD or for the customer who just wants to buy it to download to their iPod. I may consider it.
I'm still really interested in giving some sort of recording of the actual show to the audience - either for a fee or for free. Does anyone have experience with this?
Hi Tom. If you do an album with Disc Makers, they will add it to Itunes and CD Baby for $49.00
I haven't done this myself, but I'm thinking of trying a small order.
Myself and Leo have talked about doing this. There are some hills to climb. The Allman Brothers use to sell recordings of there concert. You had the option of waiting for them to burn it to a CD, or you could pay a small fee and they would mail it to you.
We have the same problem on a much smaller scale. As a solo on your own it will require a lot of organization to, record, fast edit, burn or download, and collect money. I think it can be done it just requires a lot of up front planning.
A few other musicians in my town are trying to do this but no one has taken the plunge yet. Another idea would be to record your show and offer it as a download on your web site. It could then be like an archive of past shows.
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