Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

February 15, 2005

Marketing Lessons Learned from the Grammy Awards

Most years I try to catch at least some of the Grammy Awards on TV. For some reason, this year I plopped down and watched the entire three and a half hour spectacle. As it turned out, it was a great year to do so.

The 47th annual awards show pushed many of the standard award categories to outside of the broadcast and replaced them with a powerful lineup of live performances. Some of the standouts included Usher and James Brown, Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge, John Mayer, Green Day and Alicia Keys.

The thing that struck me most about the show was the sheer variety of music that's considered "popular" or "mainstream" these days. Actually, this is a trend that's been developing for decades now. But in this age of empowered artists and crumbling industry traditions, it's even more important for you to comprehend.

The days of the wide-ranging, crossover, appeal-to-everyone pop star are becoming a faded memory. The most successful artists appeal to niches. And it doesn't matter if the majority of the population hasn't heard of them and doesn't care.

Take Maroon5. The band has sold something like eight million albums. Yet, I'm sure that many fans of Will Ackerman, Herbie Hancock, Etta James and Steve Earle (all off-screen Grammy winners this year) have never heard of Maroon5.

If this wide variety exists among the artists who get the greatest amount of airplay, CD sales and media exposure ... you can bet it's even more far-reaching below the surface, where most independent artists operate.

We live in an era of abundance. For starters, there are more people on the planet than ever before. And there are more choices for entertainment than at any time in history. It's impossible for a human being to be aware of every piece of music that's available.

So music fans use filters. Those filters can include the radio stations they choose to listen to and the live venues they attend, as well as the magazines, web sites, e-zines and blogs they choose to read. Add to that the influence of personal recommendations from friends and you can see that the average person is still getting exposure to only a limited array of everything that's available.

And that's your challenge as an independent artist. How can you operate within this new world of abundance and overwhelming choices? The answer: I've said this before and I'll say it again ... you break through by going to the places where the people most likely to be attracted to your music congregate.

There's no magic pill. No one-size-fits-all answer. The web sites, publications and venues you need to be promoting yourself through are unique to you. And they're different for every artist. It's your job to figure out where you'll have the most impact and then get busy connecting with people via those avenues.

For the full list of 2005 Grammy Award winners, go here.

posted by Bob Baker @ 11:42 AM   2 comments


At Feb 15, 2005 1:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the breakdown of the Grammies, Bob. I think another interesting point to note is that a Grammy was awarded to Maria Schneider, whose album was distributed via the Internet only. It's indicative of the increasing empowerment of artists, which is great for music and musicians.


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