Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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

February 08, 2007

Indie Music Takes on the Majors

Here's the opening to a new article just published at Wired News:

Tommy Boy Records' Tom Silverman has said that independent record labels are responsible for 30 percent of music sales and 80 percent of all releases worldwide. If indie music were a major label, it would be the biggest in the world -- and in a way, that's what's about to happen.

The focus of the article is on new trade organizations that are attempting to consolidate the power of indie labels and artists into one almighty group. That is indeed interesting news, but here's what I also found useful:

The biggest trend in music in the past 10 years has been decentralization. Technological advances have made it possible to form a label if you're just one person with a computer -- all it takes is finding a few new bands, which seem to be everywhere, then convincing them to let you handle their business needs (which increasingly means acting in a managerial role while outsourcing promotion and distribution).

As the music business becomes more fragmented, though, a funny thing seems to be happening. Along with the decentralization trend, a strong need for new types of centralization has appeared, such as MySpace and the original It has been possible for more than a decade to produce music pretty inexpensively without being part of a label or any other network, but there was no central repository for the results.

In retrospect, MySpace's ascension looks inevitable; once it reached critical mass, no band could ignore it. It's as if the more decentralized things get in music, the greater the need is for certain kinds of centralization.

An Alternate Viewpoint

There's another way to look at this -- and it's something I've talked about a lot in my New Rules of Internet Music Marketing workshops. It's the need for "filters" to help consumers sort through the mass of new music available online.

As the article says, for a while now, musicians have had access to the tools of production (low-cost, high-quality home recording equipment and software). And using the Internet instead of traditional retail outlets, indie artists have had an effective distribution channel to reach fans.

But you still have the noise factor. Since anyone can produce music, it seems everyone is. Consumers could easily get confused and overwhelmed by the choices.

That's where filters (or new "repositories" like MySpace) come in. They allow fans to find out what artists their friends are talking about and who's creating a buzz. Blogs, podcasts and social tagging sites let fans sift by searching. Reviews and comments help fans grasp the consensus view of a new act.

Knowing that, here are some questions for you:
  • How can you tap into the most effective filters and repositories?

  • What can you do to increase the odds that your ideal fans will find you?
There's no absolute right or wrong answer here. But asking the questions in the first place will inspire you to dig for answers and uncover the best marketing strategies for your music.

-Bob Footnote

As you probably know, I published a book last year called MySpace Music Marketing: How to Promote & Sell Your Music on the World's Biggest Networking Web Site. It's been one of my best-selling titles over the past six months.

Here's part of a new customer review of it on Amazon:

"Even though I've been doing web site work for almost a decade and am quite proficient in the ins and outs of MySpace, this book is a *really* useful tool for my band. In the first hour of reading it I made approximately a dozen changes to our MySpace profile and band web site, which will make a significant impact on our Internet presence as a whole."

Amazon is currently selling the paperback for $17.22 - a 31% discount. Want an autographed copy? You can get that on my web site here.

posted by Bob Baker @ 10:25 AM   1 comments


At Feb 8, 2007 10:32:00 AM, Anonymous Sam Bhattacharya said...

Hi Bob,

This is my first comment on your blog. I bought your book on myspace music marketing last year. And I just wanted to say it has been tremendously helpful in not only getting me started in creating my myspace page, but also in finding the right kinds of friends and creating a buzz. I doubt I could have done this on my own.

Thank you so much!


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