Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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

April 24, 2007

Two Keys to Music Success

A few years ago, I started delivered this mantra on indie music success:

If you want to make your musical life simple and effective, concentrate on these two things:

1) Write, record and perform great music -- something amazing and unexpected. Nothing will advance your career like a killer song.

2) Focus on starting and maintaining relationships with a growing number of fans. Without people who rave about you and spend money on your music, you have no tangible career.

I was glad to see that Bob Lefsetz, in his own way, echoed my advice on his blog a few days ago:

Imagination. That's why the Ramones were so great. In an era when we had classical virtuosos on stage in capes (yes, you Rick Wakeman), this band of boroughmen all donned leather jackets and made two-minute ditties, in some cases with the stupidest lyrics of all time. It was kind of like abstract expressionism ... ANYBODY could do it, but nobody else could THINK of it!

That's what kept rock and roll alive. The constant innovation. The unexpected. Alice Cooper beheading himself on stage. David Bowie on the cover of his album as a dog. The artists were testing the limits, they were LEADING the company, they weren't being towed around town on leashes by execs who couldn't play a note.

That's how you break through. By surprising, by CONFOUNDING the public. By making people stop and think, not bump their asses as you try to convince us you're bringing sexy back when no one believes it ever went away.

And after you create your music, you don't sell it with stunts. Stunts are how you get the old wave media to pay attention. A stunt is Lonelygirl15. Heard anything about HER lately?

Now you've just got to put your stuff up on the Web, and wait for people to find it. Oh, service music blogs, and provide your friends/family/fans with free MP3s and other goodies, but you've got to let the public do the marketing. It's cheaper, and if you gain momentum, it LASTS!

Read his entire blog post here.

Your to-do list just got a lot smaller. Every day it should only have two items on it (see my list above). And every day, you should do those two things. Tomorrow, do them again. And the day after that ...


posted by Bob Baker @ 10:31 AM   3 comments


At Apr 24, 2007 12:10:00 PM, Blogger Sam Bhattacharya said...

I think Bob Lefsetz' advice here is right on the money. "ANYBODY could do it, but nobody else could THINK of it!" I was also heartened to see that he does give the band Yes some credit in his blog. :-)

At Apr 26, 2007 4:50:00 PM, Blogger steven edward streight said...

You are correct. As Seth Godin preaches "be astonishing".

I believe in giving away tons of free CDs and mp3s, to generate buzz. After enough fans are hooked, start charging for special products, but keep the free stuff flowing.

At May 3, 2007 2:51:00 AM, Blogger Morris said...

Hi Bob,
SONY/BMG have developed a website which enables upcoming artists or wannabees to start their own weblog.
I think a great idea. Also a tool to stay in touch with your fanbase.
And you also Twitter. Like me. Let's see what it brings us!


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