Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

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

October 08, 2008

How to Thrive With Music in a Down Economy

I admit it. We are living through some uncertain times right now.

I'm one of the more optimistic people you are likely to meet, and even I am concerned about the downturn in the world economy and financial markets.

But being aware of financial markets and consumer confidence does not equal being immobilized by them!

If you're an active musician, manager or promoter ... this is not the time to run for cover and hibernate. In fact, you should be doing just the opposite: taking proactive steps to insure your short-term and long-term cash flow and security.

Here are some steps you can take to thrive in a down economy:

If you play music full-time or part-time ...

  • Step up your promotion efforts. That's right. Instead of retreating in fear, get more active. And don't use the "I don't have money to spend on marketing" excuse. There are hundreds of ways to spread the word that don't cost a dime.

  • If you depend on gig revenue, make sure you stay in touch with your venue contacts. Sure, some establishments are cutting back on entertainment. But when they do book live acts, make certain you are "top of mind."

  • Communicate with your fans even more. If you have a decent mailing list, use it. If you don't, why not? Your list is your most valuable asset, so start building one -- or put a higher priority on building one.

  • Realize that people need music in good times and bad -- especially bad. View yourself as the provider of a valuable resource. Because that's what you are.

  • Write songs about the economy. Funny songs, serious songs, upbeat songs, or reflective songs that mirror current events.

  • If you live in the U.S., tap into the media frenzy surrounding the presidential election. Offer to play at a political rally or record the next "Obama Girl"-like viral video.

  • Pursue media coverage of all kinds. It's free exposure. And you don't need a fancy press kit to get it. All you need is a good idea that keeps the needs of the journalist, blogger, podcaster, or radio show host in mind.

  • Make smart use of the Internet. Has your web site been updated lately? Haven't published a new blog post since May? Are you making the most of MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc? If not, get busy.

If you just lost or are about to lose your day job ...

  • My heart goes out to you. But this could be a blessing in disguise. Most people who lose jobs are happier with where they end up a year later.

  • This could be an opportunity to finally pour some energy into that musical passion you've been suppressing for years. Take this time to explore your creativity and see where it takes you.

  • Take all the steps above.

The bottom line here is this: Don't become a victim of the real or imagined economic woes so many people are fearing today.

Instead, embrace the philosophy behind this quote from playwright George Bernard Shaw:
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."

Get your FREE copy of my Music Marketing Secrets special report. It shows you how to get more exposure, attract more fans, and sell more music! Go here to grab your copy now ...

posted by Bob Baker @ 11:10 AM   7 comments


At Oct 8, 2008 12:28:00 PM, Blogger Dana Detrick-Clark from Serious Vanity Music said...

Right on, Bob! Now is the time people NEED music--let's all make the most of it!

At Oct 8, 2008 12:36:00 PM, Anonymous Gary Girouard said...

Hi Bob -- well said! it reminds me of the line in Shawshank Redemption:

"Either get busy livin'... or get busy dyin'..."


- Gary

At Oct 8, 2008 1:11:00 PM, Anonymous Dave King said...

Here is an alternative for hard times. Whether money is scarce, or is so plentiful as to lose all value, one alternative that should be considered is barter.

Consider what you have that may be of value to others, and find others who may have things of similar value, negotiate with others to obtain what they offer--then trade. It can be a win-win proposition.

Google Barter Exchanges

At Oct 8, 2008 3:55:00 PM, Blogger Dave Anderson said...

Great and timely blog post Bob.

Music is definately something that gets me through the bad and the good times.

Excellent comment Gary~ Moto for the year!


At Oct 8, 2008 4:09:00 PM, Blogger Out-A-Lout said...

Hey Bob, dead right on the keep the promotion up, you've got to spend a quid to make one. I'd also add that music is a commodity that helps people get through hard times and any artist who plays on this (cheerful music, music that speaks to people in hard times, music that helps the audience escape) is going to do better, too.

At Oct 8, 2008 5:00:00 PM, Anonymous Malpraktiss said...

Great article! To preach what Dave King said, the barter system has helped me through a lot of tough times with music. Exchanging items/services for photo shoots, music videos, etc.

At Oct 12, 2008 5:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Bob. After hearing over and over again that Nevada (my state) is having the worst economic troubles during these times, it's great to hear something that motivates and rejuvenates. You're the best!



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