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LOCAL 174-496

 

New Orleans
LOCAL 174-496

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Music Business Growth


David Gallo, author of this page, is an employee of AFM 174-496 and would love to help you improve your musical life. Come by Tuesdays or Fridays at 2555 Ursulines and consult with me to help get you paid!

Note: This page is a work-in-progress.

 

Increase your Musical Success

This page was created in order to aid the success of musicians. If you have any successful tactics, page recommendations, or criticisms, email us at office@neworleansmusicians.org!


Branding

Creating a marketable and consistent image can help any musician gain a loyal following. To develop brand resonance with an audience, every element should relate to one another with similar themes and colors. However, not all elements should be identical- there must be points of difference in order to increase the overall memory nodes in the minds of consumers. Strong branding ensures every time a consumer sees, hears, tastes, or smells certain things they think of you. Here is a checklist of elements that you should think about integrating into your musical life in ways that harmonize with your personal style.


Musician Brand Elements Checklist

 

Stand-out Logo

An eye-catching logo is the first element to consider creating. Stickers and other merchandise can’t be created without a good logo, if it is objectively attractive people will advertise for you through using the product or placing a sticker on their computer, for example. The website Fiverr.com has thousands of logo designers who will be happy to design one for you for only $5!

Logo Examples:

 

 

 


Website

Websites are easier and cheaper to create than ever. People with a basic understanding of HTML and website building should use WordPress as it is the most versatile and advanced of any website builder in the world, while remaining straightforward enough for an average person to learn. This website was created with WordPress! If you prefer a simpler interface, Weebly.com and Squarespace.com offer cheap or free website builders where you can drag and drop every element incredibly easily. To buy a domain name, you must go to hostgator.com, bluehost.com (recommended), or godaddy.com. You will then follow instructions on WordPress, Weebly, or Squarespace to link your domain with your website. Choosing a color scheme and layout that coincides with your brand is helpful for “brand resonance,” as they say in the business world. To learn more about hosting and managing your own website, visit https://www.cloudwards.net/cheap-web-hosting/.


Band Photos

Always have someone taking pictures of your band while gigging or elsewhere. If you can’t afford or want a photographer, make a point to ask an audience member before the show as they’ll likely be taking pictures anyways and it will be free. Band pictures are great to post on social media, imgur.com, or for publications.


Fashion

The way you and your band present themselves will play into their relatability and resonance with the audience. An example of a music branding master is Alice Cooper, who realized that teens want to do exactly the opposite of what their parents tell them. So he became an extreme symbol of drugs, sex, and of course, rock and roll. His shows were mayhem, he would rip up pillows and feathers would fly throughout the venue while a scantily-glad Alice crowdsurfed and chain-smoked cigarettes accompanied by heavy rock and roll with a theme of embracing vices. Alice Cooper in person is a soft-spoken and kind individual who created a full alter-ego through this powerful brand with the aid of genius manager Shep Gordon. Some musicians may view this as “selling out,” but in reality, he was having a great time while doing what he loves and making big paychecks. What’s wrong with that? To learn more about Alice and Shep’s pioneering strategies, watch “Supermensch” on Netflix.


Packaging

An often-overlooked facet of branding, product packaging can be a great strength. Creating merchandise with unique labels and attractive packaging will lure in customers to buy. Think about the packaging of M&Ms minis, or a tin of French Market coffee. Those packages contribute to the actual product by keeping them fresh and accessible, and many people save the containers for other uses.


Limited-edition Vinyl

2015 was the hottest year for vinyl sales since the 1980s, largely attributed to Pink Floyd’s “An Endless River” release. As a “millennial” myself, I can testify to the fact that a ton of us own record players and are building their vinyl collections right now. Unique, novelty records will sell great in record stores. Check out this list for unique limited-edition vinyl release ideas.


Giveaways during gigs

The power of free is ever-present. People take free stuff even if they don’t really want it, simply because it is free. There is an entire chapter about the power of freebies in a wonderful marketing book called Predictably Irrational– buy and read it if you want to learn many marketing secrets. Needless to say, getting super cheap custom-branded merchandise is easy and worthwhile. Good freebies include pens, kuzys and stickers.


Blog

Creating a blog indirectly related to your band can be a smart way to get an email list of people interested in a related topic or that musical genre. If you were to create a New Orleans Brass Music blog that simply posted articles about the general New Orleans brass scene then people interested in brass bands will use the website as a useful resource. Over time, you collect email addresses through an opt-in form for users to get regular updates about the New Orleans Brass Scene. You can then market to that email list with merchandise or great deals on your shows. Having a platform to reach those interested in your style of music is a hugely valuable asset. You can even sell advertising space to other musicians or related music companies.


Tee Shirts and Merchandise

Merchandise should coincide with your general brand. Products like stickers and shirts can apply to any band, but catering more specific merchandise for your audience will pay off. For example, if your audience loves the outdoors you may want to custom-brand some hammocks or drawstring bags. Custom-branding is best done through Alibaba.com through a simple search of

(product) custom logo

Click the link above for an example.

Most items require a minimum order quantity (MOQ) for custom branding. It is best to purchase a sample first to ensure the company is legitimate and quality is decent. Spending about $300 on customized products will pay off, as you can usually sell them for a profit. Be sure to look at the seller’s reputation on Alibaba on the right-hand side and ensure they have large sales volume and are a “Diamond” seller.


Music Videos

Youtube is a proven route to success with no record label required. Good videos go viral. My music business professor put it well: If you have one video with a million views, you can essentially draw a crowd of at least 100 people in any city in the world. Creating a great video is of course, the hard part.  Cell Phones today can record incredibly high-quality videos, so little-to-no financial investment is required. For  full professional-level videos, an investment in a DSLR camera or hiring a music video director is a better bet. It is important to create a storyboard for your video in order to organize your thoughts or give the director an idea of what you want. Just going out and trying to film without any planning generally ends up wasting the time of all parties involved. Here are several helpful apps that make it easy to create a high-quality music video on your phone.



Music Distribution Channels

 

With the fruition of the internet age, a general saturation of services has occurred. While things were once restricted to radio and physical CD or record distribution, there are now seemingly hundreds of outlets to market and distribute your music. Identifying where your target audience listens to music is important to create profitable and steady distribution outlets. For example, aficionados of rap music gravitate towards DatPiff.com and the streaming service Tidal, Indie music lovers tend to search YouTube and BandCamp, while Electronic music fans go to Soundcloud to seek new music. The following list will give you some ideas to begin identifying where your music will sell best, and how to get there. Clicking the links will bring you the right place to start posting your music on each service.

 

Physical Distribution


Vinyl sales saw their strongest sales year in the past two decades in 2015. The revitalization of vinyl is a good sign that music purchased with a tangible object is not going anywhere soon. Moreover, bands with good branding often create a variety of merchandise to sell at music stores, festivals, online, and during their shows. It is also easier than ever to wholesale customized merchandise from online vendors without spending too much. Learning how to leverage distribution of physical music products is worthwhile for musicians, even in the digital age.

  • CD and Record Stores
  • Radio
  • During Gigs
  • Festivals
  • POS (Point of Sale) – Get a “square” credit card reader and sell your products anywhere.

 

Product Ideas

Selling merchandise at every show is a fantastic way to increase your bottom line. Additionally, giving away cheaper freebies such as pens, stickers, and kuzies provides cheap advertising in the long-run. If 10 of your friends put one of your band stickers on their laptop, you’ll be exposed to hundreds or thousands people over the course of the next several years due to the simple presence of the logo. Giving out pens to friends, schools, doctor’s offices, or businesses will also increase your band’s brand awareness, where pens are likely to be used many times by ideally more than one person. Here is a list of product ideas to get the gears turning:

  • Stickers
  • Pins/Buttons
  • Tee Shirts
  • Posters
  • Kuzies
  • Shot Glasses
  • Bracelets
  • Beanies
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Pens
  • Socks
  • Drawstring Bags

Alibaba.com is always going to have the cheapest manufacturers to custom-brand these items. Visit this page to find more great ways to source.

 

 

 

Digital Distribution


Multi-Channel Distribution Services

Multi-channel distribution services will automatically publish your music to several electronic distribution channels all at once. These services allow you customize where your music is published, track earnings, and provide a single area to manage your distribution methods and marketing materials. They are hands-down the fastest and easiest way to get your music in front of a large audience.

 

Streaming Services

Today, it seems that everyone has switched to subscription music streaming services. These do not generally pay handsomely, but the amount of the market that now obtains music solely through these services is too large to ignore.

Clicking each link will take you directly to the specific streaming service page showing you how to post your music on that outlet.

 

Exposure Services

Exposure services are those that generate little-to-no income, but are great for generating buzz about your music.

 

Social Media

This article summarizes how Social Media is changing the landscape of the music industry.

 

Hip-Hop Mix tape Distribution

 

Digital Media Stores

iTunes kicked off the online digital media revolution with the iTunes store, enabling people to purchase songs individually and cheaply for the first time. Traditionally, an entire CD or record had to be purchased. Digital media stores pay better than streaming services.

Clicking the following links will take you to the direct page to post your music on that outlet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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