Indie Marketing Techniques.

loudspeaker vecotr

Once the music is created what then?


Any art form is special in the sense that it can truly make us feel something, and music is very special to me and many others. The type of music that I listen to can change depending on how I feel or the type of music that I listen to, is deliberately chosen to make me feel a certain way. Kathy Sierra, author of the book, Badass: Making Users Awesome, suggests that any product, music included, becomes successful depending on how the user feels about the product, the company, the brand. Badass_making users awesomeThe product, is special because of what it enables the user to do, be or feel. Kathy Sierra suggests that the key attributes of sustained success don’t live in the product, the attributes live in the user. The challenge remains then, if a music product is good, it’s made with feeling and makes the user feel something, how does the creative artist get the product into the hands of the user?

If music is to be considered a product like any other, then there are many strategies that can be employed to ensure that people are made aware of the new music being released. The usual cliche is that someone was in the right place at the right time which lead to a successful album and tour e.t.c. Nah! I think that the successful artist is the one that has a clear intention for their music to be successful and has thought of how to make their music appear to their target audience.

When launching any new product, it’s important to understand what the appeal it might have for it’s target audience and market it accordingly. Chris Wright is the CEO of  from Surprise Attack Games, Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 12.21.26 aman independent games publisher who suggests asking some questions about any new media product before launching it and thinking about the following marketing principles:


  • What is different about my project or skills?
  • Why is my project interesting?
  • How does it fit in with other projects?
  • How does it fit in with the consumer’s life?
  • Why should they care about it?


  • How can my product be considered different to someone else’s out there?

Competitive Variance

  • What do you do in your project that you do less than them?
  • What do you do more than them?
  • What is the thing you’re doing differently?
  • What is the thing I’m doing that is new?


What are three adjectives that could be used to describe my product?

Then apply them to this sentence:

If my (project) was a ___________________ then, it would be ____________________ .

My personal examples include: Super Hero, Muppet Character, fast food, car, sex toy (well, maybe not : )

OK, I’m ready to apply all of this marketing goodness to my original composition:

Funky Testimonial.

Funky Testimonial


  • What is different about my song? – It rocks and it’s not lame like so many others
  • Why is it interesting? – I drop my voice by two semitones and pretend to talk like a black musician from the USA.
  • How does it fit in with my other projects? It fits in very well, it has a groove.
  • How does it fit in with consumers lives? Essential listening

Personality exercise

  • If my song was a muppet character, who would it be? Gonzo, he always flies too close to the sun and comes crashing down like a veritable Icarus.

The art of persuasion is an important consideration  when attempting to promote one’s work on-line and I can see how the work of Steve Cialdini and Steve Martin would be a very good place to start when  in order to apply to marketing music.

There are 6 shortcuts that apparently guide human behaviour when saying “yes” to something and they are:

  1. Reciprocity – People are obliged to give back when they have received something first.
  2. Scarcity – The less of something there is, the more people want it.
  3. Authority – People will follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.
  4. Consistancy – Seeking to get people’s voluntary, active or public commitments to do something for you
  5. Liking – People say yes to people that we like
  6. Consensus – Inform people of what other have already done and this will influence people’s behaviour to follow suit.

I’d like to apply some of these ‘shortcuts’ to human behaviour to the scenario of a musician hoping to launch a new website with original music contained on it.

I can see that if people were to be given an incentive to promote the launch of a website by receiving a free download for the price of their e-mail address to be included on a e-mail newsletter list that would work. Perhaps a limited edition t-shirt or CD with a quirky cover version of a popular song would also work. Testimonials well known musicians or industry insiders be a very useful thing to be included on a website and would act as means of adding authority or credibility to a new piece of work. Seeking people’s commitment to fund a new recording would fit very neatly into a crowdfunding scenario and will be of increasing importance as the sales of CDs and on-line music continues to go dwindle away. Liking – importantly, people like those that are similar to us. A process of identification and liking similar fashion and music takes place when any sub-culture forms so this would be an important consideration when promoting music. It would be necessary to place the music within a cultural and demographic context while promoting it. Lastly, Consensus. This principal of human behaviour is obviously related to suggesting that music being promoted is not only interesting and delivers something new, but, that others really like it, the band or artist has many followers on facebook and may even constitute a new ‘movement’. The underlying sub-text would be: “Everyone else is ‘into’ this music, and you should be too”.

I’ll end with a quote from Steve Martin on the nature of consensus, or ‘trending’. Trending is new term in the world of social media but, has always been an important aspect within popular culture and whatever is currently popular, most certainly influences our buying choices;  “When we try to interpret our own behaviour, we underestimate the power of other’s behaviour around us.”

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