Artists need to focus on the tools to make money and stop wasting their time running around the Internet like chickens with their heads cut off getting nowhere but frustrated. Here's what you do, assuming that people other than your mother love your songs and you have a solid, hopefully exciting, live performance:
1. From what I can see, Facebook appears to be the best place to work on building a fan base, with MySpace a fairly close second. Don't just talk to fans, talk to other bands on FB and MS and offer to swap gigs or open for free for them. Check out the gig swapping sites and get on board. The more you play live the more you can sell merchandise and get booked.
2. MySpace is necessary only because the world knows they can find you and your music there. Don't waste any time friending people. Check your MySpace internal messages in case a fan wants to make a real connection. Message them back ASAP and get their contact info and put it into your artist data base immediately. They are a "true" fan. My partner and I designed a MySpace page geared to making money. Conceptually, it can work as a template for any artist profile you have. It's simple, direct and has a seamless user interface. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send a copy of the comp to anybody who wants one.
3. Use Bandcamp to post and sell your music but do so in conjunction with either Tunecore or Reverbnation's music distribution platforms. Make sure your music is for sale everywhere it can be so anybody can buy it at any time. Sell individual cuts. Sell albums if you think that's the solution for you. Bundles songs with merchandise, photos, videos or tickets to your shows. Get creative and make products that speak to your fans and make them BUY, BUY, BUY !!!
4. Design cool merchandise and have it readily available for sale. It should be front and center wherever you have a web presence. Maybe people won't buy your music but love the fashion sense of your merch and will buy that. Come up with a gimmicky but cool tag line and work it into a fashionable female appeal design. Women control most of the money spent in the music space. Don't be stupid, cater to their needs and interests. If you really want to make money, produce your own merchandise. It will be way cheaper than using one off services. You have to spend money to make money, NEVER FORGET THIS.
5. Use the user generated music booking widget found at Reverbnation. You can put it anywhere and anybody can book you anytime they want. Check out its default calendaring system from which you can be directly booked. Whenever you play live tell your fans that they can book you easily on Reverbnation. Wherever you promote yourselves, promote where people can book you, buy your music and buy your merchandise. Sell advance tickets to your own gigs. Ask your clubs to give you a commission for every advance ticket you sell. It truly amazes me how artists don't concentrate on aggressively promoting themselves to their fans for bookings. Everyone wants an agent and dates in the best clubs in their region. This is pie in the sky thinking. All it takes is one fan who loves you with some cash and you can be booked at a house party, private concert or any cool event that a fan can think up. Besides a fan will ALWAYS pay you more than any club or venue will. Don't waste your time sending EPK's to every club on the planet. They already know who they want to book or who they will listen to about new artists to book. Here is the place where you want to build personal relationships. These relationships will eventually turn into gigs and more cash.
6. Set up an ArtistData profile immediately. If you insist upon maintaining a billion profiles, any change you make to your ArtistData profile will be also be changed on every profile or event calendar you have on the Web.
7. If you really want to see what people who are really into music think about your music get involved in the process on www.thesixtyone.com.
8. Ask people to donate money to you for lots of reasons. At gigs have a tip jar and if the gig went well personally walk around and ask for donations. Need money for your next recording, raise it on Kickstarter.com or Sellaband.com. Make up special songs for special occasions for husbands, wives and lovers. Give away exclusive content to get your fans more engaged. But whatever your do, whenever you give something away to your fans ALWAYS get their email address and any other contact information they are willing to give to you. Ask and ye shall receive. Information is power and money.
9. You can easily see that all of the above suggestions are focused on making money for you as an artist. Your level of success is directly correlated to the amount of work you put into your business. Work smart so when you work hard it really pays off. Wherever you happen to be on the planet always remember you are an ambassador of goodwill for yourself as an artist. Serve your fans and your customers well. Address them by name. Show them you care and they will show you their cash.
NEVER MISS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A SALE !!!!! Don't drive your fans crazy with pointless emails. Don't message them to death about your gigs. Think about how you like to be treated when you are someone's customer and that's how you should treat your fans. The GOLDEN RULE has never failed anyone who's used it. Read "The Secret" and Seth Godin's blog.
Now is the time to stop screwing around and wasting your time on things that won't make you money. Never let yourself be fooled that selling yourself as an artist is not where it's at. Without earning a living your art can never be sustained. People who trade their passion for dollars survive and grow as artists. Those who don't starve to death. Focus, think, work hard and smart and grow rich.
Mr. Dangerfield is an I.A.P.D.A Certified Debt Specialist whom has worked in the finance industry for over a decade. He manages www.beingbrokesuckstoday.com and is the author of "A Dangerfield Manifesto" and co-founder of SMG Holdings, the parent company of Squad Music Group, Dangerfield Artistic Entertainment SMG Publishing and Taboo Dangerfield Publishing
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