If there is one idea that can sum up our message to musicians, it would be this.
Stop thinking of yourself as “just a musician” and start thinking of yourself as a business owner, because that is that you are”.
Everything you do from creating your music, all the way to promoting a finished album, and every step along the way makes you a business owner, and the financial success you want depends upon your ability to think and act like one.
That one little switch in your thinking makes all the difference in the world, and will put things into a proper perspective, and I’ll prove it to you right now.
What is the goal of marketing?
Ask any business owner that question and they’ll tell you many things – build brand equity, raise product awareness, create a responsive market, and the list goes on. The ‘WHY’ behind it though is simple – profit.
Ultimately, the goal of marketing is to get customers – to make sales. All of the direct goals of marketing, all lead to closing sales.
This used to be true about the music industry, but in the past few decades, companies that drive the modern music industry is centered around fame. No more is this better reflected, than with Music recording sales certifications.
MRSC used to be a sales-based metric. For example, 500,000 album sales was gold in the United States, a million album sales was platinum and so on.
With the introduction of the Internet, downloads became a factor in certification. Services like Rhapsody, Spotify and iTunes included certification for downloads.
When a musician said they went gold or platinum, that was as much a financial statement as it was a goal achievement because the metric was something financially tangible – downloads, album sales, single sales.
This is where it gets interesting.
YouTube, VEVO and other content-based platforms introduced viral videos, but instead of measuring how many downloads or how much sales is generated through video, the music industry started counting streams as part of the certification metric.
In fact, in the US and in the UK, 100 video streams is the equivalent of one download, or recently (as of 2014), 100 streams of a single is the equivalent of 1 sale. While the RIAA counts On-Demand Streaming the money that the artist gets per song is far less than anyone would realize.
For example, Time Magazine covered a story on Spotify at the height of them being under pressure by artists who claimed they were hurting the industry.
In that article, they estimated that the average song generates between $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream in royalties, which is great if you are the sole right’s owner, but many artists are not. The total royalty payments they, and other companies pay out are shared among record labels, music publishers, songwriters and artists.
And to make matters worse, where it took 100,000 sales to go gold with an album or single in the US, it only takes 50,000 to go gold with on-demand streaming, and for free content-based platforms where musicians are promoting their content for free, reaching those marks means that certification equivalents don’t carry any financial weight.
This is part of the reason why there are so many artists that have a lot of fame, end up broke, or don’t ever really make much money to begin with.
The good news is that every musician has the power to change that with just a simple change in how they think, and by getting back to what marketing is all about.
The Fame Metric
Ask most musicians what their career goals are and you’ll hear many varied answers from mastering their craft to inspiring others and so on, but the most frequent answer is money.
It will come in many different forms, ranging from making enough money to support themselves and their families, being able to send themselves on tour, be able to quit the second job and do music full time…
Yet, the majority of services available to musicians aren’t build around sales, but fame. Today, the daily activities of many musicians are based around going viral.
More likes, more shares, more views, more spins, more comments, more reviews, more plays, and so on. While all of these things are important, they aren’t the goal of marketing – they are a means to and end.
That end is get more sales.
What’s the point of being #1 on a chart if you aren’t getting paid? What’s the point of having a million followers if no one is buying?
This is the downfall of many musicians. They want to be famous and “somehow” money will come. Fame is the end result of good marketing, but in business, it’s just a tool to be leveraged, not the final destination.
Focusing on fame is killing your music sales, so stop thinking like “just a musician” and start thinking like a business owner.
This may seem like a very harsh way to make a point, but it’s also true for other industries.
A few days ago, I read an article from AdLiterate titled, “The Marketing Truths We Are All In Danger of Forgetting“, and it’s a real eye-opener.
In that article, it revealed the true essence of marketing, and I’m going to highlight those points right now for you.
- Seeking greater penetration is almost always the winning strategy rather than attempting to shift average weight of purchase.
- Light buyers are your most valuable customers not loyalists. Virtually every brand needs more light buyers.
- Buying is the desired outcome from marketing not engagement, participation or conversation. We are obsessed by the wrong metrics.
- People never care enough about brands to want to be followers, friends or fans. Not at a scale that is commercially useful.
- Brands need to ensure their mental availability but its fanciful and hideously expensive to remain ‘always on’ and few people want them to be.
- Targeting is not the holy grail of marketing. It’s helpful to a point but rests on assumptions about human behavior that are unpredictable and misleading.
- Wastage is under-rated. One way or another wastage is a conversation with tomorrow’s customers.
- There is no earned media. With a few highly notable exceptions, for most brands, all media is paid for media.
- There is no one way advertising works. Any campaign can work in many different ways and often in ways that were not explicitly intended. And a great campaign will improve all your metrics.
- Advertising works best with the consent of people. Consent that is best built when advertising is helpful, enjoyable and interesting. The digital inventory of today is destroying this consent day by day.
Musicians, you have to learn how to think like a business owner and get back to doing the daily activities of a business owner. Learn marketing. Learn sales.
It’s only then you will be able to achieve the financial success you’re after.
Music Sense is a sales and marketing engine for musicians. On the surface it operates like any other music service, but at the heart of it, is a powerful system designed to help musicians achieve their financial goals.
You can build an unlimited list of subscribers, keep 100% of your sales, get access to powerful marketing tools and more. Click here now to learn more about Music Sense.