Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tip of the Day - Are You an Artist or a Label?

Copyright © 2010 by David C. Coleman

If you are an independent artist trying to go it alone you are not only an artist. You are, by proxy, a label as well. On the new musical frontier, the opportunities are certainly greater. But so are the responsibilities. Risk vs. reward becomes a key element in the equation for success. As things continue to trend in favor of independent acts, reality reveals that you must learn to function as a label in order to break through. You must be willing and able to build a team of competent people around you who can carry out certain essential tasks...or be willing and able to do it yourself. Labels exist for a reason – primarily to provide knowledge and financial resources. That's what sets them apart. Regardless of the delivery method for music, though, exposure (and a good song, of course) will always remain the fundamental building block upon which your success will rest. Therefore, building customer awareness is crucial.

Also, remember that distribution and label activities are different and distinct. There are a very limited number of things distribution can do to generate interest...virtually none of which are aimed at the music-buying public. An inordinately large percentage of the digital tracks available to the public are never purchased even once. And physically, placement on store shelves is only half the battle. The cold, hard fact is that bringing product TO the public doesn't generate sales. Distribution, whether physical or digital, can only rise to a level directly proportionate to the marketing plan (and corresponding budget) available through the artist/label. It will typically require some sort of financial investment to begin any marketing campaign. From touring to hiring a publicist - it all costs money. As you can see, it all boils down to exposure and your ability to create demand. Distribution without consumer awareness is like a car without gas – you’re not going to get very far. So what are you doing to create awareness? Developing a structured game plan will help you get a leg up on the competition.

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