K.I.S.S.

K.I.S.S. means Keep It Simple Stupid.

Sometimes we all get way too focused on all of the latest stuff that we never allow ourselves to actually make anything happen.  I remember when Myspace started getting big for artists and you had artists adding all of the latest widgets and gadgets that it completely bogged down their page and made it unnavigable.  You have to be careful about this in your music career as well.

There are tons of ways to market yourself, and you should try to use all of them.  But, the key is to create a system that allows for ease of use and simplicity.  Whenever you begin exploring a new avenue for music marketing and promotion you should be asking yourself “how can I fit this into my system?”

For example, their are tons of social media sites out there, there are also tools that allow you to update every single one of them at once, you should be utilizing these tools.  I use TubeMogul when I want to upload a video, this allows me to upload a single video and then it distributes that video across multiple video sites.

Keeping it simple does not mean that you avoid new things, it means make them work in a system.  Simplicity is best met when you use a team.  Running a team to perform tasks is much easier than trying to do everything by yourself.  But, how do you find a team?  My favorite place for teams when it comes to music is to find college students who have an interest in music business.  A lot of people get this wrong though, they think they can take college students as free work by saying they’ll gain experience.  Be real with them, give them real benefits, and do what you can to give them REAL rewards.  College students tend to have a strong work ethic which is why I like working with them.

Remember: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

-Eric “Fuse” Phillipson

PS.  You can catch me with DJ Fittd on 502FM.com today (Mon, May 10th) at 4PM EST.

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Music Marketing with Social Media: Why Most Artists Are Failing


Social Media Integration for Artists

About a week ago I made a status update on facebook that said, “Logging on just so I can hit ignore, ignore, deny, ignore, mark as read, deny.”  Funny, I know, but its true.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t deny, ignore, or mark as read everything I get, I confirm things I’ve seen elsewhere or am familiar with, I attend events that are relative to me.  This brings up a few points in Social Media and how artists are using it in music marketing and promotions.

With social media you cannot focus on one place. There is no reason, as an artist, you should be on Myspace and not on facebook and twitter, or even youtube.  These sites work together to build your brand recognition.  Myspace is great for use as a second electronic press kit (your first should be your own website).  Youtube allows fans to connect with you visually, twitter allows fans to see the day to day, and facebook is a great avenue to just keep that crowd up to date.

A good social media campaign for an artist will have all of their social sites working together to build the brand.  As an artist you are a brand and if you don’t think of yourself as such, you need to start.

Beyond keeping social sites in sync, many artists are failing at creating a targeted fan base.  Why am I receiving event invites for parties in New York when I am in Michigan?  The best thing about the internet, from a marketing standpoint, is that it is measurable.  You can measure where traffic is coming from, with ease.  So why take away from these measurable stats by not focusing in on your target market.

Here’s a tip for new artists, instead of spending countless hours adding a bunch of random people, why don’t you invest those hours into targeting potential fans in your city? Once you gain a following in your city, and you’ve captured them through your social sites as well as created your “street” exposure, then branch out to capturing those in your state, from there branch regionally.  If you start small with baby steps, you’ll be able to run eventually.

So why do most artists fail with music marketing through social media?

A) They don’t allow their social sites to build off of each other or run in sync

and

B) They don’t target potential fans

If you think of yourself as a business and make your moves based on business decisions rather than whats easy, you’ll see your career move in a better direction.

-Eric

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Action Equals Success

Action is Success
When we were kids, and we wanted something from mom or dad, we asked.  A lot of us, if mom said no, we’d ask dad.  If we wanted to become a King, we became kings of our own imaginary worlds, we created our own castles out of chairs and blankets.  A lot of times we got in trouble for this, but we continued going after our goals the best way we knew how. Imagine if you knew then what you know now about making your money work for you.

When we are kids, we’re naive, we don’t know any better and taking risks are just a part of every day life.  Entrepreneur’s every day life is also about risk, and managing that risk. I would venture to say that if us as kids saw how hesitant the us of now are in chasing our dreams, we’d laugh and then continue to rule over our newly created fort.

I understand that the risks we take today are usually far greater than those we take as kids, but the thought process we have today is usually what keeps us from achieving our dreams.  As kids we’re eager to meet new people, when we fall down and get cut, sure we cried, but we probably did the same exact stunt that caused us the pain the next day… and you know, we likely succeeded.

Some of us spend countless hours on the planning phases assuming that this means we’re putting in work.  Then when it comes time for action, suddenly we are too busy and don’t have the time.  Don’t be afraid of action, embrace it!  We all fail, and those that give you a hard time for failure never succeeded themselves and honestly, they don’t matter.  Every successful person understands the value of failure and the value behind becoming actionable.

Do something great, take that dream or that goal you have, and act on it.  Take the first step of many in achieving something that you want.  The only thing that ever truly holds us back from success is ourselves.

-Eric

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Together Everyone Accelerates Movement: Preparation

“I don’t believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on a field and be prepared to play a good game.” –Tom Landry

I’ve noticed a lot that people focus so much on motivating those around them that they forget the all important step of actually preparing their team.

This stands correct for any situation.

In the music industry, there is so much that has to be done, that without a team, you will fall behind very quickly.  However, many artists and business people alike make a very fatal flaw, they forget to actually prepare their team for the tasks at hand.

The most important factor in gathering a team is making sure you have dedicated individuals.  People with a passion to learn and excel.  People who all share a common dream.

Notice in there I didn’t say expertise.  While expertise is an important factor in more advance stages of a career, in the beginning phases, I feel that you really just need a team of dedicated people who are willing to strive to achieve the same dream.

This is where the preparation comes in.

You must prepare your team members by giving them each roles based off of their strengths, and you must prepare them for the roles that you delegate to them.  If you have tips and tricks to get a certain task done, make sure you share that with your team.

Give your team the tools to succeed by preparing them to handle daily tasks.

If you let your team know how to network, when it comes time for that all important music conference, you’re not going to be the one with the team who is sitting in the corner looking scared.  Your team will have the confidence to get out there and network while making the connections to accel your future.

Even in the more advanced stages of a career, preparing your team so that they may be able to answer questions with detailed answers can really aid you in getting things done quickly.

This is HIGHLY important with promotional teams, I’ve seen teams built that had HIGHLY driven individuals, who really did not know how to properly promote.  Its much more beneficial (and cheaper 😉 ) to train these people than it is to waste time hoping to find people who are driven and very knowledgeable.

Prepare your team, so that when it’s crunch time, they will be able to pull through for you.  Be a leader.

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Being Humble as a New Artist

The following is an article I wrote for Street Knowledge Entertainment‘s Knowledge Blog.  It’s regarding the importance of being humble in the music industry.

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Being Humble as a New Artist
Eric Phillipson of SpeakYourMusic.com

New artist’s listen up! We need you! The industry needs you! You need you!  Over the years, through the declining industry, there is one trend that I’ve seen grow more and more.  That is the disappearance of the humble artist and the larger and larger presence of the big-ego artist.  It’s not that I don’t understand your swag or the fact that you’re the artist.  I get that.  What I don’t understand is all of the hating going on in the industry.

I can’t tell you how many artists I once worked with (keyword: once) who felt that they were above others when it came to certain promotional tactics or just working with some people.  Now I’m not talking about your somewhat established people, I’m talking about the ones who are trying to build a fan base or who are not yet making money off of this music they love (by the way, check out Q’s post on giving your music away for free).  These are the artists that need to come down, be humble, and take the “all promotion is good promotion” road.

Now being humble applies to many different things, these are what I’m going to cover:

  • Management
  • Promotion
  • Fans
  • Networking

The first one I want to talk about is management.  I see a lot of artists who hear that they should get a manager and then don’t even use them.  When someone wants to book a show, they give them their number or book the show themselves; they cut their “manager” out of all of their deals.  Don’t do that.  If you tell someone that they can be your manager, set up an agreement for compensation, and let them be your manager.  It’s aggravating when you’re told to manage someone so you put effort into them only to have them start cutting you out of the deals.  The being humble part comes into play just off of the simple fact that you need to trust your manager if you’re going to have one.  If you don’t trust them, get a new one.  Management is there to take a load off of you so you can focus on making music, and take yourself to the next level.

The next thing I want to talk about is being humble in the promotions you do.  I’ve seen brand new artists, who had no buzz in an area, who were not willing to go out and hand out CD’s or hang up fliers for a few hours during a late-night promo run. That has to stop!  If you have no buzz, you need to pull all stops and get out there and get yourself a name until you get to the point where you can hire street team help to handle that for you.  I know there are tons of artists who feel that lying about their fan base will bring in more fans or add to their swag; it won’t. If you know you have no buzz in an area, be honest with yourself and get out there!  If people haven’t heard of you at all, they will be more willing to listen to you if you’re actually out there rather than having someone else out there trying to pitch your music.

The fans! Answer every single one of them.  Even something as simple as “thank you” is perfect.  I’m talking to the people who get the MySpace messages or the Emails or have a few people come up to them after a show.  Not the ones who have mobs of people coming up to you.  There are too many artists who get sidetracked and read messages from fans without ever replying.  You’d be surprised how much fans are willing to promote artists who are willing to recognize them.   By the way, make sure people who receive your CD’s during handouts can contact you!  Just set up a “fan” Email address and slip it inside of your CD’s so that fans can contact you.  Fan mail is always a rewarding feeling.

The final aspect of being humble that I want to talk about is being humble while networking.  I’ve known some artists who don’t give others who are trying to come up the time of day.  I’m not even talking about on an artist level either.  Don’t always try to network with bigger people, sometimes networking with others who are trying to come up will work wonders for you.  Be sure to network with people coming up in other aspects of the entertainment industry, not just music.  For example, network with new clothing companies, people breaking into acting, graphic artists, TV people, people who are trying to start their own next big website, people who are trying to break into radio, etc.  Some of these people are bound to do great things, and even those who don’t become huge will still be willing to help as long as you can help them.  Plus, these people would love for you to support their new ventures and it always looks good when you are sponsored by someone.

In the end, being humble as a new artist can take you far.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some fake people out there who will try to take advantage of you, just always be sure to check your ego and remain a humble person,  you never know who you might meet because of it.

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Be sure to check out Street Knowledge Entertainment home to Philly based artist Trel Mack.

-Eric Phillipson

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Booking is in the Details

“I’d like to perform at your venue, how do I go about doing that?”

“Send us a press-kit”

End.

I’ve heard this exchange MANY MANY MANY times.  The truth is, a lot of beginning artists don’t know how to go about trying to get booked for shows.  I like to liken getting booked for a show (in the early stages) to job hunting and job interviews.

When you are trying to get booked for a show a lot of times you are trying to find the venue that has the right fit, just like a job that is the right fit.  If you are a BRAND NEW artist your first venue should be in your area.  A little basics real quick, capture your market (city) first. Once you find the venue that you feel is a good fit for you, there are a few options to explore.

One, you could try to book a show on your own night, this is good for people who have a decently established fan base.  But, here I want to talk to the young artists.

The other way is to try to book as an opener for a larger act.  This is where it is also like a job interview, going in to speak to the booker, you should already know the date and who you are trying to open for (i.e. know the company).  Also, a lot of times promoters are the ones who determine who is at the concert, so find out whether the venue is booking the acts or if an outside promoter is.

The reason I say booking is in the details is because the more you know, the less you’re asking the booker to research.  If you know the name of a group performing, the date they’re playing, and you think your style compliments them, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the new guys who call up and say “I’d love to play a show, what do I need to do to do this?”

By knowing exactly what you’re after you are taking out a lot of guess work.  Most bookers are still going to need music, so also try to find out when the person booking the acts will be in so that you can deliver a sample of your music to them.  This will raise your chances of booking a show a lot more than the person who decides to just leave it at the venue for booking to pick up when they get a chance.

Remember, it starts with one.  Once you get that first show booked and you can build a following of people to show up, you’ll keep building your leverage for other shows.  Just make sure when you’re doing shows, you capitalize on the opportunity!

-Eric Phillipson

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