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Here’s How to Fail as a Musician…

by John Oszajca on June 2, 2011

How to fail in your music career.I try to avoid ever writing anything when I’m in a “mood” but today is a bit of an exception…

Here are 3 ways to absolutely guarantee that you will fail as a musician.

No musical legacy, no limousines, no fancy house. Nada!

Just follow these steps and you will almost certainly get to spend your life working that crappy “day job” and talking to your friends about the good old days when you used to be cool.

If any of that stuff touches a nerve, you might want to rethink what you’ve been doing so far to get your music career off the ground.

1. Expect Someone Else to Make Your Career Happen For You…

Ever notice how many musicians state that they “hate marketing”, or, “hate business”?

I think I might throw up in my mouth if I hear one more musician state that they are “an artist”, and that they don’t want to have to pay any attention to the actual business aspects of music. It’s as if they think they are somehow above it all.

I can’t tell you how many musicians defiantly state that all they want to do is focus on writing, recording and performing, and that they want a manager or a label to take care of everything else.

Here’s the thing… No shit!

Who wouldn’t like that? Sounds friggin’ awesome. I’ll just sit around and be too-cool-for-school and wait for someone to realize how completely rad I am. Let me know how that works out folks. And we wonder why there are so many homeless jokes about musicians.

I have worked in nearly every corner of the music business. I’ve worked as a club promoter, a producer, a music marketing consultant, and of course as a major label recording artist just to name a few. I can tell you first hand, the people who succeed work their asses off… and it’s only getting harder.

With the amount of passion, talent, and sheer love of the craft that so many of my fellow musicians have, I can’t for the life of me figure out why more musicians aren’t also learning the craft of marketing and making it a major part of their career.

Marketing is power, don’t confuse it with the message…

We hate marketing because so much of the marketing we experience as a consumer has a crappy message behind it. But if you are sincere about your product and respect your audience, marketing is simply a tool of expression.

By becoming a student of music marketing and the various facets of the music business, you are empowering yourself and taking responsibility for your own destiny – as an artist as well as a human being.

We are still at the dawn of the technological revolution. Never before has a musician had as much control over the circumstances of their own success.

I think many musicians suffer from a bit of confusion about what marketing actually is. Marketing is not Facebook, or Twitter, it’s not how your website looks, nor is it whether or not you get reviews in magazines or spins on the radio.

Marketing is understanding who you are ultimately selling to, and then presenting your music in a way that aligns perfectly with the needs and wants of those people, with the ultimate goal of closing the sale. Everything else is just a tool with which you can accomplish this.

2. Obsess Over Making Everything Perfect…

Another great way to fail is to never get your music out there in the first place.

Too many musicians spend years trying to get their product absolutely perfect. I can think of one musician I know, (I’ll keep his name private), who has been working on his album for over 10 years now. He’s currently re-recording it for the 3rd time. I don’t have the heart to tell the guy, but with his current attitude, it just ain’t gonna happen.

Your music is your story. Tell your story at all costs. That is what you do… or, at least, what you are supposed to be doing.

If you have an A-list producer and $300,000 budget then by all means, make yourself a kick ass big-budget record. But conversely, if all you have is “Garage Band” and an acoustic guitar, make a solo acoustic record on your computer for God’s sake. Hell, I don’t care if you can even play guitar. You’re a musician! Make music any way you can.

It doesn’t matter if you tell your story with a vintage Less Paul or a friggin’ leaf blower. Just tell your story. Create art that is “cool” and present it to the world in an interesting way. If you have something special in you, people will hear it and you WILL be on your way.

At the very least you will be one step closer to creating your masterpiece. Nothing helps you develop faster as an artist than recording. It externalizes the process and causes you to learn and grow as a result.

From a marketing standpoint, having product allows you to go out there and start building that fan base now and after all, that’s the point; to be heard. Do it, and do it now. Be whoever you’re going to be. Life is not going to wait.

And finally, if you really want to make sure you fail as a musician…

3. Resist Anything That Requires Actual Effort…

At the risk of being obnoxious, I do REALLY well with my online businesses. In fact, over the last few years I have generated over $2 million in sales. As a consultant I have orchestrated campaigns that have broken various sales records.

As a result, I get approached nearly every day by musicians and even friends, asking if they can hire me to consult for them and handle their entire marketing campaign.

The reality is that my plate is just too damn full to take on many individual clients, so for the most part, I am forced to politely decline.

However I typically try to suggest that anyone can do this themselves and that all you need to do is build a list and learn some basics of copywriting. I explain the “sales funnel” and talk about how well it’s worked for me.

I can see people start to get excited. Their eyes get focused; they start to visualize a future where they are able to quit their dreaded day job.

Then they ask the big question… How much work is involved?

I tell them the truth…

If you’re just starting out you’re going to need to really put in a few months worth of work or so until you have the hang of it. You’ll need a squeeze page and you should really get a blog going as well. You’ll need to set up an autoresponder and learn the basics of direct response marketing. Once everything is in place you want to really monitor your results so you can get a good read on your conversion rates and subscriber value. Once you have that info you can outsource the whole thing and get back to focusing on the music… or whatever business the person happens to be in.

By this point the spark has already begun to fade. Their eyes glaze over and their expression says what they’re actually thinking.

Fuck it… That sounds like too much work.

I want you to think about how insane this is for a moment.

I basically tell someone how they can accomplish their life long dream of building a real audience, selling albums, and quitting their day job. But the second they find out a little work is involved – screw it.

People are literally choosing a life of artistic obscurity rather than putting in a bit of hard work.

Most musicians spend 3 or 4 years at a minimum learning their instruments before they even dare join a band or perform live. They’ll drop tens of thousands of dollars on gear and recording costs, but a few months of learning about the actual business of music – forget about it.

It honestly doesn’t make much sense to me.

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And there you have it folks. A fool proof, three step plan for failure in the music business.

No time, energy, or money required.

All you need to do is hold on to that belief that marketing is evil, stay away from anything remotely difficult, and wait around for some savior of a manager or record label to show up on your doorstep and make you a rock star. Instant results are guaranteed.

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Why the rant?

You may be aware that I recently opened the doors to Music Marketing manifesto 3.0”.

MMM 3.0 is a complete home study course which lays out a systematic approach to selling music. It’s based on PROVEN marketing strategies and is focused on generating an actual ROI (return on investment).

The course contains over 40 videos, a custom MMM website template (powered by WordPress), PDF workbooks, email templates, case studies, bonus audio interviews, and an interactive members area were you can ask questions along the way and get direct assistance from me and my team.

Imagine that… musicians who want to take their careers into their own hands, roll up their sleeves and do a little hard work to turn their music career into a lasting, viable, and, of course, PROFITABLE affair.

That is what Music Marketing Manifesto 3.0 is all about. It’s a program for musicians who understand what marketing is, and how essential this stuff is for our careers.

Now – as I’ve already touched on – Music Marketing Manifesto 3.0 is not for everyone.

If you’re still of the mind set that “marketing is evil”, or that you would rather wait for a record label to come along and make you a rock star, this is probably not for you.

Music Marketing Manifesto 3.0 is for musicians who are serious about making a life in music. It’s a program for musicians who understand what marketing is, and how essential this stuff is for our careers.

As excited as I am about the Music Marketing Manifesto 3.0, I’m also a bit disheartened.

I have received thousands of emails from musicians over the last few months. While I truly dig hearing from you guys, I’m surprised by how many barriers to success many musicians throw up for themselves.

I see people skipping an important strategy simply because they can’t figure out a way to come up with $20 a month for an email management system. I also come across many musicians who are convinced that a record label is the only path to success. Many musicians don’t see that the very attitude they have about how a career in the music business is “supposed” to be, is the very thing holding them back from success.

I don’t doubt that many of you reading this are amazingly talented people. I’ll bet that a few of you reading this will go on to be big stars. I’m just concerned that perhaps some of you are waiting for the world to come to you, when in fact; you need to be taking your gift to the world.

I’m going to end this rant with a question, and I’m being completely sincere here…

DO YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO MAKE IT AS A MUSICIAN?

Or do you find it easier and safer to just say that the music business is fucked up and if you don’t succeed it’s the fault of the industry or the collective bad taste the masses have in music?

I’m honestly not being facetious or sarcastic, in this last bit here.

In fact, if you’re struggling with your music career and you genuinely want to succeed, but maybe you just need a little bit of guidance…

…then post a comment below and let me know what you’re having trouble with – I’ll answer your question here on the blog promptly.

Forgive me if a lot of the post came off as overly sarcastic or even arrogant. Most of it was meant to be playful. With that said, I do see a lot of frustrating characteristics amongst my peers. I sincerely want to help change that and help you guys succeed. Despite my flippant attitude in this post that is truly all I’m trying to do here.

Here’s to your music career and a SUCCESSFUL future.

Sincerely,

– John Oszajca

Music Marketing Manifesto 3.0 is now open to the public. Click here to learn more >>>

{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie Norris November 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Hi John! Thanks for this rant! I usually shy away from all negative posts, but this more like a backwards positive. Lol. Thanks for the un-encouraging inspiration. ;)
Quick question: I am shy about marketing initiators like squeeze pages because right now everyone on my fan base is still everyone I know personally. They’ve signed up just cause I asked them, not because they had to in order to get content. Eventually I wanna branch out to a broader spectrum of audience members, but how do I make that transition less jarring?

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John Oszajca November 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Hi Katie,

Thanks for getting in touch. I completely understand where you are coming from.

Ideally, your friends and family will make up only a really small percentage of your list, once you get moving with this strategy.

The rest would be targeted traffic, where you’ll need the squeeze page to quickly get a visitor’s attention and make them the offer and call to action to sign up for some music.

With your friends and family, you could just head over to Facebook and tell everyone you are switching email providers for your music site and give them a link to the squeeze page. Then explain that there is some free music in it for them.

But the real growth is going to come from advertising or organic traffic generation.

Hope that helps and let me know if I can ever help with anything else.

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Gregg Boethin November 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Highly motivating article, John! I released my first album about a month ago. I’ve known I needed to do something to market my music, but I really haven’t had a solid idea what to do. I hope to be purchasing your marketing course at some point in the near future.

I do have an idea for setting up a website that would feature the music and stories/bios of other talented musicians. I already have the domain name and hosting. I just need to find the ambition…

The big question I have: are there really a lot of people out there who’d find a site featuring unknown musicians appealing? I guess maybe I’m one of those cynics who questions the musical taste of the masses.

If it were successful though, I figure I could use it to market my music. I mean, what better audience to sell to than one with an interest in original music?

If you have a second or two, I’d really appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Thanks,
Gregg

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John Oszajca November 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Hi Greg,

Thanks for getting in touch and for your interest in what I’m doing here with the site.

Great question.

It’s not so much about how many people find your site, as it is about about many people you intentionally send to your site.

There’s likely a very large number of people interested in the kind of music you make. It’s your job to get in front of them and send them to your squeeze page, so that you can make them an offer for some free music, in exchange for signing up to your email list.

If you do a good job of engaging your subscribers through email, as well as building up interest and desire to buy your album, then you simply make them an offer to buy it, but also tie-in some time-tested direct response selling “triggers”, to help them make the decision to buy.

All of this, including targeting your audience, is covered in the MMM 3.0 course:
http://www.musicmarketingmanifesto.com/manifesto.html

Your sales number will be in direct proportion to the size of your list with this approach.

Let me know if I can ever help with anything else.

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Gregg Boethin November 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Thanks for the reply, John. Since I commented here I did actually set up the site I mentioned. I wrote articles commending a few talented artists and passed the links on to them. Two out of three of them were absolutely thrilled and shared the articles with their fans. I got a little traffic as a result, and I noticed that some of it even found its way to my own personal blog. I found that encouraging.

My thinking is that in continuing to do this I could build a site with great content that would naturally attract Indie music fans (in contrast to squeezing them there–not that I have any problems with squeezing people; I just like the idea of sites that grow with minimal effort on my part). And then eventually sell my music to those fans. That’s where your sales techniques would come in, as I’m realizing how important it is to proactively sell.

Anyhow, thanks again for your reply. I specified my website in this reply as the one I was talking about, in case you feel like taking a look at it.

Gregg

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John Oszajca November 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Hi Greg,

Great! Happy to hear it. The site looks good. Good luck moving forward.

Let me know if I can ever help at all.

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Mark August 31, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Hi John, I appreciate all the knowledge and insight about music marketing. I am wonder if I can use an autoresponder like aweber for a squeeze page since the front end can be designed and it can collect lead info like name and email? I am also wondering what company do you use for squeeze pages? Thanks once again.

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John Oszajca September 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Hi Mark,

Yes, I actually recommend artists use Aweber specifically in my course material. You can use a company like leadpages, but I actually have my own MMM squeeze page template which I recommend and supply to everyone who signs up for MMM 3.0.

You can find out more about MMM 3.0 and the temaplate here:
http://www.musicmarketingmanifesto.com/manifesto.html

Let me know if I can ever help with anything else.

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Subterranean Pink August 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Thanks so much for all the tips! This last article was especially encouraging, because I do none of the three things. I understand the importance of marketing, (focused Twitter campaign to begin next week), I let my music go as soon as it sounds good to me, (another year of production might make it better, but it is what it is), and I work very, very, very hard, (>100 hrs/week for the last 6 weeks).

I believe my music is good, in some cases excellent, so all I have to do is somehow present Subterranean Pink to fans who have tastes that are similar to mine. Sound easy, hah! What I have learned from you at least gives me a chance, so thank you!

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John Oszajca August 11, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Hi Subterranean Pink,

Happy to hear you’ve been digging the content. Thanks for your interest. Let me know if I can ever help with anything.

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Marcus May 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm

When I was a little boy, I use to say to my mum, “Mother, when I grow up I want to be a musician”, and she would look at me and say, “Well son, make your mind up, you can’t do both” lol.

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John Oszajca May 27, 2014 at 9:24 pm

That’s awesome, Marcus. Love it.

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Descendent April 16, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Hello John,

This is a great article! I have peers who are kind of in the same boat as you explain in this post. A lot of artist really have everything planned out and when something goes wrong they are ready to say screw it and give up. Since I signed with to the email list I have been taking notes and following the plan and releasing my new album myself with no label because they wanted me to do all the work while they just release it and get paid. What you said was very true….that was no rant. By reading this article I realize that I am on the right path. Thank you!

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John Oszajca April 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Hi Descendent,

Thanks for checking it out. At some point I believe every artist is better off taking the reigns them self, rather than relying on some other entity to do it for them. As musicians we are the captains of our own ships. A captain can’t expect a deck hand to tell him how to navigate the sea :-)

Let me know if I can ever help with anything.

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Steven Morris April 16, 2014 at 4:28 am

Great read! And all so true!

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John Oszajca April 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Right on, Steven. Happy to hear that this rings true for you. Thanks for reading. Let me know if I can ever help with anything.

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Adam March 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Good article John.
Being honest and up front like you are in it are the key to both success and even failure, which is not as bad as it could be.
Best of luck to you and to those you work with!

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John Oszajca March 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Thanks a lot, Adam. I’m really glad you feel that way about it too. Thanks for taking the time to check out the article.

Let me know if I can ever help with anything.

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kierto March 7, 2014 at 2:00 am

Nowadays in 2014, people don’t check emails anymore unless they are expecting a document or a special communication.

Kids, teenagers, and adults they only use their mobile devices and social platforms to interact, there are no statistics for email marketing more than clicks, that that does not mean getting ROI and sales, vs social platforms where you get more exposure and convert easily, because the emails have always issues or restrictions for images and can end up on spam.

Don’t see the value of email that is viewable in just one person inbox vs a social platform where everybody gets to see it.

I honestly think email marketing is a thing of the past with all my respect, there are statistics of teenagers purchasing music because they find in on youtube in their mobile devices.

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John Oszajca March 9, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Hi Kierto,

Thanks for your comment, but I respectfully disagree. In fact I can wholeheartedly say from experience that your assumption is not correct.

Email stats are very accessible, and with any email I send out I am seeing open rates and click through rates. While it’s certainly true that not every single person will open your email a fairly consistent percentage will. Usually between about 20 and 45%, once the dust settles on your list. About 30% to 50% of those will click on your links. CTRs and open rates will of course var from artist to artist.

By contrast, social media engagement is infinitely worse.

I have a large social media following as well as a large email list and based on the results I get from each, I would honestly much rather have 1000 email addresses than 10,000 FB likes or Twitter followers. The value of email over social is just undeniably greater once you get in there and look at the metrics. Any direct response marketer will echo the sentiment.

But thanks for reading and for taking the time to share your experience.

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kierto March 7, 2014 at 1:44 am

Hi John.

I totally agree with: Marketing is understanding who you are ultimately selling to.

I would like to see statistics of conversion rates and sales in numbers to really see the results of email marketing. can you share a link or some legit numbers.

I heard of the effectiveness of email marketing vs social media but i don’t see the conversion rates numbers? but i do find social media statistics.

This is a cool article: http://diythemes.com/thesis/email-marketing-crushes-social-media/

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John Oszajca March 10, 2014 at 1:12 am

Hi Kierto,

Thanks again for the comment.

Statistics on any type of marketing are going to vary a lot. especially with email marketing. Each market tends to perform differently, and each list does as well. If you are in a Jaded market like business opportunity, you might only see a 15% open rate. if you are a musician with a list of fans you might see 40%. If you send out interesting content and don’t abuse your list you will see much better stats than someone who sends out boring, inauthentic emails.

That said, as a musician I think one should hope to see between 20% and 40% open rates. And between 30% – 50% Click through rates. But again, that is just an average of what I see with a list that has been around for a while. Needless to say, when the list is new the engagement rates will be higher.

Hopefully that helps, but let me know if I can ever help with anything else.

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Eric John Kaiser January 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Great post John. Your work and your classes are really helpful. I’m learning a lot from MM3 but also from the forum. It’s wonderful to have those tools out there.

About 2) I’ve always asked myself about quantity vs quality (for production, posting videos, etc…). I agree with you about obsessing, about doing something perfectly and in the end not doing anything at all. However isn’t it a bad idea also to try to sell something (or post a video on youtube for example) that is low in quality ? Isn’t it going to draw people away and then it will be hard to convince to come back…? I’m just curious about what your thoughts are about this ? It’s probably a balance between the 2: not doing things perfectly and at the same time offer a quality “product” to the world ? Merci beaucoup!

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John Oszajca January 28, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Hi Eric,

Thanks. I’m glad you’re digging the content so far.

I think my comment about quality versus quantity is more about not obsessing over something so much that you never put it out. We as artists sometime have that tendency to want things to be perfect.

That said, no, i don’t think you should sacrifice quality for the sake of getting a sale.

I think what I’m trying to express is that it’s likely that we may never be 100% satisfied with a project we are working on, however your fans might absolutely love it, if it’s apparent that a lot of care and work has gone into it.

In my opinion, the most common trait among successful people is action. So somehow you have to find that balance between cranking out content and preserving your artistic integrity.

Let me know if I can ever help with anything else.

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Tracy January 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Oh John, you crack me up!! I like your advice and information. I love how you talk to us as if you are a good friend rather than a ‘teacher’. The rants are the part I like best!! I have NO musical talents, but I do have the ‘fan’s eye view’ of successful music. I’ve done some, basic, on-line promotion/marketing of my favorite bands and it is so time consuming!! I really enjoy it and I’d like to do it for a living someday. I can’t help seeing a band promoting a new CD or tour and thinking “They should be doing ….this or that.” What I do know, is a long way from what I NEED to know to get somewhere in the band/ CD/ tour promotion industry. I’m learning a great deal from you and I appreciate that!! Getting an internship with a music promotion/marketing business has been…..uh, difficult. I understand the musicians don’t want to take time from their busy schedules to do any marketing of themselves(Too lazy sometimes). I LIKE doing it, they are more than welcome to pay me to do it! lol You’re giving me information and advice that I need. Thanks!! p.s. Rant On!!

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John Oszajca January 19, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Hi Tracy,

Haha! I love the attitude and thanks for the positive feedback. I think whoever you are working for is very lucky to have you. Glad you’re digging the info. Let me know if I can ever help with anything.

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Brookelyn January 16, 2014 at 6:02 am

John,

I just recently signed up for your email list, and since I’m a marketing major as well as a musician, I’m loving it! In the public universities they teach you just about every aspect of marketing (sales, retail, services, research, strategy, etc. etc.) but they never have courses about music. Thanks for all you do as it is helping me learn not only as a student but ultimately as a musician as well.

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John Oszajca January 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Hi Brookelyn,

Great! Really glad to hear that this has been helpful for you. Let me know if I can ever help with anything.

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spankyb December 3, 2013 at 2:26 am

Hey John I am so excite about the information you have presented and I am planning to get MM. I would like to know the difference between MM2.0 and MM 3.0. Is there a large market for instrumentals that will help me with MM? Would this program work regardless of the quality of music? The reason I was asking is because the quality and the kind of music you make are connected to music sales. I just want your opinion.

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John Oszajca December 3, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Hi SpankyB,

Thanks for your interest and I’m happy to hear your enthusiasm.

The main difference between MMM 2.0 and MMM 3.0 is that not only have I gotten a bit better at teaching this strategy, but I’ve streamlined much of the approach I now take for getting traffic. Plus the course comes with a Wordpress theme that I had designed so that artists can set up the required pages easily, for executing the strategy.

In this version, you are literally looking over my shoulder as we set up a complete sales funnel from start to finish, including your squeeze page all the way through to your offers.

Let me know if I can ever help with anything else.

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Tony Harlan November 27, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Hi John,

Just wondering if you know anything about MondoTunes. I know you are somewhat of a proponent of CD Baby but I was hoping that maybe you had some insights into the credibility and reputation of the MondoTunes team. Apparently they have ties to Universal Music Group.

Tony

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John Oszajca November 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Hi Tony,

Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with MondoTunes. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. I’d personally just stick with one of the already tried and true digital distributors.

Let me know if there’s ever anything else that I can help with.

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Dave Norman November 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Hey John, just wanted to say loved your comments here – very inspirational, galvanising, and above all …. totally true !! I think they apply for other walks of life too. Already bought MMM3.0, and I’m working through it whilst simultaneously writing, recording, drumming, finding like minded musicians, networking and trying to find 5 minutes to sleep … all while still holding down a day job (at the moment). I’m no stranger to hard work, and the big self-imposed wall to me (so I hear what you’re saying) is the techno fear, trial and error with the computer skills etc … but I’m finding I’m loving becoming empowered by all this, and getting increasingly confident of pushing myself forward with my work …. an unexpected bonus ! Thanks for all your work, keep it up, and don’t get disheartened !

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John Oszajca November 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Thanks Dave, I really appreciate that. Means a lot :-)

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Jeremy November 20, 2013 at 4:02 am

I agree with the article and enjoy your writing.

It is awesome to see an entrepreneur who is succeeding online with business, and one who is giving musicians real tools to make a go of it in an ever-changing industry, and in a way they can work without the old model (ie record deals, etc.).

I do wonder how much of your income comes from music sales/merchandising–in other words, income as an artist–as compared to what you make with your online businesses (as I see it, MMM and I think you have another business you mentioned in a call before). I’m not exactly asking you to “show me the numbers,” but I’m curious to know if you make an income you could support a family on from your music, or is it a smaller piece of the pie, and you make the large percentage from other online businesses.

I recently heard a stat quoted on a AAA radio station in Philly (where I live) saying that 1% of those claiming to be musicians make a sustainable income from album sales. Even Katy Perry, top of the Billboard charts, has sold less than 300,000 units.

I am a musician and also building online businesses. To be fair, I haven’t given my music website and “business” my full attention yet. I just find the ROI better when I’m marketing a digital product that sells for $79 or even $47, as opposed to a digital album or even 3 album bundle that might sells for $10 to $30 at most.

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John Oszajca November 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Hey Jeremy,

Without a doubt, my traditional businesses make me more money. That’s not something I hide. In fact the screen shots shared on a few of my sites are ONLY from those businesses, and are shared to express that I have some experience with online marketing.

In terms of my career…I’m kind of all over the place with different projects. And having had two kids in the last few years I am not pushing my music career full time at the moment. That said, I am still recording, performing, and generating income from music.

However, most of my quantifiable success with this strategy is with other artists. All three of my currently released albums are owned by labels so I never see the numbers, and it’s difficult for me to control. That said, I am always testing strategies on my own stuff and whenever I send out a promotion I see consistent sales. You can find a small sampling of testimonials here: http://musicmarketingmanifesto.com/testimonials – some mention specific numbers. My most notable success was a campaign I ran for Billy Burke in which we set the all time single day sales record over at CD Baby. He’s asked me not to talk specific numbers, but I can say that he recouped his recording costs within the first week if memory serves.

But to address the point… Making a living from music is by no means easy. But it can be done and I have a lot of clients who pull it off with the direct to fan strategy. And as an online marketer you might be surprised. The conversion rates I see on average are quite a bit higher with music than they are on standard products. Most people that have this stuff dialed in are seeing 4 – 6% instead of the usual 1 – 2% most other markets bank on. It’s true that the price point is lower so that’s a bit tough, but if you perform you have income opportunities, and big ticket item potential with things like house concerts, that most markets don’t have.

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Erin Earth Kuzmeskus November 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Hey John – thanks for the great article! I sell my 3 albums on cdbaby. I am in ASCAP, but wondering if you know if cdbabyPRO is a good idea in addition to ASCAP as they claim to be. Also wondering if their sync licensing is a good idea – I know you don’t get a say in who buys or for how much and that feels weird… but ripe for serendipity. Even though it didn’t come naturally at first, I do a lot to promote myself – I play festivals, shows, farmers markets, have run open mics, art music yoga workshops, lots of products – recorded live jams and original studio albums, 200+ paintings, prints, cards, I have my own website and I’m on cdbaby, reverbnation, facebook, and ebay and etsy with the art as well. I know there are a lot of little things I can do to make my efforts more effective – any suggestions are appreciated & I’ll check your manifesto out! Gratitude & Blessings!
Erin Earth – Art, Music Yoga for a Happy Planet – http://www.ElevateTheVibe.net

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John Oszajca November 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Hey Erin,

Sounds like you have your hands full. I haven’t looked into the new CD Baby Pro option yet, but in general I’m a fan of the company and all they do.

My best advice for someone like yourself is to focus on building a list. For most independent artists, your sales will be in direct proportion to the size of your list. The nice thing about you is that you create a lot of product and perform a lot. So you’d be able to promote multiple products to the same people and most likely get a pretty decent subscriber value going. That would open up a lot of doors for you in terms of advertising.

Hope that helps.

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Erin Earth Kuzmeskus November 20, 2013 at 2:15 am

Thanks John! Truth is… I have a list of emails – fans and customers – but I don’t do any serious advertising with it yet – besides event invites… I could definitely kick it up in this area – thanks! what do you suggest – blog, news post, songs, art, yoga tips, all of the above?? Thanks for the focus – appreciate it!

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John Oszajca November 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Hi Erin,

Blogs and anything else you can share with your list are all great for building a relationship with your subscribers and encouraging fan interaction. And then you want to throw in the occasional incentivized promotion.

However the key thing is to keep building your list. The way that I recommend you do so, is to drive all cold traffic to a squeeze page. Cold traffic is essentially people who are not familiar with you yet, or are not currently a subscriber.

A squeeze page is simply a page that designed to convert cold traffic into subscribers, by offering them a free song download or two, in exchange for their name and email address.

Ultimately, with the approach that I’m teaching to to sell music online, your sales will be in proprtion to the number of people on your list. So you definitely want to focus on building it up, as well as building a relationship with your subscribers.

Let me know if I can ever help with anything else

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Erin Earth Kuzmeskus November 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for explaining “squeeze page” first time I’ve heard the term. This will give me something to do with all the fan email addresses I have mixed in with my festival gear – haha! I feel a breakthrough coming on. I got your audio course a few weeks ago – just realizing it is from you I believe – I have 2 little kiddos too and it is challenging to figure out how to get time to further my work let alone use that time effectively – I’ll check out the video too – thanks for the help – where can I send you your free cd to thank you?

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John Oszajca November 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Hi Erin,

Nice to hear that the squeeze page concept makes sense to you.

I’m in New Zealand at the moment so shipping is a bit of a pain, but I’m always interested in hearing new music. You could always email a digital copy, if you have them ready. I appreciate the offer. Let me know if I can ever help with anything.

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Niko November 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Hi!
I bought your course about 2 years ago and was able to put it in use too. The stuff really works. Too bad a bunch of shit happened and I’m now in a situation where I need to start over. I’m in the process of getting over my frustration now but when I get going again, I know I WILL make it. Will probably have to go solo as I really really hate musicians… Anyway, just wanted to say: Thank you for all the epicness!

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John Oszajca November 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Hey Niko,

I’m glad to hear that you at least KNOW this stuff will work for you with your next project.

And thanks for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it.

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Daniel November 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Seriously John? “Make your sales funnel, then all you have to do is drive traffic.” Isn’t driving traffic the real trick, and the real problem? How do you drive traffic cheap enough to make selling a 99 cent download a profitable proposition? An artist typically makes 67 cents on a 99 cent download, even if your converting 10% of your website visitors to sales (which would be awesome) how do you drive any kind of numbers to your site for 6 cents per visitor?

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John Oszajca November 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Yes indeed Daniel, seriously. Driving traffic takes some work, as mentioned above. But the process isn’t rocket science. It’s simply a process of consistently creating content and promoting your site via that content, or paying for advertising to speed up the process. Now, with a .99 cent product you’re going to have a hard time paying for traffic. But I would suggest you remedy that by simply creating more material so that you can increase your profit margins and afford more traffic. It’s all a matter of sliding the numbers around until they work given your specific parameters.

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Herb Bushnell November 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Hi John,
Thanks for the wake-up call. Would you please tell me what you think about open mics? Also, are there any other ways for a beginning solo performer to get experience that you would recommend?
Thanks,
Herb Bushnell

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John Oszajca November 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Hi Herb,

If you’re just starting out I think open mics are fine. I did my share of them back in the day. That said, I think the goal should be to build up your fan list and start doing your own dedicated shows so you can build up a more concentrated base.

Another possibility for you might be house concerts. They can be a great way to build a dedicated fan base and you tend to sell a lot more merch because of the intimate environment.

Hope that helps.

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Sam Hang November 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Fantastic John. This post was definitely a reassurance that we, as a death metal act, is on the right track. Recently we had a staff at a show, who is not even a fan of metal told us we kicked ass and enjoyed watching us. Not $ there, yet, but just that one soul tells us that we and our music can reach out to different kind of audience. Because of that, the marketing side has switch gear a bit. :-)

Enjoy reading your blogs John

Warm Regards,
Sam Hang

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Steve Wagner November 19, 2013 at 12:36 am

“I don’t care if you tell your story with a Les Paul or a leaf blower.” F***ing hilarious but true.

You, John, are, among other things, an excellent copy writer with a true heart.

Steve

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John Oszajca November 19, 2013 at 12:55 am

:-) Thanks Steve.

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Eric Harper November 18, 2013 at 11:41 am

Dear John,

Almost sounds like a movie. HA! ;)

I loved your article. Truly inspiring. I have to say that I am EXACTLY that musician who spent all his years honing his music skills and none of his business skills. After having graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee in Film Scoring I couldn’t even find a work in a music store let alone scoring a movie. Now after scraping by in the music business, I find myself ready to learn. What do I lack? MARKETING and business skills! I suck at it, man. And I need education. So, I have two questions for you:

1) Where can I learn how to market my music?

&

2) How does one market to the 25-35 age bracket?

I loved when you said “Marketing is understanding who you are ultimately selling to, and then presenting your music in a way that aligns perfectly with the needs and wants of those people, with the ultimate goal of closing the sale. ” I know my demographic is 25-35 but have NO idea what their needs and wants are.

Thanks for your time and looking forward to your response.

Cheers!

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John Oszajca November 18, 2013 at 11:41 am

Thanks Eric.

I really appreciate the kind words. You’re definitely not alone in being all art and no business. Thankfully you’ve got the hard part down :-)

1. At the risk of being blatantly self promoting, I created a course in which I teach musicians my marketing strategy. You can find it here:
http://www.musicmarketingmanifesto.com/manifesto-novid.html

2. The process of marketing to an age specific crowd is very much the same as marketing to any crowed. The only exceptions being that you would target your specific demographic when you drive traffic, and you would also speak specifically to that demographic during the relationship building portion of the process. IE, you wouldn’t make “Back to the Future” references in your copy if you were selling to 15 year olds, but you might with your demographic.

There is a part of the process where you craft was is essentially sales copy. You just want to make sure that the conversation you broach with your following matches the one that is already taking place in their head.

The only real way of knowing what your demographic needs and wants is to either be a part of that group yourself, or to research the group. You can literally interview people and ask them what there biggest concerns are, strong pleasant memories, fears, etc. You can also take your existing list and simply survey them with something like surveymonkey.com

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Jeremy Gilbert November 18, 2013 at 8:43 am

In the music industry, popularity is the burning fuel that dictates the survival of fame. There have been number of artists and bands who have invaded the show business. They have made millions of profits while enjoying the spot light. This trend makes it interesting why some superstars end their career.
The road to fame is not easy as these guys who made it up there would agree. Almost everyone would start from scratch. Most started their careers by performing in fest and small free concerts. From small beginnings, most have successfully achieved their places on higher grounds. Here are some reasons why successful music superstar had to bid their careers goodbye.

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Caleb Matteis November 18, 2013 at 2:07 am

Hello John

I want too thank you for a great article, and no you were not being to harsh you were being real. I recently started my own indie label with my brother and friend. My friend is the artist, and we are pushing . We released a e.p. in January, and we need help with marketing strategies. We want too be successful, and wet need some guidance too take it to the next level. Below is a link to his facebook fanpage and his nimbit page. I’m very interested in being apart of your community, I like the idea of the master mind group, very “Think and Grow Rich”. Thanks again John for the great article.

Caleb Matteis of Future Music Group Entertainment

http://www.facebook.com/v.keatin
http://www.reverbnation.com/vinkeatin
http://www.nimbitmusic.com/vinkeatin
http://www.youtube.com/vinkeatin

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John Oszajca September 18, 2013 at 2:31 am

Hey Caleb,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Much appreciated. Make sure you sign up on the mailing list if you haven’t already. I’ll send out info as soon as the doors open back up on the Insider Circle.

Thanks again.

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brian hotton June 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Tell me more!

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joanna June 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm

well said John, you have to tell the truth, not what artists (I) like to hear, thats why it works with! Personally I have so much on my plate I need 36h a day so I’ve come to conclusion to put progress in priority levels, it slows me down but…here’s a question it sounds silly to me a bit but I’m going to for it, when I still need work on getting closer with my fans, should I inform them about a big personal issue but don’t want to sound as an excuse? whats your point of view?

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John Oszajca June 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Hey Joanna,

Not knowing what the issue is, it’s hard for me to say. As a general rule you want to maintain your “leader” or “authority” status. You don’t want to burden your fans in any way or come of as being a victim, but at the same time, there is nothing wrong with letting people into your world and sharing your pain a bit. My advice would just be to do it in a way that frames yourself as always being in control of the circumstances of your own life. That make sense?

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joanna June 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Yeah there is a thin line but your reply makes sense.
Thank you

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Mike Abrams June 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm

John.
I have basically given up. I spent 5 years with Incubator Creative Group but they just kept wanting more money for this or that. I have recorded 3 CD’s and sang at many churches over the years but After sending out promo packs, emails, Snail mail letters, I am exhausted and out of funds and or ideas. I haven’t recorded a new project in over 8 years even though I have many new songs. I rarely get any kind of response to sing anywhere. I can play an acoustic but not well.(Chord strummer) I am a fairly good drummer but kind of hard to sell singing in church along with tracks while playing drums.
Im just frustrated, found this email and read this article and it has sparked my interest. Can you guide me to the first step?
Thanks
Mike

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John Oszajca June 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm

The first step is to develop a sales funnel. In it’s simplest terms that means a squeeze page and email series that is designed to walk a new subscriber through all the psychological steps a person takes before they decide to purchase.

Awareness.
Interest.
Desire.
Action.

You of course need a selling platform as well. CD Baby would be the simplest but there are some advantages to selling from your own site.

Then you just need to drive traffic.

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Michele McCain June 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Hello John
this is just what I need! I already have some great tips from just reading the post seeing the video etc.I will def become a of the group looking foward to getting to work.Thanks for passing it on I feel this is the missing link..now to get all the e/mails togeather.
thanks again
Michele

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John Oszajca June 9, 2011 at 3:15 am

My pleasure Michele, glad you liked the post and video.

Now go kick ass :-)

John

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Tony June 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Hello ,I have read this email and comments with interest. I have spent around $45.000 in your money on what I know is a is a good album ,By the 1700 messages I got on my space . which are all around 4 years old now, I was using a automated contact system which I stopped as MySpace warned me, Since then I have been basically sending off cds to radio stations for ages now getting the odd play here and there, But nothing seems to be moving and I have realised to get some where, That the internet is a great place if you know how to use it!!! I am interested in being in your 1000 crowd could you let me know when you are starting.

Thanks Tony Mcgarrett.

http://www.myspace.com/ottbandcouk

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John Oszajca June 9, 2011 at 3:18 am

Hey Tony,

Thanks for the comment. Music Marketing Manifesto is already open to the public. You can check it out via the link that says “Manifesto” in the Nav Bar. The Music Marketing Insider Circle is something different and it goes live tomorrow… as long as I can get all these damn technical issues out of the way. Doh!

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Fran June 5, 2011 at 1:31 am

Hi John,
I’m interested in learning more about your marketing strategies. It seems I have been running around in circles trying to learn the business and know that waiting for someone else to come along would be a huge mistake and am ready to learn how to be a successful musician with real fans who really love my music and want to buy it. I look forward to an email from you with the details for getting your marketing strategy information. I’m still in the process of making up mp3 albums for sales in itunes, hard copy CD’s for sale perhaps in CDBaby, and I have a lot of music to sell. I also have to make a blog which is a terrific idea and create a website. I’ve always been a hard worker, so, bring it on John… let’s get the ball rolling. Thank you!!

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John Oszajca June 5, 2011 at 2:35 am

Hey Fran,

You’ve got the right attitude. Let me know if there are any specific questions you have. I’ll have plenty more stuff coming your way via email as well.

Thanks.

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Patrick T. McCann June 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm

John,

I believe a good deal of musicians come into this game with archaic ideals and conservative thinking. Many of the musicians I know do not really talk about “making it,” but it is certainly on their minds. I never really understood why all of the musicians/bands I knew always held onto the notion that there existed no money to make in music. It’s like they accepted failure before even beginning. The artist makes up roadblocks to justify failure. People are very aversed to change with the evolving musical climate. You don’t really have “musicians” in this business anymore. You have “musician entrepreneurs.” As an artist, you have to be well versed in all aspects of music or hire someone in the areas you’re lagging in. Even if it were as easy as just getting noticed, signed and making albums, would you really want that? By having the appropriate expertise in all areas, you empower yourself. Signing a contract is exactly the opposite. You’re compromising your power and giving it away to someone who probably doesn’t care about anything that can’t be measured in dollar signs. This is the new world. Learn as much as you can… Or don’t.

P

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Well said Patrick. I particularly agree with “The artist makes up roadblocks to justify failure”. Thanks for the comment.

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Peter Britt June 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Hello John….I enjoyed your article very much. I agree that music is much more than merely playing, recording etc, and the emphasis on business is vital in this present climate. I have not delved into the business aspects as deeply as I could, or should at this point, but I know I must cultivate the business side now more than ever. Thank you for sharing the article, I look forward to what is next. Count me in on the inner circle if possible.
Peter Britt

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Thanks Peter, really appreciate it.

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Reuben Brock June 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

John,
I absolutely agree. I live in Nashville and have talked to everyone from industry people to people who want to “make” it. The industry people know that the recording is the easy part … for the rest, it’s just too much work.
If you want a record deal, it’s like any other job. You have to show ‘em you can do the work. And it not just being a great musician. You have to prove that you’re worth the investment and can make them money. (Sorry … MUSIC is the little word, BUSINESS is the big word.)
YOU have to do the work, even if you’re “signed”.
John, you’re right … you have to learn your craft and that involves every aspect of your career.

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Thanks Reuben. I totally agree. Too many musicians reject the idea that you need to show the industry that you are “worth the investment” before they should consider signing you. Well said.

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mary June 3, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Thanks and thanks again . Just needed to hear all of it. Thanks.

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 9:58 pm

You’re welcome Mary. Much appreciated.

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Waldo LaTowsky June 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm

“Marketing is understanding who you are ultimately selling to, and then presenting your music in a way that aligns perfectly with the needs and wants of those people, with the ultimate goal of closing the sale.”

Excellent, and perfectly succinct description of the process ANYONE who wants a small/large business must go through. And great article on taking responsibility for your own career. Unfortunately, many musicians feel they’re different from their neighbors with machine shops, clothing stores, dogsitting serverices, etc., who have to learn how to market themselves. Being a successful musician these days involves skills that may not have been necessary before. And it also means a lot of WORK! Thanks for helping people see that.

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Thanks Waldo. I really appreciate the comments.

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Wendy Knight June 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Thank you, John, for all the insight. I am a songwriter, new to the music biz. I have purchased your course and am working my way through it, although as yet I have no recordings or albums…So I will be ready!

Here’s a response to Jim Byrne’s question about figuring out who your music sounds like.
I’m asking random friends or acquaintances to listen to my songs and tell me who or what comes to their minds. These are folks who know music or at least listen to it quite a bit. I may even ask them for assistance in writing my articles.

I have a question of my own: I am a songwriter with a number of songs ready to go to my arranger/producer as finances come in. You are talking about giving away free tracks and promoting albums. Do you think giving away a free track, then promoting the downloading of one song at a time would work? If so, this could be a way to finance the album to come.

Looking forward to hearing from you.–Wendy

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Hi Wendy,

Thanks for picking up MMM. I personally wouldn’t promote songs one at a time simply because it’s going to be very hard to make much money one song at a time.

If I were in your shoes I would probably try to do something were I charge people $10 or $15 for behind the scenes access to the making of the album. I’d explain that you need your fans help to raise the capitol for the record and that by purchasing the behind the scenes album they get this cool interactive experience as well as a free copy of the album when it’s done. But I wouldn’t try to get the support until AFTER you had done a little relationship building (via email) first. This is just one way to go, but it’s what I would do.

It’s no harder to sell a $15 item then it is a $1 item, so I’d figure out a way to get more money for the same amount of sales. Just make sure you’re offering real value and you’ll find some takers.

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Lee Fox June 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Your post is dead on, John.

My issue is not a lack of effort. Like Nick Parton and others, I can’t seem to build to a critical mass without throwing tons of money at the problem.

(Critical mass being enough of an email list that I can build relationships and make sales when I can create fresh offers.)

Due to long term family issues, I cannot do live performances.

I have my stuff on iTunes and Amazon, etc.

I’ve been using and testing adwords for a long time with almost zero response.

Facebook ads ate my budget alive.

Jango is where I see a bit of movement but it can get expensive too.

Personally, I feel stuck.

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Hey Lee,

Building a list really isn’t that hard. Do you have my course by chance?

In the course I cover several free methods. Article marketing and joint ventures being my favorite if you have some time to put into it.

You also want to make sure you are driving your traffic to a squeeze page, not a content rich site. Using a squeeze page will typically boost your subscriber conversion rate to about 15 – 40%. A typical website usually converts at less than 5%.

Hope that helps.

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Lee Fox June 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm

That does help, John.

I need to get your course into my budget.

Thanks.

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Hookjaw Brown June 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm

After forty years of playing covers, owning a mobile recording van, working in music stores repairing electronics, meeting fabulous performers who are somewhat financial failures, my partner and I began writing our own material.

We now have product after two years of writing and recording. Something to sell. I have not bought any of your products but have read all your free blogs and watched your presentations. I am a tough sell but I think you have convinced me to want to take part in your “inner circle” so that I can pick up the finer points of marketing music.

Thank you for your efforts in bringing success to musicians.

le Hook

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Thanks and you’re welcome. Glad you’ve been digging what I’ve been putting out there. Best of luck with your music.

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Lisa Marshall June 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Hi John, Great article. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am a full time musician in Austin, TX. Living off gigs right now, but would love to learn more about the marketing side. Every time I play out, I realize I fall short of the smallest things like mentioning the CDs often, name of the band, etc. I embrace that I am the booking agent, promoter, songwriter, recording artist. I did my first CD on garageband complete with horns, strings, backup vocals and more. The band I have here in Austin has recorded basic tracks and now we look for a budget to finish it. I would like it done by July. I was thinking to use kickstarter to raise $4,500. Do have other suggetstions? I know I have the desire, drive and energy toward a successful business. I do need more knowledge and would love to learn about the marketing! I look forward to hearing from you.
All the best!
Lisa Marshall

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Greg Parke June 3, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Lisa……take Johns Music Marketing Manifesto course. Hands down the best music marketing course I have ever taken. I’m still putting his methods into practice, but they are starting to work. BTW, I am similar to you….full time musician, living off gigs, my own agent, promoter ect. recorded my CD in my home studio……I’m not sure what John is charging for the course now, but I would take it again in a heartbeat!

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Thanks Greg, I really appreciate the kind words.

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Hey Lisa,

I haven’t used Kickstarter so I wouldn’t have an opinion on that, but at the end of the day… whatever works.

I’d focus on building your list so that you had a “tribe” of sorts that you could try to get some support from.

From there my advice to you would be similar to the advice I gave in an earlier comment.

“If I were in your shoes I would probably try to do something were I charge people $10 or $15 for behind the scenes access to the making of the album. I’d explain that you need your fans help to raise the capitol for the record and that by purchasing the behind the scenes album they get this cool interactive experience as well as a free copy of the album when it’s done. But I wouldn’t try to get the support until AFTER you had done a little relationship building (via email) first. This is just one way to go, but it’s what I would do.

Just make sure you’re offering real value and you’ll find some takers.”

But by all means, try kickstarter and any other angle you can find to raise funds as well. You can also simply try to find a producer on spec.

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Butch Lawson June 3, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Hey John, I think you’re absolutely right about your insights to most musician’s failures. I personally can say that I’ve been one of those people. However, I do believe what your selling will improve most musician’s abilities to sell their music; that is, those who intend to use it. I feel like I’m hearing my pony-league baseball coach tellin’ me, ” don’t worry about this next guy, we know he can hit; just reach back, down around Texas somewhere, and fire that damn ball!” I’m fired up about this! I’m a good songwriter, composer, musician, but have wasted a mountain of time putting obstacles in my own way. I sought you, out of desperation, during these tough economic times, by Googling the question, ” How can I sell my music online?” I knew someone out there had the goods. I couldn’t believe my first click would be so informative. Thanks John for re-kindling a smoldering fire, and for being honest about what it’s gonna take to make things happen. I’m no stranger to hard work. It’s right up my alley…

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Thanks Butch. Very touching comment. Now go get’em :-)

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James June 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Loved this article John!

I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m in the process of recording, planing, putting & putting together the total music package while I learn as much as I can about the best ways to get it to my audience.

To be the master of your own destiny as an artist tailoring every aspect of your product to you own specifications & personality… Nothing like it. It’s fun & a creative challenge coming up with script and designing YOUR OWN package. If you’re not doing this as a musician you’re missing out.

The technical part is tough for me but I have your squeeze page and will get that up & running as soon as I redesign it to fit the look of my music. I’ll be hitting you up for a technical wall I hit as soon as that’s done.

Thanks for the reverse psychological approach to the pep talk. With so many of us frustrated musicians with an anti-this and anti that mindset, I think it’s one of the best ways to wake some of us up.

Kudos!

James

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Thanks so much James. Really appreciate the comment. Let me know if you run in to any technical challenges.

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Ron Wallace June 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Bless you John for your energy. I’ve invested over 27 years trying to get these points out – the fact is that although I’ve made a hell of a lot of great friends in the process, I’m just plain tired of preaching. This is a hard nut to crack. I praise you and stand behind your efforts. Ron, Creative Musicians Coalition

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Thanks Ron, I really appreciate that. All the best to you and your efforts as well.

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Greg Parke June 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Hi John,

Great advice, as usual! I am still working my way through the Music Marketing Manifesto, but I must say that EVERY thing in it that I have applied so far is working! As you might recall from my past emails, I had a lot of problems getting my squeeze page online, and a few other problems too, but I stuck with it, and I am glad I did. My list is starting to grow, and I really haven’t agressivly started working on the social media tactics yet. I am almost through with my new CD, so over the next several weeks I plan on really applying the rest of the tactics in MMM. I will admit that does take a fair amount of work, and there are some cost’s involved, but what business doesn’t?
I totaly agree with you about the crappy additude that many musicians have…….I’m an “artist”, I refuse to be a “sellout” etc. etc…….. What a bunch of egotistical crap! Anything in life that is worth anything usually takes a fair amount of hard work. I learned that many years ago, and when I applied that additude to my music, I was able to make music my “day” job. I haven’t made it big, and I’m not rich, but my 14 acre home is paid off, I don’t owe any big bills or credit cards, and I know what I am going to do when I grow up and/or retire. The lessons I am learning and applying from your Music Marketing Manifesto were what I was missing. Thanks again for doing the ground work, and for sharing what you have learned. It is worth far more than the very reasonable cost of the course. Keep me posted on the “inner circle” thing. I want to be there!

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Thanks so much Greg. Very touching. And by the way… If music is your day job, you have made it big. That is a very rare accomplishment. Now let’s just focus on getting you a raise :-)

Thanks again Greg.

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Helen Austin June 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Hi

I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your very honest article.

I’m not having problems with anything right now, but I know who to ask if I am. (I did have problems with distribution but have blogged that dilemma and now have a solution)

I believe that it’s really just a lot of hard work, but if it’s what you love then you will want to do it.

I love my job as a musician… warts and all!

H

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Amen Helen. Thanks for the comment. Really glad you dug the post.

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Sully June 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Thanks John, awesome post! Looking forward to getting in on your new program. I bought MMM several months ago and followed step by step to built my marketing campaign for my new album release. Hard work? Yes! I’m loving every minute of it! And its all working! Squeeze page working, 1,800 fans on Facebook in a month, my list is growing every day and I haven’t even released the album yet. As a result of wanting to integrate all my web portals, I have gotten into building my own websites and am now applying all your methods to my other creative endeavors as well. Thanks John for all your insight and helping me become a stronger more self reliant Artist.
Sully http://www.thesullied.com

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Wow, so great to read your comment Sully. Thanks and congrats. 1800 in a month is fantastic. Just make sure that you’re building your email list as well. Facebook fans are great, but there is infinitely more power in an email list. But by all means, both is even better.

Thanks again.

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Music Marketing Chris June 3, 2011 at 11:15 am

Hey John this is such a cool post and if MMM is anything to go by your new Insider Circle should be one of the best things out there.

I totally agree about perfection by the way…

My first album went totally over budget and nearly split the band because I tried to make it “perfect” and in the end I thought it sounded crap because my ears where burned out. (I love it now ;-)

From my point of view it’s best to just get it done and send the bloody thing out the door.

– Chris

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Thanks Chris. I totally agree. As I said to someone else recently, I’ve always thought that releasing music was a far more likely path to success than simply recording it :-)

All the best and as always, thanks for the support.

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Jim Byrne June 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

Sounds good John. It’s taken me nearly 50 years to realize it! I went solo three years ago (after 28 years in bands as a guitar player/singer); so no more moaning to each other in a rehearsal room about how unfair the world is. Now it’s nobodies fault but my own; which has been a revelation. I’ve enjoyed your course; but still a bit stuck trying to figure out exactly who I should be marketing to (i.e. if you like this artist, you’ll also like this artist; how can I figure out which bleedin’ artist is similar to me?). Thanks.

Jim

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Hey Jim,

Going solo is great. The band can never break up :-)

As far as the whole “sound alike” thing. if you’re stuck on it you can always just pick a different angle, but perhaps the quickest way to figure out who you sound like is to send a free survey out to your list. You can easily set one up with SurveyMonkey.com

Just ask your existing fans and friends and go with the top 2 or 3 artists.

You can also keep things a lot more general and just stick with singer songwriters in general.

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Robin June 3, 2011 at 4:31 am

Hi John – fantastic post (I’m trying not to say “great post” – heh).

I REALLY share your frustration. I am not a musician, so have no music to sell myself. My partner and I are sound engineers, so have worked with lots of musicians, and know many of them really well.

I was immersed in the Wordpress/blogging world for a couple of years, so grasped straight away the value of the methods you and Greg Rollett have been teaching (I bought MMM and NME) when I discovered them a few months ago, and I have been really excited by it. Since then I have been enthusiastically telling quite a few musos about your’s and Greg’s material, but have been quite surprised at the blank stares and head shakes and so on – you know what I mean.

Sigh – Robin

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John Oszajca June 4, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Hey Robin. I do definitely know what you mean.

Thanks for passing on the word. Greg is great. Glad you found his stuff as well.

Thanks again.

J

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