Beat is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
Not too long ago, I wrote an article on the dangers of the internet. While that article covered many aspects of internet usage and abuses, I was and am particularly concerned with what those abuses mean for creative types like me. It has been a bit frustrating over the years to pour so much work into creating music only to be unable to share it on a large scale. I am fond of saying that if algorithms were done away with, creative people would be billionaires inside of a day. Out of six billion-plus people, finding an audience would be a piece of cake.
I believe social media algorithms are the natural enemy of every creative person on Earth. There are small fixes and tricks that can be utilized to reach slightly more people online, but few of those tricks allow that reach without costing the creative person money. Sadly, there are many who are literally starving artists and do not possess marketing budgets like their larger business counterparts. And many musicians are losing money due to streaming services that collect money for their services, but literally pay pennies to the actual creators of the music. The creators do all the work, but just do not benefit much from it.
So what are budding music artists, producers, and entrepreneurs to do? Well, I am glad you asked. I sincerely believe a way must be practiced to return to a more organic way of reaching a fan base. Simply put, creative people must all but abandon the internet and return to pounding the pavement to share their creations and reach potential listeners, clients, and customers.
Now that is not to say the internet is completely useless, or else people like you would not be here reading this article. I believe balance is the key. Any smart and successful business owners will tell you not to put all of your eggs in one basket.
While I was working to start my own music business, I kept running into brick walls that caused me to have to throw out a lot of my ideas. I finally got things paired down to a working model to where my largest obstacle was marketing. I did a lot by myself, but I needed more internet reach. I signed up with a distribution company, but in a year and a half all I made through them were, again, pennies. I was discouraged, but I kept doing research until I found a young man by the name of Curtiss King on YouTube who shared information about his choice of a distribution company. Once I joined Distrokid, I knew I had found what I was looking for. They did more for my career in my first three weeks with them than my previous distributor had done in the aforementioned year and a half. I did half of my marketing, and they did the rest.
I was now free to focus more on my craft and less on the day to day of internet marketing. One thing I learned while watching Curtiss King’s videos was how to build your “Netflix.” That simply means this. At one time, Blockbuster was the premiere video and home entertainment service in America. Netflix developed a business model that, though similar, was actually better in many ways. In a relatively short time, Netflix overtook Blockbuster and shut them down. Netflix looked for something that people needed and filled that need. So what did Mr. King mean? It’s simple. Identify your strengths, determine how they can best benefit others, and give the people that. I have found my “Netflix,” and though it is a small operation, it is growing steadily to my satisfaction. I will share more about that in an upcoming article.
So back to the organic reach idea. We live in a society that is consumer-based. People in America will shop if they do nothing else. Even with that being a reality, Americans do not typically want unsolicited items or services. They will look for those on their terms. The main tenet of organic reach marketing is to talk to people as people. Listen to them. Learn from them. Stop trying to sell them something. Being a consumer does not mean they are desperate to shop. Especially in an economy that fluctuates as ours has been doing lately.
When I perform concerts or open mic events, I talk to concertgoers before and after the show. Once I hit the stage, I have been known to surprise concertgoers who believed I was part of the venue staff. I walk around in jeans and a t-shirt, help with setup, chat with the staff, and other things. I like to get a feel for where I am, what I’m doing, and I like good conversations. When I give a good performance (or the occasional bad one LOL), concertgoers get a bit starstruck. Then I find myself taking selfies with them and giving out social media information. Usually, they are the ones who ask if I have music for sale.
This is what I mean by organic reach. Meet people where they are and remember they are people first. That is very important. Give them something they didn’t know they needed and let them do the rest. This takes a lot of patience. Also, remember that if all you are doing music for is to become a billionaire, then you don’t really love your craft. It has ceased to be your passion. That is dangerous because you will end up despising music and everything about it.
Now I am a musician, and these are ideas that I utilize in my business practices, but they are relevant for any entrepreneurial business model. Whatever you are doing, always remember your customers and clients are people first. Treat them as such.
Below are some links you may find of interest. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you in your endeavors.
For further research, see the following links:
Follow Tim Ellerbe on Spotify