Entries from July 2010 ↓

Music Marketing and Promotion: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between marketing and promotion?

Marketing and promotion are often confused.  So here is a quick and easy way to understand the difference between marketing and promotion.


Marketing is about getting your target market to know who you are, what you have to offer,  why you are offering it, and why what you are offering is something they want.  Marketing is about getting your target market to know, like, and trust you.

Do they know me? In order to get your target market to know you, they have to know that you exist.  Your target market need to know about you and your music.  How do you do that? You show up where they are.  You should know where your target market hangs out, what they read, where they shop, and what events they attend. You or your street team need to have a presence where your target market is at.  You can do this by performing where your target market hangs out, posting flyers where they are at, having an online presence through your website and social media sites. Your target market can also get to know you through word of mouth.  This is common with music marketing.  Most people hear about music artists for the first time from others, from their friends.  Basically, find out where your target market hangs out and show up there!

Do they like me? Ok, so once you are in front of your target market, now you have to say something or play music that they will like.  Connect with them! Engage with them! Care about them! Have a message and a purpose that resonates with them. What does that mean?  On a personal level, tell your market why you do music.  What inspires your music? What’s the mission behind your music?  On an artistic level, create music that they will like.  Marketing is about engaging and connecting.

Do they trust me? Sometimes you will find that once your target market knows you and likes you, they will probably trust you, but that is not always the case.  During this phase of marketing, your target market is thinking: “Ok, I know who you are and I like you and I like your music, but can I trust that your album or your live show is going to be as good as you say it is?”  There is a level of trust that you have to build with your potential and current fans.  If you are an established artist, your fans have to trust that your next album is as good as your first album.  If  you are a fairly new artist, your fans have to trust that your live show performance of their favorite song will be just as good as the album version.  Marketing is about building trust.

Promotion: Getting them to act.

Promotion is about behavior modification.  It’s about influencing and persuading others to act.  If you have done a successful job in your marketing, your market will say: “I know who musician X is, I like his/her music, I think the album will be amazing.” But promotion is about getting them to take the next step, getting your market to say “I am going to buy the album now.” If you are marketing a live show, you want them to say “I want to buy tickets now”.  How do you get your target market to say this?  Create compelling offers! Offer limited time only discounts/special prices, special limited edition albums, music packages and bundles.

The Three Biggest Music Marketing Mistakes Made by Indie Musicians

The three biggest music marketing mistakes made by indie musicians:

1.  Not thinking like music entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs solve problems.  Entrepreneurs find problems and create products or services that solve those problems.  A music entrepreneur must do the same thing.  A music entrepreneur finds problems and creates music that solve those problems.

A lot of indie musicians do not take this approach to marketing their music.  They create music without first understanding the type of music their target audience is searching for and their audience’s struggle in finding that music.  So, your music should fill a need.  It should solve a problem of your target audience.

Indie musicians should also create music that not only solves a problem for their fans but solves the problems of the media and other professionals.  I am currently discussing this in my “Indie Music Marketing Series” here on the Music Success Blog.  The gist of this concept is to use your music to solve a problem.  For example, one problem that a small business faces is getting new customers.  As an indie musician, you should build a targeted fan base that matches the same demographic that a local small business in your area is targeting.  Now, you can approach the small business and negotiate a deal.  You agree that the small business can market its product or service to your fans if they agree to offer some discount to your fans.  This way you are forming a relationship with a business that could potentially later on agree to sponsor one of your live shows and you are providing value to your fans. Solve a problem! Be a music entrepreneur!
2.  Not Creating music for their fans

Too many indie musicians create music that they like and that they want to perform without finding out the type of music their fans want.  Indie musicians want to make music that they enjoy.  There is nothing wrong with that.  The problem is if you want people to pay for your music, you have understand the type of music they want. Indie musicians should do the market research first to understand the need in the marketplace.  What music do the people want but  are not getting?  Use the answer to that question to help you create your music.

3.  Not using marketing strategies that have worked in other industries

Too often, indie musicians only look to other musicians and music professionals to help them market their music.  There are other professionals in other industries who have successfully marketed their products and services.  Indie musicians should look to these professionals for new marketing strategies that can be applied to the music industry.  For example, information marketers and other internet marketers have learned how to get people to take action and buy products by creating compelling offers.  They use complimentary bonus products and services to get people to buy their main product.  Info marketers learn this from infomercials.  You’ve seen those late night infomercials where you get 10 bonuses for buying one product.  This marketing method works if you use it correctly.

How can musicians use this method? By offering bonus products or services when people buy your music.  Some musicians already do this by offering more free music or a t-shirt when fans buy their album.  Indie musicians can take this a step further and offer more complimentary bonuses.  With the ease and low cost of digital downloads, indie musicians can offer e-books or mini video games or mini movies that center around the theme of their album.  Think about what bonuses you can offer now that can raise the level of interaction of your fans with your music.  How can you make your music come to life with additional bonuses? Create a compelling offer that will have your fans running to purchase your music.  Observe and learn from other professionals who have been successful in getting people to buy.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree that these are the biggest marketing mistakes made by indie musicians? Let me know your thoughts!

Indie Music Marketing Series, Part 6: How to get Music Exposure While Supporting a Great Cause

If you missed any of the previous posts in this series, you can check them out here: Indie Music Marketing Part 1, Indie Music Marketing Part 2, Indie Music Marketing Part 3, Indie Music Marketing Part 4, Indie Music Marketing Part 5

In the indie music marketing series, I have discussed the 3 reasons why indie musicians are struggling to sell their music.  One of the reasons why indie musicians are struggling to sell their music is because indie musicians do not really understand the value of their music.  They don’t understand the value their music has to fans, businesses, and the media.  Today’s post will discuss how understanding the value of music to non-profit organizations can help indie musicians get more exposure while supporting a good social cause.  If you are an indie musician who wants to use your music to help make an impact in society, then you will be able to appreciate this post.

In the series, I have stated that in order to be successful as an indie musician, you have to use your music to solve the problems of others.  You need to think like a entrepreneur.  So to get more music exposure by creating music that has value to non-profit organizations, you have to first understand the needs of non-profits.

The three Needs of Non-Profits

1.  More funds

2.  More volunteers/staffing/assistance

3.  More attention and awareness of the organization and what it does

How can music meet the needs of non-profits?

1.  Music attracts attention and therefore can help build awareness

Music and music events attracts and captures the attention of an audience.  Music has the power to engage people.  Marketers understand this and that is why they use music in commercials.  Music has a powerful way of attracting people and pulling people in to different causes. So you can use this power of music to help non-profits bring attention to their causes.  The more awareness people have about an organization and the work that it does, the more likely people will lend support to the organization, whether it takes the form of money or volunteering.  So ultimately, music can attract attention for an organization that can lead to more volunteer support and more donations.

2.  Historically, music has been used to organize people around a cause

Music has the power to unite people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities around a cause.  We have seen this with benefit concerts for Haiti and Hurricane Katrina that brought together musicians to raise money to support relief efforts.

How can you create music that is valuable to non-profits? How can your music add value to non-profits? Here are some strategies:

1.  Donate  proceeds of your single or your album to a non-profit organization

2.  Write a song

Write a song that expresses the emotion of the people the organization serves or the social cause the organization supports.  Music helps tap into human emotion and organizations want people to see and feel the need of the cause they are working for and music is a great way to do that.  Your music might be used by the non-profit in its marketing materials or at fundraising events.

3. Organize a benefit concert/live show

Approach the organization for its support.  Donate proceeds of the show to the organization.  You can help attract media attention to your show and get more people to come out to your show.  People love to support great causes.  The members and staff of the non-profit will probably want to attend and the people that the organization serves will be interested in supporting and attending your show.

4.  Become an advocate for the organization

Mention the organization and its work in your marketing and promotional materials.  Bring more awareness to the organization.  Mention the organization in press releases, on your web site, and on your social media pages.

Want action steps and coaching tips on how to put the strategies shared in this post into action? Sign up here for the free Music Success Strategies Newsletter that features a “Get Empowered!” section that gives you the action steps you need to move forward. Music Success Strategies Newsletter