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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

How to call attention to your music

from CD Baby:

If you mount a toothbrush on the wall, it's art.

It's art because you're making people pay attention to it and think
about it.

BELOW ARE A BUNCH OF TIPS ABOUT HOW TO CALL MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR
MUSIC.

They're really meant as individual "thought for the day" things.
Eating them all at once could make you sick. So instead - go through
this one long email slowly. Get inspired, and try some crazy idea.
Just one. It'll work, and excite you. Then next week you'll try
another, and another. And everyone will ask you why you're so lucky.

IMPORTANT: Nothing here is telling you to be something you're not.
The goal is to just turn up the volume on who you really are so the
world can hear it. Never forget you're an artist. And part of an
artist's job is to call attention to what they're creating. A
toothbrush in the sink isn't art. A toothbrush mounted on a wall,
with a spotlight on it, and a room full of people paying attention to
it, is art.

Read on...


----------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO EVERY MUSICIAN YOU THINK DESERVES MORE
ATTENTION

----------------------------------------------------------------------

WHO'S WRITING THIS? Me. Derek Sivers. Musician. 33 years old. Founder
of CD Baby. I've been a full-time musician for about 10 years. (Last
time I had a day job was 1992.) Toured the world as a guitarist
sideman with some famous folks, (played to sold-out 15,000 seat
stadiums.) Toured the country in a circus, too. Ran a recording
studio. Worked inside the industry at Warner/Chappell Music for 3
years. Had some really great teachers that taught me a lot about the
music business. Cracked the college market and got hired by 400
colleges in 3 years. Sold a few thousand of my own CD.

And that's why I started CD Baby as a hobby: to sell my own CD and a
dozen friends who needed distribution. But it accidently took off
(oops!) and now I'm in this interesting position of being "the guy
behind the counter at CD Baby."

Between my past and present, I've learned a LOT about how to call
attention to your music. Now I get to see what OTHER people are
doing. What sells. What works. Every time someone is selling a LOT of
CDs on CD Baby, I check out their website, their emails, their
marketing plan. I call them up and ask, "What are you doing? How'd
you do that?"

So... HERE ARE MY COLLECTED OBSERVATIONS AND THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT
CALLS ATTENTION TO YOUR MUSIC. USE THEM!

(You might have already seen this on
http://www.MarketingYourMusic.com - but here it is in an
oh-so-convenient email. Forward it to anyone you want.)

Derek Sivers, CD Baby
http://www.cdbaby.net/derek



Marketing Your Music by Derek Sivers
http://www.cdbaby.net/derek


----------------------------------------------------------------------
######### BIG STRATEGIES #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

CALL THE DESTINATION, AND ASK FOR DIRECTIONS.

Work backwards.

Define your goal (your final destination) - then contact someone
who's there, and ask how to get there.

Know a magazine you think you should be in?  Call their main number,
ask for the editorial department, and ask someone in editorial if
they could recommend their three favorite publicists.  Write down the
publicists' names, and thank the nice editorial person for their time.
(Don't waste their time asking for the publicists' contact info. You
can find that on the web.)  Then call each publicist, and try to get
their attention.

Know a radio station you should be on?  Call them and ask for the
music director.  Ask if they could recommend a few good radio
promoters.  Call the radio promoters they recommend, and try to get
their attention.

Know a venue you should be playing?  Bring a nice box of fancy German
cookies to the club booker, and ask for just 5 minutes of their
advice. Ask them what criteria must be met in order for them to take
a chance on an act. Ask what booking agents they recommend, or if
they recommend using one at all. Again, keep your meeting as short as
possible. Get the crucial info, then leave them alone. (Until you're
back, headlining their club one day!)

I know an artist manager of a small unsigned act, who over the course
of a year, met with the managers of U2, REM, and other top acts. She
asked them for their advice, coming from the top, and got great
suggestions that she's used with big results.

In other words: Call the destination, and ask for directions.

You'll get there much faster than just blindly walking out your front
door, hoping you arrive someday.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

PUT YOUR FANS TO WORK.

You know those loyal few people who are in the front row every time
you perform? You know those people that sat down to write you an
Email to say how much they love your music? You know that guy that
said, "Hey if you ever need anything - just ask!"

Put them to work!

Often, people who reach out like that are looking for a connection in
this world. Looking for a higher cause. They want to feel they have
some other purpose than their stupid accounting job.

You may be the best thing in their life.

You can break someone out of their drab life as an assistant sales
rep for a manufacturing company. You might be the coolest thing that
ever happened to a teenager going through an unpopular phase. You can
give them a mission!

If they're a fan of your music, invite them over for pizza to spend a
night doing a mailing to colleges. Go hit the town together, putting
concert flyers on telephone poles. Have them drive a van full of
friends to your gig an hour away. Have the guts to ask that "email
fan" if she'd be into going through the Indie Contact Bible and
sending your presskit to 20 magazines a week.

Soon you can send them out on their own, to spread the gospel message
of your amazing music, one promo project at a time. Eventually, as you
grow, these people can be the head of "street teams" of 20 people in a
city that go promote you like mad each time you have a concert or a
new CD.

Those of us busy busy people may think, "How could ANYone do this
slave work?" But there are plenty of people out there with time on
their hands that want to spend it on something besides TV.

Don't forget that to most people, the music business is pure magic.
It's Hollywood. It's glitter and fame and fantastically romantic.
Working with you might be the closest the get to that magical world
of music. Give someone the chance to be on the inside circle. Put 'em
to work.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

PHOTOS OF YOUR AUDIENCE ON YOUR WEBSITE.

Secret trick to get people in the audience to sign your mailing list
AND be part of your inside club.

1. At every show you do, from now on, bring a camera and a notebook.

2. About halfway through your show, when everyone is having fun, take
pictures of the audience, from the stage. Tell them to smile, make a
face, hold up their beer, whatever.

3. Afterwards, pass around the notebook and say, "Please write down
your email address in this notebook, and in a few days, I'll email
you, telling you where you can see YOUR goofy picture on my website."

4. At the end of the night, before bed, write up a
journal/diary/memoir of that show. Scan and upload all their pictures
onto a page of your website. Dedicate a page of your site about that
show, with the diary, photos, and a little link on that page that
says, "If you were at this show, please introduce yourself!" - so
people can contact you.

5. Email everyone that was there that night. Of course EVERYone will
go look at your site. How could they not? People are infinitely more
interested in themselves than they are in you.

6. Stay in touch with them all!

(p.s. The other hidden idea in this is to make every show a Real
Event. A Big Deal. Something worth documenting. This will get you out
of the habit of thinking of it as "just another gig." Because for many
of your fans, it's not. It's the most fun they've had all month.)

Here's an example. One of my old outdated tour diaries:
http://www.hitme.net/tourdiary/
(After starting CD Baby in 1998 I stopped touring.  But since I had
been on the road for 10 years straight, I'm not complaining.)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

GO WHERE THE FILTERS ARE

Have you been filtered? If not, you should start now. (Huh?)

With the internet, there are more "media outlets" than anyone can
digest. A site like MP3.COM has 250,000 artists on there. Many of
them are crap. People in the music biz get piles of CDs in the mail
everyday from amateurs. Many of them are crap.

But you're not crap, are you? No! So prove it! Don't sit in the bin
with the rest.

You need to go through filters. Places that reject many, only letting
the best of the best pass through.

As long as you're good (really good) - what you want are MORE
filters! More obstacles... More hurdles...

Because these things weed out the "bad" music. Or the music that
isn't ready. Or the people that weren't dedicated.

I worked at Warner Brothers for 3 years. I learned why they never
accept unsolicited demos: It helps weed out the people that didn't do
enough research to know they have to go meet managers or lawyers or
David Geffen's chauffeur FIRST in order to get to the "big boys."
(Deal with the 'gatekeepers' to get to the mansion.)

If you REALLY REALLY BELIEVE in your music, have the confidence to
put yourself into those places where MOST people get rejected.
(radio, magazines, big venues, agents, managers, record labels,
promoters...)

Because each gate you get through puts you in finer company. ("the
best of the best")

And you'll find many more opportunities open to you once you've
earned your way through a few gates.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

EXTREME RESULTS = EXTREME ACTIONS.

You don't get extreme talent, fame, or success without extreme
actions.

Be less leisurely.

Throw yourself into this entirely.

Find what you love and let it kill you.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

IF THIS IS DRAINING YOUR ENERGY, PLEASE STOP!

"Whatever scares you, go do it." <-- one of my favorite slogans

If something scares you in an excited way, (something that *gives*
you energy) - that's a good sign.

BUT IF SOMETHING IS MAKING YOU MISERABLE AND DRAINING YOUR ENERGY,
PLEASE STOP.

Life is telling you that is not the path for you.

QUICK EXAMPLE: Biggest mistake I ever made in my life:

My band was doing well. A well-meaning lawyer that I trusted told me
that I should start a record label. "Find and sign 3 other artists.
Do for them what you did for your band. Then sell the whole label for
a million bucks!!"

I walked out of his office with slumped shoulders, miserable, saying,
"yeah... I guess he's right..."

With a long face, I plopped in a chair back home and thought, "Oh
man... do I really have to do this?" But because I trusted him, I
spent 2 years of my life trying!

It wasn't what came natural to me, and so of course it was a failure,
AND since I had spent so much time on it, the thing that I WAS good at
(making music) was being ignored!!

I wish I would have paid attention to my lack of enthusiasm and stuck
with the things that excited me.

Please don't make the same mistake.

If anything I'm talking about here makes you tired instead of wired,
just don't do it! Stick with what excites you. That's where you'll
find your success.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

HAVE SOMEONE WORK THE INSIDE OF THE INDUSTRY

I prefer to ignore the music industry. Maybe that's why you don't see
me on the cover of Rolling Stone.

One of my only regrets about my own band was that we toured and got
great reviews, toured and got lots of airplay, toured and booked some
great-paying gigs. BUT... nobody was working the inside of the music
business.

Nobody was connecting with the "gatekeepers" to bring us to the next
level. We just kept doing the same gigs.

Maybe you're happy on the outside of the biz. (I know I am.)

But if you want to tour with major-label artists, be on the cover of
national magazines, be in good rotation on the biggest radio stations
in town, or get onto MTV, you're going to have to have someone working
the inside of the biz.

Someone who loves it. Someone who is loved by it. Someone persuasive
who gets things done 10 times faster than you ever could. Someone
who's excited enough about it, that they would never be discouraged.

Like your love of making music. You wouldn't just "stop" making music
because you didn't get a record deal would you? Then you need to find
someone who's equally passionate about the business side of music,
and particularly the business side of YOUR music.

It IS possible. There are lots of people in this world.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

BE A NOVICE MARKETER, NOT AN EXPERT.

Get to the point of being a novice marketer/promoter/agent. Then hand
it to an expert.

Moby, the famous techno artist, says the main reason for his success
was that he found experts to do what they're best at, instead of
trying to do it himself.

(Paraphrased:) "Instead of trying to be a booking agent, publicist,
label, and manager, I put my initial energy into finding and
impressing the best agent, publicist, label, and manager. And I just
kept making lots of the best music I could."

If you sense you are becoming an expert, figure out what your real
passions in life are and act accordingly.

Maybe you're a better publicist than bassist. Maybe you're a better
bassist than publicist.

Maybe it's time to admit your weakness as a booking agent, and hand
it off to someone else. Maybe it's time to admit your genius as a
booking agent, and commit to it full-time.



----------------------------------------------------------------------
######### THINK OF EVERYTHING FROM THEIR POINT OF VIEW #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

CONSTANTLY ASK, "WHAT DO THEY REALLY WANT?"

Want to know the basic rule or marketing and promoting your music?

Constantly ask, "What do they really want?" (with "they" being anyone
you are trying to reach)

Think hard, and don't take this one lightly.

Thinking of everything from the other person's point of view is a
seeeerious Jedi mind trick. If done right, it will elevate you into
the clouds along with a few select immortal beings.

Every time you lift up the phone. Every time you write an Email.
Every time you send out a presskit.

Think why people in the music industry are REALLY working this job.
Try to imagine them as just a well-meaning human being who is
probably overworked, looking for a little happiness in the world, and
likes music (or the music world itself) enough to do what they do,
even though they could be doing something else.

Think what their Email "IN" box must look like, and how it would be
unwise for you to send them an email with the subject of "hey"
followed by a 7-page Email detailing your wishes for success.

Think what people are REALLY looking for when they go out to a club
to hear music. For some people, it's just a way to be seem to
increase their popularity. For some, they're searching for some music
that does something completely original and mind-blowing. Some are
looking for total visual entertainment.

Nobody owes you their attention. Not your audience. Not a person you
happened to call or Email. Not even the music industry.

Let go of your ego entirely. Think of everything from their point of
view. Be their dream come true. Do what they really want.

(This even goes down to the smallest levels: what kind of phone
message you leave, what kind of cover letter you write in a package,
what kind of subject header you put in your email.)

And maybe, just maybe, they'll be or do exactly what you want.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

REACH THEM LIKE YOU WOULD WANT TO BE REACHED.

Reach people like you would want to be reached.

Would you rather have someone call you up in a dry business monotone,
and start speaking a script like a telemarketer?

Or would you rather have someone be a cool person, a real person?

When you contact people, no matter how it's done (phone, email, mail,
face-to-face) - show a little spunk. Stand apart from the crowd.

If it sounds like they have a moment and aren't in a major rush,
entertain them a bit. Ask about their day and expect a real answer.
Talk about something non-business for a minute or two.

Or - if they sound hectic, skip the "how are you", skip the long
introduction, ask your damn question and move out of the way.

This means you must know your exact question before you contact them,
just in case that ultra-quick situation is needed.

Reach them like you would want to be reached. Imagine what kind of
phone call or Email YOU would like to get.

If you're contacting fans, imagine what kind of flyer they would like
to get in their mailbox. Something dull and "just the facts" - or
something a little twisted, creative, funny, entertaining and unique?
Something corporate, or something artistic?

This is a creative decision on your part. Every contact with the
people around your music (fans and industry) is an extension of your
art. If you make depressing, morose, acoustic music, maybe you should
send your fans a dark brown-and-black little understated flyer that's
depressing just to look at. Set the tone. Pull in those people who
love that kind of thing. Proudly alienate those that don't.

If you're an in-your-face, tattooed, country-metal-speedpunk band,
have the guts to call a potential booking agent and scream, "Listen
you fucking motherfucker! I'm going to explode! Ah! Aaaaaaah!!!" If
they like that introduction, you've found a good match.

Be different. (Even if it's just in your remarkable efficiency.)

Everyone wants a little change in their day.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT YOU. DON'T ASSUME ANYTHING.

People will always and forever ask you, "What kind of music do you
do?"

Musicians often say, "All styles, really."

If the stranger you said that to happens to be a fan of African
music, watch out! You better combine the polyrhythmic drumming of
West Africa with the rich vocal harmonies of South Africa, with the
microtonal reeds of Northeast Africa. And if they have any awareness
of the rest of the world, then your CD better combine rage-rap,
country linedancing, Chinese opera, ambient techno trance, Hungarian
folk songs, and the free jazz of Ornette Coleman. (Hey - you said
"all styles" didn't you?)

This example is extreme, but constantly remember: people know nothing
about you, or your background, or where you're coming from. If you say
you sound "totally unique" - then you better not have any chords,
drums, guitars, words, or any sounds that have ever been made in the
history of music.

When you speak to the world, you are speaking to strangers from all
kinds of backgrounds and tastes.

Open your mind. Realize you don't sound like all styles, and you're
not totally 100% unique.

Do them a favor. Don't assume anything. Say what it is you sound
like. Narrow it down a bit.

If you do this in a creative way, ("We sound like the Incredible Hulk
having sex.") - you can intrigue people and make them want your CD, or
want to come to your next show. Whereas if you had said, "Everything"
- then you didn't make a fan.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

WHAT HAS WORKED ON YOU?

Any time you're trying to influence people to do something, think
what has worked on YOU in the past.

Are you trying to get people to buy your CD? Write down the last 20
CDs you bought, then for each one, write down what made you buy it.

Did you ever buy a CD because of a matchbook, postcard, or 30-second
web soundclip? What DID work? (Reviews, word-of-mouth, live show?)

Write down your top 10 favorite artists of all time, and a list of
what made you discover each one and become a fan.

Here's where it gets heavy: Ask your friends to answer these same
questions.

You'll end up with a "how-to" list, giving you 100 ideas for how to
make people a lifelong fan of your music.

P.S. This goes beyond music. Which TV ads made you buy something?
What anonymous Emails made you click a link and check out a website?
Which flyers or radio ads made you go see a live show by someone you
had never heard?



----------------------------------------------------------------------
######### HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO TARGET. #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

BAD TARGETING EXAMPLE: PROGRESSIVE ROCKER TARGETTING TEENYBOPPER

On CD Baby, there is a great musician who made an amazing
heavy-progressive-metal record.

When we had a "search keywords" section, asking for three artists he
sounds like, he wrote, "britney spears, ricky martin, jennifer lopez,
backstreet boys, mp3, sex, free"

What the hell was he thinking? He just wanted to turn up in people's
search engines, at any cost.

But for what? And who?

Did he really want a Britney Spears fan to get "tricked" into finding
his dark-progressive-metal record? Would that 13-year-old girl
actually spend the 25 minutes to download his 10 minute epic,
"Confusing Mysteries of Hell"? If she did, would she buy his CD?

I suggested he instead have the confidence to target the REAL fans of
his music.

He put three semi-obscure progressive artists into the search engine,
and guess what?

He's selling more CDs than ever! He found his true fans.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

IF YOU DON'T SAY WHAT YOU SOUND LIKE, YOU WON'T MAKE ANY FANS.

A person asks you, "What kind of music do you do?" Musicians say,
"All styles. Everything."

That person then asks, "So who do you sound like?" Musicians say,
"Nobody. We're totally unique. Like nothing you've ever heard
before."

What does that person do? Nothing. They might make a vague promise to
check you out sometime. Then they walk on, and forget about you!
Why??? You didn't arouse their curiosity! You violated a HUGE rule of
self-promotion! Bad bad bad!

What if you had said, "It's 70's porno-funk music being played by men
from Mars." Or... "This CD is a delicate little kiss on your earlobe
from a pink-winged pixie." Or... "We sound like a cross between AC/DC
and Tom Jones." Or... "It's deep-dancing reggae that magically places
palm trees and sand wherever it is played, and grooves so deep it
makes all non-dancers get drunk on imaginary island air, and dance in
the sand."

Any one of these, and you've got their interest.

Get yourself a magic key phrase that describes what you sound like.
Try out a few different ones, until you see which one always gets the
best reaction from strangers. Use it. Have it ready at a moment's
notice.

It doesn't have to narrow what you do at all. Any of those three
examples I use above could sound like anything.

And that's just the point - if you have a magic phrase that describes
your music in curious but vague terms, you can make total strangers
start wondering about you.

But whatever you do, stay away from the words "everything",
"nothing", "all styles", and "totally unique".

Say something!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

PROUDLY EXCLUDE SOME PEOPLE.

Proudly say what you're NOT: "If you like Celine Dion, you'll hate
us."

...and people who hate Celine Dion will love you. (Or at least give
you a chance.)

You can't please everyone in this world. So go ahead and recklessly
leave out people.

Almost like you're the doorman at an exclusive club that plays only
your music. Maybe you wouldn't let in anyone wearing a suit. Maybe
you wouldn't let in anyone without a suit!

But know who you are, and have the confidence that somewhere out
there, there's a little niche of people that would like your kind of
music. They may only be 1% of the population. But 1% of the world is
20 million people!

Loudly leave out 99% of the world. When someone in your target 1%
hears you excluding the part of the population they already feel
alienated from, they'll be drawn to you.

Write down a list of artists who you don't like, and whose fans
probably wouldn't like you. Use that.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

THE MOST EXPENSIVE VODKA

There is a vodka company that advertises itself as The Most Expensive
Vodka You Can Buy.

I'll bet they're very successful with it. It's almost a dare. (And it
proudly excludes people!)

Other companies are all trying to find ways to be the cheapest, and
someone had the guts to decide that they were going to do exactly the
opposite of everyone else.

There are some people who read the Billboard charts, and try to
imitate the current trends and styles.

I suggest, even as an experiment, strongly declaring that you are
something totally UN-trendy - the opposite from what everyone else
wants or is trying to be.

Perhaps you could advertise your live show as, "The most boring
concert you'll ever see."

Perhaps you want to call your music, "The most un-catchy, difficult
to remember, un-danceable music you've ever heard."

Or tell the music industry, "This music has no hit potential
whatsoever."

I'll bet you get their attention.

It's almost a dare.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

IF YOU TARGET SHARP ENOUGH, YOU WILL OWN YOUR NICHE

Let's say you've decided that your style of music should be proudly
called "powerpop".

If you say, "We're powerpop!" in the very first sentence or paragraph
all of your marketing. If your Email address is "powerpop@yahoo.com"
If your album title is "Powerpop Drip and Drop" If the license plate
on your band van is "POWRPOP"

Well then... when someone comes into my record store and says they
like powerpop, guess who I'm going to tell them to buy?

Have the confidence to find your niche, define who you are, then
declare it again and again and again and again.

If you do it persistently enough, you will OWN that niche. People
will not be able to imagine that niche without you.

(You can try to make your own, if you're brave. You might be "the
best techno-opera artist in the world".)



----------------------------------------------------------------------
######### GRAB PEOPLE'S ATTENTION, SENSES AND EMOTIONS. #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

TOUCH AS MANY OF THEIR SENSES AS YOU CAN.

The more senses you touch in someone, the more they'll remember you.

BEST: a live show, with you sweating right on top of someone, the PA
system pounding their chest, the smell of the smoky club, the
flashing lights and live-in-person performance.

WORST: an email. a single web page. a review in a magazine with no
photo.

(Let's say that "emotions" are one of the senses.)

Whenever possible, try to reach as many senses as possible. Have an
amazing photo of yourself or your band, and convince every reviewer
to put that photo next to the review of your album.

Send videos with your presskit. Play live shows often. Understand the
power of radio to make people hear your music instead of just hearing
about it.

Get onto any TV shows you can. Scent your album with patchouli oil.
Make your songs and productions truly emotional instead of merely
catchy.

(Touching their emotions is like touching their body. If you do it,
you'll be remembered.)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

NEVER USE CORPORATE-SPEAK

Don't try to sound pro or use industry catch phrases.

Would you do that to a friend?

Your fans are your friends. Speak to them like real people.

Write every letter or email as if it were to a good friend. From you
to your best friend Beth.

Even if it's going out to 10,000 people.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

LEAVE 'EM WANTING MORE

What's more appealing?

Someone holding a carrot in front of your face, then pull it back
towards them slowly?

Or someone shoving 50 carrots in your mouth?

Brian Eno (my favorite theorist) says the best thing you can do is to
bring people to the point where they start searching.

Not so plain or obvious that there's nothing left to the imagination.
No so cryptic that they give up.

Give people just enough to pull them in, but make them want more.
Make them go searching for clues, or details, or explanations, or
"more of what you just gave me."



----------------------------------------------------------------------
######### ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE. WHAT CHARACTER ARE YOU? #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

IMAGINE A PLAY WITH 1000 ACTORS ON STAGE.

Imagine you're in the audience of a play. Big theater. Opera house.

Imagine there are one thousand actors on stage.

Which ones would stand out? Which ones would you remember?

It's not always going to be the loudest or most hyperactive.

Maybe you'd be drawn into the misty-blue woman with the long black
hair in the deep blue cape with half her face hidden, standing
silently at the edge of the stage.

Now you, as a musician, are one of the actors on that overcrowded
stage.

Would you stand out? Would people remember you? Are you being strong
enough version of YOU, so that people who DO want who YOU are can
find you in the crowd?

(P.S. The most memorable actor on stage might be the one that gets
off the stage, walks up to your seat, and gives you a kiss.)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

BE AN EXTREME VERSION OF YOURSELF.

Define yourself. Show your weirdness. Bring out all your quirks.

Your public persona, the image you show to the world, should be an
extreme version of yourself.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

EVEN CONSERVATIVE LEGENDS WERE EXTREME.

Think of the legendary performers in that conservative style. (The
ones even your grandmother could like.)

Frank Sinatra. Charlie Chaplin. Liberace. Liza Minelli. Barbara
Streisand.

Even the most conservative "legendary" performers were rather extreme
characters.

Don't be afraid to be as extreme as you can imagine. Being in the
spotlight is the excuse. You can get away with anything, all in the
name of entertainment.




----------------------------------------------------------------------
######### THINK TEST MARKETING - PROOF OF SUCCESS #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

TEST. IMPROVE. PERFECT. ANNOUNCE.

In this indie music world, the best thing you can do is think in
terms of "Test Marketing."

This is what food companies do before they release a new product.
They release it just in Denver (for example), and see what people
think of it there. They get feedback. They try a different name. They
try an improved flavor, based on complaints or compliments. They try a
different ad campaign. They see what works. Constantly improving.

When it's a huge success in Denver, they know they're on to something
good. They can now release it in Portland, Dallas, and Pittsburgh. Do
the same thing.

When everyone seems to like it, they get the financial backing to
"roll it out" and confidently spend a ton of money to distribute it
around the whole country, or the whole world. The people investing
money into it are confident, because it was a huge success in all the
test markets.

Think of what you're doing with your music as test marketing.

When you're a huge success on a lower level, or in a small area, THEN
you can go to the big companies and ask for financial or resource help
to "roll it out" to the country or world.

Then they'll feel confident that their big money is being well
invested.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

A GOOD BIZ PLAN WINS NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.

In doing this test marketing you should make a plan that will make
you a success even if nobody comes along with their magic wand.

Start now. Don't wait for a "deal".

Don't just record a "demo" that is meant only for record companies.

You have all the resources you need to make a finished CD that
thousands of people would want to buy. If you need more money, get it
from anyone except a record company.

And if, as you're following your great business plan, selling
hundreds, then thousands of CDs, selling out small, then larger
venues, getting on the cover of magazines... you'll be doing so well
that you won't need a record deal.

And if a record deal IS offered to you, you'll be in the fine
position of taking it or leaving it. There's nothing more attractive
to an investor than someone who doesn't need their money. Someone
who's going to be successful whether they're involved or not.

Make the kind of business plan that will get you to a good
sustainable level of success, even without a big record deal. That
way you'll win no matter what happens.




----------------------------------------------------------------------
######### THE POWER OF PEOPLE #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

GET USED TO THE IDEA OF DATABASE AND QUANTITY

If you want any level of success beyond the admiration of friends and
family, you have to get used to the idea of dealing with great numbers
of people.

One good review means almost nothing. Getting airplay on one radio
station is not enough.

You need to stay in close touch with hundreds, and soon, thousands of
people. Whether fans, music biz, or the endless characters you're
going to encounter around the world on your way to the top, you're
going to need to keep track of them all.

You're going to need a database. A "contact manager". A fancy term
for "a fancy address book". An amazing tool with endless memory to
help our artistic, creative, musical brains which are often lost in
space and notoriously flaky.

It takes a discipline and orderliness you may not be used to, but
comes in SO handy when you need to contact that graphic designer who
introduced himself to you once after a gig in St. Louis a year and a
half ago. Or to be able, in 5 seconds, to find the 28 drummers you
know in northern Oregon.

Get used to this concept, and we'll go into detail on the next page.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

STAY IN CLOSE TOUCH WITH HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE.

It's a shame when you get lost in a project, or go out on a tour, or
get stuck in a demanding relationship, and find out that all of your
old contacts have dried up.

You go to call a booking agent you used to see weekly, and she says,
"I'm sorry - I don't really remember you. You're going to have to
remind me..."

A successful publicist advises that you secretly give everyone in
your phonebook an A, B, C, D, or F. That's your A-list (call every 3
weeks), B-list, (every 5 weeks), C-list (every few months), D-list
(twice a year), and Friends.

There are a few people in my life that would have disappeared long
ago if they hadn't been so persistent in calling me every month, or
insisting on a face-to-face a couple times a year.

Go through your database, and call those people just to say, "Hi." Or
- even better - know their interests and life (from memory or perhaps
from your notes) - and call them with some news that's of interest to
them, even if it's of no other interest to you.

In other words, don't *only* call to say "How are you?" when it's
always going to end with "So - can you come to my gig tomorrow
night?" Call unselfishly. Call with some news that will make them
happy. Keep in touch to make both of your lives better.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

DATABASE TIPS

Database tips, from an expert:

- Best programs, in order: (1) Indie Band Manager:
http://www.IndieBandManager.com  It does EVERYTHING I recommend. It
works on Mac and Windows.  And it's only $39.  If you don't have a
database program already, start with that.  (2) Filemaker Pro. Sells
for $299 but you can find it used on EBay.com for $40. Both Mac and
Windows. Totally flexible. (3) MS Works or Claris Works comes with a
database section. These programs are usually free and inlcuded on
your computer. (4) ACT. http://www.act.com Sells for $189. ACT is
meant more as a "salesman's tool" and so it's more corporate, and
less flexible. But it is already set up to do exactly what you want.
On the Mac, I've heard that "Now Contact Manager" is very similar to
Act. (5) MS Access. It's like using an army tank to go do your
groceries. It's so powerful and complicated that it might take you a
long time to learn. But like Filemaker, it can do everything you need
if you harness it. (6) MS Outlook. Yuk. Unflexible. Hit by viruses.
But if you have it already and you can't afford something new, go
with it. (7) Do NOT use a spreadsheet like MS Excel, or a word
processor, or a notebook of paper. These just won't do the job.
Choose from #1-#5.

- Keywords! Multiple keywords are the most important thing in your
database. Every person in your address book should have a few words
attached to their record like "drums, webdesign, percussion" or
"agent, clubowner, songwriter". Some folks will only have one word
there, some will have a list of the 25 instruments they can play.
This comes in the most handy when you need to find "drums" in Texas,
or you're trying to remember the full name of that webdesigner named
"Dave". If your address book program doesn't have keywords already,
put it in there! Find out how! It'll save your life many times.

- Collect all the information you can. Have areas in your database
program for first name, last name, two phone numbers, fax, email,
website (know their website!), two address lines, country, keywords
(see above), mailing list tags (who gets your mailings and who
doesn't want them), date last contacted, and very important: NOTES.
Other ideas would be birthday, interests, and referred by (or "met
through").

- NOTES should be a big giant text area underneath their contact
info, where you're free to type type type anything you want. Type
notes from your conversations. Cut-and-paste Emails they've sent you.
In ACT and Filemaker you can set it up to make an "event" for every
single conversation or contact you have, each with its own notes.
Very handy. Set this up if you can. But even if you do, keep the big
giant Notes field for all permanent notes you want to remember about
this person

- Learn how to mail-merge these people, so you can send them all a
personalized Email or letter. Using a person's name in the letter
instead of "Dear Music Industry Professional".

----------------------------------------------------------------------

MEET THREE NEW PEOPLE EVERY WEEK

One of the best books about the music business was called "Making It
in the New Music Business" by James Riordan.

He suggested that, as an aspiring musician (or
producer/agent/writer/etc.) - you make a point to meet three new
people in the music industry every week. (And, as he says, not just
burned-out guitarists.)

Imagine that! Three new people every single week - people that could
actually help your career! In a year from now you'll have
relationships with over 150 new people that are potential "lottery
tickets" - and hopefully the interest is mutual. (Meaning - always
keep in mind how YOU can help someone, not just how they can help
you.)

The thing is, you have to *develop* these relationships. Put them on
your A, B, or C list. Stay in touch. Go beyond the introduction, and
really get to know these people, what they're looking for in business
and life, what they're interested in, and how you can help them.


----------------------------------------------------------------------

ALWAYS THINK HOW YOU CAN HELP SOMEONE

As you're meeting all of these people in your life and career, always
keep in mind how you can help someone. You should practically meditate
on it before contacting them.

There must be someone you know that is exactly what they're looking
for. There must be some resource you've got that would really make
their day. Some favor you can do.

An article you read in this morning's paper might be of particular
interest to someone you met last summer. Cut it out and mail it to
them. A film/TV music supervisor might mention she's getting married
and is looking for a reggae band. You don't do reggae, but with your
database you can help her find a great band that does.

Maybe you spent 3 months shopping for a laptop. Maybe a booking agent
you met today mentioned that he's looking for a new laptop. Send him a
fax or Email with all the best info you found.

Give give give, and sometimes you will receive.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

GET PERSONAL

Some people, out of the thousands I know, actually contact me on a
regular basis. I consider them friends.

But some of those always stick with a strict business "script" when
they call: "Hi I'm calling to check in to see how sales are doing, if
you need more inventory, how things are going."

Others seem to have the gift of smalltalk. I don't know how they do
it, but soon we're talking about my girlfriend, their dogs, about
yoga, high school, Japan, and something that happened on the way to
work today.

Now - when an opportunity comes up to help someone - (say, a Film/TV
person I know calls up and asks "who's good in that standard rock
genre?") - guess who comes to mind first?

The person who hasn't departed from the standard business call, or
the person who went beyond?

Be a real person. Be a friend.

Don't always be selling yourself. You'll be like that annoying uncle
who shows up at the family reunion to try to sell everyone on life
insurance.

Have the confidence to know that being a cool person, being a friend,
will sell you more than being a pushy salesperson.

People do business with people they like. With their friends,
whenever possible.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR FAVORS

Don't be afraid to ask for favors.

Some people LIKE doing favors.

It's like asking for directions in New York City. People's egos get
stroked when they know the answer to something you're asking. They'll
gladly answer to show off their knowledge.

One bold musician I know called me up one day and said, "I'm coming
to New York in 2 months. Can you give me a list of all the important
contacts you think I should meet?" What guts! But I laughed, and did
a search in my database, Emailing him a list of 40 people he should
call, and mention my name.

Sometimes you need to find something specific: a video director for
cheap, a PA system you can borrow for a month, a free rehearsal
studio. Call up everyone you know and ask! This network of friends
you are creating will have everything you want in life.

Some rare and lucky folks (perhaps on your "band mailing list") have
time on their hands and would rather help you do something, than sit
at home in front of the TV another night. Need help doing flyers?
Help getting equipment to a show? Go ahead and ask!


----------------------------------------------------------------------

KEEP IN TOUCH!

Mentioned earlier, but important enough to say again.

Sometimes the difference between success and failure is just a matter
of keeping in touch!

There are some AMAZING musicians who have sent a CD to CD Baby, and
when I heard it, I flipped. In a few cases, I've stopped what I was
doing at that moment, picked up the phone and called them wherever
they were to tell them I thought they were a total genius. (Believe
me - this is rare. Maybe 1 in 500 CDs that I hear.)

Often I get an answering machine, and guess what... they don't call
back!! What masochistic anti-social success-sabotaging kind of thing
is that to do?

Then 2 weeks later I've forgotten about their CD as new ones came in.

The lesson: If they would have just called back, and kept in touch,
they may have a fan like no other at the head of one of the largest
distributors of independent music on the web. A fan that would go out
on a limb to help their career in ways others just dream of. But they
never kept in touch and now I can't remember their names.

Some others whose CDs didn't really catch my attention the first time
around, just keep in touch so well that I often find myself helping
them more as a friend than a fan.

Keep in touch, keep in touch, keep in touch!

People forget you very fast.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

SMALL GIFTS GO A LONG WAY.

10 years ago, I worked at Warner/Chappell Music Publishing. Being the
largest music publisher in the world, I dealt with thousands of
songwriters. Most of them I can't remember their names.

Three times, and only three times, I got a surprise gift from a
songwriter.

James Mastro, a great songwriter from Hoboken, got me a cool little
"Mother Mary" keychain when he was touring in Spain.

Gerry DeVeaux, a successful R&B / dance songwriter, got me some funky
plastic fish with lights inside, like Christmas ornaments, when he
went to the Bahamas.

And Jane Kelly Williams got me a red sweatshirt from the Gap, for
helping her out with a demo session. I was thrilled.

Can you believe I remember these details 10 years later? Believe it!

A little gift you might give to someone, as you climb the ladder of
success, may go a long long way, and mean a lot to someone down the
road.

If any of the three people above called me today to ask a favor, you
can be sure I'd stop what I was doing to help them out.

Be generous. It will be returned. As you stay in the music biz,
you're going to see the same faces for years to come.

[P.S. Don't send ME gifts! You've already got my attention. Use this
technique on other people.]

----------------------------------------------------------------------

KEEP IN TOUCH - (LONG VERSION)

Give away lots of CDs. But do NOT just toss them away. Make every one
count!!

Get volunteer friends/ bandmembers/ fans to help call or Email and
track the results of as many of these as possible.

Go ahead and ask for favors - be a little bit of a pest. Ask each mag
what they'd want to put you on the cover. Take notes of each
conversation.

Keep everyone happy. Don't lose touch. Ask for references. Ask if
there's anyone else they know that can help you. Then contact all
THOSE people, and keep doing it.

It's a LOT of Emailing and calling. But it means EVERYTHING. (As long
as you superhumanly balance this with making new music and writing
great songs.)

I think KEEPING IN TOUCH is THE single most important thing. Here's
why:

Whenever I'm talking to someone in the "industry" or have the
opportunity to help promote a CD Baby member, I often find myself
hooking up the person who I just got off the phone with. (You know -
"Oh I was just talking with Scott from the band called the
Rosenbergs, you should talk to them - he's home right now, and just
told me how well their tour is going!")

On the flip side, there are 60 people a week or so who submit their
CD to CD Baby, I put it in the store, I email them but they never
reply, I send them checks for CDs sold but never hear from them.

I often wonder who these people are that just let a potential
fruitful relationship just disappear into anonymity.

(Do I sell a band called Conundrum? Umm.. let me check the database.
Well it says here I do. I don't know them, though.) And CD Baby is
just ONE company!

Imagine if you actually stayed "close" with 100 little companies! Or
1000!! You'd have people in all corners of the industry everywhere
constantly recommending you, referring you, hooking you up with
opportunities, promoting you, etc. You'd be very successful, very
soon.

When you're on tour, look up all the people who you've sent CDs to in
that area. Meet with them. Sleep at their house.

Ask everyone's advice. Pick everyone's brain. Hear their thoughts &
point of view. Remember it.

Oh, send them a present every now and then. Chad the Dungeon Bunny
sent me a bag of Baby Ruths. Guess who comes to mind first now when
people are asking for his kind of music??

God now that I think of it I probably remember every little present
anyone has ever given me in my 10 years being in the music biz. I can
count them one hand. It's such a rare wonderful surprise.

On the flip side, I made a friend for life at the top ranks of BMI
because I showed up to his office with a pizza for our meeting.
(Luckily he was hungry and never forgot it.)

Radio stations are just people. Magazines are just people. Websites
are just people. Record companies are just people.

People like to work with their FRIENDS whenever possible. Be a good
friend. Be a real person, not a slick schmoozer. If you're acting TOO
professional in all this "keeping in touch" then it just sounds fake
and will be forgotten.

Oh, and try to sense when they don't like you. Sometimes they just
don't like your music, and aren't willing to help. Don't take it
personally. Mark it in your addressbook/database and move on to the
next.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

LIFE IS LIKE HIGH SCHOOL.

Last week a musician wrote an Email to the effect of, "I've been
working hard - why isn't it paying off?"

Keep this in mind... LIFE IS LIKE HIGH SCHOOL.

When you're in High School, it's ALL about popularity, clicks, being
'cool', what you wear, what parties you're at, etc.

When you go to College, the focus shifts to academic achievement.

Many people get out of college thinking the world will be like that.
"The harder you work, the more you should be rewarded." - But it's
not.

Life is like High School. It's all about who you know, how socially
charming you are, what 'scene' you're in, what you wear, what parties
you're at, flirting, and - being 'cool'.

BUT YOU CAN MAKE THIS WORK IN YOUR FAVOR.

When I think about every big leap that happened in my career, it was
always because of "someone I knew." Always friends of friends. People
in some position of power who I kept in touch with, did favors for,
and got the same in return.

Go meet 3 people each week you think could help your career. Be a
good friend. Make it mutually beneficial, not some suck-up
relationship. There's always some resource you have that can totally
help out someone who may be "above" you on the ladder. Invite a NEW
friend to a party or show you know about.

For years I was booked solid, touring the college market, making way
too much $$, not because I'm GOOD, but because we made a FUN,
ENTERTAINING, "COOL" show. We won the popularity contest in a sense.

I think it's possible to approach the music business as if you were a
new kid going to a new high school, and wanted to be the most popular
kid in class. Sounds shallow, but it works.

Ask Andy Warhol, or someone like Prince who actually made GREAT
music, but knew how to toss in a little controversy & sex appeal to
get the world's attention.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

MAKE THESE HABITS, AND THEY WON'T SEEM HARD.

All of these suggestions may sound exhausting to you.

But keep that database at your fingertips. Get used to taking 1
minute after a conversation to take some notes about it. Give some of
these ideas a try.

You can probably tell, by reading this, that if you were to actually
DO all of these things mentioned, you'd be much more successful than
you are now. The gates of life would swing wide open.

Hard to start, but easy to continue.

Incredibly powerful when done every day. (Like a little river made
the Grand Canyon.)

Make these habits, and they won't seem hard.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

SHINING EXAMPLE: RAYKO

I went to the Eat'm Music Conference in Las Vegas, summer 1999.
Hundreds of artists there but one made the biggest impression on me.
I noticed her first because she's gorgeous, but the other stuff
quickly made that unimportant - and there's an inspiring lesson in
here.

Her name is Rayko. Japanese musician from L.A.
http://www.cdbaby.com/rayko http://www.rayko.com

She was going up to every single person at the conference introducing
herself, getting into great conversations, finding out what everyone
does, taking notes. Every time someone handed her a business card,
she grabbed her pen and wrote down notes about that person on the
back, to help her remember.

She probably befriended hundreds of people in 3 days, including me.

Whenever she has a show on the road, she goes in the day before to do
countless meet-and-greet interviews, in-store appearances,
flyer-promotion, and every other promotion tool you've ever heard of.
She gets right into the crowd after every show to sell CDs and sign up
hundreds of people to the mailing list.

She answers every fan letter with a hand-written letter. She
immediately sends a thank-you card to every biz contact she meets.

And all the while, she's constantly practicing and writing and
recording new music.

I was on the receiving end of this when, the very first day back from
the conference, she called me in New York to take care of getting on
to CD Baby. Who knows if she called 200 people that day, but damn she
knows how to make you feel like you're the most important one. (And
yep - 2 days later her whole package with CDs, shirts, videos, and
purple handwritten letter were at my door.)

This is exactly the same success story I've heard is behind Garth
Brooks and Madonna (and even Bill Clinton, actually.) Meeting
everyone. Remembering everyone's name. Developing relationships.
Following up and constantly keeping in touch. Treating everyone
special.

Who knows if this is just part of her personality, or if it's a trait
she developed because her career is THAT important to her.

So - the real point of giving you all these details - is analyzing
your own networking and promoting efforts. I've heard many great
records at CD Baby. But I've only seen a few great promoters.

Maybe there are people out there promoting their butts off and I just
don't know about it - the same way I wouldn't have known about Rayko
if I wasn't in that room at that moment.

If you care about your music, and you really REALLY want - in your
heart and bones - to become incredibly successful at it, you're going
to have to go meet tons of people and "plug away" with tireless drive,
and joyful determination every waking moment.

Meet every person you can and treat them the way you'd love to be
treated.

And still somehow balance this with making the best music you can and
constantly improving your songwriting and performing skills.




----------------------------------------------------------------------
######### THE POWER OF WORDS #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

ON THE INTERNET, WORDS MATTER MORE THAN EVER.

On the radio, descriptions don't matter. People hear your song one
time or a hundred times, they decide they like it, and hopefully the
DJ says who it is.

In concert, descriptions don't matter. You don't have to describe
your music while you're performing. You get on stage and perform.
People love it, or like it, or they don't. No words necessary.

But on the internet, and in print, and in conversation, words matter
a LOT.

If you take just one night to come up with some good descriptions of
your music, you can use those phrases for years, and you will find
many MANY more fans than you will without descriptions.

On the internet, whether web or Email, you need to entice people to
click their mouse before they'll ever become a fan.

In order to get someone to listen to your sound clips, sign your
mailing list, or buy your CD, you have to: (1) catch their attention
(2) appeal to their senses or emotions (3) arouse their curiosity (4)
persuade them to do something about it (click!)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

A SHORT DESCRIPTION - 10 SECONDS OR LESS

Most of the world has never heard your music.

Most of the world WON'T hear your music, unless you do a good job
describing it.

It's like a Hollywood screenplay. You not only have to write a great
screenplay, but you have to have a great description of it that you
can say in 10 seconds or less, in order to catch people's attention.

Find a way to describe your music that would catch anyone's
attention, AND describe it accurately. No use coming up with a funny
description of your music if it doesn't actually describe what you
really sound like!

HOW TO GET THE BEST SHORT DESCRIPTION OF YOUR MUSIC:

(1) Ask friends for their opinion. Ask a friend who talks too much,
or someone in sales, to tell someone about you. Listen in, and
remember. (2) Get silly. Get drunk. Write down 50 ridiculous
descriptions with some drunk friends. One of them may be good. (3)
Take your favorite one and test it on the world. Whenever you meet
strangers, and they ask about your music, have your catch phrase
handy. If it doesn't make their eyebrows go up, try a different one.
(4) Send an Email to everyone on your Emailing list. Give them your
three favorite phrases and let them pick which they like the best.
Let them offer a better one.

Once you've got a great one, you'll know it.

Keep using it again and again until people almost associate your name
with that one-sentence-phrase that describes it beautifully and
accurately.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

THINK LIKE A PERSON OR POET, NOT A MUSICIAN.

When describing your music, PLEASE don't be a musician.

Don't say, "The wonderful harmonies and arrangements on this release
are sure to delight! Not to mention the tight rhythm section and
insightful lyrics!"

Real people don't think like that.

Think what one teenager down at the mall would say to another, when
describing what they love about your CD.

("Dude - it's like if Korn hadn't wimped out. It's like Busta Rhymes
went metal, but they're from Mars or somethin. It's slammin. And you
gotta see that picture on the inside cover!")

Think what an office-worker who wasn't much a music expert would say
to a friend about your music.

("It's cute! They have this song that has a little "hoop-hoop!" at
the beginning, with that baby voice. It's kinda funky! And he's got
this sexy bedroom voice. Funny video.")

Real people often compare an artist to other famous artists. Real
people talk about the overall "vibe" or sound of something.

Real people DON'T talk about "insightful lyrics" and "wonderful
harmonies" and "tight musicianship". That's musician-speak. (OK -
*some* music fans are deep enough into music that they do end up
using these musician terms. But that's pretty rare.)

Play your music for some non-musicians, and ask them what they'd say
to a friend about it.

Learn to describe your music in ways that actually *reach* people's
emotion and imagination, and your music itself will be that much more
likely to reach and touch people.

Your descriptions of your music should be almost as exciting (or
touching, or sad, or shocking) as the music itself.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

READ ABOUT NEW MUSIC. USE THE TRICKS THAT WORKED ON YOU.

Go get a magazine like CMJ, or Magnet, or Alternative Press.

You'll read about (and see pictures of) dozens of artists who you've
never heard of before.

Out of that whole magazine, only one or two will really catch your
attention.

WHY?

I don't have the answer. Only you do. Ask yourself why a certain
headline or photo or article caught your attention.

(Was it something about the opening sentence? Was it a curious tidbit
about the background of the singer? What was it exactly that intrigued
you?)

Analyze that. Use that. Adapt those techniques to try writing a
headline or article about your music.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

YES YOU DO SOUND LIKE SOMETHING OR SOMEONE.

Yes you DO sound like something or someone.

Thousands of musicians describe themselves as sounding "Totally
unique. There is nothing like this music you have ever heard!" Then
when you put on the CD, it's straight-up pop/rock/blues. Instant
disappointment.

When asked, many musicians think it's fine to say, "We don't sound
like anyone." Or when asked what kind of music they play, say, "You
can't describe it. Just check it out."

That's just lazy, inconsiderate, and stupid.

What if a business out in New Jersey somewhere said, "We can't
describe what our store does. Just check it out!" Would you get in
your car and spend a Saturday driving out to Route 17 to check it
out? No!

You have to convince people! Grab their curiosity. Describe what you
actually do, in an interesting way!

Make the wheels in their head turn. Make them taste it, hear it, see
it, want it.

Be accurate, and don't disappoint. Read that twice: (1) - Be
accurate. (2) - Don't disappoint.

This is a creative writing exercise. You can do it. It's important.
It will make the right people stop and listen to your music.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

BLAH BLAH BLAH... WHAT NOT TO SAY.

At CD Baby we ask musicians to give a one-sentence description of
their style. You'd be surprised how many artists say, "A great
4-piece band from North Carolina. A hot new artist for the new
millennium. A band you're sure to enjoy!"

Imagine if you ran into an old friend who now owned his own business,
and you asked what his company does. Then he says, "We're a top-notch
9-person company in New Jersey. We believe in service, quality, and
dependability."

-= yawn =-

Would you remember that 1 minute later or give a damn what that
business did?

Nope. They lost you.

Think how many people you're losing when you describe your music in a
boring, or generic way.

When asked for a little more info, musicians often say "The members
grew up in Boston and met in high school. After the bassist left to
pursue another career, they found a replacement who has solidified
the lineup as it stands today. They regularly play the local club
scene."

Imagine a computer store saying, "Our VP of finance graduated from
Penn State. We found our office manager through an employment agency.
After our initial marketing director left�"

-= yawn =-

When a fan is learning about an artist for the first time, the last
thing they care about is uneventful band history. As a rule, it's
safe to assume people don't care about your history until you've got
a gold record. Don't bore them with it before then. (Unless it's
buried deep in your website for those few folks that are deeply
curious.)

Describe your music or history in a way that you would want a total
stranger running a little shop somewhere to describe his business to
you.

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OR YOU CAN NOT TALK AT ALL

Words got you down? Nothing new to say?

Then spend some money on a great photographer.

Calvin Klein showed you don't have to talk and talk and talk.

But if you don't, it's ALLLLL up to the image.

Unless you're in heavy rotation on top40 radio stations, it's not
very easy for people to hear your music. They have to go seek you
out, and make an effort to go hear you.

Music is like perfume. You have to convince and persuade people, with
your words and images, to take that initiative, to make an effort, to
hear your music.

If you try to just "let the music speak for itself" most people will
never hear you.

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HAVE FUN - DO NOT BE CORPORATE

Never use corporate marketing-speak.

Be weird.

Be a real person.

Sound like one person speaking to one person.

This is a big reason why it's COOL to be indie instead of corporate.

Real people respond better to the weird fun stuff.



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######### TOOLS AND WEAPONS #########
Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek
----------------------------------------------------------------------

PROMO BOX ON YOUR DESKTOP

The self-promoting musician of the past needed to always have a
presskit (with CD and photo) nearby and ready to send.

The modern self-promoting musician needs to keep a "PROMO BOX" folder
on the desktop of your computer.

It will take you just one hour to put together, and you'll be able to
use it again and again and again:

MAKE A FOLDER ON YOUR DESKTOP CALLED "PROMO BOX" (or something) AND
PUT THESE THINGS INSIDE FOR QUICK EASY ACCESS:

1. At least one full-length MP3 file of a track from your CD. Encoded
at the standard 128k bitrate. Give it a nice long name, without
spaces, so that if anyone runs across it on the web they know who it
is. (Example: RACHAEL_SAGE-sistersong.mp3 ) Preferably have 3-5 songs
from your CD encoded here, ready to go.

2. An entertaining bio written four times, in four different lengths.
- Long long version (over 3 paragraphs. 1-2 pages. exhaustive and
rarely used.) - Medium long version (2 - 4 entertaining and important
paragraphs. the top end of what people will sit and read on the web.)
- Short version ( 1 killer paragraph) - One-liner ( 1 killer sentence
)

3. Quotes from reviews: - one big text file with every review you've
ever gotten, all typed out and credited - one text file with just the
best short quotes from these reviews

4. Graphics, with a few different sizes of each: - artist photos
(studio shot, live shot, up close, far away) - album cover graphic
(big version, small version) - your logo, if you have one

IF YOU DO THIS, JUST ONCE, then the job of uploading your information
to another website will be painless. You'll just say, "da-da-da! all
done!" and let your MP3s upload while you go make dinner.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

KNOW THE IMPORTANT SKILLS

Like proper manners, or knowing how to drive, here are some things in
the online world you just need to know:

1. EMAIL - Have a good signature file that tells who you are, how to
find you, and entices people to click through to your web address.
All in 4 lines or less. - How to make good subject headers. So when
your Email is one of 500 in an "IN" box, it will say exactly what is
contained inside, from the other person's point of view. - How to
quote someone's email message back to them. Or not. - How to
subscribe to, post messages to, and unsubscribe from to a mailing
list. - Manners. Spelling. Punctuation. How to turn off your caps
lock key, and not use 25 exclamation points in a row. - How to
communicate personality through these typewriter keys. - Separate
sentences into paragraphs. Reading a computer screen is different
from reading a book. There's no paper to waste - leave plenty of
space.

2. DATABASE SKILLS - Know how to work your "address book" program.
How to find people, sort, print, add, remove, change, and do bigger
find commands (how to find all guitarists in the 818 area code) -
Keep it nice and clean and updated. Keep street address separated
from the city, state, zip, country. Don't be sloppy in these early
stages. - Assume you ARE going to get more popular and soon your
little address book will need to sort thousands of people. - If you
get really fancy, track each contact you have with someone: each
call, email, visit. It comes in handy when someone from a year ago
calls you up saying, "It's George! Remember?"

3 . WEB SKILLS - Get comfortable uploading an Mp3 file. (Practice at
mp3.com, iuma.com, rollingstone.com) - Sort your bookmarks/favorites
into categories/folders so you can find things later.


----------------------------------------------------------------------

YOUR INTERACTIVE WEBSITE

Your website can be your best tool, if you MAKE IT COMMUNICATE
**WITH** YOUR FANS and potential fans, TWO-WAY.

Your website should get people involve, make them want to introduce
themselves, ask questions, shout out.

YOUR WEBSITE SHOULD:
#1 - Get their Email address! Interact! Make an easy fill-out form.
(hint: try a fun question like "who are you?" or "do you know your
own name?")
#2 - Encourage them to buy your CD, constantly. It's a great way to
start a relationship.
#3 - Show what's unique about you. Image, quirks, colors, moods.
#4 - Make the sound clips easy to get to, not buried under layers
#5 - Answer the obvious questions: who are you, what do you look
like, let me hear the music
#6 - Acknowledge them! Have their pictures on your site. Answer their
questions on your site. Show them they ARE a part of your life.

The best webhosting company to host musicians' websites, and help you
do the hard stuff is Hostbaby! http://www.hostbaby.com

The web has replaced college radio as THE way to turn people on to
your music.

Use it!

----------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO EVERY MUSICIAN YOU THINK DESERVES MORE
ATTENTION
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright 2003, Derek Sivers, CD Baby
http://cdbaby.com <--- store to sell your CDs
http://cdbaby.net <--- tips for musicians
http://cdbaby.org <--- news, opportunities, etc.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS:

GUERRILLA P.R. - by Michael Levine (the best book I've ever read
about getting attention)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0887306640/cdbaby

GUERRILLA MARKETING EXCELLENCE - by Jay Conrad Levinson (very
concrete do-able tips on marketing your music)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0395608449/cdbaby

SELLING THE INVISIBLE - by Harry Beckwith (an amazing marketing book.
my biggest inspiration for the tips, above.)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446520942/cdbaby

THINK AND GROW RICH - by Napoleon Hill (replace the word "money" with
"talent" and it's a classic book about being a great musician.)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0449214923/cdbaby

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