How to Use Your Recordings as a Marketing Tool

haha-business One half of the music business is “business.” That’s a lie. If you want to get paid for your music, you’ll quickly discover that it feels a lot more like 90% business much of the time. Still, it beats working at a bank, right? Maybe?

In any case, I think we can all agree that we have to hustle. That means good songs, a great show, but also great sales and marketing. At Set.fm, we think we can help showcase your hustle.

When I was a young pup the accepted first step to music industry success was to record what was called a “demo.” You’d then send that demo to club owners, booking agents, or record labels, and someone would hear it and give you a gig or a record deal. Ideally you’d get both.

I don’t know why we thought that would work. Anyone who has been in a record label or booking agent’s office knows there are piles of unrequested submissions stacked all over the place. Even with the use of a snow shovel they can’t get them in the trash can fast enough to keep the place clear. Why? Because it’s very hard to get someone to listen to your music if they know nothing about you.

What we should have done instead is to play our demo for people who already knew us, or at least kind of knew us: friends, family, friends of friends, people from work. It’s a little easier to get people to try something new from a trusted source.

If you’re trying to increase your sales of anything you should be doing your best to increase your network, and you should be doing your best to show that network what you have to offer. To do that as a musical act you need some kind of recording. Back in my day (wheeze, cough) we had to either figure out how to use a four track recorder or get our moms to pay for studio time. You kids today have it a little easier. Now get off my lawn!

We think one of the easiest ways for an artist to get a good recording is to use Set.fm. It does add a little complexity to your show, but it’s worth it to be able to direct people who are interested in you to your work.

Granted, it does cost money for people to purchase your show, but we’ll also let you download the recording if you want. Then you can do whatever you want with it. We do ask that we’re allowed to keep it for two weeks after it’s been recorded. Currently this is something you have to ask us to do, but in the future it’ll be more automagical.

Keep in mind, though, it’s not always a bad idea to charge a few bucks. If you’ve been around a while, you’ve surely been approached at a gig by someone claiming to be a record executive who is going to make you famous. They talk big game all night at the bar, then you never hear from them again. Turns out they were just some random bro who wanted to seem important.

This happened so often to a buddy of mine, whenever one of those dudes approached him, he’d say “Oh yeah? If you’re so interested and so rich, buy ten of my CDs.” I’m not saying it’s a good idea to be snarky to people, but I do think that if someone’s interested in you, a couple of bucks isn’t too much to ask for your hard work.

If you’re thinking of making a recording, sign up for Set.fm and try us out. We want to help. We want you to succeed. We also want ourselves to succeed. We can do all these things together, folks!

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