The music industry is enjoying robust ticket sales. People are willing to pay a hundred and up for a single ticket. Many say that what the industry is losing in record sales, it's making up in merchandising and concert attendance.
"It's not good, but better than a stick in the eye," said one music insider –"or at least better than yet one more illegally downloaded track." But is this current model of generating funds via monster rock tours one that the industry can truly look at as its savior? It's doubtful. One look at the acts that are bringing in the huge crowds and brisk hundred-dollar-and-over-per-seat seat ticket sales to a floundering industry, and it becomes painfully obvious that this is not a sustainable model unless the players shift dramatically and soon.
The big draws in music are not the new or breaking acts. Lady GaGa is a relatively new phenomena and player, but she is far from the norm. The big draws in the rock world have been there for decades and a new crop with the same drawing power does not seem to be in the offing. The superstars that are selling out stadiums are getting to be a bit long in the tooth. It's not Spoon that is selling out stadiums at over a hundred dollars per ticket, it's the old guard; it's Springsteen, the Stones, McCartney, Madonna and James Taylor. Ironically, U2 and the Chili Peppers are considered relative newcomers in this crop and Cold Play and Radio Head signal the new faces, although they've been around for years.
Income from live performances, sponsorships, along with revenue from publishing and online streaming is offering some counterbalance to the loss in record sales. Free music streaming services are beginning to bring in some revenue. Music is also being licensed to companies such as Nokia which bundles it into its overall price. Still, without the benefit of radio support and the star making machinery of the past, it's going to be difficult to launch this generation's Arrowsmith or Guns and Roses. The mold is broken and it's doubtful that it can be replicated, at least not until a new model is created
There will always be the Taylor Swifts, Kings of Leon and Justin Biebers who breakthrough, but more and more those type of mass market artists are going to be the exception. They will be corporately designed entities, or winners (and sometime losers) of TV talent shows. Apart from those avenues there are few ways that acts can be exposed to millions of fans.
So, what's a new band or musical artist to do? How does this new crop reach the masses? Maybe they don't. Perhaps the focus of new musicians should shift from mass to niche. At least for the present, this is not the time to shoot for the mass market.
This may no longer be a time when an A&R rep finds a band and creates a superstar, but more than ever now, bands and musicians can reach their fans and create a market on their own. The following are some marketing and business approaches to consider.
1) Create a website that reflects who you are and showcases your music
2) Start a blog about your music and your journey. Make it interactive. Let others communicate with and connect to you
3) Begin a concerted social media outreach that includes Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, youTube, etc.
4) Focus on targeted local gigs and promote them
5) As you grow, focus on targeted regional touring
6) A creative PR outreach to the local, regional and national media.
7) Submit your music to be played on TV shows
8) Submit your music and your band for product and commercial tie-ins or support
9) Start a small merchandising outreach including downloads, CDs, T-shirts, and the like.
There are new creative ways for artists to grow and thrive. Think niche markets. Find an audience that understands and enjoys your music. Build a following and a tribe. You need to be creative, persistent and think like a marketing maven as well as like an artist. But with the right tools, approach and gameplan, you can succeed.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010