Bad Economy? Sell your music on the Streets!
Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the last month, you’ve heard about and perhaps even been a part of the Wall-Street protests. Folks on Wallstreet and in the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago and around the United States screaming loud and clear from the rooftops that corporate greed must end and that we must speak out Freely against these Corporate Dictatorships.
I’m in complete agreement with these protests: It’s hard right now and Corporate Greed has a lot to do with it, but to quote the Foo Fighters, “It’s times like these, we learn to live again.” When I have 8 dollars in my pocket and every craigslist job ad I answer is a scam, I’m forced to think outside the box and get into a sink or swim mentality. This is when I excel and you can too. As a matter of fact, I think any Musician or Producer out there who is trying to find a job right now is in a better position than anyone else out there seeking employment. Why? Because if you have one track recorded, you have a product to sell. That’s all that matters!
Why not, take this time of Economic Crisis and Hard-Living to learn a little more about your craft and how to market your music to the masses? You have a product, now sell it and go into business for yourself. The best part is, you can make your own schedule and no one is breathing over your shoulder and keeping tabs on how many times you’re going to the restroom. Of course this can be a double-edged sword, you do need to work, but the key here is to have fun and be your own portable store-front out on the streets where you live. Think about how cool it would be if you could meet 10 people tomorrow who listen to your music, like it and buy it? I’m telling you, I do this every day right now and you wouldn’t believe the difference it’s made with my online sales.
Yep. I know it’s confusing. I just said I’m out on the street selling my music, but I’m actually making sales online. How does that work? If you want to increase your music sales online, social networking on twitter, facebook, your own website or blog is a good way to start out. That’s why I like TuneCube. It’s easy, you get your store embed code and paste it on specific sites with your niche demographic of listeners. With a click of the button you’re in the business of selling your music online. Now to build your fan-base, if you’re like me, you start with your fans and friends, get a few referrals from friends of friends and then begin working on building your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account. But what happens when the well runs dry? When all you have to depend on is your Twitter, Facebook and the amount of visits you get on your website per day? Where do you find new Frands? (Frands=Fan and Friend, what a fan should be.) It begins and ends on the street.
There is no better way to make a sale, then a firm handshake, eye-contact and smile. This can’t be done online, but I can guarantee what you do out on the street will help you sell your music online. Your first step is to get the necessary materials you’ll need for street-music-marketing promotion. Go to Staples or Office Max and get yourself 100 blank CD’s and some CD Sleeves. It’s cheap and easy. Now, you need a pair of headphones and something to play your music on. Your goal here is light. K-Mart is fine for headphones and you can get a cheap mp3 player for about $25 there too. Be resourceful: Do you have a recording engineer friend who might lend you a pair of head-phones? You don’t need an mp3 player, if you have an iPhone, more power to you. If you’re old school, go with a disc-man, but I personally don’t like how bulky these are, and it’s hard to keep them in your pockets. Just think user-friendly: You don’t want to overwhelm your customer with too much crap in your pockets. Keep things light and organized. Now go to the dollar store near you and pick up a permanent marker, Pen and a small notebook, preferably one you can keep in your pocket.
Most importantly is your product. Before you go anywhere, count out 20 CD’s. Burn the tracks you have onto your Blank CD’s – put them in their respected sleeves and find a back pack, or something that will work for carrying all the required material you’ll need to make your sales. Before you go anywhere, give yourself a goal. Make it attainable. This is your first day, so shoot for 1. Put it on your wall. Keep telling yourself, “I will sell 1 CD today. I won’t stop until I sell 1 CD!” It doesn’t matter what you sell it for, just sell it. Don’t give it away for Free. Remember, this is your time. You are out there, working hard. If you can afford to just burn CD’s and give them away for Free, then do it. I’m gearing this article more towards those that do not have financial stability and are looking to make some cash pretty quick. Finally: Get a price in your head on how much your CD is going to sell for. I sell my CD’s for $10. They are professionally packaged, so my rate is quite fair. It’s not bad to price each of your songs at $1, that way with 5 tracks, you’re looking at $5. Now that you have your figures straight, where are you going to go on your first day of selling your music on the streets?
Make a list of a few public places. Malls, Movie Theaters, Grocery Stores, Farmer’s Markets, that’s just a few to get your mind going. Don’t be too picky. There is never a right or wrong place. Some of my best days are in places with little-to-no traffic, it’s more intimate that way. The next step is to choose 1 location you would like to go to tomorrow. Stay positive. Don’t think, “I have no idea what I’m doing, no one is going to buy. This is stupid. It’s not going to work.” Get those negative ideas out of your head. You’re goal is 1 in 100. That’s it. Talk to 100 people. 1 person will buy. I don’t care what you say, how you say it, keep track of how many people you talk to and 1 person will buy. The best part is, who cares if they don’t buy, if they listen and like your music: Get their e-mail, thank them for their support and let them know just for being on your e-mail list you’re going to send them a Free Mp3. Do you see what I’m doing here? Create incentive, make your Fans feel important and they will return the favor. Your time is valuable, so make it worth it! Get something from every single person that STOPS and talks to you. You’ll be surprised at how fast your e-mail list is going to fill up. Also, a good idea is to make a quick note about this person: Did they say something funny? How are you going to remember this person later on? You want to CONNECT. My suggestion is to not sell them, just talk to them, at some point they will ask you, “What are you doing out here?” Make the Sale.
I’m not going to say this is easy. Talking to 100 people is the hard part. You’re going to feel humility because a lot of people are going to tell you No. That’s fine. They aren’t your customers, keep talking, keep smiling, keep pitching and keep learning. The more you do this, the better you’ll get. I know you don’t want to go out there and make a fool of yourself, but look at it this way. Life is about risk. It’s about failing. It’s about falling down and seeing what happens. You can’t learn how to be successful until you fail. I’ve fallen a lot. I’m still falling, but I’ve also succeeded through those failures. You’re learning your business, so just go out there with a “Let’s just see what happens” mentality. You will get a YES and it’s a wonderful moment. Just stick with it. Remember, no one is going to work as hard as you are at making your Music Happen. You can play shows and sell your album to your existing fans, but what happens when you’ve run that course? What are you supposed to do when you start seeing the same faces at every show? You have to find new ones and unless you have a lot of money, know Mark Zuckerberg as a personal friend or are extremely extroverted and your the Town Mayor’s son/daughter, finding new fans is work and that takes going out on the street.
My goal here is to show you how with a little hustle and some street-smarts you can take offline and make it work for online and vice-versa. You don’t need to do this full time, you can do this on your days off – but DO IT! You’ll yield fantastic results and no one is more inclined to buy your album then a frand who you met on the street, loves your music and sees how hard you’re working to make your dreams happen.
Contributed Article by DW Music Marketing
DW is currently the Founder/Booker and Promoter for 77LIVE a music show featuring the top singer/songwriters in Los Angeles, CA. As of January, he’s sold over 4,000 of his Albums on the streets of LA and is the co-founder of two online music websites. Want to learn more about how to market your music? Tweet him@dwmusicmarket