selling music

How to Put Together a Professional Musician's Promo Kit

Your promo kit is critical when you are trying to get a deal, so make sure you spend enough time and money on it. In many cases, your promotional package will be your first impression to someone in the music industry, so it has to be as professional as possible. Take into account that whoever is viewing your package has seen hundreds, if not thousands, of promo kits. So don’t expect to wow them with a huge package that proves you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Keep it simple, lean, and clean. You really only need a short biography, a good picture, an example of your music, and maybe some sort of press information.

Put all of that in a nice binder that can be kept together easily, and make sure that your name, address, phone, and other contact information are printed on everything that will be removed from the package, including the cassette case and the cassette, or the CD case and the CD. I’ve received lots of packages, and sometimes I’ve lost the CD cover but had the CD, or vice versa. Even if I thought the music was great, sometimes I couldn’t get in touch with the artist because there was no contact information on the CD.

Picking the Producer for Your Demo Recording

Picking the right producer can mean the difference between a really good record and a really bad one. Even though you may have to pay a producer to work with you, this could actually save you money in the long run. You’ll probably get a much better product, and in less time, than if you try to do everything on your own.

Why go you need a producer?

You may want to consider producing the CD yourself anyway, but having a third party there who can give you some objective opinions can be invaluable. Furthermore, if you choose a well-connected producer, he may be able to help you get a record deal, or at least open some doors for you so that the right people will hear your music and possibly sign you.

Marketing your own music

Marketing is not only about advertising. It includes market research, media relations and planning, product placement and pricing, sales strategies, distribution, public relations, and much more.

Whom do you sell your music?

Marketing research can be an excellent way to put your finger on the pulse of the public. It can tell you who is out there and what they are buying. When you gather data from a variety of sources, such as focus groups and the like, you can analyze your findings, define or quantify issues, address those issues, and come up with creative solutions. Then you can expand your marketing base in a scientific way, so that money is not wasted on markets that won’t have any interest in your products and services. After all, can you really sell snow cones to Eskimos? Probably not, but you could sell them the syrup. So you probably shouldn’t be trying to sell heavy metal records to traditional country music fans, and vice versa. Marketing research allows you to pinpoint your advertising and marketing strategies so that they reach the right people.

Dealing with an independent record label

The real upside to signing with any of the major labels is that they have the money for big recording budgets, tour support, and the like. Also, the Big 5 labels have the marketing and promotion muscle to make sure your record is played on the radio in all major markets. However, the major record labels are a lot like a big cruise ship—once they get moving in one direction, they have a really hard time stopping or turning in other directions, such as niche markets that can be very profitable for all those involved. So even if you can’t get a deal with a major record label, you should not give up, because there are always the independent labels.

What is an independent record label?

An independent record label is basically any label that is not affi liated with any of the Big 5, and that uses different distributors than the major labels to get its music to the retailers. An independent label may be the only place you can go for a record deal, especially if your music is not in the mainstream or doesn’t have huge market potential.

But this doesn’t mean that these independent labels can’t help you out. In fact, often they’re better suited to niche markets and can adapt more readily to changes in the marketplace. Furthermore, an independent label may be much more willing to take a chance on developing an act even after the majors have passed it.

Booking agents: who are they?

booking agent is an absolute must if you’re trying to break out. He will keep you working and keep bringing in cash flow. Booking agents normally charge from 10 to 15% of each show that they book. When you consider how many promotional packages you would have to send out on your own, and how many cold calls you would have to make, just so you continue to have gigs to play, you can see that a really good booking agent can be worth his weight in gold.

A booking agent’s most valued assets are his knowledge of music, his ability to market and sell his acts, and his Rolodex with all of his contacts throughout the music industry. A good booking agent has his finger on the pulse of what is happening with all types of gigs, and he knows where to put his acts so that they can make the most money. He has a great rapport with all types of clubs, festivals, and medium and larger venues.

Distribution of CDs

Many musicicans after they have recorded their first CD ask themselves what do you do next?

Let’s assume that you are selling quite a few of your CDs at gigs, and you’re getting some airplay at local radio stations and college stations. You’ve gotten some good reviews in local newspapers and college papers, and you’ve even gotten a write-up in a magazine or two. There’s a good buzz going on about your band. But what happens if people go to their local music store and can’t find your CD? You just lost a sale!