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Senior Moments
Part 2
By Allen Johnston, The Music Specialist
(more articles from this author)
2006-07-06
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Here you are, over 40 years old and you are creating or have already finished your new project. What can you do to get this project sold?

Radio is not going to give you the time of day.

Retail wants a story BEFORE they order your product. Sounds like a catch 22 situation; however, you do have a few directions that you can turn to. Let’s explore them together.

NICHE

The key word for your project is that you must find your niche market and promote it severely. Most “old school” acts are creating Jazz, R&B or versions of what is being called Neo soul. Each one of these markets has a strong if not limited audience base in this country. Currently the “LOVE JAZZ” formatted radio stations seem to be attempting to play more R&B and Neo Soul music than any other, but their rotation is limited to one play a day or less. Alternative promotional avenues are now including college radio, Internet radio stations, Satellite radio, both XM and Sirius, and television’s Music Choice.

INTERNET

Manufacturing physical product for anything other than sales at your shows is no longer necessary. Instead, a MP3 file of your music can be used to send your music directly to radio, publishers and promoters or for direct download for sale. This free tool can bring new life to aging acts and open up brand new legions of fans. Open a website using the technique of streaming video coupled with online chats, still photos of your act’s travels, and a place to find information not commonly known about your act. This will give you the ability to showcase, sell music and merchandise, communicate directly with your fans and have an avenue to solicit new touring jobs.

The Internet does need a regular marketing person to daily comb other sites placing information about your act, leaving messages on your act’s website, and inviting new fans to join. Try using a few young people to assist you in online marketing strategies. There are professional companies now setup to market, promote and sell only online and they are extremely reasonable, and they much cheaper than hiring a PROMOTION PERSON to get your song played on stations that don’t care about you or your music.

PERFORMANCE

An act that has a very good stage show, complete with showmanship and good looking costumes, has a more than an even chance to make substantial sales while they are on the road. The sale of music and merchandise can create a very good additional income. Even more interesting is the latest concept of Live Performance DVD, where an act films their live stage performance and starts using this DVD as a video promotional tool within over 40 clubs, local cable television shows, and sales through out the international market. Most recently, music that can be used for “STEPPERS” is creating really decent sales in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Miami and other progressive cities.

PUBLISHING

Most artists that I have met never speak to either a publisher or a performing rights society writer affiliate. The largest amount of money made from music comes directly from publishing. That new love song you just wrote may be the perfect song for a new clothing brand or the ideal fit for a television commercial. Get to know someone at the performing rights society that you are a member of, BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. These writer affiliates make money when they have hit songs to work. You already know that your song is a hit and you need to have the world know it. The writer affiliates can get directly involved with your project and find new avenues to increase your revenue stream.

INTERNATIONAL

The international marketplace is still available to the music made by our American artists, and the music is appreciated by the masses. While in France I heard a radio station on the bus that played Billy Holliday, Bobby McFerrin, Dave Brubeck, and Herbie Hancock all during a morning drive show. I was amazed at how the international marketplace admires and holds in reverence Black artists from the United States.

The time to start your international promotion is now - as soon as you possibly can. Once again, using the Internet and your online marketing team you can reach thousands of old and new fans. You can also research upcoming festivals and even club venues that can house your act. Here you can create merchandising sales and performance DVD sales. Please remember that International audiences see R&B, Jazz, Blues and Neo-Soul acts as creative genius and treasure their performances.

I hope that I have been able to shed some light on how to market, promote and sell your music when you are over 40 years old. Maybe you can have a Senior Moment too.

For more information about the author, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.


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