DIY musicians often feel overwhelmed with decisions like:
– Should I focus on Facebook or Twitter?
– Should I use SoundCloud or BandCamp?
– Which distributor is better, TuneCore or CD Baby?
When in reality… None of those things matter! Because first, you need to create something people want. As American Apparel’s marketing director Ryan Holiday once put it, “marketing success can only happen when people actually want what you have to offer.”
And no marketing tool will change that. So stop thinking about the tools. Instead, come up with better ideas to entertain your audience.
Let’s draw a clear line between “tools” and “ideas”. Take a look at the following examples:
– Recording gear vs. song ideas: The only people who care about the gear you use… are other musicians. What matters for listeners are your songs.
– Email software vs. subject line: There are many useful tools for emailing your fans. But here’s what it comes down to: Will people open and read your messages? So just pick a provider and learn, or hire someone to write emails that get read.
– Crowdfunding platform vs. your story: How do fans decide whether to support a project or not? Not because it’s hosted on one platform rather than another. What matters is your big idea: How can you tell your story in a way that people actually care?
– Website template vs goal of your website: Whether your website is working for you or just taking up digital space, it doesn’t depend on the template you’re using. The important ideas to think about are: Who’s visiting my site? What do I want them to do? How can I make it easy for them to do it?
– Advertising platform vs. targeting strategy: Facebook is a powerful marketing tool. I’ve run countless campaigns. Some are successful, others completely fail… What makes the difference? Not the tool, but coming up with smarter targeting and more compelling offers.
Become an idea machine
I hope the examples above will help you avoid the tools trap! However, an idea is worth nothing, if it remains just that. So make sure you act on your ideas.
Treat them like experiments and test to see the response. You will quickly find out what works, and what doesn’t (“If it’s not a hit, switch.”) And remember: The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
That’s why you need to become an idea machine. Obsessing over tools is just a distraction to keep you busy. Your ideas are the opportunities that can take you to the next level.
Plus, the tools might change. But your ideas are here to stay.
Tools are replaceable. But your ideas are indispensable.
Lukas Camenzind is the founder of Posteram, a digital marketing agency for musicians and bands.