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The Purple Cow Principle: How to stand out

On Becoming a purple Cow:

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin…

Purple cows stand Out
The Purple cow concept is key to great marketing and Branding

Seth is an entrepreneur extraordinaire, public speaker and an Innovative thinker who has written several cutting-edge books on entrepreneurship, marketing and business in the 21st century digital world. You can find numerous interviews, workshops and videos by Seth Godin all over the Internet and he always has something new and interesting to say about innovative marketing and Business. The Seth Godin concept I want to talk about today is the Purple Cow. The book “Purple Cow” lays out the concept in the following manner. (Paraphrased) If you drive down pretty much any rural highway in the United States of America a common sight are herds of cows standing in the fields. In certain parts of the country (Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, NorthDakota)  cows are so common that your brain begins to just ignore them as you would the blades of grass that line the ditches along the roadway. However… imagine driving down the road and seeing, standing among the masses of normal cows, a single Purple Cow! Now this is something that would catch your eye Because it immediately stands out from the other cows around it. It catches your attention forcing you to look at it and think about it wondering how it got there, how it came to be and why it’s there. Your brain instantly is forced to focus on this if only trying to figure out what it is.   This is the nature of how human minds work…

Why The Purple Cow?

Stand out amongst The masses
The Purple cow is the master of standing Out In a crowd

The human mind processes literally millions of bits of information every moment. this information is gathered through the five senses; your sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch all work together with the brain to form a complete picture of the world around you. Because it would take too much time and energy to think about each bit of information that is presented to you the mind has developed a very clever scheme for managing this incredible amount of information.  Because the work of processing information is so energy-consuming the brain has come up with a strategy designed to simplify the work of collecting processing, prioritizing and responding to it. This allows us to function and respond to new information in a timely manner. The brain does this by taking any new information brought in and categorizing and associating it with memories, experiences or concepts that we are already familiar with and then it groups them into categories to allow us to organize information in a more efficient way which requires much less time and effort to process. This is important because, by taking large chunks of information and associating categorizing and Judging it with something we are familiar with we can quickly formulate a response and behaviors that would seem to be appropriate. All of this becomes automatic over time; It’s the reason we laugh at certain things without Knowing what is specifically funny about it or become sad or angry in response to things That we may have never experienced before. However….When something new happens that your brain has NO basis for comparison… Watch out!!  everything goes off the rails!

You see, when your Brain encounters something unique that it is completely unfamiliar with, It has to go into emergency assessment mode. Your brain was happily chugging along on auto pilot and then suddenly it is forced to sit up and pay full attention; it’s something new that does Not fit into a predetermined category.  So the Paleo – cortex (Lizard Brain) is suddenly Alerted… The Lizard Brain makes an assessment and tells us whether we should, “Fuck It, Fight it, eat it or run away from it.” In short, There is a whole new assessment process that takes place and your Brain forces you to Focus and pay attention.

Are you The Purple Cow?

So, what does all of this stuff have to do with you and your Music? In short…. Everything!!

I am reminded of a Forum Post I read once on a major music website, It went something Like This:

Young Musician: “hey guys How do I become successful as a musician?”

Gnarly, old,Jaded manager guy:  well Kid you have to work on your professionalism; Master your craft and then get out there and Play shows whenever and where ever you can, play out for 10 years or more to develop your sound and  oh yeah, stand out and be unique.”

Wow, what amazing insight from someone who claimed to have been in artist management for over 30 years… and that whole “stand out and be unique” closer… Wooooo damn, Now why didn’t I think of that!?? Of course I am paraphrasing again But that was the gist of the conversation and the “stand Out and be unique” part… That is verbatim.

You see, Most people in the music business know that Being genuine and Unique  and standing out are key ingredients in the “Get fame and success in the Music Business” game. But no one seems to know how. For a 30 year veteran to tell a young musician, ” Oh yeah, stand out and be unique”  is comparable to a high school football coach getting his team ready for a game and saying, ” Ok guys, I don’t have a game plan or any plays ready for this team,  but here’s what we’ll do… Go out and make MORE touchdowns than the other team… Now get out there and Win This Game!!!”  you see, for some of us old crotchety veterans of the music industry who make a bunch of noise about how Long we’ve been in the Business…it doesn’t always mean that much.  many old vets are still  trying to succeed and haven’t changed their strategies or their plans in 30 years and are afraid to admit that a Big part of their game plan is basically to hang in there Long enough to get lucky.

Master the art of Being Unique

Here’s The Thing I want to share with you guys… The Music Business is wide open now, and It’s up to you what niche you want to fill and if there isn’t already a niche ready to be filled… Make one. The Key is being Unique and Genuinely you. Remember, Hedwig had his angry inch. That is the Lesson in this post. Find Out what it is That makes you unique and genuinely you and ride that horse till it drops. You have to determine what it is about you, if you are a solo act or if you have a band, that makes you stand out. once you do that… Run with it, take it to the nth degree, have fun, experiment and figure out how to tell that story in your music, your marketing and your Branding.

Sorry,  But there is No simple answer for this one, like so many aspects of the music business, the solution depends on you I can only guide you down an avenue of thought.  But consider This… Sometimes The answer to The Purple cow question is not who you are But in who you want to become… Think, Marilyn Manson, Alice cooper, David Bowie as Ziggie Stardust, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, ; each of these artists succeeded By becoming who they wanted to be and through creating an alter ego Like Clark kent and Superman became greater than they could ever have been before.

** Below is a Link to Seth Godin’s Book “Purple Cow” This link is an affiliate Link and if you choose to purchase this book through The Link I will receive a commission on it’s sale… Thank you in advance 🙂 **

 

My name is Richard Artichoker,
I am The Founder and Creator of the 7th Gen Academy for DIY Musicians. I have been involved with various aspects of the Music Business for 30 years. in 1992 I founded the hard Rock band “7th Generation”. I stopped playing out live 13 years ago but continue to research the music market and digital sales and marketing techniques and I want to share my experience and knowledge with you.

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Does your Band need a website?

Does you need a Band Website?

 

You need a Band Website in 2016!! This is a topic that I’m Particularly passionate about and I’m often surprised at how things that seem obvious to me can be real head-scratchers for some folks  especially someone just starting out in the music industry Version 2.0.

Let’s begin by looking at some of the beliefs and miss conceptions that many musicians have about this particular topic.

Band Website, Music Business
Your band website is the foundation of your business model

 At this point in 2016 I think we all get that the internet is an incredibly powerful engine for distribution and promotion of your art and your work and if you do just a little bit of Googling you’ll see that many music industry blogs and gurus will tell you that you still want to have your work distributed throughout every possible nook and cranny of the internet and it goes without saying at this point that most musicians are uploading their recordings to one of the many distribution and sales services that are available such as: Tunecore, CD Baby, iTunes,  SoundCloud, Bandcamp and a long list of others. It’s also common knowledge that social media such as Facebook, Instagram,  Tumblr,  Google Plus, Snapchat and others can be powerful tools for broadcasting the word about your band and your most recent musical release to the three F’s “Fans, Friends and Family” .

I believe that this mentality is a leftover from the music industry version 1.0 where it was absolutely essential to have your albums and CDs in every possible store and retail outlet that they could be in order to create a mass effect and for your music to be everywhere so that people could not possibly miss it. It was the role of the music labels to advertise and Market your music by putting ads in magazines and on TV and on the music video channels and it was your role as the artist to play gigs and go on tour in order to promote the songs and the music itself. The idea being that music buying fans would run out to their local music store and easily be able to pick up your album or CD after seeing your music video on television or going to a concert and seeing your band.

However as an Entrepreneur/Artist working in the music industry 2.0 you have to ask yourself, ” is this strategy good enough?”  Is it working for you to Simply upload your music to one of these distribution services and then spam the social media pages of your friends family and fans about this release?  You have to ask yourself,  “am I getting the results That I WANT from this strategy.”

A Glitch in the Matrix…

The matrix of the Music industry is losing control of the market
The matrix of the Music industry is losing control of the market

There’s a little problem with that system today however, a glitch in the Matrix so to speak…. the very same internet that has led to this era of  Unlimited Opportunity that has never before existed for independent musicians has also led to the propagation of a significant change in behavior of the music buying Market….

The Industry leaders, corporations and big wigs in general are telling us that CD sales are dying. CD sales are down by Double digits. The BBC reports that CD sales are down by 31% In the US. They also tell us that MP3 sales and downloads are on the decline…

Digital Music News tells us that  MP3 sales and downloads are down by 13%

But, if you do a Little research you will see that there was 40 Billion dollars in worldwide sales for CD’s and downloads in 2015. That’s not chicken feed!

So what does this all mean?

The Truth about the Music industry version 2.0

The truth of the Matter is that The Music industry Version 1.0 (meaning the major labels and corporations) have outgrown the ability of the market to support them.  It may be true that CD and Digital download sales are declining but does that matter to you as an independent DIY artist?  No! not really. 40 billion dollars is plenty of money for every DIY artist out there. It’s only the giant corporations That have to support all the corporate drones that are failing. For a DIY Entrepreneur/artist you can have a successful career By selling thousands of copies of your most recent release instead of Millions.  Why? because your overhead cost is minimal.

So, how do you get a piece of the Pie?

You need a business Model that will work for you! That Music Business model includes a Personal and/or Band website.

Why You need a Band website…

There are a Number of reasons to create a website: maybe you like to blog, maybe you have a product you’d like to promote or sell, maybe you want to have total creative control, over the content you post to the internet, These are all great reasons to get yourself a website But as an entrepreneur/artist it is absolutely essential that you build Not just a website But a Business Model! your website should be the central strategy for generating revenue. Why? Because it works!

Owning your own website gives you the foundation of a business on which you can ultimately build your brand and your career.  Through your website you can do pretty much anything you can imagine, (that is within your technical reach) But more importantly it allows you to market and sell your songs and merchandise and have complete control of your financial future without anyone else siphoning profits off the top of your work.yes we are talking about these online services such as CD Baby…

You see, The way the Music Industry/market version 2.0 works is simple… But it’s not easy.

you need to focus on creating Value for your fans and potential customers. you need to create a tribe of loyal fans/customers who can’t want to engage with you and hear about your next event, the next concert and the next release.

How does a website help with all of this? Can’t we do that with Facebook or Instagram or whatever social media we prefer. No not anymore. 5 years ago an artist could make a reasonable amount of sales from their FB fan page. But now… social media is jam packed full of artists trying their best to use social media to “get their music out there.” There are literally Millions of artists with FB fan pages, Reverb nation Profiles, CD baby Profiles, Soundcloud and band Camp, Instagram and whatever  social media platform you prefer.  but most musicians have no idea how to leverage the social media to keep generating new sales. The best way to Leverage Social media today is to use it to create relationships between yourself and your fans, have conversations, engage people let then know what you are all about. by peaking their interest this will make you more attractive and they will want to know more about you or your band. Then they will check out your fan pages or your profiles and that is the first step to guiding them to your website where you will be able to lead them through a sales funnel and turn an interested fan into a valued customer.

Your website will allow you to do the following things:

  • Create a professional sales funnel that converts fans into customers. 
  • Collect email addresses
  •  Stand out and be Unique in a market that demands more unique value
  • have complete control over your personal brand
  • Maintain complete Intellectual control over all content posted to the internet
  • Develop special programs and up-sells that increase the value of your brand.
  • Funnel all of your social media and other traffic to one place where you can control the experience the fan has when engaging with your brand
  • Create a professional image
  • Use SEO to generate more organic internet traffic
  • Generate other streams of income through affiliate programs or other sources (adds)
  • Last and most importantly: Keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket!!

 

I am sure there are more good reasons why your band should have a private website but, I think you get the point. Even if you don’t have a band and are a solo artist you need to begin creating and building your online music business empire as soon as you can. The only thing you can accomplish by waiting  is leaving money on the table.

 

 

My name is Richard Artichoker,
I am The Founder and Creator of the 7th Gen Academy for DIY Musicians. I have been involved with various aspects of the Music Business for 30 years. in 1992 I founded the hard Rock band “7th Generation”. I stopped playing out live 13 years ago but continue to research the music market and digital sales and marketing techniques and I want to share my experience and knowledge with you.

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Three myths about the music business

Three music myths and fallacies that most people believe.

The legendary Ozzy ozzbourn
Music Myths and Legends are the Building blocks of Music culture.
If you’ve been around the music scene for a minute, or like me, a little longer. You will undoubtedly hear stories. some stories even reach epic/legendary status such as Keith Richards preternatural ability to consume alcohol, cigarettes and drugs and remain alive, possibly forever… Or the story of how Steven Tyler and Joe Perry got the nickname, ” The Toxic Twins” from,of all people,  Jerry Garcia.  There are literally thousands of legends out there about various folks of whom some are celebrities some of whom are local musicians or groupies much less well-known. 
The topic of this article is Music myths and legends but because the overall theme of this site is DIY/indie music business success tips. I want to focus on myths or beliefs about being in the music business that continue to persist and may have a direct impact on your DIY music career. 

The impact/influence of myths. 

Why even pay attention to myths in the music business? For the most part  these stories are nothing more than just that, stories…  Some stories however persist, year after year, generation after generation. They become a part of the cultural fabric and resultantly  accepted as part of the lore of the culture.  
Don't let Music Business myths affect your career
Music cal myths and Legends. How they affect your career

 Three myths that most musicians believe that aren’t true!

Myth # 1:  “You need to grind away, paying your dues for 5 years, 10 years or more in order to be successful”.
This certainly is one way to go about your music career…. However, with digital direct marketing and sales technique aimed at your specific Niche Market you can cut a lot of wasted time and energy out of the equation.
Myth # 2:  “Once you get signed to a label you’ve made it!”

Getting signed to a label “can be” a  step towards having a successful music career and not that long ago it was a necessary step along that path. The old school music industry was very tightly regulated and controlled by Middle men gate Keepers in the form of Indie Labels and A&R reps for Labels at all levels.

However…., Getting signed IS NOT and has never been any kind of Guarantee of success in your music career and many artists have been dropped from labels with no rights to the distribution of  their albums and Merch or recordings of their own music. I myself played in the backup band of a signed artist, he had a three album contract with a small to medium sized indie label.  when I Played in his band he was still living on food stamps and still had to do all of his own booking and managing of his gigs and of his marketing and sales of his CDs.

 

Myth # 3:  “I don’t need a Website/online Marketing and sales campaign, It’s too soon and people will just steal/Pirate my stuff anyway…”

Ok Guys, wake up, sniff the coffee, It’s 2016. All Business is being conducted online. Believing this myth pretty much guarantees that you will be a Living example of Myth # 1.  Now, I know most if not all Musicians these days are using Social media. But 95-98% of musicians are using it ineffectively.  That being said,  I have heard with my own two ears and seen postings online that some musicians still believe That They don’t need a website or an online marketing strategy or an online sales funnel.  The Only thing I can say to that is… You may be right. But only if your Musical goals include just remaining stuck in a local market and playing local bar gigs and other local events. If you want to remain stuck in the “hobbyist” stage of your Career for years to come. Then yes you are right you don’t need a website or an online campaign.

As far as the Stealing/Pirating goes, You not getting your media up online quickly is Not going prevent someone from pirating your music. In fact I watched a Video a week ago where a Music Business consultant talked about how one of their clients is involved In a legal battle with a “FAN” who went to their shows and recorded all their songs with an iPhone and Then put up a “fan channel” on you Tube and started Monetizing all of the you tube views and making money off of the bands songs. 

You won’t ever stop people from stealing/Pirating your stuff But if your smart and Savvy maybe you can use it to your advantage. But either way, Not having a website and you tube channel or other social media outlets claimed as your own is only making it easier for someone to beat you to it and make money off of your music.

 

Succeeding in the New Music Business means changing with the times, understanding the market we are reaching out to and being willing to change our role as Musician/artist to Musicians/artist/entrepreneur.  You don’t have to stop listening to the rhetoric of the old school music Business But, you need to recognize that what worked for musicians in 1976 or even 1986 may not be the only or even the best way to plan and execute your career in 2016

 

Thanks for visiting and don’t be shy, Leave comments and sign up for our email newsletter for exclusive content only available to our 7thGen Academy supporters!!

 

 

 

My name is Richard Artichoker,
I am The Founder and Creator of the 7th Gen Academy for DIY Musicians. I have been involved with various aspects of the Music Business for 30 years. in 1992 I founded the hard Rock band “7th Generation”. I stopped playing out live 13 years ago but continue to research the music market and digital sales and marketing techniques and I want to share my experience and knowledge with you.

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ow to succeed In the Music Business: How to Identify your #1 fan

How to Identify Your fans

 “If you are marketing to everyone Then you are really marketing to  no one”. 
When It comes to marketing any Business proposition The first, and by any entrepreneurs opinion, The most important ingredient is your niche market.  One of My Business mentors once said the exact quote from above to me. His intention was  really get me to understand that targeted marketing is  the best way to improve  chances of sales .  This requires that you focus your efforts on a Target audience. This is known as a “Niche market” . The Definition of a Niche market is as follows:
A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The market niche defines as the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact. It is also a small market segment.
As a Musician/artist/entrepreneur it’s important to have a plan to increase your chance of success and to reduce the chance of wasting time energy and other resources.  And as an entrepreneur it is important that you become familiar with what are know as “best Practices” These are tried and true methods and concepts that have become the staple of good business no matter what market you are in.  Frank Kern is one of the big players in online Marketing and commands an almost godlike status in online business circles. every year Frank does a “state of digital marketing” presentation where he gives a marketing/business lesson to the marketing community with the idea of sharing important information to increase the success of Online entrepreneurs. 
Here is an example of such a presentation.

 

Focusing your marketing and sales efforts on a Specific Niche Market or even a “micro-niche” ( an even smaller subset of the initial subset. – Think 18-21 year old male metal heads vs. just , “metal heads” )  This allows you to begin a conversation with a very specific known group of personality types. It allows us to reduce  the likely hood that you will waste years of just “trial and error”

Who are your Fans?

Up to date I have approached this conversation keeping in mind my own background as a musician and the conversations I’ve had with many other musicians over the years.  I have purposefully avoided using the term  “customer” or “client”  because I know this is not how Most musicians talk about their “fans” The people who come to our shows and listen to our songs.
But It is Time for a Paradigm shift….
The Music Business of 2016 demands that a DIY artist who wants to succeed on all levels begin to think like an entrepreneur and this can be a very liberating experience if you are willing to let go of some old prejudices. Your Fans can also be your customers. In fact whether you realize it or not or are willing to admit it or not your Fans have to become your Customers.  I bet 98% of the musicians who read this article don’t realize that a fan is “NOT a customer! That’s right a fan is Not a customer until you convert them! Think about it. lets say you have a band and you have a FB Fan page for your band and you have 10.000 fans subscribed to your fan page. Now you go out and record a Killer album and release it and it’s now available on every digital outlet there is; Sound cloud, band camp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon,  and on and on and  two weeks later you go and look at your sales analytics  and you’ve sold 200 copies…. What happened?
If I were consulting with This band the first Thing I would look at is the specific aim of their marketing campaign, did they really identify and understand their “niche-Market”

Lets find your #1 fan…

Identifying your ideal customer is a key to your overall marketing strategy. you need to have a Niche Market in order to find success with your sales strategies. When creating your “Ideal customer profile you shoulder consider the following factors.
  1. Are they male or Female
  2. How old are they
  3. Where are they from
  4. What is their educational background
  5. What is their social,financial status
  6. what are their beliefs, Religion,cultural,spiritual
  7. What are their Hobbies
  8. What are they passionate about
  9. What causes do they support
  10. What upsets them.
Creating an Ideal customer profile helps you to target your marketing efforts toward “pre-qualified” customers and increase  your chances of sales. But more importantly makes it much easier to create Engagment and trust between you and your tribe

For more information and more in-depth content please subscribe to our email list and Join the DIY Music entrepreneur movement!!

 

My name is Richard Artichoker,
I am The Founder and Creator of the 7th Gen Academy for DIY Musicians. I have been involved with various aspects of the Music Business for 30 years. in 1992 I founded the hard Rock band “7th Generation”. I stopped playing out live 13 years ago but continue to research the music market and digital sales and marketing techniques and I want to share my experience and knowledge with you.

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How to succeed in the music Business: Make the most of your free downloads.

How to make the Most of your Free Music downloads or Leveraging your Free MP3’s

Free MP3 downloads, MP3's, Music Downloads
How to Leverage your free music giveaways
So, I don’t think it’s any secret that a lot of musicians offer at least some of their music as a free music download, and a few artists offer all of their online music for free as an MP3 download.  Occasionally the free music giveaway method does work but it depends entirely on the relationship that that artist has developed with their fans.  An artist I was speaking with recently Nailed it, “Your Vibe Determines your tribe.”   Thanks Brandy!@ 
Most musicians Know that giving away a few tracks from an upcoming Album release can be part of a successful promotional effort.  some artists will give away full albums worth of material or Ep’s. Most artists however are going about it all wrong and are missing a Huge opportunity  when it comes to making the very most of their giveaway products.  When it comes to your Free promotional offers you really need to put your Entrepreneurs hat on and you should be thinking, ” How can I create THE MOST Leverage from This giveaway.”

What is Leverage?

Lets take a look at a few entrepreneurial concepts. When entrepreneurs in any market talk about leverage what they are referring to is using their resources to generate some form of advantage in their business. Their goals will often include: Increasing the visibility of their brand, adding value to their brand and their specific niche market, gaining trust and loyalty from their market and increasing their opt in rates to their email list. The business concept we are invoking in this instance is what is known as “reciprocity”. What this means is that a person is much more willing and inclined to give something back when they receive a gift from you. This is a marketing concept that is used by businesses and entrepreneurs all over the world. Why? Because it works. It is one of the primary concepts that digital marketers use to create Leverage in their marketing campaigns.
If you are not utilizing your free Music offers to accomplish at least one of of these goals you are missing out on a huge opportunity to leverage your brand and your services to your niche market.

Five  ways to Leverage your Free music giveaways.

  1. Offer free downloads as a reward for signing up to your email list
  2. Offer free downloads as rewards for liking your Facebook or other social media pages
  3. Offer free downloads as “gift”  Bonus tracks for purchasing Ep’s or albums directly from your website
  4. Offer free Music downloads as “gifts” for signing up for your Patreon, Kickstarter or other crowd funding campaign
  5. Offer “exclusive” Free songs as a reward for signing up for your “members only” VIP program

Create value in your Niche market, if you don’t who will?

Always keep in mind that your are an entrepreneur/musician, Not just an artist, but a business person as well.  Don’t be afraid to ask for a fair exchange of value from your niche market and always be striving to find ways to impart VALUE    to your fans. This is how you will begin to create leverage toward achieving your goals in the music business.

 

My name is Richard Artichoker,
I am The Founder and Creator of the 7th Gen Academy for DIY Musicians. I have been involved with various aspects of the Music Business for 30 years. in 1992 I founded the hard Rock band “7th Generation”. I stopped playing out live 13 years ago but continue to research the music market and digital sales and marketing techniques and I want to share my experience and knowledge with you.