As I begin work on the new CDs (albums?) that I've planned, I want to simultaneously create a marketing plan. (I don't know what to call a CD/album in these days of single song marketing via digital media.) Many years ago, I issued a couple of solo CDs that received rave reviews in the press in the Northeast. I played some gigs in the area and just sort of expected everything to fall in place.
But, things didn't fall into place. In retrospect, I understand that I had no marketing plan for my product. Why? I labored under the naive notion that the quality of what I produced should and would drive the entire process.
In the digital age, defining one's audience isn't enough. You also have to plan how to, as they say, "monetize" your product. It's so easy to download and pass around music and books for free that it has become difficult to convince people to part with money for art works.
The foundation of my audience is people who love "roots" music... that is music derived from the traditional music forms... gospel, blues, country, folk and jazz. I think that this audience goes across all age groups. I'm not political. I'm an outlaw. That's attractive to a certain audience.
For the past 5 years or so, I've tried to convince other musicians to collaborate in my vision of how virtual marketing would work, and I've had zero success. Guys my age want the music biz to function as it did in the 60s and 70s. It's almost a moral issue with them. A band should form in a public performance space, bars and clubs, build an audience, get a record deal and go on the road. That model is just about dead. For one thing, the traditional recording company is mostly obsolete.
Nowadays, the marketing process works backwards. Build a strong online presence, attract an audience and that leads to a foundation for public performing. At least, so I think. My vision is to slowly build a virtual online performing space that can reach a global audience. Where and how to do that... well, I don't know yet.
People who are interested in this process form another core audience that I want to address. In other words, a large part of the work that I plan to do is blazing a trail in this new world of virtual online performance.
I'll be combining the old and the new approaches. I'll be venturing out into public performing spaces. In fact, I already am. I enjoy live performing. (Not so much, however, in venues that do not allow for creative expression, which is most of them.) Musicians receive instant criticism and feedback from a live audience about what does and does not work. At the same time, I'll be building an online presence in the virtual world through video, animation, etc.
I'll start rolling out the specifics soon.