Musicians: What You Know About Marketing Is A Lie

As musicians, we’ve become jaded about using the term “marketing”. Many musicians won’t even admit to using marketers, because it might indicate that we’re selling out, pandering to the masses, or even worse: being commercially successful. 


Why do musicians and people that take great pride in their craftsmanship so violently dislike marketing? Because we’ve all had such a bad experience with marketing for the last 100 years. When we think of marketing, we think of annoying TV commercials, coupons advertising crappy products, and the general promotion of mediocrity. We don’t think hand crafted, personalized products from people who are passionate about what they do. We think factory worker. 


And here’s the great lie- we’ve been lied to that marketing is a one way shouting match with someone that doesn’t want to listen. 


This is hogwash. Marketing isn’t yelling, it’s communicating. and all great conversations are two-way, personal, meaningful, and ideally leave both participants feeling like they got something valuable out of the exchange. 


Every time you speak to the audience at a show, buy a piece of equipment, post a tweet, dress for a TV appearance, design an album cover, design your website, make a youtube recording or talk to a fan, you’re marketing. Whether you like it or not. 


We’ve got to reclaim our marketing. We’re already marketing every day, and since most musicians aren’t aware that they’re marketing, they do it really poorly. Then they blame the music industry for letting them down. 


Let’s start focus on being deliberate, come up with a strategy, and execute it with a the care and discipline that we put into our first love: music.