Well, not that I have any marketing experience [with the exception of marketing myself towards girls as a “oh-so-wonderful boyfriend/future husband” (which, btw, finally worked six years ago on Feb. 13th (but that’s another story))], but I suspect what you two are going through is what my friend and I will be going through in about eight months: How to get people to buy the product?
I’m not sure if I’ll actually answer your question in this post, but what I do hope is that the both of you will at least generate ideas from what I have to say; which will lead towards future sales.
But, I do have a question: Have either of you two taken a marketing class? If not, I would strongly advise this. An intro-level class can lead towards ideas on what sort of tactics to use.
Anyway, you need to define your target market. Who are the people that will want to actually pay money for your CD? This is different from people who are willing to listen to your CD, seeing that listeners may not actually purchase. Once you’ve figured out who will buy, you need to come up with the “Marketing Mix”: Product, price, place, and promotion.
Product: What is it that you are trying to sell; is it a product or a service (and remember, a service can be an experience)? How tangible is the item? Is it download only? Or is a physical CD available as well?
Price: What are you charging? For a new “electronic” act, are you over-pricing your product to the point where people just don’t want to pay for it?
Place: How is it being distributed? Is it only from your MySpace account? Or is it also sold at iTunes, PsyShop, Yahoo, indy-stores, etc.?
Promotion: How is the product being communicated towards the target market? How much money to spend on promotion? In otherwords: Advertising. This is the biggie, and probably the one that you two are having the most issues with. [quote author=“radioactivesandwich”] it’s hard cause we don’t have the money to get any ads in the right magazines, and so far, no real substantial publications have reviewed the disc.
Because money is an issue for the two of you (although looking at the two studios I question how that could be the case), you may want to look into what I call a “low-level market penetration” tactic. Basically this is a way of getting “Promotion” without spending too much money.
I say this because I strongly believe that direct advertising (buying ad-space) and music reviews ( I suspect you guys are thinking of something like CMJ) will not actually generate the level of sales that you two are expecting. Or, in otherwords, your music is uber-targeted and not mainstream enough to attract the number of buyers that you think direct advertising will garner [to understand what I’m getting at, read my post in this thread: http://www.twisted.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=875&start=0 ].
You’ve already stated that DJs are playing your songs, but you don’t define this exactly. What sort of DJs? If they are spinning your tunes at a rave/party, then there is basically no way that people are going to know who wrote the song. On the other hand, if they are radio DJs, then those radio DJs can promote your songs.
What I’m basically getting at is this: You two need to seek-out radio DJs and develope an interpersonal relationship so that they will play your songs on the air and provide purchasing information for the listening audience. Probably, the best way to do this is to actually make contact with Program Directors or the DJs at college radio stations throughout the country. As best as I can tell, almost all college radio stations have a website, and finding out who the PDs or DJs are is pretty easy. You should also note that college radio DJs are more than willing to play anything that is thought of as being “underground”; hence you need to make sure that they understand you are not associated with a major label.
You two should also make contact with online “radio stations” such as Digitally Imported (http://www.di.fm) and Philosomatika (http://www.philosomatika.com) to have them play your songs.
Obviously, none of the above may actually generate sales, but it does lead towards market exposure.
With that said, you two also need to make sure that your music is available for sale from a well established vendor. If your songs are available only on your MySpace account, then you are limiting your potential for sales. Having your music available from iTunes (or similar) creates an aura of “quality”, which is what you want your target market to understand: You guys actually “produce quality music that all will want to enjoy.” Simply “selling CDs out of your basement” doesn’t create buyers, but creates attitudes of “amature artists.”
Lastly, perform live. Nothing generates “buzz” like a live performance. The more you guys play to a live crowd, the more you will get a following. And, make sure you have around 10-20 “free CDs” to give away to people that liked your live set.
In a nut-shell: Get college radio and “online radio” to play your tunes, get an online distributor to host your tunes, and, get your asses out towards doing live sets.
I should also note that I DON’T believe having physical CDs sitting around in record stores is the way to go. I’m a firm believer that the future of music is pay-for-download. What I’m trying to say is don’t spend money on pressing CDs, unless you are willing to give them away as a “marketing expense.”
Anyway, I hope I have been of some help.
If you two have already tried all of the above with no success, then that only means one of two things: 1. Your music sucks, or 2. You have not correctly defined your target audience.
Let me know how things go.