General Ebel here, fresh off the plane from Fishcon 2011. I was recently interviewed by the Freelance 4 Real show and we talked about what it takes to survive as a small business- any small business -but particularly the über-competitive world of independent music. Co-hosts Justin Kownacki and Michael Sorg asked me about the delicate balance involved in asking YOU to spread the word about my music. It’s the difference between begging for attention and earning your assistance.
I don’t like begging, I don’t know anyone who does, but to be frank my very survival depends on your involvement. You’ve already heard the music and I’m glad you’re a fan, but I need you to go one step further than the ordinary masses out there. Chris Penn would talk about changes to Facebook and Google and how their systems now depend almost entirely on people sharing stuff with their friends, but I’ll put it in terms of the music industry:
- Blogs, Magazines, and Radio stations only want to run stories about bands that have a buzz going.
- Venues and booking agents only want to work with artists who inspire their fans to action.
- The #1 reason people buy new music is based on a recommendation from a friend, not from ads or promotions.
- I will only be able to tour to your town if we can generate enough buzz to get people’s attention.
Music, like any other small business, depends on people like you spreading the word around your town and your online community. Without your help, all I’m doing is begging for attention. It’s like two lovers having a fight: Music industry types aren’t going to hear me if I tell them I deserve a shot, but as soon as they hear the same message from one other trusted source they’ll take it seriously. It’s amazing what a little word of mouth can accomplish.
Something we talked about during the interview was not being afraid to ask. So what am I asking you to do? I need you to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to spread the word. Here are a few examples:
- Whenever I post a video on my YouTube Channel – Don’t just “Like” it, share it via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- When I post something to the blog, use the Share buttons at the bottom.
- If you hear of a local event or business that could use my music, throw it at them. If I knew anyone behind #OccupyWallStreet right now, I’d be sending them copies of It’s Raining Bankers and They Got The Money
In a nutshell, YOU are my record label. Every artist you like depends on you to help them grow and survive. If you truly want to see this lone goofball’s music rise and dominate the world (a modest goal), then I need YOU to share me with your friends. Anything I do that doesn’t flat-out offend you or injure your soul, please share it with others. I’m counting on you every day, so thank you for not letting me down.
I’m doing my best not to let you down, ever.