Tag Archives: Branding

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words – A Musician’s Guide To Pinterest

Remember the good old days when you would gather your favorite pictures, articles and photos and stick them in a scrapbook? Or pin postcards and notes on your kitchen pin board? Well, the art of the keepsake has just gone digital.

Pinterest is a digital scrapbook of your life. A way to tell the world who and what you are with visual snapshots. A way to follow and connect with a community of like-minded people without talking. Digital stalking has just gone artsy, and apparently 10.4 million users have jumped on the bandwagon. 140 characters is just too much. Pictures speak louder than words.

But is this new social media site relevant to the music industry? Can musicians harness the power of Pinterest to their advantage? In a word, “yes.” Below is my guide to Pinterest for musicians.



  • First and foremost, Pinterest is another powerful viral marketing tool for music videos. It allows you to share Youtube and Vimeo videos on your page.
  • Your Pinterest page is automatically public which instantly strengthens your online brand identity, increases your search engine optimization and boosts your viral power.
  • It compliments your existing social media sites by allowing you to share your “pins” on Facebook and Twitter. You can also link to other social media sites in your bio section.
  • It’s a cross-promotional tool that allows you to connect with people in other industries such as fashion, photography, film etc.
  • It gives your fans a visual snapshot of your personality and interests, revealing the person behind the music.
  • It allows you to filter and categorize your interests. Unlike Facebook, nothing gets lost in a timeline.
  • It can be used as a digital resume—you can “pin” tour posters, press photos, album covers, videos and articles to Pinterest. Check out ReverbNation’s page for ideas on pinning.
  • People can follow certain boards on your Pinterest page rather than following everything. This filter function allows you to be more specific about your information stream.
  • Other people can pin to your page, forming a creative, two-way sharing process with your fans.




For a step-by-step guide on setting up a Pinterest account, check out this great article by Sorta Crunchy. Also bear in mind the following:

  • Similar to other social media sites, the success of your Pinterest page is based on authenticity. Create a balance between your personal and professional identity, and don’t create a Pinterest account unless you enjoy it and want to use it regularly.
  • Ensure you create personalized boards specific to you, such as “Bands I love”, “music websites I follow”, “lyrical inspirations”. This personalization of your page enables you to categorize your interests more clearly, allowing fans more freedom to choose what they want to hear about. Check out music biz coach Madalyn Sklar’s page as an example.
  • Utilize the search box in the top left hand corner to search for other people with similar interests.
  • Utilize key words and descriptions in your bio.  This may determine whether someone will follow you. Make sure it is consistent with your branding.
  • Add your website URL and links to your other social networking sites in your bio section.
  • Don’t forget to categorize your pins and use key words in your tags so they appear in key word searches.
  • Utilize the iPhone app for Pinterest to pin photos you’ve taken onto your Pinterest page.
  • For other ideas of what to pin check out these great articles by Gig Masters and Kimbee Jabber.
  • Check out the Indie Ambassador list of musicians and music industry professionals on Pinterest to help you get started building a Pinterest community, and enter your Pinterest contact info in the form at the bottom to be included in the list!




When you first start using Pinterest be aware of the following:

  • Other than videos, there is no other way to directly share your music on Pinterest. Hopefully this will change and the Pinterest team will develop a way to share music via music players on Pinterest.
  • You can’t pin posts from Facebook or Twitter to Pinterest. It’s also difficult to post pins to Facebook without cutting and pasting a link, unless you use the Pinterest iPhone app. You can, however, “tweet” your pins very easily.
  • The Pinning function online only picks up HTML files and videos. This means that text files cannot be pinned to your page. This can make it difficult if you want to pin specific text (such as a press quote) from a WordPress blog.
  • If you want to pin something from another website, the wrong thumbnail picture is often picked up in the pinning process (like an advert). This can be frustrating if you feel that picture doesn’t represent what you want to pin.
  • Currently the social media site has a predominately female user base. You need to evaluate your target audience before deciding whether Pinterest is right for you.

Overall, Pinterest provides another creative direct-to-fan resource for musicians. It incorporates and highlights three fundamental elements of music marketing – the importance of video sharing, the importance of visual branding, and the rise of ADD culture.

So without further ado, get pinning!

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words – A Musician’s Guide To Pinterest



To make our subscribers lives easier you can now access the Real Industry Talk – Career Development At Its Best blog through our new web address


I would like to personally thank all of the supporters and also want to thank you for subscribing.  Please help spread the word.  You can find us on many social media sites, a full list can be found here.  If you have suggestions or would like to contribute please email:  realindustrytalkblog@gmail.com.

Real Industry Talk – Career Development At Its Best

Online Music Marketing

Instructor Mike King talks about his online course, Online Music Marketing: Campaign Strategies, Social Media, and Digital Distribution. This course takes an in-depth look at the tools and emerging technologies artists can use to generate interest in their music, acquire new fans, and sell their music online.

Music Promotions, Marketing – Using Social Media Skills To Get Video Views

Here are a few tips on music marketing, promoting using social media skills like keyword threading and other geo-tagged methods.

Music Marketing 101 – Why Music Seems To Be “FREE”!

Music Marketing 2010 – How to market your music. Music marketing is based on perception of value in battling piracy.

What and why most people think the way they do about the value of music and how it might affect the future of the industry

How To Sell And Market Your Music Using The Latest Research BY: CATHERINE HOL / MTT

If you keep an eye out for the latest research on music consumption habits, you can use these statistics to help guide you in creating an effective sales and marketing plan for your music releases.

After all, that’s how the marketing department of a major record company would operate – basing their plans on the latest market research.

If you’re despairing at the idea of having to add market research to your “to do” list, don’t worry – there’s an easy way. Just google for Google Alerts, and set up a few alerts such as “music consumption research”, “music consumer survey”, or “music market research”. The latest research will just appear in your email inbox.

Then, all you have to do is choose the studies and surveys relevant to your own music market, and ask yourself how these statistics could shape your music sales and marketing plan.

You don’t have to go into too much detail here – taking note of the general trends will guide your strategy quite effectively.

Take the following example of worldwide music consumption statistics in 2010, courtesy of Midem.com:

A global survey of music consumers by Nielsen (Sept. 2010)

Nielsen (one of the most highly regarded market research firms) conducted a global survey of 26,644 people in September 2010 on their music purchasing and listening habits. It surveyed people’s music consumption for the previous 3 months.

What can we musicians learn from this research?

  • We need multiple ways to reach music consumers worldwide: The survey found that there is considerable diversity in music consumption habits globally, and that no single channel dominates.
  • We need to make videos: Watching music on video is the most popular way to consume music. 57% of those surveyed had watched music videos on computers in the preceding 3 months. 44% watch internet videos several times a week.
  • Giving away some of our music as free downloads is likely to be a good promotional strategy: Downloading a song without paying for it was the second most popular form of music consumption. The survey did not distinguish between “legal” (free downloads – often promotional) or “illegal” downloads (pirate copies), so many of these free downloads could have been obtained legitimately. Obviously there is still a great deal of interest in downloading music, and people like to get it for free … legally or otherwise.
  • People aged between 21 and 34 are the “core digital music audience”: People in this age range have a generally higher level of music-related activity. They watch the most music videos (on computer or TV), download more songs (both paid and free), and stream more music.
  • It’s worth selling digital downloads; particularly if aimed at a younger audience:The survey found that just over 20% of people under the age of 34 had paid to download a music track to their computer in the preceding 3 months.
  • We need our own artist website, with our music readily accessible for streaming and buying: About 18% of people surveyed had accessed music from an artist’s own website in the preceding 3 months.
  • A Facebook fan page is worth having: 35% consume music via social networking sites. Check out the usual suspects – but also keep an eye out for niche social networks that relate to you and your music, for a more targeted audience.
  • Streaming services are worth factoring into our promotional strategy: 36% stream music via a computer. The survey doesn’t go into details about this streaming figure, so it’s an amalgamation of all the different ways someone could stream music these days. However, it tells us that services such as Spotify, Pandora, Last fm, Jango, etc, are a viable option for getting our music heard.
  • We should look into the sales and marketing potential of creating our own music apps: 30% listen to music via their mobile phone, and 20% of respondents had downloaded or used music apps on their mobile.
  • We should promote our music on internet radio: Just over 30% of those surveyed say they listen to music on web radio several times a week. The vast array of genres and sub-genres catered for by specialist radio shows online means that, if we take the time to investigate, we are likely to find the perfect audience for our own music.

Creating a realistic music sales and marketing plan

You can see that, just through interpreting the statistics of this one study, we can lay out the basis of a sales and marketing plan that is rooted in the realities of the here and now.

It would be best to take note of a number of different studies, of course, for the greatest accuracy. And it is important to update your information regularly. But thanks to Google Alerts, this is not the time-consuming chore it used to be.

I hope this is helpful to those of you who are confused about which of the countless marketing strategies to adopt, and who have precious little time available for trying to figure it all out.


Nielsen white-paper for Midem.com: Digital music consumption and digital music access published January 12 2011. http://bit.ly/fhz3BO

Nielsen Music (www.nielsen-music.com ) is a division of Nielsen ( www.nielsen.com ), the leading global market research company.

MIDEM is “the most important event for the world’s music community” http://www.midem.com

How To Sell And Market Your Music Using The Latest Research  

CEO & Creative Director of Authentik Music Group on Branding

One of the youngest executives in the music industry, Scott Austin talks about how to break into the music business and the future of the industry.

“How to Use Pinterest for Business”

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“How to Use Pinterest for Business”

Musician’s Social Media Pyramid (2010)

The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation BY: DAVE COO / MTT


The “Four P’s” is a term used to describe the traditional Marketing Mix: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. Well, I’m going to borrow from that expression and talk about the Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation, Promotion, Performance, and Post-Show. This series of blog posts will cover the things that you can be doing as a live performer to maximize each show. Part 1 is all about preparation.


The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation


We’re going to start with the assumption that you’ve chosen a venue and confirmed a date with the venue booker. For tips about getting booked, see one of my previous posts 5 Ways to Impress Venue Bookers and Get More Gigs.

Once the gig is confirmed, here are some things you will need to prepare for the show:


Who will the opening band(s) be?


I guess the first question really is will there even be an opening band? The answer will almost always be yes, as the benefits are clear. An opening band can warm up the crowd, hopefully bring their own fans to the show, and help with the promotion of the show. So when choosing an *opening band, a few things to consider (*and if you happen to be the opening band, much of this advice can still apply):



    • Does their music complement yours?


There are two schools of thought: one being that you find a band that is similar to yours for a more cohesive evening of music. The other option is to go for something totally different to give the audience a very different experience from each band. There is no wrong or right answer, it really depends on what kind of show you want people to experience that night.


    • Would their audience like your band’s music?


Another consideration to make is if there is a potential for the opening band’s fans to like your music. After all, in an ideal case, you are going to gain some new fans that night.


    • Will they help with promotion?


When choosing opening bands, take into consideration whether they are a proactive band that works hard on promoting shows. What you don’t want is a band that will simply show up the night of the show, without having done any legwork to bring their fans, and simply play and ask for their money. This can be hard to avoid sometimes, but do some research, and ask around before making a final decision.


    • Do they have other shows booked around the same date?


You also don’t want the opening band to have another show scheduled within a few days of yours, or worse, the same night as your show (I’ve actually seen that happen many times, where an opening act books another gig for later the same night). It is completely demoralizing, and will likely result in that band not drawing as many people to the show.



The Devil is in the Details: Show Logistics


It’s a good idea to get the logistics for the show sorted out well in advance. This includes:


    • Compensation


What’s the deal at the venue? A guarantee? Percentage of the door? Pass the hat? A percentage of bar sales? Once you know the deal, work out how the compensation will be split with any opening bands. Do not wait until the night of the show to do this. Sort it out well in advance and save yourself the potential headache the night of the show.


    • Food/beverage deals for bands


What’s the deal for food and drinks for band members? Free? Staff price? Full price? Any limits on quantity of meals/drinks?


    • Guest List


Is there a limit to the number of guest list spots? Do you have to submit the guest list to the venue in advance?


    • Ticketing & Seating


What is the cover charge? Is choosing the price up to the venue or the bands? Are tickets sold in advance? If so, where are they available? Or is it simply pay at the door? Can people reserve seats?


    • Load-in time and logistics


What time is load-in at the venue? Do the bands load-in at different times? Is there a special entrance to load-in equipment?


    • Sound & Equipment


What sound equipment is provided by the venue? What are bands responsible for? Are the bands going to share certain equipment? Is there a sound tech provided by the venue? Can you bring your own sound tech? What time is soundcheck for each band?


    • Start & End Time


What time do the doors open for the public? What is the start time for the show? What is the schedule for the bands? Is there a specific time that the show has to be over by?


    • Door logistics


Who is taking money at the door? The venue? A volunteer from the band(s)? Is there a cashbox with change supplied by the venue? A stamp to stamp people’s hands?


    • Room set-up


Some venues offer different set-up styles for the room, whether it’s all seating, no seating, some tables with chairs, etc. Talk to the venue and decide on the best option for your show.


    • Merch table


Is there a table/space for merchandise? Where is it located? Is there lighting provided? Does the venue take a % of sales? Is there a cashbox with change supplied by the venue? Who is responsible for selling merch? Venue? Bands? Can you sell merch throughout the night, or only before and after the show?


    • Promo materials for the venue


What does the venue need from you? Posters? Flyers? Bio? Band photo? Press Release? Be sure to supply them with everything they need well in advance of the show.


Download a Sample Live Show Logistics Checklist to help stay on top of these details:Download Here




Build Your Set List


I touched on this in a blog post about how to find a booking agent, but building a set list is really an art unto itself. Your set-list will determine what kind of experience your fans will have. Some considerations when building your set-list:


    • Set-length: How long of a set will you play? Decide what length would have the most impact and strikes the right balance between giving a satisfying set, and leaving the audience wanting more.


    • Select the songs: Once you know how long your set will be, choose the songs you want to play that night, including for an encore, if it should come up.


    • Pacing: Do you have high-energy songs and low-energy songs? What kind of experience do you want to give the audience? Start slow then build? Are there songs where the audience can participate? Where do you want those songs to go in the set? Figure out how those songs can best work off of each other.


    • Song transitions: Make sure your songs flow well together and that everybody in the band knows when there will be a small break for interacting with the audience, and when you’ll be going straight into the next song.


    • Type of venue/seating arrangement: Is it a dingy bar, a night club, a fancy theatre, a coffee house? What’s the seating arrangement? This can impact the type of set you want to offer.



Once you’ve decided on your set list, rehearse it. Then rehearse it again. And once more. Make sure everyone in the band can play that set with their eyes closed and that they know all of the cues and transitions between songs without having to think twice.


Visual Presentation: On Stage & Merch Table


On Stage

You should also prepare what your visual presentation will be at the show. Does your band have costumes? A certain dress code? Will you have video projections playing in the background? A banner with your band name hanging on stage? A custom drum head with your logo?

For some good ideas for visuals at your show, check out Chris “Seth” Jackson’s guest post on the Bandzoogle Blog: No One Will Remember Your Band: 10 Ways to Stop Being Forgettable

Merch Table

How about for your merch table? Do you have an eye-catching set-up? Proper signage?

Here are some essentials to have for your merch table:



    • Signage: Your band name, list of merch items & prices displayed clearly


    • Cashbox with change (don’t rely on the venue for this)


    • Inventory sheets to track your sales


    • Pens/markers (for mailing list, signing autographs)


  • Mailing list sign-up: Email addresses are still the most reliable way to stay in touch with your fans, and the best way to convert fans to paying customers. So get those email addresses anyway you can, even offer a free sticker/pin in return, it will be a great long-term investment for your band.


Here’s an example of a great merch table setup, including proper signage and a mailing list sign-up: What’s Your Merch Setup (Grassrootsy Blog).

*Note: Accepting credit card payments at shows can increase your sales dramatically, as not everyone carries cash with them. Services like Square-up or Indie Pool (for Canadian bands) can turn your iPhone into a credit card swiper.


Preparing For Promotion: Give Yourself At Least 6-8 Weeks


Part 2 of this blog series will go into detail about promotional tactics you can use to promote your show. But for the purposes of preparation, you should give yourself a good 6-8 weeks lead-time to plan and execute the promotion for your show. This will allow you to take into consideration things like a media & publicity campaign, whether or not you’re going to go after sponsorship for your show, and promotional collaborations with the other bands performing.

The Four P’s of Playing Live Shows: Preparation

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