In the article, “The “Lean” Mean “Creative” Marketing Machine“, by Dean Davis, the author discusses how to create a marketing plan for an album release. The artist is releasing his first album and is starting out with no fans. The artist’s day job is alligator wrangler, but he’s finally pursuing his life-long dream of being a pop star. The article assumes some knowledge of the “Minimum Viable Product“, or MVP concept detailed in The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries. Also, the reader should understand the “Creative Commons” license. Essentially, a Creative Commons license allows a licensee to recreate, remix, or cover someone else’s song.
Dean details a marketing plan centered around the release of singles and creating a steady flow of content. The album would be split up rather than released as one package. This enables the artist to gain feedback, pinpoint a demographic, and see the retention rate. If it ends up feedback is poor, that’s O.K. It allows the content creator to refine and sharpen his or her craft. This could mean re-writing the songs. It might mean adding a different instrument or creating a re-mixed version. Better to release songs one by one than to release a polished final product that no one wants.
The use of inbound marketing will aid in the album’s promotion. “Blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, eNewsletters, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing form the foundation of inbound marketing. Create a constant flow of content via social media. Street teams are also great ways to interact with potential customers. For example, you can attach download cards to a cookie (chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin anyone?) and charge a “Smile” to receive the cookie. A group in Australia reached 1,200 people in one day using the cookie method. This is a form of buzz marketing; people will talk about this when explaining their day to someone” – Dean Davis
To compliment other marketing methods, consider allowing your songs to be published under a Creative Commons License. This allows other creators to “re-write” your creation. Your name is still attributed to the original work, but it allows fans to re-mix, mash-up, and cover your song. The Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license is one option. Typically, a licensee would have to pay a licensing fee to use your work, dissuading them from re-creating your song. Now people can re-create your works without any financial burden.
The great thing about creating an “MVP” and inbound marketing is that you don’t have to invest a lot of money in them. Consider the Lean Startup method for your next album!