Music Blog coverage isn’t happening, is it?
I feel your frustration.
You are an indie artist who is investing in your brand. You are investing into the quality of your music, production, videos, promotion, etc.
But, it seems like the more you invest, the less your music moves. You took a page out of the “no-no” book and paid for plays and views, because you thought that people would play your music if it had thousands of views.
That didn’t work.
You uploaded your mixtape to the best music download website.
That didn’t work.
Everybody keeps telling you to “keep grinding”, or, “keep pushing”…until you release your product. That’s when those same advice columnists who were egging you on show you their best Harry Houdini imitation. They disappear.
I’m no guru, I’m not a marketing expert like Neil Patel. I’m still learning the basics of SEO myself! However, the one thing I have learned, is that the big boss in the music industry has a new name: Ana Lytics.
And boy, is she a real bitch.
How many times has your music has been declined by a music blog that featured sub-par artists and content.
Well, to be fair, sub-par to you. Granted, in their genre or niche, the artist’s audience may think that they are God. But, I am really open-minded when it comes to my music preference. I like polka for chrissake! There isn’t much music that I think is trash.
Why do these sites were decline our music, which we know sounds good, and in some cases better than the content they were sharing on their music blog.
“Who else creates epic sci-fi music for their audience?!” I often yell out, in a moment of self-confidence that also masks my anger and frustration.
That’s when I recalled an investigative technique that I learned during my Six Sigma training called “5 Whys” that seemed to be the perfect tool to analyze this mystery, as well as expose the root cause of the problem.
5 Whys is a simple tool to use, especially when human error is involved. Most of the time, you don’t need stats or data to define the root cause of the problem. You just continue to ask “Why” in order to peel back the layers that hide the source of the issue. The reason for a problem normally leads you to another question.
(The application of 5 Whys in this instance was partly based on opinions. Normally, when using 5 Whys, the questions and reasons are moored in fact. However, if 5 Whys is a tool to discover an actual root cause, why can’t we also use it to create a theory of what the root cause may be also?)
Here are the steps I took with the problem of music blog coverage:
Identify the Problem: In this case, my problem was not being able to get coverage on what I felt were the best websites to promote my music on, a music blog like Pitchfork or Consequence of Sound. So my problem statement looked like this:
Specialty-niche musician is unhappy because his music is being denied site placement by popular blogs that feature sub-par music.
Notice that I used the phrase “specialty-niche musician” to describe myself. This may factor into the root cause theory.
1. Why do blogs/websites deny Ambush Vin music placement, in favor of music that I feel is sub-par?
-Because their brand doesn’t have anything to profit from doing a feature article on Ambush Vin.
2. Why don’t their brands have anything to profit from doing a feature article on Ambush Vin?
-Because I don’t have a following as large as the “sub-par” artists for their brand to capitalize from.
3. Why don’t you have the following that those artists have?
-Because my brand/music hasn’t been exposed to as many outlets or people within, or outside of my potential niche audience.
4. Why hasn’t your music been exposed to more outlets/people?
-Because I invest more time and money into creating the product than I invest into researching and applying a solid marketing strategy that will yield results.
I could go further than 4 Whys and ask why do I invest more into product creation than marketing, but I think I have my reason why my brand isn’t featured on the larger music review blogs like Stereogum or Pitchfork. I avoid sites that ask you for a “fee to review your music” or, “to do a feature on you in our online magazine”. When you see those type of responses, Alexa and Google are your best friends. I’ve had “online magazines” ask me to pay a fee for them to interview me, but when upon researching their website, I found that ambushvin.com ranked much higher than their website did.
Where was the benefit?
Music Blog Conclusion – Reality Does Sting
In the words of Hermann Cain, I have to blame myself.
My music is not being placed into because my following just isn’t large enough. My following isn’t larger because I haven’t invested enough into marketing my brand and product. That includes everything from investing time into research and building relationships with journalists, to hiring the right publicist/agency.
As artists, we tend to rely on our talent to sell us rather than our branding power. As indie artists, we have to remember that we are also brands. Don’t expect a music blog to feature you over “MC Trash”, who has 500k Twitter followers for them to market to. In business, everything is an investment. That includes a music blog’s article about your music after you make a website submission. I often hear my fellow artists moan because they feel as if “people aren’t supporting them”. Personally, I would never, ever blame fans or potential fans for my shortcomings.
The answer usually lies within. Start with yourself.