• By: OLM Staff

Music and Marketing: Old School Vs New School

I can see the faces now. Ugh, old school. Who wants to hear about old school. Even if you’re about to turn the page and move onto something else, I implore you to keep reading.

Instagram is all the rage and the go-to online marketing model of today's day and age, and it is a very important tool to know the ins and outs of for a successful business (Yes, if you are an artist, you are a business). As much as I believe in it, and as good as it is for a marketing tool, it lacks the most important piece of marketing. Creating real relationships. Talking face to face to someone about your passion and dreams will still always trump the lifeless online banter.

I am a proponent for old school, because of the human interaction. It still works and it is still a major player in the promotion of your music. If you are an artist and you don’t have a street team in your home city then good on you, you must be selling out your shows and selling tons of music.  For those of you who aren’t, consider this: Arnold Schwarzenegger once said that your entertainment career is fifty percent talent and fifty percent marketing.

He also said you need to work your ass off. Every day. Just do it. Hit the streets, talk to people. Go to every show you can and hand out postcards, flyers and posters. Meet people, tell them about yourself, connect and create a real relationship.

The only person responsible for potential fans coming to your shows or buying your music is you. Rather than hoping they will stream your new single or listen to the millionth cover you’ve put up on Youtube, give them your music. Before the CD really goes the way of the dinosaur give your single away on the street. Package it with a postcard to your next show. Make the show an event and don’t settle for anything other than wanting to sell it out.

On the other side, yes, one hundred percent become a social media master. Funny enough, I miss Myspace. From an artist and fans point of view it was a great tool for marketing and promotion while being able to interact with people from all over the world without having to “add” them or “follow” them. You could just write them to say hello, start a conversation, and then ease into the fact that you’re an artist and that you are wanting something from them. People will remember you more for “you” than they will social media posts. They will remember that you took the time to talk to them.

After all, you aren’t just selling your music. You are also selling you.

Now this being said, you need to be able to adapt and change with the times. Mixing old school and new school is the best way for you to succeed in my opinion. Your competition is not the local artists that are in the same boat as you. Your competition is the artists that you look up too, the ones who have “made it” the ones who did everything it took to make it.  Dedicate hours a day to social media. Build your brand. As hard as it is in todays market, create some mystery.

The internet has taken away all of the mystery behind an artist. Take courses on how to properly use things like Instagram. Then, build your old school email lists, make good quality posters, flyers and postcards. Hit the streets and talk to people about you and your music.

Just be ready to back it up with hit songs and a show that will leave everyone wanting more and chomping at the bit to get to the next one.

Jason Wilkinson is a local entrepreneur, musician, producer and writer. He now owns and operates The Artist Alliance Company, an artist development company in the Byward Market. Learn more about Jason and The Artist Alliance Company here!