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How Record Labels Market Music feat. Jesse Cannon (Musformation)

In this episode Jesse Cannon (Musformation) and I talk about how record labels market music, Facebook ads vs other music marketing methods, and how indie artists can grow their fanbase. Jesse has experience from working at major record labels, producing artists are major and indie labels, working with artists 1-on-1 and wrote the top rated music business book on Amazon.

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Important Points:

  • Jesse and I talk about the main things major labels focus on when breaking an artist. The first thing they do is having their artists collaborate with different songwriters and producers to find out what works best for each artist’s voice or style.
  • Major labels like to test the waters for a new artist through a first music video and a little bit of playlist pushing. Only if that gets traction then maybe these artists can get beyond the bare minimum marketing and the label starts investing in other things
  • The most common reason for independent artists to ascend upwards in their career is through their communities. It’s crucial to build relationships with other similar artists, play shows with them or go on tour together, feature each other on social media and on your spotify playlists and grow together by trading fan bases.
  • The false expectations a lot of people have when it comes to Facebook ads. While Facebook ads can help you to get short-term traction ,consistent sustained promotion, your “stickiness factor” and building relationships are key to a long lasting effect of your marketing

Podcast Outline:

[06:26] How major labels approach breaking a new artist – Jesse

[08:43] “The majority of the big artists you see in the world were signed to a different major label before the one that it hits with” – Jesse

[11:24] “The pop thing is not much different from the weirdest artists in how they get big” Jesse

[11:56] “There’s about 4 distributors that handle every large indie label that’s not a major.” – Jesse

[13:20] Getting bigger music distributors to pitch you for playlists – Jesse

[16:18] How building a community with similar artists can help you to ascend in your career. – Jesse

[20:21] The power of using remixes to break artists – Jesse

[24:04] Why you need the “stickiness factor” to build relationships with your fans – Andrew

[28:53] The problem with micro genres and the targeting of Facebook ads – Jesse

[31:57] The importance of social proof – Jesse

[36:21] How to avoid having the wrong expectations of Facebook ads – Jesse

[42:08] “There’s a couple different ways to music promotion. One of them is appealing to the algorithmic and then another is amplifying your message.” – Jesse

[42:49] How to promote a song over a long period by using different visuals

[44:46] “A very common occurrence for smart marketers in anything, uh, related to content is to take about a third of the production budget and throw it as outreach outreach could be Facebook ads.”

[46:16] “Paving your own path is a thing that actually big artists do all the time is they find a new path and a new way”

[48:51] “PR outreach: the only way they’ll cover anything is if you have a solid story that they can talk about.” – Jesse

[58:07] The downsides of playlist promotions – Jesse

[01:05:24] Why your music might not fit a certain playlist – Andrew

[01:07:33] How to write a successful Spotify playlist feature pitch – Andrew

[01:09:57] I think teasing and countdown clocks is a waste of time because you should be using your posts and that time that you get anybody’s attention by actually giving them something, they could build a relationship with. – Jesse

Wise Words:  

[07:01] “These artists are just like DIY artists, Warner is doing the same thing I tell everybody to do, which is release a ton of singles before you ever put out an LP. Look at Cardi B,, she had out a bajillion songs before that LP. And when I saw how many songs they had her write before that LP, it was like a hundred songs “ – Jesse 

[10:36] “But until a song got traction, you’re probably just getting that video and a little bit of playlist pushing and things like that, but you’re getting the bare minimum marketing until they see that this is somebody worth throwing way more money on because you have what I like to call a susceptible song where lots of people hear it and they’re susceptible to liking. “ – Jesse

[16:18] “A consistent thing I’ve done for a decade is I’ve gotten to talk to artists about how they ascended upwards and that is through community“ – Jesse

[31:19] “People are using ads when they shouldn’t be, or if they’re using them, they’re using them incorrectly or they don’t realize they’re using them incorrectly and they keep spending money that they, you know, might not be doing them enough good “ – Jesse

[01:07:33]  “It was five minutes of effort, to kind of think about the pitch in a way, you know, my strategy is like, talk about the message behind the song for part of it. And then talk about how you’re promoting it and how you’re prioritizing Spotify is the place you’re sending people to the other half of it. So that like, you know, they, they feel like there’s a benefit to them.” – Andrew

[01:09:53]  “I don’t think you should promote songs very much before people can hear them. I think teasing and countdown clocks is a waste of time because you should be wasting your, you should be using your posts and that time that you get anybody’s attention by actually giving them something, they could build a relationship with.” – Jesse

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