In the music industry, artists and record companies are marketing a product: themselves. They market physical products as well, a band's latest CD, a DVD, or other official merchandise, and items simply will not sell by mere virtue of their release. A savvy music marketer knows that promotion, publicity, advertising, and branding are absolutely essential to generating sales. Without a creative and aggressive marketing campaign, a truly amazing album or artist might never find a sizable audience. Musician marketing involves employing all of these methods to get the music heard by as many potential buyers as possible.
The Internet has revolutionized the way music reaches listeners, for better or worse. Prior to the mid-1990s, musician marketing was chiefly handled by the record company's in-house marketing and publicity division. All that soon changed with the advent of digital technology and faster Internet connection speeds which allowed users to download and stream media content. The rise of Internet radio offered unsigned and niche artists avenues for airplay that were not previously available on terrestrial radio stations. Since the Web now reaches into more computers and cell phones than ever, the opportunities for marketing music directly to fans are virtually endless. The downside is that unsigned artists must work much harder to compete with millions of other bands out there, all trying to build their kingdoms on the World Wide Web.
Even with a low budget, many independent labels and artists can conceivably produce and market an album for around $5,000 to $10,000 US Dollars (USD). When hiring an outside marketing professional is not an option, musician marketing can be done quite effectively by an artist who has time on their hands to really work at it. Those who are willing to put in the effort are generally rewarded with higher sales numbers, a larger online fan base, and more daily visitors to their websites. In combination with traditional marketing and retail distribution methods, music can now be sold direct to customers via the artist's online store and through a multitude of pay-per-download sites. Use of social networking and media platforms such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter can make a huge impact on any band's Web presence.
Musician marketing also involves interacting with potential buyers on their portable listening devices and mobile phones. Fans are now able to download songs and videos straight to their phone in seconds with the push of a button. Artists often use this technology to connect in a more personal and meaningful way with their fans through text messaging. Gone are the days of spending a fortune on sending out direct mail pieces and paper newsletters; now artists can blast tour updates and other band news instantly, often without paying an extra dime. With far less overhead cost and not having to pay a middleman's percentage, this enables the band to keep more of their earnings, too — which is the most desirable outcome of all.