Marketing Your Music: Interview with Rick Goetz Part 2: Social Media, Content Marketing & Streaming
Throughout his music career, Rick Goetz has been a major label A&R representative, a music supervisor, an artist manager, a reality show producer, a bass player and the head of a digital record label. Rick has lots of helpful content on his blog Musician Coaching, and is one of my favorite industry people around, because as you’ll see, he’s a straight-talker who doesn’t pull any punches. In Part 1 of our interview with Rick, he discussed why bands still want to get signed, how to send emails to industry professionals, and music licensing. In Part 2, Rick talks digital marketing strategy, why bands should focus on making great music, and has some choice words for “social media experts”. Enjoy!
Q: One of the services you offer is to write marketing plans for musicians. When you’re working with artists, what else besides social media do you have them put into their plans? It seems like most advice out there these days is hyper-focused on social media. What else do artists need to be thinking about when marketing their music?
Social Media is that handful of ice cubes protruding from the water connected to a mountainous glacier below the surface that is the rest of digital marketing. I’m not saying social media isn’t important – it absolutely is! The problem is that “social media experts” are about as ubiquitous today as the word “Alternative” was in music magazines in the mid 1990s. Shut the f**k up – we know we should be on Twitter already!
People should pay attention to search, message boards and ways of bundling their content with other acts that are likely to have similar fan bases but that really only scratches the surface.
It used to be (prior to the digital age) that you created a product and then promoted said product and it was all very linear. Now it’s all about creating an ongoing stream of promotional content to build your overall brand and thereby sell the standard products (shows, merch, recorded music etc.) Your ongoing multimedia dialogue with fans and potential fans is key regardless of whether or not that ends up on social networks or blogs or wherever. That’s the real key in my opinion. What are you doing or saying that gets people to visit your online properties more regularly. How do you get people to become comfortable enough with you to give you that all-important “fair listen” rather than everyone’s initial listen to dismiss that occurs because we have all been bombarded by too much music. This promotional content can be anything, blogging ,vlogging, still images, live video from shows, recorded interview footage. If musicians are looking to “make it” in that fame and fortune kind of way they should consider that they have to be in the entertainment business as much as in the music business because it seems like music as a commodity is more and more diminished every day.
Q: What do you think the best strategy is for an artist's online presence? Is having your own website still important for artists in an era of free social media networks?
I still think websites are essential even though most interactions can be done on social media platforms. I think a good website says something about how reliable and committed an artist is and believe me anything that conveys being reliable as an artist is HUGE. It’s just too easy to put up a Facebook fan page. Besides, something has to bind all of your online properties together and act as a command center of some kind. When I want to see the official word from an artist I tend to still look at the website and explore their social media from there. Discovery usually comes from elsewhere (for me) but I like having a definitive and official page for the artists I work with...
What is the best strategy? It’s really not a one size fits all kind of thing. Artists who are primarily touring acts will have a vastly different tact than those who get attention by doing covers on YouTube vs. those that get their music in TV etc. I get these questions a great deal from artists and it’s a frustration for me. It’s like someone pulled every musician aside and said there is one way of doing this marketing and PR thing but it’s just not the case. People who attempt to put PR and marketing services into a template above and beyond some very basic digital marketing basics are selling snake oil and the snake oil business seems to be booming right now.
Q: Most indie artists have to work side jobs or contracts to help them get by, so their free time is usually limited. Given that, how much time do you think artists/bands should be spending on marketing/promotion vs. rehearsals/creation when starting out?
Great question. It should be 100% rehearsals and creation when you start out. Far too many people rush off to market with a product...No, you know what- calling what many people first bring to market as a “product” is way too kind. Many people rush the first bulls**t they record out into the world because it is cheap an easy to do so. Not surprisingly the revolution in the music over the last decade has been the marketing of music and not the music itself. People should stop rushing and give music some room to breathe. Without a great product you’re not going anywhere anyway.
Q: With social media, is there any danger of over-saturating your fans with updates & content? And on the flip-side, do you think it’s possible to not provide enough content on social media?
This all depends on the quality of the content. If your content is uninteresting you can absolutely have people tune out on you by updating too much. You have to pay really close attention to your analytics and Facebook insight numbers to see what’s going on. On the other hand if you aren’t updating your website and social media pages at all it won’t be that hard for people to forget you.
Q: In your view, what’s more important for an artist to obtain: a Facebook “Like”, Twitter follower, or a fan’s email address?
An e-mail address– hands down. To my surprise I read studies that indicate that email still has the best conversion rate for turning a fan into a customer.
Q: There seems to be a lot of debate about Spotify these days, do you think emerging bands should have their music available on streaming services like Spotify?
Once again it’s a question of context. Are you a band like Phish that lives off their live show? If so – sure, your recorded music is more of a business card than a product for you anyway. If you are an artist shooting for radio and a more traditional recorded music sales focus... I guess it depends. I’m all in favour of getting as much exposure for an unknown artist to start so in general I’d say you should be on there but I don’t think the service has been around long enough to really gauge the impact in the long term.
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