Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Think Test Marketing

Derek Sivers - http://www.cdbaby.net/derek

In this indie music world, the best thing you can do is think in terms of “Test Marketing.”

This is what food companies do before they release a new product. They release it just in Denver (for example), and see what people think of it there. They get feedback. They try a different name. They try an improved flavor, based on complaints or compliments. They try a different ad campaign. They see what works. Constantly improving.

When it’s a huge success in Denver, they know they’re on to something good. They can now release it in Portland, Dallas, and Pittsburgh. Do the same thing.

When everyone seems to like it, they get the financial backing to “roll it out” and confidently spend a ton of money to distribute it around the whole country, or the whole world. The people investing money into it are confident, because it was a huge success in all the test markets.

Think of what you’re doing with your music as test marketing.

When you’re a huge success on a lower level, or in a small area, THEN you can go to the big companies and ask for financial or resource help to “roll it out” to the country or world.

Then they’ll feel confident that their big money is being well invested.


In doing this test marketing you should make a plan that will make you a success even if nobody comes along with their magic wand.

Start now. Don’t wait for a “deal”.

Don’t just record a “demo” that is meant only for record companies.

You have all the resources you need to make a finished CD that thousands of people would want to buy. If you need more money, get it from anyone except a record company.

And if, as you’re following your great business plan, selling hundreds, then thousands of CDs, selling out small, then larger venues, getting on the cover of magazines... you’ll be doing so well that you won’t need a record deal.

And if a record deal IS offered to you, you’ll be in the fine position of taking it or leaving it. There’s nothing more attractive to an investor than someone who doesn’t need their money. Someone who’s going to be successful whether they’re involved or not.

Make the kind of business plan that will get you to a good sustainable level of success, even without a big record deal. That way you’ll win no matter what happens.

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