Over the past fifteen years of promoting my music, I’ve developed some strong opinions about what works and what doesn’t. As I promote my new seventh album over the coming months, I will argue that new web sites and technologies like Pandora, iTunes Genius, and Last.fm will have a larger impact on my success or failure than traditional efforts like promoting to radio or securing brick-and-mortar distribution. It’s not exactly viral marketing, but social networking plays an important role.
If great music promotes itself, you might ask what there is to write about. Of course, I need to lay the foundation by getting my music into the right hands. I’ll also talk about what doesn’t work, and why.
I should mention that I’m a “pure” recording artist, in the sense that I don’t perform live. I’ve never been on a label (other than my own, 11th Records). I consider Color Theory a hobby. My goal is to create music that uniquely reflects myself and present it to a growing audience. If it makes a little money, all the better. To date I’ve sold $39,848 worth of CDs and t-shirts, and taken in $7,654 in digital sales, which together averages out to about $280 per month. When you factor in expenses, I’m barely in the black. I’m not about to quit my day job. Fortunately, I don’t want to!
Two days ago I approved the artwork proofs for my latest CD, my first release in five years. It’s due back from replication in about two weeks. So here I am, looking down at the starting line. I intend to lay out all my plans and crazy schemes here for your amusement. Maybe in a few months we can look back and draw some useful conclusions.