Turning musicians into marketing experts

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February 5, 2014
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February 24, 2014

Turning musicians into marketing experts


By Dexter Patterson


Recently I posted a question on my Facebook page that got my attention. I asked the following this question; “When you hear the word “Rapper” what’s the first thing you think about?” The post sparked quite the debate and the comments ranged from; “Tupac”, “Eazy E”, “Biggie”, “Chief Keef Bang Bang LOL”, “Artist”, “cellophane” and my favorite “here we go with this shit again”. However, not a single person mentioned the word business in the entire post. I mean why aren’t more “rappers” and musicians for that matter viewed as good business people? Why can’t the majority of independent musicians survive off their God-given talent? The simple answer is most artists haven’t learned the basics of good business.

At DRP Marketing Solutions, we are determined to help the average musician become more effective with the online marketing of their music. We want to help turn more “rappers” into self-sufficient business people. Can we keep it real for a minute? If you truly love your music, then you should treat your music with as much respect as possible. Learn how to survive as a businessman first, and you will be able to turn your passion for music into a viable career.

10 Keys to having Online Marketing Success:

1. Make things as easy as possible for your supporters. Do not tell them to check out your new song, and you haven’t even attached a proper link. No one should have to work harder just to help you. You have to start thinking about your fans because without fans you don’t exist.

2. Remember always to try to collect as many emails as possible from your fans. Be creative, offer exclusive downloads and new band merchandise. Hold weekly contests via email to encourage active participation. Sites like Mailchimp are great for artists attempting to create a professional email exchange with their supporters. Mailchimp also lets you track the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Knowing how many people are opening your emails lets you analyze which emails are most effective. Ignoring the statistics of your online presence is pretty much career suicide.

3. Stop trying to sell something to people all the time. First you have to try to build their trust. Engage with your audience as much as possible. Engagement will create a connection, and then you will have more than enough opportunities to sell them something in the future.

4. Don’t expect overnight success with your online marketing efforts. The most important thing for you to do is to remain patient, consistent and make the best music possible. Don’t get caught up in the hype, remember quality will always win over quantity.

5. Remember it takes awhile to build a real relationship with someone online. So when you engage with your target audience you must remember to keep it real with them at all times. There are way too many fake and robotic marketers in the industry. They do everything with auto respond robots and think they are doing something innovative. I’ll admit automation can help save you some time, but eventually you will start to lose touch with your audience. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take advantage of the technology but if you use automation use it wisely. As a small business owner, your relationship with your customer is vital. What these robotic marketers don’t realize is that they will start to lose some of their customers simply because of their lack of human interaction.

6. I know a lot of marketing experts use the word target audience; however, most musicians have no idea what this means. They just add as many people they can on Facebook and Twitter without any rhyme or reason. The worst thing you can do is waste your time and resources on people who could care less about you. We can’t please everyone, so you might as well focus your efforts on the few that you can. Keeping your current fans happy will generate new business. They are going to be the people who share the links to your music. They are going to be the ones that tell their friend at work about this awesome new artist they found online.

7. It is extremely important that you work with industry professionals on all your marketing materials. Everything should be top quality including your EPK, Bio, One Sheet, and photographs. If you can’t do these things in-house then you need to outsource the work to a designer within your budget. I have said this before but always remember; How you look online does reflect how your reputation in the real world.

8. When you start marketing your project don’t ever stop thinking about your audience. It’s easy for musicians to get so caught up in what we want that we forget who matters the most……The FANS.

9. Always keep your promises. If you offer something to a customer, you have to deliver. Don’t send people trick emails just to get them to click on your new video. That is a breach of trust and an easy way to lose supporters.

10. Remember online marketing should be social. Constantly remind your supporters that you appreciate them. I promise they will be a lot more willing to buy something if they feel you genuinely care.

Digital media problem solver dedicated to helping brands succeed online. Professionally, I have experience working as a content marketer, digital marketer, blogger, podcaster, and digital sales consultant. Currently, I'm the digital and social media specialist for the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. I specialize in social media marketing, digital media, and digital advertising. Let's talk digital!


  1. Perla says:

    Great advice/insight even in the entrepenaural aspect of marketing.

    • drpmarketing says:

      Thanks Perla my passion is with music but the ideas and concepts apply to all aspects of business. I appreciate that you noticed that it means a lot because that is definitely what I was going for.

  2. Jesse Lester says:

    Thank you for these words and advice. Need so much help in these areas:) You are beyond helpful. Especially for a guy doing soul music in a college town like madison wi.

    • drpmarketing says:

      Jesse thank you for taking the time to read the post. I had a lot of fun writing it and I’m just happy a few people are getting something positive out of it. There are a lot of talented people out here that just need a little direction. I’ll be posting once a week.

  3. Jesse Lester says:

    We are small business owners. Time too start acting like it. Thank you

    • drpmarketing says:

      Honestly once you view your music as a business you have to think differently. You have to step outside of your musician world and hit the books. You have to also try and surround yourself with other business people. This can be done online very easily. Pick a handful of business owners you respect and watch how they operate. Read their content and pay attention to any trends that you may notice. If you Love it Learn it!!!

  4. kushtreeburna says:

    Let’s get to the business… I’m all ears… We have to prepare for battle right now!

  5. Great first point- “No one should have to work harder just to help YOU. YOU have to start thinking about your fans because without them you don’t exist.” … Good advice outside of the music industry as well. It’s important to appreciate the people that make us who we are. Any thoughts on why this is a part that so often gets overlooked?

    • drpmarketing says:

      Chelsea to be honest I think it comes down to EGO. Most musicians have huge egos especially in the Hip-Hop industry. Its so competitive that many artists lose sight of whats really important because they are so worried about themselves and getting what they want.

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