“Marketing Your Music, The Big Step” by Randy Tobin

Did you know that recording songs or making an album, although actually the easiest (and most fun) part of the equation, is only the first step to success? The second step (and probably the more challenging of the two) is getting the finished product out to the listening public.

Before the internet, some artists took to the road with the purpose of finding a small-town radio station with a DJ willing to take a chance on an unknown. They carried their hopes and dreams in the form of a trunk full of records. The Captain and Tennille broke through that way. MC Hammer used a similar approach but focused on getting the Dance Club DJs to spin his disc. Both acts were eventually signed to major labels and did very well. But they didn’t get noticed until after doing a lot of the legwork themselves.

The main challenges facing any recording artist are: Writing and/or selecting the material; rehearsing the material well; finding the right producer; recording and mixing the material; creating packaging for the finished product; manufacturing the product; promoting the product (includes building an effective web site); getting distribution for the product; getting radio/television airplay; putting together a live show; producing a music video. The last two may or may not be feasible early on but will probably open more doors once the album is completed.

Before the internet, promotion, distribution and radio airplay were difficult to secure. But since the arrival of the internet, promotion, distribution, and to a limited extent, radio airplay, have become accessible to virtually anyone with a computer and a telephone line. How you take advantage of these resources is key to the success of your project.

Traditional radio airplay remains the final hurdle to reach out beyond your circle of family, friends and fans. Most large stations today are part of vast networks owned by three mega-companies: Clear Channel, Infinity Broadcasting and Cox Communications. Therefore, your best bets for airplay will be college and small-market radio stations. There are lists of these stations in various “indie” publications like the Indie Bible. You can also find these stations with some studious research via internet search engines using phrases like: “small market radio stations or listings” or “college radio stations or listings”.

One of the biggest helps in the independent promotion and distribution of Compact Discs is CDBaby.com. Not only are they the largest independent CD distributor in the world, they’re also the hippest and the most helpful. They have plenty of information covering ways to promote and market your CDs, most of it culled from successful actions of other artists featured on their site.

Creating your music product is the key first step. Getting your finished product out to the public is the most challenging step. Your creativity, dedication and determination along both of these lines will surely lead to increased recognition and sales of your music!

Writer, Composer, Record Producer, Randall Michael Tobin, is the Founder of Theta Sound Studio, which since 1977 has established itself as one of the most versatile and comfortable recording and post-production facilities in the Los Angeles area. http://www.thetasound.com/ http://www.rmtobin.com