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Seth Godin is a Marketing Champ

Seth Godin is a master marketer. No matter what he's promoting, Seth feels so likable because he bases his life on trust and permission.

If you want to know more about marketing, there's no quicker way to learn than reading his blog.

Check out how he handled the recent release of his book Linchpin as a paperback.


Don't Get in Car Wrecks With Your Fans

Guilty admission.

Yes, we've probably met before but I'm sorry, I don't remember you. It happens often, so don't take offense.

But I can rap every word of I Like Big Butts like a champ.
I've got my priorities.

And so does everyone else.

We've only got so much room in our brains. Things we consider relevant stick, everything else tends to float away. It's efficient and helps our mind stay organized. (In fact, perfect memory is a miserable, horrible existence. Check this Radiolab episode about the man who couldn't forget.)

So it's eaaaaaaaaaaaaasy to forget about Local Band #A2496BBQ21. If you wrestle bears for a living, you probably don't have a local band that high on your mental priority list. Even the rest of us with less dangerous careers have a lot on our minds.

It's all about Mind Share.

Whereas market share (another good term to be familiar with) is the % of total sales within a market that your product sells, mind share is the % of a customer's mind you occupy. To put it more simply, when a customer thinks about bands, how likely is the customer to think about your band? The more likely you are to be remembered, the more business you get.

For example: Your homie asks for a good restaurant in the area. The names you remember get 100% of the business. Simple.

If you've got a HUGE mind share, your brand essentially becomes the name of the product. In the US, people ask for a "Kleenex", not a "facial tissue". (How's that for some awesome marketing?) If you've got NO mindshare, your band essentially doesn't exist for this consumer. That's being a little too underground of a band.

Soooooooooooo how do we build mindshare?

Mindshare is all about building memory, so it's a matter of salience, repetition, and context.

Salience is how powerful an impression the memory makes. Remember when you got into that car wreck and you remember every single moment in slow motion? That's a salient memory become it was powerful and your brain told you hey, pay attention! DO NOT GET INTO CAR WRECKS WITH YOUR FANS. KILLING THEM IS NOT GOOD FOR YOUR BAND.


Getting your band into a fan's memory without mutilation is ideal and not too difficult. Simple things like responding to a fan's tweet says "Hey, I'm the band and I actually care about you."

We remember people that care about us, because obviously they have good taste in people.

Or if you know it's a fan's birthday, tell em happy birthday from the stage. Simple, but it adds the personal connection to the memory that builds salience. (Or you can take the brute-force method of physically connecting with your fans. GWAR)

Memories are also context-dependant. Back to the earlier example, when you're thinking of restaurants to suggest to your friend, not only does your memory call up a list of restaurant names, it also remembers what the food was like, how the service was, what kind of dress code the place has...

All things tangentially related to the experience reinforce the experience.

So to build mind share you can also interact with fans in different contexts. If the only way you connect with your fans is facebook (see next week's post), that's only one context they'll remember you through. Now say you happened to do a cooking show on youtube as well. Then when people mention cooking there's a possible "I know a band that cooks" connection as well as at a show they can think "I've seen those guys cook". Essentially you're creating more "things" that people encounter that will likely "trigger" memories of your band. There will be more on this topic in later posts.

Finally, repetition is the part of marketing that gets the most focus because it's the most obvious. The first time you hear a band name, it's new. Then when you see it in a magazine you go, "Hmm, I've heard of them." Then after you see their name on a poster on every street corner, you're more likely to think "Those guys are everywhere."

Putting up flyers and getting your name mentioned is good, but repetition alone doesn't mean squat if there's no salience or context. Then all you'd have is the "Oh yeah, I recognize that name." While mere recognition does improve liking of something (mere exposure effect), you want people to actually take action when they run into you. There's many bands you recognize the name but haven't even given a listen to because there's no real reason you're compelled to listen on just a name alone. Nevertheless, the more people hear your name, the more likely they are to remember you.

Phew, good post. Nap time.


No Monitors

I saw a show a while back where the sound crew was way behind on setting up stage. No power anywhere until 10 minutes into the set, and then no monitors for the remainder of the set.

It was an acoustic act so it wasn't a devastating blow to the set, but the singer made a BIG deal about it. After every song, a half-hearted joke about not being able to hear herself. You could feel her unhappiness dripping through her pores.

It got me to thinking.

In the world of art, you'd better get used to having no "monitors". Getting regular, constructive criticism of your work is in no way guaranteed, even if you're in art schools. For large spans of time in your artistic career you may hear only haters, idiots, and sadists talk about your work. They can be suffocating, and it's easy to beciome a slave to the cult of negativity.

The measure of a true artist is whether they are able to persist past the onslaught of negativity and indifference to create their beautiful art.

No monitors.

Can you play without them?


Link: How to Increase Engagement In Facebook Wall Posts

Hypebot ferreted out this fantastic study:

It's short, and FULL of gems like this:
  • Posts outside of regular business hours, identified as 10 am to 4 pm EST in this study, saw engagement rates 20% higher than the overall average.



How to Audition for a Band

We've been running auditions for a new vocalist for the past few months (with steadily improving results thankfully), but it appears the world needs this post.


An audition is a JOB INTERVIEW. Sure, it's not usually super-formal and often involves beer, but your goal is still to impress complete strangers enough to want to work with you multiple hours a week, for an indefinite amount of years.

And 90% of what we make our decision upon will be our first impression of you. That's the way the human brain works. It's not fair; the true measure of a person can only really been determined over the course of years. But that's the way the human brain works. 

Research on first impressions from Barking Up the Wrong Tree: "The findings indicate that getting off on the wrong foot has devastating long-term consequences. Although later breaches seemed to limit cooperation for only a short time, they still planted a seed of distrust that surfaced in the end."

Artists, even more so than the average person, make decisions on intuition and emotion. If the band gets bad vibrations from you, there's no way you'll get in the group.

So what are ways we can give off good vibes to help increase our chance of getting into a band? The same ways that help you do a kickass job interview:

-Show interest in the band you're auditioning for.
   Unfortunately, this does need to be said. You want to show genuine interest in this band, not a band. Even if you only listen to a couple songs and read a bit of the website, this is very important. 

Mention to us "I really like what you did with the harmonies in The Golden Vine, how does that relate to the direction your music is going?" and we'll be ecstatic. This shows you've at least thought about what we're trying to achieve with our music, and you're intrigued enough to ask for more information. 

If you send us an email or text saying "Hey man, I can scream. What do you sound like? When can I come in?", you're not going to get an audition. It's not hard to google the band so we assume if you won't make that little effort, we assume you'll never make any effort.

This is why good job interview advice always says "Ask questions at the end of the interview." It's not the questions that are important, it's all about signaling to your interviewer that you care enough to know more about the position. You want to convey that you want this job, not any job.

Other examples of good questions/conversational topics: 
   "Where do you draw your influence from?"
   "I come from a background of _______, and I could use that to add some _______ to your music. I think it would improve your current _______ influences."
   "Between your last album and your most recent album, I see you went more in a ____ direction. Why did you decide to make that change?"

-Look like the band. Even if you have the technical skill, bands are as much about talent as they are about personality and artistic fit. Don't show up to an indie rock band wearing all black. Conversely, if you're a perky, positive drummer who loves wearing sun dresses, you're probably not going to get the gig for Metallica.

The whole "you shouldn't judge a book by its cover" argument may have moral merit but it's counterproductive to getting the position you want. Unless your mom still dresses you (NERD), you're in complete control over how you present yourself to the world and, therefore, how you would like to be perceived by the world. THIS IS YOUR CHOICE. AND IT WILL AFFECT PEOPLE'S FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF YOU.

-Ask them what they're looking for and why they're looking for it
   Sure, the musician wanted ad they posted had good info, but this question is very important to determine the big reasons the band is looking for a new musician. Did their last bassist have a super-dramatic ex who constantly fought on stage? Did two guitarists have a drug problem? Did the drummer not have "the band's look?" This is important for you to know, since it lets you know what the band values.

In a similar vein, if you found the ad on craigslist, make sure to reply back to the message saying how you fit the criteria. You don't have to mention everything, since that would become tedious, but if the band says they're looking for a serious musician, tell them how your serious. Telling only that "yeah, i'm serious" doesn't convey the same conviction as "I'm ready to throw everything I have into the band."

Want ads are a golden opportunity that lets you know what values are important to the band.

If you want to get the gig, you'll have to know how the band will determine if you're successful or not. It's an easy issue to over-step Which brings us to the next step:

-Once you know what the band values, either say that you're (a Ask for the Job or (b Walk Away.

   In the nervousness of an interview it's easy to forget or wuss out and not ask for the job/position. Trust me, I understand how it sometimes feels emotionally awkward to be so forward and ask for what you want. I've spent a large portion of my life afraid to ask for what I want and what was important for me. Once I got over the fear of speaking up for myself, (which turned out to be baseless) I began to get ridiculously awesome results in both my business and personal life. 

So if you want the job, and you're a good fit, ASK FOR IT. It's scary, but once you finally internalize it you'll see crazy results. Promise.

On that same point, if what the band values isn't what you feel is important for your art, walk away. Trust your artistic gut on this one. If your values aren't aligned now, you'll eventually have to compromise or argue over what's important to the project.

-Don't talk smack about your last band.

Even if there were terrible, awful people (like some of the stories I heard, wow), do your best to spin it as positively as possible. If you come across as bitter and negative, it only reflects poorly on you and shows off your bad side. Since this is an interview, you should probably be playing up your good side. Just an idea.

That's all I can think of now, but I'm sure I'll come back to this as more ideas come up.


How to Steal Like an Artist

You know when you read something so good you think "Damn, why didn't I write that?!?"

This is one of those articles.

My favorite point is "Don't wait until you know who you are to make things!"