Marketing fiddle music is a challenge anywhere. In some areas it might be especially difficult because it’s a genre that is not standardized or commercialized.
Mike Block String Camp faculty member Sarah Whitney offered a workshop on marketing your music. She is a very able violinist in the Sybarite5 ensemble. The presentation she gave on marketing fiddle music distilled what she’s learned what from a member of her ensemble, the bass player, who knows marketing.
The Productive Musician is her blog. It looks like PLR material at first glance, (private label rights, an online marketing staple). I may look more closely later. She said she wanted to focus more on being the productivity coach for musicians. Anyhow, her title for the presentation is “You Are For Sale.” The session did not draw the number of attendees as Zack Bock’s jazz comping, yet was well attended. I suspect that most attendees choose the optional workshops based on who’s presenting more than the subject matter. I know I’ve done that. Here’s how it went.
Who Wants to Market Fiddle Music?
Many of the attendees for this session were young, still in school. Two were adults hoping to further their knowledge, and there was me, the old guy, who was there mainly to gather a blog post. Sarah declared that music marketing is now taught in school. (She’s probably right about that, but I don’t know where.)
Her first point was, we should get in the heads of the people we want to attract. And she came back to this often. It’s almost a marketing cliche that the prospective fan or customer is tuned in to the radio station WIIFM, or “What’s in it for me.”
She got into the elevator pitch quickly. That’s about how you would share what you do if you only had a few sentences. After she spoke about this for a while, I asked her if she would share her pitch. She fumbled it as much as I would have if I had been put on the same spot. (And this was not too long after she had said you can practice your pitch). Good advice.
She got into this topic right after a participant revealed that his band in the Ann Arbor area wanted to expand. They are somehow involved with transgender stuff. Maybe a member of the band. They put that into their music. (I don’t see how that is an advantage in drawing an audience. But it might be for bookers who wanted to do serious virtue signaling.)
Sarah said she wanted to change perceptions. I asked her why she would want to do that. I didn’t catch the answer. She went on to making your presentation clear and interesting. At the beginning she touched on finding out what people want, but let that slide away.
Attendees Give Fiddle Marketing Tips
One of the people, I think with the FBI program, (Florida Band Incubator), said that he found that when he set up an LLC company and called prospects saying, “I’m with so and so,” he got much better response.
Another participant asked what platforms to use. Sarah said people will look for you in Google or Facebook. Then, she included You Tube in her list. Another participant said she uses a small show schedule as a card, making a new one up each month. It also has the url on it.
Sarah cautions us to use quality items to share our group with people. Don’t put a CD in a plain folder with hand written info on it. Now we’re getting into branding. The rule of seven, tells us how many times a person has to see your marketing before you get noticed. Be consistent with your design. Every thing should have the same color relationships and configuration. When you perform, dress like your picture.
I asked her what she would like to see on a biz card and she tossed it right back to me. What would I put on a card. I gave a few essentials: a picture of you, the musician; the big benefit from contacting you; with contact information, phone number, email and web site; the name of your band. She did not confirm or confront, but just moved on.
Venues Featuring Fiddle Music
Another participant asked about going from local to beyond. Her best answer was go to conferences. She mentioned a few that were big and well organized. People make decisions there. The are shopping for acts to feature in their venues.
Finding venues? Network with people you know. Look for places that align with what you are doing. If the presenter knows you are from out of town, share your out-of-town fee. Grow your following by starting locally. Use social media. do concerts, even for free. Use an email list. (She did not go into processes. I’ll get to see how she markets to me as a new person on her list. I did sign up for her newsletter. After several weeks, I haven’t seen anything appear in my in box.)
Participant: difficulty of merchandising. Sarah: the “merch” table is a thing. Treat it with respect. Again, be consistent and clear. Selling vinyl? Use color, not black.
That’s about how it went. It was informal, yet informative. The attendees brought in some good ideas. For me the biggest takeaways are 1 Consistency in marketing design, 2 Empathize with your fans and venue holders, 3 Use quality materials for your marketing outreach.