So...here's the deal....recently, I have reunited with my duo partner from years ago (we were most active 1996-2001). We did one festival show in 2012, and have decided recently to see if we can make a go of it again. Things have changed since we recorded our CD in 2000...most notably...not too many people buy CDs, but we've also been on the sidelines as the record company model collapsed, digital music took over, and Facebook and Google became marketing platforms.
The question now is (to paraphrase my buddy, piano virtuoso Peter Longworth) is there any interest in an "emerging" chamber group in their 40s? I am confident in the quality of what we can do (we are both WAY further advanced as musicians and players than in our youths), but after over a decade of families, children, administrative duties, disappointments, injuries, rivalries, friendships, tragedies and generally, everything else that generally occupies everyday life, can we regroup, make music, and have people take interest in our way of communicating? Quietly, I've been embarking on this since July of this year.
If there's one thing I've learned from my professional life so far, its that persistence is the key to many-a-career, coupled with a willingness to fail and learn from that failure. Through my work at a rather progressive-minded music program, and my experience at running a multimillion dollar arts series and overseeing marketing and communications, I think I have enough (just enough) basic tools to make a decent attempt at this.
There are three things that I will always be coming back to:
1) Understand to the best of your ability, how the music business works - this includes publishing, copyright, basic marketing and media platforms, royalty collection, what you can and can't do, what you should and shouldn't do
2) Try a lot of things, and be open to new ideas
3) Your music is at the center of everything you do - seems basic, but it can get lost..create as much as you can!
I'll attempt to be as candid as I can about my efforts, but will probably avoid talking about specific values on income streams, largely cause they'll be very low for a while, and thinking about this will likely discourage people...this is going to be a long haul project. I will be as specific as possible about things I've tried.
Also, I understand that there's a million different ways to have a career, and there is nothing wrong with the way YOU are choosing to go about it. If you have a record contract and are touring all the time, I'm not offering advice you need. I am merely offering observations on my efforts, and hope they'll be of interest to people.
Please feel free to subscribe to this blog if you want some updates as they come available, or just check back in. I'll be using the tag DIY in the categories for posts in this series.
Just to get you started, I'll share with you an interesting experiment I had with paid Facebook advertising.
How Much Does It Cost for You to Like Me?
I'll qualify the experiment. We started a Facebook fan page, and added a few of our friends so we got it up to a place where we were allowed to do something paid. Facebook has a Like campaign feature for your FB page. Basically, it advertises your site as something people may want to like.
Complete disclosure: In one of my previous administrative positions at my university, I received several hours of training FROM Facebook on how to use its platform, and gave me things to look for and methods with which to modify the campaign if its not working. Before this, and since, I've run FB campaigns for large and successful artists and organizations. This page represents a sandbox for doing it from scratch
We started this campaign before we were doing shows in Pennsylvania, so we targeted a very specific area on this campaign. People in NY, PA, MA, NJ, and MD who like classical guitar and classical music (Facebook lets you pick a variety of parameters). We set it fairly broad, a potential audience of 2.6 million people. BUT, we set a $15 budget, and this was supposed to hit between 500-1000 people a day. It didn't..in fact, over 3 days, it reached 651 people. The reasons for this are likely many, but it largely comes down to the narrow geographic region, the budget , and my experience that Facebook was trying to target the people most likely to click (I actually do believe they do this). Again, I've done this before and since with organizations with a higher budget and more page likes to start with, with amazing results.
The shocking result of paying $1.51 per like was a good learning opportunity. In Facebook business training, a successful campaign costs less than $.70 per click, with less than $.60 per click being optimal. This campaign actually was $.80 per click (not bad considering the region and budget) so Facebook was doing their part, but this only converted to 10 likes. In campaigns I've run before, the click rates and like rates are usually fairly close.
Conclusion: So the problem...our Facebook page didn't have the content that people felt compelled to like. So this is something we have to work on. Also, the low number of likes on the page probably left a negative impression, so we have to do more work on getting the number up before the next attempt.
We only did this in an effort to get more people out to the shows. The shows were successful, but there is little to indicate if the Like Campaign had an impact. One thing I do know...unless people know your name, they are unlikely to have any interest, so keeping your name out there is important. I know this is basic, but bears repeating.
There are other interesting things in a Facebook campaign which must be monitored. I'll detail these more the next time something is attempted but here's a couple
1) Frequency - if this is approaching 2.0, then that means people have seen the ad twice and not responded to it..change up the picture (or the creative as marketing people would say)
2) If one of your pictures (or creative) is hitting computers, and no one is clicking at all, you are be charged for those impressions, and impeding the work of the creative that works. After I reasonably amount of time, make the ads with under performing pictures inactive, so as to let the creative that resonates do its work with more of the budget. After a day, I noticed that 2 images were having no clicks, even though they were hitting the right people, so I let the one that was working run..mainly due to the limited budget.
More on FB ads later. If you have a specific question, leave it in the comments and i'll try to address it.
I'm running a few experiments on techniques with YouTube Channels right now, so subscribe here and follow along if you are so motivated. I'll summarize my findings when there is something to tell!