Major Labels, Indie Labels, Pop Labels, Rap Labels, Christian Labels, and Country Labels are actively looking for new artists every day.
It’s easy to think that songwriters and artists can make it on their own with all the great self-promotional tools and opportunities on the Internet. But looking at this week’s Billboard Top 100 Chart, I can’t find a single band or artist that has become successful on their own using the Internet as their only form of promotion. Yes, the Internet is a large piece of the music promotion puzzle, but it’s a piece, not a panacea.
Companies that sell music promotion tools and advice are cropping up everywhere you look. Can they help? Certainly some of them can, but as part of an artist’s overall marketing strategy. I have yet to see any music-marketing tool or music promotion plan that’s a magic bullet that by itself will deliver stardom on a silver platter.
Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Breaking Benjamin, Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, Weezer and virtually all of the other artists I just looked at on Billboard.com have found fame and built their careers in the music business doing it the old fashioned way – writing or finding hit songs and signing with record labels.
Sure, it’s possible to have a video that goes viral on YouTube and drives sales on iTunes and other music download sites. But those events are few and far between. If you thought the odds of getting signed by a record label were slim, try and name ten acts that have had Billboard, chart-topping success based on the Internet alone.
The Sick Puppies were exposed to millions of people worldwide when their song, All the Same, was used in the massively popular Free Hugs videos. But they didn’t hit the Billboard charts until they had a veteran artist manager and Virgin Records behind them as their record label. Maybe that’s the magic formula for music promotion and marketing – simply create a video that goes viral on YouTube. That’s easy, right?
But the Sick Puppies are certainly an exception, and far from the rule. Even with millions of people listening to their song every day, exposure on Oprah, and just about every other media outlet worldwide, they still recognized that they needed a record label to take them to the next level.
How long have you been on MySpace? How about iTunes? Twitter? Facebook? How many sites do you have your music or your musical “brand” on altogether? How long have you been working the Internet music promotion thing with no substantial results? Is there a lesson to be learned?
Look again at the artists on the Billboard charts, and I think you’ll agree that there is a huge lesson staring us all in the face. Those artists are all signed to record labels. Illegal downloading may be killing the labels, but it’s been a slow death. More than ten years after Napster sprang up and illegal downloading began, Major Record Labels and top Independent Record Labels still look like a pretty smart option until somebody comes up with that magical silver bullet for artist promotion that millions of bands, artists, and songwriters have been waiting for.