Over the years, I have produced or consulted many projects for artists who released their own recordings. Far too many of these projects went under appreciated and undersold because while they devoted considerable thought and preparation to the artistic and technical aspects of recording, they gave very little consideration to the marketing of the recordings. In my opinion there are three fundamental questions that an artist must answer before recording.
What is Your Marketing Budget?
First off, if you are making music to earn money, you are a business. To act like one, you must think about the bottom line balancing out costs and revenue. Marketing experts recommend that you spend anywhere from two to 10 percent of your expected sales revenue. If you’re a new artist, you should start at 10 percent. Your marketing budget doesn’t have to remain the same for each project. Make adjustments and change the amount you spend when necessary.
How Will You Tell Others About Your Music?
Your marketing mix will have an impact on how much you spend on your marketing budget. You can use low cost marketing methods online, such as social media posts and email blasts, and be effective. If that’s your approach, then you’ll end up spending a lower percent than a competitor who has to spend money to print and mail marketing materials.
How Will Your Recording Be Sold and/or Distributed?
Today much of sales are digital singles and hard copies of CDs (mostly at concerts) so the actual packaging is not very hard to figure out. That is unless you want to create additional value for fans and recruit new ones through a truly memorable experience. I’d like to remind you that as a singer, you are in the music entertainment industry. To be more clear: the service you offer is entertainment in the form of music.
Consider some of these entertaining packaging ideas. Include physical items that represent you, your single, or album. Expand into story or picture books to give visual impressions of your music. Play a game leading fans to secret clues and an ultimate giveaway. Know your audience. If they appreciate nostalgia, press LPs.
If you are unable to answer these questions, it would be wise to delay spending large amounts of money making your recording until you figure out the business side of your particular story. If you have a clear plan, good for you and good luck!