Alert, Connect, Sell: Releasing Get Busy Committee

Get Busy Committee Uzi Does It Release Party Flyer

As I mentioned last weekend, the band I’m co-managing is releasing a record called Uzi Does It at nearly every digital retailer on the planet (with INgrooves as our digital distributor) on Tuesday, November 10th. We’re having a party at Zune LA sponsored by True Love & False Idols; if you’d like to come please let me know and I’ll try to get you on the list.

While getting the album to iTunes is the main thrust for a lot of artists, it’s only part of the story (and a very small part so far) for us. We’ve been preparing for this release for months, started selling the album in six different packages two weeks ago, are selling the album for $1 on MySpace all weekend, and much more. To make good on my promise to blog the experience of managing a brand new band I thought I’d crank out a quick post about how we released the album. If you have questions, comments, feedback, opinions, or other ideas, please leave a comment. I’m doing this in hopes it will help other artists; let’s make it a discussion.

We’ll cover how the album was recorded in another post. Tonight I’m just going to talk about what happened after I got involved. At that point the album was basically complete, they had a couple of vocals to finish, some final touches to add, and the mastering process to make it through. Apart from texting Apathy daily asking him when he’d have a master to me and if we’d really be able to release by October 27th, I wasn’t involved in the creation of the album, just the marketing and release.

At Topspin we generally talk about three stages of development:

  1. Creating awareness
  2. Making connections
  3. Monetizing

We sometimes hear artists complain: “Dammit! I’m not selling anything!” Usually it’s a result of skipping straight to #3 above and not concentrating enough on #1 and #2. Consumers have an unlimited number of places to spend their time and money today. How are you getting in front of them? It is not a build-it-and-they-will-come world. How many you will sell is a small (and relatively consistent) percentage of how many people you have looking at a buy button. More impressions equals more sales, and most importantly none equals zero. If you have a very small number of fans (as we did, starting with zero emails, zero Facebook fans, zero Twitter followers, and just a handful of MySpace friends) IMHO you start by creating awareness and connecting with folks, not concentrating solely on selling.

Capturing Interest – The Net and The Web

In the heading above the “net” is not the Internet, and the “web” isn’t the World Wide Web. The net and web in this case are for capturing anyone interested in Get Busy Committee, no matter where they first heard of them, and moving them from a casual interest in “that one song” into GBC fans who will end up telling friends, going to shows, and buying stuffed koalas packing heat.

Before we can even get to the steps above, we need a place to capture any awareness we create. The artist’s Web site should be that place, IMHO.

We started by taking stock of what we had. Get Busy Committee didn’t have stand-alone Web site, just a MySpace page (ditto for Ryu, Apathy, and Scoop Deville solo) and none were collecting email addresses. Step one was to remedy this. We registered GetBusyCommittee.com and started looking for someone to help us build the Web site.

As mentioned in the last post we chose Open Mic for Web design and Parker at Wrvrywhr for Web programming. My friend Jonathan Strauss of Awe.sm also offered to help with some of the social features. Parker, Jonathan, and I gathered at an easel in my home office and argued out the design of the site. We new we needed to get a splash page up as quickly as possible, so we started with a single page which simply played the intro from the title track and had an email collection widget (both the streaming player and the email collection widget were created in less than 10 minutes using Topspin):

Original Get Busy Committee splash page

Then we started scoping out the rest of the site, the one we would launch on release day. Parker took notes and we went from my scribblings (dig my koala):

IMG00015-20091108-2038.jpg

to wireframes for each page a la:

Get Busy Committee wire frames by Parker Brooks

We handed these off to Open Mic and he turned them in to fleshed out Photoshop files before handing them back to Parker. Note Parker is in California, Open Mic is in Connecticut, and both work out of their homes. These guys are talented but their overhead is low and none of this is expensive. I’m not going to share exactly what I paid as the market may have changed their prices by the time you read this. But this is the beauty of Web development, people collaborating across the country with very low overhead, using more ingenuity than raw materials. It’s what the Web is made of.

Anyway, eventually Open Mic handed the design back to Parker, and Parker pulled the site together into what it is today with a lot of late nights and loving care:

GetBusyCommittee.com

The object was to make the site:

  1. Home base. The top SEO result for “Get Busy Committee” and anything else related to the band.
  2. Vibrant. It should update with the latest information about Get Busy Committee with very little effort, from a variety of sources. Furthermore, we weren’t going to spend time or money building any of these tools from scratch. We integrated WordPress and Twitter to make sure it was easy to update with long or short-form updates (respectively) easily.
  3. A fan acquisition tool. The site should be sticky like fly-paper. If you visit the site you should have an incentive to leave behind your email address, follow GBC on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, a friend on MySpace, friend on Flickr, subscriber on YouTube, or subscribe via RSS. We may only get one chance to make a connection with you. We don’t want you to bounce in and bounce out without granting us permission to reach out to you later with an update.
  4. A tool for fans to create other fans. Every page of the site is instrumented with simple ways to share on Facebook and Twitter, and feedback for having done so either in the form of a counter or free music for having done so. We want it to not only be easy to spread the word but for you to be recognized for having done so.
  5. A place to convert at whatever level of fan you happen to be. Never heard of Get Busy Committee? No problem, you can stream the record or download a few songs for free. Super fan? How about the T-Shirt/USB Flash Drive combo for $55? Somewhere in between? No worries. We have something for you.
  6. Useful. If you’re a college radio DJ who needs a clean version to play on your show or a beatmeister who wants an acapella to remix that should be easy to find. If you’re a blogger writing about the band there should be a special page for you, even if it’s not linked from the front page. Anything you email to people regularly should be on the site and easily linked to.

What the site shouldn’t be:

  • An art piece. Unless you’re Prince, the era of a big Flash site is finally over (note Prince’s official site is #8 when you search Google for Prince). Your site should have a distinct look/feel, but it needs to be all the things above and easy to use first and foremost. Make it look good and easy to navigate while accomplishing the items above. Don’t make people search and guess, because they won’t.

It’s worth noting that while we’re really happy with what we’ve created thus far it all feels very rudimentary. There’s so much room for improvement on the above vectors. It’s what I obsess over every day of my life.

Creating Awareness

Once we had the site up and running, we needed to create some awareness. We did a few simple things to bootstrap those first few views:

  1. Created a unique product. By creating the Uzi-shaped USB we had a hook, something people could talk about.
  2. Leaked some music. We took two songs from the album and made them available for download in return for an email address from GetBusyCommittee.com, and available for streaming on MySpace, Facebook, iMeem, Last.fm, YouTube, and iLike.
  3. Told the world. We worked every source we had to get the word out, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, email, blogs, friends, family, etc. We even bought a few Facebook and Google ads (more on that in a later post).

Through this we managed to collect a few hundred people. Not much but it was a start. These people were gold. Our early followers. Our best friends for life. We sent an email thanking them for the early support, giving them another song for free in the email, and telling them we’d give them ONE MORE song if they’d just do us a simple favor: share Get Busy Committee with their friends. We gave them explicit instructions on how to share via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or their blog and told them if they did we’d send them the song for download. In many many cases they obliged and through the goodwill of these few hundred people we broke a thousand email addrs and many hundreds of followers elsewhere. Lesson learned: we didn’t test the first email we sent well enough and sent people BAD/BROKEN instructions on how to share. People were sharing but their share wasn’t linking back to us. DOH. Test test test before you send. We ended up having to send them three emails to get the sharing instructions right. Very bad form. Thankfully we had very few unsubscribes. Thanks sincerely to those folks for understanding. Apologies.

Making Connections

As mentioned above, every action at this phase was positioned to drive direct connections. We’ve talked a lot in the past about Permission Marketing and the quid pro quo approach of giving something valuable in return for permission to reach out to you again. I’d like to think this goes without saying but I still see people at either end of the spectrum, either giving away music without even asking for an email address or giving away nothing and simply asking people for their hard-earned cash. Unfortunately simply having your music sitting in their iTunes library doesn’t mean they’re going to know when you’re playing a show in their hood (though Songkick is trying to solve this ;) ) and by the same token asking someone for $15 when they aren’t yet in love with your music is destined for failure or at least lower conversion.

Get Busy Committee Streaming Widget on MikeShinoda.com

We tried a few approaches with Get Busy Committee:

  1. Free streaming player, with a button leading back to GetBusyCommittee.com. The streaming player itself doesn’t ask you for an email address in order to play, but it does give a very clear way to get back to our site (where other embeddable streaming players simply lead you back to YouTube.com, iMeem.com, etc). Hopefully people will spread the player to their sites, blogs, etc, and people will click the “free download” link if they like what they hear. One great thing about this player is that you can update it in the wild, meaning you can change the contents of what’s been embedded once it’s out there. For example, we got a great placement on Wired early in our cycle and they embedded a player which at the time contained just two tracks. When we created a streaming player for the full album we updated ALL players in the wild, and the player on the Wired page updated, too.
  2. Give email, get free songs widget. We give away free music in return for giving an email address. This is also easily shared and we’ve seen people put this on their blogs. Great content for them, fan connections for us.
  3. Liberal use of content streams from other services. We’ve integrated Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and YouTube into our site. Folks familiar with those services and interested in GBC have an obvious invitation to make the connection in a familiar environment.

Topspin Twitter Feature

One of the main tools I’ve been using to monitor the Get Busy Committee zeitgeist and connect with fans is the Topspin Twitter integration. This feature allows you to see what people are saying about your band and easily (but not robotically) follow (and hope for reciprocity) and communicate with them. I admit to being pretty addicted to this page, checking it several times a day and constantly scheming on ways to get people to talk about GBC and generate more mentions in the ether.

Selling Shit, aka “Monetization”

While I didn’t expect to sell a ton of music day one, I wanted to be selling music and more from the first day the site launched. Again, you might only get one chance to get in front of a potential fan. I want them to be able to move as far down the funnel as possible. If they just want a couple of free tracks, that’s fine, but in the case they do want to drop $55 on a Flash drive/T-shirt combo pack, why stop them? For a new band it’s a marathon not a sprint, and I see absolutely no value to deflecting interest in favor of a “huge street date”. To me that’s a sure fire recipe for “huge disappointment” and loss of momentum. I’d prefer to get the product out there to “no one”, be surprised when you sell any, and parlay that surprise into an understanding of where those sales came from and how you make a few more.

We started with a range of products, things we’d buy ourselves if we were fans:

  1. A cheap digital download. $6 gets you the whole album in high-quality 320kbps MP3, CD-quality FLAC, or CD-quality Apple Lossless format.
  2. An inexpensive CD with an immediate digital download. Buy the CD, download now. CDs printed on-demand by our friends at Kufala. Oh and the shrink-wrap is smokeable so every CD comes with free rolling papers.
  3. An Uzi-shaped USB flash drive and an immediate digital download. This was the most difficult piece but also the linchpin. We had to get this sourced by a company that deals directly with manufacturers in China and had to spend money up-front to buy a few hundred. To be honest I was very reticent to spend the money. But since these have constituted about 40% of our sales at a good price point as well as garnered us the most attention it was certainly money well spent. We’re already about 50% sold through our order, which is completely unexpected for me.
  4. High-quality t-shirts added to any of the above. We partnered with street wear company True Love & False Idols to do a high-quality shirt. They’re fashion-quality and fashion-priced and as a result we aren’t selling a ton of them on the site just yet (they’re also not merchandised particularly well at the moment, I plan to correct that later in the cycle). But also as a result we have interest with some great retail outlets such as Suru LA, who will be selling an exclusive version of the shirt along with a CD starting this week.

So how much money have we made two weeks into our direct-to-fan presale and on the eve of our retail release? Well, without sharing exact numbers I’ll share a good gauge: in the first two weeks of release we’ve made nearly exactly the amount of money we spent on Web design and development. So we’ve basically paid for the cost of creating all of the above value by front-running our retail release with a direct-to-fan campaign offering a number of products at price points ranging from free to $55. Not bad for a band no one has heard of (yet), as far as I’m concerned. And we’re not even into the first mile of the marathon yet. I’m expecting this setup to pay dividends especially when you consider the alternative to the above is to just throw your album up in iTunes and wait. :)

Free Is A Price Point!

When people talk about what Trent Reznor did with Ghosts they always mention the 2500 $300 box sets he sold but rarely do they mention what is perhaps the most genius concept he introduced with that offer: the price point of FREE. What Trent really did was look his fans in the eye and ask them, “So, how big a fan are you?” But he also acknowledged that “not that big” or “I dunno yet” was a perfectly valid response by saying, “if you’d prefer to spend nothing, I have a package for you, it’s half the album.”

We opted to do the same thing with the Get Busy Committee record. Our hope (and belief) was that when the right people heard a few songs from the record, and samples of the other songs, they’d be happy to part with at least a small amount of cash to own the rest of the songs. So we decided to give away fully half of the album for free, and to incorporate these free tracks into the “store” right next to the paid tracks. When you visit the store, you can choose to spend $0, $6, $10, $20, or $35-$55 on a package including a shirt.

But the $0 package isn’t 100% free. We ask for some simple help in return. We ask that you do one of the following things:

  1. Add our streaming player to your MySpace page or blog, and drop us a link or screen shot.
  2. Email 10 friends a link to the streaming player and Web site. We can easily track this with the Topspin CRM software.
  3. Become a fan on Facebook, and post the streaming widget to your Facebook page. Jonathan of Awe.sm cranked this functionality out for us in an overnight session (THANKS, JONATHAN! I owe you at least one night’s sleep and will pay you back just as soon as science figures out a way for me to).
  4. Follow us on Twitter, and Tweet a link to the site to your followers. This is easily monitored with the Topspin Twitter integration.

Note that each of these things isn’t just a share, it’s a connection between fan and artist followed by a share. Connect with us, give us a conduit to reach you in the future, and tell your friends about what we have going on, and we’ll give you half the album for free.

Get Busy Committee MySpace Music Billboard

Get Busy Committee Uzi Does It $1 album offer on MySpace

The Ultra-Cheap Option

Following in the footsteps of Fanfarlo and others, we decided to see just how many fans we could acquire through a big traffic-driver with a very special offer. This weekend only (through Monday, November 9th, so if you’re reading this Monday you can still take advantage of the offer by clicking here, and you’d be crazy not to) we’re selling the record for $1 in an offer made exclusively via our MySpace page. In return MySpace was kind enough to give us some great promotion on both the MySpace Music page and the MySpace front page. We’ve seen an influx of tons of traffic and plays (about 25K plays today — we had a couple thousand total before this promo), hundreds of new friend requests, and lots of folks either taking the free tracks (in return for an email address) or the $1 album itself. We’ve seen a huge jump in the number of people LIKING and TALKING ABOUT the record, which is encouraging, but most importantly we’ve increased the number of people connected to us via MySpace, Email, and even Facebook and Twitter as a result of this promotion. That’s more people we can reach out to with special offers and more people who will spread the word on our behalf. More people tomorrow than yesterday. That’s the motto.

Quantum Events

Tom Silverman refers to “quantum events”, those events you can’t count on which can change everything for an artist. We haven’t had any of those yet, but we’re encouraged radio seems to be liking the track. There’s no question that radio introduces people to music and sells records if you’re fortunate enough to find your way to the airwaves. We’ve been very fortunate and KROQ in Los Angeles has been taking a chance on the track, playing it every day since Wednesday of last week. They played it around 7:30pm on Wednesday and the phones blew up so hard (we really didn’t do anything to juice that, either, we’d been told not to try to inflate the response) they played it AGAIN at 9pm as part of their “Furious Five At Nine”, their top five requests show. Wow. Quantum? Too early to tell, but it’s great news regardless. Hopefully they’ll keep playing it and we can get a few other stations to try a few spins, too.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you. I know I’d be crazy to ask any more of you than simply reading this far, but if you like what we’re up to here please support by:

  1. Buying the record. The most expensive package is recommended. ;)
  2. Calling your local radio station and telling them they should be as cool as KROQ and play some Get Busy Committee.
  3. Leaving a comment below and telling me what you think or sharing a tip. I’ve already taken some value from last week’s post and I really appreciate the feedback.
  4. Turn off your TV, support and discover more music. As Zappa said, Music Is The Best.

Thanks. Until next time…

ian

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. A Short Girl Living in a Tall City » Read. This. Now. on 10 Nov 2009 at 1:07 pm

    [...] You should read the full article here. [...]

  2. A $1000 Studio: Recording The Get Busy Committee at FISTFULAYEN on 23 Nov 2009 at 10:28 am

    [...] I’ve mentioned, by the time I came into the Get Busy Committee project the record was finished, so I was and will [...]

  3. Blakroc Released! Kinda! at FISTFULAYEN on 28 Nov 2009 at 5:26 pm

    [...] this isn’t completely theoretical for me, this is what I just did with Get Busy Committee, an album admittedly was much less hotly anticipated, with great [...]

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Comments

  1. Juliano Polimeno wrote:

    Hi Ian,

    Besides all this things in your post, I have to say that you’re a nice “story teller” and you’re a creating a context where a band can emerge.

    And you know the importance of a story. In this new book you are writing there’s a nice cover with a beautiful image of USB stick (calling for people’s fetish?), another chapter with this “Ultra-Cheap Option” (a “new-traditional” marketing), and one chapter that maybe will not be written by you (Quantum Events), etc.

    I have to say that some part of the traffic that GBC is getting is because you and Topspin (you know that, right?). At these days, good and new strategies are becoming a big part of the “product” itself and act as an inner-part of the band. Again, we have to tell a story, create a context and, if some of this works, sell things.

    As a manager now, maybe you’re a missing (or not telling us) a big part of this book: the chapter about concerts. How can you directly connect to fans in concerts? Will you build some mobile app so people can download/buy things and leave their email addresses after the concert? How can you measure something that’s not “web-linked”? There’s an analytics tool for concerts?

    So, that’s my 2 cents…

    See you.

  2. jonathan wrote:

    Thanks for the shout outs bro! It’s been a lot of fun to work with you and Parker on this, especially since I totally dig the album. Sometimes the appeal of helping friends and/or being passionate about the underlying product is stronger than money (see http://sivers.org/no-reward).

    Now seriously people, go buy the album! :-)

  3. gottagrooverecs wrote:

    Thanks for these series of posts, its great to see the process of a manager with an understanding of how things work. On the other side, where's the vinyl release, we'd love to press it!

    Tyler
    http:/www.gottagrooverecords.com

  4. @thclark wrote:

    I am loving the inside look and behind the scenes here. I suspect your gaining invaluable knowledge to leverage for other artist as you improve Topspin based on your experiences here. Keep em coming. As Steel Pulse said: "life without music. I cant go."

  5. Jesse Cannon wrote:

    First off, as someone who aggregates articles on the music industry articles all day long, these two articles in this series are two of the best I have read all year long. This week I helped a band I work with do a launch for their EP. One of the most interesting things I found was that when we did a email for a download (through Reverb Nations widget which I don't think is as appealing to someone as TopSpins email for a download widget) vs. a tweet for a download (which we did through tweetforatrack.com) our fans did the tweet for a download 12 times more than email for a download. I was shocked! I am sure TopSpin will be going in the direction of offering a tweet for a download soon enough, but for GBC I would def try it out ASAP since it is getting us much better results than the email exchange.

    Jesse Cannon – Musformation.com

  6. Sean wrote:

    Someone posted this blog from the Denver Music Board. It's a local discussion board for the hardcore music minded. We've been arguing about a lot of this stuff over there and it was great to see a lot of it implemented on a larger scale. Lots of great tips, tricks, advice, and relatable material. I really appreciate you taking the time to document it all and sharing it.

  7. Dave Allen wrote:

    Hi Ian,

    This is all good stuff but something is bothering me. This feels like a marketing plan that good old-fashioned labels' used to do by using the typical advertising/marketing channel of Producer to Consumer to push their product. The main difference here is that the artist controls the product, which is a plus, and the means of distribution, both digital and analog. Adding the bells and whistles of an online campaign with MySpace, Twitter, Facebook etc gives the campaign the aura of "new" when in fact it's not.

    What's not new is that the organizing principle is still the same – GBC is still offering us an "album," and we are expected to buy said album. I believe what's missing from the package is a vinyl album of outtakes, remixes, vignettes and/or storytelling and more. The CD is redundant, all digital files can be downloaded as offered, why bother manufacturing and shipping a CD? The band could sell CD-Rs with MP3 files at concerts at a discount as fans will rip the music to a computer anyway.

    Here's where I would have gone with this:

    Premium package – T-shirt, Vinyl record, instant download of hi-res files. $50 – $75 (?)

    Non-premium package – free download of all digital tracks at a lower quality, say 128kbs. No handcuffs.

    True fans of the band don't need to be coerced into sending emails or tweeting about GBC, they would do that anyway..

    Not trying to rain on your parade just thinking about what "different" means when it comes to selling music. This still feels like a push to me and therefore it feels the same as it ever was.

    But then you know I'm getting curmudgeonly these days ala my essay on the End of the Album: http://www.pampelmoose.com/2009/04/the-end-of-the…

    If I had more time and a clearer head I could have done better than this, so maybe I'll be back after more consideration. Good luck with this campaign

    DA

  8. @alexbhlz wrote:

    Thanks Ian – great post for those starting out.

  9. Kilissa Cissoko wrote:

    Great advice… regardless of the musical genre. Are you all doing this full-time? What are your thoughts on supporting a band through the "start-up" phase?

    Your last comment hit me the closest to home. You're a Zappa Fan after all that? Excellent!

    I have to go listen to the music now!

    http://www.kilissa.com
    http://www.myspace.com/kilissa.com
    http://www.twitter.com/KilissaCissoko

    not yet "monetized"! :-)

  10. rich wrote:

    i wish i had access to the Topspin tools. it all seems to make so much sense. thank you for taking the time to blog about your process here. very interesting and informative, invaluable really. thank you. and good luck with the push!

  11. Karen Hart wrote:

    I second that.
    And I love Koalas!

  12. MusicBizGuy wrote:

    Ian

    Why don't you test out my new user generated music booking widget http://www.livemusicmachine.com with the Get Busy Committee. Couldn't they really use a serious DIY booking play?.

    David Sherbow

  13. Kyla Fairchild wrote:

    Great post Iaan. Thanks for sharing!

    Is your "give email, get free songs widget" something that is available out there for anyone to use or is it a proprietary Top Spin thing? I've been wanting to do this exact thing on the NoDepression.com web site but not sure how to hook it up from a technology standpoint.

  14. John wrote:

    This is an excellent article, and applicable to a wide range of products and services. Great look at the music business today.

  15. Ryan wrote:

    THANK YOU. Now I can have all of my artists/clients read this first, so they'll stop looking so confused every time I talk to them about "Direct-To-Fan" strategy. You really explained things quite thoroughly and with great insight to each component.

    Enough cannot be said for giving equal attention to all three stages of development. Too many people, it seems, want to get to the monetizing stages as fast as they can…which absolutely will not work unless you put in the hard work and spend the time creating awareness (first) and making connections (second). And with the world being as it is, too many artists "just want to make music" and don't yet see the value in building their networks and developing their fan channels. As if simply making good music is good enough these days… lol

    Thank you, Ian, for posting this essay. It's now a mandatory read for all of the artists and clients I work with before I'll even mention "direct-to-fan" strategy.

    -Ryan Wines

    Label Manager: Beat The World Records | http://www.beattheworld.com/wp/
    Digital Strategy: Pet Marmoset | http://www.petmarmoset.com
    Label Manager: Timber Carnival Records | http://www.timbercarnival.com

  16. Derek wrote:

    Great arctile – however the I think the details with respect to cost on things like the MySpace feature are pertinent. I would have loved to hear some numbers and figures – being an independent manager and promoter myself who has only had success in a none-monetary way due to the fact that we had essentially no budget!

  17. Benjamin wrote:

    Thank you your post is extremely insightful. Our band has been searching for sound advice (pun not intended) in the emerging new music industry and you hit the nail on the head!

    Wish you the best as you guys continue to do big things!

  18. Andrew McMillen wrote:

    Outstanding, Ian. I was planning to buy the album anyway, but the $1 thing is insane. I bought it right away and tweeted via @NiteShok.

  19. @MelindaOrtner wrote:

    Great article. It came in SOO handy as I'm about to launch my EP coming up here shortly. Thank you!
    Melinda Ortner
    http://www.myspace.com/melindaortner

  20. Ryan Taylor wrote:

    This is so awesome to read about. The album is amazing – I can’t stop eating beats up for supper and it’s stuck in my head all day long.

    The biggest thin here for me is making sure the album is for sale before the “street date”. If you’re streaming it somewhere for promo power and I like it but I can’t buy it, I’m gonna find it anyway no matter how much I like it. I was kind of pissed at Metric because I had pre-ordered the album, they had it promo streaming all over the web and I had to wait almost a month for the full album download I had already paid for just so they could generate more buzz? This seemed so short-sighted – I felt like their marketing plan was more important than me being appreciated as a fan.

    Keep up the stories – I can’t stop reading. Don’t worry though, cause my shit never jams…

  21. Ian -MiiM wrote:

    Ian – that is the single best set-up plot and story I have yet seen for a new band in the digital age. Phenomenal and what a great lesson or blueprint for others.

    I have to say that you also got past the first hurdle for managers with a new band – you have an act with talent and a good record with songs with hooks. Given that starting point, your creation of awareness is faultless and people will line up behind the band as they discover them online or hear about them from their friends.

    Great work.

    Ian

  22. Nian Brindle wrote:

    Thanks for this Ian. It's a fantastic overview for those starting out, in what is essentially a completely new world of marketing for music. Looking forward to the next posts.

  23. David Gjester wrote:

    Finally someone who completely "gets" it.
    David G

  24. pdelaine wrote:

    I think I'm in love…. someone out there is speaking my language!

  25. JFS wrote:

    Quite an online music workout, I must say. Perhaps a bit overwhelming for the average band to tackle, in that there's multiple layers of things that have to happen first for other multiple layers of things to happen. Crazy, man.

  26. Leo Sands wrote:

    great stuff!

    one question: how come no mention that Ryu was in Styles of Beyond and was featured in a minor hits by the Crystal Method ("Name of the Game") and the Linkin Park sub-project Fort Minor ?

    Are there any plans to reach out to the millions of fans of Linkin Park and The Crystal Method? No mention of that at all.. the entire push of GBC is that they are a "brand new band" that "nobody knows". While this approach is very prudent, it can't hurt to also reach out to LP & TCM communities (not to mention the fans of Styles of Beyond) & mention Ryu's previous connections with them.

    thoughts?

  27. elizabeth! wrote:

    I am going to re-launch my website this winter as I prepare to release my new album of original pop/jazz songs, and your thoughts on organizing a marketing campaign are well-written and helpful. Thanks!

  28. jacky jasper wrote:

    Great read! Thank you for sharing this experience along with results from each step along the way. Now if only topspin would accept my Artist who has been in the game with well over 10,000 hours experience under his belt. Jacky Jasper @ http://diaryofahollywoodstreetking.com

    Gonna check out Get Busy right now!

  29. jhstrauss wrote:

    See http://getbusycommittee.com/store, one of the options to get half the album for free is to tweet it (using a custom awe.sm tracking link :-) ). FWIW, CultureJam offers a very robust awe.sm-powered tweet for download product. </shameless plug>

  30. Justin Boland wrote:

    "The top SEO result for “Get Busy Committee” and anything else related to the band."

    Ian, I'd be interested in your take on how Google Music is changing their (our) search ecosystem for artists, especially independents.

  31. brian wrote:

    Thanks for this Ian, this is a great blue print that most anyone can follow. If they can't or don't have someone in their crew that can do this, they don't stand much chance. Good luck and keep us updated on how this continues to work.

  32. @beach wrote:

    yo ian,

    Thanks for writing this. I recommend a decent book that can also help with the preparation and launching of an album or campaign: "The Indie Band Survival Guide" http://www.amazon.com/Indie-Band-Survival-Guide-Y…

    Two things are key.
    1. The music and recording must be better than good. Of course that's subjective, but don't fool yourself. If you have doubts, start over until it's right or do something else.

    2. You must have a great network. With any success, it's almost always about who you know. Who can help you? Who can hook you up? Go out and meet people, be gracious, ask for introductions, be real, and maybe you can get more of what you need to succeed. Managing your fan network is critical, but having a solid personal network equally important.

  33. Mike D wrote:

    Thanks Ian, this was an excellent read and really valuable information for bands handling their own promotion. Best of luck!

  34. @111RECORDS wrote:

    as a former multi platinum artist an inidie label owner, i can relate to your story and hold very similar views as to how to break a new project. i commend you and wish you luck.

  35. @woodspeter wrote:

    Ian, I'm curious if the Wikipedia entry was part of the plan or did that happen on its own?

  36. David Allen wrote:

    This really brings up the awareness on how affordable and simple it is to establish connections early on. Takes a lot of the smoke out of the air for me and for a lot of other people.

  37. Joseph Paul Pasternack wrote:

    Anyone up & coming musicians will want to check out this post.
    The ideologies of old are dead, you better have a great marketing plan and some killer chops.

  38. Taylor Davidson wrote:

    Fantastic detail, Ian, full of great examples of how to approach an album release, build a buzz, etc., and also full of examples of how to use Topspin in managing a release. Great case study. Now, if you combined these details with the full campaign analytics to show which methods worked better / worse and why / how, you'd be giving away all the secrets…

  39. For serious? wrote:

    Ian,

    First, the good news (micro level): You're smart, resourceful, and good a explaining yourself. The band is lucky to have you, and I wish you the best. Before I get labeled a hater or holier-than-thou, I think it's only fair to give you your due.

    Now, the bad news (macro level): There is practically nothing about the band which merits any attention, or for that matter, success, other than what you've done/described above. I was compelled by several different music industry friends to check out this post. And I'm glad I did. I also went to the site and listened to some of the tracks. Which makes me wonder, am I the only person that was struck by the fact that the band isn't very talented and is thoroughly unoriginal in every way that counts? Except maybe for the Uzi-toting Koala, which I guess is cute or clever, but really just makes me fear for the fate of our civilization. You may be doing everything "right," and while hundreds of intelligent and educated people are reading your post, seriously mulling it over, and debating your business development methodology, the fact remains that the "product" is still just a hackneyed N.W.A. parody called THE GET BUSY COMMITTEE. Holy. Fucking. Shit.

    If this band does take off, which will be earned, at least insofar as your involvement is concerned, then conrgrats. But, as a reformed music industry junkie, I would encourage you and your readership to redirect your drive and intellect towards something a bit more meaningful, e.g., foreign or monetary policy (we're in two wars and the dollar is in the toilet), healthcare (does everyone here have it?!), or at the very least, music that would actually contribute to the culture rather than piss all over it like the stale remnants of last night's Old English.

    IMHO.

  40. seth herman wrote:

    I appreciated this article.
    Wondering how many hours a week you put into the release?

    Reading this article gave me the push to take the Berklee Topspin class. I have been on the fence because of the tuition cost, but I think now, "how can I afford not too!"

  41. Mike B. wrote:

    Hey Ian – guess I'm about 12 weeks behind here, but I wanted to say thanks a ton for these two posts.

    The Internet is crammed full of tiny info-nuggets for independent musicians these days, but I can't think of anyone else who's taken the time to lay out such a clear, thorough and on-point case study in the last year. Seriously, these were just about the most useful blog posts of 2009 (and I just wrote something to that effect myself back on my blog) – here's hoping you find the time to let us know how things turned out!

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