This week I offer you a sort of corollary to my previous article, The World is Not Small. Internet radio is quickly becoming a viable promotional tool for independent musicians such as myself. They are becoming more and more ubiquitous, are often free, pay royalties, many major artists are on board, and, the most powerful aspect of all is that the listener is in control. On various services such as Pandora, listeners can create their own personalized stations based on an artist or genre they like, and then, music that fits the chosen criteria begins to populate their set list.
Currently I am in the process of adding my music to as many of these stations as possible and just working on getting to know the medium. The approval process for Pandora is quite lengthy, Last.fm is cool, then, a friend of mine introduced me to Jango which boasts over 6 million listeners strong. It works the same was as the other stations with one additional feature; the artist can pay for target marketing. The theory is that with target marketing you can identify the exact listener who your music will appeal to according to demographics, genre, geography, and hence, start building a legion of fans potentially around the world. Sure, I am skeptical but, since I am not touring at the moment, any and all forms of promotion for the new album are on the table. So, I bought 1000 targeted plays, and this is how it all went down (I mean, Madonna is here, so, how bad could it be?):
Here is the link to the Ben Woolman Jango Station.
I associated myself with artists like: Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, Sting, Pete Huttlinger, John Fahey, Nickel Creek, James Taylor, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and so on.
Genre (never has there been an adequate genre description for finger-style guitar so I always settle for what is offered): Folk, Instrumental, New Age, Ambient, Barf
In a little more than a week I have had my music played 2000 times to a target audience (yes, I re-upped to another 1000 plays), plus, additional organic plays to folks who found me on their own. 131 people have become fans in that they chose to click the thumbs up logo on my station which states, "I am a Fan!".
My music has now been heard in the following countries, that I know of: US, Canada, Texas, Italy, Australia, Egypt, Brazil, Japan, UK, Columbia, New Zealand, Mexico, Phillipines, Finland, Netherlands, Turkey, France, Germany, Morocco, India, Bosnia, Singapore, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, and, Romania.
Select listener comments:
“ very nice mood indeed, Ben...thank you! ”
“ fantastic guitar playing. ”
“ Make me feel dreams!! ”
“ this is very light, pretty and very relaxing... Reminds me of the beauty of simplicity. ”
“ nice guitar...makes me more jealous of you..amazing ... ”
Time will tell if this kind of promotion will yield any tangible results, i.e. sales. I remain a skeptic in many ways but it has been a kick to get e-mails on a daily basis informing me that someone, anyone, is listening and that they are now a fan of me. But, they are tuning in and showing their love. It definitely has been an effective promotional tool for my self-confidence and most assuredly my ego. Without much live performance at the moment, this kind validation can be invaluable. The bottom line is, my music is out there and it is being heard. Oops, that reminds me, I am just about out of plays this week. I better login and check my account. Hey, who says money can't buy happiness?