Marketing: Whose Job is it, Anyway?

A necessary element of singing is self-promotion. If you sing in a vacuum, to no one, your art doesn’t live. For many people, the next step beyond conquering stage fright and mastering the art of performance is marketing, an area that gets too little mention in music schools (for my satisfaction, at least).

And one of the most common pitfalls in marketing for the singer is the belief that it’s entirely someone else’s job. Example: You show up to your own performance with less than 10 people in the audience…and you blame the venue for not promoting enough.

Consider: If you’re blaming the venue, you’re doing it wrong.

It doesn’t matter how much responsibility the venue takes on to promote a show; if they’re promoting anything, it’s themselves. And they have the right! They’re a business, just like you, and they have their own things at stake. The energy and the impetus to promote you, the singer, have to come from YOU.

It’s your job to remain in communication with the venue to make sure they help you create the best experience possible. Make sure they’re doing what they said they would do; don’t assume. And that only works when you hold yourself to the same standard. When you get off the phone with the venue, promote your own little butt off. Even if you have a promoter, marketer, or some other delegate on hand to spread the word, don’t just hand it off to them and go on vacation. They’re not going to promote a lump of clay that just sits around; they want to promote an artist. You want them to get excited about a living being that has energy, passion, drive, and a talent that you cared enough to cultivate to get to this point.

If you find yourself pointing the finger at others when marketing goes south, pause and ask yourself, “What am I creating, that this is happening?” It’s kind of like life: We can spend all of our time being upset at outside forces, or we can relax and look to our own selves for responsibility. It actually puts us in a place of power, where we can do something about it. Don’t be a passive-aggressive or guilt people into crawling back to square with you. YOU go to THEM; you be responsible for how things go. You have a cause for every person being in that seat at showtime, and you own it. The more you own of the experience, whether good or bad, the more power you have. And a powerful singer is someone that fans will definitely show up for.

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