Just letting everyone know that if you sign up to receive my newsletter that you will receive a free 4 song sampler of my music as a thank you for signing up! You will receive the following tracks: 1) What The Hell (off my new EP, Realizations & Declarations, Vol. 1); 2) I Know Your Story (also off the EP); 3) Friend In Need; and 4) Sparrows.
To sign up, go to my site at www.scottkrokoff.com and enter your email address at the bottom of the page where indicated.
Yes, something I'm becoming quite familiar with over the past few weeks - blogging. But this time, I decided to do something different - a vlog - in which I discuss my upcoming trip to Belgium! The vlog is now posted on my Facebook fan page so check it out when you have a chance.
Yes, this week is all about social media and how to use it effectively as a musician. I’m already on most of the recommended sites (at least, as of today) – FB, of course, Twitter, You Tube, Flickr and Myspace. Of these, I think FB and YT are the most helpful, but others may disagree. In any event, you need to have some social media presence. It’s not even a luxury - it’s a necessity. But, as you may have guessed, it’s not enough to just set up profiles. You have to be active and keep them current on a regular basis. Between uploads, status updates, etc., it can all drive you crazy although these sites are now synching up with one another to minimize the burden.
Admittedly, I need to make more use of Flickr. Ariel highly recommends it. She’s also a huge fan of Twitter. To be honest, I’m not a fan. I have a profile but so far have only used it sparingly, although I’m using it more often now that I have it synched with my FB updates. I understand how useful it can be, but frankly I feel like an idiot posting tweets. I never know really what to say, and half the time I stop myself before saying it. To me, until you actually make real connections, Twitter is somewhat like fantasyland. Yeah, people follow you, but usually to promote their own businesses. Now I know the deal about Twitter – that it’s about fostering real connections, but I think people undervalue face-to-face communication. That, to me, is where real connections develop. I’m not saying it can’t on Twitter and the like, but I think social media like Twitter becomes much more useful and powerful after you have done the grass roots marketing and cultivated a fan base. Only then do I think Twitter can really help. But I’ll stick with it for now and see what happens.
I wish this part of the challenge didn’t occur until later, since I am currently re-designing my site. I am really excited about the new look and I hope to launch it before the end of this challenge. In the meantime, though, I can still tweak my current site, which is hovering somewhere between Web 1.0 and 2.0. So I did, by adding an Exclusive Download widget.
The Exclusive Download widget, to be frank, is to entice listeners who enjoy my music to join my mailing list. After all, the music industry is a business like any other, and for me to continue what I’m doing I need to build a solid fan base. Don’t worry, you can still get 3 free downloads, no questions asked, even if you never join my mailing list. And these free tracks (I Know Your Story, Friend In Need, and A Better Life) are amongst my most popular songs. But now, in return for joining my mailing list, you can download the rest of the A Better Life CD for free as well – that is 10 additional free downloads! What’s more is that, over time, those on my mailing list will get other freebies as well, like new songs, videos, etc., in addition to being the first to hear the latest info and developments.
I’m not sure yet if I will use the same Exclusive Download widget on my new site since it may not fit with the look of the new site, but in any event I’ll have the same concept there (i.e., exclusive downloads and other freebies for those on my mailing list) in some form or another.
That’s it for now. Until next week….
Count me among the artists who probably hate doing this.
Who do I sound like, or put another way, what is my sound like? Does any artist enjoy answering this question? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for an elevator pitch from a marketing perspective. You do need it to summarize your music, otherwise how can you explain it to someone who is curious about what you’re doing? And yet, to truly stand out in the music world, you want to be original in some way or another. That’s the paradox! But the bottom line is that everybody borrows from everybody else (just don’t borrow too much for any particular song or else you’ll be in trouble!) and in this day and age with so much music out there it is impossible to do otherwise. So ultimately I’m fine with having to come up with a pitch to summarize what I’m all about, but I have found that process to be very difficult. In the past, I have described my sound – which is basically somewhere in the folk/rock, folk/pop, country crossover genres (see, I can’t even narrow it here!) – as a mix of James Taylor and John Mayer. Why did I come up with this? Well, not only am I a big JT fan, but a lot of my music is folky and mellow, kind of like JT’s stuff. Plus, I finger pick from time to time, so that was another reason. But I also have a pop sound that can be rhythmic and energetic and my vocals reflect that, too. So that’s where John Mayer fit in, and since he’s a bit of a hybrid I thought so much the better. But over time I’ve grown tired of that pitch. I basically picked 2 artists that I thought in tandem summarized my sound, but also had crossover-type qualities. I did that because I didn’t want my pitch to be limiting. I despise pigeon-holing myself, and I can’t imagine many artists who like to do that either. I mean, isn’t it the point for an artist to grow and expand one’s horizons? Anyway, I think I can better describe my sound. I still love JT, but just because I play acoustic guitar and occasionally finger-pick doesn’t mean I sound like him. And frankly, I don’t sound anything like John Mayer. I think in retrospect I picked him to help market my music to the younger crowd. My vocals are in the mid-range just like his, but I have a different tone, and my pop sound is different, too, because there’s more of that folk/country influence in there.
If anything I sound more like a modern version of Paul Simon. My finger-picking style is actually closer to his, and he does a lot of pop-flavored stuff as well. But that’s not enough of a description because I do other stuff, too, that has a little bit more of an edge and more energy to it. Which reminds me of Lindsay Buckingham. What I love about him is that he can do everything – sing, write and play, and his style ranges the gamut from pop, folk, rock, and punk to new wave. He’s also one of the best finger-pickers out there. He is the kind of musician I aspire to be (ok, McCartney, too, but I think it’s a little more dangerous to start comparing yourself to Sir Paul).
So put all of that together, and here is my new pitch: Alternately mellow and energetic folk-rock songs in a pop voice, or what you get when you mix Paul Simon and Lindsay Buckingham.
There it is. Do you like it? What do you think? You can already see it here on my Reverbnation page and other social media profiles like Facebook and Sonicbids.
So do I feel good about my new and improved pitch? Yeah, pretty good (or like LD in Curb would say, “pret-ty, pret-ty good”). Seriously, I think it works. That is, until I run into someone who tells me my music sounds like a combo of JT and John Mayer!
I am participating in Ariel Hyatt’s Music Success In Nine Weeks Blog Challenge. Ariel is the founder of Cyber PR, which specializes in online PR marketing for indie musicians. The challenge centers on me blogging about my progress in implementing the nine weekly steps to music success in her book (i.e., Music Success In Nine Weeks). This is week one of the Blog Challenge. Week one is basically all about getting mentally prepared for everything that needs to get done – including marketing and promotion (online and off), booking gigs, performing, and writing and recording new material. Like I said, everything. And it is a daunting task. There is a lot to do in order to have a chance at being profitable as a musician, and creating music is just only one aspect to it. To help tackle these tasks, this mental preparation phase discussed in step one of Ariel’s book requires all of one’s brainstorming and goals to be written down, based on empirical evidence that writing one’s goals down helps one achieve them. I’m pretty good at to-do lists, but sometimes I have unrealistic objectives – I tend to shoot for the moon – so I often get discouraged when I don’t get everything done right away. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t dream big, I should, but I have to do better at being satisfied with small, incremental progress. That does not come as easy to me.
So what are my goals? Well, ultimately, I want to have a profitable music career, or more simply, I want to make a living being a singer-songwriter. This is what I love to do more than anything in the world and I want to make a living doing it. But to get to that point, there are a lot of intermediate steps along the way. In the short term, I have several objectives. I have started the process of re-designing my website, which I hope to have completed in 4-6 weeks. I have also started writing new material, and want to start recording and releasing them one by one over the next several months. I have plenty of additional new song ideas that I want to finish, too, but I almost always procrastinate on writing until the last minute - one area in which I must improve. Other short-term goals include increasing fan attendance at local gigs, putting together a street team and being more proactive on the social media front, while at the same time streamlining my social media options so I don’t become overwhelmed. Longer-term goals are mainly focused on generating more income but right now I care more about writing new material and gaining more exposure.
I also want to get better at embracing the promotional aspect. I get very tentative when it comes to promoting because I don’t like being in people’s faces and don’t want to be a pest. I also tend to worry too much about what people might think, and as a result, even things like Facebook status updates become stressful and take way too much time than they should. So I need to be more efficient there and just go with it.
In the Introduction to Ariel’s book, she distinguishes Builders from Idlers. Builders are artists who have achieved dramatic increases in their fan bases and income, whereas Idlers are artists who do not although they may have gained PR exposure over time. Clearly it’s better and more profitable to be a Builder than an Idler. At this point, though, I have to admit that despite all the work I have put in over the last few years in promoting myself, I am still an Idler and not a Builder. Why? Because I have not really increased my fan base or generated a lot of income. It is this part of the process that I have found the most frustrating, and yet the most important part to figure out because without this I won’t be able to get my career off the ground. So I really hope to make some progress in these areas over the next 9 weeks (and, of course, beyond).
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for next week’s blog about step 2 – creating my elevator pitch.
Happy New Year! Here's to a great 2009, as I'm sure many of you are glad to say goodbye (and good riddance) to 2008. Thanks to everyone who took advantage of my free download campaign! Hope you are enjoying the CD. And thanks to those who posted comments and/or became new fans, not just here, but on iTunes, Amazon, iLike and my Facebook fan page, too. Since it has been so well received, for now I will continue allowing everyone to download my entire CD for free!!! All the feedback has been great. Keep it up!