Selling music is not easy, in fact it’s fair to say it’s never been harder. With disposable income under pressures that did not exist when I was first discovering music and how important it would be in my life, I spent all my money on music. However, I did not have to compete with thinking about spending money on iPads, TVs, computer games and all the other distractions there are today. Remember ‘Home Taping Is Killing Music?’ That was about as ‘bad’ as music piracy got.
As an emerging independent artist I have learnt 3 things that have changed my perspective on my music. One is that as an artist, I have to know the business; this is after all, the The second is about the depth of relationships, especially with music fans and it’s the part I love most outside of actually writing, recording and performing. The third is that recorded music has no or little value these days…and yes, that’s alarming!
Much has been written by the doom-mongers about the ‘end of the music business’ but in reality it’s in quite rude health, it’s recorded music that’s taking the body-blows as people choose to spend their hard earned money elsewhere. It may still be on music but a concert ticket might get bought as opposed to an album.
I took a decision to start my career off as an independent, partly out of need and partly as I wanted to ensure I was close to those who were discovering my music in the early days.
Music for me has always been a powerful outlet to express my thoughts, beliefs and attitudes towards various experiences. During my quest to build a successful music career, several attempts have been made by others to encourage me to dress a certain way (often more revealing than I am comfortable with!), write/sing lyrics that I personally feel are inappropriate for me because they are either too provocative or offensive, or make music that is more ‘disposable’ rather than what I like to call ‘evergreen’. The small but absolutely focused team who I am very fortunate to be working with now share my vision, goals and passion for making real music and establishing a great relationship with my fans.
Last year, I uploaded a couple of videos on YouTube of me singing self-penned acoustic tracks in the studio with my sister Natalie (producer and co-writer) playing the keyboard. I received really positive responses from new fans across the globe. At this time there wasn’t an expectation to have a finished product because it was obvious that I was at a stage of introducing my music to the world. I personally make regular contact with my fans, not only because I recognise that it’s these fans who can really help make my dream happen, but because I have a genuine love of connecting with people. For me, connecting with my fans is a way of giving something back and creates a more intimate experience of being on this journey together.
When I was making plans for my debut EP, my following online was growing at a reasonable rate and I enjoyed interacting with people who discovered my music. Since then and with the EP released, I could not imagine any other way of being.
Let’s be clear. I know that sounds dramatic but it’s not a terrible thing, they just spend differently and you need to keep up to date on the business of music and consumer behaviour (even as an Artist!). The ‘behaviour’ is that people buy into rather than ‘product’. If you try to ‘sell’, as an emerging artist you may as well pack up now. In the established-artist world, Radiohead are blazing a trail on frontline of what the ‘new business of music’ looks like.
My EP, ‘This Is Me’, was funded via PledgeMusic and it’s been an exhilarating experience for me as an artist. Every step of the way, my fans have been involved in my record. From track selection to naming the EP itself…the title ‘This Is Me’ was chosen after I ran a poll on my Facebook page and I have always maintained that this is a record ‘for the people by the people’. My fans not only made it happen but they are helping in the promotional campaign as well as providing feedback on videos and future projects. I use the phrase ‘Join Me On My Journey’ by way of an invitation as this is effectively what I am ‘selling’, the experience of being involved with my music, making a difference, direct interaction and getting exclusive access to experiences that usually money can’t buy.
Bundles are the way forward. If I asked ‘would you like to buy my EP for £4’ I would get a modest response, If I asked ‘would you like to a set of lyrics, handwritten and signed for £30 and my EP comes with it’ I had plenty of takers! Looking at the numbers more than 50% of my sales come from bundles of experiences such as meeting me at a gig, introducing my show, getting handwritten lyrics, signed photos, so-on-and-so-forth. My last gig in London sold-out in advance.
To say people do not buy music anymore is incorrect, they just buy it differently.
To aide discovery and distribution of my music, for a limited time, I’ve decided to offer my EP for FREE! Since it’s release earlier this year, it has had a lot of critical acclaim and a lot of people of said some very complimentary things about me as an artist, which is very rewarding.
Maybe at some point in the future, you’d like to buy a Kelly Erez concert ticket ☺ Enjoy the music and please do ‘join me on my journey’…Kelly x