RobertJRGraham.com Interviews James Moore, Author of “Your Band is a Virus” & Indie Music Promoter
Can you tell us a bit about how you got involved with the music industry?
I started off promoting artists on a freelance basis in my local music scene. I’ve always been a uni-tasker and it’s very easy for me to get consumed with what I’m doing, from doing puzzles in my childhood to obsessively researching promotion tactics and music industry information, so through my passion for music, this is a role I naturally slipped into. My slant in learning was that I was interested not so much in the business for the sake of business, but for the promotion of art that adds value…music with soul. It takes different promotion tactics to work with more DIY minded, artistic musicians, so my main focus was finding what worked for that niche.
Anyhow, I found that artists coming to me would always have the same complaint. “We got ripped off by our last PR company.” They would pay a PR company $2,000 – $5,000 and get no results. Basically, the company sends out a news release to an apathetic mailing list, and big surprise; nothing happens. I would typically turn around and generate 30, 40, sometimes over 50 reviews for the same artists who got zero ot very little results elsewhere. I thought “There’s room for this kind of service, becasue no one seems to be doing it well.” With a lot of research and relationship building over the period of about a year in 2010/2011, I officially launched Independent Music Promotions in 2011. I also published my findings in the original version of “Your Band Is A Virus” for the artists who wanted to work on things themselves.
I’m all for wiping out misconceptions, can you name a big one about marketing music?
The biggest misconception is that it requires some sort of conformity, which is a very prevalent attitude, but completely untrue. Artists are fed a lot of nonsense, but it’s built into our culture. From “American Idol” and “The Voice” to your local pub or shopping mall’s talent contest, we’re led to believe that we shouldn’t do things on our own terms or truly stand alone. However, true originality is what it takes, in my view. Also, artists shouldn’t just focus on waiting in line and following protocol. Everywhere has a different protocol. Artists should be taking charge and outsourcing their promotions, acting like businesses, and not asking for anything from anybody. Don’t conform. Be original and strange, and stand completely alone.
Your book “Your Band is a Virus” has a great title, is this how we have to think about your marketing?
Thank you! I think it’s an appropriate metaphor for the independent musician. If you think of your music as a collective force, and your fans contribute to that, how does this force become stronger? How can it turn into a wave that, in turn, affects more of humanity? When is it appropriate to create the wave? These are some of the questions that I answer in “Your Band Is A Virus”. Obviously, we want to think of this virus as a positive sickness, like having a song stuck in your head.
Your tips section covers some amazing suggestions such as “Outsourcing your marketing” – how did you come up with this one, and has it worked?
Absolutely it has. I’ve found that there are typically problems with inaction in most bands, and also a lack of understanding of incentive. Artists will send their music out to a list of music blogs and wonder why no one is covering their music. Usually, it’s because the energy is moving in one direction only. Most people require an incentive to do something, ranging from monetary reward and cross-promotion to a human conversation or a heartfelt thank you. Artists stuck in the “everything should be free” mentality won’t be able to take this in as a truth, but those who invest in themselves will be free to build a team around them; an online street team, freelancers to do research for them, writers to pitch stories about them to big publications, and so on. I get annoyed with waiting in line, so this would tend to be the opposite way of doing things.
You also run a successful PR company and record label called Independent Music Promotions, what’s the focus of your brand and audience?
We work with “music with depth” only. That’s just my own bias, because I don’t enjoy overly mainstream music, Idol pop, or anything that doesn’t really have anything to say lyrically. I’ll admit that it’s a bias, but I just don’t have an interest in putting that kind of art out into the world. That being said, I’m very open to anything that seems honest or sincere, no matter the genre. We just want to be responsible, so we don’t say yes to everyone. Whether it’s a talented singer/songwriter, an underground electronic artist, a noisy rock n’ roll band, a prog metal project, or anything else, if it’s good, I feel good about working with it.
That’s one focus, and the other focus is to offer our artists guarantees to ensure that everyone is happy. No one leaves I.M.P without results. So, the guarantees aspect is a big part of our niche, because it works as a kind of safeguard. Telling artists “Sorry it didn’t work out” is not our style, so we make sure that the press is there.
Do you promote other products, such as books, or only music at this time?
I’m currently working with an excellent web series called “The Louise Log”, directed by Anne Flourney, and the campaign is going very well. The series was recently nominated for a Shorty Award. Other than this, it’s all been music thus far. Promoting my own books is enough for me!
Are you considering the publication of additional books in the future?
It’s funny you ask because I just started writing a new book yesterday. I locked myself in my room for a while to ensure some progress, and I’m now at page 15…I hope to have the whole thing completed within 2 months. The theme of the book is action in music marketing and the throwing away of “to do lists”. There will be hundreds of things that artists can do in the now as they read, so it’s like a more specific extension of “Your Band Is A Virus”.
Where can we learn more about you and your work?
My headquarters online is www.independentmusicpromotions.com, and of course, “Your Band Is A Virus” is available at Amazon (ebook/print). Also, feel free to join me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/independentmusicpromo. Thanks very much for having me!
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