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DIY "Planting Seeds"
By Henri Ferguson - 12/16/2002 - 04:26 PM EST

Regardless of how many books one reads about this business, there will always be moments when you feel like you are re-inventing the wheel over and over again. Such is the nature of this crazed beast we call the music business. Once we have made the commitment, written, recorded and pressed, and from an objective point of view (assuming that exists), decided that our record has what it takes and should be “out there”, there is no turning back.

Uncompromising, unreceptive, unwilling and impenetrable, the music monolith presents a formidable challenge for the DIY Indie artist. And that was the good news, the bad news is………….just kidding. Yes the road is bumpy and uncertain, but we forge on regardless because that’s what we do once we decide to go the distance. Our attitude towards our DIY project will be very instrumental in manifesting any kind of success. And the concept of success is a very relative term in this business. The major record labels all have entrenched business relationships as part of their elaborate marketing network, which for the most part, allows them to maintain the lion’s share of the business. Although for them, profitability is only achieved after feeding many mouths. We, as Indie “small fries” on the other hand have virtually none of that infrastructure and will have to resort to being innovative, creative and relentless in our pursuit for an audience in the music world. I think it helpful to have a good understanding of how big business operates, and instead of trying to emulate that (an impossible task on our puny budgets) looking for the cracks in the seams and chipping away there. Grass roots, if you will.

In the industry vernacular they talk about generating a “buzz” to gain some momentum. Besides playing live gigs, showcases and guest appearances or charity functions, there are other ways to get your name around. If you can get publicity or buy advertising to do this, great, but as is so often the case, new Indies get passed over by the media for high profile artists or other independents who have already established a following, and with limited budgets, advertising is cost prohibitive. In the course of putting our project together we have come in contact with other players, music industry people etc. These are all potential “ambassadors” for our cause. I have made a point of passing out free copies to people who genuinely like my music and who will go out of their way to play them for their friends. Autographing and just putting a personal touch on them always brings a positive response and takes little time. Compile a mailing list of all these folks and keep in touch with them, thank them for their continuing support and any spin off benefits you have made.
I have had numerous instances where CD sales through have come as a result of a friend of a friend who had heard my tunes this way. Think of it as planting seeds.

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