For the creators of art it’s a very hard pill to swallow when your artistic endeavor doesn’t connect with audiences. For musicians, especially those whose product is widely available in physical stores and on digital platforms like iTunes, it can be not just hard to swallow, but also unbelievable.
At the end of the day, it’s up to the artist to communicate with his or her fans and encourage them to support them by buying their product. It’s a grueling, 24/7 job that costs as much money as it does in time and heart to be successful. Consider this: on any given Tuesday, over 2,500 releases hit the street and are available for fans to choose from… that’s a lot of competition for a fan to say I’m BuyingThis(TM).
So, your distributor has ensured your product is available in all the places fans go to buy and discover music. For artists that sign with Altavoz, this means becoming one of the few artists whose products are in catalogs that are pitched to the store buyers (over 10,000 locations still carry physical releases) and over 200 digital outlets/retailers. But once in the stores, how do the artists set themselves apart and get people to actually buy/download their music?
Part of the strategy includes cooperative ad buys which is really a way to market the release to the store buyers. This is not promotion, it’s marketing. Promotion is when the fans are communicated to via blogs, flyers, press release, concerts/performances, touring, newspaper ads, print ad or radio to go buy the release. That’s where the artist comes in… it’s the responsibility of the artist and or the label to promote the release. It’s expensive. Unfortunately, many artists confuse the role of the label and distributor. The label and artist communicate directly with the fan. The distributor makes sure the product is available when the fan goes to listen to or buy the music.
Sell-Through-Distribution is the end game for everyone and when an artist is established as a solid partner with retailers, those retailers will take chances and often if the 1st release doesn’t sell as many as hoped, they might push for retailers to give it a second life.
Bottom line, the artists, labels, management, pr & social media team must be communicating continually to fans across every promotional channel about the release and where to find it. Ultimately, coming out to flat sales is a real let down, however that is why deals for releases are signed for years not months. It’s a process. The artist that sticks it out ad takes each fan as a wonderful opportunity to make an advocate is the artist tat will grow it fan base and also its sales. Some have the longevity to stick it out and believe in themselves. Those that don’t will flame out and will end up as a footnote in the stories of the music business.