The Catch-22 of Album Promotion

Posted: May 25, 2009 in Views

The road to releasing my new, independently released album was long and hard. Writing the music and words for 15 songs, practicing and perfecting them, spending 2 months and all of my savings at the studio, updating my website and social networking profiles, making a promo video, designing the cover artwork & layout, doing test runs and eventually getting the first batch of CDs printed up. Now that the album’s finally been released, the most difficult work continues: promoting and selling it.

The making of this album has rendered me completely broke. And I don’t say that lightly, how some people claim to have no money when they have a credit card and a shitty paycheck. I mean it literally – empty wallet, nothing in the bank, no day job, zero dinero. However, all of these promotion/music marketing/artist development/whatever-else-they-call-themselves companies (who approach me in packs, like hungry wolves fighting over the same piece of meat) don’t seem to understand what that means. They continuously offer their services, even after I’ve explained my situation, assuring me that they can give my career as an artist the boost it needs if I just sign up for one of their packages, which costs hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars.

This is the catch-22 situation that truly independent artists often face. Without the proper marketing and promotion, my album barely sells. But I can’t afford any “professional” assistance without a steady income. Sounds like a dead end. After all of my hard work, is this where my album dies, before it was even given a chance to live? I plan on continuing to bust my ass and do everything in my power to assure that my album gets out to the people who would love it. Without financial backing to put such plans in action, however, the future of my album remains quite uncertain.

I apologize to any artists reading this that thought I might offer an answer at the end of this rant. I do have an unrealistic yet very logical solution, but it is for the promotion companies. If you’re so confident in your abilities, and you see potential in my music (as you said the first three times you contacted me), why don’t you work for a percentage of the sales, like a manager would? It seems to me that if you were more flexible and expanded your list of possible clients, you’d stand to make a lot more money in the long run. Just a thought.

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