By Dave Marcello, Head of Artist Growth
Here’s a story we tell at every single opportunity because, quite frankly, it’s amazing. Alex (our CEO) and I were hanging out at one of the hundreds of label parties going down on a Saturday night in Austin at this year’s SXSW. Late that evening we wander outside the show to get some fresh air and this random dude walks over and begins chatting us up. Right off the bat I can tell he has some stories to tell; he’s got the classic veteran rocker look going on that says he was at one point a big Twisted Sister fan and has probably logged significant hours pushing around road cases and plugging in cable after cable after cable. He asked us what we do and after bumbling out a few words that included “consumer sentiment” and “music industry” he replied without hesitation, “Oh, so you guys are similar to Audiokite?”
That dude turned out to be Bram at Indiehitmaker, an Audiokite power user and one hell of a resource for the indie artist community. When we told Bram that we were, in fact, actually Audiokite, we all had a big laugh and group hip hop hug. Before we knew it, Bram had his phone out to show us the detailed twelve-step plan he provides to his artists, on which Audiokite appears not only once, but twice! Man, do we love serendipitous meetings like this. We asked Bram to share his experiences in helping independent musicians systematically advance from song creation to topping the charts.
Removing The Guesswork
Bram and his team help artists successfully release and sell their music for as little as $10 a month. But the process is not as simple as “start here, end here” and that’s what makes their approach so enticing. It’s a tune we sing at Audiokite all the time: you’re either knowing or you’re just guessing.
“There is not enough time or money in any independent artist’s career to leave anything to chance or luck. They must think like entrepreneurs. We take a lot of the guesswork out of the business side.”
Making music is but one piece of the puzzle, folks, that’s just the reality of this business. And yes, it is a business. The Indiehitmaker process begins with asking questions and investigating the “Why?” of an artist’s brand, audience, and product to accurately assess each individual situation, and that’s where Audiokite plays a key role.
“Only after you align this vision with your goals and budget can you properly start to plan your release.”
No More Winging It
Bram utilizes Audiokite as a music insight tool to help his artists avoid the trap of fruitless efforts. Nobody wants to spend time or – even worse – money on things that won’t positively impact whatever your goals may be, but it happens more often than most will admit.
“We call that ‘winging it’ and it is a lot like playing the lottery to make your money – you know the odds of winning. If you want to make a living doing what you love whether it be writing, recording, or performing music, you need a plan like every other business.”
Understanding what goes into writing, recording, and producing an album, Bram first employs Audiokite research reports during the demo process, running consumer sentiment analysis on several rough-cut songs to assist in deciding what moves to make next.
“Too many times we hear the same story from artists, ‘Here’s my record, we recorded a full length album, mastered and manufactured thousands of CDs with worldwide distribution. Please take a listen and let us know what you think.’
It’s too late!
Get the consumer and industry feedback while you can still do something about it. Before you spend too much time and money, make sure the music you are making connects with the right audience by using Audiokite.”
That phase where songs begin to take shape but are not yet fully produced is what Bram is talking about. These can be home recordings or even off your mobile device. At this point you should have a lot of content to work with and the best way to decide which songs to take to the next level of production is to see what is organically connecting with people so you are working with real consumer data rather than assumptions of what you think people will like or want to buy.
Have A Plan & Follow It
When Bram broke out his phone in Austin to show us a Google doc detailing a launch plan for his artists, we were impressed to say the least. Even better, Audiokite was spotted on there twice, so I asked him why.
“If you go back to the fundamentals of a successful release – knowing who you are, who your audience is and what kind of music they want to hear and buy – you quickly see how Audiokite plays a crucial role in the process.”
You only have one shot at making each release count towards the next step in your career and the Indiehitmaker crew crafts these plans to make sure every artist is consistently moving in the right direction. After analyzing the first series of Audiokite reports for those rough-cut tracks and working with artists on songwriting and development, Bram brings consumer research into the fold for the second time.
“Next, repeat the process with Audiokite somewhere in the mixing phase where you have the opportunity to make changes and know which songs are album worthy. Take the time to create and test different productions of the same song before you even think about mastering or manufacturing.”
Great business decisions are based on data, not assumptions, and the Indiehitmaker twelve-step plan is a testament to that entrepreneurial mindset.
Take A Shortcut
Out of all the memorable quotes Bram dropped on me in our latest conversation, this one hit the hardest:
“Data is a shortcut to success.”
It’s like using Google Maps with real-time traffic updates versus pulling out a crusty old fold-up map from your glove compartment. Sure, you may end up at your destination using either tool, but one will get you there faster and more efficiently.
Any parting words, Bram?
“Invest in yourself, spend money and time on your artistic development, hire A-plus players and take advantage of the amazing tools and services available to artists today that will speed up your career.”
That’s a mic drop, folks! Want to work with the Indiehitmaker team? Score a 5 or higher on your next Audiokite report and get 30% off their services through our Opportunities program.