Blog Contest Week 8 - Creating a Continuum Program

When I first glanced at the title for this chapter, I immediately started having visions of intergalactic time travel and laser beams. But upon closer inspection of the book, I soon realized that it had nothing to do with the Space-Time Continuum. I gotta admit, I was a little disappointed. I thought I was going to be able to put some of my college education to use (I minored in Physics). But my disappointment went away rather quickly once I discovered that this chapter was going to help me come up with a plan to generate a stream of income that will, wait for it... continue... long after the first purchase has been made.

Ariel provides a quick recap of where we should be at this point in the book as it relates to the various tips, tricks, and techniques we've been learning since starting the book. Even though I'm following the majority of every idea and principle she's mentioned, I still feel like I'm just starting out.

I think the major reason behind me feeling that way is, even though I'm a very patient person, it generally doesn't take me too long to learn something and once I do, I expect to continue performing at the level on a constant basis. Well... I know with the social media stuff, that's not the case for me.

I'm still trying to figure out the best way for me to use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with my fans AND my friends. I want to keep everyone in the loop and I want to share my excitement about what's going in my musical career but at the same time I don't want to be "that" guy. You know the one I'm talking about. The one that ONLY talks about himself and is only concerned about his career. I don't think I'm "that" guy. But I can also be honest and say that I know a lot of my posts on Tweetybook - you like that? I just made that up :-) tend to deal with what's going on in my music career.

I think the challenge is trying to find time for everything and maintaining a balance. If this was the only job I had, then I think it would be much easier. It's rather difficult to have a day job, try to create a career as a musician, be married, keep up with friends and family as well as any interests of your own, and fit it all into a 24 hour/7 day work week. Whew.

Don't know where all that came from. Guess I needed to get that out of my system. OK. Moving back to the book again.

The gist of the chapter is the concept of the funnel and how it applies to marketing and sales. At the top of the funnel you would include something for everyone, like a free download. Then as you move downwards towards the smaller end of the funnel, you would start adding other items that increase in cost.

Ariel provided us with some ideas to help jump start the process for us. On the left you'll see a picture of my initial attempt. Some of the ideas were definitely geared towards artists that play out, but she had a few others that anyone could implement.

At the same time that I initially read through this chapter (I actually read through the book rather quickly, but trying to blog consistently, well that's been my challenge) I came across a thread on a web site that I frequent in which the author proposed that he was going to sell 1 Million Records in a year. This year to be exact. Starting on January 1, he was going to begin the process of writing, recording, mixing and mastering an album and then sell 1 million copies of it by the end of the year, all the while chronicling the process via YouTube. I'll be honest. I'm not sure if the guy is being serious about it, or if it's some big prank. Regardless, it did inspire me a bit. So as I tried to think of ways to further my music career, from a financial standpoint, two things kept coming to my mind.

The first was that guys contest idea. Now I know that the odds of me trying to sell 1 million records in a year is about as likely as Kentucky winning the national title in basketball. Oh wait a sec... that actually might happen this year! Had I wrote this last year, then the analogy would have applied. Seriously though, I knew that any number with TWO commas in it was just not going to happen. But I still wanted to dream big.

The second idea was one of Ariel's suggestions and that was to donate a portion of the proceeds of an event to charity. That one really stuck with me. And me being the numbers guy that I am (My major in college was Math), I tried to come up with some ideas that I could do that incorporate some type of numerical patterns.

What I finally ended up with was something I call the B3x10K challenge. You can read the full details at the B3x10K page on my site by clicking here. But the general gist of it is this:

Starting on March 1st, and lasting until Dec 31st of this year, I'm going to donate 30% of my online album and single download sales to charity. I'm going to give 10% each to the American Cancer Society (I lost two grandparents to cancer), the Red Cross (Haiti still needs help) and the Humane Society (What can I say, I love animals).

Here's the crazy part. I want to be able to raise $10,000 for each of them. Considering the fact that I'm a non-touring artist, I know I'm being unrealistic. And I'll be honest, I have no idea how I'm going to do it, other than I have to start building up my fan base NOW and really begin developing those relationships so that I can find people that will believe in me and want to help. I've always said that I wanted my music to make a difference in people's lives. Regardless of how many albums or singles I sell, I'll be always be able to look back at this year in my life and know that my music DID make a difference in someones life.

Finishing up this chapter, Ariel gives us a couple of exercises to help us to be able to finish our continuum program. This is something that I'll definitely be spending some time on and tweaking over the next couple of weeks as I continue to try and find the balance between myself as an artist and myself as a composer for film/TV.

Hard to believe that there's only one chapter left!

Until next time...


Bryan Fusilier said...

Hey Big B! I remember when you first started saying you were going to do this blog/book thingy. I checked out the book online and decided I wasn't interested. But I've been following your posts along the way and am really impressed with how things are turning out. It seems like your getting good guidance and I'm fascinated with how your (book report) has been coming along in these posts. Now I really want to read it.

Not the point. I LOVE your contest idea and I LOVE the spirit it comes from. Keep it up. I'll be happy to contribute what I can to what I feel is a really beautiful approach to "marketing" yourself.

You're a good man. Solder on!

Cody said...

Wow! That's an awesome idea for providing that extra incentive for people fork over the cash. AND they get to feel good about themselves. Nice work on remembering our four legged fellow Earthlings as well.

That actually gives me some great ideas for when I actually am to the point where I'm getting albums finished.

Also, you mentioned that you thought you were being unrealistic, but I think it's important to set those "stretch" goals. You should set goals that not only help you accomplish what you are already capable of accomplishing, but that will help you grow and learn hard to accomplish things that before, maybe you couldn't have accomplished. So not only do you finishing things, but you also grow as a person/musician/business person etc...

Good luck! I'll be back to your blog later today to buy your album.

TFATDHQ said...

Great stuff - really useful points. Excellent.

Big Blue Barry said...

@Bryan... Thanks B! I think you'd definitely benefit from the book. It really helps you to develop a gameplan as well as ways to keep to it. And thanks for your words about the contest. I'm not really comfortable with self-promotion so trying to find something that I can do to help others while trying to "promote" myself was kind of important to me for this project. I definitely appreciate any help you're able to contribute.

@Cody... Thanks man! Glad to hear that I was able to help you come up some ideas for your album. Thanks for the encouragement as well! Hope you enjoy the album!

@Matt... Thanks for taking the time to comment. Appreciate it.