Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Building a Music Marketing Team: Article 1

There is a lot of talk about music marketing on the internet. How to do it, where to do it, when to do it, and why marketing your music is so important, but it can all become overwhelming to say the least. If you follow all the advise given, on your own, you would not have any time left to actually be creative or stay focused on the music you are trying to market. It is the biggest difference between independent artists/labels and major labels. In the major label system an artist or group still has time for the music while the major’s “team” handles the business. As an independent artist you have to be everything to everyone at all times. You have to create the music, market the music, negotiate the contracts, get gigs, handle publicity, and follow everything up in a timely manor. Going it alone is pretty impossible.

Music marketing is a team sport. You can not go out on the field alone and expect to “win the game!” You have to surround yourself with players that want to be in the game with you, have the abilities you are looking for, and know how to work as a team unit rather than as individuals. Your team does not have to be made of professional players to win. Yes, having a full time consultant or professional manager could help you win the  game easier and faster, but it is not necessary in the sport of music marketing. What is necessary is commitment, drive, and follow through from each of your players. People that you can surround yourself with that believe in your vision as much as you who want to see the success like you do and are willing to put in what ever amount of time it takes to succeed.

As an independent going it alone it is very hard to “know” what you need in a team member, what each member’s duties should be, and how to properly manage each individual member’s skill set to best work within your team dynamics. Just having “bodies” can hurt your efforts more than doing it yourself. Without direction, “bodies” become a distraction - a distraction you do not have time to continuously manage.

This article will detail the core team members you need to better market your music, what their job duties entail, and how to best manage their positions within your team’s environment. As your career or label progresses there are many more positions you will need to staff, however, before you expand your staff, your core team will need to know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how to oversee additional staff members as the need arrises. Basically, do not get ahead of yourself and add more people to your staff than you can manage on your own. Even major, international, record labels depend on only a handful of core team members to run the entire operation, Usually between three and five. These team members are invaluable while the additional 1500 - 3000 staff members found at a major, international, record labels can come and go without interruption to the label’s operation or objectives. This is achieved through delegating responsibilities, excellent management, and constant communication, from top down, through out the entire organization and it’s team members.

Core Team Members:
Your core team needs to consist of yourself and five other team members. As you start your career/label you may only have the resources available for you and one other person. That is ok. It simply means you will wear many hats until you find the right person for the job. Be warned, do not just put someone in a position. Make sure you find the right person for the job or you will be sorry down the road when you have to replace them for a more competent person. Firing friends or family members is a very hard thing to do. It is your core function as CEO to build a well oiled machine of core team members that can help you reach your vision!

CEO, President, Head Honcho, The Boss, El Jefe, King, or...
“The Person with the Plan”

COO, Vice President, Second in Charge, Workhorse, or...
“The Person who Really Makes it Happen”

CMO, Marketing Director, Creative Director, McGyver, or...
“The Crazy Person in the Corner”

CCO, Street Team Leader, Gang Leader, or...
“The Person Who Likes to Hear Themselves Talk Even When No One is Listening!”

CCD, Creative Director, Dreamer, Craftsperson, The Inspired One, or...
“The Cool Kid on the Staff”

CPO, General Manager, Grunt, Labor Enforcer, Pee-On, or...
“The Person Who Likes to Roll Up Their Sleeves and Get the Job Done!”


Individual Team Member Responsibilities & Daily Schedule:


CEO


The CEO, Chief Operating Officer, of your team is you. It’s your career/label and you have the vision. Your job is to let your team know your vision, oversee the entire vision as it is carried out by your team, continuously come up with new ideas to better realize your vision, and to set up your music industry business to operate within the community as a legitimate business entity. More importantly, it is your job to listen to your team, as they are the ones carrying out your vision, and adjust your methodology as needed and suggested from your team. A good CEO knows they are not in the streets, talking to the fans, working the marketing strategies, or doing the daily duties of the organization. For this reason, the CEO knows they must be open, ready to trust their team’s advise, and allow their team to “run with the ball” on an as-needed basis.

As a CEO of an independent music career/label, you will find that you must wear many hats. Budgeting, book keeping, contract negotiations, and legal duties will fall upon your shoulders in your daily duties as well as being the CEO. These are “make or break” jobs in any new or established business and you need to make sure you handle these duties yourself so you know where your career/label stands financially at all times. As your career/label grows, you will hire a CFO, Chief Financial Officer, and hand these duties over to them. The CFO will eventually hire book keepers under them to handle the increase of workload as your organization grows.

A CEO needs to be trusting, yet questioning. This allows your team the ability to “think on their own” to better get the job done, knowing you trust them to do their job. Questioning does not mean inspecting, interrogating, or accusing. It simply means knowing what each of your core members are doing at all times so you can ensure actions are inline with your vision. As CEO, the best thing you can do for your team is trust them and stay out of their way allowing them to work in a manor that suites them best to help you reach your vision. Micromanaging, or making your team do as you would do only, results in an unhappy team, less productivity, and a higher rate of core team members leaving your organization.

Daily Schedule:

Email -

A CEO’s daily schedule is hectic. It starts with checking email to see what has transpired over night and to create a “To Do” list for the day. Determine an amount of time you will spend each day on email and stick to it. Most CEOs only allow 30 minutes at the start of their day to check email, then another thirty minutes after lunch, and an additional 30 minutes at the end of the day. This allows the CEO not to get distracted through out the day with constantly checking email! This is a total time waster and diverts you away from your core function, being the visionary of your career/label.

Planning -
Once you get through your email, you will need to spend alone time reflecting yesterday’s team actions, accomplishments, and set backs. As you are reflecting you should add to your “To Do” list and start to create “meeting topics.” Your meeting topics should be items of concern, “pats on the back” for a good job done, visionary ideas, questions that you may have on yesterday’s actions and activities, or anything else you feel needs to be brought up in your daily strategy meeting. Each of your core team members should be doing this each morning as well. As CEO you have to allow planning time to your entire staff. With out time to think and plan, your meetings will accomplish very little as your staff will not have much to say. However, as CEO it is your job to watch and listen in the strategy meeting to ensure your staff is using the time given to actually plan rather than surf on myspace!

Strategy Meeting -
You should set a daily strategy meeting and make sure your meetings start on time. Only allow one hour for this meeting. This will keep you on point and moving forward rather than daydreaming or hashing out specifics for an entire day when there is work to be done. If/when you find that a particular topic needs more time devoted to it, schedule a one on one meeting with the core team member whos job it is that needs attention. There is no reason to dive into specifics with your CCD, Chief Creative Director, while the other core team members could be working toward your vision! Strategy meetings are not “gripe” sessions. They are meant to be motivating and planning meetings to push your vision forward. If/when you have gripes with your core team address them individually, in private. Begin your meeting with the questions and agenda you created in your own planning time. Be sure to write down answers, additional questions, and action items that come about during your meeting. It is wise to either record the meeting with a micro recorder or assign one person to take good, complete, readable, notes. As you move through your agenda you will find that more attention is needed on specific topics. Make sure you take note and schedule a time later in the day with the core team member that is responsible for the topic that needs the additional time. Once you go through your own notes and agenda allow your core team time for their own agenda in this order; COO, CMO, CCO, CCD, CPO. Remember to take notes, schedule meeting for additional time needed, and create an action list for each core team member as they present their agenda. An action list is very important. It is how you, as CEO of your organization, can stay on top of what is to be done, what is in progress, and what has been completed by your team. It is the only way for you to track the efforts of your team.  As CEO, it is your job to ensure your vision is being met by your core team in a timely manor. Team members that fall behind effect the entire teams ability to progress forward.

Personal Action Time -
After you have completed your team meeting you need to allow yourself and each of your team members time for themselves to act upon the agenda that was created during your strategy meeting. This is the time for you to make phone calls, write letters, research, or do whatever else you determine is needed to help your team reach their objectives. As CEO you are the grease that makes the “wheel” of your team roll down the road easier. This means you are the face of the company, you make initial contact with key vendors, service providers, or industry personnel. This does not mean you do the work needed. That is your core team’s job. During your personal action time you might call a key tour promoter and simply reach out to them to make contact, let them know that one of your team members will be contacting them for additional information and actions needed to seal the deal, and that you are just reaching out to find out who needs to be contacted on the promoters team, the best method for contacting, or if there is anything special your team member can provide to make the deal happen. Basically, the grease that makes the process turn easier. This is a hard concept to fully realize. A lot of new CEOs want to get in the way and feel it would be easier to go ahead and do the deal while they are on the phone with the promoter. On the outside, this may look to be the easiest method and that it would cut out a middle person. And when you first start your career/label this may be the case. But what happens in six months why you are running a full on campaign and may be sitting at an airport in London to to Germany after you just did a show in Africa? If you do not put your core team member in the mix of communications from the very beginning, that same tour promoter will only want to deal with you and you simply will not have the time to “seal the deal.” You and your entire team looses because you “just did the deal to get it done!” Your personal action time is for you to be a CEO and make contacts, follow up on your staff’s actions, and take the time needed to ensure your vision is being accomplished through your teams actions.

Break Time -

If your day starts in the morning you can call this lunch. If you start your day after noon call this dinner. It does not matter what you call it, just do it. You and your entire staff needs break time. Personal time to get away from the hectic schedule, stress, and each other. Do not make your staff take their break with you unless they want to. Encourage them to leave the office and to do what other “business” people do like pay personal bills, get their car washed, etc. It has been proven time and again that people need personal time, away from the boss and other team members, to refresh, renew, and get their mind straight for the rest of the day! Allow it and take the time for yourself as well. A burned out CEO that overworks offers nothing but bad attitude to their team members. This will only slow the rate at which you reach your vision, not speed it up because you don’t take breaks. Learn it, live it, and live by it - you have to take personal time for yourself and allow your team to do the same.

One-on-One Meetings -
After your break it is time to start having meetings with your staff on an individual basis. As your career/label grows you will hand this duty over to your COO, but as you begin, it will be your daily job to keep your finger on the pulse of your business by meeting with each care team member to be updated on progress. These meeting need to be kept to under 30 minutes unless their is a real need to extend the time to ensure a project is being completed. By keeping your meetings short you are handing your team members the ability to think and plan on their own. You are giving them ownership of their job, meaning you are giving them the trust needed to take the required actions to reach your vision on their own and in a manor they see fit and best work for success. This is important. You must not micro manage your team. Let them live, or die, by their own actions or inactions. This is the only way you will know they can hold down the fort while you are away. You have to be able to depend on each of your core team members. These one-on-one meetings allow you to see what they are doing, how they are progressing from day to day, and where they may need help. As CEO, your job is to guide them to better decisions when needed, give encouragement in hard circumstances, and offer a “pat on the back” as you see progress. Remember, your core team will soon be hiring their own assistants and workers, your one-on-one meetings will show them how they should conduct themselves while managing their own staff. This is how you ensure your organization’s values are retained as your organizations grows. Very, Very, Important! Organizations loose focus, change directions, or completely shut down when growing because of lose of “culture” as more and more employees are hired and trained by others than the CEO. Create action plans with your team member during your meeting. Make them accountable for when they will complete a job or project. This is the only way you will be able to track their individual actions ensuring your vision is being met.

Your one-on-one meeting times will vary depending on your schedule and the schedule of your team. This is also the time for “outside” meeting with various vendors, service providers, and the like. Be sure to get updates to outside meetings your team conducts and do the same for your team and update them as to what meeting you have had and what the outcome was and how it effects them and their department individually. Plan for five hours of meetings and allow the same time for your staff to conduct their own meetings. If you do not have meeting scheduled on a particular day this allows you time as CEO to plan, research, and create the vision for your organization. Again, allow your team the same time so they can better do the job you have assigned them. Every team member needs to keep a schedule and when the schedule allows, they need time to plan, research, and act upon your vision.

End of Day Wrap Up -
Your day should end first with emails and pressing phone calls and then move into reflection time. Sounds crazy, but again, you need time to reflect upon the days activities and actions and plan for tomorrow. Allow yourself 30 minutes for email/phone calls and another 30 minutes for reflecting. Use your reflection time to start your agenda for tomorrows group, strategy, meeting. Daydream! Simply ponder where you see yourself in 3 months, one year, and beyond. Then create the vision in your mind of what you need to do to get there. As you allow yourself this time you will start to see the path you need to take. This does not mean you will know how to go down a path or what individual steps need to be taken, that is for your team to help you discover, but you will see the broad paths, the overall concepts, and the vision of your career/label and this is the true job of a CEO!


As you can see, detailing each team member’s duty takes a lot of paper.... or since we are in the internet world... screen space. This article will be divided into 7 parts. This being the first of the six, covering the overview and the CEO position in your career/label. In the next six articles we will discuss each roll of the remaining five core team members positions and end with a broad overview of how your team works as unit to reach your vision.

Article 2:
COO, Vice President, Second in Charge, Workhorse, or...
“The Person who Really Makes it Happen”

Article 3:
CMO, Marketing Director, Creative Director, McGyver, or...
“The Crazy Person in the Corner”

Article 4:
CCO, Street Team Leader, Gang Leader, or...
“The Person Who Likes to Hear Themselves Talk Even When No One is Listening!”

Article 5:
CCD, Creative Director, Dreamer, Craftsperson, The Inspired One, or...
“The Cool Kid on the Staff”

Article 6:
CPO, General Manager, Grunt, Labor Enforcer, Pee-On, or...
“The Person Who Likes to Roll Up Their Sleeves and Get the Job Done!”

Article 7:
Working as a team


a la I am music network

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