[Dixielandjazz] Thoughts On "Bottomless" Promotion

Edgerton, Paul A paul.edgerton at eds.com
Fri Sep 30 12:46:42 PDT 2005

I have heard most of the truisms of sales from many sources.  One of
them is to make sure that everyone within six (or ten) feet knows what
you're selling.

My advice is to be keenly aware of what you're selling.  In many cases,
it isn't what you think you're selling.  It's usually a package deal
that includes your image, your reputation and your credibility.

If you present yourself as a professional salesman, will you also be
perceived as a professional musician?  There many ways of letting the
world public know what you do -- and that your services can be obtained
at a price -- without donning a white shirt, gold tie, slicked-back hair
and Rolex watch and behaving like car salesman.

It is more persuasive to let somebody else sing your praises.  If you're
good enough, there will be many who do.  If there are no others to do
this, will you be believed?

Many musical customers don't know much about music and aren't capable of
judging the merits of one band over another.  More often, they are
attempting to produce a good atmosphere for their event; they want THEIR
customers to be happy.  

For example, the leader of a wedding band may be called on to serve as
an impromptu wedding planner -- to keep the reception moving along,
running the dances, bouquet toss, cutting the cake, and all the things
the customer wants but didn't know he needed to arrange.

There many types of musician, with many motivations.  Some spend years
developing their skills while others manage on whatever innate talent
they posses.  Some make music their living while others live for their
music.  Some expect to be highly paid for what they do while others
would gladly do it for nothing under agreeable circumstances.  There is
surprisingly little correlation between musical ability and musical

There are in fact both good and bad gigs available.  There are good and
bad bands looking for gigs.  Sometimes the good bands get the good gigs,
sometimes they don't.  When good bands get gigs, good things happen.
When bad bands get gigs, bad things happen.  Why worry about the bad
bands unless you're trying to sell one of them?  If you're one of the
good bands, why worry about gigs?

If you're going to be a musician, then that's your focus.  If you're to
be a marketer, be sure you're marketing a good product.  Your market
knows the phrase "Caveat Emptor."

-- Paul Edgerton

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