Thoughts on recent Bret Primack Seminar on Web Publicity
Just attended a fantastic seminar given by Bret Primack on “Web Publicity Essentials” sponsored by Chamber Music America here in New York City. Bret gained notoriety (albeit initially anonymously) as “The Pariah”, an outspoken critic of the conservative state of jazz and it’s dominance by the major labels, back in the heyday of the Young Lion movement headed by Wynton Marsalis. Since then, he’s gone on to produce a book ("How to Make It Big In the New Music Biz") I actually wrote about in a recent Down Beat Living Jazz column ("Internet Promotion, An Update"). The book has since gone out of print, but was fascinating in that he advocated the novel idea of using “viral marketing” techniques to spread the word about one’s music (including the notion of placing one's music deliberately on "illegal" peer-to-peer networks.)
This seminar was helpful not necessarily because the information I learned was revelatory, but because I couldn’t help but marvel at his ability to cover such broad and important territory – how to optimize your website, what other websites to check out for help – in one fiercely and efficiently concentrated 2 hour session. It also confirmed that a lot of the things he recommends be done I am thankfully already attempting with this new Artistshare-powered site: providing compelling content on one's site that is also easily navigatable and updated regularly, using Electronic Press Kits, providing sound samples straight away on one’s homepage, etc.
The most interesting notion discussed was the one that previously and still intrigues me: the use of the internet for “viral marketing” – namely giving people compelling things they can take away with them and hopefully trade with others (such as mp3 files), in order to expontentially spread the word about you from 2, to 4, to 8, to 16 and beyond.
He also cited Podcasts as a way to further such promotional growth, and I was surprised to discover that I had the only actual Podcast in the entire room with my "Livng Jazz Podcasts". But he made also what should have been an obvious point yet which I have until now somehow missed in terms of using my Podcasts to drive traffic to my website: he pointed out that the obvious use of my Podcast should be to let people in on my musical identity, not just my ideas – it should be more like a D.D. Jackson (music) radio show, with excerpts of my OWN music, in addition to whatever other content I provide. He has a point, and so look out for less modesty about my own musical work and more actual music samples in future Podcasts, in addition to my other regular content...