How To Successfully Market Music Overseas

Releasing music or product in an international market requires planning. Simply releasing a CD doesn’t ensure economic benefit nor does it promise a beneficial and sustainable career in country X. If the object is to simply release music in a foreign market, this article will not help you. If the goal is to strategically boost a career plan and to sell albums over a long period of time, you’re in the right place. This isn’t the magic bullet of international expansion, but here are 5 tips that will put you light years ahead of other groups attempting to do the same thing.

  1. Understand the Design Differences

Just as the methods used to promote shows aren’t universal in strategy, nor are the elements of album design. The common trap is to release an album design that reflex the bands artistic impression.This is fine, as a majority of bands take this approach. However, the more strategic approach is to generate an album design which appeals to a bands particular market. Say Band X from Tampa Florida wants to release an album in Italy. Without understanding the Italian trend, Band X designs an album using cool imagery, artistic fonts, and bright colors. Without knowing, Band X has just cut their throat in the Italian marketplace. A 2006 study, which analyzed the Italian Billboard charts over a 12 week period, revealed the Italian musical trend was greatly different then domestic releases in the U.S.Statistics reveals 90% of the albums used photography of the group/band/musician, the three most commonly used colors: black, blue, white, and only 10% used artistic graphics. So much time has gone into creating a project and printing an album, so don’t waste it.Study the album trends in a specific region of release before blindly putting out a product. See chart statistic below for commonly used colors on the Italian market:

  1. Understand the Packaging Trend

Just as your CD releases should strategically implement creative design, it should also have a strategic plan behind packaging. Many countries focus on digital releases, other still focus on singles, plastic jewel casing may be trumped by paper folds, and so on…. The key is to understand the trend. Use the example of Band X again. The band really focuses on an album design, following the tendencies set by Italian musicians. They decide to print singles in order to sell for a low price at their Italian concert, and if the band receives a good response, they will sell their full length albums the following year.Guess what? Band X is going to bleed to death! What? Why? In Italy, when you release singles they must be in a digital format. Seriously.It is imperative to understand these trends going in so don’t waste effort and money.

  1. Use Local Musicians or Popular Songs For a Quick Boost

If band has one specific country in mind where they intend to expand, it may prove best to sprinkle some local elements onto the album.Many groups think this takes away from their artistic freedom and the integrity of the album – simply not true. Italian singer Andre Bocelli is genius in using this strategy. When Bocelli releases albums in an attempt to cross over markets, he will designate one particular track to be manipulated in order to add local appeal. For example, an album being released in the U.S. may use a popular recording artist on that particular track. That same track/album being released in Sweden would use a Swedish artist, Spanish artist in Spain, Canadian in Canada and so on. With the overwhelming amount of indie level bands craving cross over and international exposure, partnering with other musicians should prove easy. If using unknown musicians makes you uncomfortable, select a song that may prove popular in the region and add it as a special cut to the album. I suggest researching tracks in PD so you don’t get caught in publishing and licensing red-tape.

  1. Know the Distribution Outlets

Just because the big box stores control the market in America doesn’t mean indie stores don’t rein king Spain. Pay attention to the popular distribution outlets, whether it be large music stores, digital sales, or mom & pop stores. Another sensible approach is to set up non-traditional retailer relationships. Immigrant groups have a certain level of sex appeal, mysteriousness, and draw where non-traditional retail stores may be interested in a partnership. Locate stores that may compliment your style of music and then establish contact.

  1. Couple Merchandise to the Market

An important component to selling music is by having appealing merchandise. Merchandise acts as a forever billboard that promotes even when the fans aren’t listening to your music. The key to benefiting from a successful merchandising component is to match the product to the fan. A bands pricing should change depending on urban regions or rural regions, middleclass fans or college goers, even female and male. It is also important to design the product around the fan. For example, messenger bags with a band logo may be cheesy for fans in Michigan but could sell like hotcakes in a European college town.

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