Music Success in Nine Weeks by Ariel Hyatt has just been released in its second edition. Many of you indie musicians have wondered if the book is worth the purchase, and I’d like to break down the chapters in order to help you make an informed decision. Ariel Hyatt is the founder of Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR, a New York-based digital firm that connects artists, authors and filmmakers to blogs, podcasts, Internet radio stations and social media sites. Over the past 13 years, her firm has represented over 1,400 musicians in all musical genres.
In my own career as an indie musician, I have had to be mindful of my business, not only my music. To be an indie musician requires an entrepreneurial mindset, and I read a lot of books on the music business, and being an entrepreneur that have helped me reach my goals.
As a client of Ariel’s, and an owner of the first edition of the first edition of Music Success in Nine Weeks, I was eager to learn how the editions differed from each other. While the concept of breaking tasks into nine weeks is the same, it is obvious to me that the second edition has even more meat than the first.
Week 1: Getting Mentally Prepared
The first week of Ariel’s Music Success in Nine Weeks program is all about setting goals, and getting into the right mindset. The music business is not for the lazy or weak-hearted, and you need to be prepared for the long haul. This means getting into the correct mindset for success, and creating realistic goals that you can work towards.
Week 2: Your Perfect Pitch
The second week teaches you how to create an elevator pitch: a description of your music that you can easily repeat in the time it takes to travel one floor of an elevator to another. The best music pitch is memorable, and one that you are happy to use again and again.
Week 3: Optimizing Your Website
The purpose of your music website is not just to hold music clips and display your next gig date. Your website needs to pull potential fans in, and enable them to join your cause. Ariel offers practical suggestions for how your website can be used to build your fanbase.
Week 4: Social Media For Musicians
With social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, the potential to build a global audience via the internet has grown exponentially. Week 4 of Music Success in Nine Weeks defines “Web 2.0”, and shows you which social media sites a musician needs to create an online presence.
Week 5: Blogging
Back in the day, a static website containing your music, photo, and bio was enough. Having a blog on your website enables you to show your personality, connect with other bloggers, and also be found by search engines. Week 5 explains the importance of having a website that updates frequently so that your fans can return to your site, and connect with you.
Week 6: Connecting with Fans Via Your Newsletter List and Conducting Surveys
Your band newsletter can be used for more than blasting out the dates for your next gig. Your newsletter should be used to build and grow your relationship with your fans. Once your have their trust, you can also reach out to them to ask them what they want from you. It’s a lot better than guessing.
Week 7: How to Build Your Mailing List
Once you have an email list, it’s also important to add more names each month. Week 7 shows you tips and tricks to grow a healthy fan email list.
Week 8: Real Live Networking Tips
In addition to having an online presence, it is still important for musicians to meet people offline, and make connections with them. Week 8 teaches you how to make an authentic connection in person.
Week 9: Creating a Continuum Program
As enlightening as the rest of this book is, in my opinion, Week 9 of Music Success in Nine Weeks is the high point of the book. Once you build your fanbase, and have permission to contact them regularly, it’s time to get your fans to purchase merch from you on a regular basis. Whether it’s CDs, t-shirts, or any other kind of band swag, creating a product line will make the difference in your band’s bottom line.
Another bonus of purchasing Ariel Hyatt’s Music Success in Nine Weeks is that you get free lifetime membership to Ariel’s closed online Mastermind Forum. In the forum you meet other musicians like yourself who are working the program, and you have the added support of Ariel and her staff. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am also one of her forum moderators, but as a musician myself, I receive as much as I give, and I recommend Ariel Hyatt’s book and services to any musician who wants to take their career to the next level.