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How Would Jon Ostrow (MicControl) Spend a £500 Song Release Budget?

Jonathan Ostrow (@miccontrol) is the co-founder of MicControl, a music blogging network based on a social networking platform. He is also a regular contributor in the music biz community and has a firm knowledge in marketing after studying it for four years at the University of Rhode Island.

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Unfortunately, album sales are in the crapper.

While most artists are not making the sort of living they used to be able to through the sales of their full albums, many artists are now shifting their focus from albums to single tracks.

Depending on the size of your current fan base, this may or may not be a worthy endeavor. However, I believe that it is more important for emerging artists to focus on growing a loyal fanbase than it is to push for short-term sales. So instead of releasing a track in hopes of making some petty cash now, I would take this opportunity to create a sweepstakes that opens the door for:
– networking with bloggers

– expanding your listener base and potential fan base

– increase the loyalty of your existing fan base

As for the £500 marketing budget given to support the release of this track – I would put all of that into the creation of this sweepstakes:

The Sweepstakes
Create a sweepstakes in which anyone who downloads your track and provides an email address is automatically entered to win either a grand prize or one of 10 second place prizes.
The track will be released with a listed price of .99 cents or .50 cents (your choice, really).
But here is the catch.

You will also set up an exclusive promotional offer with a select group of music blogs that allows anyone to visit the blog and grab a promo code to be used to download the track for free, meanwhile still supplying their email address to be entered in the sweepstakes.

When searching for blogs to get involved, there are a few things to keep in mind. Ultimately your biggest objective is to involve a blog with a strong reader base with high engagement. However, you also must be sure that the readers of the blog properly reflect your target audience. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that you are not only looking for big, well known blogs, but also smaller, more regional blogs that may help you to gain a stronger local following which could boost the attendance of your shows.

The Investment:
As previously mentioned, the idea is to use the marketing budget to create a fully supported campaign, which in this case is the creation and support of a sweepstakes surrounding the release of your new track. The following are the investments I would make, outlining a simple and cost effective way of making the sweepstakes come to fruition:

Create A Nimbit Account

Nimbit Pro: This is the essential piece to the sweepstakes puzzle. Creating a Nimbit Pro account allows you to do everything you will need to get the sweepstakes underway, with the exception of advertising. It includes all of the following:
Custom Storefront: Setup a customized, branded storefront (for a fee of $99) to be placed on your Facebook Page, on blogs and even on a website.

Promotional Codes: Create a unique promo code for each blog involved.

Download Cards: Through the registration for the Nimbit Pro account, you will also receive 250 free download cards, which can also be used for the sweepstakes. Right around the time of your track release, you should book a few shows, even if it is somewhere non-traditional, like a house party, a restaurant or a coffee shop, and offer the download cards as a free gift for anyone who signs up on the mailing list.

Mailing List Management: Nimbit will collect and organize all of the email addressed that are supplied by those downloading your track, and subsequently entering the sweepstakes.
Total Expense: $350. A nimbit pro account is $249 per year and creating a customized, branded storefront is an additional $99 dollars.


Grand Prize: This, of course, should give be an incredibly desirable prize and is something that gives direct value to your target fans. Here are a few ideas:

– a dinner and backstage passes before a show,

– a one-of-a-kind painting,

– a song written just for that person, or

– a USB Stick filled with the entire back catalog of music which also entitles the person to free entry to every future show

Second Prize: While you still want to find a way to create a second prize that still offers value in the eyes of your fans, it is understandable if the prize is substantially less desireable such as offering a custom T-Shirt and a signed LP.
Total Expense: ~ $250. Depending on how creative you get with the prizes, the total expense may greatly differ. However this is a good budget to shoot for.

Facebook Ads
While the sweepstakes (Nimbit Pro account and Prizes) is going to be the main expense, there is still money left in the budget to help support the the success of this campaign. As Marcus has previously written about, FB Ads are one of the most targeted and effective ways of advertising on the internet. This is something that, if you have the budget for, should be taken advantage of. Using Facebook Ads is a great way to drive even further traffic to your Nimbit Store Front right on your Facebook Fan page.

Budget: $1 – No Max. There is no limit to how much money can be spent on Facebook Ads (though there is a $1 minimum), but it is highly recommended that you do a few rounds of testing and make sure that the keywords being used are going to target and attract the right people.

Unfortunately, a sweepstakes doesn’t make you much money. However as an emerging artist, money should not be a short term goal – it should be a long term goal. Just like any entrepreneur starting a business, you will have to take some risks and spend some money in order to reap all of the benefits of a successful career as a professional musician.

About Marcus Taylor

In 2013, Marcus Taylor won the award for 'Young Visionary of the Year' at MIDEM. Marcus is passionate about marketing and the music industry, and has consulted to some of the biggest names in the music industry through his agency, Venture Harbour. Marcus founded this website in 2009, and has reached over half a million musicians ever since.

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