Let the Music Do the Talking

By Ashley Garofalo

I recently encountered an article by Andrew Dubber of Birmingham City University addressing a fundamental approach to marketing music in today’s industry.  He calls it, “Hear/Like/Buy.”

It’s the way of the world for music media consumption these days.  Those in the market to buy are seeking music which they can add to their existing collection: an individually-constructed display of organization, style, and character.  As an emerging artist, it is daunting to think of promoting my music in this very individualistic market.  What will cause consumers to invest in my work?  Dubber advises, “Have people hear it… for free.”  It seems slightly radical.  The goal is to create a system of economic support for music and musicians and the advice is to give it away for free?  How is that good for business?

Dubber compares the dynamics of the music media industry to Hollywood.  Those looking for new movies will pay up front costs to see new films in the theaters.  And then, if they like it, they eagerly await the DVD release with all the extras.  In contrast, those who are looking for new music often want to hear it first before making a monetary commitment, especially if the artist is new.  And while the trailer might be enough to get people to buy the movie ticket, a 30-second audio clip will often not convince them as music consumers.

The innovation is it’s not about the product as much as it is about the relationship.  As such, Dubber suggests the best marketing strategy for today focuses on the listener.  “Let them hear it, keep it, live with it.  And then bring them back as a fan.”  Whether it’s pop music or concert music, living with the music for some time will bring out the complexities, the insights, the sub-layers, and the emotions embedded within.  At this point, listeners with developing connections to the music are often willing to invest further by adding it to their personal collections.

The impact of investing in these types of relationships is far greater than an individual sale.  Provide value with no cost attached.  Allow listeners to experience what the music has to offer.  Let the music do the talking.  Give them time to hear it, like it, and love it and soon they’ll want to keep it, own it, and share it.  They’ll even come back for more.

About the author

Ashley Danyew

Active as a collaborator, chamber musician, studio teacher, and music entrepreneur, Ashley Danyew is dedicated to teaching and learning and creating new opportunities for music.

Ashley received her B.A. in Music, cum laude from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. She completed an M.M. in Music Education at the Eastman School of Music and received the Certificate in Arts Leadership from Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership. Ashley’s primary piano instructors include Edward Eikner, Dr. Evgeny Rivkin, Louise Barfield, and Dr. Jean Barr. Additionally, she studied organ with Dr. Fletcher Anderson and Dr. Jolene Davis and voice with Dr. Liana Valente. Ashley has performed in masterclasses with George Shirley, Norman McLean, Nadine Whitney, Victor Rosenbaum, Tony Arnold, and Håkan Hagegård.

Ashley performs regularly in a saxophone/piano duo with her husband, Steve Danyew. Together, Ashley and Steve are committed to community education and innovative performance practice through the presentation of classical duo repertoire and transcriptions of vocal art songs. They have presented individual works, recitals, and lecture programs in New York, Massachusetts, and Florida.

Ashley has several years of teaching experience in community music schools, private studio settings, and at the college level, having recently served on the faculty of Fitchburg State University. Ashley also co-founded and currently serves as Co-Artistic Director of the Westminster Chamber Music Workshop, a series of engaging, educational music events. Currently, Ashley is pursuing a PhD in Music Education at the Eastman School of Music.

Leave a Reply