Episode #096: How Social Media Is Changing The Music Industry


This may be the most concise, yet comprehensive, description of where we are in the music industry and what may be the greatest opportunity for artists in the last 25 years.

At the end of the 90s, Napster changed the old music industry with illegal downloading of digitized music, and a few years later, iTunes capitalized on that by now selling downloadable mp3s. And just a few years ago, another shift happened when apps like Pandora and Spotify eliminated the mp3 with music streaming.

All of this represented just more taking advantage of the artist as new companies made bundles while artists got pennies. They’re all just another version of the record labels.

But, the problem the internet created by Napster, iTunes, and Spotify has also now provided artists with a way to finally control their own careers and make the money they always wanted without a record label!

In this special episode, C.J. breaks this down in such as way that you’ll be fired up and ready to go to work on marketing your music. Buckle your seatbelts because you’re in for a ride!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The impact of the internet and Napster
  • Sad tales from the road
  • Social media is the new music industry
  • Why being discovered doesn’t matter anymore
  • Dialing in your Facebook ads
  • Getting more gigs because of your strong social media presence
  • The superfan system
  • Creating merchandise to sell while having no inventory


“Social media is the single biggest game-changer for the music industry since it began.”  – @metalmotivation [0:05:01]

“It’s not about potential fans discovering you, it’s about you discovering fans.”  – @metalmotivation [0:10:37]

“If you have a musical brand that you can now push out to an audience and you know how to target those people, then you can build an online music business.”  – @metalmotivation [0:16:45]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Join the TOM 3.0 Waitlist — explodeyourfanbase.com

Book a Call With Us — http://www.CallSMA.com

Click For Full Transcript

00:21 CJ: This is CJ. I am the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. No doubt everybody has learned now that you simply cannot go on as you were before. This current crisis that we’re undergoing has really revamped the way everybody is looking at life, the way everybody’s looking at career, the way everybody is looking at possibility and opportunity. Think about that. So many dear, dear friends of mine play music for a living in that they play live events. They play live gigs at venues, in bars and the like. Well, that has all been shut down. All of it has been shut down. And so, now they’re scrambling to try and find other things to do to try and earn a living. As we always know, it’s artists, it’s creative people who always seem to get screwed. Screwed by record labels, screwed by media players, screwed by Spotify, iTunes and what have you.

Now even been screwed by the economy. So what do you do when something like this is happening? What do you do? What’s the challenge here for us? Well, you’ve got to build an online music business, and that’s the primary thing that has changed since the music industry experienced its last and almost detrimental revolution at the end of the 20th century. And that was essentially that you, your music, the music that you wrote could suddenly be distributed worldwide without your permission because of Napster. Napster changed the way the music industry was being handled. It essentially shut things down. Everything got shut down. Bands were up in arms over this, music was being distributed for free. And we understand that and we went through that.

The next change was when iTunes came out, and now they started to sort of capitalize on what was happening with downloadable MP3s and the iPod and all of these things begin to change that. So people were now buying and downloading music, but still the artist was getting pennies for what the tech companies were getting. Now the last one is streaming music. Now streaming is taking from the artist. Now, it’s great to get exposure and people are getting exposure on YouTube and the like. But now the music industry is what? What value is there right now for a record label? What can a record label do for you right now? Not a whole lot. Not a whole lot.

I know touring musicians, in fact, I did an interview with Lindsay Matheson who played in an international touring band. She said, in the discussions that she had with other professional touring musicians, that they were shocked to find out that the bus driver was making more money than they were. The bus driver was making more money than they were, and so oftentimes they have to go back. I know members of that band, when they get off the road, they have to go back and work in the bars or do some construction or whatever it is they have to do. There’s just not the type of profit or revenue that there used to be. Now what? Well, this is where the internet has begun to revolutionize things, even though it is the internet that caused the problem to begin with, in the sense that Napster began this MP3 download, file sharing thing, the internet is also the solution. It’s not just what created the problem, it’s also what is creating the solution.

However, something specific had to happen in the internet in order for us to be able to take advantage now of the power of the internet. You see, prior to social media, people were marketing things on the internet already. For example, Amazon started in the ’90s. So people were already using the internet for e-commerce prior to the advent of social media. In other words, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like. So internet marketing had been around since the internet was born. However, we did not have the opportunities that we have now because of social media. That’s what’s important to understand. Social media is the single biggest game changer for the music industry since it began, and that’s a big thing for me to say, but I assure you that is the case and I’ll explain why that is.

Now, I have been in marketing for 30 years. 30 years I have been in design, advertising and marketing. My degrees are in this. This is what I’ve done all my life and now I help out with the Savvy Musician Academy as both a branding and a mindset coach. I work with our elite students on a one-on-one basis, helping them with their branding, their marketing, et cetera. I’ve done this. I’ve got my own pages that I do. So believe me, I have done this for a long time. Here’s the thing you have to understand, is that the internet prior to social media, do you remember the things you used to say when you first discovered the internet? Do you remember what you thought? You were like, “I wonder if so-and-so company has a website yet. I wonder if this band has a website yet.” What did you used to say about someone who was goofing off on the internet, wasting time on the internet? What did we used to say? How did we describe it? We said they were surfing the web. Surfing the web. Well, do we even say that anymore?

Does anybody say surfing on the web anymore? Absolutely not. Nobody says that, because the web, internet, is just a part of our lives now. So what do we say now when somebody is wasting time online? Well, they’re checking their social media, they’re checking their Facebook. So we went from surfing the web to checking Facebook. So everything now is down to the little screen. That’s why you see advertising and whatnot being spent there. It’s because all of the focus now is on the little screen. But think about how revolutionary this is because, prior to social media, you had no hope of someone discovering you online. How would they find you if you’re a band? It doesn’t matter how good you are. How would someone find you? How would they know where you were? How would they know that you even existed? Well, prior to social media, information on the internet is searched for. You search for information on the internet. That’s how you do it. So it had to be a key word search, but nobody is necessarily going to be putting into the internet your name because they don’t know who you are.

You see, prior to social media, information on the internet was searched for. Now I want you to really listen to what I’m about to say. Prior to social media, information on the internet is searched for. After social media, information is shared. I want you to contemplate that for just a second. After social media, information is not searched for, information is shared. For example, we’re got this virus going on, and I’ve used this example for years. It’s going to mean a whole lot more now because we’re dealing with this COVID-19, coronavirus thing. But if I had a flu virus, how many people could I effectively infect if I stood in the middle of Times Square as people are moving by quickly? Not very many people.

08:38 CJ: I can’t affect very many people if I’m standing out in the street, but what happens if I get on a boarded airplane that’s full? Every seat is full on a commercial airline flight and had that same flu, that same virus. How many people could I infect? A lot. You’re seeing this with the cruise ships. Quarantining the cruise ships because it’s a captive audience. It is a isolated audience, an encapsulated audience. That, my friend, is what social media is. Social media is the internet contained, because people have to have an account in order to be on it. You can’t be on Facebook without a Facebook account. Therefore, you are able to spread things virally on social media like you could not do prior to social media.

You look at something like YouTube. A lot of musicians focused their attention on YouTube thinking, really thinking the old way, just like the record industry was. The old way, the record industry was, “I hope I get discovered by a record label.” Now they’re on YouTube thinking, “I hope I get discovered on YouTube. I hope my video goes viral.” Not likely. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is a search engine. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is a search engine. Facebook is a share engine. Think about that difference. So the power of social media and why it has changed the music industry now is because it’s not about people discovering you, it’s about you discovering people. It’s not about potential fans discovering you, it’s about you discovering fans. Because what Facebook does is track all the movements that we make, all the things that we click on and engage with and have interest and passions about. Facebook keeps a record of that. Therefore, when you use the powerful Facebook ad manager, you can target the exact people who would love your music.

Man, you better be clapping your hands and tearing up your ceiling right now because that is the best news anybody could have given you since Napster did what it did. This is the single most important thing to happen since the end of the 20th century. The problem that Napster and the internet created at the end of the 20th century now has the potential to be solved because of what we have now through the power of social media. I want you to think about that, because now you can go direct to market. Now you can target people who like this band, that band, this person, eats that food, watches this, does that, and you can put your music video right in front of the most ideal person who want to hear it. Man, that’s powerful. That is absolutely powerful.

Now, I do a project myself. The other half of my life is motivational speaking. I want you to listen to this example really, really closely. I’m serious, man. I’m about to put horseshoes in your boxing gloves. I’m about to help you cheat the system if you’ll listen really, really closely right now. I have a side project that I’ve done. I launched it in Halloween of 2009. It’s called Metal Motivation: Daily Screams for Living Aggressively. Metal Motivation. Now, the other half of my life is being a personal development person, self-improvement, motivational speaking, that sort of thing. I target, however, people who like heavy metal, hard rock. So I’m targeting those people. So my short hand description would be, I’m like Tony Robbins meets Metallica. Simple. Tony Robbins meets Metallica. It’s called Metal Motivation. Now, I set that up again in 2009. Well, here was the challenge. How do I target people for that page? Well, because of what the Facebook ad manager can do, I can target them.

But try and target that sort of thing before social media, because nobody prior to Facebook would ever sit down at the Google search engine and say, “I wonder if there’s a heavy metal version of motivation. I wonder if there’s a heavy metal motivational speaker. I wonder if there’s a heavy metal self-improvement program.” They would never say that. What would they do? They would sit down at the search engine and they would say, “How to be more motivated.” And they might be a lover of heavy metal, but they’re not looking for a metal motivation. They’re looking for how to be more motivated, and so they’ll take the information from whoever it is, whether it’s a metal motivator or not. But how much more ideal would it be if they had a metal motivator? But they’re just not going to discover me on a Google search. With Facebook, I can discover them.

So what I do, because of the Facebook ad manager, it has different layering. So I can say, “Find me, Facebook, people who like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. But they must also like, they must also like Tony Robbins. They must also have read the book Think and Grow Rich. They must also have listened to this motivational speaker or follow this motivational page.” So now I can run ads directly to people who love heavy metal and love motivational content. Think about that. I’m targeting people who love heavy metal and love motivational content. So now when I put my ads in front of those people, they click like. I spend, and this is something Leah teaches in her courses. Both The Online Musician, what we call The Tom Program, as well as the Super Fan System Elite Program. She teaches this very thing, where she spends $10 a day on bringing new people to her page. I do the same thing. I spend $10 a day, 24/7. It’s $300 a month. I don’t even think about it. It’s money I spend on my business. That’s my business.

I’m in business here. So I spend $10 a day on that advertising, and it brings me in about 150 on average new likes per day to my page. My page is over 130,000, so it brings in 150 or more new likes every day like clockwork. It’s anywhere between five to 7 cents per like. Very, very cheap and inexpensive. Why? Because I have my audience targeted in. I couldn’t do that with a Google search engine. I couldn’t do that with trying to get a viral video on YouTube. I’m not waiting for people to discover me, I’m discovering them. I’m targeting them. That’s why social media is changing the way the music industry is being done. Now, what this means for you is that if you understand who you are as an artist, if you have a brand, a musical brand that you can now push out to an audience and you know how to target those people, then you can build an online music business. You can build an online music business.

So instead of putting just your video on YouTube and hoping somebody comes across it, or bothering all your friends on Facebook and say, “Hey man, share my video,” no, you can go directly to the people who want to hear the kind of music that you make. If you play ambient music, just instrumental. We’ve got in our Super Fan System Elite Program, we’ve got instrumentalists, ambient players. We’ve got, I mean, weird stuff. We’ve got pop music, we’ve got rock music, we’ve got all kinds of players. And they all have an audience that they can reach. We’ve got people that are very mission-driven in their music, very mission-driven. I’ve got one guy in our Elite Program, he’s just a solo music player, but he’s very passionate about the environment and social causes. He’s the real deal, man. He puts his money where his mouth is, and so he has a message to go along with it. Well, he’s able to now find an audience specifically for him.

17:51 CJ: Even if, maybe you want to do a combination. Maybe you want to do both online and build up your local gigs whenever you’re allowed to start playing again, and it will come back. Local music is going to come back again. But you maybe want to do both, sell some of your merchandise, sell your CDs and vinyl records online, as well as maybe sell some of your shows locally, you can use the same show social media marketing tactics there as well. Imagine this. Now, let me tell you something. For five years I ran a music venue, a very big music venue in Texas. It had two stages, indoors and outdoors. I would run a dance band on the indoor stage. I’d run a rock band on the outdoor stage and switch them up, every Friday and Saturday night. So believe me, I know what it means to host local bands. I know what booking is. I know what bar owners and venues are looking for.

One of the number one things when new artists would come to me and say, “Hey, can you book me?” One of the first things I would want to see is their social media presence. What kind of following do they have? They were trying to rely on the bar’s following. If you really want to attract a venue, you really want to get booked locally, then you want a venue owner, a bar owner, to see that you bring people out. And you can tell them, “Listen, I’ve got a huge Facebook following and people will show up when I play. I have an engaged following and they will show up when I play.” Well, guess what? You are going to get booked. That’s why it’s in your interest to build your social media audience, create brand awareness. See, what most people do. They say, “Oh, I’m already on Facebook. Oh, I know social media.” No they don’t. They’ve got a Facebook page and all they got on there is their events.

There’s no engagement. There’s nobody commenting. There’s no life going on. They’re not posting anything. They’re not doing anything. They just set up a Facebook page because that’s what people do. That’s a recipe for failure, I promise you that. You can’t do it that way. There’s a way to market your music via social media. Any music, maybe you give lessons now in light of the fact that there’s a downturn in these things. And you need to make some extra money. You can use the powerful tools of social media marketing to build your personal brand and target people just in your zip code. Isn’t that amazing? Let me tell you how powerful this is. When you’re going for the little screen, targeting the little screen … I get direct mail, as you probably do too. I get direct mail to my mailbox, my physical mailbox, every day. Now, I’m serious about my nutrition. I do the ketogenic diet to be specific, but I’m very serious about my nutrition. But I’ll get direct mail postcards and mailers from fast food restaurants or pizza delivery or takeout places.

Would they bother to send me that mail? Because it costs them money to have it produced. It costs them money to design it, it costs them money to buy a mailing list, it costs them money to mail it to me. Would they bother? Wouldn’t they love to know that I don’t eat that food? But you see, what does it tell me that I keep getting these mailers in my mailbox? It tells me that their targeting options are very, very limited. In Facebook, you don’t do that. In social media, you don’t do that. Nobody receives my advertising or my post that is not specifically and specially targeted for exactly what I’m going to put in front of them. Well, yeah. If I’m targeting people who love heavy metal and love motivational content, if I put in front of them an ad that says, “Hey, I’m the Metal Motivator. Get daily inspiration for motivated people who love heavy metal,” guess what they do? They click like, because I’m not putting it in front of people who don’t like those things.

Again, this is so much better than the internet has ever been. This is why you can have an online music business. Because, again, think about this. It’s what we teach in the Savvy Musician Academy, the Super Fan. What’s a super fan? A super fan is somebody who’s just crazy about your music, so crazy about it that they’ll buy stuff from you. That’s a super fan. If you had 1,000 super fans, 1,000 people who really like you and really like your music and those people, those 1,000 people, spent $100 in a year with you, t-shirts, hoodies, CDs, vinyl, whatever. If that 1,000 super fans just spent $100 in a single year with you, that would be a six-figure income. If they spent just $100 a year, that would be a six-figure income. Again, I have built my Facebook page up to 130,000-plus. Leah, three or four times as that. All you need is 1,000 people who will spend $100 a year with you and you have a six-figure income with your music business.

Hey, let’s make it easier. 50 people. I mean, excuse me, 200 people spending $50. The same thing. But you can build it up so much more than that. You can go well beyond 1,000 super fans. You can do so much more. You couldn’t do that with just the internet, you needed social media. That’s why social media has changed the nature of the music industry itself. This is powerful. Absolutely powerful. Absolutely game-changing. I know we’re living in trying times. I understand that this virus thing hit us all unexpectedly. We did not see it coming. But here’s the big lesson learned, you need alternative means of income. You can’t just go by by that day job anymore. I think everybody’s awake to that fact now. Now is the time for you to launch and build your online music business.

Again, you can use this to help build your live music playing. You can use this to bring people out to your shows. You can do all of it if you can build your audience, create this brand awareness, get that audience engaged and maybe get some of them then I’m on to a dedicated email list and you stay in communication with these people, going live like I am now. Creating this relationship where people know you, where they like you, where they trust you, where they enjoy hearing from you, where they love your music. Those people will buy your shirts, they’ll buy whatever you want to put in front of them. And you say, “Well, CJ. Listen, man, I don’t have the money to get a bunch of inventory. How am I going to get a bunch of shirts made? How am I going to get a bunch of hoodies and hats and mugs and all these things made?”

You don’t have to. For example, we use print-on-demand services. I have a store which has well over 100 products. I’ve got smartphone covers. I’ve got hats. I’ve got shirts. I’ve got necklaces, ladies’ stuff, men’s stuff. I’ve got coffee mugs. I’ve got all kinds of stuff and I don’t have a single piece of inventory. Not one. I do it through a Shopify e-commerce store and that’s all hooked up to these print-on-demand vendors. If someone places an order, they make the shirt to order. They don’t keep an inventory either. They make a single shirt, a single hat, a single hoodie per order, and they ship it to them. I don’t ever touch the product. All I have to do is build an audience, get them to know me, like me, trust me, engage with me on social media. Then if I build them up and I give them value, if I add value to their life for free, they’re more than happy to get a shirt. They’re more than happy to get a hat. They’re more than happy to get a mug, to support what I’m doing. I call it wearing their attitude.

It’s awesome, man. It’s awesome. This is the power of social media. This is why social media has changed the face of the music industry. This is why you can create an online music business. Man, I hope the coin is dropping for you. I hope you understand what I’m talking about. Like I said, I’ve done this for 30 years. I know I don’t look that old. I’ve been doing this a long, long time. I’ve watched the internet. I started long before the internet, so I’ve seen it grow. Marketing, design and advertising and promotion, I’ve seen it grow. I was in the early stages of promoting on social media. I was doing it beforehand. So again, again, this is so important for you to grasp and understand. You have options. You don’t have to stay where you are. If you know where you are as an artist if you know who you are as an artist, if you know who your target audience is, and it may take some thought. But these are things we teach all at the Savvy Musician Academy.

One of the things that we’ve got coming up here very soon is something that Leah produces. She’s about to release the most upgraded version, which is The Online Musician 3.0. Or as we call it, TOM 3.0. It will launch here in May very, very soon. So if you want information about that and you want to get on the list, then I want you to go to that URL right there, explodeyourfanbase.com. If you are somebody who’s down the road. In other words, you got a pretty good following. You’ve got a website. You’ve maybe sold some music online and you’ve kind of plateaued and you need to go to your next level, then I want you to check us out at getsuperfans.com. Go to getsuperfans.com, because then we can talk to you about our Elite Program.

You need to be an elite. Keep believing. Don’t give up right now. This is not the time to be discouraged. This is not the time to be fearful. This is not the time to be anxious. This is the time to advance. You need to go on the offensive. I know it seems scary out there. I know it does, but you can dissuade. You can assuage your worries, your fears and anxiety by taking action. Stay strong. We will see you guys soon.

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.