“There are so many musicians out there working their tails off to try and get their music heard. They play shows anywhere they can and put their heart and soul into every performance. They write amazing songs from the heart about life, love, heartbreak, good times and bad times. They spend every waking hour trying to make their dreams become reality.”

Some of you might recognize that quote. It has been on the homepage of my online radio station Dreamers Radio since we launched in 2009. I spent years doing everything I could to help artists follow their dreams one dreamer at a time. As a fan, you might not realize the amount of work it truly takes to make it in the music industry. I grew up in that world. My father was a musician and a songwriter. So many of my friends tried (and tried again) to make it. As an adult, my musical tastes usually dipped into the more underground scene. Bands who would never taste the air waves of corporate radio. Artists who toured relentlessly only to play to half empty venues. I knew their struggles and I did whatever I could to bring their music to as many hearts as I could.

James-Moore-by-Ryan-Donnelly

Photo by: Ryan Donnelly

So, when I had the opportunity to interview James Moore, author of the musician’s marketing handbook “Your Band is a Virus” and the mastermind behind the PR company Independent Music Promotions, I jumped at the chance. Having written reviews for his artists, I knew that this man had a lot of the same visions as I did over the years. The beautiful part of his story is, through his experiences of endless promotion of his music and struggling with marketing his own work, he stumbled upon a niche in the world of music that needed to be filled.

Press

If you ask any artist what is the one area that seems impossible to break into, they will tell you that it’s the world of credible press. In this day and age, press is king in every single person’s life. People’s social media feeds are filled with links to online articles, blogs and websites talking about everything from politics to pop culture. These outlets are the driving force behind everything that is credible and popular. If you Google your favorite artist, actor, model, athlete, you will find pages and pages of articles written about them. An artist can post status updates on their Twitter or Facebook all day long but unless they are consistently getting their name in front of new eyes, their efforts are virtually fruitless.

This is where James found his calling. After an unfortunate experience with a PR company that over promised and undelivered, he took his album that he poured his blood, sweat and tears into and put it out there for the world to see. Where the PR company failed him with only 3 reviews of his work, he was able to find over 70 writers to listen to his music and write an honest review. With this experience, he founded Independent Music Promotions and started offering this service to musicians everywhere.

“It seemed like the basic delivery of press was something that was very elusive in the industry, so there was a niche that needed to be filled.”

He has since built strong personal relationships with freelance journalists and bloggers that take time to listen and critique his artist’s work. With every campaign he customizes, he gets to know the artist and their music very well. He then creates a press kit and sends it off to the writers that he thinks will enjoy writing about them.

“Our focus is in landing as much press as possible for every artist we work with; a drastic resume boost that helps the artists on their paths going forward.”

James creates a unique and concrete foundation to help solidify his client’s reputation as serious artists. A simple yet genius concept. During our interview, I dove head first into world. I wanted to know his inspirations and what it was like to be able to really help his artists carve a name for themselves.

 

What inspired you to start working with musicians?

I’m a musician myself, so I understand the passion as well as the business concerns that independent artists experience. I was always the guy in my bands who did everything promotion-wise, and after 15 years or so of spending thousands of hours researching how to get heard, it was an ideal match for me to work with musicians at something I enjoyed doing. I just love being around music, so it feels good to put the headphones on in the morning and dig into working on campaigns for my artists.

What is the greatest part of working for a business like yours?

Being able to work with artists that I’m a fan of. Also, being able to fill my life with music, listen to music as I work, etc.

For those musicians out there that can’t quite afford a service like yours, what advice do you have for them to help them gain the momentum with their career?

Don’t have any sense of entitlement and don’t expect anyone to help you. You need to either fill every role or outsource ones you’re not good at. Work hard and learn all the time. Also, be where the eyes are, not where you want them to be. Often artists focus too much on their official websites, when their potential fans are waiting on Spotify or Last.fm. You need to get in front of them by learning about those outlets.

I haven’t read your book yet, but from what I have read about it, it seems like it should be “The Bible” for all musicians looking to take their music to the next level.

I wrote “Your Band Is A Virus” with the intent of giving away the farm, so to speak. It goes over all my music marketing knowledge, both as an independent promoter and through running I.M.P. It’s also intended to be an action guide for musicians, one that they can actually get immediate benefit from as they read. I thought at the time that not many of the current music business books were overly helpful and clear. Many of them relied heavily on case studies and stories instead of specific advice. I like things to be clear and actionable.

What is next for I.M.P.? Any big plans for the future?

I really like where I.M.P is right now and I’m looking forward to a 2016 filled with amazing music. I just want our services to continue to get better and better. I want I.M.P. to be the prime DIY promotion option for underground musicians.

Many people have their opinions on the current state of the music business. How have sites like Spotify, illegal downloads, lack of CD sales, price of concert tickets, etc, affected your business?

This hasn’t really affected my business at all. At the end of the day, popularity is the most important currency, and my role is to assist in creating that. People will always want to support musicians, but only when they sense other people have gathered around those musicians. This is why artists need to focus on popularity first. The money comes later.

 

If you could tell a musician one piece of advice you have learned through all your experiences, what would it be?

It’s only your perceptions that hold you back. It’s all possible. If you have 100 fans now, it should be simple for you to get 10,000, and so on.

Where do you think the future is heading for the music industry?

I think we’re going to see more and more self-managed artists, and less and less record labels. Success will mean something different. More cult level acts and less superstars.

 

It speaks volumes about someone when they follow their passion. When it comes to James, his pursuit puts him in the background. He is behind the scenes working to help others realize their dreams. His vision and drive are contagious. James doesn’t do it for the fortune or the fame. He gets up every morning with the intent to help others succeed by doing what he truly loves. In my opinion, people like James are the future of the music industry.

 

Logo artwork by Shaun Friesen (freezen.ca)

Logo artwork by Shaun Friesen (freezen.ca)

 

Find out more about Independent Music Promotions on their website and make sure to follow their Facebook.

If you would like to get a taste of some of the artists that James promotes, check out our reviews.

To purchase Your Band is a Virus, click here.


 

Extended Plays is an ongoing music series written by myself and my partner James. We listen to music, go with our gut and spill our honest and sometimes brutal opinion all over this blog. We hope you take the time to check out the artists we review for yourselves. We tend to believe that we are always right about everything but the most beautiful thing about music is that our opinion doesn’t matter to anyone but ourselves.

 

 

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