What’s the point to gaining an international market? Seriously? The industry in the U.S. is unbelievably cutthroat as is, so it almost seems like wasted energy to promote your musical brand across the Atlantic. For international musicians, the same applies, why would you even pretend to chase American music stardom? The market is bursting with musicians lined up out the door willing to do more, take less, and literally do whatever it takes to make it. Now that the industry has experienced 5 facelifts in the last couple of years, it is important to think differently about the music market. More importantly musicians should think smart, and that means thinking globally NOT domestically. It is important to understand this complete shift in thinking, especially since the need for global expansion changes daily. Start with the basics: 5 Reasons to Go Global.
The global market has changed, and you should too. Musicians appear to be stuck in the old industry model. Trained over time to think small, grow regionally, and boom domestically, this once standard model doesn’t apply today. This isn’t to suggest bands should abort this technique, as there are essential steps to growth, but the new age band should no longer blindly follow the herd. The masses build their career based on a domestic model; but it’s time to be smart, different, and more effective. Go global. There are infinite reasons why bands should focus on a global market; but let’s explore the tip of the iceberg first:
1- THERE’S MORE OUT THERE
Undisputed, the United States reins king in the entertainment industry. Whether you like it or not, it’s reality. The competition on American soil is brutal, as your chance for success is literally a crapshoot. Why stay in the rat race? There are a limited number of consumers in the States, and couple that with the market war, the likelihood musicians can create an economic, stainable career is unlikely. Be smart. People don’t realize the U.S. only makes up 4% of the global consumer market. 4! That means there is a creative death match amongst musicians for 4% of the pie. By thinking global, you remove yourself from the 4% mindset and generate creative ways to explore the 96%, therefore increasing your likelihood for success.
2- DECLINING ALBUM SALES AREN’T WIDESPREAD
Piracy and illegal downloading have been highlighted words for 5+ years, especially within the entertainment media. These issues are depressing, intriguing, and ultimately sell magazines. Ignore it. “Yes” album sales have dropped to an obscene amount in recent years; but that isn’t widespread. As previously discussed, don’t focus on the 4% consumer market the other bands focus upon. Go global. Find the bigger piece of the pie that hasn’t been murdered by piracy.
3- DRAW OF THE FOREIGNER
The draw of the foreigner may be the most unused keys to international growth. There is a reason all five nominees for the 2009 Grammy Award’s Album of the Year were internationally born musicians. International = market appeal. Foreigners represent change, sexy, exotic, and new potential. Rock musicians from Finland stand a better chance of breaking in the U.S. rock market compared to a U.S. band. Setting musical talent aside, the Finns are more marketable, and marketability is a game changer in today’s market. American musicians can separate themselves from the domestic pack by going abroad. The #1 export of the U.S. is its entertainment culture. In 2001, America’s leading export wasn’t agriculture, automotive, or timber- it was entertainment to the tune of $89 billion. American bands are viewed by foreigners as “American entertainment”, not by their individuality. Whether you’ve contributed to the 89 billion is irrelevant, but I suggest taking advantage of this and benefiting from the figure. Clearly it sells.
4- THE VENUE LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGED
In the past, entertainment venues were limited to American boundaries. Not the case today. The other countries of the world weren’t, until recently, major players in the entertainment dogfight. Due to the rapid growth of global media and technology, coupled with entertainment growth, the number of entertainment venues around the globe has increased over 100%. This means it is now realistic for musicians to swell due to venues and market expansion.
5- DOMESTIC THINKING SETS LIMITATIONS
Musicians can quickly, and easily, get distracted with the duties surrounding a domestic career. Once you start down the regional path of promotion, it’s hard to step off. It’s important in the beginning to separate a band’s domestic goals and international goals into two different markets. By creating a game plan in each, bands can later evaluate which proved more beneficial. The separation is important because bands become fixated on their domestic career and don’t properly evaluate, or expand into a global market. It is imperative to constantly analyze/compare your domestic growth and international expansion.
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