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Music Marketing with Reciprococity

Recently, I was talking to a communications professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He had a fascinating story that raises startling thoughts about music marketing and reciprocity. The story you are about to read is 100% True. Only the names have been changed to protect the suspects. *smirk*

Two students were at a bar. One was an engineer named John. The other was a communications major named Sam. John was bragging about how cool it was to be an engineer. Sam looked mildly impressed before he walked over to the bar, ordered a beer and started talking with four other guys at the bar. Then he called over the bartender and said, “drinks for all my new friends here!” He coughed up $15 and walked back to the table. Over the next two hours, four pitchers were delivered to his table.

John asked, “how on earth did you do that?” To which Sam replied, “To answer that, you would have to become a communications major.

Well, I already told you why. In the communications world, it’s called “reciprocity”. It means when you give something, you will be given something back in return. What Sam realized was that not only would people give him something back, but they would give him MORE than he actually gave them.It’s sorta like presents. If you give a present to someone who doesn’t expect it, they feel obligated to return the favor. And more frequently than not, they will give an even bigger, more expensive present than the one you originally gave.

So how does this affect you, my fine musician?

Earlier in the week, I was chatting with Austin Chronicle writer Margaret Moser. She told me about Cornell Hurd who plays every week at Jovita’s. The band draws a huge crowd, but they are also unpaid. So to keep folks coming back for me, they give free knick knacks to their audience to everyone who donates. Ye know, the junk you can buy in bulk for pennies. The greater the donation, the bigger the knick knack. As a result of this wee bit o’marketing, their tips for the seven-man band, are amazingly good and allow him to keep that talented band in tact.

You’ll hear the same from most internet marketers. The key to their success is giving away stuff freely. If you are generous and give frequently, you will recoup your givings ten fold.

So give something away. It may be your time. It may be a CD. It may be an article, a t-shirt, or even a useless knick knack. Whatever it is give it away. Then prepare yourself for the gift you are about to receive.


Marc Gunn is an actual working Celtic Geek musician. He was nicknamed “The Celtfather” for his incredible support of indie Celtic music and his award-winning Irish and Celtic Music Podcast. He has helped 1000s of musicians make money with their musical groups through The Bards Crier Music Marketing Ezine. Now you can get FREE “how-to” music marketing and promotion advice, plus tips on how to sell more CDs when you subscribe today. Subscribe atwww.bardscrier.com!

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