The Myth of Doing It All Yourself
I believe and have experienced that if a divine inspiration comes to do or create anything, it is possible to do it. Nevertheless, it takes a community to bring a valuable gift to the world.
In the 1980’s I was living in New York City working as a jazz piano player when events led me synchronistically from creating music as emotional expression into creating music for divine expression. This was catalyzed by a spiritual teacher named Hilda Charlton. This shift led to new music for meditation, inspiration, and a style of jazz that was more ethereal.
There were a couple of small recording labels who sponsored me for a time and then went out of business.
In 1989 I journeyed to Assisi Italy and had a profound experience recording music honoring St. Francis and St. Clare and the spiritual acceleration I felt there. When I returned to my new apartment in Woodstock NY, and began to sort out the music I had recorded at Assisi, I realized that this music was so pure, so God-connected, and loving that it needed to get out to the world. Not having a label to work with, I decided to create my own, RichHeart Music. When the cassette was released I found myself fortunate to be picked up by New Leaf Distributing Company, who had carried some of my earlier albums.
So the desire to bring the gifts that come through me to the world led me to enter the business of promoting and selling my music. And I had the idea that I could create a business based on the same spiritual principles that were at the foundation of the music.
At first, I knew nothing about business except to send packages to stores and to promote the music through print ads, reviews, and touring. There were many people in the business who helped steer me to opportunities, and all-in-all, I learned a lot!
Here are some of the things I’ve learned – some of these took a long time, and some came easily:
Create a relationship with store buyers/owners
Call and send in-store-play demos, and follow up! Find out if they like the music etc.
However, be respectful and find out how a buyer prefers to be contacted. For COVR retailers I was asked to send an email before calling. I have an assistant who calls stores for me now.
How do we find stores who might be interested in our music?
Go to INATS! You will meet many buyers. If you have a booth you are privy to the buyer contact list. Years ago Sophia Tarilla published a marvelous book with new age contacts. I don’t know if anything that thorough has been done since. It would be great if such a resource were available now. In the meantime there is a company selling a small list called NewAgeDataBank.com. Judicious placement of print ads can bring attention to your product and generate calls from buyers. Print ads do tend to be expensive, however.
Work with people who are aligned with your product and grounded
If you hire someone, make sure that they are in alignment with your principles and product, and are also well grounded, qualified, responsible people.
Find a niche in which your products are welcome. I’ve found many such areas, such as Healing Touch, Magnified Healing, spiritual conferences, etc.
If you are working with a distributor, promote to stores and to your targeted end-customers
Distributors can do some promotion, but they need to see some interest from their customers (the stores) for them to give your product the attention it deserves. Each distributor has promotional opportunities available, including representation at shows, flyers, sales programs, catalog ads, demo distribution, etc. Find out what is offered and do what you can.
Promote promote promote!
Use the internet and all the opportunities there. If you know stores that are selling your music, list them on your web site by location. This is something I’m just beginning to do. Radio promotion can be helpful. There are many good radio promotion services available. Print ads can be beneficial as part of a promotional package. If you have something to say in print say it through articles as well as advertising. Find a way to present your products and performances in cooperation with stores and other venues. Touring is one of the best ways to build an audience.
Create a consistent reputation
Always do your best and word of mouth will generally be kind to you. Create good relations with your suppliers and everyone in the business. Find areas of cooperation with your competitors to expand opportunities for all of you. Hang in there over the long haul …persistence furthers.
Value your contribution to society and value those who are potential partners in raising consciousness
Everyone is a potential customer or partner! Frankly, as an artist in business, I’ve had to carve out time and energy to do music – which demands a different sort of mind set than business. The balance is often about ‘Why am I doing this anyway?’ As I watch my available time, I make decisions…. If I do too much music, the business can fall behind, and if I do too much business, the whole reason I’m doing the business, (the expression of the divine through music) can seem to fall away. So I use everything I have, pay attention and keep projects cooking the best I can.
Remember the Dream, keep it alive!