On Indiehitmaker’s website “Making it count, one release at a time” scrolls across the top of the screen. Bram Bessoff, who is the President and Founder of Indiehitmaker.com truly lives and works by that statement. During our latest interview with Bram, whose speciality is live music production, release planning and momentum building, he told us how he works with artists to maximize monetization and streaming of their music, improve live performances to capture fans and increase sales as well as build teams by utilizing free and paid services to build their momentum.
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes before any artist should start planning their live show. This includes a social media strategy, efficient song streaming and promotions strategy, and a solid business plan that focuses on how to profit from live performances and digital marketing efforts.
With the millennial trend of performing on social media, live performances seem to be an option more than a necessity to some new artists. Bram discusses this topic of only performing on social media stating, “Leverage that platform however you can. Depending upon where you are in your career, it could be too costly to go out and perform on the road, so utilizing these newer platforms can allow you to build fanbases and relationships until you can reach that level.”
While building up your social media is important, “nothing is going to replace the live show” adds Bram. It’s great if you can monetize your social media especially through a virtual performance, but the live show is a necessity to fuel your music career.
Bram explains why, “Live performance is where you make the deepest connection with the fans. It’s also your best profit center from performance fees and merchandise sales.” Blowing away your fans with an amazing live performance and connecting with them on a deep level creates superfans who will support you, your music, your live shows, endorsements, your social media accounts etc. The most important factor is truly knowing your audience – it’s crucial to developing a profitable merch line, compelling live shows and engaging social media content your audience will love.
So how does social media impact your streaming numbers? Streaming related business is a part of what Bram and his team at Indiehitmaker are all about. One of the most common mistakes new artists make when streaming their music, according to Bram, is not investing in promotions and not having a promotional strategy.
“There are 24k songs added daily into the streaming cloud, how do you rise above that noise? If you just aggregate a bunch of music through a digital distribution provider and let it sit, nobody will know or listen to it – your music is not doing anything for you. ” Promoting your music requires a monetary investment to take it to the next level and sometimes that’s what separates your music from the noise. In fact, many industry professionals look to your spotify numbers to make decisions whether or not to engage with an artist. Strong streaming numbers can make the difference in getting a gig or securing a booking agent, management and of course, a record deal.
Now for those who have borderline stage fright or are just nervous for their first show, Bram has some simple advice: understand how to love your audience. “You need a vision for what you want people to experience at your show.” Bram adds, “Creating a journey from start to end that takes them somewhere based on moments, not necessarily music. The right moment at the right time is what keeps them captured and engaged.” The goal is to have your fans leave put the headphones down, leave their home and come see you live in person. This means you need to put together a killer live show including building a set, creating moments to keep people engaged, logistics, merch setup, lighting and everything else that goes into creating an amazing live show..
Understanding what goes into a live performance requires years of experience. To start, an artist needs to understand what size venue is best for them. “You must understand how big your market is, then go to a room that’s smaller. 75 people in a 50 person room is better than 50 in a 300 person room.” Bram adds, “Again, this comes back to understanding your audience: underestimate and over-perform.”
Knowing how big your market is the next step in the right direction, but understanding the key elements to excel at a live show when you are struggling financially can be even more important. Bram explains the keys of a release plan in four parts: vision, goals, audience and budget. Starting from scratch with a brand new release plan will assure everything works together ultimately leading to successful and profitable live performances. Bram describes one of the ways Indiehitmaker comes into play, “We first help artists align the four aspects of a release plan and then prepare for the long game. Momentum building takes time and money to grow. There is nothing worse than when an artist runs out of both before things really start to grow.”
Profit and the financial aspects of putting on a live performance can be one of the most popular questions when planning a release: How much will this cost? Is the show going to be profitable?
This depends upon how many people you can bring into a room. It’s a combination of merch and live performance profit that can impact the bottom line. “If you have a compelling show and good merch you should be able to maximize profits every time you play.” Bram adds, “We help artists understand the difference between what you need to do when you perform live versus what people get out of just listening to music at home. We then help them leverage that knowledge.”
Bram gives this example of how Indiehitmaker helps artists create a successful merch line, “It’s good to have a low-cost item that’s easy for people to buy. Do this before you start making up a bunch of t-shirts. And before you print a single shirt, make sure you talk to your audience and understand what it is they want to buy.” Creating poorly designed t-shirts or choosing the wrong textiles can be a costly mistake compared to printing up a bunch of low cost cool looking stickers people can put on their laptops or guitar cases. “This can be the difference between putting money in your pocket and having a surplus of christmas presents to give to your friends and family for the rest of your life.”
Talking to your audience and understanding what they want is crucial, but how can you analyze your fanbase or even understand your demographic? AS usual, Bram can help, “We have many third-party partners that have tools, some of them cost money some of them don’t, to help you figure out your audience and what makes them tick.” Another way to analyze your audience is to leverage your social media platforms’ analytics like Spotify for Artists and Facebook Ads Manager. But the most effective way is to simply ask them directly, whether after a live show, via social messenger or even emailing or calling a fan directly – ask them what they want.
Since Indiehitmaker was created by Bram Bessoff it has taken off with popularity. Stemming from Bram and his teams’ years of experience, services under their umbrella include release planning, momentum building, creating live shows that convert audiences into fans, live music production and fan engagement. To make it count even more, they also help artists with email acquisition, building sales funnels and charting on Billboard. The most important thing Indiehitmaker can do is help you build a viable brand that will achieve the goals you need to have a long and successful career doing what you love – writing and performing your own music.
In addition to free content on their blog, Indiehitmaker has a free monthly membership that includes reporting your live show, online mail order, digital download and presales to BuzzAngle to be included on charts in such media outlets as Pollstar, MusicWeek, A2IM and more. For as little as ten dollars, artists can get access to Indiehitmaker’s release plan that includes a free 20 minute kick-off session with Bram to get your momentum started on the right track when you register as a Dropkick artist.
Bram Bessoff’s Indiehitmaker also offers local services, in addition to virtual services to improve your live performances.If you`d like to connect with Bram make sure to mention Dani Felt. If you mention Dani, you will be entered into a drawing to in a free 45 minute consultation with Bram. If you would like to connect directly to Bram head over to indiehitmaker.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org