Two Simple Ways to Increase Your Audience

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I’ve spent the last month doing a lot of research for two new projects for this site to be launched on January 1st, and I’ve run across some major headaches in promoting the work of local and international classical music groups. Two of those headaches are so simple to implement remedies for that I’m astonished everyone isn’t already doing them.

Look, I know. It’s easy to get entangled in your niche and not remember the outside world. Fortunately I have to deal every day with people who know far less than I do, so I’m more aware of the problems, and I didn’t even know others were making things difficult for their audiences until I started these projects. So make these two fixes your New Years resolutions!

So here are the headaches, and the quick, simple fixes:

The first headache: If you’re selling a CD, digital recording, or tickets to a live performance, put the composer’s entire name, fully spelled out, on the program or CD. If you’re selling your CD or digital recording somewhere that has a searchable database (like Amazon) make sure the composer’s entire name is searchable. Why? Well, that’s simple. You know perfectly well which member of the Bach family wrote the music you are playing. But “Bach” is meaningless. Dozens of members of the Bach family wrote music. Even the initials don’t always help: does “J. C.” mean Johann Christian, Johann Christoph, or did you leave the last initial off of Johann Christoph Friedrich, or did someone suddenly discover the other Johann Christoph (also a musician) stashed some compositions away somewhere? And it’s not just the Bach family who causes this confusion; hundreds of composers can be confused with their sons, grandsons, nephews, cousins, or some unrelated person with the same last name. If a member of your audience has suddenly discovered they like the music of a certain composer, and buys someone else’s music by accident, they’re not going to be happy. And those of us who are trying to go out and promote your music are spending hours trying to figure out which composer of the four who share the same name you are performing, or worse, promoting someone’s performance who doesn’t cause so much work for us.

The second headache: If you’re a performer, and you have a website, of course you list your performances: the date, time, and place. But I’ve been to too many website where there is nothing whatsoever about the program. If all I have is the date, time and place, and I’m deciding between your performance and someone else’s on the same date, I’m going to pick the performance where I know what I’m going to hear. If I go to your site, and I don’t know whether I’m going to hear Gregorian chant or Schoenberg, what reason do I have to attend your performance? Please, give me (and everyone else) a reason to choose you!

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