‘Do-it-Yourself’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Do-it-Alone’

Let’s be honest, when I was VP of Marketing at Lava and Atlantic Records, I never really had to do anything myself.  I had a roster of Artists with fans, a staff of people, and a big wad of cash to spend.  I was an insider with the tools of the music business at my fingertips.  During those days, being D.I.Y. meant that you were on the outside of the music machine looking in.   You recorded your own music, booked your own shows, and had to figure out how to move your career forward without much guidance or help.

But today, D.I.Y means something much different.  Today D.I.Y. represents a proactive choice to own yourself, to be the CEO of your business and brand.

And while owning yourself can provide much more choice and opportunity, it also comes with greater responsibility for your own success:

  • You provide the funding
  • You set the strategy and goals
  • You execute the plan
  • You decide if/when to change course

These responsibilities can feel overwhelming to anyone, whether or not you have experience in the industry.  To be successful, you are going to need partners that can help you execute. This is where technology can make a huge difference.  The right technology partner helps you carry out your plans faster and for less money, but they also provide guidance and opportunities that are invaluable.  So the right partners are more like sherpas.  They can relieve your burdens and also help steer the way forward.  They work when you work, 24/7, and they are successful when you are successful.

ReverbNation is one of those companies, but you won’t have to look far to find other companies that provide great technology for a great value.  Our technology can help you:

  • Grow, engage, and manage your fan base
  • Communicate directly with current fans and potential fans
  • Synchronize your content and data across all of your social network sites
  • Distribute your music to retailers that can sell it for you (and keep 100% of the royalties)
  • Actively promote your music to new audiences on Facebook, MySpace, etc.
  • Sell music and merchandise directly to your fans – wherever they are online
  • Find and land Gigs
  • Track your stats, web buzz and online reviews
  • Find brands that want to sponsor you
  • (soon) license your music

But to be D.I.Y today and make all this work, you must first embrace the technology that surrounds you for what it is – it is part of your team.  EVENTUALLY you may need to add to your support team, but RIGHT FROM THE START, every artist (signed or not) needs a marketing platform.

We’ll talk more about Support Teams as well as Strategies, Goals, Marketing Tools, Frank Zappa, Football and a slew of other topics down the road, but for now, have a happy, healthy and successful New Decade!  And don’t forget to subscribe to this blog and read the posts from my business partners, industry guests and successful guest artists.  I also suggest you read the blogs in our Blog Roll because those people are brilliant.

-Lou Plaia

Co-Founder/VP Music Industry Relations

Lou Plaia‘Do-it-Yourself’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Do-it-Alone’


Join the conversation
  • Mike Borgia - January 14, 2010 reply

    I’ve been using ReverbNation since it’s birth and from the beginning I saw how useful and powerful it would be. I do most of the work myself and it can be really taxing when good opportunities and new fans start rushing in to have to handle everything on my own. You guys certainly have made my life easier and more efficient. I’m more than grateful to have found such a great service.

    best of luck

  • Matt Stevens - January 15, 2010 reply

    Great Blog – good to see a mention of Zappa straight away – a DIY musician many years ahead of his time – Robert Fripp at http://www.dgmlive.com is doing something similar selling music straight to the fans. Now is a time where no middle man is required, Reverbnation has been an amazing tool for me and my music.

  • Eric Reinhardt - January 15, 2010 reply

    Lou plaia has vision,experience and I’m really thankful for his ‘reverbnation’ – Thanks Lou and here’s to 2010, and musicians getting their music out there through reverbnation!

  • Pam Mark hall - January 16, 2010 reply

    Hey Lou – I’m continuing to discover the many ways I may utilize the tools provided by Reverbnation to manage and grow my business. I am impressed that Reverbnation is in constant growth and improvement mode. Could you please tell me if Reverbnation and TopSpin are compatible? I have my toe in both. Will I ultimately have to make a choice to go with one or the other? Or can I integrate both into my business plan?
    Thanks, and keep up the great work.

  • JoJo English - January 17, 2010 reply

    I enjoy the guidance that RN gives users. It sets paths for the user to control their own walk along their career. I believe its very useful, keep it up.

  • Uber Schpunck - January 17, 2010 reply

    I absolutely love most things about Reverbnation, the way you can really get stuck in and “Do it yourself”.

    However, it has become clear that in order to move forward within this site (and affiliated sites via apps.) you have to either: A – already have a large social network of friends from whom you can build a fan base; or B – play “the game” to attract new fans by becoming a fan of others’ music.

    This can and does work well so far as networking is concerned and the idea works – on paper.
    Unfortunately there are far too many people playing dirty. By this I mean those who become fans of yours but don’t actually bother to listen to your music. They do this in the hope that you’ll become a fan of theirs in return, thus improving their band equity score. I always listen to a band before becoming a fan, recommending only those whos’ music I actually like.

    I wonder if this can be addressed so that the artists at the bottom of the ladder can reach new ears, even if they have no fanbase at all.

    A fairer system that rewards people for making better music is surely the aim of the game. I am currently in the process of seriously upping my own game as I started on RN with music that was the leftovers of some bored evenings (ie; not intended for gathering a fanbase; or for anything at all really)

    For some people on Reverbnation the system works and they are well deserving of their chart positions but I can’t help but wonder-

    Will the system work for me when I have better music?…..I’m not convinced.

    But here I shall remain as I like this site.

  • Kristina Furey - January 17, 2010 reply

    I love ReverbNation and everyone that is adding to what they offer! Thank you so much for the DIY support! I can’t wait to see what you will offer in the way of license support!

  • Zenith Da Goddess - January 18, 2010 reply

    I agree with Uber. I am a marketing beast as well, but when you have 19,000 fans and only 17 ppl downloaded your song… I wonder. The market is so saturated with ppl trying to do music but most of them are not that good. It even becomes a probem when those who arent good, have the money to spend to be placed on the front of something. Consumers have way toooo many choices and get burned out waaayyyy to fast. myspace, FB nd twitter is useless unless people listen to you. I like Reverb too better than any other site for my music. But I am disgusted that most of my fans and friends are Artists in the same boat. That isn’t going to do anything. I wish Reverb has a way to reward you for supporting each other… or maybe I should start one since everybody on here has many artist fans that don’t pay attention to your street team missions because they are an artist too!

  • Cousin Kit - January 18, 2010 reply

    I LOVE REVERB and Frank Zappa! Gag me with a spoon!

  • Randy D - January 19, 2010 reply

    Just signed up today and am amazed at the options ahead of me. So far the site seems pretty straightforward and easy to use along with a nice design. I’m starting at square one with the whole music thing and look forward to seeing where it takes me. Thanks Lou!

  • Michael Chenkus - January 22, 2010 reply

    Really like this blog… Lou, I probably ran into you at some point as an intern at Atlantic! The business is such that we have to hold ourselves accountable. Great music is the first step- but we need to take ownership of ourselves as a business. RN is the best thing to happen to music, especially in a time when social networks are where it’s at. Thanks for the resources!

  • Ray Lane - January 23, 2010 reply


  • Carl Cavi - January 24, 2010 reply

    I definitley agree that since using Reverbnation I’ve come to realize how powerful it is. Now wonder why it’s the best company for indie artist trying to make a way. I’ve been using it from the start as well and have watched it enhance only to be more helpful for me and you the artist. If you have good music, with a well drawn out plan, reverb provides the support, knowledge and tools you’ll need to reach fans and supporters to help achieve your goal.

  • A/J - January 29, 2010 reply

    Great post. Yep Zappa was ahead of his. And great to see his name come up right away. Reverbnation is fantastic I am a user. Have not been able to figure out how to get brands to sponsor the music through reverbnation. Would be great if this was explained a bit. I am an independent artist and have managed to launch my music and sell direct thanks to the tips from reverbnation, including the website which I put up through bandzoogle. http://www.ashaanti.com

  • numsig - February 6, 2010 reply

    @Uberschpunk – “playing the game” as you describe it, is a great threat to the future of sites like this IMO. Myspace has proved that having 10,000 friends who’ve never been near your songs or page, and either added you on “auto-accept” or as a courtesy, is of no value to aspiring artists.

    If that attitude gets rooted here (which has started to happen) this site will soon become as insignificant.

    Bands should ONLY add other artists that they genuinely enjoy, and adding them merely to increase their stats is sacrificing long term value for short term ego boost at having a higher BES or chart position.

    We try to target our promotion at people we think MIGHT like us based on their fan settings. They either add or us or they don’t, but it’d HELP us if they ONLY added us if they really liked us. We’ve had a few responses from outraged artists complaining that we had the audacity to invite them to listen to our tracks, but hadn’t checked out theirs or became fans of theirs first!

    We listen to a lot of other artists on this site – it’s one of the best things about the site – but we only add artists we truly enjoyed, and we don’t necessarily promote AND listen to music at the same time….we’re busy promoting.

    However there is nothing wrong with them returning the favor …and INVITING us to listen to them. We go through our inbox and respond the same way we would hope others do.

    Some artists feel that adding us, obliges us to add them. It does not, and nor should they want it to.

    If an artists promoting isn’t going well, filling the void with obliged fans is no substitute….work on your music.

    If artists and fans purely stick to liking what they like, and not empty networking…then the music matters – as it should. Hopefully all the talentless spam whores would not be able to hide behind networking to cover up the fact they either work to improve or give up music altogether.

  • Nils "nilsemann" Solli - February 27, 2010 reply

    Me being a countrysinger from Norway, I dont expect this site the help me gain gigs or even a multitude of “real” fans, since most people using this site is from countries I’m not likely to visit anytime soon. However, its a nice site, I love the Reverbstore and the on demand option, allowing me to make a handfull of cd’s to sell on gigs, or a custom t-shirt to give to my mother without spending thousands on it. The press widget is really cool too.
    I dont really know how to get “found” on this site, I recon getting a high ranking on the charts will make people want to check you out, but how to make that happen, I dont know. Still, I look forward to using the features that I can benefit from, and if a sale or a fan should happen to drop in eventually, so much the better 🙂

  • Rob Riddell - March 9, 2010 reply

    It doesn’t get much better than reverb if you want to put out your own music.

  • KCDoberstein Wood Flute Music - March 17, 2010 reply

    Thanks Lou for the great post. Promoting yourself in the music biz can be a lot of work. Reverbnation sure does help.

  • BrothaRic - December 27, 2010 reply

    Ive around the muaic biz a while yet ive never ran into anything that has the potential of RN to launch a indepeidant artist . It hink it is a really cool tool .

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