Bobby Borg is a former major label, independent, and DIY recording/touring artist. A distinguished educator, he teaches at Musicians Institute and UCLA Extension and speaks at Berklee College of Music and other distinguished schools worldwide. Borg is the author of the new book, Music Marketing For The DIY Musician, and over 1,000 magazine and blog articles. He is VP of Special Events for the Los Angeles chapter of the American Marketing Association and is founder of Bobby Borg Consulting, where he assists rising music professionals globally. For more information, see Borg’s website; enjoy our interview with Bobby below.
Tell us about Music Marketing For the DIY Musician. Where is the book available?
“Thanks for asking, I’m really proud of the new book. It took years to write it. Essentially, the book is a step-by-step guide to producing a fully integrated, customized, low-budget plan of attack for artists marketing their own music. The goal is to help artists take control of their own destinies, save money and time, and eventually draw the full attention of top music industry professionals. It’s ultimately about making music that matters and gets heard! Right now Music Marketing For The DIY Musician is available at Hal Leonard’s website under “Trade Books”. Eventually it will be on Amazon in both physical and digital form and on my website. ”
How is Music Marketing For The DIY Musician different from other industry books?
“The biggest difference is that it is written specifically for DIY musicians by a musician with DIY, indie, and major label success, making it a more credible, focused, practical, and relatable resource for artists. It also covers the complete marketing process—from vision through execution—with handy templates and samples in each chapter to help artists create fully-customized marketing plans. Finally, it introduces sophisticated business and research tools (SWOT, SMART, AIDA, and PFB Charts) not found in most music marketing books, enabling artists to choose confidently and even scientifically the right strategies for their own career path.”
Could you provide one crucial tip from the book?
“Do not create music in a vacuum with the intention of just throwing it out there and hoping for success. Hope is not a strategy! Instead, have a clear sense of what you stand for, while also trying to uncover where the world is going. Look for ways where you can be unique and do something that has never been done before. As hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, “The key to success is to skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.””
What about The Musician’s Handbook?
“The Musician’s Handbook, first published in 2003 and revised in 2008, will be re-released soon (note that it might be retitled under the derivative title, Business Basics For Musicians: The Complete Handbook from Start To Success. In either case, always keep a lookout for new material from me; I’m constantly pumping out new writing that can benefit musicians.”
Tell us more about your life as a musician.
“I am an artist true to the core. I started playing at the age of 4, I was taking lessons at age 6, and was practicing 5 hours a day by the age of 12. Further, I was practicing 16 hours a day and studying in New York with the best musicians by the age of 18, and I graduated from Berklee College of Music and joined a group signed to Atlantic by age 24. Finally, I was releasing my own records DIY style and then joined a multi-platinum band, touring the country (and Europe) before age 30.”
What attributed to your success as a musician and endorser with Pearl Drums and Sabian?
“Working hard, being able to take one step at a time, and understanding people. I practiced by ass off; make no mistake, you have to put in your 10,000 hours! Further, I wasn’t afraid to dissect my long-term vision into smaller digestible chunks, accomplishing one baby step at a time. Most people want it all right now! Lastly, I understood that you must show people “why they should care about you and how they will benefit by doing business with you”; many artists think the world revolves around them and that they deserve success, yet (in reality), no one owes you anything. One more thing: always pay homage to those that help you along the way, and they’ll be continually willing to help you for years to come. Tom, that being said, as your former professor, I am impressed that you asked me to do this interview and tell your readers about my new book. You clearly understand maintaining relationships in this business. Good for you!”
Why did you start writing books and teaching at UCLA and Musicians Institute?
“I was tired of watching musicians get beaten like baby seals when it comes to the music business. Artists are so amazingly gifted when it comes to right brain creative stuff, but they shy away from the left brain business stuff. One reason for this is because the material available for musicians is written by attorneys for attorneys; my position is to clearly present “information to musicians, by a musician.””
Do you do private consulting?
“Yes! I offer private one-to-one sessions in Los Angeles and New York and phone and Skype sessions as well. Essentially I “help music professionals to make their music into a more profitable business” via my consulting page.”
Is there a final note you’d like to add?
“Remember that finding your passion is a blessing within itself. Since I was very young, I knew precisely what I wanted to accomplish. I would wake up each morning and be driven by a specific agenda—practicing, writing, promoting, etc. When I went to sleep at night, I reflected on what I accomplished and always felt fulfilled. There has never been a wasted, sad, or lonely day in my life. I couldn’t imagine things to be any other way. So rejoice and feel blessed! You too have something that moves you and gives your life meaning. Something that gets you up in the middle of the night with pad and paper in hand to jot down that song idea. It’s not about how much you accomplish, but the fact that you’ve found your inner self. Your true purpose! Because in the end, there’s nothing greater than that! Peace and thanks.”