Industry Interview with IMP Founder James Moore
We have had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Independent Music Promotions founder, and writer of the book “Your Band Is A Virus” James Moore. He has had years of experience within the independent music industry and has amazing knowledge of how to succeed as an indie musician. James is an honest and hard working promoter of some of the best upcoming indie talents in the world. In this interview you’ll learn more about James, his book, his company and endless tips to succeed within the indie industry.
- How long have you been promoting indie music?
- James Moore: I have been promoting independent music for close to 10 years, first for my own former music projects and then for other bands and artists. It’s really been over the past 2 years that Independent Music Promotions was born, and it’s grown exponentially over the past 6 months. In 2010, I wrote “Your Band Is A Virus”, which was really written as a response to a lot of the other music marketing books that were on the market at the time. I found that a lot of them contained a lot of filler, and many of the promotion tips just weren’t overly practical. I was inspired to write a book that spoke from my own experience as to what works and what doesn’t, and to put it in a conversational tone.
So overall, it’s been 10 years of promoting music, but much of that time was spent learning what tends to work and what doesn’t. That’s all contributed to how I work today with Independent Music Promotions.
- What motivated you to start Independent Music Promotions? What do you do for indie artists and bands?
- James Moore: I realized, in some cases through direct experience, that a lot of PR companies sell illusions. They tell indie bands that they’re going to send their CD to “100 top blogs” or the biggest music magazines in the world, and while this may be technically true, I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s deceitful, and you can be guaranteed that these emails are ending up in a junk folder somewhere.
A lot of these companies will sign on any demo artist they can just to get the influx of money, and the artists will barely generate any results because they’re simply not having effort put into their campaign, and the wrong markets are also being targeted.
I’m inspired to do things differently. When you’re independent, it’s good to work and build with other people who are independent. I build strong relationships with all kinds of independent music blogs, websites, magazines, podcasts, and radio shows. I use a personal approach, and I genuinely respect the media I work with. After all, music blogs are the way I discover my music too.
I do contact the big magazines as well, but I also contact hundreds of other publications that would probably be bypassed by other PR companies because the process may be seen as too time consuming. You start small, and you build a buzz. Then you build on that buzz, and so on. If I’m contacted by an artist who wants to be in Pitchfork, I let them know I’ll submit their album properly, but I also let them know that there are thousands of artists who tour 300+ dates a year, have multiple music videos, and still don’t make it in Pitchfork. Start from where you are, not from where you imagine yourself.
So the motivation for Independent Music Promotions is to be the rare, honest promotion company that I can be proud of. Also, it’s meant to promote music that I personally love. We say no to a lot of artists, and this is because I personally don’t believe in Idol pop, corporate rock, religious music, or working with low quality demo artists who aren’t quite ready. I want music blogs who get a message from I M P to know that it’s going to be cutting edge and high quality.
- Who have been your personal musical favorites or idols?
- James Moore: As far as famous musicians, I love Tom Waits, The Beatles, Puscifer, Dillinger Escape Plan, Beastie Boys, Django Django, Araabmuzik, ASAP Rocky, Cloud Nothings, Queens of the Stone Age… far too many to mention!
- What particular facets of independent music do you love the most? What are you favorite indie artists or bands right now?
- James Moore: As far as artists I’ve worked with, there have been some amazing ones that I’m proud to say are creating huge buzz at the moment. Monks of Mellonwah recently signed up with HIP Video Promo, who have worked with Johnny Cash and Bon Iver to name a few. Their new album “Neurogenesis” is getting a lot of respect and I’m excited to have a front row seat to their fast rise to the top.
Drunksouls have also signed with HIP, and their new video for “Human Race” has just crossed the 200,000 views mark, all done through word-of-mouth because it’s genuinely that stunning.
Rooftop Runners, whose EP “We Are Here” I promoted, are now on the festival circuit, playing the 2012 Rifflandia Festival with the Flaming Lips and Saul Williams. Other favorites include Katrin the Thrill, who I think is the next PJ Harvey, Brooklyn rock/punk act EndAnd, New York singer/songwriter Nehedar, and Brazillian dark alternative group Fleeting Circus.
This is really the way I’m crafting Independent Music Promotions – I work with acts I’m a fan of. If your music brings me to tears or makes me want to jump out of my skin, all the better. I don’t need your radio rock, though.
- Today’s music industry has drastically changed with the addition of the internet, in your opinion what do indie artists have to do to take advantage of that? What are the pro’s and con’s of the internet in today’s industry, in your opinion?
- James Moore: The pro’s are that there are now more options than ever before for independent musicians. You can license your music with services such as Pumpaudio.com, distribute your music through CDBaby.com and promote your video through HIP Video Promo. That being said, it has taken me years to find the resources and companies who are actually honest, and do you want to know why? The internet is filled with opportunists looking to simply take your money.
That’s why I’m constantly seeking out what works and what doesn’t. If I come across a company or publication that gets proven results, I test them out and report my findings on my blog or in my books. If they simply get back to me asking for expensive advertising spots without any mention of editorial, I know they’re not really open to independent artists.
The key to navigating the internet for music opportunities is to be neutral. Don’t be cynical like the musicians on the messageboards. They are on the messageboards because that’s where they want to be. Google is your friend, so be sure to google any business to check feedback on them and results they’ve achieved. I’m surprised at how many people don’t do this. If you get an offer from a music promotion company, google their artists. If they don’t have an impressive Google presence, stay far away because the company is all talk and just waiting for your cheque.
Don’t spend too much time on social networks. Get your product to the point where it’s undeniably amazing. Your image too. Then time everything properly and run an efficient marketing campaign. All the information is online. There’s just a lot of junk to sift through to reach it.
- I know this is a packed question, but what do you feel Independent Music Promotions does best to help independent musicians?
- James Moore: We’re honest with them and we work hard to further their names. Since we’re choosy with our artists and the blogs we work with expect the best, it helps us land good placements with no coercion involved because the artists deserve it. We believe in music blogs primarily as the number one music discovery method, as we’re huge music fans ourselves.
Also, as we meet new contacts, they benefit all our artists. Every day we are reaching out to new publications and affiliating with the ones we feel are honest and helpful.
- You’ve written the book “Your Band Is A Virus – Behind the Scenes & Viral Marketing for the Independent Musician”, in your opinion how can this help every indie musician?
- James Moore: “Your Band Is A Virus” is helpful simply because it’s not selling them an infomercial, like many other music marketing books do, to be honest. I prefer a step-by-step approach rather than telling someone they’re going to be famous if they read the book. It’s all conversational and it will show you how to properly present yourself online, professionally contact music media, promote your music using behind-the-scenes and viral methods, utilize news releases as opposed to press releases, generate high amounts of press, take advantage of micro-job sites and viral apps such as Wildfire, and more.
I’m happy to say that the book contains actionable steps, and that was my main intention.
- Anything else you wish to say about yourself or Independent Music Promotions?
- James Moore: I’m excited to be in the midst of writing two new books which should be released by the Fall, where I’ll be going over a ton of new tips I’ve learned directly in my work at Independent Music Promotions. Other than that, thanks very much for having me at MuzicNotez.com! I appreciate it and look forward to hearing from more independent artists.