The Faustian Bargain

A blog about life outside the academy

Entries in marketing (4)


NMC's new Music Map

Contemporary composition is a wide and extremely diverse field. It is underrepresented in the popular discourse of reviews, journalistic articles and TV and radio broadcasts. When it is mentioned, it's usually in terms of a few self-prejudicing stereotypes. If you're a new music retailer how do you get past these barriers to introduce new listeners to the true range of music that you sell?

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Learning to love the niche

Contemporary classical music. Surely there is no tougher sell than this. With classical music already a niche market, its contemporary version is a niche of that niche. But there are upsides. The audience for modern composition may be small, and hard to grow, but it is fiercely dedicated. Those who cross the rubicon and bring new music into their lives are incredibly committed: they'll attend dozens of concerts a year, travel long distances for the best festivals, read and listen extensively around their passion and, perhaps most importantly, talk about it with one another.

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Looking for ways to break down barriers

One of the greatest difficulties faced in the promotion of new music is a widespread perception of composers as aloof, sadistic and unsympathetic to the needs of listeners and performers. The first task of anyone writing promotional texts has to be to find a way to dissolve those perceptions without at the same time watering-down the intellectual content of the music.

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How to sell music through words

Writing about music is hard, and I’m not sure many people go about it in the right way. I don’t think I do either, most of the time. Unless I’m in the (padded, soundless) anechoic chamber of analysis I’m rarely completely happy with how I’ve described musical events, processes or periods of time. But I’ve come to two tentative conclusions, so far.

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