Monday, October 11, 2010

Week 1 (music success in 9 weeks)

African Treehouse
Week one is about getting mentally prepared and setting goals.
(If you don’t know what this is all about, please read my intro here)

But first a bit about me: I’m one half of a songwriting/production partnership called “African Treehouse”. My songwriting partner (Erika Strydom) and I have just released our 3rd kids CD “African Numbers” and we’re using the book “Music Success in 9 Weeks” to help us spread the word. If all goes well, you can read about our progress here for the next 9 weeks.

Making an album is an enormous task. It’s sometimes frustrating, sometimes challenging. It can be extremely rewarding. It consumes your life (both in a good way and  in a bad way). It’s a journey, a destination & whole bunch of other adjectives and clichés. But it’s an absolute doddle when compared to actually selling the thing! So with all that out the way, here goes week one.


Setting out these goals has been a great learning experience already. We kind-of-sort-of knew where we wanted to go with our series of albums, but writing them down has put everything in perspective.


One week, to one month. (Some are ongoing.)

  • Write a press release, create a solid pitch and unique selling point.
  • Put together 2 press packs (1 for South African market, the other international), consisting of a press release, CD cover artwork, photos, fan comments etc
  • Update website, Facebook with news of new release, links to purchase & links to listen
  • Alert existing customers of the new CD
  • Contact new customers
  • Post lyrics on website
 Notes: Press release & press packs have been created. Relevant web sites have been updated. We have started contacting old customers – CDs are now available from Look & Listen, and we have found 2 new retail outlets for our CDs (Afro in Norwood, & African Queen in the Parks). Here’s the Press Release

Medium Term

One month to six months
  • Send press packs to (or preferably meet with in person) relevant journalists and bloggers.
  • Contact radio/TV to get interviews
  • Put idea for a contest into action
  • Begin work on CD number 4 (Stories from the Alphabet Tree II)
  • Work on a teacher’s pack to put on the website (with actions & activities for each song)
 Notes: We have started sending out press packs. 2 reviews so far: & TimesLive. We have begun work on the teacher’s packs and we’ve also started writing stories for the next album.

Long Term

A year or more
  • Contact ad agencies/brand managers to explore the possibility of linking the CD to a product or brand
  • Step up international P.R. to drive download sales
  • If contest was successful, look into doing another
  • Begin work on the next music CD in the series
  • Take a vacation!!!
  • Design point-of-sale counter display stands

Very Long Term

  • Explore turning the CDs into a TV series and/or a stage show
  • Begin manufacturing merchandise (T-shirts, stickers, posters, books etc)

Any comments or advice would be welcome…we’re learning as we go along!
Tune in next week for more “Music Success in 9 Weeks”!


  1. Great job on week one! I'm curious why doing merchandise would be very long term? There are sites like Zazzle and Cafe Press that let you sell merch online with very low initial cost to you. It's definitely on my list of things to do.. Thanks for the ReTweet!


  2. Hey Ethan, thanks for the comments.

    I have looked into merchandising in the past. It doesn't appear to be very profitable, unless we manufactured stock in bulk. We would rather spend time building a brand first, and hopefully by so doing, create a demand for merchandise.

    By the way, reading your blog, I love the tip about using "" and have just signed up myself!

    Check out Ethan's music success progress here