Under Nothing – Marketing Plan, Dr. Sindy Chapa – May 9th 2011
By:
Bryttne Lowden
Yomali De La Cerda
Richard Courchesne
Graciela Sandoval

Mass Communication
Texas State University – San Marcos

1. Executive Summary
Under Nothing is a heavy metal band from San Antonio, Texas. The band members are JR on the drums, Ben on lead guitar, Steve on bass, Kevin with lead vocals, and Chris on rhythm guitar. The target market is 16-30 year old, mostly males, of middle-class backgrounds.
Heavy metal fills a need for consumers who seek loud, raw, and aggressive music, which focuses on sex, violence, and anti-establishment values. Under Nothing’s music is a mix of classic heavy metal riffs with modern lyrics which produce a deafening and unique sound that metal fans love.
Under Nothing’s aspirations are to break into the global metal scene and receive a record contract. This marketing plan focuses on those goals.

2. Situation Analysis
Under Nothing provides quality heavy metal music perfect for albums and singles, as well as, high-energy performances which provide them a loyal fan base. The band is talented, eager and ready to showcase their unique spin on heavy metal music to a larger, world-wide audience. Though the band is skilled in their instruments and music, they have had limited live performances and had minimum exposure around Central Texas. A SWOT Analysis was conducted in order to understand the internal and external forces driving the sales of Under Nothing albums and to get a clear picture of how to market the band to promote future shows or gigs in Central Texas. Getting a larger fan base and increasing live performances will give Under Nothing an opportunity to afford a manager and eventually be seen by a record label in order to sign a contract with a label.

2.1. Market Needs
According to a recent music industry study, there is a contradiction between what the recording industry supplies and what the average American music listeners demand (DeGusta, 2011). The traditional form of listing music (CDs) is in decline since 2000. Since 2003, only internet and satellite radio, such as Pandora and SoundExchange have since growth in the past five years. Therefore, the digital technological innovations have produced a growth in selling singles instead of CDs. Under Nothing should tap into this marketing niche and market singles just as heavily as they market their CDs online. The immediate target market is comprised of Central Texas heavy metal fans from the ages of 16-30. This fan base is made up of millenials who are tech-savy and always connected to the internet to get their information, play games, listen to music and connect with friends, family and their communities. Therefore, the current market needs for the record industry is to produce more singles of various artists and bands and feature these singles through online websites, media and blogs.
The immediate target market is comprised of Central Texas heavy metal fans from the ages of 16-30. This fan base is made up of tech savvy individuals, who use the Internet as a source of information regarding their favorite bands, as well as a market to connect with other fans, listen to music, and purchase merchandise and songs. Under Nothing is a technologically advanced metal band that not only provides a unique and edgy sound, but also uses the Internet and social media as main platforms for consumer contact. They can easily reach their target market, as well as spread digital music that current metal fans seek.

2.2. The Market
Under Nothing focuses on 16-30 year old heavy metal fans, the majority of which are white or Latino males. Under Nothing seeks to provide fans with high-quality heavy metal music in local shows up and down the I-35 corridor in Central Texas. Focusing on this tech-savvy, young target audience will allow for more profitability and means for exposure on a more global scale.
According to the ReverbNation Artist Report on Under Nothing, the majority of 18-24 year old fans and 35-44 year old fans are female (Reverb Nation, 2011). Since most of the female fan base is below the age of 24, Under Nothing can market their look to this audience and increase in popularity. Fans who are 25-34 year olds and 45-54 year olds are predominantly male. The largest fan base group is made up of males in the 25-34 age range, which is also the average age of the band members. Therefore, band members can personally relate to this fan base through their tweets, blogs and news updates.

There are 8,803 fans on MySpace, which is the top recruitment channel of fans, followed by Facebook, Reverb, FanReach and MyBand. This graphic below shows the importance of the Internet in marketing the band image and disseminating information about upcoming gigs and selling swag. By improving communication on MySpace and Facebook alone, the band will be able to increase exposures to their fan base and sell more paraphernalia online.

From the widget impression, the highest activity was in the later part of April 2011 at 95 impressions. Daily profile visits were highest in the beginning of May 2011 at 24 visits. These statistics show there is plenty of room to grow their fan base and increase promotions across multiple Internet media platforms.

2.2.1. Market Trends
The greatest trend in the record industry since 2003 is the rise in sales of singles and the decline of full album CD sales (DeGusta, 2011). There has been a steady decline of CD and digital sales since 2003. At the same time the record industry continues to overproduce full length albums. The revenue distribution of singles, mobiles and videos are starting to make way into the CDs revenue allotment. In 2009, U.S. recorded music single sales per capita were the highest for digital format, far surpassing CDs by three times. Since the market of the record industry is shifting toward digital single sales distribution, Under Nothing is in a perfect position to market their albums into individual singles and promote these singles on their MySpace and Facebook webpages where over 8,800 fans are linked in.
For the most part, heavy metal fans have changed very little since the late 1970s. Metal fans are predominantly white males, from suburban backgrounds ages 16-30. However, since the 1970s, more females and Latino males have become fans of heavy metal music. Central Texas has more Latino fans in the metal market due to the predominant Latino population in the state of Texas. The majority of metal fans in Central Texas, however, are white males.
Under Nothing can focus on the larger number of females and Latinos entering the genre by creating merchandise (specifically clothing) tailored to women and Latino males, as well as continue to appeal to white males.

2.2.2. Market Growth
Nationally, the metal market is slightly growing due to the normal population growth and the sheer loyalty of metal fans. Though the genre may not be the most popular or well-liked among other music types, metal fans are fiercely loyal and supportive of bands in the genre. In Central Texas the growth of the heavy metal scene is promising due in large part to the young fan base already atone to the band’s existence and online MySpace webpage. According to Reverb Nation Artist Report, the majority of the fan base is between 18-34 years of age. As this population gets older they will increase their disposable income and be able to buy more music online, which is the current trend of music sales in the U.S.

The heavy metal market genre is still thriving in revenue distribution. According to a RIAA newsroom article, Metallica has sold over 60 million records since 1983 and has garnered double-platinum status for Death Magnetic produced by Warner Brothers in 2008 (RIAA, 2010). AC/DC’s two-time platinum album Black Ice has sold over two million copies (RIAA, 2009). Like Metallica and AC/DC, Under Nothing has the potential to attain platinum record sales and rock star status because their music is popular with the new generation of heavy metal head bangers.

2.2.3. Macroenvironment
Compared to other genres heavy metal sales are lower overall, which makes obtaining a record deal difficult. Since the genre is not the mainstream taste preference, record labels may avoid signing a band for fear of unprofitability, yet there is room to get signed on by an independent label. In Central Texas, Under Nothing has the ability to play in venues especially suited for heavy metal and hard rock bands since Austin and San Antonio are national live music meccas.

2.3. The Company
Under Nothing is a heavy metal band based in San Antonio, Texas. The band is comprised of five members: Ben (lead guitar), Chris (rhythm guitar), JR (drums), Kevin (lead vocals), and Steve (bass). The band has been together for over six years playing shows in San Antonio, Austin and Houston. Under Nothing seeks to secure more regular live performances, improve their online connection to fans and ultimately a record label contract with an indie (independent record label).

2.3.1. Mission
Under Nothing’s mission is to create a unique and compelling sound through craft mastery and intricate lyricism, that will appeal to a new faction of heavy metal fans. In doing so, the band strives to spread metal music world-wide, increase the genre’s popularity, and change the music industry’s view on heavy metal as a whole.

2.3.2. Product Offering
Under Nothing focuses on staying true to heavy metal roots by playing real metal music, with no fluff, while still providing a fresh new take on the genre. To date, the band has produced two albums. This market plan looks to open the product offerings to include singles and not just album sales. By providing online sales of their latest singles, Under Nothing can and will improve their band image and equity in order to gain the interest of an indie record label. The currently sell their full-length albums on iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster. By diversifying their product line to include singles, Under Nothing will take advantage of the current trend toward single sales in the record industry and create a competitive advantage over other local heavy metal bands

2.3.3. Positioning
Under Nothing looks and sounds the part of an authentic heavy metal band; they embody the metal lifestyle as well as take their music seriously. Band members have tattoos and wear black in similar traditions of other heavy metal artists. Their followers are the 16-30 year old white and Latino males, and the band members make a point to be appreciative to each fan that graces their shows. By listening to Under Nothing, even a non-metal fan can get caught up in the new, edgy sound they provide. Other bands may have some musical talent, but Under Nothing prides themselves on their craft mastery and intricate lyricism.
Under Nothing also has over 8,800 fans on MySpace that can be potential buyers of singles listed on iTunes, Rhapsody, and Napster, giving the band a competitive edge in the area. This in turn will allow the band to focus on performing more live gigs in Texas, which will help them gain attention from indie record labels. By taking advantage of their growing fan base and playing more live shows, Under Nothing will increase sales and gain world-wide attention.

2.3.4. SWOT Summary
The SWOT analysis covers strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The strengths and weaknesses, on the majority, are internal attributes, which Under Nothing can repair by hiring a personal manager to handle business aspects and promotions for the band. Opportunities and threats are external due to the unpredictability of the heavy metal genre and U.S. economy.
On the whole, the SWOT analysis allows Under Nothing to push themselves as a new band and take advantage of every aspect the current market has to offer. By focusing on the Internet trends in the record industry, Under Nothing can spread their music on a global scale through product diversification and an increase in online channels of sales distribution.

2.3.4.1. Strengths
1. Musicianship: Under Nothing is a very talented metal band that provides a new edge to metal music, while staying true to metal roots. For a fledgling band, Under Nothing has professionally produced music, available for listening at their website and social media pages.
2. Technology: Under Nothing’s website is well-maintained and professionally created. The band is also very well connected in the social network scene, with pages on MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook.
3. Fan base: The band also has over 8,800 fans linked via their social media sites, including other bands. All of which is crucial to spreading our mission and music.
4. Knowledge: The individual band members are well-versed in music composition, especially in the metal genre. Each member has a mastery of their instrument and is committed to the craft. Under Nothing’s members are also versed in market promotion, self-managing, technology, and what it takes to succeed in the music industry.

2.3.4.2. Weaknesses
1. Staff: Under Nothing does not have a staff to help maintain their website and social media contacts, nor do they have a personal manager to help with promotions and booking. The members cannot focus as much as they would like on perfecting their music because they constantly have to play dual roles.
2. Lack of Performances: Under Nothing has no shows lined up for the future, which is crucial for a metal band’s success. This is largely due to the lack of a personal manager to help with booking.
3. Merchandise: Although Under Nothing has merchandise and a CD, the band does not have any items displayed on their website for purchase. SWAG is not only important for profits, but also helps generate a fan base and spread popularity.

2.3.4.3. Opportunities
1. Singles: The declining economy is leading consumers to purchase singles over full albums. Under Nothing can focus on selling single songs to these thrifty consumers.
2. Location: Austin and San Antonio are two cities known nationwide for their music scenes. They have venues and festivals that specifically cater to heavy metal and hard rock bands. Under Nothing is based in San Antonio and is also close to Austin; being able to easily access both music cities and their respective music bases is a huge opportunity on which the band can capitalize.
3. Promotions: Social media (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter) is now the main way to grab fan attention and generate interest. Their popularity among younger people, especially the 16-30 year old heavy metal demographic, is something Under Nothing can use to their benefit.

2.3.4.4. Threats
1. Economy: The national economy has been in decline for the past several years. Overall, music and album sales are down, due to a lack of extra income in consumer pockets. Piracy in the music industry has become a way for consumers to enjoy the music they love without spending money they may not have. This has hurt fledgling bands’ chances to succeed in the music business simply because consumers have no extra money to spend and new bands require a cash flow to maintain existence. While album sales have been decreasing for the last decade, single sales continue to grow. This can potentially be a new trend for the band to diversify their product line.
2. Niche Market Appeal: The heavy metal genre does not appeal to a mass audience. It is a largely underground form of music, with little presence on popular charts (i.e. Billboard Hot 100). This can be an opportunity to indie record labels to take a change on an up-and-coming band like Under Nothing.
3. Entry Barrier: There is a strong entry barrier into the heavy metal music genre. New heavy metal bands are forced to compete with older, more established bands and their cult followings, such as Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, etc. Not only are newer bands in competition with other local rock groups, but they are constantly in the shadow of old staples.

3. Marketing Strategy
Strategy is online. Our strategy is to exploit the latest technology available online to promote the band image, communicate with their fan base and sell singles on iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster. Under Nothing’s expertise is in creating unique heavy metal songs for the young head bangers of Central Texas.
They get their fans. Music is a cultural identifier. Under Nothing will focus on the geographical market of Central Texas 16-30 year olds and on product differentiation in selling singles online in order to expand their fan base, increase live performances and ultimately get signed by and indie record label.
The target fan base is comprised of 16-30 year olds who are part of the heavy metal scene in Central Texas with disposable income designated for music consumption. They are technology savvy and early adapters of new technology.

3.1. Critical Issues
The most critical issue is online promotion and sales. As the demand for music consumption shifts from full album CDs to singles sold predominantly online, Under Nothing can enter the heavy metal scene by utilizing this new technology to expand their product line into individual single song sales.
A secondary critical issue related to the first is that the band does not have a personal manager to organize the behind the scenes business, to set up gigs, and improve exposures to their fan base of 8,800 MySpace followers. Under Nothing is spending too much time trying to handle all aspects of the operations without being able to focus as much attention on their craft. By hiring a personal manager who knows the industry, Under Nothing can focus on musical perfection, while their manager concentrates on earning profits while creating exposure for the band. Competitors focus on social media as a means of promotion, booking, and connectivity to fans, all of which a personal manager will handle for the band.

3.2. Financial Objectives
In order to hire a personal manager, the band needs to increase their annual revenue in three main areas: singles, CDs, merchandise and live performances. By creating an estimated annual revenue plan, Under Nothing will be able to track their income generation and expenditures to finance a personal manager. The following are the financial objectives:
1. Total revenue of at least $12,000 in merchandise, singles, CDs, and live performances through 2011, and at least $25,000 in total revenue for 2012.
2. Introduction of single sales online in 2011, with total sales of at least $500 for 2011, and forecast $1,000 in total single sales online in 2012.

3.3. Marketing Objectives
Marketing is about actively communicating, creating, delivering and exchanging the value of your brand image and product or service to a select group of customers. By promoting the Under Nothing brand to potential customers and selling singles online, Under Nothing will have a competitive advantage over their competitors who are not early adapters of this new technology. The marketing objectives are as follows:
1. Track online sales of singles, CDs and merchandise. Set an estimated annual revenue goal. Track the income and expenditure of marketing efforts to reach this goal.
2. Take advantage of the new technology to promote Under Nothing on a daily basis on MySpace, Facebook, personal website, and Twitter.
3. Set up accounts on iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster to sell both CDs and singles online.

3.4. Target Market Strategy
Online sales and promotions is the main focus in the first year of this marketing plan. Under Nothing can be one of the first heavy metal bands to capitalize on this trend, obtaining a niche for themselves within the genre and industry. These are the target marketing strategies to gain more online exposure:
1. Design a Facebook and MySpace contest for customers to Like their favorite Under Nothing song and the song with the most Likes will be featured as a downloadable ring tone for your cell phone.
2. Invite customers to a signing with the band at a local Apple store or cell phone vendor in San Antonio. They can post pictures of the event on their Facebook pages. The fan with the most Likes will win two free tickets to their next show.
3. Have a contest where fans can design the next official Under Nothing t-shirt and cap. Voting will take place on Facebook. The design with the most Likes will be chosen and featured on the Under Nothing webpage merchandise section.
4. Partner with a local gym to sponsor a weight room competition that features Under Nothing songs as background music during the event. The band members can come in and sign CDs and present the winner of the muscle competition with their prize. They can also pass out a coupon that is business card size for a free download of one single on iTunes.
Under Nothing’s key demographics are the 16-30 white and Latino males in the Central Texas area. This fan base is also mostly based out of suburbia, which typically has an expendable income that can be used on music consumption. If Under Nothing focuses the majority of the promotions on this group, they can easily increase profits and spread their music.
3.5. Messaging
The core message of Under Nothing is based around quality and loyalty: Under Nothing provides a unique, quality sound and is loyal to the heavy metal genre and lifestyle. The band prides themselves on their high-energy and fan-engaging live performances, as well as their complex lyricism and musicianship.

3.5.1. Branding
Brand identity for Under Nothing is essential to online sales and promotions. Under Nothing needs a clear image or graphic to be displayed on a t-shirt, cap, gym bag, posters, online webpages, etc.
The font for the current Under Nothing logo is effective in promoting the grunge and metal scene at the essence of the band identity. Simplify the color into duo tone and mono tone colors in order to display the logo across different design software formats, including JPEG, EPS, PNG and TIFF.
The overall look and feel of Under Nothing is young, good looking heavy metal head bangers who are expert musicians in their craft. They are sexy in both appearance and in their sound. Get professional pictures of each band member and the group as a whole focusing on live performances. Under Nothing’s live performances are sexy and appeal the young female fan base. Utilizing pictures from these performances will promote the best that Under Nothing has to offer, their unique sound and appealing good looks.

4. Marketing Mix
Under Nothing is a technologically-savvy heavy metal band, which distinguishes them from their competitors. They have a professionally produced and edgy sound, which can appeal to metal fans and non-metal fans alike. Also, the band is very appreciative of and in tune with their fans; Under Nothing refuses to turn down any gig and makes their merchandise affordable and accessible during a depressed economic state. Under Nothing seeks to enrich their community with their music and eventually gain popularity needed to obtain a record deal.
4.1. Product Marketing
The product the band has currently on iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster is their album E.S. & D. – EP, including five singles off the album. The band needs to differentiate the product line to satisfy the specific interests of customers. Under Nothing will need to make the selling of singles more prominent on their band webpage, as well as the methods of distribution channels through iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.
Create a background story to introduce each single. How was the idea of the song conceived? Did it almost get cut out of the album? Do you have other exclusive songs that didn’t make it to the album that you can add to the singles product line? Instead of requiring all the songs to flow together into one cohesive album, they can focus on promoting each single individually and telling the background story behind the making of the single.
Select a picture to represent each single and couple the image with the story of the single. The customers will read the story and hear the music and want to buy the single. They should also have a way to comment on a single or leave a remark about the entire album on each website, like a rating system. Each band member should choose their favorite single and then promote their favorite selection on the online websites with a star burst or special color to bring more attention to that particular single.
Under Nothing is a unique, new metal band with a professionally produced sound. The band members are edgy, talented, and committed to bringing metal back to a mainstream popularity, similar to the height of heavy metal in the 1980s. They value musicianship, songwriting qualities and devotion to metal as evident by their high-octane live shows and music linked on social media sites. Under Nothing is the future for a new, technologically savvy, genre of heavy metal.
4.2. Pricing
Under Nothing’s pricing needs to be competitive with other local heavy metal bands, but still affordable for the average fan. Based on the current market for online singles, the price of Under Nothing’s singles should be $0.99 per single on all online channels of distribution, including iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.
The pricing of the album is not consistent across the three music providers: iTunes sells the CD at $4.95 and Napster prices it at $9.99. Make sure all prices are consistent across multiple online and brick and mortar stores so that the customer does not get confused or distort by the purchase process.

4.3. Promotion
Under Nothing’s promotions rely on social media, partnerships with local TV/radio stations and filmmakers, and live shows throughout Central Texas.
1. Design a Facebook and MySpace contest for customers to Like their favorite Under Nothing song and the song with the most Likes will be featured as a downloadable ring tone for your cell phone.
2. Invite customers to a signing with the band at a local Apple store or cell phone vendor in San Antonio. They can post pictures of the event on their Facebook pages. The fan with the most Likes will win two free tickets to their next show.
3. Have a contest where fans can design the next official Under Nothing t-shirt and cap. Voting will take place on Facebook. The design with the most Likes will be chosen and featured on the Under Nothing webpage merchandise section.
4. Partner with a local gym to sponsor a weight room competition that features Under Nothing songs as background music during the event. The band members can come in and sign CDs and present the winner of the muscle competition with their prize. They can also pass out a coupon that is business card size for a free download of one single on iTunes.
4.3.1. Advertising
Advertising is a small part of the expenses but essential to Under Nothing’s marketing mix. The band relies on concert posters with their name, local radio promotions of upcoming concerts, and local newspaper coverage of metal shows regarding same. Below are some locations for advertising:
1. Sign up to receive text message updates from Under Nothing’s Facebook account. This will be used exclusively to text message about upcoming shows and local appearances.
2. Use MySpace to advertise their website updates and send them to their Under Nothing website.
3. Create a web banner on the Under Nothing webpage to showcase upcoming singles, events, shows, swag and behind the music stories. It is free and as you refresh the page a new web banner appears. Create about five web banners to switch out every month or two months.
4. Create a list serve to use as an email blast to all interested fans about upcoming contests, gigs, swag and new singles.
5. Create a YouTube video about the band and run it on YouTube to garner more visibility online and create a buzz for a new single or upcoming gig.

4.3.2. Direct Marketing
Under Nothing’s direct marketing will be limited to contacting fans via social media regarding upcoming performances, new items for purchase, and new music.

4.4. Implementation Schedule
For the future, Under Nothing needs to book consistent pseudo-annual events to create a base on which they can schedule gigs. The band needs to also become involved with as many metal venues as possible, to ensure they will receive options for performing. Saturation of the market is an important method to increase awareness and exposure.
Also, Under Nothing needs to continue their relationship with “Mistress” Juilya, a well-known heavy metal promoter who has national notoriety due to her stint on music-themed cable television shows. The band has a partnership with Mistress Juilya, and her knowledge of the industry and national fame can help them spread their popularity and increase bookings.
Milestones

5. Financials
This marketing plan requires Under Nothing to make at least $11,200 through the next 12 months and anticipates $22,374 for next year. The band expects to increase merchandise and single sales over 400% throughout the year and another 50% for next year.
5.1. Sales Forecast
Under Nothing is projecting a 400% increase in sales over the next year. We project to sell $11,200 in total merchandise (CDs, T-shirts, online singles) from now until March 2012. The most important components of sales performance will be the design quality of our non-music merchandise (T-shirts, key chains, koozies, etc.) and the sound quality of singles and CDs. Under Nothing is relying on an Internet store, via the website, as well as SWAG booths at concert as means to sell merchandise. Both are important because they will allow consumers to easily purchase band materials, especially since SWAG has not been consistently available previously. Currently, the band sells five CDs, five T-Shirts, and 20 Koozies per show. Online singles numbers are derived from iTunes, as the band currently has five singles available. Since singles are more popular consumer buys than physical CDs, numbers are derived from average number of metal fans that attend Under Nothing concert. The forecast for future profit is based on Under Nothing performing at least four shows per month.

5.2. Expense Forecast
Under Nothing’s total expense budget is $470 for the first month and $220 for each following month. The first month will require a website overhaul, which will cost extra to implement. Once in place, a monthly maintenance fee will be all that is required from the band. Since the band projects to increase monthly performances and push merchandise sales at each show, marketing expenditures will remain constant until more notoriety is achieved (at least one year). The larger portions of allotted expenses are going to a personal manager to help handle Under Nothing’s business needs.

Monthly Expense Budget

5.3. Linking Expenses to Strategy and Tactics
Under Nothing sees the main need for expenses to go towards a personal manager. In order to achieve the ultimate end goal of signing with a record label, the band must have a personal manager to handle business relations, booking, and promotions. Since a record deal is the band’s main goal, the bulk of allotted expenses need to go to a personal manager.

5.4. Contribution Margin
Under Nothing’s total sales from last year grossed around $1,200 based on sales from around two shows per month. Due to the projected increase in live performances, the band anticipates to quadruple previous numbers and profit more.

6. Controls
Controlling for unexpected changes to marketing plans requires clear and purposeful direction. Tracking changes will be the key element in order for Under Nothing to meet or exceed expectations. If single sales are not generating enough revenue then promote CDs and live performances. Have monthly and quarter financial reports to track the sales of singles. For contests and special events, hand out a short questionnaire to gauge the interest and effectiveness of the event or contest. Communicating the proper message at these events is key to fomenting a strong marketing message and promoting the brand quality of Under Nothing.

6.1. Implementation
Under Nothing will have bi-weekly scheduled meetings with their personal manager (once hired) to discuss marketing strategies, potential profits, and a performance schedule in efforts to meet the two-year objective of obtaining a contract with a record label. In the second year, the personal manager will book shows and, as a result, get merchandise to fans at the shows and online. Under Nothing tracks sales on Reverb Nation, which tracks iTunes as well as band online equity, numbers and statistics of fans, and shows. In addition, they must keep track of sales of physical CD’s and merchandise while at show venues.

6.2. Keys to Success
Fans are the ultimate key to success. Exposure is a must in order to stay present in the fans eyes. It is imperative that Under Nothing keeps their fans happy and informed with a thorough revamp of the site and more actively using their social media to interact with fans.
A better organization of merchandise needs will also aid in finding competitively priced vendors and suppliers ahead of time in order to reduce out of pocket costs.
A band manager is, what at the moment, the band is most lacking. A manager will aid in keeping Under Nothing more organized and relevant in the metal scene. Booking gigs, a managerial duty, is the foundation of keeping and building a fan base.
6.3. Market Research
The market research was a focus group of 10 males and 2 females living in Central Texas 18-25 year olds who are online and social media users and music fans. The following were the results of the focus group:
1. From this focus group, all responders agreed they would purchase a CD or a single from an unsigned band.
2. They would pay for a live concert of an unsigned ban.
3. The majority of the group (75%) prefers to purchase music online for its ease of portability and in live performances.
5. In respect to the website, the focus group agreed that the website was easy to navigate and user friendly, but lacked material and substance and needed to promote social media better.
The research study overall recommendation is that the band should re-record their songs for a clearer, more professional sound. They should self-promote on metal online websites, improve their website content, sell merchandise online and take inventory of their sales. While the band has strong live performances, they need to create more professional recordings of their music in order to promote singles instead of an entire CD online.
Under Nothing needs to be cognoscente of their fan base, the local economy, and the trends in heavy metal music in Central Texas; all of which can be monitored via social networking and the internet while minimizing external costs. The metal market is a well-defined niche, therefore, it is important to stay relevant in the metal scene, including online media. The metal genre, although not as popular as others, still has a loyal following of fans dedicated to the music.
Although metal fans are very likely to pay for shows and merchandise of an unsigned band, they are very selective and the band must be hardcore and to the fans’ liking. Since metal venues are not over saturated with live performances, Under Nothing has a great opportunity for new fans because fans are at those venues expecting metal entertainment already. By increasing their number of performances, they will increase their fan base reach.
6.4 Contingency Planning
In the event that hiring a manager is unachievable or unaffordable, it is important for the band to actively participate in social media channels in order to maintain a bond with fans and reach out to event promoters and venues to book gigs.
Being a viable presence in the metal scene by attending other shows can develop connections in the music business that can lead to future performances. Building relationships with other metal bands is also imperative in case Under Nothing cannot make a show; they can have a partner band perform in order to not let the venue down. The opposite, if the partner band cannot make a show and have Under Nothing substitute, is also an advantage. In this case, they must continue to keep track of their sales and find a better form of organization, in order to have records of their growth should they get the opportunity to present it to label.
If the band does not have more frequent performances, they must seek out venues outside their San Antonio/ Austin geographic location by promoting through social media.
Social media will have to be their contingency plan because it is readily available, free and has the possibility of limitless reach.

Video shot by JR Courchesne using an Aiptek HD1080p flipcam.

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