Digital Self-Promotion: an example of doing it right

by Jess Albertine

We've been talking a lot lately about how to promote your music online. Here is an example of someone who, in my opinion, is doing it right. Jaime Ibarra is a flamenco guitarist and photographer. He's a member of the online art community deviantArt, and has quite a following as a photographer with almost 1.5 million pageviews over 5 years. Recently he posted a journal entry discussing his work on an upcoming album. Here is what he had to say:

I have always (even today) considered myself to be a better musician, than a photographer. Many people do not know...for the past 7 years, I've been working on my newest CD, tentatively titled, "The Virru Project".

By "trade", I am a Flamenco guitarist...but for this project, I really wanted to collaborate with some of my musical heroes from around the planet. The biggest challenge was actually getting in contact with those I wanted to invite into the project. Not an easy task, as most of them have attained (what I call) "untouchable" fame status. I spent over a year, just lining up the talent I wanted to bring in. Once that happened, things began to gain momentum, but it did not truly reach full-speed until about 3 years into it.

As-of-now, the project has 13 musicians (not counting myself), each of whom I consider to be ambassadors of their respective musical genres, spread-out amongst 9 countries. Among them, 7 of my favourite female voices on this earth. To work directly with musicians who have been absolute idols of mine for years is ineffable...there are literally no words to describe what a thrill this has been.

And while the production of this project has been wonderful experience, it has also been a logistical nightmare to coordinate. Lots of waiting for windows of opportunity to open up, and the constant hope that I have the money needed to take advantage of that window.

[Photo: Stefan Brisland-Ferner (Sweden), Jaime Ibarra (USA), and Zach Page (USA)]

Most of the money spent on this project went to buying airline tickets...either to fly the musicians to the US, or fly myself to wherever I need to go record.

It has been a labour of love & perseverance, and some incredible sacrifices have been made (by myself and the other musicians) in the interest of completing this project...but it finally looks like the end of the tunnel is in sight. The CD will be released in the first quarter of 2012. I will announce more, as it gets closer to the release date.

If you would like to listen to a demo, featuring clips from 5 songs from the project, you may do so here: [link]

As always, my thanks to all of you :)

Here's what I think is so good about this post.

  • He used a site where he already is well-known for different reasons. Someone whose name is familiar, for any reason, is more likely to be listened to. It also brings in new listeners that might not otherwise be exposed to this type of music.
  • He showed how passionate he is about this project. This is a personal connection that reaches out to his readers much more than if he had just included some information about the album.
  • He explained why his readers should care about the project by describing how much effort has gone into it and how much he admires his collaborators. This is an aspect that I think many "art" musicians, and many in the academic community, overlook. It isn't given that your audience will care. It's necessary to give them reasons.
  • He was prepared with a link to a demo reel so that with one click, readers could get a sense of what the music is like. He also has used selections from the album in some of his photography submissions.

    Congratulations on your album, Jaime! I look forward to hearing it.

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