The Charlie Sheen
School of Marketing

The Guy Who “Lives Like a Rock Star”
Might Have the Prescription to Become One

Written by: Santino Giarucci

   Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen

You already knew who Charlie Sheen was before he began his recent public meltdown. If you live in the civilized world, it would be nearly impossible to avoid Sheen’s recent antics.

Is there something to be learned from him? Could Charlie be giving you music marketing tips through his unorthodox rants and missives? Let’s see!

Even without his massive fan base—which is largely due to his success on Two and Half Men—Sheen could still have attracted tons of attention based solely on his unabashed honesty about the way he lives his life. Charlie Sheen is living like a Rock Star for sure!

Now, I’m not suggesting that you do tons of drugs or cavort with high-priced call girls and deliver public rants that appear to be coming from an insane person. But I am suggesting that you watch him closely from a different perspective. Sheen might just be a marketing genius.

Maybe he can inspire some nifty ideas to help you market your music.

First and foremost—whether you like him or not—you’ve got to admit that Sheen is unabashedly honest. Good marketing always starts with honesty. Most people have a pretty good B.S. detector, so if your basic premise is dishonest, you’ve lost your potential customers before they get past the headline.

Whether you admit it or not, Charlie Sheen is kind of like a car accident you can’t pass by without catching a glimpse. He’s fascinating in a convoluted sort of way. We all want to hear what’s going to come out of his mouth next. He knows that, and he’s smart enough to keep tossing one nutty comment out after another because he knows people will pay attention to it.

Is there something you can do that will cause people to pay attention to your music? How can you rise above the millions of other Indie musicians on the Internet?

I’m not suggesting that you do something insane or self-destructive. But finding something notable about your music is a good thing. Making music that’s remarkable—meaning it will cause one person to remark about it to another—is a very good thing.

Rebecca Black   
Rebecca Black

Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” and her music video on YouTube, prove my point. How many of your friends remarked—albeit negatively—about Miss Black’s sudden and surprising entry into the music business? Sadly, what made Black’s video so notable is how bad the lyric is. “Friday, Friday” shoot me now!

The last credible report I could find at this writing (March 27, 2011) is that the young “singer” has earned about $40,000 from iTunes downloads and YouTube ad share revenue. I don’t know anybody who’d turn that down!

But I’m not for a minute suggesting that you should record a song with terrible lyrics. Instead, I’m suggesting that you take the high road and create something so great that it will get the same kind of attention and go viral. How about great and unique, but not so unique that your buyers don’t understand it.

If you haven’t read Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, yet, buy it! Nothing will get you on the track of making yourself remarkable faster than that book! What makes you different? What makes you stand out? While Seth doesn’t give you exact recommendations, the book is a page-turner and it will make you think about nothing but becoming remarkable for days on end.

It might be easier to think of goofy hat tracks that could make your music go viral, but do you really want to be the next Charlie Sheen or Rebecca Black? Their 15 minutes are just about up.

Then again, if you need a little cash infusion, maybe a song ABOUT Charlie Sheen or Rebecca Black could be your ticket. But you’d better get a man (or woman) right on it.

Before I wrap this up, let’s look at one more aspect of Charlie Sheen’s marketing strategy—social networking. Have you gotten an invite to be Sheen’s friend on Facebook or LinkedIn? I have, and I think he’s smart for not just riding the wave. His genius may be that he’s paddling out to find the next wave.

He’s being proactive and he’s extending his 15 minutes. He’s also extending his brand by selling Charlie Sheen swag and doing lots of online and mainstream media appearances to boot. He’s no dummy. Charlie’s got his marketing attack working on all fronts. Give the man some credit where it’s due.

Name the last proactive thing you did to market your music. Let’s see what Rebecca Black does to market her next “hit” song. What can you do to cause your potential customers seek your music out, then tell their friends about it?

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