From music to film, to publishing, to the world of fine art, the internet has forever changed marketing in the creative industries. This shift has been seismic and has turned what had been thought of as set-in-stone business models on their collective heads.

I began as a music journalist and then managed bands in the early ‘90s, but those days are gone.  The music world was the first to be rocked by the changing communication landscape, whereas many were engulfed by the changes and faded, a new breed of musicians learned to take matters into their own hands and create successful careers utilizing PR, social media and guerilla marketing

The publishing world has also been turned upside down.  No longer do traditional publishing houses hold the keys to success.  Self-published authors are taking matters and marketing into their own hands.  Increasingly self-published authors are landing on the best sellers list and on Amazon’s top 20 list.  Amanda Hocking initially became a millionaire by self publishing her work.  It was only after she was established that she signed with St. Martin’s Press.

The shifts came later to the film industry, but it too is experiencing the change.  For example, as with self-published books, CreateSpace (http://www.createspace.com) serves entrepreneurs in the music, publishing, and film worlds. As an independent producer you can upload your film as part of a digital DVD along with cover art and information on the film.  Your film is then posted for sale.  The company (which is owned by Amazon.com) takes and fulfills the orders and splits the profits with the filmmaker.  That is just one option.  There are several outlets online that help producers sell their films.  There are also new channels of distribution.  Films are now reaching the public by being shown at churches, organizations, schools, museums, and other non-traditional establishments.  Theatrical distribution is no longer the only name of the game.

That said, the most powerful marketing tool available to artists is a combination of PR and social media.  An effective public relations campaign will land you media coverage that offers you the validation and credibility that no other form of marketing can offer.  You are the news!  You can then begin to share and amplify your media coverage on your site and on your various social media platforms.  Compared to other forms of marketing, this combined approach can be extremely effective and affordable.

Whereas the internet has torn down down some of the traditional walls and allowed artists in all fields to take more control of their careers, doing so is not always easy.  It involves creativity, persistence, and an investment of both time and money.  These changes can initially be daunting.  For years musicians, filmmakers, and authors were reluctant to rock the boat and alienate the powers that be by charting a path of their own.  But more and more artists are realizing that the old models have shifted, bringing different challenges but also opportunities.  The upside?  With tenacity and creativity, artists can now carve out successful careers on their own terms.