Zen Music Marketing


I love Marcia Yudkin’s Marketing Minute newsletter. It’s short, quick, and easy-to-consume with a power punch awesome tip in each Wednesday edition. Today, she published one that struck home, because it touches on a pet peeve of mine.

I have learned to be suspicious of such “marketing musts,”
which all too often represent dogma from someone lacking in
imagination but puffed up with certainty.

Worse, these rules fill a lot of people with self-doubt and
dread, when their inner voice reacts violently against the

In the music business, people go on and on about this or that way is how you become successful in the music business. It usually starts with “it’s who you know.” That’s awesome for some people… For introverts like me, not so much…

Maybe it’s the Pisces in me, or the zen Buddhist, or maybe I just believe in myself enough to realize that it is smarter to use your own strengths to succeed instead of changing who you are.

Sure, all the music marketers tell  you to schmooze, learn to use Twitter, master social networking, start a YouTube channel, or it’s all about a live show. For some, each of these things, might be perfectly true. For others, it’s useless information.

Each and everyone of us is different. We all have our strengths. Knowing that I was an introvert years ago, I decided to take a different route. I started the Celtic Music Magazine. That developed into the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. I learned how to do internet music marketing, not just because I believe it’s necessary for a musicians success, but more importantly because I found it fun and easy.

Is it necessary?
For you, maybe not.

I have achieved incredible success ONLINE because I enjoy podcasting and blogging and finding ways to optimize webpages for internet success. Now St. Patrick’s Day approaches, and I’m poised to have a good year. I won’t hold my breath and say it will be great, but that’s not the point in any case. The point is I am slowly and steadily finding success without compromising who I am. I’m even starting to find people who can help me where I am weak.

THAT is how you succeed.
Use your strengths.
Be true to yourself.
And don’t let others tell you how you should succeed. Instead, find a path and inspiration from those who are more like you.

Dragons vs Pirates: The Truth Behind the Music

I am pleased to launch the first episode of Dragons vs. Pirates: The Truth Behind the Music. In this podcast, I will share an audio journal of my life-changing experience when I was shanghaied by air pirates two years ago. Episode #1, “Shanghaied by Air Pirates” tells the story of how it all happened.

Irish Drinking Songs and St. Patrick’s Day in 2015

There’s a reason why I’ve spent so much time recording albums that are called “drinking songs“. It’ll started in 1999 when I was buying a book at Half-Price Books on South Lamar in Austin. I saw a green cassette labeled “Irish Drinking Songs“. It cost two bucks. On a whim, I bought it.

About this time, the Brobdingnagian Bards were getting our start playing Celtic music at Renaissance festivals. We were looking for new music. This wee album had a TON of great songs. In fact, if you look at Songs of Ireland or Best Irish Drinking Songs, you’ll probably see a bunch of the same songs from that cassette. I think I learned over half my early repertoire from that album. 16 years later, those are still some of my favorite songs.

Now St. Patrick’s Day approaches and I’m getting my music plans in order. This week, I have an Irish Drinking Songs show coming out on the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. Again, you’ll hear many of the same songs you heard on that cassette. I’m out to promote my most-popular episodes of the Pub Songs Podcast, including 19 Best St Patrick’s Day Pub Songs Podcasts. I’m tempted to put together a couple extra shows for that podcast, but not sure I really have the time.

Of course, I have the St. Patrick’s Day Internet Music Festival planned as well. In fact, I have TWO shows currently scheduled. The first is on March 10th at 9am. My goal is to officially kick off the festival with a concert and intro to the event. I also have Sunday, March 15th Concert Window performance as well. I may throw in a couple extra shows if I can get everything done in time.

I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if The Holy Grail of Irish Drinking Songs hadn’t become so popular on iTunes. It’s my success with covering Irish songs that has been my greatest asset and profit maker for allowing me to make a living as a musician. Plus it guided my music. I sing songs that are allow me to interact with my audience. Life would be very different without it.

In any case, thanks for being a part of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day music. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoy creating and sharing it.



Poverty With Flair, Dragons on Kickstarter, Building Trust

You’re gonna hear about my brand new Kickstarter, and some plans for the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. You might get a free copy of my next CD, St. Patrick’s Day Songs for Kids, and I rant about crappy marketers in show #11 of The Celtfather.

To subscribe, go to iTunes, or go to Celtfather.com where you can also join my mailing list. This show is sponsored by my Patrons at marcgunn.net  Post feedback in the shownotes, use the hashtag #celtfather on social media, or email me marc@marcgunn.com

Mentioned This Week on The Celtfather #11

Why I Despise Shock Jocks

I had a discussion this week about why I don’t like Rush Limbaugh. I didn’t really get to make my point before the whole discussion turned into a Conservative vs. Liberal opinion debate. It was rather unfulfilling, so I thought I’d share my reasoning.

But first… This is NOT a political issue. It’s a marketing issue.

First, a definition. I define a “shock jock” as any media person who polarizes their audience with extremist statements. It doesn’t matter if they say it to “shock” you or if they believe it. If they polarize you in that way, they’re shock jocks in my book.

Notable Shock Jocks: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Howard Stern. I’m not familiar with any outstanding liberal shock jocks, though I think Democracy Now is a show which is a good example.

Full disclosure. I am a moderate who leans liberal. However, as I said above, this is not a political issue for me.

Let me be straight. Rush Limbaugh is good at what he does. Reading his bio on Wikipedia, he is a brilliant marketer. He’s great at creating engagement, getting people to talk, he’s good at entertaining people. But ultimately, he is a marketer. The best marketers polarize their audience. You will love or hate what they say and the “love” people are YOUR people. The “hate” people are not. Pretty simple, right?

Personally, I despise shock jocks not for the content of their discussions, but the extremist nature of their polarization. The key of that phrase is “extremist”.

We hear a lot about extremism in the news these days. Usually, it’s associated with Middle East terrorists…

That’s the problem I have with shock jocks, especially political ones. They spout extremist philosophies. Whether you think they are right or wrong is only relevant insofar as how they are acted upon. When extremists start subjugating others, that’s when it becomes an issue.

Recently, there was an article on the Birmingham news website about a local shock jock who was telling Christian judges to break the law by not approving gay marriages in Alabama. This shock jock telling judges to break the law to fit his belief.

We’ll totally leave out the fact that the guy doesn’t understand the Bible. Yes, Jesus himself avoided ever speaking against the political establishment saying, “render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s”. Meaning, “I’m not telling you to break any laws and rebel against Rome.”

Extremists are why we have Fox News and MSNBC. It’s biased news, and they do it really well. People are no longer reporting what’s news. They’re reporting drama. They’re reporting misery. They’re making a living off the misery of others. They’re belittling people for entertainment. Doesn’t that sound horrible? Why become a part of that?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the occasional Aggie joke too. ;-)

But if the news was just Aggie jokes, or Longhorn jokes, or minority jokes, I wouldn’t be interested in those either. In fact, I don’t like much stand up comedy for that reason too. (Well, that’s one reason) It gets old.

Now that said, I understand schedenfreude. I’ve met people who listen to Rush Limbaugh because it’s exciting drama. It’s like reality shows or soap operas… What stupid thing is he gonna say next. But the challenge is to stay true. If you spend three hours a day listening to someone spout extremist philosophy, it’s brainwashing… IMHO That becomes a part of who you are and what you believe.

I listen to podcasts about marketing, not because I soak in everything they say, but because I know, over time I will learn some awesome new techniques for promoting my music.

It’s the same thing with shock jocks. Do you believe in the idea of the Femi-Nazi? Well, if you don’t, keep listening to Rush Limbaugh and you may.

Is that really what you want? To be an extremist?

Admittedly, not everyone is so easily persuaded. But most are. That’s why advertising is so successful. What’s that line from Candide?

“I am easily assimilated.
I am so easily assimilated.”

Tracks Currently Scheduled for Dragons vs. Pirates

I collected a list of all the song titles that are planned for the Dragons vs. Pirates CD. You can read them here:

  • Come and Be a Pirate
  • Hey Ho To Be a Pirate
  • Our Pirate Crew of Ten
  • The Ballad of Jenny Malloy
  • The Shining Lady Jean
  • The Wreck of the Bold Lady Jean
  • Didja Ever See a Dragon Fly
  • How Do We Steal from a Mighty Dragon?
  • Pirates vs. Dragons
  • The Dragon Horde
  • The Truth About Dragons
  • There’s a Storm Comin’

These songs may change as I start to record. Sometimes I have trouble setting lyrics to music. But usually, it works out great. I plan to have at least 10 of these songs on the final album.

The last one on the list, I recorded at PlayOnCon a few years back. I will have a fresh recording later. But here’s the lyrics.

Whatcha think?

You can support my new Kickstarter right here!

#SaveTheDragons with My New Album Dragons vs. Pirates

I finally made some decisions about upcoming albums for the year and what’s next as you’ll see in my latest Kickstarter–Dragons vs. Pirates.

This album is a bit of vanity project. It started years ago with an album I recorded with Captain Black Jack Murphy called Pogue Mahone Means Kiss My Arse. It was a fun project. Many of the songs from that album ended up on my CD Going for Brogue: Irish Pub Songs and Sea Shanties with an Accent. It turns out that’s one of my most-popular albums on iTunes.

Anyway, a few years after that project, something horrible happened as I explain in my new Kickstarter video.

That’s the premise behind this new Steampunk album. I confess, Steampunk is not my thing. I do Celtic music. But this is a story that MUST be told. I’ve always loved dragons. That’s why I used the CD title–What Color Is Your Dragon?. And it will be.

Right now, the album is already 30% towards it’s base goal in the first 15 hours. That base goal will mean I will record just me and the autoharp to tell the story. If I can pull in $5500, then I can do the album how I like to, complete with instrumentation by Daniel Briggs, who recorded on many of my past albums.

One of the big goals of this album is to #SaveTheDragons. These creatures are being persecuted by evil pirates like Captain Black Jack Murphy.

Will you help?

Support my Kickstarter!

FuMPFest 2015

FuMP Fest 2015

The 2nd Annual FuMPFest is coming in June. This is a festival of funny music in Wheeling, IL. Let me start by saying–sigh–I won’t be there… this year. I’m still hopeful I can perform there some day. For now, I just want to spread the word. There’s a LOT of great, and funny, musicians playing there. So don’t miss it. Find out more details at www.fumpfest.com.

Special Announcement: Dragons vs Pirates, Help Me #SaveTheDragons

Many people don’t realize that for a short period of time in January 2013, I was shanghaied by air pirates. I’m the coming weeks, I will share this riveting story as well as a new Kickstarter for my next album, Dragons vs Pirates. I look forward to sharing more about it, but for now, please help me#SaveTheDragons

To subscribe, go to iTunes, or go to Celtfather.com where you can also join my mailing list. This show is sponsored by my Patrons at marcgunn.net.  Post feedback in the shownotes, use the hashtag #celtfather on social media, or email me marc@marcgunn.com

Mentioned This Week on The Celtfather #10