S2E10: Marketing 101 for Musicians with Karen Cubides

Today’s episode is a must listen for musicians as we learn marketing for ourselves, create opportunities and put ourselves out there for business.

Karen Cubides is the passionate and engaging founder and CEO of the Karen Cubides Agency based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her holistic approach to coaching her clients allows her to serve a wide range of well-established musicians and young professionals alike in unique and personal ways. Through her intimate understanding of the relationship between personal growth and professional achievement, Karen builds up the individual, the artist, and the professional within each of her clients as they master goal-setting, lifestyle balance, and the nuances of our evolving industry. Her commitment, care, and creativity have connected her with incredible individuals and organizations across the world. 

Karen founded her agency early in her career out of her empathy for the people she worked with and admired. She firmly believes that musicians do not have to choose between promising careers and fulfilling personal lives. Her compassion has driven her time and again to better herself and her agency to bring out the best in each of her clients, both personally and professionally. By understanding and assessing the whole individual and not the performer exclusively, her clients continue to thrive in their creative passions and In their personal relationships. Karen has had the privilege of working with musicians of all backgrounds, from bird land to Broadway and from the Philharmonic to the Blair School of Music.


9:38 What’s is Marketing for Musicians?

I always like to define it with branding and marketing. Contrary to popular belief, for marketing, you don’t have to become somebody. You don’t have to create a persona, and you don’t have to create an image.

In my work, I define brand is you: who you are and what you do. And marketing is how I share who I am, so I’m not changing anything.

I think that there’s a lack of education in the realm of musicians embracing who they are. So I think, with boundaries, figuring out how to share the things that you want people to know, makes marketing, super crucial.

I found that social media, for marketing in general, gives you that opportunity to establish yourself as an expert, and to show that you have the experience without needing to have an entry level position.

13:01 Finding your niche

For me, the main part is figuring out who do you want to serve, and making sure that you are serving the people that are there. So if we look at it from a following perspective, people are always thinking about getting to 10,000 likes or getting to X amount of likes, and who what do I need to create to get more people?

The way that I encourage marketing is more of, who’s already there? And who do you enjoy serving? Serve those people, and they will bring you the other people to help grow and reach whatever goals you have.

I think it is more than having a niche, it’s important to know who you’re talking to. So if you are a musician in higher education, are you using your platform for recruiting students? Are you using it to promote diversity? Are you using it for new music? What are you using this for?

And that’s actually what allows you to get more specific, more so than thinking about like, who or what am I doing that’s unique or special or different.


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