How I Used Myspace to Grow Hot Picks

by | Oct 7, 2022

We started selling Hot Picks in local music stores across the Central Valley and the Bay Area. The process was extremely slow-going, because there were only a couple of large chain retailers. Meaning, we had to call independent music stores one by one. Most of those stores were not online, and some didn’t even have a computer. (Remember, it was 2004.)

Needless to say, calling each one individually took a lot of work.

The gentleman who was selling the alien pick gave us great advice, though. Sell them on consignment, he recommended. Then, once they start to sell, give the stores 30 days to pay you.

This strategy worked beautifully. Soon enough, we wanted to find a distributor to carry and sell our picks for us.

The largest distributor in the business told us that we had to “create demand” in order for them to carry our picks in their catalogs.

“Steve, we distribute. We don’t sell,” he told me.

It made perfect sense. We would have to create demand ourselves.

So, what was our marketing strategy going to be?

We couldn’t get popular well-known bands to endorse our guitar picks, because they wanted us to pay them. We were just starting out, and didn’t have the necessary funds — which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

So, we decided to approach garage bands instead to help us get the word out. Because the social media platform Myspace had just launched, finding these bands was easy.

Our marketing strategy was very simple. We would run contests. Whichever band received the most votes on our Myspace page, we would endorse, send free picks, and feature in a Guitar World magazine ad.

For a garage band to be endorsed and appear in Guitar World was a big deal!

It worked! Most of the bands we contacted encouraged their fans to visit our page and vote for them. It was a great way to create awareness of our new guitar picks.

Screen capture from MySpace!
One of our ads in the magazines.

The ads in Guitar World were very simple, just the band and our guitar picks with our logo.

We kept running the contest month after month.

The winning bands now ordered guitar picks from us at cost. On the back of every guitar pick was our website URL.

Fans of the winning bands began sending us images of themselves with their favorite Hot Picks, which prompted us to start running ads just with the fans!

MySpace collage of fans and ads!

Eventually, these fans began asking their local music retailer for our guitar picks. 

Guitar World magazine started to promote us too!

Here’s what I learned: 

  1. Sometimes, obstacles turn out to be the best thing that can happen to you.
  2. Helping others can help you.
  3. Something small can still have a big impact.

Thanks for reading,

Stephen Key

inventRight CoFounder