By Cari Col

New music release: SARRA “Kerosene” CCVM Case Study, Part 3 is here! For those just tuning in to our 3-part series you can catch up here:

Blog Part 1:

Blog Part 2:

Step 3 in Sarra’s plan is Industry. Step 1, was finding her voice, Step 2 was crafting and writing her record, and Step 3 is emerging in the industry. Too many artists operate outside of the music industry, spending all their time vibing with their musician friends and making music. While that’s an important part of a successful career in music, not getting having a foothold in the industry can stall your efforts.

SARRA is like most indie artists. She’s good at making music ~ really good. Her music hits a nerve with people, her voice is polished and emotional, her songs are intimately confessional in a relatable way, her music is infectious and compelling – all the right ingredients. She puts her soul into her music, and you can feel it in your solar plexus. When I met her she was a fraction of what she has now become. But she was ready to get serious, did the work –  and now has the best record of her career ;).

But how the heck, does an independent artist, with just a small smattering of connections make a dent in the marketplace? Okay, she was on American Idol, but how can that help her now?



And ya, there’s Facebook and Youtube ad marketing, and now you can pay to be on a Spotify playlist, — but how far will that really get you? And who the heck has a budget after you poured everything into your record? This is where most independent releases fall short. So how is she going to get the reach she needs to get to the next level? I mean, SARRA should be opening up for big artists on her way to becoming one herself. But how does she get there?

Let’s face it, if we had the exact recipe for music success, everyone who wanted would be a superstar. I’ve watched many an artist step onto the world stage and helped them get there, and one thing is imminently true. The rise is never the same for any of them. Here are the common denominators of the ones I’ve watched do differently that falls outside of just marketing dollars.

1. Knowing How the Industry Works.

There are many different paths that artists have followed to their success. And, there are many different levels of music success. Some artists are satisfied with being a locally grown and known with a small but fierce following that never crack through the public eye and ear. Some artists go further with national and international tours, and have a healthy career without being known on the world stage. Many artists and composer/producer/songwriters have successful careers without breaking the Billboard charts. And then, many do chart on Billboard and create satisfying careers in the public eye without record labels – or get signed by them. There are many options available to you – you need to know them so you can find yours.

Knowing what you want and how to get it requires some first-hand knowledge of how the music industry works. It is a complex and varied business, with many different genres and groupings of companies that support and work within those genres.

SARRA has decided upon the artist path, as well as licensing and tour opportunities. Let’s see how far she gets! We’re super excited to help her reach her goals and we are fired up to help her achieve them. We have some strategies and plans up our sleeve. Wish us both some luck ;).

2. A Standout Message That Engages People.

This is a HUGE ONE. The main reason people get fired up about you is your message. If it relates to them, they are attracted like moths to a flame. One of the things we focused on with SARRA was building her personal message and story into her brand at the level of her songs. Now as she goes out there, the messages defined in her record are easy to talk about because it’s inherent in her material. And she’s doing a great job of sharing that. When an artist shares true stories (just like books and films written about real life experiences), it’s easier for new fans to bond and existing fans to get excited. SARRA is talking about failed relationships in her song Kerosene about a real-life marriage that ended up not only in divorce, but a bitter one. She talks about how strange it is that you can love someone so much and then, later on, want them to burn. Some of the most powerful songs in music have that real life relatable element. “Beautiful” by Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera), “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin (Bonnie Raitt) among a few.

The one thing that makes an artist stand out is when they tell their truth. Loud and proud. Thank you Sza, Jessie Reyez. Hats off to these powerful young women speaking out. It’s not just about sharing your music, it’s about sharing YOU. What do you have to say that you’re not saying yet?

3. A Well Laid Out Marketing Strategy.

Once the message is firmly established, an overall marketing strategy for the record is developed. In SARRA’s case, the plan is first local. Build up SARRA’s following in Dallas, TX and grow from there. Dallas press, radio, social content etc. With a secondary focus on licensing, labels and industry opportunities. Once the album comes out in the Fall, that strategy rolls out. Social media ads, Spotify playlists, and building strategic future plans. She has hired a publicity company to help, and is currently working with a Spotify playlist expert. We are also working behind the scenes with an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy to boost SARRA’s presence on the internet as we roll out the record. This is a process we are working on in development with SARRA’s release as a way to help artists gain exposure. Stay tuned!

4. Industry Connections and Potential Growth & Opportunities.

The industry piece is also an important part of a release. Meetings with specific key industry people, potential partnerships, sponsorships, growing the brand. As an independent release, it’s important to meet with as many people in the industry as potential partners who can help. So far our efforts helped SARRA gain a licensing deal while we work on other potential possibilities for her. The moral of the story is, don’t do-it-all-yourself. Opportunities come from people in the business. You never know who can help.


We hope this 3 part series and SARRA’s story, have inspired you. Whatever you do, don’t ever give up. Always believe in yourself ~ even when you’re not so confident, even when you get rejected. Don’t let a “no” define you. Just get back to work with more passion. Everyone rises from nothing, and so can you. But be sure to work with experienced people in the industry who can bring something solid to the table for you! Good luck on your next release!



Stream “Kerosene” on Spotify

Stream “Kerosene” on Apple Music

Lyrics and Music by SARRA, Jay Stolar, and Josh Goode

Produced by Josh Goode

Mixed by Bradley Prakope

Mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound

A&R by Cari Cole & CCVM

Artwork by Paxton Maroney


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