How to spend $100,000 to break an artist

…and how to do it for a fraction of the cost.

Amber Horsburgh
3 min readOct 23, 2019


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Two conversations I keep having as a music marketing consultant:

  1. “We’ve got the money, we just don’t know where to spend it. What actually matters?”
  2. “We have high hopes for this release but the budget’s tight because we’re already so far in the red”

When thinking about marketing a record, the first place I start is with the overall budget. It’s your greatest predictor of marketing activities and provides the following:

1) Viability of your marketing ideas

Many a time I’ve lead brainstorms that result in some sort of “pop up” concept around release week. Things like: storefront takeovers, artists giving tatts in real time, a stage where the artist can perform the new record with bespoke, themed cocktails for the event. There is absolutely no way you can execute this at the highest level on a $10,000 marketing budget, heck, probs not even with a $100,000 marketing budget. Therefore, your team should spend its time/resources investigating other ideas.

2) Feasibility test to see what shape ideas take

The budget determines how you pull off your marketing ideas. For example, if a music video needs to be made for $2,000 — the treatment and team will look a lot different to a $75,000 video. At $2,000, your cast are friends. The crew is stripped back and clothing will be borrowed and returned to…



Amber Horsburgh

Music marketing consultant. Downtown Records & Big Spaceship alumni. Writes about music, strategy and feels at Deep Cuts