Hey there, Jason here with another edition of Musician’s Arsenal. This week we’re talking about Turntable.fm, yet another new site for us to learn and love. At this point, Turntable.fm is all the rage. It has some 140,000 users already in its first month and appears to be picking up speed. Users sign into Turntable.fm with their facebook login, which makes it easy to find friends already using Turntable.fm.
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I wrote this for my blog. It’s about pursuing your dream in general. But, I thought I’d share it here because it applies to all of us. And who knows? This piece could keep someone who’ll make history in music going for one more day. I added a bit to the end to share how it applies to our music careers. Hope you’ll enjoy and be motivated to keep moving.
This may sound incredibly obvious (because it is), but it is one of those obvious truths that we don’t consider enough. Because considering it might actually motivate us. The key to creating momentum is to keep moving. The longer you keep moving without changing direction, the bigger the momentum. And, the bigger the momentum, the more unstoppable you are. I’m not going to be vague. I’m speaking about achieving your dreams, fulfilling the vision of your heart.
I was sixteen when I walked into my first pro studio. I was there to co-write with a producer who had been signed by Capital Records as an artist earlier in his career. It was a big deal! He came in sat down and after some brief chitchat he asked me what song ideas I had been working on. I showed him a couple and off he went taking my ideas into whatever direction he chose. Whenever I would speak up with an idea he would dismiss it because, after all, I was just a punk kid. That was my first real co-writing experience. It was a bit rough to say the least. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to co-write with all kinds of people and it has honestly been one of the most musically rewarding things that I have ever experienced.
Every year there’s a rush in the music marketplace after one trend or another, and in the past year it’s been cloud services and the concept of ‘music as water’ subscription services. While the notion of selling music subscription like cable TV may be appealing at first glance, it is proving hard to monetize on for both the companies that launch such services and the content owners who participate in them. There are several reasons why I have always been very skeptical about the future of all-you-can-eat subscription services and cloud service models:
Much of the talk about the music industry in recent days focuses on future transformative changes in the way music is consumed. Will it be streaming or downloads. Will we be listening to music files from an app or from a cloud, and if so, who will own that cloud? The possibilities for content in the future are limited only by technology we create, and there will be even more changes down the road that are hard to imagine at this point in time. It is a very interesting discussion. Lost in this discussion, however, are the possible transformative changes in the companies that develop the artists that will make music in the new system, and how they can be positioned to easily change revenue models as technology changes the way content is presented.
Odds are if an artist has to calculate their potential for success based on statistics – regardless of veracity – they are doomed from the start. Really. Think about it – the only formula known thus far to work with any predictability is BEING an act REMARKABLE enough (thanks, Bruce, a favorite word the past year or so), to spread by word of mouth. A formula NEVER out of date.
Artists are giving away way too much free music. The belief that giving away free music will result in future sales are too far-fetch. Also with the advancement of new distribution models cutting down the dollar value on music (Cloud/Subscription models), we are entering a stage where the public is becoming too accustomed to free music. Sure illegal downloads are here and will continue to be here, but artists must not fall into the trap of allowing their fans to dance to the tune of music is a free commodity.
“The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write,but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” - Alvin Toffler
Music licensing is the licensed use of copyrighted music. It also ensures that the creators of musical works get paid for their work. In layman’s terms it can be viewed as leasing your property out to someone for a fee, based on how and where they intend to use it, and for how long.
What am I waiting for? As a musician you live in a hurry up and wait world. You hurry up to travel to a gig and then you wait three hours to hit the stage. You hurry up and make contact with a booking agent and then you wait 3 months for them to get back to you. If your lucky you hurry up and record and then you wait for your label to release it six months later. Plain and simple, it sucks! One of the main reasons why artists don’t have success is that they wait on others to do what only they can do.
So much talk about the success, or lack of, making it in the new music business industry. But it really comes down to treating your musician career as a business. Let’s look at some statistics. History shows that…
Welcome back to the Musician’s Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools and Sites. In this second edition, I’d like to turn you all on to a very cool site we, here at Ariel Publicity, have been familiar with for some time now; NoiseTrade (www.noisetrade.com). Like I said, we’ve been hip to this site for a little while now, but a few weeks back Brannon from NoiseTrade came to our Brooklyn office to give us a sneak peek at their newly designed site, and we were very impressed. NoiseTrade is a platform for both artists and fans to discover each other. For the fan, it provides a fantastic and easy way to find new music. The fan is not obligated to pay for this music, but has the option of ‘tipping’ the artist when they download the tracks.
Success in the music Industry has long been measured by landing a recording contract, but with the ever-increasing digital distribution outlets available, and the shrinking physical market, the goal posts have certainly shifted. In reality, as 90% of those who had the (mis)fortune to find out first hand will testify, securing a record deal was never an indication that you had actually “made it”. It was a temporary influx of much needed cash, but any perceived luxury came with insurmountable overheads. With every limo ride and big city showcase offering free booze, your ever-expanding expense account would ensure that your musical career was never going to be a viable long-term business. A re-evaluation of what actually defines success in music is much needed. Especially as new artists take steps to build a working business model in the constantly changing digital world.
I found an interesting Blog post the other day that seemed to cause major disagreement between musicians on the subject of record deals, specifically whether musicians needed a record deal at all nowadays. The original Blog was entitled, Do Social Networks Really Help Musicians? It makes the point (in a round-a-bout way) that social networks create so much opportunity for musicians that overcrowding, by and large, negates the benefits for the masses.
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(Updated Sept 29, 2014)