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Thursday
Feb092012

What Artists Should Know About Headliner.fm

Headliner.fm is a platform for trading recommendations with other artists on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. You “buy” recommendations using a virtual currency called band bucks, which can be purchased outright for real money or earned by recommending other artists.

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Wednesday
Feb082012

Unbundling the Album: A Business Case for Releasing Single Songs

There are many examples of the benefits of working in harmony with nature. When first venturing out beyond home a child is taught to walk with traffic. A carpenter achieves a cleaner result by going with the grain rather than against it. In sports a team succeeds by taking advantage of what the defense gives them, and there are countless other examples that express why it is better to work with the flow rather than push against it.  For the past ten years the recorded music industry has ignored this strategy, and stubbornly clung to a business model that is no longer in harmony with they way people consume music by predominantly releasing albums in a single song economy.  

According to Nielsen Soundscan, in 2011 there were 1.374 billion digital transactions last year. Of those only 103 million or 7.5 % were for albums. This means that approximately 1 out of 14 times a consumer went to buy music online last year they were purchased an album. First with Napster and MP3s, then iTunes and the iPod, and now with streaming services like Spotify and Turntable.fm—the music consumer has repeatedly demonstrated that they prefer single songs to albums. Despite this fact, nearly 77,000 albums were released last year.

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Tuesday
Feb072012

Hear-Like-Buy: Why Spotify Is Marketing, Not Commerce

You can’t read an article in the music press without tripping over somebody complaining about Spotify royalties. You’ve heard the chorus: Spotify is destroying what’s left of the CD market. It is cannibalizing iTunes. It is ripping off indie artists. And so on.

So, you think. Spotify must be pretty bad.

But is it?

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Monday
Feb062012

The Science Of Email Timing

Your email list is one of the most powerful marketing tools that an artist or band (or a business or brand) can have. Recently some data courtesy of Dan Zarrella and Pure360 has shown that there is a definite science behind the timing of sending your emails, just as there is for posting on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some tips and tricks for getting your email timing just right.

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Thursday
Feb022012

The Difference Between the Music Industry & The Recording Industry

After publishing Why You Should Give Your Music Away for Free here on Music Think Tank, I have been inundated with articles, comments, and other assorted replies decrying that the new digital music business models are killing the music industry. It got me thinking about a crucial distinction that is being overlooked, and the consequences of doing so are preventing many from seeing the opportunities that are abound. It boils down to one main concept.

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Tuesday
Jan312012

The Musicians’ Guide To Google – Hot Tips To Maximize Your Google Experience

Google, in my humble opinion, is the most amazing invention since anything else I can really think of. And Google is not just a big search engine, although it would still be awesome if that’s all it did.

Google has been offering a suite of incredibly powerful tools for years; way before ‘in the clouds’ become the next big thing for companies like Apple and Microsoft. And to make it even better, Google has recently created a platform for musicians that offers even further tools that will help independent musicians all over the world to thrive in the digital world.

Google is, quite simply, a portal that truly puts all of the worlds electronic information at your fingertips – there’s a good reason why the word “Google” has become synonymous with searching online.

Here are 9 Hot Tips designed to help you through all of Google’s awesomeness and use it to your benefit.

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Monday
Jan302012

A Response to SOPA: Free Pays(More)

So as we know, if a song reaches a certain level of popularity these days, there’s pretty much a guarantee that someone, somewhere is going to pirate it. This is now a fact. Should it happen? Some say yes, and some say no, and there will probably never be a consensus. Regardless of the answer to that question, the unrelenting truth of the matter is that it DOES happen. The smartest response in this case then is to stop arguing about the should’s or the why’s, and simply accept the fact that this is happening. The ground is shifting below our feet, and we need to act or we will all get sucked under.

To me it seems pointless to even bring up the prospect of a subscription service, or even a pay-as-you-go model as a viable solution for a future sustainable industry model. This is because the internet, now the basis of content consumption, is like a huge river of information. A paywall is like a little pebble being thrown into it. The water in the river has no trouble getting around the pebble. Paywalls will never solve the piracy problem, and damming up the whole river, as we’ve seen with SOPA, will not be easy, and most likely will never happen.

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Friday
Jan272012

Spotify: Millions of DJs

Spotify: Millions of DJs

As a music fan, the growing number of free and subscription based streaming services can be a dream come true. Install Spotify (or Rdio, Mog, Slacker, Rhapsody, Deezer, etc.) on your computer, your mobile phone, your internet-enabled stereo, and you have instant access to pretty much all the music that’s out there. Build playlists, see what your friends are listening to, those services have become a great tool to discover and enjoy music. Amazing.

From the artists that create this abundance of music, there’s been a very mixed reaction. I strongly suggest you read this 2011 recap by Bandzoogle friend and Nashville music marketing genius Charles Alexander. In it, he links to many articles and posts about Spotify that give you a good sense of why so many are worried or pissed off about it. You can also read the comments section to any post about Spotify on Hypebot, or Digital Music News and you’ll see that very graphic language is often used.

The short version ?

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Thursday
Jan262012

How to Open for a Major Artist/Band

There are a few ways to make sure you get to open for a major artist in town:

  1. Develop a consistent reputation with promoters in your area that you can pack out whatever venues you play. Part of getting this great buzz about your music is getting into local press or radio stations (usually with the help of a publicist), being proactive about promoting your shows, and demonstrating that you’d make a good fit for the show.
  2. Buy your way in. Either you’ll be asked to sell a minimum number of tickets (and pay the difference if you are short) or pay the performer up front.
  3. Enter a random contest that you have no control over (sometimes local promoters or radio stations have a contest for local artists to enter), but the results usually have to do deal with option #1 (how much of a buzz do you have).

The first option takes time, energy, and hard work. In the process, you’ll gain the respect of the local music industry. You’ll build true fans that will come to other shows, buy your merchandise, and support your career. It’s the equivalent of a business building solid, regular customers. If the act you’re opening for likes you, you’ll be invited to do future shows with them and they’ll probably encraouge their fans to support you.

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Wednesday
Jan252012

A Musician’s Guide To Setting And Achieving Goals For 2012

The last half of 2011 was intense for a lot of us.  The financial news across the world remained bleak, Occupy Wall Street was all over the news as the 99% spoke up to be heard.

The music business continued to take hits with Spotify’s arrival and news of more layoffs at record labels, management companies as we all scratched our heads to blog about positive things and good outcomes

Many of you may have seen this article (or another one) on setting goals as they crop up at this time of year.

It’s a new year and a clear slate is in front of all of us. The turning of the calendar from 2011 to 2012 is an ideal time to set your goals. I see a marked difference between artists who set finite goals and those who do not regardless of what is happening in the world and in the news.

Ask yourself: Is this the year I want to make a difference for my music career?  And if so – what difference and how?

Think of goal setting as if you were driving in a foreign place – You wouldn’t get where you expect to go without a clear set of directions. Goal setting is like drawing a map for yourself.

This article is designed to assist you in creating a personal roadmap for achieving what you would like with your musical career this year, whether you consider music your hobby and you do it part time or you are making a living out of it full-time.

I have included a few links from some of the best musician related posts on how to think about and achieve goals as well.  So, bookmark this long article and refer to it throughout the year!

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Wednesday
Jan252012

Digital Piracy Vs. The Music Industry [Infographic]

The Music Industry has been struggling to battle the revolution of Digital Piracy for years, with countless musician’s speaking out against it.  This struggle has gone as far as the creation of a few ill-advised bills being proposed by Congress, known as SOPA and PIPA, to protect Hollywood’s movie and music industries from dropping drastic levels of revenue.  However, these laws were far from desirable, and the Music Industry still faces a challenge in battling piracy, despite the activists against it!

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Tuesday
Jan242012

The 5 Most Important Skills Twitter Teaches Us

Picture this: one day, a company comes out of nowhere to introduce a service that renders Twitter obsolete. Overnight, all of those hours you spent cranking out tweets are useless. Or are they?

Let’s face it: Twitter is not so much about our follower counts, retweets, or mentions. Those are just numbers. Here’s the real deal: Twitter prepares us for the future by teaching us valuable, real-world skills.

So even if Twitter dies tomorrow, here are the five most important skills we can learn from it.

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Monday
Jan232012

The Real Reason Why SOPA Didn’t Pass: Marketing

I’d like to believe that the two recent controversial bills, SOPA and PIPA, were stopped because they were poorly written but the real reason had to do with the power of messaging and branding.

Let’s face it: bad laws are passed everyday. In 2009-2010, Congress passed 8,970 bills alone. Most of the time, things go by unnoticed. SOPA and PIPA had great intentions (even praised by their strongest opponents) to deter piracy but their problem had to do with messaging. Both bills had been making steady progress for months with bi-partisan support and hardly any opposition. However, during the last several weeks, things exploded online when major Internet companies such as Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook got involved. A lot of things were said about the bill that weren’t true…but by then, it didn’t matter. People were buying the new story: SOPA and PIPA would “break the Internet.”

This is what they did wrong from a marketing perspective:

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