Last week I went to Nashville to guest lecture at my Cyber PR® Course at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). The class has 18 amazing students in it. 17 of them are certain they want to create careers in the Music Industry. I believe that they can. I told them hat the best way to do this is to follow the path of the entrepreneur and not the path of the CEO. They shared with me their visions for their own futures and I will be posting much more about them here in the coming weeks. This is the 4th installment on entrepreneurial leaders in the music business for Music Industry and Music Business students, so that they can begin to follow their paths and look to them for inspiration. This weeks inspiration comes from a man who inspires me deeply. Why? Because of him and his vision (which was born out of just one frustrating political conversation) there are now 175,000 new registered voters and a network of 8,000 volunteers working to make a difference for the future of our country. Please meet Andy Bernstein who like so many of us started as a fan…
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We like to think of the web as one big, endless, interconnected net of relationship fibers where a tug on a single fiber causes random ripples and pulls all across the entire net; that somehow a path will emerge, narrow as it may be, where a ripple can travel from one corner of the net to the other; and that if you - the music marketer - could only simultaneously pull enough social strings, your message would be riding on a magic carpet instead of a string.
However If the ripple effect worked on the social web, then how come artists with hundreds of thousands of followers and many thousands of fans have so much trouble creating sustainable engagement where the ripples are broad enough (to live upon) or at least endless? Songs often don’t find their intended audiences, seats go unfilled, videos don’t go viral, and messages get quickly swallowed in a sea of social noise. It happens every day; it happens to almost every artist on earth; and the exceptions are rarer than you think.
The right mindframe is to “find fans” not to “make fans”. Let me explain.
Music merchandise has always been important to bands, both as a source of revenue and to help raise awareness of your ‘brand’. Fans love buying merch too - the music we like is closely tied in with our identity, and wearing a band’s t-shirt is a way of showing off that identity to others. Now, merch is more important than ever as a way of making money. For many independent artists, the music itself is almost a ‘loss leader’ - given away to promote live shows and merchandise. But what should you sell, and what’s the best way to sell it?
As musicians we’re all constant works-in-progress. Picture a your favorite musical moments from even the most gifted of musicians/artists alike and I guarantee you at some point one of them will admit that during one of those times, they felt they were not performing to the best of their capabilities. It’s an inevitable facet of the human existence, and a necessary hurdle to jump early on in your artistic career. Plain and simple. We cant be “on” everyday. On the flipside, there are things we CAN do to eliminate this truth from ever obstructing our creative improvement ever again.
It’s similar to the adage of “doing the best you can,” and in the unavoidable events where things still go awry, it means cultivating a resilience that comes from being experienced enough that your “mistakes” are good ones- or not noticeably mistakes at all.
I’m continuing the Music Marketing Experts FAQs where my favorite gods and goddesses of online marketing and Social Media promotion share with me the questions they get asked the most by musicians.
What’s most important as a promotional tool; Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube?
I’ve started to notice a trend. Radio doesn’t like the internet. Actually, most of the music industry doesn’t like the internet. The traditional music industry can’t do much about file sharing, loss of their brand, the flattening of recording technology, etc, but they can do something about radio and traditional media. They can use their power in both worlds to ignore nearly every music star the internet has created.
Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has launched a groundbreaking research project called Artist Revenue Streams, where we ask US-based musicians and composers, “How do YOU make Money from Music?” Project Co-Director Kristin Thomson from FMC explains in this MTT post where they idea came from for this research and why it’s so important that every musician or composer in the US takes this online survey, which is available at http://futureofmusic.org/ars until October 28, 2011.
I asked 5 of my favorite gods and goddesses of online marketing and Social Media promotion to share with me the top questions they get asked the most by musicians. Then I sent them around for all of us to answer. I’m going to kick off this installment with a question Bobby Owsinski ofte gets asked. Here’s the first one: It’s obvious and so simple! Why does social networking take so much time?
BMI began sending communication regarding the restaurant’s lack of proper licensing back in September of 2009, but it wasn’t until May of 2010 that BMI even bothered to visit Fosters to verify that the business was actually playing unlicensed music. (From page 32 of the PDF.)So without verifying anything, BMI starts demanding payment from a restaurant for “Piracy”.
This is how the mafia demands “protection”.
Most musicians or artists think of only one or two aspects of their career; music and social networking. I find that most musicians just go through the motions not really giving it their all especially when it comes to social networking. In order to improve your skills as a musician, get more gigs and make more money you have to think outside of the box. Improvisation is a key asset to your bag of tricks and can pay you back ten fold. If you always practice what you know you will never learn anything new or improve your craft and skill set. Trying new things out and getting out of your comfort zone forces you to expand your mind with the side effect being some potential hit tunes on your hand. More importantly it will help you to bridge out of your genre of music, once you get good, and allow you to diversify your income potential by taking on other projects or gigs. This article however is not about making better music or writing hit records, it’s about doing simple steps with social networking, like improvisation, that will pay off in the future.
Allegedly, Pandora now controls 3.6% of radio listening. This is an impressive figure, but, to me, a disturbing one. We’ve all spent the last few years touting how the Internet has changed music distribution and flattened the playing field so that everyone has equal access to distribution. Traditional terrestrial radio, with ever-shrinking playlists that contain almost new music certainly aren’t designed to appeal to a future audience, they are designed to grasp onto a shrinking past audience.
How Jail-Time and Cults Can Help Your Band Become Successful, PART 1: A Poll of Leaders from Bandcamp, CD Baby, FanBridge, ReverbNation, Topspin Media, and More
The founders and leaders of web-based services for the music industry have the unique opportunity to see what musicians are doing to build awareness among fans and what they are doing to amplify their story
through the media. I polled seven such thinkers with the question: Can you tell us about a band or two whose STORY has helped their careers? They told me compelling stories about jail-time, tragedy, and cults, but also about crowd-sourcing band members, using technology to answer fan questions, and giving fans ownership of a band. Here is part one of two:
I just found a brand new website called Shoutomatic.com that lets you record audio updates to easily post to Facebook and Twitter, as well as posting a audio widget on your website.
Shoutomatic.com is extremely simple, I have already done a couple “Shouts” to test out the service. Here is a link to my profile on the site if you want to hear a couple examples of what I did. They also have good video help to show you how to use all the features.
There are three ways you can record audio:
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