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Saturday
Jul122014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Swimming Upstream

Wednesday
Jul092014

Swimming Upstream

Since releasing my first digital album back in 2002, technology has played a crucial role in the distribution of the music I create. At that time, CDs were still the way folks listened to music but sales were definitely well in decline. Napster had scared the crap out of the music industry and was shut down for good. Mp3s were all the rage and there were these things called iPods that were changing the way people consumed their favorite songs and albums.

Thanks to archive.org and Creative Commons, I was able to distribute my music free of charge to my listeners without fear of the music being used for commercial purposes. I’d release a concept album that could be downloaded and enjoyed around the world. At the time, this was a novel idea for an independent artist.

 

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Monday
Jul072014

6 Artists Who Are Amazing At Twitter – And What You Can Learn From Them

Let’s not beat around the bush: tweeting is easy. Even the most cursory glance at the Twitter feed of just about any celebrity will prove this point. For example, it probably didn’t take Ashanti very long to come up with her classic “Hey yalll!!! What do u think about face book??” So it’s true that tweeting is easy, but using Twitter as an effective tool to engage with your fan base and build your career - is hard. Lucky for you, there are a few musical artists who have Twitter figured out so why not learn from them and see what you can apply to your own future tweets.

 

You could choose to forgo basing your Twitter identity on your music at all. Seems counterintuitive but some people make it work for them, like Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. He tweets almost nothing about what he sings about, but tirelessly about political and social issues he cares about.

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Saturday
Jul052014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Tips From Jack Conte: 6 Keys to Success

Tuesday
Jul012014

Can LANDR Replace Your Mastering Engineer?

Drag-and-drop online mastering is here, and it’s free to try. LANDR provides unlimited 192 kbps mp3 masters of your tracks in seconds.

If you like what you hear, you can pay for uncompressed 16-bit .wav masters. Pricing is very reasonable at $9 for four or $19 for unlimited masters per month. Paid users also get to select the “intensity” of the mastering: low, medium (the default), or high.

Their algorithms were refined over eight years of university research, and they even have a resident astrophysicist. An astrophysicist!

Guess this mastering engineer is out of a job, right?

To find out, I selected tracks from three recent mastering jobs, to compare my results with LANDR’s.

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Monday
Jun302014

Tips From Jack Conte: 6 Keys to Success

The new music industry is really about finding your own path - one that is unique to your music and career. That’s exactly what Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn did with Pomplamoose and it is the foundation on which Jack’s new endeavour, Patreon, is built. Pomplamoose and Patreon may not be names you see plastered all over billboards and flashy advertisements, but Jack and Nataly have made a sustainable career for themselves, and that is something all musicians should strive for.


Recently, I talked to Jack Conte about some of the tips and strategies that have gotten him to where he is today - living comfortably as a musician and CEO. He gave me some really great advice that you could be incorporating into your music career right now. Here’s a few tips, but we’ve got a full hour of information for you that you can check out in this free webinar.

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Saturday
Jun282014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: What I Learned From Releasing Monthly Music Videos for a Year

Thursday
Jun262014

What I Learned From Releasing Monthly Music Videos for a Year

Over the last year, people have been responding to me differently. They view me as someone who is a famous, successful musician… People want to be part of a winning enterprise and they are star struck because they have watched my content on-line and know that many others have as well. I can command more a higher fee for concerts becasue people’s perceptions of how much I am worth as an artist has changed.

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Tuesday
Jun242014

YouTube is NOT removing music! Well... probably not yours anyway.

For the past 3-4 days, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing from artists and local labels asking why YouTube is going to be removing their music. For those that haven’t already heard, YouTube (owned by Google) is planning on launching its own subscription music service soon. It has been in negotiations with the 3 major record labels and the independent labels to set a rate for their music used in the new service. The details of these deals has been kept very quiet, but apparently the Big 3 have already signed on, as have most of the independents. Only a small percentage of indies are holding out for better rates. 

The big swirl of confusion started a few days ago when the Financial Times website posted a story quoting YouTube exec Robert Kyncl, stating music could start being removed in a couple of days. This sent “the internets” into a frenzy, and is what began my phone ringing.

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Saturday
Jun212014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How One Generation Was Single-Handedly Able To Kill The Music Industry

Thursday
Jun192014

3 Ways Musicians Can Learn from Other Industries

When I was in my MBA program, I often learned more about business from business owners (and running one myself) than the instructor. Usually, the people out in the field have a different perspective than those who are teaching. With the music industry, you have experts who come at it from many different angles: managers, lawyers, record labels, promoters, booking agents, publicists, journalists, solo artists, bands, studio musicians/session players, academics, consultants, and more. One of my favorite ways of learning is to study how other people are approaching their music career. Another is to look completely outside of the music industry itself.

When I want to improve on something specific, I often see what other successful artists are doing. This can be anything from a website layout, social media posts, biographies, and press kits to music videos, color palettes, song formats, and live performances. I often keep a portfolio of these artists’ work to monitor trends, key words, and imagery. It’s like having a list of reference songs in the studio when recording and mixing: the collection becomes a good point of reference to compare against.

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Tuesday
Jun172014

How One Generation Was Single-Handedly Able To Kill The Music Industry

We’re in the midst of the greatest music industry disruption of the past 100 years. A fundamental shift has occurred — a shift that Millennials are driving.

For the first time, record sales aren’t enough to make an artist’s career, and they certainly aren’t enough to ensure success. The old music industry clung desperately to sales to survive, but that model is long gone.

Even superstars have it tough. Pitbull — despite having 50 million Facebook fans and nearly 170 million YouTube plays — has sold less than 10 million albums in his entire career. This is the reality of the new music industry, which is built off of liquid attention, not record sales.

Why?

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Saturday
Jun142014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 7 Dangers To Watch Out For When Considering Music Promotion Services

Thursday
Jun122014

7 Dangers To Watch Out For When Considering Music Promotion Services

Almost every artist who approaches me has had one or more negative experiences with music promotion in the past, and this is largely due to the “quick fix syndrome” on behalf of both individuals who engage in the partnership. First of all, there are the automated music marketing services who I tend to call the internet cowboys. They offer progress and lavish promises at the push of a button. Facebook likes? You got it. Youtube views? Not a problem. Get your press release on the desk of thousands of journalists? We do that too.

The artists who tango with these folks also suffer from the quick fix syndrome. Rather than build a team of people and gain fans organically one by one, they aim for the mountaintop, neglecting to do the proper research or seek out the proof that Google can provide.

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