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Considering making an original music video?
You may want to check out the 7 tips below to save you time, money and added stress. I just completed my first music video after more than three years of investment where I learned these lessons directly…the hard way. I’m now working on my second video and vowed to avoid the same pitfalls by following these lessons. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes!
1 . Always have signed contracts no matter what. In the beginning, it is usually such a love fest between you and the the very people you want to hire to help realize your vision. They get it!
Search engine optimization (SEO) often gets passed off as a sort of snake oil — some gimmicky trick that people do to manipulate search results in their favor.
SEO is really about one thing: making what your website is about clear to people and bots alike. There’s no tricks or gimmicks, and if you can make a website or manage a wordpress installation, you can do some very simple things to make your website more search engine and people friendly.
How People Search
When someone enters a query into Google, the google algorithm returns results that it thinks are relevant. Many factors contribute, and we’re really not exactly sure what they are — Google, and other search engines, are pretty hush-hush about this. So SEO is a lot of educated guesstimation combined with a bit of common sense.
John McCrea, lead singer of the band Cake, stirred up a reaction when he told NPR’s Melissa Block that he is skeptical about the future of music as a vocation.
“I see music as a really great hobby for most people in five or 10 years,” he remarked.
Keep in mind this was part of a segment about Cake’s historic new album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in January. It was historic because the album earned the coveted ranking by selling just 44,000 copies — the lowest amount for a No. 1 in the 20-year history of calculating record sales.
I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and blog posts lately about the doom and gloom of the music biz — including depressing news about the state of independent music. There have been references to the failure of direct-to-fan as a business model, and the harsh realities that aspiring musicians, managers, and promoters face.
Really? Give me a break!
To get someone to visit your band’s website, they need to have the intent to do so – put in other words, they need to get something out of it for it to be worth their time, which is why “check out our website” is about as effective as saying “we don’t have a website” as there really is no incentive offered for them to do so.
However, assuming you’ve got that one covered (ie. you have some free downloads, or some awesome photos of your crowd from last nights gig, or maybe even some exclusive videos etc.) here are some techniques to get them to view that content from offline.
Here I’ve suggested five effective methods to take your fans from the real world to the virtual world of the net. Please chip in with your best tips on driving fans online from offline in the comments beneath this article!
Make it easy for your fans to find you online.
Choosing a band or artist name that is search engine optimized (also known as SEO) can help your career down the road.
Yes, many bands have managed to achieve success in spite of unsearchable band names (the band Girls come to mind), but why not make it easy on your fans and choose a name that is easy to search for and find?
Nearly a decade ago, Rhapsody debuted its subscription music service.
Giving fans access to unlimited music for a monthly fee appeared to be the answer to the social epidemic of file-sharing that occurred, and yet they still seem indifferent towards it.
Rhapsody failed to break into the mainstream market, leaving critics to question if it ever will. Many companies including MOG, Rdio, Slacker, and Spotify have since entered the sector too, none of which have had better luck. While Apple’s iPhone gave services a second life, experts argue that they have failed to reach critical mass due to issues of consumer awareness, user retention, smartphone penetration, and software design.
One of the reasons we started MusicianWages.com was because of the huge reservoir of unqualified career advice that was being served to musicians online. I usually keep quiet about the charlatanry tips I find online, but I just can’t pass this one up. It displays the characteristics of bad career advice so acutely that I just have to point it out.
The Busking Alchemist
This article dropped onto my reading list this past weekend. Want To Make $50,000 a Year In Music? Start With One Dollar a Day. There’s a pair of sentences early in this article that are particularly telling. One of the things that mystifies me about this article is why it continues after this:
“Garbage in, garbage out” is a common saying among mastering engineers. The quality of the source material limits the quality of the final product. Most of my clients have no problem following my simple preparation instructions, but they stop there.
They figure once each mix sounds as good as they can get it, they’re done. In fact, there’s a higher level of refinement that pays huge dividends. I’ll break it down in this mastering engineer’s guide to final mixdown (which I promised in an interview back in January - sorry for the delay!).
A big part of my blog, How To Run A Band, is to figure out how to actually make money with music. However, I’ve been talking about giving music away for free, buying fancy tablets, and paying for web hosting. If you look at my “financials” page, you’ll notice a downward trend in money for my guinea pig band Shiplosion.
I am a KISS fan, going back to 1976 when my mom first bought me Rock N’ Roll Over. I remember taking heat in the late 70s at school for liking the band, I heard the phrase “KISS sucks” more than a few times. It also took a lot of courage to wear a KISS t-shirt to school at the time… you became a instant target. I grew up with KISS and their marketing has clearly been a influence on me and business growth. I often tell people I went to the Gene Simmons School of Marketing.
In Defense of 1,000 True Fans Part IX - Theory At Work In Australia - Down Under Series - Part 1: Urthboy
Greetings from Western Australia! As I type this I am in the backseat of a car driving from Perth to Margaret River to enjoy a day of wine tasting and beach before I teach a masterclass to local musicians. I have been invited here by The West Australian Music Industry Association to kick off their workshop series and have so far met and presented to over 200 musicians, labels owners, music industry students and managers. This is my third visit to Australia in 18 months and I love this country. I have been welcome here and have met lifelong friends and some of the most wonderful musicians (knows as “musos” in Aussie speak) on earth.
I’m not saying this to brag or boast, I am saying this to introduce and make a point about 1,000 true fans. Music Think Tank is read by not only artists but also by people who work in and who aspire to work in the music business.
As a hard working entrepreneur in today’s music industry, I constantly think about how I apply the 1,000 true fans philosophy to my business (just like every single artist I work with does). I am not a musician, and I don’t make a living creating music, I am viscerally aware of this fact, but I do make a living working with musicians and my dream to make a difference in their lives by the next generation of future leaders in my industry. My goals involve travelling the world and connecting with people to collaborate with. If I don’t connect well, I don’t get to live that dream.
Two years ago, I wrote an article about finding work in the midst of the recession. Part of the advice I gave was to focus on building clients at schools and churches, as they seemed to be the only institutions surviving the financial crisis.
It’s time for some new advice.
Now, certainly, I’m no economist. I took one, required, econ class in my whole life and I spent most of it looking pretty glassy-eyed. I can only tell you what I’m seeing in my own career and you can tell me in the comments below if you are seeing the same.
The Five Employers of Musicians
There are 5 basic employers for musicians.
The new Britney Spears video for ‘Hold It Against Me’ got me thinking about product placement and monetization possibilities for the music industry.
The video has overt references to Britney’s fragrance Radiance, Makeup Forever, Sony, and the online dating site PlentyOfFish. I have no idea* how much it costs to get into a video that will most likely garner tens of millions of views over time, but I can imagine it is not insignificant. Britney Spears isn’t the only one to include product placement in videos either—Lady Gaga didn’t shy away from video advertising in Telephone and even some rock musicians are starting to go with the trend to make up for lackluster CD sales.
Clearly it’s becoming a staple of the music industry just as it has been in television for a long time. I always enjoy a good product placement bit on 30 Rock.
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(Updated Sept 29, 2014)