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Monday
Jul252011

How I Got 96 Album Cover Designs for $145 (and why I'll never do it again)

Quality graphic design is expensive. I paid $500 just to license the cover image for my last album, plus $600 for the rest of the design. That’s fine every couple of years, but now that I’m releasing songs individually, I need a cover design every month or two. I decided to give 99designs a try, and the results far exceeded my expectations. For $145, I got 96 custom designs from 33 different designers. Sure, some were amateur, but a solid half were usable, and a handful were excellent.

Sound too good to be true?

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Friday
Jul222011

Artist Advice: Tools to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed by Twitter

This article is by Brendan Moore (@webmusicguy), Founder of Receptive Music, a digital marketing agency that makes the web work for artists.

 If you ever wonder how someone following 10,000 people can possibly keep up with their timeline, they either: 1) Don’t, or 2) Use some of the tactics below.

If you continually follow new people on Twitter, you will quickly get a couple hundred (to thousands) of people you are following, and your Twitter timeline will move way too fast to stay up-to-date with.  Worse than that, you will have lost context of who all these people are that you decided to follow.  Here’s how to stay organized:  

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Thursday
Jul212011

Brand Bands Together: Bridging the Gap Between Cliquey Music Scenes

Artists sometimes have trouble making friends with regular people. Especially if they’re eccentric artists. This can hurt their potential success, given that a large fan base consists mostly of regular type people. The good news is, artists can usually do well at befriending other artists–of greater or lesser eccentricity. When artists become friends with each other and start forming communities, scenes, etc., their momentum often leads to artistic movements. What began as local movements ultimately end up influencing global trends and styles in music, fashion, film, and the list goes on.

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Wednesday
Jul202011

Marketing Music Through Non-Linear Communication: The Ecosystem Of Fans, Artist & Label

This contribution is by Bas Grasmayer (@Spartz), head of online communication at official.fm, a d.i.y. platform for music creators and content owners. Be remarkable, be easy to discover, turn your fanbase into a party, connect, listen. Those were the final words of my article when I introduced my thesis’ main theory of the ecosystem of fans on hypebot back in March. Being a perfectionist, I’ve been waiting with the public release of my thesis until I felt that the layout matched the content. I teamed up with a wonderful designer called Ryan Van Etten, who built an amazing site for this thesis, which you can visit at http://basbasbas.com/thesis (and the entire thing is available in its entirety for free).

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Tuesday
Jul192011

What are the odds of succeeding WITH a record deal?

If your aim as an artist is to purely chase a record deal as a means to succeeding in this business, I will tell you right now that you are doomed for failure. You can throw all the trumped up statistics around that you want, but fundamentally your chances of actually landing a record deal are extremely slim. Furthermore, your chances of actually making money directly from that deal are pretty much zero.

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Monday
Jul182011

Make That Five Tips for Your Domain

Hypebot posted a nice article with three tips about your own domain. Good tips. But I want to add two more tips that I think are even more important and come from my personal experience working with many clients.

1. Auto Renew – Set your domain to auto renew. Just do it! I promise you will not be sorry. This means that when your domain expires it will automatically be renewed, with no interruptions. I have had too many experiences with clients, large and small, who did not auto renew their domain and did not notice the emails being sent to them to alert them to the need to renew. One day somebody notices the website is down and the panic begins. The scramble begins to quickly get the domain renewed and back online, in the meantime your site is down and often replaced with a generic page. This leads into tip number two.

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Friday
Jul152011

Is Anti-Marketing Right For Your Band?

Some indie bands are purposely obscuring their names, hiding their faces, and refusing interviews as a means of image-management. Is this a good idea for your band?

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Thursday
Jul142011

Musician's Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools & Sites - Turntable.fm

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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Wednesday
Jul132011

The Importance of Creating Momentum

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.

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Tuesday
Jul122011

The Adventures Of Co-writing

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.

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Monday
Jul112011

Is the future of music in the clouds?

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:

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Friday
Jul082011

How to Structure a Company to Succeed in the Current Music Industry

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.

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Thursday
Jul072011

ODDS ARE… (A response to What are the odds of succeeding without a record label?)

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.

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Tuesday
Jul052011

Call To Indie Artists: Stop Giving Your Music Away Free

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.

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