Devo got loads of press by letting fans choose everything from the songs on their new album to the color of their hats. If you’re secure enough to make your own wardrobe decisions, you can get useful feedback on your songs by conducting a focus group on Jango. It only cost me $75 to play 12 of my songs to targeted listeners 3,000 times in a single day. The information I gleaned helped me select which track would open my new album, and persuaded me to cut two others.
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I’d like to take a moment to step away from our regularly scheduled programming of marketing, PR, fan funding, digital downloads, the future of the music business, what works for an artist and what doesn’t to thank one artist in particular for reminding us what is most important.
One week ago Matthew Leone, bass player for the Chicago based band Madina Lake was rushed to the hospital after incurring several broken bones and head trauma when he heroically intervened in a domestic dispute between a husband and wife near his home.
Jonathan Ostrow: Why Music Should Never Be Given Away For Free.
Bruce Warila: Eight Recent Social and Technical Phenomena That Are Making Your Music The Only Thing That Matters To Your Success.
Chris Taylor: 12 Must-Have iPhone Apps For The Musician On-The-Go.
Ariel Hyatt: Crowd funding Week 2: Feeling Confronted & Insecure, But Pushing Ahead.
Chris Bracco: How to Track the Results of Your Hard Work.
Artist Phil Putnam and Brian Meece of Rockethub are continuing their journey of blogging about the journey through Crowd funding their projects.
Phil was in the office this week and he admitted to me how the roller coaster feels while riding it… the way he explained it makes a lot of sense: When you are interacting with your fans on Facebook or any social media there is an easy give and take. When you are asking for money the paradigm shifts and all of a sudden its a different story.
Interestingly enough there is an article in SPIN Magazine this month that quotes a few artists and their own experiences. Artist Momus was quoted saying that: I felt like a carnival barker.” and Jill Sobule who has been heavily covered all over the blogosphere and in the media about her fan funding said: “At times I felt too much like a business person.” Two very interesting takes on it.
After sending out all of your pitch e-mails and following up, you will probably receive a healthy amount of replies from bloggers. It’s really fun to get all psyched up about this, reply immediately, and watch the features pop-up all over the web. However, while basking in promotional glory, many artists completely forget the most important part of the entire process: tracking the results of your hard work!
The main reasons for undergoing a full-fledged music blog promotion campaign are to raise awareness about your music, and drive web traffic back to your official website, where people can interact with you, become fans, and ultimately buy whatever it is you are selling (CD’s, digital downloads, Uzi-Shaped USB drives, t-shirts, sock puppets, etc). Don’t just blindly assume that your web traffic, number of fans, and online sales will automatically increase because of your recent efforts in blog promotion. There are tons of tips and tools out there that can help you track and measure the effectiveness of your blog promotion, so you can figure out what worked and what didn’t. Try some (preferably all) of the following simple methods to track the overall effectiveness of your blog promotion campaign:
What you need, is a way to turn this seemingly one-sided transaction, into one that is mutually beneficial. You essentially want to continue charging for your product, but in a way that replaces value in terms of money with that of brand growth. Consider charging for your music using social currency, which would put you in the position to receive a tangible return that would increase your reputation and reach, rather than increase your bank account.
The following are a few different ways for you to charge for your music using social currency:
Eight Recent Social and Technical Phenomena That Are Making Your Music The Only Thing That Matters To Your Success.
I will argue here (just to be controversial) that prior to becoming popular (as in financially viable), you could choose to have no website, no Facebook fan page, no widgets, no videos, no album, no twitter, no centralized location on the Internet, and never do much of anything on the Internet that could be called self-promotion, and that your fans can and could effortlessly do everything for you now; including the recording and the distribution of your music.
Moreover, I will also stipulate that all the stuff I just listed above is practically a waste of your time now, as it’s all being steamrolled anyways. See the list below:
Social Amplification. With the unprecedented, widespread use of social utilities like Facebook and Twitter, hundreds of millions humans now have super simple mechanisms that enable all of us to rapidly connect, communicate, and share thoughts and stuff between targeted and/or widespread groups of people. Collectively, people are currently doing this billions of times a day.
These days, everyone is “on-the-go” and chances are if you own an iPhone you’ve recognized the fact that you’ve got a lot going on and you don’t have the time to sit in front of your computer trying to get your music to the masses. These apps are specifically for you, the musician that wants to stay connected and enhance your career, even if you’re on the train, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or waiting to meet with the executive of a record label. These apps will help you promote your music, stay connected with your fans, and even create music while on the move.
I spend a lot of time thinking about how artists can make money and writing about how artosts can make money. One of the newer topics I am covering in my talks at music conferences and on my vlog series Sound Advice is crowdfunding.
Many artists that I speak to seem interested in crowdfunding but many seem hesitant because they don’t think its OK to ask their fans for money or can’t figure out what exactly to offer them.
This week artist Phil Putnam (who is also the sales director at Ariel Publicity and a Cyber PR artist) and Brian Meece the founder of Rockethub.com have started a new blog series called “The In-Crowd” which is insiders look at crowdfunding, and will answer these questions and many more that you may have about this topic.
Each Monday, the boys are giving us an honest look at a crowdfunding project in action and dish on how things are going. Phil is not only talented and a fantastic sales director, he is also hilarious and this blog series promises to be informative and fun.
I will be cross posting here with my two cents and I would very much love to hear about your journeys with crowdfunding. This first post will give you the 411 on crowdfunding a well as some solid advice from Phil on what you need to have in place before you attempt to launch your own project.
An incredibly poorly named article but one that seemed to be well received.
How do I find a music manager? How do I find a booking agent? I just need to find someone to get my music to the next level. I’ve heard these questions and statements before and fifteen or so years ago I sounded exactly like this. As it turns out I wound up on the industry side of the fence and traded in the crowded smelly van for a record company desk job but I do have some answers for you. Chances are you won’t like what I am going to tell you but I implore you to keep reading.
Let’s start at the very beginning – do you have anything to manage? I know – sounds like a stupid question, but is it? I’m not asking you if you have lots of work that you could use help with, nor am I making light of the pure volume of work that is the creation of both recorded and live music. What I am asking you is do you have something ready to bring to market that needs managing or are you still building out your product? There is no shame (I’ll repeat it again) NO SHAME in being in the developmental phases of your career. We live in an instant gratification kind of world, which is why when I write articles like this I know statistically that a majority of people won’t have made it this far because they were looking for a “get famous now” button. Take your time and develop your product – this will help you rise above the MILLIONS of other people who went out to guitar center purchased their first instrument and recording gear and had the first song they ever wrote up on MySpace the next day hoping for some kind of miracle won’t ever come.
I work in the music industry as a singer songwriter and record company director. I have been running my own record label ‘Redhed Records’ for the last 5 years and am grappling with the vast changes in the way music is marketed and accessed.
To me there seems to be two quite distinct routes to introduce and bring an artist to the attention of a music lover.
Historically, the traditional and familiar model the major record companies have used for the last 60 years to create successful album and ticket selling artists. Our stars appear from no-where and as if by magic are suddenly all over our TV’s, radios, magazines, stages and generally flooding our consciousness. The gorgeous, sexy demi-gods alongside the unique, talented and bizarre conspire to create the magical and heady business of Rock and Roll. In reality, sexy, talented or not, they are also at the forefront of a very strategic, powerful, clever and expensive marketing campaign known as ‘The Big Push’. Audibly and visually bombarded we become buyers.
Part of the reason it worked, I think, was the inherent mystery of the whole thing. It created potency. Working as a team, the artist’s star quality and the environment that was created for them by the label was an unstoppable force with the inner workings remaining just that. Now, however, with the huge popular success of the reality TV shows the internal, commercial machinations are well exposed and the artists revealed as little more than fronts for much less attractive mortals.
Who is responsible for exposing the process and bursting this particular bubble? Is it Simon Cowell for showing us Leona Lewis working in the call centre before entering the X factor on prime time TV? Do we believe it now when we see her glammed up on the front cover of vogue?
Writing an excellent pitch letter is really an art form in itself. Popular music bloggers receive TONS of e-mail daily, and it’s impossible for most of them to read and respond to every single submission that they get from an artist. So how do you stand out in the crowd, and make sure that bloggers open up YOUR e-mail while scanning their inboxes?
First and foremost, your pitch letters have to be personalized. This doesn’t mean that you have to start from scratch with every e-mail you send, but there should be at least a sentence or two (preferably a paragraph) tailored specifically to the blogger you are e-mailing. Your pitch needs to sound more like a conversation, and less like an actual pitch. If your e-mails usually sound dry and generic, then you’re e-mail will be instantly lost, forgotten about, and/or deleted from the blogger’s inbox. Here are (in my opinion) the ESSENTIAL steps to follow in order to craft the perfect music blog pitch letter:
The history of Rock music, like that of virtually any prominent cultural form, is constituted by a series of chaotic changes during its relatively short lifespan. From our own particular historical vantage point, more than forty years after rock’s “golden age” (roughly, the late 1960s), it is now possible to identify and ascribe cause to some of these historical changes. Of course, for any rock fan, the various narratives and value systems that make up rock culture are so familiar that they have assumed the shapes of reproducible clichés. The narrative of rock as music for the “rebel” has been reworded, reconstituted, and resold so often that it has required constant revision in order to remain fresh (and, by extension, to continue to fit into its own definition as “rebellious music”).
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(Updated Feb 25, 2014)