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Wednesday
Apr132011

The Problem With Releasing A Single Each Month

This is a matter that I’ve struggled with, going back and forth. Should I release full length albums in this new music era or should I be releasing singles once per month? I was leaning towards releasing a single each month for one reason: consistent fan engagement. It’s good to always have something new to talk about with your fans!

But then, I ran into a problem - a few weeks isn’t enough time to promote a song in any kind of impactful/effective way, especially when you are an independent artist. You’ve barely promoted that song before you’ve moved onto the next one. And from the fan engagement standpoint, I found many of them didn’t know I had certain songs out. For whatever reason, all of the fans don’t pay attention all of the time. So if there’s no sustained attention/focus on the promotion of a particular release, it’s hard for people to know it exists.

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Tuesday
Apr122011

Introduction: How I Became a Broadway Musician

I played keyboards on my first Broadway show a few weeks ago. For me, this is a milestone in my career and marks the achievement of a major life goal that I’ve been working toward for over 20 years. When I first decided I wanted to play keyboards on Broadway – and this will be a reoccurring theme – I had no idea where to start. There were a lot of very generous musicians who helped guide me along the way. So in an effort to pay back that kindness, and in the hopes that this might help somebody out there with similar goals, I’m going to tell you the story of how I got my gig.

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Monday
Apr112011

Is The New Digital Ecology More In Harmony With Music Than The Industrial Model Ever Was? 

In ‘Chaos We Can Stand: Attitudes Toward Technology and Their Impact on the New Digital Ecology’, a recent post on Music Think Tank, Kyle Bylin discusses the collapse of the record industry, with reference to Clay Shirky’s ideas about a new digital ecology and  “cognitive surplus”. 

Fundamentally, this is a transition from a situation of controlled scarcity of creative ‘product’ from a few major players to a flood of creative material as the previous barriers to entry have been demolished. As internet use replaces television watching, and freely available online tools enable learning, creativity, sharing and collaboration, people are shifting from being passive consumers to active participants and creators. 

Suddenly there is a surplus of ideas, an abundance of creative content. One of the overwhelming problems faced by musicians today is the difficulty of ‘standing out’ and being heard above the noise, not drowned out by the herd.

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Monday
Apr112011

The Fuss

Most - if not all - artists strive for some form of attention whether it be adulation, respect, being remembered or being talked about. It may happen as a result of a lot of work out on the road, or as the result of sheer luck, but more often than not it is the result of the fuss.

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Friday
Apr082011

5 Psychological Principles To Help You Sell More Music

In the past decades, dozens of books have been published about human behavior and the science of persuasion. These books reveal psychological foundations of many marketing-techniques and scrutinize how people make choices and how they are influenced. 

One of the classic books in this genre is Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion. It’s written by the social psychologist Robert B. Cialdini and although it dates from more than 25 years ago, the book is still relevant today. It provides insights in psychological principles that can be applied to a broad range of fields, including music. 

As a musician or label-owner though, you might not have the time to immerse yourself in the psychology of persuasion. Therefore, to save you some time and to help you get acquainted with these essential principles, here are five proven psychological principles from Cialdini. Being aware of these techniques will help you with selling your music, your merchandising or tickets. Let’s get started right away with the first psychological principle!

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Thursday
Apr072011

Shift Happens: A Lesson in Coping with Music Industry Change

Here’s a quick story about change that might surprise you …

Leo and Harry knew firsthand that new technology has the power it turn the status quo on its head.

They were part of an economic boom in the music industry that allowed songs to spread faster and more efficiently to more people than ever before.

The movement they were part of had the additional effect of encouraging amateur musicians to participate in music in ways they had never been able to in prior years. The wave Leo and Harry helped create affected the entire music industry.

However, within a short period of time, an even newer technology came along that disrupted everything. The stable business model these two men built and profited from began to crumble.

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Wednesday
Apr062011

Chaos We Can Stand: Attitudes Toward Technology and Their Impact on the New Digital Ecology

I. Where Salvation Lies

Upon discovering that I had relatively poor vision in the seventh grade—difficulties seeing the whiteboard and anything from afar—it was understood that I would need to get glasses. Not just any glasses though, the specific style that I wanted were those worn by the front man of the rock group Linkin Park, Chester Bennington; they were thick-framed, black glasses, and in my mind, they looked amazing—on him. As it would turn out, the glasses looked less than stellar on me and I got a completely different pair.

Back then, I was an adamant fan of Linkin Park. In desiring to align characteristics of their identity with my own, the thought of looking like Bennington and wearing his glasses seemed like a logical expression of self.

I knew all the lyrics, saw every music video, and owned all of the albums.

Members of Linkin Park were not aware of my existence—camped out on a farm in the backwoods of North Dakota—but I felt a compelling bond towards them and their music. Social scientists characterize this kind of one-sided relationship as “parasocial” in nature. I knew everything about Linkin Park, but they were not privy in the slightest way to the particulars of my life. Much of my relationship with the group slanted more towards the illusion of interaction than of actual social interaction. Mass media outlets served as intermediaries between us.

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Tuesday
Apr052011

Musician Email List Etiquette

Your new album has just been released, or maybe you’ve just booked a huge show. Time to email everybody you know! Before you add your entire address book to the “To:” field of a new email, consider a few points of email list etiquette. By respecting the recipients of your mass emails, you’ll have far better results from your efforts, build stronger relationships with your fans, and build a healthy email list.

I’ve been maintaining my own email list for about seven years, and along the way have found many ways to gain, and lose, subscribers. I’ve also been added to many email lists, sometimes willingly, often not,but always tried to learn from other artists’ email newsletters.

There are numerous services available to help you maintain your email list. Some are free, others cost money depending on the size of your list and the features you want to install. Look at the bottom of the emails you get from different bands and you’ll find links to some of these services. I highly recommend you find one that suits you to make this whole process easier.

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Friday
Apr012011

8 Reasons Why You Need to Have Your Own Website

I was asked to write a guest blog on the topic of why it is important to have your own website. Well for whatever reason the blog was never posted and episode two of The Music Biz Weekly podcast reminded me that I still have this blog and that I should post it. This is a topic that I am passionate about. Let me make this clear, you must have your own website. Let me say that again… you need to have your own website.

Great social networks will come and go, and they are all important. You should be active on as many as possible. They are all great places to extend your website, extend your brand and presence. But everything should come back to your website.

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Thursday
Mar312011

Turning TV Placements Into Fan Engagement: Lessons From Mr. Robotic – In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Episode X - Part 2

AH:  How many die-hard fans would you say you have? (Meaning; fans that will buy everything and anything from you?)

Mr. R: I have about 112 that would buy anything from me. They are in a special group in my email list. The rest I know would definitely buy music.

This is great strategy!  Mr. Robotic has separated his diehard fans into a special group so he can better communicate with them and they probably won’t mind extra communication since they are in his Community 1 – his Super Fans

AH:  How do you use analytics to your advantage? Do measurements help you with your career?

Mr. R:  I use Google Analytics for my website. To see how many visitors I get and if I get a TV placement how many people come to my site on that day. I also use analytics on YouTube to see where the majority of people who are watching my videos live.  This helps me see where my fans are to get shows in those areas.

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Tuesday
Mar292011

The Facebook Dilemma: "New" Media, Just Like the "Old" Media

You can’t live without it.

And you can’t live with it, either.

In the past week, if you have been trying to access the Facebook page for The 1861 Project and wonder why you keep winding up at your own homepage, I have a tale of woe for you.  Bear with me here, it’s a bit of a shaggy dog story…

Two weeks ago I created a Facebook “Fan” page for The 1861 Project. Within the “page,” I added some features using a service called DamnTheRadio (DTR), which adds audio and video to a Facebook page, along with the option to lock some of the content behind the “Like” button.

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Monday
Mar282011

10 Pieces of Essential Content For Your Band's Website

If you’re a musician or in a band that’s trying to get your music out to the world, your website is a valuable marketing tool. Your website helps your fans, bloggers, and journalists find out who you are, what you sound like, and where you’re playing. It’s important that your website contains content for all types of visitors, from fans - current and potential - to booking agents and media outlets. Below are ten essential elements that every band’s website should have.

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Thursday
Mar242011

The Musician’s Guide To Affordable, Effective Websites Part 2

This is a response to Ariel Hyatt’s recent post ‘The Musician’s Guide To Affordable, Effective Websites’. In this article, Ariel outlines the fact that all musicians should have a website, and goes on to detail how you can set one up on a tight budget. In this article however, I want to elaborate on some of the points she makes, and give you an alternative method to setting up a lot cost website. As I’m sure you know, there’s more then one way to skin a cat, and today I’m going to show you a method that has worked well for me.

I’ve already outlined step by step how to build a music website, but today I’m going to be looking at the reasoning behind each of these decisions, so you can yourself decide if they’re right for you. I will also be looking at the set up cost, so you will know how much something like this will set you back. Considering what it costs to get a ‘professional’ to set up a website for you, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised…

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Thursday
Mar242011

Turning TV Placements Into Fan Engagement: Lessons From Mr. Robotic - In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Episode X

A few weeks ago I got a tweet from Mr. Robotic, asking if I could include him in my In Defense of 1,000 True Fans series.  I love meeting people via social media, and what follows is the first artist who has approached me to tell his own story.  It’s the perfect roadmap of how to take full advantage precious TV placements.  Instead of the usual interview, I’m combining my “How To” article format (Sound Advice) with this In Defense of 1,000 True Fans piece, giving you an action plan. This article is so long it will be delivered in 2 parts.

When I teach master classes to artists I often get asked:  How do I leverage a TV placement? 

Creating more fans and friends from a hard earned TV or film placement takes a combination of fast action and solid strategy. In the end as evidenced here by Mr. Robotic, this combination can really pay off!

First: A back-story and a word of precaution: I have stood by and watched helplessly now as two of my Cyber PR® clients (who shall remain nameless) have been included in NATIONAL TV spots (one on an Apple commercial and one on a car commercial) and completely squandered these massive opportunities to make new fans.

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