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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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Counterfeit Merchandise: The Music Industry’s Unspoken Challenge

For all the talk about illegal streaming, takedown notices and royalty rates, the amount of counterfeit music related merchandise available on websites like Amazon is almost hard to comprehend.  This situation is holding back new revenue opportunities and damaging the artist-fan relationship.  So, where is the outrage from the industry?  How come artists, suppliers and management are so quiet on an issue where there are millions of dollars at stake? 
In a recent survey of merchandise availability for the top 100 U.S. artists, we found while 51 of the artists had merchandise available on Amazon, 47% of these contained nearly all unauthorized items, and a large portion of the remaining 53% contained some questionable items.  Similar surveys substantiated these results, and we confirmed our findings with some of the world largest licensed suppliers.  The deeper we dug, the worse the problem appeared.  It is not just music merchandise, and it is not just Amazon.

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Get More Gigs

In today’s music industry, gigging is a huge revenue for a lot of indie musicians. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of competition for the limited gigs available. Just standing out of the crowd of talented performers can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to grow into cities and towns you’ve never played before.


If, however, you are dedicated and have a strategy in mind when looking for gigs, you’ll have a much better chance of getting noticed. I’ve broken it down into 5 basic tips that you can follow as you’re trying to book more gigs.


1. Collaborate

Collaboration is the first step to this equation. I’m sure you know how hard it is to get a spot in new venues, especially if you’re not yet at the point where you’re working with a booking agent. Venue owners and promoters just feel safer booking a band that they know can fill the room. If, however, you can connect with the bands the promoter knows, you might be able to get gigs you wouldn’t normally have access to.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 18 Ways Musicians Can Make Money


2 Things That You Can Do Today to Start Making Music Industry Contacts

It’s no secret that often in the world music, it’s more about “who you know” than what you know. The industry generally favors pre-existing relationships, whether you are looking for a venue, a sponsor, a review on your new album, or a slot at SXSW. Like it or not, networking can often make or break an act.

Today, focus on taking a few steps closer to your goal by working on your contacts. Here are some of my favorite tips on networking:

  • Start With a Goal in Mind: Before you haphazardly contact just anyone in the music industry, think about what you want to achieve and who some of the people are that might be able to help you. You might also think about how you can help them in return. Most of the time, you’ll make new contacts in social situations but you can also be strategic about who you want to meet and why.

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What Artists Should Know About AudioKite

Has this ever happened to you? You think you’ve written your best song yet, but an offhand remark from a friend plunges you into self-doubt. Wouldn’t it help to have feedback from music fans of your genre who have no incentive to sugar-coat their opinions?

Sure, you say! I’ll just use SoundOut, or ReverbNation Crowd Review (also powered by SoundOut). Unfortunately, my experience with SoundOut, and those of most of the commenters, left a lot to be desired. I’ve also received a mostly useless - but free - focus group from Music Xray, and even repurposed Jango aka Radio Airplay to create my own focus group.

AudioKite has built a better mousetrap. Here’s why:

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18 Ways Musicians Can Make Money

This post originally appeared on the Bandzoogle blog. Dave Cool is the Director of Artist Relations for musician website & marketing platform Bandzoogle. Twitter: @Bandzoogle | @dave_cool

One of the biggest challenges facing musicians is generating income. Gone are the days when a band could rely solely on music sales and touring to earn a living.

Part of the reality of being a working musician today is the need to diversify your revenue streams. Although sales of recorded music have gone down significantly in recent years, there are new sources of income available to musicians.

A mix of traditional and more modern income streams can help today’s musicians earn a living. Here’s a list of 18 ways to generate revenue for your music career:

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How Cover Songs Can Take Your Music Career to the Next Level


6 Things Every Indie Artist Needs To Know In 2014

We’re halfway through the year. If you haven’t been paying attention to the following ideas, it’s time to start.

1. Stop trying to do everything yourself

Think of your career like your social life: you need to get different things from different friends. You have certain friends for when you feel like partying, certain friends for when you want to be coddled, and others who are always good at giving out tough love. And you need all of these people to feel balanced and well-rounded. It’s the same thing with any artist’s music career – no one is good at everything. The most successful artists aren’t the ones who can do it all themselves, but rather the ones who appreciate the value of really smart collaborations and partnerships. Let 2014 be the year that you put a lot of energy into working with amazing, smart, talented people who will make your music better and your career more mobile.

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How Cover Songs Can Take Your Music Career to the Next Level

If you’re a performer and songwriter, of course you want to record and perform your own songs…

But you might be missing out on a very effective and easy way to take your music career to the next level: Cover songs!

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing & Newsletters for Musicians & Bands


The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing & Newsletters for Musicians & Bands

Email marketing is one of the most important elements of digital marketing for bands and musicians.


First of all, it’s one of the only forms of online communication between you and your fans that is entirely future proof and within your control. Think about it - you don’t own your Facebook fans or Twitter followers, Facebook and Twitter do - and it’s entirely legal for them to charge you to reach them.

Email hasn’t changed an awful lot since it was first introduced in 1993. It probably won’t change much in the next decade either.

But that’s not enough for me to recommend it so highly. Email is also incredibly effective when used well. The combination of effectiveness, ease of use, scalability and control are what makes it so appealing, and a powerful tool for savvy musicians.

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Make the Most of Your Email List

One thing a lot of indie artists procrastinate on is tackling their email strategy. There are lots of things you need to get your head around, from which platform or service to use, to what content to include, to how often to send emails. On top of that, you also need to figure out how to get people to actually sign up for your email list - a marketing role that many musicians are uncomfortable with.

Despite all this, your email list is still one of the most powerful assets you have. I’ll break it down into 5 main points so you can easily update your email strategy.


1. Platform

If you don’t already have one set up, you’ll have to choose a platform to send your emails out. If you try sending out an email to hundreds of fans through services like Yahoo and Gmail, it will often get marked as spam or won’t even go through. You can, of course, opt for generic platforms like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Keep in mind though that many services you already use have email functions like Pledgemusic, Bandzoogle, and Fanbridge.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How To Effectively Promote Your Music Video on Facebook