A few weeks ago, Kevin English of eleetmusic got me in to the closed beta of Rock Band Network, which provides the necessary tools to get your songs into the game. When it launches, the RBN Store will sell those songs through the game’s interface, with 30% of the purchase price going back to the artist. Now that the beta is public, you may be eager to dive in, but let me warn you - it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be! Authoring your first song requires a deep skill set and 60-80 hours of focused effort.
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So I asked him. Here are my questions and his answers:
You say, “the winners are the artists who give gifts”, but many artists I know are feeling like the losers. How would you explain your philosophy of the linchpin economy to a musician who’s making great music, giving it away online, but getting only apathy in return?
A new design for Music Think Tank
In case you have not noticed, Music Think Tank is sporting a new look and feel. Thanks to the excellent work of Kynan Griffiths of Sculpt. Note: Sorry, we no longer support IE 6 (Not sure if we ever did?).
MTT Post Categories
Chris Collins, MTT’s intern from the University of Massachusetts has just finished up categorizing all the MTT journal posts (see the left column of the site). Thanks Chris.
MTT contributors, especially MTT Radio contributors: please tag and categorize your posts going forward! It’s one of the best ways for readers to find your posts after they have been pushed off the top page.
Later this year, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is banning the use of wireless microphones that operate in the 700 MHz spectrum. This post describes when and why the ban is being implemented, provides access to a list of prohibited equipment, and briefly weighs the ban’s economic impacts.
About 1,500 artists break the “obscurity line” each year. Less than 1% do it on their own. Not so fast says Jeff Price, the CEO of TuneCore.
Seems like TuneCore has the success measurement numbers that Nielsen is (completely) missing. Read Jeff’s latest post. Quotes below:
I love ReverbNation. I could write a dozen articles on the various tools they provide for artists. For now I’ll focus on one I just tried for the first time: Street Team Missions.Whenever a fan subscribes to your mailing list, they’re given the option to join your street team. You create missions to direct your team’s promotional efforts on your behalf, and they compete against each other for rewards of your choosing. ReverbNation manages the whole thing automatically by measuring plays, widget clicks, banner impressions, and mailing list signups. Sound too good to be true? I thought so at first, so I joined several other artists’ missions to get a closer look.
It's everything except our music that will make us the most popular place to hear music in the future.
Radio competes in “a world where your music can be duplicated - song for song - by an endless parade of competitors, each more novel (and with better PR) than the next. It’s everything except our music that will make us the most popular place to hear music in the future.”
The term ‘music industry’ is a misnomer. In reality the ‘music industry’ is not one industry, it is several independent industries. This is an important distinction because if we say that there is a “crisis in the music industry” it suggests an equal amount of misfortune for everyone (musicians, the recording industry, the live-music industry, Internet radio, etc.) and in fact this not true. Misuse of the term ‘music industry’ distorts the reality of the situation. For example:
January 15, 2009: Tom Silverman (TommyBoy Entertainment) tells Rick Goetz (Musician Coaching - great blog by the way) that in 2008, 1,500 releases broke the “obscurity line” (sold over 10,000 albums).
Out of the 1,500 obscurity-breaking releases, 227 artists broke the “obscurity line” for the first time ever.
Out of the 227 first-timers, 14 artists did it own their own; approximately 106 were signed to a major; the rest were signed to indies.
Check out Tom Silverman’s New Music Seminar in LA on February 2nd.
To be completely correct, the title above should have said: “1,500 releases break the “obscurity line” each year.” No more posting late night for me. Too many errors and typos.
Musician and Poet Julian Homer recently left this poem as a comment below Rhodri Marsden’s extremely popular post titled:
To help with my thoughts and understanding
To get through each day with free abandon
I strummed a mortal chord
Which flowed like a meandering fjord
I abandoned all hope and set myself free
Destined to appear on MTV
With three chords and a black gig bag
I joined a band and tried to be rad
In our bubble of toil and trouble
We rehearsed forever The Wild Rover
With shut eyed ears to the outside world
And an arrogance from within us took over
Check out the post Jeff Price (CEO of TuneCore) just put up (quote below).
“According to Nielsen (self defined as “…the world’s leading marketing and media information company.”) there were: “…106,000 new (music) releases in 2008”
In 2009, TuneCore released approximately 90,000 releases. This means, if their numbers hold true, almost every single new music release in 2009 was distributed via TuneCore.”
2010 is - rather tragically - shaping up to be the year when Rock Stars (and old-industry millionaires) complain about the state of music on behalf of ‘the little people’.
Here are three examples: Peter Waterman, in an interview with The Times, said that Spotify was a terrible thing. It, he says
“devalue[s] our artists, they damage this country economically, culturally and morally”
Why’s that then, Pete?
“The big stars are a tiny percentage; the rest are broke, including a lot of well-known faces. Who is developing new talent? Without money, new acts are strangled before they mature. We all suffer.”
This, from the man who made a multi-million pound career of writing and producing ‘hits’ for soap stars
Its here! A whole new Decade :)
Paying attention to this article could be the difference between you making a little money off of your music in the New Year vs. making A LOT of money!
All of the current news surrounding the music business is still bad news.
But I think that this is a very exciting time to come up with some alternatives and some offerings for your core fanbase that could make you a lot more money.
The first step towards this is building rapport with your email list.
Which comes down to communicating regularly and consistently with your fanbase and then asking them for money only after you have built trust and rapport (when the time is right).
I have seen it thousands of times – artists that misuse their email lists and ONLY reach out to their fans when they have something to SELL them (a show, a new release etc.) but they never reach out to their fans for other reasons: to bond, share a funny story, or invite everyone out to the local bowling alley on a Tuesday night for a hang (I’m serious).
In a nutshell (no pun intended), this research reminds us that even if someone could find (for consumers) all the best (not rubbish) new independent music, those exposing new music to consumers must utilize established major label content to create a satisfactory listening experience (for most people).
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(Updated Feb 25, 2014)