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Entries in Music (55)

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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Friday
Feb182011

Is YouTube Destroying or Saving Music?

A few weeks ago Wired posed the question “Is YouTube Bad for Music?”. Their article asks if music fans’ access to almost limitless free music via YouTube is hurting revenue for artists by undercutting premium streaming services, and of course, iTunes/CD sales. 

Later on, YouTube responded, stating that “Free Music Can Pay As Well As Paid Music”. YouTube retorted that their monetized views via AdSense and In-Video ads were putting millions of dollars into musicians’ pockets every month. (well, more accurately, into the record label exec’s pockets, but that’s a discussion for another article).

The more interesting debates seemed to happen on various music industry blogs who weighed in on the discussion with their own oped pieces.

This is not another one of those opinion pieces, this is a fact piece.

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Tuesday
Feb012011

Why I Think Video LPs Are A Good Idea

Yesterday I uploaded what I’m calling a “Video LP” for my album Erase This to YouTube. [watch it here] The Video LP consists of eleven different videos (one for each song on the album, and a personal introduction from myself), tied together by a YouTube playlist that will automatically roll through all eleven videos, in order, with the click of one button.

For Fans

For music listeners and fans, the Video LP (LP referring to “long playing”, the name given to 12” vinyl records in the 40s) is a great format for sampling an entire album before making a purchasing decision. It’s similar to streaming the entire album on my website, but better. The Video LP format allows for on screen lyrics and all of the liner note artwork typically associated with CD and record sleeves. You won’t find that on most streaming mp3 players.

Additionally, because each song is its own YouTube video, songs can be favorited, commented on, embedded and shared easily, in a format that listeners/viewers are already familiar and comfortable with.

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Monday
Jan242011

How To Sell And Market Your Music Using The Latest Research  

If you keep an eye out for the latest research on music consumption habits, you can use these statistics to help guide you in creating an effective sales and marketing plan for your music releases.

After all, that’s how the marketing department of a major record company would operate - basing their plans on the latest market research.

If you’re despairing at the idea of having to add market research to your “to do” list, don’t worry - there’s an easy way. Just google for Google Alerts, and set up a few alerts such as “music consumption research”, “music consumer survey”, or “music market research”. The latest research will just appear in your email inbox.

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Thursday
Nov042010

Why is Music Cheaper Now? It's as Simple as Supply and Demand

About a month ago a blog post titled “Why Your Art is Cheaper Than a Latte” appeared on the Digital Music News blog.  In it, the post focused on the singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens, and the reaction he and his label had to the declining price of music (CD or digital).  I’ll talk about Mr Stevens’ reaction later on here, but first discus why music has gotten cheaper these days.

Remember that economics 101 class you took back in college and the whole supply and demand graph?  I know, it was boring, but it can explain this reality.  If you never took economics, I’ll explain what I mean (I used to teach the class).  To refresh any memory, I put what the supply and demand graph looks like below.

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Wednesday
Oct272010

What Artists Should Know About SoundOut

You know your song is great, but is it a hit? Will it inspire listeners to share it with their friends, hand over their email address, or maybe even open their wallets? You need feedback from average music fans who have nothing to lose by being honest.

SoundOut compares your song to 50,000 others from both major labels and indies. They promise to tell you how good your track is with guaranteed 95% accuracy (I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what that means). Starting at $40, they compile the results of 80 reviews into an easy-to-read PDF report. Top rated artists are considered for additional publishing and promotional opportunities.

The head of business development invited me to try out the service for free with three 24-hour “Express Reports” (a $150 value). I used the feedback from my Jango focus group to select the best and worst tracks I recorded for my last album, along with my personal favorite, an 8-minute progressive house epic. You can download all three of my PDF reports here.

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Monday
Oct182010

Music & Social Shifts (a personal account)

I remember as a kid in the late 1970s that where I lived there were three television stations & no cable or VCRs or home video games.  My oldest brother is seven years older than me & the big thing with him & his friends was coming over to the house & playing whatever new vinyl record loud enough to rattle the paneling on the wall.  It was a social event.  New albums & a decent stereo were the center of the social world & what made you the coolest kid in school & my family’s house was a center for cool.  Every new Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, or Kiss release meant a week of non-stop rocking.

A couple of years later my other brother hit high school, the center of things in teenage social events had shifted from music to a couple of things; the Atari gaming system & the VCR.  This time around our family wasn’t at the center of a social circle & my brother spent most afternoons at some other family’s house. Until my dad broke down & got us the Atari & VCR so that thirty years later I can still close my eyes & pretend I’m playing Yars’ Revenge & still have dreams inspired by watching Dawn of the Dead when I was eight.

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Friday
Oct152010

A Fragmented Music Community: The Sum of the Parts Equals Less than the Whole

Music is so spread out online these days. Why? And why do artists not get paid for all the free plays they give away on these websites? These are two huge questions that I’ve been studying, and the answers are well worth addressing.

Part of music being so spread out has to do with the fact that the internet is still fragmented itself. The web is still set up like our real world - you have “sites” with their own “addresses” and you have to physically go to them. This is part of the problem for sure, and it turns out that it is actually easily solvable. With the software, you can pretty much make up your own rules, which means you could make everything just come to the user instead, almost like the iphone model, where every app is in one spot waiting for you at all times. That’s another topic though.

The rest of the problem really seems to be about preference. There are hundreds of music sites out there, and certain fans, or fan-bases, like to stick to certain ones for certain reasons. It could be the difference in interfaces or the difference in people in the network, but it usually has to do with simple preference.

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Wednesday
Oct062010

Music Think Tank Brings On New Intern

Good afternoon all, I wanted to take a moment and announce that we have a new intern that’s helping around Music Think Tank. Her name is Natalie Cheng (@ncswim881).

She is from Sugar Land, TX. She is twenty-two and is very interested in music marketing and branding, new trends in the music and record industries, and distribution. She wants to learn more about the changes affecting the music industry and how artists are changing the way they interact with fans.  Her career goals include working in a marketing position at a music company or label and working as a session musician for major artists. Currently, she is seeking a job/internship at music labels and companies in the Texas area or to continue her education, possibly pursuing a master’s degree in music or marketing. 

Here at Music Think Tank, she’ll be focusing on tagging posts, writing post summaries, approving comments, and getting involved in a myriad of other ways with Hypebot too.

Take a moment to welcome her to the community.
Wednesday
Sep222010

Learning When To Listen

As a musician–a creator of sounds–it can be difficult to understand the concept that music is mostly about listening, not creating.

It’s about listening for just the right amount of silence between notes. Listening for the sounds that give you cues how to act next, and how to hone your performance.

The skill of listening is what separates the great musicians from the mediocre ones.

Becoming known as a listener will help you score gigs as a session musician and will greatly enhance your own musical mastery. 

Here are four scenarios where listening can greatly affect your performance.

Listening To Other Musicians

The greatest factor to playing well with other musicians is each musician’s inherent ability to listen to each other.

Listening is an amazing tool. It will let you know when a drummer wants to end a song, or when a guitar player is stepping down to finish a solo. Listening gives you the foresight to step in and play when another musician needs help.

Listening To Your Audience

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Monday
Feb152010

My Interview with SXSW Magazine on Online Strategy for Musicians

At last count, if I’m correct, I’ve attended the SXSW Conference at least seventeen times, and on many of those visits I have been very grateful for the opportunity to speak on a panel. When Brian Zisk, a co-founder of the SanFran MusicTech conference, invited me to speak again on a panel in December, and also to join him on his panel at this year’s SXSW, I gave pause.

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Monday
Feb012010

Honeyboy’s Grammy: A Moment for a Great American Voice

The legendary bluesman David “Honeyboy” Edwards received a lifetime achievement award at last night’s Grammy Awards ceremonies. One of the last of the first generation bluesmen, Honeyboy was a close pal of Robert Johnson and a contemporary of Charley Patton and other blues pioneers.

The 94-year-old Honeyboy was instrumental in establishing a unique American voice, one that was born of slavery and struggle, spirit and magic. It’s a rich history that begat rock and roll and even rap. Artists from Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones to Jay Z emanate from those underpinnings, and many more contemporary artists have paid homage to this field of music from which they came.

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Tuesday
Jan122010

Food For Thought - 2 Warner Music Execs Share $14 Million