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Entries by Bruce Warila (92)

Tuesday
Feb112014

Facebook Advertising Fraud Alert

and a response to the “fraud” claim from Jon Loomer

Wednesday
Aug292012

Are we a community of copyright cowards?

If you are like me, you probably despise the fact that there is an endless stream of companies that are willing to place ads (through Google) on sites that rip off artists.

Now you can do something about it.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul032012

The Music Industry versus The Internet

When self-appointed guardians of the Internet and rights holders argue about the fall and the future of the music industry, you can put all of the talking points into two buckets:

Guardians of the Internet
Open, free, free culture, remix, sharing, do no evil, censorship, don’t break the Internet, innovation, value creation, music-will-be-like-water (don’t worry), scale, disintermediation, alternative income sources, patronage, greedy and shortsighted labels, etc..

Rights holders (artists, labels, publishers)
Copyrights, permissions, illegal sharing, stealing, royalties, negligible royalties, transfer of wealth, ad-supported sharing, free-loading, livable wages, the necessity of labels and publishers as investors, etc..

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar132012

Who wins the race for investment money, the artist with the epic song or the software developer with the snazzy iPhone app?

The problem with the “fuck copyrights, you can make money from live performances” argument is that this thinking limits an artist’s ability to scale to: his or her capacity to perform (live) on a consistent basis.  If music (for example) is consistently stolen borrowed or free, where does the capacity to scale through minimal additional investment come from?  T-shirts?
 
One might argue that if you reach the top tier of the profession that the capacity to generate easy, incremental income scales far beyond the income generated via performances.  However nobody wants to invest in a business or an industry where the only way to obtain a financial exit is to hit a home run.  There are far too many investment alternatives where you can pile up rewards by hitting singles and doubles…while preserving the opportunity to hit a home run also.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec062011

Effective Music Advertising

When it comes to music and advertising, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.  What works for some artists will not work for others, and vice versa.  However here’s one thing I can tell you for sure: too many artists are using advertising as a blunt force weapon.  Simply dropping a picture of yourself, your band, or your album art into an ad unit and then indiscriminately campaigning nationwide for clicks will rarely generate the advertising ROI you need to justify spending on another campaign.  

Based upon my own experiences and upon the numerous campaigns I have reviewed over the last year, I believe artists should 1) commit to running numerous test-trial campaigns prior to allocating the majority of their advertising spend to a single message, and 2) seriously consider which geographic targeting option (local, regional, or nationwide) will generate the immediate ROI artists need to justify a continuous investment in advertising.

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Monday
Oct312011

Getting the music advertising ROI calculation correct...

There’s an item missing from the music-marketing dictionary.  What do you call the person that has decided to surrender an email address, follow you on Twitter, or Like you on Facebook?  If the word ‘fan’ is short for ‘fanatic’, or as someone said last week: “a fan is someone that buys all your stuff”, then we need an intermediate descriptor that sits between a potential fan that has yet to learn about you, and a fan or fanatic that is already buying your stuff.  ‘Pre-fan’ seems like it will work, but why bother?

As more and more labels and artists use advertising to bridge the gaps between social media islands, it’s essential to get the advertising return on investment (ROI) calculation correct.  If a potential fan is not yet a fan, and if a pre-fan is not really a fan, then you need to apply TWO conversion rates to your ROI calculation.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep292011

Why Artists Need More Than The Social Web To Obtain Sustainable Engagement

We like to think of the web as one big, endless, interconnected net of relationship fibers where a tug on a single fiber causes random ripples and pulls all across the entire net; that somehow a path will emerge, narrow as it may be, where a ripple can travel from one corner of the net to the other; and that if you - the music marketer - could only simultaneously pull enough social strings, your message would be riding on a magic carpet instead of a string.

However If the ripple effect worked on the social web, then how come artists with hundreds of thousands of followers and many thousands of fans have so much trouble creating sustainable engagement where the ripples are broad enough (to live upon) or at least endless?  Songs often don’t find their intended audiences, seats go unfilled, videos don’t go viral, and messages get quickly swallowed in a sea of social noise.  It happens every day; it happens to almost every artist on earth; and the exceptions are rarer than you think.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb172011

The Three Legged Table: Songs, Magnetism, and Business

How do you tell a businessperson that success in the music business…has nothing to do with business?

On Music Think Tank, where I have posted over eighty articles, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of advice on social media practices, fan engagement and conversion strategies, business planning, artist management, music marketing, music technology and enough similar sounding posts to make your head spin.  One might even be misled into believing that the equation: decent artist + solid business support = success.  However this formula is about as a sound as building a one legged table. 

If you are ever thinking about financially backing or supporting an artist, you should know that there are two other legs of the table that are of equal or greater importance.  In fact, if these first two legs are solid, the third leg, the business leg, almost organically grows itself.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb042011

Music Think Tank Logo

I just passed this logo over to Bruce and Kyle at Hypebot, but it occurred to me that others may need it also.  Without further introduction, may I present…the Music Think Tank logo (as a PNG).

Tuesday
Dec142010

The Unfamiliar Sound of Competition and Managing Your Rights

Up until now, music was in a unique competitive product category: there simply wasn’t much competition (for consumer attention) between well-made songs.   

Songs are inexpensive, consumed in under four minutes, easily obtained, and songs are the only product in the world where billions of users…each own thousands of ‘competing’ alternatives.  In reality, uniformly-priced competitors are often stacked up and then consumed in succession, and in the age of the iPod, the stacks (the playlists) are growing instead of shrinking. 

However the modern world conspires to ultimately deliver, in every product category, the greatest value at the lowest price, and songs are about to loose their long held exception. 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec102010

UPDATED: Can Computers Analyze Songs For Hit Potential? 

In response to the ASCAP/HITLAB announcement that basically endorses the use of algorithms to analyze the hit potential of songs, I thought I would weigh in on the subject.

Proceed with caution…
As someone that spent the better part of a year evaluating similar algorithms, technology, services, business models and patents connected to acoustic analysis and hit potential measurement, I can tell you that you should proceed with caution when making a purchase or career decision that involves the utilization of services that sell computer-based, hit-analysis technology. 

It’s fascinating technology, however…
Generally speaking, the technology is reasonably accurate (my experience: 80% accurate, and often close enough to my expectations) when it comes to plotting a song relative to a cluster of preexisting hits and then rolling the plots into a meaningful score.  However a high score doesn’t mean you have a hit on your hands, or that “hits” even matter anymore.  Read on…

Here are some pros and cons to consider when evaluating services that use computers and algorithms to evaluate music:

Computer-based hit analyzing technology - the pros…

Targeting.  If detailed reporting is offered, this technology should show you how close your song is to clusters of previously recorded hits.  This information is useful for targeting listeners of similar sounding hit songs. 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov142010

What is Twitter? Do you have an answer?

Even though Twitter adds millions of new users each month, it still feels like Twitter can’t tell users what Twitter is - in fifty words or less! 
 
The best way to discover what’s new in your world…

The what, why and how of Twitter is as confusing as it has ever been.  Since the music industry is one of the first industries to heavily embrace Twitter, I asked some industry friends the simple question: “What is Twitter?”  Their answers and my answer are below.  Please contribute to the conversation by answering “What is Twitter?” as a comment. 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct142010

The Music Manipulation Curve (theory)

As the effort (time and cost) required to create a highly-personalized listening session of music (see blue bars below) decreases, the per-person rate of music consumption will proportionately increase (see green bars below).

If there has been one constant in the music industry over the last one hundred years, it has been the constant migration to listening formats (easier formats) that reduce the effort required to create highly-personalized listening sessions. You can’t play a phonograph on the bus or clip it to your shorts at the gym.

Moreover, easier formats that can be summoned on-demand (for any given situation) will displace any format that requires more effort to produce the same result.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct042010

Dividing Ownership in a Group Project

This post contains suggestions on how to effectively divide ownership in a group project - prior to taking on the burden of launching and operating a legal corporation.
 
The tasks within this post may seem like a lot of work.  However the process described below is essential to building a motivated organization…regardless of the legal structure (and legal minds) you employ.
 
If you are working with equals that you know and trust, the group should be able to read this document, negotiate the items on the ownership earn-in spreadsheet, and then construct a signed letter of intent in under three hours; it doesn’t get much easier than that.
 
Fictional scenario:  a group of professionals are about to create and promote a new media website that will attract and entertain a slice of humanity; as visitors come to this website, the business goals will be to convert visitors into fans (subscribers and repeat visitors), and then to eventually sell something that has perceived value to a percentage of the fan base. 
 
Everyone involved desires to protect their investment (time, money, art, etc.) and to preserve their ownership rights until the day arrives when the group decides to turn the project into a real company.  The following is a list of people involved in the (fictional) project and a brief description of the assets that each person proposes to contribute to the project:

Click to read more ...