This week on Music Think Tank, we explore the importance of writing well to help your music career; the dominance of Myspace on Google results; the music service SoundOut; Andrew Dubber’s journey in Delhi to help the charity, Music Basti; and the significance of a brand.
At 4PM EST today, Anonymous is waging war against the RIAA. Dismayed by the downfall of LimeWire, they have gotten more serious in their threats. Their standard DDoS attack is part of the mix, but they have also published on the office address of the RIAA and their phone and fax numbers, as well as, the home address and phone numbers for CEO Mitch Bainwol and his wife Susan.
LimeWire falls and BearShare booms. Their daily US downloads went up from 8,000 to 62,400. This is an increase of 780%. Sadly, either there is reason to praise this statistic, since BearShare is now a legitimate service, or discount it, because file-sharers didn't know that. They thought it was the old-version. Thus, once they find out that they can't get free software and movies, along with their MP3s, they will jump ship.
AT&T has partnered with BOKU to offer consumers a direct carrier billing solution for online goods including music using their existing wireless service account. From their wireless handset, customers can make online purchases by entering their mobile number and charging directly to their existing AT&T wireless account.
This guest post is by Deb Chachra; she writes the blog zed equals zee.
For new artists, any discussion of a band name is likely coupled with a domain name search to make sure the URL is available, since they are constantly being told how to have an effective online presence. But there is an interesting phenomenon emerging: in a world where all information is a click away, some artists are choosing to be deliberately difficult to find on the Internet.
(UPDATED) The RIAA thinks that LimeWire should not be proud of their service, because they broke the law. They go on to say that services that flout the law do not deserve a place in today's music marketplace where "hundreds of existing, accessible, innovative legal sites offer users their favorite music at affordable prices — sometimes even free." Following this assertion, the RIAA notes that there are now "more than 11 million legal tracks online and more than 400 licensed music services today." This all sounds well and good, but like always, the RIAA still seems to be forgetting something.
This weekend, I had a chance to make a trip back home. Much of what I believe in doesn't exist there. When I tell people, some of which I've known for my whole life, that I write for a blog on the web and get paid for it, I am greeted with a blank stare. To them, this isn't something that they consider possible. The web is a place where they retrieve emails and weather updates—not a platform for publishing. This isn't what troubles me.
Seth Godin gives a speech on how artists sabotage their work. They follow the pattern and attempt to fail small. Why? Their lizard brain tells them to; it's the resistance. The thing that tells them to make it so they don't end up a failure, starving, or worse, dead. At the last minute, most artists will take a half step back and take that compelling elements out of their music because it's safer to fail small. The resistance causes them to compromise truly great music and settle for an album that's good enough.
In select pilot locations, Barnes and Noble will be eliminating their music sections entirely. Where the CDs once sat, educational toys will be placed. To some, this may seem like a sign of the times, but I respectfully disagree. The reason that Barnes and Noble isn't making good on its CD sales probably has more to do with their sheer neglect of reality than it does the lagging interest of consumers.
Most bemoaning about the state of popular music is just that. However, this teacher hit on a critical point. Yes, most of the songs on the radio talk about and promote smoking, drug use, greed, laziness, promiscuous sex, and immeasurable amounts of sexism. But what music doesn't? He acknowledges this. The difference between popular music today and that of his generation is that hiding those themes was what made the music artful.
The notion of making music like water is appealing. People have freely distributed water in their kitchen; yet will pay a premium for water in a bottle. It has been argued both for and against that, this is where the music is heading, a model where it feels like free and can be bought in forms that are more expensive. Why do people by bottled water anyway? By the looks of it, however, the reasons that they do have little to do with the way music works. This talk is a compelling look at how bottled water is sold to us and the ways we have been convinced to fear tap water. Here's a look at why people buy bottled water:
C-mon & Kypski has teamed up with a pair of designers and created a unique music video. Fans can select individual frames of the video; reshoot the pose on their own webcam; and upload their replacement images in real-time. Thus far, over 24,000 people have contributed to the project. Every hour, the video is refreshed and the new shots are added.
After less than 2 years, Epic Records president Amanda Ghost is leaving the Sony Music label "to concentrate on her own songwriting and production work". No successor has been named. Hypebot readers predicted that Ghost would not last at Epic in a poll taken in February of 2009 when she was appointed.
Each of these essays explore a range of topics and there are more to come. There's many subjects can be tied into a post about the music industry. The changes that we're seeing are everywhere. Thank you to all the readers willing to wade through the longer pieces and I aim to create more worth browsing though soon.
PayPal is making direct artist to fan sales easier and more profitable with a new micropayment system that lets consumers pay for low cost digital goods in as few as two clicks without leaving the seller's site. Facebook was one of the first company's to sign on to the new service which, when available later this year, will offer fees of 5% plus 5 cents for purchases under $12. That's just 10 cents on a 99 cent download sale.
While music is my first love, I actually currently make more money as a website geek and, to a lesser extent, a writer. So I know how Internet marketing “squeeze pages” work, and how to write and build them.
Meanwhile, I have been going on my merry way making music but not exactly setting the Interwebs on fire.
Want feedback on your music? Brian Hazard tests out Soundout, a music service that compares your song to 50,000 others from major and indie labels to tell you how good your track is. The service has a guaranteed 95% accuracy, but Brian Hazard reveals that there may be some flaws in the service since it only analyzes the first 60 seconds of a song. In addition, SoundOut may not be a good fit for artists in niche genres. For other genres, artists may find the detailed feedback helpful.
Email marketing plays a key role in direct-to-fan campaigns. Below is a demonstration of why it's an important aspect of any marketing initiative and how other businesses are using email to reach their customers. The methods of determining success vary, but so do the reasons why people will open your email in the first place. Take a look below:
Google has introduced two new location based features that offer opportunites for musicans building a fan base in their home town, as well as those on tour. The first, Place Search, was designed to make it easier to find local businesses along with maps and reviews, but it also could make it easier for fans to find the kind of music they like.
This guest post is by David Barrett, he's is the founder of Expensify.
Attention people of the year 2000. At long last, and to no surprise to anyone, your beloved Limewire has been deemed illegal and shut down by the friendly folks at the RIAA. Don't panic, we've been through this before.
Here are ten things to expect in your near future:
(UPDATED) I'd heard from sources that talks between Spotify and labels have been getting more serious recently after months of little movement, but not because they're suddenly loosening their licensing terms. Greg Sandoval of CNet says that the primary reason that the majors may be letting Spotify into the US is because they're being offered big advances.
More and more, brands are partnering with indie musicians. In this video, indie artist AM and David Deal, VP of Marketing for Razorfish talk about how brands can partner with upcoming artists and how Razorfish works with AM. Deal thinks that brands are the new DJ for indie artists. Do you agree?