If you're venturing down the road of becoming a DIY Musician but fear that means going it alone, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Do it yourself does not, and especially in the music industry, should not mean doing it by yourself. It is true that when you're first starting out there are logistical limitations that create obstacles in your path. It is hard to hire the good help you need when your budget is breathing down your neck, but with a little balance between learned self-sufficiency and knowing when to reach out, you'll be on your way in no time.
Some people might be surprised that I basically ditch complex and detailed language developed by researchers and practitioners that appears designed to clarify communication about communication. Cause when I start ranting about people taking a useful word like "crowdfunding" and trying to attach divergent meanings that muddy the water, I'm arguing for maintaining clarity in communication. But the language of communication professionals is compartmentalized and does not support the people for whom I write, DIY/indie musicians and their teams.
While the term "fan" may be a bit vague at times, "superfan" is not. Superfans might not be as plentiful as those who simply like some of your music, but they're worth their weight in gold. They're the ones who don’t hesitate to spend a month’s rent for a VIP experience or purchase every T-shirt in your online store. Last year, Nielsen concluded that while only 14 percent of fans in the music industry are "superfans" of an artist, they're responsible for 34 percent of music-related purchases.
Don't get me wrong, mailing lists are important, especially optin email lists of your fans who really want to hear from you regularly. But lists of people, whether fans, writers or influencers, can give one a false sense that your public relations all come down to distributing a regular email. Brian Solis and Hugh MacLeod recently released a free ebook, "What If PR Stood for People and Relationships?" [instead of public relations.] It may speak most directly to people in corporate settings but the cartoons, in particular, remind all of us to develop human relationships that go deeper than automated marketing can ever do.
Start “selling” your new music before its official release date
A digital pre-sale (via iTunes or Amazon) allows your fans to order your music in advance of its release. All pre-sales will be credited on the official release date — so the more pre-sales you get, the higher your sales ranking for that day. Your pre-sale customers will then be able to hear/download your music on the release date.
A student recently approached me with a complaint that only six people showed up to his live performance. He sent out an email to 1,000 names, posted on a few social networks, and told his friends and family. Feeling like a "promotion loser" (his words), he was ready to call it quits. But after using some basic analytical tools, we quickly discovered that fewer than 10 people even opened his email. We rewrote his emails with catchier headlines, more benefits, and a specific call to action. For his next gig, not only did 628 people open his email, 66 people showed up and paid. That’s a pretty strong increase!
Wicksteed Works is a London-based direct-to-fan consulting and services company who design, manage and execute digital campaigns for musicians. Today they released their guide to direct-to-fan platforms comparing 10 top platforms with details that would otherwise take quite a while to round up. In addition it shares a process for figuring out which platform is right for the artist in question since one's needs do change as one's career grows.
Knowing how to release new material is a big task in today's music industry. With so many outlets, its hard to know what to utilize, who to turn to, or where to focus your efforts. In part two of a three part series, Ariel Hyatt guides us down the right path on your journey towards reaching your target audience. Having a strategic music marketing plan in place is essential as you build your career, but with guides like this one, the headache and the hassle become non-factors.
There are countless resources for musicians and bands working with originial material. Marketing gurus are constantly blasting out how-to guides, giving pointers to those musicians looking to build their fanbase. Cover Bands are playing a completely different game. If you're covering an already famous group, your fanbase already exists. Your job is to find and follow up with quality leads that are interested in booking your band. Knowing your target audience and what they are looking for can make all the difference in your career.
Big brands are finding all sorts of way to connect with youth and that elusive thing called cool. But most of all, when they get serious about that mission, they focus on music as the connector. Efforts may involve other elements but music is the key. Budweiser's strengthening its brand with Budweiser Made For Music offering support for producers and djs in the early stages. American Express is the launch partner for a new project, MADE Music, from a company that specializes in coolness and youth.
By Will Page, Jomar Perez, and Chris Tynan from Spotify Insights.
Dutch rapper Mr Probz self-released his song ‘Waves’ late last year. Soon afterwards, German house producer Robin Schulz remixed the song on Soundcloud. Ultra Music and Sony Music Entertainment (SME) co-signed the track and it immediately topped charts in all major EU markets.
Earl Patrick McNease, better known as Praverb the Wyse, passed on September 17. I didn't start checking out his DIY industry blogging until this summer and I was late to the news of his passing as well. But the response on Facebook and in the hip hop press makes it clear how deeply he touched the lives of many different people. Here are a few of those responses followed by links to some of Praverb's writing for DIY musicians.
A new report on safety, crowd control and brand protection during SXSW is now adding additional heat to ongoing discussions about how best to address the incredible growth of the festival's ecosystem which includes many unofficial events. The report not only suggested that SXSW might move if not satisfied but proposed what has become known as a "Clean Zone" approach to the festival. SXSW says that's not what they're looking for but changes need to be made. So how about splitting up SXSW into three separate events?
I’m in the process of updating the Solveig & Stevie EPK (electronic press kit) for our new album release. I also have several friends and clients who have just released albums or EPs, and are sending them out for review or airplay consideration. As usual, I thought perhaps you, my dear readers and fellow musicians, might benefit from my learning process. I’ve also included links to more resources at the bottom of this post.
asQme is bridging the divide between Japanese fans and English-speaking artists in the first stage of what has the potential to be a very successful site. asQme takes an "Ask Me Anything" aka AMA approach across language barriers with Steve Aoki the first artist on tap. It will be a chance for fans to ask questions in Japanese and have the English language response translated into Japanese. Variations on that theme are planned suggesting possibilities that are much bigger.
So Thom Yorke, famed early adopter, dropped an alpha-stage BitTorrent Bundle with some free stuff and some stuff you pay for. The new part was that instead of trading an email address for the stuff that wasn't free you now pay real money for it. What's the big deal? With BitTorrent Bundles, BitTorrent, the company, has created direct access for all sorts of artists to a large community that uses the BitTorrent protocol and includes a significant portion that spend money on music. Not only that, but BitTorrent intends to seek RIAA certification so that sales count on the charts. It's all win.
When social media first appeared and spread around the world several years ago, it was billed as a fun way to keep in touch with family and friends. In the decade or so since, however, it’s taken on a life of its own. Social media has become incredibly important for everyone, whether it's used for up-to-the-minute news on Twitter, companies communicating with their customers, or bands promoting their shows. Like it or not, social media is inescapable, and staying on top of your game is paramount.
Hiring a publicist can be a daunting task - especially in the music business. There are infinite agencies and independent professionals who will quickly over promise and under deliver simply because they're unfamiliar with the industry. Knowing what to look out for and what questions to ask could make all the difference in the quest to get coverage. Do you know what artist to publicist ratio to seek when making agency inquires? Or what information to seek up front before making a commitment? Let us help clear things up.
Live Nation has announced that Prince and his band 3RDEYEGIRL will perform live on the Live Nation Channel on Yahoo for 'PlectrumElectrum and ArtOfficilAge,' as part of an exclusive album release party. In addition to the live stream, fans will get an exclusive behind the scenes look at Prince's Minnesota studio complex and lair, Paisley Park, where Prince has recorded many of his most recognized musical creations.
Some people are reasonably upset about fans paying good money for a Lauryn Hill show that was disappointing. That sort of thing is always upsetting. But at least two of them have turned that disappointment into an attack on Lauryn Hill. Talib Kweli weighed in with an extreme take along the lines of Lauryn Hill's given us so much that we cannot criticize. But it's a simple situation. Lauryn Hill has a history of unpredictability so buying a ticket is a roll of the dice. You already knew that so why the drama?
Ello. If you haven't heard of it yet you would have without my help. The media needs a new social networking topic and Ello is perfect. It's ad-free, anti-Facebook and cool with drag queens. Does that mean it's time for musicians to get on board for an ad-free, non-Facebook social media experience? That depends on a lot of things but there is a lot of energy moving into Ello at the moment and there is an opportunity to be an early adopting musician with a lot of new friends and music to share.
An article in today’s Guardian caught my eye: “Ello might or might not replace Facebook, but the giant social network won’t last forever.” To save you the hassle of actually reading the article, Ello is a relatively new social network (an ‘anti-Facebook with a conscience’ apparently – given that it’s funded by venture finance capital, I won’t hold my breath about the conscience bit); it is growing at a rapid rate and might one day replace Facebook as the world’s dominant social network (or not).
Pandora's new #ThumbMoments campaign may be awkwardly named but it's a pretty cool effort to delight individual fans. Basically a fan hits the thumbs up like button on an artist's song and they're surprised with a FaceTime video chat and personal concert by that artist. The program kicked off with Lindsey Stirling surprising some of her fans who then had a couple of ways to participate while Stirling played so they didn't just sit there. What a great #ThumbMoment!