This is part three of the ongoing series - The Artists Declaration of Independence: The Transition To The Modern Music Industry.
If you’d like to have each new post in the series sent to you automatically so you don’t have to worry about missing any of the training-you can sign up here and also receive a free copy of The Grassroots Music Marketing System, gratis.
It would be easy to paint the scenario that SoundCloud has gone so corporate that its primary partners (and co-owners) are now the major labels, its primary users are casual listeners and its primary customers are future advertisers. But there's plenty of time for that. For now, it has to be noted that SoundCloud's communication efforts to date in response to creators' concerns about both the new iOS app and Universal's ability to pull music and flag accounts for closure have been a big FAIL. Here are some high points.
Wix is a freemium website builder that's really been taking off with a huge number of users (50 million+). It's designed to make it easier for folks without coding experience to create their own websites and they've added a wide variety of templates and apps to support that process. Now they're introducing a free email newsletter service for Wix site owners. If you're looking for an easy website/email newsletter solution for your band, Wix might do the job but keep in mind that Wix saves key features for premium accounts.
We could talk about VidCon, which sold out 12,000 tickets a month in advance. We could also talk about the over-dramatized and sensationalized YouTube vs. indiesmisinformation war. However, it's so much more constructive to focus on growing your audience, serving your audience and monetizing your audience. Not only is YouTube is the largest streaming music service in the world, it allows you to use video to connect directly with your fans in almost any way you can imagine.
Lee Martin is a developer who has created all sorts of curious web contraptions to market music. Occasionally he also whips out a useful tool for musicians. Most recently he came up with Artwork FM, a web app that takes an image and an audio file to create a single frame music video. Martin describes it as a "gateway drug to a suite of simple apps I'm building for the music business in attempt to scale up my own development efforts." Should be an interesting process!
One of the first things I learned when I began my career as a publicist was what the typical timeline for an album campaign is – in other words, the specific order of events from the moment an album is ready to be announced until its release. Not all publicists adhere to a campaign of identical length. Some prefer to work more compressed, fast-paced timelines, whereas others like to space things out to gradually build anticipation and momentum.
Today's music industry is constantly evolving. If you're not a part of the changes that are currently taking place, it's important to at least know what is going on around you. With different tecnhological advances, the way in which we share music has changed forever. It is no longer about the full album download, but rather how to keep the listener engaged enough to download your music in the first place.
A band of idiots that I'm sure are very proud of themselves recently splattered blood on the interior of an Asheville, NC venue long supportive of unique, independent acts in all genres. Their artistic effort temporarily forced the shutdown of the venue and associated restaurant. This action caused over 40 people to lose shifts and much needed pay. The band is called Young and in the Way. If you know any venue owners or anybody that books metal acts or bills on which a metal act might appear, please make sure they see this blog post.
Tweeting is easy, but creating content that your audience will engage with isn't always so simple. It's difficult to find the right niche but with a little good advice and a fair share of homework, you'll own your own Twittersphere in no time. Keeping it real but not too personal can mean walking a fine line, but if auto-generated content is your current status quo, it might be time to change your game.
UK DJ and Producer Jeremy Sylvester is now sharing music business and marketing tips for up and coming artists. He has a freely available guide to music pr which is kind of a like an ebook in website form. Though a lot of it is about marketing issues they are part of what I think is actually a guide to going pro in disguise. I take it as a solid intro to all the pieces that go together when you're making the transition from just making music to going pro.
Members of the band Coheed and Cambria has help one of their top fans avoid foreclosure of her home. Cyndi Crouch, who helps to run the band's Cobalt and Calcium fan page, was facing eviction and set up a crowdfunding page on gofundme.com seeking $3,500 to get current on her mortgage.
Times are definitely changing. With the rise of techno-everything, more and more tasks are being moved to automated systems. Data entry, assessment, and export can all be done at a touch of a button. Photographs can be broken down into layers, modified, and put back together again with the stroke of a virtual brush. Sounds can be created on a keypad instead of an instrument. The act of creating music has so many elements that make it nearly impossible to authentically replicate with computers, but when it comes to mastering that created music, has LANDR cracked the code?
BandSwap is a unique intitiative from nonprofit SpokeBUZZ that takes Colorado bands on tour to play in host cities and then brings host bands back to Colorado for a festival. BandSwap is entering its third year and is not only successfully helping bands build audiences and connections but also developing related creative and community events both in Colorado and in host cities.
While some musicians primarily appear in their own media works and can therefore offer what they do via their own channels, other musicians appear in a wide range of creations across the web. Some musicians take multiple roles beyond their own work from backup singer to videomaker. While I think musicians should be documenting all such activity on their official sites, NeonGrid is creating a database for web creations that offers the opportunity to get additional credit for all roles in that creation just as IMDb does for film.
Back in February concert listing service Bandsintown launched Bandsintown For Promoters with concert marketing tools. Today they announced the official launch of Bandsintown Manager, a mobile app for iOS and Android, that brings much needed mobile functionality for artists and managers. In checking out the features list it's also clear that the new app expands Bandsintown's usefulness as a marketing tool connecting artists and fans.
Norway based collaborative playlist platform Soundrop today launched Show.co, a robust set of linked music marketing tools. At it's core, Show.co is a graphically pleasing embeddable music player. But within the app fans are also encouraged to take a variety of powerful social actions, like trade an email adress for download or follow the artist on Twitter and Facebook.
We seem to be moving into a phase where even big companies that work with musicians are recognizing that monetization is important and that musicians want to get paid. BitTorrent developed its bundles to help musicians market but they've also been experimenting with monetization all along. They now think that pay gates will work and that seems likelyl. YouTube's also talking creator monetization even as they battle to limit indie music monetization. But with all the talk of fan funding, misunderstood as crowdfunding, they're basically just giving creators a personalized tip jar from which they'll take a cut.
To be a successful part of today's music industry you're going to have to break the mold. That's exactly what Jack Conte did when he launched Pomplamoose and Patreon. He knew what he was good at, new what wanted and knew what he needed and put together the right team to help him get there. Now, after a lot of hard work, this successful musician and CEO is on the other side of the interview tabel with some of the best advice he's both given and received along the way.
The web has offered us a way to connect with people around the world fairly easily as long as they speak the same language. But since music can cross language barriers, finding a way to reach those who speak other languages may be well worth your time to see if foreign markets respond. Fliplingo offers one solution for reaching out with translated tweets. It's an interesting service combining outsourced human translation and machine translation organized for Twitter-specific use that could help you reach and even socialize with new fans.
Solveig Whittle interviewed Molly Lewis who blew up on YouTube with her ukelele covers. Now she's writing her own music, working fulltime as a musician and looking for YouTube alternatives. One of the ways she's generated revenue is from supporters through Patreon. Lewis shares the story of going viral, building her career and succeeding on Patreon.
Sometimes our best form of transportation is a leap of faith. Nike hit the nail on the head when they coined the phrase "Just Do It". Julie Geller took that to heart when she committed to realease a new music video every month for a year. She learned some incredibly valuable lessons along the way and you could too. You don't have to have top of the line equipment or be the best of the best - you have to be willing to start from where you are and take the constructive feedback you get along the way.
I guess there are lots of ways to get into blogs but setting yourself up for ridicule is an unlikely path to success. Kadeem Spencer, aka Corduroy The Fox, says he's been doing everything he can to succeed in rap but bloggers won't support him with enough coverage for him to break through and make a name for himself. So he's quitting. Except that if he does get enough blog coverage out of this maneuver he's continuing.
Praverb recently spoke with 18 SoundCloud users at various stages in their musical careers asking for "one tip for building a loyal SoundCloud following." Predominant themes include being genuine, linking all your social media accounts, connecting with reposters, sharing in groups and the classic advice to make great music. Below are 5 top tips for building a loyal SoundCloud following.
Matt Gielen of Frederator Studios shares their tips for creating "thumbnails that will be clicked." Interestingly enough, they apply the same principles to videos featuring humans as they do to animated videos: draw attention, get the audience excited and accurately portray the video's content. That last one? It's about developing a relationship rather than head-faking for a cheap click.
YouTube is un-questionably a top resource for any serious musician. As a free service with access to an unlimited audience, if you're not utilizing this resource, you're doing it wrong. YouTube has made leaps and bounds and incredible upgrades in the past few years, but as is always the case with growth, expansion, and consumer demand, the terms are changing and you're going to want to know the new rules.