Monday, November 30, 2009

Three Things to Always Include in Your Email Newsletters

1. Always let fans know what you’ve been up to! Bottom line: fans aren't mind readers,
so if you want them to know about all the crazy adventures you've been getting into,
then tell them directly, or better yet, SHOW them with photos, etc. Remember, you
don't have to tell them everything, but a little insight into your daily life will help fans
relate to you ‐and getting fans to relate to you is the first step in creating a stronger fan

2. Are you going on tour? Include your tour dates! The more a fan sees the tour dates
the less likely they are to forget about an upcoming show in their area. Did you just
release a new song/album? Include "exclusive" info about the song/album! Well, I think
you get the picture... bonus points by the way if you make sure to always include direct
links in your newsletter to where fans can buy tickets, get more info, etc. (aka your callto‐

3. Link to your social networks! It’s always good to have more friends and fans on
Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. While email is the most effective channel when it
comes to getting your fans attention, these other networks certainly also give you other
opportunities to get your message heard. So, make it super easy for fans to connect
with you on these networks.
A good rule of thumb in marketing is that the easier you
make it for your clients to do what you want, the more likely they are to do it!

What Do Fans Really Want in Your Newsletter

As an artist, there is no end to the number of social media outlets where you can send
updates to fans through. From Twitter, to Facebook, to MySpace, it’s hard to judge
which networks your fans pay attention to the most (let alone the time it takes to keep
info consistent across all of them!) Email newsletters are different because not only has
email consistently proven to be the most effective direct marketing channel to fans, but
email also offers artists the ability to better target each fan.

Writing effective email newsletters can be tricky though. So, I want to share some
thoughts on what makes a great email newsletter vs. a boring one that fans are going to
not pay attention to.

First, the most important thing, whether you are releasing a new song/album,
promoting an upcoming show, or just want to say hello to your fans, is to set a goal for
what you want fans to take away from your newsletter. In the marketing world we call
this a “Call to Action” and it basically means you've got you're fans attention for about
30 seconds (at best) so you want to make it as clear and obvious as possible what
exactly you want fans to do once their done reading your newsletter.

Examples of calls‐to‐action could be a link to iTunes to encourage fans to buy your new
single, a link to buy tickets to a show (even better if it is targeted to their area), or even
just a link to a YouTube video of your music that you want them to go watch. Your
newsletters call‐to‐action can be whatever you want it to be, but make sure you are
only putting in 1 or 2 so fans don't get confused – and ALWAYS be sure that you are
making it easy and obvious for the fan to understand the action you want them to take!
Now that you know you need one or two clear "Calls to Action" in your newsletter, it's
time to cover how you can encourage fans to read your whole newsletter, and thus
really get to know what it is you want them to know/do...

Effective email campaigns strike an important balance between text and visuals (ie.
photos, graphics, etc). Tons of boring text is going to lose the attention of your fans fast,
and an overwhelming collage of visuals may get their attention but really isn't going to
help you reinforce your "Calls to Action". As such, you need to find a happy medium
between text and visuals. Pictures from the road and links to videos express much more
than a block of text, and can be skimmed through quickly, which is good ‐ and when you
pair these kinds of visuals/links with text that gives context then your newsletter is sure
to be a winner!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Becoming A Successful Tourning Artist/Entertainer

We all know there are several hundred great female country artist out there who get absolutely no consideration. Music is about much more than you and your's about the TEAM of professionals you have around you. RIGHT NOW TEAM TAYLOR IS SMOKING! Either that, there is some fishy business going on with the voters, which I sincerely doubt.

If someone gave me $500 to go see my favorite nominee, I would have to pick Jennifer Nettles.....she makes a connection with me on most all her songs and how can you not see the passion on her face and hear it in her voice...but, that is just me.

Your music is like a're the center, but what completes your circle is how well your work all the pieces, large or small and how consistent you work them with your team members.

Most important, how you build your fan base of what I call True Blue Fans. Without them your career will remain stagnant. Some say you need 1,000 .... I say you need and want as many as you can connect with..... I ask all artist fans to recruit 1 new TBF / month. If this happens, your TBF base can be at 5,000 -10,000 within in 3-5 years. Data shows each new TBF will spend on average $100 / year on you. Which means 5,000 TBF generates $500,000 / year in gross income; 10,000 TBF generates $1,000,000 in gross sales / year. Either way, record deal or no record deal, in 3-5 years most any artist will become successful touring and earning a good living, not only for her, but members of her team. There are many ways to have TBF and have them become one of the most import parts of your circle (team). If you now have 1,000 TBF and each one brings 1 new TBF / month, in one year you have 12,000 and once you get to that level your career will explode. You may not ever be on the CMA awards, but, who cares if your making a wonderful living and having fun doing what you love to do. When you become a confide touring artist and are make it on your own, more than likely a label will show up and that's when you have the power to not give away your future and when you can make a deal or not, that will be a win/win for you and for the label.....many more details to this.

Anastasia Brown has written much about this as well as many others....spend your time working your career and keeping your fans informed and not so much as those who don't support you, your music, your shows, and your team.

CMA Voting Process

If you're like me, you probably wonder sometimes where the CMA gets its nominees. Many times your favorite artists aren't nominated, and it can be very frustrating to hear that once again they've been left off the list.

I've written the procedures the CMA Membership goes through in order to create the list of nominees, and then how the winners are chosen each year.

Who are the CMA Members?
The CMA membership consists of over 6,000 music industry professionals from 43 countries around the world. CMA membership is available to anyone working in the Country Music industry. There are many categories of membership for anyone from behind-the-scenes engineers to front-of-the-camera artists.

The CMA Award winners are voted on by industry professionals of the Country Music Association. Thus, the winners are chosen by their peers. The CMA staff doesn't participate in the voting process.

Eligibility period:
Using 2004 as an example, the eligibility period runs from July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004. Singles, albums, music videos, and qualifying products for the vocal event must have been first released during the eligibility period. The election is conducted in three rounds.

Round 1:
In the first ballot, the CMA members may nominate one act in each category. Any eligible act receiving a minimum of 10 or more eligible votes will become an official nominee, and will then be submitted to the entire CMA membership for the voting on in the second ballot.

Round 2:
On the second ballot, the CMA members must vote for five nominees in each category. These results are then tabulated and the five nominees in each category receiving the most votes will become the CMA finalists, and move on to the third ballot.

Round 3:
On the third ballot, the entire CMA membership then votes for one nominee in each category to determine the winners. The entire balloting process is conducted and certified by the international accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP. The final results are broadcast on the CMA Awards show telecast in November each year.

I've listed below the criteria which must be met to be eligible for each category of CMA Award.

Entertainer of the Year:

This award is for the act displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field. Voter should give consideration not only to recorded performance, but also to the in-person performance, staging, public acceptance, attitude, leadership, and overall contribution to the Country Music image. Award to artist.

Male Vocalist of the Year:

This award is based on individual musical performance on records or in person. Award to artist.

Female Vocalist of the Year:

This award is based on individual musical performance on records or in person. Award to artist.

Vocal Group of the Year:

A group is defined as an act, composed of three (3) or more people, all of whom normally perform together and none of whom is known primarily as an individual performing artist. This award is based on the musical performance of the group as a unit, either on records or in person. Award to group.

Vocal Duo of the Year:

A duo is defined as an act composed of two people, both of whom normally perform together and neither of whom is known primarily as an individual performing artist. This award is based on the musical performance of the duo as a unit, either on records or in person. Award to duo.

Album of the Year:

This award is for an album as a whole unit. The album should be judged on all aspects including, but not limited to, artist's performance, musical background, engineering, packaging, design, art, layout, and liner notes. At least 60% of the product in the album must have been first mastered or released domestically during the eligibility period. Award to artist and producer(s).

Song of the Year:

This award is for the songwriter(s). Any Country Music song with original words and music is eligible based upon the song's Country singles chart activity during the eligibility period. Award to songwriter(s) and primary publisher(s).

Single of the Year:

This award is for single records only. The single must have been released domestically for the first time during the eligibility period. Tracks from albums are not eligible unless released as a single during the eligibility period. Award to artist and producer(s).

Vocal Event of the Year:

An event is defined as a collaboration of two or more people either or all of whom are known primarily as individual artists. They must have performed together, as a unit, on a musical recording released domestically within the eligibility period with each artist prominently featured and duly authorized to receive billing on the event. Award to each artist.

Musician of the Year:

This award is for a musician known primarily as an instrumental performer. In order to qualify, a musician must have played on at least one album or single which has appeared in the top ten of the County album or singles charts from BILLBOARD, THE GAVIN REPORT or RADIO & RECORDS during the eligibility period. Award to musician.

Horizon Award:

This award is to the artist, whether individual or a group of two or more, who has for the first time demonstrated in the field of Country Music the most significant creative growth and development in overall chart and sales activity, live performance professionalism, and critical media recognition. Any artist is ineligible for nomination who has previously won a CMA Award (except Song Of The Year, Vocal Event of the Year and Video of the Year) or who has twice been a final nominee for the Horizon Award. Award to artist.

Music Video of the Year:

This award is for an original music video not more than ten (10) minutes in length featuring the performance of not more than one (1) song or medley. The video must have been first released domestically for exhibition or broadcast during the eligibility period. The video should be judged on all audio and video elements including, but not limited to, the artist's performance, video concept and production. Award to artist and director.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Taylor Swift, U2, Keith Urban: How Did They Get There?

Ok…so I have to admit, I don’t know personally how these particular artists got their start.

However, if I were a betting man, I would say they got out there and gigged! That’s right, they went out and played their music!

It is amazing to me that this fundamental principle escapes most artists these days! It would seem very obvious; but then again, most artists are thinking about getting the record deal or winning American Idol.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for 99.9% percent of us, it will not happen that way. So, the basic question is, how do I get out and book myself?

The first thing you must overcome is the fear of picking up the phone and “pitching” yourself. My first comment on this is, get over yourself! I hear so many artists say… “I just don’t like calling, because it sounds like I am trying to promote myself” or “I am not comfortable talking about myself.”

Come on! If you are not going to have confidence in your own abilities, then who is? Who is going to be able to better market you…than you!

I would suspect that most of you don’t have booking agents that work on your behalf. One suggestion on this is to have a friend or family member assist you in booking. Here is a little secret as well (don’t let this one out): create an “alter ego”…that’s right, come up with another name to book yourself under!

As I shared last week, find out where your audience is hanging out. Go to the owners or the people who book in those venues and develop a personal relationship with those folks. Convince them to have you play there at their venue. After you have done that, ask them to give you the names of 5 friends/contacts that you could contact about coming and playing at their venue….get the idea?

There are other elements that go into booking yourself as an artist…but these are some good ways to get going.

I have no doubt that Taylor Swift, U2, and Keith Urban would all tell you…play, play, play!

Next week we will talk about how to build your fan base.

Until then, remember if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward…there is no standing still in the music business!