Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Social Networks Do Need Artists/Musicians

----from WSJ

The music industry has become increasingly reliant on the social media. Twitter, Facebook and other services such as YouTube with a strong social element have frequently overtaken the press, television and radio as the primary means of promotion

What is perhaps less often reported is how dependent social networks are on music fans for growth. It is not politicians, sports, television or movie stars who dominate the social media leader boards, but representatives of the recording industry. Music and social media just seem to go together.

For instance, 50% of Twitter users follow at least one musician. The top five most followed accounts on Twitter are all musicians. In fact there are only two people in the current top ten most-followed Twitter accounts who are not musicians, one is President Barack Obama, and this is election year, the other is the reality star Kim Kardashian. And the top five trends of last year were all music-related, according to Tatiana Simonian, head of music industry relations for Twitter.

Ms. Simonian was brought from Disney Music Group to the micro-blogging social network last October at about the same time as it launched Twitter music. “It now has more followers than almost any other channel on Twitter,” she said “The media team I’m on is there just to get more dynamic content on Twitter.”

She was talking at the International Music Summit in Ibiza, Spain, last week, an industry event where social media now dominate the business sessions. Their representatives are every bit as keen to address the recording industry as the music business is to listen,

In the fragmented world of music, the summit is the primary industry event for electronic dance music. Recently that has become shortened to “EDM” perhaps, Ms. Simonian suggested, as a result of Twitter users’ need to abbreviate. “The hashtag EDM is now used up to 3,000 times a day,” she said. “It is the fastest growing genre on Twitter.”

It is a segment, however, which has been focused almost entirely on Europe until the last couple of years. Now it is enjoying a surge of popularity in the U.S. The industry’s poster boy for this success is producer and DJ David Guetta.

His main fan page on Facebook is approaching 33m Likes. This puts him just outside the top 10 of this chart, which is almost as dominated by musicians as Twitter’s. But it is not simply the figure for the number of fans who have clicked on a button which impresses his industry, it is what he has done with it. He has developed a series of brand partnerships notably with Coca-Cola’s Burn energy drink and car manufacturer Renault from his native France.

By monetizing his personal brand, quantifiable thanks to social networks, he is showing how a new business model works successfully for the music industry, although there are plenty who dislike his overt commercialism. The point is he is making money after the probably permanent destruction of the industry’s traditional business model.

For decades that model was quite straightforward. Sell records. Everything else was subservient to that goal. Touring, merchandising, radio airplay and everything else could make a loss provided they led to sufficient sales of vinyl and later CDs.

The rise of digital media and file sharing has drastically reduced the importance of recorded music sales to the industry. As a result, what were ancillary activities before are now potentially the most important revenue streams.

Merchandising has moved way beyond the sale of tour t-shirts and now encompasses complete clothing ranges, designer headphones and, in fact, anything that can have a logo put on it. And recorded music frequently exists to promote live performances rather than, as used to be, the other way round.

This explains why another less obvious social network was making an appearance at the International Music Summit. Location-based Foursquare made clear how important music audience was to it about six months ago when it signed a deal with London-based live music listing service Songkick.

Omid Ashtari, Foursquare’s director for business development, explained that, before it got access to Songkick’s database, it was only possible to check into a venue. Given that a different promoter might take over the place each night, that is not an attractive proposition for either artists or fans.

“Now through Foursquare you can not only check into the location, but also into the event,” he said.

“Artists can offer rewards vouchers, perhaps providing discounts on merchandise, ticket upgrades or meet-and-greets. They can also offer ‘swarm specials’ which means you define a threshold and if more than that many people check in, you can do something like a double encore.”

And, of course, these activities provide a foundation for Foursquare’s growth. “I think there’s a an overlap between electronic music and social media savvy people,” he said.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Using Sonicbids to Book Gigs!!!

Here’s some practical advice for those of you who would like to use Sonicbids to get gigs and what my thoughts are on it, as a promoter.....................
  1. Make Your EPK Stand Out: There’s nothing worse than submitting an incomplete EPK. This includes tour dates. Contrary to what you might think, the EPK is the first thing that the promoter sees, not the submission questions that you’re sometimes required to complete. If you plan on using Sonicbids often (let’s face it, it’s one of the few ways to submit to SXSW, CMJ, or some other opportunities), then splurge a little and pay for the premium account, at least for the months that you’re using it often. Get your elevator pitch down. Grab their attention immediately. Listing the band members in your bio (unless you have a celebrity in the lineup) is a waste of time, same with spending an entire paragraph talking about what you sound like. Instead, focus on what sets you apart from every other artist, how you will make them money, and a deep understanding of your target audience.  Use bullet points when possible: if it easier to read and you make every sentence count, promoters are more likely to read it thoroughly. If you are not as active, simply downgrade your account later.
  2. When Submitting to Gigs, Use the Sort Function: If you want more time and attention spent on your EPK, then get in line first. When you log into your profile, click on “Find Gigs” and then sort the listings by “Date Added.” Check this often. Artists that get in the door first show initiative and have a better chance of getting in (as opposed to those who submit last, after most of the decisions have already been made). Make it a weekly habit to check your status/messages from promoters and follow up. If you want to try being the last one in, you can always sort for submissions based on their deadline.
  3. Link Your Account to All Other Social Media Sites: As soon as a promoter opens your EPK in a submission window, your social media stats are featured. In fact, they are shown more prominently than your bio or anything else. Right of the bat, a promoter will see how many fans you have on Myspace, what your Jango score is, and how many fans you have. Leave no stone unturned: even as irreverent  Myspace is, a higher number of fans on your profile still looks more impressive than an empty space. To add sites, click on “Edit My EPK” and enter the field in “Other Sites.” Drag the most prominent and active sites to the top. While you’re there. customized your URL. It looks much better to be sonicbids.com/BANDNAME than a collection of numbers/letters.
  4. See What Others Are Doing: Check out the EPK’s of artists getting the most gigs each week (Track Buzz) so you can see what they’re doing right. Getting gigs helps you get more gigs (believe it or not, the little icons you get for “Booking your first 25, 50, or 100 gigs does stand out and is highlighted to the promoter).
  5. Keep Up With Your Stats: If you have a premium account, you get access to your profile stats (Manage EPK>My Stats) so you can see how many views/plays you’re receiving, what parts of your profile are being looked at, etc. However, one of the greatest features is the oft-ignored “Plugins” section on the right hand side. The social media stats/buzz that you see here are the ones that are shared with promoters. If the Twitter Buzz results are pulling up results that are not relevant, make adjustments to the search query so that your music is being talked about (and not something else with a similar name).
  6. Keep the Gig Calendar Full: I know, it’s a pain. Shows to enter on your own site, Reverb Nation, Myspace, Facebook Events, etc. It can get overwhelming with the amount of data entry. However, Murphy’s Law suggests that wherever you forget to include your tour dates, that will probably be the area that the promoter looks at. Promoters don’t have the time to following up with each of your sites to see how busy your band is. You might have an extensive tour booked all over the world on your website, but if someone looks at your EPK’s empty gig list, you’re going to look pretty pathetic. If it’s easier, delegate calendar updates in the band to different members – just make sure that the same basic information (show time, entry fee, etc.) is the same across the board.
Whether you like it or not, Sonicbids is a tool that is being used by many, many promoters, especially larger music festivals. If you are going to use the site, then do it properly so that you can maximize the results. If not, then focus on your own sites that you do well (most of the basic principles remain the same).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Emerging New Music Industry Events

3 emerging New Music Industry events you may want to attend:

1. Trigger Creative 2012 - June 28-29

2. Music 4.5 - June 29

3. Future Music Forum - September 20-21

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sites to raise money and promote ideas online

by Kim Komando

In the past, inventors, innovators, crafters and entrepreneurs had to work hard for funding or to promote their products and ideas. Now, there's the Internet and crowd sourcing.

Just post an idea or project online and people can contribute small amounts to fund your goals. In cases where you're selling a product, certain sites can give you a like-minded audience to sell to.

If you're looking for a money-raising site with a large user base, Kickstarter is still the go-to option. It's the one that most people know and it supports a wide variety of projects, from movies and art to one-person shows.

IndieGoGo is another good general option to try for crowd funding. It is especially good for charity and non-profit projects.

Software, game developers and app developers are using it more frequently as well. If you're starting a software project, this is the place to try first. Additionally, it's open to international users.

Speaking of international users, if that's your primary audience, or you live outside the U.S., pay a visit to RocketHub.

Those looking to invent physical gadgets will want to try Quirky first. Unlike other sites, you don't just post your idea and solicit funding.

First, the Quirky community has to decide whether your gadget is actually viable. Only after a successful vote do you move to the funding stage, which has its own unique contribution system. There is also an active inventor community that can help you refine your ideas.

There is no shortage of music stores online to buy music. Selling music isn't always so easy, though. Bandcamp is looking to change that.

Joining Bandcamp gives you a free storefront to display your music. It's simple for people to buy and download your songs. Interacting with your fans and favorite artists is easy, and there's a large user base, so your music is seen by plenty of people.

Want to shop around for more selling options? Learn some other ways to sell music online.

Etsy needs very little introduction. It's the go-to site for those looking to sell arts and crafts online.

Joining and creating a store is simple, and it puts your products in front of a like-minded audience. This isn't a place to raise money for a product, but if you have one to sell, definitely give it a look.

Want to examine other sites that help you sell arts and crafts? I detail some more options here.

Finding funding and selling products are both important tasks. However, you need to be able to create your product as well. Here are some tools and tips to help.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gerd Leonhard: The Best Music and Hi-Tech Futurists In The World!!

The Wall Street Journal calls Gerd Leonhard ‘one of the leading Media Futurists in the World’.

Gerd is one of the best mentor a person can have, especially those of us in the music business.  He has been my mentor going on 5 years.  He's truly one of the most accurate 'Futurist' in tech and music, in the world. His weekly travels take him all over the Globe and giving great advice to many large corporations. 

What does Gerd do best??? He tells us what we must know to survive, especially in the music business.  His views, to some are very controversial, but, this far, just about everything he's predicted has happened albeit not to the liking of many in the music business, especially the major labels.  For example, Gerd was one of the first to advocate the future of free music as well as pointing out why artist and music companies should find other avenues of income.

Some of Mr. Leonhard's Resume:  

He is the co-author of the influential book ‘The Future of Music’ (2005, Berklee Press), author of ‘Music2.0’ (2008), ‘The End of Control’ (2007) and 'The Future of Content' (2011).

Gerd's background is in music; in 1985 he won the Quincy Jones Award and subsequently graduated from Boston's Berklee College of Music (1987).

Since 2002, following a decade as digital media entrepreneur and start-up CEO, Gerd speaks at conferences and seminars around the globe on the Future of Media, Content, Technology, Business, Advertising, Telecom, Communications and Culture.

Since 2011, Gerd's area of expertise also includes important "green" topics.

Gerd's keynotes, presentations and think- tanks are renowned for his hard-hitting and provocative yet inspiring, motivational style. With engagements in 43 countries since 2003, Gerd has addressed over150'000 professionals, and is considered a key influencer.

His diverse client list includes Nokia, Google, Sony-BMG, Telkom Indonesia, Siemens, Kuoni, RTL, ITV, the BBC, France Telecom/Orange, Deutsche Telekom, The Financial Times, DDB, Omnicom, the European Commission, Nokia Siemens Networks and many others.

Gerd is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (London), Visiting Professor at FDC Fundação Dom Cabral (Brasil), and resides in Basel, Switzerland.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

True Blue Fans Are Fans Funnelized!

---by Seth Godin

If you have a list of 1000 subscribers or 5,000 fans or 10,000 supporters, you have a choice to make.

You can create stories and options and benefits that naturally spread from this group to their friends, and your core group can multiply, with 5,000 growing to 10,000 and then 100,000.

Or you can put the group through a sales funnel, weed out the free riders and monetize the rest. A 5% conversion rate means you just turned 5,000 interested people into 250 paying customers.

Multiplying scales. Dividing helps you make this quarter's numbers.