Sunday, December 30, 2007

PayPal Storefront

by Laurence Trifon

What do they say it is?
PayPal Storefront is an online store widget that anyone can use to sell products from their website or blog. Simply go to the Storefront website, customize the design of your storefront, and upload your product information and store policies (shipping information, contacts, etc.). When you’re done, PayPal provides you a bit of HTML code that you can use to publish your storefront.

All you need to start using Storefront is a PayPal account. The Storefront widget doesn’t cost anything to use, aside from the standard PayPal transaction fees for sellers.

What do we say it is?

A convenient way to sell products if you don’t mind handling inventory and shipping yourself.

What’s great about it?

PayPal makes it very easy to customize the appearance of and information on your Storefront. Among other things, you can upload a store logo as well as individual images for each product, set the price and write a description for each product, and provide detailed information about your store policies regarding shipping, tracking, insurance, etc.

Each Storefront includes a “Help sell these products” link that lets other people put your store on their own website. You still get all the proceeds from sales - there’s no affiliate fee for those who choose to help sell your products.

What could be better?
At the moment it seems that Storefront (which is currently in beta) only accept payments in U.S. Dollars. The PayPal Labs site indicates that Storefront will be available for MySpace in the future, which will be a nice addition. Hopefully Storefront widgets for other social networks are on their way as well.

How can I use this?
Storefront provides a great opportunity to sell merchandise directly to your fans. Simply embed the widget on your website — and get your fans to put it on their websites too! — and let the orders roll in. Bear in mind, however, that Storefront is simply a tool for displaying your products and processing payments. You are responsible for actually fulfilling the orders. If you have no desire to manage inventory or you detest trips to the post office, Storefront isn’t for you.

Should I pay it any attention?

Many independent artists will find it more efficient to sell products through sites like Amazon and Zazzle, where order fulfillment and inventory management are provided. But when you’re ready to cut out the middle-man, give Storefront a try. It’s a fantastic widget.

Social networking widgets could reshape music biz

By Antony Bruno

DENVER (Billboard) - This year saw the emergence of a new buzzword in the digital music space -- widgets. Next year, we'll see if they do any good.

An offshoot of the global social networking trend, widgets are small applications that users can place into their blogs, profiles and Web sites, and thereby extend the functionality of an otherwise separate Web site or service. What's more, users can simply copy widgets found on friends' profiles and insert them onto their own, thus enabling a tremendously viral distribution opportunity.

The concept gained prominence in 2007, picking up momentum once Facebook opened its platform so that any developer could write an application using its user data and connections. Then Google upped the ante with its OpenSocial initiative, a standardized widget-development tool that would allow developers to write one application that can work with any social networking site adopting the technology -- which include MySpace and Bebo. ComScore, a leading Web traffic monitoring firm, even began a metrics service tracking the most popular widgets and their usage.

These widgets have opened the door to a whole new style of selling content and services online, called "distributed commerce." Simply put, rather than making customers navigate to a specific site to buy a concert ticket or a music download, widgets allow bands and their fans to sell the same from their own Web sites. If iTunes is the Wal-Mart of music, widgets are more like vending machines.

As a result, several styles of widgets related to the music industry have popped up. Some attempt to sell digital downloads, others concert tickets, still others merchandise. Some serve as fan club applications, while others are music discovery and playlist-sharing tools.

What follows is a collection of the top widget categories to keep an eye on in 2008, and the leading companies in each. Their success or failure will determine whether widgets will become a significant new revenue stream or just another Internet fad that never delivered on its potential.


By far the toughest sell in terms of attracting a mass market, the idea of selling digital downloads directly to fans via widgets on MySpace or other social networks is a compelling one for labels and artists alike. Issues like digital rights management (DRM) compatibility, tracking sales and revenue splits with the labels and artists remain a major concern.

SnoCap MyStores
Although it never made a real impact in 2007, don't completely count out the MyStores sales widget just yet. Snocap's attempt to let artists and participating labels sell digital downloads at their own price via their MySpace profiles was held back primarily by a focus on indie acts that agreed to sell their music sans DRM. Few major label acts took advantage. But two things could happen in 2008 to turn things around. First, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group may agree to sell music without DRM, making music sold via the MyStores widget available to all in an iPod-friendly way. Second, Snocap may get bought. Depending on who acquires it, MyStores may find more success as part of a broader, integrated service than a stand-alone product lost in an already busy MySpace environment.

Indie911 Hoooka
While it likely will remain a niche player due to its focus on relatively unknown artists, Indie911's Hoooka widget gets a lot of things right that deserve attention. First, it lets users create their widgets based on multiple artists, not just one. Second, it compensates fans hosting Hoooka widgets with 10% of each sale. Finally, it allows fans to not only buy songs, but also stream music, chat and watch videos. Don't be surprised if this one gets acquired, or if it gets copied by either a competing service or a mainstream act looking for a strong online presence.

While the company has a history of overstating the impact of its initiatives, Lala's widget sales strategy -- which focuses on selling full albums, not individual tracks -- has potential. If it grows more widespread, it could put an interesting twist on the model. The tracks are downloaded directly to users' connected iPods, not stored on a hard drive, while Lala sends a physical CD in the mail. So far Lala has licensing deals with only Warner Music Group, and has used the widget to sell only the latest James Blunt album. Expect wider use as the year progresses.

Close to 80 percent of all ticket sales are now conducted online, according to Ticketmaster. Meanwhile, the company says the No. 1 reason fans don't attend concerts by bands they like is because they simply didn't know a show was in town. Recruiting fans to become sales agents may increase the first stat while lowering the second.

When Facebook opened its social networking platform to outside developers last summer, iLike was the first music application created for the service, and more than 3 million people signed up for it in less than a month. The application lets users list which of their favourite artists are coming to town soon and which other Facebook members are attending that show, and enables streaming of music samples from those artists. It also creates artist-specific iLike pages for such partner labels as Eleven Seven Music. With funding from Ticketmaster, look for iLike to capitalize on its momentum with interesting new features in the new year.

Ticketmaster Event-Engine
The ticketing juggernaut launched an online affiliate network late last year that allows individuals and organizations alike to earn commissions for online ticket sales that originate from links on their Web sites. The Event-Engine widget, as it is called, lets users create a customized event list that keeps track of what they sell. The company says it will add additional tools and functions throughout the year.

PassAlong OnTour
One of the first tour-specific widgets available, PassAlong's OnTour software searches users' music libraries and alerts them when any of the acts are coming to town. As of late November, the company lets artists create their own OnTour widget, from which fans can search for local tour dates, and gives the opportunity to offer MP3 files and an RSS news feed. Alicia Keys and Cassidy are just two of the first artists to take advantage.

Rampant piracy may be complicating the sale of music online, but merchandise is much harder to duplicate. Artists looking to convert their Web traffic into cash are increasingly looking at selling physical goods instead of digital ones as a result.

While other widgets let acts sell merchandise online, Zazzle is the only one that lets participating artists sell merch that fans can customize. The company also handles all inventory, shipping and billing needs. Participating artists simply upload their images to the Zazzle servers, select which products they wish to sell (such as T-shirts, posters and caps) and then set their price. Fans can then pick the size and colour of T-shirt they want, select a design and then pay for it. Zazzle's automated production facility then applies the image to the product and ships it out, all for a flat fee. The company has deals signed with Warner Music Group and Signatures Network for content -- with such acts as Kiss, the Who and Maroon 5 -- and with MySpace for distribution.

Nimbit Online Merch Table

Nimbit's OMT is designed for artists looking for a way to make more money online. The widget allows bands to sell not only their merchandise, but also CDs and tickets to upcoming shows. It also lets fans sign up for e-mail alerts. Fans can post the widget on their own profiles, and the bands can update the information listed on those fan-posted widgets without the need to post a new version. The site charges various flat-rate hosting fees, depending on the functionality desired. Users include Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Letters to Cleo and the Blind Boys of Alabama.


More for the DIY artist set, Cartfly is a simple application that lets users display their wares and take orders. Payment is handled via PayPal, and participating artists need to handle their own inventory and shipping. CartFly charges a flat 3 percent commission on all sales.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

iLike: Online Music's Next Big Thing?

Radiohead started this earlier this year: end-running traditional music labels and releasing its album directly to fans via the Internet, letting them determine how much to pay. Nine Inch Nails followed suit. Madonna signed with LiveNation. Jay-Z will leave Def-Jam and likely join LiveNation as well.

Not to be outdone, former Motley Crue member Nikki Sixx, with his new band Sixx A.M., are also trying their hands at new media. They're exchanging heavy metal for something a little lighter -- in the form of a notebook computer and their new relationship with one of the hottest things going on the Web right now:

If you haven't heard of iLike yet, you will. The site is combining two of the hottest things going right now: social networking and digital entertainment. It's an online community offering a new marketing and distribution tool for artists; an easy, one-stop shop for their fans to share and talk about music.

And iLike is already partnering with e-powerhouses Facebook and Apple's iTunes.

Sixx and his band are now card-carrying members of the social networking craze, combining all that it has to offer with the power of digital music online. Sixx A.M. is now relying on the Web to reach its fans directly, using technology to do what had always been done by traditional labels: letting musicians turn their bands into brands.

"Record companies are becoming not so important. It's about the artist and the community," Sixx told me from the studio he owns in West Hills, Calif.

"When you try to live by the same model in 2007 as you did in 1967, it's obviously not going to work," says Sixx.

It's no wonder Nikki Sixx and his band have chosen iLike despite a contentious relationship between the recording labels and the technology community. iLike's growth has been explosive: zero users a year ago -- and 18 million of them today.

Co-founder Hadi Partovi, a serial entrepeneur who co-founded TellMe Networks (which was later acquired by Microsoft for an estimated $900 million), tells me: "If you want to know, oh, what was that song I heard when I was over at your house...I can visit your page and see what are the playlists you have on your iTunes account are and I'll figure it out."

Hadi, and his twin brother Ali (chief executive at iLike), are blown away by the enormously fast rise to fame the site has enjoyed. Hadi says, "The best part about it is we trust each other a lot and very often we're on the same page."

iLike is now the top digital destination for all things entertainment, including some of the biggest acts around, who are now choosing the site to release music and videos first. Already, acts like Keith Urban, 50 Cent, Beyonce, John Mayer, Evenescence, One Republic and hundreds of others have signed on.

Sixx A.M. is merely the latest. And make no mistake: behind the heavy eye-liner and tatoos are some extremely savvy businessmen. I was stunned at how much these guys recognize the power of this technology and what it can do for them as artists and business people. Maybe the reason why Nikki Sixx is still around, making millions more, while others, like Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose have faded.

Says Sixx A.M. guitarist James Michaels, "I love the fact that a lot of very small bands can get their music to a lot of people" on a site like iLike.

Hey, they're talking about a music revolution here. Sixx tells me, "It seems like a hundred years ago when people didn't use this stuff, and people are just discovering it now."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Why 360-Degree Deals Won’t Turn The Music Industry Around

The ‘music industry’ has at last awoken to acknowledge the existence of ‘new’ music distribution networks such as the World Wide Web and P2P. It has also begun to realise that quashing these technologies by imposing crippling Digital Rights Management on digital recordings may not be terribly effective, and so a new business model has been proposed - the 360-Degree record deal…
Take More, Give Less

This new form of record deal is in many respects very similar to the classic deals of the 20th century (where the label gets the vast majority of the music sales profits), but this time around the labels want to also take a sizeable cut of the artist’s live performance, publishing and merchandising earnings.

So, what’s the benefit from the artist’s point of view? Well, to put it bluntly, none. In fact, the deal for the artist under this new regime is far worse than anything that had previously been available. For the majority of bands, even very well known ones, their main source of income is usually touring and merchandise - and the industry now wants a slice of this pie. To justify their cut, they say that their PR and promotional engine can help to break new bands, but this is what they had always been doing anyway. Rather than give up so much potential income, new bands would be far better off producing (and distributing) their own music and hiring a dedicated promotional agency to handle the marketing and business side of things.

Here’s a typical breakdown of the 360-Degree Record Deal for new bands:

* Label gets approx. 90-95% of record sales
* Label gets approx. 10% of touring income
* Label gets approx. 10% of merchandise income
* Label gets 9c publishing cut per song (or more, depending on media distribution)

Of these elements, the first one is the only clause consistent with previous practise in the industry. The labels have brought this model in as a response to the changing face of music distribution and consumption technologies, but the very prevalence and affordability of these technologies is the reason why no artist should commit to a 360 deal in the first place. If you have enough on the radar to attract the attention of a major, then you really don’t need them.

Are Audio Engineers Making Artists Lazy?

According to Unsprung Artists, the 360 model requires that new artists become “durable, enduring and timeless”. However, as the market becomes increasingly filled with amateur productions, it is the glossy, overcompressed and overproduced shiny sound that stands out - but this ‘professional’ sound is often as deep as the single goes, with the music itself lacking in any real depth, musicianship or integrity.

I certainly agree with Bruce’s view that, for music to have any real longevity, there must be more than production expertise involved - however, I wouldn’t cite the increasing prevalence of home DAW systems as the culprit in any perceived decrease in the quality of music being created worldwide. Technology has made it easier to make music, but it hasn’t made anyone a better or worse musician - what it does is enable musicians to create things in ways that were not possible before, and it certainly allows us to do many things much faster than before.

Musicians will always be judged in relation to the quality of the best music out there, and the best music requires talent, expertise, dedication and hard work. There are times when the hard work is in learning a new instrument, and once that is mastered then one can just let the music flow naturally - such natural ability can never be superseded by software. One of the great challenges of being a musician is in finding your strengths and, quite literally, playing to them. If your strengths are simply dropping sample loops into Ableton Live and tweaking a few filters, that’s fine - but it’s not going to set you apart from the thousands of others who do the same thing, even if you get Bob Katz to master your CD.

How to Market Like a Rockstar

By Mack Collier

The above photo, at first glance, looks like a photo from your average concert. But if you look closer, there's some powerful marketing happening here. Every person, the singer on stage, and every member of the audience, has their arm up and is excited about the music they are hearing.

This is why I love writing about music marketing, because musicians do such an amazing job of exciting the people that buy their music, and turning them into fans. Does it happen by accident? Is it just easier to create fans for music than it is for umbrellas or paper clips? Possibly. But that doesn't mean that companies can't create fans just like musicians do. Here's how to get started:

1 - View your customers as a community, and join them.
If there is a 'big secret' to how musicians create fans, this is it. Let's go back to the above photo. It was taken at a recent concert by The Donnas. But if you look closer, you'll notice that the singer on stage is just as excited and a fan of the music she is singing, as the people that are hearing it. Everyone, the audience, and the singer on stage, has their arms up, and they are cheering. Everyone belongs to the same community of fans.

But it's just as easy to join your community of customers in other industries. Willie Davidson explains that 'market research' to Harley-Davidson means spending a weekend on the open road with other Harley owners. Davidson is a fellow Harley owner, and as a result, is part of the same culture as his company's customers. The line between Harley-Davidson's customers, and the company itself, is very hazy. Since the company is participating in the customer's community, they better understand their customers, and as a result market to them more effectively. All of this makes it easier for Harley owners to be excited about the brand and proud to be a member of a very loyal and unique culture.

2 - Make sure you view your company and its products as your customers do.
Hugh MacLeod had a great point once about making sure that your company is having the same conversation that your customers are. Apple thinks its products are cool, and so do its customers. Remember when the iPhone was introduced? Remember seeing customers proudly camping out for days outside Apple retail stores prior to the iPhone going on sale? Did you realize that in almost every case, there was a Cingular store close by selling the same iPhone, with no one waiting in line? But it was 'cool' to stand in line to wait for an iPhone, at the Apple store. Apple thinks the iPhone is cool, and Apple's customers agree, AND think that THEY are by extension cool because they have an iPhone!

3 - Empower your existing fans to market for you.
Another secret to marketing like a rockstar is this: Evangelist=Fan. If you have evangelists, then you have fans. So obviously, you want to find your existing evangelists, and make it as easy as possible for them to tell others about you. Remember this post from last year about how Maker's Mark created their Brand Ambassador program? All the distillery did was organize its existing evangelists and empower them to better market for Maker's Mark. IOW, they made it easier for their evangelists to engage in pre-existing activities. These customers were passionate for the Maker's Mark brand, so the distillery empowered them to market for them. And remember, customers are far more likely to listen to other customers who endorse a product, than they are the company selling the product!

4 - Give customers input into your marketing.
Dell's Ideastorm is a great example of this. The company has created a place for customers to not only submit their ideas on how Dell's products can be improved, but they then let other customers vote on which ideas are their favorites. Dell can look and see which ideas are the most popular, and then have a great idea of which improvements/changes customers want to see happen. And when the company acts on the changes that are suggested, it lets Dell's customers know that their input is valued and appreciated. It lets them know that they have some ownership over Dell's marketing. So naturally that leads to more customers giving more input and suggestions on what they want to see, which results in even MORE efficient marketing from Dell!

5 - Have FUN with your marketing!

So how is Warner Bros. promoting next summer's hopeful blockbuster movie The Dark Knight? With posters and trailers online, right? Yes they are doing that, but they are also creating websites that must be decoded. If the lucky visitor can do so, they will receive an address of a nearby bakery, where a real cake is awaiting them, with a phone number to call written in icing, and containing a cell phone that receives both calls and text messages from 'Rent a Clown'. This is supposedly a company set up by one of the movie's main characters, The Joker! This is marketing, but it's also a great way to get people talking about, and excited about a movie that won't come out for seven months.

And yes, you could argue that it's much easier to create 'fun' marketing for entertainment vehicles like movies and music. But look at this post from Daily Fix about how CD Baby has spiced up the traditionally boring as hell 'thank you for your order' email. They take a mundane marketing activity, and add a sense of flair and show their sense of humor in the process. As you can see from the comments, most people seem to prefer CD Baby's approach! Notice that Ginny even says that she now looks forward to getting emails from them!

6 - Follow the Threadless example.
Threadless does a fan-damn-tastic job of marketing like rockstars. With Threadless, their business is their community, and their community is their business. The customers design the t-shirts that are sold, and vote on their favorites. The winning designs are given prizes. The more t-shirts sold, the more money Threadless makes and the more prizes they give away. Threadless' customers are literally marketing partners from the get-go. And the company is thriving because there is no line between the company and its customers. Everyone belongs to the same community, in fact Threadless calls it 'business by accident'.

This is something else that musicians understand that many marketers don't. Marketing doesn't have to be a chore and boring for everyone involved. It can be fun, in fact it can be a blast. And the fun factor comes into play when you involve your customers in the process! That excites them and in turn excites you! Passion grows and everyone feeds off that passion.

But companies in many industries do great jobs of marketing like rockstars. Think of how many flyers are Nuts About Southwest. What about The Cult of Mac or the fandom that surrounds Harley-Davidson? Hell the Fiskateers are so popular that they get autograph requests at scrapbooking events!

Which goes to show that marketing doesn't have to be viewed as just a necessary business function, but instead could be seen as a way to excite your customers into becoming fans.

Besides, don't we all really want to be rockstars?

If The Old Music Business Is Dead, What's Next?

If The Old Music Business Is Dead, What's Next?
By Gil Kaufman, with additional reporting by James Montgomery

Letting fans choose how much to pay for your album. ... Leaving the label you've called home for your entire career to hook up with a concert-promotions giant for a $100 million-plus deal. ... Recording iTunes-only one-off singles not slated for inclusion on an album. ... Offering "artist subscriptions" to fans, who pay a flat annual fee for more intimate access to their favorite acts. ... Serving up the millions of songs in your label's catalog to MP3 players and cell phones for one all-you-can-listen-to price per month. ...

These are just a few of the game-shifting changes the music industry toyed with in 2007, a year when the old model of signing with a major label and releasing an album every few years finally began to look like a relic of the distant past. As artists stretched their minds to imagine new and innovative ways to get their music into the hands of fans faster, cheaper and on the fly, what some have called the death of the music business is being viewed by others as the opportunity of a lifetime.

"The meteor's hit, the dinosaurs have all died and now it's time for whoever's next to take over," said Fall Out Boy bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz of the wide open future he sees for the industry. "And I think that it's a good time for new ideas to be out there." Wentz is at the vanguard of the new model of music-industry success where record sales are great (if you can get them), but delivering in concert, merchandising your "brand" and branching out into fashion, vanity labels and celebrity endorsements are almost as vital as writing "Umbrella"-like hooks.

This was the year of the so-called "360 deal," what some are calling the wave of the future in which companies like concert promoter Live Nation cut $100-million plus deals with longtime major-label superstars like Madonna in exchange for a piece of her merchandising, touring and recording monies. According to reports, one of the motivations for Live Nation to partner with Madonna is an expectation that, over the next decade, they might be able to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in tour revenue from one of the most recognizable, and profitable, live performers on the planet. And while it was a shock that Madonna left her career label home, Warner Bros. Records, to sign with a company that has never released an album before, 360 deals were being cut across the board, even by fresh faces like Paramore, and some think they could be the thing that helps kick start a hit-starved industry.

"I don't think we really realized how big an opportunity it is, and how big of a change it is for the music industry," said Paramore singer Hayley Williams of her band's deal with Fueled by Ramen, in partnership with Atlantic Records. "But it's cool because I feel like we have a new kind of partnership with our label, and I do think that it's going to change the music industry completely. And it's forcing bands ... [and] people working in the industry, forcing them to be more creative about how they approach marketing or promotion or picking the single."

Williams said her band's deal makes it feel like the staff at their label are more invested in Paramore's future — and had the group not cut this kind of deal, the label may not have been as patient with their slow-blossoming success.

"A lot of bands on indie labels, they're working their way up, but it's slow," she said. "And so they don't get the chances we got. We spent two years playing to, like, anywhere from nine to 20 kids, and it grew gradually over those two years, and it got to where it is today because of that. But I don't feel like a lot of bands get that leniency, that patience, to just wait around for that big single to happen."

Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists

On Wired magazine site, David Byrne has written a small textbook on the recorded-music industry that summarizes the major approaches that are available today. The included audio clips of his interviews with innovators of different business models are well worth the time.

He sets out six models of recorded-music distribution, which he calls The Six Possibilities:

Where there was one, now there are six: Six possible music distribution models, ranging from one in which the artist is pretty much hands-off to one where the artist does nearly everything. Not surprisingly, the more involved the artist is, the more he or she can often make per unit sold. The totally DIY model is certainly not for everyone — but that’s the point. Now there’s choice.

1. The 360° or equity deal; the creator is a brand that’s owned entirely by the publisher lock, stock, barrel, and they manage the entire thing for you (or without you).

2. The standard deal; ownership of the creation goes to a publisher, and the creator gets paid by them (after costs).

3. The license deal; the creator retains ownership, and a publisher has the rights to market/exploit the material for a period of time, after which they revert to the creator who can then exploit or shop them around

4. The profit-sharing deal; minimal upfront cash to the creator (who retains ownership), publisher performs marketing and distribution, and they split the proceeds.

5. The manufacturing and distribution deal; the creator does everything except make and ship the final product, and the publisher is pretty much reduced to fee-for-service.

6. Not a deal, but self-distribution — the creator does it all, but just as importantly, keeps all the money; with digital distribution costs of music approaching zero, look for this to be much more popular in the future.

I have two immediate thoughts about this. One is that everyone is making this up as they go along. Musicians need to think about what they want to accomplish and invent/ tweak/ hack business procedures that move them toward that goal — and this is how it always has been.

Read the rest here

The Only Way To Get Rich In The Music Industry

Unless you have spent the majority of your life living under a rock then you should be familiar with the saying, If you want anything done right you need to do it yourself!

This may very well be one of the most valid sets of words ever spoken. Those words apply to the music industry like a hand in a glove.

I have had the fortunate opportunity to grow up around the music industry, and experience firsthand all of the ins-and-outs of the game. I have been to all of the work shops, I have read the books, I have purchased the e-books. After all of that I am embarrassed to say that very few individuals actually have a clue on how to break into the industry.

Well my friend, if you are at all serious about breaking into the music industry you need to continue reading this article. All I ask of you is to read it with an open mind.

Here we go:

First and foremost let me break it down in simple terms You (the independent artist) are a small business. As a small business you have to learn how to do many jobs. Some jobs you cant wake up in the morning and get started on. Others jobs will make you feel like you want to jump out of a window and you will hate every second of it.

The major distributors and record labels are like the bank, or a team of investors. The only thing that they care about is the bottom line. At the end of the day all they want to see is a positive return on their investment.

Are you still with me so far? Ok Good! Keep reading

Unless you have millions of dollars lying around the house collecting dust sooner or later you are going to need to hook up with the majors. There are a few different ways that you can do this but for right now I want to keep it as simple as possible.

Nine out of ten independent artist, have this misconception that the music business is about 90% talent and 10% business. That is so far from the truth that it is ridiculous. The truth is its totally the opposite. The music industry is 90% business and 10% talent. Out of 100 independent artist that I have interviewed 99% of them create a demo and submit it to every record label on the planet. Then they walk around telling everyone that they are about to get a record deal soon. To put it nicely ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

Remember a few moments ago I told you that the record label is like a bank? Well that is the truth and you have to approach them in the same manner.

Here is what most artist are doing They go to the bank (the major labels, distributors etc) thinking that they are going to get a small business loan (a cash advance). The first thing the bank wants to know is what type of assets do you have (why should they invest in you.) The artist confidently states that they have a double platinum record on their hands and they know that it will make tons of money.

Although though the bank is laughing inside the banker will ask does the artist have proof of his or her claim (Can you prove that your record will defiantly sell.) The banker will want to see your business plan i.e. how much money have you made on your own. How large is your current fan base. How many units have you sold without them etc..

Now the savvy artist thinks that they can out smart the banker by lying about their credentials, not realizing that they are masters at this game. The artist will boast about their live performances, how many units they have sold etc But when the banker ask for proof, the gig is up. If you do not have press coverage, sound scan print outs you have no loan translation. Your not going to get a record deal.

I think it was Bill Gates who said if you build it they will come. Take a look at Microsoft that is more than enough proof. Bill Gates created an interface that made the computer simple enough that a monkey could use it and the whole world purchased it.

The same is true with your music career. If you build it they will come (the record labels). Its not that hard to build a lucrative music career, it is however extremely time consuming.

If you are reading this you should already have a finished product. That is what you are going to build your initial business plan around. The first thing you have to do is build the foundation.

You foundation is your own domain name. Most artist make the mistake by only having a page which is good, but extremely risky to your music career.

What if you build your entire fan base and have them use to coming to MySpace to find out what is going on with your music career and MySpace decides to sale the company, or worse yet their company folds.

I know some of you are probably saying Fat Chance of MySpace Closing. Thats the same thing that millions of others said when collapsed. I personally know individuals who lost thousands of dollars because they trusted in

One close friend of mine lost his house and his car, because he built his entire career around

Take a little time and think about the things I have discussed in this article and look out for more articles from me soon.

What to Include on Your Music Promotion Website

One of the powerful tools you can have as when attempting independent music promotion is a website. This is a given. There is absolutely no excuse for a musician, in this day and age, to not have a website. Your website is how you will reach the world. This is how you will market yourself to every single person you come in contact with. The internet and your website will be two of the most powerful music promotion resources you will have.

If you are sold on the idea of online music promotion and are ready to start your site but don’t know what to include, then you have come to the right place. It is crucial that you properly design your site and include all the correct information. You want to be as creative and stylish as possible, all the while staying true to who you are and what your music is about.

Other independent artists are making a killer living online selling their music and merchandise and so should you. independent music promotion on your website will be best achieved if all the right information is displayed. Your online music promotion success depends on it.

First, you need to add all of your contact information onto your site. This includes all phone numbers, email addresses, mailing address etc…In addition to this, you are going to need a bio of you or your band. Remember, with independent music promotion, you have no one else to rely on so try to be as thorough as possible.

Do you have any press releases, reviews or customer testimonials? If you do, incorporate these. It will let your future fans know that you presently have happy, committed fans. And of course you are going to need an upcoming schedule of some sort so your fans know where to go to hear you.

One of the most powerful music promotion resources you can acquire is an email list. With this list you can keep your fans up to date on the latest news and happenings with you or your band.

Lastly, you have your sounds and sights. Post some photos or video clips from live events. Action photos are always great so if you don’t have some, get some. Include downloadable sound clips from your CDs, this will entice folks to want more. And the best part, place your CDs, MP3 tunes and merchandise for sale! Incorporate all of the above things into your site and you will no doubt be an online music promotion success.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Brand meets band: now they're in business

Having a song featured in an ad can be a vital leg-up for newcomers, writes Julian Lee.

Remember when rock'n'roll was all about rebellion and showing the world the proverbial finger? When the very thought of working with big business would have provoked a splenetic bout of self-righteousness among band members and fans?

As much as some of us like to reminisce about the good old days, it seems the music industry has forsaken them. Up-and-coming bands are likely to seek out business deals that can give them a leg-up and cut short the long and often painful climb to the top.

Apple's use of Are You Going To Be My Girl in iPod ads transformed Jet from a workaday rock band into a global name. A similar deal was cut with Vodafone in Britain, ensuring Jet's musical footprint was extended.

Call it smart marketing or a sell-out, but Jet's album Get Born has sold 3.5 million copies. Had Apple not made the call, Jet might still have been performing at low-rent venues in the US, says Heath Johns of Jet's label, Universal Music Publishing.

"The exposure definitely sped up the process," Johns says. "But they followed up the ad with a killer [album]." Without the exposure, the album might have sold just 100,000 copies.

Although artists are never pressured into commercial deals, they are one of the first things talked about when artists, managers and publishers sit down to draw up a contract.

"There's no glory in the starving artist stereotype any more. These guys don't have a weekly pay packet, they have bills to pay," Johns says.

In his six years in the job, he says, no artist has refused the chance to get their song in an ad or on TV. "It's really rare in this day and age to get a new band who are not keen on striking any kind of deal."

That willingness to work with big brands has paved the way for groundbreaking deals. This year the Levi's jeans company started its own record label, Levity, to foster Australian and New Zealand music. Levi's pays the recording, distribution and marketing costs, and the acts agree to appear in the company's marketing.

The Sydney band Mercy Arms and the New Zealand group Cut Off Your Hands were the first to sign. They have released EPs and are to go on tour in the next few weeks, significant steps for two relatively unknown acts.

The brand director for Levi's, Steve Williams, says the company gets the kudos from backing music while connecting with a younger, hipper audience in a way it could not have done with conventional marketing.

For brands like Levi's it's about grassroots marketing. "If you take a mainstream track and use it then all you are going to be hitting is a mainstream audience," Williams says.

He says all the bands Levi's is talking to are happy to appear in its marketing, and puts the change in attitude down to the rise of bling: "Just look at the US hip-hop artists that flaunt their association with big-name brands. I think that's changed the perception of brands working with artists."

Older acts - or their executors - are also cashing in: Led Zeppelin for Cadillac and Elvis Costello for Lexus.

Of course, it helps if you are Levi's, with its history of using music in its ads, from Marvin Gaye and Madonna to Stiltskin and even the Clash.

But some companies are beyond the pale, says Rebekah Campbell, who represents Operator Please and Evermore, among others. "We wouldn't do it for McDonalds," she says. But she did cut a deal with Virgin Blue for Operator Please. Their single Get What You Want features in an ad targeting younger travellers. Why Virgin Blue? "Because it's a cool campaign and a cool ad."

Since the ad has been on air, sales of the single have shot up, the song has been picked up on radio and it was played live on Rove.

But as much as we would like to think that business is showing a more altruistic side by fostering music, it comes down to money. Or, rather, the lack of it, on both sides. Shrinking production budgets for ads, the cost of licensing a big-name artist - about $100,000 for a three-month deal in Australia alone - and the wider availability of acts have played into the hands of marketers looking for street cred on the cheap.

With the sale of digital downloads yet to make up the shortfall in declining CD sales, the music industry has been forced to look for other sources of revenue, namely ads, TV shows, films, ringtones and even games. There is more supply out there and the distribution channels that the industry used to rely on - radio stations - are mostly unwilling to stray from a conservative playlist.

Advertisers are also getting smarter in their targeting, publishers say. For example, Mercedes-Benz was until recently using Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz track of 1970 to promote its luxury cars, which is ironic, given it was written as a satire on the trappings of material success. For baby boomers who could forgive Mercedes's chutzpah, it would have struck a chord. Now Mercedes is using a rocky track, I Only Want You, by a little known American band, Eagles Of Death Metal, in an ad for its M-Class four-wheel-drive aimed at younger drivers.

The general manager of Mushroom Music Publishing, Adrian Murray, says: "They [advertisers] are all getting a lot more savvy about what music they use for their brand. Rather than choosing it because it is a hit, they are looking at the music and how it fits their brand."

But Murray says that not all ad-pop deals lead to chart-topping success. "Nothing's guaranteed," he says. "There's still a lot of discussion about how you go about these deals."

That doesn't bother Kris Schroeder, bassist and singer with the Basics, a Melbourne three-piece whose single Rattle My Chain features in a Volvo ad. The ad has been on air for only a month, but Schroeder is realistic about what it means.

The deal is not big enough to allow band members to give up their day jobs - Schroeder is a customer service representative for a publisher - but it is enough to give their confidence a boost. It has opened up horizons and who knows where it might lead, he says.

After five years of hard work, Schroeder feels that, with one of his songs chosen for an ad, the band is on the cusp of making it. "I guess it gives us and our fans a sense of affirmation that we are on the right track. It also sticks it to the doubters."

When asked if he feels he is selling out, he replies: "We don't have anything to sell out. We are only minor players so there's no risk there."

Daft Punk: Marketing Genius or Capitalising on the Viral-Factor?

Daft Punk are dance music legends. Standing more as multi-media artists than pure music producers, youth culture owes these two French dudes a whole lot of love.

Aside from their self-made feature film Daft Punk Electroma, the boys have been pretty quiet since 2004. Until the beginning of this year that is, when their 2001 released track Harder Better Faster Stronger started being featured in more than its fair share of really good YouTube videos.

You can't take away how good a track Harder Better Faster Stronger is, however it was astounding how it was becoming the seminal soundtrack for quality user generated videos.

Whether it is Daft Fingers (10m views), the A Capella Boy Choir (1.8m views) or the Groovy Dancing Girl (1.4m views) (see below). Each video has become a phenomenon in their own right and spawned their very own remixes (just scroll down the related video list).

In terms of trends, it epitomized the new art of video remixing (where users were taking either an existing song or piece of video and reinterpreting it in their way) and at that stage it stood as being a killer UGC case study. Interesting to talk about, great creative and explains the whole phenomenon very simply.

Then came Kanye. His sampling of Stronger created one of the biggest Rhythm & Pop tracks of the year (and also spawned a whole new trend in sunglasses). Good trend spotting work and production by Kanye, but that's the end of story, right? Nope.

The Daft Punk widget arrived, promoting their Alive World Tour and corresponding (live) Alive album. It is in my view a simple piece of digital marketing genius. It does exactly what it needs to. It reaches the Daft Punk audience (tech savvy twenty-somethings), creates interest (the creative is ace), it's easy to use (most people have heard of widgets but not necessarily used them), it has a viral element, it has CRM functionality and finally the big kahuna, it has direct link to either buy the album on iTunes or find out more about their new tour.

The interesting thing for us all is that they have done it all without spending a vast amount of money on marketing. The message has been the medium and the internet delivered the reach.

Whether it was a genius marketing strategy from start to finish or whether they just capitalized on their viral popularity, it doesn't really matter. The Alive album is an audio masterpiece and I strongly recommend you go out and buy it (and yes for the record that means I have just perpetuated their whole campaign).

Daft Hands - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Groovy Dancing Girl

More Bands Experimenting With Free As A Part Of The Business Model

from the good-for-them dept

Eric the Grey writes in to let us know about yet another band understanding the economics facing the music industry. Apparently the band Big Head Todd and the Monsters isn't just giving away free downloads of their new album, but are also giving away 500,000 CDs. They're actually doing it in an interesting way. Somewhat similar to Prince's recent offering to give away CDs with newspapers, BHTM is giving the CDs away via radio stations. Fans could sign up on the band's website for the CDs or get them from radio stations who are being given the CDs in batches to be given away. While giving away physical CDs doesn't make as much sense as just offering the downloads (it's a lot costlier...), it appears that the folks involved with this project understand the basics: "This sort of thing might very well be the future of music distribution. Give away the music, build a bigger fan base [and] generate revenue through live shows, merchandising and other platforms." That, of course, is what plenty of folks have been suggesting for years, while having record label execs insist it would never fly. Where are they now that it's flying? Oh, right, playing dumb.

So What is this Creative Commons thing?

What is it?
Did you know that the moment you create something, anything, which could be considered intellectual property it is automatically protected by copyright law? It might seem surprising, but the angsty teenager who just ranted on his myspace blog has every bit as much protection under the law as a published novelist. So let's say you find a photo on flickr of a cat that you absolutely must put a caption on and show to all your friends. By default, all rights are reserved by the person who took the photo, and unless you actually track that person down and ask him/her if it's ok to use it for your own purposes, you're breaking the LAW (gasp) with every "i can haz cheezburgerz".

Now, imagine that you're the photographer, and you would have no problem with anybody using that picture of your cat if they asked you. In fact, you think it'd be really cool to see your cat displayed with a demeaning caption in some random corner of cyberspace. You need to license your work under something less restrictive than default copyright. You could choose to make it part of the public domain, but you don't really like the idea that somebody could make a million bucks off of it without you seeing a penny (-cough- Crazy Frog -cough-). And, you know, it'd be kind of nice to be given credit for the original photo when the version with that hilarious caption shows up on the front page of Boing Boing. You need Creative Commons. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial in this specific case.

Creative Commons (some rights reserved) acts as a middle ground license between copyright (all rights reserved) and public domain (no rights reserved). It gives you the flexibility to allow people to use your original content in whatever ways you'd like them to without forcing you to give up complete control over over the work.

Why should I care?
Big business i.e. the RIAA i.e. "The Big 4" have ruined the community and creativity of our musical culture. And we, the docile apathetic consumerist American, have allowed it to happen. Copyright was originally created to foster creativity and progress in the arts and sciences. But as it is now being exploited to herd consumers like scared cattle, copyright is doing the exact opposite of what it was intended for. It is stifling expression and stamping out creativity with a steel toed legal boot. It's clear that the interests of consumers and those of the music industry are becoming more and more misaligned. It's clear that our judiciary system's modern interpretation of copyright is failing.

Wikipedia has been accused of killing traditional repositories of information such as encyclopedias. Openly available consumer tools like craigslist have been accused of killing traditional real estate agencies and print media classified ads. Priceline, Hotwire, and the like have been accused of killing travel agencies. Yet all of these things are a win for society because they get better information and tools in the hands of people who need them. This is clearly progress, and anybody who would speak out against it is simply unable or unwilling to adapt. Don't believe me? Take a look at the perspective of Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group. So the MP3 and broadband connections may very well kill the CD. So what? That, too, is progress.

Of course all of these conflicts are short-lived. The dinosaurs will eventually die and we'll continue to move closer to a free information culture. But your actions as a consumer have and will continue to be the primary force in shaping that trend. It's up to you to demand that freedom of information. As artists, it's really what most of us want too. We don't want gold plated pools and fancy cars. We just want to be able to support our families doing what we love. Some of us are just too afraid our fans won't provide the financial backing that will allow us to keep creating music. In fact, it's a basic tenet of traditional economics that consumers will only pay the lowest price possible for a good or service.

So it's also up to you to prove that a system of patronage not only works but is the only real solution for the sustainability of a culture of creativity. Personally, I'm not worried about it. We're not ultimately after you buying into us with your wallets. That's a one time transaction and a fickle river that could dry up at any moment. We want you to buy into us with your minds, your interest and enthusiasm. Those things are infinitely more valuable.

In that spirit, feel free to distribute, copy, and burn our music as much as you'd like. Chop it up and make your own mixes. Use it in your youtube videos. Plaster a life sized print of our photo on the ceiling above your bed. (Ok, that's kind of creepy, but also completely within your rights to do.) Inspire us with your creativity and let us inspire you with ours. And, most importantly, spend your time enjoying what we've created for you instead of worrying about what you can or can't do with it.

Grow Your Fan Base - The Mailing List

Radio Play: Will Topping The Charts Make You Bigger Than Elvis?

Every true life rock n roll television melodrama has the same scene: the unknown artist/band gives their freshly cut 45rpm single to the local disc jockey. He spins it on his top 40 radio showand a star is born. This legend has been passed down through the generations of wannabe popstars like an ancient family recipe. The ingredients may differ, but in the end you get the same glorious results: radio play equals fame and fortune.

But does this Top of the Charts fairytale still apply today in the sardonic post new millennium world we call today? Can a band in our current music scene walk into a radio station with a CD single in their hot little hands, impress and wow the DJ with their enthusiasm and chutzpa, obtain the magic and golden FM radio spins and then ride the wave of success all the way to Graceland? Well, then, I guess the real question would be, Do you believe in fairytales?

Unfortunately, the music industry, like the entire Earth, has become so overpopulated and so oversaturated with artists, music, CDs, and radio stations/shows of all kinds, that the chance of your own personal radio fairytale coming true is probably slim to none. But, dont give up on your favorite audio media outlet. Radio may not catapult you to instant superstardom but it certainly can help to push you down the path to success.

The following are a few tips that will help you to make your own music fairytale and get your music heard throughout the airwaves:

1.) Get Out Of Major Market The Top 40 Station Mentality---There was a day when getting played on a big city Top 40 radio station was like winning a gold medal at the Olympics. Bands that were chosen for play were handpicked by the voices of the airwaves whose ears were finely tuned to pick out the next new rising star. Today, things are a little different. Radio has become a huge corporation with three major conglomerates owning most of the stations in the United States. Sadly, Disc jockeys are no longer the innovators their predecessors were. Station management hands down a playlist (made exclusively of artists signed to mostly major labels) and the voices you hear on your radio are just thattalking heads animating a script. Its nearly impossible for an unknown band to break into mainstream large metropolis radio and a waste of your time and money to send packages blindly to a medium that will more than likely reject you again and again.

2.) The Specialty Show Is Your Ticket In---Still determined to get played on that hot radio station with 10 million listeners and a celebrity DJ? Well, there is a backdoor that you may be able to slip through. Its the specialty show. Many huge stations feature a weekly show structured just to highlight the little guyto showcase unsigned artists from that stations area and sometimes beyond. These shows are always worth sending your press package to, as they tend to base their playlist on your music and your credentials on not on the typical corporate artist roster. This is where you just might wow that innovative disc jockey and garner play on some of Americas biggest stations.

3.) College Radio Still Rocks---One area of radio that has stayed unaffected by the huge corporate retooling is the college/university station. Unlike companies/labels deciding what the listening audience thinks is cool or hip, college radio DJs and program directors are still setting their own cutting edges, breaking new artists, and finding the hot fresh stars of tomorrow hiding in their local clubs, coffee houses and garages. Its always beneficial for unsigned artists to send as many CDs (or email as many MP3s, if the station will accept that medium) to as many college stations as you can find. You will find stations to play you and people will be listening. This could lead to new fans, tour possibilities, and will definitely look fantastic on the radio page of your website or EPK. Whether or not it will actually make you a rockstar, it will sure make you feel like one.

4.) The Unlimited World Of Independent Radio---Back in the early days of radio, indie stations were limited to audio pirates in their basements stealing airwaves from unsuspecting Top 40 giants. Now, thanks to the internet, satellites, cell phones, iPods and cable TV, independent stations outnumber their AM/FM constituents in the thousands and new ones are created every day. Since doing a search of indie radio stations online has been known to cause a brain embolism in some, know that you will probably never be able to solicit them all in one lifetime and just relax and enjoy sending music to whomever you can, as you will probably garner hoards of airplay. Furthermore, your wallet will grow to love you as most of these stations will allow you to submit MP3s online.

Its true that the legendary story of the unknown band that got one single played on the radio and became superstars within a month is probably as outdated as the 8-Track tape. But that doesnt mean that the process of artists soliciting music for radio play has become archaic. Radio remains, to this day, one of the best ways for musicians to promote their music and their projects in their area.and now, thanks to terrific technological advancements, nationally and worldwide. The repetition of your single in the ears of even the most jaded radio listener, may lead to: CD and merchandise sales, gigging opportunities in your city and others, visits to your website, posts to your fan club forums, potential press and even maybe industry attention. So, dont stop sending those CDs, and emailing those MP3s because the next person who hears your song on the radio might just be the one who leads, either directly or indirectly, to your much sought record deal. And who knows? You might just wind up becoming bigger than Elvis.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chocolate Rain and Church Marketing

by Paul Kuzma, Guest Blogger

Who is Tay Zonday and why should you care? I’m glad you asked, because he is one of the latest examples of viral video gone wild in the new advertising stream of Web 2.0. Its impact may not be seen or heard in your sanctuary, but you better believe it is already being seen, heard and experienced in the lives of those who both do and do not attend our churches!

In April of 2006, Tay placed a homemade music video about nothing called "Chocolate Rain" on YouTube. The video is homemade in its feel and quality and is almost five minutes long. It shows nothing more than him singing the song in front of a professional microphone, which causes him to “move away from the mic to breathe in” (watch the video and see what I mean), along with periodic views of his hands playing the keyboard.

Within a matter of weeks, Chocolate Rain had millions of views--it had gone viral. During the Summer of 2006, he ended up on the late night talk show circuit and was invited to speak at the YouTube corporate headquarters. Any day now, he’ll cross the 13 million mark in numbers of views.

Tay’s latest music video venture was released at the end of November and has already had almost 1.6 million views. Why not, right? Anything by Tay is hot following "Chocolate Rain." His newest music video, called "Cherry Chocolate Rain", is professionally produced. It parodies his original video and all that the song has brought to his life.

However, watch the video all the way to its end to find out what the big deal is. This video is almost three minutes long. The kicker happens just seconds before the video ends. As Tay is being splashed with liquid chocolate, the video cuts to a two-liter bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper's new flavor ... Cherry Chocolate!

Diet Dr. Pepper is picking up where many advertisers are being left in the dust. This three minute commercial will obviously never show on TV because of its length. Why would Diet Dr. Pepper care? It’s getting the word out about its new flavor much more efficiently with Tay Zonday than it will with NFL football on Sunday!

There is a powerful message here for the Church! For one, it would be helpful for the sake of the gospel and reaching our communities for us to recognize where advertising is headed. Our current and future congregation is on the Internet way more than we’d like to admit. Let’s find them there ... Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, GodTube ... however we can connect!

I don’t know about you, but I’m on the lookout for Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry Chocolate!

Orginal Video: "Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday 12,227,998 plus plays

"Cherry Chocolate Rain" Diet Dr. Pepper Commercial

A Quick Guide To Copyrighting Your Music

Registration is NOT required for a valid copyright.

First, understand that you don't need to register your copyright with the United States Copyright Office in order to have a valid copyright. You have a valid copyright as soon as your song or sound recording is "fixed in a tangible medium of expression". This is a term used by the Copyright Act and means that your song or sound recording must be written down or recorded.

Although registration with the Copyright Office is not required to have a valid copyright, registration does provide several benefits:

* the establishment of a public record and evidence
of your claim as the valid copyright owner of your
songs and sound recordings

* the ability to file a federal lawsuit against someone
who uses your song or sound recording without your

* eligibility to receive statutory damages and attorneys'
fees in the event you file and win a copyright
infringement lawsuit


Registering your copyright is fairly straightforward. To register your copyright, you must send three items in the same package to the Copyright Office:

1) a completed application

2) A deposit of your song or sound recording

3) the filing fee (currently $30)

It will take the Copyright Office approximately six months to process your application and send you a certificate of registration. However, the effective date or your registration is the date on which the Copyright Office receives your completed application package.


Form PA is for filing a copyright of the song itself: the melody and lyrics, and chords. This is the "circle C" symbol: ©.

Form SR is to file a copyright on the sound recording. Usually the record label will do this, as it usually 'owns' the masters to the recording. This is the "circle P" symbol: (P). This 'protects' the actual recording (and recorded arrangement) of the song.

Form CA is to make a correction to a Form PA. If the song is significantly updated (musically, lyrically or otherwise. e.g. new co-writer) and has been previously filed for copyright, then Form CA should be used. This form can also be employed to 'break out' the individual titles within a song collection under copyright.

The Copyright Office will give you free applications along with detailed instructions for completing them. You can get the forms from the Copyright Office's internet site ( You can also request the forms by calling the Copyright Office's forms and publication hotline at 202-707-9100, or by writing to the Copyright Office
at the following address:

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
101 Independence Avenue, SE,
Washington, DC 20559

Promoting Your Music With Podcasting

According to there are more Podcasters than radio stations and they reach a global audience.

Podcasting takes the idea of Internet radio and turns it into something easier, and more flexible. A podcast is usually an MP3 file that is distributed from a website (although there are new options for this all of the time, including iTunes, file sharing, podcast websites, and others.) Podcasts are usually targeted at one particular interest area. They are often the length of an average radio show, between one half-hour to two hours.

One of the benefits of podcasting is that listeners can break away from "Appointment Listening." Appointment Listening means listening to a show on the radio at the time when it's being broadcast. This is becoming rarer as people have other options such as TiVO or on DVD. Podcasting allows radio to break out of the Appointment Listening mentality and to give people control of when they hear shows. Many popular radio shows are now putting out podcasts of their own because they realize that it would get their material heard by more people.

Podcasts have an enormous amount of variety. Some are nothing more than audio diaries and others are more traditional music shows. There are many that are talk shows where discussions and interviews occur about very obscure topics that wouldn't otherwise be available on the radio. Music is often a part of podcasts, usually in one of three ways:

1. Podcasts that are regularly released and have a large audience often have a theme song.

2. Many podcasts are about music and are similar to music radio shows. They usually feature a particular style of music.

3. The talk podcasts will sometimes play a song or two to break up the talking, especially if the song is about the topic of discussion.

There are a lot of opportunities for indies in podcasts. There are no barriers to entry into them and it is a medium where people can hear your music. Some are extremely popular and have an audience of thousands, or tens of thousands, of people. Even better, if your song makes it onto a podcast, that podcast will always be available as an older episode. Unlike being played on the radio, where people have a chance to hear your song once, usually all podcasts for a particular show are available as archived episodes forever. Because listeners will often download it to their MP3 player, people will sometimes listen to it multiple times. On top of this, sometimes links to the band website or to the song are placed in a podcast's show notes.

Below are some ideas for getting your music played on podcasts:

1. Submit your music to the podsafe music network so that you can indicate to podcasters that they may use your music.

2. Talk to a podcast that needs a theme song and offer to write one (or offer a song that you have already written or recorded.)

3. If you release free music on your website, write a note on your website telling podcasters that they may use any of your songs royalty-free. (We suggest releasing your songs using a creative commons license, which spells out their rights clearly.)

4. Do your own podcast!

The best information for Promoting Your Music With Podcasting is Dave Jackson's Promoting Your Band With Podcasting which is a Free Report that you can get from

Taxi Music Seminar

Get your music placed in film and TV

How to write the perfect bio

What makes an artist instantly signable

What not to say to an A&R rep

How Good Do Your Demos Really Have to Be?

100 Free & Affordable High & Low Tech Music Promotion Tips

From hypebot:

1. Never leave promotion to the other guy. Depending on your point of view don't count on the label, band or publicist to do their jobs. Do it yourself or it may not get done.

2. Know your niche market(s) or hire/befriend someone who does.

3. Always think of the fans first when making decisions.

4. Start early. Pre-promote. It allows time for viral buzz (aka free promotion) to build and ensures you’ll get you a larger share of a discretionary spending.

5. Take the time and spend the money to get a great publicist to get free media.

6. Produce great promotional material and send it out early and often. Don’t wait until they need it.

7. Email lists must be your new religion. Make sign up simple and easy to find. Put it visibly on the top half of the front page and watch it grow.

8. Segment your email lists (genre, location) to fight email burnout.

9. Produce and send great e-cards. The best ones get forwarded to others.

10. Make your web site a destination by keeping it updated and including news, giveaways, polls and things to make it worth visiting.

11. Put your promo online in downloadable form for easy access by the media and your fans.

12. Enable and encourage others to do your promo for you. Ask fans to put up flyers and send out emails. Put a poster online as a free downloadable PDF for fans to use.

13. Create, utilize and reward a street team. Here’s a short article on the subject.

14. Talk to people and take informal polls. Have they seen your ads? Where? Did they grab them and provide useful information? Survey your audience via email, on the web and at shows.

15. Add a free poll to your web site or blog via

16. Get every free listing everywhere you can no matter how obscure or far away. Maintain an extensive “listings” email list and use it.

17. Enhance the value of press releases by always attaching a photo or graphic file or a link to one.

18. Aggressively seek sponsorships. Big sponsorships are great, but no sponsorship is too small to consider even if its just cross promotion in ads or free give aways.

19. Always think yourself as a brand that needs to be defined, marketed, and protected.

20. Try local cable TV. Some local spots on Fuse or other targeted channels go for as little as $7 each. Check out Spotrunner, dMarc or your local cable company.

21. Try local internet advertising via Google Adsense, Facebook or local web sites. MySpace is adding targeted advertising early 2008.

22. Advertise on internet radio and blogs that serve your market.

23. Create consistency by creating ad mats and radio spots beds.

24. Sponsor non-commercial radio and get mentions. NPR is great, but don’t forget college radio.

25. Think out of the box with radio tie-ins. Rry talk radio for a classic rock or jazz radio for a fusion. Radio stations want to expand their audience too.

26. Co-brand. Celtic Music with an Irish bar or specialty shop or metal with a tattoo parlor. Worry less about money and think more about exposure.

27. Sponsor somebody else’s event. Consider trading sponsorships.

28. Create your own affordable net radio station on Live 365.

29. Add a blog to your website to keep content fresh. has free tools.

30. Go viral and post on related list-servers and discussion groups.

31. Can't find the right discussion group? Start your own discussion group for free at Yahoo or Google Groups.

32. Get on both MySpace and Facebook and stay active. Don’t just set it up and forget it. Update it and promote it. Make it worth visiting. iLike and others are creating services to help you keep track and update more than one site at a time.

33. Make everything you do an event. What holiday is near? Is it a band member birthday? An anniversary near?

34. Consider the internet your new best friend. Study it, learn from it, explore it and use it.

35. Run contests for best poster design or homemade video. Share all the entries on the web.

36. Produce monthly or even weekly podcasts. Consider having it produced cheaply or in trade for tickets, etc, by a local college DJ.

37. Do anything you can think of to enhance the consumer experience.

38. Give stuff away – backstage passes, seat upgrades, seats on stage, tix to the sound check, mp3’s of live songs.

39. In the entertainment business perception can be reality. Is your show the biggest, best, loudest, “most talked about”? Then be sure to tell the world that it is.

40. Enhance and monetize the hard core fan experience with a Platinum level fan club that offers exclusive downloads, pre-orders, insider news, preferred seating at shows, etc.

41. Go old school and cut through email overload by also faxing calendars and press releases. Use a free computer based fax broadcast service.

42. Don't just send announcements to the main stream press but include bloggers, internet radio, record stores, colleges and even large offices.

43. Make your faxes look like mini-posters worth hanging up.

44. Fly a plane with a banner over someone else’s event.P

45. Park a van or truck with a banner on a main street or across from a show by a similar act.

46. Buy a billboard for an event or series of shows. Place it strategically near a competitor or across from a college campus.

47. Use one of the cheap automated phone answering services advertised in the classifieds to set up a special phone line for your schedule.

48. Pass a clipboard(s) around before a show to capture emails or do a survey.

49. Meet your fans face to face and ask them for feedback but how you can serve them better.

50. Try the good old fashioned US mail occasionally. It actually gets peoples attention.

51. Promote “After Parties” that are cheap or free with a concert ticket. This allows you to extend your brand or even tag onto someone else's at low cost.

52. Hand out flyers on the way out of the live shows.

53. Capture info from any one who make a purchase particularly ticket buyers.

54. Ask your web visitors questions. Polls are free and easy to set up with sites like PollDaddy.

55. Sell merchandise at affordable prices. It’s branding that someone else pays for.

56. Get creative with your merchandise – don’t just sell shirts. Try flip books, for example

57. You can add variety to your merchandise with no upfront costs using CafePress or Zazzle.

58. In this age of too much info and media, work to make yourself a trusted gatekeeper for your genre(s) of music. Use newsletters, blogs, tips, links, internet radio, and more. Don't just write about yourself. Write about things people who care about you also care about.

59. Carry a video camera everywhere and post short videos on and elsewhere of live shows, interviews, backstage, etc.

60. Create your own related niche blogs or web sites (for example or or You can make yourself the only (or primary) advertiser, but keep it real with info and news from others.

61. Send thank-you notes. Not emails; written notes. No one says thank-you anymore. It will be remembered.

62. Ask for the purchase. Never forget that you are in sales.

63. Market to the niches. Market to bartenders in Irish pubs for a Celtic or motorcycle shops for a heavy metal. Try tattoo parlors, coffee shops, book stores, niche clothing shops.

64. Make your emails and web site useful to the reader. Add info and links to things your audience might find interesting or useful that you have nothing to do with.

65. Share your best promo ideas and avenues of promotion with other stakeholders: bands, promoters, labels, publicists, and sponsors.

66. Share media lists with others highlighting things you think will work best for each project.

67. Sell a series or combo. This works for recorded music and live tickets.

68. Surprise people. Give them something for free that they did not expect.

69. Create and use banners. Don’t have time or $ for Kinkos? Try Avery Banner Maker.

70. Trade others occasionally for targeted email lists, but don’t overuse them.

71. Hire or befriend a geek who will help you keep up on new technologies and internet promo opportunities.

72. Partner with a charity. Build good will and get more free media. Maybe you're giving a small % or maybe it’s auctioning off or selling the seats on stage or tickets to the sound check.

73. Consider unusual places on the internet like Craigslist, sBay and StubHub as promotional tools…Try selling tickets and other stuff there.

74. Musicians want to be actors and actors and athletes want to be musicians. Think about how you can cross promote so everyone wins.

75. Always make available a hi-resolution color photo available for easy download and you’ll get much better placement in print Sunday editions and calendar sections.

76. Some fans travel so try cross–promoting with another show (by the same band or just a similar band) in another city 50 or 100 miles away.

77. Create a special “Insider” email list fof a few fans, key media, tastemakers and bloggers for pre-announcements who love to know things first…and like to tell others.

78. If the there is going to be a meet and greet after show make sure that it's advertised. Fans always want a chance to meet the musicians.

79. Consider offering a student discount or senior discount.

80. List all your tour dates online on Pollstar, CelebrityAccess. MusicToday, Live Nation and elsewhere. You never know where people will go looking for a show.

81. Work to make it easier and cheaper for fans to buy tickets online. There are always going to have to be some fees, but some services like InTicketing charge much smaller fees than Ticketmaster.

82. Find ways to your regular ticket buyers.

83. Enhance your gatekeeper status by creating your own free Pandora or Last.FM “radio station” and linking to it from your site.

84. Create free custom Pandora or Last.FM for each concert event…”Get in the mood for the Al Green concert with this classic soul stream…”. It’s a free way to make the concert an event and keep them talking about it to others.

85. Start a short term blog for every big show or series. Post when it goes it go on sale, when an opener is added, when the front rows are sold out, news about the bands, everything.Link to it from our wen site.

86. Produce and sponsor a cable access show.

87. Utilize free interns. Try to make sure they are getting college credit so they are motivated to work.

88. Use cell text messaging to communicate instantly. Try or Google to find other companies.

89. Flyer - It’s the cheapest form of advertising. even offers free flyers every month or a try local printer.

90. A good flyer promotes more than one show and is also worth of being hung as a mini poster.

91. Flyer someone else’s show in a related genre.

92. Make sure all important info is on the front page of your site: new gigs, news, latest photos/songs/videos, etc. Make it easy as possible for fans to see the site is update and to get to stuff quickly.

93. Make sure everywhere you are mentioned (club listings, others bands you are playing with, etc) links back to your site. If they aren't linking, ask.

94. Encourage fans to "tag" you and your content on other sites like flickr, blogs, etc. Then aggregate that data on your site.

95. Do the same using recommendation sites like Digg and Stumble. See example links at the bottom of every Urban Music post.

96. As Tip #7 stated, email lists should be your new religion. A few sites like offer free mailing list and text messaging solutions. There's no excuse.

97. Finding the time to keep up with all of this is hard but essential. Take advantage of new free services that offer the ability to manage content across platforms: > Nimbit enables mp3, CD, ticket and merchandise sales on MySpace, Facebook and elsewhere from a single integrated widget. > ReverbNation provides email sign-up, street teams and web promotion tools. A new addition allows multi-artist tracking. > iLike has made its fan communication and community building tools instantly compatible on both its site and Facebook and provides tracking tools and stats.

98. If you hear about a good promo idea, go online and research it RIGHT NOW. Try it before it becomes over used. You can drop it if it doesn't work.

99. Up your promotion Karma. If you try something and it's a hit, tell others. Then they will be more likely to share ideas with you.

100. Read Hypebot regularly. We'll help you keep on top of what's hot in music marketing.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing has experienced enormous growth over the past year because technology innovations have allowed us marketers here in North America to conduct campaigns across carriers. The industry also smartly created the means for brands to monetize the mobile channel and to make it fun for consumers, while enabling those brands to create and solidify their position with consumers -- and to make money. It's win-win.

Here are a few tools that artist can use to connect with their fanbase.

JuiceCaster is a free multimedia community all about giving you, our users, the power to KNOW FIRST and SHOW FIRST.

JuiceCaster keeps you connected to your friends and personal networks because you can access JuiceCaster from your mobile phone and the web - meaning you will always be first to report cool things to your friends and first to know when something awesome happens in your circle, no matter where you are!

Mozes, is the Palo Alto company that lets you text-message music bands for information like concert details, venue changes and promotions.

Mozes wants becomes the one place you send messages to for information about your favorite band. All you do is send a message to M-o-z-e-s (or 66937 on your mobile dialpad), and then type in the name of the band in message. Mozes’ service then lets the band respond with its own message. It is popular at concerts.
For bands, the service is free. Eventually, Mozes wants to expand its services to businesses beyond music.

iLike helps bands get the word out to fans

By Brier Dudley
Seattle Times staff columnist

Leveraging its remarkable 13 million users, Seattle-born social music startup iLike is introducing a platform of services to help musicians promote their music and concerts and communicate with fans.

The free Artists Services Platform launching today is a dashboard for artists and managers to control iLike tools for distributing messages, blogs and videos to their fans using iLike.

"Our overall directional statement is that we think we can become the largest and dominant fan community site," co-founder Hadi Partovi said.

Among the tools, a broadcasting application called iCast stands out. It's for posting music, video, audio and text messages. For instance, it lets musicians take videos with their cellphones and send the video to a personal iLike e-mail address that forwards them to fans.

Partovi said big bands such as U2 now have more fans using iLike on Facebook than they do on the bands' own Web sites and MySpace pages.

"We think it's about 40 percent of all artists that have more fans in their iLike community than they have on their MySpace community," he said.

Partovi said the 28-person company, which is divided between Seattle and San Francisco, has been so focused on its Facebook-driven growth that it hasn't done a lot to monetize the service with ads. It plans to get to that in about six months, probably by adding banner ads and sponsorships to start.

A new "social music" widget coming this fall from Microsoft's Zune sounds a lot like iLike's service, which displays users' recently played songs and favorites and enables friends to discuss music they're listening to.

Partovi isn't too worried about the challenge from his former employer, though.

"My main thing is that we've demonstrated enough success in the space that a lot of people try to copy [our] success," he said. "At the size we're at and the growth we're seeing, I'm not worried about somebody catching up with us."

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