Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting and Keeping Band Momentum!!!

From: The New Rockstar Philosophy

When bands have momentum there is a buzz and an intangible, yet significant, energy around them. It can be seen when they play, it can be felt from their recordings and it is usually the factor that sets them apart from the pack.

I think there are 2 kinds of momentum(s) for bands: Outer and Inner

Outer momentum is what people can see:

  • New shows to play

  • New music to release

  • New merch to sell

  • New tangible “real” things
Inner momentum is a different beast.

Inner momentum is essentially a battle for your mind and your heart…. that makes it more difficult to understand and quantify. Even the attempt to define inner momentum on a broader scale is quite ludicrous, because everyone will define inner momentum on there own terms.

Suffice it to say that when you have inner momentum you know it. You feel your band is going places and growing as a musical entity.

When you don’t have that momentum you know that things are slowing down. Arguably the best definition of inner momentum is the lack of it. Things are not moving for you. The music, or the band, or the live show, or whatever, is stagnant and will not get better unless you take back your heart and your mind first.

So here are some of my personal tips for keeping and sustaining your bands inner momentum:

Appreciate what you already have. Bands are typically egotistical. They love their own music and are often puzzled why the Killers are bigger then them. But instead of looking at the glass half empty, flip that script. Look at all that you already have.

  • Do you have fans? Awesome!

  • Do you have good gear? Great.

  • Do you have a solid lineup? Mint!

  • Are you alive and breathing?! You Go!
Read the rest...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

iTunes Top Selling Albums & Songs Of 2008

Itunes Best Selling Albums of 2008:

1. Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends
2. Jack Johnson - Sleep Through The Static
3. Juno (Music from the Motion Picture)
4. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
5. Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
6. Once (Music from the Motion Picture)
7. Jason Mraz - We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things
8. OneRepublic - Dreaming Out Loud
9. Across the Universe (Music from the Motion Picture)
10. Leona Lewis - Spirit

Best Selling Songs of 2008:

1. "Bleeding Love" Leona Lewis

2. "Viva La Vida" Coldplay
3. "Low" Flo.Rida f/T-Pain
4. "I Kissed a Girl" Katy Perry
5. "Disturbia" Rihanna
6. "Lollipop" Lil Wayne & Static Major
7. "No Air" Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown
8. "Pocketful of Sunshine" Natasha Bedingfield
9. "Love Song" Sara Bareilles
10. "Don’t Stop the Music" Rihanna

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Live Nation to Sell Major Label MP3s on Artist Pages

Live_nation Live Nation, which has been on a tear recently with major artist signings and its own ticketing system that will soon replace a contract with Ticketmaster, has confirmed that it will sell unprotected MP3s from three of the four major labels. Rather than an iTunes-style database, Live Nation's MP3 store will route fans to artist pages somewhat similar to the ones found on MySpace.

The deal represents another major label move away from DRM, but it also strengthens Live Nation's position as a one-stop-shop for all things relating to its artists. With deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars with high-flying artists like U2, Jay-Z, Nickelback and Madonna, the Ticketmaster contract set to expire in December and plans to launch its own ticketing service that will include one of Ticketmaster's biggest former clients, the company now handles everything from merchandise to show tickets to distribution. Add to that list, "DRM-free music store."

Live Nation has deals with Sony Music, Universal Music Group and EMI to sell their music in an unprotected MP3 format from artist pages on its own site, according to Digital Music News. At least one artist has been complaining recently about iTunes lacking a strong "artist page" like the ones found on MySpace, because artist pages can draw fans in ways that just aren't possible with a list of albums -- think blogs, comments, images, videos and all the other stuff that typically surfaces on a band's MySpace page. It sounds like Live Nation's been listening; its direct-to-fan music sales could be just what the labels ordered.

Live Nation is accomplishing most of this through its MusicToday division, a 51-percent stake in which Live Nation acquired in 2006. MusicToday made its name managing direct band-to-fan relationships for clients like the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and the Dave Matthews Band, for whom it ran fan clubs, e-commerce, VIP programs and secondary ticket sales, and now it's ramping up its direct-to-fan business with MP3 distribution, thanks to these label deals. Warner Music Group could apparently sign on as well, giving Live Nation the ability to sell MP3s from all four major labels.

Essentially, Live Nation is turning into a microcosm of the music business at large. If you're a fan of one of its bands, you're going to spend money on them eventually, whether its a concert ticket, a T-shirt, a CD, fan club access to exclusive "VIP" content, an MP3 from an artist page or whatever. And when you do, Live Nation will be there to take a slice of the pie -- a savvy business strategy when no one knows for sure where the bulk of music revenue is going to come from.

Even in advance of its ticketing contract expiring with Ticketmaster, Live Nation's third-quarter results (.pdf) look strong. The company produced 17 percent more concerts than it did in the same quarter of last year, while attendence increased 6 percent and revenue jumped 9 percent.

"Looking ahead, our primary goal remains centered on maximizing our global concert pipe for our client – the artist," explained president and CEO Michael Rapino, "and expanding into direct ticketing/online distribution, completing the world's only concert-to-fan direct platform for artists."

I guess this is part of what he meant by that.

We've asked a Live Nation spokeswoman when the company plans to start selling these MP3s and hope to post an update soon.

Sunday, November 9, 2008's Barack Obama "It's A New Day" and other video tributes to Obama

Finally the months of campaigning are over and we have our new leader. People across the country (and the world) are rejoicing. And of course the DIYers are making remixes and editing videos!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Music Business Radio - Interview with Chuck Wicks and Monty Powell

Anyone interested in breaking into the country music industry as a performer or songwriter should listen to this.

Music Business Radio

Episode #79 - Chuck Wicks and Monty Powell

Chuck Wicks recently began taking the country format by storm with his hit debut single, “Stealing Cinderella,” which was the fastest rising country single of 2007.

Wicks spent several years paying his dues by parking cars and writing songs. At one time, he was writing over 100 songs per year. He developed his songwriting by apprenticing with some of the top songwriters on Music Row. That hard work can be heard on “Starting Now,” his RCA Records debut as well as on his tour opening for Brad Paisley.

As a music business veteran for nearly 25 years, Monty Powell has successfully honed his craft and found his niche as a songwriter/producer. His work appears on over 50,000,000 records.

He's worked with Keith Urban, Chris Cagle, Rascal Flatts, James Otto, Diamond Rio, and many more…

We talked about how he and Chuck connected, his role in helping Chuck find his voice as an artist, and what it takes to make it in the music business today.

We've got in-studio performance with Chuck and Monty, reviews of demos sent in by Music Business Radio listeners, and a call by Monty for the "next big thing" he is looking for and information on how Music Business Radio listeners can get packages directly to him.

For those not on the podcast...

Facebook eyes digital-music business

Social networking site Facebook's founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg plans to enter the digital-music business in the wake of the launch of News Corp's MySpace Music last month, the New York Post said.

Zuckerberg is talking to a number of song-streaming services and music community sites, including,, and about an outsourcing deal, the Post reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Facebook executives have been busy meeting major record companies about the strategy, the paper said on its website.

The Post quoted sources saying that unlike MySpace, which traded equity in its music venture in exchange for licences to stream ad-supported songs, Facebook doesn't want to secure licences to distribute music, or build a proprietary service from scratch.

Sources further cautioned that nothing was imminent, and Facebook may ultimately walk away from the plan altogether, the paper reported.

What People Want to Read About Your Band

Source: MaxLowe.NET

Sitting down to write those first mind-racking band descriptions and introductions on your profile can be very hard. It involves a great deal of thinking, planning, and usually a lot of collaboration with the rest of the band, your friends and family members for ideas and the “right” thing to say. But, rather than worry excessively about what you want to say, you should consider what people want to read about your band.

New Fans and Innate Curiosity

When a new fan visits your site, they likely have three questions in mind:

  • What kind of music do you play?
  • What are you and the other band-members like?
  • How does this affect me?

MySpace provides plenty of space and prompts for you to provide information about what kind of music you play and what kind of band you are. You can upload tracks for them to listen to, list your major influences, and create a series of mini-profiles with information about your band’s members. However, the third question is one of the most important and must be addressed carefully in the descriptions you write.

You might notice that many bands write a very long, involved profile discussing who they are, where they came from and what they see in their music. Other bands simply post a concert calendar and a short bio of 200 words. While a profile that is too long will simply bore readers, one that is too short does not address the question of “how it affects them.”

Continue Reading

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The End of Poverty - The "Homework" of Our Generation

My name is Shawn and on September 14 2006, I found my answer on how to make the world a better place. It's because of that answer that I am now in Bangladesh.

On September 14th, 2006, the University of Notre Dame (of which I was a student studying for my Masters in Sociology) canceled all of its classes so that students could learn about an important issue: the problem of global health and third world poverty. One of the people who came to speak to us was Dr. Jeffrey Sachs (author of the book "The End of Poverty").

Dr. Jeffrey Sachs believes that extreme poverty can be eliminated in our lifetime. The power of this message inspired me to put school on hold so that I could do my part and hopefully inspire others along the way. I have come to Bangladesh to try and help the poorest of the poor. I am sharing this experience with the world through the power of YouTube.

I know that my little "uncultured" project is a drop in the bucket. But hopefully, the more people that be inspired to believe we can end poverty in our lifetime - the closer we can get to that goal.

This is just a montage of what I did in my first five months. Please check the other videos for more of what I have been able to do.

Aid That I Gave In This Video Include:
- 1 Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Mosquito Net Donated by Vestergaard-Frandsen
- 2 Cases of Bottled Water to Residents of a Flood Affected Region
- A nutritional meal (including beef as a source of protein) for a large group of poor school children
- 1 windup flashlight given to a young student in the rural village who cannot afford electricity
- 50 Locally Made and Locally Purchased Mosquito Nets

I plan on making more videos explaining each aid operation in more detail in the future.

My Project's Blog:
My Project's Photos:
More YouTube Videos:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Value of Free Part 1 : Musical Notes by Bob Duskis

From Global Noize:

While the rest of America watches in slack jawed horror as Wall Street tumbles into previously unheard of depths, we in the record business have been going through our own financial apocalypse for some time now. Without going into a long and drawn out history lesson, somewhere along the line, a basic shift has occurred in the way people value (or don't) music. While music plays a larger part than ever in our day to day existence, the fact that it has become so easy to get for free has somehow translated for many consumers to the fact that it SHOULD be free.

I will never forget one Christmas a few years ago, teaching my niece how to download from the i-tunes store (she had just received her first i-pod for the holidays) and her 16 year old cousin commenting that "paying for music was for suckers and chumps". This was a kid who was heavily into the alternative punk scene coming out of his native Northwest area. When I asked him how the bands he loved were supposed to survive without people paying for their music, he told me that he would happily pay to see them live and buy a Tee-shirt but why would he buy music when it was so easy to get it free. Besides, everyone knows that record companies rip off artists anyway so why shouldn't people rip THEM off. I have spoken on this issue at many colleges and high schools and I can tell you that this is an attitude that is widely held by younger music fans who have absolutely no idea of any distinction between the historically heinous practices of many major labels and the vastly different world of independent music.

Those of us who work on the independent side of the music business know that with very few exceptions, no one is getting rich in this game. Most of us have made conscious decisions somewhere in our careers to forego higher paying, major label jobs in order to focus on music that we love, rather than music that could sell in huge quantities. I have a large network of friends and acquaintances at other indie labels and I am here to tell you that for the most part, these are fans just like yourselves who are still passionate about music and have made many sacrifices to work in this world. I'm not trying to paint us all as glorious martyrs. We have gladly chosen a path that was never going to make us wealthy BUT we never signed on as charity workers. The idea that my contemporaries and I shouldn't be able to make a living in the music business because technology has made it easy to download and burn music for free is simply ridiculous. I believe it was Doug Morris (chairman of the Universal Music Group) who when asked how the RIAA could condone suing their own consumers for illegal downloading, asked the rhetorical question, "What do you think the makers of Coca Cola would do if someone invented a device that you could easily install at home, enabling you to get free Coke from your own sink?"- you can damn well expect that they would do whatever they had to in order to stop it and no one would blame them for a second. Think for a moment about whatever business you are in. If some new technology allowed your customers to steal from you with impunity how would you feel?

Continue reading...

YouTube Adds Amazon & iTunes Download Sales

Youtube Move over MySpace music. Google's YouTube is adding ecommerce in an effort to monetize the site's huge traffic beyond advertising, the company announced yesterday. Initial partners include Amazon MP3 and iTunes who will offer music and game downloads.

The YouTube eCommerce Platform will be rolled out on a larger scale over the coming months to include partners in music, film, TV, and publishing selling alongside related videos. Retail links..

to buy songs from iTunes and Amazon will appear on the watch pages of authorized video content. Those partners who use YouTube's content identification and management system can also enable retail links on claimed videos that they have chosen to leave up on the site.

The YouTube eCommerce Platform is currently available in the United States. Over the coming months, the platform will be expanded internationally.

ReverbNation Gets $3M To Expand Music Services

From Hypebot:

Reverbnation_logo ReverbNation, a marketing platform for indie music, has secured $3 million in Series B funding led by new investor ETF and follow-on investments from Novak Biddle and Southern Capitol.

Hypebot named recently dubbed ReverbNation one of our Top 10 Indie Music Marketing Tools. The site serves as home base for artists tapping into multiple social networks simultaneoulsy, including MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and Hi5. Artists get free tools and interactive functionality for these networks, their homepage and blog stimulating viral spread and tracking it across the web.

What will they do with all this money? Believe it or not, the goal is to expand an already pretty robust platform of d.i.y artist services. Helping the 250.000 bands that use the service earn money via sponsorships is part of the expanded offering, as well as, part of RN's monetization strategy. "We have observed that Indie Artists are actually more influential, pound for pound, than their established counterparts.

They know their fans personally, and have stronger relationships with them,” said Mike Doernberg, ReverbNation co-founder and chief executive officer. ”Alone, these individual Artists cannot deliver the reach that Brands need, but bundled together they can. We configure entire ‘portfolios’ of participating Artists based on the fan demographics the brand is targeting, and allow the Artists to opt-in to the program. These types of paid partnerships have traditionally eluded Indie Artists."

“It is increasingly difficult to connect with consumers in a meaningful way via mainstream media,” said Jason Caplain, general partner, Southern Capitol Ventures. “ReverbNation’s Artist Influencer Network, comprised of millions of loyal fans, represents a focused evolution of permission-based marketing that works.”

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jingles All The Way

Here’s the thing — you either love those jingles or you loathe them. But if you loathe them, its only because you’re mad that you’ve been singing them all day. Here they are if you’re not familiar with them:

“Freecreditreport was the first musical job I’d ever done,” said David Muhlenfeld, the staffer at the Martin Agency responsible for writing the trio of tunes. “They didn’t ask for music but that’s where it went.” Most of the clients that come to his advertising firm are on retainer, meaning companies pay them a monthly fee in exchange for an ever-flowing supply of print, radio and television ads. But signed up on a project basis. “A corporate one-night stand,” Muhlenfeld joked of the relationship, saying the company came to them based on the strength of the agency’s work on the Geico cavemen commercials, a campaign Muhlendfeld himself didn’t work on.

With’s contract expiring, and wanting to try something different, the one-time synth pop geek penned a handful of songs for their radio campaign. “I thought it was just a funny premise to start out with,” he said of the original spot, which featured lyrics about a slacker who meets his dream girl only to discover she’s got bad credit. But because the TV-portion of the campaign he was creating didn’t have quite enough material, Muhlenfeld decided to adapt his radio jingle into a TV spot. And it worked. “We played it for the client,” he said, which he performed over the phone on an acoustic guitar. “It was the last thing we presented – and he immediately said, ‘That’s what I want to do, go write some more.’” So he did. Three more in fact, which he demoed on GarageBand, the results of which were later played for the employees of who voted on their favorites, eventually becoming the campaign’s first three commercials.

The effectiveness of the commercials’ quirky songs was evident right from the get-go. “The numbers were very good,” Muhlenfeld said of the increase in visitors to In addition, the commercials became viral video hits. “Somebody leaked the spots onto YouTube,” he said. “At first we got 600 hits, and then 1200 hits, and then we checked back in a week or so and it was 20,000 hits. And now it’s up to 600,000 or 700,000 for each of them.” Capturing lightning-in-a-bottle and becoming a successful viral video is not something that’s easily re-creatable. It’s hard to understand exactly why Tay Zonday or Little Superstar or the Cadbury gorilla commercial tap into the cultural zeitgeist and become a hit. “That’s the real success,” he admits. “Without really even trying to create a viral-type success, we did. And now of course we’re going to try and convince people we meant to do that all along.”

Aside from the professional attention the commercials have garnered, the jingles have brought some personal satisfaction with them as well. “It’s definitely an ice-breaker at dinner parties,” he joked. “And kids are really into it,” he added. “I’m always getting stories about how they were at a pep rally at their kids football game and the whole gym started singing the song.”

Muhlendfeld said he hopes the success of the commercials will wake people up to what music can do for advertisers. “I think jingles had gone quite out of fashion,” he told us. “It was nice to reignite some interest in singing.” He thinks the spots worked so well because the band in the commercials (led by actor Eric Violette) think of themselves as a real band. “They’re real ballads about this guy’s sad ass life,” he said. Though the songs didn’t necessarily come easy to Muhlenfeld, he said jingles are often easier to write than traditional pop songs. “You’ve got a list of three of four things you must say in order to paid by your client, and you know that you have 30 seconds, which is good since it gives you parameters to work from.”

If the jingles could maintain any place in our collective memory, Muhlenfeld hopes they’ll remain as indelible as his favorite jingle for Juicy Fruit gum. “It’s the most sexually suggestive spot I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe they got away with it.” See the spot below:

If you’re a fan of the three current commercials, you’re in luck. There are new spots on the way, and in several new genres, one with a “punkier edge.” And if you’re not a fan, unfortunately they may be tough to escape. There’s also a jingle-based reality series on the way from CBS and Mark Burnett called “Jingles.” Note to producers: Muhlenfeld wants in. “I want to be a guest judge,” he said excitedly. “That would be awesome!”

ReverbNation Launches Distribution through iTunes, Amazon and more

reverb nation digital distributionReverbNation has always impressed me with their breadth of online promotion tools for bands. If you haven't set up an account with them, I'd seriously consider giving their service a try.

One service they lacked was digital distribution -- they used to have a deal with SnoCap, but as we all know, SnoCap SUCKED. (Poor service, something like a 50% commission fee for all sales, etc etc.) But now, ReverbNation offers digital disctribution! Here are some key details:

  • RETAILERS INCLUDED: iTunes Worldwide, eMusic, Rhapsody, Napster, and Amazon.
  • ARTIST ROYALTIES: Artists keep 100% of the royalties (ReverbNation doesn't take a cut; actual payouts vary by retailer).
  • PRICING: $34.95 per album per year (Compared to $41.73 for TuneCore, and $55.00 for CD Baby).
  • MANAGEMENT TOOLS: Detailed sales stats provided, and ReverbNation's promo tools are plugged in.
  • ISRC & UPC #: Both can be created for you if you don't have one.

A few things the service can't do - thought this is the case for most distributoin services:

  • SINGLE DOWNLOADS: Can't accept and upload single songs (You can upload a single song, but you would have to pay the "album price" to do it).
  • PRICE CONTROL: Can't control song pricing.
  • SOUNDSCAN: Sales are not reported to SoundScan.
  • PHYSICAL GOODS: You can't sell CDs or merch through this service.
All-in-all, it's a great addition to ReverbNation's suite of services.

Check it out, if you haven't.

Friday, October 10, 2008

imeem Launches Site Redesign and Introduces New Social Recommendation and Discovery Features

imeem (, the world's largest social media network, is releasing a new layout and new features that make it even easier for people to discover and enjoy more music and entertainment. imeem will begin to roll out the new design.
The new features, including personalized playlist, music and video recommendations based on people's tastes and social activity, create new ways for people to experience imeem. They also open new opportunities for artists, brand sponsors and label partners to connect with imeem's global community.
imeem is the world's largest social media community, where millions of people discover, upload and share music, video and photos. imeem reaches over 100 million people each month through and an extensive network of music and video playlists embedded across the web.
"We're excited to launch our redesign and new social recommendation and discovery features," said Steve Jang, chief marketing officer and head of business development at imeem. "We are now harnessing the scale of imeem's content catalog and community to deliver personalized recommendations, using social activity data from the over 100 million people who use the imeem network each month."
imeem's new layout introduces several features to help people easily discover music, video, and people that match their tastes and interests:
Spotlight: The new Spotlight page features the latest music, video and entertainment content that people are posting on imeem. This landing page will highlight what's hot on imeem today, including new music, popular videos, album exclusives and celebrity playlists.
Discover: imeem created the all-new Discover page to give people personalized recommendations of music, videos, artists and people, based on what they and the people they are connected to in the imeem community are listening to and watching. By constantly analyzing people's likes, dislikes, and who their friends and favorite artists are, imeem is able to give a unique set of recommended music, video, playlists, artists and events. The more people use imeem, the better these recommendations get.
Browse: The Browse page offers chart-based browsing of music, videos, and photos based on their popularity among imeem's community of over 100 million people. People can now filter by media type, genre, and popularity in the imeem community, making it even easier to surf the vast world of playlists, music, video, and photos available on imeem.
Artist Pages: Fans can now search to find new Artist Pages that pull everything related to that artist on imeem (including music and videos posted by the imeem community) into one central page. Now, imeem users have easy access to artists' complete catalog of music and videos, and can see who else is a fan on imeem. Whether they like Lil Wayne or Radiohead, fans can check out their artist pages to see tour dates, auto-generated playlists for each of their albums, and their all-time most popular songs and videos.
On imeem, people can stream unlimited music and videos for free, express themselves with music and video playlists, and find friends with similar tastes. To build playlists, people can legally upload their own music and videos to imeem or choose from millions of songs and videos already available. People can easily share the playlists they find and create on imeem by embedding them anywhere on the web, including blogs, web sites, and profiles on other social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook. In addition, imeem offers people the choice to buy downloads from either iTunes or Amazon.
imeem is the first social network to partner with all four major labels and thousands of independent labels and video providers to offer free, on-demand streaming of their music and video content on an ad-supported basis. A number of the world's largest brands and companies have worked with imeem on advertising campaigns, including Apple, AT&T Wireless, HP, McDonald's, Microsoft, Nike, Target, and Toyota Scion, among others.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Record Label Hires Guitarist After Seeing His MySpace Page

If the Internet is the information superhighway, one of its roads led straight to a Tampa guitarist.

Almost a year ago, an Atlantic Records representative stumbled across Matt Hires' MySpace music page and sent him a message. He liked Hires' acoustic sound and wanted to hear more.

"I was completely skeptical, and I figured I'd call him back and see what's up," Hires says. "He came to Tampa and he heard me play some stuff. And soon after that, he flew me out to L.A. It's definitely surreal at some times."

The soft-spoken 23-year-old is set to release a four-track EP, "Live From the Hotel Cafe," on Tuesday. He will perform Wednesday at New World Brewery in Ybor City.

Hires was home-schooled and attended Hillsborough Community College before leaving to pursue music full time. Before becoming a solo artist, he played with Brer, a local alternative rock band composed of his childhood friends.

He started playing the bass at age 12, taking lessons at a local music store. His older brother played acoustic guitar, and at 16, Hires decided to teach himself to play.

"I've always liked writing a lot since I was young, and you only do so much with a bass," he says. "It's like an emotional release in a lot of ways, and it's a fun thing to do."

Following his Tampa performance, Hires will return to the studio to complete his debut album, slated for release in the spring. The album will feature a full band that recorded his original acoustic versions of songs.

"It's kind of hard sometimes. I have to manage my time and I have to keep my head in a creative state of mind," Hires says of juggling his newfound career with his personal life. "This is what I wanted, and I want to go as far as I can go."

Kid Rock Rocks The Online Market

The online music distribution method is gaining ground among artists, as musicians who declared themselves agains selling their music over the Internet have now turned to the popular share service. Kid Rock is one of these musicians and his recently closed deal with Rhapsody will offer fans his new Rock N Roll Jesus album which will have to be bought in its entirety, as the artist refused to have his material broken down into individual tracks for sale. Also, the deal will ensure a carefully planned and heavy promotion.

The partnership was possible do to Rhapsody’s flexibility, as other online services, such as Apple’s iTunes to not offer artists any options on how their albums are sold. “The real issue here is flexibility in terms of artists being able to do what they want,” said Ken Levitan, the singer’s manager.

Rhapsody, which is a joint venture between MTV and Real Networks, signed an exclusive four-month deal with Kid Rock, and only after this period will the album be found in other online music stores.

The company’s services offer full albums for $10, while single songs can only be played through streaming, using a Rhapsody subscription that starts at a monthly fee of $12.99.

Still, the artists admits that over the next several months his music will also be featured on iTunes. "I will be on iTunes eventually because I can't avoid it," Rock told the BBC, "but I like to always stick to my guns and prove a point and do something original and because I believe in it."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

MySpace Music Launches Today

Social-networking site MySpace introduced new music features today that let users listen to free streaming audio, purchase song downloads and make playlists, the products of a joint venture with major record labels.

The moves make MySpace the latest challenger to Apple Inc.'s dominance in online music distribution. The new features will be accessible on MySpace user profile pages as well as the MySpace Music page.

The four major music companies, EMI Group Ltd., Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a joint venture of Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG, have licensed their catalogs to MySpace and are equity partners in the venture. MySpace will also license content from Orchard Enterprises NY Inc.'s Orchard, an independent music distributor.

It remains to be seen if the initiative will help MySpace, which was purchased by News Corp. for $580 million in 2005, in its efforts to wring more revenue from its 120 million site visitors world-wide and gain an edge on rival Facebook Inc. Free audio streams will be supported through advertisements and MySpace will take a cut of downloads through a partnership with Inc. (News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.)

About 35 million MySpace users routinely visit pages that feature music. Besides selling ads and song downloads, MySpace also plans to eventually link up with partners to sell artist merchandise and tickets to concerts. All of this will benefit big and small artists, said Amit Kapur, MySpace's chief operating officer. "We're not only going to be their home on the Web," he said. "We're going to be the place they make a living."

MySpace faces some stiff competition. Apple's iTunes store has roughly 80% of the market for music downloads, according to the company. There are also several companies that already offer free streaming music, including Imeem Inc., a San Francisco company that has 100 million monthly users.

The four initial sponsors of the MySpace Music site are McDonald's Corp., Sony Pictures, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.. In an effort to keep ad rates higher than they historically have been, MySpace is limiting the number of slots for ads on the music site. A potential challenge in the advertising strategy: It is unclear whether users will actually pay attention to visual ads while they're listening to songs, said Russ Crupnick, an entertainment-industry analyst for NPD Group.

The record companies will get a share of revenue generated through advertising and other sources. The music industry has struggled in the digital age, as single-track download sales have failed to grow quickly enough to offset a precipitous decline in CD sales. A guaranteed stream of income from big advertisers is viewed as a potential step in the right direction.

MySpace executives are still looking for a chief executive to run the music venture, whose group ownership makes the job as much a diplomatic mission as an executive role. The company also has been recently looking to raise about $100 million to $200 million in equity financing for the music operation, people familiar with the matter say.

Labels Learning It's Takes More Than Music

Record companies are counting on their new deal with MySpace Music to help make up for declining CD sales

In a small Atlantic Records Group studio in New York, rapper Clifford "T.I." Harris Jr. leans into a silver microphone. "It's the T.I.P. man, the king himself," he says. "Dig this." There's no music on this recording, though, no rhyming lyrics. The Atlanta artist simply talks in his Southern drawl, creating an audio clip that will be posted on his Web site and others across the online universe. The clip and more like it are designed to pull in fans—and generate revenues from advertising on the sites.

Meet the record label, version 2.0. After nearly a decade of plunging music sales, the labels are trying to overhaul their traditional business. Instead of just selling recorded music, they want to use music to sell a range of related extras, from online advertising to mobile phones packed with tunes. The new business model puts the Internet at the heart of the industry in an attempt to transform artist Web sites from promotional vehicles into money-making enterprises.

The biggest bet on this new model is MySpace Music. The joint venture between News Corp.'s social networking site and the three largest record labels—Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and Warner Music— launched today.

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

CreateSpace Announces Distribution for Indie Musicians and Labels on Amazon MP3

CreateSpace, part of the, Inc. group of companies , today announced the CreateSpace MP3 distribution service enabling independent musicians and labels to offer their albums and songs as DRM-free MP3s through Amazon MP3, Amazon's DRM-free digital music download store. Independent musicians or labels can go to, upload their MP3s and make them available on Amazon MP3 with no setup fee. The new MP3 distribution service also allows members to simultaneously set up a CD via CreateSpace's existing inventory-free Disc on Demand service.

"The CreateSpace MP3 service allows musicians and labels to easily distribute DRM-free MP3s to customers," said Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, co-founder and managing director of CreateSpace. "Musicians and labels now have the freedom to make their music available in both digital and physical formats on, and to earn royalties through both channels without an investment in inventory or setup costs. customers will be able to discover even more music from independent musicians and labels and be able to enjoy that music on any hardware device or on CD if they prefer."

Amazon MP3 includes more than 6.1 million songs from independent and major music labels, including EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony BMG Entertainment. Every song and album in the Amazon MP3 music download store is available in MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM), and all downloads are compatible with virtually any MP3 hardware device.

The CreateSpace MP3 distribution service allows members to easily upload files through their CreateSpace member accounts and choose the royalty tier for their music, as well as set artist information on a per-track basis. Members with more sophisticated needs can also set up multi-disc sets, add ISRC information to tracks, and make tracks only available as part of an entire album.

"CreateSpace's Disc on Demand and MP3 distribution services are groundbreaking for independent artists like myself because they allow us to provide our content in whatever manner customers want to consume it -- physical or digital," said Mark Sly, a CreateSpace musician who made his original music, Mark Sly's Secret Soundtrack, available for download on Amazon MP3 and as a CD. "The CreateSpace MP3 distribution service gives me another great way to distribute my work to millions of customers on"

Sly also published an instructional guitar DVD with CreateSpace's Disc on Demand titled Mark Sly's Secrets (Guitar Teachers Don't Want You to Know!), along with an accompanying CD with Disc on Demand to help students learn to play the guitar.

To find out more about the CreateSpace MP3 distribution service and Disc on Demand, please visit

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Interview with YNG-ROBB!

By Sadé Champagne

YNG-ROBB, born Robert D. Williams on December 1, 1986 in Long Beach, California, spent most of his childhood in his grandmother's home in Las Vegas. Even as a child, YNG-ROBB seemed destined for a successful career in the music industry. YNG-ROBB's path to the stage has been peppered with challenges along the way, however. The death of his big brother Dion when young Robert was only 4 left a scar in the young boy's heart that to this day has not fully healed, and difficulty adjusting to high school life found the teenager turning to the gangster culture of drugs and violence as his only way of coping. By the time he was 18, Robert knew that the wages of his life of guns and drugs would be death, so he decided to turn away from that life and use his talent for rap to tell his story and give hope to others considering the gang banger's life. Now known by the name YNG-ROBB, he follows his heroes in the hip hop industry as his role models to lift others to achieve more with their lives. Faithful to his church and committed to his schoolwork, YNG-ROBB emulates such heroes as Grand Master Jay, Run-DMC, Snoop Dogg and others who have turned their lives around. YNG-ROBB is currently appearing at various events around Southern California and aspires to bring hope and joy to others facing hard choices in their lives.

Bio courtesy of R.K. Records

It was a pleasure interviewing YNG-ROBB via email! :-)

Sadé: Please tell me a little about how and where you grew up.
YNG-ROBB: I lived a regular hood life surrounded by poverty-with more choices to do bad instead of good.

Sadé: When did you first take interest in music?
YNG-ROBB: When I realized people remembered the words of their favorite artists songs', such as my mother singing in the kitchen while she was cooking.

Sadé: Who has inspired you the most in your career? Please name a person inside the business and someone outside of the business.
YNG-ROBB: Someone that was in the business, Tupac Amaru Shakur, because in one of his interviews he said, "If I can't change the world, I guarantee to spark that somebody's brain to change the world", and I felt he sparked my brain to change the way music is projected to the hip-hop spectators. Outside the business Alton Lynum, because he taught me most people respect you when you keep a professional image.

Sadé: When did you know that you wanted to pursue music for the rest of your life?
YNG-ROBB: At the age of 15 I made a set decision that I was going to be the GREATEST rapper that ever touched a microphone, by learning from all the greats mistakes (in order to become the best)!

Sadé: What is the best advice that someone ever gave you about following your dreams?
YNG-ROBB: If you think you can you can, but if you think you can't you're right", quoted by Mary Kay Ash.

Sadé: What is the best advice that you would give someone about following their dreams?
YNG-ROBB: "WHEN YOU ASK FOR SOMEONE'S HELP, YOU GIVE YOURSELF A LIMITATION ON WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE ON YOUR OWN." quoted by me Robert D. Williams. Because if you think about it, your opinion is what counts, but when you ask for help you degrade your opinion and take in to consideration the next persons opinion, (which is not wrong) but asking for help sometimes gives you a limitation on using your own mind ability of thinking.

Sadé: Were there ever times that you felt like giving up on your dreams? Tell me about one of those times.
YNG-ROBB: Plenty of times that thought ran through my mind from people not purchasing my promo demo, or even when I was just rapping for free and not getting paid.

Sadé: What kept you from giving up?
YNG-ROBB: God, and also every time I hear a new person compliment me and let me know that I'm the best rapper they've heard so far!

Sadé: What do you think of the music industry today? Do you feel that it's taking a turn for the better or worse?
YNG-ROBB: It's a gimmick. Instead of taking time out and really critiquing the genre of music that we call hip-hop, people are just taking words, throwing it on a beat, and calling it a song. Now in 2008 I feel the music industry has taken a turn for the worst.

Sadé: What are the steps that you took to make your dreams come true?
YNG-ROBB: The steps I took to manifest my dreams are first and foremost believing in God, secondly taking my time critiquing my music before I consider it being a song, and third keeping my confidence at the highest peak and staying prepared for constructive criticism.

Sadé: What are some positive words or sayings that you live by every day?
YNG-ROBB: When you learn to appreciate, you learn the real meaning of living life, and that's something I do daily in order to keep my mind focused.

Sadé: Do you consider yourself to be a role model? If so, do you like being one?
YNG-ROBB: Of course I consider myself a role model. If you haven't heard, my music consists on enlightening teens to get through peer pressure, and also to think about the consequences (if they do decide to follow in the wrong direction).

Sadé: Take me through a studio session, and tell me what your recording process is like.
YNG-ROBB: Before I walk in the studio, the song would be complete within my head! I'm what you call a one take artist...I train myself to memorize my rhymes as I write them down. So in the booth I never have to recite from a piece of paper unless I just wrote it within that studio session. The reason I do that is because I dislike songs that sound like the artist was reading from a piece of takes away the emotion and feeling from the song.

Sadé: Do you write your own lyrics? Please explain to me what your writing process is like.
YNG-ROBB: Yes, I write my own lyrics, but the process is kind of out of the blue. I could just come up with a hit song while I'm sleeping!

Sadé: Do you remember the first time you recorded a song in the studio? Please take me back to that time.
YNG-ROBB: Yes I remember it like it was yesterday! I was 15 years old and I lived in Long Beach, CA. My next door neighbor invited me to his studio and offered me a beat (if I could come up with a song). It took me 1 hour to come up with a concept to the song, but it took my homeboys days to finish their verses. So I took it upon myself to complete the song as soon as possible and get in the studio to record. The song was called "I'ma Hustla' Baby". The feedback on the song wasn't so great, but many people let me know I gave the most energy and originality to the song. That's when I realized I write faster and record better then most of my peers.

Sadé: Who is the first person/people you ever performed for? Please take me back to that time.
YNG-ROBB: I was 16 years old when I performed for Hillary Duff's manager, Andre Recke, from Disney Records. I did a private audition in the Millennium Dance Complex. It's really not too much to talk about. I just performed 3 live songs to give him an insight on my stage performance skills.

Sadé: How can an artist stay focused and not let the audition tension psych them out?
YNG-ROBB: Prepare like it's a test! Study your craft before you consider yourself being ready to audition.

Sadé: Almost every entertainer nowadays is not only a Rapper, but also an actor, spokes model, producer, and has many many other business ventures. Do you want to do the same things as well?
YNG-ROBB: Yes, I would love to be considered a great actor one day, own my own company, and eventually learn to produce my own music.

Sadé: That brings me to my next question. Out of all your crafts, which one is your favorite? (rapping, producing, playing instruments?)
YNG-ROBB: Eventually being a CEO of my own company, but for right now my favorite is entertaining music lovers as a hip-hop artist.

Sadé: What are your pre-performance rituals?
YNG-ROBB: First I have to make a phone call to my creator, which is my mother. Second I say a nice long prayer appreciating the things God blessed me with, and if I still have time I like to do 20 push ups before I get on stage.

Sadé: Do you get performance jitters? If so, how do you get rid of them?
YNG-ROBB: Before I get to the show I love to rehearse and visualize that its billions of people watching me! So by the time I step in front of a crowd of a thousand, I'll already be prepared for the constructive criticism.

Sadé: A lot of rappers talk about how much they financially struggled, especially on the way to their dreams. What can an artist do to make sure that they are able to accomplish their dreams and not have to financially struggle at the same time? Or is it unavoidable?
YNG-ROBB: I believe it's whatever you feel you could do because if you want to live a good life, you have to take yourself out of the negative to receive the positive feedback you need in order to accomplish your dreams.

Sadé: How important is the internet to an artist's career?
YNG-ROBB: The internet is a necessity for promotion for the artist, but I feel like its not more important then writing/composing your music that everybody can listen to (even if you're a different race or gender; not just one set culture).

Sadé: Do you think that internet sales may be more important than album sales these days?
YNG-ROBB: Yeah it's cool for fans to purchase the album from their Apple I phone, lap top, or home desktop, without having to go to the store. The industry is different from how it used to be. You can make over a billion dollars if you're a good artists nowadays!

Sadé: How can a artist master their skills? What are some of the tasks they can do daily to improve their flow, breath control, and fluidity?
YNG-ROBB: Take a song that you know every word to, and rap it as if you were the person that wrote the song.

Sadé: What do you think of reality TV shows like American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, and Dance War? Do you think that these shows shine a good or bad light on performing artists? Why or why not?
YNG-ROBB: Reality shows are nice for exposure, but it shines a bad light on performing artists. First off, the producers and directors are looking to get paid through ratings, and it doesn't matter how good you are, you're just a "crash dummy" in order to keep the show running!

Sadé: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
YNG-ROBB: The highlight of my career so far is being managed by Grand Master Jay from R.K. Records. Also having a real biography, head shots, and a demo to submit to record companies.

Sadé: What career goals are you still trying to achieve?
YNG-ROBB: I'm still trying to achieve a record deal with a big time record company.

Sadé: How can your fans stay in contact with you and up-to-date with what's going on in your career?
YNG-ROBB: and that's the official Yng. Robb music myspace site

Sadé: Thank you so much for your time Yng Robb!
YNG-ROBB: No thank you! I appreciate everything you're doing for me.
"& also A 100,000.00 blessing's to you & yours"

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Def Leppard proves once again they are pioneers not only in music, but now, as leaders in the digital age, through a strategic partnership with Mobile Marketing Firm Ace Marketing & Promotions Inc. On August 23rd at the group's concert in Detroit, MI at the Joe Louis Arena, Def Leppard will introduce their "ROCKZIMITY MARKETING," a Bluetooth & Wi-Fi proprietary marketing technology, only from ACE Marketing & Promotions Inc.. Ace Marketing will power the delivery of exclusive content direct to the fans of Def Leppard, via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled "Hot Spots" at the show.

For the first time ever in an arena environment Def Leppard fans will be "Welcomed to the Sparkle Lounge" upon walking through the main entrance of Joe Louis Arena. They also can get a message that enables them to "Win A Trip To The Sparkle Lounge" after the show. Fans will also receive select discounts on merchandise adding a third layer of value for the Def Leppard fan.

Def Leppard lead singer, Joe Elliott, said of the program, "You have to differentiate your music in today's industry and how you introduce things to your audience. This is the direction for the future of the way fans connect with artists, it also adds another dimension to our live performance by getting the fans involved from the moment they walk though the door -- literally."

Matt Gaines, Sr. Vice President of Marketing for Ace Marketing & Promotions, stated, "We are proud to partner with Def Leppard on this ground breaking initiative. We love firsts, this is a first for Rock music and a first for the fans of Def Leppard. It doesn't get any better than this. So come to the show with your Bluetooth visibility enabled, and experience 'ROCKZIMITY,' you could win a trip after the show to meet Def Leppard in 'The Sparkle Lounge.'"

Def Leppard's "ROCKZIMITY MARKETING," will be activated at key HOT SPOT locations in and around Joe Louis Arena. Upon arrival at the venue, signs will direct fans to enable their Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signal on their mobile device. Once fans are visible to the zone, they then will receive a message from the band. Upon accepting the message, fans will instantly begin receiving exclusive content from Def Leppard. There will be no cost to a fan, data charges or minutes of service incurred for content.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Warner looking for bigger video game payout

Click image to enlarge.
Click image to enlarge.

Warner Music Group boss Edgar Bronfman Jr. wants a bigger cut of the booming business around video games like "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band," setting up a showdown over money with their makers Activision and MTV.

Bronfman yesterday threatened to stop issuing song licenses for games that allow users to pretend to be rock stars if the revenue-sharing model for the games doesn't improve for the music business.

"The amount being paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small," he said. "We need to be very careful that [we] do not allow an ecosystem to occur where we are not properly compensated."

Bronfman - wary of creating another Apple or MTV - told analysts yesterday he wants higher royalties both for the use of Warner songs in the games as well as for what Warner collects in the sale of songs downloaded to video game consoles, calling the fees the label currently receives "paltry."

Bronfman's comments come as Activision's "Guitar Hero" has blossomed into a $1 billion franchise, and "Rock Band" is anchoring the game ambitions of MTV Networks, which owns Harmonix, the game's developer.

"The industry as a whole needs to take a very different look at this business and participate more fully and in a much more partnership way," he added. "If that does not become the case, as far as Warner Music Group is concerned, we will not license to those games."

Activision did not return calls for comment. MTV declined to comment.

Sales of the latest edition of Guitar Hero, "Guitar Hero III," total more than 8 million units, while "Rock Band" sales are north of 2.5 million.

"Rock Band" has also sold more than 18 million additional song downloads for the game at $1.99 each.

Sources said while the issue is unlikely to impact the licensing of songs to "Guitar Hero World Tour" and "Rock Band 2," both due later this year, Warner is likely to withhold music it controls for uses in any artist-branded versions of the games in development.

In a new trend, Aerosmith recently released its own special branded version of "Guitar Hero."

A number of other classic bands, including Warner acts like Metallica, are reportedly in talks to do similar deals.

Music-industry sources complain that while video-game makers have been discussing revenue-sharing deals with artists for their names and likenesses - including up-front advances in some cases - labels have not been offered similar participation opportunities for song licenses.

Meanwhile, Warner yesterday said third-quarter revenue increased 5 percent to $804 million, while it narrowed its loss to $9 million from $17 million.

Digital revenue grew 39 percent to $166 million, representing 20 percent of the company's total revenue.

Shares in Warner fell 17 cents, or 2 percent, to $8.27.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

CD Baby Sold To Disc Makers

From Hypebot:

Derek Sivers has sold online indie retailer CD Baby to CD manufacturer Disc Makers. According to Sivers' blog:

Cdbaby " projects are exciting me so much that I decided to hand over CD Baby to someone that’s going to make it better than ever for you. I chose Disc Makers as the new owner because their president Tony Van Veen has been one of my favorite people for years..."

"The CD Baby staff, location, name, and everything else will stay the same, but I think you’ll start to notice more attention given to improvements that help you sell more music."

Sivers revolutionized how d.i.y. artists sell music simply by charging then fairly and paying them weekly. It's not clear exactly what Part II for Sivers will be, but its sure to be both music related and interesting. There are some hints here. My personal favorite is Muckwork. It's "Four Hour Work Week" meets the music business and I'm already on the waiting list.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

ReverbNation Lets Musicians Add Press Clippings to Any Website

ReverbNation, the leading Marketing and Promotion Platform technology for Musicians, Labels, Managers, and Venues, today introduced the ‘Press Widget’ to over 215,000 Musicians and Bands that use ReverbNation applications to enhance their social network pages (MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, etc), homepages, and blogs.

The ‘Press Widget’ allows Artists to aggregate accolades from the media or fans into one place, and then deploy them to all of their other sites. Artists can add an unlimited number of clippings, with each one containing a link back to the original source for fans to read more. The deployed widget can be customized to match the color of any webpage, and will update in real time when the Artist adds, edits, or removes old clippings. The widget has smart word detection, which rotates clippings at a slower speed for long quotes and a quicker speed for short quotes, timed with the fan's ability to read them. Typical of all ReverbNation widgets, the 'Press Widget' can easily be shared by fans or made the object of 'Street Team' missions that incentivize the most rabid fans to spread it virally.
“Reviews and peer opinions are incredibly important for musicians. Often times, a well-placed quote from a credible source can be the difference between a potential fan actually engaging with the music, or just passing by,” said Jed Carlson, Co-Founder and COO of “But all the super reviews won’t mean anything if they aren’t actually seen by fans or potential fans. The Press Widget can’t get you good reviews, but it can help you showcase the ones you do get.”
The Press Widget is FREE for any Artist, Label, or Manager to setup, and only takes seconds to deploy it to other sites. ReverbNation tracks the Press Widget, reporting back to the Artist how many times it has been viewed, clicked, and shared.
For more info on the Press Widget, and all ReverbNation widgets: ReverbNation Widgets

CD Sales Down - Releasing Digital Projects Only - The Future

Faith Hill's Mozes-Powered Listening Party

Mozes (, the service that connects people to what they love from their mobile phones, is powering a mobile listening party for five-time Grammy(R) award winner Faith Hill. The mobile campaign lets mobile fan club members get an exclusive preview and offer feedback on cuts from the multi-Platinum-selling country star's new Christmas album "Joy to the World," which will hit stores on September 30th.

The "Christmas in the Summer" campaign makes one new song from the upcoming album available exclusively to members of Faith Hill's "mob," or mobile fan club, each week. Fans can listen to the cut and call Faith's Mozes line at 615-823-5605 to leave messages with feedback about the music. The campaign has run since June and will continue right up until the album's release date. The album's first single, "A Baby Changes Everything," will be the final song that mob members hear before the album hits stores.

"When it came to deciding how we would promote Faith's new Christmas album, we realized that getting fan input right from the beginning would be crucial to creating early excitement about the new release," said Genevieve Jewell, New Media Manager at Borman Entertainment, Faith Hill's management company. "The listening party has given us a chance to connect fans directly with Faith and her music, all through a service that fans can trust to be spam-free and totally permission-based."

Faith Hill is among several leading artists from a wide variety of musical genres, including Wu Tang Clan, Teddy Geiger, Danger Radio and others, who have made Mozes listening parties an important part of their pre-release marketing strategies. Mobile listening parties give fans exclusive access to new artist content and have led to explosive growth in mobile "connections" by means of the Mozes service.

"Listening parties like Faith Hill's are an excellent example of how mobile is changing the way that artists interact with their fans and generate revenue opportunities," said Chad Schultz, director of business development at Mozes. "Our trusted service gives fans a feeling of exclusive access to new artist content, while giving bands and labels easy-to-use tools to create engaging mobile experiences for their audiences."

Listening parties are just one example of the many features that bands, brands, sports teams and others are integrating into their Mozes campaigns. Trivia contests, exclusive mobile-only concert tickets, mobile scavenger hunts and rich media exchange are some of the other innovative approaches that marketers have created using Mozes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MySpace COO Explains Massive Music Marketing Expansion Plans

NewsCorp's MySpace, which was recently eclipsed by Facebook as the world's largest social network, is massively expanding its music services. In this video interview, MySpace Chief Operating Officer Amit Kapur details the new move that will make the social site more attractive to bands, fans and music-marketing companies.

See Video

Alan Jackson’s sales top 50 million

On Music Row: Alan Jackson’s sales top 50 million

Alan Jackson has crossed the 50-million album sales milestone. Alan Jackson has crossed the 50-million album sales milestone. Since his 1990 debut, the country superstar has released 16 gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums. When his latest project, Good Time, came out in March, it was the fourth album of his career to debut simultaneously at No. 1 on Soundscan’s Top Country Albums and all-genre Top 200 sales charts.

Contributing to his stellar sales record have been numerous hit songs, a majority of which the Newnan, Ga. native wrote himself. As the first artist signed to fledgling Arista Nashville in 1989, his streak of chart-toppers started with his first project, Here in the Real World, which produced four No. 1 singles. The title track to his most recent album became his 33rd No. 1 hit.

Joe Galante, chairman of Jackson’s label group Sony BMG Nashville, said, “It’s a short drive from Georgia to Tennessee, but it’s a long way to 50 million albums sold! Alan’s songs and shows have propelled him to this incredible level of success. He has never lost touch with the fans, and they’ve shown their appreciation year after year with No. 1 singles and Platinum sales.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mobile Music: Marketing vs. Retail

"I heard it through the grapevine…" or maybe on my mobile phone.

The music industry is learning a hard lesson: The mobile platform works better as a marketing and customer relationship tool than it does as a retail sales channel.

"Bands and artists are increasingly using mobile to form direct relationships with their fans that are then monetized through other means, such as tickets to live shows, merchandise and fan clubs," says John du Pre Gauntt, senior analyst at eMarketer and author of the new report, Mobile Music: Ads to the Rescue. "In addition, given consumers' reluctance to pay for music on their phones, marketers are finding new opportunities to partner directly with carriers, labels and even music artists themselves."

It's not that there won't be mobile music sales, they just won't be as large as many in the industry hoped for.

eMarketer forecasts worldwide mobile music retail revenues will grow from $2.4 billion in 2007 to over $13 billion by 2012.

To replace the drop in CD sales, alternate revenue streams must be developed.

"Marketers will account for a greater proportion of that overall spending as the ad-supported model for mobile music gathers steam," says Mr. Gauntt.

eMarketer expects marketers will spend over $1.5 billion in 2012 to subsidize or sponsor mobile music to targeted customer demographics, up from $42 million in 2007.

ILike launches music concert promotion ads, targeting social network users

ILike, the music fan site that has gained millions of new users through applications on Facebook and other social networks, is releasing a new form of ads that enable concert promoters to reach fans based on location and musical tastes.

The Seattle company has already offered ways for bands to display concert dates within its applications, but these ads (sample above) are more advanced. They appear in banner-ad positions on Facebook “canvas” pages for third party applications, and include features to help spread the word about the concert. There’s a link that a user can click on to tell friends about the event, or find other local fans of the performing band who plan to attend. Users can also click on the link to buy tickets.

An advertiser can set the time frame in which they want the ads to run, similar to Google’s AdWords, and get data about the total number of people who saw the ad, how many people interacted with it, and how many people clicked on the link to buy tickets. Advertisers are charged based on the number of impressions the ads receive.

This is the latest act by iLike to connect the music business with fans, and make money for everybody — except for traditional media competitors. Concert promoting has historically relied on finding fans through methods like printed fliers, email lists and radio ads, so this is a new way for any promoter to reach social network users — typically teens or 20-somethings who might not otherwise hear about a concert.

Through a partnership with Rhapsody, iLike has also recently started letting users listen to the full recordings of songs within its applications. Previously, users could only listen to 30-second clips. After you’ve heard 25 songs, you get asked to sign up for Rhapsody, or get reverted to the truncated clips. Rhapsody covers the royalties due record labels for the service. The songs include affiliate links to iTunes and Amazon, so iLike and Rhapsody can earn revenue from any referrals. These streaming tracks are already available on and will shortly be introduced to its applications.

The new ads also include songs that Rhapsody doesn’t have, such as those uploaded to iLike by an unsigned indie band that has fans on iLike’s applications. The company is separately introducing ways for other developers to integrate songs from its service into their own applications, although this feature is not live yet.

ILike has a total of 30 million registered users, up to 20 million of which are active every month, the company says. Users of its Facebook applications make up around 40 percent of its total users — iLike was one of the companies that managed to grow big, fast through its Facebook applications, when the Facebook application developer platform launched a year ago. The company has more recently launched applications on rival social networks hi5, Bebo and Orkut. The company’s applications on those sites are also seeing big growth, iLike cofounder Ali Partovi tells me; he says the company hasn’t focused on MySpace and its new platform, however, because MySpace has its own music service, and rivals like imeem and Project Playlist have had simple, popular music-sharing widgets on the site for years.

While it doesn’t rule out focusing on MySpace in the future, the company doesn’t seem to need to do so. It has already been proving itself to the music industry, recently streaming entire new albums for bands like R.E.M. and Lady Antebellum, helping those bands to sell more albums and fill more concert seats.

iLike Hits 30M Users, Adds Major Features

Ilike_2 Concert Promoter Ad Platform,
Full Song Streams, Artist Royalties & More

Social music discovery service iLike has hit 30 million registered users and announced new features that include a new ad platform for concert promoters, limited full-length song playback and artist royalty payments via Rhapsody, and an initiative to enable music syndication via third-party developers.

AD PLATFORM: Promoters, clubs, agents and bands can now use iLike’s social, self-serve advertising tools to reach music fans across the top social networks. It enables advertisers to:

  • Target fans based on location and musical tastes rather than key words;
  • Quickly create multi-media ads, including music playback and social links
  • Manage campaigns in multiple markets via auto-generated ads with self-populating concert data
  • Tap into potential “viral spread” of concert info via built-in social hooks that encourage fans to invite friends to concerts.
  • Info @ to

FULL SONG STREAMS: Free full song streaming is now available up to...

25 plays monthly. Then users can sign up for a Rhapsody account or song samples are reduced to 30 second song samples. This feature will soon be extended to iLike's hugely popular Facebook application.

ARTIST ROYALTIES: Royalties will be paid for full song streams via Rhapsody's existing agreements. This differs from the more nebulous share of ad revenue payment offered by imeem and

DEVELOPERS: The new initiative which will launch later this quarter will allow developers to add song playback (songs and playlists) to their websites or Facebook applications.

iLike has built and launched dominant music applications on four of the top 10 social websites: Facebook, Orkut, hi5, and Bebo. With this initiative, iLike features will be available to any developer for use on other website thus expanding iLike’s footprint. iLike is now accepting early registration for developers at

Inside Sonicbids: EPKs & Opportunities

From hypebot

Sonicbids_logoSonicbids is that rare Music 2.0 business that is not only more than 5 years old, but one that people are actually willing to pay for. At a time when everyone expects free, 150,000 musicians pay $5.95 a month or $50 to $100 a year to create a electronic press kit (EPK) on Sonicbids and use it to get gigs on their own or via the site's expansive list of opportunities.

Panos_panay_founder_of_sonicbids__2 But with all success comes criticism, and a few indie artists have been vocal critics of what they see as Sonicbids' pay to play offers. While maintaining a belief that paying a small fee to submit to, for example, play at Milwaukee Summerfest is a "filter", Soncbids CEO Panos Panay is working to make the process more transparent and the "opportunities" stronger.

"In the beginning, we did not do as good a job as we should have weeding out the gigs and other opportunities that did not present real value to the artist," admits Panay."...

"After an ongoing series of advisory panel meetings around the country and in Canada, we're changing that." Some of Sonicbids' offerings like showcasing at SXSW, CMJ or the NACA college booking conventions and submitting a song to international songwriting competitions always carried a price tag. Sonicbids simply streamlined the process by taking it electronic. Other Sonicbids opportunities were simply off limits for artists without insider contacts.

"We're very proud to provide the opportunity for an unknown artist to get their songs played during MTV's Video Music Awards or the $20,000 we spent so a few bands could tour China," says Panay. "Last year we spent $500,000 on gig sponsorships and Sonicbids members booked 60,000 gigs."

Beyond providing more "aspirational" gigs, the site will also offer some free sponsor supported opportunities later this year, and all offerings will come with more transparency. "The talent buyers providing the gigs are becoming more visible members of our community," says Panay, and each submission will soon come with a money back guarantee. "If you submit, you deserve a response," he states. "If you don’t get a response or your EPK is not reviewed, then you can get a site credit.”

"Our real product is not just the EPK, but rather our network and the opportunities we present for musicians to connect with gigs and people they could not reach on their own," concludes Panay.