Monday, March 24, 2008

Make music videos from photos

There is a website called Animoto that lets you upload or import a set of photos and music and then it will churn out a slick music video for you. Usually when I get back from a live performance the promoter or fans will send me some photos of the show. Why not get these into music video form onto YouTube? Great promotion no?

Of course you can take the time to create a music video from still images in Final Cut Pro, iMovie or Adobe Premier but Animoto is super easy, fast and effective. Here’s how it works: Head over to Animoto and sign up for an account. Click “create video” on the top left of the window. Next, you choose “30 Second Video - Animated Short” or “Full Length Video”. The 30 second clips are free to make. If you want to make something longer it will cost you $3.00 but you get a full 1 free every month. There is also a yearly subscription fee for $30.00 which allows you to make as many full length videos as you like. Now you either upload your photos or import them from flickr. You can also import photos from Facebook, Picasa, Smugmug, and Photobucket. You can choose a few photos to be featured by adding a “Spotlight” tag on them. Then you add your music and hit “finalize” and Animoto does its magic. A great new feature they just added is the ability to send your creation directly to YouTube.

You end up with a pretty neat music video. Fancy transitions with zooms and pans make your static photos come to life. The thing I personally like is how fast the process goes.

Using Twitter to promote your music

Twitter is a service that fits somewhere between email, instant messengering and micro blogging. If your a musician or record label you can use Twitter as a promotion tool. Twitter has RSS feeds and badges so each of your posts can instantly be placed across the internet at several locations at once. Twitter is also a type of social network and you can follow friends or companies your interested in. You do so in a public time line made up of a everyone you are following. It’s a fun and addictive experience. Let’s take a closer look.

Use Twitter to create a profile for yourself or your band. Use this profile to promote whatever is going on in the studio, new releases, a new YouTube video you posted and even important blog posts you have made.

Posts are limited to 140 characters of text which I think is brilliant because you are really forced into stating simple moments and facts. You can input entries vie your Twitter page online but you can also post Twitter entries by using software on your Mac or PC, IM clients or mobile devices like cell phones, etc.

Fans do not have to go to your Twitter site to see the updates. You can put them on your site, Blog, MySpace page or facebook page. Twitter posts can take on any look. You can use the official Twitter badges or style your own using CSS. You can also choose how many recent updates should be listed.

The video above is a really great way to grasp everything Twitter is about.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Get your phone number to distribute music on mobile phones

The time has come. Artists and record labels are now empowered with a new critical mass media utility from Fans can now preview, listen to, and share, as well as purchase content made available by record labels and bands.

“Talk about a wake-up call for labels, bands and fans,” announces Michael Sharp, CEO and Founder of both, and his new mobile media distribution platform,

The patent-pending SongNumbers utility is very simple to use: Artists assign a phone number from the website that anyone with a cell phone can call and preview music. At anytime during the call, fans can press #1 to instantly purchase that song!

There is no complicated software, no players to install, no DRM issues, nada. In fact, fans, family and friends can effortlessly purchase your music, anytime, anywhere, 24/7, armed with only their cell phone. AT&T and Alltel are carriers currently available in the U.S.

Try out the LIVE demo number now: 515-862-1000.

Company CEO Sharp said, “ is a unique music distribution utility that allows artists and labels to reach out and touch their fan base with the service.” Mr. Sharp added, “[sic] that SongNumbers makes it easy and fun for artists and labels to virally distribute content and generate phone downloads for preview and purchase by fans. And, not only are artists able to sell their music over the phone but they can also monetize the previews of their music with ad sponsorship.”

Mr. Sharp’s statements are reinforced by recent remarks made by Jeff Herrmann, VP at Nielsen Mobile, who stated, “We see an increasing trend of consumers willing to trade off and receive advertising to gain more and better mobile content. Successful mobile marketers will meet the challenge offered by consumers by engaging with them in a way that adds value to the mobile user content experience.”

Which can certainly mean, according to Mr. Sharp, that “artists and labels may even monetize their content (ala the radio model) via ad sponsorship opportunities as an option.”

Certainly, strategic distribution plays are an option, but unfortunately they have a limited catalog of available content due to DRM and other issues. The SongNumbers distribution platform is much more viable because it works on ALL cell phones while offering content made available by user-generated content channels.

How does it all work? Read on.

Rock Brand 2.0: What Advertisers Really Want

If music is the soundtrack to our lives, then advertisers want a piece of the experience. But how can artists forge powerful and profitable relationships with brands? At South by Southwest on Thursday, entrepreneurs started sharing notes on the elusive branding partnership.

The major label recording contract was once the ultimate prize for many artists, simply because of the financial, distribution, and promotional muscle involved. But artists now have alternative paths towards broader-scale success, including direct relationships with brands.

Superstar artists certainly have their place in the advertising world, and multi-million dollar sponsorships prove it. But brands are usually interested in connecting with targeted demographics, and that opens the door for smaller labels, bands, and scenes. "I would actually rather work with a medium-to-small sized artist," commented Trey Shelton, chief executive of Music Interactive. "With an up-and-coming act, you are getting a little bit more of a tastemaker crowd."

But connecting with an advertiser or advertising agency is a tricky proposition. According to those close to the deals, speaking the right language is the first step towards securing lucrative partnerships. "The music industry is not the best industry at understanding its consumers," commented Dominic Hodge, senior strategist at Frukt. "But the advertising industry is all about understanding who is buying, where to reach them, and how to target them."

In the pitch phase, that means deemphasizing the artistic elements for one moment, and shifting towards more concrete demographic details. "If you are a manager, artist or label, you need to be able to communicate what it is you are offering the brand," Hodge continued.

And of course, any music-related advertising discussion usually includes online and mobile platforms, simply because of the hyper-targeting involved. Bands have been finding niche fans online for years, though advertisers also know the terrain well. "If you are partnering with brands, you can ride along with their targeting," Shelton advised. "They're going to know where their demographic is."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

iLike Dashboard Used By 200K Artists. MySpace Integration Coming.

In an overwhelmingly complex marketplace, convenience is often king. iLike now claims 200,000 musicians are actively using the Universal Artist Dashboard to manage portions of their online presence syndicated across Facebook, hi5, Bebo and other services. Within weeks via Google OpenSocial, iLike says it will be launching applications for MySpace and Orkut.

Radiohead, Linkin Park, 50 Cent, Keith Urban and Herbie Hancock are among the hit artists that use iLike to syndicate their songs, videos, photos, fan bulletins, concert information and exclusive content using iLike’s “Post Once, Publish Everywhere” platform.

With 23 million users, iLike is now claims the title the leading music application on Facebook, Bebo and hi5 and MySpace integration should add millions more. But iLike is not the only player on the field with ReverbNation and others offering their own cross-platform solutions and Google's Open Social encouraging further integration.

Trent Reznor's NIN Pockets An Easy Million In Early Sales

...In Early Sales. 2500 X $300 = $750,000 +...It took less than two days for the Nine Inch Nails to sell out 2500 copies...

It took less than two days for the Nine Inch Nails to sell out 2500 copies of the Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition CD Package at $300 direct from the band's web site. Add to that any reasonable numbers from the $75 deluxe edition, $10 CD/DVD preorder and $5 download and it appears Reznor has pocketed a cool million $'s plus without the help of a label and only viral promotion.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Wal-Mart stirs CD pricing pot with multi-tiered plan

The major music companies have been resistant to lowering their price on CDs, but now they may be dragged to that point: Wal-Mart, the largest retailer of music with an estimated 22 percent market share, has proposed a five-tiered pricing scheme that would allow the discounter to sell albums at even lower prices and require the labels to bear more of the costs.

According to sources, the Wal-Mart proposal would allow for a promotional program that could comprise the top 15 to 20 hottest titles, each at $10. The rest of the pricing structure, according to several music executives who spoke with Billboard, would have hits and current titles retailing for $12, top catalog at $9, midline catalog at $7 and budget product at $5. The move would also shift the store's pricing from its $9.88 and $13.88 model to rounder sales prices.

Full-Track Downloads to Eclipse Ringtones in Mobile Music Market

Worldwide revenue from mobile music distribution is expected to reach $17.5 billion annually by 2012, driven by the ongoing growth of music rental services and full-track downloads, according to a recent report by Juniper Research.

“I think it’s fair to say that 2007 marked the tipping point as far as mobile music adoption was concerned,” commented Juniper analyst and report author, Dr. Windsor Holden. “Far more subscribers began downloading and subscribing to music content in developed markets, and it must be said that that the publicity surrounding the iPhone launch undoubtedly contributed to consumer awareness of mobile music services per se.”

The report cautions, however, that the current price of ringtones may be unsustainable, and that demand for ringtone downloads may have peaked in many developed markets. In the coming years, increased competition, combined with the prevalence of ad-funded ringtone services could gradually eat away at global ringtone revenue, which will account for just 38% of mobile music sales in 2012, down from 62% last year.

“With some operators now offering full-track downloads at a comparable price to iTunes, there is little justification for a ringtone retail price point that is in many cases two or even three times this level,” Holden explained. “Furthermore, those aggregators whose portfolios are largely dependent upon the polyphonic ringtone will be unable to survive in the medium term unless they both rethink their pricing strategies and substantially diversify their product portfolios.”

In the coming years, Juniper Research expects that China and other Asia-Pacific countries will remain the largest regional marketplace for mobile music services, accounting for around 43% of combined global revenue through 2012.

MTV and MySpace band together

Music channel MTV has struck a deal with social networking site MySpace to create a weekly chart show.

The show, called The MySpace Chart, will be shown on the MTV2 channel.

It will feature the best music videos as voted for by viewers watching the channel and MySpace users of the forthcoming website.

Each week fans will get to vote on 35 to 40 videos from the MTV2 playlist.

In addition five videos from new bands and artists will be promoted on both the MTV2 website and the channel's homepage on MySpace.

The show launched on March 16 at 7pm.

"The audience for MTV2 and MySpace are incredibly similar," said Philip O'Ferrall, the vice-president of digital media at MTV Networks UK & Ireland.

Dom Cook, the marketing director and head of music at MySpace UK, said: "The way that consumers are accessing music is changing and The MySpace Chart on MTV2 brings together two of the most important forces in this evolution.

"MySpace is the world's largest online music destination connecting bands and their fans and it will be exciting to see how the community will contribute to the show."

MTV and MySpace have previously collaborated in the hunt for a news presenter.

Last November, wannabe presenters were invited to upload their auditions to a MySpace web page where MTV producers assessed their chances of making it.

MTV is still in the process of choosing the winner with a five-part series of 30-minute shows about the hunt to be aired on MTV1 from April 28.

New Nine Inch Nails Album Released Online

About 6 p.m. PST on Sunday, Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor released a 36-song instrumental collection, "Ghosts I-IV," direct to the Internet via his official website. The album is available at a number of pricing options, beginning with a free sampling of nine of the songs.

All 36 cuts can be had for as low as $5 (download), or for as high as $300, a signed limited-edition set that will ship in May (pictured). There's also a $10 double-disc CD set, which includes a 16-page booklet and ships on April 8, or a $75 package that includes two discs, a DVD and a deluxe book.

Four hours after launch, site traffic appeared to prevent me from purchasing any of the options, as the site would fail to load when attempting to check out. However, "Ghosts I-IV" is also available via for $5, which downloaded without any hiccups. Reznor utilized TuneCore to deliver the album to Amazon.

This is how Reznor describes the album, the result of a 10-week musical experiment, on his site: "I've been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn't have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective -- dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I'm very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference. I hope you enjoy the first four volumes of Ghosts."

It's long been expected that Reznor would be the next high-profile artist to follow Radiohead's pay-what-you-will, variable pricing model, which the band utilized in October of last year for "In Rainbows."

Reznor, in fact, has already experimented with the model. Last year, Reznor collaborated with Saul Williams, and released the album, "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust," online in November, allowing fans to freely download it or pay $5 for a higher quality version. Initial stats released by Reznor revealed that about 80% fans opted not to pay for the album. Radiohead and its management have refused to release any numbers. is already reporting that "Ghosts I-IV" will receive a traditional retail release on April 8 via Red Distribution. Owned by Sony BMG, Red distributes a number of independent labels, including ATO Records, which released Radiohead's "In Rainbows" on Jan. 1.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, March 3, 2008

New - Barack Obama Music Video - "We Are The Ones" has debuted another celebrity filled music video just in time for Tuesday's primaries.