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."