Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

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cherry blossoms

In this week’s 12 1/2 minute episode, I talk about a local resource, Songwriters In Seattle, a group that organizes open mics and songwriting workshops for musicians via Meetup, an often overlooked social media resource. I also discuss a Slideshare presentation by Stan Smith (link below) with helpful tips for musicians trying to get their music and their message out in an online world crowded with competitors.

[If you listen all the way to the end, you'll also hear my simple trick for figuring out what makes you unique. This is a critical element in defining your story and marketing your music.]

Tomorrow I’ll be attending a Songwriters In Seattle songwriting group. Workshops and songwriting circles are  a great way to

  • hone your songwriting skills
  • network with other musicians, and
  • find co-writers.

Co-writing music is a hot subject these days, and very common in music-centric cities like Nashville and LA. This article, Tips For Finding & Creating Successful Co-writes, from the Nashville Songwriters Association website has some good tips about songwriting. I also follow Brent Baxter (@razorbaxter), who has a lot of good songwriting tips and ideas on his blog, Man vs. Row.

Finding your unique story is an important part of your music marketing. The online marketing presentation I reference in this week’s podcast is called 25 Ways To Get Noticed by Stan Smith of Pushing Social. Stan poses some great questions to think about when you are crafting your personal brand as a musician, such as what makes you unique? and what challenges have you overcome?

The three key parts of Stan’s presentation are:

  • Defining what makes your story unique
  • Delivering your message in a unique way (content and process)
  • Being consistently persistent in getting your message out

Listen to the end, and you’ll hear my simple advice for defining what makes your story and your music unique.

Please feel free to leave your feedback on this podcast below, or suggest other resources my readers may find helpful. 

 

 

posted by on Conferences, Marketing, Music, Thoughts

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Lucy The Dog

In this 17 minute episode, I discuss Lauren Kinney and finding a higher theme in your music marketing, licensing a cover song for your CD when it isn’t part of the Harry Fox Songfile library, and the World Domination Summit 2014.

I am fascinated by the idea of finding a theme for your music marketing that transcends the music itself and brings meaning to your life as a whole. This could be a non-profit cause you feel strongly about, a social, political or environmental issue, or a lifestyle choice such as diet or healthy living. Finding ways to connect your music to something else you feel passionately about is a great way to attract people to your music.

LA singer-songwriter Lauren Kinney had a lovely article written about her in the New York Observer called Merging Art: Songstress Finds Her Literary Voice which talks about her new YouTube video series (correction to my calling it an album in the podcast), “Songs About Books.”

Literature is a passion of Lauren’s, and her new project made for a great unsolicited press piece (the writer found her via Instagram and tracked her down for the interview! How cool is that?) Perhaps one reason this worked is that it might not have been an intentional marketing technique on Lauren’s part – but still, worth thinking about what your larger message is as a musician, your theme as a human being.

I also talk about my experience licensing a cover song from Jimi Hendrix’ estate so I can release it on my upcoming CD, Fire and Other Playthings (due out next month). In order to release a cover song on your CD, you must get a mechanical license from the publisher of the song. Many songs are easily and quickly licensed online via the Songfile tool on the Harry Fox Agency website. The Jimi Hendrix song I want to release on my CD, however, is not available through Harry Fox, I need to get a license directly from the Hendrix estate. The only problem is that their mechanical license application clearly states that it covers only physical CDs, not digital distribution such as download (!) or streaming. So I have to ask them if they will grant those additional licenses, or decide whether to keep the song on the CD or not. [Post-podcast script - I am trying out Limelight to see if they can get me streaming and digital licenses as well as the physical CD licenses.]

On to my review of the World Domination Summit 2014 (#WDS2014), an “un-conference” I attended in Portland, OR, last weekend with the themes: Community, Adventure and Service.

My #WDS2014 Conference Review Summary

WorldDominationSummit2014 Walking The Dog Episode 17: #WDS2014 and Lauren Kinneys ArtPros

  • Love Portland – what a great city
  • Very well run conference – from registration to the yogurt parfait snacks, an incredible media team
  • Participatory vibe – not your typical conference
  • Speakers were great – social entrepreneurs, marketing folks, creativity experts
  • A good place to “find a tribe” of people like you – if you are interested in social entrepreneurship, writing your first book, or starting a business
  • The WDS Foundation gives money to some of the participants to help kickstart their dream projects

Cons

  • The unbounded optimism got to me a little, although Scott Berkun’s (@berkun) talk toward the end tried to focus on the practicalities of entrepreneurship
  • A lot of cheerleading, not so much on implementation tools – dreams are important, but integrating the dreamer and doer parts of our personalities can often be a challenge for us artists
  • I’m not sure I will go back next year, but it was worthwhile to go once

A full list of speakers is on the WDS website, but some of my favorite speakers of the weekend were A J Jacobs (@ajjacobs, The Year of Living Biblically), Jadah Sellner (@jadahsellner, 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge website), Dee Williams (tiny house movement), Scott Berkun (@berkun, The Year Without Pants), and Shannon Galpin (@sgalpin), a last-minute stand-in speaker not listed on the webiste who had a moving and thought-provoking talk about the power of raising women’s voices around gender issues.

For a fantastic in-depth series of blog posts on some of the WDS speakers, check out Cyriel Kortleven’s website.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

posted by on Marketing, Music, Social Media

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Reputation

I received an email this week from a fellow musician and music marketer that caused me to unsubscribe from his list. I was so incensed that I didn’t just unsubscribe, I wrote him to tell him why.

The email was a solicitation for me to buy a spot at a conference called the Ultimate Millionaire Summit organized by a woman named Loral Langmeier. I’m not going to link to either his or her website from here, for obvious reasons – I don’t want to give any extra SEO to someone I feel is using dubious marketing techniques. You can Google Loral yourself.

Be Careful Who You Sell Or Give Your Email List To

icon mailchimp mobile Its Your Reputation, Dont Screw It UpThis musician clearly sells or gives his email list to third parties – in this case, Loral Langmeier. He says in his email that he is performing at this “Millionaire Summit”, and told me all the reasons why I should Act Now! to join Loral (for just $297!) in Florida to “rub elbows” with millionaires and learn their secrets for accumulating my own millions! Yuck.

The email sounded so scammy that I did some background research on Loral and found that she has been sued for misrepresenting her product and refusing to give refunds to customers who complain. Yet she has also been linked to Dr. Phil and has a great PR team who continues to get her coverage on local television so she can promote her “seminars”. Apparently these TV station interns don’t do much fact checking before inviting Loral on their morning TV shows.

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posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music, Social Media

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Molly Lewis Publicity

[Photo by Atom Moore]

A few facts to introduce this interview:

Intrigued? So was I. So I interviewed Molly via email.

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posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music, Social Media

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Tommy Darker

In this 15 minute episode I interview Tommy Darker from the (somewhat noisy) Argyll Arms pub in SOHO, London, about his new book, The Indecisive Musicpreneur, and his many other ventures as an event organizer, blogger, public speaker, consultant, musician, and music industry thinker.

image2 1024x701 Walking The Dog Episode 13: Interview With Tommy Darker

Tommy talks about how he started documenting his own journey to a place where he is now supporting himself as a full time musician. Although he has no formula that works for everyone, Tommy sets out in the interview the six key things he learned along the way. This includes developing a business model, and Tommy references the website Business Model Generation for helping musicians discover how to create revenue-generating business model for themselves.

image3 e1403255933246 225x300 Walking The Dog Episode 13: Interview With Tommy DarkerWe also talk about the challenge of switching between thinking as an artist and thinking as a business person. Tommy and I both espouse the idea of musicians as entrepreneurs (“musicpreneurs”), and we are also both fans of the Lean Startup Model, also known as Agile Development, which I wrote about in my post “Agile Marketing For DIY Musicians.”

If you enjoy his writings and want to support them on an ongoing basis, Tommy has a new Patreon campaign called The Tommy Darker Book Club, and you can also listen to his band, Sidesteps at SideStepsOfficial.com

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YourBrand

In this 12 minute episode I discuss what content marketing is and how musicians can use it to help build their following on social media, bring fans back to their website, and ultimately, encourage people to listen, share and buy their music.

As part of her #TwitterSmarter series, Madalyn Sklar and I held a free online webinar this week that covered content marketing for musicians on Twitter. This (90 minute!) in-depth webinar is full of lots of information, including a Q&A at the end. You can view the webinar replay complete with my audio narration at the link above, or if you just want to see the slides without the benefit of narration, you can view them on my Slideshare. This episode of my Walking The Dog podcast gives you a taste of the webinar.

Inbound marketing, or content marketing, is a marketing technique many businesses are  finding very successful and cost-effective (besides email and paid advertising on Google or Facebook.) Content marketing, when done well, attracts fans, influencers, and customers who don’t already know about or follow you. Sharing content that expresses your passions or outside interests (in addition to sharing your music-related content) is a great way to attract attention and pull people in.

In the podcast, I discuss two different ways to use hashtags as part of a content marketing strategy:

  • Twitter chats (like #ggchat) and
  • subject or genre hashtags

For an example of how NOT to use hashtags (and a little lighthearted humor), check out the YouTube video below the podcast on hashtags by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

If you have tips and tricks to share with my readers on how to use content marketing, or some success stories to share, please do so in the comments section below!

posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music, Social Media

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MaryBue

I was recently introduced to singer-songwriter Mary Bue from Minnesota. We got along like a house on fire from the start – she’s smart, funny, spunky, and resourceful (and a great songwriter and musician.) In the process of getting to know her, Mary mentioned this “Bands Banding Together” Kickstarter project she was involved in over the past few months with a recording studio called Welcome to 1979.

The campaign started with a contest in which the studio sought bands willing to travel to the Welcome to 1979 studio in Nashville to record an album live direct to lathe (vinyl). This is actually a very old recording technique which has recently experienced a trendy comeback, including a direct to vinyl live performance by Neil Young and recorded by Jack White on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show.

Beths Cafe With The GoGirls Case Study: Mary Bue And The Studio Run Kickstarter

Me, Jean Mann, Julie Wisckstrom, Alex Winters, Chris “Seth” Jackson and Mary Bue (Photo by Kelly McWain)

Once the bands were selected by the studio, they committed to help promote the Kickstarter campaign (which was set up and run by the studio) to their fan networks, and also to provide merchandise for some of the premiums. The campaign had a fundraising goal of $25,000, which would enable Welcome to 1979 to record the five bands live in the studio, one at a time, and then release five vinyl records. Each band would also get some vinyl records of their recording to take home out of the deal.

An Interesting Crowd Funding Model

I think this is such an interesting model for crowd funding a record. It makes a lot of sense in many ways: the studio is incented to make the campaign successful, because they are paying themselves, and the combined fan groups for both the studio and the artists involved would theoretically make for a wider audience for the campaign. However, there are also a lot of potential pitfalls in this model.

I did some research, and couldn’t find other examples of studios doing crowd funding campaigns on behalf of musicians except for one, Groove Box Studios for Nathan Kalish, but it was a much smaller amount. [Thanks to Ian Anderson at Launch and Release for finding that one for me].

Let me be clear: no one was ripped off, and I don’t think anything shady went on here. I think everyone just felt disappointed that the project didn’t succeed, and some fan goodwill was expended. Perhaps we can all learn from this.

I think the much bigger takeaways are about the planning and coordination needed to implement a joint Kickstarter between 5 bands and a studio.

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Walking The Dog Episode 10 Solveig Whittle

In this 18 minute podcast, I cover two current issues:

  • The $2.6 billion acquisition of Beats by Apple, and why indie musicians should care. 
  • A discussion last night on the popular indie music and music marketing Twitter chat, #ggchat (archives available here), about whether artists should release singles or albums (EPs, LPs, etc.)

I start the podcast with the recent Hypebot post Mark Mulligan: Apple’s Beats Acquisition Driven By Streaming Music’s Mutual Fear Factor. Mark is a respected music industry analyst and consultant, and former Pinnacle and Forrester analyst who publishes on his own SEO-friendly-titled blog as well, Music Industry Blog.

As indie artists, we probably don’t care much who wins the streaming music wars – Pandora, Spotify, Apple, YouTube (Google), or Amazon. We should care, however, that the flow of revenue to artists from streaming music consumers becomes more transparent and equitable.

Apple revolutionized music consumption and propelled the consumption of digital music into the 20th century with iTunes. Perhaps their acquisition of Beats will help drag the music industry into the 21st century and make payments more transparent. A humble indie artist can only hope!

The majority of the  podcast is a discussion of the issue of whether indie artists should release singles or a bundle of songs (an EP, LP, or album.) I am in the process of releasing what I call an EP later this summer, so this issue is personally relevant to me as an artist.

I draw some of my argument from an excellent (if a bit dated) article on Music Think Tank by Frank Woodworth, entitled Unbundling the Album: A Business Case for Releasing Single SongsI believe the discussion should really be about how indie artist can best market and promote songs, not really how we release them.

Please feel free to leave comments and opinions, experience and arguments below! I love to hear from you.

posted by on Conferences, Marketing, Music, Social Media, Thoughts

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Rainleaves

In today’s 16 minute Walking The Dog podcast, I talk about three things:

  • Consistent online content creation (even in the rain)
  • A shoutout to Michael Brandvold and Brian Thompson’s Music Biz Weekly podcast episode 153 on balancing work and life
  • The main discussion: How can and why should we move from an online model in the music industry where everything is free (at least when you are starting out as an indie musician) to one where musicians can earn a living making music.

Musicians, we’ve all heard it’s important to create online content outside of your music – blog posts, streaming online concerts, YouTube music videos, how-to videos, artwork, e-books, podcasts – the suggested list goes on and on.

Why create content in addition to your music? Well,  content marketing is 21st century marketing: bringing your fans, your audience, your customers to YOU, instead of marketing AT them (the old way).

It’s super important to pick a content form that you can be consistent in publishing.  For example, I decided to start this podcast because I knew I would always be walking my dog and thinking about music marketing stuff, and because I knew I could commit to doing it once a week – even in the rain (like today).

The second subject of today’s podcast is to acknowledge that balancing being an entrepreneur (a “musicpreneur,” if you will) with the need to nurture your family life, your personal needs, and your health is a challenge for every musician.I encourage you to watch or listen to the latest episode of the Music Biz Weekly Episode 153: The Musician’s Dilemma for an honest discussion by Michael Brandvold and Brian Thompson (neither musicians, but both very busy guys) about their thoughts on this challenge.

Lastly, I discuss this article: Why I’m Not Giving It Away For FREE (And You Shouldn’t Either) by Nancy Fox on LinkedIn and the idea of NOT giving all your music away for free. How can musicians make a living when they are starting out competing in this noisy environment where fans are overwhelmed with so much free online stuff?

It’s a problem for the entire online industry, not just music, and Ms. Fox’s suggestion for solving the problem may or may not work in the music industry.

More resources on micropayments and creating a sustainable model for online content in intellectual property (IP) creators: