Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

posted by on Marketing, Music, News

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Love and Fire A Dangeroous Combination

I don’t frequently post my own press releases on this website. I prefer to interview and feature artists other than myself. I have a few amazing musicians whom I met through NARAS (the Recording Academy) on deck in the coming weeks with some very successful music marketing and social media stories to tell – so hang in there. It’s also the middle of Grammy season, and believe me, I will have a follow-up post to my Grammy submission experience from last year.

But in the meanwhile, as those other musicians finish laboriously typing their detailed and informative interview answers, I’m making an exception and promoting some of my own recent achievements as an artist. Plus, this post isn’t just about me. It’s all about indie musicians collaborating to make things happen, and it features my good friend and musical collaborator, Elizabeth Butler, whom I have written about before on this blog. As you know, I’m not just a marketer and blogger, I’m a musician. I try to live by my own advice, which includes tooting my own horn once in a while. So bear with me, here’s a bit of self-promotion.

October 20, 2014

Do you have to be 19 and able to twerk in a bikini to receive recognition as a female musician these days?

Grammy Award Suburban Mom Indie Musicians Plot To Walk the Red Carpet At GRAMMY® and HMMA Music AwardsSolveig Whittle and Elizabeth Butler are proof that you don’t. These two indie female songwriter-musicians from Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, were notified recently that they both have songs and albums up For Consideration in the 57th Grammys and nominated for the 2014 Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMAs). The Grammys will be awarded in February of next year, but the HMMAs will be awarded sooner, on November 4th, 2014 at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles.

The two women have been strategizing for months and working together to promote their music in an industry in which it is notoriously hard to stand out – and one that also tends to favor younger artists. They remain undaunted, however, and now their musical and co-promotional partnership has created some very visible results, such as their Grammy and HMMA nominations.

Like many indie musicians, Whittle and Butler have been hobbyist musicians their whole lives. Only within the last few years, however, have they gotten serious about putting resources and time into pushing their individual music careers forward. By sharing information with each other and honing both their musical and promotional skills, they have proved that collaboration is the new route to success in the music business.

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Megaphone

I’m in the process of updating the Solveig & Stevie EPK (electronic press kit) for our new album release. I also have several friends and clients who have just released albums or EPs, and are sending them out for review or airplay consideration. As usual, I thought perhaps you, my dear readers and fellow musicians, might benefit from my learning process. I’ve also included links to more resources at the bottom of this post.

What’s An EPK ?

An EPK is an online, electronic version of the physical, paper information folder that was sent out in the old days by managers (now often by artists and bands themselves) to

  • Venues and festival bookers
  • Reviewers and reporters
  • Radio stations or podcasters

Business Purpose of An EPK

The business purpose of a press kit, whether paper or electronic, is to get a person to book your band, review your new album, interview or write an article about your band, or play your music on their terrestrial or internet radio station.

The reason I mention business purpose up front is because I think that too often, bands forget that the press kit has a business purpose. If your band doesn’t need any of those things listed in the paragraph above, don’t bother creating press kit. That said, most solo artists and bands should have one. And, chances are, you are the one pulling it together (not a manager or PR agent).

If you are ever unsure about what items to create for or include in your press kit, or how to position or choose or write something – just put yourself in the shoes of the person who will be reading it. If they wouldn’t find it interesting and newsworthy, or useful for writing their article or playing your music, don’t include it or rewrite it.

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posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music, Social Media

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Brad Nolan

Stevie and I have been honored to be asked to help judge the last two annual Hard Rock Rising Global Battle of the Bands here in Seattle. In 2014, 10,000 bands entered this international competition, and 750 bands subsequently participated in live battles around the world at Hard Rock Cafes from Dublin, Ireland to Atlanta, Georgia. One winner went on to score an all-expense trip to Rome, Italy to perform in front of 40,000 fans.

This year, Stevie and I were asked to be two of the four judges in the finalist round here at the Seattle Hard Rock Cafe. It was very exciting. Even more exciting: this past May, the band which we helped judge to the number one spot in Seattle, a most excellent female-fronted band called Joyfield, went on to beat all the other bands from around the world, and win the entire 2014 global competition!

Brad and Ben 300x300 Stop trying to get on the radio And Other Words Of Wisdom From DJ @BradNolanOne of the best parts of participating in the judging at the Hard Rock, however (in addition to seeing bands like Joyfield, of course), is watching our local MC for this event, Brad Nolan.

Brad is not only a fantastic live event MC, his day job is DJ at local Seattle radio station, Click 98.9. Brad is fast-talking, energetic and funny,. He’s also just a really straight-up, honest, friendly guy, AND (it turns out) he also has a lot of insider knowledge to share about radio and the music business.

I thought it would be very cool to interview Brad and see what words of wisdom he might have for indie artists when it comes to radio as well as media and PR in general. I was not disappointed.

I think you will enjoy this interview. Brad has some great advice to share, from how to get on the radio, to how to market yourself as a musician, to the role of social media for indie artists.

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Sia performing photo by Kris Krug

I have to say, I love the song, “Chandelier” by the female Australian singer, Sia Furler (known simply as Sia). I’ve embedded the Vevo music video at the bottom of this post. It’s a beautiful, simple but visually compelling video, although you won’t see Sia’s face in the video, just her doppleganger.

You may not have heard “Chandelier” yet. Being a female vocalist, as well as a mother, I listen in the car to a lot of current pop music. In the Female-Vocalist-Fall-Back-to-School-Pop-Hit lineup, “Chandelier” is up against some heavy contenders, like Taylor Swifts newest, “Shake It Off” and Katy Perry’s inane “This is How We Do.” Not to mention the octave-defying Christina Aguilera-sound-alike, Ariana Grande, whose numerous collaborations this summer with every female hip hop artist in America (she’s moved on from Iggy Azalea to Nicki Minaj) dominate the airwaves.

One even might ask: Where is Miley Cyrus’ back-to-school twerking video? Oh, yeah, Niki Minaj beat her to it. Or was it Taylor Swift who was twerking?

Anyway.

I think “Chandelier” it’s going to be a huge hit, and one by a non-American artist who has been relatively unknown until now, at least here in the US. I wanted to pick it apart and get to know this Sia Furler person. Her music seemed, well… different.

In doing a little research, I uncovered some remarkable things that I thought were relevant to a lot of indie artists like me, especially those of us who are NOT Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, or Ariana Grande’s age:

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posted by on Marketing, Music, Social Media, Thoughts

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CDB_icon128x128

I recently participated in a group discussion with Christine Infanger (@norabarnacle) and a few other music industry people about musicians who send automated Direct Messages (DMs) on Twitter when someone follows them.

The result was a light-hearted compilation of all the reasons we all hate it when musicians Direct-Message us. It was posted on the CD Baby DIY Musician Blog, and I thought you might want to read it if you haven’t already. There’s some good advice here!

It began innocently enough; a tweet was sent which read “I cannot restate this enough- Do Not send bot/automated DM’s. It’s spam, everyone ignores them, & it’s annoying. Trust me, musicians.” From there, an onslaught of musicians and others involved in the industry in various capacities got to retweeting, favoriting, and corresponding.

This innocuous tweet touched on a subject which seems to have been gnawing its way to the top of many pet peeve lists as artists are becoming further removed from personal engagement and replacing it with automated direct messages.

What transpired was a fascinating two day conversation amongst a group of people all very active in the music industry and all very knowledgable about social media and the common sense behind using social media to interact. The conversation then necessitated more than 140 characters and moved to email where the group decided to compile a list of what to do, and perhaps more importantly, what not to do when sending direct messages on Twitter. [Read more here...]

posted by on Marketing, Music, Thoughts

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Solveig & Stevie

In this ten minute episode I share my thoughts on house concerts and mention the site, Concerts In Your Home. I also discuss some basic ideas for getting your first house concert off the ground.

I also mention my latest blog post, 25 Music Marketing Expert Tips For An Indie Release, which has a lot of great information compiled from 25 music marketing experts, including Greg Savage, Ari Herstand, Michael Brandvold, Don Harrison, Cari Cole, Neil Kristianson, Christine Infanger, Aaron Bethune, Corey Koehler, Seth Jackson, Bob Baker, Randi Reed, Chris Knab, Andrew Jones, Praverb, Tommy Darker, Alison Lamb, Madalyn Sklar, Wade Sutton, Billy Griseck, Ryan Lucht, Ariel Hyatt, Debra Russell, Carlos Schwilly, Sophia Lovett, and me! I think you’ll find it very helpful if you are releasing your own CD.

At the end of the podcast, I also have a special message for my podcast listeners. Thanks for listening!

posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music, Social Media

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Fire And Other Playthings

Tis the season for indie album releases (perhaps the Grammy submission timelines are driving some of this).

As some of you know, we recently mastered our second Solveig & Stevie CD, Fire and Other Playthings. Before we release it, of course, I am writing up my promotional plan. In the midst of my best practices research process, it occurred to me, wait…

What about consulting the collective brainpower surrounding me in the virtual online cocktail party that is the Internet of All Things, those brilliant music industry people (some of whom I am now honored to call Friend and many of whom I have met In Real Life over the past several years)?

Then came another Lightbulb Moment: I should compile these tips into a blog post to share with you, my faithful readers!

All of these folks are people I have interacted with on social media or in person in some way or another, so they are real people with real experience in music marketing. Many have written entire books (or at least ebooks) on the subject, which I have downloaded or purchased and read.

The links below are not affiliate links, they’ll just take you to the author’s website or blog. All I ask is that if you do visit my friends, please let them know I sent you.

Don’t forget to read all the way to the end – there are some real gems here. Some are a bit more, ahem, detailed than others. Some are practical lists, and some more philosophical. I didn’t want you to miss anything, so I edited just a bit for obvious redundancies. There are some recurring themes.

[By the way, if you'd prefer this post as a PDF, I am thinking of creating an ebook from this blog post. Let me know in the comments or email me via the contact form to let me know.]

So with no further ado, in no particular order, except as they came in to me, here they are:

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posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music, Social Media

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Polly Baker

I recently came across a young female country artist, Polly Baker. I checked out her music, and her music videos, and it was good catchy stuff – nice. Then, as I am wont to do because I teach social media, I checked out her Twitter profile. Okay… She’s been on Twitter since March, 2012. Wait, wow – 49.3K followers?

I was immediately curious to see how many of Polly’s followers were fake. I ran her Twitter handle through the SocialBakers FakeFollowersCheck tool.

This is a free app you can use to check anyone’s Twitter handle to see how many suspicious, “empty” or inactive followers someone has on Twitter. It’s a pretty reliable indicator of whether someone has bought Twitter followers (I wrote a post about How To Grow Your Twitter Following and explained why buying Twitter followers is a bad idea for musicians).

To my surprise, Polly’s Twitter followers were 97% good. That is an amazing number. 49.3K Twitter authentic followers? In just over two years. Impossible to do organically.

I have friends who have been on Twitter for 6 years or more, and they tell me it was much easier in the beginning to grow a following of tens of thousands in the early days. Now? Not so easy without buying followers, using automation tools, or hiring a social media agency with a college intern to sit and follow people for hours a day.

Now I was intrigued.

Curious to know how Polly got this large authentic Twitter following in such a relatively short time, I emailed her and asked her to share a bit about herself, her social media practices and perhaps also some of her Twitter secrets. She graciously agreed.

Here’s our interview:

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posted by on Marketing, Music, Social Media, Thoughts

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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.