Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category
Alas, a decade is practically an eternity online, and as such, the download-to-own concept that iTunes revolutionized is already showing signs of age. The growth of subscription-based streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, and the current cultural dominance of YouTube, with its more than three billion videos viewed daily, hint that that music consumers are now largely content to listen, rather than own. - Time Entertainment, April 28, 2013
In this two-part podcast, Jason Spitz and Kyle Bylin of Hypebot’s Upward Spiral Podcast and I discuss some of the customer needs and behaviors that drove iTunes adoption: the unbundling of the single from the CD purchase, as well as the product characteristics (seamless integration with the iPhone, ease of use, standardized pricing). It’s interesting to hear the generational differences in how we adopted (or didn’t!) iTunes to build our personal music libraries, and to note that iTunes clearly was a substitute product for pirated music, even if an imperfect one.
In the second half of our discussion, we cover the transition of customers from download to streaming and debate where the future may lie for Apple’s iTunes and the consumption of music. We discuss iTunes competitors, and what factors might determine whether Apple will continue to dominate music distribution, such as the ubiquity and seamlessness of wifi, and the deep pockets of a platform player like Google, Amazon or Apple, as compared to a software-only offering such as Spotify or Pandora.
Kyle Bylin is the founder and editor of sidewinder.fm, a music and tech think tank, and also conducts research and develop music product concepts for Live Nation Labs. Jason Spitz is an ecommerce expert helping bands, comedians, and other artists build direct-to-fan businesses. In addition to being super-knowledgeable about the music industry, Jason and Kyle are expert conversationalists, and they always pick topics that are timely and interesting.
I sure had fun talking to these guys. Please let me know what you think of our discussion in the comments below!
I did something important this weekend. It was important because I’m dying. Not anytime soon, mind you, but someday I won’t be here. So, because I could - because it mattered to me - this weekend I did a few things I enjoyed doing a lot. Things on my bucket list. These were all things I’ve never done before, and I did them with people I love and respect. I
- entertained 50 people (pictures here),
- performed original music I had created with my life partner, Stevie,
- opened for Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer, yes that Amanda Palmer), and
- kicked off the launch of the first ever Solveig & Stevie CD, Superwoman (available soon via iTune and all your favorite channels and services).
Oh, and I moved people. That is really the most important part of what I did this weekend. I made something beautiful and magical for people I love and for complete strangers alike. How do I know this? Because people haven’t stopped telling me since last Saturday. That is why I make music: to move people. I don’t need to be a star. I don’t need to be famous. I’m old (relatively), and I have three kids. I think regularly about how best to live the rest of my life, and what kind of meaningful memories I want to leave behind when I am gone. I’ve done my time in corporate meeting rooms. I want to make people feel. I want to touch people and make them think about their own creativity. If I did that for even a few people last weekend, that makes me happy.
Yes indeed. What a night! Could the long term good vibes of the church be blessing our communion ! I’m not the least bit religious but last night was the best feeling I’ve had in a group of strangers since the sixties. – Tim Rounds
Knowing how to use online analytics tools is an important skill for DIY musicians. If you can learn how to play guitar, drums, or piano with two hands, you can do this. The more information you have about your audience, the better decisions you will make about where to focus your marketing efforts. You may decide to adjust your promotional strategy, to focus more on one particular social media channel, or to create a House Party tour to a particular geographical area based on what you learn by analyzing your online presence.
There are many different free tools you can use to gather analytics information. Most are individual tools designed to look at a specific online presence, like your website, Facebook fan page or Twitter followers. “Analytics for Musicians” by Make It In Music gives a good overview of analytics tools for these three: Google Analytics for your website, Insights on Facebook, and Hootsuite for analyzing Twitter.
This post describes how and why you might want to check out Google Analytics to understand the activity on your band website. Even if you are a bit of a technophobe, making the effort to personally understand what’s going on with your website is enlightening and empowering. Instead of just anecdotal conversations you might have with fans after a show, or arguments with your bandmates about which website pages are most important, analytics give you real and actionable information about how people are discovering and engaging with your music and your band. You won’t be held hostage to someone else, either, like a webmaster, relying on their busy schedule and waiting for them to give you information.
A few weeks ago I went to a seminar by best-selling author and public speaker Patrick Snow on creating a successful career as a self-published book author. I was invited by a friend of mine, Randall Broad, who wrote a memoir and is now working as a motivational speaker. At 41, Patrick makes a pretty good living (six figures of some kind) as an author, public speaker, and coach/consultant to other authors. To quote his website:
His best-selling book, Creating Your Own Destiny: How to Get Exactly What You Want Out of Life and Work, and his personal transition were also featured as a cover story in USA TODAY. Patrick’s book has been translated into numerous foreign languages and has sold more than 150,000 copies across six continents since 2001… He has coached more than 200 clients in achieving their goals of writing, publishing, and marketing their books.
As I sat listening to all this interesting stuff about self-publishing a book, surrounded by middle-aged people with big dreams – many with really interesting life stories, and all of whom want to become best-selling authors and public speakers, rake in a six-figure income and quit their day jobs - I realized that a lot of the same business ideas apply as well to DIY musicians as they do to DIY authors.
Last year I recorded a cover of an old favorite song of mine called Menta e Rosmarino (I Won’t Be Lonely) by the Italian artist, Zucchero (AKA Sugar Fornaciari). He’s a famous singer, songwriter, and guitarist in Spain and Italy. He’s less well-known here in the United States, despite his many collaborations with American artists like Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and Randy Jackson, among others. I also hired a friend of mine, Josh Moore, to shoot a music video for my Zucchero cover. All together, I spent a few thousand dollars on making the video, including paying for time at the studio where we shot it and compensating the other people involved.
I thought it might be useful to share a walk through of my relatively cheap and easy experience securing the mechanical and synch licenses for both the audio and video files. As a writer of original music, and also because I spent my own time and money making these high quality audio and video recordings, I felt it was important to comply with the legal licensing requirements. This was not a video of me singing the song by myself with a guitar in the living room in front of my computer’s video camera. Although I thought it seemed unlikely, I didn’t want YouTube to take down my video channel because of this single cover video. Most important to me, however, I feel it’s only right to legally compensate the original artist for their work.
At the risk of adding to the over-exposure of Seattle’s hometown music hero of the decade, Macklemore, I felt it important to explore this question. Paul Porter of Rap Rehab wrote an interesting blog post challenging the claim by most music publications that Macklemore is an indie DIY success story. (We had a little discussion about it on Twitter, here’s the Storify of My Dialog About Macklemore With Paul Porter.) As I interpret his post, Porter proposes that Macklemore is not DIY or indie because he worked with a distributor, Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA), who
- agreed to work with Macklemore because he is a talented white rapper, an unusual characteristic that makes him stand out
- identified big financial potential for Warner Music Group in Macklemore’s wider appeal to a pop audience, which is, by definition, larger than rap or hip hop
- underwrote Macklemore’s airplay on pop (and not hip hop) radio stations through payola
- thus fueled his meteoric rise on the charts, subsequent record sales and media exposure
And all this did not, and would not have happened, without the savvy of a major label’s distribution arm, Warner Music Group/ADA. In Mr. Porter’s eyes, this makes Macklemore less than indie, because “Indie is one that is independent; especially: an unaffiliated record or motion-picture production company.”