Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

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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.

If you’d prefer to download this article as a PDF and are willing to give me your email address (I promise not to spam you, sell or give your address to anyone), scroll to the bottom of the post.

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

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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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Aaron Bethune

In today’s 35 minute episode I talk with my friend, music business consultant, newly published music marketing author, and just a lovely, genuine, and interesting human being, Aaron Bethune (@PlayItLoudMusic).

Aaron and I talk mostly about his new book, Musicpreneur: The Creative Approach To Making Money In Music (you can get a few chapters for free by signing up on the book website).

Eric Alper, Director of Media Relations for eOne Music Canada, has said, “This book might just be all you’ll ever need to read.”

Aaron and I discuss what makes his book different from most of the other music marketing books I’ve read, including:

  • Why Aaron started the book with a personal story about the time he came within 200 meters of one of the world’s seven summits, Cerro Aconcagua, and what that has to do with a career in music
  • Fan profiling, storytelling, being authentic and how to connect with fans
  • The reason 99% of musicians don’t manage to make a living in the music business, and how to be one of the 1% who do
  • The biggest obstacle to success for most indie musicians
  • Real life examples of how Aaron approached marketing two very different musicians whose music is in the same genre or format
  • How to identify possible sponsorship opportunities

I think you will enjoy our conversation as much as I did. Let me know in the comments!

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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. 

 

 

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Taylor-Swift-Charity-650x406

In today’s 13 minute podcast, I mention that I will be traveling to Portland, OR this weekend to attend the World Domination Summit 2014, an “unconference” for creative types and internet geeks that was started by Chris Guillebeau, author of a book called The Art of Nonconformity.

The main subject of today’s podcast, however, is women in music. Now, I have written a blog post about the challenges of being a female musician, touring, and having children, but the issue that I wanted to address in this podcast is the intense focus on sex and titillation versus the focus on brains and musical talent that seems to follow female musicians in the press more than male musicians.

For those of you who don’t follow the music press much, Taylor Swift wrote an editorial piece this week in the Wall Street Journal about the future of the music business, and was promptly slapped in the industry press about her naivete. I also read a pretty scathing response from industry insider Loren Weisman on his Facebook page (see below).

Now, I am not here to critique the content of Swift’s piece, but rather the manner in which her opinion piece has been trashed. I think it is part of the undue focus the press has on female artists and their relationships, what they wear, and scandal around them instead of on their music and what they have to say.

Kudos to Taylor Swift and her team (because let’s all acknowledge that she didn’t get where she is by herself) for having something intelligent to say – whether you agree with her assessment of the industry or not. And kudos to all the other female musicians like Amanda Palmer and Sinead O’Connor and Zoe Keating for trying to articulate points about issues that go beyond how much they are wearing or who they are dataing.

What do you think?

The headlines I referred to in the podcast are:

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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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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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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!

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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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