Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category
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:
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
This 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.
[Photo by Atom Moore]
A few facts to introduce this interview:
- Molly Lewis’ (@molly23) ukulele cover of Britney Spears’ Toxic, which she first played at her high school talent show, went viral on YouTube in 2007. Now Molly writes witty, original ukelele songs and opens for Jonathan Coulton.
- Molly Lewis is a YouTube star, but she doesn’t much like YouTube anymore, at least not as a way to earn a living (via advertising). But she likes Patreon a lot.
- Patreon, an online arts patronage platform founded by Jack Conte, announced a $15 Series A round of funding this week. They now have over 25,000 creators signed up, 180 more signing up every day, and have grown their revenue 10x in 5 months. On Monday, they held a webcast for their creators and patrons, with hundreds participating and asking questions about new features and product direction.
- Molly Lewis makes $2535 (as of this writing) from her 402 patrons on Patreon every time she releases a new original song.
Intrigued? So was I. So I interviewed Molly via email.
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.
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.
We 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
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!
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.
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.
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:
- Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class on Salon
- A Case For Micropayments by Thomas Baekdal
- Twitter cuts off another payment service: Flattr is told to stop tying Favorites to money from The Next Web
- Think micropayments for media can’t work? Greg Golebiewski says you are wrong on Gigaom
In this 12 minute episode of Walking The Dog, I discuss crowdfunding and other new ways indie artists can support themselves besides selling merchandise or touring.I have written about a local Seattle artist, Aury Moore, and her successful Kickstarter campaign which raised over $20K to fund her 2012 CD “Here I Am”. I am always interested in case studies of artists who have raised amounts like this via crowdfunding, because they are so much greater than the average.
Hypebot published an article today entitled “#Fangagement: Artists Crowdsourcing Opinion Part 10: Mark de Clive-Lowe” which included some great tips from Mark (a musician who also raised $20K on Kickstarter) on being realistic in your funding goals based on average donation rates, numbers of fans, and average social media engagement rates. Mark researched the stats, and found evidence that the the engagement number on social media is 3%. Many social media experts also echo Mark’s findings that only 3% of fans, followers, and those who have Liked a Facebook page are likely to participate in a social media campaign of any type. It’s important to keep this and other numbers in mind so you don’t overstretch or understretch your funding goals.
The Hypebot article also mentions Patreon, a new, fast-growing platform for sustaining indie artist careers created by Jack Conte (Pomplamoose). It’s kind of like Kickstarter, but ongoing, and may be a new model for artists to sustain a career in music while still leaving them time to focus on creating art – not just focusing on the business 100% of the time.
The Seattle ukulele songstress I mentioned, Molly Lewis, is actually up to over $2000 per original song in pledges on Patreon. Worth checking out!
Finally, I wrap with a mention of a new platform for musicians to pay small fees for feedback from music industry influencers call Fluence. Fluence is a San Francisco-based music startup that is still running very much under the radar, but you might try it out if you are an artist fairly new to the music industry and are looking for professional feedback and connections with industry folks. Hypebot also wrote about Fluence in February 2014. I have written recently on this blog that I feel it is very important for musicians at every level to get professional feedback on their music and live performance. Fluence offers this opportunity for feedback without having to travel or spend hundreds to thousands of dollars to perform in showcases or pay consultants or coaches.
Please let me know what you think of my podcast, the subjects mentioned, and any experience you’ve had with any of the platforms mentioned. Share so we can all benefit from your knowledge!
A few months ago, I came across a free ebook for download called Music Marketing on Twitter by a guy named Johnny Dwinell from Daredevil Productions in Nashville, TN. I’ve downloaded and purchased quite a few social media and marketing books in the past two years, and frankly, the quality can vary quite widely. I was impressed with the substantive and practical social media advice offered in Johnny’s ebook, and I thought it would be interesting to find out more about Johnny and what he’s up to over at Daredevil with his partner, Kelly Schoenfeld.
[Just in case you were wondering, I received no compensation from Johnny or Kelly or anyone else for writing this post. I've been approached lately with several offers to post "sponsored content." I turn them down. If I write that I like something, you should know that it's because I actually like it.]
Q1: I notice that on your website you list your services as artist development, demo recording, songwriting, and before/after recordings. It seems from your blog that you are moving from being primarily a recording and production studio to branching out into doing social media management and campaigns for artists. Can you talk a little about the history of your company and how your service offerings are evolving? What brought you and the agency to start providing social media management for artists?
JD: Good Observation, Solveig! Yes, we are in the midst of adding a market development component to our thriving artistic development business. The impetus for this marketing arm was sheer pragmatism. We were very blessed to work with amazingly talented and hard working indie artists who deserve to be heard. The problem was that once we delivered the record – something we inevitably were all very proud of – the artist would walk out the studio door and the project would die right there; they didn’t know how to market it. We felt that artists really need to focus on being artists, and if we could find ways to help them market their records, they would return for a 2nd record with us which would, in turn, increase our sales.
The problem was that once we delivered the record, the artist would walk out the studio door and the project would die right there.
So phase 1 is to create and perfect an online marketing pipeline that is effective at moving units. Phase 2 is to become a proper indie record label where we can sign, develop, record any artist we like knowing that we can recoup the costs through our marketing efforts.
In this latest installement of my weekly podcast, I discuss two current articles and the issues they raise around marketing your music online through social media and other online marketing tools. I record this podcast every Friday morning while I walk my dog, which is where I do some of my best thinking about whatever is on my mind that week related to my music and music promotion as a DIY musician.
The first article I talk about in my 16 minute podcast this week is from Digital Music News, entitled See How St. Vincent Doubled Her First Week Album Sales, by Nina Ulloa. It shows that an integrated digital marketing approach incorporating multiple ways to reach a customer can be a very successful technique for increasing music sales. I talk about my conversation this week with Jason Hobbs of The Found Group, the digital marketing agency that handled St. Vincent’s campaign, and how I see the techniques of this campaign might be applied by DIY musicians.
I also discuss an article on Social Media Today entitled Why Facebook Is Not Part of My Social Media Strategy by Shell Robshaw-Bryan, which makes the case for leaving Facebook out of the marketing mix entirely. Although Robshaw-Bryan was starting a blog (not a band or music website) from scratch, she makes some good points about the decreasing effectiveness of using Facebook to build a community – whether you pay for advertising or not. Is it worth paying? Is it worth even playing?
Regardless of what digital media tactics you use as a musician, from Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram or more, the fact I found most interesting is something marketers in other industries have known for years: it takes an integrated digital marketing campaign with multiple customer “touches” before purchase happens. There is no single event, or single digital platform – no silver bullet – that will result in an immediate sale.
This is just as true for customers buying music as customers buying beauty products or cars. With the exception of a live performance, most fans will not purchase music from an artist after just one interaction. Building an online community using multiple digital platforms, and using a “retargeting” tool such as The Found Group’s found.ee can help expose fans to an artist as a person, and to their music, multiple times. This multiple exposure is necessary for a fan to progress along in the consideration process, the “sales funnel”, if you will, to the end result of a purchase.
And the ultimate business goal of any marketing campaign purchase – whether it’s a ticket, a digital download, or merchandise. Being a “Like counter” is not as effective as creating community, word of mouth, and buzz that results in repeat purchases by fans.
What are your experiences with Facebook advertising, with integrated marketing, and with how you see fans process of deciding to buy music? I welcome your comments below.