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 Interviews, Music, Social Media, Thoughts

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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!

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

WorldDominationSummit2014Pros

  • 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 Music, Social Media, Thoughts

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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:

posted by on Music, Thoughts

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SeanHarleyTucker

In this 30 minute episode I talk about the idea of timing as it relates to the release of music, like a CD or single, and also about the creative journey.

I had a great conversation with Sean Harley “Tucker” this week about creativity and being a musician. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on creator/makers in the industry today, check out his podcast, The Spark and The Art.

While some of us discover early in life what our creative calling might be, I think most of us struggle to find that intersection between what we love to do (our passion), what we are good at doing, and what others want to compensate, or pay us, to do. I know I’m still working on it.

Life is definitely better when you enjoy what you are doing every day!

Have a great 4th of July weekend (even if you’re not in the US).

 

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

Mailchimp IconThis 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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