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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. 

 

 

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.

 

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:

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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

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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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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posted by on Interviews, Marketing, Music, Social Media

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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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Hare Krishnas London

In this week’s 7 1/2 minute episode, I am podcasting from lovely London, and the subject is streaming music and the future of indie music revenue streams. (The picture is of some Hare Krishnas we encountered on our walk back to the place we are staying at.)

An article this week in Digital Music News entitled Why Apple’s Acquisition of Beats Is Bad for Indie Labels, Artists, and the Industry… argues that the acquisition of Beats Music by Apple is a bad thing for indie artists and labels. The basic argument is that as download revenue declines, streaming revenue will not increase enough to compensate (essentially due to the unbundling of the single from albums), and that labels will continue to keep a large amount of the revenue from streaming from artists anyway, and so this is not a good model for indie musicians.

I disagree. I think the future viable revenue model for an indie musician will look more like that of indie artist Zoe Keating, who revealed where her revenue comes from earlier this year. Zoe makes much more money from selling her music directly from her website ($68k) than from streaming her music ($6k) – but she is OK with that.

In a March article on Hypebot, she is quoted putting her revenue streams into perspective, saying, “…Aren’t I just an example of “The Long Tail” at work?… For a single artist like me commercial streaming will never be more than promo. I accept that. But I will keep talking about it until streaming companies do more to make that promo more useful (i.e data).”

I believe that the Zoe Keating model is the model of the future for indie artists – one where record labels don’t stand between the services that deliver the music to fans and the artist – and more importantly, where they don’t stand between the payments made by those fans and the artist who created the music.

Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!