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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).

 

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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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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!

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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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Walking The Dog Episode 10 Solveig Whittle

In this 18 minute podcast, I cover two current issues:

  • The $2.6 billion acquisition of Beats by Apple, and why indie musicians should care. 
  • A discussion last night on the popular indie music and music marketing Twitter chat, #ggchat (archives available here), about whether artists should release singles or albums (EPs, LPs, etc.)

I start the podcast with the recent Hypebot post Mark Mulligan: Apple’s Beats Acquisition Driven By Streaming Music’s Mutual Fear Factor. Mark is a respected music industry analyst and consultant, and former Pinnacle and Forrester analyst who publishes on his own SEO-friendly-titled blog as well, Music Industry Blog.

As indie artists, we probably don’t care much who wins the streaming music wars – Pandora, Spotify, Apple, YouTube (Google), or Amazon. We should care, however, that the flow of revenue to artists from streaming music consumers becomes more transparent and equitable.

Apple revolutionized music consumption and propelled the consumption of digital music into the 20th century with iTunes. Perhaps their acquisition of Beats will help drag the music industry into the 21st century and make payments more transparent. A humble indie artist can only hope!

The majority of the  podcast is a discussion of the issue of whether indie artists should release singles or a bundle of songs (an EP, LP, or album.) I am in the process of releasing what I call an EP later this summer, so this issue is personally relevant to me as an artist.

I draw some of my argument from an excellent (if a bit dated) article on Music Think Tank by Frank Woodworth, entitled Unbundling the Album: A Business Case for Releasing Single SongsI believe the discussion should really be about how indie artist can best market and promote songs, not really how we release them.

Please feel free to leave comments and opinions, experience and arguments below! I love to hear from you.