I just did my second band photo shoot for our Solveig & Stevie updated EPK, for the cover of our new EP/CD (whatever it is going to be), and for our redesigned website and social media banners.
This was not my first experience with band photo shoots. I’ve done band promo shoots, several music videos, and sat for professional family photo portraits and for business head shots numerous times before as well. You would think I could get this right – but no.
Band photos are so important, and they can be so complicated. Your photos should communicate your band’s brand accurately to your potential fans. Plus, all of us humans want to look cool and sexy and, well… good, in our pictures – preferably without either plastic surgery or too much Photoshopping.
I think we can all agree that we artists are perhaps a little more touchy when comes to visual presentation than the rest of the population. Whether we are are punk, folk, metal, grunge or goth, it’s often a very carefully calculated personal image.
Welcome to my weekly podcast. I talk about music, music marketing, and the music business where I do some of my best thinking – while walking my dog.
In this 22 minute episode, I discuss the Music Biz Association’s 2014 Metadata Summit on Tuesday May 6 I attended in LA, part of the larger three day Music Biz 2014 Summit. The Music Biz Association, formerly known as NARM and its sub-organization, digitalmusic.org, is “a non-profit membership organization that advances and promotes music commerce — a community committed to the full spectrum of monetization models in the industry” (from their website.) I have written about the importance of standardizing music metadata as a critical component in ensuring artist compensation in the new music industry where digital will eventually dominate.
It’s interesting to note that the board of the Music Biz Association is composed of representatives of all the major players in the music industry, and this list is evolving to encompass players other than the big labels: Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Amazon, Microsoft, Spotify, YouTube (ie. Google), iTunes, as well as players like The Orchard and INGrooves. As music moves to a self-published model, I hope to see more representation in associations such as Music Biz for indie artists, too. Right now the industry is dominated by these big players (“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”), but the future of music is a much flatter structure, where streaming micropayments, and thus metadata, will play an even larger role.
Look for a long form blog post later on this website about my experiences at Music Biz 2014, and a larger discussion about music metadata.
Also of note this week is the speculation around the purchase of Beats by Apple, as streaming players being a slow consolidation that (in my opinion) makes for a more rational and sustainable financial structure for streaming music services, as I predicted many months ago. This would be the largest acquisition ever made by Apple, if it goes through.
Finally, I discuss the significance of the incredible success of the soundtrack to Disney’s movie, Frozen. At the MetaData Summit, I sat next to Disney’s finance group, there to hear about the latest advances in metadata standardization. Why do they care? Because the Frozen soundtrack has been on the Billboard 200 13 times, it knocked Beyonce off the charts, and it has sold 2.6 million copies (58% digital – but that means 42% digital). As pointed out in this article on NPR’s blog, “Well Into Spring, ‘Frozen’ Soundtrack Keeps The Charts Cool,” Frozen‘s soundtrack has made a lot of money for Disney in a variety of different ways. Perhaps the difficulties of tracking all the various ways in which songs make money for Disney in the new music model, where digital plays come from a myriad of sources, will motivate a behemoth like Disney to put pressure on the industry to standardize music metadata more quickly, and streamline the monetization process further.
I’ve written about the platforms StageIt and YouNow, where indie artists can stream a live music performance and even make money doing so. Concert Window was launched in 2011 by Harvard grads and musicians Dan Gurney and Forrest O’Connor to provide the same service. Still running a bit under the radar because they’ve only been live for about 9 months, Concert Window is gaining praise and growing quickly through word of mouth buzz in the indie musician community.
Last week, I attended a streaming performance on Concert Window by Austin singer-songwriter Alex Winters. It went so well that I thought it would be interesting to interview Alex about her experience and try setting up my own artist profile.
Alex and I met through GoGirlsMusic, and while she was here in Seattle recently, she mentioned she was about to do her first Concert Window performance. I signed up on the website ahead of time as a viewer so I could tune in. One of the things I noticed right away was that I could watch Alex’s performance on my iPhone while away from my desktop. I think this is a smart feature, and no doubt increases audience views significantly. Mobile is where it is at.
After a few minor glitches on both her end (Alex’s PRO TIP: “When you’re ready to broadcast, hit the BROADCAST button!”) and on my end (my AT&T phone signal was weak at first), I was able to enjoy her concert on my earbuds with no problem. Note that all the viewer features of the desktop version are not there on mobile, such as chat and tipping.
This post has three parts. First, an interview with Alex about her experience with Concert Window. Second, my walkthrough of setting up an artist profile and a performance on Concert Window. Last, I give my assessment of some of the features that make the Concert Window platform stand out.
Every Friday morning, I walk my dog and record a podcast about music, music marketing and whatever is on my mind that week.
In this week’s 19 minute episode, I talk about two things:
- Concert Window, a streaming performance platform for musicians much like StageIt, which I reviewed a number of months ago, and
- tips and tricks from Kim Garst for using Facebook to promote your music – without paying for advertising.
Look for a more in-depth review of Concert Window, including an interview with musician and songwriter Alex Winters, in a later longer blog post form on my website. In today’s podcast, I cover an overview of what Concert Windows is and a few of the features that stand out to me to differentiate Concert Window from StageIt.
The majority of today’s podcast discussion comes from a free ebook available from social media consultant, Kim Garst of Boom Social, entitled “9 Ingredients For Dominating Facebook’s News Feed… Without Giving Them a Penny… Shhhh”. I love Kim’s blog posts about Facebook marketing. She does research and shows examples of her experiments with her own Facebook page, and she also works with clients, so she focuses on real life data and situations.
Frankly, there is also something perverse in me that enjoys the idea of sharing Kim’s tips on using Facebook WITHOUT paying for advertising. Plus, the meta-lesson here is that or order for you to download her ebook, her landing page is, well…. on Facebook! She’s using her own marketing principles to drive traffic to her Facebook page for free. Smart.
In last week’s podcast, I highlighted an article from Social Media Today about why it may be smart to ignore Facebook as part of your social media strategy, or at least why you should only consider it as part of your integrated marketing plan for your music.
As a social media marketer, I remain professionally ambivalent about Facebook, to say the least. I enjoy using it personally, but I hate it as a marketer, and I don’t respect the way the company treats its customers. And it also scares me a bit how much personal data Facebook collects online.
I cannot, however, in good conscience, suggest to musicians that they completely ignore Facebook as a marketing tool. However, with
- 1.26 billion users worldwide
- 757 active daily users
- 138 million active daily users in the US alone
you can’t ignore the fact that
Listen to my podcast to hear Kim’s 9 tips and tricks for maximizing engagement with your Facebook fans and see how you can make the most of Facebook to market your music – without paying for advertising.
After two plus years working at this thing, wrestling with the beast that is the music industry, I’ve finally figured out the secret to success.
It’s not how many Likes on your Facebook page, or how many Twitter followers you can get. It’s not how much you spend on your website, or your PR campaign, or making a viral music video.
It’s pretty simple: Be better than everyone else.
Yup. That’s all. Just be better. Be a better singer, a better guitar player, be better looking, be sexier, be a better storyteller, be more shocking, be more thoughtful, be more profound, be more evocative, or be more provocative.
Make it impossible for your audience not to feel something.
Be Remarkable and Be Unique
Here’s the caveat: you have to be a lot better – not just as good as, or slightly better – than everyone else. You have to be really amazing at doing at least one thing, whether it’s vocally, instrumentally, lyrically, sartorially, or as a performance artist. I suspect you also have to better at more than just one thing in order to be unique, because there are a lot of good musicians out there.
Seth Godin said: Be Remarkable. I say:
This week on Walking The Dog, I talk about Performance Rights Organizations, or PROs. In the US, the PROs are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. Musicians can register with one of these three PROs as songwriters (music composer/lyricists) as well as publishers of their own music. Once you are a member of a PRO, you can then register your songs, which has the advantage of allowing you, the musician, to use the services of your PRO to collect royalties whenever that song is performed.
In this 15 minute episode, I refer listeners to a website called MusicalRedHead hosted by Christiane Kinney, who is an entertainment lawyer as well as an indie musician. I met Christiane a few years ago at SF Music Tech, and also follow her on Twitter (@musicalredhead). Her blog has a lot of great information for musicians.
In addition to giving a brief overview of what the function of a PRO is, the two issues I talk about in this episode are live performances, especially in smaller venues, and music licensing for television shows and commercials, and where PROs figure in the equation.
Please leave your comments and rebuttals below!