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Happy New Year! Our top blogs of 2009

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Our first year has been great so far despite the economic times we live in, we’ve been working with a total of 9 fantastic artists!

Here are some of our top blog posts of 2009 in order posted:

Tips from a successful DIY indie musician…

Music and the Mobile Phone

Automatically posting your blog feeds to Facebook etc.

How many ‘active’ fans do you have?

The new music business model – Connect With Fans!

Is Music for free really a good idea?

The 10 Commandments of Music 2.0

A brave new era of music self release…

How to get people to come to shows

DIY takes more time than many think

Thank you to all the artists we work with, you have made this a great year, helping us take the music business into the future!
In return, we hope expanding your career to new heights has made this a great year for you as well.

We’ve got some fantastic new things planned for our artists in 2010, and were looking forward to a great year!
Happy new year to all of you, all the best for the year ahead.

Director Jarome Matthew, and the Pro Soul Alliance Team

Indie artists, get six months of free management and promotion

Monday, October 5th, 2009

THANKS TO ALL THE ARTISTS WHO ENTERED OUR CONTEST – WE WILL NO LONGER BE CONSIDERING CONTEST SUBMISSIONS. BEST OF LUCK TO THE 2 LUCKY MUSICIANS. WE WILL BE POSTING OUR DECISION DECEMBER 1ST!

Pro Soul Alliance artist contest banner

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Receive 6 months of professional management and promotion to take your career to the next level!
Services and support selected artists will receive include:

• professional phone consultation and education with CEO of Pro Soul Alliance on the artists development *and career
• a professional blog based website they can edit and update, complete with hosting by Rackspace, one of the best in the world, with artistsname.com
• Professional bio and press copy writing, blog development and updating
• Search engine optimization for effective search ranking
• Graphic design, photography and image assistance for promo materials
• Social networking configuration and integration, connecting with fans (ReverbNation, Facebook, MySpace, Blip.fm, Twitter, Youtube, Ourstage etc)
• Offline & online marketing assistance, radio airplay, follow up, and tracking
• Product development, design, CD production and digital distribution through major online retailers worldwide including ringtones and mobile phone
• Licensing and song placement; electronic licensing options online
• Scheduling of show dates for live performances
• Video Production; Youtube promo viral marketing videos

To narrow down the 2 winners, Pro Soul Alliance will be choosing the artist that is the most marketable, and has already shown commitment, and dedication to their career.

Contest ends October 30th. Details, entry information and music submission can be accessed here: http://www.prosoulalliance.com/contest

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100 Free & Affordable High & Low Tech Music Promotion Tips

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

100 Free & Affordable High & Low Tech Music Promotion Tips from Hypebot.com

  1. Top_100_2Never leave promotion to the other guy. Depending on your point of view don’t count on the label, band or publicist to do their jobs. Do it yourself or it may not get done.
  2. Know your niche market(s) or hire/befriend someone who does.
  3. Always think of the fans first when making decisions.
  4. Start early.  Pre-promote. It allows time for viral buzz (aka free promotion) to build and ensures you’ll get you a larger share of a discretionary spending.
  5. Take the time and spend the money to get a great publicist to get free media.
  6. Produce great promotional material and send it out early and often.  Don’t wait until they need it.
  7. Email lists must be your new religion. Make sign up simple and easy to find. Put it visibly on the top half of the front page and watch it grow.
  8. Segment your email lists (genre, location) to fight email burnout.
  9. Produce and send great e-cards. The best ones get forwarded to others
  10. Make your web site a destination by keeping it updated and including news, giveaways, polls and things to make it worth visiting.
  11. Put your promo online in downloadable form for easy access by the media and your fans.
  12. Enable and encourage others to do your promo for you.  Ask fans to put up flyers and send out emails. Put a poster online as a free downloadable PDF for fans to use.
  13. Create, utilize and reward a street team. Here’s a short article on the subject.
  14. Talk to people and take informal polls. Have they seen your ads? Where?  Did they grab them and provide useful information? Survey your audience via email, on the web and at shows.
  15. Add a free poll to your web site or blog via http://www.yourfreepoll.com.
  16. Get every free listing everywhere you can no matter how obscure or far away.  Maintain an extensive “listings” email list and use it.
  17. Enhance the value of press releases by always attaching a photo or graphic file or a link to one.
  18. Aggressively seek sponsorships. Big sponsorships are great, but no sponsorship is too small to consider even if its just cross promotion in ads or free give aways.
  19. Always think yourself as a brand that needs to be defined, marketed, and protected.
  20. Try local cable TV. Some local spots on Fuse or other targeted channels go for as little as $7 each.  Check out Spotrunner, dMarc or your local cable company.
  21. Try local internet advertising via Google Adsense, Facebook or local web sites. MySpace is adding targeted advertising early 2008.
  22. Advertise on internet radio and blogs that serve your market.
  23. Create consistency by creating ad mats and radio spots beds.
  24. Sponsor non-commercial radio and get mentions. NPR is great, but don’t forget college radio.
  25. Think out of the box with radio tie-ins. Rry talk radio for a classic rock or jazz radio for a fusion.  Radio stations want to expand their audience too.
  26. Co-brand. Celtic Music with an Irish bar or specialty shop or metal with a tattoo parlor. Worry less about money and think more about exposure.
  27. Sponsor somebody else’s event. Consider trading sponsorships.
  28. Create your own affordable net radio station on Live 365.
  29. Add a blog to your website to keep content fresh. Blogger.com has free tools.
  30. Go viral and post on related list-servers and discussion groups.
  31. Can’t find the right discussion group? Start your own discussion group for free at Yahoo or Google Groups.
  32. Get on both MySpace and Facebook and stay active. Don’t just
    set it up and forget it. Update it and promote it. Make it worth
    visiting. iLike and others are creating services to help you keep track and update more than one site at a time.
  33. Make everything you do an event. What holiday is near?  Is it a band member birthday? An anniversary near?
  34. Consider the internet your new best friend. Study it, learn from it, explore it and use it
  35. Run contests for best poster design or homemade video. Share all the entries on the web.
  36. Produce monthly or even weekly podcasts.  Consider having it produced cheaply or in trade for tickets, etc, by a local college DJ.
  37. Do anything you can think of to enhance the consumer experience.
  38. Give stuff away – backstage passes, seat upgrades, seats on stage, tix to the sound check, mp3’s of live songs.
  39. In the entertainment business perception can be reality. Is your show the biggest, best, loudest, “most talked about”?  Then be sure to tell the world that it is.
  40. Enhance and monetize the hard core fan experience with a Platinum level fan club that offers exclusive downloads, pre-orders, insider news, preferred seating at shows, etc.
  41. Go old school and cut through email overload by also faxing calendars and press releases. Use a free computer based fax broadcast service.
  42. Don’t just send announcements to the main stream press but include bloggers, internet radio, record stores, colleges and even large offices.
  43. Make your faxes look like mini-posters worth hanging up.
  44. Fly a plane with a banner over someone else’s event.
  45. Park a van or truck with a banner on a main street or across from a show by a similar act.
  46. Buy a billboard for an event or series of shows.  Place it strategically near a competitor or across from a college campus.
  47. Use one of the cheap automated phone answering services advertised in the classifieds to set up a special phone line for your schedule.
  48. Pass a clipboard(s) around before a show to capture emails or do a survey.
  49. Meet your fans face to face and ask them for feedback but how you can serve them better.
  50. Try the good old fashioned US mail occasionally.  It actually gets peoples attention.
  51. Promote “After Parties” that are cheap or free with a concert ticket. This allows you to extend your brand or even tag onto someone else’s at low cost.
  52. Hand out flyers on the way out of the live shows.
  53. Capture info from any one who make a purchase particularly ticket buyers.
  54. Ask your web visitors questions. Polls are free and easy to set up with sites like PollDaddy.
  55. Sell merchandise at affordable prices. It’s branding that someone else pays for.
  56. Get creative with your merchandise – don’t just sell shirts.  Try flip books, for example
  57. You can add variety to your merchandise with no upfront costs using CafePress or Zazzle.
  58. In this age of too much info and media, work to make yourself a trusted gatekeeper for your genre(s) of music. Use newsletters, blogs, tips, links, internet radio, and more. Don’t just write about yourself. Write about things people who care about you also care about.
  59. Carry a video camera everywhere and post short videos on YouTube.com and elsewhere of live shows, interviews, backstage, etc.
  60. Create your own related niche blogs or web sites (for example MidWestmetal.com or NightlifeDetroit.com  or FansOf____.com). You can make yourself the only (or primary) advertiser, but keep it real with info and news from others.
  61. Send thank-you notes. Not emails; written notes. No one says thank-you anymore. It will be remembered.
  62. Ask for the purchase. Never forget that you are in sales.
  63. Market to the niches. Market to bartenders in Irish pubs for a Celtic or motorcycle shops for a heavy metal.  Try tattoo parlors, coffee
    shops, book stores, niche clothing shops.
  64. Make your emails and web site useful to the reader.  Add info and links to things your audience might find interesting or useful that you have nothing to do with.
  65. Share your best promo ideas and avenues of promotion with other stakeholders: bands, promoters, labels, publicists, and sponsors.
  66. Share media lists with others highlighting things you think will work best for each project.
  67. Sell a series or combo. This works for recorded music and live tickets.
  68. Surprise people. Give them something for free that they did not expect.
  69. Create and use banners.  Don’t have time or $ for Kinkos? Try Avery Banner Maker.
  70. Trade others occasionally for targeted email lists, but don’t overuse them.
  71. Hire or befriend a geek who will help you keep up on new technologies and internet promo opportunities.
  72. Partner with a charity. Build good will and get more free media.  Maybe you’re giving a small % or maybe it’s auctioning off or selling the seats on stage or tickets to the sound check.
  73. Consider unusual places on the internet like Craigslist, sBay and StubHub as promotional tools…Try selling tickets and other stuff there.
  74. Musicians want to be actors and actors and athletes want to be musicians.  Think about how you can cross promote so everyone wins.
  75. Always make available a hi-resolution color photo available for easy download and you’ll get much better placement in print Sunday editions and calendar sections.
  76. Some fans travel so try cross–promoting with another show (by the same band or just a similar band) in another city 50 or 100 miles away.
  77. Create a special “Insider” email list fof a few fans, key media, tastemakers and bloggers for pre-announcements who love to know things first…and like to tell others.
  78. If the there is going to be a meet and greet after show make sure that it’s advertised. Fans always want a chance to meet the musicians.
  79. Consider offering a student discount or senior discount.
  80. List all your tour dates online on Pollstar, CelebrityAccess. MusicToday, Live Nation and elsewhere.  You never know where people will go looking for a show.
  81. Work to make it easier and cheaper for fans to buy tickets online. There are always going to have to be some fees, but some services like InTicketing charge much smaller fees than Ticketmaster.
  82. Find ways to your regular ticket buyers.
  83. Enhance your gatekeeper status by creating your own free Pandora or  Last.FM “radio station” and linking to it from your site.
  84. Create free custom Pandora or Last.FM for each concert event…”Get in the mood for the Al Green concert with this classic soul stream…”.  It’s a free way to make the concert an event and keep them talking about it to others.
  85. Start a short term blog for every big show or series. Post when it goes it go on sale, when an opener is added, when the front rows are sold out, news about the bands, everything.Link to it from our wen site.
  86. Produce and sponsor a cable access show.
  87. Utilize free interns. Try to make sure they are getting college credit so they are motivated to work.
  88. Use cell text messaging to communicate instantly.  Try Nightlifetexting.com or Google to find other companies.
  89. Flyer – It’s the cheapest form of advertising. Clubflyers.com even offers free flyers every month or a try local printer.
  90. A good flyer promotes more than one show and is also worth of being hung as a mini poster.
  91. Flyer someone else’s show in a related genre.
  92. Make sure all important info is on the front page of your site: new gigs, news, latest photos/songs/videos, etc. Make it easy as possible for fans to see the site is update and to get to stuff quickly.
  93. Make sure everywhere you are mentioned (club listings, others bands you are playing with, etc) links back to your site.  If they aren’t linking, ask.
  94. Encourage fans to “tag” you and your content on other sites like flickr, blogs, etc. Then aggregate that data on your site.
  95. Do the same using recommendation sites like Digg and Stumble. See example links at the bottom of every Hypebot post.
  96. As Tip #7 stated, email lists should be your new religion. A few sites like scriggleit.com offer free mailing list and text messaging solutions. There’s no excuse.
  97. Finding the time to keep up with all of this is hard but essential. Take advantage of new free services that offer the ability to manage content across platforms: > Nimbit enables mp3, CD, ticket and merchandise sales on MySpace, Facebook and elsewhere from a single integrated widget. > ReverbNation provides email sign-up, street teams and web promotion tools. A new addition allows multi-artist tracking. > iLike has made its fan communication and community building tools instantly compatible on both its site and Facebook and provides tracking tools and stats.
  98. If you hear about a good promo idea, go online and research it RIGHT NOW. Try it before it becomes over used. You can drop it if it doesn’t work.
  99. Up your promotion Karma. If you try something and it’s a hit, tell others. Then they will be more likely to share ideas with you.
  100. Read Hypebot regularly. We’ll help you keep on top of what’s hot in music marketing.

    AND, our own little addition to the list here:

  101. If all this is too much for you to effectively take on yourself, hire the professional, risk and royalty free assistance of Pro Soul Alliance!

BONUS RESOURCES:

Connecting Twitter to other social networking sites

Monday, April 13th, 2009

There’s no mistaking now that micro blogging app Twitter is here to stay, and is an essential social networking tool, not only for musicians but for all business.

How artists can effectively utilize it is another matter, and although that is covered by many great blogs, we wanted to go over some of the most important steps in connecting it with popular social networking sites like Facebook. This allows tweets to also update your facebook status, a great way to keep in touch with people on Facebook even when you don’t have time to login there and accidentally kill an hour or two. This is important because putting yourself and what your doing in front of as many people as possible can help connect you with potential new fans, and when your Facebook status is updated, it appears in your friends news feed, getting you much needed attention.

Although it’s always changing, at the moment,
Here’s how to make sure tweets end up on facebook:

– Add the Twitter application on Facebook, bottom Left of the page, ‘Find More’, search for ‘Twitter’, then click ‘Go To Application’ adding to your profile, allowing it to access your info.
– After logging into Twitter, Click “Allow Twitter to update Facebook Status”, or:
– Go to bottom left applications, then top right> Edit
– Click Edit Settings on the Twitter application
– Make sure under Additional Permissions ‘update status’ is checked
– Have more than one facebook profile, or in a band? Use the most popular, most active one

NOTE: This will not post your @Replies from Twitter, desirably so!

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Here’s how to add your contacts to Twitter from your webmail:

-Click ‘Find on other networks’ on Twitter.com:

http://twitter.com/invitations/find_on_other_networks

– Click on your webmail icon on the left and enter login name and password (don’t be paranoid about entering your pass…)
– Select the people you want to follow (people with no icon are often not actually active on Twitter)
– you can also do this if you use other email programs, but it is a bit more work to import contacts.

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Here’s how to use your mobile phone to update Twitter remotely:

– Go to settings>Devices after logging into Twitter.com: http://twitter.com/devices
– Enter in your phone number and follow instructions to verify your phone.
– Bookmark the 5 digit number for your country/region into text messaging on your mobile, and send tweets to this number when you want to update.
Now what excuse do you have for not making updates at least twice a day? Mmmm, Technology!

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Here’s how to add your contacts to Facebook from your webmail:

– Go to top middle Friends link and select ‘Find Friends’
– enter your full email address and password (don’t be paranoid about entering your pass…)
– click Find Friends and choose the ones you want to connect with on Facebook.
– Do this for ALL facebook accounts you or band members have!
– Make sure to import all your webmail accounts if you or your band members have more than one!

We recommend doing this every month or so as new people you may know are constantly joining these networks!

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Use Twitter incorrectly and you can cause more harm that good to your music career. Get assistance from Pro Soul to avoid embarrasing mistakes and to maximize the neworking potential of these resources!

TIP: If you really want to do twitter properly, use the computer application Tweetdeck, and create a group with all the people you don’t want to miss updates from. This is especially essential when you start getting a few hundred or more followers

Next: How to automatically post your blog feeds to Facebook and other social neworking sites

Nice try Facebook

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

About two weeks ago, Facebook introduced a new terms of service. These new terms were quite severe. Many consumers were furious with the creators of Facebook for this slap in the face.
The terms of service stated once you have closed your account with their network, any rights they had claimed to your original uploaded content would expire. However, they pulled a switch on the general public. Two weeks ago they made their terms of service to state that anything and everything you uploaded that was originally your own would be owned by Facebook! They claimed:

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.”

Basically what this says is “We own whatever you put on facebook, sorry.” Naturally, people already using Facebook for years were furious! Livid even, and there they went on a rampage. Facebook received hundreds, upon thousands of complaints from user saying how poorly they were being treated.
Within a few days, the Facebook personnel recanted their new Terms of Service and replaced it with the old version due to complaints.

Facebook representatives are still in the process of making the site more user friendly, and making the consumer pleased with what they are using so they continue to use it.

The UK Will Not Legislate on Piracy

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The News hit yesterday that the UK would not force Internet service providers to pursue file sharers.
As the music industry steps up its fight against piracy, there has been many rumors of legislation in which case these pirates would be tracked down through their Internet provider.

Countries such as France are fighting hard against these pirates. However, David Lammy says that legislation would be far too complex. The BPI, who represent the UK music industry, are gunning towards a “Three strikes, you’re outta here” policy, in which case offenders are sent warning letters. Persistent offenders could be potentially thrown off of their Internet providers. Though some ISP’s, mostly Virgin Media, had sent out initial warning letters, the rest of this policy by BPI has yet to take hold.

Will Canada make another attempt to adopt legislation against downloaders?
Let’s hope never, because DRM has been lifted, and it’s really time for the war against piracy to be over! It hasn’t worked, and it won’t start working now. Let the music be free! Because sharing is the new way for artists to promote their music.