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Posts Tagged ‘community’

Do I really need to blog?

Monday, March 19th, 2012

This is another question we often get asked, especially by new artists.

Here’s our answer with some wisdom from Andrew Dubber of New Music Strategies:

In most instances, the answer to this one is a firm YES. In fact, We struggle to think of an instance in which the online presence of a musician, band or music enterprise would not be enhanced by the addition of a blog.

The most common counter-argument against musicians blogging is the idea of the ‘aloof artist’ – the notion that the mystique of an inaccessible and ineffable artist adds to the value of the work itself. We disagree, though of course, there are exceptions. You pretty much have to go into hiding to make that strategy worthwhile.

But the main reason to blog is not, as you might expect, that it’s a great way to promote your music. It’s more that the blog is now part of the way in which you do what you do.

Let me put it another way. Just as copying simply happens online, so does communication.

Accessibility is the norm online

If I find it difficult to locate you, listen to your music, find out what you’re up to and where you’re at, then it’s far easier for me to find an alternative source for what you do than it is for me to go digging in order to find out what’s going on.

If you’re trying to get work, sell your music, gain clients, gather fans, promote a record or a gig, or connect with the online environment in any way, blogging is the first step towards that. It is, at the very least, evidence that you understand that your online presence should be a conversation and not a brochure.

So what actually is a blog?

Well, actually, allow me to broaden the standard definition a little. Generally speaking, the term comes from an abbreviation of ‘web log’ – a continually updating ‘diary’ of events and occurrences. But it really just needs to be some regular form of communication that can be easily updated by you.

In that respect, I’d put a ‘micro-blogging’ platform like Twitter on the list, and a voice-based message system like Utterz on the pile as well. Mostly though, it’s somewhere you can post the latest news, thoughts, events, and interesting things as they come to mind, so that visitors to your site can see the latest, go back through previous posts – perhaps respond, and spread the word.

And the best reason to blog?

A smart friend of mine once said that the best music in the world is the sound of someone’s insides on the outside (yes, he was an old punk – how did you know?). His point was one about self-expression. That music, at its best, is something we can identify with on a human level. And we tend to like music we can relate to, because it expresses something of ourselves.

And because music is self-expressive, we are more positively inclined towards music by people we know and like – because if we like them, we’re likely to appreciate expressions of their ’self’.

So by logical extension – removing the curtain, engaging with your audience and actually letting them in on your day to day life will allow people to feel that they are getting to know you (in a ‘managed’ way), and will therefore be increasingly inclined to appreciate your music on that basis.

To put it in narrative terms – you become a character they care about. Whether you’re a musician, a label manager, a promoter, a venue owner or a music teacher – starting and (more importantly) maintaining a blog creates a story (remember this idea — we’ll be coming back to it). People love stories — and want to know what happens next — and if it’s a story they like with characters they can identify with, it will start to become meaningful and important to them.

Everybody must blog! Why do you think Twitter is so popular and pretty much any company that matters is on it?

The idea that the world is divided into content creators and consumers is increasingly redundant. What’s important is the quality, frequency and ‘engageability’ of your content – and that’s no longer restricted to your musical output.

The fact that you make music is unremarkable. The quality of your communication — musical content included — is now the measure by which you will be judged. This is not a call to pick over the mundane minutiae of your life. This is a challenge to be interesting.

And really, this is not such a radical or transformative idea. Your music has always been communication. Your music business has always been a communication business. This is about using the online tools to enhance that communication.

Another more technical reason to blog is related to one of the more important but less important ’20 things you must know about music online’ which you should read if you haven’t already and that’s SEO: Search Engine Optimization.

Everything you blog about gets catalogued by the search engines. So that means a lot of ways for people to find you and hear your music. Often things totally unrelated to music which is fine – people love to stumble upon things accidentally and ‘discover’ them for themselves. Some of our artists greatest sources of traffic to their website have been related to playdough, hiking, religious oppression and video games!

So think of blogging as an indirect way for people to find out about your music.

Ok, So what should i write about?

We hear this one a lot from artists, what should I write to my fans and mailing list subscribers?

Well, since it’s essential you send a message out to your list at least once a month (you DO have a mailing list don’t you?) Here are some ideas of what you can write about:

– Details of the creation process of your latest musical works and otherwise

– Upcoming shows

– Recapping recent shows (telling funny stories if there are any)

– New music (either full CD releases or just new songs posted online)

– Info about upcoming releases

– New merchandise

– updates to your website, new blog posts, photos etc.

– great music, books, videos, foods and other things you’ve appreciated lately

– Funny/interesting stories and events that happen during your downtime

– Any other artist news

– Anything really. Fans signed up to YOUR list to hear what YOU want to say!

And you thought you had nothing to say!

It’s important to write something at least once a month, but no more than once a week.

But I really don’t like writing!

Ok, sure there are some of us who will just never get into or want to do this, fine, that doesn’t mean you don’t blog… Here’s a supplementary list for you:

– post photos you’ve taken or that you’ve found that you love [and credit the photographer]

– post your favourite videos you’ve found online

– post videos of your own, embedded from your youtube account [vblog]

– post some artwork you’ve created and mention the inspiration behind it or something

– post your own podcast [let us know if you want help setting one up]

We could go on… there are easy and quick ways to do this now using mobile technology and such, again, let us know if you need help.

 

DIY takes more time than many think

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Imogen HeapBuilding a successful career in music on your own terms and with your own two hands is a difficult task – the business side and the art of self promotion, may rain on the “rockstar” parade.

Your reaction may be – is it all worth it?

Another successful example of the wonders of social media and the marketing genius behind a talented DIY (Do It Yourself) artist, describes Imogen Heap as she tweeted us through the 2 years leading up to the release of Ellipse. Yes, she has a major record label, and when she began promoting Ellipse she already had a committed fan base – a host of films and TV shows featuring her music.  But with Ellipse Heap has expanded her reach exponentially thanks to her determination.  She refinanced her house to fund recording, and with over 1 million twitter followers, she communicates constantly with her fans. ” I’ve been tweeting about making my new album, Ellipse (out 24th Aug). Now… I guess I’ll be tweeting about how it gets from my studio to your ears.”

Using Twitter to allow her fans a glimpse into the world of a “rockstar” with a few lines of text en route to a Berlin airport, or while preparing for a video shoot –  responding fans RT or reply, just as friends would, and as the relationship grows – so grows the fan base and eventually trickle through revenue.

So, is it all worth it – considering the artist/fan relationship is the “expected” in today’s music marketplace and that relationship also takes a lot of time and energy to maintain – and with every successful relationship, takes time to nurture?  Being ‘all about the music’  is being about your career, and there are many other responsibilities vying for your attention.  Depending how deeply you feel your passion, and what sacrifices you’re willing to surrender in order to manifest a dream into reality – is the hard work, commitment and dedication really worth it – time will tell.  Join as many music networking sites as you possibly can, and build your Twitter profile, and may be the most important in your arsenal of social media tools.

And if you need a hand, don’t forget – There is professional help, that’s what we’re here for!

Emerging artists use new tools for success

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The growing number of social-networking sites aimed at bringing aspiring musicians and loyal music fans together,  gives way to greater control of an artist’s career, while entertaining music lovers everywhere.

Encouraging the emerging artist to connect with fans, and promoting music is the purpose of sites such as Ourstage.com . Among its many partners,  Ourstage has joined with MTV for the Emerging Artist Program.  Sonicbids.com brings the artist and promoter together, and is a place where any band from any genre anywhere in the world, can come to find and connect with any type of music promoter, licensor or broadcaster — easily, effectively, and quickly.

As technology advances at such a rapid pace, so goes the advancement of innovative ways to meet the challenges of music promotion and the business of making music.  Unlike the new frontiers of days ago big band Radio, and major labels, this new wave of Music Business done better sets out community guidelines that its independent members must agree to:

“We like to think we’re in this together, meaning we provide the platform to showcase your talent, but we need artists’ help too.  Keep your profile updated, keep uploading into our channels, make friends, recruit fans—help us help you.”
Ourstage Community Values

When the “help them to help you” gets overwhelming, there are professionals like Pro Soul Alliance to assist artists while allowing them to keep in control of their career.

giving back to the independent community…

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

It now seems that major labels Sony Music, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Music no longer have a firm grip on the artist or the industry, and the old model of doing business their way is a thing of the past.

On the forefront of an ever-changing music industry, is Brian Message, manager of the alternative band Radiohead. Brian Message along with co-founders, Adam Driscoll, chief executive of the British media company MAMA Group, and Terry McBride, founder of the Vancouver-based management firm Nettwerk Music Group and former manager of Barenaked Ladies, have united to form the new business venture, Polyphonic. Polyphonic will look to invest in new and rising unsigned artists and then help them create a sound relationship with their audiences over the Internet. Artists will operate like start-up companies, record their own music, and choose outside contractors to handle their publicity, merchandise and touring. The Polyphonic founders plan to invest $300,000 in each band. The firm will then guide the musician and manager who will function a little like the band’s chief executive, to services that will help promote the artist’s online presence.

Polyphonic and similar firms are seen as a risky investment by private investors. For the founders of Polyphonic, giving back to the independent community, and mentoring the new artist or band appears to outweigh that risk. Success is all about giving back. Witnessing the dedication and commitment to the independent community by those that go before you is a valuable lesson in filling the gap between artist and label – a practice we should all remember!

Source: New York Times, 2009/07/22

How will Indie labels react to major label partnership?

Friday, July 10th, 2009

NEW YORK, July 1 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Music Entertainment (SME) today announced that it has entered into a global partnership with IODA to create a new leading distribution and services network for independent rights holders. As part of the partnership, Sony Music has made a strategic investment in IODA, a leader in digital distribution, marketing, and technology solutions for the independent music industry. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In a statement released by Kevin Arnold, Founder and CEO of IODA, “Sony really impressed us with their respect for, and understanding of the needs of the independent community.” He adds, “We remain, as we always have, fully dedicated to helping independent content owners succeed in the digital world. This alliance will greatly enhance IODA’s ability to continue delivering effective solutions for Independents.”

The question arising out of this major merger or “Partnership”, is how will the independent label community react? After all, the I in IODA is supposed to stand for Independent. What we do know is that some indie labels are seen at times to be in distrust of large corporations. We know that IODA gains a strong marketing partner in Sony. Sony operating through its independent distribution subsidiary RED taps into IODA’s digital distribution system worldwide. Released in the Newswire, Sony identifies making a strategic investment in IODA. Sony’s subsidiary, RED will continue to offer digital distribution services and IODA will be an added option for clients who need other services than what RED currently provides, specifically more indie-focused marketing and global distribution services.

In time, the answer will unfold as to how the independent community will react to this meeting of corporate minds. What is clear – did we honestly think – major corporations, responsible to their shareholders, would sit on the sidelines for long – better yet, did they ever sit on the sidelines? Or were they just waiting for the savvy, independents like IODA to work hard, build and develop this growing, transitioning industry, and then come in when the time was ripe and call “Merger” aka “Partnership”.

Corporate strategy and business development in true form. Sony’s way of addressing the changing needs of their market without doing due diligence to innovate and make changes necessary themselves from scratch.

Pro Soul artists get best website hosting in the world

Monday, April 27th, 2009

We’ve talked about the importance of using social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Myspace, but without a reliable website, which is where your career magic begins, successful exposure may be dealt the back space card should a fan have to wait for slow page loading, or reach an error message when landing at your site.

We’ve experienced firsthand unreliable web hosting – from our artists websites being down for days at a time and being unable to access their site, to not reaching our hosting providers for explanation and resolutions. After much research and through our own valuable experience, we have taken the appropriate measures to insure our current web hosting service provides a strong Network Uptime Guarantee.

We offer a solution for all our artists that uses Rackspace technology, for the best hosting in the world. Absolute reliability, redundant server backups, fanatical 24/7 support, and a leader in the global community, Rackspace technology’s “Company” is socially aware and offers “A Greener Way of Doing Business”. From cost-effective green servers to company-wide conservation programs, they are dedicated to doing business in an eco-friendly way.

Pro Soul is constantly aware of the things that artists need to take care of. The last thing an artist needs to worry about is their hosted web site, the hub of their music career.