Archives
Latest Updates:
  • No Tweets Available

Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

The Most Overrated Things In A Musician’s Career

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

“The time of the Record Label has passed. Artists do not need a record label to survive, and in fact, most artists would be better off as a hot indie group than one desperate to sign with any label.”
This and other great advice comes from an article by Simon Tam outlining “The Most Overrated Thing’s In A Musician’s Career”.
Simon goes on to describe other “overrated” things, like paid Electronic Press Kit or EPK services, booking agents, and professional music gear. Especially overrated are big music industry festivals like SXSW, which just finished in Austin, Texas. Bands who get asked to play these festivals are already on their way up, and do not come with any guarantee that you will be noticed by the right people.
Simon also takes aim at Kickstarter, which has been in the news recently for large sums paid out to artists. Without an existing fanbase already willing to pay for your music, your campaign will not be funded as we recently blogged about here.

Read Simon’s full article here on Music Think Tank

 

People don’t really care about your music

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

It’s 2013, a new year! We survived the impending end of the world, and a brave new world is ahead of us.
A new opportunity to get closer to that dream of success through your music, your art, your passion.

There’s one problem though. People don’t really care about your music.

We live in a time where there are not only increasing amounts of people releasing music due to the internet and home production tools, but endless distractions for people on all sides.
When music appreciation peaked in the 1980’s, people had little else besides a TV and their music player or stereo to distract them.
Now people have, in their hand, mobile internet, video games, video cameras, instant messaging, social networking, and endless super cool apps to keep them occupied.

This makes it increasingly difficult to get attention for your music and art.

More and more, to get people’s interest, you must have a great story!
THEN they will be open and interested to listen to the music.

People tell us all the time. ‘I want to promote my new album’
Well, people aren’t really interested in your album. They are interested in YOU, the artist!
This has been the case for many years now, and is the essence of how the new music industry works, so to be successful you must understand it, accept it and embrace it!

‘Well I don’t have much to write about’ is something we also hear. Well, Everyone has a great story, but most just don’t realize it.
Radio stations love to be able to give the 10 second explanation of why you stand out.

When was the last time you read a review about a band in your local newspaper that talked only about the technicalities of the music rather than what was sent to them in a press release?
They don’t and that is the disconnect and the reason publicists and managers exist.

You need to find the most interesting story for your project you possibly can and go with it to promote your work everywhere.
It’s the “he was discovered busking on the streets of NY and now has a top radio hit” story. ‘He had no job and went on to win The Voice even though he was the underdog next to the attractive young singers’. Adele’s breakup album. Taylor Swift’s love life. Lady Gaga’s behind the scenes songwriting career. Deadmou5′ disguise, the giant, electronic mouse head.
You need something that every newspaper reviewer wants to write about. The story every fan tells their friends when showing them your YouTube video. Gimmicks are ok if you really feel you have nothing; performing in costume or focusing on your weird instruments or hairstyle.

A great song helps, but great music with an amazing story is what really makes you memorable.

Accept it and you won’t have to work as hard to get your music heard.

Pro Soul officially launches in Beijing, China

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Chinese flag We’re excited to officially announce something we’ve been working on for over 2 years now, launching Pro Soul Alliance in China.
China is a huge, emerging market for the music industry, but currently in it’s infancy, and immature. Professional assistance is desperately needed due to crippling discouragement for artists attributed to the pervasive downloading of music. There is also a huge lack of ‘official’ presence for foreign artists who are becoming very popular in China. That means huge opportunity for those willing to support, develop and nurture this challenging market.

At the end of 2011, We announced a new world class recording and production studio in Beijing as our first step. Now we are offering promotion, marketing, sales and distribution both within China and outside to our existing artists and Chinese artists through our local office in Beijing. Unlike other companies offering music services in China, we are based within China, and our local office is staffed with bilingual locals who know the market and culture, and have experience working with Chinese and international artists here.
Our company has been legally registered as a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise in China under the name ‘敬真堂(北京)文化咨询有限公司’ Which translates to ‘Respect Truth (Beijing) Culture Consultancy Co. Ltd.’ (This was as close as we could get to our english name given the language and cultural differences. We kind of like how depending on the translation of our Chinese name, it can mean ‘Church of Truth’)

Because China is a complex and daunting market for a foreign company, we are starting out with the following basic range of services:

For Chinese artists:

  • Focusing on getting Chinese artists who are ready exposure internationally
  • Getting international distribution and sales for Chinese music (iTunes, Spotify, Nokia)
  • Promotion and marketing for Chinese artists overseas by connecting with interested markets and fans

For International Artists:

  • Digital distribution for international artists in China (including essential mobile stores China Mobile, Unicom, Telecom)
  • Promotion and marketing in China focusing on key social networking sites like Weibo, Douban, Youku
  • Collaboration with Chinese artists and recording traditional Chinese instruments with local professionals

As we continue researching the industry and experimenting with new techniques for promotion and marketing music in China, we will also be offering licensing for Chinese music internationally in Film, TV, and online, expanding their revenue sources. We will also assist Chinese artists who are ready create their own business and develop music career in China to maximize their profit and control. Of course we will also be able to assist international artists book shows and organize tours in China in future.

We have already begun assisting international artists Elika Mahony, and Hart as well as Chinese artist Abominati get exposure in China.

You can sign up right now for promotion, marketing and  distribution in China with the ‘Professional Artist Management and Consulting Asia’ option on our Get Started page.
For artists within China, we have a new website entirely in Chinese with a helpful blog focused on the local market.

For more information, please contact our China artist services manager BeiBei Lei

Watch for our next post with more about why China is an important market backed up by the latest statistics.

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.

 

Spotify: What is it, and why it’s US launch is significant to the music industry

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Though users in Europe have been reaping the benefits of Spotify since 2008, music lovers in the United States got their first taste for the first time a few days ago, when it officially became available in the U.S..
Created in Sweden, At first glance, Spotify must appear like yet another overtyped streaming music service, but upon further investigation users will find that it could very well be the future of the music industry.

It’s not that Spotify is unique, it just blends some of the best features of several competing streaming media services. Like Google Music, it uploads music you own to a cloud library, and like Qrocity allows you to stream full albums and songs from a database of millions of songs to a wide range of devices. Like Amazon Cloud Player, you can even access it from a wide variety of devices, including your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone. But most important of all, it’s like Pandora in that it’s free, subsidized by ads.

Basically, it’s the ultimate way to get, discover, and listen to music.

The foundation of the service is the computer software player, an iTunes like portal that is attractive, powerful and flexible. The interface feels good, presenting songs in an organized list, with a side bar that displays your library and playlists, playback controls and artwork.

When you first start the software, all you’ll encounter is the music you already have localized on your computer, but there is a much larger cloud library that you can explore…

Unlike digital marketplaces like iTunes or Zune, however, Spotify doesn’t present the cloud database as a storefront, but relies on search, an listing of most popular songs and albums, and social interaction amongst users for new music discovery.
The Top Lists present 100 of the most popular songs and albums on the service, which can be filtered by locale (U.S., U.K., Spain, etc.), and a New Releases panel shows off the newest additions.

But what really drives the service is social interaction and search. Spotify integrates with Facebook, which allows users to find friends who use the service, and share public playlists with each other. It also allows users to copy direct links to their custom playlists, which can be shared publicly (to users who sign up for Spotify)

Browsing custom playlists from friends is a great way to find out their tastes, but using the search tool to dig into the larger database is the best way to expand your library.
Spotify has built a library of over 15 million songs, with 10,000 new tracks added every day. Currently the site’s foremost publishing partners include Sony Music, Universal, EMI, Warner Music, and many others.
In searching for music on Spotify, we’ve found most or all of the tracks we’ve been looking for, with only a few limited instances where we couldn’t.
The biggest names in music? They’re there too. Most have their entire catalog available.

Adding songs to your personal library is as simple as dragging them to a playlist, and there’s no limit.
Once you’ve built a large library, you can take it on the go using the Spotify mobile app for iPhone, iPod touch, Android smartphones and tablets, Windows Phone 7, and WebOS.

Of the various versions of the app we tried, all had surprisingly speedy high-fidelity playback, even over 3G. Browsing music using the mobile UI was also pretty intuitive, though obviously browsing thousands of songs is preferable on your desktop or laptop.
The one catch, however, is that only users who pay a monthly subscription fee will be able to stream their complete music library on their mobile device. While the app will allow free users to browse the Spotify library, only premium users will be allowed to play tracks, and flag songs to be cached for offline playback.

The fee for unhindered access is actually pretty reasonable, however, at $9.99 a month, which grants you unlimited offline mode playback on both your PC or your mobile device, as well as higher audio quality and the ability to remove ads.
Of course, nobody likes paying monthly subscription fees, but the beautify of Spotify is that the core service of unlimited access to the larger streaming library is free, so if you decide you don’t want or need a premium account, you don’t lose any tracks you’ve organized. For six months, the free version of the service will offer unlimited playback, but after that it will limit users to 10 hours of playback and only 5 plays per song each month.

For those who don’t care about mobile access and offline functionality, but loathe ads and want unlimited access, there’s a separate option called Spotify Unlimited that costs $4.99 a month and eliminates ads.
If you’re cheap like us, however, you’ll want to stick with the ad-subsidized version. The ads really aren’t that bad. Over the span of two hours, music playback is usually interrupted around twice, and the ads are less than a minute. They were actually not annoying at all. The audio ads either advertised functions of Spotify or played a sample of a song available.
There were also banner ads built into the player, but we hardly noticed them.

What does all this mean for the music business and the future of music?
If you used Spotify, we think you would know the answer, basically it fulfills the need of the music lover that has existed ever since the release of a $18.99 CD with one good song on it. It’s quite simply, the legal solution to music piracy.
Music fans want their music when they want it where they want it without restrictions and limitations, or a hard drive of files that gets filled up and won’t fit on your phone iPod…
And best of all, the music creators all get paid!

If your a music fan, get on Spotify now (let us know if you can’t because you don’t have an invite, or your in a different country, we can help…)
if your a music creator, contact us if you want help getting your music on Spotify.

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