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Posts Tagged ‘media’

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!

Press Releases – an important part of publicity campaigns

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Using a well-written press release and highly targeted campaign to announce your music-associated event, such as a CD release, an upcoming tour, or a charity concert, can get you more publicity than thousands of advertising dollars ever will – if, done correctly.

A press release (or news release) is used to bring an artist or business “free” publicity. A press release is a simple, to the point release that provides news to reporters, editors, and other media people. The publication of your press release will be free. Writing a good press release is a valuable skill. Preparation involves three key points – When, How and Who (to send it to).

The key focus of your press release is that it needs to be “newsworthy”, after all, a press release is supposed to be news. A writer, or editor has a responsibility to inform their readers. A well written and interesting article is far more likely to make print than one that’s sloppy, and shouts “advertising”.

Typically a press release is distributed to mainstream or national media outlets that receive every industry specific announcement known to man. The idea of submitting your press release to a national publication early in your career may result in it being ignored. Tim Sweeney, the music industry’s most highly sought after expert and consultant in the fields of artist development, recommends specifically targeting the daily music publications in your target markets. There are several music newswire services that offer press release distribution, and for a small fee will distribute your press release to some of the top music websites.

Not to be confused with your Artist Profile or Press Kit, a press release is a quick shot of publicity, used only to announce an upcoming event or CD release to your fans. A good press release will help build your online visibility, attract new fans, and boost your music career. Check our next post for more about Press Kit’s and Artist Profiles.

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

The Free Thinkers

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

In search for insights on “Free” digital music, the music industry’s Kevin Arnold was asked his perspective on the value and future of free music. The CEO of digital distributor The Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA) had this to say:

” We definitely believe Free has value in a number of ways for music. First and foremost, in the way it has almost always been used in music and in many many other consumer businesses: as a free sample to introduce a product to new users.  Just like the handouts at Costco, tasting at a winery, or swag bags at conventions and parties, labels and artists have long given away music in the form of samplers and promo CDs, free performances, and outlets like radio and MTV.  In the digital world this act has value in ways that we’re still learning and consistently surprise us.  Who would have thought that the free giveaway of Nine Inch Nails’ last record would end up with it being the top selling album at AmazonMP3 last year?   The important thing with this type of (promotional) Free is that it is done on the artist/content owner’s terms, and that they can control the process to manage the value of the effort and get what they want out of it.

Beyond the promotional Free are the more recent attempts at commercial offerings that “feel like free”.  This covers pretty much everything from the massively popular streaming sites like MySpace, Playlist, and imeem to ideas like ISP-endorsed free file-sharing or newer models like PlayAnywhere from Catch Media. The key difference is that these platforms aim to offer not a few sample tracks but rather full releases and catalogs. In exchange, content owners expect to get paid for the use of the music.  These models still have a long way to go towards providing monetization levels that most content owners are comfortable with, and many unanswered questions as to whether these services help or hurt other online sales models remain.

Good old-fashioned free P2P file sharing can also be valuable in some cases, generally for the developing artist in accordance with the “give-it-away-until-you-can-charge-for-it” theory.  But this should be done at the discretion and control of the artist or label, ideally with some measurable results, be they emails from new fans around the world or more people coming to your shows. In any case, only the content owner can decide if any of these flavors of Free work for them or not.”

Kevin Arnold tells us that although free is a good way to go, its important to manage this practice with discretion and control by the artist or label. Monitor and measure the results of the give-a-way, by new fan e-mails or an increase in attendance at your shows.

Giving free music is a way for the artist to create a fan base, and creating good music is every reason for a person to be a fan. This is definitely a good place to start.

Forget what you know about the industry

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

With the great response we’ve had from artists about what Pro Soul is trying to do to empower them, and provide hope and solutions for their music career, I’ve talked to many who really don’t realize how much things are changing. Developing artists are still a bit surprised to hear that things like big cash advances, retail CD sales, radio and TV airplay, and record contracts should no longer be their focus.

I blame that in part on the media, who for the last 5 years – while things have been drastically shifting in the record industry – have been spitting out press releases by major labels rather than doing the research they should have on what is really going on! That’s a testament to the massive shift in that industry as well.

It’s really only this year I have noticed the media start talking about what leaders and futurists in the music industry have been saying for years: traditional record labels and the way they operate are no longer relevant or necessary for artists, and that includes FM radio, CD sales in retail stores, and MTV.

Just take a look at some of these articles and get yourself up to date with what has been going on so you can make the right decisions in your career:

Warner Music Group To Layoff 400

The Record Industry’s Decline – Rolling Stone

Is The Music Industry Dying?

Record Labels Placing Big Bets On Myspace Music

Read more about what’s going on in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Keep in mind that the ‘record industry’ and the ‘music business’ are two different things. Make no mistake, the music business is thriving, and things are great right now for music and for artists if they know what’s going on!

– Jarome

How politics can hurt your fan base

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

It’s hard not to get caught up with politics when it is constantly in your face in the media. Many artists have done this on their own sites, blogs, and social networking profiles, but it can be a bad move for an artist trying to connect with their audience effectively.

Artist consultant Tim Sweeney describes it well. “Many artists are taking the dangerous position of dividing their fan base instead of uniting them. They are seeing a growing number of their fans either remove themselves from their mailing list or stop coming to shows and supporting them because they have started sending out political endorsements for one person or one side on different issues. While we would hope that election times would bring people together to discuss the issues and collectively move ahead, it usually only stirs emotional reactions to make people fight against each other for different personal reasons.”

Of course, artists want to promote things that are good for the community of their audience, or help them get involved in improving society, and that is a good thing. As long as it’s not done in a negative way, artists will get a more positive response from their fans.

Tim goes on to get philosophical on the subject: “Music artists should be ‘community builders.’ We should bring people together not divide them… Let your fans see you as someone who is bringing people together so they want to support you and bring new fans to you!

And he’s right; artists have always positively changed society, so why not you? This approach has been proven to work in building a strong, supportive audience, so start putting it to work. Better yet, get Pro Soul to help you do it!