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Posts Tagged ‘Promotion’

Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk: The Art Of Asking

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Amanda Palmer made another big splash in the discussion of the new music industry this month when one of her talks aired on the site TED Talks often feature celebrities or notable people discussing technology and music. Amanda’s speech has been widely shared because of some of the extraordinary remarks she made on piracy, record labels, and how she makes money.

Amanda is known for being close to her fans. She has over 800,000 twitter followers, a well-read blog, and “couch surfs” on many of her tours, often staying at fans houses rather than hotels. And, despite her popularity in recent years, she has held on to her Indie title.

Her talk highlighted how she uses this closeness to earn money. Every dollar she makes is the result of a personal connection with each fan. At the beginning of her career, this meant walking around in the crowd with a hat asking for money. Now, she uses twitter to ask for rehearsal space, a room to sleep in, and anything she needs on the road. And, to this day, she has people in public come to her with cash, saying, “I burned your CD from a friend”.

Getting paid directly from her fans proved to be incredibly fruitful after she left her record label. In April 2012, she began a Kickstarter campaign, asking fans to preorder her album, donating money before she recorded it. Although she asked for $100,000 for the project, her fans rewarded her with almost $1.2 Million, the largest amount ever given for a music project.

Through that story and many others, Amanda’s talk outlines how, in the midst of a decline in record sales combined with booming online piracy, she gets all the money she needs from her fans, simply by asking for it.

I highly recommend watching Amanda’s full talk, you can watch the video online or download it for free here.


Guest post by Kyle M. Bagley


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.


Make money licensing your music on

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Most artists make money with their music by selling downloads and CDs, however this is only one way to earn in the new music business. In a previous post we talked about the YouTube Partner Program which allows artists to generate revenue through uploading popular videos to YouTube. Licensing your own music however can be time-consuming as we discussed in a previous blog. We help get sync licensing by partnering with the pioneers in the world of music licensing, You’ll get paid every time somebody uses your music as part of their video project.
This is particularly exciting as Youtube has become one of the top ways people hear new music now.

Here’s how you earn money for your music on YouTube: once you become a Pro Soul artist, we’ll make your music available in YouTube’s growing catalog of licensable music. Your music will come up in the list of soundtrack options video creators have to bring their next project to life on youtube, it’s as simple as that.

In addition, your songs will be made available to be used in movies, TV programs and video game productions through other third party affiliates. Furthermore, we’ll give you the opportunity to livense your tracks to content creators for usage as background music in online videos, presentations, etc.

The best news is, as the author you get to keep 100% ownership of your compositions and recordings, and the license is not exclusive which means you can earn money from your music elsewhere as well. And if  you get an opportunity for exclusive license, you can cancel this license if required. We handle all the paperwork and legalities, you keep control of your music!

For more information about getting assistance from Pro Soul Alliance with your licensing or anything else, click here.

Social Networking in China part 2

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Recently we posted some statistics for social networking in China that showed some staggering numbers demanding musicians not overlook the potential of these resources.

Let’s look at some of the top sites used in China for social networking.

China’s Twitter equivalent, Sina got smart after the first 2 Twitter knock offs got shut down and automatically censors ‘micro blogs’. It has now outdone Twitter only 6 momths after launching with over a million users. is China’s leading Internet video website with 30 million unique viewers a day, and 200 million a month according to Nielsen and iResearch. (That’s right, per day!)
Striving to be more than just a Chinese youtube clone, Youku also features professionally produced content.
Check out Pro Soul artist Elika Mahony on youku.

30 million unique viewers a
day, and 200 million a month according to Nielsen and iResearch

The largest Internet service portal is Tencent, with 1 billion accounts (485 million active users). In 2009, its revenues surpassed $1.5 billion, 90% of which came from digital goods and games and 10% from ads. Tencent is the most important Internet company in China and the third largest in world, after Google and Microsoft. Tencent’s social network Qzone has 310 million users. Their IM service, QQ, has 50 million concurrent users. China’s answer to Facebook, Renren has 200 million users, 55 million of whom are mobile. Another popular social network, Kaixin001 has 75 million users. The numbers are overwhelming for some marketers – a scale that is hard to imagine.

Another interesting statistic is that 40% of Chinese Web users are creators, compared with 21% of Americans, this is far too great of a market to ignore, marketers and corporations are finding creative ways to circumvent any restrictions when it comes to music marketing.

According to Forbes’ Russell Flannery ~ China Wealth, Aug. 10 2010 article Hard Pickin’ Into China’s Growing Music Industry, Mr. Flannery acknowledges that “China is a growing yet difficult market for the music industry.” He references Abigail Washburn a 30-year-old Nashville folk singer and banjo player, who’s toured with Steve Martin’s bluegrass band and enjoyed successful albums and tours on her own. With some success in the US, the artist now calls China home, and has felt the music industry in China to be welcoming but challenging at times. But she says that “In some ways, it feels like Beijing and Shanghai are ahead of the States, because they’ve actually skipped over CDs and record labels. They just do direct to consumer sales (artist to fans), which is where it needs to go in the U.S.”

Flannery’s interview with Abigail Washburn, supports the 176 million Chinese connecting via social networking system (SNS) with their “real” friends and online networks is where consumers talk about products, services and music.
These interactive online message boards are the heart of social media in China, representing a vibrant online market.

In future, Pro Soul plan on exploring more about how these social networking resources can be used effectively for promoting music virally, a significantly different approach to how it is done in the west.
We also plan to look at the part mobile phones play in this, a huge part of social culture in Asia.

Artists – are you wasting your time on Twitter?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

We talk about Twitter a lot in relation to artists and promoting music. That’s because Twitter is still the top resource for getting awareness for your music next to Facebook and Youtube.

We’ve had great results for our artists who are using Twitter effectively, increased sales, followers who share the artists music with their friends and their followers, artists getting hired to perform on other artists albums around the world, and more fans, web traffic and general awareness about the artists’ music.

But as we’ve been observing artists Tweeting habits, we’ve seen that like many Twitter users, many of you are just literally tweeting ‘what your doing’ at the moment, or doing blatant self advertising…

However this is not an effective way to really use Twitter. It’s not enough to make your tweets cut through the noise of the heavily updating marketers, and millions of other Twitter users out there…

Instead of “get my new music here” “I ate something I shouldn’t have”, or “sick of work, this job sucks”. or “when is it going to get hotter?”, Try things like, “I just came up with a new melody for a folk pop tune”, or “just tried out a new guitar I’m thinking of getting” or, “rehearsing for my next show where I’ll be playing some new songs about….” or even, “what do you think a fair consequence would be for this oil spill?”

Be interesting! You all lead interesting lives and do highly intriguing things every day! Tweet about them! People want to know these things, your a creative, talented musician for God’s sake! Why are you tweeting the same stuff as everyone else? Your better than that!!

AND, very importantly, if you don’t know what to tweet that is interesting, you should be RETWEETING interesting tweets (look for them amongst your followers), and REPLYING to people’s tweets that you have any kind of response for. This creates reciprocal communication and connection with other people that if replied to, can get you exposure to hundreds if not thousands of followers! Our artists have had thousands of visitors to their website in one day by using this technique.
This may be even more important that tweeting what you are up to! It is very important and easy to do.

Lastly, write the same way you would talk to a stranger in person.
Would you walk up to someone and say “hi stranger, go buy my CD here”? NO! So don’t do it online, be a human being when you write anything online.
Using these techniques you can make the most of the time spent on exposing yourself to new fans. And doing it with a free power Twitter tool like Hootsuite can really make life easier, and allows you to manage large follower lists more easily and effectively.

And if you are having trouble getting time to fit Twitter into your schedule, contact us about setting up tweeting via text messaging from your phone so that it updates all your social networking profiles and your website, and how this can be a very powerful tool for your music promotion!

What progress have you made with Twitter using these techniques or others?