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Posts Tagged ‘terms’

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!

A brave new era of music self release…

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

According to NewMusicStrageties.com some artists still believe record labels are the best way to get their music out to the public. Artists believe there is security in being signed to a record label. The idea is that a major label provides people in the music industry that know what they are doing, they understand marketing, they have things like connections, promotion strategies, radio pluggers, PR, graphic design, branding, distribution, chart registration, bar codes, licensing, finance, and deals on pressing all sorted out – they are the corporate caretakers of the music business, and 20% of something is better than 100% of nuthin’. Their experience and advice, the guidance and navigation through all the decision making, is worth giving up the 80%.

There is substantial benefit in having a major behind you to advance studio money, and cutting the checks for the cost of promotional events to market your image – but, being “signed” to a major label is not the only means of getting your music to market. Its now common for an artist to be without major label backing, and he/she/they are no longer considered “unsigned”. Known as an “Independent”, modern technology has delivered the brave new era of self-release. The independent artist has the tools to record, release, distribute, promote and make money from their music on their own terms, keeping the profits and rights to their intellectual property.

The question is when should you begin marketing and selling your music online? In the old days of music publishing, the finished recording was the minimum standard for releasing material to the general public. Without the professional guidance from a seasoned music executive, how will you know when to start letting people hear what you’re working on? Well respected author and consultant Andrew Dubber says, depending upon whether you’re a beginner or a pro, and how confident you are in your professional abilities, “There can be a strong case made that encourages musicians to let audiences get a glimpse behind the curtain and see the music in development.” By and large and after all consideration, the answer can only be when you are ready. When you have prepared yourself mentally, emotionally and your song speaks to you and tells you that you’re ready. Not to worry, if you do need some solid advice, there are professionals who can help you master the era of self release.

Youtube still unplugged in the UK

Monday, June 1st, 2009

The Google owned video sharing site YouTube is blocking the UK from accessing music videos on their site after negotiations with the country’s Performing Right Society (PRS) for Music failed.  A statement from the owners of YouTube reads:

“Our previous license from PRS for Music has expired, and we’ve been unable so far to come to an agreement to renew it on terms that are economically sustainable for us. There are two obstacles in these negotiations: prohibitive licensing fees and lack of transparency. We value the creativity of musicians and songwriters and have worked hard with rights-holders to generate significant online revenue for them and to respect copyright. But PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our license than before.”

The YouTube statement continued: “The costs are simply prohibitive for us–under PRS’ proposed terms we would lose significant amounts of money with every playback. In addition, PRS is unwilling to tell us what songs are included in the license they can provide so that we can identify those works on YouTube–that’s like asking a consumer to buy a blank CD without knowing what musicians are on it.”

PRS is claiming that the owners of Google are not willing to pay enough for licensing fees. In fact, PRS is outraged that the owners of Google would “neglect” artists and songwriters in this way. A report from the BBC states the changes were to take effect March 9, 2009.

YouTube pays a licence to the PRS which covers the streaming of music videos from three of the four major music labels and many independent labels.

Last week, PRS music, likely realising how many millions of dollars they are losing due to their stubborness, agreed to half their royalty rates from youtube. Smart move considering the site contributed 40 percent of PRS members’ plays!

I wonder if anyone will ever come up with an accurate analysis of just how much money artists with major representation are losing due to the lack of foresight the big music corporations have regarding the internet? It’s no wonder major artists managers are telling artists to go out on their own.

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.

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.