Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ways To Get People To Remember Your Band

There was a great post by Chris "Seth" Jackson on howtorunaband.com the other day and I thought I'd run a version of it. The original post was called "No One Will Remember Your Band: 10 Ways To Stop Being Forgettable," and most of the ways pointed out in the article were dead easy and don't cost much at all. Here are the ones I like.

1. Large Banner On Stage - Displaying your band’s logo prominently while you’re playing has to be the number one way for everyone to know who you are. At any point during your set, people will immediately see who you are.

2. Something Free For Everyone - Have something with your logo and website that you can give to everyone at that show. Stickers are always good for this, but it could also be EPs or a small piece of artwork. The point is to get your band’s name into everyone’s brain.

3. Large Logo On The Merch Booth - In addition to hocking your wares, your merch booth has a secondary role for branding. A well designed (and well lit) logo above your merch advertises your band’s name for the entire night. Even those that didn’t see your set will still see your band’s name.

4. Posters - Posters are just cool. I rarely see bands with posters. I sometimes grab fliers for a show and hang on my wall. A cool poster lives a long life well past your show.

5. Logo On The Kick Drum - Put your logo on the kick drum. In addition to a banner, the kick drum is usually visible during your entire set.

7. Beer Coasters - If you’re playing a bar, create some cool beer coasters and give them to the bar. Your band’s name will be underneath everyone’s drink all night long. Maybe all month long.

8. Matches - Everyone smoker forgets their lighter. Give ‘em a nifty band branded set of matches.

For the full list, go to "No One Will Remember Your Band: 10 Ways To Stop Being Forgettable."
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Economics Of Free

One of the guiding principles of the new economy of Music 3.0 is what's known as "the economics of free." This means that, contrary to what you might think, the more you give away, the more you sell. The concept was perfectly illustrated by Radiohead's In Rainbows album a few years ago, where the band let their fans determine the price.

Here's an excerpt from the Music 3.0 Internet Music guidebook that describes it in detail.
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By allowing the customer to set the price, Radiohead exercised a new business theory called “The Economics of Free” (or EoF).  In M30, EoF encourages content owners to give some of their products away for free because, if done correctly, you can increase your market size greatly, as seen in the case of In Rainbows. Both Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys are rumored to have unofficially leaked their initial releases for just the same reason, with great results.

You can’t just start giving away your precious content without thought though. It has to be the center of a larger marketing plan.  In terms of M30, an EoF campaign means the following:

You, the artist, have two types of products: infinite products and scarce products. Infinite products would be your music, especially in digital form. Physical products like CDs don’t fit in here because it actually costs you money to produce them (the CDs, not the music on them). Digital music is easy to copy and steal, and just as easy to give away.

Your scarce products are tickets to live shows, access to musicians, signed merchandise, backstage passes, private concerts, custom CDs, CD box sets, time spent with you, writing a song for a fan willing to pay for it, and anything else that has a limited supply.

So to take advantage of the Economics of Free, the artist would:
1. Set the infinite products (or just some of them) free. Put it on your website, Facebook, Youtube and anywhere you can. The more you get it out there, the great publicity and wider the visibility.  This makes the scarce products more valuable.

2. Because of the free infinite products, you can now charge more for the scarce products. Before #1 is implemented, access to the artist or backstage passes might not be worth anything, but now they are. Before #1, maybe no one wanted your CDs, but now they’re valuable as a collectors item as are the box sets. 
Setting the infinite products free (your music) expands your tribe. As your tribe expands, the demand for your scarce products grow. In Music 3.0, an artist that sticks to the ways of Music 1.0 through 2.5 will be relegated to a small audience forever.

You can read additional excerpts from Music 3.0 at bobbyowsinski.com.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The 25 Most Liked Facebook Pages

So you don't think that Facebook is a viable marketing tool? Well, think again. Just one look at the 25 most liked Facebook pages shows you just how powerful to your brand it can be.

There are 10 music celebs, 2 retail brands, 3 television shows, 2 movies, 2 movie stars, 3 Internet brands, and 1 sports star in the top 25. Each of them have at least 21 million likes. Some will be a surprise, and some won't.

1. Texas Hold’em Poker – 41,879,027


2. Facebook – 39,387,704

3. Eminem – 35,055,405

4. Lady Gaga – 33,309,733

5. YouTube – 32,493,953

6. Rihanna – 31,765,115

7. Family Guy - 29,561,707


8. Shakira – 28,102,699

9. Linkin Park – 26,999,932

10. Justin Bieber – 26,493,655

11. Coca-Cola – 26,216,683

12. South Park – 26,159,052

13. The Simpsons – 25,513,539

14. Cristiano Ronaldo – 25,063,441

15. Katy Perry – 23,684,621

16. Lil Wayne – 23,684,621

17. Bob Marley – 23,673,770

18. Megan Fox – 23,479,162

19. Vin Diesel – 22,824,393

20. Harry Potter – 22,361,593

21. Twilight – 22,177,948

22. Disney – 21,942,364

23. Music – 21,638,305

24. Starbucks – 21,596,340

25. Akon – 21,563,854
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Help support this blog. Any purchases made through our Amazon links help support this website with no cost to you.

You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for daily discussion of music, recording, and production tips and tricks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

When The Music Industry Changed

It's easy to think that the music industry underwent a wholesale change when digital music burst on the scene in the late 90's. While that certainly is true, the systemic change really happened in the early 80's when the suits took over. Here's an excerpt from Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age that describes the era in detail, one which I call Music 1.5.
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The era of Music 1.5 produced the greatest level of business that the industry has seen or is ever likely to see.

Record companies got a boost to ever greater profits in several ways when the CD was released in 1982.  Because the technology was initially expensive, the labels increased the retail price on each CD while decreasing the royalty rate to the artist because of the “technology expense”. While the retail price never decreased even after the technology was amortized (the retail price increased, in fact), artists eventually saw this royalty charge eliminated, but never saw another contract remnant from the past terminated. Breakage, a 10% charge against royalties left over from the days when vinyl records would break in transit and now irrelevant in the new CD age, never was deleted from typical recording contracts.

Perhaps the biggest shot in the arm to record labels was the ability to resell their catalog to a public eager to switch to CDs and buy a copy of an album they already owned on vinyl. Catalog sales increased profits due to the fact that production costs were minimal (just the cost of pressing the CD) as were promotional costs. Consumers bought the new and better sounding (to some) CD to supplement their newfound CD collections, thereby providing a financial windfall for the labels deep with older product.

Record companies now had a cash cow that shot profits through the financial stratosphere, which immediately gained the attention of Wall Street. Always the poor step-child of the entertainment industry, the record business was suddenly every investment banker’s darling, with the remaining 4 of the 6 major labels still independently controlled sold to a conglomerate during this period. Columbia was bought by Sony, Warners by Time Inc. (to become Time-Warner), Universal by Matsushita (later purchased by Vivendi) and EMI by Thorn Industries. Polygram was already owned by a conglomerate (the Dutch electronics company Philips), and BMG was owned by the German giant Bertelsmann AG (although it recently merged, then de-merged, with Sony). Now all 6 major labels were under conglomerate control.
The other big thing that happened was the compact disc. When it came along there was a big upsurge in the growth of the business and a lot of large corporations began to take notice. When CBS, who was the king of the business at the time, sold their record business to Sony - that was huge! It was a momentous happening because CBS decided they wanted to exit the music business , which they had been in for years.
Rupert Perry
With conglomerate ownership came MBA’s, accountants and attorney’s running the business, a major departure from the seat-of-the-pants, street-smart music men like Mo Ostin, Ahmet Ertegan, Jac Holtzman, and Howie Stein that could feel a hit in their bones.  Where a label previously would nurture an act through 3, 4, even 5 albums until they broke through, the new corporate structure demanded instant results “this quarter.” Artist development, so crucial for the stars and superstars that we know today, died, slowly at first, then faster and faster as bottom line results became the mantra.

About this time another unexpected boost came to the music industry in a small cable television network startup called MTV. Suddenly music was on television and a new level of exposure increased sales yet again. MTV soon had the power to “make” a hit, just like radio previously could, by the simple act of placing a video in heavy rotation.

Although no one expected it at the time, the Buggles song “Video Killed The Radio Star” (the first video played on MTV) actually came to pass. Image soon became much more important than actual musical ability. If you didn’t look appealing, you weren’t getting on MTV and if you didn’t get on MTV, your chances of having a hit diminished greatly. Quickly the new-found corporate culture began to shift gears to find good looking “musicians” to fill the bill. Artistry now became just a component of a new act (instead of “the” component), as image now became foremost in the label mindset.

To a non-record industry executive, art doesn’t make sense.  Academia demands repeatable outcomes and art (remember the phrase about art and craft at the beginning of the book?) is not a part of that equation. Craft was a big part of the corporate hit-making formula though. First, find an artist similar to whomever is the most popular of the moment. Then get a songwriter to write the perfect generic (usually Pop) song, then add a producer with a proven track record and record it all in a studio where big hits have been made with musicians who have played on those hits. The actual “artist” matters little in this corporate scenario. She better look great though, because the music videos (put together by directors, choreographers and stylists with recent hits on their resum├ęs) must project the image that Madison Avenue deems correct to sell product, because that’s ultimately who’s footing the bill.

To read more Music 3.0 excerpts, go to the excerpts section of the bobbyowsinski.com website.
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Help support this blog. Any purchases made through our Amazon links help support this website with no cost to you.

You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for daily discussion of music, recording, and production tips and tricks.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Music Sales Are Up, But Is It Due To The Beatles?

It seems that music sales in the U.S. are up 1.6 percent in 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That doesn't seem like much, but there are some interesting facets to that number.
  • Digital album sales were up 16.8 percent and single track purchases by 9.6 percent over last year.
  • Catalog album sales are up 5.4 percent in 2011, which believe it or not is mainly attributed to the availability of  The Beatles’ albums on iTunes for the first time. 
  • Vinyl sales were up by 37 percent in the beginning of 2011 over the same period last year. 
  • Album sales at independent record stores increased by 39 percent the week of Record Store Day (April 16) from the prior week – an increase of 180,000 units – and 12.7 percent compared to 2010.
  • In a bit of a surprise, rock has returned as the most popular genre of music, with 32 percent album share, while pop music represents 40 percent of all current digital tracks sold.
  • Ninety-three of the 100 best selling vinyl albums in 2011 fall within the Rock or Alternative genres.
So it looks like music has made a bit of a comeback this year so far. Let's see it the good news continues.
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Help support this blog. Any purchases made through our Amazon links help support this website with no cost to you.

You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for daily discussion of music, recording, and production tips and tricks.

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