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Thursday, July 21, 2011

China's Baidu Makes A Music Deal We Can't Refuse

If you're an artist or songwriter who's not from China, the name Baidu probably doesn't mean anything to you, but it should. Baidu is the Google of China, being the dominant search engine in that part of the world with over 450 million users, and servicing more than 75% of Chinese users. It's also been one of the main sources for pirated content, just a part of the haven for illegal content that China has become during just about all of the digital music age.

That could be changing soon, because as China becomes more and more sophisticated business-wise, it's finally also becoming a lot more sensitive to intellectual property rights as well. Nowhere is this more apparent than on Tuesday when Baidu announced a major licensing deal with Universal Music Group, the Warner Music Group and Sony BMG, which would allow Chinese Web users to finally legally download and stream hundreds of thousands of songs free.

According to the New York Times, "Under the two-year deal between Baidu and One-Stop China, the three music labels will license over 500,000 songs, about 10 percent of them in Mandarin and Cantonese, which will be stored on Baidu’s servers and available for free streaming and download on the site’s ad-supported MP3 search page and social music platform, Ting."

How much will artists and songwriters actually see from this deal? Probably not much right now, but it does set in motion at least another income stream for the future. Music 3.0 means that even though the major sources of income are smaller, there are more of them, and any new ones, however small, are found money nonetheless. 

Read the full text of the NYT article here.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Music Subscription Faceoff

Thanks to Ken Rutkowski for pointing out this infographic from Mashable that provides the best overview yet of the current music subscription services. Expect these numbers to be quite different in six months if the initial buzz from Spotify continues to carry on though. It shouldn't take long before they're the new king of the hill.

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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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Free Is So Misunderstood

Every musician wants to be paid for their "art," and there's an understandable reluctance to give it away, regardless if it's being pirated or not. Sometimes giving it away is one of the best marketing tools you have at your disposal though, even though it might seem counter-intuitive. We see a form of this every day in supermarkets and department stores with "loss leaders" at prices below cost to get customers in the door to buy products at regular price.

One of the basic tenants of Music 3.0 is a business theory called “The Economics of Free” (or EoF). In M3.0, EoF encourages content owners to give some of their products away for free because, if done correctly, you can increase your market size greatly. This theory is very misunderstood, since there's more to it than simply giving your music away though. In this excerpt from Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age, you can see how and why EoF works.
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"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.

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 must do the following:

1. Set the infinite products (or just some of them) free. Put them on a Torrent site, Facebook, YouTube, and anywhere you can. The more you get it out there, the greater the publicity and the 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 Number 1 is implemented, access to the artist or backstage passes might not be worth anything, but now they are. Before Number 1, maybe no one wanted your CDs or vinyl albums, but now they’re valuable as a collector’s item, as are the box sets.

Setting your infinite products (your music) free expands your tribe. As your tribe expands, the demand for your scarce products grows. In M3.0, an artist that sticks to the ways of M1.0 through 2.5 will be relegated to a small audience forever."

For additional excerpts from this book and others, check out my 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.

Monday, July 18, 2011

6 Tips For Marketing To Teens

A recent REELSEO article about marketing to teens posted that they discovered a number of items that I think we all already intrinsically knew already. In fact, you can say that marketing to teens isn't all that different from anyone else, except that each point is a bit more extreme than with adults. Here's what they found.


1) Teenagers love video and they especially love to share it with their friends. Always make sure that there are sharing buttons right next to the video for Facebook, Twitter, email, even video messaging for smartphones. The difference between a video with a couple hundred thousand views and a video that spreads like wildfire with a hundred million views depends upon how sharable it is. Presenting the viewer with easy, immediate ways of sharing will make it even more probable that it will spread quicker and wider.

2) Humor is the most important factor when trying to catch the attention of teens. They love videos that are funny, original, memorable, or spoofs riding on the coattails of other popular content. If it’s hilarious, it’s more likely to be shared between peers than any other type of video.

3) Gossip and spreading things like wildfire, social networking, communicating, and watching online videos is what teens do best. Throw the right video to the right crowd in the right place, and the rest is history.

4) Teens can be watching and talking about your video, but only for a short period of time. How short? Maybe days, but maybe only hours, so don't plan for a long campaign. It's best to have a follow up plan for when the viewing stops.

5) Put a lot of thought into the keywords in the title of your videos. Teens are very responsive to keywords, as well as the very first few words in the title and the paragraph. The first sentence of descriptive text around the video makes them want to read the rest of the paragraph.

6) Teens find new platforms first. Many teens are now getting formspring accounts, and 27% of formspring’s users are under the age of 21 according to Quantcast.  The network currently has over 25 million accounts and 3.5 million unique visitors every day, even though the site is only 18 months old! The average user spends over 11 minutes on the site and answers 10 questions per day, so it’s not only getting a lot of views, but lots of engagement. The best way to take advantage of formspring is by holding Q&A sessions about your brand, music, or products, then pointing them to videos for community review.

Keeping these tips in mind can guarantee an instant viral success with teens, but it sure can help.
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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, July 17, 2011

Where Are The Most Concerts?

A new survey by the ticket search company Seat Geek has revealed some very interesting information regarding where concerts are being held in the United States this summer.

As you can see from the chart:

1) Las Vegas is now the mecca of concerts, which is no surprise, followed by Washington DC and Missouri, which are both huge surprises.

2) The South has the least concerts per capita while the NorthEast has the most, but more surprising is that California is one of the those states with a lesser concert density than others.

3) To bad if you live in Alaska. There are no concerts scheduled there this summer!

Now what qualifies as a concert hasn't been specified, but it seems to be major touring acts. Nonetheless, doesn't it seem like some markets are under-served here? It seems to me that artists, managers, agents and promoters are leaving some money on the table here.
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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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