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Thursday, May 3, 2012

$100k On Kickstarter In 6 Hours

In an excellent case study in the art of social media and crowdfunding, Amanda Palmer has turned a Kickstarter campaign on its head, raising $100,000 in a mere six hours, then oversubscribing to the tune of $443,000 with 27 days left. Considering that she was expecting to raise the $100k in 32 days, I'd say the result is nothing short of amazing and shows the power of having an open communication with your fans.

Amanda was trying to raise the funds for the mixing, manufacturing, promotion and distribution of her album as well as an book of art. Actually, the original budget is not all that large by major label standards, but it's way beyond what an indie artist would normally spend.

She's offering not only the CD, but lots of vinyl options as well as the book to her backers of $100 or more, including free shipping. Since most people don't have a turntable, she's also decided to include one in some of the packages as well.


Here's the simple yet effective video she created for the campaign.



Check out Amanda's campaign. It's a great example of just how to do it.

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

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

3 Rules For YouTube Success

I love to hear what works for successful entrepreneurs and businesses, especially when they have the ability to analyze their performance and evaluate their methods. Many times their own personal "rules" are not transferrable to other situations, but in many cases they are, in which case we can all learn from them.

Here's an interesting video from Charlie McDonnel, who's done 156 YouTube videos so far that each have a million or so views. His charlieissocoollike YouTube channel has about 1.5 million subscribers and the total views are over 234 million. He's obviously doing something right.

Among his rules:
  • Don't ask people to comment or like a video. Just make a great video and the likes and comments will come.
  • Don't give your viewers a group name (Lady Gaga's "Little Monsters" is an example). Talk to the individual viewer.
  • Make the video for yourself first. If you're not having fun and enjoying the process, it will come through the camera to your viewers.
Check out Charlie's YouTube rules below.



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

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

UK ISPs Must Block Pirate Bay

Digital Pirate from Music 3.0 blog
Here's another European court ruling that may eventually influence entertainment law in the United States (see last week's post as well). Britain's High Court has ruled that UK Internet service providers (ISPs) must now block access to Swedish file sharing service The Pirate Bay.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI, which is the equivalent of our RIAA) asked them to voluntarily block the site in 2011, but the ISPs refused at that time. Now it appears they have no choice, since they've now been ordered by the court to do just that. 5 ISPs, (Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media) have announced that they will comply immediately with the order.

This really isn't the first time this has happened in Europe, as courts in the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Italy and Denmark have already ruled similarly.

The significance of the ruling is that, although the US is a different kettle of fish in terms of the law, it's beginning to look like the ISPs might eventually assume responsibility for a lot more than they originally signed up for, like policing piracy and collecting royalties.

Personally I don't believe that having an ISP block a pirate site will make a hill of beans of difference. First of all, the whole piracy issue is totally blown out of proportion by the record label organizations (RIAA, BPI, IFPI) as an catch-all excuse for a variety of economic and creative problems that trouble the industry. Since the majors are shareholder-owned, it's a convenient justification to pacify the shareholders while the real issue is more about performance (or lack thereof) of the executives, and their lack of vision.

There have been studies that have concluded that piracy is actually a good thing for music in that it promotes discovery of new music (I believe this myself). As the music world moves toward subscription streaming at high speed, soon there will be no reason to pirate any more. When you can hear virtually any song you want for a low flat fee per month, all the incentive to pirate goes away.

As far as US ISPs are concerned, many people much smarter than I believe that soon your subscription music fee will be included in your Internet access fee every month. At that point, it's all over for music piracy, then the suits in the executive offices will have to either find a new excuse or finally start to earn some of the big bucks they make.

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

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Is Your Website Still So 2009?

power circle from Music 3.0 blog
Technology marches on, and as we know, the pace seems to get faster and faster all the time. The problem is, we all have to keep up in order to both stay relevant and keep our fans engaged. Now comes some research courtesy of getsharesquare.com that are an eye opener about the majority of artist websites in terms of just how up to date they really are.
  • Not all that many use social networking buttons. 29% have a Facebook Like button, 12% have a Twitter Follow widget, and only 6% have a Google +1 button.
  • About a third are still using Flash, which can result in missing or broken content. iPhones and iPads don't use Flash, and most people hate it these days anyway.
  • 90% of sites don't recognize mobile browsers, and don't forget, the world we live in now is a mobile one.
  • Some are still using Framesets, which went out around 1999 or so. Come on people, get into the real world!
  • The most popular music player is Soundcloud, followed by YouTube, Vimeo, Bandcamp and jPlayer.
  • 33% of the survey respondents said their most frequent complaint about an artist site was text that was so small that it required zooming.
  • 31% stated their biggest complaint was video content that was broken or unavailable. 
  • 28% said they hated when buttons or links were too small to click.
  • 20% hated when streaming music was broken or unavailable.
  • 17% complained that recent news and event info was difficult to find.
  • 29% said that most missed the ability to exchange an email address for free content.
  • 25% said they really missed the ability to download an artist's song.
  • 21% complained that they couldn't purchase tickets or merch directly from the website.
This is a fascinating report in that it indicates that a lot more commerce could be going on if only artists would pay more attention to their websites. Many artists take their site for granted, but it should be the main point where all of your fan contact is directed since it's the one portal online that you have total control of. Now get going on redesigning your site (I am as well.).

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

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Word Of Mouth Is Still The Best Advertising

What People Trust graph from Music 3.0 blog
It's been said in business classes over and over that word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and some new research from Nielsen backs the premise up yet again. In its most recent "Global Trust In Advertising Survey," the research company determined the following:
  • 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family above all else. This is up 18% from the last survey in 2007.
  • Online consumer reviews were the 2nd most trusted form of advertising at 70%, which was an increase of 15% in the last 4 years.
  • 47% of people say they trusted television, magazine and newspaper adverts, which were all down approximately 20% from the previous survey. Interestingly enough, the majority of advertising dollars are still spent on these traditional marketing sectors.
  • 58% of consumers trusted what's termed as "owned media," which are things like messages on a company's website.
  • 50% found content found in emails credible.
  • 42% said they trusted radio ads.
  • Only 40% found product placement in television shows credible.
  • 36% said they trusted online video ads.
  • 33% said they trusted mobile video or banner adds while 29% said they trusted mobile text adverts.
What this all boils down to is that word of mouth always has been, and still is the most trusted form of advertising available. And, as I've stated numerous times in my Music 3.0 book, "social media is online word of mouth." Unfortunately Nielsen didn't attempt to measure the effect of social media as a form of advertising, but it's likely they would've found it to be nearly as powerful as verbal word-of-mouth.

The bottom line, when it comes to marketing of just about anything (including music), make social media a priority, since it's an effective yet inexpensive platform for getting the word out that consumers deem credible.

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

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.


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