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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Music Sales Directly After The Show

Ovation Tower Kiosks image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Let's say you just played a great show that beats all of the studio tracks that you've recorded. Your fans would be eager to purchase the music right there on the spot if it were available. It's the perfect impulse purchase. The problem is that while it's easy to record the show, making it immediately available isn't that easy. Until now.

Migratory Music has a new system called the Ovation Tower that does just that. Now your fan can purchase a recording of the show and download it as an MP3 to their favorite MP3 player, or have a download link sent to them by email. The kiosks are also capable of selling recorded music from your catalog as well as present advertising.

No word on any of the details on how it's done, how much time it takes, or what the cost might be (except for the fact that they're aiming for "less than $20" to the end user).

I can see a venue installing this and then taking a piece of the sales from the bands. That sounds easier than it is, since we get into the whole legal area of publishing rights, but that hurdle is easy to overcome if there's a new revenue stream coming on the scene.

Check out this short video on the system. I'll post more details as I discover them.



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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 23, 2012

The 8 Principles Of Fan Communication

Communication image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 music industry blog
Here's a repost from way back when I started this blog about 3 years ago. It's still just as relevant today.

Staying in touch with your fans is probably about the most important thing an artist can do these days, but the way it's done is equally as important. In an excerpt from the Music 3.0 Internet Music Guidebook, here are 8 principles of fan communication.

1 - Talk to your fans, not at them. Don’t try to sell them, but keep them informed. Anything that reads like ad copy might be counterproductive. Always treat them with respect and never talk down to them.

2 - Engage in communication. Communication is a two-way street. Fans want to know that they’re being listened to. You don’t have to answer every email, but you have to acknowledge that you heard it. The more questions you ask, polls you supply and advice you seek, the more the fan feels connected to you.

3 - Keep your promises. If you say you’re going to do something, do it in a timely fashion. Don’t let the fans wait. If you promise you’re going to email a link and post a song, sooner is always better.

4 - Stay engaged. Even if you’re only sending something simple like a link, take the time to engage the fan. Tell her about upcoming gigs, events or releases. Take a poll. Ask for advice. This is a great opportunity for communication, so take advantage of it.

5 - Utilize pre-orders. If you have a a release coming soon, take pre-orders as soon as you announce it, even it’s free. It’s best to get people to act while the interest is high, plus it gives the fan something to look forward to. To motivate the fan for a pre-order, it sometimes helps to include exclusive content or merchandise.

6 - Appearance means a lot. Style counts when talking to fans. Make sure everything looks good and is readable. Spelling or grammar mistakes reflect badly on you. Try to keep it simple but stylish, but it you or your team don’t have the design chops to make it look good, it’s better to just keep it simple and readable.

7 - Cater to uber fans. All of the members of your tribe are passionate, but some are more passionate than others. Fans have different needs and wants and it’s to everyone’s benefit if you can cater to them all. Try to always include a premium or deluxe tier for every offering such as a free T-shirt or backstage pass as a reward for posting, a free ticket to an upcoming show, signed artwork, extra songs, anything to satiate the uber fan’s interest.

8 - Give them a choice. Give fans numerous ways to opt-in since not everyone wants to receive their information, or the type of information, the same way. Ask if they would rather receive info by email, SMS or even snail mail. Ask if they’d like to receive info on upcoming shows, song releases, video content, or contests. And ask how often they’d like be contacted.

Follow these 8 principles and your communication with your fans will remain both smooth and profitable.

To read more from the Music 3.0 Internet Music Guidebook or my other books, go to my website.

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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 22, 2012

Crowdfunding Tours With Gigfunder

Gigfunder logo image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 music industry blog
Crowdfunding is quite the buzz word these days and rightfully so. Both new and established artists are using it to gain funding for new recording projects using a variety of sites like Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, Sellaband, Rockethub, and many many more.

But one new crowdfunding site recently launched that's very unique. Gigfunder is like those other sites in that it helps raise money from fans, but it's dedicated strictly to funding tour dates.

Let's face it. Touring is not easy or cheap, especially if you're just starting out. You not only have to pay for gas, but hotel rooms, food, transportation and even festival buy-ons. A new band, no matter how good they might be, are at an immediate disadvantage money-wise. Gigfunder not only mitigates some, but adds a few extra incentives too.

First of all, it's a way to publicize your tour and where you're playing in a targeted way. That's because fans suggest cities and venues for you to play. If you don't reach the funding tier, you don't play there, which is the second great thing about the service. No use playing to an empty club. If a gig is funded by your fans, you can be sure they'll be there.

You can find out more about Gigfunder by checking out this FAQ.

Touring is the key to a band's success. Don't let expenses get in the way.
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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, May 21, 2012

LimeWire Owes The Major Labels 75 Trillion

LimeWire logo image on Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blogWhen the file-sharing service LimeWire was shut down for copyright infringement in 2010, you would have thought that the RIAA got exactly what it wanted. After all, shutting down a major source of digital music piracy should be considered a victory in a war where the RIAA has had few.

But no, that wasn't enough. Now the RIAA and 13 of the record labels that it represents are sueing LimeWire for the grand amount of $75 trillion. That's right, "trillion" with a T. That's 75,000 billion and 75,000,000 million, if you're counting.

The RIAA determined this absurd figure by identifying just 11,000 songs they felt were infringed. Figuring that each one was illegally downloaded thousands of times at the maximum damage award rate of $150,000 per download, they came up with the magic number.

Let's put the $75 trillion into perspective. The US economy is around $14 trillion per year, and the entire world's economy is around $60 trillion a year. That means that the entire world economy couldn't pay the maximum damages the RIAA thinks it should receive!

Now the judge isn't swayed by the RIAA's claim and will most certainly rule that each infringed song is worth just a single award regardless of the number of illegal downloads, but that would mean that the final number would still be in the billion dollar range.

What are the chances that the RIAA picks up that billion (let alone $75 trillion)? Probably zero.

All of these numbers are posturing for headlines. By throwing out absurd numbers like $75 trillion, the RIAA gets people like me to write about them (you're welcome, guys). It increases the chances of a larger settlement, since almost anything less than a trillion sounds like a victory. It makes the attorney's look good.

Does it help the music business as a whole? Does it move music along it's path of evolution? Does it help the music fan? Does it help the artist or band? The answer to all is "no." Whatever judgement is awarded will go directly to the bottom line of the labels with a hefty sum off the top to the attorneys. The artists will be lucky to see pennies on the dollar.

That's the remnants of the Music 2.0 music economy at work. Long live Music 3.0, where the artist takes control. May it happen ever more quickly.

You can read more about the case on law.com.

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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, May 20, 2012

The Secret Meeting That Changed HipHop

anonymous person image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Here's a pretty fantastic story that I'm not sure is true, but it sure is interesting, especially if you believe in conspiracies. It's based on an anonymous post on the HipHopIsRead.com blog where the poster states that he was formerly a high-level major record label exec who was invited to a mysterious private meeting in 1991 along with 25 or so other execs from the music business.

During the meeting the execs were urged to change their signing emphasis to acts that promoted criminal behavior and activity (Gangsta rap). The reason? The owners of the record companies had silently invested in private prisons, and it was good business to keep those prisons filled!

Here's a sample of the post.
"At the time, I didn’t know what a private prison was but I wasn’t the only one. Sure enough, someone asked what these prisons were and what any of this had to do with us. We were told that these prisons were built by privately owned companies who received funding from the government based on the number of inmates. The more inmates, the more money the government would pay these prisons. It was also made clear to us that since these prisons are privately owned, as they become publicly traded, we’d be able to buy shares. Most of us were taken back by this. Again, a couple of people asked what this had to do with us.  
At this point, my industry colleague who had first opened the meeting took the floor again and answered our questions. He told us that since our employers had become silent investors in this prison business, it was now in their interest to make sure that these prisons remained filled. Our job would be to help make this happen by marketing music which promotes criminal behavior, rap being the music of choice. 
He assured us that this would be a great situation for us because rap music was becoming an increasingly profitable market for our companies, and as employees, we’d also be able to buy personal stocks in these prisons. Immediately, silence came over the room.
You could have heard a pin drop. I remember looking around to make sure I wasn’t dreaming and saw half of the people with dropped jaws. My daze was interrupted when someone shouted, “Is this a f****** joke?” At this point things became chaotic. Two of the men who were part of the “unfamiliar” group grabbed the man who shouted out and attempted to remove him from the house. A few of us, myself included, tried to intervene. One of them pulled out a gun and we all backed off. They separated us from the crowd and all four of us were escorted outside. 
My industry colleague who had opened the meeting earlier hurried out to meet us and reminded us that we had signed agreement and would suffer the consequences of speaking about this publicly or even with those who attended the meeting. I asked him why he was involved with something this corrupt and he replied that it was bigger than the music business and nothing we’d want to challenge without risking consequences. 
We all protested and as he walked back into the house I remember word for word the last thing he said, “It’s out of my hands now. Remember you signed an agreement.” He then closed the door behind him. The men rushed us to our cars and actually watched until we drove off."
I didn't know what private prisons were either but I did a little research and found out that it is indeed a huge business. Used by 30 states, one company (Corrections Corporations of America) is attempting to corner the market in 48 states as long as the states will guarantee them the prisons will remain 90% full! In fact, private prisons in 2009 housed 17 times more inmates than they did in 1989.

So I must admit I don't know what to believe. If it's true, it's a said indictment of our business and culture. If it's not, it still goes to show what a huge business prisons have become at the expense of our youth. Either way, we can't win.

Read the entire article here.

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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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