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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Emily White, David Lowery, And The New Music Paradigm

intern image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
If you've not been paying attention, there's been a minor furor recently between NPR intern Emily White and Cracker/Camper Von Beethoven frontman David Lowery. To briefly paraphrase the situation, 21 year old White wrote that she has 11,000 songs in her iTunes library yet has only paid for 15 CDs in her life, while Lowery wrote a long reply describing the Music 3.0 world of an artist and songwriter that wanted/needed to be paid.

It should be pointed out that White was lamenting the fact that she wanted to support artists she loved and felt guilty not paying for their music, but the culture of she and her peers dictates that music should be for free, and they rarely feel compelled to pay for it. After all, you can find it for free in so many places already anyway (YouTube, Grooveshark, the various Torrents, to name of few). She's not opposed to a service like Spotify and would love it if she could get anything she wanted, whenever she wanted, with a great portion of the money paid for the service going back to the artist.

Lowery went on and on and on about the problems of the music world today and, in my opinion, more or less missed the point.

This makes me want to arbitrate the conversation from a distance and illustrate where the music business is at today in regards to both consumers and artists/songwriters.

We live in a different musical world today. It's too easy for the consumer to get music for nothing or almost next to nothing. It's a commodity like soybeans, only less vital to our health and the economy. As White stated in her letter, kids don't care about liner notes or fancy packaging or even any packaging at all. They don't see the collectible nature of a vinyl record, cassette, or CD like the previous generations. It's a new ballgame.

That doesn't mean that they love music any less than the previous generations did, nor does it mean that music is any better or worse. Take a look beyond the top 40 (which has always been, for the most part, superficial) and you'll find some amazing acts.

The problem for many old school artists, publishers, and label executives is they can't accept that the paradigm has shifted. All of them want to be paid just like they were before. Who can blame them? It leads to a pretty cool lifestyle when the money flows freely. But those days are over, at least for now, and as far as anyone can tell, they're not coming back any time soon.

Artists and songwriters the world over want to get paid for their work, especially when they gain some measure of visibility. There's no argument that that shouldn't happen (I suffer just as much from a stifled royalty stream as anyone else), but the music creation system as it's constructed today doesn't match the way consumers consume the music they love.

There's no use complaining about it any more. That only pisses people off and it's not helping the situation. Buggy whip makers complained when the automobile hit the scene, as did typewriter manufacturers when computers were taking off. That didn't get them very far as they died a slow death. Adapt or die was never a more appropriate phrase.

I have some interesting thoughts on the things that have and have not changed in our journey from Music 1.0 to Music 3.0 which I'll share in a future post.

Read the Emily White post here, and the David Lowery reply 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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Songwriters Finally To Be Paid On Videos

Vevo Logo image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Ever wonder how much a songwriter makes from a video that has 100+ million views on Vevo? You'd think it's would be a small fortune, but the answer is actually zero. That may be changing as of yesterday as Universal Music Group signed a deal with the National Music Publishers Group to finally pay royalties to both songwriters and publishers going forward.

Vevo is owned by Universal, Sony Music and Abu Dhabi Media and takes in about $150 million a year in ad revenue, none of which was passed along to songwriters or publishers. With the new agreement, Universal agrees to not only some retroactive compensation, but also to provide a royalty for other UMG offerings like ringtones, dual discs, multi-session audio and locked content products.

There are two things interesting here. First, only UMG is parcel to the agreement. Sony has not signed on. And the agreement specifies that UMG admits no wrongdoing, which stifles and lawsuits on this going forward.

That's one small step for songwriters. Let's see if another happens soon.

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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, June 19, 2012

22 Excellent Twitter Tips

Twitter bird image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Cheryl Lawson has some interesting Twitter tips that deserve mentioning:

1. Set up a photo and bio. Your bio should include who you are, and or what you tweet about.

2. Logos are OK but people like to connect with other people. Try using a photo of you.

3. If SEO is important, name your profile photo.

4. Include your website/blog link in your profile.

5. Make connections. Twitter is about conversations with interesting people. make sure you @ people.

6. Retweet (RT) if you enjoy a tweet. Share it with your followers. Retweeting = showing love.

7. Engage with people outside your normal friends circle.

8. Use link shorteners like Bit.ly to make more room to tweet and share links.

9. Use a Twitter client like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to see things in one place and see analytics.

10. Don't worry about the number of followers. If you tweet good content, they will come.

11. Find your favorite brands/bands/artists/companies on Twitter and follow them. Tweet them your feedback.

12. Find people talking about your band, music or brand and follow them.

13. If someone mentions your brand/company/you, be sure to respond.

14. Set up Google Alerts for topics of interest to tweet.

15. Subscribe to @Discus or similar to share blog comments with your followers.

16. Tweet live from events. Tweeting from events keeps your followers and positions you as an expert.

17. Balance tweets, replies and retweets. Too much of a good thing is too much.

18. Promote others more.

19. Tweet photos. A picture is worth a thousand words.

20. Find ways to meet your tweeps face to face.

21. Ask for help from your tweeps.

22. Dont feed the trolls. Not just on Twitter. You'll find people who want to pick a fight. Don't get in the ring.

These are all excellent suggestions. Use them wisely.

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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, June 18, 2012

Kickstarter: Behind The Numbers

Funded With Kickstarter image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Kickstarter is one of the better known and more long-lived crowdfunding sites, and if you look inside the numbers that they publicly acknowledge, there's a wealth of information. As with most things in life, information is power. Let's take a look:
  • Kickstarter has ad almost 46,000 projects from its inception, which have raised nearly $215 million thanks to almost 3 million backers.
  • A full 50% of those projects have been successful, raising the amount amount of money established as a goal. 41% of projects have failed, .1% were suspended, and .1% were cancelled. The rest (8.5%) are currently ongoing.
  • It's surprising the types of projects that are most successful:
Dance - 75%,  Theater - 71%,  Music - 68%,  Art - 57%,  Comics - 54%,  Film and Video - 51%,  Food - 51%,  Photography - 47%,  Design - 47%,  Games - 43%,  Publishing - 40%,  Technology - 39%,  Fashion - 33%
  • But the most successful categories don't necessarily raise the most money (in millions):
Film & Video - $55,  Music - $33,  Design - $40,  Games - $23,  Art - $9.4,  Publishing - $9.3,  Technology - $9.0,  Theater - $6.8,  Food - $6.1,  Comics - $4.8,  Photography - $3.2,  Fashion - $2.3,  Dance - $1.8
  • The average duration of a successful campaign is 38 days, but it's 43 days for the average failed project.
  • Lower is better when it comes to monetary goals, as the average successful project raised $5,487 while the average failed project's goal was $16,365.
  • Finally, 8.5% of funded projects received more than double their goal.
As you can see, crowdfunding is competitive, but if you have the right product, the right sales goal, and right sales pitch, the odds are good about even that you'll succeed. That's a lot better than most chances you'll ever take in the music business.

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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, June 17, 2012

A Tip To Improve Your YouTube Search Ranking

YouTube logo image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Here's a quick and easy tip to improve your YouTube video and channel search ranking from Tim Schmoyer's Creator's Tips over on the ReelSEO blog.

The way that most of us point people, artists, bands and brand to their YouTube channels is by providing a simple URL that looks like this:

http://youtube.com/yournamehere

In my case, my YouTube channel is called polymedia (it's a long story why I don't use bobbyowsinski) so my URL looks like this:

http://youtube.com/polymedia

The problem with this is that both YouTube and Google searches actually looks at it like this:

"http://youtube.com/user/yournamehere", or my my case, "http://youtube.com/user/polymedia"

It seems like such a small thing, but if you add the "user" into the URL yourself, Google ranks your channel higher than if you don't use it. Thus for me:

"http://youtube.com/user/polymedia" will rank higher than "http://youtube.com/polymedia"

Reports are that people who have added the "user" to their URL's have jumped in rankings from in the 20's to the top 3. It doesn't look as nice, but if Google likes it better and will rank you higher, that's the way to go.
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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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