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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trent Reznor Returns To The Big Label Fold

Trent Reznor image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
While we're constantly inundated with opinions that the major labels are on their last legs, that's simply not the case. Though we may yet see another step in the evolution of the majors soon, there's always going to be a place for at least a few of them. Case in point, the return to the major label fold by the poster boy for DIY, Trent Reznor.

Reznor described the reason for his newly minted agreement with Sony Music recently with David Byrne:
The above sounds more like Reznor was more tired of the DIY thing than anything else, and that's fair enough, but the fact of the matter is that the major labels are the only ones that have the infrastructure capable of either elevating an artist to, or maintaining superstardom. If an artist is going to break world-wide, that's still the way to go.

Now I don't want to come off as an apologist for the major labels because I'm far from it. I believe that until you're at a point in your career when you have some leverage, it's best to stay away from a label and do as much as you can yourself. Signing too early does an artist no good. But if you have a measure of success, that means that you can certainly be in a position for not only a better deal, but more attention from the label as well.

Not only that, after doing so much of the grunt work yourself, you're so much better at determining if the label is doing a good job or not, and helping them to do the best they can. It can be a win-win under the right circumstances.

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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, October 17, 2012

Flyer Creation Made Easy

Let's face it, a lot of us are graphically challenged. Sometimes we can't even imagine what a graphic should look like, let alone create it. That's why a new service called Flyer Lizard can be so useful, as it allows you to quickly and easily create digital flyers and gig posters, then distribute them through social media or print them.

Flyer Lizard allows you to upload your own flyer if you only want to use their distribution services, but otherwise they have a nice image editor that makes it pretty easy to create your own professional-looking flyer right away. Then you can share it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, among others. You can even add QR codes.

Flyer Lizard is free, but you do have to pay a small fee for most background images if you choose to use them. Check out the video below that explains it all.



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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, October 16, 2012

7 Tips For A Great Newsletter

Newsletter image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
A great email campaign can sometimes be the difference between popularity and obscurity. Here are 10 tips that can help your campaign be as successful as it needs to be.

1. Help subscribers remember who you are. Send the first message quickly and continue to stay in touch on a regular basis.

2. Don't send too many emails. You should tell them up front exactly how often you're going to email, and keep to it. If they unsubscribe, offer to reduce the frequency.

3. Keep your emails interesting. If your subscriber gets bored you'll lose them. Sprinkle in some user-generated content, contests, surveys and questions to keep the interest level high.

4. Don't make it all about selling or promoting. Being too aggressive is a good way to force people off the list. Make sure you include some useful or fun information along with any promotion.

5. Be sure to test your email first. Broken links, bad formatting, broken images or blank landing pages are a good way for people to lose interest. Test, test again and retest before you send.

6. Be sure it's formated for mobile. More and more people are accessing their email via their mobile device, and nothing could be worse for a newsletter than if it looks bad there. Be sure to design your newsletter with mobile in mind.

7. Be sure it's quick to load. In this day of instant gratification, we not only want, but are used to seeing everything load up quickly. If you make someone wait even a couple of seconds they're more likely to just hit the delete key instead. If your newsletter is loading slowly, consider breaking it up into smaller bits and saving some of the info for the next one.

Remember that content is king when it comes to newsletters. If you have something that's really dynamite then your subscribers are likely to overlook one or two of the above items, but the more of these that occur, the less likely you'll keep that person as a subscriber.

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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, October 15, 2012

Facebook's 140 Billion Friends And How To Leverage Them

Facebook Promote image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Facebook reached a milestone a few weeks ago when it blew past a billion active accounts, an astonishing number any way you look at it. That said, a number that's often overlooked is one that perhaps more accurately measures the breath of the network - 140.3 billion.

What does 140.3 billion represent? That's the number of total friendships on Facebook. It means that every active member has 140.3 Facebook friends. What's astonishing about that number is that it's close to Dunbar's Number of 150, which is what social anthropologists use to signify the number of persistent face-to-face relationships that the average person usually has.

Obviously Facebook number is an average, because you all know people who have way more than 140 Facebook friends, but the point is that if you just look a single step away from your 140 average friends to their 140 average friends, then you're at 19,600 connections, which is quite a large network. Now image that you have the maximum number of friends on you personal page, which is 5,000. That means that you're one step away from 700,000 people. That's quite a network!

OK, so how do you leverage the friends you have? Facebook has now started a new program that will keep one of your posts at the top of your friends Newsfeed (just click on the Promote button on your post as in the picture on the left). This is perfect if you're announcing a new product, record release or a gig. The downside is that it'll cost you $7 each time you do it, so it can get expensive fast.

Yes, this is another way that FB is trying to monetize their user base, but it's not so far off from what other networks already do. People can buy trending topics on Twitter and users can pin Tumblr posts to the tops of follower's dashboards for $5, so FB is just upping the ante a little.

The bottom line is that there's a big network out there on Facebook, and it's there for the leveraging.

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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, October 14, 2012

Lyric Sites Now A Target For Music Publishers

song lyrics image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Several years ago music publishers, looking for new revenue streams, began to pursue lyric websites for violation of copyright for hosting the lyrics to popular songs without permission. One of the biggest wins in the publishers favor recently came at the expense of LiveUniverse.com and its owner Brad Greenspan, who were recently hit with a $6.6 million default judgement for not paying a license fee.

The judge arrived at the amount by charging $12,500 for each of the 528 songs whose lyrics LiveUniverse was accused of infringing from Peermusic, Warner Chappell Music and Bug Music. Some of the songs included "China Girl" by David Bowie, "Old Time Rock n' Roll" by Bob Seger, "Moondance" by Van Morrison and "Georgia On My Mind" performed by Ray Charles.

The irony is that Greenspan could have made a license deal with the publishers for much less than the judgement, but basically chose to try to stick it in everyone's face by not showing for depositions and hearing, not following the court's instructions, and going through a long line of attorneys that slowed the entire process down to a crawl. It wasn't like he didn't have the resources either, having been an original investor in MySpace and cashing out when it was purchased for $580 million by News Corp in 2005.

The fact is that there are a lot of lyric sites out there that offer lyrics legally. Lyric aggregator LyricFind has licensed lyrics.com, lyricsmode.com, lyricsfreak.com, songmeanings.net, lyricsty.com, leoslyrics.com, lyricsbay.com, lyrics.net, lyricsfly.com, musicsonglyrics.com, lyricsoverload.com, and many more.

The fact of the matter is that these sites make big bucks on advertising and they should share a part of the wealth with the originators of the music that made it all possible. If you make money on someone else's creation, you have to share; simple as that.

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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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