Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Have A Happy And Prosperous 2014!

To all the readers of The Big Picture Production Blog, Music 3.0 blog, my Forbes blog, or my books and programs, I want to thank you for a great 2013 and wish you a fruitful, successful, and most importantly, a musical 2014!

Let's remember the phrase "When I lift my brother, I lift myself" so together we all have the best year ever.

Monday, December 30, 2013

9 Out-On-The-Limb Music Business Predictions For 2014

2014 Crystal Ball image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 Blog
As the current year slowly grinds to a soft and mellow halt, it’s a good time to gaze into the crystal ball to see what possibilities the music business might have in store for us in 2014. Here are nine predictions for the upcoming year (in no particular order) that are anything but safe, but are still based on the events that 2013 bestowed upon us.

1. The tipping point finally comes for streaming music. Users discover the convenience of streaming as more and more convert to paid subscriptions. New streaming services cause confusion in the marketplace at first, but there are clear winners and losers by the end of the year.

2. Spotify turns a profit. The company fights off advances from new and old competition alike as it expands its global footprint and increases its active users. The service finally becomes barely profitable by year’s end.

3. Musicians earn more, complain less. As the number of streaming users grow, artists and songwriters discover that those hundredths of a cent payments are actually adding up into real money. Plus, with new streaming services coming online, money flows from more sources than before, causing more smiles than frowns.

4. And they concentrate on YouTube. Record labels discovered YouTube as a revenue source in 2013, musicians and songwriters discover it in 2014, as they monetize their channels either manually or via multichannel networks, and post more videos in order to create a new revenue stream. Read more on Forbes.
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Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

15 Under-Appreciated Events That Affected The Music Business In 2013

Music Business image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
We’re coming to the end of 2013, so now is a good time to look back at the music business happenings of the year to see the trends and events that affected it. The following 15 events may have been taken lightly at the time, but at least some of them will have a lasting effect on the industry.

The events are broken into three major areas: music distribution, artists and record labels, which all include tech and marketing related events to some degree. Here we go, in no particular order of importance.

Music Distribution
1. Spotify sets its mobile service partially free and expands into 55 countries, then licenses the Led Zeppelin catalog to help with the promotion. Time to get all the market share possible before the deep pocket competitors like Apple and Google hone in on the sector. 

2. Crying poverty despite 72 million monthly active users, Pandora tries to lower its licensing royalties by buying a terrestrial radio station. Royalty collection organizations, artists and songwriters decry the move as suits fly back and forth. Bottom line, Pandora still loses money.

3. iTunes Radio is unveiled amid much fanfare in September, reaches 20 million users in a month, then disappears from the public consciousness. Is the service a sleeping giant or just sleepy?

4. Beats Music and YouTube Music both postponed their launches until 2014. The streaming music services competition is stiff; they have to get it right out of the gate.

5. Twitter’s #Music lies dormant after few adoptions, which proves the point - just because you have a large user base doesn’t necessarily mean that users want to get their music from you.

6. Pirating decreases as users find that streaming is more convenient and efficient. Pirates are also found to be some of the most prolific music consumers, so is the decrease good or bad?

7. The first YouTube Music Awards show proves that it’s what seems like a good idea isn’t always so, as it draws shockingly few viewers. You can be the largest online music portal, but that doesn’t mean that users want to watch your event. Read more on Forbes.
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Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Friday, December 27, 2013

15 Top SPAM Trigger Words

Spam Filter image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Everyone wants their newsletter to be opened but often it just ends up in your fan's spam filter. If you don't want that to happen, here are the top 15 phrases that are mostly likely to trigger that filter when used in your newsletter headline, according to Hubspot.
   1. Buy
   2. Buy direct
   3. Order
4. Cheap
5. Cash
6. $$$
7. F r e e
8. Save up to
9. Success
10. Wife
11. Medium
12. Avoid
13. Friend
14. Hello
15. Dear

You can find out a lot more newsletters, how to craft them, and how to build your mailing list in the Social Media Promotion For Musicians book.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 25, 2013

The Most Influential Music Cities In The World

Atlanta At Night image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Atlanta - The most influential music city
When we think of music cities, the ones that most often come to mind are Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and London, but it turns out that there are smaller cities that actually have more influence on the music of today and tomorrow. A study called the Geographic Flow of Music shows that sometimes our perceptions don't always match reality. Here are the top 20 music cities in the US according to the study.

Most Influential Music Cities In North America
1. Atlanta
2. Chicago
3. Montreal
4. Pittsburg
5. Houston
6. Toronto
7. Philadelphia
8. Richmond
9. Columbus
10. Los Angeles
11. San Diego
12. Austin
13. Minneapolis
14. New York
15. Vancouver
16. Boston
17. Denver, San Francisco, Seattle/Portland (tie)

When it comes to indie music only, Montreal, Toronto and Los Angeles are the top 3 with Denver and Seattle (surprisingly) at the bottom. For hip hop only, Atlanta, Toronto and Chicago are the top 3 with New York, Portland and Austin coming in last.

In Europe, the differences are even more stark. Here are the top 20 most influential European cities, according to the study.

Most Influential Music Cities In Europe
1. Oslo
2. Stockholm
3. Hamburg
4. Dublin
5. Birmingham
6. Leeds
7. Paris
8. Berlin
9. Brighton
10. London
11. Madrid
12. Bristol
13. Vienna
14. Barcelona
15. Manchester
16. Milan
17. Munich
18. Istanbul
19. Cracow
20. Warsaw

What's interesting is that 7 of these cities are in the United Kingdom, and 3 are in Germany, but who would've thought that Oslo would be the most influential of all?
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Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

John Lennon "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"

Let's celebrate the holiday with a Christmas song from John Lennon and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" was recorded in 1971 with the Harlem Community Choir as a protest song over the war in Viet Nam, but over the years it has evolved into a Christmas standard. We're all the better for it.

Happy Holidays everyone, and thanks for reading!


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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 23, 2013

Beyonce Fights Back Against The Amazon/Target Boycott

Beyonce at Walmart image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
If you’ve been following the marketing strategy used by team Beyonce on her latest self-titled album, you know that it’s been quite clever so far. To recap, the Beyonce album was released on the unsuspecting public without any advance marketing fanfare whatsoever, which caused a bit of a commotion as that fact was trumpeted far and wide by bloggers and news organizations (including me, I should add).

Of course there’s always more to the story and so it is here. The album was released as a digital-only product, with a one week exclusive going to iTunes. This didn’t sit well with retail giant Target, who refused to sell the CD when it was released as a result. A few days later, Amazon joined the boycott on the CD as well (although it still sells the download). 

Even though Beyonce set an iTunes record with over 600,000 digital album downloads, having the number 2 and 3 retailers boycotting your physical product could put a crimp in your long term sales. So what did Beyonce do? She went on a shopping trip to a Tewsbury, Massachusetts Walmart on Friday night, announced to everyone over the store’s loudspeaker system that she was there to buy her album, then gave out approximately 37 grand worth of $50 Walmart gift cards to everyone she saw in the store.


Most of the press covered the move as Beyonce being nice to a bunch of people she didn’t know, but there was actually a grand design behind the shopping appearance. One was a subtle reminder to her fan base that even if you couldn’t find her CD at Target or Amazon, it was readily available at Walmart. She also sent an unmistakable message to Target that said, “If you cross me, I’ll give all of my attention to your competitor instead.” Read more on Forbes.
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Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Which Social Network Should You Focus On?

Time Spent On Social Networks image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Let's face it, there are a lot of choices when it comes to social network marketing, and although you can be on every network, it's usually best if you concentrate on one at a time. But which one?

If you want to sell your music and merch, there are clear winners, as reported by the research company Kissmetrics. On the infographic on the left, you can see that YouTube beats Facebook when it comes to time spent on the social network per month, and pages viewed per visit, but that doesn't tell the whole story.

Here are some other points that the company found after analyzing data from 18,000 ecommerce sites.

1. Run your marketing campaign during the week. It's far more effective than on the weekend.

2. Focus on retaining your fans and bringing then back to your site. They're the ones more likely to buy your products.

3. A small community of 500 active fans frequently beats a large community of inactive fans. Focus on your core audience.

4. Facebook brings more revenue than Twitter. People may spend more time on Twitter, but it's not as effective when it comes to marketing.

5. 65% of ecommerce traffic comes from iPhone and iPad users. Don't ignore mobile users, but concentrate on iOS first.

Read more about this specific study that Justin Butlion of Yotpo authored.

If you want to learn more about online marketing and promotion (which includes your website, blog and newsletter), check out Social Media Promotion For Musicians.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do We Really Need A Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
The ballots have been counted and it’s been announced that this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees will be Nirvana, KISS, Hall & Oats, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens. While it’s hard to argue with the quality of work of these fine artists (they’re all well deserving of recognition), I still keep coming back to the same question - Do we really need a rock and roll hall of fame?

For one thing, the merits of the arts are nearly impossible to quantify. Many a movie, television show, album or piece of artwork that does big sales numbers may not have what’s widely believed to be much in the way of artistic merit, but then again, who’s to say? As the proverb goes, “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.” What I might see as art might have you shouting it down as crass hackmanship, or vice versa. And when it comes to affecting the art of others, what influences you might have absolutely no effect on me.

So if you can’t quantify it or judge it by the moving target of influence, how about longevity? Here again, just because you’ve managed to survive in the business for 25 years (as is the requirement of all Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees) doesn’t necessarily mean that you were great, only good enough to survive. You may wind up being an influence based on a volume of work and the fact that you’ve grown or maintained your visibility over time, but does that qualify someone for any kind of hall of fame?


Actually hall of fames in general are fraught with problems and all are filled with controversy. Perhaps sports is best equipped to handle a hall of fame since induction can be based on performance statistics. In baseball, for instance, if a pitcher has 300 wins or a batter has 500 home runs in his career, his entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame used to be automatic before the steroid era skewed the numbers. Can you do the same with music? Not as easily. Read more on Forbes.
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You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 18, 2013

Big Music Stars Have A New Label

Coldplay image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
You won't be seeing artists like Coldplay, Pink Floyd and Radiohead on the Parlophone label anymore as its acquisition by Warner Music Group has now been finalized. Parlophone was one of the world's oldest record labels, having been founded in 1896, but had been part of EMI since 1926. It was also the British home of The Beatles during their 1960's heyday.

Just to show you what an interesting ride it can be for an artist, EMI was purchased was purchased by Universal Music Group in 2012, but in order for the sale to go through, UMG was forced to divest Parlophone to appease European regulators. In February of 2013, Parlophone was then purchased by Warner Music Group, which then had to gain approval of both European and American regulators, hence the delay before they could release titles by Parlophone artists.

Now that the ride through the major label roller coaster is over, Warner Bros Records will distribute new releases from artists like Kylie Minogue, Lily Allen, and Eliza Doolittle, and catalog titles by Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Blur, Gorillaz, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Supergrass and Sinead O'Connor. Atlantic Records (a subsidiary of WMG) will distribute new releases from Coldplay, Tinie Tempah and David Guetta (although through his own imprint called Big Beat).

This story just goes to show that once an artist is signed to a label, he or she has little control over their fate down the line. If artists like Coldplay and Pink Floyd don't have the control over their own destinies, than what hope does an artist of lessor stature have? That said, the above artists do appear to be landing in a good place, as WMG is noted for having some great digital chops, and that's where the business is going.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 17, 2013

Beyonce Attempts To Bring Back The Album

Beyonce Performing image on Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
We live in a new music world. While some will tell you it’s entirely different from the past, it’s really a throwback to the 50s and beginning of the 60s when singles dominated. As artists and bands of the 60s became more successful, more attention was placed on the album, which while more expensive to make, also carried a higher profit margin as well, which pushed the industry to financial heights not previously dreamed of. This sales paradigm carried on until 2003 when the introduction of iTunes made monetization of digital music a viable part of the industry, and since then, the single song sale has dominated while album sales have steadily decreased to the point where many question whether the album is even needed in music today.

But Beyonce seems to have temporarily turned that concept on its head with the stealth release of her fifth album, entitled simply Beyonce, last week. The album had no promo run up to its release, no single released for sale before or with the album, and had 17 videos dropped simultaneously, but you can only view them if you bought the digital album first. Clearly, Beyonce’s album is meant to stand on its own (at least for a short time until the singles are released), defying the logic of how the new music business is run.

Just to review, the current strategy is for singles to be released frequently (even as quickly as every month or six weeks), making each one a separate event that can be individually promoted. Having a single available allows current and potential fans to live with the song for a while, giving it a greater chance to catch on. After a number of singles are released, they can be compiled into an EP or album, which is now another new event to be promoted. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in this new music paradigm we live in.

That construct doesn’t necessarily apply to a superstar like Beyonce though, who can and does defy the rules by virtue of her gigantic celebrity. Most other artists dropping an album without any advance promotion would find their sales suffering. In fact, may stars and superstars have an album sales problem even with a lot of promotion these days, but Beyonce immediately went to number 1 on iTunes, although it helps that the service has a one week exclusive before the physical product and the singles drop. This might be the smartest decision that Team Beyonce could have made, as it immediately put the album on the front page of every entertainment blog as the word of mouth spread. Read more on Forbes.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 16, 2013

7 Steps To Developing Your 2014 Music Marketing Plan

Music Marketing image
We're just about at Christmas, and most of the serious music business for the year is over. That means it's a great time to start planning your 2014 marketing campaign so you can hit the ground running on January 2nd. Here are 7 things to consider.

1. Does your website need an update in its look and feel? Do you have a press page or a easy to find contact page? Do you have a page with info just for promoters and club owners? Does your site have an easy to find mailing list subscription section?

2. Do you have a music release schedule for next year? Do you know when you'll have new music available? Do you have a production schedule? Do you know when you're going on the road? Now's the time to plan.

3. Do you have a video release schedule? Do you know what videos you'll need to create in order to support your music? Do you have a schedule for production? Make sure you plan for lyric videos as well as produced music videos, as they get viewed almost as much.

4. Do you have a mailing list schedule? Do you know when you'll be sending out emails to support your music and video releases? Do you know what you'll be sending out when you don't have products to announce? Now's the time to work up those ideas and create an editorial calendar so you'll always have something useful to send in order to keep in touch with your fans or clients.

5. Do plan on supporting your releases or gigs with paid advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Google Adwords, or bookmarking sites? If not, it's time to look into it as you can get a big return from a relatively small investment.

6. Do you Tweet? If not, nows the time to learn how. If you do, do you have a list of hashtags that you normally use? If not, go to search.twitter.com and create one. Do you know the best times in the day for you to tweet in order to garner the highest engagement?

7. Have you monetized your videos? You do have a YouTube channel, right? If not, create one right now. If you have one, be sure to set it up to monetize your videos. Do you get over a million views a month? Now's the time to look into a Multichannel Network like Omnia or Full Screen for a larger cut of the revenue.

Social Media Promotion For Musicians cover image
If you're confused by any of the above, you can find out everything you need to know about promoting yourself, your music or your band by reading Social Media Promotion For Musicians. It's a guide that shows you how to use your website, mailing list, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and bookmarking sites to your best advantage when it comes to making your music more visible, and growing your audience. It makes a great Christmas gift for yourself or an engineer or musician in your life.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 15, 2013

The Top 10 Most Watched Music Videos Of 2013

Psy "Gentleman" image
Even though we still have 2 weeks to go in the year, it's still pretty easy to confidently put together the top 10 most watched music videos for 2013. Keep in mind that these are the official videos, and the unauthorized covers and lyric videos add to the total (sometimes substantially) but aren't counted.

Probably the most surprising thing about the list is Psy's "Gentleman" at number 1, since it's not a song that got much airplay. It just goes to show how great the hangover from a previous hit can sometimes be.

1. Psy "Gentleman" - 610 million views (check out the great marketing annotations)

2. Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball" - 396 million

3. Miley Cyrus "We Can't Stop" - 304 million

4. Katy Perry "Roar" -  253 million

5. Pink "Just Give Me A Reason" - 237 million

6. Robbin Thicke "Blurred Lines" - 231 million

7. Rhianna "Stay" - 219 million

8. Naughty Boy "La La La" - 202 million

9. Selena Gomez "Come And Get It" - 185 million

10. Avicii "Wake Me Up" - 182 million

It will be interesting to see how many of the names on the list change next year at this time when we check again.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Led Zeppelin And The Free Spotify Mobile App

Obama Led Zeppelin image
Spotify has heard the critics and has responded in kind. In an announcement at an event earlier this week in New York City, the music streaming service made a number of significant announcements that could alleviate much of the criticism that’s been leveled at it, at least for the moment.

One of the major issues with Spotify has been that you needed to be a paid subscriber in order to enjoy its mobile app. On Monday founder Daniel Ek announced that the app will now available for free not only on smartphones, but on tablets as well. The free version will still have adverts, and will add a Shuffle option that allows you to randomly play songs from within an artist’s catalog, instead of picking the exact song to play right away.

The second big announcement was that Led Zeppelin’s entire catalog will now be available on Spotify. Zep is one of the last of the major acts to withhold their music from any and all streaming services, so it’s noteworthy that the band has finally allowed this to happen.


The two announcements may sound modest on the surface, but they definitely play into a long-term strategy behind the scenes. By allowing the free version of the Spotify app on smartphones, the company can now expand it’s user base significantly, especially since its now available in 55 countries (a figure also announced at the event), many of which have more smartphone than desktop computer users. Read more on Forbes.
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You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 11, 2013

Beats Music To Launch In January 2014

Beats Music Claim Name image
We've been hearing a lot about Beats Music, especially over the last 6 months, but now it looks like its introduction is at hand, with word that it will finally launch in January 2014.

According to a blog post by CEO Ian Rogers, “When I joined Beats Music in January I’d expected we’d get this out the door before the end of the year. Thankfully I work with people who have patience and are more concerned about getting Beats Music right than pushing it out the door. In retrospect we’ve accomplished far more this year than I’d imagined possible.”

Beats Music has a lot going for it, being owned by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, and being run by industry veteran Rogers with creative director Trent Reznor. The service is based around the MOG streaming service, which Beats purchased earlier in the year. It's also backed by a $60 million investment from billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries and Texas billionaire Lee Bass, so its pockets are potentially deep enough to battle it out with the likes of iTunes Radio, Spotify and Pandora.

That said, the differentiating factor between Beats Music and other services is the fact that it's based around curated content by music celebs and professionals. In fact, a new feature just revealed allows you to listen along to the same content as your favorite celeb in real time. It's yet to be seen if music curation is actually the attraction that the company thinks it is though.

Beats Music holds a lot of promise as a streaming music game changer. Very soon now we'll see the reality first-hand.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 10, 2013

5 YouTube Tips From Big Brands

YouTube Broadcast Yourself image
The top 10 YouTube brand channels like Red Bull, GoPro and Playstation (according to the Touchstone Video Index) all do the same things to stay there, so it's good to take a look at their techniques. Here's what we can learn that can be successfully applied to a music brand.

1. Publish content regularly. It's the key to increased viewer engagement, views and subscribers.

2. Convert your views into subscribers. Subscriptions are gold and much more important than views. The average is 2,276 subscribers per million views, so if you're not reaching that number then there's something wrong with your content.

3. Send people back to your channel. Most views are not made on the channel itself, so try to link the viewers back to your channel so they can subscribe or leave a comment.

4. Treat YouTube as an engagement platforms. Comments matter more than ever in Google rankings, so be sure to respond to all questions and comments.

5. Don't allow trash talk. Don't be afraid to delete and block inflammatory comments that lead to flame wars. Critiques are okay, but taking the conversation into the gutter kills your audience. You wouldn't allow it to happen at a party, would you?

Also remember that your video views should be evenly distributed. You're in trouble if one or two videos get 80 to 90% of your total views, as that means that the quality of your content is uneven.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 9, 2013

Iron Maiden Stock On The Rise

Iron Maiden image
One of the premier metal bands is also a premier company with an excellent performing stock. In a recently released report by the London Stock Exchange entitled 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain, Iron Maiden LLP was named as one of the UK's fastest growing music firms.

Maiden has long been at the forefront of using their avid fan base as a springboard for both major tours and independent releases. The band has a huge global audience, especially online, where their fan base grew by 5 million from their touring of South America alone. In fact, it's estimated that Brazil may be the strongest market for the band overall, despite the heavy torrent use in that area.

I profiled Maiden's management in my Music 3.0 guidebook in the section titled The New Masters Of The Domain because in many ways they set the tone for the music business as we know it today. Here's an excerpt.
"In 1979, Rod Smallwood and Andy Taylor discovered and then managed the legendary metal band Iron Maiden. They subsequently named their management company after the band’s song “Sanctuary” and expanded their roster to include similar bands of the genre. 
Soon afterward, Sanctuary Management had a brilliant idea. As managers of “heritage acts,” which had long-term appeal and large fan bases but no record deals, the company decided to independently finance CD releases for the bands themselves. After all, the audience was built in and rabid. They’d buy anything the bands would put out, so why not release it themselves if a major label wouldn’t? The bands were going to tour anyway, so they might as well have a product to sell. Little did they know at the time, but this was the beginning of the new business model where the tour sells the recording instead of the recording selling the tour, as it did in M1.0 to 2.0. 
In the past, if an act would get hot as a result of local radio play, they would then tour in that location to take advantage of the energized interest. The record sold the tour by virtue of the airplay it received. The record was selling the tour. If the record flopped, there would be no tour. 
But in the new Sanctuary model, since the act had a strong enough fan base to support a tour anyway, why not have some product to back it up? With these new economics of self-financing the release, the act could now make more money than ever on fewer units sold. And since it was cheaper than ever to create a release (since by then most musicians had studios at home that were more powerful than The Beatles ever had during their heyday), the stage was set for taking advantage of both the technology and the consumer environment. 
For a time, Sanctuary Records and its artists succeeded wildly, to the point that the company expanded into a full-fledged record label (and a subsidiary of Universal Music) with traditional M2.0 staff and infrastructure. Soon afterward, however, it collapsed under the weight of that traditional infrastructure. The company had ventured beyond its original concept and comfort level, and eventually paid for it. Sanctuary essentially ceased to exist as a record label at the end of 2007, although it’s assets have since been sold to BMG. 
Sanctuary started the trend of an artist self-releasing a record during M2.0, way ahead of the curve and way ahead of what's commonplace today. Without knowing it at the time, the company paved the way for artists living in our current music generation, where self-production, promotion, and distribution are not only commonplace but the norm."
Some of the things that Sanctuary pioneered include:

   * The tour sells the recording, not the other way around

   * The CD becomes just another piece of merchandise

   * The artist markets and sells directly to his fanbase

   * Self-releasing can be more profitable than having a label

   * The artist can make more money on fewer sales

Iron Maiden LLP was actually just one of the music companies honored by the London Stock Exchange. The others include the music app company Shazam, distributor Kobalt Music Group, and music library Audio Network.

You can read additional excerpts from Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age or my other books at bobbyowsinski.com.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 8, 2013

Enough With The Apps Already!

iPhone Apps image
I hate most iPad and iPhone apps. There, I said it. In this world we live in where jumping on the bandwagon is expected in order to keep up with the competition, every company or artistic project seems to be working on an app. And it’s not a good idea.

For one thing there are too many available already. In October Apple announced that there were one million apps available in the iTunes Store and a total of 60 billion had been downloaded already. Shortly before that, Google announced that there were 900,000 available from Google Play and over 50 billion Android apps downloaded. That figure has no doubt increased to match Apple’s by now. 

Besides the fact that we’re already inundated, the real problem is that most apps (except for games and utility apps) don’t work as well as the website they hope to replace. I’ve gotten to the point where I just use the browser on my tablet and phone instead of most apps that I’ve installed, which leaves the tiny programs taking up space in the background (I have to get around to deleting them soon).

Sports is a great example, with dozens of apps for every individual genre, and for the most part, every one that I’ve tried is frustrating. I keep on going back to ESPN on the browser for game updates. In fact, even ESPN’s own app isn’t as good as its website. Read more on Forbes.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 4, 2013

How To Embed Sound Clips In Your Photos

Shuttersong image
Did you ever want to add audio to a picture but didn't want to mess with hassle of importing it into a video editor? Now you can do it easily with a new service called Shuttersong that allows you to embed sound into your jpeg images.

Shuttersong allows you to take a photo when immediately add sound from your phone or music from your library. You can also take existing images from the web and add audio as well. The soundtrack is limited to 15 seconds, which is more than it seems.

Although many will use it with music, it could be really useful to just describe the context of the photo, especially for a pro photographer. Consider a sort of audio metadata.

The app fills the gap between Instagram and YouTube. The app was just launched in October and already has nearly a million users. Give it a look at shuttersong.com.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 3, 2013

Branding Your YouTube Channel

YouTube Websites and Social Media Links image
YouTube Websites and Social Media Links
Just like your Facebook and Twitter profile pages, a YouTube channel page is another opportunity to reinforce your musical branding. There’s less flexibility in how you can brand that channel than there used to be, but there are still places where you can get creative. Here's an excerpt from Social Media Promotion For Musicians that provides some tips on branding and design of your YouTube Channel.

"There are a number of areas that are available on your channel that enables you to emphasize your own design or brand. Let’s look at them:
  • The Channel Art: The channel art is the banner at the top of the page where you can display a customized graphic. YouTube suggests this graphic be 2560 x1440 pixels so that it works on all types of televisions, tablets, smartphones and computers, but what YouTube will show on most computer browsers is 1546 x 423. This is known as the “safe area” and is where you should place any critical graphics information since anything outside that area might not show up on a device with a smaller screen. The graphic can be up to 2MB and in either a JPG or PNG format. The Channel Art upload section is accessed by clicking on the pen icon on the top right of graphics box, as shown in Figure 9.1. You can access a template for the channel art, as well as a design tutorial, by clicking on “How to create channel art” at the bottom of the upload pop up box.
TIP: Your channel art should be attractive and consistent with your brand, but don’t be afraid to also feature any of the personalities, characters or content of the channel.
  • The Channel Description: You access your channel description from the About tab underneath your channel name. After the About box pops up, select the pen icon on the upper right to edit. From here you can enter or edit the description. Be sure to include all the information about your channel in the description, such as what to expect from the video content as well as who’s involved (like the members of a band).
  • Website and Social Media Links: The website and social medial links are accessed in the same manner as above; through the pen icon on the top right of the box. Here you can add links to websites, blogs and social networks (see the graphic on the left). The first weblink you entered will appear on the lower right side above your channel art, as will the social network icons. The others will appear in the About box. 
  • Featured Video/Trailer: Another thing that you can do is feature a particular video or trailer at the top of the page when someone who is unsubscribed visits your channel. Simply select the pen icon on the top right of the box, select a video, then hit save. You can see what both subscribers and non-subscribers see by toggling Unsubscribed trailer and Subscriber view next to the edit icon.
  • Playlists: YouTube allows you to create multiple playlists, which can have a great influence in how your fans consume your content. If you have a fair number of videos, you might want to create different playlists for different parts of your fan base, since each may have a different desire of what to watch. While your superfans will want to see everything you upload, your casual fans may be more selective. You can select the order and layout of these playlists, or create a new one, by selecting the edit icon on the top right of the playlist box.
Read additional excerpts from Social Media Promotion For Musicians and other books at bobbyowsinski.com.
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 2, 2013

Outside The Box With "24 Hours Of Happy"

There's not much that can grab us anymore when it comes to music videos. We've seen big budget productions come and go and come back again. We've seen fan generated videos, lyric videos, full album streams over a single graphic, comic videos, serious videos and everything in between, so it takes a lot to capture our attention. That's why Pharrell Williams' "24 Hours Of Happy" is so unique.

If you've not seen it yet, "24 Hours Of Happy" is really a 24 hour video that takes place on the streets of Los Angeles with a wide variety of people dancing and lip synching to Williams' song "Happy." It was actually shot over 11 days with over 400 people over 8 miles of LA streets.

It's a catchy song, an interesting concept, and thinking outside the box. Here's a video of the first hour.


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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, December 1, 2013

The Lie That Fuels The Music Industry’s Paranoia

Music Key On Keyboard image
We’ve heard it for a decade now. “We’re losing more than half of our music sales thanks to digital piracy,” says the music industrial complex. The problem is that the music industry has freaked itself out so continually over hyped-up numbers attributed to music piracy that it can’t tell the facts from the reality anymore. The truth of the matter is that while music piracy was a real live problem at one point in the past, today it’s just a distant memory.

Don’t believe me? Let me give you a couple of data points:
  • A study released earlier this month by networking company Sandvine on Internet traffic trends found that peer to peer traffic is now below 10%, down from 31% five years ago and 60% eleven years ago. Less P2P traffic equals less piracy according to a report from Envisional.

  • Meanwhile, a combination of Netflix and YouTube now account for more than 51% of all Internet traffic in North America. YouTube is now the go-to platform for consuming music for US teens according to Nielsen’s annual Music 360 report, with more than 64% of teens consuming their music that way.

Here’s the bottom line - people don’t pirate songs anymore because they don’t need to. They can get whatever they want for free online via YouTube or a streaming service like Spotify.


After all, what’s the point of clogging up your hard drive with songs that you rarely listen to when you can have access to literally millions more any time and any place you want, and a lot more conveniently too? And why try to steal a song from a Torrent when you’re not sure if what you’re downloading is the original song or if it’s encrypted, corrupted or spoofed? You can waste a lot of time just trying to find a usable song to listen to. Who needs that? Read more on Forbes.
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You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday For Music 3.0

Another Black Friday is upon us and I thought it would be fun to include a short list here. You can find a more complete version over on my Big Picture Music Production Blog. Here are a few items that are perfect for the musician, engineer, songwriter, producer, artist or band.

Social Media Promotion For Musicians cover image


Social Media Promotion For Musicians - If you don't have the online presence or response you think you should, then this book's for you. Covers Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious, your website, blog and mailing list. Take 20% off  on the print version today only by using code 2HJQXWBT (the Kindle version is already discounted).





Shop Amazon - Black Friday Deals in Electronics




Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In the Internet Age - The book the blog is named after. If you want to understand what's happening in the "new" music business, this book's for you. Explains who's in control, who's making all the money, and how to get ahead as the business transitions into a new age.







lynda.com online training tutorialsLynda.com - Have you ever wanted to learn a piece of software, but hated the "how-to" videos you found on YouTube with bad audio and lighting and people that barely know what they're doing? Try Lynda.com, with more than 1500 courses with super high production values by experts and in small digestible bites. Check out my courses, and get 7 days free of unlimited access to lynda.com.





Recording And Music Production Books From Bobby Owsinski - For every musician who records at home, The Mixing Engineer's Handbook, The Recording Engineer's Handbook, How To Make Your Band Sound Great, The Studio Builder's Handbook, and 14 others are the perfect gift.






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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, November 27, 2013

The Music Industry Holiday Shutdown

Thanksgiving Turkey image
Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings and banquets, but it also marks the beginning of a time of year that those in the business of music either love or hate - the Holiday Shutdown.

The Holiday Shutdown is the toughest time of the year to do business because the execs that can greenlight a project begin their extended vacations, so they're rarely in the office. It begins Thanksgiving week (some leaving on Monday rather than Wednesday), and really continues until about the second week in January. Oh, they'll be back in the office between now and then, but they're usually so backed up with work that if you're not on the top of the pile you'll be pushed to next year.

One of the reasons why record execs leave is that the release schedules for the year and even into the first quarter of next year are set in stone. The Christmas releases are out by now, and while there may be a record that might drop in the first week of December, it's a rarity. It's a slow season work-wise, so why stick around?

On the other hand, agents and managers are still working as they line up fill-in dates for the end of the year and work on tours for the new year, merch vendors are still working because it's a prime time of the year for retail sales, and publishers are still getting payments and working on synch licenses for television shows and movies (although many of the producers have also left unless they're still in production).

This is also the time of year where bands may still be negotiating for a New Years Eve gig, which may be the best paying, but the worst gig of year, as the audience tries too hard to have the good time they think they're supposed to have.

With all that being said, it's a good time of year to get your marketing in order for 2014, since there's bound to be some downtime in whatever sector of the business that you're involved it. We'll review that more in an upcoming post, but in the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving and don't eat too much turkey!
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Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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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