Friday, October 16, 2015

An Overview Of Email List Service Providers

An email list as an integral tool for building your brand and your following. It's vitally important that you choose the right email service provider though, since that will impact how and when you email. Here's an excerpt from my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book that contains an overview of the more popular email service providers available.

Email List image

"When I wanted to send one of my first email newsletters to a list of only about 1200 (which seemed large at the time but is really tiny in grand scheme of email lists), I was astounded to find that my Internet Service Provider (ISP) wouldn't allow me to send to more than 100 addresses simultaneously from my business account. That meant that I had to split my list up into 12 batches, which made the job take a lot longer than it should have. After a number of calls to my Internet service provider at the time, I discovered that just about every ISP limits the number of email addresses that can be attached to an email in an attempt to keep spam in check, yet I knew that there were companies that sent emails to millions of addresses at a time every day. How did they do it?

That’s when I found out about Email Service Providers or ESPs. ESPs have an agreement with the various Internet service providers to make sure that their customers aren’t what we would consider spammers. While the odd few may push up against those boundaries, ESPs go to great lengths to make sure that you don’t fall into that category by constant checking spam reports and large email address imports, then making you personally verify that your lists are opt-in and not purchased or just skimmed from a forum.

That said, the only limit to how many addresses you can send to hinges on how much money you want to spend, since almost all ESPs work on the same principle - the greater the number of email addresses, the more it costs.

Here’s a list of email service providers to investigate. Each has their pros and cons, so it’s best to check every one out thoroughly before you commit. Since most of them also have free 30 day trials, you can try before you buy to see if a particular service is what you’re looking for.

TIP: Some email list providers are free if you only have a few hundred addresses. Even with a volume that low, it's so much easier to use an ESP than your own email client. Try it. You'll wonder how you ever got along without one.

As stated above, all of them have a nice selection of professional-looking email templates, but how they’re customized is slightly different, so be sure to check that out. Of course, if you already have a web designer that can design a good looking HTML newsletter, the templates won’t matter as much to you as the other features.

These are only just a sampling of the popular ESPs available, and you can also find a number of email list review sites that will give you a ranking and allow you to easily compare services. 

TIP: Even if you compare ESP features carefully, the best way to really find out which one will serve your needs is to use it for a bit first with the free trial they all offer."

I currently use GetResponse myself after trying out just about every one that's listed above. It has the right combination of features for me, but may not fit for you. Like most other services, whatever you feel has the best combination of services and ease of use is what you should use.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Aurous: The Streaming Service The Music Industry Fears

Aurous screentshot image
The music industry hated Grooveshark because it never paid for the music it streamed, and it was finally able to shut it down earlier in the year. Now a new service called Aurous has appeared, immediately drawing the wrath of the RIAA in the form of a lawsuit.

Grooveshark worked as a shell on top of Google, which basically searched the web to find the songs (most of them illegally uploaded) you wanted to hear. Aurous works the same way, but instead uses the Torrents to find illegally uploaded song files. It's similar to Popcorn Time, which does the same thing for movies and television shows and currently has those industries scrambling.

Aurous has in interface that's very similar to Spotify, and features ad-free streaming, which also means that the copyright holder, the artists and songwriters aren't getting paid. The service debuted an alpha version last week.

The music industry was quick to react, showing just how much the site is feared.

On Monday, the RIAA on behalf of UMG, Sony Music, Warner Music, Atlantic and Capitol Records, filed a lawsuit against Aurous and its creator Andrew Sampson for "willful and egregious copyright infringement."

The problem is that Aurous operates as a decentralized BitTorrent search engine, and the company can argue that it's not hosting any illegal content.

This will be an interesting legal battle that's only just beginning.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ed Sheeran Generated $20 Million From Spotify So Far

Ed Sheeran live image
For those of you who think there's no money in streaming music comes this - Ed Sheeran generated more than $20 million from Spotify so far.

Spotify just announced that Sheeran's global hit "Thinking Out Loud" was the first track over the 500 million mark on the service. Using the $0.007 average per stream figure that Spotify says it pays out to rights holders means that the song generated about $3.5 million by itself.

There's more though. Spotify says that all of Sheeran's tracks have been listened to about 2.9 billion times (yes, that's with a "b"). Again, using the $0.007 figure, that gives us a total of $20.3 million!

Keep in mind, this is from one service only, and doesn't include YouTube, Deezer, Pandora, etc.

Now the reality is that most of the $20 million goes to Sheeran's record label, who then pays him a rate of between 15 and 20%, depending upon his deal. That still means he made around $4 million from his streams so far.

Once again, the thing to remember is that it takes hundreds of millions (and billions) of streams or views to add up to something, but these numbers are the norm for a major artist these days.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Artists Getting To A Billion Views Faster Than Ever

Like I've stated many times here before, a million views or streams is nothing in today's digital world. A minor hit usually starts somewhere around 50 million and major hits are in the hundreds of millions.

When Psy broke the billion view mark on YouTube in 2012 with "Gangnam Style," it was a big deal since it was the first ever to do so.

Just three years later and a billion doesn't seem so out of reach any more as nine more songs have done it, with eight coming in the last 6 months. In fact, both Katy Perry and Taylor Swift have done it twice!

The latest in the billion view club is Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again," who did in in the fastest time yet (see the chart below from

So it looks like that 50 million entry mark might be shifted upwards before too long. Remember, a million was a substantial feat back in the old days of physical product, but in today's Music 4.0 world it's barely in the game.

YouTube Billion View Music Videos

Monday, October 12, 2015

Facebook Lead Ads Make Growing Your Email List Easier

Facebook Lead Ads image
Facebook is introducing a new feature to advertisers called Lead Ads. This feature makes it easier for a viewer to sign up for a newsletter, event or more information.

Until Lead Ads, an artist would have a link on a Facebook ad or page that would go to a separate landing page with an opt-in form in order to get someone to sign up for a mailing list.

With Lead Ads, when someone clicks on the ad, a form opens with the person's contact info automatically populated, based on the info they've already shared with Facebook.

This makes the form as easy as two taps, one to open the form and the second to submit, making it far easer to sign up. As we all know, the easier it is to fill out the form, the more likely that you'll get that person to opt in.

There have been a number of large companies already testing this feature like Oracle, Marketing Cloud and SalesForce, and all have found this to be more effect than the previous link on the ad to the landing page method.

You have to log into the Facebook Power Editor to take advantage of the Lead Ads feature. Here's a link to the Facebook page with more info, including a quick video on how it works.


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