Thursday, May 27, 2010

Music 3.0 Interview on

Check out the interview I did with Rick Goetz for his blog. The interview covers both my How To Make Your Band Sound Great and Music 3.0 books.

Thanks, Rick, for taking an interest in a little of what I do.
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 26, 2010

SEO Guru Gregory Markel Interview Excerpt

When I was writing the Music 3.0 Internet Music Guidebook, I was lucky enough to interview search engine Marketing guru Gregory Markel. Here's an excerpt from that interview.
One of the pioneers of search engine optimization and marketing, Gregory Markel’s Infuse Creative touts major entertainment clients such as Gibson Musical Instruments, New Line Cinema, The National Geographic Channel, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the television show 24, and many more. As a recording artist formerly signed to Warner Brothers (and a great singer too), Gregory has a deep empathy for the plight of today’s artist and provides an abundance of good advice in the following interview.

What is Search Engine Optimization exactly?
SEO these days has a broad definition. It means optimizing anything and everything that a search engine is going to return. That means a web page, a video, a newsfeed, a blog, a product, a book, an article; it’s paying attention to all those areas.

We have 3 basic types of clients. The first is a client that wants branding awareness. A good example of that is a theatrical release where they can’t measure the number of people who might have visited the website that later went on to buy tickets, but they feel that it’s something they have to do in order to get the word out.

The second is a client that does e-commerce where they sell a toaster or something with a specific fixed cost. If you can choose and effectively setup the right keywords with the right ads with the right landing pages at the right cost, then if your cost is $15 and you deliver a sale at more than that, it’s a positive outcome.

The next type of client wants lead generation, which can be extremely effective if your product has a moderate to large margin. There are companies like mine helping to generate leads to companies that need them where they can turn that into $20 to 100k per day.

Turning to music, if your music’s good there are so many opportunities with social media, free technologies and methodologies available that you can definitely get a large number of people to find you. Whether you do these things for yourself or have someone who partners with you as your designated on-line communicator and extended member of the band, there’s lots that you can do now without paying for media. Of course there are a lot of paid options which are very powerful and immediate, but they might not be cost effective for someone who has a limited budget or even none at all.

What would you suggest to a new artist that’s trying to break that wants to use SEO to get the word out?
Everybody knows to set up a MySpace page and a Facebook page. Beyond that, regardless if you’re offering your music for free or not, you want to utilize the rest of the web that doesn’t cost you anything, meaning all the Web 2.0 and social media stuff like personal profile pages, bookmarking and tagging, and an official Twitter channel. It’s figuring out a way to broadcast to your fans and affinity groups, which are groups of people that like the type of music that you play. For example, if I sound a lot like John Meyer, then I want to reach out to John Meyer fans. You can do all that simply at no cost by simply putting the time in.

Now the ones that do well with this are either going to have a webmaster as a partner or be a new type of musician. Most musicians are abstract and creative types and don’t really have an entrepreneurial or measurement oriented brain, so a new kind of musician who thinks this way, or has a webmaster, is essential.

For more of the interview, go to this section of my website.

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 25, 2010

iTunes Still Growing

According to a new report by Billboard Magazine, iTunes's market share has actually increased in 2009 to 26.7% of all music sold in the United States (research firm NPD says it's 28%). That's up from 21.4% in 2008 and more than double the 12.7% the company had in 2007.

Of course, iTunes is the largest music retailer in the United States by far, with 2nd place Wal-Mart at 12.5% and third place Best Buy at 8.7%. The iTune's increase was no surprise since both Wal-Mart and Best Buy are decreasing the number of CD's that they sell and well as the floor space.

Amazon keeps on growing with 7.1% of total sales in 2009 (for the record, NPD also states that Amazon has now tied Wal-Mart at 12%). Surprisingly, it's online Amazon MP3 store has only 1.3% of the market, but that's still good enough for 10th place.

As you can see from the numbers, the days of the "big box" retail stores are coming to a close, at least as far as music is concerned. That's OK because the big box stores were actually one of the reasons for the independent record store decline. With the big box stores taking up so much of the market share before iTunes (mainly because of their loss-leader deals on hit CDs), the life-blood of the industry, the local record stores, were left to die on the vine. This is just another of the many mis-steps of an industry that seems hell-bent on killing itself.

What's going to happen in the future? It should be especially interesting to see what iTunes offers later in the year. Some say it'll be a cloud-based service based upon the infrastructure of Lala, which Apple purchased earlier in 2010. Will that change the dynamics of music retail? Probably no more so than the way the trend is going already.

One thing to remember is that even though mainstream retail of physical product (CD's) is declining, that doesn't mean that CDs are going away any time soon (yes, eventually they will, just not as soon as some predict). What never shows up in the sales numbers are amount that's sold at gigs, which are substantial when you add them all up.

That being said, don't look for big changes at least through the end of the year.

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 24, 2010

Must Do MP3 Tags

I recently found this informative post from Dexter Bryant Jr. regarding the MP3 tags that you need to fill in to make sure that your song has enough information to be promoted properly.

Every MP3 released to the internet should have these ID3 fields completed. If you are an artist actively releasing and promoting your music online, make sure you’ve included the following data:

1. Artist Name – This name should be the REAL artist name or alias. One that can be found online should an interested listener want to search for more content by this artist.

2. Song Name - The song NEEDS to have a name. How can a listener email their friend and tell them about the song if it doesn’t have a name? How can fans talk about their favorite songs. Today’s music is a song culture and this is an MP3, it’s a SONG; give it a name and let it live.

3. Genre – Don’t make up some unique and strange genre for your music. As much as it pains artists to be lumped in with the mainstream genre names use a recognized ID3 genre tag. This tag gives listeners a reference of what to expect when they hear the song. If nothing else, it’s a good way of keeping your unique sound part of a collection that the listener may throw on when the mood suits.

4. Comments – Add a link to your website, or other online presence. Bonus if you add in a Creative Commons status. Beyond those 2 key items, this field is where the promotions REALLY happen. Add a unique factoid or something if you’re feeling creative.

5. Year – As much as some people don’t like having their music appear dated. Music is an evolution and has a history. Add the year the song was released. It helps give listeners a context, on when it was made.

6. Artwork – As much as music is about the song, the artwork is what we all see when we look at our MP3 player. Add something… Make it interesting and it might even become memorable to the listener.
Why ID3 tag the MP3 file? Because music and MP3 files are becoming the main currency of attention all artists have in common. Its the ideal gateway to listeners and the easiest way to convert those listeners to fans.

Even if you ignore the bulk of this post; every (artist released) MP3 file should have at minimum: Artist Name, Song Name, and A comment with the URL of their website or other online presence. Paying attention to this type of content monetization has a REAL value in raising the access and awareness an artist to fans and casual listeners. As listeners and fans collect more and more music, it is easy for a miss-tagged song to disappear into an MP3 collection. Filling out these ID3 fields allows listeners to easily search and organize the file within their own musical library.
originally posted on
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 23, 2010

Is Google TV The Future?

Last week Google introduced Google TV, and frankly, I can't wait. Why? Because it looks like Goggle TV will finally deliver on the promise of interactive television. If you've ever struggled with the sad attempts of your local cable company to implement interactive TV, your wait is finally over by the looks of it.

Set-tops boxes are so lame in that they're still running 1990's technology, complete with it's limitations. Doesn't it upset you that you can only get a 28 character or so description about a program? Don't you ever wish that you could find out more about the program you're watching without having to resort to going online with your computer? Don't you wish that you could watch all the video now on your computer on your big screen TV without having to be a nerd to hook everything up? Hopefully, this is what Google TV will do for us.

Watch this video explanation and then read Greg Sterling's Google TV FAQ from the Search Enginland website.

What is Google TV and when will it be available?
Google says that Google TV is an “open platform” that unites TV programming and the internet. It supports Flash and makes the “full internet” available in the living room on TVs. It will be available through set-top boxes and directly through “integrated” TV sets (the only one of which right now will be from Sony).
The search and browse capabilities, which integrate web and TV content side by side in results were impressive.

Will I have to buy a new TV?
No. Google TV is intended to work with existing TVs. Sony’s forthcoming TV doesn’t require a set-top box. However Logitech’s box will be available for existing sets.

Who are the partners involved at launch?
The initial group of companies involved in GTV include Intel (chip), Sony (TV), Logitech (set-top box), Best Buy (retailer), DISH Network (content provider with unique integration).
How will these devices be branded?
The branding of Google TV and related hardware devices will be highly analogous to the way Android handsets are presented (i.e., XX brand “with Google”). GTV is built on the Android platform (not ChromeOS).

Will it replace cable TV?
This is an interesting question to consider and one that will take time to answer. Users won’t need a cable TV subscription (though they will need WiFi in the home) to access GTV. So it’s at least possible that the web content and video, Netflix and Hulu that GTV offers via the internet could well substitute for a cable subscription.

Will Google TV “track” or collect data about me like online sites?
Google said that there will be the same privacy options (e.g., “incognito”) and controls for Google TV as there are via Chrome online (the TV browser is Chrome). But yes there will be tracking and data collection, partly for personalization and partly for ad ROI accountability and targeting.

What will it cost?
This is a critical question that Google and its partners declined to answer repeatedly.

Is it something I’ll want?
If Google TV performs and delivers as the demo, claims and screens suggest it will be a very desirable consumer product.

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.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...