Thursday, October 13, 2011

4 Steps For Creating A Video Blog Post

video blog image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
I saw this great article on by Nick Stamoulis called "4 Tips For Creating A Video Blog Post," which outlined a number of things to think about when adding a video to your blog post (or any other post for that matter). While you can read the entire article for yourself, I thought I'd use his 4 Tips and fill in my own explanation.

1, Write A Unique Title And Video Summary - It's vitally important that you have not only a descriptive title for the post, but also a summary of what's in it. Just because you have a video in your post, that may not be enough for someone to click on it to find out if it's something they might be interested in. A short summary (even just a line or two) explains why they should take the chance.

2. Embed The Video - Why have a link that takes people away from your blog or site when you can easily keep them there in the first place? With YouTube, it's so simple to embed a video these days. Just click on the Share button, then the Embed button, copy the code and paste it into the html of your blog. It's easy and almost no hassle, since you don't have to worry about uploading video or bandwidth limitations.

3. Promote It Like A Regular Blog Post - After all, for all intents and purposes, it is a regular blog post. It should get no less promotion than any other post. Share the link on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other network that you might be a part of.

4. Create A Video Blog Post Archive - I admit that I haven't done this yet myself, but I'm going to because it's such a great idea. First of all, search engines love site maps like this, but so will your readers if it makes it easier for them to look at other video blog posts. The spiders of the search engines can read video, but they can read descriptions and links, so this is a great way to up your page ranking.

You can read the ReelSEO article here.

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Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Artists Can't Expect Much From Facebook Music

Linkin Park facebook fans image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
One of the unstated promises of Facebook's recent collaboration with a variety of music delivery services was that it would be a boon to artists, both from an income and a visibility standpoint. It seems that viewpoint might be only a myth, according to a post on Inside Facebook.

It seems that since Spotify, Rdio, and other music service began being automatically shared to the social network late last month, the Facebook Pages of musicians have not been gaining fans any faster than before.

Now matter what the usage, artists and bands weren't going to get rich off of the music streams affiliated with Facebook since they're only making a little over 1/10th of a percent per stream. What they could look forward to however, was increased Likes and visits to their Facebook page. Unfortunately, that just isn't happening. Using Linkin Park as an example, you can see from the chart on the left that there's been absolutely no spike whatsoever when Facebook Music came online.

There is something that FB could do to rectify the situation though. They could add a prominent, one-click “Like this artist” button to stories about listening activity. When users see who they’ve been listening to on their profile Timeline, or discover a new artist by clicking through a story about a friend’s listening activity, they could then instantly become a fan.

Then again, they could also make a deal with iTunes, the one service that's missing from the whole FB Music concept. Although there's a lot less money in downloads than with physical product, it's still a whole lot more than a stream.

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 11, 2011

9 Steps To Using ReverbNation's Promote It

Brian Hazard recently wrote a great post on Music Think Tank about using ReverbNation's Promote It tool to promote a Depeche Mode song, "But Not Tonight," that he covered on Facebook. The Promote It tool is unique in that it automatically generates dozens of optimized Facebook ads based on past Promote It campaigns, and continually optimizes your campaign based on the performance of those ads. Right now there are two types of campaigns available: you can either promote a song and promote your Facebook page, but soon you’ll also be able to promote  shows as well.

Here are the 9 steps to starting a Promote It campaign that Brian came up with:

"1. Which Song Would You Like to Promote? You should pick one that grabs the listener in the first 5-10 seconds. The song I chose starts right in on the first verse, with no instrumental introduction whatsoever.

2. Pick 5 Similar Artists. Since I was promoting a Depeche Mode cover song, I picked the band and its members’ solo projects: Dave Gahan (lead singer), Martin L Gore (songwriter), and Alan Wilder (long-departed yet still beloved keyboardist/producer) - plus Erasure, since half of that duo was in the original line-up of DM. The product manager for Promote It told me that artists who have between 50,000 and 500,000 likes work best, and my results bear that out:
Similar Artist Scorecard

The Dave Gahan ads performed so well that they completely crowded out the rest. Perhaps it’s because Depeche Mode has millions of casual fans, but only the most serious ones keep up with the lead singer’s solo work, and are therefore more motivated to check out my cover.

3. Write Ad Text. You can choose to author one of the ads yourself, or let Promote It generate them all. Since my custom ad was outperformed by the auto-generated ads, I won’t bother sharing it with you.

4. Choose Picture. Your choice here can make or break the campaign! My previous campaign was identical to this one, except I used a close-up of yours truly. The results were pathetic. It should come as no surprise that a photo featuring 1) a world-famous band and 2) an attractive female does a better job of catching the eye.

5. Geo-Targeting. Choose between local (your state), national, all English-speaking countries, or global. Theoretically you should get the best results from global, but national did just as well for me in my limited experience.

6-8. Name Your Campaign, Sync with Facebook, Start Date. Pretty much self-explanatory.

9. Budget. Choose between $25, $50, $100, $250, or $500 on a one-time, weekly, or monthly basis. I recommend you experiment with successive $25 campaigns until you find a winning formula, and expand from there.

It seems like the tool really works. Brian's $50 campaign lasted six days and got some impressive results, as you can see from the graphic below:"

This looks like a great tool that's well worth the few bucks that it takes to implement a campaign. Read the rest of the article here.


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 10, 2011

New Music Opportunities In Gaming

Music 3.0 2nd edition image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Here's another excerpt from the upcoming 2nd edition of Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age, which will be out in early November.

This time it's an excerpt from an interview with my good friend Thom Kozik, who knows more about gaming (and tech in general) than most people on the planet. Thom began in digital media in 1990 while at Microsoft where he helped engineer the beginning of both the multimedia revolution and interactive television. Along the way he's spent most of his time on the gaming side of the tech industry, having served as president of gaming search engines Wazap and All-Seeing Eye (which he sold to Yahoo in 2004), before he became director of business development for Yahoo’s Media group, then Executive Vice President of Online Gaming at Atari. He is now president of N√ľko Games.

In this excerpt, Thom talks about how games are evolving and how that's providing opportunities for artists and composers like never before.
"There are two big things that have changed; the explosion of online gaming in the Western markets (predominantly driven through Facebook), and the music games that we were talking about two years ago have sunsetted with the change in appetite among gamers.

As far as console games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, there’s a feeling by video game publishers that they’ve milked that cow as far as they could and can no longer sell tracks endlessly into those franchises. They haven’t turned them off completely and there’s still an effort to continue to sell into their installed base, but we’re not going to see another Beatle’s Rock Band on the horizon. The economics just aren’t there.

For an artist who wants to produce for this space, I think there’s actually more opportunity than there was a couple of years ago. Back then the focus was on the music games, but the publishers really didn’t worry about new music at all. They just wanted old back catalog to throw into the channel.

Now browser-based and mobile gaming (which I still consider to be online gaming) is where the action is. The truth is that the biggest growth area is based around games that depend upon and live via an online connection. In mobile games in particular, most of the early games in this area were self-contained experiences where titles like Angry Birds and Doodle Jump had the audio assets for the entire experience, along with all other elements, in the download package that the consumer purchased from an App Store. That’s shifting quickly to games like Infinity Blade, which uses a traditional console gaming engine and has taken the iPhone and iPad markets by storm. No one expected to see a game of this breadth and quality on a mobile device. It wasn’t because of the limitation of the device, but more about the nature of the product being released by the game developers. What’s most important about a game like Infinity Blade and those that are going to follow is that they’re structurally more like console games in that different levels load dynamically as the player progresses. What’s important for musicians is that there’s a need for more soundtracks and audio assets as the publishers continue to sell and ship those new levels to players. This trend in mobile gaming is much bigger than the equivalent of “map packs” that publishers put out for console and PC games in years past.

From a creative standpoint, now you have a few leading indicators of what can really be done on these mobile platforms. We’re opening up a really cool opportunity for the composer, artist or publisher to do the same kind of grand scoring and creative expression of music on a mobile device that they would have done on a console as recently as a couple of years ago. That’s a big opportunity.

On the browser game side, one of the things that we’re going to see is that the game developers and studios have had their eyes opened to what can be done in a web browser, so the games are getting much bigger in scope. What’s important is that in the Angry Birds or Doodle Jump world, the ability to create a score or the amount of music available in the game is fairly limited. Contrast that to the kind of games we’re used to seeing on consoles or PCs or massive multiplayer games like World Of Warcraft. The music is epic -- it’s a lot more than some catchy loops.

It’s soon going to be easier to have great epic scores on mobile games than on the browser because of the nature of the way that a browser talks to the Internet. There is technology out there that can make this easier, but it will be a question of how smart the game developers are with this."

For more book excerpts from this book and others, go to my website.

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 9, 2011

How About $10 For a Copyright Violation?

Pirate Key image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
When the RIAA chose to hammer illegal downloaders with lawsuits, much of the world yawned instead of quivered in fright. Wave after wave of bad publicity over a technique that clearly failed to stem the piracy tide finally caused the music industry to rethink the best way to stem the illegal file tide. And the solution? Be reasonable.

Many content owners are now using a small LA-based firm called Digital Rights Corp to monitor file-sharing sites, then contact the alleged copyright infringers with an offer - pay a mere $10 to settle up each infringement and we'll call it even. Refuse to pay and you may be liable for up to $150,000 because of copyright violations and be at risk of having your Internet service cut off.

This is what the letter states:
“If you click on the link below and login to the Rightscorp, Inc. automated settlement system, for $10 per infringement, you will receive a legal release from the copyright owner.”
The link directs the email recipient to a page where they are will get a settlement letter in exchange for $10.

Now don't forget, this isn't just a straight amount of $10; it's 10 bucks per infraction. That means that if you've illegally downloaded 250 songs, it'll cost you $2,500. That's still cheaper than facing an RIAA lawsuit, where that amount probably won't even cover the retainer for a good attorney.

But the real carrot on the stick is loss of Internet privileges, something that most people today can't live without. This is made possible by a portion of the Digital Millinium Copyright Act that requires an ISP to terminate a repeat copyright offender if notified. While we haven't seen this happen much so far, this may become a big part of the RIAA's playbook in the future, although many consumer advocates say that they'll fight such action. Ultimately, the Supreme Court might eventually be asked to resolve the issue.

Either way, it looks like we're moving into a new age in the fight against digital piracy. At least the tactics are more reasonable for a change.

You can read more on the subject in this article in

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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