Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Ringtone Business Is Still Alive

Mobile Services Numbers image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
I'm always amazed at just how long a dying business can hang on. Take the cassette for instance. You can still buy blank cassettes, get mass duplication services and even buy brand new pre-recorded product even in 2011. And in these days of widespread broadband, AOL still has a billion dollar business in the ancient dial-up services (remember modems?). And that's not even mentioning the DVD.

Which is why it should be no surprise that the ringtone business is still alive and well. Don't get me wrong, it's not increasing at all, but it's far from dead and buried.

This was all brought home by a recent Gartner study on recorded music that predicts, among other things, that digital music services will become an almost $8 billion piece of the music industry by 2015. But if you look closely at the chart on the left from that study, you'll find an interesting item called "Personalization Services." What the heck is that, you may be thinking? Well, glad you asked.

Personalization Services is their shorthand for ringtones and ringbacks, which as you can see, is still a $2.1 billion business in 2011. Just think about that for a moment. 4 or so years after the ringtone fad passed us by, people are still buying ringtones - a lot of them. Years after a wide variety of software has made it so easy for the average user to make their own ringtones, some people are still buying them instead. $2.1 billion dollars worth!

Gartner goes on to say that in 2015 they predict the now lowly CD will still garner $10 billion worth of business (see yesterday's blog for more on the current CD business), while ringtones will fall to about a bill and a half. Once again, this proves the point - don't be fooled into thinking that a business or technology is dead and gone just because the numbers are trending downhill and the press has deemed it passe. There's much more life (and dollars) left in those so-called dead technologies than you'd ever believe was possible.
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Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Major Labels To Abandon The CD in 2012?

6 CDs image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blogThere's a story being posted on news sites around the Internet with a headline similar to "CD Format To Be Abandoned By Major Labels By The End Of 2012." While it might make for a great headline, it's simply not true, and I'll tell you why in a minute.

First of all, let's look how this story got traction. The whole thing started with a small electronic music record label from Brussels called Alfa Matrix, and an article in their official magazine. In it's first issue from June 2011, editor Bernard Van Isacker said the following when asked if a CD would still exist in 5 years:
"Yes, but in a different format. Normal CDs will no longer be available because they don't offer enough value, limited editions on the other hand will remain available and in demand for quite a few more years. I for one buy only limited editions because of the added value they offer: a nice design, extra bonus gadgets, etc. The album as we know it now however will be dead within 5 years, if it isn't even sooner. I predict that downloads will have replaced the CD album within the next 2 years. I don't see that as something negative, it just has run its course, let's leave the space to limited editions (including vinyl runs for bigger acts) and downloads instead."
There's certainly a lot of truth to what he said, but his comments started the viral train rolling, which was soon picked up by the influential TechCrunch, who posted:
"It's a move that makes completely sense. CD's cost money, even when they don't sell because there is stock storage to be paid; a label also pays money to distributors when CDs get returned to the labels when not sold and so on. In short, abandoning the CD-format will make it possible to just focus on the release and the marketing of it and no longer focus on the distribution (since aggregators will do the work as far as dispatching the releases to services worldwide) and - expensive - stock maintenance. In the long run it will most surely mean the end for many music shops worldwide that only stock and sell CD releases. In the UK for instance HMV has problems paying the labels already and more will follow. It makes the distribution of CDs no longer worth it."
Before you know it, this was picked up almost as a foregone conclusion about the future even by the traditional press.

But as much as the doomsayers might like for it to happen, CDs just won't go away that soon. Why? Because last year 130 million CDs were sold in the US alone for one thing. It's still at least 50% of a record labels business and certainly the most profitable in terms of margin. What's more, there has been 20 straight weeks of increased store sales, according to Soundscan, something that hasn't happened since 2004. CDs are still a huge business that just isn't falling off a cliff at the rate that some might have you belive.

So don't believe the hype, the CD may be on a death spiral but it's not dead yet and won't be any time soon. In 5 years we may be having a different conversation, but the shiny piece of plastic still has some life in it left.
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, November 8, 2011

How To Set Up A Google+ Band Page

Google+ logo image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Finally Google+ now makes it possible to set up an artist, band or brand page. This isn't as cool as it could be, since the customization possibilities are still limited, but it's still way better than the personal pages that everyone had to have prior to November 7th.

Here's what you do to get started (thanks to Mashable for the list):

1. Sign in to your Google account and then head to

2. Pick a Category.
You now have to select which category you fit into. This one might be a little difficult in that so many categories can fit. As you'll see in number 3, each main category has subcategories that conceivably could work if you're into the many areas of music that exist.

3. Add Info
Enter your band or business name and website info, then select the subcategory that suits you best. These sub-categories are dependent on the main category you choose. If you're a band, you can use "Music Band" under the Entertainment category. On the other hand, you might want to be classified under "Celebrity", "Arts and Entertainment" or "Music" under the Product or Brand category. It's too early to know if this selection will make any difference at all in your traffic.

On the same page, select who can view your Google+ profile. The default is any Google user, or you can restrict this to 18 and older or 21 and older.

4. Add A Tagline and Photo
You have only 10 words to summarize your business, then you can add an image. Describing what you do in 10 words is actually a pretty good test of nailing the true essence of who you are and what you do.

5. Get the Word Out
At this point, Google offers you the ability to tell your personal Google+ circles about your new business page.

6. You're done! 
On your new welcome page, Google generates a link to your Plus page (which is a string of random characters instead of a vanity URL). You can also get a Google+ button for your site. It's now up to you to start adding people to circles (different to personal pages, the defaults include "team members," "customers," and "VIPs") and get posting.

Now I must say that I've tried a few times today to create a page for one of my blogs without success. I kept on getting an error that never said what was actually wrong with the data that I entered. That said, most people haven't had trouble creating their own brand, band or business page, so go to it. Now is the best time.
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, November 7, 2011

The 3 Secrets To Online Video Contests

Contest Clapper image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Here's an excerpt from a great post over at about how to run a successful online video contest. It's actually based on a white paper from Launchpad6, a site that specializes in conducting this kinds of contests. Whether you use them or not, the following 3 tips are worth considering.
"The team over at Launchpad6 has created a 3-step success formula that should help you come up with a great contest idea, offer the right prizes and choose the right promotional mix to help ensure your contest is a success.

1. The Premise

Premise refers to the contest idea and is the most important part of a successful video contest. By asking yourself the following questions, you should be able to determine if your contest idea will be successful:
  • Is content readily available or easily created?
  • Is the content itself interesting?
  • Is the content shareable?
  • Is there enough passion for the idea?
  • Is there an element of voyeurism involved?
  • Are you harnessing group mentalities?

2. The Prize

While big cash prizes can bring your contest a lot of attention and help you gain reach, it is often more niche prizes that get better results as they appeal to your target market and drive sales. Here are some thoughts to ponder:
  • Does the prize appeal to my target market?
  • Is it unique and attractive?
  • Is the prize valuable to my target market?
  • How can I offer supplementary or bonus prizes?

3. The Promotion

Video Contests have a natural self-promotion mechanism as uploaders tell their friends vote on their video. However, it is essential to promote your contest and get as many initial entrants as possible. Consider these promotional ideas:
  • Create a contest video and seed around the web
  • List your contest in directory sites
  • Utilize product packaging
  • Harness your social channels
  • Consider partnering with an industry publication
As the weeks go by and the series progresses, we will elaborate on these points and give you more ideas and information to help make your video contest a success. Either stay tuned for the next post, or download the whitepaper from Launchpad6."
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, November 6, 2011

5 Analytic Metrics To Watch

Metrics To Watch image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blogWhether you're using StatCounter or Google Analytics or some other measurement tool, the different metrics that are measured can be daunting. If you want to know how your website or blog is doing at a glance, here are some measurements to zero in on.

Unique Visitors: This is the number of unique visitors to your site. It doesn't include people who have reloaded your page multiple times. I like to check this number for daily visitors, monthly visitors and against the previous month.

Visits or Pageloads: Don't be fooled, this is different from unique visitors. Some visitors will come back multiple times, while others will load different pages on your site, so this number will always be higher than Unique Visitors. Still, this does give an indication as to how useful your site is to your visitors in that a lot of page loads means your site is fairly sticky.

Source or Came From: This tells you how your visitors got to your site. It may have been through a link or through a search engine, but it's good to know, especially if one link is generating a lot of traffic.

Time On Site or Visit Length: This one is sort of a moving target because I'm not sure how accurate it is. Usually there will be a big number with a visit length of 5 seconds or less, and these can be attributed to people who found you from a search engine but determined that your page wasn't what they were looking for when they reached your site. The other numbers are much more telling though. If you have visitors that are staying on your site for 5 minutes or more that's a good thing, and if they're staying more than an hour, it tells you that you're offering a lot of great content.

Popular Pages: This is another metric that I like, especially if your site is fairly large with a lot of content, because it tells you exactly how many visits each page receives. This gives you an indication of how popular each piece of content is.

Once again, to really get a feel for how your blog or site is doing, compare it daily and monthly. This will tell you whether you're gaining more visitors or losing them. For more on this subject that's aimed more at Google Analytics, take a look at this article from
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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