Thursday, February 16, 2012

10 Sales Tips For Artists

Sales Skills Toolbox image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
When it comes right down to it, we're all selling something. Every day, we're selling our products, services, brand and our personal selves over and over again. As an artist or band, you have to be aware that sales are a big part of your equation for success. Here are 10 sales tips from Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age that can help you not only increase your revenue, but your fan base as well.

"Here are ten sales tips to always keep in mind.
1. Ask for the purchase. Never forget that even though you’re selling yourself, you’re still in sales.

2. Sell a package. With a ticket you get a CD, with a CD you get a T-shirt, with a T-shirt you get a ticket. The idea is to make each purchase something with added value.

3. Sell merchandise at as an affordable price as possible. Until you’re a star, you should be more concerned about visibility and branding than revenue. If you want to spread the word, price it cheaper.

4. There are other things to sell besides CDs and T-shirts. Hats, a song book, a tour picture book, beach towels—get creative but choose well. Too many choices may actually reduce sales as a result of buyer confusion. You can now sell a variety of branded merchandise with no up-front costs using or

5. Begin promoting as soon as possible. That allows time for the viral buzz (aka free promotion) to build and ensures that you’ll get a larger share of your fan’s discretionary spending.

6. Capture the name, email address, and zip code from anyone who makes a purchase, particularly ticket buyers.

7. Always give your customer more than he or she expects. By giving them something for free that they did not expect, you keep them coming back for more.

8. Give it away and sell it at the same time. In the Music 1.0 to 2.5 days, you used to give away a free track to sell other merchandise such as the album. Now, if you give away a track, that track will help you to sell more.

9. The best items to sell are the ones that are the scarcest. Autographed items, special boxed sets, limited-edition vinyl that’s numbered—all these items are more valuable because of their scarcity. If the items are abundant, price them cheaper. If the items are scarce, don’t be afraid to price them higher.

10. Sell your brand. You, the artist, are your own brand. Remember that everything you do sells that brand, even if it doesn’t result in a sale. Just the fact that people are paying attention can result in a sale and more revenue down the road."

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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

6 Steps To Great Google+ SEO

Google+ image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Since Google+ has come on the scene, just about everyone has wondered if there is a way to optimize your G+ posts in a way that will help your search engine ranking. Recently there's been a couple of long articles about G+ SEO that outline a number of points to consider. I'll spare you the long read and the inevitable head scratching about some of the content and just give you the 6 salient points that I took away.

1. Post fresh content frequently: Any Google+ profile with no posts within the last 72 hours won't show up in the "Related People/Pages" section of Google's search results. In fact, posting a few times a day is a good strategy. Reshares and links are OK as it doesn't all have to be original to count.

2. Pages can matter more than profiles: Brand pages with a few thousand followers/circlers can appear in "Related People/Pages" of the search engine rankings ahead of individual profiles with more than a million followers/circlers.

3. +1s matter: Profiles and pages that get a lot of +1s on their posts tend to show up more often in "Related People/Pages" results.

4. Comments and reshares don't matter as much as +1s when it comes to "Related People/Pages" results.

5. Circle influential people with big circle followings. Comment on and reshare their stuff to get yourself noticed.

6. Do not spam - ever. It sticks out like a sore thumb on G+ and you can bet that the big brother who is Google is watching and penalizing you for being bad.

If you want to read some more (lots more) on the subject, go the The Ultimate Google+ SEO Guide, Google Plus Box Ranking Factors Report, or a good compilation article on both articles on

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, February 14, 2012

The Social Media Grammy Bounce

bounce spring image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
OK, this is the last post on this year's Grammys. We always hear about the Grammy bounce, which refers to the bump in sales that Grammy nominees and winners usually get after the ceremony. Does the same thing happen in social media?

Apparently not so much, according to For most nominees, the social media bump (Facebook likes and Twitter followers) was pretty negligible, considering the exposure. Here are the numbers. The artists with an asterisk performed on the show.

Album of the Year
 21 - Adele*
  • Facebook: 1.05% (+187,656)
  • Twitter: 5.33% (+196,690)
Wasting Light - The Foo Fighters*
  • Facebook: 0.3% (+18,322)
  • Twitter: 2.25% (+13,728)
Born This Way - Lady Gaga
  • Facebook: 0.07% (+35,598)
  • Twitter: 0.24% (+45,683)
Doo-Wops & Hooligans - Bruno Mars*
  • Facebook: 0.37% (+68,620)
  • Twitter: 0.56% (+39,355)
Loud - Rihanna*
  • Facebook: 0.1% (+49,515)
  • Twitter: 0.56% (+74,229)
Record of the Year
  • Facebook: 1.05% (+187,656)
  • Twitter: 5.32% (+196,690)
  • YouTube: 0.34% (+772,108)
Holoscene” – Bon Iver
  • Facebook: 0.59% (+6,043)
  • Twitter: 6.11% (+10,473)
  • YouTube: 4.23% (+94,246)
The Cave”Mumford & Sons
  •  Facebook: 0.13% (+3,255)
  • Twitter: N/A
  • YouTube: 0.67% (+21,929)
Grenade” – Bruno Mars*
  • Facebook: 0.37% (+68,620)
  • Twitter: 0.56% (+39,255)
  • YouTube: 0.11% (+274,387)
Firework” – Katy Perry*
  • Facebook: 0.06% (+25,048)
  • Twitter: 0.02% (+2,736)
  • YouTube: 0.1% (+235,907)

Another thing - we keep hearing about how the 2012 Grammy's had the best television audience in 20 or so years, and I've seen more than one article stating that was all do to social media.

I beg to differ. Sorry to get morbid, but I believe it was all due to the untimely (but timely for the Grammy's) death Whiney Houston. The almost non-stop major media coverage combined with the social media of the event created a one-time spike in ratings that won't be duplicated soon. Look to a return to the ratings doldrums next year.

By the way, considering that I tend to pan the Grammy's a lot, I did enjoy most of the show (except for the Nikki Manaj trainwreck and DeadMau5).

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, February 13, 2012

Who's The Biggest CD Distributor?

Anderson Merchandisers image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
When you think of the largest CD distributor in the US, who immediately comes to mind? Many of you will think, "Universal Music, since they're the biggest record company." Good guess but you'd be wrong. Way wrong.

The fact of the matter is that 82% of all CDs in the US are distributed through Anderson Merchandisers after a deal where they purchase the distribution rights from Sony DADC (once one the largest CD pressing facilities anywhere). Knoxville-based Anderson now distributes for 3 of the 4 major labels, with Universal, Sony and EMI in the fold. Only Warner Bros. continues to distribute their own product, at least for now.

Anderson is already the country's largest music wholesaler, supplying Walmart, Sam's Clubs, Best Buy and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, and believe it or not, they say that their CD sales have actually increased over last year on a retail level.

So what does this acquisition mean? A couple of things:

1) It's never a good idea for any one company to have a monopoly over a distribution channel, although the consequences aren't so bad for an industry sector that's declining rather than increasing. Still, it gives you some pause to think about the fact that if CEO Charlie Anderson wakes up one morning and decides that the CD business isn't cutting it any longer, the CD format can officially die in one fell swoop.

2) This is a typical business tactic that happens during the downward spiral of an industry sector. Companies that want to move on to bigger and better things sell their portions of the declining biz to an aggregator (Anderson), who then can run the remnants of the business with a greater economy of scale and still eek out some profits for a while.

The way I see it is that this is just another nail in the CDs coffin, but there are a lot of nails left to be pounded yet.

Interestingly enough, Sony DADC may be getting out of the CD business, but they're moving headfirst into the digital distribution biz since they just signed a deal with Warner Bros. to store and distribute their digital content.

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, February 12, 2012

What's A Grammy Win Worth?

Grammy Award image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
While many discount the relevance of the Grammy awards, there's no doubt that a win is still a career accelerant. Not only do album sales usually get a bump, there are some other hidden benefits that go along with a Grammy award win as well.

According to an article in Forbes magazine recently, producer fees for a Grammy winner can jump as much as 100 to 150%, which is also frequently the case with songwriter advances as well. In fact, the so-called "Grammy bounce" averages about 55% in the year following a Grammy win.

Even though sales jump a bit, it's on that road that most artists make out. Ub tge tear after grabbing Grammy #1, Bruno Mars average nightly gross went from $130k to $202k (+55%), Esperanza Spalding swung from $20k to $32k (+60%), and superstar Taylor Swift from $125k to $600, (+380%), which eventually rose to $1.1 million the following year.

Banner, who made his name as a hip-hop artist, found that he was better able to find work outside the rap world after his win, and has since gotten lucrative gigs scoring music for movies and commercials.

"When I score, I'm a Grammy Award-winning producer," he explains. "They don't say that I'm a Grammy Award winner for rap. A Grammy is a Grammy."

Which is why that, despite the many failings of the Grammy show and organization, winning a Grammy is still a goal worth having for any musician.

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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