Saturday, May 12, 2012

Come With Me To China

I'm going on a trip to China and I'd love for you to come along.
  • 14 days
  • 4 cities: Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Suzhou
  • Performances and talks by myself and my good friend Gene Wall Cole.
  • 3 meals a day included
  • Deluxe accommodations
  • English speaking guides
  • Shows and special restaurants included
  • All transportation within China included
  • Only $2995 (excluding airfare to and from China)
  • October 8 to 21, 2012
Questions? Send me an email.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

YouTube Still The King Of Music Discovery

Billions of music plays image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blogI've been talking at a lot of colleges this year and the first question I always ask my audience is, "How do you discover your music?" The reply is always the same - overwhelmingly YouTube, followed by Pandora. Digital Music News recently compared the figures provided by the several online music providers that verifies what I've been hearing.

According to Accustream iMedia Research, 38.4 percent of YouTube's 1 trillion views in 2011 were music videos. Pandora reported 8.2 billion hours of radio streaming in 2011 (which comes out to 98 million streams or so), Spotify at 37 billion, Rhapsody at around 7 billion and Grooveshark at 2 billion.

What that means is that the number of YouTube music views are bigger than everyone else combined.

That's the best reason you can have to place your songs on YouTube, because that's where people look first to find their music, at least currently. It doesn't have to be an expensive music video and it doesn't have to even be professionally made (although that helps a lot). Just a black screen with lyrics and the name of the artist works.

It's time to create a YouTube channel and upload all of your songs. Be sure to include a description with links to your social media and website, and all the pertinent meta data (more on this in an upcoming post).

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, May 9, 2012

Amanda Palmer's Kickstarter Tips

Amanda Palmer image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Amanda Palmer's always been used as a the perfect example of how social media promotion is done in our Music 3.0 age. As I posted last week, she's now a beaming example of how to mount a Kickstarter campaign as well.

As of this writing, she's had over $600 in pledges just 8 days into her month-long campaign, which is pretty amazing. So just how did she do it? She gave away her secrets on crowdfunding to the O Music Awards Blog. They are (with my comments afterward):

1) You have to have fans before you can ask them to help you. [This one seems pretty obvious, but is mysteriously overlooked by many artists.]

2) Show, don't tell: HAVE A GOOD VIDEO. [This is a lot harder than it seems. You have to sell your fans on your idea/music and not be obnoxious about it. People get paid a lot of money to do this every day, which suggests its difficulty, so make sure you put a lot of thought into it.]

3) Don't just reward the rich: keep every level rewarding. [If you look at some Kickstarter campaigns, it seems hardly worthwhile to even consider some of the lower pledge levels since you don't get all that much in return. As you get to the higher money pledges, the rewards always become a lot more interesting, but you want to reward those that can only afford the lower levels as well.]

4) Be honest: You'll be amazed at how helpful people really are when you talk straight with them. [Fans naturally want to help. The more honest and open you are, the more help they'll give you. If something feels funny or below board, they'll start to pull back.]

5) No tool is deus ex machina: ANY platform can work. [Don't get stuck on one platform since the name of the game is delivering your music to people, and giving them the chance to help you out by buying something occasionally. Without those last two things, the platform doesn't matter.]

Last but important, Palmer gives the best tip: Your music must be good, you must respect your fans, and pretty much without exception; YOU HAVE TO TOUR.

Another great tip from Amanda comes from a conversation she had with Techdirt in which she states just how she developed that fanbase in the first place:

"I've been tending this bamboo forest of fans for years and years, ever since leaving roadrunner records in 2009. Every person I talk to at a signing, every exchange I have online (sometimes dozens a day), every random music video or art gallery link sent to me by a fan that i curiously follow, every strange bed I've crashed on...all of that real human connecting has led to this moment, where I came back around, asking for direct help with a record. Asking EVERYBODY...And they help because...they KNOW me."

Every time I post something about Amanda Palmer I get a lot of negative comments and emails as she can be a polarizing figure if you're not a fan. The thing is, she's out there doing well in what a lot of people can't. Whether you like her or her music or not, at least take heed of her techniques. She's giving them away for free.

Check out her Kickstarter campaign, and read both the O Music Awards blog and Techdirt posts for more info.

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, May 8, 2012

Facebook By The Numbers

I saw this interesting set of Facebook statistics yesterday on Hypebot and thought it worth noting. It's from their May 3rd SEC S-1 filing, which is the document that companies must file explaining their business before a public offering (IPO).

A couple of figures jump out, like the 2 billion Likes per day and the fact that the network has zero penetration into China and only 60% into India and the US. Presumably that leaves some room for growth. Check out these numbers.

Total users and engagement:
  • 125 billion Friendships
  • 2 billion Likes per day
  • 1 billion Comments posted per day
  • 901 million Monthly active users
  • 526 million Daily Active users
  • 488 million Monthly active mobile users
  • 302 million Photos uploaded each day 
User penetration:

  • 85% Chile, Turkey, and Venezuela
  • 60% India, the United Kingdom and the United States
  • 30%-40% Brazil and Germany
  • 20% Japan, Russia, and South Korea
  • 0% China
Daily active users
  • 526 million Worldwide total
  • 152 million Europe
  • 129 million M US & Canada
  • 126 million Rest of the world
  • 119 million Asia
Monthly active users
  • 901 million Worldwide total
  • 242 million Rest of the world
  • 241 million Europe
  • 230 million Asia
  • 188 million US & Canada
Revenue (last quarter)
  • $1,058 million Worldwide total
  • $525 million US & Canada
  • $328 million Europe
  • $118 million Asia
  • $87 million Rest of the world
  • 82.42% Revenue from advertising
  • 17.58% Revenue from payments (and other)
From Facebook's May 3rd SEC S-1 Filing via

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, May 7, 2012

Google+'s "New Hangouts On Air" Feature

Hangouts on Air image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
One of the more intriguing features of Google+ was Hangouts, which was a sort of video conference where you could broadcast to up to 10 users. This was a cool thing for many artists, who got around the 10 viewer max by rotating them during their broadcast, which is obviously not the ideal way to connect with your fans.

Today Google finally took the wraps off the new and improved version, called Hangouts on Air, that lifts the 10 person limit and basically allows you to stream what might be considered your very own TV channel. Of course, this was possible before with services like Ustream, Justin.TV and Livestream, but HOA supposedly has a terrific video codec and a lossless audio codec, so the quality of the broadcast is said to be terrific.

Another advantage is that the HOA stream is automatically recorded to your YouTube channel, so it can be viewed later or embedded on blogs or websites outside of Google+. In other words, you can broadcast to the entire world, not just those within Google+. You have to link your Google+ account to your YouTube account to do so, but I think this is a no brainer. Users also have to upgrade their Google Voice and video plugins before they can begin streaming.

Although we don't know what the limits are yet, Hangouts on Air just might be the killer app for Google+. It has the potential to become a great promotional tool that can allow artists to connect with their fans in real time in ways that weren't as easy or possible until now. While all apps are great when they're first introduced, lets see how it actually pans out after it's in use for a while. First indications are promising, however.

Here's a video that shows HOA in operation.

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, May 6, 2012

America's Most Engaging Social Network?

Tagged logo from Music 3.0 Blog
With all the hype that Facebook is getting as it comes upon IPO time, you'd think that it was the most engaging of all the 100 or so social networks with more than 1 million subscribers. Yes, it's the biggest, but it's not the most engaging. Neither is Twitter or Google+. Pinterest is getting a lot of hype lately as well, but that's a limited demo of mostly young mothers, so that's out too.

According to the online research firm ComScore (via an article in Mashable), Tagged is the most engaging of all US social networks. Haven't hear of Tagged yet? You will soon, because it's coming on strong.

Tagged is a social discovery site where users go to make new friends. It's been around since 2004, open to anyone over 12, and is actually profitable and growing. According to ComScore, users visit the network an average of 18 times a month, which is second only to Facebook at 36 times, but they stayed for 12.1 minutes as compared to Facebook's 10.9 minutes. The combined scores make Tagged the most engaging social network being used today in the US.

And it's not small either. Tagged has 10 million core users that make over 100 million new connections a month. Far from Facebook, for sure, but the fact that they're growing, have really dedicated users, and actually make money is a pretty big thing in the social world.

One of the problems that we have in the social world today is a limited bandwidth. It's pretty difficult to keep up with more than a couple social networks regularly, and trying to use them all as a promotional tool can be a losing battle in time management. My advice is to check out Tagged. If it appears that your fans are either core users or moving there, then it's worth spending your time there. Otherwise, just keep tabs on it from time to time to see if a shift in your demographic is taking place. There are only so many hours in the day, and you need at least some left for making music.
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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