Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stars Make The Big Mistake Of Not Going Digital

Kid Rock Rebel Soul image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
It seemed like a good idea at the time to be a holdout from going digital, but now it looks like AC/DC and Kid Rock are paying the price. Two of the longest digital holdouts are meeting with only modest digital download success now that consumers have started to tip toward streaming, and it looks like the window for some real revenue from digital might have passed them by.

Take AC/DC. While the video of the band's Live At River Plate hit #1, their first album (of the same name) debuted at only #66 on the iTunes store. That said, since the band recently released their entire catalog to iTunes, 13 of their songs have entered the 200 song Hot Digital Songs chart. This sounds like a lot until you see that the classic "Back In Black" is the biggest seller at only 68k, and the album of the same album sold only 15k this week, which is a drop in the bucket to the big sellers of the day. You have to think that if they had done this any time in last 3 years that they may have had more success.

Kid Rock's first digital album Rebel Soul is doing better, debuting at #5 and selling 146k total copies, but only 57k of those are digital. The problem is that amount is less than his the debuts of his previous 3 albums, even with the digital element now attached. The interesting thing here is that KR really missed out on the digital scene by waiting, proven by a cover band called Rock Heroes selling 1,647,000 digital copies of his 2007 hit "All Night Long," which would've meant about $330k of revenue that he missed out on right there.

Once again, this proves the point that you can't sit on the sidelines while technology passes you by, especially in music. Both Kid Rock and AC/DC didn't do themselves any favors by doing so, although they probably thought they did the right thing at the time. Remember the mantra; your music is your marketing. The more that's out there, the better off you are, even if you're AC/DC.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

3 Million Plays = A $39 Royalty Check

Heaven Is A Place On Earth cover image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
As artists and songwriters continue to discover, streaming music doesn't throw off as much money many thought it would. One of the big problems is that after what seems to be an enormous number of song plays, the royalty is incredibly meager. You hear different examples of this every day from outraged artists and songwriters, the latest being Ellen Shipley in a post last week to Digital Music News that you'll find below.
"My Song Was Played 3.1 Million Times on Pandora. My Check Was $39...
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
by  paul 
The following comment, posted on our site [Digital Music News] Tuesday, comes from Grammy-nominated, hit songwriter Ellen Shipley. One of her top tracks, "Heaven Is a Place On Earth," [the 1987 hit by Belinda Carlisle] got played more than 3.1 million times on Pandora, in the last three months alone. Here's the rest...    
It is interesting and very disturbing that no one is addressing the SONGWRITER's situation in this Pandora debacle.
Pandora wishes to REDUCE the amount of royalties that songwriters have already seen CUT in 2005. Let me give you an example of what Pandora is paying in royalties to SONGWRITERS--not the performers, but the people who write the songs--the foundation of the music world--- 
PANDORA ----"Heaven Is A Place On Earth"  (co-written)
accounting period for 3 months-----3,112,300 streams
My Pandora royalty .................$39.61 
AND they want us to take an EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT CUT!!!  
Does that give you an understanding of the meager, insulting, outrageous amount of money songwriters are being paid from PANDORA and SPOTIFY and YOUTUBE and GOOGLE  (I received 15 cents from GOOGLE the other day)? 
PANDORA talks a great deal about their need to make a profit and to survive.... but they could care less about the fate of those creators who already are hurting so badly, they are dropping out of music. 
According to the FEDERAL CENSUS, we have lost 45% of our professional songwriters in the last ten years or even less (since the advent of streaming and piracy on the Internet depriving us of earning our LEGAL royalties) 
So--here is the question:
WHY is it alright for PANDORA to want to exist and grow and earn profits while it is NOT alright for the SONGWRITERS to SURVIVE, be respected, earn a fair royalty?
PANDORA's model is failing-- because as Steve Jobs recognized much earlier on when he rejected the idea of Streaming Digital radio--they don't have a business plan that gives them a way (such as ad revenue) to earn a profit OTHER THAN NOT PAYING FOR MUSIC! 
Listen Up Everyone Please:
Without the Songwriters who create music for artists who do NOT write their own songs, there will be little if any music when you go to PANDORA OR SPOTIFY OR YOUTUBE....
I am grateful for my success as a Grammy-nominated, hit songwriter....I am grateful that my songs have reached millions of people and meant something to them in their lives....
But I will NOT perpetrate the myth that somehow Songwriters should give their music away for free or let it be stolen by Corporations interested in their own profits by any means possible.
THis is a human rights issue---We are discriminated against and unprotected by the US governments obligation to make sure our FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS in the BILL OF RIGHTS (the "right to the pursuit of happiness" which includes the right to work at the JOB OF OUR CHOICE and earn an income from that job without--my words- interference from any person, place, corporation, streaming sites that are robbing us of our Constitutional rights. 
Let the voice of the Songwriters Be Heard!  Send a petition tous--allow us to be represented at all these meetings between the music world and those who would seek to destroy what we have worked so long and hard to achieve in our lives. 
Ellen Shipley"
Ellen has every right to be outraged, but it seems that her anger is a bit misplaced. She's a BMI writer and her check came from BMI, not Pandora. It was BMI who made the licensing deal with Pandora and BMI who determined how much her streams were worth in the grand scheme of things, given the amount of licensing money they received. Then they split the money 50/50 with Ellen and her publisher after taking an administrative fee. Some of her beef should be with BMI for the deal they cut.

OK, that still doesn't negate the fact that 39 bucks isn't that much for 3 million streams. And of course, the fact that Pandora wants to reduce that amount even further to stay in business just inflames the situation. But the fact is that songwriters have been used to making more money from terrestrial radio play for a long time, but the pool of money for online radio just isn't that large right now, at least for Pandora.

That said, Pandora says that it can't stay in business without a license rate reduction, but maybe it's better for normal market evolution to take its course and let it die, just like any other business that has the same income to expense problem. If there's a real need in the market for such a service (and Spotify can't fill it all), then you'll see someone rush in to fill the gap in no time, perhaps with a business plan to make it work better for all involved.

Help support this blogAny purchases made through our Amazon links help support this website with no cost to you.

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 27, 2012

How To Get Your Band Booked

Club Band image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
You want to get your band gigs, right? You don’t know how to do it, right? Here’s an excerpt from the “Stage Time” chapter of the band improvement book “How To Make Your Band Sound Great” that gives you the inside scoop on the things that club promoters love and hate the most to help you get your band booked. Although the following (which originally came from Memphis promoter Chris Walker) pertains mostly to bands that play their own music, there are a few items for cover bands to think about as well.

"First of all, most bands will put a press package together to give to a promoter, booker or club owner and most of them make the same mistakes. Here are the things that a promoter or booker does not care about:
  • Who you've opened for or played on a bill with. Nobody cares. Opening for someone famous doesn’t automatically mean that you’re any good. It’s only name dropping.
  • Who produced your record. Once again, this is not an indicator of the quality of your band. If the producer’s really good, he could’ve easily tweaked or sweetened a mediocre performance or even brought in session musicians. And he could've been paid a bunch of money to do it, so his presence on the project doesn't amount to an endorsement.
  • How well you do in your hometown. You might have a lot of friends that like to hang out with you but it doesn’t mean that they’ll follow you when you play farther away from your home base or out of town. It also doesn’t mean that you can draw anywhere else.
  • Press clippings. You wouldn't send out negative reviews, would you? Of course not. No talent buyer looks at press clippings because they all know what they're going to say. "This band is wonderful. Coldplay, watch out!"
  • How good you are. Of course you think you're good. Your music is probably your life. Guess what? It's just another band setting up and making a racket to the club staff. Hard to believe, isn't it?
  • What you sound like. The only reason the venue cares what you sound like is because they don't want to mismatch music genres or book the wrong type of music altogether. Other than that, they don’t care.
Nothing listed above answers the most important question a talent buyer has, which is: HOW MUCH MONEY WILL THE VENUE MAKE IF YOU PLAY HERE?

Always ask yourself that question when approaching a talent buyer regarding a show. Of course, the answer is to draw a crowd. You’ve got to draw some people or your gigging life will be over. Beg your friends to show up. Facebook the heck out of your show. If the venue can count on you bringing 20 to 40 people a show, you'd be amazed how often people will ask you to play.

So what do you have to do to get gigs? Try the following:
  • Develop a draw in your hometown. That means you should play about once every month to 6 weeks. Don't play too much more than that since overexposure will kill your crowd, and you need your crowd to keep coming so you keep getting asked back.
  • If you haven't left your hometown and you don't have a record, your only hope is to trade shows. Why develop a draw at home? So you can trade shows with bands from out of town. Just be sure the band you're trading shows with has a draw in their hometown. Check that city's music message boards. Use the many avenues of the internet. It's your only hope.
  • Be your own promoter. Actually save up your own money and book as big an artist as you can afford in the club you want to play, then stick yourself on the bill. It's a perfect way to find out if you're worth your salt."
If you want to get gigs (and who doesn't), keep the above items in mind before you spin your wheels trying the same old things that everyone tries to get gigs.

Help support this blogAny purchases made through our Amazon links help support this website with no cost to you.

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 26, 2012

Why "Gagnam Style" Is The Most Viewed Video Of All Time

Psy "Gangnam Style" image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
It was reported over the weekend that Psy's "Gangnam Style" video had surpassed Justin Bieber's "Baby" for the most viewed ever online with over 806 million views. Think of that - 800 million views! There's been a lot of analysis as to why "Gangnam Style" became the video sensation that it is, from humor to explosions to kids to sexy girls to the dance (all true), but I have another take on it from a more macro perspective.
  • There's a bigger online audience: The world is much more connected than any other time in history. As a result, there's a bigger potential audience for a phenomena like "Gangnam Style." You'll see this viewing record broken the next time a similar sensation takes place.
  • He came from a different part of the world: Most huge trends like this tend to start in the US, but in this case, the US was only icing on the cake. With Psy being Korean, "Gangnam Style" broke out from the East and headed West, rather than the other way around. It was already huge by the time North America got hip to it, but what put it over the top was..........
  • Exploitation: The fact that Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber's manager, got involved sent Psy and "Gangnam Style" to another level. All of a sudden, Psy was on every television show you could think of, from Saturday Night Live to the MTV Video Music Awards to the Today show to name just a few. With these appearances, he jumped generations from K-Pop (Korean Pop) to seniors dancing to it at the local rec center. As with most artists, management is still the key.
After another single or two you may never hear from Psy again as he goes the way of the Macerana, but you can be sure that you'll see something like this again probably sooner than later.

By the way, "Gangnam Style" also holds another distinction. It has the most likes of any video with more than 2 million. Beiber's "Baby" comes in 3rd following the 1.6 likes of LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem."
Help support this blogAny purchases made through our Amazon links help support this website with no cost to you.

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 25, 2012

10 Things That Can Destroy An Email Marketing Campaign

email newsletter image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
An email newsletter is much more important than most musicians think. It's easy to get coddled into thinking that social media is all that you need to stay in touch with your fans, but study after study reveal that when it comes to marketing, your email newsletter is your most effective tool. That said, there are right and wrong ways to do everything, and an email newsletter is no exception.

Here's a great post from clickz regarding the 10 things that can destroy an email marketing campaign, and how to fix them.
"Your consumers are in complete control. They are empowered by their choices, with their devices, and have the ability to leave you with a click of a button. Here are 10 things that concern them and can force them off your list.
1. They do not remember who you are. This can easily happen if you do not send them their first message quickly or let a lot of time lapse between messages. If your branding is not clearly defined, it is going to be harder for the consumer to recognize you.
Rx: Send the first message quickly, stay in touch, and keep reminding the consumer about your value proposition.

2. You send them too many campaigns. When the consumer signed up you may have promised them a message a week, important updates, or emails tailored to their preferences. Your campaign frequency has now gone up significantly.
Rx: Cap your frequency to match your consumers' preferences, and if they do unsubscribe, offer to reduce the frequency to a minimum.

3. Your emails are just not interesting. If the consumer considers your campaigns to be boring they are going to lose attention quickly.
Rx: Spice it up a bit, even if you are talking about "ball bearings." Factor in some user-generated content or questions - this is what will keep the consumer engaged.

4. You do not stop selling. I once opted in to receive emails from a financial institution to learn more about their loan instruments. I even opened an account. The nurturing campaign turned to an aggressive selling campaign, forcing me to get off their list.
Rx: Mix up your messaging; the best thing might be to include useful informational content in every marketing campaign.

5. You are not relevant. Many times, we are so influenced by the merchandising or information calendar that we forget what the consumer's preferences are. We either forget that the consumer has already purchased a particular product or target her with things that she has no interest in.
Rx: While it would be ideal to segment the consumer based on her preferences, keep asking the consumer if you are missing the mark and factor in her comments into your marketing campaigns.

6. You expect your consumers to test your content. How many times have you received an email where the images are broken, the formatting is messed up, or worse yet, the landing page takes you to the land of nowhere?
Rx: Test your campaigns internally and then test them in a control group. Only then should you release them to the entire list.

7. It takes too long to load. If you do not have the bandwidth to scale, you could really turn the consumer off. The consumer might wait for a couple of seconds and just hit the delete key.
Rx: If you are having page load issues, consider deploying your campaigns in smaller segments.

8. You look horrible on mobile. Many of us look at mobile when we are mobile. It is an absolute horrible practice to take the same content and render it on mobile because it is very hard to read.
Rx: Design your message with mobile in mind and reduce the amount of content for mobile devices - don't just optimize it. Remember, you can segment and target those that tend to open on mobile devices.

9. You flaunt their data. You might think it is good personalization by displaying the consumer's account number or her home address within the content. Many consumers are alarmed that you know so much and that you are showing it off, so they resort to doing two things - reducing the amount of information they share with you or switching back to paper statements (I did that with a major credit card company).
Rx: Remind consumers that their data is protected and encrypt information to show them how secure it is.

10. You screw it up completely. I received an email from a very reputable electronics retailer telling me that my monitor was ready for pickup. It wasn't my monitor, because that email was intended for someone else. You may have heard about the airline that goofed up by mixing the names and frequent flier numbers; or the bank that sent out an email to their consumers with someone else's bank logo (it was the fault of their ESP).
Rx: Audit your partners to make sure they know what they are doing. Test before you send. If you do screw up, apologize and have a crisis plan.
See these Email Marketing concepts in action during Sundeep's ClickZ Academy workshop: Email Marketing: Driving 51% Engagement at SES Chicago 2012."

Keep these tips in mind before you hit send on your next newsletter. You'll keep your subscribers happier, and have a better chance of your newsletter succeeding in achieving your goals.

Help support this blog. Any purchases made through our Amazon links help support this website with no cost to you.

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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