Tuesday, October 16, 2018
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The music industry is a massive and competitive field, and while it may be chock full of talented composers and performers, somewhat more rare is the talent who is also a gifted marketer. Like many such things, however, such skills can be learned, so here we look at eight key ways in which artists can build a good marketing strategy.
Guest post by Lillian Chifley from Symphonic Distribution's Symphonic Blog
Let’s face it; the music industry is large and highly competitive. Needless to say, it can be very difficult to succeed in the industry.
The problem is that most musicians have the music fundamentals down pat, but haven’t mastered the marketing fundamentals. They just produce an endless list of songs and hope that their big break will come one day and they’ll be discovered. Unfortunately, this is a rare occurrence and it would be unrealistic at the least to expect that it’s going to happen. The best way to prepare is to treat your music as a business and market it. That being said, there are many different marketing strategies that you can employ.
Here are 8 of the most fundamental ways to build a marketing strategy as a musician.
1. PR Management
There are tons of ways to manage your PR. You can do news releases, interviews, guest writing, reviews of songs and products related to what you do, reviews of shows and events that are related to what you do, participation in charitable activities, and just general buzz. Don’t worry about the writing part, because you can easily get a professional assignment writing service to do it for you.
It doesn’t just end there, however. You also need to think about the distribution of your PR. Products, shows, events, and songs won’t just come to you waiting to be reviewed. You need to get out there and look for them. For example, when you’re pitching to a recipient, fit your pitch to them and what matters to them. You can also build your own personal list of local press, local and national reviewers, and so on that, you will begin to pitch to immediately. For your news releases, look online for sites that have news submission forms, such as eMusician.com, Mi2N.com, Blabbermouth, and so on. You can also consider hiring a publicist to handle your public relations. Be sure to find one that’s the right fit for you.
2. Social Media
Social media is one of the most powerful platforms you can use to power your marketing. All you have to do is put in the work, trust the process, and the results will be sure to follow.
- Start by creating a profile on the major sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. Update your posts regularly in order to be seen as active.
- Include contact info in your profile for anyone that would like to reach you.
- Interact with your fans and respond to them when they ask you questions. Your fans want to know you care about them.
- Speaking of fans, your main focus when you’re starting out you should build your fan base as large as you can and get them to invest in you emotionally.
One particularly powerful platform that you can use to your advantage is YouTube. Here are some pointers you can use to grow a large following on YouTube:
- Control your own channel
- Let the skin on your channel support your projects
- Have a link to a personal website
- Always keep your best videos at the top for easy discovery
- Use keywords in video descriptions to get them well ranked. Be sure to also include URLs to your website, or at least contact info
- Share your videos to other social media platforms (you can also embed them in your site or at least link to them)
Email lists are highly valuable for your campaign. Get an email service that starts you off for free to build a list. Just don’t abuse it by posting irrelevant content and keep your posts regular. The best way to build the list is to have a sign up field on as many pages of your website as possible. You can also use contests to get fans’ emails.
Direct advertising can also be pretty useful, including event listings, banner ads, and social media ads. Just shop around before you pay so you know you’re getting a great deal. Look for ways you can share costs to make it easier for your pocket. You can even try bartering. For example, you can ask a webmaster to put a banner on their site in exchange for you putting up a banner on yours.
Look for as much exposure as you can find on forums, blogs, online social groups, and media outlets where you can share your articles. You’re looking to share your music and other products as much as you can. You don’t need to spend much money here; just think of ways you can add value in order to get value in return.
At some point in your career, you will be big enough to consider endorsements as a marketing strategy. These will help you to show your value by endorsing companies that you support. You can even do it without them having to ask, including providing them with demos, clips, and so on. Don’t think of it in terms of free gear; think of it in terms of exposure.
Use contests as a way to build your email list and also to get your name and face associated with big companies and brands. Always share the winners of your contests with your audience as a way to get your fans to repost and also reward the winners. Here you’re building goodwill!
Lilian Chifley is an IT specialist, teacher, and blogger from Sydney. She loves to talk about artificial intelligence and modern education.
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Spotify recently surprised many by offering no cost music uploads to the service to all artist. Still, most artists and labels will choose to use a distributor for their other services and because they need them to get on other music services. So to help those artists, Spotify offers a list of Preferred Distributors; and just five make the cut.
Just five distributors are listed on the Spotify For Artists "How do I get my music on Spotify?" page and FAQ.
Distrokid gets top billing as a "Preferred Artist Distributor." In much smaller print are CD Baby and Glasgow based EmuBands. Under Preferred "Label Distributors," only The Orchard and digital music distribution technology provider FUGA are listed.
The list of established music distributors who do not have Spotify Preferred Distributor status is long. Tunecore, ADA, Caroline, INgrooves, Ditto, OnePRM, Symphonic and RouteNote are all noticeably absent. Each of them deliver new music to Spotify daily.
Exactly what it takes to become a Spotify Preferred Distributor is unclear. We've reached out to Spotify and several of the missing distributors for comment. But here is why Spotify says it lists distributors:
"If you don’t currently have a distributor, we have deals in place with companies who can deliver your music to us and collect royalties for you."
"These services handle the licensing and distribution of your music and also pay you royalties when your fans stream your music on Spotify. There’s usually a small fee or percentage cut involved. Each service is unique, so be sure to do a little homework before picking one."
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Music player Winamp has been around almost since the turn of the century. As the app that helped bring mp3's into the mainstream, Winamp fans - still 1 million strong - are a nostalgic and loyal bunch. After almost being killed under AOL ownership, Winamp was last updated in 2013, until now.
Winamp is getting a makeover as an all-one audio player.
“There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience,”Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy, the company that bought Winamp in 2014 tells Techcrunch. “You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built.”
“People want one single experience,” he concluded. “I think Winamp is the perfect player to bring that to everybody. And we want people to have it on every device.”
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While it may not seem like the trendiest of internet scourges, piracy remains a huge issue. While many thought that the low cost and easy accessibility would bring about an end to illegal downloads, the fact that piracy still accounts for more than a third of music consumption suggests the dream of late 90s tech buccaneers is alive and well.
Guest post by Chris Castle of Music Tech Solutions
I know it’s not very “modern,” but music piracy is still a huge problem. As recently as yesterday I had a digital music service executive tell me that they’d never raise prices because the alternative was zero–meaning stolen.
Very 1999, but also oh so very modern as long as Google and their ilk cling bitterly to their legacy “safe harbors” that act like the compulsory licenses they love so much. Except the safe harbor “license” is largely both royalty free and unlawful. Based on recent data, it appears that streaming is not saving us from piracy after all if 12 years after Google’s acquisition of YouTube piracy still accounts for over one third of music “consumption.” The recent victory over Google in the European Parliament indicates that it may yet be possible to change the behavior of Big Tech in a post-Cambridge Analytica world.
It’s still fair to say that piracy is the single biggest factor in the downward and sideways pressure on music prices ever since artists and record companies ceded control over retail pricing to people who have virtually no commercial incentive to pay a fair price for the music they view as a loss leader. If the Googles of this world were living up to their ethical responsibilities that should be the quid pro quo for the profits they make compared to the harms they socialize, then you wouldn’t see numbers like this chart from Statistica derived from IFPI numbers:
The good news is that there is a solution available–or if not a solution then at least a more pronounced trend–toward making piracy much harder to accomplish. It may be necessary to take some definitive steps toward encouraging companies like Google, Facebook, Twitch, Amazon, Vimeo and Twitter to do more to impede and interdict mass piracy.
Private Contracts: It may be possible to accomplish some of these steps through conditions in private contracts that include sufficient downside for tech companies to do the right thing. That downside probably should include money, but everyone needs to understand that money is never enough because the money forfeitures are never enough.
The downside also needs to affect behavior. Witness Google’s failure to comply with their nonprosecution agreement with the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice for violations of the Controlled Substances Act. When the United States failed to enforce the NPA against Google, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood sought to enforce Mississippi’s own consumer protection statutes against Google for harms deriving from that breach. Google sued Hoodand he ended up having to fold his case, even though 40 state attorneys general backed him.
Antitrust Actions: Just like Standard Oil, the big tech companies are on the path to government break ups as Professor Jonathan Taplin teaches us. What would have been unthinkable a few years ago due to fake grooviness, the revolving door and massive lobbying spending all over the planet, in a post-Cambridge Analytica and Open Media world, governments are far, far more willing to go after companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act Civil Prosecutions: “Civil RICO” claims are another way of forcing Google, Facebook, Amazon & Co. to behave. Google is fighting a civil RICO action in California state court. This may be a solution against one or more of Google, Facebook and Amazon.
As we know, streaming royalties typically decline over time due to the fact that the revenues to be divided do not typically increase substantially (and probably because of recoupable and nonrecoupable payments to those with leverage). At any rate, the increase in payable revenues is less than the increase in the number of streams (and recordings).
While it’s always risky to think you have the answer, one part of the answer has to be basic property rights concepts and commercial business reality–if you can’t reduce piracy to a market clearing rate, you’ll never be able to increase revenue and music will always be a loss leader for immensely profitable higher priced goods that artists, songwriters, labels and publishers don’t share be it hardware, advertising or pipes.
I strongly recommend Hernando de Soto’s Mystery of Capital for everyone interested in this problem. The following from the dust jacket could just as easily be said of Google’s Internet:
Every developed nation in the world at one time went through the transformation from predominantly extralegal property arrangements, such as squatting on large estates, to a formal, unified legal property system. In the West we’ve forgotten that creating this system is what allowed people everywhere to leverage property into wealth.
What we have to do is encourage tech companies to stop looking for safe harbors and start using their know-how to encourage the transformation of the extralegal property arrangements they squat on and instead accept a fair rate of return. My bet is that this is far more likely to happen in Europe–within 30 days of each other we’ve seen Europe embrace safe harbor reform in the Copyright Directive while the United States welcomed yet another safe harbor.
If we’re lucky, the European solution in the Copyright Directive may be exported from the Old World to the New. And if Hernando de Soto could bring property rights reform to Peru in the face of entrenched extralegal methods and the FARC using distinctly American approaches to capital, surely America can do the same even with existing laws and Google.
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In this new music economy, pitching to playlists has become an essential part of a musicians promotion, as solid streaming placement can often propel an artist toward major success. Here we look behind the curtain at what the pitching process is actually like when it comes to Apple Music.
Guest post by Bo Turner of the Repost Network
Playlist pitching has become a key aspect in generating streams for yourself as an artist. It’s always been an effective method for promoting tracks, and gets the job done as far as gaining exposure across different platforms. If you’re keeping up with the Repost Network blogs you’ve surely noticed how frequently we mention Spotify playlist pitching. How come we haven’t mentioned their opposing platform giant: Apple Music?
Well, there’s a reason for our absence of advice regarding Apple Music. Apple’s platform is relatively private and doesn’t offer much as far as promotional opportunities. Every public playlist that is viewable on their application has been curated by either the experts on Apple’s editorial team, or professional groups/companies working with Apple. They do not allow for public third party curators, unlike Spotify’s platform. This makes it almost impossible to pitch your music to their playlist owners unless you have direct connections to the editorial team. Even though playlist pitching might not be down your alley for Apple Music promotion, there are steps you can take as an artist to increase your chances of landing a spot on one of their playlists.
1. Verify your profile with Apple Connect
Make sure that you have a verified profile on Apple Music for Artists. Once you’ve distributed tracks onto their platform, you can claim your profile. Start by signing up HERE.
2. Build your following on Apple Music
Using social media or any other tool at your disposal, build your follower count as much as possible on Apple Music. This will bring curators to your page where they can decide whether or not to include you in their playlists.
3. Work with a distributor that has relationships with Apple’s editorial team (Repost Network!)
Using a distributor with connections to Apple’s team could greatly benefit your chances in landing their playlists. Repost Network has these connections and submits tracks to Apple’s team regularly for consideration.
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