Latest Indie News
Originally posted 2010-04-06 02:42:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
It’s great if they post a comment or a review of your album without you asking, but why not go out of your way to ask you fans to say a good word or two…or three
Why does it matter?
Fan comments are a big deal, after all, its the fans that fuel the flame, right? Their your mouth…your “word of mouth”. When a fan drops a nice note or an enthusiastic “I can’t believe your music is so freakin’ amazing!” post on your facebook, that encourages others to check out your tunes, get excited about your music, and possibly download a song.
Where Are They Saying?
Here are a couple very important places where your fans’s words will be noted:
- iTunes: People read reviews before they buy music. It would be worth asking your fans to put up a kind word or two when downloading your album. By the way, you probably knew this already but iTunes has simplified urls. In other words, if your music is on iTunes, you can direct fans to www.itunes.com/yourbandname. I’m not sure what they’re doing for artists with incredibly common names.
- CDBaby: Similar to iTunes, people will read reviews when they’re considering buying your tunes.
- Facebook Page: Don’t put your wall setting to only show your bands updates. Make sure your fans comments are visible. I’d argue that the “Wall” might actually be more important than the “Info” page.
- Your Site’s Guestbook: Many people think guestbooks are useless. I’ve always seen guestbooks as just another great way for fans to communicate with you. Check out Jessica Sonner’s guestbook for ideas. It’s clean simple, and the long list of entries prove that she has a devoted following. Guestbooks also are not exclusive like Facebook where only FB members can comment.
- Twitter: If your fans say something nice about your music, retweet it. Why not.
The much anticipated iTunes Match has finally launched 14 days after Apple's self-imposed deadline of the end of October. (Click on image on left to enlarge.) The $24.99 per year service functions alongside Apple's iCloud and allows uploading up to 25,000 iTunes and non-iTunes purchased songs onto Apple's servers for easy access on up to 10 computers and iOs5 devices. How To access iTunes Match:
- Be sure that you've downloaded the latest version - iTunes 10.5.1.
- Click on the iTunes Match button which now appears in the right side bar of the main iTunes Store home page.
As of early afternoon subsrciptions were temporarliy unavailable "due to overwhelming demand". We'll share our reactions as we test the service and would love to know what you think in the comments section below.
8-year-old YouTube sensation Sophia Grace Brownlee has hit 21 million views of her rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass”. The video became so viral, that it even attracted the attention of Ellen Degeneres, who brought Sophia and her cousin onto her television show, and surprised the two with a special meeting with Nicki Minaj herself.
While it was certainly a touching moment that made for great television, let’s add some context here in order to complete the story:Dirty Girl
The official video for “Super Bass” has well over 180 million views on YouTube, at least one of which came from Sophia. If you haven’t seen the video for “Super Bass”, I encourage you to watch it to get an idea of the explicit nature of the song.
If you were unable to grasp any of the lyrical content during the video, here are some excerpts:
- “…he cold, he dope, he might sell coke…”
- “…that’s the kind of dude I was lookin’ for, and yes you’ll get slapped if you’re lookin’ ho…”
- “…when he give me that look, then the panties comin’ off, off, unh…”
The 8-year-old told Ellen that she did not know what the song's lyrics meant. However, during the show Minaj requests Sophia to sing the bridge section of "Super Bass" because “people need to hear the bridge”. What Minaj (and her PR folks) are actually doing is directing us towards the least offensive parts of the entire song – which talks about how her “heartbeat is running away” and has all those catchy “boom, boom, boom” parts.
It's hard to imagine that a high cute-factor is enough to excuse the performance of such raunchy and explicit lyrics on national television. However, that certainly seems to be the case in this particular instance.
“Music is beautiful, but I want you to stay in school. Put your books first and singing second.”
I don’t know about the rest of you readers, but that’s not the kind of advice I’d want to hear from one of my idols. That’s the kind of advice you’d hear from a distant relative who has no idea what you’re capable of, who has no idea of who you are uniquely, and knows nothing of what dreams you'd like to accomplish. After all, kids admire pop stars and athletes because they followed their dreams – not because they played it safe.
Nicki Minaj didn’t stay in school. She harnessed and nurtured her talent, while believing in herself and her capabilities the entire time while ignoring any and all doubters. She took a chance, and it paid off tremendously. So why did she play it safe by advising this hugely talented young girl to put her dreams second?
Perhaps Minaj and her PR people recognized the delicate nature of what was going on with this young girl performing such a raunchy song. This situation had all the right ingredients to be highly controversial, yet they chose to frame the story in a way that appeared to be totally harmless.
What do you think? Was the song too inappropriate? Was Nicki Minaj right in telling Sophia to put her dreams second?
This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and independent music business professional - Hisham Dahud (@HishamDahud)
According to a recent NPD Group/NARM study, Twitter was found not to be a top source of music discovery, nor was it even found to be a common outlet that people turn to after making a discovery.
This does make sense intuitively due to the fact that Twitter is limited to primarily a 140-character text message, and is missing some key elements that help complete the discovery process including biographical information, photos, and streaming audio and video. These elements generally can (and should) be easily found on an artist’s website or Facebook page.
Even after making their discovery elsewhere, only 2% of NPD’s respondents said they utilize Twitter to follow-up with their discovery. This falls well behind other follow-up activities like streaming the video (19%), purchasing the download (14%) and waiting to hear the song on the radio (12%).
The study also found that broadcast radio, TV, and one's own personal connections like friends, family, and co-workers continue to be how most people discover new music. For strictly Internet-based discovery, online radio and web videos were found to be important for the most “active” music fans.
Should Twitter Get With The Program?
Based on the data presented above, one would argue that Twitter needs to evolve beyond the 140-character text message and include more media options and offer expanded user profiles. However, if such were to occur, it simply wouldn’t be Twitter anymore. It would lose focus from its core competency as a service - which is to quickly inform users on whatever topic they’re interested in, and to offer an engaged communication channel to people whose lives we choose to follow.
If people want more media options and expanded music profiles, they'll most likely head to Facebook or the artist's website. Twitter serves a differnet purpose. It's about engaging with an online community and staying highly informed. While indirect music discovery can occur during this process, it would generally fall under the category of another found leading source of organic music discovery – personal recommendations.
Twitter should just continue being Twitter, and not be concerned about trying to be all things to everyone. After all, if all you're trying to do is become everything to everyone, you’ll end up becoming nothing to no one.
This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and independent music business professional - Hisham Dahud (@HishamDahud)
NEWS BRIEF: iTunes Match Launch, Spotify Expands, Universal Sues, CDBaby Direct, Occupy Music & MoreNov 14
Apple's letter to developers strongly suggests that iTunes Match could launch as early as today. (CNet)
- Spotify is ready to launch in Belgium, Austria and Switzerland, possibly as early as this week. The music streamer is currently in 8 countries. (paidContent) There's also a good roundup of plans international plans across the sector.
- Why Universal Music Sued Its Insurer Over a $14.4 Million Payment to Musicians (Hollywood Reporter analysis) The label allegedly held back royalties from song artists and in a settlement UMG paid out, but now it wants reimbursement.
- CDBaby is encouraging artists and fans for buy music directly from its site rather than visiting a digital retailer. Payouts increase to about 74 cents to artists on direct purchases vs. a net of about 64 cents for CD Baby distributed track sold on iTunes. (CDBaby blog)
- Before Universal Bulks Up With EMI, It’s Going to Have to Play Small. (Peter Kafka @ AllThings D)
- New generation of music central to Occupy protests. (AP)
Some interesting topics were discussed at last week’s Billboard Touring Conference, chief among them being, well, touring. But although the conversation revolved predominantly around the upper echelon of touring artists, fixtures of established music corporations still had some pretty good advice on what sponsors are looking for from musicians in general. Check out the video interview with Live Nation president Russel Wallach below, and read the rest of the articleon Hypebot.
(Hypebot) DIY Social Media Tips From The Billboard 2011 Touring Conference
Credit: Clyde Smith
Though the Billboard 2011 Touring Conference & Awards focused primarily on the upper niches of the touring industry, there were worthwhile takeaways for indie artists. In particular, interviews with Russell Wallach, President of Live Nation, and with Nic Adler, owner of The Roxy in LA, supported the insight that as artists build their fan bases via social media, they are also establishing the basis for working with sponsors and getting gigs.
On Friday, EMI CEO Roger Faxon wrote to his staff (full text here) regarding the sale of the recorded music division to Universal. Now that the ink is dry on the deal to sell EMI's publishing division to a Sony led consortium, Faxon has sent a second memo to his team along with a revealing "Q & A" aimed at answering questions about the company's future.
From Roger Faxon:Following my note to you all earlier regarding the sale of EMI Music to Universal Music Group, I am now able to share with you the related news regarding EMI Music Publishing, which is to be sold to a consortium led by Sony. The press release is attached for you here.
Like Universal with EMI Music, Sony and their fellow investors saw an incredible business in EMI Music Publishing, one that represents probably the single greatest collection of songs and songwriters ever assembled. Their willingness to step up to Citi's valuation of the business won the day.
Also like Universal, Sony will need to clear the necessary regulatory hurdles before they can take ownership of EMI Music Publishing. And until that regulatory process is complete, as I said earlier today, EMI will continue to look much as it does today, possibly past the end of our fiscal year. That means continuing to operate our business to the very best of our abilities, and fighting constantly to provide the best possible outcomes for our artists and our writers. That is what they deserve, and that is what we're going to give them, no matter what.
I have attached to this note a set of Q&As that will at least address some of the questions you may have, regardless of whether you are in EMI Music or EMI Music Publishing. Over the next few days and weeks Leo and I will try to visit with as many of you as we can to answer your questions and concerns. And for those who we don't get to see personally we will be sure to update you by email. You should also feel free to email me with any questions that you don't get a chance to ask in person.
As I mentioned before, over the next months, each and every one of us will have an important part to play in cementing the legacy of EMI through our actions. We have created a new way of doing things, predicated on passion, humanity and integrity. And regardless of the nature of our ownership, I believe that all of us will continue to hold that important to us as we move forward.
Roger Faxon's Q & A to answer staff questions:
1. What specifically needs to be done before the businesses actually change ownership? And, who will be involved in that work?
Amongst the work streams which need to come together to actually transfer ownership of the two businesses there are three of particular note:
First we need to achieve legal separation of the two businesses. That work is already well under way. A team led by Jade Moore has been appointed to implement the steps that need to be taken. She will coordinate with the finance directors and business affairs attorneys in each country. However there will need to be action by the boards of a number of companies to make this all come together. And, of course our central tax team will be intimately involved in this as well.
Second each of the buyers will be making application to the anti-trust regulators for clearance to complete their deal. Our responsibility will be to provide the buyers and regulators with the information they will need for those applications and any subsequent inquiries. Depending on the needs of the regulators, this is likely to involve a substantial effort on our part. As you can imagine the brunt of the effort will fall to the finance and legal and business affairs staffs. Overall this will be coordinated by Ruth and me. We will look to Kyla and Shane for RM and Clark and Claudia for MP to develop the information and respond to the inquiries.
On the MP side we have also agreed to help Sony with their plan to issue bonds as a part of the acquisition financing. This will involve providing them with a substantial amount of financial and operational information and it may require the separated MP company to provide audited accounts going back several years. So, once again the burden will largely fall to the finance teams.
2. Do both businesses need to complete at the same time? And, what happens if one completes before the other?
One of the two businesses may complete before the other. If it does it will be able to close at that time and not wait.
If there are any shared services between the two companies there will be a short period to allow them to wind down after the first business completes. Any further ongoing relationship will be determined by the two new owners.
3. How long will it take before each business will change ownership?
Given all that needs to be done it is likely that the process for both businesses will extend into the new fiscal year.
As the two deals will be examined separately, there is no certainty regarding which will complete first.
4. From now to completion will the way we run the company change? What limitations, if any, will we have on doing deals? Is there to be any change in delegated authorities?
Basically the business will be run in the same way we have been running it. We will continue to do deals, invest in our artists and songwriters, release and market our records, enter into licenses, etc - all of this independently from the buyers.
There will be some minor tweaks to the delegated authorities and our deal review procedures, but nothing substantial. Any specific changes to the delegated authorities and deal process will be communicated to those affected shortly.
5. What plans do each of the buyers have for each business?
The best way to understand their plans to read their comments in the press release announcing the sales. Beyond that the anti trust process imposes restrictions on what the buyer can say and do until they have received clearance.
This also means that the buyer is not allowed to give direction to the company and we are not to take direction.
6. Will we be required to interact with the buyer to plan for integration?
At some point, but not for some months. It is likely that the buyers for each of the businesses will want us to help them plan the integration of our business into theirs following completion. Again the anti-trust rules are very strict about how those consultations are to take place and the subjects they can cover. For that reason very few of us will be involved in this sort of work.
7. What can we discuss with the buyer?
We currently deal with both of these buyers as trading partners or competitors. And that is the way we will act up to the point of completion. Think about it this way nothing will change until they actually own the business and that cannot take place until the regulatory reviews are complete. So, if you swore at them before you can still do it, though I am not recommending that! If they were your friends they are still your friends. In other words interact with them just as you always have done.
What you cannot do is to share confidential information with them or take instructions from them. We run our show until completion.
Because this is such a delicate area we will be rolling out guidelines to ensure, as the anti-trust lawyers put it we don't "jump the gun" during the transition period. Truly there are some very serious consequences for EMI if we screw this up.
8. Are there going to be layoffs?
During this transition period it is business as usual for us. That means we will continue to implement our current plans and drive the performance of the business. However, to be very clear we are not planning any transaction-related layoffs, in anticipation of the completion.
(UPDATE) The invite I got last week from Google was only thinly disguised. Clearly a major music announcement is coming on Wednesday. But Google has disappointed me before with less than stellar music launches. According to CNet, they're about to do it again with a Google Music expansion that doesn't include music from Sony or WMG. Universal is definitely apart of the launch, but even EMI's involvement is unclear.
The animosity between Google and the major labels runs deep, with rightsholders complaining that Google does not do enough to stem piracy in search and elsewhere. My sources also points to concerns over a limited song sharing feature that Google wants to add to the new service.
On Wednesday, we'll find out how Google plans to compete without a full compliment of record labels. I'm routing for the net giant, but I'm also prepared to be disappointed yet again.
UPDATE: Here are some screenshots of the new Google Music according to the The Verge.
Boston's Music Hack Day has come and gone with a bunch of interesting projects to show for the hackers' efforts. This was one of a number of ongoing Music Hack Day events that were founded by SoundCloud's Dave Haynes. Though not all of the resulting projects are available for use, those that are offer a good look at the possibilities that can result from a single day of hardcore programming with access to music resources.
- Drinkify seems to be the most popular, judging from headline appearances. It's powered by The Echo Nest and Last.fm and features well-chosen homepage art. You tell it what music you're listening to and it tells you what to drink.
- Bohemian Rhapsichord, a "web app that turns the song Bohemian Rhapsody into a musical instrument", has also received a bit of understandable attention.
- So too has Spartify which helps pick Spotify songs for a party though I'm more intrigued by the 300-inspired graphic!
Not all hacks are readily available. For example, Album Covers, which "smash[es] a song into tiny pieces using the Echonest API and then...use[es] the album cover art as a schematic for putting those pieces back together" currently only has a demo wav file but sounds like a potentially very cool web app.
Others that caught my attention:
- Couch Tour - "Couch Surfing for bands"
- Hiptap.es - "Make your posters sing"
- The Videolizer - "Music visualizer that syncs dancing videos to any song"
- ClipSwitch - "A switch board with YouTube videos and sheet music to compare several performances of one score"
- Songalogue - "Making songs talk to each other"
- Snuggle - "Synchronize animated GIFs to jams of the future"
I'm sure you'll find favorites of your own on the complete list.
Though I haven't checked them all, you'll notice that use of The EchoNest's services occur over and over again. That's what happens when you open up your data for free experimentation. People make cool things and you become the center of the game.
Also at Hypebot: 2010 Music Hack Day Boston Winners
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.
On a new episode of This Week In Music, filmed last week from New Noise Santa Barbara, Ian Rogers interviews MOG founder David Hyman on future plans for his streaming music service, his days as CEO of music recognition pioneer Gracenote and how a previous job at MTV was one of "the worst experiences" of his life. WATCH: