Latest Indie News

  • Bands Want Facebook Likes, But Should They Be Chasing YouTube Views?

    Dec 16

    image from recent survey undertaken by Reverb Nation suggests that Facebook likes are by far the most sought after thing on a bands agenda. I wrote about the reach of Facebook posts here suggesting only 10% of people see your facebook post and only 1% like it. It seems that bands are more worried about being seen with a fan base, hence the importance on the visible “like”, than actually building a database of their own with an email list.

    When you build you fan base through a third party site, you are at their mercy. If they decide they no longer want to support music, then you just lost everything. We saw this with Myspace - bands with 200,000 fans were left starting again, switching priorities to Facebook and trying to build numbers from the ground up. 

    Now this is not to dismiss the importance of being able to demonstrate the strength of your fan base. Potential fans, promoters, and what’s left of A&R will certainly take an interest in the capacity of your following. The thing with Facebook is that it is now so integrated with people, that if you are creating a buzz elsewhere it will reflect on your Facebook page.

    A More Accurate Barometer

    A far more accurate barometer of your engagement, is not how many likes you have, but the number of interactions your posts get. I come across many acts that have invested money into campaigns to acquire likes, and Facebook advertising can be very effective in increasing doing this. However, when you study how many interactions they get with their posts, it demonstrates how little those new followers actually engage. This is why for bands to simply chase likes, doesn’t mean you are actually creating fans.

    The trouble with Facebook is that it isn’t primarily a content provider. People don’t go there to necessarily watch or listen. The Internet has made us a very visual society. Ever since the new Facebook has been introduced, those photos with an amusing caption have become extremely popular, but this is pretty benign for bands. However the audio/visual medium of Youtube is ideal. You see and hear the band, and if a band has good product, then the potential reach is endless.

    YouTube has a similar advertising platform as facebook. You can pay to have you video featured in much the same manner as ads are featured on Facebook. “Promoted Videos” uses the Googles Adwords system, so you can target your ads to reach a suitable audience. 

    If you can engage the watcher with your video, you are then exposing them to the possibility of not only subscribing on Youtube, but also following through with a share and a like. More importantly you will increase your plays, and this is something that potential investors will hold in high regard. You are creating fans and strengthening your communication with them through your actual music, this means a lot more than a simple facebook like.

    Keeping an email list of your fans is essential. However, if you worry that it doesn’t showcase your fan base enough, then building a sturdy Youtube community instead of a Facebook one, might prove to be a little more beneficial to your career.

    MORE: Only 10% of Your Friends See Your Facebook Posts, And Only 1% Like It.

  • Inside Spotify Radio vs. Pandora - The Echo Nest Makes The Difference

    Dec 16

    image from time a new "Pandora killer" launches, my first question is what technology is driving song selection.  The answer matters because that's who/what is deciding what we listen to. Pandora has its own "Music Genome Project" which is really just a bunch of humans grading music. The result is that some indie bands have been left off Pandora playlists. Doesn't quite seem fair, does it? The Echo Nest offers a data driven alternative and Spotify Radio, which rolls out today, is powered by it.

    The Echo Nest uses "deep music knowledge" (5 billion data points on 30 million songs) to comb Spotify's 15 million track catalog and create personalized radio stations based around songs or artists. Given how often The Echo Nest's open database is used by app developers, this partnership should also net some interesting Spotify Apps as well.

    “Playlists are the cornerstone of the Spotify user experience,” states Jim Lucchese, CEO of The
    Echo Nest. “The Echo Nest has invested heavily to ensure our intelligent playlist engine is the
    most sophisticated in the world. Combining The Echo Nest’s intelligent playlist engine with
    Spotify Radio’s incredibly intuitive and inherently social service will certainly give Spotify users
    an amazing music discovery experience.”

    The Echo Nest investors include Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, and three co-founders of MIT Media Lab.

  • Hello Music Goes Mobile With App

    Dec 16

    image from Music has launched an iPhone app that brings mobile access to its daily deals on instruments, gear and musician services. 120,000  have registered for free Hello Music memberships. The free app is available now.

    HelloMusicMobile1"We know how fast moving and unpredictable the life of a musician can be – we’re musicians ourselves,” said Rick Camino, CEO of Hello Music. “Bringing the Hello Music opportunity marketplace to mobile enables us to bring success to even more musicians and better serve a highly mobile membership base.”

    Founded in 2010, Hello Music is based out of Los Angeles, California and is a portfolio company of Elevator Labs.

    Hypebot Readers: Are you using Hello Music?

  • Courntey Taylor-Taylor's One Model Nation Combines Graphic Novel & Fictional Band

    Dec 16

    One-model-nation"One Model Nation" is a graphic novel and music project that started as a film script. Originally envisioned by Courtney Taylor-Taylor of the Dandy Warhols and Donovan Leitch, who did much of the historical research, the script was written by Taylor-Taylor and the resulting graphic novel illustrated by Jim Rugg. After an initial paperback appearance in 2009, a hardback edition is being released with a related album by fictional German band, One Model Nation.

    One Model Nation is an interesting project that combines historical fiction in graphic novel form with music made by an imaginary band that appears in a growing body of music videos.

    One Model Nation - Animatic

    It's Kraftwerk meets the Baader-Meinhof Group with One Model Nation as an electronic band in fascist wear crossing paths with members of the armed revolutionary group Baader-Meinhof in 1977 Germany. To some degree they represent Courtney Taylor-Taylor's stance towards revolutionary politics revealed in a brief essay included in the hardback edition. Style is all important, music is everything, politics are to be kept at a distance.

    In a political sense, Baader-Meinhof's role in this narrative could have as easily been played by space aliens or American hobos from the 1930's.

    That said, Jim Rugg's a great illustrator. The story of the graphic novel is an interesting read. And, based on the music available so far, it should make for an enjoyable album if you like that sort of thing.

    I don't know the full history of this project but something seems to have happened to throw things off schedule, given the paperback release in 2009 that none of the current promo materials mention.

    At that time, researcher Donovan Leitch discussed a possible appearance of the band at Comic Con as well as an animated version and a graphic novel sequel.

    The new plan is a hardcover release from Titan Books along with an album on The End Records both due January 31st, 2012. This happens to be followed by an expected release from The Dandy Warhols in February 2012. Perhaps a joint tour will ensue a la The Gorillaz?

    Though I have to admit, I am a bit disappointed at seeing Baader-Meinhof being reduced to a prop, this project is pretty interesting and I like what I've heard of the music. The combination of graphic novel and album has some strength and should provide extra power for the marketing though one wonders if it will be overshadowed by a Dandy Warhols release.

    For multiple videos and a download of the original script, see

    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.

  • Is The Future Of Concert Ticketing On Facebook? Ticketfly Thinks So

    Dec 16

    image from northsocial.comSeveral studies have shown the power of Facebook to promote ticket sales.  Friends want to be where their other friends are and fans want to commune with fans. But what about Facebook as a place to actually sell tickets? Existing Facebook ticketing solutions have required users to leave the social network and log in to an external system to complete the transaction.  Yesterday, Ticketfly launched app that eliminates that complexity.

    Ticketfly's Facebook Purchase enables promoters to sell tickets directly from their Facebook Fan Pages creating a purchasing experience that encourages social discovery and sharing. Key features:

    • Single sign-on with Facebook Connect allows fans to buy tickets using their Facebook identity, without leaving Facebook
    • Quick installation process allows promoters to start selling tickets on Facebook within minutes
    • Integration with Ticketfly's Facebook RSVP and Share features promotes social discovery
    • Real-time analytics reporting provides integrated Facebook sales performance data
    • Social graph integration lets Facebook users see what events their friends are attending

    You can see the Facebook Purchase ticket app in action on the Brooklyn Bowl's Facebook page.


  • Megaupload Video Back On YouTube, After UMG Offers 'We Yanked It Because We Could' Defense

    Dec 16

    image from's controversial music video is back on YouTube after Universal Music Group lawyers failed to offer a federal court judge  justification for its removal. Publicly, Universal had argued that Megaopload had no legal right to include musical endorsements from P Diddy,, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown and other A-list performers, some of whom have contracts with UMG. But in court filings late yesterday, Universal offered a different defense.

    “On December 9, UMG utilized YouTube’s CMS system to effect the removal of a posting of the video on YouTube,” Universal attorney Kelly Klaus wrote in yesterday's filing, but did not offer a single argument as to why. Universal never stated that Megaupload was in violation of the DMCA which requires takedowns of unauthorized material, argued the lawyers. Rather, UMG was simply using a removal system that Google provided them:

    "What actually transpired was UMG’s use of YouTube’s Content Management System, which UMG is contractually authorized to use pursuant to its written agreement with YouTube. That is a matter of contract between two private companies—UMG and YouTube–not a notice sent pursuant to the DMCA

    In other words, Universal's deal with YouTube allows it to pull down - at least for a time - whatever it wants to. In this instance, however, Google eventually sided with Megaupload; and UMG had thrown in the towel even prior to yesterday's court filings. According to Universal :

    YouTube advised UMG Recordings, Inc. (“UMG”) that it would restore full access to all instances of the Video on YouTube as of this past Tuesday (as apparently has happened), and UMG has told YouTube that it will take no further action regarding the Video pending the resolution of this litigation.

    In addition to making the technical argument that they had just taken advantage of an agreement with YouTube that enables takedowns, Universal also argued that because the video was restored within days, Megaupload has suffered no harm and no damages should be awarded.

    “Our legal battle with UMG is ongoing and we are going to reveal the whole truth about this censorship and the illegal take down,” retorted Meaupload CEO Kim Dotcom in a statement. “Lets join together against Internet dictatorship by corporations.”

    Here, once again, is the video:

  • Warner Music, Sony To Join Universal In Lawsuit Against Grooveshark

    Dec 15

    image from Music Entertainment and the Warner Music Group are reportedly joining Universal Music Group in their lawsuit against Grooveshark.  The suit, already filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, alleges that Grooveshark engaged in large scale and long term copyright infringement encouraged by company executives.

    Court documents released previously include emails that appear to show that Grooveshark executives set out to build as big an audience as possible while not paying for music. In one email dated 12/1/2009, Chairmen Sina Simantob wrote to another Grooveshark executive: "...we are achieving all this growth without paying a dime to any of the labels...". (more)

    The expanded lawsuit was first reported by the New York Times and has been confirmed by other sources. EMI preciously settled its lawsuit with Grooveshark, and indie licensing group Merlin announced a deal earlier this year.

    In a statement on Wednesday, Grooveshark declined to comment on the suit, but said: “We respect the intellectual property of all artists, and our strict policies are designed to ensure that our users only upload content to which they are entitled. This is a policy which we vigorously enforce within D.M.C.A. requirements.”

  • NEWS BRIEF: Spotify Traffic Soars, S&P Bashes Clear Channel, FB, Deezer, Believe, OurStage & More

    Dec 15

    HypebotFaviconTraffic on Spotify is soaring, up 30% in the last month to more than 10 million average monthly users,  according to AppData.

    • Standard & Poor's Ratings Service announced it has downgraded its rating outlook for Clear Channel and parent company CC Media Holdings Inc. from positive to negative.
    • Facebook Timeline is now available to all users.


    • Deezer, who is launching its music streaming service in 200 countries in the next 6 months, has released an iPhone app that offers full access to 13 million track plus offline listening.
    • Believe Digital has announced major new global distribution deals with two UK independent labels Revolver Records and reggae specialists Fashion Records.
    • ShareMyPlaylists is now live in the Spotify App platform. 
    • Stunning News: Music Industry Acts Rationally. Peter Kafka on the Madonna Interscope deal.
    • launches music discovery tool. (O Music)
    • Airs Original Web Series Finale The OurStage Panel - featuring Musical Performance by American Music Awards "New Artist of the Year" Hot Chelle Rae and Special Guest Panelist, 5-Time GRAMMY Award-Winning Producer, Steve Lillywhite

  • Judge Demands Universal Music Explain MagaUpload Takedown Campaign Today

    Dec 15

    image from images.mylot.comLate last week, after cloud file storage site MegaUpload debuted a promo video featuring P Diddy,, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, The Game, Mary J Blige , Kim Kardashian and others, Universal Music Group began an aggresive takedown order spree that ranged from YouTube to an online show Tech News Today.

    On Monday, MegaUpload fought back with a lawsuit demanding that UMG stop the take downs. Yesterday, the company asked the court to rule quickly, arguing that UMG was violating Megaupload's right to free speech. "UMG has squashed not only the video itself, but even public comment about it by others, including a 45 minute news broadcast that criticized UMG," the company stated in filings. "The Court should act immediately to ensure the public that such tactics will not be tolerated."

    Late yesterday, Judge Claudia Wilken stated she would "defer ruling" on Megaupload's request for just 24 hours so UMG could respond:

    The Court will defer ruling on Plaintiff's application until Defendant UMG has an opportunity to respond. Defendant UMG may submit an opposition on or before December 15, 2011.


    More as the story develops.

  • Manchester Orchestra Asks Fans To Sing Along & Why It's Working

    Dec 15

    Screen shot 2011-12-14 at 10.44.10 PMAtlanta-based indie rock group Manchester Orchestra as launched a unique and interactive fan experience for their song, “Virgin” - a track that’s been described by as “a song to the fans” by the band. In the spirit of the song’s lyrical content, the band has created a campaign for fans to have their voices heard … literally.

    The project allows fans to sing the chorus from the song “Virgin” from their computer and automatically upload to it SoundCloud. From there, they’re able to create their own avatar based on artwork by the band’s percussionist to be featured on the front page. After a four-week period, the band will take all the uploaded vocals, remix & re-master the track, and re-release it with a fan-generated choir as a free exclusive download.

    When Do You Decide to Include the Fans?

    While these and other interactive fan-experience campaigns are certainly unique and engaging, how can a marketer ensure that they will be effective?

    “Getting ready for this project, we came to a lot of conclusions that made me confident that this would go over really well with their fans,” said Brian Schopfel of Eyes & Ears Entertainment. “They (the band) are always authentic through and through - everything that is fan facing gets run by the band, and they are very involved.”

    Schopfel continued: “They had already done an interactive campaign for the ‘Simple Math' album release that involved fan participation, and they did a LiveStream to premiere the track 'Virgin' which had consistently over 1,000 people tuning at all times.”

    The band’s fan base was clearly already accustomed to an interactive engagement approach, making them more receptive to further engagements. Even the fans that may not have actively participated in the past were at least aware of these past interactive campaigns.

    “We always sent out reliable, well-written newsletters with strong calls-to-action,” Schopfel said. “The band has a big, loyal social media following with a high percentage of activity.”

    An emphasis on lyrical engagement has seemed to do wonders for the band’s live experience, as well: “When seeing the band twice during this release cycle, fans would be singing back to Andy at all times, occasionally louder than Andy himself,” Schopfel said.

    Consistency + Constancy = Engagement

    Given all the data from past campaigns, the enthusiasm and involvement of the live crowd, and with clever use of SoundCloud’s Record feature, Brian and Manchester Orchestra had plenty of reason to feel confident going into this campaign. The fan reaction has proven that the brand/band can withstand this type of fan involvement, and that their base definitely flourishes in it.

    By being consistent in the approach and constant in the reach, you increase your chances of an effective and highly engaging fan-involved campaign initiative.

    This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and music business professional Hisham Dahud (@HishamDahud)