Latest Indie News

  • Music Marketers FAQ – How Do I Get A Job In The Music Industry?

    Oct 19

    Hello,

    Since Spotify’s US launch and the F8 announcements a few weeks ago, a major sea change is underfoot.  I have been following some of the most important and lively conversations about the meaning of all of this for independent musicians everywhere.

    I don’t have much to say about it all (yet) but my knee jerk reaction is to revert back to the basics. As things get more and more complicated and as artists are being included on platforms that will yield them smaller fiduciary returns, it is more necessary than ever to remember and practice core marketing principals and basic networking.

    On that note, I’m continuing the Music Marketing Experts FAQs where my favorite gods and goddesses of online marketing and Social Media promotion share with me the questions they get asked the most by musicians and in this case industry hopefuls.

    Music Marketers FAQ – How do I get a job in the music industry?

    Ariel Hyatt

    I wrote an in-depth article about this awhile back.  This was the perfect opportunity to update it for you.  Here’s an excerpt:

    “So… you want to be in the music business? There are a lot of you out there. I know this because every time we put out a call for interns or jobs at Cyber PR®, we get over 100 resumes. As you know I love breaking things down into steps (see: http://www.MusicSuccessInNineWeeks). So, I wrote this guide for you. Once upon a time, I was just like you: dying to follow my passion and aggressively trying to land a job in the industry of my dreams. It was a humbling and, at times, humiliating exercise. So, this dear young aspiring music business mogul is for you. Interns are much needed in every facet of the industry, and most of my music industry friends (myself included) started out as unpaid interns back in their day and we leveraged our unpaid internships into paying jobs.

    YOUR FIRST LESSON: TWO WORDS THAT APPLY TO EVERY MUSIC BUSINESS INTERNSHIP: NO PAY

    Continue Here

    Corey Denis

    You have a few choices, but either way it’s important to note the lesson from my first mentor: “there is no money in the music industry.”  While the rumors of a changing industry are overtly true, revolution does not mean it is suddenly easy to get a lucrative job in a very complicated industry. There is much to learn, and loving music, while a prerequisite, is not enough; you need to know things. Be weary of easy titles, prepare to work hard. Find a role where you have access to learning about all aspects of the music business, and I mean all elements. Like all careers, this is a career path that is best with a solid mentor. After a year or two, propose your own role and just do it. This is the secret sauce that will make your career in any industry. Learn everything you can about how the machine works, and then focus on the area on which you are surely an expert, most passionate about, and will be willing to dedicate at least 10 years of your life to making it work. This is not a jokey glamorous business. The best analogy I can offer is marine biology. Very few marine biology graduates get to swim with dolphins. If you go into the music business for glamour, you are competing with the artists. If you want a job in the industry, prepare to work hard and go get it. Just do it. And like all other careers, strategize your next 5-10 years. Very few people stick it out; be the person who does, and that’s how you get a job in the music industry.

    Cassie Petery

    I always tell everyone to work for free – whether it be volunteering or interning.  Finding a way to get your foot in the door, meeting new people, and getting experience from the ground up is the best way to do it.

    Bobby Owsinski

    Getting that first job is a combination of luck and being in the right place at the right time, but it’s extremely critical to any further success you might have. Regardless of the kind of job, you’re always better off working with the biggest, most successful name you can, because that will lead to better jobs and a faster career climb later. You’ll learn more from a successful person or company, and just having that name attached to your resume will open doors down the road.

    Carla Lynne Hall

    To get a job in the music industry, it helps if you do your homework. Start with reading music industry blogs to stay on top of what’s happening in the music industry, and think about what kind of company you’d like to work for.

    Choose a handful of target companies, and learn everything you can about them. Set up a Google Reader and follow their company blog’s RSS Feed. At the same time, think about the strengths that you could bring to the table. If you’re a college student seeking an internship, your strengths could include enthusiasm and passion.

    Pay attention to what’s going on at your target companies, and use social media to start connecting with people that work there. Don’t be annoying. Find something else to connect with your future co-workers with, and you’ll soon learn more about your target company, and if it’s where you want to work. After you’ve made a genuine connection, maneuver to get an interview. If you’ve done your preparation, your interview will demonstrate that you’re ready to be hired.

    Rick Goetz

    I always tell people that if they want to be in the music business they just have to find what I call “conversation currency” or an excuse to talk to people.  There are dozens of great bands out there who could use help – go find one and manage them- this will give you the excuse you need to meet industry people without going hat in hand and asking for a job (you will probably be going hat in hand asking for favors for any new band but that’s a whole different story).  Provided the artist or band knows you are working for them as a way of getting further in to the industry I think this is a great way.


    Music Marketers FAQ – Contributors:

    Corey Denis
    Corey Denis is Vice President Digital Marketing & Social Media at TAG Strategic. Throughout her career, she’s created & executed digital strategies, built & marketed platforms for numerous distributors, startups labels and artists including What Are Records, IODA, IRIS Distribution, Michael Tilson Thomas, SoundExchange, Todd Fancey, Ning, Loudcaster & Comedian Stephen Lynch. Corey founded San Francisco’s first Musician & Promoter Workshop and has produced numerous music centric fundraisers such as Save Net Radio SF, Barack N’ Roll, Reload: SF. She writes a weekly column about digital music for SF Appeal, San Francisco’s online newspaper, has 2 cats and 8 iPods.

    Rick Goetz
    Rick Goetz is a music consultant by way of a ten year career at major record labels, TV & Online Projects. He’s also an avid surfer and blogger.

    Carla Lynne Hall
    Carla Lynne Hall is a musician and online music marketing consultant based in New York City. Her mission is to make music and share her knowledge with other musicians. She has released three CDs on her Moxie Entertainment label, and has toured the world as a singer/songwriter, and professional vocalist. In addition, she also has spent a number of years behind the scenes in the music industry, in publishing, management, publicity, and social media.

    Bobby Owsinski
    Using his music and recording experience combined with an easy to understand writing style, Bobby Owsinski has become one of the best selling authors in the music recording industry with thirteen books that are now staples in audio recording, music, and music business programs in colleges around the world. Based in Los Angeles, Bobby is also a producer of several music-oriented television shows and can frequently be seen as a moderator, panelist or giving presentations at a variety of industry conferences.

    Cassie Petery
    Cassie Petrey is the co-founder of Crowd Surf, which helps fans feel closer to the artists and music that they love. Cassie is one of the most devoted music fans you will ever meet, and this is why she understands the ins and outs of digital marketing and fan relationship management. Crowd Surf has successfully launched and developed digital marketing campaigns for major label, indie, and unsigned artists in a variety of genres.

    Related Articles:

  • The Secret Behind Hit Songs - The Musical Trinity Part 1: Engineering

    Oct 19

    Songwriting

    When listening to a song you’ve never heard before, what is it that draws your attention?  Is it the beat that gets you moving?  Maybe it’s the lyrics tugging at your heartstrings? Or is it the arrangement and interplay of the instruments? 

    A great song has a bit of all of these, but what can set a song apart from the rest often involves the hidden science and art of audio engineering helping to put those pieces together. 

    With the diversity in music today we can all find something that draws our attention. Let's take a look at how the Musical Trinity of engineering, songwriting, and arrangement creates those songs that linger with us. 

    Engineering

    Some people may hear “engineering” as a dirty word when it comes to music. They start to think about the dreaded auto-tune and how someone has manipulated the recordings to make flawed artists sound like premiere musicians. Sadly, this has become more commonplace with more famous artists, as they want to have that absolute perfection to the recording. But what about the up-and-comers? They can’t all afford the studio time or the necessary equipment to put out that top-notch production. This has created an interesting gap between the self-produced albums and the label productions. Is one production better than the other? 

    Sure, you can hear a better fidelity with a label production but that doesn’t take anything away from the quality of the self-produced albums. The key thing to look for when listening to the production of an album is balance. Having that discerning ear to notice where instruments are placed in space, to notice if they all sound like they are playing in the same room, to be able to close your eyes and actually picture it, as if you are sitting in front of this group watching them perform. 

    The idea behind a modern recording studio is to record the sounds as closely as possible so as to not hear any of the environment around them. During the production and mixing of the album, the engineer will help to create the room that those sounds should be placed in. The engineer creates that width so we hear something from the far left to the distant right. 

    A lot of inexperienced engineers, though, forget that we don’t just hear in two dimensions when we’re listening. This means that they tend to forget to take depth into account. When we listen to a concert, are all of the musicians right at the front of the stage, hitting us at the same volume? No, of course they’re not. The drummer is usually towards the back of the stage, the singer is front and center, and the guitars and bass will be sitting between the two. We hear with depth, we recognize that a sound is far away or right in front of us (if you want to know more about that, look up the Doppler Effect).

    It’s that principle of placing instruments in a three-dimensional field that is the foundation of balance in a recording. I say the foundation because once you’ve figured out where in the environment you are placing the instruments, you have to look at the listening environment and ask yourself the following question: if a sound is directly in front of me or far off, how much ambient noise or reflections in the room will I hear?  That question tells you how much reverb and delay to use so that all the instruments will sound like they are playing together.  

    Tune in tomorrow for the second figure in the Musical Trinity - songwriting.

    This guest post is from Josh Srago, an audio engineer and bassist that has played with dozens of acts around the San Francisco Bay Area, but his true passion lies with helping people understand the fundamentals of audio. You can follow Josh on Twitter and read some of his additional posts on his blog.

  • Spotify Hits 2.4M U.S. Visitors & Here's Who The Are

    Oct 19

    image from www.google.comThree months after launch, Spotify has amassed 2.4 million monthly U.S. visitors says ComScore. That's a very strong start for a service that was initially invitation-only. Who are all of these new users?

    image from blog.comscore.comSpotify is currently drawing an audience that resembles the traditional early adopter, according to Comscore.Nearly 3 in 5 visitors are male, 50% are between the ages of 18-34, and 24% are from households making at least $100,000 annually. Each of these demographic segments index significantly higher than average. That's significant because opinion-leaders often influence those around them.

    image from blog.comscore.com

  • SoundOff.fm - Fun Way to Discover & Promote Music

    Oct 19

    Soundoff-logoSoundOff.fm launched to the general public late last month as a music discovery game and indie artist promotion site that allows musicians to upload song samples for participants to choose in battles between two songs. It's a very simple concept that they seem to be executing well yet they're also gradually adding features that fit with what they've developed to date.

    SoundOff.fm does an excellent job of explaining what they do and how it works:

    The Basic Concept

    1. Artists upload the best 20 seconds of their music.
    2. Voters select a genre, hear two songs, and vote for the track they like best in a blind taste-test.
    3. As they vote, users earn credit to spend on the site.

    Voting can be "Fair Shake" or "Snap Judgment". In the first, you listen to two samples, vote and then find out more about the artists. In the second, you're timed, vote on as many as you can without necessarily listening to the full samples and then you're given a batch of artists to check out when your time's up.

    Credits can be traded for music downloads and can also be used for tipping musicians. Musicians get credits through sales and tips or by direct purchase and can then use those for various promotional options on the site. However, offering downloads is an option not a requirement.

    The promotional options are well thought out and include being able to build an opt-in mailing list and announce shows as soon as an artist uploads music samples. Promo options that can be purchased with credits include obvious forms such as being featured or played more often, emerging marketing concepts such as sponsoring the sign in CAPTCHA and more interesting ideas like "Challenge A Track":

    "In normal circumstances, SoundOff randomly selects two tracks within a genre. As a result, voters rarely see the same battle twice...using “Challenge A Track,” artists can pair against a rival track in the same genre so they always appear together. The two artists can wager on the outcome, and they can both share the link with friends, using the power of the SoundOff community to settle the score. These custom SoundOffs expire after a certain amount of time, and the winner is awarded the terms of the wager. Upon purchase, this will last for 3 days."

    Though the basic ideas of users choosing the best of two options isn't new, executing a more complex concept while keeping the experience simple is one of the things that differentiate SoundOff.fm. Ideas like "Challenge A Track" suggest that they also have some insight into building on the concept in a manner that fits the basic idea.  SoundOff.fm is a solid music discovery game that musicians can use to promote their music in the context of people having fun.

    Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and also blogs at This Business of Blogging. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

  • Merlin Cuts Global Deal With YouTube For Top Indies

    Oct 19

    image from www.google.comAfter a lengthy negotiation, independent label global rights agency Merlin has agreed to a global licensing deal with YouTube. The deal, effective immediately, includes such top indie labels as Earache, Secretly Canadian, Ninja Tune, Cooking Vinyl, Warp, Phonofile, Pschent, Morr Music, !K7 and Inertia.

    Merlin represents some of the world's top independent labels, with a global membership including over 14,000 independents. Since launching in May 2008 Merlin has struck deals with Rdio, Spotify, MySpace Music, Catch Media, Simfy and Sony's Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity.

    Chris Maxcy, Head of Global Music Partnerships at YouTube, commented, "We're continually looking for new ways to connect independent artists with their fans and we're thrilled to have struck a deal with Merlin that will help us do just that, while compensating them for their efforts at the same time."

  • Profile: Matt Halpern of Periphery & Bandhappy

    Oct 18


    Indie Ambassador TV Periphery Matt Halpern BandhappyThe Artist:
    Matt Halpern

    Current Projects:
    Bandhappy
    Drummer of Periphery

    Hometown:
    Bethesda, MD






    It seems like nearly every week a new service pops up that’s designed to benefit musicians’ livelihood, but it’s usually the same old story: “Pay us and we’ll give you some cool social media tools or music player widget.” Today, we’d like to introduce you to Bandhappy, an idea that’s a little more unique than the usual musician-oriented tools.

    The brainchild of Periphery‘s Matt Halpern, Bandhappy is a service that facilitates musicians getting paid for teaching music lessons online. Better yet, thanks to Bandhappy’s built-in live video interfacing, these lessons can be taught in real time anywhere around the world so long as there’s an internet connection. This allows musicians (any musician can sign up to teach) to earn some extra money while their out on the road or back home in the studio.

    Indie Ambassador TV Bandhappy Periphery Matt Halpern

    For fans, this is a great opportunity to get lessons from your favorite musicians. How cool is that? The service hasn’t launched yet, but keep tabs on http://bandhappy.com in the near future so you can be there when it does.  Strewnshank StudiosChris Thomas met up with Matt after a Periphery show in Worcester to talk about the service in more detail, check it out below!


  • Danny Bennett On Managing Tony Bennett & The #1 Album Duets II [Part 2]

    Oct 19

    Tony-gagaWith the recent release of Duets II, Tony Bennett is not only making headlines but has also achieved his first no. 1 album on the Billboard 200. He has done so by staying true to himself and charting a path created with his son and manager Danny Bennett. Yesterday I wrote about Danny Bennett's approach to helping his father rebuild his career through the 90s at a time when the music industry was undergoing radical change. Today I skip to the release of Duets II to take a look at how the Bennetts have continued to relate to the times while maintaining a timeless musical outlook.

    Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga - The Lady Is A Tramp

    With Duets II, an album pairing Tony Bennett with a variety of well-known younger acts including Lady Gaga and the late Amy Winehouse, Mr. Bennett continued on the path he and Danny blazed together presenting Tony Bennett in a manner relevant to a broad audience that includes many young people.

    Danny says that with Duets II he wanted to expand Mr. Bennett's international presence and so he did with international debuts that included no. 2 in Canada, no. 3 in Australia and no. 5 in the U.K. Such success was due, in part, to international promotional activities and appearances that began early in the process and still continue. I received a list of promotional events from August through November and the range of activities is quite impressive, some of which are included in this press release and in the news section of the new Tony Bennett website.

    With Duets II, Danny also focused on increasing digital sales.   This desire is supported by the new site where Danny will also be able to further his belief that if someone cares about an artist they should be able to go to that artist to access his work. Mr. Bennett is in agreement and appreciates seeing the creation of deep archives including memorabilia. The site includes annual membership powered by Ultimate Access.

    After my interview with Danny Bennett, I also chatted a bit with Nathalie Levey of Cornerstone. Though publicists typically stay behind the scenes, I found her comments regarding the focus given to each duet by both Tony Bennett and Danny to be particularly telling. Each song was recorded with both artists in the studio and was truly about the meeting of two artists. She also noted that throughout the creation and promotion process, Danny's ability to work closely with each artist's team was an important part of the album's success.

    Danny has a lot of insight and my single interview really just scratched the surface. However, I took the opportunity to ask if he had any advice for young artists and he said, "Don't do it unless you're absolutely 100% passionate and have no choice." He feels that you really have to love what you're doing to handle the incredible amount of work involved in making music a career.

    He also emphasized that Mr. Bennett was always interested in improving and says, ""My ambition is to show people that as I get older I get better". Danny feels that this mindset is important whatever one's age. Given today's emphasis on singles, it's also worth knowing that Tony Bennett desired a hit catalog rather than a hit single.

    The success of Duets II is not only a great victory for Tony Bennett in a world that is often quite happy to abandon older artists.  It is also a victory for Danny Bennett who has successfully navigated the disruptive changes of the last 30 years from the introduction of the CD to that of the World Wide Web.

    Also at Hypebot:
    Danny Bennett On Managing Tony Bennett, Alternative Marketing
    & Digital Music [Part 1]

    Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and also blogs at This Business of Blogging. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

  • Baseware: Beatport Adds Digital Distribution

    Oct 19

    image from www.google.comSince their 2004 launch, Beatport has become the top global online retailer of electronic and dance music selling more than 77 million downloads. Sales are often more than 99 cents per track, and the company has distributed more than $100 million to independent labels and artists. Beatport's charts are so influential that some artists and labels make their product available there exclusively to drive chart position. Now Beatport is expanding their reach with the addition of Baseware, a digital distribution company aimed at electronic artists and labels.

    Initial digital retailers and services include iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, Stompy plus mobile and tablet applications. More are sure to follow. "Baseware expands the opportunities and simplifies the process of packaging, distributing, and selling music not only through the world’s #1 Electronic Dance Music retailer, but also through other mainstream music platforms," the company said in a statement.

  • In-Person Networking Tips for Musicians

    Oct 19

    We’ve recently welcomed music marketing savant Jem Bahaijoub as a contributor to the Indie Ambassador Blog. We’ll give you the full rundown on her background and experience later, but for now, check out her most recent article on the topic of face-to-face networking. As Jem points out, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the digital sphere and forget the value of engaging eye contact and a solid handshake. Take a look at her in-person networking pointers as outlined below, and give us any memorable networking stories (good or bad) in the comments!

    -Aidan

    (ImaginePR) Five Principles of Face-to-Face Networking

    Credit: Jem Bahaijoub

    Indie Ambassador Blog E2G Physical NetworkingIt’s easy to forget the importance of good old traditional human contact. With all the hype over Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and now Google+, most musicians are under pressure to be online 24 hours a day. However, one of the most effective ways to network is still face-to-face. Remind yourself of these following five principles when you go on your next schmoozathon and you’ll be good to go -

    Quality Not Quantity
    Networking at industry events should never be viewed as a numbers game. Musicians and industry professionals who race around trying to gather as many business cards as possible are forgetting the most important aspect of networking – good conversation. I strongly believe that establishing a genuine connection with a handful of people (even just one) will make you much more memorable than getting into the face of dozens.

    Think of it as similar to dating – ask questions, listen and get to know your colleagues or potential fans. You may not gel with everyone. That’s okay. You don’t always have to aggressively target the people you feel you “should” know. Being relaxed, friendly and genuine will make you much more memorable.

    Giving Not Getting
    When I first moved to the US, I was really touched by a handful of people I met at events who went out of their way to help me for no reason at all. They either introduced me to friends of theirs or sent me information about a topic of conversation we were discussing. They asked for nothing in return, and as a result instantly stuck in my mind. This made me realize that by focusing on what you can give, rather than what you can get will lead to more valuable relationships in the long-run.

    Everyone is Equal
    We’ve all seen it hundreds of times before – those people whose eyes glaze over when they realize that the person they are talking to is “not important enough”. We all have agendas, and time is money, but mental hierarchies are presumptuous and arrogant. You should always view everyone as equally valuable. Remember the proverb “great oaks from little acorns grow’.

    Be Prepared
    No one likes a musician who aggressively shoves a CD in your face. However, being prepared with CDs, business cards and flyers is a must. You just need to ensure that your timing is right. Use your judgement, be courteous, humble and realistic. Always remember the basics too – label your CDs with contact details, and ensure that your business cards and flyers are striking, brand-consistent, and readable.

    The Art of The Follow Up
    We all know how important it is to follow up. You just need to think carefully about how you are going to do it. I hate it when someone tries to friend me on Facebook without as much as a message to say hello again. Try to make it as personal as possible – a chatty email re-introducing yourself or a shout-out on Twitter. Even better, send a hand-written note or put in a phone call. Think it through and make it worthwhile.

    With all this in mind, get networking!

  • AM BRIEF: iTunes + Starbucks, Apple Stats, EMI Bids Short, Rhapsody's Plans, HMV - 7Digital & More

    Oct 17

    HypebotFavicon(UPDATED) Starbucks is teaming up with Apple to launch a digital initiative called 'Pick of the Week', which will offer Starbucks customers a free selected iTunes music track or book to download (Marketing)

    • New Apple Stats: 4M + iPhone4S sold in the first weekend.  25 million using IOS5, 20 million sign up for iCloud. No exact date yet on iTunes Music Match.
    • Bids to Buy Citigroup’s EMI Group Are Said to Fall Short of Expectations. (NY Times)
    • Rhapsody's Plan To Get Millions Of New Users Without Giving Away Free Music. (Business Insider)

    MORE: