Latest Indie News

  • Navigating The Infamous 360 Deal

    Nov 28

    As Martin Frascogna explains in the article below, 360 deals have always been around to some degree. But as they become more commonplace, knowing their minute details and how to negotiate them will come in handy should you ever be presented with one. Check out Martin’s great background info in the first couple of paragraphs then head over to his blog to read the 4 methods of negotiation. 

    -Aidan

    (Music Globalization) 4 Ways to Negotiate a 360 Deal

    Credit: Martin Frascogna

    Indie Ambassador E2G 360 Deal Music Globalization

    When you hear the word “deal” in today’s industry more than likely it’s a 360 deal. Commonly called “360” you’ll also hear these agreement referred to as multiple rights agreements, all rights deal or bundle agreements. Remarkably, 360 deals are nothing new, especially for record labels as they’ve been in existence for decades. Labels have always wanted artist to sign a recording contract, be in bed with a management firm affiliated with the label and sign merch deals with parent companies. Anyway you spin it these situations have 360 characteristics. What’s unique about the 360 deal today is the fact everyone feels as if they can implement multiple right contracts so somewhere these things tiptoed into the mainstream.

    While writing this article I’ve got a music publishing contract sitting on my desk demanding multiple rights. Publishing companies demanding 360’s entitling them to merch sales? Not to be outdone, last month I dealt with a booking agency demanding 360 rights with entitlement to record sales. In the music industry bizarre, anybody and everybody insist their expertise rises to the level of 360 status. Absurd? Maybe. Farfetched? Not really. Since much of a musician’s income comes from sources other than recorded music, why should labels be the only ones to implement multiple rights agreements? Be it old school 360 or new age 360 deals, two things have remained consistent: (1) people assume they’re non-negotiable and (2) they involve a substantial commitment by an artist.

    Read the entire article here!

  • Spotify Suffers Outage Ahead Of Wednesday's Big Announcement

    Nov 28

    image from www.google.comSpotify suffered scattered outages on Sunday evening that effected users in the US and Europe. Some users trying to login were greeted with the message: “Service Temporarily Unavailable. The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.” A couple of hours later service began to stabilize, and Spotify tweeted:

    "Login is back up. Still a few issues to work out but we're getting there. Our apologies for the short downtime."

    Small outages are to be expected with any cloud based service, but this glitch comes at an inopportune time for Spotify.  Google Music, iTunes and Amazon are stepping their own cloud delivery efforts and streaming competitors like MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody are all rolling out new features and delivery platforms.  

    Spotify apparently believes that it has a major competitive trick up its sleeve, as well. Just last week, Spotify sent out media invites to a "Big Announcement" this Wednesday.  We'll be live blogging the event.

    Until then, here's what I think Spotify will announce on Wednesday. What do you think?

    MORE:

     

     

  • Derek Sivers On The Co-op Business Model: Share Whatever You've Got

    Nov 28

    (UPDATED) I feel like I know almost nothing about business, because the only business I’ve ever done is the co-op / sharing model.

    It goes like this:

    1. You already have something that people want.

    It might be something you own, something you’ve learned how to do, or access to valuable resources, space, or people.

    2. Find a way to share it with everyone who needs it.

    Share because it’s what you do for friends, because it’s the right thing to do, because it makes the world a better place, and because it’ll make you deeply happy.

    Share as your contribution in return for all the things and ideas that people have shared with you.

    (If you’re having a bad day, or someone has recently wronged you, you may not feel the world has shared much with you, but here’s a reminder.)

    3. If it takes some effort for you to share it, you can charge a little something for your effort, to ensure that this giving can continue.

    My examples:

    • In 1994, the U.S. Copyright office still didn’t have their copyright forms online. You still had to mail a letter to Washington DC to ask them to mail you some blank forms, if you wanted to copyright your songs.
      I scanned all the forms, and put them on my website for free as printable downloads, for any musician who needed them.
      For the next year or two, until the government started putting the forms online, my site was the only place to get them. This was my first effort to contribute back to this great invention of the internet.
    • In 1995, I learned how to trademark my band name. It took many hours of work to figure out the legalese, but I did it.
      I wrote out the step-by-step instructions and put them on my band’s website for free.
      For years it was the go-to resource for musicians who wanted to trademark their name.
    • In 1996, I had a little record label, so I got a UPC barcode account, so I could put unique UPC barcodes on my CDs. I had to pay $750 to the Universal Code Council to get a company account, but that meant I was allowed to create 100,000 products under my account. Musician friends asked how, so I showed them how, but also said they could use one of my product IDs.
      At first, I did this for free, as a favor, until friends started sending strangers my way. Because it took a little work to generate the number, create their EPS/TIFF graphic barcode, and keep track of their unique IDs forever, I charged $20.
      Over the next 12 years, this made me almost $2 million.
    • In 1997, I got a credit card merchant account to sell my own CD at live shows. It cost $1000 in set-up fees and took three months of red-tape paperwork. Then I built a little online shopping cart, which also took months of work, just to sell my own CD. Musician friends asked if they could use mine instead of having to go through all of that work, so I said OK.
      At first, I did this for free, as a favor, until it was taking up all of my time. Because it took me 45 minutes of work to digitize, stock, set up a new album in my system, I charged $35 per new album. Because it took 10 minutes of work to pick, pack, and ship a purchased CD, I charged $4 per CD sold.
      Over the next 12 years, this made me about $20 million.
    • In 1999, I had learned a lot about hosting websites. Linux, Apache, PHP, SQL, FTP, DNS, Qmail, SpamAssassin, etc. I had done it for myself for my band’s website, then for CD Baby, and bought my own servers. So when friends would complain about their existing web-hosting company, I’d host them on my servers instead.
      At first, I did this for free, as a favor, until it was filling up my server. Because each server cost me $300/month, and I had to hire a full-time person to manage this, I charged $20 per month. (In 1999 this was way cheap.)
      Over the next 9 years, this made me about $5 million.
    • Since 2000, I’ve been sharing everything I’ve learned for free. I’m not the smartest guy, probably below average, but it costs nothing to share, and it’s the right thing to do, so I do.
      Over the last 11 years, this made me incredibly happy and lucky, because of all the interesting people I’ve met by doing it.

    Point being:

    None of these things looked like a business venture.

    All of them were just sharing something I already had.

    People often ask me if I have any suggestions for what kind of business they should get into.

    I tell them the only thing I know how to recommend: “Start by sharing whatever you’ve got.

  • MTT Weekly Recap: Join The Music Think Tank Networking Party

    Nov 27

  • "He Who Has the Goals Makes the Rules"

    Nov 27

    Originally posted 2009-10-26 00:27:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

    Tyler Perry

    Tyler Perry

    After channel-surfing  a bit last night, I came across a 60 Minutes interview with actor/writer/director/producer Tyler Perry.  If you’re not familiar with Perry, he is the Atlanta-based playwriter-turned-screenwriter who has literally created his own genre of movies. His latest movie, I Can Do Bad All By Myself topped the box office during its first weekend in theaters earlier this month.

    In short, the interview discussed how, in just 11 years, Tyler Perry has risen to success by finding and tackling a niche audience that no one else in the movie industry has tackled – black, church-going women with children (and also the middle-class African-American). 

    “He Who Has the Goals Makes the Rules”
    It’s a simple, profound statement….one that I’m sure caught the ear of everyone who watched this interview.  Perry owns everything he makes. He owns his plays, his movies, his TV shows, his 400 employees…etc. He writes everything, directs everything, and acts in almost all of his productions.  And just 11 years ago, none of this existed. Perry was living out of his car and trying to sell his plays to people who didn’t want them.  Eventually he stopped trying to sell them and funded them himself (with very little money). 

    “They didnt open the door. I had to cut a hole in a window to get in.”
    Considering the state of the music industry, I thought this statement was especially important to highlight.  We’re at a point where you can only make moves if you break in through a window. The doors aren’t opening because too many musicians are knocking on them. The artists who make it are sneaking in through the basement, laundry chutes, and chimneys. :) What are you doing differently than your peers? Work to pave unpaved roads. Check out these posts:

    Stand-out Artists and What We Can Learn from Them #1
    Stand-out Artists and What We Can Learn from Them #2
    Stand-out Artists and What We Can Learn from Them #3

    The Cost of Creating Your Own Rules
    When you’re funding and fueling your own pursuits, your audience will always be smaller than it could be. Despite his success, most Americans have never heard of Tyler Perry.  Perry has found his niche but you can pretty much guarantee that if a movie theater is full of movie-goers, 99% of them will be black. Niches are great, and self-promotion is great, but this usually translates into small-audience-higher-impact…whereas, being backed by the “big guys” usually translates into large-audience-smaller-impact.

    When all is said and done, keep in mind that Creative Control = Monetary Control.

    If you wanna check out the full 60-minute interview, here goes:
    http://www.urbanmusicdirect.com/2009/10/tyler-perry-interview-on-60min

     

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  • Herra Terra’s Kickstarter Journal: Week 3

    Nov 26

    In this week’s Kickstarter journal, Herra Terra talks about their strategy for a final push to promote their campaign, Kickstarter’s rules on editing certain parts of a campaign, and what the band will do if they don’t reach their funding goal. If you need some incentive before donating, check out some rough cuts of the songs to be recorded for the new EP in the player below!

    1996 EP – 2011 by HERRA TERRA

     

    So you have 10 days left in your campaign. Is the Herra Terra camp shooting around ideas for a final push to reach your fundraising goal?

    Indeed. We’re going to push a couple of contests via Twitter and Facebook to try to get more people to donate before the campaign expires. We’ll be giving out things like vinyl, shirts and downloads for people who retweet our posts the most and to anyone who gets 5 or more people to donate.

    Does Kickstarter allow you to change your message, packages, project description, or video leading up to the end of the campaign in order change course and try a new approach?

    For the most part, they let you edit everything. Two things that aren’t allowed to be changed are the dollar amount of your goal and any reward packages that have already been spoken for. The video and overall message you are presenting can be changed at will.

    If the funding campaign doesn’t work out will you guys have to change your studio plans?

    Yes, most definitely! We are determined to have this record out by the Spring, no matter the situation. If this campaign falls through we will ask all who donated to either meet with us in person for lunch or transfer the money to us via Paypal. The production of this record is still going to be costly even if we choose to go locally as a Plan B. Our hopes are high and we believe that everything is in its right place.

    Interested in helping out? Visit Herra Terra’s Kickstarter campaign page here!

     

  • An Interview with Allison Weiss

    Nov 26

    Originally posted 2009-09-02 14:01:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

    Allison Weiss

    Allison Weiss

    The first time  I came across Allison Weiss’ myspace page, I knew she was a musician after my own heart. Grassrootsy first covered her back in July in a feature on Kickstarter.  And after reading more about Weiss, it was apparent that she is one of the hardest working independent artists you will ever come across.  I mean ever. And believe me, it will pay off! In fact she’s already scored tons of top-notch gigs and an interview with Billboard Magazine.

    Grassrootsy asked her some questions about herself and her music marketing techniques.  Read on!  Read everything! (and post your thoughts below)

    1.) What’s your story?
    I started writing and playing music when I was in high school, but didn’t really do a lot of it until I came to college. At that point I started playing out all the time. I hit as many open mics as possible until I had gained enough exposure to land some coffee house gigs, and in time I moved up to playing clubs in my town. Eventually I reached the point I’m at now, where I play regionally every weekend and tour during my breaks from school. I’m currently a full time student and part time musician, though it feels like full time. I’m pretty much constantly thinking about writing, performing, and promoting my music. It’s second nature. It’s what I’m most passionate about. I’m working as hard as I can to get to full-time status. As soon as I finish school I plan to work as a freelance graphic designer in order to pay for my musical endeavors. I already do this now of course, I just intend to do it even more intensely.

    2.) It looks like some really great opportunities have been coming your way. How did you score that interview with Billboard Magazine?
    The Billboard thing was definitely amazing for me. My friend Rosie Siman has always been a huge supporter of my music, so when she befriended Billboard editor Bill Werde, she made a point to bring him out to one of my shows in New York. I guess he liked what he saw, because he ended up coming to the next one a couple months later and he only had great things to say about my performance and my music. He then set me up with an interview for the Underground section of their website. It was pretty surreal to see myself on the front page of Billboard.com. I never thought I’d be so close to the Jonas Brothers. Bill has been really awesome to me and supportive of my career. He’s also a total badass in general and I’m proud to know him.

    3.) What do you think is the single most important thing an artist should do to promote themselves better?
    Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. When I first got started, some people criticized me for my “shameless” self-promotion techniques. Four years later, the same people are now asking for my advice. It seems pretty simple, but the most important thing is to scream your name from the rooftops. If nobody’s ever heard of you, how will they hear your music? Make sure they know you exist. Do it with honesty, charm, and style and you’ll earn the trust of people who will support you for a long time. Also: get a mailing list. Make people sign it. Announce onstage that you’re giving away a CD to someone who signs the list, pass it out into the crowd, and then announce the winner right before your last song. Those email addresses are almost as valuable as album sales, because each one is a potential attendee at your next show and a potential fan.

    4.) What is your biggest frustration with your fellow musician?
    Nothing bothers me more than a musician who swears off the internet. It’s a new age. Unfortunately, its about more than just writing great songs. You have to be organized and you have to be on top of things and you have to be putting yourself out there in the real world and online. There are so many opportunities for musicians on the internet, to see someone swear it off is heartbreaking. It’s so easy to use Facebook and Twitter, I don’t understand people who refuse. Plus its really fun when you get the hang of it. I enjoy social media almost as much as I enjoy writing and performing.

    5.) According to the Grassrootsy Reader’s Poll, the biggest frustration among readers is trying to build their fanbase and finding a supportive music community. How do you do this?
    I love people. It sounds pretty cheesy, but I live for human connection. I want to meet people and I want to know them. I don’t put barriers between myself and the people who listen to my music. Aside from really personal stuff, I pretty much talk about anything on my blog or my twitter. I think that honesty and openness allows for more of a connection between band and fan. Also, I’ve never really sat down and tried to determine who my “target market” is. I mostly just put myself out there and go with the flow. I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but I think if you’re making good music, touring, and promoting yourself, the supportive community will come in time. Overall I think it’s important to remember what it’s like to be a fan of a band and how much fun it can be to really love someone for their music. I treat my fans the way I’d like to be treated by my favorite bands. It’s the golden rule, after all.

    6.) If you could suggest one tool that every artist should familiarize themselves with, what would it be? Why? (i.e. html, photoshop, video editing, other…)
    Honestly, social skills. I strongly believe that if you’re going to be a DIY musician, you can’t be a mysterious hermit. You’ve gotta have the guts to be outgoing and positive and ready for adventure. There are a million people out there trying to do what we’re doing, and it’s the go-getters who will succeed. It’s scary but true, and you’ve got to be willing to jump right in and join the fight.

    But if you’re looking for a real answer…nowadays it’s essential to know enough HTML to edit your own MySpace profile. It’s a terrible waste of money to pay someone else to make simple changes you could do yourself. Look up tutorials online. There are millions of them. Make yourself a cheat sheet with codes used most often and eventually you’ll learn it. Video editing is also a great skill to have and with programs like iMovie, it’s very simple to learn. If my mom can do it, so can you. Having the ability to document your own tours and experiences and put them on Youtube can be really beneficial to the promotion of your own career. The real answer to this question is “All of the above.” The more many tech things you can familiarize yourself with, the better.

    Allison Weiss Online:
    Official: www.allisonw.com
    Myspace: www.myspace.com/allisonweiss
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/allisonweiss
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/allisonweiss
    YouTube: www.youtube.com/amlingisrad


    ***Subscribe to Grassrootsy

  • Blogger Criticizes Artists for Making Money; TuneCore CEO Jeff Price Responds

    Nov 25

    image from www.google.comEarlier this week, blogger Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News used isolated statistics obtained from TuneCore to prove an oversimplified claim that "99.875% of Tunecore artists are making less than minimum wage". According to DMN, the image from t3.gstatic.comsolution for developing artists is "a day job or subsidizing parents to keep the ship afloat."

    TuneCore CEO Jeff Price responds: Before I say another word, yes, I know I'm rising to the bait. I know this response means more eyeballs for Digital Music News – a semi-legitimate music industry blog that tends to be sensational to drive eyeballs. I know that Paul Resnikoff’s constant personal attacks on TuneCore and me are a goad and good for his web traffic. Okay, sometimes the only way to refute a gambit is to accept it. If this means more people paying attention to Paul's site and generating revenue for his ad-supported business model, I guess he wins that round.

    But when you paint a picture of hopelessness for artists, suggest they are failures and attempt to discourage them based on a nonsensical math equation and incomplete data, then you've lashed out at the wrong target. They deserve the truth. 

    Paul, why do you put down artists for making money? These artists did it on their own, drove every sale, earned every penny without having to give up their copyrights or sacrifice control, something never before possible in the history of the modern music industry. I published the numbers in response to statements claiming artists cannot can sell music without a major label. So why on earth are these tangible, actual results being painted as failures?

    The “average income” formula you created may be the most useless, meaningless statistic I’ve ever seen. Here’s an example as to why:

    An artist that makes $20 a year in music sales sits alone in a room.  Average made per artist = $20.  Now an artist that makes $1,000,000 a year enters the same room.  Average made per artist = $500,010.

    So what did we just prove exactly?  Same thing you did; nothing.

    I wish every single artist made over $1,000 a month in digital music sales (this of course does not take into count all the other income streams - good list made in 2009 by FMC of 29 of them can be found here - http://futureofmusic.org/blog/2009/10/14/29-streams) The truth is, most artist don’t make that much in music sales a month, and we all know it. Most make much less. So what exactly is the point of your article? Are you saying that artists should give it up, as it’s a tough business? What exactly is your news story? Drop your guitar and go work at a fast food restaurant?

    I understand the music industry can be confusing: the six legal copyrights that drive the entire music industry (Public Performance, Derivatives, Reproduction, Public Display, Digital Transmissions, Distribution) and the rules around each are complex. But if you claim to be a voice for the industry, don’t you think you should know this stuff inside and out so you can report with complete information? If you knew how it all worked, you wouldn’t be employing faulty math on the exploitation of just one of these six rights, or drawing alarmist conclusions from it. So I have to ask again, what's your message?

    Bob Lesetz (http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/) has it right. It takes work, hard work, time, energy, focus, determination, knowledge, money, gigs, luck and more to truly become a superstar, to truly and utterly “make it” in this industry. It’s not easy. It’s not for the meek, it’s not for artists that don’t believe in themselves. You have to strive and push and persevere against all others that say you will fail, that say you are meaningless, that say you are irrelevant, that say you have no value as you make less than someone who earns “minimum wage.” In short, for an artist to succeed, they have to ignore Paul Resnikoff. That can’t be what you want, can it?

    The "odds" of becoming a household name in music during your lifetime, of becoming a superstar, have always been microscopic, and we all know it. But until recently, every single one of the artists who "made it" and did not “make it” were forced through a system of gatekeepers, opinion-shapers, cultural and business guardians that took their copyrights and took advantage. Are you advocating a return to that system? Here’s an old but still scathingly accurate (and informed!) set of numbers from Steve Albini (producer for Nirvana, amongst others) of how it used to be: http://www.negativland.com/albini.html.  Are you seriously stating things are not better?

    Now you’ve come up with this new absurd figure. "Minimum wage"? You manipulate the data under the guise of "analysis" and use your provocative headline and your weblog pulpit to degrade artist achievements. Your rally cry: “You’re worth less than someone making minimum wage. Who cares if you sold $20 in music, $50 in music, $1,000 in music, you’re a failure. Throw in the towel.”

    This is the voice artists should be hearing? What should an artist take from this? Is it supposed to be some kind of revelation that income from digital music sales has to be part of an artist's income and is rarely the whole? You give lip service to the much larger point that digital sales are only a single element of an artist's earning spectrum while showing no understanding of what these actually are or how they work. Thanks, but it deserves more than a mention, since most artists understand that they can monetize fame in a number of ways -merchandise, gigging, physical sales, other formats, endorsements, the list goes on and on. Who didn't know this?  Is the only defining metric of “success” DMN’s self-established marker delineating income restricted solely to digital music sales?

    Most artists build their careers over time, starting slowly, working their asses off. The Police, The Ramones, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Joy Division and on and on and on all made very little money and had few sales when the started. Guess you should have told them they make less than minimum wage so they should quit. Should those supposed hundreds and thousands of people making "only" $1,280 a month just from digital music sales of their recordings simply...stop? What if they made only $50 the previous month and are up to $1000 this month? What if an artist priced their music at $0.10 for a song but made $1,000 in t-shirt sales? Does that not count?

    And you haven’t even considered that artists should be allowed to decide for themselves what success is. Who are you to tell an artist what constitutes success for them? Do you get to be the new gatekeeper?

    Have you ever played a gig in a band and get paid $50, $100 or $250 at the end of the night? Any idea how good it feels to drive four hours, rent a 15 passenger van, pay for parking, rent gear, eat ramen and lose a few hundred bucks on the gig and get 50 people to pay to hear you play. Instead, should the band crunch the numbers and say, “Sorry, we only made $150 tonight, and it took over 12 hours to get here, load in, play the gig, load out and drive home. When we factor in the cost of our gear and everything else we are making less than $1 an hour, which we have to split four ways, so let’s quit.”  So much for Arcade Fire, over before they began.

    It can take years, thousands and thousands of dollars of investment, endless hours of work and sacrifice before something finally gives and the stone wall you’ve been banging your head against finally cracks. Your pseudo, baseless "analysis" suggests independent artists can’t “make it". Bullshit. I believe in them.  I believed in them so much that I started a record label with my high school friend in 1991 to release music I loved from bands that blew me away.  Your framing sends a message to the media and corporations that indie artists are of a lower status. They are not—they’re the new emerging music industry, laying claim to increasing amounts of market share and revenue. Now is the time to trumpet this fact and educate artists with real information, teach them, provide them options and services to help them make educated and informed choices, not drown them in sensationalist headlines.

    Tell them the truth: it’s hard, it’s going to be tough, most of you won’t become a superstar.  Here’s the information you need to know, here are the options, it’s up to you to make it happen. Go into this with eyes wide open.  No promises.

    So some artists made a "mere $1,280" a month from digital music sales (this is a put down?).  Newsflash, many made less, but had they gotten those sales while signed to a traditional record label, they'd have gotten no money and, most likely, six weeks after street date, they would have been dropped. That’s the fate of 98% of the acts that came through the majors alone.

    And what about songwriters? The overwhelming majority of TuneCore artist's write their own songs. They never see all their money from mechanical royalty collection agencies worldwide unless they "signed" with a music publisher (in most cases giving up 50% ownership and control of their copyrights). For others, intermediary performing rights organization track only a portion of the actual plays, but collect all the cash, take 15 to 25% of the money and then report back as late as18 months later, with no transparency or audit trail. Worse, others flat out steal it: http://www.thereader.es/local-business-a-finance/6752-spains-performing-rights-organisation-sgae-raided-by-anticorruption-police.html.

    Why aren’t you reporting on that as opposed to telling artists that make over $1,000 a month in music sales that they “don’t even make minimum wage”? We show unsigned artists literally making over six figures in digital music sales in just one month and you ignore that? You think this would have been possible six years ago? 

    Look more closely at that spreadsheet: it has a small swatch of data that contains 5,944 rows, each of which represents artists who made $100 or more in digital music sales in just the month of July, 2011, via TuneCore (http://blog.tunecore.com/2011/11/tunecore-artists-music-sales-july-2011.html). That's nearly six thousand acts in control of their careers, who made money and who, until recently, could have made nothing.

    Oh, and by the way, how many of these 6,000 artists would have made anything on music sales if this industry had not changed. And the curve is very long, and many, many thousands more made a lot less than $100 over that same period. This is some secret?  But that’s not the point.  The point is, when artists make any money, it’s a good thing. Are you saying artists that don’t make six figure salaries annually over music sales are losers? If so, by your definition, just about every artist ever released is a failure.

    Things are changing for the better for artists, any way you slice it. Is it perfect? No. It's taken years to build up to this point and it'll take years to mature even further. If you want to spin the numbers to paint the most discouraging picture possible, please, tell me why? It can't be just to trumpet gloom-and-doom to draw visitors to your site. It can't be that you've just got a bone to pick with TuneCore as we never paid you for an ad on your site. At least, I sure hope it's nothing so petty. If so, okay, that's life, and both TuneCore and I can take it. But get the hell off artists' back. Applaud them. Support them. They've had it hard enough. They’ve been kicked around for the last 80 years. Last thing they need is an outsider suggesting they don’t count because last month they only made $1,000 in digital music sales.

    Jeff Price
    TuneCore

  • The Profitable Artist: A Handbook For Turning Your Art Into A Career

    Nov 25

    Profitable-artistArtspire, a web community that provides such services to artists as fiscal sponsorship and a platform for soliciting donations, recently released "The Profitable Artist: A Handbook for All Artists in the Performing, Literary, and Visual Arts."

    The Profitable Artist is a more solid offering than most of the business of art type books I've checked out in the past with a take on such topics as the SWOT analysis and negotiations that should be particularly useful for DIY musicians that want to develop as indie artists.

    Artspire recently launched out of beta as a platform for supporting indie artists across artistic disciplines. It's a project of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and together they've copublished The Profitable Artist.

    I recently spoke with NYFA Executive Director Michael L. Royce who filled me in on both Artspire, which I'll discuss in an upcoming post, and The Profitable Artist, which he noted is not for all artists but rather for those who want to achieve such goals as building bigger audiences or turning their artmaking into a career. As such it includes information on career planning, fundraising, marketing and other topics important to all career-minded artists.

    More distinctively, The Profitable Artist includes a number of basic business concepts and approaches that would be particularly useful for DIY'ers that want to stay independent, for example:

    The SWOT Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

    Doing a SWOT analysis is a basis business technique for taking a look at what you do best, where you're weak, the possible opportunities and conceivable threats. If you're trying to build a team to take your indie music career to the next level, you might apply a SWOT analysis to your current situation in order to identify and prioritize your team-building needs.

    For example, if you're really into social media but hate keeping books, you've identified a strength and a weakness that suggests you'll need accounting services more immediately than you'll need help with social media marketing.

    If you've developed a style of music that is at the forefront of a new trend that's catching attention, you may see an opportunity in being first on the scene with the eventual threat of being lost in a wave of trendiness. Such a recognition may mean that you need to establish as high a profile as quickly as possible as someone in the forefront of this style. That will also affect who you need on your team and how your resources should be used to best advantage.

    Other business concepts of use include environmental scanning, charting your cost tree, understanding how the market perceives you and your music and how to negotiate. These are concepts that can allow you to go beyond a narrow focus on specific tasks such as booking the next gig by developing a broader view of the road ahead.

    The overall strength of The Profitable Artist is not that it gives you basic information on fundraising and marketing but that it also gives you an approach that ties together the details in an overall perspective based in solid business practices. There is always more to learn than any one handbook can share. Having a framework for that information allows you to keep from being overwhelmed by a thousand details while understanding how they fit together to support your work.

    BUY: The Profitable Artist: A Handbook for All Artists in the Performing, Literary, and Visual Arts

    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.

  • Sellaband Seeking Global A&R Scouts

    Nov 25

    Sellaband-logoSellaband, a crowdfunding site for musicians, has had some difficult times but has remained in the business of helping artists get funding from fans. They're now launching an interesting initiative called the SellaBand Worldwide A&R Program (WARP) and are looking for individuals in numerous countries interested in such a role.

    The short version is that WARP participants will identify and recruit bands for the Sellaband platform and help them get started on Sellaband. In return you will have a Sellaband business card and email and will receive an undisclosed percentage of funding. There are ten vacancies, one each in the US (West Coast), US (East Coast), Japan, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Benelux States, Eastern Europe, Australia.

    Requirements include having a passion for music, a basic understanding of musical styles, solid written and verbal communication skills and a knowledge of such concepts as "crowdfunding" and "viral marketing". Having a background in the music industry will make you a stronger candidate.

    Given the changing nature of the role of A&R's in the music industry as well as shifts in how such roles are fulfilled beyond record label personnel, WARP may be as useful for other career interests as it may be for budding A&R's.

    For example, you're not only identifying talented musicians but also identifying musicians who have the perspective and initial base of support to successfully launch a crowdfunding campaign. Knowing a lot of bands will make it easier to identify potential Sellaband success stories and thereby increase your chance of doing well with WARP. But being able to recognize who's a good fit is an important skill that can be applied in all sorts of areas from biz development to human resources.

    WARP doesn't sound like a get rich quick scheme but it does sound like an interesting opportunity for self-starters who seek a structured role for connecting artists with opportunities.

    If being a Sellaband A&R interests you, send a CV including a picture, music background and interests, a one page "letter of motivation" plus any questions to warp(at)sellaband(dot)com where Michael Bogatzki and Malte Graubner will be your contacts.

    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.