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After having a poorly attended show, it’s easy to point the fingers at everyone else. The bottom line: the turn-out is entirely your responsibility.
When trying to promote your show, you would expect there to be a team of people to help out: the club, the booker, the other bands, and the promoter. And, yes, they sometimes do help out. However, more times than not, that level of support just isn’t there.
“How about the other bands on the bill? Can’t we get them to help flier and promote?”
Sadly, no. You can’t rely on other bands to promote the show. However, you can rely on them to make outrageous demands at the show, despite having done no promotional work whatsoever.
The bands that actually do help out, you want to work with them forever. Treat them like gold, pitch their shows, and always keep in contact with them. Those are the contacts you need in this industry.
Also, what if the other bands are from out-of-town? They can’t physically promote at all in your city. They rely on YOU. If the band is new, they may not know how to promote. Again, they need to see how you do it!
“How about the booker and the club? Aren’t they supposed to promote this?”
No. The booker has done her job by booking the show. She, now, has to book the other four months worth of shows, all the while dealing with cancellations and flakey bands.
The club itself is usually in the business of selling alcohol and trying desperately to keep its doors open. Most clubs I’ve seen at least run ads in the local papers. That’s about all you’re getting with the club dealing with shows just about every night of the year.
“Well, the promoter for this show is going to promote this, right?”
No. The promoter does drugs and steals your money from the door. So far, all the people I’ve seen that have the title “promoter” are the least capable of promoting. Not to say good promoters don’t exist; just don’t bet on it and protect your ass.
Rely on Yourself
In this biz, you are the only one you can rely on. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t build a team. As your band grows, you will need to bring in others to help you out.
However, this doesn’t mean trusting them implicitly. In the software testing field, we have a saying: “Trust, but Verify.”
Just because you have an entertainment lawyer doesn’t absolve you of double checking what the lawyer has written up for you. Just because you have an accountant doesn’t mean that accountant is handling your money correctly. Having a manager doesn’t mean your career is being handled appropriately.
And with promoting a show, you need to verify that those also “helping” promote are doing their job. For this very reason, starting your show promotion as early as possible will help you identify the slackers or the scammers.
If you do rely on someone else to help out your band, make sure to have a backup plan. Just like bringing an extra guitar and drum sticks to your gig, you should have a backup plan in case someone falls through. And in the music biz, people fall through a lot.
Though this post sounds a bit negative, I’m only trying to make you aware of the reality of the situation. Sometimes you have great shows where everyone promotes, and you don’t have to worry about all the other people. Then, you have shows where you can’t even rely on your own bandmates to help with anything.
That’s just how the biz goes. If you plan for the worst, you will be prepared against most surprises. Your show will still get promoted, even if it’s only you.
The alternative when relying on everyone else? No promotion occurs, and you have zero people at your show.
Global marketing and communications giant J. Walter Thompson works to keep major brands like Bayer, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Shell and Unilever ahead of the curve. In a new study, they concluded that in 2011 "we got a clearer glimpse of what the second decade of digital music will look like - and it’s quite different from the first in many ways." The result is a broad and insightful report: "Things To Watch: Music Edition"
"We’ll be accessing, discovering and sharing music in new ways, changes that are happening just as listening gets suddenly more social," according to the new JWT report. "Meanwhile, engaged audiences have new expectations, and artists have new tools at their disposal." Take special note of the contributions from several of those you see featured regularly on Hypebot and MusicThinkTank like Kyle Bylin and Bruce Warila.
inBloom is a location-based and eco-conscious mobile app that was originally designed to make it easy for musicians to find affordable and healthy food, green hotels, and bio-diesel filling stations while on tour.
"As a touring band, you see those golden arches off the side of the highway and it's extremely convenient and cheap to buy food from companies you know exploit people, animals, and promote unsustainable farming monocultures,” says inBloom co-founder Oren Eytan. “The question I started asking is 'how do you make it just as easy and affordable to find healthier alternatives?'"
Eytan is also the founder of Musician's Energy Conservation Alliance (MECA), which runs a variety of programs to help musicians save money while touring in an environmentally friendly way. MECA currently has nearly 1,000 musician members including OK Go, The Antlers, DeVotchKa, Kevin Devine, An Horse, Nicole Atkins, Free Energy, Murder By Death, and A Rocket To The Moon.
Quickly realizing that the app had a wider potential audience, inBloom now focuses on the sustainable food movement and includes listings for restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and Co-Ops, green hotels, thrift shops, green supply stores, and retail businesses powered by renewable energy.
On October 22nd, a separate veriosn of the app will be released for MECA members that focuses on major cities, music venues, and highways typically traveled by bands. The wide-release edition of inBloom, geared to non-musicians, will be available as a free iPhone app in the iTunes store on November 15th.
This post is by regular Hypebot contributor, musician, and music marketer Hisham Dahud (@HishamDahud)
The Billboard FutureSound Conference will be held November 17-18 at the Terra in San Francisco. This inaugural gathering will focus on bringing music industry, tech and finance leaders together to to define "the future opportunity of the digital music market for the artist, entrepreneur and rights-holder alike." Because of our media sponsorship of the event, we have 5 free tickets to giveaway. Here's how to win:
Submissions must be prior to 5PM ET 10/18/2011.
In the comments section below, tell us what development - good or bad - in music industry during the last decade has surprised you the most? For example:
The death of the album? The rise of Apple as a music powerhouse? Ian Roger's being nominated for an MTV O Award for Hottest NILF?
If you want to comment and can't attend, just let us know in your post. We'll include all the best answers in a future Hypebot story.
What development - good or bad - in music industry during the last decade has surprised you the most?
AM BRIEF: CMJ Starts, Cull.tv, Twitter Soars, Music For Steve, Getty + Atom Factory, New Jobs & MoreOct 18
CMJ starts today in NYC and cranks up as the week progresses. One of the "must sees" is the music tech CantoraLabs SmartLounge on Wed. & Thurs. Patrick May from our Hypebot/Skyline Music team is on the ground. But we also want to hear from you. What are your "must sees" at CMJ 2011?
- CULL.TV: I've been experimenting with Cull.tv. I like what I see and will be writing about creative ways for artists and labels to use it. In the meantime, as Eliot wrote on Evolver.fm, "Cull TV Isn’t the First to Turn YouTube into ‘New Music Television,’ But It’s Pretty Neat".
- Twitter Has 100 Million Monthly Active Users; 50% Log In Every Day (Mashable)
- Steve Jobs' memorial service featured performances by Bono, who sang Bob Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand," and Joan Baez, who performed "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."
- Getty Images has announced an agreement to license and distribute the catalog of Atom Factory, led by Troy Carter of Lady Gaga fame.
- WHAT JOB SHORTAGE?
- Pandora has hired its first chief marketing officer, Simon Fleming-Wood, formerly a marketing executive at Cisco Consumer Products and Pure Digital Technologies / Flip video.
- Google has finally killed Google Buzz.
- VEVO has hired Jim Macnie as Editorial Director.
- Hollywood Records named Robbie Snow Head Of Global Marketing. He's held marketing posts and MCA (remember them?) and RCA.
Indie digital distributor Believe Digital has announced a strategic partnership with label services firm Absolute Marketing. This new agreement will give Absolute Marketing & Distribution access to Believe Digital‘s worldwide digital distribution network and will provide Believe with a diverse range of new and catalog content.With offices in Europe and North America, Believe Digital has become a distribution powerhouse in several EU markets. According to figures from the IFOP, in 2099 Believe ranked as the number one digital distributor in France with a 27.11% market share, ahead of Sony with a 22.72% share.
Breaking the old label model, Absolute Marketing & Distribution offers marketing and business management services for independent record labels, single-artist labels and brand-owned music labels who retain full rights to their work. Past and current clients include Melanie C, Shirley Bassey, Herbie Hancock, Marillion, Hall & Oates, Boy George and Imogen Heap.
At Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Sean Parker, venture capitalist and co-founder of Facebook and Napster and Spotify investor, sat down to talk about his take on the future of the music industry. "I'm not actually sure why you would sign with a record label," quipped Parker. On Spotify, Parker says its "an attempt to finish what I started at Napster". WATCH THE VIDEO:
Most of the music discussion happens from 9-18 minutes, then the discussion turns to what's wrong with Facebook and the glut of information.
We recently offered early admission to artists who wanted to try out ChatWithTheBand, a Facebook app that powers live video chat and listening sessions, and the app is now available for all artists to add to their Facebook pages. It's still under development with more features to come but the basic functionality seems solid and offers a nice way to deepen your presence and connect with your fans on Facebook.
ChatWithTheBand Artist Control Panel
I spoke with Dan Peachey about his newest project ChatWithTheBand which musicians can now add to their Facebook pages via the ChatWithTheBand website. You can see a demo video on our previous post announcing the service.
Mr. Peachey has a rich background in music tech including being Director of Engineering for Peter Gabriel's project The Filter. He "conceived, designed and built" ChatWithTheBand.
I interviewed Mr. Peachey via ChatWithTheBand in the role of artist. It's a fairly simple interface and each of the links you can see in the above screenshot leads to basically one action though the actual broadcasting has a couple of options.
ChatWithTheBand gives you, the artist, the ability to broadcast live via webcam, to chat with one fan while other viewers check it out and to play tracks to which all viewers can listen. Currently you're viewable while the music is playing but the option to have a privacy screen will soon be available.
Eventually you'll also be able to record broadcasts and, if you wish, publish them in archival form so fans can come back and check things out. This also means that fans that chat with you can relive the delightful experience!
Currently fans can click through and buy tracks played during listening parties using a link you provide. Upcoming features will include the option to organize a charity event with a donate button, more advanced options for ecommerce and tools for moderation including options to block troublemakers.
Long term Mr. Peachey said that, in addition to improving the Facebook app, they intend to develop these capabilities on their website with additional options like profiles, more ecommerce possibilities and premium services.
If you have an active Facebook presence or want to get your audience more involved via Facebook chats and listening sessions, ChatWithTheBand strikes me as a great option for so doing. It is also clearly a project to follow as they improve the app and develop the website.
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.
The digital music industry is set to double from $7.4 billion to $20.1 billion in 2015, according to a new study. That's a compound annual growth rate of 22.1% over the period. Subscriptions will be the fastest growing segment, growing at a compound annual rate of 60.8% to 2015.In terms of digital music market value, the US, Japan, UK, France and Germany are the key digital music markets, together accounting for 79.5% of the global market in 2010. India, China, and Mexico are the upcoming digital music markets, which present strong growth potential, according to the report.
On fact driving the growth, according to the study, it that globally, ISPs are entering the battle against music piracy, primarily driven by the collective efforts of music companies and local governments. In 2010, France, Ireland and South Korea took steps to curtail music piracy, while others including the UK, New Zealand and Malaysia are aiming to do so in 2011.