Friday, November 23, 2007

NuMBEr$ game

As we reach the end of the year, the record labels start gearing up for the Holiday Season. They buy end caps, shelf space, and last minute ads on a variety of media networks. There's also a last minute direct mail campaign to the radio stations. It seems like alot of media and marketing and distribution outlets want to know your numbers, too.

What do your numbers look like? Sales? Distribution outlets? Venues? Performances? Press Outlets?

If you have "bottom line" and quantifiable numbers, they will listen, especially if it correlates to an accounting or bookkeeping system in place. Just food for thought, if you wanna tighten up your game.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

D.I.Y. OR DIE: How to Survive as an Independent Artist

Wanna know how to make a splash? Give something HUGE away for free...
I also post this because it's a film on how to survive as an independent artist.. that is being offered gratis.

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DIRECTOR GIVES AWAY ENTIRE COMMERCIAL FILM,
ENCODED IN HIGH QUALITY, WITH NO DRM


"D.I.Y. OR DIE: How to Survive as an Independent Artist"

Free on Zune Marketplace and Zune.net

Microsoft's Zune Marketplace has just launched and Zune.net launches the week of November 19th. Both are showcasing the documentary film "D.I.Y. OR DIE: How to Survive as an Independent Artist" as top-four picks.

Director Michael W. Dean is giving away the entire film as eight episodic chapters over eight weeks' time, one per week as free video downloads, in the "podcasts" section of Zune Marketplace and Zune.net.

The film is encoded in high quality (30 fps, 900 kbps MP4 files, 640 x 480 size, with 128-bit stereo audio, and no digital rights management or copy protection). It looks great on a Zune and other portable media devices, and damn good full screen on a computer. The entire film will stay online until at least April 2008.

Seven extras from the DVD (including interviews with Ian MacKaye, Steve Albini, and Lydia Lunch) will also be available for free download, one per week, after the final chapter of the film posts.

FILM DESCRIPTION:
This film is a celebration of the artistic underdog! FEATURING interviews and performances from: Lydia Lunch, Ian MacKaye (Fugazi), J Mascis (Dinosaur jr.), Jim Rose (Jim Rose Sideshow), J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus), Mike Watt (Minutemen), Richard Kern (Filmmaker), Ron Asheton (Stooges), Madigan Shive (Bonfire Madigan), Dave Brockie (Gwar), Craig Newmark (founder Craig's List) and more.

Directed by: Michael W. Dean.
Edited by: Miles Montalbano. DVD architect: Blaine Graboyes

Director Michael W. Dean says, "People keep asking me, ‘Why are you posting the whole film when it's still selling on DVD? Are you CRAZY?'"

Dean's reply, in part: "It's my gift to the world. People write me every day and tell me the film got them off their ass. I made the film to spread a message, not make money. And somehow, it still made money. That's how I do things - it's how I pay my rent to the Universe."

Dean's full explanation of his reasoning for this giveaway: http://tinyurl.com/39u6ur

Info on the film: http://www.diyordie.org

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Create a Blog...and read a book.

20 STEPS TO CREATING A SUCCESSFUL BLOG FOR YOUR BAND

by Lance Trebesch, TicketPrinting.com

Blogs prove to be a tricky field to conquer, especially when it comes to gaining an initial reader-base. However, once you get that reader base, great potential for increasing your online reputation is created. Successful blogs keep their status by following these 20 rules from the start and throughout their blog's lifetime.

1. Focus the topic.
Thousands of different blogs exist on the web. Only the well-established ones can post general news and see success. Instead, focus your blog around a niche. The more narrow the subject, the more likely you will get a steady reader base.

2. Search similar blogs and subscribe.
Because there are so many blogs on the internet, chances are somebody somewhere will also be talking about your subject. Find these sites and subscribe to them so you get instant updates. The best action to take is to read up on these blogs and know what they talk about regularly.

3. Create business relationships.
By helping out someone else and their blog in some way, they will in return help you and your blog out. One good example is devising a list of online radio stations you can submit your music to and give them the list so they can use it for their benefit as well. By becoming business friends, you can promote each other by talking about one another's webpage, music, blog etc.

4. Make quality content.
Just writing a blog is not enough. You have to make sure what you are writing is good content. No one will comment or read your blog if the content seems worthless and poorly written. Also, write grammatically. Misspellings are one of the most painful things to witness in blogs.

5. Work on the title.
The title is a necessity. The first thing people look at and what makes them read your blog is the title. Titles that hint of content with lists and bullets also draw people in due to the pleasing layout and more white space of lists. If the title perks their interest, they will click on your blog to continue reading. Take the time to think about an interesting title and log which titles draw more readers.

6. Submit to directories.
After creating a good content-and-keyword-rich blog, submit it to different directories. Top Blog Area and BlogFlux are two good sites to submit blogs to according to category of blog. Another option is to write just one blog for an established blogging site in the rock music industry and tell them why they should feature your blog on their site. If they choose to put the blog on their site, you will see greatly increased traffic.

7. Get a friend to submit your blog to Digg, StumbleUpon, Technorati, Netscape, and Reddit.
These search sites generate a ton of traffic to your site if viewed frequently (or "digged," "thumbs up" "favored," etc). However, people view down on you if you constantly submit your own content to these sites, so instead, make a buddy submit your blogs, videos, or podcasts to these sites one or two times a week. Eventually, your good content will make it to the homepage of these content-search sites, generating an unimaginable amount of traffic to your blog.

8. Ping every site.
Some submission sites allow you to 'ping' them, which means they get an automatic update when you post a new blog. This is good so they always have your latest posts in their records. These sites also allow you to put in key tag terms. By inputting a tag term, your blog will pop up if someone searches for the term you used. For instance, if you are writing about electric guitar comparisons (tag terms) and the searcher inserts "compare guitars," your blog will show as a result. You must utilize pings and tags to increase your blog popularity.

9. Write regularly and stand out.
The only way to gain a steady reader base is if you write a blog regularly. The best blogs update their content daily or sometimes several times a day. As an upcoming artist, though, weekly will suffice if you write on a consistent day around the same time every week. In addition, you need to stand out from other bloggers. Write properly, but use your personality. Personality keeps the blog interesting and keeps readers coming back. In addition, the readers like to be treated as humans, so drop the business lingo. Blogs are for entertainment, so engage your audience. Write for them.

10. Host your blog on your website domain.
Using a different host for your blog not only confuses your readers, but also reduces the amount of quality traffic to your site. The only smart way to host a blog is through your own website. If readers like what they read, or you mention something about your music in the blog, they can easily navigate to your website to find out more information. Creating a blog serves the purpose of promoting your music online, which you can only do if you reader can easily access your website from your blog.

11. Ask people to subscribe.
RSS feeds allow users to subscribe to your blog and receive an update when you add new blogs. This makes it convenient for readers so they do not need to check for blog updates. An alternative is to send the updated blog through email, so having both an email subscription and a RSS feed is necessary. Also, make the sign-up process simple and prominent. Display the RSS button everywhere and occasionally mention it in your posts to sign-up. The simpler the process to sign-up, the more chance the reader will go through with the process.

12. Offer a bribe to sign-up.
Take an example for Marketing Pilgrim, by offering a $600 cash giveaway by signing-up for a RSS feed. The code to register for the money is in an RSS-only message. Receiving $600 free is pretty convincing to sign-up. Other options to get people to sign up are free e-books related to your topic ("How to Get a Record Deal"), or send a personalized autographed picture of you or the band to those who sign-up.

13. Comment on forums. Comment on blogs. Comment on chats. And comment by providing a link back your blog.
By injecting your opinion and showing your personality through these comments, people will notice you and want to find out more. Make sure the comments are meaningful and not just some form of spam to create a link back to you. People appreciate when an expert adds their knowledge, so write truthful comments that will help the audience. Comments are the biggest promotion of your blog in the beginning months of the blog.

14. Leave blogs open for discussion.
If compiling a list, ask for comments to add their suggestions for the list. The 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO) blog by Influential Marketing Blog became instantly popular by people linking to it, posting comments and recommending the blog. After writing a general blog that does not include a list, ask a question at the end to encourage comments and blog discussion. The more, interesting discussion, the more people will link to your blog, promoting it.

15. Respond to comments.
Read your comments daily and respond when someone asks a question to you through the comments. Once you start getting a steady reader base that begins posting comments, do not discourage them by never responding back. Respond rapidly to make your reader happy.

16. Start a podcast.
A podcast is a great way to promote both your blog and your music. Podcasts are an audio blog, but you should not update it as often as your blogs (unless you just want to run an audio blog exclusively). On the podcast, talk about interesting subjects related to your blog and mention your music often. Play a fraction of your music just prior to and just after your podcast, promoting both your music and your blog.

17. Invite guest bloggers. Be a guest blogger.
Your blog gains interest if you occasionally - monthly, quarterly - invite guest bloggers to write. Your business pals become a good place to start when thinking about guest bloggers. The guests then feel flattered by your interest in them and in return promote your blog or music. On the other hand, ask your business friends to guest blog for them, which immensely promotes your music or blog through their site. Whenever you get an opportunity to guest blog, take it.

18. Add videos, pictures, MP3s etc.
Just having words on every blog gets boring. Perk reader's interest by putting a funny YouTube video in your blog, adding a unique MP3 or taking a snapshot of the website you mention in the blog. Any item out of the norm to create a change will boost your blog's appeal. Every once in awhile, make your blog a video-blog through YouTube where you narrate the blog (and act as well). You can also create a music video for you or the band and advertise it through your blog.

19. Use tracking software and analyze.
Find out how many people are visiting your blogs and which ones generate the most traffic. You should re-create titles and content that receives many views. The tracking software can also tell you how people are hearing about your blog, through Digg, Google, etc. It can give you a great insight on your viewers and many other marketing hints if you are creative.

20. Build a brand.
You want people to recognize your blog as an object, not just another blog. Make your blog worthwhile to the reader. Promote the blog with any sources you have. Tell your friends, family and strangers about it. On your website, promote your blog and on your blog promote your website. Do the same with social networking sites, YouTube videos, podcasts, live performances, etc. By marketing in a bunch of different places, you spread your name and have more sources to promote your blog and music.

Your blog will only see success if you follow all these steps and promote it as often as possible. Blogging takes a lot of dedication but pays off in the end with increased music sales. Never stop blogging and remember, you are writing for your audience.

I found this on 11/11/07 "Mostly Indie Music Connection" blog @ www.mimusicconnection.com

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For those who want to get serious about marketing themselves.... here's an interesting "self help" marketing books for musicians.

1. Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook features a few hundred ways to promote your music. Heck.. look around Bob Baker's site for a few interesting reads.