Category Archives for "Tips"
A new strategy in music releases is beginning to take place, even within the major labels. In almost a return to the early days of records, the single song is king rather than the album, and that requires an entirely new look at the timing of when your material becomes available.
The basic premise of this new philosophy is to release fewer songs but have them come out more frequently. In other words, it’s better to release a song or two every six, eight, or twelve weeks than to wait a year for one album release of ten songs as was once done. This benefits the artist in the following ways:
Make no mistake, the album format is not dead in Music 4.0, even though sales continue to decrease, but the emphasis has shifted to the individual song. Not only that, the tastes and attention span of audiences today are shorter and shorter, which makes multiple releases an ideal fit with the lifestyle.
No one is saying that you can’t release an album; just that multiple singles at regular intervals before the album release works better in today’s marketplace. Choose your music releases wisely in order to take advantage of the current streaming and social media world.
You can read more from The Music 4.1 Internet Music Guidebook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.
Getting your music placed on playlists is now an important part of an artist’s release strategy. If a track is added to a popular playlist, its streams will spike and listeners will add it to their personal playlists, which sometimes adds a viral element that spreads to playlists on other networks as well. What’s more, hot playlists are now watched by radio programmers to see both what’s trending and what’s not. That being said, Spotify and Apple Music playlists are getting harder and harder to crack, especially if you’re not on a major label. Here are a few tips that can land you a spot on a playlist from Spotify or any other playlist.
1. Verify your profiles with Spotify and Apple Connect
The first thing you have to do is make sure you have a presence on the service itself. Playlist curators, especially if they’re in-house, are reluctant to feature anything by artists who’ve not verified their profiles on the streaming platforms.
2. Get as many of your fans as possible to follow you on the streaming platform
You don’t need millions of followers or streams, but you don’t need enough to get a curator interested. They want to know that you have a buzz around you before they take a chance.
3. Get the rest of your digital house in order
If a curator is interested in your music, he or she will probably check you out further by looking at your website, photos, social media, upcoming gigs and all the things that we’ve talking about on this blog. Here’s where that all comes into play.
4. Find some playlists to follow
Find some playlists that you love and begin to follow them with the idea of learning if your music is a fit. Don’t limit yourself to Spotify’s in-house curators. In this game, everyone counts because the idea is to ultimately get on a number of smaller playlists first so you’ll be noticed by the Spotify team. Also make sure to follow them on social media, and make comments where and when you can.
5. Make your pitch
Make sure that the playlist owner is well aware of you before you begin your pitch. You’ll be taken much more seriously if you’re recognized as a supporter rather than someone just cold-calling. Send a personally crafted email to the playlist owner or curator. Make it brief and to the point and tell them why you think you song is perfect for their list. Be as specific as you can and avoid being long-winded. If a curator has a submission policy, make sure that you follow it to the letter or chances are your submission won’t even be read.
Remember that some curators for the larger lists make their selections in a closed system, so they don’t want pitches and they’ll usually make that clear in their submission policy. If that’s the case, respect their wishes and don’t hassle them. The only way you’re going to get to them is if you begin to get on a lot of other playlists so your buzz will be noticed.
More and more artists, bands and songwriters are interested in getting their music placed in a commercial, but unfortunately it’s not getting any easier. That’s because a wide array of gatekeepers stand in the way of any placement. A great article from Jordan Passman combined with the following infographic outlines just where the gatekeepers lie.
As you can see from the infographic, there are two ways to get your music placed in advertising – either through an agency or directly to the advertisers. Going through an ad agency means that there’s a wide variety of people within that company that must give approval first before the advertiser even gets to hear the song. These include the agency music producer, spot producer, maybe the art director, the creative directors of the brand team, and the agency account team. They may go through as many as 300 songs before choosing one to send off the client for approval.
The song must then make it’s way through the advertiser’s junior and senior client teams, the brand marketing team and then the chief marketing officer or even the CEO. If the commercial tests well from there, it goes on air. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
If you can skip the agency, the number of gatekeepers can be decreased by half, but it may just bypass the lowest execs on the totem pole. Regardless of how the song makes it onto a commercial, there’s a lot of many to be made for the songwriter, but the journey to get their is still a long road.
Your email list is one of the most powerful online tools that an artist can have, but how do you build one if you’re just starting out or you’ve neglected it for too long? Here are 5 tips from my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book that provide an easy roadmap to a larger list.
“Just like with your social media follows and Likes, building your mailing list takes some work. In general it comes down to the following:
1. A trustworthy site. If your site or social page makes people uncomfortable in any way, chances are they won’t give you their email address.
2. An incentive of some kind. Generally speaking, people don’t want to give their address out unless they’re get something in return. Don’t think about the fact that you’re getting their email address, think of what’s in it for the fan. He only may care about regular communication, but usually access to something free (a song, video, ticket, ebook, article, etc.) gets better results. Be careful if you’re paying to advertise a signup for your list though. Both Google and Facebook have been know to consider this “email scraping,” which could lead to your advertising account being suspended if you trade something for an email.
3. Make it easy by not asking for too much information. The more info you ask from a potential subscriber, the greater the chance that he’ll give up during the signup process. Asking for just an email address gets the greatest response, but adding a first name allows you to include a personal greeting. More than a simple name and email address makes the chances of a successful signup decrease.
4. Cross-promote across social media, business cards, banners, and anywhere else you can think of. Anywhere you get a chance to mention your email list, do so.
5. Reminders in your content. Mention your mailing list in any podcasts, blogs, or videos, because sometimes even if it’s right in front of a viewer or listener, a reminder is still needed.
Your email list is extremely powerful for communicating, interacting, and promoting to your fans. Put sufficient time and effort into it and you’ll be richly rewarded.”
By the way, you can join the email list for this blog on the left.
You can read more from Social Media Promotion For Musicians and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.
Instagram can be one of the best social media marketing tools available to an artist or band, providing that your audience is there. Here are a 7 best practices to follow in order to build an Instagram community.
1. First of all, your profile picture and description are important. Make sure to include a profile picture that reflects your band or brand (a logo would be nice), and include a link to your website.
2. Shorten the Links With A URL Shortener. Instagram’s bio description has a limit of 150 characters, so it’s important to save as many characters as you can.
3. Leave Relevant Comments. Comments are much appreciated by the poster because they’re few and far between. For instance, every second on Instagram produces 575 “Likes” but only 81 comments. It’s a lot easier to just click the like button, but comments get you followed back.
4. Use the filters. Believe it or not, filters actually make a difference in engagement. For instance, a study of 6 million posts across 10,000 brands found that posts using Hefe, Lo-Fi, Nashville, Brannan, and Kelvin filters generated 4.5% to 5.6% more engagement than the average Instagram post!
5. Post at the correct times. Mondays and Thursdays tend to drive the most engagement, while between 3 and4 p.m. typically drives lower engagement during a workday.
6. Like with other social networks, the number of times you post per day on Instagram is important. It’s been found that the ideal number is only one to two times per day. You can get away with more on special occasions like an event, but be sure to space out the posts so you don’t overflow your followers feeds.
7. Use hashtags. Hashtags are an essential part of Instagram marketing and promotion, so it’s important that you’re familiar with how they work on the platform. Contrary to all other networks, on Instagram the more hashtags you use, the better. That’s because hashtags are the primary way you build a community on the platform. Believe it or not, between 7 and 11 hashtags get the most engagement, according to most studies.
Creating and maintaining a flourishing Instagram community takes some time and effort, but it can be much easier than you think by following these best practices.
It wasn’t that long ago that A&R execs at record labels were scouring the online platforms, looking for acts with the high view numbers, page visits or Likes. All that’s changed as artists and their webmasters became more sophisticated in gaming the system by using bots or fake users to drive up their numbers. Today you can easily purchase big numbers of views or likes for a relatively small amount of money, but does that actually help you get that elusive record deal?
A&R departments are well aware of how it all works these days so as much as they want to see them, they’re wary of those big numbers. If that’s the case, what metric do they use then? Believe it or not, A&R execs are pretty much back to the way they did it in the pre-Internet days. They look for things like:
1. Do you actually draw an audience when you play a gig?
2 .Do you connect with an audience in a live show as well as you do in an edited video?
3. Are you charming and memorable in off-the-cuff interviews and interactions?
4. Do you actually sound good live?
If there’s a “yes” to all the above, then A&R will go online and look at the the artist’s online presence. If you have millions of views, for instance, even if some of those views are bought, chances are that there’s still a buzz happening and the label will take notice. Have lots of likes, shares and followers across a number of platforms, then that’s going to confirm that there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.
Your online presence is important and it’s absolutely necessary, but it’s not the only thing when it comes to getting the music industry to notice you. A record deal can come from a massive online presence, but more and more it’s what’s on stage that counts.
When it comes to a live event like a gig or conference that you’re attending, Twitter can be the best way to keep your fan base both active and up-to-date. The idea is to maintain your visibility by sharing some worthwhile information that they’ll want. Here are 7 tips to do just that so you have have a successful live event Twitter campaign.
1. Use the right hashtag(s). If you have a following that regularly attends your gigs, start your own hashtag that you can consistently use. Something like #(yourband)live could work. Also find out if the venue has a hashtag and include that as well.
2. Let your followers know. If there’s going to be a flurry of activity in a short period of time, let your followers know beforehand. No one likes their feed dominated by one poster, but at least they can tune you out if they’re not interested if they know its coming.
3. Be interesting. Try to give a unique perspective that only you can give. What’s the venue like? Did you meet anyone interesting (give them a shoutout)? Is there a meet and greet or something happening preshow or aftershow?
4. Retweet others. If there are others tweeting about the gig, retweet them as well.
5. Take pictures. Tweets are a lot more interesting when a picture is included and the engagement is increased as well.
6. Follow other tweeters. This includes the promoters, venue and other bands on the bill.
7. Don’t forget the video. Twitter is more than just text, so don’t forget to share a video about meeting a fan, what’s happening backstage, from the stage, etc.
Twitter is especially cool for communicating at a live event, and that’s the perfect time to engage your fans. Follow these tips to keep you fans interested and have them continue to come back for more.
When we think online audience engagement, we usually think of views or streams. There’s a lot more to it than that though, as this infographic from Statista shows how industry insiders evaluate true engagement.
As you can see, Shares are the #1 most valuable engagement element, closely followed by the actual amount of time users dwell on a piece. The number of comments is also high on the list, but page views and page visitors less so, mostly because many can be quick bounces that leave after a few seconds.
The whole idea is to post content that makes users want to watch or read all the way through, then share with their friends and maybe even leave a comment. While this can’t be done with every post, the more you do it, the more likely that you’ll have an energized following.
You will find more statistics at Statista
Every artist, whether they’re selling out arenas or still working in clubs, has two types of fans. Most artists never bother to differentiate between the two and therefore don’t grow their fan base as quickly because they tend to cater to the wrong group. In this excerpt from the latest edition of my Music 4.1: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age book, you’ll see the differences between these groups and why one is more critical to your success.
“Music 4.0 is totally dependent upon the development, care, and feeding of your fanbase. Your core fans or “tribe” is only a piece of your total audience though. Your audience can be broken down into the following two categories: your casual fans and your core fans.
Your total audience, or your fans, are fervent about a particular small niche of music that’s usually a subcategory of a larger genre, which means that they love speed metal (as opposed to the much larger metal or hard-rock genres), bluegrass (as compared to the larger country-music genre), or alien marching bands (as opposed to either of the larger alien-music or marching-band genres). If you’re an artist in that particular niche, your audience will automatically gravitate toward you, but still might not be your fans. This includes casual fans, occasional listeners, and people who like what you’re doing yet aren’t particularly passionate about it.
Although this part of your audience can’t be ignored, it’s probably not a good idea to expend all your energy on it. They’re aware of you and will probably give you a try with every release, unless they’re disappointed too many times in a row. They can be turned into passionate fans though. One “hit” song or album, a change in image, or a change in general perception, and they become the passionate critical mass needed for the breakout that turns a respected artist into a true star.
In Music 4.0, your most important core audience contains your most passionate fans, or your “tribe.” They’ll buy whatever you have to sell, work for free, recruit other fans, and basically do anything you ask. All they want is access to and communication with the artist, which is the basis of Music 4.0.
So to summarize:
Knowing the difference between fan groups can make a difference between chasing your tail trying to please casual fans that only marginally care about you, or growing your audience by cultivating your most passionate ones.
You can read more from The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.
Video is an important part of every artist’s tool box these days. While many prefer to stay within the confines of produced videos uploaded to YouTube or Facebook, live streaming video can be extremely effective as well. Google Hangouts and Facebook Live have been the predominant ways to broadcast to fans and followers, but Facebook has now introduced an alternative with Messenger Video Chat.
Video Chat is similar to Google Hangouts in that you can interact with others that are streaming on the same call. It beats Hangouts though, in that up to 50 people can stream both video and audio simultaneously (Hangouts is limited to 10, as is Skype). The limitation (although it may not be if you’re using it for promotion) is that after 1o people, Messenger will display only the dominant speaker’s feed.
There are other alternatives to Messenger Video Chat. Both Slack and Snapchat also introduced this same feature recently. The difference is that pretty much everyone is on Facebook, so it’s as universal as you’d want if you need to get your message out.
Live streaming can be an easy alternative to produced videos when it comes to promotion from the standpoint of ease of use and timeliness. As with everything social, consistency is important, and if fans and followers expect a video at a certain time, sometimes the only way to deliver is with a live stream. Not only that, it’s the perfect tool to be able to broadcast from events like gigs, backstage, release parties, in-store signings, and just about anything else that you can think of.
While video chatting, Messenger’s other functions still operate, which means you can still send texts, stickers, and other animations while video and audio are transmitting. iOS also has one additional exclusive feature called Live Masks, which is similar to Snapchat filters that animate a visual overlay over your face in real time, Facebook’s live masks tale this a step further and allow the user to overlay animation to the live video chat. The feature should also be arriving on Android soon.
Give it a try and let us know how it works out.