Category Archives for "Tips"

December 19, 2016

7 Great Music Business Holiday Gift Ideas

If you read my Production Blog, the you’ve probably seen my 10 Cool Holiday Gifts For Musicians post a few days ago. Here’s another gift guide, but this one concentrates just on music business and social media.

Music 4.11. Music 4.1: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age
You know that I’m biased about this, but I really believe that if you’re looking for one book that best outlines the new music business, Music 4,1 is it. With lots of great traditional and social media tips to help you market yourself successfully and efficiently, the book (now in it’s 4th edition) is currently used in music business courses in colleges and universities around the world.

crowdstart2. Crowdstart: The Ultimate Guide To A Powerful And Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign
If you want to know the ins and outs about crowdfunding before you begin a campaign, there’s no better resource. There’s also a lot of great social media info here as well. Ariel Hyatt is the queen of social media PR and her Cyber PR company has been a huge help to hundreds of artists, so you might want to check out her other books as well.

3. All YoAll You need To Know About The Music Businessu Need To Know About The Music Business
This is the 9th edition of LA music attorney Don Passman’s excellent book and there’s a good reason why it’s been popular for so long. Let me put it this way, if you’re in the music business, this book is essential reading, since it outlines just about every business scenario that an artist might come up against. The best part is that it’s written in plain English so that even complex ideas (and there are lots of them in the music business) are easy to follow. Highly recommended.

Music Registry4. The Music Business Registry
This is actually the site for a series of different specialized registry’s, including Film & TV, A&R, Publisher, Attorney, Music Blogs and more. If you need some contacts in the music business, this is a way to find them.

This Is Your Brain On Music5. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science Of A Human Obsession
This is indirectly about the business of music in that if you know the phycology of how your music works on your fans (and you, for that matter), then you’ll be in a better position to present and promote it to them. Fascinating!

lynda.com6. Lynda.com Video Courses
Lastly, you’ll find all sorts of great business and software courses on Lynda.com, the absolute best portal for learning on the Web. If you’re into Social Media, Mixing, Recording, or Mastering, you’ll find some of my courses there as well, but just about anything else you can think of that revolves around tech or business is available there. Here’s a free 7 day trail pass.

Social-Media-Promotion7. Social Media Promotion For Musicians

If you’re interested in some big picture strategies about how to approach your online presence this is the book for you. Although some of the social aspects are a little dated, the approach to your online music and video promotion is still current.

Each of the above makes a great holiday gift, but don’t forget to treat yourself to a present as well!

December 12, 2016

5 Tips To Get Bloggers Interested In Your Music

5 tips to get bloggers interestedIt used to be that just one good review in a magazine could sell loads of albums. Even a bad review could be really good for business if it was in a publication like Rolling Stone. That’s all changed since magazine reviews have become pretty irrelevant as the music world has moved online. Now its the music blogs like Pitchfork or Stereogum that can make the difference not so much in sales, but visibility to a new audience. Sometimes those larger blogs are tough to break through, but the smaller bloggers still provide more of a one on one chance to state your case.

But how do you approach bloggers in the first place? There really is a right and wrong way to do it, and I’m writing from experience when I offer these 5 tips to get a blogger interested enough in what you’re doing to actually post about it.

1. Read the blog for a while to become familiar with the theme and feel. You can turn the blogger off completely by sending something cold without knowing the backstory of the blog.

2. Make some post comments without any overt marketing. Just try to move the conversation along on a few posts. The idea is for the blogger to recognize you as someone who contributes regularly and adds to the conversation.

3. Only after the blogger becomes familiar with you is it safe to reach out about what you’re doing. If you’re a regular reader and contributor, the blogger is much more likely to read a press release or take a listen to your music.

4. Sometimes asking a question about your project gets a response. While many bloggers are too busy to answer every email, many go out of their way to accommodate a regular reader and contributor. As a result, it’s perfectly okay to follow up after you’ve sent something to the blogger and there’s a good chance he’ll answer.

5. Never hard sell, just inform. Hard sell is a turnoff in general. Don’t do it. It’s okay to state the relevant information, but keep the superlatives like “Best band ever!” out of the equation.

As a blogger who gets hit on multiple times per day by PR people, record labels,  artists and startups, I can tell you that if you follow these 5 tips, you’ll have a much better chance of getting bloggers to pay attention to you and your music.

If you want additional tips and tricks about promoting yourself or your music online, check out my Social Media Promotion for Musicians book. You can read excerpts at bobbyowsinski.com.

December 5, 2016

12 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Make That Post

12 questionsAs I’ve said many times here and in my book Social Media Promotion For Musicians, just being on a social network doesn’t mean that you’re using it effectively for promotion. There’s a mindset that’s need before you can use any network as a promotional tool. Here are 12 questions to ask yourself (thanks to this Time article) before you post to any social network that will help you focus your content for greatest impact.

1. Is the message educational, informational, or entertaining? Stop if it doesn’t fit into either of these categories.

2. Is the voice correct? Remember to stay within your brand and not get too personal.

3. Is it too long? Shorter posts get more engagement.

4. Is the URL correct? You did remember to include a link, right? Make sure you check that it’s working

5. Should I target a specific audience with this message? Sometimes it’s better to just address a specific portion of your audience or fanbase.

6. Did I use the right keywords and hashtags to maximize exposure? Keywords and hashtags are still important.

7. How many times have I already posted something today? Too many posts in the day may mean that this one could be ignored.

8. Did I spell check? Poor spelling is something that people notice immediately and it detracts from the message of the post.

9. Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this? Stop and rewrite if you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable about something in the post. Follow your gut on this one.

10. Is this reactive communication or is it well thought-out? If you’re angry, take an hour to calm down before you post. A quick reactive post is how flame wars start.

11. Did I make the most of visual content—images, video, slides? Visuals increase engagement on almost all platforms.

12. Did I make the most of my update text—headline formulas, polls, quizzes? You only have so many chances for attention so make the most of them.

The best way to use social media as an effective promotion tool is to post great content. Follow these 12 questions and you’ll always be sure that you’re in the ballpark.

You can read more from Social Media Promotion For Musicians and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

November 28, 2016

4 Rules To Avoid Your Fans Wrath On Facebook

Facebook logoIf you’re an artist or band and you’re on Facebook, you want to make that audience grow and keep them engaged. The problem is that there are right and wrong ways to do this. Choose the wrong way and you either look like a schmuck or even worse, anger your fanbase. Here are 4 rules to follow on Facebook that will keep you out of trouble with those fans. They’re simple and easy, all you have to do is follow them.

1. Don’t Like your own post. This just looks bad and doesn’t serve any real purpose. It won’t help your Like count and it just feels like you’re patting yourself on the back for how smart you are. You’re not like that, so don’t do it.

2. Don’t post or tag photos of fans, crew or venue employees without their permission. You might think that the people will be flattered, and that may be true for most, but there’s always someone that’s there discretely and wants to keep it that way. Just ask permission first. Want to be even safer? Get written permission with a short release form.

3. Don’t tag people or pages that aren’t relevant to you. This one personally steams me the most. I just hate it when someone tags me in a photo that I wasn’t involved with in an effort to get me to check it out. It’s just bad form, doesn’t accomplish the task, and angers your followers, so don’t do it.

4. Don’t ask for Likes, Comments, or Share. This one is sort of borderline in that there’s an acceptable way and an unacceptable way to do it. First of all, it’s against Facebook’s terms to ask for a Like, although people do it all the time. A better way to do this, and also keeps it within FB’s terms of use, is through through a Facebook promotions company like Woobox. This allows you to set up contests or giveaways that hopefully will result in more Likes or Shares. You pay for it, but it’s a much more elegant and legal way to accomplish the same thing. As for Comments, the best way to get more is to ask more questions. Works every time.

Follow these 4 rules and you’ll not only stay out of trouble with your fans and followers, but look a whole lot more professional in doing so as well.

You can find more social media tips and tricks from my Social Media Promotion for Musicians book.

November 10, 2016

Understanding Your Fanbase

Understanding Your FanbaseYour place in our current music world is totally dependent upon the development, care, and feeding of your fanbase, and this excerpt from my Music 4.1 Internet Music Guidebook will help you better understand your audience so you can grow it.

First of all, understand that your core fans or “tribe” is only a piece of your total audience. Your audience can actually be broken down into the following two categories:

your casual fans and your core fans.

Your total audience, or your fans, is 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 a 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 4.1, 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 4.1.

In the end, every fanbase has the same characteristics:

  • Your audience consists of your casual fans and your core fans
  • Fans may like an artist but may not be particularly passionate
  • Your core fans (true fans, uber-fans, super fans, tribe) are very passionate about everything you do
  • Most of your energy should be directed towards your core fans

Understanding exactly who makes up your audience will help you grow it.

You can read more from Music 4.1: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

October 27, 2016

3 Reasons Why Your Music Isn’t Being Listened To

3 Reasons Why Your MusicIf you’ve released some music recently and are surprised at how low the stream or view counts are, there are a lot of things that you can blame, but probably most of them aren’t at fault. Before you can fix the problem, you have to look inward first. Here are 3 reasons why your music probably isn’t being listened to, but take heart, there are solutions.

1. You haven’t found your audience yet.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your music sucks. There is a audience for what you do out there, although it may end up being smaller than you’d like, but you just have to find it first. How? If you have any fans already, ask them or your friends what your music reminds them of. If they mention a type of music or a particular artist, go hang out on those forums or groups, or follow those artists. Their audience is also your potential audience. Try an inexpensive Facebook or Twitter ad campaign ($3 to 5 per day) targeting those audiences. If your music resonates as it does with your current fans, you’ll have more new fans before you know it. Remember that this is a long process that happens over time though. You won’t get a huge following overnight, but it can be slow and steady.

2. You haven’t explored all of your distribution options.

You can’t just upload your songs to Tunecore or Distrokid and think you’re done. Videos are an important part of the mix for any artist, so make sure that you have both YouTube and Facebook videos available. In fact, upload your videos to Facebook and then promote them in the Ad Manager (don’t use Boost). You’ll be surprised at the reach you’ll get since Facebook favors videos over static posts these days. Can’t afford a big production? Don’t worry about it. A lyric video or even just a picture of you or your band over the music can perform just as well as a full-fledged music video.

3. Your online presence is insufficient.

It’s surprising how many artists are content to have a Facebook page as their online identity and nothing more. You really need a dedicated website as it’s the only thing online that you can truly control 100%. It’s the place for your bio, contact info, press pictures (meaning for the press if they write an article about you), upcoming gigs, videos, and music. It’s also the best place to get people to sign up for your mailing list (which may be your most important online tool). Yes, you need a presence on at least one social network (Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook – wherever your fans hang out), but make sure you take care of the basics first.

These 3 reasons may not be the only ones that keep the right people from finding your material, but taking them seriously will move your project forward a surprising amount.

For more information on how to build your online infrastructure, check out my Music 4.1 online music guidebook.

September 22, 2016

5 Tips To Get Music Bloggers To Write About Your Music

music bloggersIt used to be that just one good review in a magazine could sell loads of albums. Even a bad review could be really good for business if it was in a publication like Rolling Stone. That’s all changed since magazine reviews have become pretty irrelevant as the music world has moved online. Now its the music blogs like Pitchfork or Stereogum that can make the difference not so much in sales, but visibility to a new audience. Yes, music bloggers are important.

Sometimes those larger blogs are tough to break through, but the smaller bloggers still provide more of a one on one chance to state your case.

But how do you approach music bloggers in the first place? There really is a right and wrong way to do it, so here are 5 tips to get a blogger interested enough in what you’re doing to actually post about it.

1. Read the blog for a while to become familiar with the theme and feel. You can turn the blogger off completely by sending something cold without knowing the backstory of the blog.

2. Make some post comments without any overt marketing. Just try to move the conversation along on a few posts. The idea is for the blogger to recognize you as someone who contributes regularly and adds to the conversation.

3. Only after the blogger becomes familiar with you is it safe to reach out about what you’re doing. If you’re a regular reader and contributor, the blogger is much more likely to read a press release or take a listen to your music.

4. Sometimes asking a question about your project gets a response. While many bloggers are too busy to answer every email, many go out of their way to accommodate a regular reader and contributor. As a result, it’s perfectly okay to follow up after you’ve sent something to the blogger and there’s a good chance he’ll answer.

5. Never hard sell, just inform. Hard sell is a turnoff in general. Don’t do it. It’s okay to state the relevant information, but keep the superlatives like “Best band ever!” out of the equation.

If you want additional tips and tricks about promoting yourself or your music online, check out my Social Media Promotion for Musicians book. You can read excerpts at bobbyowsinski.com.

September 15, 2016

5 Tips For Building Your Email List

email listYour 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. Trust in your 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, ticket, ebook, article) gets better results.

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 while subscribing. Asking for just an email address gets the greatest response, but adding a first name allows you to include a personal greeting.

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 them, 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 my list over on the right.

You can read more from my Social Media Promotion For Musician’s book and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

August 15, 2016

The New Hashtags Do’s And Don’ts

Hashtags Do's and Don'tsSocial media constantly evolves along with how we use it, especially for promotion. That means that the way something was used a few years ago might be different today, and that’s certainly the case with hashtags. Here are a few hashtag do’s and don’ts as they apply to promotional use today.

Do: Use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Vine. These networks are built for hashtags and postings and users depend on them, especially when it comes to search.

Don’t: Use them on Facebook. Most users don’t like them in this context, and they can actually do more harm than good.

Do: Choose your hashtags carefully. Just because you create one doesn’t mean that anyone will use it. If it’s not relevant to you, your music, or your brand, it’s probably not worth using.

Don’t: Over-emphasize your brand name. Not everything has to be about your brand, music, etc.

Do: Use them in your marketing materials. If you have strong hashtags associated with your brand, be sure to include them in all your marketing materials.

Don’t: Include them past their useful time. Many hashtags don’t age well, so be prepared to change them as needed.

Do: Expect them to spark online conversation. That’s what they’re there for, to improve engagement, then be able to track it.

Don’t: Expect them to do all the work. Without great content, hashtags are useless.

Do: Use the right amount in your post. 1 or 2 on Twitter and 11 (yes, that’s right) on Instagram.

Don’t: Use numbers alone or punctuation within a hashtag. A combination of numbers and letters are okay, but numbers by themselves don’t work.

Do: Check for trends or alternatives. Hashtagify.me is a good choice.

It’s been proven that hashtags work, with posts with the correct number and kinds of tags getting up to 5 times the engagement of one without. Use them and use them well.

August 12, 2016

Here’s Why You Should Always License Your Samples

De La SoulBelieve it or not, the pioneering hip-hop group De La Soul’s music from their first 6 albums have never been available digitally. It’s never been on iTunes and it’s never been on a streaming service, and it looks like it’s not going to be in the future either. The reason? In the early days of hip-hop, the band never bothered to license any of the samples it used (as many as 60 per song), and now it’s become too expensive and time consuming for the business affairs department at Warner Music to bother with.

And that’s become another sore point for the band, since those early albums were on the small indie Tommy Boy Records, which was eventually acquired by Warners in 2002. Since then, a revolving door of executives have been unable to deal with the clearance process of material that goes back to 1989, meaning that neither the band nor the  label has received income from anything other than the physical sales.

Out of frustration, the band gave away those first 6 albums for free for one day only on Valentines Day 2014, a move that crashed the hosting service. This action drew the wrath of Warners, but it was difficult for them to get too angry, since they weren’t about to clear the samples and release the albums anyway.

This brings up two points that every artist should be aware of. First is that you always must get clearance for a sample, because the industry is getting more litigious (see the new plagiarism lawsuit against Ed Sheeran), and you will get caught if you don’t obtain a license. You could get away with it in 1989, but we’re a long way from there now. Many attorneys use the strategy of waiting for a song to be a hit before they sue in order to get more money (don’t want to do it too soon), meaning that you could put a lot of time and work into something and not see much for your effort at the end of the day. You want to be able to enjoy a hit and the money that comes with it, and not have to give most of it away because you didn’t clear the sample for a much lower fee.

The second thing is to be sure you know what’s in your contract. If it can be acquired by another entity at a later time, you may be stuck with a team that you don’t believe in, and doesn’t believe in you either. Remember, it’s called the “music business” for a reason.