Tag Archives for " book excerpt "

March 9, 2017

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. 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.

Recognizing Your Two Types Of Fans

2 types of fansEvery 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:

  • 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”

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.

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.

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.

The Different Sources Of Publishing Royalties

Music PublishingRegardless of the era, the songwriter and publisher have made money, and continue to make money in three primary ways:

1. Mechanical royalties are paid whenever a song is digitally downloaded, a song is streamed from an on-demand service, or a physical CD or vinyl record is sold.

2. A performance royalty is paid whenever a song is played on radio, on television, or streamed over the Internet.

3. A synchronization fee is paid when music is used against picture.

This payment mechanism hasn’t really changed all that much in Music 4.1 from previous music eras, although it’s managed to become even more complicated than it was. What has changed is that during this period in which music sales are far less than half of what they were at their peak, publishing is the one area of the music industry that has held its own. How does that happen when sales, and therefore mechanical royalties, are down, you ask?

While it’s true that mechanical royalties are not nearly what they used to be now that CD sales are so low and downloads have decreased, they’re offset by the tremendous increase in performance royalties because music is now played on so many more broadcasts than before. The 500-channel cable and satellite television universe, along with satellite and Internet radio, provides more opportunities for music to be played, and as a result, more performance royalties are generated.

That said, music publishing income is derived from more sources than you think, and while some of it doesn’t appear significant by itself, it can all add up to a nice royalty check. Here’s an excerpt of a chart from the latest edition of my Music 4.1 book that shows a simple breakdown of when publishing royalties occur, how it’s collected, and the royalty rate.

Publishing Royalty Comparisons

As you can see, many of the royalties and fees are variable. Synchronization fees consist of an upfront fee which is usually negotiated by the publisher, and a performance royalty whenever the piece containing the music airs on television.

With a movie, the upfront fee is the only one that’s paid for any showings in the theater, but a performance royalty is paid whenever the movie is played on television afterwards.

Likewise, both printed sheet music and digital use of sheet music or lyrics are subject to negotiation. Ringtones are still a source of income not to be overlooked even though the market for them is far below what it was during their peak.

Publishing royalties come from more places than you think, but the rates are different over a wide range of scenarios, which makes it a very complicated subject.

A Streaming Music Royalty Primer

Music 4.1 coverStreaming music royalty rates are such a morass of different percentages and possibilities that few people on the planet totally understand everything, and the ones who do are attorneys working in that narrow end of the music business. Even label and publishing execs who have been in the business for 20 or more years can be confused. That’s one reason artists and songwriters frequently cite low rates on what seem to be a large number of streams. It’s also why an average royalty rate is used in articles about this side of the business. Here’s an excerpt from my new Music 4.1 book that tries to clarify some of the misunderstandings by starting with the streaming royalty basics.

“Let’s see if we can at least make sense of why it’s frequently impossible to determine what an exact streaming royalty rate is.

First of all, there are two basic variables to remember that everything streaming works from:

1. There are two kinds of streams—noninteractive or webcast (Pandora), and interactive or on-demand (Spotify). On-demand pays more because it generates more money.

2. There are two tiers for each stream—premium (paid subscribers) and freemium (ad supported). The paid tier generates a higher revenue per subscriber than the free, ad-supported tier.

With this in mind, there are two different copyrights for each stream (the same as for a CD, vinyl record, or download), regardless of the tier, which provide a royalty stream:

1. A sound recording royalty (that the owner of the sound recording gets)

2. A composition royalty (that the publisher and songwriter get)

You can think of the sound recording as what you hear played on Pandora or Spotify (or a CD, vinyl, or download for that matter), while the composition is the notes and lyrics on paper.

Within those parameters there are a tremendous number of variables that can occur, all of which affect both the payout for the sound recording and the composition. Let’s explore the different types of streams first.

The Different Types of Streams

What most artists and bands don’t realize is that there are two types of streaming services, and they each operate differently and therefore pay at a different rate.

Noninteractive Streams

The first type of streaming is called a noninteractive or webcast stream and comes from either a platform that acts as an online radio station, like iHeart Radio or any traditional broadcaster with an online presence (like your local radio station), or a service like Pandora where the user has a certain amount of control over what plays but can’t directly select a song or make it repeat. Streaming platforms in this category include services like Pandora and Last.FM. SiriusXM and the music channels on cable television also fit into this category.

All noninteractive streaming services must obtain a congressionally created “compulsory” license with the rate set by an entity called the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which I write about in more depth later in the “How Royalty Rates Are Set” section. The CRB recently set the rates for 2016 and beyond for radio broadcasters with terrestrial radio stations at $0.0022 ) per stream. Noninteractive platforms like Pandora pay $0.0022 per stream from a paid subscriber and $0.0017 per stream on the free tier.

Interactive Streams

Interactive or on-demand streams are treated differently from the radio-style streams in that the rate is considerably higher (between $0.005 and $0.009, depending on how much the listener pays per month, among other factors). Services that provide interactive streaming include Spotify, Google Play, Tidal, Apple Music, and Slacker.

The down side here is that if you’re signed to a label, money from interactive streams is paid directly to them. You’ll then be paid by the label based on the royalty amount negotiated in your agreement with them. For instance, if you negotiated a 15 percent royalty rate, then you’ll be paid 15 percent of $0.005 (using that number as an average), or $0.00075 per stream.

If you’re not with a label, the money will be collected by SoundExchange or an aggregator like TuneCore, Ditto Music, or CD Baby if they distributed your songs to the online streaming services.

Average Streaming Type Royalty Paid

Interactive On-demand – $0.005 to $0.009 (average depending upon the tier)

Commercial Broadcasters – $0.0022

Noninteractive – $0.0022 (paid tier) $0.0017 (free tier)

On top of the royalty paid to the artist and label, there’s also a publishing royalty that varies yet again from the above rates, which we’ll cover in the next section.

You can see why artists, bands, musicians and even record labels can be confused about how much they’re receiving from streaming. As The Temptations once sang, it’s a “ball of confusion.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to revenue splits and royalty payments from streaming music. It also doesn’t cover the publishing side of streaming, which is another issue entirely. That said, in the coming weeks I’ll go beyond the basics to explain more about how each streaming music royalty actually works.

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

April 7, 2016

9 New Rules For Success In Today’s Music business

Success in the music businessWe’ve gone through a mighty change in the music business over the last 10 years, and it keeps on morphing and evolving every day. Since these changes are constant, many of the old school rules pertaining to success in the music business no longer apply.

Here’s an excerpt from the latest edition of my Music 4.0 book that outlines some of the new rules for success, as well as a few that may never change.

1. It’s all about scale. It’s not the sales, it’s the number of YouTube views (at least at the moment) you have. A hit that sells only 50,000 combined units (album and single) may have 50 million YouTube views. Once upon a time, a sales number like that would’ve been deemed a failure, today, it’s a success. Views don’t equal sales, and vice-versa.

2. There will be fewer digital distributors in the future. It’s an expensive business to get into and maintain, so in the near future there will be a shakeout that will leave far fewer digital competitors. Don’t be shocked when you wake up one day to find a few gone.

3. It’s all about what you can do for other people. Promoters, agents, and club owners are dying to book you if they know you’ll make them money. Record labels (especially the majors) are dying to sign you if you have have an audience they can sell to. Managers will want to sign you if you have a line around the block waiting to see you. If you can’t do any of the above, your chances of success decrease substantially.

4. Money often comes late. It may not seem like it, but success is slow. You grow your audience one fan at a time. The longer it takes, the more likely the longer the career you’ll have. An overnight sensation usually means you’ll also be forgotten overnight. This is one thing that hasn’t changed much through the years.

5. Major labels want radio hits. They want an easy sell, so unless you create music that can get on radio immediately, a major label won’t be interested. This is what they do and they do it well, so if that’s your goal, you must give them what they want.

6. You must create on a regular basis. Fans have a very short attention span and need to be fed with new material constantly in order to stay at the forefront of their minds. What should you create? Anything and everything, from new original tunes to cover tunes, to electric versions to acoustic versions, to remixes to outtakes, to behind the scenes videos to lyric videos, and more. You may create it all at once, but release it on a consistent basis so you always have some fresh content available.

7. YouTube is the new radio (but it may include Facebook soon). Nurture your following there and release on a consistent basis (see above). It’s where the people you want to reach are discovering new music.

8. Growing your audience organically is best. Don’t expect your friends and family to spread the word, as they don’t count. If you can’t find an audience on your own merits, there’s something wrong with your music or your presentation. Find the problem, fix it, and try it again. The trick is finding that audience.

9. First and foremost, it all starts with the song. If you can’t write a great song that appeals to even a small audience, none of the other things in this book matter much.

Finally, remember that making a living is the new successSuperstardom is more difficult to come by than ever, and the artistic middle class continues to shrink. Today, if you can make your living strictly from making music, you’ve accomplished a lot and have a lot to be proud of.