Tag Archives for " Twitter "

Money Is Getting Tight For SoundCloud

SoundCloud Plan BIt looks like Pandora isn’t the only streaming company having big financial problems. SoundCloud is reported to now be in a do or die situation where it must either raise some serious cash or sell for pennies on the dollar. The company has been trying to raise $100 million to keep the doors open for almost a year now with no success, and it hasn’t been able to find a buyer in that time either.

One of the reasons why a buyer hasn’t stepped up is that SoundCloud valued itself too highly, reportedly seeking $700 million, but now that number is said to have decreased significantly. The company has raised about $250 million so far (including $70 million from Twitter), so now any offer over that number will be considered, which just goes to show how dire the circumstances seem to be.

One of the big problems is that although SoundCloud reportedly has 175 million users, not many of them pay for the service. They’re mostly indie artists who use it has a repository for their music, and while that serves a major slice of the market, it’s not necessarily one that has been successfully monetized yet. Plus, that 175 million figure hasn’t been updated in 3 years, so it’s possible that its now even lower.

The company has tried to boost its revenue by launching two paid tiers, one $10 per month and the other more recently for $5, which hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. That’s because most music consumers go to the one of the larger services first before they consider SoundCloud, and just like any other streaming service, it’s very difficult to get someone to either buy an additional service or change from the current one that they’re using.

All this means that it’s entirely likely that the streaming landscape will face even bigger changes in the coming months. SoundCloud plays an important part in the indie music environment, but if you’re an artist, it might not be a bad idea to have a plan B ready.

January 26, 2017

7 Tips For Live Event Tweeting

Twitter live event tipsWhen 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.

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 12/23/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 23rd, 2016. Surprisingly enough, there’s a lot of music business-related and social news this week, despite the Holiday season.

iHeart Radio is in big financial trouble. Radio is dying in general, and a few years ago when the hedge funds bought in they didn’t realize that fact. The company probably won’t change much because of the problems (at least in the short term) but the investors will take a haircut soon.

Apple Music is trying to become more than a streaming platform. It’s now more of a quasi-label, offering lots of promotion in addition to streaming. This interview with two Apple Music execs is revealing.

Not to be outdone, YouTube is quietly beefing up promotion for some artists as well. Not that it helps the indie artist much, but you can see where all this going. [subscription required]

There are indie artists making it on streaming alone though. Yes, it’s not only possible, but this article outline a number of indie artists in different countries with massive streaming numbers.

The VR revolution is here, but it has yet to break with consumers. Many think that this will change in 2017, but the consumer uptake so far is disappointing, and understandable.

Dance music hit a big speed bump in 2016. This article outlines 11 things that broke the hearts of EDM aficionados.

The album cycle is pretty much dying, with Drake the perfect example of the new singles paradigm. But playlisting plays a big part in streaming success as well, and this interview with Spotify’s Troy Carter is enlightening.

Streaming is changing music again, finally making the Long Tail concept viable. This Harvard Business Review article shows how streaming is turning the music industry into a singles business, and is killing the album. Oh, and more people are listening to music other than the hits along the way.

Streaming apps aren’t keeping pace, and user experience is the thing to concentrate on. Industry analyst Mark Mulligan makes a number of good points about music falling behind in engagement to non-music apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Buzzfeed.

Twitter is toast, according to one financial analyst. The company is experiencing plateaued growth and a brain drain, and the stock is expected to take a dive soon.

Finally, Facebook is correcting its metrics for ad reach, streaming reactions, Likes and Shares. It looks like the numbers we were seeing weren’t really true after all. If you advertise on Facebook, you should read this article before placing another ad.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

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.

How Video Views On Various Platforms Are Counted

video viewsVideo views are an important measurement for not only artists and bands, but record labels, advertisers and sponsors. A high number of views can lead to not only to label and sponsor interest, but also has a snowball effect of more viewers wanting to watch as well. When it comes to monetizing video views though, the problem is that most services like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat all measure what they consider a “view” differently.

According to an article on Business Insider, there are 4 factors that determine a view:

1. Whether the video autoplays or was user initiated

2. The required amount of time spent watching the video

3. The amount of video that’s on the screen

4. Whether the video is played in the app or embedded in another site

Let’s look at what the qualifications for a view are on some popular platforms:

  • Facebook is the most liberal with what it considers a view. If a video is autoplayed for just 3 seconds, and it’s 100% on the screen for desktop or 50% for mobile, it’s considered a view.
  • For Snapchat, as soon as a video is played, even with autoplay, it’s considered a view if it’s 100% in view and played in the app.
  • With Instagram, if the video is played for 3 seconds either in the feed or upon opening a story, and it’s 100% in view in the app only, it’s considered a view.
  • For Twitter, the video can be autoplayed, and as long as it’s watched for 3 seconds and is 100% in view either on mobile or desktop, it’s considered a view. This counts across all platforms and embedded posts as well.
  • For Vine, autoplayed Vines that are watched all the way through are considered a view, but only user-initated are counted for longer videos as long as a certain % of the total video is spent watching. The videos must be 50% in view for Vine, and 100% on Twitter.
  • YouTube is much tougher than any of the above. The video has to be user initiated, and it has to be viewed an indeterminate % of the total video length. For advertisers, it has to be 50% in view, but that includes all devices, all platforms, and embedded posts.

As you can see, not all views are equal and some of the view numbers you see can be taken with a grain of salt as a result.

October 6, 2016

The Best Times To Post On Social Media

best times to postWhen it comes to social media promotion, the time of day that you post can be just as critical as the content that you’re posting. There are some generally accepted post times that apply to the various networks, but some new research has tweaked those a little. Hubspot took a look and came up with the best times to post.

Remember that we’re looking at primarily a United States audience. It’s best to combine Eastern and Central time zones, since that represents almost 80% of the U.S. population, so all the times below are Eastern. Obviously, for audiences located outside the U.S. you’d use the time zone that your audience is in. Let’s get into it.

1) The Best Times to Post on Facebook

The overall best time to post on Facebook is 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, but other good times include 12:00–1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 1:00–4:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, and weekdays from 1:00–4:00 p.m. tend to see the highest clickthrough rates. Although the research says that Facebook use spikes by 10% on Fridays, I’ve personally not seen that happen. In fact, Friday always seems to be the worst day of the week for engagement, at least for me. The overall worst times tend to be before 8:00 a.m. and after 8:00 p.m.

2) The Best Times to Post on Twitter

The best times to post on Twitter are weekdays from 12:00–3:00 p.m. and at 5:00 p.m. The overall best day to post is again Wednesday and the weekends, which is also when the clickthrough rate is highest. According to the article, some businesses have also had success with 2:00–3:00 a.m., 6:00–7:00 a.m., and 9:00–10:00 p.m. post times, although I’ve personally found those times (except for 6a.m.) to be dead.

3) Best Times to Post on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is used by professionals, and they tend to use it mostly during working hours, and just before the workday starts or after it ends. That means that the best time to post is midweek from 5:00–6:00 p.m. Other optimal times include Tuesdays from 10:00–11:00 a.m., and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 7:30–8:30 a.m., at 12:00 p.m., and from 5:00–6:00 p.m.

As for the best day, Tuesdays tend to see the most clicks and shares, especially between 10:00–11:00 a.m., while Mondays and Friday’s see lower engagement rates than the rest of the workweek, which is typical of most social media. As you would expect, the worst time to post on LinkedIn is during the night, between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

4) Best Times to Post on Instagram

The best times to post on Instagram are Mondays and Thursdays at any time except between 3:00–4:00 p.m., which is a surprise. Videos tend to perform best any night of the week between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., according to TrackMaven’s research, which is also a surprise.

These may be some times that work for others, but they may not work for you. It’s still best to use the above times as a guideline, and check other times as well to find the ones that best fit your audience.

September 29, 2016

Study Says To Use Facebook Live If You Want To Reach Millennials

facebook live millennialsIf your audience is composed of millennials, then it’s time to start using Facebook Live, according to a new report by UBS. The company surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers aged 13 and up on social media usage as well as video consumption and found that Facebook’s relatively new service is the go-to service for that age group, followed closely by YouTube and Snapchat Live Stories, according to an article in Investors Business Daily.

When it came to social platforms, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn  and Snapchat had the highest monthly average users, which continues to fly in the face of reports that Facebook is no longer popular with millennials. That said, Facebook’s popularity was boosted by its Instagram media-sharing service and WhatsApp messaging service, in addition to a pure Facebook presence.

69% of monthly Facebook users return daily, mostly because the platform is becoming much more than social interaction. Facebook is now a hub for news, events and content with a wide reach that the majority of people use in their daily lives, which differentiates it from all other social platforms.

Although Facebook Live is hugely popular to millennials, the company still is at a loss for how to monetize the content, much to the chagrin of content creators. The company has been testing a “buy button” on its News Feed posts for two years, which lets users purchase items without leaving the platform. “The majority of respondents who are Facebook users have not heard of the buy button (58%), while nearly half of Twitter users (45%) stated the same,” UBS said however.  Twitter and Pinterest have also been testing buy buttons.

Once again, when it comes to social media, it’s important to go where your audience is. If its the 13 to 24 age group, then it’s wise to be on Facebook Live. The idea is that, as of now, you’ll be using it as a promotional tool instead of expecting to make money from it.

September 19, 2016

Here Comes Twitter Video Complete With A Revenue Share

twitter-videoTwitter video is a relatively new element for the service, and it’s being generous in that it’s will to share what it makes from it with content creators. What’s more the company is even giving the lion’s share to the people that make the videos as well.

In an effort to boost a stagnant user base, Twitter is really going for with video, offering a full 70% of the ad revenue to the video creator. This beats YouTube by a lot, since the split there is 55% to the creator, and Facebook still hasn’t figured out how to monetize video views, leaving users with little monetary incentive to post other than a higher view rate on the platform.

Individual content creators can qualify for this new feature by signing up for its Amplify Publisher program, which to date has only been accessible to companies. Once they’re approved by the company (after a quick application process), they can check a box to elect to have pre-roll ads run against their video.

The company is also offering a new media library for creators with any sort of media, including videos, GIFs and images. This also enables tweet scheduling and planning, and provides more tools for managing multiple accounts. Content creators can now manage their videos — and the money they’re making from them — on the desktop as well as on mobile with the Twitter Engage app.

It’s worth noting that if you don’t already have a fan base on the network, Twitter video may not be worth paying attention to. As always, a good online plan of action is to become as accomplished as possible on a single platform before moving to another one. YouTube and Facebook both have a number of positives that go beyond monetization, so making money shouldn’t be the only reason for Twitter video to become a part of your social media strategy.

New Twitter Features May Make Promotion More Difficult

New Twitter FeaturesMany artists and bands have found Twitter a great place to promote themselves and their music, but that just got a lot more difficult with the implementation of some new features. New Twitter features include Notifications settings and especially a Quality Filter, which will mean that an artist’s strategy for using Twitter will have to change in order to be successful.

The new Notifications settings will give users the ability to limit notifications to only people they follow on mobile and on twitter.com. The individual Twitter experience will continue unchanged if it’s not selected. Managing notifications is now also easier in that you can now access them directly from your notifications tab.

The real change comes with the Quality Filter though. When turned on, the filter looks at a variety of post data, including account origin and behavior, to select the types of posts that you see. Lower-quality content like duplicate tweets or content that appears to be automated from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience will no longer be seen. It does not filter content from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with, depending on your preferences. This can turned on or off in your notifications settings. The feature is also designed to learn and improve over time in updates in the future.

What this means is that if you duplicate a morning post in the afternoon to hit a different audience, it might not be seen by the people that you’re targeting. Likewise, if you are set to automatically tweet from a blog or Facebook post, that may also be filtered out. It’s unknown whether a 3rd party scheduled post from a service like Hootsuite is affected.

We’re still not sure what the algorithm of the Quality Filter actually takes into account, so there may be other types of posts that may be affected as well. The best thing to do at this point is to continue to post custom tweets, and keep the automation to a minimum.

As with other social networks, user experience is the prime directive, and that’s what these new Twitter features aim to improve.

June 17, 2016

Twitter Invests In SoundCloud, But Why?

SoundCloud-TwitterTwitter has made an investment in SoundCloud for a reported $70 million and if you’ve been following the story between the companies, you have to ask yourself “Why now?”

About two years ago Twitter almost acquired SoundCloud before walking away at the last minute, and an acquisition certainly would have made a lot more sense at the time, even though it might not have changed the futures of either company.

Back then Twitter wanted to capitalize on its high profile music users like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, who had massive followings on the service (and still do) but weren’t able to take advantage by directly serving up their music to them. SoundCloud was struggling with both monetization issues (which still exist) and licensing problems, and theoretically could have provided the infrastructure for Twitter to transition to at least a partial music service.

Many think that Twitter was better off for walking away from the deal and keeping the focus on its core business, which in theory worked fine except for the fact that the company’s user base has plateaued in the meantime even with a focused agenda not diluted with delivering music.

SoundCloud has actually come a long way in that it now has signed licenses with the three major record labels, and has since worked hard to roll out its $9.99 monthly subscription service called SoundCloud Go. Still, it’s a cash-starved company and needs another round of funding to stay alive, so having Twitter as an investor in this round is most welcome.

That said, the benefit for Twitter isn’t as apparent. It’s not getting any of the technical goodies that come with an acquisition, and it’s buying a piece of a company that essentially hasn’t grown in valuation since its last go around.

In fact, out of all the music streaming companies currently in the space, SoundCloud may be the most baffling. It’s long been a boon to artists, bands and songwriters as a tool for free music distribution, and at that it may very well be #1 in the space. That market isn’t large enough to add enough subscribers to make the platform go however, and may be tapped out already. Attracting regular music consumers to its paid Go service may be limited to electronic music fans, since the platform is a favorite of DJs, but that genre seems to have plateaued as well. [Read more on Forbes…]