A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Music Is All About Change

The new music industry is all about change.

Do you think that if you pull your music from Spotify that it is not available on YouTube with ad support (which means income) and with no ad support (which means no income).

The new music industry is about exploring different business models and seeing which one works for you.

Black Veil Brides had a Pre-Order pledge campaign for their new album and the perks on offer just kept on getting sold out. First week U.S sales are anaemic at 29,925 however does that mean that the album is not popular or that it is not a success. Go on YouTube. The BVBArmyVEVO account shows 2,206,786 views for the “Heart Of Fire” video, 1,208,958 for the “Faithless” audio and recently a clip went up for the ballad “Goodbye Agony” and that has already accumulated 464,059 views. Compared to their big song “In The End” with 36,560,728 views, you can see that the fan base is experiencing the band in many different ways. In this case, the band and their team (record labels, managers, accountants, lawyers and publishers) are making money from the Pledge Campaign, YouTube views, streams on other services, physical sales, mp3 sales and radio plays.

Coheed and Cambria had a vinyl remastered re-issue of “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth” which sold out its first pressing and then they went on a sold out commemoration tour of the album. They are remaining relevant even though their last album came out in February 2013. For them, 2014 was all about touring, vinyl sales, special edition live box sets and merchandise.

Basically new business models from bands are reshaping the way music is marketed and distributed. There are countless new artists emerging and there are countless new ways for fans to listen to those artists.

The music industry of the past consisted of great control. Distribution in those days consisted of record stores. Technology has made way for new opportunities, thus creating new models. The internet has eliminated a lot of past costs within the music industry; this goes for the way music is recorded, the format of music, the marketing, and especially the distribution outlets. New models have taken away the control aspect.

Digital Summer recently asked a Facebook question to their followers about how does everyone find new music. They wanted to know how their fans had heard of them and where they usually hear new music they like? I went through the comments and grouped them into categories.

Radio like Sirius XM Octane, local terrestrial stations, Pandora, Slacker Radio, iHeart, etc got 137 votes for 26%. At this point in time radio is still the best way to get your music out there. However it is the Live show that seals the deal for the band.

Live Shows especially comments around the opening slot that they had on the current Volbeat tour got 121 votes for 23%. It looks like the band really delivers on stage. Also the comments kept on saying that the band members took time out to meet newly converted fans and showed them where they can get free downloads of the band’s music. It’s all about connecting with fans folks.

Word of mouth from fans or band members got 63 votes for 12%. With the internet connecting everyone, I expect this to be more relevant.

YouTube via the algorithm suggestions got 57 votes for 11%. The tech industry is fragmented. When you combine the platforms like YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, MySpace, Online publications, other online platforms and Amazon, you get a 37% reach from the Techies.

Spotify via the similar artists feature got 30 votes for 6%

Twitter via the band members following someone and that someone goes on to check the band out got 25 votes for 5%.

iTunes via the Genius or suggestions based on previous purchases got 25 votes for 5%.

Promotions like having cool looking merchandise, flyers, giving away free demo CD’s, having their stickers plastered all over town, endorsement companies, music stores got 16 votes for 3%.

Other Online Platforms like Reverbnation, Soundcloud, Google Play, XBOX Music, Last.fm, Gaming Music Videos got a combined 13 votes which also equates to 2%.

Instagram via the band members liking photos posted by users or following users got 10 votes for 2%. This was a surprise, however the work that the band members have done on this site is astounding. One fan commented that they are a Gemini Syndrome fan and when they posted a photo of Gemini Syndrome on Instagram, one of the Winterstein brothers liked the photo. The soon to be fan, clicked on his account, saw they had a band, checked out the band and then became a fan.

Facebook and MySpace got 10 votes each for 2%. Goes to show that while Facebook is a good tool for connecting with fans once you have them, it is not a good tool for finding new fans.

Online publications like Stereogum, Loudwire, Jango, Revolver, Ultimate-Guitar got 6 votes for 1%. This is another fragmented industry. The online publications offer no substance, no personal opinion. It’s just all thumbs up, pat my back and I will pat yours style of reporting.

The Pirate Bay/Torrents got 4 votes for 1%. Looks like copyright infringement is not such a big issue.

Amazon got 3 votes for 1%. This is how I found out about the band. Their “Counting The Hours” album came up with bands I might like based on my purchases.

So what does tell any new artist trying to build a career in music.

Be ready to change on the whim and be ready to try different ways of promoting, connecting and marketing your music.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music

Social Media is Not Just About The Broadcast – What Dream Theater can be doing better compared to other bands?

Dream Theater is all about the advertisement/broadcast. Look at their Facebook account and it is all about the sell. This is expected as they have a new product and they are trying to push it. However, have they spent any time reading, listening or understanding what their fans are saying? The fans are the best advocates and for some reason bands are not realising it.

Compare what Dream Theater is doing to what Robb Flynn is doing for Machine Head with The General Journals: Diary Of A Frontman… And Other Ramblings. He is engaging with his fan base through personal stories. Of course they still have the sell aspect going on for their Mayhem shows and no one is expecting the artist to stop the sell. The difference is those personal touches and stories.

Compare what Dream Theater is doing to what Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God is doing on Instagram. He takes unbelievable photos and the stories he shares with those photos via Instagram is all about engagement with people. There is no sell here. It is authentic and heartfelt. This is pure gold.

Compare to what Dream Theater is doing to what Trivium is doing on Facebook. Both bands have the same label and both have albums coming out within a month apart. Trivium had the official download of the song Brave This Storm (it was just one post and the post was called Transmission #2) and then it has all been fan and band pictures posted from various shows. Dream Theater have plugged the new song post after post after post. We get it, you have a new song.

Also when Dream Theater had the corporate deal with USA Today to stream the song, a lot of their fans from other parts of the world couldn’t listen to it. Of course that problem was fixed within a couple of days and then Dream Theater started re-posting links for the song.

I recently posted that the years of when artists took a year to make an album and went on a two to three year victory lap are over. The artists that still take a year to make an album in this current climate are doing themselves a great disservice as they will have an album that is basically dead on arrival. The faithful will buy the album and then the victory lap is over.

It looks like the bigger the network around a band, the less they focus on fan engagement. Bands or artists cannot expect to use their social media accounts only when it suits them, just because they have a product to push or a song to push and expect that the fans will remain engaged.

A perfect example is Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or Bon Jovi. Dream Theater is trying to play in this field, however they don’t have the runs on the board to play against Metallica or Bon Jovi.

Bands with better runs on the board than Dream Theater like Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Halestorm, Lamb Of God, Sixx A.M, Kid Rock and Stone Sour are still looking at ways to engage with their audience on different levels. Don’t focus on how many followers or likes you have. It’s all about connections and trying to make those connections bring value to the relationship.

Bands like Metallica and Bon Jovi use PR agencies to run their social media accounts. Of course the whole business model of the PR company is the less is more model and to have total control over the message. This is in contrast with the social principles of giving out as much information and seeing what connects and what misses.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, Piracy

Creativity involves Diversification

I love creativity.  It could be a song, a story, a novel, a comic, a movie, a photograph, a TV show or even a website.  We are overloaded with people creating something.  Some of it is good, some of it is bad.  However that is subjective to my tastes and interests.  Stuff that I like, a lot of other people don’t like.

Due to the Internet, the entry barriers to promote creative works have diminished greatly.  That is a good thing.  Sometimes it takes years for the creative works to be discovered by an audience that appreciates it.

Check out Randy Blythe’s Instagram account.  This dude, takes awesome photo’s and then adds a story to each photo that he takes.  He personalises his creativity.  You don’t have to be a fan of Lamb Of God, to appreciate the creative work of Randy Blythe.  He doesn’t even advertise that he is the singer of Lamb Of God, all he has are the words, “In some band. I try and be a good man.”  Make sure you check out his photos from Prague, during the court case.

Nikki Sixx is another, that is creating quite a few different creative outlets.  Apart from Motley Crue, he also has Sixx A.M.  On top of that, he is a book author, photographer, web show DJ and many more.

Check out the photos on his Tumblr account and on his Instagram account.  Even Nikki Sixx has started adding stories about his photos, in a similar vein to Randy Blythe.

There are others, like Claudio Sanchez from Coheed and Cambria and Corey Taylor from Stone Sour, that released concept albums and are branching out into graphic novels, comics and movie deals.  Robb Flynn from Machine Head is another that is building connections with his fans, by posting his Journals/Ramblings up once a week.

That is what it takes these days to make it.  You need to be creative 24/7.  You need to remain in the public eye.  You need more than just one outlet.  Selling music is a zero sum game.  Having all your eggs in the one basket, is not good risk management.  Spread out, diversify.

You need to connect with people.  It could take years or it could take days, so be prepared to put in time.  You probably will not be paid and any monies you are paid, would not be enough to support a family, but then again, all creative people create because they love it.  It is an outlet to them.  Somewhere through the years, this changed to people creating just to be paid, which is a shame.  Look back at all the masters of history, from Beethoven to Bach to Dali and Monet.  They created music and paintings, not to be paid in the millions, because they wanted too.

So don’t buy in to all of the piracy and copyright infringement bullshit, put forward by the entertainment industry’s lobby groups like the RIAA or MPAA or the labels/studios themselves.  Creativity can bring back many financial gains, you just need to be prepared to put in the time.

Standard