A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Marketing

Growing your brand and spreading the word of your art is a marketing problem.

So if that perfect album you spent months writing and months recording is nowhere to be seen, it’s because it’s not marketed properly.

And I am thinking of all of those hard rock and metal albums released between 1992 and 2005, which got released and didn’t really set the charts alight. It’s not because the music was crap, it’s because the labels didn’t care enough to put the money behind the artist to market them. But really was it the fault of the labels. It’s what the artist tells us.

Bands I support have spoken out about the label and the labels lack of enthusiasm at marketing their album. But the label did have the enthusiasm at one stage to put money into the demoing and recording of the album.

So is Geffen responsible or David Coverdale responsible for Blue Murder’s self-titled debut being killed or is the band responsible for not telling a story that connects with people or agreeing to that pirate look?

Is Elektra responsible for Motley Crue’s self-titled 1994 album doing poor numbers after they spent over 2 million dollars on the recording and marketing, or is the band responsible for not telling a story which connects with people?

Is EMI responsible for Queensryche’s “Hear In The Now Frontier” not doing better commercially?

Is Atlantic responsible for White Lion’s “Mane Attraction” disappearing from the charts?

Because marketing isn’t about putting a poster or an ad in a record store or internet site, it’s about telling a story that connects with people. As humans we make choices and the choice to invest in art is made together with other choices. Telling us that this is your best work, or that you put in your blood, sweat and tears is not really a story that connects. It’s a stupid PR spiel that doesn’t resonate at all.

And marketing isn’t about going all nuclear with ads and posters on every website and every print magazine either. It doesn’t equal advertising. Marketing is to spread ideas, serve the fans and satisfy their needs. And you do it by being authentic, respectful and truthful.

Artists need to tell us the story.

They need to own it.

They need to be truthful.

So if you have a marketing problem, you can’t solve it by simply repeating what you did yesterday.

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

Take Note of George Lynch’s Work Ethic and Rat Pak Records

This is how you need to do it in the current music business. Check out the list of releases from George Lynch since 2008.

2008 – George Lynch – Scorpion Tales
2008 – Souls Of We – Let The Truth Be Known
2009 – Lynch Mob – Smoke And Mirrors
2010 – Raven Quinn – self-titled debut
2010 – George Lynch – Orchestral Mayhem
2011 – George Lynch – Kill All Control
2012 – T & N – Slave To The Empire
2012 – George Lynch – Legacy (EP)
2012 – Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Sessions (EP)
2013 – Lynch Mob – Unplugged – Live From Sugar Hill Studios
2014 – KXM – KXM

That is 11 releases in 6 years. Lynch also has another super group project in the works with Michael Sweet from Stryper on vocals, James Lomenzo from White Lion, BLS and Megadeth on bass and Brian Tichy from Whitesnake, BLS and Foreigner on drums that will be seeing a 2014 release on Frontiers. That will be 12 releases in six years. How many other hard rock artists are doing the same output?

Apart from the high volume output, Lynch is also immersing himself with different band set ups. Different dynamics. Sort of like the seventies musicians who just got together over a weekend and made an album.

This is the music business after the transition from analog to digital. Instead of spending big dollars on recording an album every two years only to see it disappear in a few weeks, it is better to record regularly and to release regularly. The modern internet rule is here today, gone tomorrow.

This is the music business after competing with free.

In order to survive, you need to create. The music business is not in trouble. Only dumb labels and artists are.

The big acts like Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat and Machine Head will make a lot if they are smart.

Metallica actually got stupid with the whole “Through The Never” movie and Orion festival. Two big misses financially. That is why they are back on the road right now, playing the high dividend return South American markets. They need to be paid, management needs to be paid, their lawyers need to be paid and all the rest of the workers at Metallica HQ.

We don’t want our heroes to be movie stars or festival organisers. We just want them to release music and hit the road.

Is George Lynch making millions doing this? Of course not, however did he ever make millions. Even in the glory days of Dokken. Sure it was a better time. They had advance payments, touring dollars and endorsements. On top of all that was a very easy metric to measure success. Sales.

But in the end, they still had a shitty deal. According to Don Dokken, it was he that got signed originally. Lynch and Mick Brown claimed it was on the back of songs that they had written in a previous band. The songs in question are “Paris Is Burning” and “Heartless Heart”. Hence the arguments and an uneasy settlement that had Don Dokken paying them a cut from his share. A shitty deal on a shitty deal.

But as all things evolve, so did the music business. Once control was taken away from the record labels, all hell broke loose.

Now it is so different.

George Lynch gets it and the team at Rat Pak Records get it.

On the recent “KXM” release, George Lynch had a special thanks to Joe O’Brien, Tina Peek and everyone at Rat Pak Records for breathing new life into the record business. I first came across Rat Pack Records when I heard that George Lynch was releasing new music through them a few years back in relation to a solo EP and a new Lynch Mob recording.

It’s run by a music business lifer in Joe O’Brien. He started in bands, then started booking shows, managing bands and finally a record label in 2003, at a time when sales of music started to decline. He doesn’t play the same game that the traditional labels play. The packages that they offer at the price that they offer is all about marketing to the core audience of said artist. And it is working.

O’Brien gets it that talent is king. And he gets it that the talent he signs doesn’t make as much money as they did off recordings than what they did in the past, however other avenues of income have opened up. And that comes down to the packages that are created.

BUT Rat Pack should have their releases made available on Spotify for streaming. It’s 2014 and Spotify is very much part of the music business. If it is not on Spotify, it will be on YouTube and in most cases it would be unlicensed. But YouTube does pay.

Distribution is what music is all about. And in relation to the consumer we want it to be easy. That is why Popcorn Time is going gang busters. It is the movie business’s worst nightmare. And since the developers made the code available, it is impossible to take down as each person can run their own version at home.

That is what piracy does. It fills the hole that the entertainment industry didn’t want to fill. It now forces a new path, a new conversation. Music led the way. It has taken a lot of time for the labels to catch up, however what began with Napster is now almost complete. We have access 24/7 to everything. We can buy it or we can stream it for free.

The next challenge is to get people to pay for streaming services. Time will tell.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

What Can Lorde and Spotify Teach The Metal World? Plus The Ones That Control The Talent Will Win In The Long Run

Record labels were dependent upon record sales and when the profit margins from recorded sales shifted from high margin returns to low margin returns, they screamed piracy. To them the only way they could remain in business was to have laws passed that protected their gatekeeper based business models.

However technology and innovation is always moving forward, so while the record labels are lobbying hard for new laws, at the same time they were being pulled into the future, kicking and screaming all the way.

Spotify to me is just a legal version of Napster, that has arrived in most markets. However before Spotify was even allowed to operate in certain markets, they needed to make licensing deals with the relevant record labels and publishing groups.

Spotify came into the market with the idea that they need to compete with free. And compete they did. The service even started to break artists to the masses, something that the record labels are clueless to do in current times.

Look at Lorde.
Her song “Royals” was added to Spotify on March 19th. It did nothing.

On April 2nd the song was added to the popular Hipster International Playlist by Napster founder Sean Parker. Isn’t it amazing what a little help can do and this was achieved without any dollars going into marketing. This was purely a stakeholder of Spotify, liking a song and sharing that song with the masses.

What’s that word again? Sharing.

On April 8th “Royals” appeared on the Spotify Viral Chart. What does this mean? It means that people have started to share it.

In relation to metal, I have posted previously how Dream Theater is doing it all wrong with their album release, putting money into marketing and believing that the old school scorched earth policy would bring results. It doesn’t. Sharing is what brings results. Fans sharing your music. Hey didn’t Napster do just this. Didn’t Napster allow fans to share music.

On June 10th “Royals” started to appear on radio. Remember when radio was cutting edge and used to be hip. This is proof that radio is a format that is dead and buried. This is proof that radio is always late to the party. This is proof that radio is clueless. This is proof that radio only plays what the record labels pay them to play.

So if you are an artist and your idea is to get your song onto radio, forget it. It is pointless. It does nothing for your career today.

Go on Dream Theater’s Facebook page and they are telling fans to contact their radio stations, so that “The Enemy Within” can be added to the playlist.

To use a quote from Flying High;
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am and don’t call me Shirley.”

On July 9th “Royals” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 – three months after debuting on the Spotify Viral Chart.
See how important sales are. By July 9th, Lorde was already a super mega star. It didn’t matter if she finally made enough physical sales to enter the Billboard Hot 100. She was already a success.

This is another lesson that the metal and rock world fail to learn. They still focus on the sales in the first week and the chart position. This is so old school and not a great measuring tool of reach or success, especially for new acts starting out.

But the metal world is still clueless. This is what we get from the bands, their PR companies and the various news outlets that report on metal and rock. Here are a few examples.

Loudwire: Dream Theater’s new DVD ‘Live At Luna Park’ recently entered at No 1 on the Soundscan music DVD chart.

Loudwire: Volume 2 of Five Finger Death Punch’s ‘Wrong Side Of Heaven; lands at No. 2 on Billboard 200.

Blabbermouth: “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” sold 42,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 7 on The Billboard 200 chart.

See what I mean. They are still reporting on the old system. What those websites are saying is that the first week of sales is a measure of success, which I totally disagree with. If that was the case, then the first Five Finger Death Punch album was a dud, after first week sales.

August 6 – Lorde plays her first US gig in NYC.

Slow and steady wins the race. You play where there is demand. Humanity wins out in the end. Those that can play, perform live and write their own songs will win. It’s a return to the song writer. Expect a back lash against the over processed songs written by a committee.

Forget about acts that focus on big screens and pyro technics. The people are looking for human performances. It is an escape from our increasingly digital world.

“Royals” is the most shared track in the US by a new artist this year. This is what matters. The track is SHARED. It means the fans are spreading the word, getting more people to invest time and money into you.

Spotify has finally released some information as to how they pay and it sure makes an interesting read. I have posted previously about the greed of the record labels and how that greed will ultimately kill the streaming star.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Spotify pays 70% of their revenues to rights holders. The rights holders in 90% of the cases are the record labels and publishers. The same people who lobbied hard to extend copyright terms and are lobbying hard again for longer copyright terms.

So in 2013 so far, Spotify has paid out $500 million dollars to rights holders in royalties. That’s right $500 million. When Spotify pays royalties to a rights holder they provide all the information needed to attribute royalties to each of their artists. Check out the post, it sure makes interesting reading.

http://www.spotifyartists.com/spotify-explained/

So it got me thinking about business models. It looks like to me that the new record label business model of today is to ensure that they have the talent. The one with the most talent wins.

The Record Labels are the only ones putting money out there and the rule of thumb is that if you want to dominate in the music business in the future, you have got to spend. So if record labels are spending, the talent ends up on a label.

That talent brings to the record label the following;

Any songs that BAND A writes will end up with the record label for the life of the artist plus 70 years after their death (the U.K has 90 years). So if the artist is say 30 years of age when they write HIT A, then the copyright of that song will be owned by the record label for 120 years (assuming the artist lives to 80 years of age). Talk about securing their future. Now multiply BAND A or ARTIST A by all the millions of artists who are getting into deals where they sign away their copyrights.

SECURE the most talent and be a winner in the long run.

Has anyone noticed the large push from Frontiers Records in signing up talent past and present? Has anyone noticed how they are getting the Eighties legends to re-record their classics by creating modern forgeries and in the process handing over the copyrights to Frontiers? Has anyone noticed how they are getting all of these artists together for special one-off projects like Michael Sweet from Stryper and George Lynch?

Since managers and other entities are afraid to spend on artist, the ones that do so will win. If a label is not spending money, then they are not in the game. If they are not in the game, then they do not control any talent.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

What a great idea? Give the fan a choice. Lessons from Dream Theater, Trivium, Shinedown, Protest The Hero, Coheed and Cambria

Does anyone in the music business know what works or doesn’t work when it comes to marketing a band?

For some reason, a lot of the parties involved still believe in a scorched earth marketing policy. That is where the said artist is promoted everywhere and on everything.

Will a corporate deal with a large newspaper or an online news site for an exclusive pre-album release stream help an act’s career in the long run?

Dream Theater went along this route for the “The Enemy Inside” launch, the “Along For The Ride” launch and the pre-album stream.

Three corporate deals that put money in the hands of the record label however what did it do for the band?

If you followed the band, you would have seen the comments on Facebook that when the launches happened, people in other countries couldn’t access the stream and frustration turned to anger. Of course within 24 hours the problem was fixed, however fans waited 24 hours. In the era of the World Wide Web. Geographical restrictions are old school.

In addition the album isn’t really setting the sales department alight. After a six week run, it is more or less obsolete and out of the conversation. Don’t believe, type in “Dream Theater self titled” in Google search and go to the news section.

Do TV and Newspaper ads work at all in 2013?

I rarely watch free to air TV and I rarely read Newspapers. Most of the stuff I do is online. I have an “online” life. So if I visit Loudwire, Noisecreep, Metal Insider or some other music site, I do notice ads on the side for new releases. However not once have I clicked on them or decided to hear a band because of those ads. So in my view, they don’t work.

What about YouTube plays and Spotify stream counts? This is what gets me interested. When I type in a band name into these platforms the first thing I normally play is the track with the most views/streams. These stats will help a band in the long run.

For example, Shinedown’s most streamed song is “Call Me”. The fans decided that is the song they can connect with the most. On YouTube, the fans have used that song as a soundtrack to their own video clips and the numbers are staggering.

It looks like a lot of big decisions in relation to the career of the artists are made on hunches or gut feelings by the record labels. This is ridiculous in 2013.

Labels are in this business to make money. They will be looking at what makes them money.

Trivium is on Roadrunner. Their latest album moved around 50,000 units in the U.S. Is it a dud? The label will probably use that stat and say it is. However, if you look at YouTube, you will see the video clip to “Strife” has 1,093,648 views. This has more than doubled “In Waves” that is sitting at 589,175 views. Hell, it’s even greater that Dream Theater’s “The Enemy Inside” clip which is at 891,939 views. Is the new Trivium album a dud now? Of course not.

Why?

People are listening to it. The numbers are there.

The labels flushed out Protest The Hero. The band then went the fan funding route. That route also gave them access to data. The data is a list of fans. Once an act employs a data model, they will start to get wins on the board. Once a band starts winning, others will gravitate to them.

On YouTube, the Underbite video has 137,339 views. The Clarity video has 163,773 views and the Drumhead Trial video has 250,972 views. For an independent band, those numbers are good.

Coheed and Cambria employed a data model with “The Afterman” releases? They put the focus on the deluxe packages. Those packages proved way too tempting to resist and guess what; thousands upon thousands of Coheed fans signed up to their modlife website and purchased. In the process, Coheed and Cambria made sales and gathered data of their hard core fans. That data list is close to 100,000 people.

With that Super Deluxe purchase, came the VIP Meet and Greet perk. So as long as you purchased a normal concert ticket, you had the VIP pass for meet and greets already and you could purchase another pass for a friend a discounted rate. What a loyalty program.

For example, I purchased “The Afterman” deluxe edition. A VIP pass came with this purchase. Then when Coheed and Cambria announced a Sydney show, I purchased two concert tickets at $66 each. Then I went on line and purchased another VIP pass for $15 for a friend of mine. This entitled us to early entry into the venue for either a special acoustic performance of one of the band members or a meet and greet.

Due to the large number of people that had this perk, it ended up being an acoustic performance. However, if the numbers were low, it would have been a meet and greet. The reason why the Sydney show was a success and the Australian tour in general was because Coheed and Cambria used data to connect with their fans.

Then the band used the data to promote special merchandise releases, Comic-Con appearances, video clip releases and side project releases.

Go on YouTube. Domino The Destitute has 1,295,151 views and Dark Side Of Me has 1,144,730 views.

Then the band promoted “The Afterman” live edition. This edition involved “The Afterman” albums plus a live CD. However, if a fan had purchased “The Afterman” CD’s before and all they want is the live CD, that was also available to them. All they had to do was log in to their account and pick what they wanted.

What a great idea? Give the fan a choice.

Instead we get the normal rubbish from the RIAA and the Record Labels, about how they are losing sales due to digital piracy.

Studies have shown that Peer To Peer traffic is now below 10%. It was 60% eleven years ago.

So 11 years ago, the only choice the fans had was to buy the expensive CD or to share individual tracks. Fans picked the sharing option.

However in 2013, people don’t need to pirate anymore because there is no need to. Whatever the fans want is available for free anyway, on YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Grooveshark and so on. It has also become easy, which is something the labels have no idea how to do. Cough Cough “DRM” anyone.

Even when artists come out bemoaning piracy they fail to understand the shift that happened in the music industry. The fans decision to pursue single tracks instead of a whole album, changed the profits from a high-margin return to a low margin return for the label.

The Lie That Fuels The Music Industry’s Paranoia
http://www.forbes.com/sites/bobbyowsinski/2013/11/27/the-lie-that-fuels-the-music-industrys-paranoia/

Peer To Peer Traffic is Down
https://www.sandvine.com/pr/2013/11/11/sandvine-report-netflix-and-youtube-account-for-50-of-all-north-american-fixed-network-data.html

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Jake E. Lee and The Red Dragon Cartel. They Are Doing It All Wrong

Did you also hear that Jake E Lee is making a comeback with a new project titled Red Dragon Cartel?

As a fan of Jake E. Lee and the work he did with Ozzy and Badlands, I am glad that he is made the decision to record music again. Man, those two Badlands albums rocked hard. Tried to find them on Spotify and no dice. Even the new Red Dragon Cartel song is nowhere to be found. Lucky YouTube has the Badlands albums streaming in full.

He is doing it all wrong. He is doing it the same way he did in 1986. This is 2013 and the music business model that worked when Jake E. Lee was at the peak of his fame does not work today.

Frontiers Records signed the project. Are there any Classic Eighties metal/rock bands or stars that Frontiers haven’t signed?

Of course the new slab of songs will move a couple of thousand in sales due to hard-core Jake E. Lee fans from the Ozzy and Badlands days and then what. Go on a small club tour, do a few festivals and then what.

Jake E. Lee needs a presence online at the minimum. Release a couple of songs and get people talking about them. See how the songs connect. Having only a Facebook account today just doesn’t cut it. If no one is biting it’s because they are not interested and that the songs are not good enough.

The lyric video for Feeder has over 48,000 views. The song is nothing really earth shattering. There is no classic riff that will stick around forever and a day to haunt my eardrums. The comments on YouTube are varied. People dig Robin Zander on vocals, but don’t like the guitars on the song. Then the comments started on the other song, Deceived. That song has the touring vocalist, Darren Smith singing. And the comments are not pretty. Maybe Jake needs a re-think on the vocalist. Maybe the fans are used to the pipes on Ray Gillen. Whatever the case is, Jake E. Lee needs to communicate with his fans if he wants to make an impact.

Sales are a one to one relationship. It starts and ends with a single transaction. The band/label gets the money and the fan gets the music.

What is the streaming policy? That is a one to many relationship that can be tracked. Data is the new currency in the music business. More so than the record sales. As an artist, you need to know who your fans are? Are they listening to your music.

If they sell less than 10,000 units, does that make the project a dud?

If anything, Jake E. Lee is basically an independent artist again. Frontiers Records doesn’t go out of its way to market any of their releases. Trust me, I am on their mailing list and all I get is the obligatory press release email saying a new release is coming out for so and so band. That’s it.

The reality that escapes Frontiers Records and the acts they sign is that music consumption and marketing have changed dramatically.

Try telling that to musicians. All musicians place a certain value on what they do. It is the usual “we poured our heart and soul” cliché. The funny thing is that worked once upon a time, when the Record Labels acted as Gatekeepers. It doesn’t work today and that is where the problems begin for musicians. They have no idea how to properly market themselves and they fail to understand the simply economics of supply and demand.

Marketing is difficult. Look at the musicians that make up Red Dragon Cartel. On vocals you have Darren Smith from Harem Scarem and Warmachine. In July he was involved in another project called Heavens Fire. How is he going to market himself? He is the lead vocalist and he has no presence. Jonas Fairley is doing his Twitter thing which is cool to see and Ronnie Mancuso is part of the same Eighties brigade as Jake E.Lee, expecting their names and the label to push the band.

You see each musician needs to market themselves in their own way. Look at Five Finger Death Punch. Each member markets themselves. The same for Motley Crue, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Machine Head and so on.

The 2013 music world is littered with new releases. This is a far cry from the gatekeeper controlled release windows of the record labels. With so much supply of hard rock, blues rock and heavy metal music, the demand to listen to it all is just not there. That is why we gravitate to what people talk about. We feel like someone has done the homework for us.

The expectation that most artists have is that since they have talent, can write a song and love what they do, they should be able to charge people to listen. The reality is that there are thousands of bands trying to reach the same fans that are very careful with the money they spend on music.

Music was never a sure thing. The music world is grown bigger and way more competitive.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Time Is Working Against The Artist

It’s 1992. The labels are signing Seattle bands, left, right and centre while at the same time they are dropping hard rock and heavy metal bands left, right and centre. That is the power the record label had. Not only could they make an artist famous, they could also destroy an artist. You see when you control all the points in the distribution and marketing chain, you more or less control everything.

With the massive power that the major labels had, we always saw artist/s as famous. We always thought that once an artist was signed to a label deal, they had it made. It was a big misconception.

Fame for an artist in most cases meant a large advance that had to be recouped by withholding royalty payments. That is why record label accounting gets messy and it cannot be trusted.

So in 2013, things have changed dramatically. With this change, the power is still with the major record labels. They gathered enough power during the Eighties and Nineties to be a force to be reckoned. Then in the Two Thousands the massive mergers and takeovers happened, further enhancing the power of the record labels. Then in order to allow digital start-ups, the record labels did one of three things; charge high licensing fees or litigate the start-up to bankruptcy or negotiate a large ownership stake in the start-up.

So even though the internet has lowered the barriers of entry, without the money and power of the label behind the artists, there is a pretty good chance, the artist would probably go unnoticed. Remember 4 million songs haven’t even been listened too on Spotify.

So when certain artists are complaining about a low royalty payment, maybe that is the royalty payment that is relevant to the niche the artist is in. Maybe it is a royalty payment that they have earned. You don’t see a current household name complaining. It’s because they worked hard at obtaining a certain thing called leverage.

Digital distribution offers an artist new audiences in places where brick-and-mortar stores would be impossible or unsustainable, like foreign countries or rural areas. The end result is growth across the board, both physical and digital provided that the artist gets noticed.

So is piracy that bad for an artist who is trying to get traction?

The majors and the mainstream journalists attached to news outlets operated by media moguls have done a great job selling the “one pirated item equals one lost sale” statistic and the “illegal downloading (piracy) is theft” argument. It is a statistic that rights holders, lobby groups and misguided artists exaggerate and it is a statistic they use to either kill off innovation or to stifle innovation.

Piracy (better known as copyright infringement) is basically one person (A) copying something of value that another person (B) owns. This leads to a situation that has both people (A and B) having a copy of the same item.

So it is safe to say that one pirated item is not theft. Theft is basically one person (A) taken something of value that another person (B) owns, which means that Person (B) no longer has the item.

So let’s assume that piracy spreads the artists’ material to places that are unknown to the artist and the people who download the music might become a fan and share their thoughts with others. They could even go to a show or they could go and purchase the next album or the artists back catalogue. There are a lot of could’s in the above theory. However the music business is all based on could’s.

For example, in the heyday of the record labels, this is how the above would have panned out.
Let’s assume that a record deal spreads the artists’ material to places that are unknown to the artist and the people who hear the music on radio or MTV might become a fan and share their thoughts with others. They could even go to a show or they could go and purchase the next album or the artists back catalogue. As you can see, the heyday theory also holds a lot of could’s.

Of course the difference is the money. The labels once upon a time threw money at artists and provided tour support. Today, the labels only go for the sure bet and 360 deals.

From a fan perspective, the main thing working against the artist today is time. Why would a music lover want to invest their time in an artist? I recently invested a lot of time in the TV show “Sons of Anarchy” because knowledge of the show was being shared at work and I wanted to be part of the conversation. I invested a lot of time in the show because fans of the show shared their thoughts with me. They convinced me that I needed to watch it.

One thing is certain in 2013. We move on fast. Look at the Top 10 lists of pirated movies that TorrentFreak publish each week. It’s always changing and very rare for the same movie to be at number one for two weeks in a row. Look at the Top 10 of the Charts published by each country. The artists in the list are always changing.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Cervello – A Great Band That Is No More. Find Out What They Could Have Done Different.

I just heard Cervello’s debut album (released in 2011) today and I liked it. I wanted to find out more information. So what do you do in 2013 if you want to find out more information.

You go onto Google and type in Cervello. The first link is an Italian progressive band from the Seventies. WTF. This doesn’t look like the modern rock artists that I am hearing. It’s not looking good so far. Clicking on Facebook and Twitter pages, I finally get some information.

Before I get to commenting on the information, I want to point out that their web presence is abysmal. Putting all of their faith in Facebook and Twitter as their only web strategy demonstrates that the online world was just too hard for the band to participate in. In this day and age, your online presence is everything. Even the website wasn’t updated.

I suppose with a Facebook post from February 2, 2013, that states the following, I understand why;

We have some sad news to share… Cervello as a band has ceased working together. We’ve had a blast! It’s been tuff some times, but always fun. We want to thank every single one of you for your support. For the kind words! For rocking out at our gigs! For helping us spread our music!

We would also like to sincerely apologize to everyone that had planned to see us tomorrow. If it was possible, believe me, we would have done the gig.

Much Love
Cervello

Then there was a follow up comment (it was in Swedish, so I used Google to translate it) to the post;

Due to internal problems so this was probably the best solution to end. Sorry to disappoint you, and having to set up a cruel gig tomorrow but I can say that you will see more of me.

That was from vocalist/guitarist and founder, MICHEL BAIONI. He is from Stockholm, Sweden and was originally a drummer. 

The first thing I want to point out is that the album is solid. It is a very good rock album. In 2011, the competition was fierce for listeners attention. Cervello’s self-titled album had to compete with the following releases;

  • Evergrey – Glorious Collision
  • Sixx AM – This Is Gonna Hurt
  • Red – Until We Have Faces
  • Machine Head – Unto The Locust
  • Five Finger Death Punch – American Capitalist
  • Times Of Grace – The Hymn Of A Broken Man
  • Whitesnake – Forevermore
  • Art Of Dying – Vices And Virtues
  • Trivium – In Waves
  • Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events
  • Ten Second Epic – Better Off
  • Madina Lake – World War III
  • Black Veil Brides – Set The World On Fire
  • Crossfade – We All Bleed
  • TesseracT – One
  • Redlight King – Something For The Pain
  • Egypt Central – White Rabbit
  • Daughtry – Break The Spell
  • Disturbed – The Lost Children
  • Megadeth – Th1rt3en
  • James Durbin – Memories of a Beautiful Disaster
  • Casting Crowns – Come To The Well
  • Stealing Eden – Truth In Tragedy
  • Drought – Untapped
  • In Flames – Sounds Of A Playground Fading
  • Plan Three – The Signal Part 1 (EP)
  • Seether – Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray
  • Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
  • Protest The Hero – Scurrilous
  • Rev Theory – Justice

So without any real web presence the decks were stacked against Cervello from the outset. What could have they done different?

They needed to provide a digital service to their fans. Music is a business and it needs to be treated like a business. Each band needs to compete against other bands for listeners attention.

What was the plan for the album? What was the plan if the album exploded? What was the plan if the album didn’t explode? How would they define if the album was a success? Would it be sales, likes on Facebook, YouTube views or Spotify Streams. Would it be attendances at live shows?

What was the plan for their online presence? Who will maintain it constantly, who will measure it and who will improve it? What was their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy and marketing campaigns?

They released their album in October 2011 and by 2013 it was all over. They were formed in 2008 by Michel Baioni (vocals/guitars) and his brother Antonio Baioni (drums). 

They joined Facebook in May 2009. It wasn’t until June 2012 that Twitter was synced up with their Facebook posts.

Anyway they only had two Facebook posts in 2009.

Then on January 26, 2010, they posted that they are sound checking at Cosmos Studios and two days later they are recording drums for their debut album. WHY is the question? Based on their presence online, what demand was there for a debut album? Did they use their MySpace metrics for that decision? Was it their record labels decision?

Next Facebook post happened in April 13, 2010, with a preview of the new single. It only got six likes and 1 comment. Again, this should have been ringing alarm bells within the band. 

Next Facebook post was on July 1, 2010. It said that the band had finally started mixing the album and that it sounds awesome and that the band can’t wait for the fans to hear it. That post got 3 likes and 1 comment.

Hearing that album in 2013, it is a great sounding album, however the lack of fan interaction with the band should have told them that the strategy of releasing 10 songs at once was all wrong. We live in a singles world. Look at Gotye. He is living off the sales of one song.

Then on July 8, 2010 they posted another post in Swedish, that more or less said something like “We know that we have not been heard from much recently, however we are far from dead and that during the spring they recorded their debut album.” 6 likes and no comments. Again, fan engagement was minimal. 

On September 7, 2010 they posted a message saying that they are supporting Ed Kowalczyk the following day. WOW. They are playing a show the next day and are promoting it a day before.

You get the drift of their social media presence, which is a shame as they really delivered a great slab of music, that should have been released differently and marketed with a strategy.

If a band wants to have their name out there, they need to get it out there themselves. The record label is not interested and it doesn’t know how to break a band in this age. If the labels knew anything about the internet, they would have signed up the Napster technology instead of taking up arms against it.

Any new album’s form the entry point to everything else. Any album that has legendary producer/writer Max Martin as a co-writer for ‘Cause I Am’, and John 5 from Rob Zombie as a co-writer on ‘First Time’ deserves more attention.

It’s a shame that Cervello didn’t hold it together. The modern music paradigm is to create great music now and expect to be paid for it much later in the future. However to capitalise on it, you need to remain together. You need to outlast the competition.

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