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Where Are The Taste Makers?

Tastemaker Feature image

By Johnny Dwinell

Where are the taste makers? Does anybody take the time to go down the Rabbit Hole on ReverbNation?

Does anybody click on If you like this, then youll like this” on Pandora?

I did once. The song sucked. I never did it again. There’s no filter, man, I don’t have time to risk it.

We Need The Taste Makers

What is really missing in the new music industry is the trusted taste maker, man. We need a taste maker and platform that allows the taste maker to curate. I mean terrestrial radio had the DJs and then the Program Directors thatTaste Makers Radio DJ image ultimately decided what you were going to be exposed to. Of course their filter was the record labels, which was a pretty effective filter as the labels really needed to believe, back in the day, that the artist would break before they sunk 3 albums worth of capital into the project. My buddy Brian down the street who turned me on to all the cool bands was quite effective. I also had MTV (believe it or not they used to only play music videos) which created their playlists using the labels as a filter, a curator, if you will. You either liked it or you hated any new songs BASED ON YOUR TASTE but the quality of the recordings and the quality of the songwriting always had a certain level of professionalism; the bar was high.

This techie, algorithm crap that keeps getting shoved down our throats by EVERY ONE of these startup internet radio companies SUCKS. It is NOT EFFECTIVE. Want proof? What band has ever BROKE on internet radio? What artist has ever been launched into orbit after being discovered on Spotify, or Pandora, or Slacker, or Deezer, or any of these other dumb-ass online sites? Its definitely happened on YouTube but that isnt really internet radio, although it can behave as such. The video aspect of it helps create the viral effect. Many artists have broken on YouTube, btw; new, incredibly talented artists. This doesnt happen with the websites that are audio only.

Theyre fucking it up.

Music is personal. Music is spiritual. Music is emotional. They will never invent the perfect algorithm that takes the place of the taste maker. They dont realize this because theyre techies. Trust me; this isnt the first time that a bunch of engineers have thought that the solution was all scientific. Without Steve Jobs understanding the need for both science and control, Apple products would suck just as much as your Android and PC do; and they do suck, you just dont want to admit it.

CONSUMERS DONT HAVE TIME TO GO DIGGING DOWN SOME SHITTY RABBIT HOLE TO FIND THE NEXT BIG ARTIST THEY WILL SUPPORT! They will only continue to visit these sites to hear the crusty old songs they are searching for.

And theres the rub. You have to be exposed to something that you like first, before you go searching for it. So to me, every one of these sites is nothing more that big-ass, worldwide Tower Records Store. I never went into Tower Records (back in the day they used to have record stores and stuff, they were massive like Wal-Mart spaces with Taste Maker MTV image

droves of music available to purchase) to aimlessly walk around looking at random Album or CD cases to find some cool music, I actually had an agenda. I actually KNEW what I was looking for, because I was exposed to it via terrestrial radio, MTV, or my good buddy, Brian. OK, there was a little stretch of time where I went into the Mom & Pop record store in Lake Geneva, WI to aimlessly meander around and look at CD covers, but thats because I was in love with Nancy the check out girl; I was trying to get laid! FYI, she was really hotand really crazy.

I realize there are some of you ARE the person that would buy music based on the album art, and you what I would define as the local TASTE MAKER. You are the one that always has the killer new CD first before anyone else on the block did. Brian was my local taste maker and a trusted friend but even he didn’t consume music by searching for it, he had an older brother and sister that turned HIM onto the good stuff. However, while this local tastemaker is an important role to be sure, mass consumers do not consume music this. They simply dont have the time. So why are we consistently setting up the new internet radio sites to enable mass consumers to behave like a local taste maker?

Curating

Who will be the first company to create an internet radio that is for just the indie artists?

Who will be the first company to pick good, solid, NEW music and market it online to the world? I mean, creating web traffic is not as much of a mystery these days as it once was, right?

Am I that far off to believe that once you build something like this, provided the quality of the music is GOOD, people would catch on? I think about this on a business level often. New York City is the #1 radio market in America. With some 14 million people living there, how many of them are listening to the Rock or Country station at any given time? More so during drive time to be sure, maybe a few million? 750,000? Once this WiFi thing becomes ubiquitous in automobiles (say 5-7 years), a REAL Internet radio station could do some serious damage. Creating a listenership that would dwarf any station in New York, or L.A., or Mexico City.

We need a site with a program director that pours over countless entries and DECIDES what artist is good in their own opinion.

We get that started, with some serious capital to promote it and BOOM! The 22 immutable laws of marketing will Taste Makers 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing imagetake effect, its better to be first then to be better!

We simply dont need another site that requires us to dig or do any work to be turned on to cool, new music. Create a playlist and PLAY IT for the love of Pete!! Use a good ear to decide who will make it on the station. People that tune in wont have a choice as to what they hear, other than genre.

This is what we need.

I wanna COOL station to listen to, man.

I wanna trust you, Mr. DJ. I wanna be turned on and inspired by your next selection.

This whole business of allowing everybody the space just results in too much noise on the radar screen. My ex-wife is a TV producer so I have tons of friends in the TV industry. Did you know that if you say NO to a project someone is pitching you will be statistically right 80%-90% of the time? This is a fact they actually teach!! This is because most people suck at art. That is why we are so blown away by the people who excel at art; its why music is so fascinating! There has to be a filter of sorts to weed out the dregs. Additionally, we will grow to LIKE some of these taste makers, well, taste! I predict this is the way that new artists will be able to break to a mass audience again.

It will come around, eventually. Lets face it, 90% of the indie crap that is on these online radio stations is shitateous. They consist of absolutely horrible songwriting, horrible performances, horrible recording quality, just plain horrible. Ugh.

Could you imagine if TV was set up and distributed like these online radio stations?? Oh wait, it is, its called local cable access and it BLOWS.
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PANDORA BLOWS

Pandora inet radio image

By Johnny Dwinell

Pandora Blows. Ohand they certainly dont give a shit about you. Not for one second.

Pink Floyd Blasts Pandora

Pandora Pink Floyd image

Pink Floyd wrote an op-ed piece in USA Today blasting Pandora and their douche-bag CEO Tim Westergren for essentially tricking musicians into signing a petition disguised as a letter of support for internet radio that was REALLY about slashing musician royalty rates by 85%. Read it HERE

Pandora Digital Music News imageI initially read about it HERE in Digital Music News. Btw, if you intend to make a living in the music business, youre a moron if you dont subscribe to this magazine. Someone has to at least attempt to keep their eye on the moving target.

So, we have to get educated on this people. The world is changing; fast. Ultimately for the better with regards to the music industry as it relates to indie artists, but we cant let the freakin wolves guard the henhouse any longer.

 

You can thank Sean Parker and Steve Jobs. Yes, I mean thank them. Thank them for actually making it unbelievably easier to make a living in the NEW music business. Right after you thank Sean you can kick him in the balls for stealing the music and making it worthless in the marketplace, well, at least he won, right? Hes rich at our expense; stealing is stealing and Parker is SHADY. What he did do was prove to the world that digital music was happening right now and put the train on the tracks in a very public way for digital distribution; which is mission critical to our survival as indie musicians. Digital distribution creates real revenue.

Steve Jobs put it all together in a neat little amazing package and got the artists PAID. Steve Jobs believed in artists and liberal arts. Kelly and I just listened to his biography on a long drive home from a WI visit. The reinvention of Apple was based on the intersection of art and technology; around CREATIVES and CREATION.

Eventually the dust will settle on some pretty great new soon-to-be VERY popular delivery methods of music; new and old. Until then, the shakedown will continue. We will continue to have companies who come in and exploit musicians by making millions on their music and paying NOTHING in return.

This is not news. Its been going on for decades.

Record labels have done it. Terrestrial radio has done it, MTV did it, Sean Parker and Napster did it, and now Pandora, Spotify, and a host of other companies are doing it; doing it to us.

The essence of the Pandora shakedown is to convince our Government that they are paying too much money to license your music, which generates all their revenue; thus,

Pandora cant be profitable!

But heres the rub for us. This is really important yall. THINK ABOUT THIS.

Ubiquity is gone. Get over it.

Sadly, the days of the Rockstar are gone. You really have to get over it! If you are truly over the dream of becoming rich and famous as an artist you will damn sure be paying more attention to what is going on right now with your future revenue so you can at least get paid!

As we now have literally thousands of immediately accessible internet storefronts from which to be exposed to and ultimately consume music (although the exposure comes in the form of shitateous algorithms made by techies that are as effective as screen doors on a submarineI mean if you like this then you will like this..WTF, whenever someone figures out that 99% of music consumers dont have time to search for new music, they just want to be EXPOSED to GOOD music, the world will be a better place; and someone will be super rich. But I digress) the market place is fragmented.

When its this fragmented the BIG exposure business model disintegrates and the marketplace descends down into lots of little profit centers. We have already seen it happen with television. In 1979 there were 3 stations. The US Pnadora Farrah Fawcett imagepopulation in 1980 was 226 Million people that 3 networks divided up between them; this is the definition of ubiquitous. If you were lucky enough to be, say Farrah Fawcett, on a hit TV show in the 70s you were HUGE. You were FAMOUS. You were RICH. Everyone knew who you were, what else were they gonna watch? You had a 33% chance of viewership; thats freaking huge! Nowadays, if you are a star on TV you just dont have that kind of exposure because there are 500 channels. Therefore you cant possibly be as famous. Make sense? You cant possibly be as huge. Its impossible to be ubiquitous.

 

So what DO we have?

We have clicks.

We have tribes.

We have cult followings that REAL GOOD content attracts.

Did you hear that? We have tribes, clicks, and cults, oh my. You are exposed to the actors from the shows you like but you are completely unaware of actors on shows that you do not watch because there is just too much content to be able to keep track of 10% of it all, and have a life.

Back to ubiquitous. In the 70s, if you didnt watch Farrah (or any TV star because you preferred a competing program in the time slot) YOU KNEW WHO SHE WAS, because your friends were talking about her. Everyone knew ALL the TV stars then whether they watched the shows or not. Remember Battle of the Network Stars?? They had all the biggies on one competition show and it got great ratings! Now we dont, there are just too many shows and too many actors to keep track of; too much noise on the radar screen.

So goes the music business. Get it?

The thing is, TV actors get paid. All 500 TV networks understand that the actors are going to get paid so they can create interesting content that they can broadcast to generate advertising revenue.

Tim Westergren wants to make sure that doesnt happen to you. He wants your money. He wants to literally take the food off your plate, man.

You are not going to be famous.

But you can make a living. As long as you dont allow assholes like Tim Westergren to screw you out of the revenue he creates from YOUR hard work!

If you wanna be famous, be crazy on a reality TV show, its a long shot but far better odds than getting famous in the music business. Please, do that, and leave the music business to people who really have talent and NEED to create to keep from climbing a tower with a gun. It belongs to us, and eventually this new business model will weed out the wankers and the posers.

US Terrestrial Radio Stations Do Not Pay Mechanicals

This is why this article is so important. You cannot trust the Government to think for us no matter which side of the isle you sit on. They gave terrestrial radio a pass on mechanical royalties back in the 40s; we songwriters and musicians paid for that. How important were the mechanicals? Heres a great example. Remember the 80s band Kix? The bass player wrote all the songs for that band. They had a triple platinum record, lived the Rockstar lifestyle, but the bass player was the only one that got paid because he was the writer; the rest of the band made $400 weekno mechanical royalties were paid by radio. Due to the fact that the US terrestrial radio stations dont pay mechanicals royalties and European terrestrial radio does, American artists DO NOT get paid mechanical royalties from European radio spins simply because we do not pay European artists mechanical royalties. See how huge this decision was?

Our Government gave MTV a pass on ALL royalties until they were operating in the black which magically never happened; we musicians paid for that too (although MTV really did have the power to break a band wide open, huh?). MTV was so ubiquitous, it made the non-payment of royalties worthwhile, but stillthey build a whole network on just music back in 1980 and didnt pay a dime for it.

Now here is another really important fact. MTV was so POWERFUL that they single handedly broke Guns & Roses. You know the story, 1 spin of Sweet Child o Mine at 3am on a Saturday morning and BOOM, the phones blew up! Heavy rotation followed and they were huge; Guns & Roses was saved by MTV. Would have never happened without MTV because as you may or may not know, the Appetite For Destruction record had been out for a year at that point; the band was over. Believe me the labels all quietly argued that MTV should pay royalties but didnt want to piss anyone off over there because they were so ubiquitous; they had the power to seriously launch band up to the stratosphere. MTVs argument to the government included New Technology and Massive Exposure components as they spun a tale of how important these things would ultimately be to the music industry. MTV was right. They were that important.

Paul Westergren (aka Fuckface Von Shitstick) is making the same argument with the Government that MTV did. He is working the New Technology argument, and the exposure argument. MTV was exposure. Pandora is a cacophony of noise on the radar screen that exposes nobody. You really have to be looking for a song to get to it. This is not exposure; its distribution. Westergren really believes that the search algorithms which allow people to discover new music based on what they are currently listening to is exposure. It isnt. How long has Pandora been around? Which bands EXACTLY broke to worldwide success by being played on Pandora? Come on, name ONE!!! I sure as hell cant and Im in the business. So they suck, plain and simple; there is no exposure. Pandora is essentially providing a huge haystack for artists to hide their proverbial needle and calling it important because its possible to be heard there. Ugh.

Isnt it already quite clear that if we are not paying attention to this next congressional episode headed up by Tim Pandora Inet Fairness Act ImageWestergren for Pandora, the Government will do the same thing; cave to big money. How the fuck can you really sell music for a living and go to the Government and tell them that you pay too much for the products you sell and ask THEM to change the rules? How about CHANGE THE BUSINESS MODEL!

How is this different than TV manufacturers saying we cant make a profit on flat screens so you need to tell the parts makers we are cutting their pricing by 85%?

How is this different than your boss going to the Government and saying Im paying too much for labor, so I need you to mandate a wage cut of 85% so I can make more money?

How is this even the Governments problem?

HOW IS THIS EVEN ON THE TABLE FOR DISCUSSION??

I mean, Pandora has literally doubled their subscribership in the last 2 years but 70% of their subscribers become ghosts. Again, I reiterate, NO EXPOSURE.

Pandora is a hustle, a farce. Why?

No new bands will break worldwide as a result of the worldwide exposure Pandora is giving them. So the whole business will die with the old music that creates the traffic which in turn pays the advertising revenue. Why else would all the executives immediately exercise their options and sell them?

European radio stations pay writers royalties AND mechanical royalties and manage to make a living and keep the businesses going for decades. The business model of profiting off of creatives while the creatives get paid is not a fantasy. It happens every day, just not here in America.

Steve Jobs managed to put together a new platform that pays royalties to artists and writers AND make a profit.

So I would like to say this to Tim Westergren: STFU

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Are You Paying Attention To The Losers?

By Johnny Dwinell

Do you? Are you paying attention to the losers to learn from them or just the winners? I sincerely hope you are all really researching the marketing methods I gave you the broad strokes on in previous blog posts. This is MISSION CRITICAL that you get this.

Why?

This is how you will actually make a living. If I told you that you could replace your crappy $30K per year job that Losers winners imageyou suffer through to work on your music, with revenue FROM YOUR MUSIC, would you quit your job? Thats a No-Brainer! The only way that is going to happen is if you change your outlook, stop coveting the rock stars. Stop coveting the old music business and market your music INTELLIGENTLY in the NEW music business! If you keep doing what youve always done, youll keep getting what youve always got; and hows that working for ya?

 

Far too many of you are still so nave as to think that you just need to record that demo of your 3 cool songs and then someone important is going to hear them and sign you. WTF? That business model went out the window 10 years ago. Record labels USED to find talent and develop that talent.

But then again, record labels USED to make money selling music. (Btw, do you see the dichotomy here?? If you are the millennia generation, you want the music for free but yet, you still fantasize and believe in the old record business model which was only financially capable of developing talent with the MONEY THEY MADE FROM SELLING MUSIC?? LOL, but I digress.) So you have to recognize that your music no longer matters to the major labels because they cannot afford to develop you. It doesnt matter if youre more talented than Prince, THEY JUST DONT DEVELOP ARTISTS ANY MORE; IT IS NO LONGER THEIR BUSINESS MODEL.

You have to develop yourself.

You have to create a PROFITABLE small business that the major labels will be interested in investing in.

I would like to touch on the old record business in this post though. I want yall to explore the reality of the old record business. I think once it really sinks in, the reality of the shitateous chance you had to make it in the old record industry, it will be easier to embrace the new record industry. It will be far more attractive to embrace the mathematically predictable reality of online marketing.

How are we going to do that you ask?

By studying the losers; FYI, theres a lot.

Read this article. Its a little bit of a long read, but if you have a brain, it will be well worth it. If you are a person who chooses to think rather than just believe you will make the correlation. This article is not about the music business but about a phenomenon called Survivorship Bias. In short, we dont covet the losers. We covet the winners. Thou Shalt Not Covet!! This article is about learning as much as we can from the losers just as we learn from our mistakes; just as we learn from our failures.

Here it is: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/

Now, how does this associate with the music business?

What do we have to learn from the losers?

For starters, lets talk about how many of them there are; 90% is an accurate number. Back in the heyday of the record business, when the labels make billions selling records, only 10% of the artists signed to just about any label made any money. CBS (now Sony), Warner Bros., Atlantic, Polygram, A&M, Elektra, Epic, all had hundreds of artists that were signed to their respective labels and only 10% of those signed artists made any money.

Only 10% were profitable.

Wow. Talk about planets aligning; you used to need the whole freaking Universe to line up to make any money at all.

Lets really put this in perspective. I was a hair-farmer back in the day, an 80s metal band front-man, and I STILL love 80s metal bands! I loved going to the concerts, I loved seeing them kick ass and shred (or NOT lol) live! (Check me out HERE if you want a little giggle) I was SO disappointed when I discovered the evil truth

Most of the bands I saw were in debt.losers debtor prison image

Most of the bands I saw had the record, made the video, were on tour, were doing tons of media interviews, they were living the rock star life style, they were living my dream, and they were deeply in debt. Man, all that work to get through the velvet rope, to get yourself in the door and POW, youre broke.

Want some proof?

Check out this article on RIAA accounting practices for the bands with major label deals HERE

Want some more?

Heres a great article written by Danny Goldberg (Google him), he was one of the heavyweights back in the day. Pretty grim, read it HERE

A Radio Promo Budget Doesn’t Mean Success

I submit this to you artists that have any kind of brain at all; why the fuck would you want this? Why would you want to deal with this when you can make WAY more money selling 70,000 units yourself than you can selling 700,000 with a major? Whats that? Oh, you wanna be on the radio? In Country music radio still rocks, radio still breaks new artists, but by the time you get there nobody will care. Nobody will be listening; just like nobody gives a shit about the network news anymore. So why bother on a million dollar bet? Thats right a BET! Ask me, Ill tell you! Just because you get a major label record deal and they spend 1 million dollars to promote you will not guarantee that you will get any spins. It does mean you will get a ride, maybe about 6-12 months, and then its over and you are in what we affectionately refer to as the Artist Protection Program. Locked away in a deal and nobody cares; nobody can hear you screaming either.

Why would you do this when you can PREDICTABLY make money online?? You just have to figure out how. Its not rocket science. For you artists who hate or simply cant imagine the art of business, FIND SOMEONE who does! $70,000 CDs sold at an average of $7 gross = $490,000. After expenses, after the necessary BS and cash flow required to sell 70,000 units, splitting the profit in 2 is still way better than never ever seeing a dime from a major label. Right?

Just ask the RIAA and Danny Goldberg.

Please share this if you like it!

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HOW TO GET PAID FOR YOUR MUSIC ONLINE

How to Get Paid For Your Music Online get paid image

By Johnny Dwinell

So we just got done with CMA week here in Nashville this past week. Crazy!!! Tons of fans and tons of artists and Tons of INDIE artists!!! I can’t believe that the indie artists are not educating themselves on this important business aspect of selling music.

 

Step two is LEAD CAPTURE (a.k.a squeeze pages).

 

If you are unsure what a squeeze page is, then check on our blog section to read about it. I devoted a whole blog post to the subject; because its important. The short answer is a squeeze page helps you capture email addresses. So now we have the email address and the attention of your new fan. These email addresses should be considered SALES LEADS; get it?

 

Once we have their email addresses they are clearly interested in what you have to offer, at least the free download. Now, assuming you have a KILLER sounding track and most importantly a KILLER song, the market is going to respond. I remember the first time I heard Metallicas Enter Sandman on the radio, THE FIRST TIMEyes, yes, I was already exposed to Metallica and I was prepared (or at least hopeful) to LOVE the track. God, that riff was UNBELIEVABLE!!! The song was so DAMN GOOD I FREAKED OUT!! Ill bet you all have had many experiences like that with your favorite artists; after all, this is why we are here, we freaking LOVE music. Well, if you take care of business with the writing and you take care of business with the recording then the internet market will have the same reaction! HOLY SHIT!! This track rocks!! Where can I buy the CD?? Thats the response you should be getting. If you are not, then youre music isnt that good or your fishing in the wrong pond.

Now begins the marketing process.

Step three is MARKETING.

This is where you begin to cultivate your following with constant, appropriate contact and content.

This is where you make money.

This is where a big cash register is located for your business that none of you are minding.

When you have their email address and the consumers Opt In, you now have permission to market to them through their email; where you will stay until the email is opened or discarded opposed to social media where you here and gone in a few seconds. Think about that for a second, while you will take everyone in social media, the whales with big followers/friends/etc. are quite ideal because if they like you and give you a shout out, now youre exposed exponentially to more people. However, the more followers/friends one of your followers has, the more chatter is constantly on their RADAR screen. For instance with Twitter, any tweet is going to show up momentarily before they have to dig for it. Make sense? With an email address youre inside the circle.

It is important to remember that you cant blast anybody with BUY THIS NOW and BUY THAT NOW, because if they feel like they are being marketed to, they will unsubscribe so fast your head will spin!! So there is a definite art to the language you have to use to peak their interest.

There is an art to sales.

Dont believe me? Dont like the word sales? I know, I KNOW, we all hate the sales guys, right? We all hate the smarmy sales guys. Its true; but we dont hate the good ones, because we dont FEEL like weve been sold. The fact is that EVERY PERSON HAS to go through a certain mental process before they will part with money. This is the art of sales.

Sales, is the act of walking someone through the psychological steps they need to satisfy before they purchase and then ultimately asking for the money. Its been proven for over 130 years! Its been taught with many different names and metaphors, but the simplest program is a 4-step program called AIDA.

Heres a breakdown of those steps in the simplest form.

AIDA

  • A Attention (or Awareness) – This is where you attract the attention of the customer. (This is whatHow to Get Paid For Your Music Online AIDA Sales Chart the free download is for!)
  • I Interest – This is where you raise customer interest by focusing on the benefits of what you have to offer. (Packaging works well for this like 2 for the price of 1)
  • D Desire This is where you increase the desire of the customer to get your product, you convince them that they need it NOW! Scarcity still works well here, i.e. limited time offers etc.
  • A Action This is where you take action to get the customers to take action and purchase the product. This is the CLOSE. This is where you get paid!!!

Check out the definition of AIDA and the history of it HERE

Every infomercial has these elements, watch for them now that you can define themyou will be amazed. Every sales pitch, every deal ever made has these elements with the exception of drugs, LOL. Like Chris Rock said, I dont know why people should be busted for selling drugs. Drugs sell THEMSELVES! I never knew a crack dealer who was quoted as saying WHAT AM I GONNA DO WITH ALL THIS CRACK!!!

Well, yall participate in sales/marketing constantly every day. When one of your best friends calls up to tell you about a party he wants to attend in lieu of your current plans, he/she is marketing to you. When yall are trying to decide what restaurant to go eat at, someone is marketing to you about their favorite place because thats what THEY want to do. Thats where THEY want to go and they want you to convert to their way of thinking. In short, they are influencing (or not influencing) your buying decision. Consider this, you deal with sales and marketing from your friends every day but it doesnt FEEL like marketing, does it? It doesnt FEEL as invasive as the sales phone call, or the used car salesman, or the CRAZY EDDIES ELECTRONIC STORE COMMERCIALS!!!!!!!! (Every town has a Crazy Eddie of some sort!)

Why?

The answer to this question is the secret to online marketing. Its because yall are friends.

Crazy, right? This is the secret. People will give you much more of their attention and at least RECEIVE the information you want to give them (i.e. hear you out) if they feel an attachment to you, a connection of some sort. So when you focus on this aspect of your relationship building on social media sights along with your marketing once people are in your sales funnel and become LEADS, you have a far better percentage of people who will convert.

There is an art to the language you will use to market to your prospects without them feeling like they are being marketed to and you can AUTOMATE the responses and the email drips for everyone that enters the sales pipe.

There is an effective formula for what language is on these emails and when, exactly, they go out. There is also some gangsta technology like exit pops and redirecting that helps increase your percentages.

How to Get Paid For Your Music Online MMM imageAgain, Im sure there are hundreds of companies that offer in depth data on these processes, and I feel the best one is from John Oszajca. This program costs money, but its worth the education if you are serious about making a living. You can check it out HERE

Dig in Yall. You can do this. You can make money selling your music, but its no different than selling anything else, ok? You have to be a business person to make it happen or surround yourself with a business person who is willing to do it for you.

Share this post if you like it!

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Online Marketing Steps: Step One EXPOSURE

Exposure marketing steps image

By Johnny Dwinell

Step one is EXPOSURE

exposure SI image

Major labels use radio (or used to use radio for pop and rock music) to EXPOSE you to the good stuffum.erokthe stuff (some of its good, most of it is bad); once you hear it enough (enough is defined as the magic marketing number for a hit song, like 7 times I believe?) then you are influenced to purchase the music; the song is stuck in your head. This makes sense why getting heavy rotation on radio stations is so important, right? Bottom line is that radio spins, especially in heavy rotation are used to influence your buying decision; whether you like it or not. Ever have a song you HATE stuck in your head because you heard it on the radio?? This is the exact agenda for any exposure to a single. As simple as it sounds, the more people are exposed to a song, the more people are going to like it. I would be willing to bet that almost none of you fellow artists have really put any thought into EXACTLY how you are going to expose your product once you are done recording the record.

I have a plan. Im not the first by far to think of it. But lately, I think Im definitely one of the few that are taking ACTION to utilize these amazing online/social media weapons; literally. The major labels dont know what the hell they are doing in this arena; its called a paradigm shift. Paradigm Shift is defined HERE.

Its happened time and time again throughout history in EVERY industry. Ive got good news for you Indies out Exposure Paradigm shift coffee cupthere; the real big corporations in ANY paradigm shift (i.e., the major labels and such in the music industry) are far too entrenched in making profits and saving their dying business model to pay any real necessary attention to the new paradigm. Its a sure bet! I mean think about it, if you were the CEO of the biggest buggy whip company on Earth when the Ford Model T came out, what are your choices? You have kids in college, a lifestyle, an MO that is tried and true, a track record and reputation to protect; you dont have time to utterly change everything you know to prepare for the future. This holds true for the big record labels and their respective management; these companies are publicly traded and have to answer to their investors. BTW, its illegal NOT to make a profit when you publicly traded, so you just cant go around willy-nilly, abandoning your old, reliable, business model to prepare for the future. Youre investors who bet on your current business model wont have it. So, you manage the sinking ship as best you can until you are fired. You stay on the ride until the wheels fall off. Hey, who can blame them?? They OWN terrestrial radio; they own them so much that Terrestrial Radio forces crap on the air, and everyone knows crap when they hear it (just ask a real radio promo person whos worked for any label), so they can maintain the money relationship. After all, whos paying for the ad space required for the survival of the terrestrial radio stations with dying (or significantly shrinking) listening audience? When you still wield that heavy sword, you just dont need to be responsible for the change when its still far more profitable and far more comfortable to manage the decline.

Are you starting to pick up what I am putting down?

They are all going down with the ship. Want proof? Want real social proof? What was the reaction of EVERY major record label to iTunes when it first came out? Talk about denial!! But, its really not denial as much as it is pragmatism; they truly have no other choice. This is the utter definition of the adage, When there is blood in the streets, there is money to be made.

I have seen a paradigm shift like this before with the distribution business model in the electronics industry after Michael Dell decided to sell directly to the customer. Think about it, did you ever buy a brand new Dell computer from anyone other than Dell? You have seen this with outlet malls. If youre Levis or Coach, why sell only to distribution for HALF the revenue knowing the distributors have no real allegiance to your product, when you can set up a storefront yourself and get 100% of the pie selling ONLY your brand name? Once Dell started this new paradigm, most electronics distributors would be out of business within the next decade. The biggies sank like a stone and still made more money than the Indies in that time period; but the Indies survived, man. The biggies died; remember Comp USA?

This is what goes on today in the music industry. Most of yall are still dreaming of getting your song on the radio; still focusing on a business model that is not only dead or rapidly dying, but in its heyday was a 90% LOSING proposition!

Why??

Dont get me wrong, as I mentioned before the biggies still make the most money, so if I could get my song on the radio TODAY, I would definitely do it. Truth is, at Daredevil Production, we are considering some business Exposure 10 percent imageinitiatives that are geared towards songwriters and radio play, but it is nowhere near our main business plan because its not the future and its a long shot. Unfortunately, back in the day (or fortunately today) even after you got your coveted record deal you still only had a 10% chance of making money; and this WAS the only way to be a recording artist. However, right now, more independent musicians are MAKING A LIVING playing music than ever before. Check out this article that just came out in Digital Music News HERE; in fact, I would go out on a limb and say that if you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want it, you can absolutely make a living in music today. We personally know more than a few indie artists that you have probably never heard of who tour 200-250 dates per year, have homes, car payments, families, etcall financed through independent touring, recording, merchandising, etc. In short, I see it happen all the time.

So if we agree that your music is stellar, or at least can find an audience, then the biggest missing piece of the puzzle is

EXPOSURE

The same principles the major labels used with radio exposure will go for online marketing only the game is significantly different. The game is different in that there is no limit to the pipeline whatsoever, like there was in terrestrial radio. There is a lack of filters and a definite lack of any supremely popular or even ubiquitous delivery method to bank on; its truly the wild, wild, west. The principles are the same in that on radio you had to create a buzz by exposing your music to everyone that would spin it; you needed to make some serious NOISE!! With online marketing we still need to make a bunch of noise first to get people EXPOSED to the music and ultimately LIKE it; so we use social media and press; mostly social media. The game is different in that you need to begin to create and foster real relationships with your fans on these social media sights. They are out there and they are starving for GOOD music and they want access; access to you, the artist.

The rock stars of the social media music world can be found on crowd funding sites like Kickstarter.com

Check out Amanda Palmer HERE. Her relationship building skills are so kick-ass she got 25,000 people to back her record project and tour. She asked for $100,000 and they gave her $1.2 Million.

Check out the most funded music projects at Kickstart.com HERE

Theres your social proof that it can be done. Now how did they do it?

Social Media

Exposure Twitter logo imageHeres whats great about social media; its totally surgical. You can literally find immense amounts of like-minded buyers in perfect little clubs all over the internet. If you feel your music speaks mostly to pale-Asian-boys-under-the-age-of-15-with-medium-acne then you can seriously find these little honeycomb hideouts. You can find Twitter followers, Facebook Clubs, Specialty Websites, etc. specifically created to support unique groups with just such a criteria.

See my point??

 

What an opportunity to get your music exposed to the very people YOU KNOW will have the highest chance of loving it! They are already demographically defined for you and ready to listen!

Heres a real life example: Daredevil Production has started a Twitter campaign for our artist Craig Gerdes debut single Haggard Fan; you can check it out for free at Haggardfan.com. If you listen to the song you will first see Exposure Craig Gerdesthat is quite clever and a GOOD song; maybe even a hit song. If this song finds the financial backing it needs to get on the radio (at LEAST $500,000) I believe it would literally be a marketing sensation, almost in a novelty song kind of way in the sense that once it got on Country Music Radio it would be blasphemy NOT to play it. The lyrics skillfully weave a bunch of Merle Haggard hit song titles into a story line about a blind date; a definite homage to Hag. If I dare say, the best homage to Hag I have heard.

So, we have Haggard Fan which is a GREAT song; this is mission critical if you have any dreams of success with the exposure step.

If youre song is average, your screwed.

Haggard Fan is recorded AMAZINGLY (if I dont say so myself, LOL) which is also mission critical these days.

Once you have a GREAT RECORDING of a KILLER, UNDENIABLE song, we need to expose it to people who will really enjoy it. So if you were marketing Haggard Fan through Twitter, where would you go? THINK ABOUT ITthats rightMerle Haggards Twitter followers. Of COURSE they are going to be the group of people who are most likely to love it! There are over 74,000 of them (when I wrote this blog).

So far we have over 1,300 followers for Craig Gerdes. These are 1,300 people who followed back after we followed them. As a thank you for following we offered a free download of Haggard Fan to expose these people to the song. A decent percentage of them convert and download the song for free. They tweet about the song (see for yourself @craiggerdes and @craiggerdes2), we are creating relationships. These people cannot wait to see Craig play live, to hear his next song, to buy his CD which we havent even recorded yet; some of them have even invited Craig to stay with them when he comes through on tour!

SIDENOTE: Listen, even if you are marketing online, you are competing with the music on the radio. You are competing with artists whom you should consider your peers. SO COMPETE! Quit freakin recording cheap-ass demos and getting frustrated because you cant make any money. I mean, would you really expect to win a Exposure Don't Be Cheap imageNASCAR race in a rusted out baby-blue 1967 Dodge Dart, just because you can drive as well as the other NASCAR drivers? I mean think about the business and your current thought process, well, I know I have the talent, but I can save some money with this rusted out beauty right here, so well just see how it goes. Can you imagine? Theres no way youre going to win. Similarly, there is absolutely no excuse for a track that doesnt sound radio ready. I mean, it used to take $250,000 to make a record back in the day, so YOU HAD to get the money from somewhere else; it was hard to get in the door and when you did, you had a 90% of failing. Nowadays, you can get a decent record cut for a little more than 10% of that cost. And you dont need to record a whole record either. So if its worth doing, its worth doing RIGHT. So quit screwing around already.

We had another artist that came to us who GETS it. Shes a Canadian artist; her name is Tanya Marie Harris. I remember her telling me on the phone she wanted greatness. I remember her saying, For what you and Kelly are charging for 2 songs, I can record a whole CD up here in Torontoof mediocrity. So we went to work to create something amazing; and that we did.

Check out her first single for free HEREExposure Tanya Marie Harris image

Check out her first Press Release HERE

There are TONS of producers who can do what we do. My intention is not to promote us but to promote the idea that you need to be great, so find your creative team to record the greatness, and then be smart about EXPOSURE.

So the only thing standing in the way of your success is you.

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Squeeze Pages and Marketing Music Online

Squeeze Page Music Marketing image

Johnny Dwinell

Squeeze pages are an absolute necessity if you plan to sell any of your music online. Wait, they are a necessity if you plan MAKE A LIVING selling your music online.

At 30,000 feet, heres the breakdown. A squeeze page is a one page web address where you and the consumer get tit for tat. They give you their information IN RETURN for something, you give them something in return for their email address and name. For instance, the most common use of this in the music industry is where a consumer is driven to the squeeze page and they enter their name and email address in return for a free download of the artists music track. Check out some of the Daredevil Production artists squeeze pages below, and feel free to get your free tracks if you want. J

Squeeze Pages

 

Haggardfan.com Artist: Craig GerdesSqueeze Pages Gerdes image

Unclerowdy.com Artist: J.C. Bridwell

Awomanscorned.ca Artist: Tanya Marie Harris

As you can see these are not the artists website, they are squeeze pages with one purpose; to gather contact information so the artists can market to the consumers directly. When a consumer converts on the site, they immediately get their free download and automatically jump right to the respective artists website (or at least they should). So the idea here is that you will use all the exposure/marketing tools you have (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Indie Radio, Magazine Interviews, Live Shows, Press Releases, etc.) to DRIVE traffic to the squeeze page. They input the contact data and now you are building a customer list.

SIMPLE PREDICTABLE MATH EQUATIONS

  • Exposure = traffic.
  • Traffic + squeeze page (aka lead capture) = Potential customers (aka prospects aka prospect conversions as they converted through the squeeze page)
  • Potential Customers (Prospect conversions) + effective sales funneling = SALES$$$$.

Thats the broad strokes at 30,000 feet.

John Oszajca has an incredibly comprehensive course on this. It costs money but its quite effective and for an artist who hates computer bullshit like me, the videos walked me through every step of music marketing processhe actually shows you how to do everything. I bring it up not because I am trying to push it on you or sell it to you, but because I am going to quote a predictable math equation directly from this course that will blow your mind and I want to give credit where credit is due; John Oszajca. I will leave a link below if you are interested in exploring it further.

Lets say you make $40,000 a year at your crappy job that you work to pay the bills until you make it with your music career. If you could make $40,000 per year with your music it would be much easier to leave that job, yes?

So watch me turn the above equation into real $$$.

Once you have your customer list, the goal is to get your average-revenue-per-email-address up as high as you can. My previous business experience has shown me that with an effective sales funnel, these numbers are pretty solid, and once again, mathematically predictable in any business, in any industry.

Lets say you have 1,000 email addresses from your squeeze page (we will talk about how to accomplish that in a bit). Essentially these 1,000 email addresses are potential customers or prospects as we call them in the business world; you could also call them sales leads (if it doesnt make you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit LOL) because thats exactly what they are. Talk to any 100 successful sales professionals in any business and they will tell you that sales leads usually convert around an average of 5% (give or take depending on the salesman). So, out of these 1,000 email addresses, only 50 will probably purchase your CD for $10; thats gross revenue of $500 or an average-revenue-per-email-address of .50 cents.

  • 1,000 (email addys) x .05 (5%) = 50 (buyers) (no longer prospects)
  • 50 x $10 = $500 (gross revenue)
  • $500 (gross revenue) 1,000 (email addresses) = .50 cents (average-revenue-per-email-address)

Are you with me so far?

Now, out of the 50 buyers, any savvy sales associate will tell you that 30% of the buyers are willing to be up-sold for a better deal, a package of some sort (like merch, or an old CD, some demo recordings, or autographs, access to you at live shows, private performances, or whatever you can dream up.) So, that means that 15 of the 50 buyers are predictably inclined to spend more money for a better deal. So if you create a package that includes the $10 CD plus another $40 worth of stuff, you have 15 people spending an extra $40 dollars right?

  • 50 (buyers) x .30 (30%) = 15
  • 15 x $40 = $600 (additional revenue)
  • $600 (up-sell pkg revenue) + $500 (CD sales revenue) = $1,100 (gross revenue)
  • $1,100 (gross revenue) 1,000 (email addys) = $1.10 (average-revenue-per-email-address)

Hang in therethis is where it gets FUN!

Any experience sales person in any business will also agree that roughly 5% of the buyers are willing to REALLY be up-sold. This equates to roughly 2.5 people out of the 50 buyers who will buy a BIG package. For example, the $10 CD, plus the $40 package, PLUS.I dont know, lets say you offer a 1 hr acoustic private performance in their living room (or at a frat party, or a BBQ or whatever) for $400 discounted down from the normal $800 you get when purchased by itselfyou pickin up what Im putting down?? This would mean that 2.5 people would be willing to spend an additional $400 to get the best package you have to offer.

  • 50 (buyers) x .05 (5%) = 2.5
  • 2.5 x $400 = $1,000 (additional best pkg. revenue)
  • $1,000 (additional best pkg. revenue) + $1,100 (up-sell pkg. revenue) + $500 (CD revenue) = $2,100 (GROSS REVENUE)
  • $2,100 (Gross Revenue) 1,000 (email addys) = $2.10 (average-revenue-per-email-address)

In other words, you can build your business to $2,100 per 1,000 email addresses.

Remember our original goal was to replace the $40,000 per year you are making at your crappy job, right? Well, the question now is how many email addresses do I need to make $40,000 this way?? Im gonna say that againnow the question is how many email addresses do I need to make $40,000 per year. Awesome!

  • $40,000 $2,100 = 19.05 ($2,100 goes into $40,000 19.05 times)
  • 19.05 x 1,000 (email addys) = 19,047 (email addys)
  • You would need around 19,047 email addresses per year to make $40,000 per year.

19,047 (email addys) 365 days per year = 52.1 (email addys) that you would need per day. WOW!!! That looks a lot easier, huh?

Squeeze Page Traffic

Now, the next question is how much traffic do you have to drive to your squeeze page per year to generate 19,047 conversions??? Well, if you set up your squeeze page correctly, you should be able to generate around a 25% conversion rate, I have seen higher conversion rates with some really hot products in the past but I believe that 25% is TOTALLY doable. To be transparent, I have also seen lower conversion rates as well. I have seen them on my own squeeze pages!! This just means your squeeze page requires tweaking, but it can always be improved.

So heres the equation:

  • 19,047 .25 (25%) = 76,188 visitors to the squeeze page.
  • 76,188 visitors 365 days = 208 people per day.

Get it? 208 people per day to a squeeze page is EASY.

208 visitors per day with a 25% conversion rate = 52 email addresses per day. With a $2.10 average-revenue-per-email-address = $40,000 per year!!!

416 visitors per day with a 25% conversion rate = 104 email addresses per day. With $1.05 average-revenue-per-email-address = $40,000 per year!!!

THESE NUMBERS DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR TICKET REVENUE. Squeeze Pages Concert Tix image

THESE NUMBERS DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR CD REVENUE AT THE SHOW

THESE NUMBERS DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR MERCH REVENUE AT THE SHOW.

You can make a living doing what you love to do, but you have to be a bit of a business person.

If you would like step by step instructions from John Osazjacas Music Marketing Manifesto on how to set all this up and seriously make a living with your own music online, you can check it out HERE

Listen get it dont get it, I dont give a shit. The business model is sound. I just wanna help more of yall make money so I can produce your next record!

Stay tuned next week for some tips on driving traffic to your squeeze page and general online marketing.

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So You Finished Your Recording Project…Now What?

Recording Project empty studio image

By Johnny Dwinell

Don’t Let Your Recording Project Die In The Closet

So you finished your recording project…Now What are you going to do? Ahh, thats the rub. How do you avoid the typical 950-CD-in-the-closet syndrome? Recording Project CDs in the closet imageYou know what Im talking about; you get all excited that you are finished, because you want to share your music with the world. You print up 1000 CDs and give away 50 or so to your friends and family and the remaining 950 end up in storage somewherenever to be heard. Bah! This all-to-factual-dynamic is the very problem that Kelly and I are so passionate about solving. We are sick of watching GREAT projects from artists who DESERVE to be heard, no wait, who NEED to be heard, leave our studio and die in the marketplace from lack of exposure and marketing.

EXPOSURE!!

Thats the key. Youve heard the old adage, if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it happen? You see my point?

Music Marketing

The bigwig suits at the major labels already (unfortunately) proved to the world that exposure and marketing are more important than the music. I know, I know, calm down!! Thats the way THEY think; but, they were also right. They sold copious amounts of crap for years and consumers bought it because the labels force fed it to them through terrestrial radio and MTV and they were told it was awesome; consumers didnt have choices. Listen, WE dont have to think like that. I mean they Recording Project  Back in Black imagemarketed all the best records the same way they marketed all the crap, right? We are capable of marrying GREAT music with great marketing; just look at Back in Black, Rumors, Thriller, Hotel California, etc.!! So whats the lesson??

 

If youre a true artist and you write hit songs, or make amazing, inspiring music that will touch the masses and you have 950 units of your last project sitting in your closet, then you are clearly doing something wrong; you arent marketing. So either you need to learn the business side or hook up with someone who does; know your strengths and weaknesses and then adjust your business models accordingly. If you only make music (or any art) for your own private pleasure, you need not read the rest of this blog entry. However, if youre goals are to make a living in the music industry, then you better admit that you MUST have a business side; a sales side. If youre goal is to become a mega superstar, than you REALLY need to either learn everything you can about marketing and selling your product in todays marketplace OR partner up with someone who gets it.

Solutions

First of all, you need to change the way youre looking at the issue. A little positivity wouldnt hurt either. Remember, all the greats FORGED NEW FRONTIERS!!! They didnt have a tried & true roadmap because nobody had ever done it before. This outlook alone requires a certain set of stones to endure. You gotta be willing to go all the way. Recording Project Brooklyn Bridge imageRemember, 2 guys sat on the banks of the Hudson River in New York City, and said, We should build a bridge from here to Brooklyn, it would make life easier. They did just that and the Brooklyn bridge was so long, for the first time in history, the engineers had to ACCOUNT FOR THE CURVATURE OF THE EARTH to make the ends meet the ground; talk about forging a new frontier.

You can do the same if you want to.

Are you basing your business model on what everyone else has done?

The first error most artists will make is they mistakenly identify the internet as a sales funnel. Its not; the internet is your tool for exposure. Social media is your tool for exposure; NOT SALES. Think of it like this, back in my day, I would walk into a huge music store like Musicland, Tower Records, or even a local mom & pop record store to buy a CD. I KNEW WHAT I WANTED already!! I went straight to the A section and picked up the new AC/DC record. Boom.

How did I know??

I was already exposed to it! I was exposed to the new music in 1 of 3 ways; either a friend turned me on to it, I heard it on the radio, or I saw it on Mtv. I think artists feel like if they make their music available on iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, etc. and give a shout out on Facebook and Twitter like Hey buy my new CD! that will be sufficient; said artists are subsequently disenfranchised when they sell zero copies. The reality is its quite the opposite. While in todays music market, its a blessing that you have instant distribution (meaning your product is available to whoever wants to purchase it, when they want to purchase it), you still need to expose consumers to the music in such a way that you influence their true buying decision.

Solution #1

So there is a couple ways to accomplish this. #1 is to use a method called branding. Branding is expensive and the results are hit or miss unfortunately. This is radio. Essentially you spend $500,000-$1,000,000 for a shot at heavy rotation. Remember, mathematically there are only a few slots available at any radio station for you to get your shot. If you succeed in a 35-week campaign to get your single into heavy rotation on the P1 stations (major markets/top 40) then the song is on the air so much that people cant help but be influenced by it; thus creating the urge to purchasethe song. You see, consumers are so savvy these days. They know the labels will pad a record with filler songs around 2 singles. Consequently, now that consumers have OPTIONS, they will opt to buy the download, not the CD.

Solution #2

is to expose people online to the music. This is where YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and the others come into play. My opinion these days is that online sales techniques will bring the sale of a bundle of some sort back and eventually phase out single downloads; whether its a bundle of songs in the form of a CD or a bundle consisting of music, merch, artist access, etc. Ill tell you why I believe this. Online music marketing is based on a solid foundation of CREATING RELATIONSHIPS. Think about it, when you hear a single on the radio, your relationship is essentially with the song and maybe the artist if you are able to catch them on a TV awards show or a radio interview; but more about the song, less about the artist. When an online marketing campaign exposes you to new music that you like, they will, by design, follow up with creating a relationship between the artist and the consumer. They will do this with bios, content (like acoustic vocal videos, videos, pictures, tweets, Facebook quips, etc) and more music. Once you have emotionally bought in to the artist, whatever marketing effort that requires, you are more likely to purchase something for your own pleasure but ALSO to support an artist that you now believe in and are aware of on several different levels.

Go Viral

For the REAL talented musicians/singer/songwriters, this kind of content can go viral. Look at the raw footage from any Karmin or Noah video on YouTube where they were artistically putting their personal mark on a well known covers song. They were just SO GOOD that one of their videos went mega viralthen all their videos went mega viraland Im talking 10s of millions of viewsnow they are in. Boom. Just like that they are DRIVING TRAFFIC; they are exposed, but they still have to monetize this momentum. For Macklemore and PSY, the songs were just so damn hooky and put to some compelling video footageand Boom. They are driving traffic. FYI, both Karmin and Noah, who chose the revamping-popular covers-route they put up TONS of content. I think (dont quote me on this) that Noah put up 1 video a week for 77 weeks before the LMFAO song broke and he ended up with 16 million hits. Can you last that long? I promise this kid was able to hang for 77 weeks because he simply loved what he was doing. Every video was an artistic challenge for him as well as a marketing opportunity.

Monetize Your Traffic

So how does one MONETIZE the traffic after you get the music exposed?? This is where the sales Recording Project Sales Funnel Imagefunnel comes into play. Here is where you have to be smarter than the average bear and be a student of the game. Know the differences between radio and social media and their respective roles. Once you landed in heavy rotation on the radio back in the day, you were in because WHERE ELSE COULD CONSUMERS GO? Consumers had no choice but to be influenced by your music if they were listening to the radio constantly; they only had so many CDs in the car, so the radio was a necessary option in the interest of variety. Thus, it was SO EASY to influence their buying decisions once you got heavy rotation. Now, consumers have choices, they can listen to their local radio stations, or XM/Sirius Satellite Radio, or stream music from Pandora or Spotify or the like, they can Tweet, they can listen to their mp3 collection on their smart phone, they can, they can, they can, they can, etc So if you expose the music to them once, and the masses respond, you need to get them into a sales funnel.

You are constantly exposed to sales funnels without ever realizing it. Take a grocery store for example. They market the loss leaders (as they are called) like 30 cent apples, or killer deals on chicken etc. This gets you into the store, where they know you will do the rest of your shopping. Or how about, your grocery store frequent flyer card?? With this card you hold the promise of a DEAL. The sales are scarce, thus creating urgency because the deal will run out soon. You get it? Even the way the store is set uphave you EVER been to a grocery store where the common items like Milk, Butter, Cheese, etc are conveniently placed in the front so you can quickly run in and run out? HELL NO!!! These items are ALWAYS in the back so you have to pass through tons of other items that will likely remind you of other things you need to purchase on your way to get the milk; all by design. How about an infomercial?? Yeah, we all hate them, but why are they still on all the time on so many channels?? BECAUSE THEY ARE EFFECTIVE. Take an hour or two one evening and watch all the different infomercialsthey all have the same structure with different widgets. Buy now! Deal is expiring! Get 2 for the price of 1!! Compelling video / social proof, etc. These are great examples of sales funnels.

To get an effective sales funnel for your music, you need to have access to these people somewhere different than FB or Twitter. Both of these amazing tools are fleeting. Your tweet is literally gone in 10 seconds, same at FB. So you need their email addresses to market to them.

So how do you get people to give you their email addresses?

Several ways are effective. A few of our artists are quite good at getting email addresses during their live shows. We set up squeeze pages for them and they direct traffic to the squeeze pages with a free exchange of some sort; tit for tat, quid pro quo, etc. Go to my squeeze page and get a free download of my new single. Couple the download with a chance to win a $25 bar tab, or a chance to get in the music video and voila!! You have mass amounts of people giving their email addresses.

Whats a squeeze page? Ill tell ya about that next week

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Want The Good News?

Good News feature image

Where There Is Blood In The Streets There Is Money To Be Made!

by Johnny Dwinell

Good News Blood in the streets image

There is truly more good news than bad news in todays music business for both artists and songwriters. I will get to that in a second, but first lets address a few things with regard to some of the feedback I have already received about my last blog post.

Ok, so some of the provocative responses to said blog post were based from fear, but most people (and I report this next part enthusiastically) were undeterred; motivated even!

Tenacity! I LOVE IT BECAUSE ITS A MISSION CRITICAL JOB REQUIREMENT in this business.

I should clarify a few things for yall though. The last blog entry entitled TERRESTRIAL RADIO IS DEAD was aimed at new artists; not songwriters looking to get cuts. Look, this was not meant to scare anyone, but to LOUDLY emphasize that if your business model as an artist is to get a record deal and break (i.e. get your initial exposure) on the radio, youre too late; its over for the most part. I chose to be this aggressive with the language content because Kelly and I constantly run into people who still think of a record deal and the promise of subsequent radio play as the measurement of making it; and anything outside that box or dream, as it were, is some kind of failure. The reality here is that MOST artists with a Record Deal end up in debt to the label and do not make it; around 90% or so at most labels over the last 40 years. ANY ARTIST who wants to truly make a living playing their music can now do so and guess whatShhhh.you dont need a deal; you just need to be a business person too.

Terrestrial Radio

In this new market the Record Deal and Radio Promotion are rapidly becoming irrelevant; but as humans I guess we tend to hold onto the past as change is always uncomfortable. With the exception of Country music artists, the rest of you will have to break online (like YouTube think Karmin, PSY, or Macklemore) or on TV (either via song placement or popular talent shows like The Voice and American Idol) and THEN terrestrial radio will pick you up AFTER you are already popular, but terrestrial radio wont break you in the rock or pop genres. Moving on to Country music and the old music business model, once again, all the major labels are still running at the industry standard 90% failure rate. Just go to Curb Records artist page HERE and look at every artist

How many of them do you know?Good News Curb Records Image

How many of them have put out a record in the last 5 years?

See what I mean? This isnt just Curb, it has been industry standard on all major labels for decades90% of major label artists fail; their money losers, and in debt. In the old (now dying business model) 10% of the artists were SO LUCRATIVE, that the revenue created would pay for all the other losses.

This phenomenon is commonly referred to as The Artist Protection Program LOL.

So why is this still the dream when the numbers are decidedly horrific AND there is a better, more mathematically predictable way to make a living as an artist??

As of May 1st, Warner Bros Records is utilizing Kickstarter.com to fund record projects; WTF?? You heard me Good News Warner Bros imagecorrectly. Warner Bros is so broke it seems they will no longer be spending their own money on their artists recording projectsthey will spend the artists money for them. In fact, if you are able to start a Kickstarter.com campaign and get 1000 people to back you, you automatically qualify for a Warner Bros Records deal. If you can manage to get $100,000 in backing on a Kickstarter.com campaign you automatically qualify for a Warner Bros Record Deal. Crazy! So for some, this is good news. For the artists or bands that can get $100,000 worth of backing from a crowdfunding source, why get a record deal? You will probably make more money selling 70,000 copies of your own CD (which is SO DOABLE with a little budget) than selling 700,000 under a label. Do the math.and include the numbers you dont know about yet.

SO WHATS THE GOOD NEWS????

Well, for songwriters looking to get current artists to cut their songs, YOU will most likely get on the radio before any new artists do. If Tim McGraw wants to cut your song and the label makes it a single, youre getting paid and youre getting on the radio. Congrats! That will open many doors and launch your career to be sure.

The good news for artists is that while you may or may not become famous like the rock stars of 20 years ago, but you can absolutely make a living at itright now. We (at Daredevil Production) have a couple artists who just 2 or 3 years ago were writing in town, with day jobs, broke, trying to make itsound familiar?? Now, WITHOUT a major Good News DDP imagerecord deal, they are making a living. Touring over 250 dates a year, with a band, selling 6,000-10,000 CDs per year from the stage (Thats enough to afford to make another record, people) making money and living the dream. Just without a jet, and stadiums for now. Once these artists get their heads around how to match their live CD sales with online CD sales, they will make even more money; thats the rub. Btw, these kinds of artists, the ones who have profitable, successful small businesses are the artists most likely to get signed by a major label these days, or most likely to get a big money backer. Its about the business not about the music to them. I get it, I get it, I was an artist too back in the day, it about the music NOT the business to you!

Artistic Communication

Let me give you some food for thoughtMusic is about communication, right?

Communication is defined by the information RECEIVED, not the intent behind the information. Think about that.re read that line.say it out loud and listen to the words.

If you are a true artist and write KILLER songs but your lack of business skills keeps the world from RECEIVING the information are you communicating?

You may be lost in the delusion that back in the day it was just about the music and not business; thats BS. All the artists read from the same talking points to make you believe that OR while they were busy believing its all about the music, someone who was doing the necessary business was ripping them off. It is about the music, but without business no one hears the music. So its about the business. And if you truly have music that will profoundly touch consumers, then your business is now about EXPOSURE.

Big money investors like to see and invest in profitable small businesses. They like to see artists that can take care Good News Big Money imageof themselves; not artists who are detached, inaccessible, and a mess. Big money will come to back your project in 1 of 2 forms: Private investors or Major Record Labels. Both would like to add financial fuel to a fire that is already stoked. Get it? You gotta make waves, man, you gotta have a BIG buzz about you first. YOU HAVE TO BE DEVELOPED because they wont develop you; they cant afford it and even if they could, theyve lost touch with what that even means anymore or how to do it. Which means if you can develop yourself, you have a far greater chance of getting a deal, and you can actually make a living.

So the #1 headline of GOOD NEWS for artists is that if you are smart enough to know that you HAVE TO BE AWESOME in this market, if you are willing to hit the road and outwork everyone else, if you can surround yourself with a team of people who believe you, if you can run a small businessyou are going to make wavescertainly a living. Period.

YOU CAN MAKE A LIVING PLAYING YOUR MUSIC!!!

I managed to do it when I was an artist 20 years ago, but it is SO much easier now!

If you just want to be famous, that space is now relegated to reality show stars; Warhol was right. So common sense says if you need to be famous go for the reality show. If you live to play write music, then go for making a living; common sense again!

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TERRESTRIAL RADIO IS DEAD

Johnny Dwinell

What’s your plan to expose your music to the world? I mean EXPOSE people to your music NOT “make it available for people to find”. You really need answer this question honestly and then get on board with the business of learning how to make that happen if you ever plan on making a living in the music industry because terrestrial radio is dead.

If your plan is to get a record deal and get your music on the radio, you might as well work at McDonald’s; because Radio old timey radio imageyou’ll make more money. Radio, that is terrestrial radio is dead. It is dead to any new artists to be sure. There are virtually no new artists that are “breaking” on the rock and pop formats of terrestrial radio; in fact it might be ABSOLUTELY no new artists!! Country music radio is actually still breaking new artists with the format but that will die soon as well.

Want proof? Do you truly understand these statements?

Name any NEW Rock or Pop artist that truly “Broke” on terrestrial radio in the last five years (from 2008 for the mathematically challenged). I’m not trying to be condescending here, but sometime I feel like the meat and potatoes of this matter is lost in the sound bites and headlines…this means any new Rock or Pop artist who’s FIRST record came out on or after 2008. Yes I know, I know, you all a couple artists who started their careers (in the public eye) after 2008 but where did they break?? Where did you FIRST hear about this artist? It was either from a friend OR TV.

Was it The Voice?Radio The voice image

American Idol?

David Letterman?

Jay Leno?

Jimmy Fallon?

Jimmy Kimmel?

Craig Furgeson?

Was the band like the Script where their song was featured on a hit TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” and that broke the band THEN radio had to follow??

Yes, of course, some of you are most likely going to come up with a couple exceptions to the rule, but you are missing the point…15 years ago, EVERY rock band broke on radio….there were a few bands that didn’t but they were the exceptions to the rule.

So WHY is this happening? How is it that we can predict Country music radio will follow suit?

The answer is choices

When people have choices, they take advantage. Let’s look at the history of broadcasting to really see the social proof you need to change your business model if it’s dependent on radio. Some of you, or maybe a good portion of you are too young to remember when there were only 3 TV networks; ABC, NBC, CBS. Network news was TRUSTED and the respective network news shows represented a HUGE portion of network revenue and profits. Why, because Americans only had 3 places to go to get their TV network news. Think about it, 250-300 million people had only 3 choices.

Then the cable TV format came out in the 80’s. EVERYBODY in network TV LAUGHED at the idiots who really believed that the American consumer would actually PAY for something they already get for free. Pay they did, in mass droves!

Why?

CHOICES

Now network news is a joke and since the 330 million Americans have umteen choices to choose from when it comes to TV news, the viewership has SIGNIFICANTLY shrunk at NBC, ABC, and CBS. If the viewership shrinks, they cannot command the advertising dollars they used to, so the revenue has also significantly shrunk. I mean, you didn’t ever really believe that TV news was about the news did you??

So with terrestrial radio, we see the same thing happening. 15 years ago, if you wanted to listen to any new music (music you didn’t already own a CD for) you listened to the RADIO….that was your only choice. With terrestrial radio playing roughly 12 songs per hour (to make room for advertising…you didn’t really believe that radio was about music did you?!?!?!) and many songs in “heavy” or “Moderate” rotation (meaning they are played several times per day) the listener was forced to listen to the same crap AND forced to WAIT to hear their favorite song.

Now there is no waiting. Now you have the entire history of music at your fingertips. Now all new model Radio Blake Morgan imageautomobiles are coming equipped with WiFi of some sort…Pandora, etc. choices. We don’t have to listen to crap anymore. Country radio will die too.

What you should be focusing on is internet streaming. Focus your energy on that.

Read this Huffington Post article here on Blake Morgan who is an artist who had 27,900 + streams (spins) on Pandora and received a royalty check for $1.92. This is your future. The free market will prevail, but not without your help.

So screw the record deal and the radio, at least at the early part of your career.

If you do your job right, and create a profitable small business based around your music, believe me, the record labels will come to you, my friend; and the deal will be far better than any you would have received as an unknown artist in “the glory days”.

To quote the great Bob Lefsetz (love him) musicians are like the circus side show that are kissing the asses of the elephants that are shitting on them.

P.S. if you/re smart you will subscribe to the Lefsetz Letter. You can subscribe here: http://www.lefsetz.com/

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Studio Shopping

Studio Shopping List Feature image

By Johnny Dwinell

Studio Shopping

Every singer/songwriter/artist comes to a point where its time to record your songs and you are relegated with the task of finding the right place to record or studio shopping. This can be very daunting, especially if you have little or no experience at it.

What should you be shopping for?

What Studio is a good studio?

Do they have the necessary gear?

Will they work within my budget?

Should I go online studio shopping or should I use a tangible brick and mortar studio?

How can I get the best recording for the cheapest price?

Should I be overdubbing track-by-track or should I record a live band?

The short answer to all these is that there is no right or wrong answer per se; it depends on what you are recording and whether or not you have a band or need a band, etc. Although, if you are engaging a studio in the possibility of spending money with them, they will make an argument that will focus on the advantages of the type of recording THEY can deliverwhich makes sense, they want your business.

I thought maybe we could address some of these questions with regards to a full band or a track by track approach, and the type of recording you are trying to get.

So lets dig in.

STUDIO SHOPPING: ONLINE DEMOS

Studio Shopping http image

Some of you may or may not be aware that there are Online Studios that offer virtual recording services for Studio Shopping studio pros imagesongwriters and artists. Some of the bigger players are Studiopros.com, onlinerecordingmasters.com, supremetracks.com, and I am sure there are many more. Pricing for these online studios typically ranges from about $1,000-$2400 per song depending on the site, how many musicians are required, and any ala carte services like producing, mastering, and consulting, etc.

PROS:

  1. You Can Choose The Musicians This is cool as you can actually shop for the players you are looking for. This is particularly beneficial when it comes to matching singers and their styles to a particular song you have written.
  2. Convenient to Use You can access these sites from anywhere in the world.
  3. Service Typically all these sites offer quick turnaround times
  4. Talent All the musician and engineering talent will be stellar on these sites. Again, You know exactly what you are getting.
  5. Interactive Experiences some of these studios offer live video interactivity so you can watch your song come to life (with a live band) from anywhere in the world. This allows you to feel present and still avoid the costly trip to another city where the studio location is, like Nashville.
  6. Live Band Online Recording There are some services that offer live band sessions where all the players are in the same studio at the same time. Many of these companies offer real time interactive access allowing the writer to participate in the session without actually being in the studio.

CONS:

  1. No Live Tracks Typically (almost always) these online studios will have great players track your songs, but they are not in the same room at the same time. Some online companies boast live tracks that utilizes some pretty incredible technology (that amazingly avoids mission critical latency issues during the recording process) which allows musicians to cut a track simultaneously from remote locations. Personally, I feel the musicians all have to be in the room for the magic to happen. The remote thing I find fascinating and creepy at the same time.
  2. No Studio Magic this is virtually impossible for an online studio to create. There are countless times where, as a producer, I have a very specific arrangement and vibe in mind for a song before we record it. Then, while the musicians are messing around with the arrangements (as they always do before a take) they stumble on some other vibe, beat, feel, or arrangement that is just undeniable; everyones face lights up…you know the look….it’s like “WOW, THAT WAS COOL”. When this happens, its always amazing.
  3. Disconnect there often is a certain disconnect that occurs with regards to the energy of the track. It sounds more sterile, more contrived for some reason.
  4. Elevator Music I often hear writers complain that the tracks have low energy and sound like elevator music to them. To a degree, this is somewhat predictable if you take the time to logically dissect the process. Typically drums will get tracked first, then bass. The pro drummer and bass player will almost HAVE TO deliver somewhat sterile/bland arrangements to ensure they are not stepping on any guitar arrangements or any color instruments that will be tracked after their respective takes. Essentially, without everyone in the room together, you definitely are opting for more sterile arrangements, vibe, and energy on the track. Keep in mind this may not be an issue if you are just recording the song for posterity.
  5. Communication Log Jams Most of these companies (understandably) prefer to keep the musicians, engineers and producers away from the clients, so there is only 1 contact for you to use. Typically this contact is called a producer but they are an office person at the company. They then are telling the producer and/or musicians what you want so the proverbial telephone game can ensue; thus, diluting the message and lines of communication. Quite simply, it can sometimes be a drag telling someone to tell someone to tell someone what you want or what you are “hearing”
  6. Not as much fun Whats more exciting than hanging in a studio with the players and watching it all go down LIVE, man???
  7. Pricing I think there are better prices out there for someone who is willing to shop.
  8. Band Recording How exactly does this work if you want your band on the tracks? It doesnt.

SUMMARY

I think the online recording studios can be pretty effective with regards to song demos that a writer plans to pitch or songs a writer wants recorded for posterity or vanity reasons. I dont think they are very effective for an artist trying to cut a custom record or artist track. Artist tracks in today’s music market need to be AMAZING. Amazing really requires a producer and in my opinion, a real relationship between the producer and the artist; this really fosters the necessary creativity from both that is required to elevate the track to a competitive and iconic level. Since music has become essentially free, it is disposable; therefore, the song and track have to kick mortal ass to garner any attention. Period.

STUDIO SHOPPING: LIVE DEMOS

Studio Shopping Live Band image

Lets break down the pros and cons of finding a studio that cuts tracks with live musicians in the same room.

PROS:

  1. No Elevator Music The tracks will naturally have more energy in them as the band is all performing and communicating together at the same timethere is a certain magic that happens here as musicians get instant inspiration from what the other musicians are playing and feeling; they “vibe” off of one another.
  2. FUN!!! There is just no replacing the amazing experience (which still gets me to this day) of watching and hearing a full band transform a song from a work tape reference to an amazing live track right before your eyes. It’s truly an indescribable experience.
  3. Optimal Communication the writer has direct access to musicians and producer. Since you or your producer (or both) are in the room with all the musicians, communication is instantaneous. The writer can insure that he/she is getting exactly what they want; make changes on the fly so-to-speak.
  4. Clever Arrangements It is much easier to facilitate more clever music arrangements when the whole band is tracking at the same time. Happy accidents can happen and you are there to say, I LOVE THAT. When you over dub every single track (like the online studios do) the professional musicians will HAVE TO deliver somewhat bland arrangements as they cant hear what each other is doing (especially the first tracks i.e. drums and bass) to ensure they do not step on any other parts that havent been recorded yet.
  5. Band Punching This is great for a last minute arrangement change. Simply punch the whole band as a unit. Impossible to do with an overdub type recording model; it would require a major editi.e. major surgery. Think about it, if you had a 16 bar musical break or solo on the work tape and at the last minute decided to cut that to 8 bars, this is easy with a “band punch”. If you are in an overdubbing situation, you can do the surgery but the context and flow of the solo will often suffer, making the surgery sound obvious.
  6. Pricing Depending on your negotiating skills and your contact list, there is definitely ways to get your songs cut in the most inexpensive fashion this way. NOTE: the pricing will be better in areas where there is a bigger market for these kinds of sessions (like Nashville), thus, more competition. In smaller towns or areas where there isnt much competition for full band live demos, it actually may end up being more expensive.
  7. Service Live demos definitely facilitate quick turnaround times; the band cuts the tracks all together.
  8. Band Recording If you have your own band, this is the only way to really get it done.

CONS:

  1. Speed Things tend to go fast in this environment. A writer or the producer needs to be on their A-game to ensure you are getting the vibe that you want. Pre-production is really important here. Especially if you are attempting an inexpensive artist track as opposed to a song demo. NOTE: This isnt really an issue when you are in good hands with a capable producer, but writers who find themselves at the helm with little experience tend to get swallowed up in the chaos.
  2. Producer is Necessary 5 or 6 musicians at the same time is a lot of traffic to direct. Someone has to be at the helm. Also, when you have 5 studio musicians, this will be a tight team so an outside personality offering instructions or direction can often be a challenge; especially if that outside person is less experienced, that band will smell that like a dog smells fear! This challenge ensues because these musicians will undoubtedly have communication scars that come from the many newbies or rookie writers and artists who dont know what they want and dont have experience to articulate their desires. This communication barrier is often difficult to overcome for a writer or artist with no relationship to the band; thus, a producer or engineer that has a working rapport with the band will champion any ideas the writer or artist has ensuring the message is getting received by the players.
  3. Proper Recording Studio This is a necessity. Some studios simply dont have the bandwidth (computing power, I/O infrastructure, or cue system) to handle all those tracks at 1 time in a live session. Additionally, some studios dont have the space or enough isolation rooms to facilitate such a session.
  4. Access To Talent Clearly you need access to a huge talent pool to assure that a complete and capable band can be put together. Lets face it, most people do not have access to the kind of talent that is readily available here in Nashville.
  5. Non Studio Musicians Live recording in a studio with a full band of studio musicians is quick and quite awesome to see. However, if you are a self contained band, this can become costly as everyone in the band needs to play their respective parts perfectly to make this work. If your band doesnt have a ton of studio experience, then this could become problematic.

SUMMARY

The live band recording is much more advantageous to any singer/songwriter/artist that is looking to cut artist tracks. This is just the best way to record any music that requires players of some sort. Trying to cut your album with an online studio can be a bit sterile. However, if you are recording POP music, certain kinds of R&B, or Rap music, these genres typically involve programming and a band is simply not necessary; aside from the occasional overdub of a color instrument of some sort. Additionally, for songwriters, there are places where you can get GREAT deals on song demos with a live band.

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