2015: The Year of the Fan Club

One of my favorite articles at Future of Music is a compilation of over forty ways musicians can bring in money. It covers the expected show fees and PRO royalties, everything from sheet music sales to ringtones, you name it. Unfortunately many of these income streams are overlooked by startup bands because they simply don’t know about them, or seem overly complicated and are consciously avoided. That’s understandable, and worthy of a blog article unto itself. However, there is one item on the list that powers ALL of the others, and its one that is both cheap and easy to start – a fan club. Continue reading

3 Key Components of Every Successful Artist Launch

As data strategists, we look at data every day. When we provide core utilities for the creative industry we need to know which ones actually work, and which ones are a waste of time and money. While there is no guaranteed method to achieving success in entertainment there is data that shows which activities had the biggest impact on successful launches (songs, albums, tours, videos). Although this article is written for music people, we have used the same strategies for filmmakers, comedians, porn stars and politicians. No matter what your specialty, here are the top three components of every successful artist launch, in chronological order. 1st: Content This should be obvious. Data proves that catchy hooks matter. The one unique thing you provide that other artists can’t buy is your content; your creative output. Your intellectual property. You can have a huge mailing list collected from your collaborating artists based on past projects and the most badass social team with thousands of followers. But, if the collective new art sucks – your launch will fail. Content matters. All of it. Your music, your logo, your wardrobe, your graphics, your crowdfunding video, your Periscope backdrop. Get this right before you begin building your database, and before you even think of doing any social. Continue reading

Major Labels To Abandon YouTube? Bullsh¡t

Music industry rags are all abuzz today about Universal, Sony and Warner threatening to pull their music videos off YouTube because their endless greed is unsatisfied by YouTube's ... er, relentless greed. Does anyone really think that would have a negative impact on anything important?  Continue reading

What the fuck do you do ... and how much do you charge?

I'm doing some research for a project and need some basic numbers for a budget. I don't have time for "a conversation." I just need to know if you can do what I need done, and how much you charge. Seems simple, right?  Enter the amateur user-experience hell. Vague. Opaque. Useless websites. Continue reading

Do It Yourself: Mechanics or motivation?

I like to say “‘Do it yourself’ doesn’t mean ‘do it alone’” when I’m talking to creative artists working to put all the pieces of their digital strategy together in today’s post-label music business. Sometime I get crazy looks, but what I mean is that the “DIY” movement is more about the motivation than the mechanics of literally doing everything by yourself. Continue reading

Online Communities Vs. Community Organizing

The word “community” has become so trendy, that it’s important to clarify some key differences between sharing-based online communities and action-based community organizing. Often, the two are tightly connected and work together to build momentum towards an idea. However, some people confuse and/or conflate the two “community” terms and end up wasting time engaging in the wrong activity; the easier, albeit free one; without ever building the foundation.  Continue reading

They preach "engagement" while they hijack your fans ...

The SF Music Tech Summit in San Francisco this past week presented lots of great discussion on ways to engage fans on various social networks, including newly added “engagement" functions for existing streaming platforms. Fan “engagement,” particularly through social media, is still a hot topic. “Engagement” ideas ranged from posting a photo of yourself making a sandwich (?) on Instagram to calling your hardcore fans on the phone. So, what's the big deal about social media?  Continue reading