Category Archives: Music Industry
These eight examples of creative music product pricing might just change the way you think about pricing your merchandise and services.
For many young and developing artists, music product pricing is usually the process of arbitrarily coming up with a number, slapping it on your product or service, and forgetting about it. However, as illustrated below, pricing is something that can be far more strategic. While you won’t be able to pull off all of the following strategies, these eight examples will get you thinking about price like never before.
1. Kid Rock rocks
As concerts are costing anywhere from $65 to $150, and as much as $300 to $1,250 on the secondary market, Kid Rock charged a low $20 for his “$20 Best Night Ever” tour. By taking the exact opposite approach of what other artists were doing, Rock created quite a buzz among fans and the media. In fact, the strategy apparently worked so well, rock is repeating this idea on his US city tour to support his album, First Kiss.
2. Wu-Tang Clan got a plan
Upon release of its double album Once Upon A Time in Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan announced that it would release only one album (i.e. one single unit) that fans can pay to hear in art galleries, museums, and festivals. Since people, in general, love exclusivity, the group received bids for the album for as high as $5 million. The concept was that music should be treated as a valuable and respected piece of art, not something people download at no cost. Clever!
3. Nipsey Hussle does an impressive hustle
Unsigned rapper Nipsey Hussle pressed 1,000 units of his album Crenshaw and sold them at a price of $100 each. Under a campaign he entitled Proud2Pay, customers were also rewarded with concerts, priority access to new material, and one-of-a-kind gifts, such as an old rap notebook or signed photo. Nipsey’s intention was not necessarily to sell out the units to his target audience, but to attract the attention of a few big wigs in the music business. And it worked! Jay-Z swooped up 100 copies of the rappers music.
4. Prince creates a triple win strategy
On his Planet Earth album, Prince cut a deal with British tabloid The Mall on Sunday, distributing three million copies of his record in its Sunday edition for free (all it cost was the $3 price of the newspaper). Prince was paid a flat fee by The Mail, The Mail made money from all the advertisers that wanted the extra exposure, and fans got a free CD. Everybody won.
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9 Quick Tips to Get to That Next Level of Your Music Career
Musicians have no problem creating master plans to “rule the world,” but they often fall short of seeing these plans through effectively. What an unfortunate waste of talent! As Ralph S. Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, said, “The best-thought-out plans in the world aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if you can’t pull them off.” Here are nine tips that just might help you accomplish your goals and get to that next level of your career. While these aren’t groundbreaking, sometimes we all just need a little reminder!
1. Stay proactive
Attract the attention of those who can help you by first promoting yourself. Remember that no one – not a personal manager, agent, or A&R rep – is going to come save you and whisk you from your garage to superstardom until you’ve accomplished some things on your own. Light as many fires as you can, and people will see the smoke.
2. Plan your funds
Plan wisely so that you don’t run out of money. You might use your own money that you’ve saved up, get fans to invest in you via crowdfunding services like Kickstarter, get interested parties (such as family members and friends) to front the cash, or arrange “barter” deals where you pay for services with your special skills.
3. Schedule efficiently
This means that you prioritize your tasks and schedule the most important things first, find ways to accomplish tasks simultaneously to maximize your resources, and allocate enough time to complete each task on time and on budget.
4. Delegate the workload
Assess your team’s special talents and capitalize on them. The drummer can be in charge of booking, the bass player might do all the social media, and the guitarist can be the one who seeks out music placements. If you’re a solo artist and don’t have other members to depend on, then try enlisting a reliable fan to help you.
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The Guitar Amp Handbook: Updated and Expanded Edition is now available! Dave Hunter, author of this newest edition, has provided us with some words about the book and how it differs from the previous edition!
When we talk about “the electric guitar,” the thing that makes it electric in the first place is the amplifier. The electric guitar simply isn’t a musical instrument in any meaningful, expressive way without major assistance from this glowing box of tricks, and, in fact the majority of its sonic capabilities and unfettered versatility are generated within the amp itself. To the non-guitar-playing observer, it might seem odd to be updating and expanding a book that, when first published ten years ago, celebrated a long-outdated technology. But tube amps continue to be the first choice of tone-conscious guitarists around the world—amateur and professional alike—and designers and manufacturers are today producing amps that are better sounding and more varied in their capabilities than ever before. As such, the Updated And Expanded Edition of The Guitar Amp Handbook: Understanding Tube Amplifiers And Getting Great Sounds accounts for the full spectrum of tube amps available to the player today, taking the reader inside the pulsing, glowing hearts of these powerful tone generators in a quest to better equip guitarists for their own creative endeavors.
The original edition of The Guitar Amp Handbook covered everything you as a guitarist need to know to better understand what’s going on under the hood, how tubes help to generate great tones, how to choose the right amp for your music, and how to make the most of whatever tube amp you might already own. Chapters took the reader step-by-step through the basic signal chain inside the amp, explored the crucial components and how different ingredients can lead to variations in tone, put the main circuit stages under the microscope, looked under the hood of several classic tube amps with full-color inside-the-chassis photos and detailed notes to examine how they tick, discussed speakers and cabs, offered amp maintenance tips, and much more. Now, the Updated And Expanded Edition takes it all to another level.
“Tube technology might be considered archaic compared to other realms of consumer electronics, but that doesn’t mean the guitar-amp world has sat still since I wrote the original edition ten years ago,” says the book’s author, Dave Hunter. “So much has happened meanwhile, and guitarists’ thinking about tube amps, the way they use them, and what they expect to get from them has evolved considerably, too. Tube amp design and construction remains a living art, into which new developments are born every day, and getting this popular book back up to speed demanded a major re-think, and a lot of extra work.”
Bringing a boatload of new information to the reader and a lot more value along with it, the Updated And Expanded Edition improves upon and adds to the original edition in several ways.
- Every chapter has been thoroughly re-examined by the author and, where possible, updated in line with new developments and a deeper understanding of the tube-amp market as it exists today.
- Coverage of modern, high-gain, and channel-switching amps has been considerably expanded.
- Newly released components are discussed, and new insights are shed on many of those previously examined.
- Several extra models have been added to the popular “Inside The Amps” chapter, including detailed examination of the Matchless DC-30, Mesa/Boogie Mark IIC+, Fender Blues Junior, Komet Aero 33, Hiwatt Custom DR103, Supro Model 24, and Tone King Sky King, in addition to the amps probed in the original edition.
- New and exclusive “Meet The Makers” interviews are included, adding Reinhold Bogner, Brian Gerhard of TopHat, Steven Fryette, Holger Notzel of Komet, and Mark Bartel of Tone King to the original selection.
- A thorough update and revision of the “Building An Amp” DIY project has been undertaken, including the author’s own refinements to the original Two-Stroke design, details about Victoria Amp Company’s rendition of the kit, and clarified parts lists and building instructions.
The original edition of The Guitar Amp Handbook was already the most comprehensive and insightful guide available to the guitarist seeking to understand where his or her precious tone really comes from. With its many new additions and some serious re-consideration of much of the original material, the Updated And Expanded Edition now makes it an amp book without equal.
Getting Started with Music Production
How to record, edit, and mix music using a digital audio workstation
by Robert Willey
Hal Leonard Books, the musician’s best source of books on the music business, audio technology, instrument history, and more, has published Getting Started with Music Production. Written by Dr. Robert Willey, recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award 2013 from the UL Lafayette Foundation, this book will help readers quickly learn how to record and mix music with a digital audio workstation (DAW), understand basic audio principles, and will help more advanced practitioners hone their music production skills.
Getting Started with Music Production‘s logically structured, hands-on approach works well for self-guided learning and for activity-oriented courses. The illustrations and examples are built around Studio One from Presonus (most exercises can be done with the free version), but the fundamental concepts and techniques transfer seamlessly to any modern DAQ, such as Logic and Pro Tools.
As digital technology has fundamentally changed the way music is produced, Dr. Willey strives to teach musicians and budding audio engineers how to take full advantage of the new tools and unleash their creativity.
“The students have to know what’s behind it. How analog to digital conversion works, how computers represent sounds, and the principals of recording, where to pith the microphone, and things like that,” he says. “The more knowledgeable they are as students, and the broader they are as musicians, the more they’ll be able to adjust to the future changes in the industry.”
To help the reader apply what they learn, Dr. Willey includes a wealth of practice exercises; quiz questions, activities for all levels, and complete mix sessions. Audio and video examples further explain and expand on the concepts presented. All supporting media is provided online for easy access from a computer or mobile device.
Getting Started with Music Production is intended for college music majors, high school students, and independent learners. It is the perfect guide for those who produce music at home, and the ideal textbook for teachers. The first ten chapters can be used by schools on the quarter system, with an additional five chapters provided for those on the semester system.
“What Robert brings to the table is so unique: the ability to make the connection between all the different technologies and true musicianship,” says Gordon Brooks, Dean, College of Arts.
John Mlynczak, the Education Market Manager for PreSonus, talks to Dr. Robert Willey about the book at http://onstageandbackstage.libsyn.com/robert-willey-chats-with-john-mlynczak (podcast).
8.5″ x 11″
Hal Leonard Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert Willey is a keyboard player, composer, and music technologist with a long background in higher education. After earning a PhD from the University of California, San Diego, he spent two years in Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor of computer music composition and performance, chamber music, improvisation, arranging, and distance education course design. He returned to the United States to teach popular music theory, computer literacy, and rock band at the State University of New York College at Oneonta; later, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he taught music theory, music technology, synthesis, recording, live sound, music appreciation, music industry, and jazz combo. He is presently the director of the Music Media Production and Industry program at Ball State University. His publications include Louisiana Creole Fiddle, Brazilian Piano, and the DVD From La La to Zydeco: Creole and Zydeco Music from Louisiana. He lives in Muncie, Indiana.
Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, was featured in the spring issue of Berklee Today, the Berklee College of Music’s alumni magazine!
Marketing is the complete process of creating products and services to satisfy your target audience, build awareness, and make sales. It includes researching, goal setting, strategizing, and executing. In this article, we discuss three aspects of DIY marketing that are often overlooked by musicians who believe that marketing simply involves social media and YouTube videos. Here we focus on building a brand identity with slogans, testing products among fans, and measuring marketing efforts.
1. Building Your Brand Identity with Slogans
What do Apple, Ozzy Osbourne, and hundreds of other successful companies and brands all have in common? They all employ brand slogans to build their identity. Slogans provide further information about a brand, communicate an overall philosophy, and increase memorability. They can even become part of your brand’s logo or be used to market a specific product or service, such as your own album or concert tour. Cypress Hill branded its Smoke Out Festival with the slogan, “An all day mind altering event.” And Bring Me the Horizon (a British metal-core outfit) branded its album Suicide Season with the slogan, “A perfect soundtrack to a life spent on the edge.” No confusion there.
What follows are several tips for creating a slogan that can make a lasting impression with your intended audience. Remember, slogans don’t have to be grammatically correct; but they must be pithy and direct.
Reflect the identity that you want to project. To better communicate what you do and who you are, suggest the personality and culture you want to project within your slogan. To emphasize his punk roots and to pay homage to icon Iggy Pop, for example, Henry Rollins used “Search and Destroy” as a slogan to accompany his logo. In fact, Rollins even tattooed the logo on his back and uses it on T-shirts and other merchandise. The Los Angeles indie metal band Clepto, which has Saudi Arabian roots, uses the slogan “Thrash Punk Gypsies,” which sums up the band’s sound and spirit.
Speak to your audience. When creating your slogan, consider whom you are trying to appeal to. Understanding your likely target audience is crucial. Get a sense of your audience members’ age, gender, education level, and income. Also, research their activities, interests, and opinions, and understand behavioral issues and the things that motivate them. Also consider the regions where your audience is located. The band House of Pain uses the slogan “Fine Malt Lyrics” in its logo to pay homage to its home city of Boston and to the Irish community there. Harley Davidson uses “American by Birth. Rebel by Choice” to pay tribute to the proud and loyal group of riders in the United States and the free country in which the brand was founded.
Stand out from the competition. Study your competitors, who may share a similar audience, so you can highlight what makes you unique. The musical group Pink Martini, which has an expansive musical style, uses the slogan “Music of the world, without being world music” to stand out. The metal band Manowar is listed in The Guinness World Book of Records as the loudest band in the world and has had that fact as its slogan for many years.
Stress the benefits. Create a slogan that draws attention to benefits that are important to your target audience and that you can honestly provide. Apple, undoubtedly one of the biggest companies in music, used the slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket” to promote its first-generation iPod and emphasize its large storage capacity. Recently, Apple used “Any kind of file, on all your devices” to promote the cloud. And guitarist Slash recently used the slogan “With everyone, from Ozzy to Fergie” to promote his new solo album that featured numerous guests. In all cases, note how these slogans all sell the benefits. They answer the customer question “What’s in it for me?”
Make it memorable. Making your slogan rhyme can be an advantage. Big-band legend Benny Goodman used the slogan “The King of Swing” throughout his career, and it was often used to introduce him on radio and television shows. His slogan was short and catchy.
Keep it short. Limit your slogan to just one or a few simple words. Also consider what might look cool and be adaptable on your products and marketing tools, such as your business cards, websites, e-mail signatures, etc. For instance, Bruce Springsteen used “The Boss” interchangeably with his own name.
Be believable; don’t exaggerate. Your slogan should not be perceived as out of proportion. Using language like “The greatest band on earth” when you’re starting out is just silly. Yes, jazz legend Jaco Pastorius called himself “The World’s Greatest Bass Player,” and the Rolling Stones adopted the slogan “The World’s Greatest Rock Band,” but both artists could back it up.
Offer an explanation. Use a descriptive tagline that tells people exactly what you are. For instance, the classic rock band ZZ Top uses the tagline “That lil’ ol’ band from Texas” throughout its website and on other PR materials. Billy Joel used “The Piano Man” in all his publicity and released a record of the same name.
Don’t confuse your audience. The whole point of a slogan or tagline is to educate your market about what you do, so don’t make the message confusing for your audience. The members of the Beatles, four in total, whose music was no doubt fabulous, adopted the clear and direct slogan “The Fab Four” for use in their publicity posters and other media. In contrast, the band Green Jello (renamed Green Jelly for legal reasons) used the slogan “Green Jello Sucks.” The name is confusing: Did the group’s music really suck? Was it taking a stab at the makers of the Jello? Or was it something band members did on stage? Yikes! In any case, it’s not a flattering, legally smart, or clear slogan. Don’t be confusing.
Look to your fans. Ask your most-likely fans how they might sum you up in a word or phrase, how they think you’re different, and what they feel is most important to them. You could even hold a contest and offer a prize. Not only can you form a closer bond with fans by getting them involved but also you may find a cool tagline to brand your band.
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Also, Bobby will be speaking at Berklee College on June 20th! He will be teaching “Ten Steps of the Marketing Process.” In Borg’s “Ten Steps of the Marketing Process,” students will learn about tried-and-tested concepts used by the world’s most innovative companies, including: describing a vision, identifying a market need, analyzing target fans, learning from competitors, demoing products and services, setting marketing plan goals, and finding the perfect mix of new marketing strategies ranging from branding, product, price, place, promotion, and marketing information systems. Following Borg’s keynote, he will be signing his book Music Marketing For The DIY Musician at the Berklee Bookstore.
There has never been a greater need for practical DIY marketing advice from a musician who has been there and succeeded than now – at a time when new technologies make it more possible than ever for musicians to attract attention independently and leverage their own careers, and record industry professionals look exclusively for developed artists who are already successful.
Written by a professional musician for other musicians, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician is a proactive, practical, step-by-step guide to producing a fully integrated, customized, low-budget plan of attack for artists marketing their own music. In a conversational tone, it reveals a systematic business approach employing the same tools and techniques used by innovative top companies, while always encouraging musicians to stay true to their artistic integrity. It’s the perfect blend of left-brain and right-brain marketing.
This book is the culmination of the author’s 25 years in the trenches as a musician and entrepreneur, and over a decade in academic and practical research involving thousands of independent artists and marketing experts from around the world. The goal is to help musical artists take control of their own destiny, save money and time, and eventually draw the full attention of top music industry professionals. It’s ultimately about making music that matters – and music that gets heard!
10 Tips for Creating Persuasive Music Marketing Content
Direct marketing is the process of bypassing intermediaries to communicate directly with fans, build awareness, and generate sales. Here are ten tips that can help you create music marketing content that sells.
Direct marketing is the process of bypassing intermediaries to communicate directly with fans, build awareness, and generate sales. Emailing tour dates, texting announcements about contests, and posting website links to your fund raisers are all direct marketing methods. Even phoning reminders about your show and mailing postcards about your record release are methods of direct marketing. In all cases, the most important ingredient needed to ensure success is persuasive content. As they say, “Content is king.” Here are ten tips that can help you create music marketing content that sells.
1. Say the most important things first
The first line of any correspondence is always the most important and establishes whether your intended audience will even pay attention. Begin your marketing messages by stating who you are, then announce the most compelling service/feature/event you are promoting. Finding an interesting hook or question that gets your target customers’ attention and draws them in is a good approach to sparking interest in your message.
2. Provide detailed information
You will hold your customers’ interest and help them decide to do business with you (i.e., donate to your campaign, come out to your show, buy your new CD, etc.) by highlighting your key selling points. It’s not enough to explain where you are playing and when: tell your audience “why” they should get in their car and come to your show. In other words, explain what’s in it for them.
3. Use attractive graphics
If the direct marketing method you’re using calls for it, use an attractive graphic that shows off your product or service, or that otherwise intrigues the viewer. Your album cover, your beautiful studio, a great live shot, or your fans beating each other up in the mosh pit are all possibilities. Whatever you use, just be sure your graphic matches your headline and promotion.
4. Include your logo and slogan
Whenever possible, include your band logo and slogan (sometimes called a “tagline”) at the bottom of end of your correspondence. Doing this can help build brand image and increase your brand recognition, which are known to lead to repeated sales.
5. Include a call to action
In any marketing communication, get your fans to act by including a polite command (aka “call to action). For instance: “To RSVP for the show and exclusive after-party, be sure to contact www.example.com/JulyParty while tickets last.” Remember the whole purpose of direct marketing is to get your fans to do something. Make it clear what it is you want them to do.
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From hiring a songwriting consultant to getting a sound man for your live performances, what follows are seven ways to spend your money to enhance your music career.
Most indie artists don’t have a lot of money in the bank, but if you’re going to spend your valuable savings or that money you raised crowd funding, there may be alternative (i.e. less obvious) investments you can make to enhance your music career. From hiring a songwriting consultant to getting a sound man for your live performances, what follows are seven ways to spend your money when you’ve got money to spend.
1. Songwriting consultant
Just because you can play guitar does not mean you can write a well-crafted song. Songwriting is a skill all its own that takes years of practice to perfect. A seasoned songwriting consultant can offer objective advice about your songs and improve them significantly. It makes no sense to spend zero dollars on the most important aspect of your music career—your songs—and hundreds (or thousands) of dollars recording and promoting your music.
Trust me on this one, if you don’t have undeniably great songs, it’s over before it begins. People like Robin Frederick and Jason Blume are just two people off the top of my head who may be available to work with you—in person or via the Internet. Check them out.
2. Focus group marketing
Some of the most important people related to the success of your career are the very people to whom you are trying to appeal: your fans. Yet, it surprises me how most bands don’t spend the time or money to conduct research and get feedback from them. By rounding up two groups of 30 people, inviting them to your rehearsal studio, serving pizza and drinks, performing sets of your music, and having your fans discuss/rate your songs (or sound, stage presence, look, etc.), you’ll produce some important information that can help save you a great deal of time and money in the long run. My band did this when planning a recording project and it worked great—we played 15 of our songs and let the fans pick the compositions they wanted on our record. After all, if it’s the fans who you are trying to satisfy with your music, doesn’t it make sense to see what they think before spending thousands recording your EP?
3. Photographer and stylist
Anyone with a camera phone and mirror in their bedroom can think they are a photographer or stylist. While camera phones are quite impressive these days, an experienced pro who has access to amazing locations, knows how to arrange a shot, understands proper lighting, knows about hair and make-up, and understands fashion can give your band the visual edge it needs. Look, if they say that a picture is really worth a thousand words, and you agree with this statement, then why not spend at least that much in getting some really professional photos done? Your brand depends on it.
4. Graphic designer
Your band’s logo serves as the stamp of your brand. It is what is put on your drummer’s bass drum heads, your banners, your road cases, your mercy, and it even becomes your tattoos. While you might feel fairly confident playing around with Photoshop yourself, an experienced pro can really make a difference. Hire someone who has an outstanding portfolio of band logos and several years of experience to back it up. Remember, you want to have a bad-ass logo that can become part of that bad-ass T-shirt that people will gladly be willing to pay $15 to take home. So let the pros do your logo and design.
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Coming soon from Hal Leonard Books: The Future of the Music Business: How to Succeed with New Digital Technologies, Fourth Edition by Steve Gordon!
New technologies are revolutionizing the music business. While these changes may be smashing traditional business models and creating havoc among the major record companies, they are also providing new opportunities for unsigned artists, independent labels, and music business entrepreneurs.
The Future of the Music Business provides a legal and business road map for success in today’s music business, including licensing and laws governing the online distribution of music and video. The book also provides practical tips for:
- Selling music online
- Using blogs and social networks
- Developing an online record company
- Creating an internet radio station
- Opening an online music store
- Raising money for recording projects online
- Creating a hit song in the digital age
- Taking advantage of wireless technologies
- And much more
This revised fourth edition is the most up-to-date and thorough examination of current trends and offer special sections on:
- What to do if someone steals your song
- Protecting the name of your band or label
- How to find a music lawyer to shop your music
- How to land a deal with an indie or a major label
The accompanying DVD-ROM includes interviews with some of today’s most informed professionals working in the music business.