Twitter makes it all happen. More Deadmau5 stuff.

by Mrs. Gunn

Reblogged from PandoDaily on March 19, 2012.


edited for content. click on link to see videos.


How Coldcalling Deadmau5 On Twitter Earned One Artist His Big Break


 When I hear anyone talking about “the power of social media”, my brain immediately flips to thoughts of self-appointed gurus with  titles like “Twitter Ninja” or “Friendster Rockstar”. I can’t help it. It’s pretty much pavlovian at this point.

In this case, it really is a story of the power of social media — or really, how the Internet, a Twitter account, and a whole lot of skill and luck has earned one guy his big shot with one of the biggest artists in the world.

This past weekend, the hugely-popular electronica artist deadmau5 (pronounced “dead mouse”, not “dead-mow-5″) started working on a new track called “The Veldt”, inspired by Ray Bradbury’s 1950s short story of the same name.

Rather than locking himself away from the world for days to return with a new track in hand, however, deadmau5 introduced a bit of a twist to his workflow: he’d stream it all live. Every glorious minute of the process, from the sampling of the audio (including using the sound of him clapping on his own bare bum as one of the tracks) to the surprise attacks by his cat Professor Meowington (a cat with more Facebook fans than most bands), would be streamed to anyone who cared to watch.

As the track came together, deadmau5 mentioned that he’d need to start figuring out what to do for the vocal track soon — and that’s when things started to get really, really cool.

Having been watching the stream throughout and wishing he could be a part of it, up-and-coming house producer Chris James took the mention of vocals as a challenge. After tying together bits and pieces from the stream with working samples that had been released throughout the weekend, James came up with lyrics (also inspired by the short story) and began laying his tracks on top of deadmau5′ work.

He finished up, exported, and, on a whim, sent it off to deadmau5 via Twitter:

@deadmau5 did some unique shoegaze-ish vocals over “The Veldt” based on the story. Hope you enjoy…

— Chris James (@ChrisJOffical) March 18, 2012

and… nothing happened.

At least at first. Assuming that it was more of the same junk that people cold called him with all the time, deadmau5 mentioned the tweet but didn’t click through. After some assurance from the fans watching back at home that he should give it a listen, he loaded it up. The next tweet he sent:

@ChrisJOffical DUDE… YOU  KIDDING ME???? #%#$$!

— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) March 18, 2012

deadmau5 moved to make Chris’ vocals a part of the official track almost immediately, pausing only to listen to Chris’ vocalized mix a few more times.

Within minutes, he had Chris on the phone. Within hours, deadmau5 had pulled his manager and Chris together on speakerphone — while still live on the stream — to work out the finer details (“I need a second verse; also, can you do 3 stereo stems, with effects on a separate track?”).

One viewer managed to capture the big moment of discovery (Heads up for the folks at work: there’s swearin’ aplenty in here):

For the curious, a number of fans have ripped unfinished renditions of the The Veldt from the stream (complete with Chris’ vocal track beginning around 2 and a half minutes in) and put them up on Youtube, albeit with all the background noise and limited fidelity inherent to ripping audio from a live stream:

Regardless of how you feel about electronic music or even this specific song, you’ve gotta admit: how this all went down is fairly incredible. Armed with nothing but a fistful of talent and a Twitter account, a mostly-unheard-of artist has managed to get his work incorporated into a track by a Grammy-nominated king of his industry. The Internet is wonderful.

[Thanks for the heads up on all of this, Thomas!]



by Mrs. Gunn

Here us a reblog from Deadmau5’s tumblr: edited

some advice on rollercoasters and stuff

Well, since PaulyD and his hair obviously has no need for my advice, let me elaborate pass it along to someone who’s actually serious about music. You probably.

Marketing is such a vile term to me for some reason. In fact, every time i hear it i probably cringe harder than your grandma would if she ever heard the word’. Im serious. And yet, upon surfing the interwebs, and reading articles about me… YEAH I GOOGLE MYSELF. sing it! ‘Everytime i think of you i google mysellllfff….’ *cough*

anyway, i sometimes stumble across these “music marketing” type blogs that are all about “oh his marketing is this and that and he does this and that” and i think it’s only fair to know that im simply following a few simple guidelines really, im no marketing genius… at least not deliberately anyway….well, whatver. let me scribble down some thoughts here.

If youre an artist, youre making music, releasing music, maybe even a hit here and there… you need a few things to cement yourself ‘in’ other than a first and last name and a handful of tracks. Of course youll have your twitter account, facebook, tumblr, etc etc… so you have all these little conduits at your disposal to reach out to your followers, whether its 10 friends, 100 fans, or a epic 1 million plus cult following, it really doesnt matter, it all applies relatively.

1. You need to make a world.

Yes. i know, that was vague… lemme explain. So you have a rollercoaster in your backyard… which is rad. coz everyone loves roller coasters, cept for whiney ppl. and all the people from around your block is gunna wanna come and at LEAST check that out, or ride it. And itll be the hot thing in the neighborhood for about a week. But once everyone’s had a go… they’ll lose interest, go home n play Sega instead. I see this happen to SO many people… its ridicules.

Well, what you need then, is a theme park… and you AND your music are the theme. You with me here? Now, people come into your theme park, and holy , check out all this stuff… buncha rides, no 2 the same, some merch here and there, special events, dolphins through hoops and all that whacky stuff. You want people to come to your theme park and feel like they’re a part of this world of yours.

2. Don’t overkill 900 on the promotional stuff.

I don’t read spammed to death promo stuff, so, the type of people i’d like to have in my theme park don’t either. Nor do i come blaring on the theme parks PA system every 20 seconds hyping the same ride over and over again. Also a bad look to take flyers to other peoples theme parks and start plastering posters all over the place.

3. You are not fictitious. From what i’ve learned, the best way to make a guest in your theme park feel involved or just as much a part of your world as you are is to avoid being invisible. Get out there and immerse yourself in the world you created, youll have fun, it’s your place for hecks sake. If your not having fun in the world you created, then you messed something up and did it wrong. Go jump on a few rides with your fans. Sure there are times when you’ll need a little break here and there. But heck, i had my 7th or 8th birthday at a mcdonalds in niagara falls once. And in my naivety, i honestly and truly believed for a while that Ronald and the Hamburgler would show up. They didnt. and i was bummed, but if they did… man, i woulda been a fan for life. (.) BUT i still do enjoy a qtr pndr w cheese from time to time all the same.

anyway, im not sure whats left in me here, its late, early, whatever, i still havent slept… but the TLDR version is basicly… make an entire experience with your work… not just a name and a piece of work. Make an interesting and unique experience, and the people will want to come to be a part of it. and the rest will just happen naturally. think about it. the experience that is yours will “market” itself.
5 days ago 875 notes


Amanda Palmer’s response to all the hoopla

by Mrs. Gunn

As you may know, she has raised almost a million dollars on Kickstarter, and she still has 10 days to go. This post is a response she to the world, regarding her impetus for this project and quite frankly a comeback to everyone complaining she couldn’t have done it without the label. This letter has been edited for content, and was part of the Lefsetz letter. Bob Lefsetz is an industry insider who writes a blog and sends out his “letter(s)” daily to 20k people +. You can’t find this online because it is from his “mailbag,” which doesn’t get blogged just sent as an email so everyone can see everyone else’s reactions. Thank you Mr. Lefsetz for sharing.


From: Amanda Palmer
Subject: Re: Kickstarter

hey bob

don’t know if you’ve noticed, but yesterday i launched the 30-day kickstarter for my new album, “amanda palmer & the grand theft orchestra”.

at the moment i’m writing this, we’ve reached over $250,000 after only one day of being live. go look:

that’s about $50k MORE than the scheduled recording budget i wouldn’t have been given if i’d stayed on roadrunner…AND WE’RE ONLY ON THE FIRST DAY.
i hope we reach $600k or more by the time we’re done. or a million. who knows? sky’s the limit.

since getting released, i’ve been waiting to put out – on my own terms – a big, legit solo album.
for THREE YEARS i’ve waited….three years of tweaking and agonizing over the perfect online self-release system, the perfect management team.

when i fought to get off roadrunner (my old band the dresden dolls signed in 2004; i tore off and went solo in 2009), my main problem is that they had NO IDEA how to work WITH ME.

they didn’t understand why i didn’t want to spend money and energy on stupid stuff, wasting time where our audience and potential audience WASNT…opening for vapid bands, putting our songs on lame film soundtracks to sub-par horror movies. our audience was too smart for that stuff.

they didn’t understand why i wanted to spend marketing budgets on what they considered “unnecessary” things….like hiring an internet marketing team, building giant web systems to showcase my fans’ art and homemade videos….like spending money and time on the online fan forums.

and i was always told them: “REALLY? you don’t get this? you don’t get why it’s not only important, but why it’s going to MAKE US MONEY? ok heck, we’ll pay for it ourselves.”

so we did. i was happy to spend the money out of our pockets: this stuff OBVIOUSLY had to be done. and we were starting to make money on the road by then.

i remember one freezing chaotic day in minneapolis, on tour with the dolls in 2005….leaving soundcheck, picking up my cell and asking a frantic favor of a friend in new york (the only friend i had who was adult enough to have a checkbook at the ready, i didn’t have one on the road).

my internet marketing guy had called me, freaking. when we’d signed, the label had agreed to cover his monthly fee. now he was expecting an over-due check from the label, had been waiting six weeks, and was about to be evicted from his apartment if he couldn’t get ahold of $1000. i begged my random friend to write out and mail a check it to my internet guy, promising i’d pay her back when i got to new york in a month…so he could pay his rent. i knew better than to call the label. they’d just lie and say they’d cut the check. i’d been through this 12 times already.

a few months later the label told me they wouldn’t cover our internet marketing team AT ALL while we were “between records”. they didn’t think paying someone to run our myspace and fan forums was NECESSARY unless “we had a record actively being worked”.

they didn’t get it. at. all.

they didn’t understand the value staying connected ALL THE TIME, every day, from the road, from the spaces between.

and this was 2005/2006. not the dark ages.

but still….LOST. they didn’t understand why we’d want to put the majority of our resources into connecting with our fans online.

were they on the road with us 300 nights a year? were THEY emailing & chatting online and off with these people EVERY DAY? heck no. but i was. i knew. our fans were all geeks and gays and punks and young weirdos. ALL ONLINE ALL THE TIME. i knew the connected we did throughout the year would result in the sales later.

now, after three years OFF THE LABEL, and after ALL these collected years of talking with fans after every show, twittering daily, staying connected, singing hard, touring constantly, and answering thousands of fan emails….the result?

$250k in a day.


seriously: i can’t imagine why i’d do this any other way.

amanda palmer

p.s. i just finished “strayed” by cheryl strayed and absolutely LOVED IT. thanks for the tip. and now me & cheryl and pals on twitter. amazing internet is amazing.



Case Study: Fleet Foxes

by Mrs. Gunn

Reblogged from Music Think Tank:

Here’s the video they are talking about:

The Viral Power of Fan Communication: A Case Study On Fleet Foxes

It’s always exhilarating finding cases like this that validate the lessons we so often, teach, learn, and debate here on MTT. This story in particular, highlights the power of conscientious direct-to-fan (D2F) communication on the part of Fleet Foxes’ front man, Robin Pecknold.

If Grammy awards were given to artists DIY’ing it each year, Pecknold would win the award for “Outstanding Performance In D2F Communication”. Pecknold’s proclivity for treating fans like friends recently went viral when a fan of his enthusiastically wrote the following post on reddit:

Within 24 hours, over 350 comments, 8000 votes, 30,000 pageviews, and 360,000 image views on Imgur brought Pecknold’s appreciative fan’s post to the famous front-page of reddit.  The same front-page that has spawned rallies and movements, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sent memes to the peaks of viral success, was now shining the spotlight on a concept that too many artists fail to grasp: the importance of treating and talking to your fans like they’re good friends.

For some artists the conscientious communication and befriending process is easier said than done, but for Pecknold it’s second nature. Check out the YouTube comment that started it all to get an idea of the ease and attention to detail that Pecknold exhibits when speaking to his fans.


Aside from the video’s views skyrocketing from 864 views to over 12,000 in 24 hours, we witnessed an outpouring of thumbs-ups and positive reactions to Pecknold’s comment.


To boot, here’s a handful of tweets (click to enlarge) that Pecknold and the same fan have exchanged over the past few months:

You’ll even notice that Pecknold is replying to some of these tweets via the Twitter app on his iPhone, and communicating with fans via AIM.  This demonstrates that even while Pecknold is out on the raod, no doubt busy and bombarded with distractions, he manages to stay connected to his fans at all times.

So the takeaway lesson from all of this is simple, and it’s something you should remind yourself everyday as an artist or manager:

Actively establishing fan communication channels + Responding and engaging conscientiously = Healthy, trusting, profitable fan relationships + Viral growth

In the end, this means a long and successful career doing what you love with the support of your faithful tribe.


Alex Hoffman is the Director of Artist Services at Grooveshark.  He is currently focused on launching a robust artist platform within Grooveshark and developing new products and partnerhsips that drive value for artists, labels, and management. 


Case Study: Pomplamoose

by Mrs. Gunn

A video from the Tech Crunch Website at:

Keen On… Pomplamoose: How Nataly And Jack Are Reinventing The Music Business (TCTV)


Case Study: Jon Gomm

by Mrs. Gunn

Got famous when Stephen Fry tweeted “wow” with a link to his video. 


Time Article Incites Red Hot Blogosphere Reaction

by Mrs. Gunn

I’m not the most knowledgable person about the music industry. But when I see something interesting, I reblog it here – because it’s just too interesting to ignore. And so here is this week’s highlight:

Time Article from 1/24/12:

Want to Be a Rock Star? You’ll Need $100,000,28804,2094921_2094923,00.html

The first reaction 1/26/12:

Another reaction 1/26/12:,68355/

One angry reaction from a dude: (warning: explicit)

And then, the icing on the cake, Bob Lefsetz names them the Time Magazine Band:

Perhaps they should add some synths and go into the pop genre if they want to get famous. I bet they would get some noteriety if they stuck to their roots in Portland.  Who ever said the music industry made money? Didn’t Lady Gaga just declare bankruptcy? 


Pretty Lights has success with freebies

by Mrs. Gunn

From Hypebot:



(UPDATED) Guest post by Michael Fiebach (@mfiebach), founder of Fame House, who coordinated a unique partnership between indie artist Pretty Lightsand BitTorrent to release a customized media bundle. 

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 9.30.55 PMWhen Pretty Lights reached out to me to work with him, I got so excited because I knew I would have the ability to be creative from a marketing and business perspective. PL gives ALL of his music away for free, and answers to exactly 0 people (no label) about how / when / or why to release his music. What was the first thought that popped into my head for potential collaborations for spreading his music beyond his already massive & die-hard fan base? Bit Torrent.


The CampaignHere’s a question: What digital media download service has access to hundreds of millions of people, who are extremely engaged in the content available through that network? That would be Bit Torrent (and U Torrent, which is essentially the same thing, just a separate approach from a branding perspective). If PL is giving away music for free already; and essentially ONLY utilizes his site to do so, why not break down the barriers of access?

  • Put every track he has available on SoundCloud as a free stream – want the download? OK, to go to the website.
  • Put every track available on a Mobile Roadie application (iPhone versionavailable now, Android coming soon) for free streaming anywhere and everywhere – want the download? OK, go to his website.
  • Make a download bundle of his 3 popular EPs (“Glowing in The Darkest Night,” “Making Up A Changing Mind,” and “Spilling Over Every Side”) + his newest single “I Know The Truth,” and a video from his Bonnaroo Show, then distribute those assets to 4 million people in 2 monthsincrease email sign ups by 60,000+ peopleincrease web traffic by 700%, and Facebook Likes by 30,000+?
  • BitTorrent… check.

And now the power of PL’s music-for-free model has just increased by A LOT.

The PL Bit Torrent Bundle was, and still is (as of this writing), featured on the Bit Torrent website:


The bundle was additionally an opt-in inclusion for anyone who downloaded the Bit Torrent software:


The Results

Millions of downloads in a short time period = top of Pirate Bay’s overall downloads section, and Audio section for over a month (as of this writing, it’s actually still up there):


I picked up the phone and called Red Light Management (manager for PL) as soon as I saw that the BitTorrent bundle had hit #1 on Pirate Bay. Think of Pirate Bay as the underground / music pirate’s version of the Billboard Top 100. In fact, I would say the Pirate Bay’s Top 100 might be the BEST indication of what digital content is reaching the masses on the Internet, because it includes the metrics for the millions of people “illegally” downloading content; and those top downloaded items are fairly similar to the top audio, TV, and movie downloads on iTunes and other “legal” paid services.

UPDATE: As of 1/22/12, The Pretty Lights / BitTorrent media bundle has surpassed 6 million downloads worldwide.

Randy Reed, PL’s manager, put it perfectly:

“Here we are celebrating hitting #1 on Pirate Bay, while major labels would be kicking, cursing, and sending take-down notices.”

The Reaction

Hitting #1 on Pirate Bay lead to reactions such as:

…and then ushered in more downloads.


Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 10.10.12 PM

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 10.11.27 PM

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 10.13.14 PM

The Metrics

Effect of BitTorrent Promotion on PL web traffic:


Then the promotion went down for a bit…

Then BitTorrent loved PL so much, they re-ignited it:


PL is HUGE in the US, but we are definitely working on spreading his name to other countries, and this promotion certainly helped.

Last month and a half, traffic to

Screen shot 2012-01-19 at 7.31.13 PM
…compare to the previous month and a half period:

Screen shot 2012-01-19 at 7.32.44 PM
Traffic from sources overseas also saw massive spikes, as BitTorrent has a large user-base in Europe.

Soundcloud plays (each spike represents when the promotion went live, twice):

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 10.16.55 PM

…and YouTube:

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 10.18.03 PMNextBigSound Big Picture Data:

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 10.19.15 PM
Some Press:

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 10.20.42 PM

Screen shot 2012-01-18 at 10.20.50 PM 


My co-worker, and frequent Hypebot contributor Hisham Dahud, put it well when he said Pretty Lights’ business model is “embracing the chaos” of the current state of the music industry. And the ever-apparent, and frequently asked question is “well, how does he make money if he gives all of his music away for free?

Take a look at this video and see if you can answer for yourself how Pretty Lights is one of the biggest and fastest growing acts in the electronic dance music scene, and how he monetizes his business while giving all of his music away for free:

And then check out this video and see if you can guess how he creates multiple revenue streams:

…and finally check out his webstore.

If you haven’t answered the question yet, you’re stupid… just kidding.

Big buzz in a specific geographic region (Denver) among college kids, pursuant to great live shows and free music… leads to free great music to larger and larger audiences as time goes on… leads to more shows in more places =massive distribution of a FREE valuable product = increasing interest = $ for shows = $ for merch, then at a certain level = $ from brands.

Bob Lefsetz said it perfectly:

“Just because you give away your main product for free does not mean you can’t make money. We live in an attention economy, your biggest chore is getting people to listen, not to pay for your music.”

Selling music?  Who cares anymore?

– Michael Fiebach (@mfiebach), Founder of Fame House LLC

Working with Randy Reed and Adam Foley of Red Light Management

MORE: Pretty Lights & BitTorrent Release Free Media Bundle

Disclosure: In addition to writing for Hypebot, Hisham Dahud is also employed by Fame House.


Moonlight Social – Case Study

by Mrs. Gunn

Moonlight Social is a band 9 months young, and has received a lot of attention recently for winning an award at SXSW as well as beating 100 bands in an Austin City battle of the bands. Their two person band has a rock/country feel, and they are completely DIY. They recently raised $15,000 on Kickstarter to create their first album.

The band consists of Jeremy Burchard and Jennica Scott. Jeremy just recently graduated from University of Texas with a major in writing and rhetoric and a minor in audio engineering. He was involved in GRAMMY U as an undergrad – an organization made up of college students looking to work and network in the music industry. That and his two internships at a record label and recording studio gave him the experience, knowledge, and contacts to be able to DIY. He recorded their first EP with his own equipment.

Below is an article from Hypebot about his DIY strategies and philosophies.



Indie Artists Moonlight Social on Kickstarter, DIY, & The New Music Industry

Up-and-coming Texas band Moonlight Social, has achieved a lot for a group that formed 10 months ago and has only released a single EP. They performed at SXSWselected by 9-time Grammy winner, Ray Benson and won a Grammy-sponsored showcase. The band also won the 2011 Austin Chronicle Sound Wars, beating 100 local bands.

Moonlight Social consists of Jeremy Burchard and Jennica Scott. Their music can be described as a mix of rock and country.

I recently interviewed Jeremy, guitarist and vocalist, of Moonlight Social on the band’s Kickstarter campaign, DIY, and things pertaining to the new music industry.

Natalie: Your band, Moonlight Social, recently started a campaign on Kickstarter. How is that campaign going so far and what do you hope to accomplish?

Jeremy: It’s going swimmingly! We set a goal of $15,000, knowing that after paying the Kickstarter and Amazon fees (5% and 3-5% accordingly) we could come out with about $13,500 if we hit our mark and that was almost exactly what the minimum budget would’ve been to make the album we wanted to make. We set a deadline of about 35 days, since longer campaigns reportedly don’t do as well and we actually needed the funding before January 1st. We weren’t positive if it’d work out or not, because that’s a lot of money to ask from people, but we hit the goal within the first 5 days, thanks in large part to larger donations. Now it’s exciting because the more we raise, the more freedom we have to really make this album incredible by hiring great studio musicians, doing custom art direction, getting it mastered at a great studio – stuff like that. Ultimately, we wanted to create excitement for this album by letting our fans know that they are directly contributing to its development and success. We want this to be in as many headphones and car speakers as possible!

Natalie: Why did the band decide to stay independent and what do you think of the music labels currently?

Jeremy: We decided to stay independent for the time being because that was the best decision for us. We sat down with our lawyer, who is really more like a friend at this point, and talked about the options. For where we are right now, it makes just as much sense to build our team and keep pushing things independent of a contract. For this album specifically, it allows us to record what we want to record, where we want to record it, and who we want to record it with. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to end up on a label. We certainly do. There are tons of great labels out there that understand the changing dynamic between what they offer bands and what bands offer in return. But at the core of it, there’s nothing magical about a label. It still all comes back to the product and if you offer something people want to hear. We’re building our fan base and building our name, and that’s important regardless of whether or not you’re on a label. We realized that the more we keep surrounding ourselves with inspiring, hard-working people, the more likely we are to be in a position that we don’t need a label. That’s when the labels with a great reputation for understanding the artists come knocking. With the help of our fans, we’re creating opportunities for ourselves so that more opportunities may come down the road.

Natalie: As a DIY band, what challenges have you faced? Any tips to other DIY artists?

Jeremy: Oh my. Well for starters, “do it yourself,” REALLY means you do it yourself! But, there are also varying degrees because nobody does it ALL by themselves. What it really means is deciding what your strengths are as a band, and where you know you could use help. For instance, we made our debut EP on a budget of $150 – all of which went to mastering because I have a background in engineering, have enough equipment, and wanted to take on the project independent of other people. We’re also pretty adept at the social media landscape, and I had a little experience putting together websites from prior internships. Booking shows is just a matter of networking and the right combination of phone calls and emails. We have photography friends who took pictures for us and I was able to secure a few hours of guidance from a PR firm and an entertainment lawyer (now our full-time lawyer) after bidding on the package at a local Recording Academy holiday party. However, we needed help getting our stuff out to blogs and other outlets for press and review and the “DIY” aspect of that comes down to you doing your own research and finding out where your music will fit in best. Really, this whole experience is a product of completely dropping your ego and learning every last thing you can from anybody kind and experienced enough to help. “DIY” doesn’t necessarily mean “free,” but be sure to utilize everything that is free. Reverbnation, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – the currency of the working artist is email addresses. Offer fans something interesting for email addresses, manage them well, and then send out emails when there’s something you really want your fans to know. Besides learning as much as you possibly can, the key to being DIY is not being afraid to ask for favors and offer whatever you can in return. You’ll be surprised how willing your friends are to help sell CD’s and merch at shows, put up fliers, talk to any contacts they have, etc. As a rule of thumb, if somebody wants to help us, I’ll be extremely grateful and say “yes” regardless if I think it’ll come through or not. Hundreds of people have said they’re going to do this or that for us. And I say “thanks, that’s amazing of you!” with a smile to everyone. How many come through? Certainly more than if I would’ve said “no thanks.”

Natalie: With the changes in the music industry, how are you connecting with fans and growing your fanbase?

Jeremy: Social media is huge, no question about it, but it shouldn’t be the only way you connect with people. Connect with them personally at shows. The day of the “mysterious artist” isn’t gone, but when you’re starting out making fans, it does a hell of a lot more to be approachable and relatable. Fans want to be a part of something. Let them know they are. As far as growing fans, every possible way you can get coverage on Internet radio or blogs is helpful. We went through A&R Select for some stuff. It’s been decent, but we’ve outgrown it. Still, it’s a model exemplifying how important it is to spread your music. We’ve offered free music for “likes” and whatnot. With the Kickstarter campaign, we’ve actually seen donations from new fans almost as much as donations from old fans and friends based on the fact that we’re offering something intimate. One thing we love to do is take suggestions on songs to cover at a show. For an upstart DIY band, it’s a realistic way to connect with fans. Down the road it may not be as simple, but the idea that you actively listen to your fans is what you’re really after. I always take a moment to handwrite a note to any place that’s given us coverage or radio play. I’ve also always made a point to thank and talk to every sound engineer or festival organizer on a personal level. Why? Because they’re fans too, just like I’m a fan, and they often deal in rather thankless positions. The industry is so wide open nowadays that artists have such great access to both their fans and big players in the industry. Let them know you appreciate them, and you’ll be a part of the successful minority.

Natalie: What do you think of social media: Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

Jeremy: I think it’s an incredible way to mobilize and connect with fans, but it’s not an end, it’s a means. You can be proactive and get 1,000 likes or followers in a month and still only play a show in front of 15 people. Yes, “likes” and “followers” are another form of currency for DIY bands, but it’s what you do with them that really counts. Be active on your Facebook and Twitter accounts and offer reasons for your fans to pay attention. We haven’t put much emphasis on Twitter, and we really should. Facebook has been a slow process. We’ve played to crowds bigger than our “like” count, but they’ll come. It’s a natural process as long as you offer something to people for visiting, such as updates and news. We’ve always used social media as a way to drive people to the website. That may change down the road and we may use social media as a more immediate means of contacting fans and leave the big stuff to the website. But regardless, we’ve always felt social media should subsidize your outreach efforts — not the other way around.

Natalie: With your involvement in SXSW, what have you learned and what trends do you see for the future of the music business?

Jeremy: My involvement with SXSW had a lot more to do with the technical aspects of things – stage sound, logistics, etc. But, I did organize a SXSW street team for a new music app that taught me a LOT about the music business. First of all, there’s no doubt the music business is supersaturated. And yet, even though it’s packed to the brim with artists, companies, apps, and business models, new ones enter the market every year, and SOMEWHERE there’s a desire for it. The bands and companies that find their audience are the ones that have success. Many times, that’s why they’ll head to SXSW. It does break my heart to see these small bands on an independent label that save up $14,000 to make the trip to Austin thinking they’re going to play a SXSW showcase, be discovered, and take off. Could it happen? Sure. But, you’re much better off spending that money and effort on controlling your region and finding your crowd. For Moonlight Social, we know that having a hold on Central Texas is important. We’re building our name in Central Texas and letting it spread. Luckily, we’re where SXSW is, but at the same time, we’re not saving up thousands of dollars to drive and do a showcase in New York. New York will come. For now, we’re dealing with Texas. Knowing who you want to reach is a huge part of the music business right now. The other thing I learned from working with and around SXSW is that innovation is everywhere — and your band needs to be a part of it. Embrace new concepts and ways to reach fans. Moonlight Social is going to be one of the spotlighted independent bands for the upstart app AudioVroom. We’re going to have our own profile so people can check out music related to us and we’re going to have a great new way to connect with fans. Us little guys are all trying to get somewhere. So why not get there together? Carpooling saves on gas!

Natalie: How do you discover new music?

Jeremy: Live shows is a great way! (Especially when we’re booked on a bill with somebody.) I love finding a cool new band because we’re playing a show with them. I also do use AudioVroom like I mentioned before. I’ll always check out other bands that get coverage in the same blogs and stuff we do. Radio is still very viable, especially in Austin. And of course, friend referrals. I can always count on Jennica (the other half of Moonlight Social) to stay up-to-date with new Texas music. Also, people love finding out other people love what they love. So if you love a young band (like us!), do them a favor and tell your friends! Music is both very personal and very communal. How cool is that!?

Natalie: What do you think of streaming services like Spotify?

Jeremy: Well, first of all I think Spotify is miles above the content stealing that was more prevalent in the mid-2000s, but I have differing opinions. I’ve used most of the various streaming services and found I generally respect the ones that help people discover music more. Yes, Spotify is convenient if you’re looking for that one particular song, but the business model still doesn’t pay artists nearly enough (we get .1 cents per stream – that’s 6,000 streams to make up the cost of a fan buying one EP). I could see Spotify compensating for that loss by making it incredibly easy for fans to also buy the album, merch, tickets to shows, and other ways that actually benefit the artist. But, people aren’t interacting with artists via Spotify and they’re not really discovering new artists so it doesn’t do much for the little guys. I think there’s definitely a place for them and that they’re an integral part of the new model, but it’s a little overblown. They aren’t revolutionizing the industry as much as some people hype – iTunes and the singles market revolutionized the industry. But, if a streaming service helps artists and fans interact and presents another avenue for fans to discover new music, well that would be quite beneficial.

Natalie: Do you think that artists should be giving away their music for free?

Jeremy: It should be up to them. But, in general, I don’t think you should undervalue the effort that goes into the music. It’s not just the artist, either. It’s everybody behind the artist, including engineers, producers, designers, etc. These people make their livelihoods by working on these projects. If it’s free, they have to start charging more upfront costs because they don’t get any back-end points. Yeah, the majority of income for an artist comes from merchandise and live shows, but it’s about more than just the artist. Of course, I presume this is talking just about electronic versions as well. Giving away the electronic version leads to a decline in physical sales, which is kind of a shame because it takes away from one of the most wholesome experiences of life — unwrapping that new CD and popping it in your CD player. People still buy and prefer CD’s, regardless of the ease of digital music. I’m afraid the idea of artists giving away digital versions of their music may be too tempting and really lead to a decline in the physical product. Some of the exciting things to see have been the “pay what you want” model showcased by a few bands and other cool ideas, but those are mostly done by bands with huge fan bases and a great history of physical sales (Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, etc.). But like I said, as long as it’s the artist’s decision to give away their music and not a peer-to-peer service, well, this is America! Giving away a song or two as a part of a promotional deal is great and has worked for us, but the idea that media like music and movies should be free is really disappointing to me. Maybe you shouldn’t expect to pay for dine-in refills and parking on Sunday, but you should expect to pay for your music and movies. It sounds and looks better when you do. Try it!

Natalie: What are your long-term goals for the band?

Jeremy: We’d love to be nominated for a GRAMMY and be able to play our music all over the world, but those are just kind of by-products of the real goal, which is connecting with as many people as possible. Everybody has their own parameters for “success.” I’ve always personally believed that if you make enough money to play music as a living and call it your day job, then you’re pretty successful. But, for us it’s about having people hear the music. We make music we like, and we love the fact that other people like it as well. When we’re in the position to be able to play all around the world, that will be a pretty awesome thing. The most incredible thing to hear is when a fan comes up to you and says a song has helped them get through a tough time, or it “speaks” to them. It feeds you and inspires you even more. The accolades and peer recognition that follow are just icing on the cake.

To learn more about Moonlight Social, visit their website.

Hypebot contributor Natalie Cheng (@ncswim881) is the Music Think TankCommunity Manager. She is also a cellist and is working toward becoming a music marketer. (




Ray LaMontagne Case Study

by Mrs. Gunn

Case Study:

Ray LaMontagne

In 1999, Ray LaMontagne quit his day job to pursue singing and songwriting as a career. He literally holed up and practiced. After a few failed gigs, he sought a vocal coach, and that’s when his career took off. Though still popular, his popularity most likely peaked at the Bonaroo Fest where he broke out in 2005. A disdain for media and his own  artististic integrity keep him honest to himself. He currently lives on a farm in Maine with his wife and two children.

His website:

From WikiPedia:

LaMontagne was inspired to quit his job and start a career as a singer-songwriter after listening to Stephen Stills‘ song “Treetop Flyer” and the album Stills Alone. [9][10] He began performing in 1999, while maintaining a part time job as a tutor.[9] In the summer of 1999, LaMontagne recorded 10 songs for a demo album that he sent to various local music venues including Maine’s Oddfellow Theater, who hired him as the opening act for John Gorka and Jonathan Edwards. A business executive introduced him to Chrysalis Music Publishing who recorded LaMontagne’s first album, and sold it to RCA Records in the USA and Echo Records in the UK[11]

In 2004 LaMontagne recorded his album Trouble with producer Ethan Johns and released it on RCA Records. The album featured performances by Sara Watkins and Stephen Stills‘ daughter, Jennifer.[12] The album sold over 250,000 copies in the USA and 500,000 worldwide.[13][14][4] During a 2005 tour, LaMontagne performed on the TV show Austin City Limits.[15]

An EP of LaMontagne’s performance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival was released in 2005 and his song “All the Wild Horses” was part of the soundtrack for the TV series Rescue Me and the 2009 film The Boys Are Back. His song “Trouble” appeared in the TV series Alias and his song “Jolene” was heard in the 2010 film The Town. His song “Hold You in My Arms” was featured in the 2006 movie, She’s The Man.[16]

In 2005, he performed at two charity events, a NYC fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and at the “Warren Haynes Christmas Jam”.[17] [18]