Musician’s Guide to Automating Social Media

by Mrs. Gunn

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, oh my! Nobody should have to keep up with it all. Some people look at Twitter, some people are just on Facebook, some just text, some use YouTube, some only talk face to face. But they all want to know when you’re playing. How do you get the word to all these places without having to update each thing individually?

For instance, I’d like to put my shows into one place, and then have that automatically propogate to my website, blog, twitter, myspace, and FB both in calendar format and as an update on the date I perform. I can never remember to put it on FB. Currently I do this through Artist Data, but am open to suggestions.

If I put a video up on YouTube, I’d like to alert the FB and Twitter, but not duplicate. If I put a new song on Soundcloud, I’d like people on my Twitter and FB to know that it’s there, but not have to update each individually. There are a lot of services that want to help you with it, but nobody does it all; you really just have to set it up yourself. This is not advocating farming out your twitter!  Like I said, this is just designed to make it easier to keep up with it all, it’s not supposed to take the place of real human interaction, etc. There are some who would say that the auto updates make your profile look spammy. I don’t have access to FB and Twitter during the day, so it’s nice to be able to let Artistdata do it for me. There is a certain amount of balance to consider. The automation is mostly for the little stuff – like blog updates, shows added, new songs added, new videos, etc. Just stuff I wouldn’t want o have to repost everywhere.

Basically, have it all feed into Twitter, then have Twitter feed everything else, so it doesn’t get duplicated. Notice you can still add stuff to your Soundcloud, or Tumblr, or Myspace, or FB, and then it will all automatically go to everywhere else. Personally I would like to be able to update my FB but not have that go to Twitter. FB is personal, Twitter is more industry oriented. You just have to go into the settings for each service to do this.

UPDATE: Another option I just discovered: PING.FM

You can update all your social networks at once with this. However, it’s not really geared toward musicians. No soundcloud, artistdata, reverbnation,  etc. So I still recommend going the old fashioned way and having it all go through Twitter.


What do you think? Comment below! How do you manage your social media?  


New Music Format – what do you think?

by Mrs. Gunn






From Music Think Tank Blog:


This contribution is by Bas Grasmayer (@Spartz), head of information strategy at Zvooqthe leading music-streaming platform in Russia & CIS.

Recently music industry analyst Mark Mulligan presented his plea for a serious adoption of a new music format. He claims that most new business model ideas in the music business are retail innovations, but not format innovations. In short, he argues that the new music format should be Dynamic, Interactive, Social and Curated (DISC). For the full vision, check out his speech at midem 2012, or read his full 15-page ‘manifesto for the next generation of music products’.

In my thesis about marketing music through non-linear communication, I wrote a case-study about a record label called Twisted Music and their remarkable adoption of an excellent business mentality for the digital age.

Like the last time, I was pleasantly surprised when I, along with countless other fans who subscribed to their newsletter (many through download-vs-email tools), got an invitation to a product development survey. I wasn’t excited because I was invited to fill in yet another survey, but because it shows they’ve taken their biz saviness to the next level, exactly according to Mulligan’s DISC-formula:

Twisted Music is very excited to announce that we are designing a mobile phone and web based app that we hope will revolutionise the way Twisted fans explore their music and we want your advice to make it right. We told fans about this about a year ago, and since then it’s snowballed into a monster app but its now ready for coding.

Below is a list of the Twisted apps key features:

– Unlimited access to the entire Twisted library of music… past, present and future. Stream tracks to your phone and store them in the app for free.

– Create playlists and share them as streamable Facebook/social media widgets.

– ALL new Twisted album releases, remixes etc pushed to your handset a month before release ( in 2012-13 this will include Shpongle 5 , Younger Brother , Prometheus and more), there will be a guarantee of four albums per year as well as loads of monthly extras.

– Subscriber only content pushed to your handset every month such as artist mixes, remixes and singles.

– View all artwork, including all pages of CD booklets as full HD scrollable images.

– Interact with other Twisted fans on a Twisted community world map – chat, share music, playlists and a find other fans realtime locations.

– All songs, albums, images and gigs can be commented on.

– See all gigs past, present and future on the Twisted world map:

Past gigs: show Twisted official footage of individual gigs as well as fan uploaded video of individual shows. 

Present gigs: shows a live stream of any Twisted artist performing right now. 

Future gigs: gives you details of an upcoming show and lets you make an in-app purchase of a ticket at a subscriber rate.

– Receive live mixes of Twisted artist gigs pushed to you handset the day after the show.

 – Create your own bespoke T-shirts, posters etc from any imagery within the app.”

Through the survey they poll whether people are interested in the features, if they’re prepared to pay about $3.50 per month, what type of phone they own and whether they have a credit card or PayPal.

It’s a terrific example of smart product development and bringing out the inner-‘selfish consumer’ in fans. That means: giving them something so great, that they will spend money on it for themselves; as opposed to selling what you want them to buy (and treating your creativity like a charity by getting fans to buy your music merely “to support their favourite band” – a much weaker sales proposition). I’m not saying people won’t buy music to support the bands they like, but it’s much more powerful to develop and sell something that even the most selfish person in the world would buy. It’s a stronger offer and the fans that would buy your music anyway will love you for offering such a cool product or service (note: giving people a great reason to buy is also way of connecting with fans).

So what is great about this App model:

  • Connection: by creating this kind of walled garden, you create a great opportunity for yourself as an artist or label to connect to your most hardcore fans. Not only that; you connect fans with each other. Which is one of the most important steps in building a movement which can become an ecosystem to sustain your business and creativity.
  • Lock-in & steady monthly revenue: by providing fans features like these through a subscription-model, you’ll be guaranteed a certain amount of monthly income which depends more on the overall quality of features & releases than the (hard-to-predict) hype around any one particular release as would be the case in a sales-model. If your features and content live up to users’ expectations, the mental effort to unsubscribe will be higher than to stay subscribed… Besides that, unsubscribing means waiving your access to all of the content, so that creates a kind of lock-in effect, similar to a lot of digital subscriptions. It’s a little like canceling your subscription to a print magazine and losing access to all previously received magazine editions immediately.
  • The package is the product: in my thesis I argued that music itself is not a product and I recently wrote a detailed post underlining that (similar to Jeff Macdougall’s rant on Hypebot a year ago). People pay for the content indirectly, by making a direct payment for its package: a CD, MP3, subscription service, ticket to a live experience etc. This kind of app with these features is an amazing package for most fans, especially for the hardcore ones. Due to them being the most hardcore ones, I’m also skeptical that this app would lead to (*incoming buzzword alert*) ‘sales cannibalization’. If executed properly, the increased connection would actually lead to more sales of physical as well as digital.

Remember! One size does not fit all!

Different hats for different people. This specific model will not work for all labels or artists. What makes this work for Twisted Music is that they’re trend-setters within a specific niche of related genres. The fanbases of the different artists on their label often have a huge overlap, sometimes as much as 90%, I reckon. They have spent many years competing for attention, with success, and they’ve turned that attention into connection; artist-to-fan-to-artist, but also fan-to-fan. So if you, as a label or artist, want to start applying these amazing business models, follow these steps: be remarkable, be easy to discover, turn your fanbase into a party, connect, listen closely for opportunities.

Bas Grasmayer (@Spartz) is a music biz 2.0 consultant and currently works as Head of Information Strategy at Zvooq, the leading music-streaming platform in Russia & CIS. Be sure to check out his speech from midem 2012’s Visionary Monday titled An Interconnected Ecosystem of Fans.


Ultimate Music Search Tool

by Mrs. Gunn

Music Smasher

This is really cool.

You can search Rdio, Spotify, Grooveshark, Spotify, Mog, and Bandcamp all at once.

from Hypebot:




by Mrs. Gunn

Before you go making decisions, get the facts.

Read the bill here. (SOPA)

American Association on Independent Music’s opinion here:

Courtney Love’s rant on piracy here:

Hypebot’s open letter against SOPA:

Bob Lefsetz’s opinion:

Huffington post:

So what do you think? Are there any pros for SOPA? What are the cons? Do the cons outweigh the pros?





15 New Artistic Revenue Streams

by Mrs. Gunn

Repost from Hypebot:


15 Indie Artist Revenue Opportunities for 2012

[BEST OF HYPEBOT] Indie artists are making money in all sorts of ways, often by combining a variety of small revenue streams and one-off deals into significant income. Here are 15 revenue streams or opportunitiesfrom my Hypebot posts of 2011. Like media appearances, no one will make you rich (or famous), but together they offer a range of options.

15 Indie Artist Revenue Opportunities For 2012

  1. Alternative Performance Venues
    ConcertsInYourHome ~
  2. New Retail Outlets
    Melodica Marketing
     ~ Offline Music Distribution Network
  3. Affiliate Programs 
    Amazon Associates
     ~ iTunes Affiliate
  4. Unique & Interesting Band Merch
     ~ Dizzyjam vs. Bitvibe ~ Shirtify
  5. Ecommerce & Direct to Fan 
     ~ CD Baby MusicStore ~ FanBridge on Facebook
  6. Find Unique Pairings
    Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box
  7. Music Licensing 
    Vimeo x Audiosocket ~ Audiosocket MaaS: Storefront
  8. Mixes That Pay
     ~ Legitmix
  9. Digital Archives 
    Fugazi & The Rolling Stones ~
  10. Live Streams 
     ~ StageIt ~ StreamJam
  11. Sell Your Knowledge 
    Ebooks ~ MuseSpring
  12. You Have to Give Before You Can Give Back 
    Downtime Facebook App
     ~ Ramble At The Ryman
  13. Find Your Love 
    Blood, Sweat + Vinyl
  14. Find Your Crowd 
    Crowdfunding ~ Patronism ~ TuneRights
  15. Save Money 

A new type of record label…

by Mrs. Gunn

A repost from Hypebot at

Jay Frank has created a new model record label called DigSin. This particular record label gives all its music way for free and uses analytics to see how to market to the fans. I think it’s interesting he states that albums are really just marketing vehicles and that the music industry should focus on marketing singles because that’s what people want. He will be signing artists for 6 songs each, up to 6 artists.  What do you think? How would he make money from this?


Former CMT, Yahoo Music executive and FutrueHitDNAauthor Jay Frank has just launched DigSin, a new model independent record label. Frank, interviewed here by Ian Rogers on This Week In Music, is a music loving data geek who sees patterns in fan reactions and believes he can harness them to build hits. He’s creating DigSin as a song focused label with artists signed to short six track deals. Fans who sign up get new releases free of charge.

“DigSin is the result of years of examining the new ways music fans find and listen to music,” according to Frank. “We are committing ourselves to expose new songs in a targeted, organic way that enables us to be a trusted filter to music fans.” Frank is releasing a second book “Hack Your Hit” in late January.



Report Claims Major Labels To Phase Out CD, Abandon Retail By End Of 2012

by Mrs. Gunn

Reposted from HypeBot article,


Is it really  true? Yoo be the jdge!

article below:


Major labels plan to phase out most physical CD’s by the end of 2012 according to Side Line Music Magazine citing multiple unnamed industry sources. Only premium CD’s would be manufactured according to the report; with most of those sales online rather than at brick and morter stores.  



The demise of the CD would be catastrophic for what remains of music retail and severely hurt sales in some genres slow to adopt digital, like country. Which is why I an not buying this story.  Physical CD sales may be shrinking, but until they disappear, the major labels are in no position to eliminate any source of revenue.

Should music be a free commodity?

by Mrs. Gunn

This got a lot of comments from the blogosphere:

Reposted from the Music Think Tank at

By Michael Shoup

Begin post:

A question was brought to my attention after a chat with a friend, and I’m not sure I have an answer…  So of course, I’ll turn to you.  It went something like this:

Friend: Spotify and Rdio both seem to either limit your amount of free music or play ads. I guess I’ll have to switch back and forth between them.

Me: Or you could just pay for one?

Friend:  We pay after we know it’s good. We listen for free. Isn’t that the new standard?

Now, granted, my urging to pay for a subscription service does little to nothing to aid in providing the artist or writer with a living [ref. chart here], but it’s still a flag I carry.  I think it reminds people that streaming or downloading music gives you an emotional experience that took the creator time, money, and energy to create… and has monetary value.

I try to correlate this to something I know and enjoy quite often: Food.  As my friend pointed out later in our conversation, you can walk into many stores and sample their food before you decide to purchase as well.  I agree, and think that’s a great idea and pretty much good cheap advertising.

The difference between the restaurant industry and the music industry:  Domino’s isn’t sending you on-demand free slices of pizza to your computer for you to consume wherever you are, whenever you want it.  [But if they did we might just solve world hunger]

However, SpotifyRdio, and MOG now are [songs, not pizza, but you get it].

Now, full disclosure, I absolutely do allow Spotify and MOG to play my music and basically think of it as a necessary outlet, just like Facebook or iTunes, to reach new fans.  I also have a paid subscription to Rdio and buy records on iTunes.  While I don’t want to get into the technicalities of legislation or royalties here, artists and writers are getting compensated from a fraction of the ad revenue on these services [again, reference this humorous chart], but in essence, this trend is training the general public to think of recorded music as a Free Commodity.

So, my question to you: As recorded music becomes closer to a Free Commodity, is it up to the ethical duty of the patron to decide how to compensate the creator [Buy tickets to a show? Kickstarter support? Merchandise?] allowing the artist to incentivize listeners through their recordings?  Or should those who profit from the Commodity [Streaming Services? On Demand Radio?] be more closely regulated by legislation?



Sometimes information isn’t so beautiful…

by Mrs. Gunn

Reposted from the Information is Beautiful Blog…



Spotify from a Musician’s Perspective – Reblog from Musician

by Mrs. Gunn

Another reblog from Musician Wages: 


If you haven’t yet heard of Spotify, it’s a music streaming service that’s been making headlines in music industry blogs over the last year. Initially launched in select European countries in 2008, Spotify hit the US in July, 2011 and ever since has sparked a debate over whether or not their business model is healthy for the future of the recorded music business.

I recently shared some of my thoughts with David Rose of We decided to take our discussion online and each write our opinions of the service. For my part, I’ve been exploring how a service like Spotify can help me as a musician, but can’t ignore the potential detriment this convenient, inexpensive music service can have on my career and the careers of future generations of musicians.

How Spotify Helps Me as a Musician

As a freelance guitarist, huge part of my job is to learn songs and be familiar with as much music as possible. Spotify is a useful tool to this effect. When I need to learn cover songs for a gig, I can usually find it on Spotify. When I’m booked for a recording session and the producer tells me he needs a guitar sound ala David Lindley circa his mid-’70s work with Warren Zevon, I can find those recordings and familiarize myself with that particular guitar tone. In many ways, Spotify makes my homework a little easier.

Spotify also helps me nurture my own artistic development. When I want to explore a particular song, artist, or genre, I try to be as thorough as possible.

For example, I’ve been working on my slide guitar chops. In my opinion, there are few better than Ry Cooder, so I’ve been listening to a lot of his music on Spotify. His version of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground” especially piqued my interest, so I followed that tangent and explored more music by Blind Willie Jefferson as well as every version of “Dark Was The Night” I could find. There are 15 versions by different artists on Spotify. Needless to say, I now have an intimate understanding of that song.

This type of exploring is incredibly important for anybody that wants to be a professional musician. Whatever instrument or type of music you play, you’ll play better if you understand its roots. That’s how you develop your musicality and personal voice.

How Spotify Doesn’t Help Me as a Musician

While Spotify makes it easier to listen to more music, it’s little more than a convenience. All the musicians I mention above, the musicians worthy of study, achieved their level of artistry and skill without the internet. That point bears repeating:

You don’t need the internet to become a great musician.

I’m not trying to sound like a dusty old timer telling “back in the day” stories; I use the internet as much as anybody. It’s a great way to find tools and resources that can point you in the right direction, but that’s only where the work begins. When I really think about my development as a musician so far, the lessons that took the most effort to learn have paid the greatest dividends.

Music is a communal, social activity. To be a better musician, to really learn about the craft, we must engage with other musicians.

One of my fondest memories of freshman year of college was getting together to listen to music with new friends. After class we’d have one of those “Oh, have you ever really listened to McCoy Tyner’s playing on Coltrane Live at Birdland?” conversations and make plans to bring a few CDs over to somebody’s dorm room. If we were lucky, somebody would score us some beer. We’d sit there listening in silence, and then geek out about what we heard and try to figure it out together.

We all went to great lengths to acquire and share music that was important to us, that we felt should be important to our friends, and because we had to borrow each other’s CDs, that listening time was valuable.

When virtually all the music you want to hear is freely available, how do you really know what’s important to hear? What’s the motivation to use each other as a resource for sharing music and our ideas about music?

Spotify is a helpful tool for working musicians, but it’s not a replacement for music discovery in the truest sense.

How Spotify Affects My Bottom Line

My music, like that of many independent artists, is available on Spotify via my digital distribution agreement with CD Baby. Every time somebody listens to one of my tracks, I make a little less than half a penny. Sometimes much less.

Scrolling through the 1,000+ rows of Spotify payments in my account, I found one instance from July 2010, a year before Spotify launched in the US, where one of my original songs was streamed 305 times. Total earnings for 305 streams? Twelve cents ($0.12), or $0.0004 per stream. In more recent reports, some streams have paid up to an entire penny!

Sarcasm aside, I’m happy to see my tune garner so many listens on one report in a country where I’ve never performed. However, at some point it would be nice to leverage that exposure into some sort of income.

Overall, revenue from Spotify has been less than a drop in the bucket of my recorded music earnings, which are still an important part of my monthly income.

If you’d like to see a comparison of revenue from recorded music, check out this recent “Release Day Economics” post by Uniform Motion. Their numbers very similar to the margins I see for my own releases, and those of countless independent musicians.

Unleveling the Playing Field

Leveling the playing field. That phrase has been used time and time again to describe the shift in the music industry over the past decade, especially since independent musicians were able to distribute their music on iTunes in 2004. No longer did the little guys have to compete for physical shelf space or bulk pricing. If you could get people to buy your music online, retailers would pay you just as much as they’d pay U2 or Jay-Z.

With streaming services like Spotify, payouts with this many zeros to the right of the decimal point only add up when you deal in bulk. This is advantageous to record labels with large catalogs.

Major labels’ catalogs are so important to the success of Spotify that the labels required Spotify to make large up front payments, in excess of $100 million. Therefore if they never saw a dime from streams of their music, they still made money. If Spotify went out of business a week later, they still made money.

Additionally, the four major labels (Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI) and the independent label group Merlin have all been reported to have an 18% stake in the company, meaning they not only make money from the streaming of their music, but also from Spotify’s revenue. If Spotify stays in business and turns profits, that’s just more money for the major labels.

How much of that money actually makes it to the artists? While artist deals vary, the consensus so far is not much. Not that that’s a surprise, though. I can’t imagine Spotify’s ad revenue and $5 or $10 subscription fees generate that much to distribute. However, unlike iTunes where every artist knows that Apple keeps $0.29 per $0.99 download, we really have no idea how much Spotify keeps before paying the content owners.

Finally, major labels have been rumored to use their large catalogs as leverage to earn higher rates per stream. This moves the music industry in the opposite direction of the past decade, possibly to a much worse, unbalanced landscape.

For example, let’s say two songs are each streamed 100 times one day on Spotify. For all intents and purposes, they are of equal popularity. One of them is mine, and I make $1.00 for all those streams. The other song is by an artist on a major record label and they earn $2.00 for their streams. Where does the extra dollar come from? Is $0.50 skimmed off the top of my streams and given to labels with more favorable deals?

I can’t say for sure, but neither will Spotify who has yet to be clear about how they pay artists and labels. This isn’t fair to independent and niche artists, but it’s also unfair to fans who believe they are supporting their favorite artists by listening to their music.

For another artist’s perspective on how this unfair distribution is harmful to successful independent musicians, read cellist Zoe Keating’s post about Spotify on Hypebot.

Debunking the “It’s Better Than Nothing” Argument

It’s estimated that 95% of the music downloaded is done so illegally. In other words, the entire recorded music industry’s digital sales revenue comes from just one out of every twenty songs downloaded. A decade after Napster, to say file sharing and peer to peer networks has not had an impact on the music industry is to ignore the facts. Today, most people do not want to pay for music.

For those who want free music, Spotify is an alternative to illegal options, but you’ll be served ads and there will be limits to how much music you can play. For those willing to pay a $10 monthly subscription, you can listen to as much music as you’d like and even transfer it to your mobile device. It’s not quite like owning the music, but it’s close.

Meanwhile, the content owners are getting paid. Not much, but hey, it’s better than nothing, right?


The term piracy is often misused in the free downloading debate. Music pirates make money off of other people’s content. The majority of people that share copyrighted content illegally typically have nothing to gain for themselves other than free music. Spotify makes money off other people’s content, and there hasn’t been much return for the content owners. I’m not saying Spotify is a form of music piracy, but it’s awfully close. If this is the wave of the future, we’re all in for some problems.

My concern, though, really has nothing to do with money. I’m well aware of the fact that selling music is not a viable way to support myself in the future. Should Spotify prove to be a successful business model, it will pretty much put a dam in that stream of revenue.

My concern is that once we collectively agree that all of our recorded music is worth less than $10/month, regardless of how little the artists are paid, we’ll start to believe that artists don’t deserve to earn a living wage for their work. This sentiment already exists, and it shows disrespect to our fellow human beings. If something is valued enough to consume in limitless amounts, then at some point we have to nurture its creation and support its creators.

Spotify Will Not Save The Music Industry

I admit that Spotify is trying to create a huge change in the music industry, and I believe that their mission to offer an inexpensive alternative to free is well intentioned, at least initially. The offer a service that truly gives fans access to a huge amount of music for free.

Unfortunately, to do that they had to partner too closely with companies inept at creating a sustainable music business in the current climate. They fail to give an acceptable explanation of how artists are supposed to be paid.

If Spotify has a sustainable, long term goal, why don’t they clue us in?

Also be sure to also read David Rose’s article on Spotify over at Have your own opinions? Please share them below!