A record label I can believe in….

by Mrs. Gunn

SonicAngel. It’s like Kickstarter on steroids. It allows the artist to get funding but be able to focus on the music, while the label does the marketing/legal/sales/tour support. Artists sign up, with a sort of mutual agreement from their A&R reps, and in return, the label helps them raise money and produce their music. This is the new business model for musicians – patron funding! Here’s where it’s different from Kickstarter – fans can purchase a “fanshare” which is actually an investment in the band. If the band is successful, the fans get a share of the profits. For instance, those who donated to Tom Dice received 330% of their investment in return when he had a successful album. If the band isn’t succcessful, the record label assumes the risk. Wow. Now that’s smart. The other thing I like is that the record label can determine who gets “signed,” and thus keep the quality high. Right now the label is focused in Europe but I believe they are expanding as well. Of course with the internet it’s a global corporation, just a matter of time before the people on the other side of the pond jump on board. Check it out, and maybe even fund a project! http://sonicangel.com

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to HypeBot for pointing me to this new service. Blog trackback:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b36c69e2015391b7b3c3970b

Moving to Streaming – a comment on the Lefsetz letter *updated*

by Mrs. Gunn

This post was taken from a blog entitled “The Lefsetz Letter” written by Bob Lefsetz, music industry insider. He basically says that Spotify is going to take down iTunes and that artists will be vying for streaming time rather than radio/sales. To take the physical product completely out of the picture is a bit extreme. There will always be people without internet. Spotify is amazing, and a long time coming.  It allows you to share playlists, and tracks, but we’re all still trying to figure out how it all works. The one thing I’m trying to figure out is, does the track have to be part of the Spotify database to be shared? Or can you share an mp3 off your own computer with someone else? And what’s the difference between the greyed out and white songs? I’m still trying to figure out Spotify so please be patient with that! I hope I don’t get in trouble for writing this!

From the Lefsetz Letter, at http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2011/08/05/moving-to-streaming/

Moving To Streaming

By Bob Lefsetz

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines, the streaming era has begun. And it’s going to turn the music business upside down. So much of what now exists will evaporate. The game will be completely different. It will switch from one focused on sales to actual listening. Right now, Spotify is pioneering. It appears to be trumping its competitors, Rhapsody, MOG, Napster and Rdio. But the big behemoth Apple is waiting in the wings. If you study the history of the Cupertino company, it’s rarely first, that’s a recent phenomenon, it usually enters a sphere late, after the public is inured to the behavior, and Apple perfects it. Apple was late with CD burners, iTunes was not the first jukebox, the iPod was not the first MP3 player. But Apple employed design, both software and hardware, to create elegant solutions that were intuitive, simple to use, requiring no manual, and ultimately triumphed in the marketplace.

Don’t say Apple doesn’t rent, just look at movies and TV in the iTunes Store. Steve Jobs is famous for saying one thing and then doing another. Funny how he can change position and politicians cannot. Apple only strikes when the time is right, when a business can burgeon. Streaming is now here. Expect only one streaming service to triumph in America. Spotify has the early-mover advantage, but Apple has the installed base, and everybody’s credit card number. And when Apple moves, everybody knows overnight. Steve Jobs gets on stage and it’s bigger than any rock show. Furthermore, users spread the word and people trust Apple.

It makes no sense to own product. You want your music everywhere. Quality will improve with bandwidth. The ship has sailed. What does this mean for you?

1. It’s no longer about the initial sales transaction, but getting people to actually listen to your music. Your relationship doesn’t end when people buy your music, it begins when you get them to click.

2. It’s less about foraging for new customers than satiating old ones. An established fan streaming your track ten times is just as good and cheaper to accomplish than finding ten new fans to stream your track once.

This is assuming the artists makes royalties on streaming. The amount of royalties for streaming is different depending on how the streaming happens. Royalties for streaming on demand (MP3skull, youtube, etc) is really low compared to Pandora/satellite radio. If it’s given on demand, it’s just not worth as much for some reason. If it’s streamed as a radio station (where someone else determines what you’re listening to), it’s worth a lot more. My question is – what category does Spotify fall in?  If the artist really wants to make money from streaming, they are better off getting it onto Satellite radio and services such as Pandora. The concept of trying to get everyone to stream has to be done to such a great scale that only super duper popular artists would benefit. I think I heard that for the 150 million views for one of her tunes on Youtube, Beyonce only made about $15k in royalties from that. If people expect to make money from streaming on Spotify, I’d be interested to see the royalty rate.

Additionally, people are lazy. It takes work to hook your cell phone into the car stereo. People will still listen to radio in the car as long as it’s more convenient than Spotify/Pandora. In other words, I think people most people will be too lazy to use Spotify to its fullest extent. The teeny boppers will be on it constantly, but as people grow older, they’ll just resort to whatever is easiest. Now once they put Spotify in the car radios, that will be the day!

3. Marketing and promotion are reminders to get people to stream as opposed to buy.

Agree and disagree. Marketing and promotion will try to get people to come to shows. Maybe a little toward buying the album but mostly toward live performance.

4. Historically, it’s been all about the release date. Stopping leaks and working everybody into a frenzy to buy the first week. Now you won’t care if a track leaks, you’ll just put it up on the streaming site and book revenue.

This is already true. Except that there is very little/no revenue from putting it on a streaming site.

5. Sure, you’ll create events to stimulate streaming. But there will be many as opposed to few. And they’ll be more targeted. Today’s events reach many people who just don’t care. In the streaming future you’ll alert your fan base and then execute. Knowing who your fans are will be crucial. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or some unknown social network, you will go directly to fans. It will not be about pitching middlemen, print and TV and radio, to get the word out.

True. It’s always been a poor business model for iTunes to not hook artists up with the people that buy their music. Maybe Spotify can somehow change that.

6. Recommendations will be key. When another band or a fan spreads the word via playlists, infecting new listeners. Radio is inefficient. It’s about advertising, not music. You want tobe turned on to tracks by someone with the same sensibility, whose only goal is to turn you on to something great.

This is true. Wished Spotify would allow ppl to send single tracks. However radio will always have its place because people are lazy.

7. Playlist makers will be the new deejays. It comes down to who you trust. Anyone can publish, but not anyone can gain followers. Pandora and the like will fade, because they lack the human connection and their recommendation engine is just not as good.

8. You will get into business with he who can guarantee the most streams, not he who can pay you the most money. An advance means nothing. Marketing and promotion mean nothing without resultant streams.

9. There will be a streaming chart, which will cause people to check out winners. This will be determined by data, not influence. It won’t be about paying off the radio station, but reaching critical mass so that others will experiment by listening to you.

10. There will be multiple charts, based on newness and genre. Listeners will comb these to enrich their listening.

11. People will listen to more music than ever before. As a result, money will flow into other areas of the business, i.e. touring and merch.

Good luck with that.

12. Just because you can play, that does not mean you can win. Just because you’ve got your music on the streaming service, that does not mean anyone will listen to it.

13. Genre will no longer matter. You won’t complain that there’s no radio format for your track. Klezmer has equal footing with hip-hop. That does not mean as many people will listen to klezmer, just that the barrier to entry will be low.

True.

14. To get people to continue to listen you will constantly release new material, make live material public, the album will become passe. It makes no sense to get everybody to listen for a short period of time, you don’t want one big bang, but a constant flood.

True, but I think people will still do an album every now and then. To document.

15. Every act will have its greatest hits. Album cuts will be for fans only. You will constantly produce, trying to reach the brass ring. You won’t care about the losers, that which does not gain traction. If you fail today, record and release tomorrow.

True, except people won’t expect to make money from recordings.

16. Creativity will burgeon. With it being so easy to get into the marketplace and be heard, risks will be taken.

17. You need someone to gain you attention, you don’t need someone to press and distribute, to get you on the radio, to pay off middlemen to get you exposed. The manager will be king. Record labels will fade. Tribes of like-minded artists are a better place to park your rear end than a conglomerate with a plethora of acts that don’t sound like you. You want synergy. It’s more important to be on the Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza playlist than be signed to the major.

Already true.

18. Expect those with money and power to try and rig the game. I.e. major labels will try and game the system, generating plays and income for their acts. The streaming service will do its best to try and quash this behavior, but even Google has trouble weeding out those who try to optimize search.

This is true. Labels will pay someone in India $1 per hour to constantly stream on multiple computers. Probably already the case in some instances. But in the end, taste will prevail. You can only fake it so much.

 

This whole letter really makes me think about how we got to the way things were. What is the thing that makes people like music? When you’re young, it’s from recommendations from friends first then the popular people. Middle school kids have this huge “herd mentality” that makes them want to listen to whatever everyone else is listening to. As people get older, though, their tastes diverge from the norm. The “herd mentality” is still there, but there are more outliers in the older generations. It’s more about what you really like, and my question is: what determines what you really truly like? Is it the radio? Your parents? Something you heard while you were in the womb? A blogger? A friend? Word of mouth? Radio? Lyrics? Your internal rhythm? This is all dependent on what you are exposed to, and your ear. A lot of people like bands live but not the recorded sound.

I think this post is just a person trying to take what is already in place – the music industry – and package it in a new container. But that won’t be the case, if you ask me. Spotify won’t make you rich, nor will it make you famous. It’s the blogs and word of mouth and local presence that will make you into a success. Musicians who wish to be rich and famous will try to get that way not by selling their music (because it can’t be sold), but by selling their image, their culture, ethos, their coolness. Isn’t that how this all got started?

 

What do you think? I gave my op. Now give yours in the comment section below.

Record Labeldom

by Mrs. Gunn

It is our believe that every artist should have their own record label. Musicians have to be entrepreneurs these days, so this website is designed to help with just that – creating, recording, promoting, and distributing your own music.

With the internet making worldwide distribution one click away, anything is possible. Subscribe to this blog to learn how, and to see case studies in how the music industry is changing, and how you can be on top of the wave instead of crushed by it.

Recording – Mixing – Mastering – Legal – Duplication – Distribution – Marketing – Music Theory – Community – Web Design – Web Marketing – Social Media

You can learn it all right here!

Fundraising for albums – what’s your opinion?

by Mrs. Gunn

Recently, artists began creating Kickstarter and fundraising websites for their album projects. The concept of fundraising and websites like Kickstarter have been a godsend to the artistic community because they allow people to fund projects that otherwise would not be backed by record labels or other corporate ventures. This frees the artist to do whatever they want –  without having to worry about being profitable. The problem comes, when EVERYONE is doing it. Sometimes, people start a project, realize they need help and then plead with friends/family to help them cover the costs. The availability of these types of fundraising websites also allows artists to put out albums/films/whatever before they are famous, with virtually no fan base and very little experience. There is often a great burden put upon an artists’ family, friends, and acquaintances to make their “dream project” come true.

At the same time, Artists need an outlet to be free to do their thing. A lot of times, the Kickstarter can be a litmus test – do people want to see this happen? If so, it will be successful. Why not use the internet as the “Great Leveler?” If you think you have a great product, and people want it, then why not make it available with some  rewards attached?

The other side of the fundraising dilema is this: people don’t buy music anymore. People have come to expect it to be free, because they can find it on their computer for free. A cultural shift has occured: if  people buy music, they do so to support the artist, not to hear the music. Gigs have replaced plastic circles, and singles have replaced albums. The same will happen to films as computers and networks become bigger and faster. And at the rate of our congress, nothing is going to be done to stop the avalanche of free media – and perhaps nothing should be done, in the name of freedom and privacy.

This post is not intended to lament the music industry. It is what it is. Musicians and artists need to move on. And so, the concept of a fundraiser, when framed in the big picture of a declining economy and album sales, becomes an important issue.

As an artist, it is highly uncomfortable to ask for money.  “Do you really want to give me that? Are you sure?”  At the same time, if you believe in your product, why not? Capitalism will determine it’s viability, profitability, and success. Fundraising gives artists the ability to produce projects that would not be profitable and thus would never be created. And sometimes, just sometimes, the stars collide, and an idea is highly successfull; read: makes money.

How many Kickstarters have you been invited to lately? How does the concept of fundraising affect your view of the artist and the project? What fundraisers have been successful, in your opinion? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Amazon Free 5GB Music Storage

by Mrs. Gunn

Many people want to host their music or podcasts online, but don’t want to have to pay for a hosting service, or bandwidth charges. Well, here’s one way to save space on your mp3 player as well as save bandwidth on your website. Amazon just introduced a cloud hosting service, with 5GB free space for anyone who wants it, and 20GB free space for 1 year for anyone who buys an MP3 album. Plus it works with Android. What about the iPhone???

Here is the link:

AMAZON

ReverbNation is now a distribution tool

by Mrs. Gunn

With all the different websites offering services to musicians, it’s difficult to keep them all straight. One website that has caught my eye is ReverbNation, or http://reverbnation.com. They offer a platform to put your music up and then send you emails of upcoming festivals that might want your music. However, sometimes it just seems like another thing to keep up with to me.

Now ReverbNation has offered a new little thing, though, that is pretty nice. I’ve always been annoyed at the fact that I have to pay $2 to see the trending reports from TuneCore. CDBaby is way overpriced. But ReverbNation will now put your music on iTunes, Amazon, etc. for a little less and give free trending reports as well.  I haven’t actually done this yet, but wanted to let people know about it in case they were interested.

Here is a comparison chart:

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