Artists: Let Data Be Your Guide
WRITTEN BY ETHAN SCHIFF
It’s common today to hear bands proudly brand themselves as “DIY Artists,” without confronting the commitment it takes to “make it” as an independent artist. While you, as an artist, brainstorm your project’s goals and marketing agenda, it will seem intuitive to make decisions based on what you believe are the best social platforms or distribution systems to use, as well as the types of people responding best to your music. At the very beginning of your project, this really is the only way to go, as you have no history to reference. But many artists unfortunately fall into the trap of continuing this blind planning, rather than stopping every so often to check the hard facts about who is responding best to their music, where they’re consuming it, and where they’re located.
In that initial planning stage, before you have real data to build your strategy from, consider stepping out of the music space, and thinking about big-picture concepts that transcend industry, and always lead to success for a business. After identifying these concepts, then at that point begin to build your project’s strategy.
In my experience, I always focus on three things: transparency, community and exclusivity. Those three concepts transcend industry, and definitely transcend music genre. However, especially as a creative, creating a full-blown development strategy can get overwhelming. With merchandise, publishing, touring, recording and social media often all needing to be prioritized at once, artists seem to constantly crave a single thread to inform their strategic decisions.
Next installment of the Presskit.to Webinar Series - “Guess No More” presented on May 29th
Building your audience is no easy feat. As a manager, independent artist, or straight-up go-getter, you may seem so overwhelmed trying to figure out your next move that it’s hard to find time to focus on your art. While many artists may be searching for a starting place, there are many resources out there for artists to make their decisions based on hard, fact-based data.
In the next installment of the Presskit.to Webinar Series, we’ve recruited two excellent panelists (Marcus Taylor, Venture Harbour; and Chris Bolton, CD Baby) to talk about what kinds of Data that Artists and Managers should be collecting to make educated, fact-based decisions. The webinar, titled “Guess No More: Using Data to really know your fans” will be presented on Wednesday, April 25th at 12pm EST.
5 Tips for Using Data to Grow Your Social Media Audience
This is a guest post by Marcus Taylor, Director of Venture Harbour, a company that specializes in consulting digital marketing to companies in the music industry.
It’s not often in music marketing articles that I quote statisticians, but when talking about data and it’s role in the music industry, who better to seek advice from?
William Edwards-Demming, the renowned American statistician, is famous for saying “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” What he’s less known for saying is that “the most important things cannot be measured.”
When it comes to building a career as an artist, data certainly has the potential to make you more effective in how you spend your time and budget. But with an abundance of vanity metrics, and ‘data for the sake of data’, it also has the potential to waste time. Here are my five tips when it comes to using data to grow your social media audience as an artist.
"The Art of Tasteful Boasting" Webinar Recap
A big thanks to those of you who helped make our first Presskit.to Webinar a huge success. The Art of Tasteful Boasting tackled the ins and outs of writing an artist/band bio and tagline. We were joined by three amazing panelists Chris Robley, Marketing Coordinator & Blog Editor, CD Baby; Julia Rogers, Editor in Chief at Musiciancoaching.com; and Jem Bahaijoub, Founder of imaginePR. The trio brought on some great new ideas on getting started with a bio and making it true to your band and music.
If you missed the Webinar or simply want a recap, the recordings are made readily available on YouTube and SoundCloud. We even listed some of our favorite points for you to quickly check out.
We hope you’ll join us for our next Webinar on May 29.
Tips & Takeaway Points:
- Jot down descriptive adjectives of your music, and questions you’d like answered about your band when you’re getting started.
- Writer’s Block?! Take a break!
- Try different approachesto your bio (overly bragging, super-humble, ego-maniac, etc.), and pick the best parts of each.
- Quoting yourself mid-way in a bio is a great way to incorporate first and third voice.
- Prioritize your achievements! Don’t be afraid to name-drop if you’ve worked with a notable industry figure (but, don’t exaggerate or lie).
- Create a few different lengths of your biography. Short versions for press or social media, and longer for your website.
- When building a tagline, try to find two descriptive things to say about your music and you as an artist/band.
- If in doubt, keep it simple! Don’t be afraid to have someone help you write.
- BE AUTHENTIC AND BE YOURSELF!!
Stand Above the Noise: The Challenges of an Indie Musician
In the newest installment of the Stand Above the Noise video series, Andrew sits down with Reimut Van Bonn of VUT (German Association Of Independent Music Companies) to talk about the current state of Music Discovery, Maintaing a Professional Music Career, and how the Music Industry is changing.
Check it out below, and don’t forget to Subscribe to the series here for regularly scheduled Music Industry video content!
Stand Above the Noise is a documentary-style series of video interviews, filmed and produced by Dotted Music. From Berlin and Helsinki, to a host of cities dotted across Europe, we have been encounter musicians and essential names in the music business, including representatives from the likes of Universal Music, Soundcloud, or Live Nation. Learn how to be remarkable and make this business work for you with Stand Above The Noise, a contemporary insight into the contemporary music industry.
All-new Webinar Series Premiers April 25th!
This Thursday, April 25th we’re hosting a FREE, one-hour webinar that we’ve dubbed “The Art of Tasteful Boasting: How to write a press-worthy biography & tagline. We are very excited to play host to an AWESOME cast of Panelists, including:
We’ll be discussing the challenges that go along with writing strong artist bios and attention grabbing taglines for use in your Presskit, press releases, and one sheets. We’ll be covering topics like finding your narrative voice and overcoming writer’s block. We’ll also open it up for questions so you can ask about anything we don’t cover.
Throwback Thursday: Artist Management Contract Terminology
WRITTEN BY AIDAN RUSH.
There have been enough publicized horror stories of bands signing terrible contracts it’s a surprise bands sign any type of contract at all these days. However, while there is an argument to be had as to whether or not record labels are still necessary, it’s this writer’s opinion that artist managers will always be necessary. That’s not because you, the artist, can’t necessarily navigate your career by yourself, it’s because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for you to get it all done. Yes there are rare examples of independent musicians making a killing by spending 20 hours a day doing it all themselves, but they are the exception that proves the rule. If you ever plan on working with a personal manager (as opposed to a business or tour manager), it would behoove you to familiarize yourself with the basic artist management contract terms defined below!
PIMP YOUR EPK: A Webinar hosted by Dotted Music
On Wednesday, April 10th at 11AM PDT (2PM EDT), Andrew Apanov of Dotted Music and the Stand Above the Noise video series will be hosting a 30-minute webinar called “Pimp Your EPK” and has chosen to use Presskit.to as the sample EPK platform. We’ll have a Presskit.to team member on hand to answer questions and chime in with tips throughout.
Featured Presskit: Mally Bieber
Like, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you obv know how much hate the Bieb’s has been getting from the media over the past few weeks. From attacking the paparazzi outside a London hospital (totally the camera man’s fault), to ripping his shirt off at a TSA checkpoint (what’s wrong with showing a little skin?), things have only gotten worse for America’s heartthrob after this weekend.
Bieberlicious snuck his pet monkey, Mally, onto a private jet headed to Germany for a string of gigs over the weekend. Upon arrival, Mally was confiscated and QUARANTINED by airport security (BTW, totes not necessary?!?!)!!!!!. Mally is now sitting in airport limbo, as the Biebs sorts out his €10,000 fine for not obtaining the proper paperwork authorizing the Mally’s entry into the country.
We sat down with JB to discuss how his team is using Presskit.to to gain the appropriate media coverage for the wrongful quarantining of Mally, and their efforts to free the little guy as soon as possible.
Presskit.to: How have you used Presskit.to/MallyBieber to gain awareness of the travesty surrounding Mally?
Justin Bieber: Well I’m like, totally PO’d at the German government for not being cool about this whole thing. I mean, what? I’m going to Germany…I’m obviously bringing my monkey with me. Shouldn’t they know that??? Don’t they follow me on Twitter??!! Just let me do me. Just let the Biebs be Biebs. Jeez.
Pk: What support are you seeking from the Beliebers to help with this cause?
JB: Just believe <3
Pk: What can we expect to hear next from Mally?
JB: Not sure. It looks like she’ll be released once the doctor says she’s free of any foreign diseases that could potentially be introduced to the country (yeah, like that would happen lolz), and I have some €10,000 fine to pay, or something. I wipe my bum-bum with €10,000, so that’s like, not a big deal yo.
I’ve been snap chatting her to keep her company. Hopefully this won’t affect our relationship together, but I’ve already told my people to start writing my next song about her for me.
Pk: Thanks, Justin! You’re in our thoughts <3
Happy April Fool’s day everybody!!
Painting I did live at the IndieAmbassador Halloween Bash. It’s a little sloppy, but then again, so was I. © 2012 iansanity
I painted this one while wearing a straight jacket. :)
We love this painting! It’s hanging up front and center at Presskit.to HQ!
Throwback Thursday: Making a Stage Plot
Written by Mike Harmon.
Stage Plots and Input Lists make EVERYBODY happy.
If you’re an artist that has a gig coming up, you should provide the sound engineer with a stage plot and input list at least a day before you get to the venue. This will give the engineer important information about your band’s stage setup, instrumentation, and how they’ll organize inputs into the PA. If you don’t provide the sound engineer with a stage plot and input list beforehand, you may run into a few snags with equipment, stage layout, or even how the front-of-house mix will sound.
Throwback Thursday: There’s More to a Free Music Campaign than Free Music…
Written by Jem Bahaijoub
You’ve done it again. You’ve given away a free track from your latest album. It’s on your website. You’ve talked about it on Facebook. Job done, you think. Well think again.
There’s no doubt about it. Free music is a powerful marketing tool. However, the music industry has become so over-saturated with free music that we’ve become desensitized to the process of consuming, promoting, and thinking about the importance of free music. This age-old debate has become, well, old.
I was lucky enough to revitalize my thoughts on the topic recently when I met the artist Derrick N. Ashong who launched the “Million Downloads Campaign” earlier this year. The aim of the campaign is simple - To give away one million downloads of songs and remixes from the new album AFropolitan by Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège by Christmas 2012. So far the campaign has been such a success that Derrick witnessed over 20,000 downloads in one month.
"How?" I hear you ask. Well, Derrick did something a lot of artists are forgetting to do - he planned, strategized and philosophized over the process beforehand. So take a step backwards, and consider the following….
Define Your Purpose
Before you even contemplate giving your music away for free, you need to define your goals. We know you want to increase your fan base and drive awareness to your latest musical offering, but you need to be MORE SPECIFIC. How many downloads would you like to achieve? By what date? If your fans know your goal and timeline they may be more willing to help you spread the word. Use your previous download statistics as a benchmark. You can also try something like “If I achieved 5,000 downloads by my 30th Birthday it would be the best b-day present ever!!” You’ll be surprised by how specifics motivate people.
A Musicianʼs Mini-Guide to Crowdfunding - What Platform Is Right For You?
Written by Jem Bahaijoub
2012 was the year crowdfunding went mainstream. The success of Amanda Palmerʼs Kickstarter campaign threw the alternative fanfunding model into the limelight, and now most musicians are turning to their fans and friends for ﬁnancial support pre-release. But what is the best crowdfunding platform for you? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each platform? Hereʼs a helpful chart outlining the key features of four of the top crowdfunding platforms out there.
Click the image below for a larger version of the chart!
SAtN interview with Stewart Walker (Musician, Founder of Persona Records)
Our friends at Stand Above the Noise sat down with Stewart Walker, an electronic music producer and Founder of Persona Records. In this week’s discussion, Stewart & Andrew contemplate the state of the Music Industry, and how musician’s art is taking a back seat to things like Social Networking. Check it out, and let us know if you’ve also got a record collection hiding out in your basement - awaiting it’s epic return!