How to Sync Your Music Business

Music professionals are at a strange crossroads. On one hand, it’s easier than ever to make music with great sound quality, so there’s more competition than ever. On the other hand, the number of opportunities to make money through music is at an all-time high. Whether it’s new platforms that pay musicians online or mobile technology that makes it easier to accept credit cards at gigs, 21st century tools are changing the game in music. If you’re a new musician or an experienced player looking for a new way to get by, these ideas may lead to your next paycheck. Play on.

Make Money Online

The Internet is the new engine that delivers music to listeners. From Spotify to Sound Cloud, various online platforms pay artists per play or enable paid downloads. The trick is getting your music on the most prominent sites. That’s where CDbaby.com can help. CDBaby helps independent artists sell music on iTunes, Amazon, Facebook, Spotify and a number of other platforms. CDBaby can also license your music for film, TV and Youtube, so you get paid anytime your music is used. CDBaby charges $49 for an album and $12.95 per single. If your believe there’s a market for your music, CDbaby will make it available. For independent musicians, it’s all the perks of a major label without the commitment.

Update Your Technology

Musicians and bands who are making money the old-fashioned way are using new technology to boost their sales. Bands who sell merchandise at shows have traditionally only been able to accept cash. Now, any band member with a smartphone can turn his device into a POS system. Square, Paypal and Intuit all over offer free credit card readers that correspond with an app. Users can link their bank accounts and process transactions. Providers usually charge between two and three percent. By using their mobile devices, musicians are following a common trend in the workplace. Bring your own device (BYOD) gives professionals the familiarity of their personal devices at work. Blackberry is a leading mobile provider for the BYOD trend. With it’s BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, IT managers can track devices from a unified platform. It’s cutting costs for businesses, and now musicians are jumping on board.

Start a New Business Project

Perhaps it’s time to explore a new project in your music career. Entrepreneur.com lists a number of viable business opportunities in the music industry ranging rehearsal space rental to record label foundation. If you have an ear for talent, you may the perfect candidate to start your own label. You’ll hire bands, rent a studio, have music mixed and conduct any other high-level logistics needed to get an artist off the ground. Other opportunities involve emceeing events and managing music festivals. Ask around music insiders in your community. You’ll be surprised how many opportunities you find.

Market Your Music

Word of mouth will always be the best way to earn new fans, but artists are getting creative in how they market music. Social media provides platforms to connect with listeners. A bar musician may hand out business cards with a list of links to music and social media accounts. Not only can fans listen to music, they can also connect on a personal level. More and more, bands with strong social media presences are scoring new fans and generating buzz.
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#Networking: Why it’s So Important and How to Do It

Everyone talks about networking and how it’s so important for your business, but when it comes down to it, not many people know how to do it and why it’s so valuable. Here are a few tips for all the new networkers out there.
No matter what your business, if you’re a up and coming musician, a publicist or an accountant, it’s important to know people in your industry. Industry connections, no matter the context, can make a considerable difference when it comes to growing and maintaining your business. People you meet along the way in life can help you to learn new things, and with our ever changing culture, you never know who you will need in your corner in the future.
Now you know why you network, but how do you go about doing it? First and foremost, it’s important to always look presentable. No matter where you are, whether it’s at the office, at a concert, or running errands, first impressions are crucial! There’s nothing worse than meeting your future employer looking like a total mess.
But you can’t always expect people to come to you. So really make an effort when it comes to networking. Seek out places to meet people and engage accordingly. You can always count on conferences and festivals, but with all the access we have in the digital age, tools like LinkedIn can be a great asset for connecting and networking. Join relevant groups and start discussions. Share contact information, and always be sure to follow up with the connections you make along the way. After all, you never know when you might need something down the road.
Networking also isn’t limited to your industry. Be sure to, wherever you are, ask. Ask people what they do for a living, get to know them better and see how they might be able to help you in your business.
Hopefully these few tips clear up all your networking questions and make a difference in in all your future business endeavors. And incase you want to connect with us. You can add us to LinkedIn! We’re always looking to connect!

How to make sure your fans see your content on Facebook

how big brands can emulate facebook s promoted posts 3f427ce64f 300x168 How to make sure your fans see your content on FacebookWhat DIY musicians can do about Facebook’s latest update

Facebook recently admitted that the Organic Reach of Facebook pages (or the number of unique people who see your content on your page or on their own News Feed) is declining and will continue to do so over time.
According to Ignite Social Media, the reach of a Facebook brand page is as low as 3%. That means that brands (bands included) are only reaching 3 out of 100 fans every time they post content. Much of this has to do with changes in the Facebook algorithms. These new changes will make it increasingly difficult for DIY artists to connect with their fans on Facebook for free, thus encouraging paid advertising options.
But for many artists, Facebook advertising would either be too expensive, or the ROI (return-on-investment)  would be too difficult to measure. So what can you do to leverage this platform without paying for it?

Here are three cost-free things that artists can still do to maximize their presence on Facebook:

1. Produce engaging content
This tip may seem the most obvious, but it’s arguably the most important too. Creating content that engages people keeps you on their News Feeds more often. Facebook encourages social activity and rewards pages that people engage with, therefore it’s important to consistently create content that people want to see.
You can test different factors of your posts in order to see what is most effective. Some options for this include:
* A/B testing headlines
* monitoring the “clickability” of certain types of images
* using different words to test which ones draw the most attention
2. Better timing
In order to maximize each post, it’s important to know when most of your fans are online. Remember that News Feeds are sequential for the most part. The most recent content falls at the top (with some exceptions, of course). Facebook provides you with insights as to when your fans see content within their News Feed. You can find this information in the “When Your Fans Are Online” part of the Posts section under the Insights tab. The graph will tell you the days and hours that your fans view content, and can give you an idea of the best times to schedule your posts to get the highest engagement.
3. Utilize Story Bump
Story bumping is an update Facebook made to the News Feed that allows old content to be inserted near the top of the News Feed if people are still interacting with it. You can do this by replying to comments that people have posted in the past, or link back to an older post in a new post. In order to utilize this, be sure that you’re creating content that stimulates conversation so that people will want to comment. Encourage your fans to interact by asking their opinion on a song, or their thoughts on one of your new videos.
While you’re focused on maximizing your Facebook presence, remember these two important details:
Platform diversity
Facebook isn’t the only marketing platform available to artists. Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and even Google+ are valuable platforms that you could utilize to build your online presence. Also don’t forget about email. It’s one of the most effective tools that a musician can use to reach fans. Because of this, it’s a good idea to get all of your Facebook fans onto your email list. By diversifying, you’ll still sustain contact even when a social network makes a change that may not be best for the marketing of your music.
More effective measuring      
Getting good data is essential in marketing your music. It’s the only way to know where your time and money is best spent. There are plenty of free tools that allow you to get the data you need so that you can make  informed decisions on what you are posting and how you ar posting on Facebook. Some important things to measure  include:
* fan engagement ( by looking at Facebook Insights)
* traffic from Facebook to your website (by looking in Google Analytics)
* purchases (by setting up tracking codes)
 * and finally, tracking email sign-ups with your email provider
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Billy Bones, a music marketing expert who works with record labels in improving their marketing strategies. He also runs BBE Booking Agency, a music booking agency that works with event planners in talent acquisition and event production.

How SoundCloud Can Move Beyond Music To Be The Sound Sharing Platform It Wishes It Was


Field-recording-wikipedia

Yesterday SoundCloud launched a new messaging system but while it adds some communication options it’s not the collaborative move forward I imagined. In fact, my own initial confusion caused me to step back and consider how SoundCloud’s user interface connects to their bigger vision. It strikes me as being at an in-between place, which makes sense, but one that’s moving towards more superficial social sharing and away from collaboration. My limited take is that this move is part of a mainstreaming process that is going in the wrong direction.

SoundCloud Introduces New Messaging System
The news is that SoundCloud has introduced a new messaging system on the site which isn’t chat but is basically internal email. Here’s what seems to be new:
Your messages are “organized by conversation” which should make message discussions a bit easier.
When clicking the Share button, a popup appears with the options to share to social media, embed or send a message with the encouragement to include links to tracks. A list of discussions will appear on the left side of your screen for easy reentry.
You can message individual accounts via the envelope icon that appears next to the Share button on account pages.
So basically there’s a clear way to message another user or to share tracks with other users.
SoundCloud does have spam measures in place, such as limiting the ability to send the same message too many times to multiple individuals, and allows you to “Mute” individuals and block them from following you.
How Does This Small Change Relate to SoundCloud’s Bigger Vision?
As a news item it’s not incredibly important but it returned me to the self-image SoundCloud has developed according to former VP of Biz Dev Dave Haynes:
“SoundCloud’s vision to allow anyone to hear the world’s sounds and – importantly – allow anyone to be heard, is subtly, yet infinitely more bold than that of many other music streaming services. We’re not just making it easier to consume a catalogue of premium commercial music, we’re redefining the way that sound can be created, expanding the world of sound that is available and changing the rules for how it can shared online.”
“SoundCloud is not just empowering those that want to consume music and audio, we’re empowering those that want to collaborate, share and create it too.”
But in sorting out the messaging news it struck me that SoundCloud’s on-site collaborative tools aren’t that strong. Given that I haven’t created work with others for SoundCloud, I could be missing some obvious details. Please let me know in a polite manner if that is the case.
I don’t know how third party integrations play into this. Perhaps it is easier to collaborate using other platforms and tools with SoundCloud simply integrated. If you’re doing such things, let me know.
That said, when following the activities of a project like Disquiet Junto which began as a SoundCloud group, the whole process of collaboration and communication seems fairly fragmented.
Disquiet Junto started as a SoundCloud group but then there’s a separate SoundCloud page for the music and a third party email announcement list and explanatory material on the original Disquiet site.
That’s actually fairly normal, particularly for a project related to a separate site that then gets launched as a unique project on SoundCloud, yet it indicates just how complicated collaborating on SoundCloud becomes when you take into account all communication and information needs. You have to go to third parties to meet all those needs on SoundCloud.
But what that also means is that the people who are actually working at the crossover between music and sound, often including people making field recordings and the like, aren’t being fully supported or promoted on SoundCloud itself.
Why Should SoundCloud Support Weirdo Noise Artists?
While SoundCloud certainly wants to support collaboration, why would it want to support people recording things like an old barn door creaking especially if they’re not sampling it for a hip hop track?
SoundCloud is trying to encourage the mainstream to take up a new activity, paying closer attention to sounds and treating them as one might a picture or video clip. However they likely wish to exclude short verbal statements and conversations that would basically turn them into an audio chat platform. It’s about the sounds that people aren’t already recording and paying attention to on a mass basis.
New behaviors are hard but, historically speaking, it’s experimental musicians and audio artists who have attended to sound in a conscious manner and who have turned other people on to such things. John Cage’s legacy alone in that regard is much more significant than any mainstream efforts to date yet Cage went from the fringes to the mainstream with his work.
If SoundCloud really wants to make sound a mainstream interest they are going to have to go to the fringes to find their way. That means giving people actually working with sound the tools to do more of that work on SoundCloud. Developing those tools but keeping them simple will give everyday people more of what they need to participate in what is largely an alien practice.
Since that seems unlikely, SoundCloud seems fated to be a great place for uploading and promoting one’s music while always wishing it was something more.
[Thumbnail image via Wikipedia.]
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is building a writing hub at Flux Research. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

How to Create SMARTER Goals for Your Music

Author Zig Ziglar was often as saying, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
Your music career is no different. Unless you have a target that you are reaching for, you’ll just continue down random pathways hoping to get somewhere. How will you know what successful looks like if you haven’t defined success for yourself? You need to begin by creating (or revisiting) your goals.
There’s a popular business acronym that says goals should be S.M.A.R.T., or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In a band, I think goals should be SMARTER, because they need to include Everyone and be Revisited often.
There are many good articles on how to be more effective at writing and reaching goals. In fact, there have been many great books about them. It’s one of the most important aspects of your career, so it’s good to spend time on goals.
Here’s a quick rundown on how you can make goals S.M.A.R.T.E.R.:

Specific

Ask yourself the big questions: Who, what, when, where, why, when? A specific goal lets you know what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it by, why you are doing it, who will be involved, and where it will happen.
Many artists have a generic goal of “make a living full-time from doing music.” But what does that mean to you? Most independent artists who are making a living from music also manage their own careers, book their own shows, solicit sponsors, etc. in addition to creating and performing music. For them, their goal was to be independent of another job or career. For others, they want to concentrate solely on music so a booking agent, a manager, a lawyer, and publicist would be involved as well.  How much money do you need to live on? Spell out the goal completely.
For example, a goal I’ve used before: Tour the continental U.S in August 2013 with at least 18 shows, playing a mixture of all-ages, 21+, and convention shows making an average of $500 per night. Also, see an increase on social media and web traffic by at least 10% and increase online sales by 20% for the month before, during, and after the tour. Those are all specific targets that I can definitely measure against.

Measurable

A goal should have specific metrics so you know if you’re making progress. If you have one larger goal, you should break it up into smaller parts over the course of time. That way, you and your team can always know where you stand against the overall goal. During this time you should be asking questions with how, when, and what: how much do you have left to go? When will you reach your goal? What do you have to do to stay on track?
Using the tour goal listed above, one could easily measure against the goal in a number of ways:
  • How many shows have been booked for August 2013? What kinds of shows have been booked?
  • How much income is being earned per night?
  • What is the average monthly online sales? Have they increased – and if so, by how much?
  • What do I need to do to help increase merch sales, at shows or online?

Attainable

The goals that you develop should be ambitious but realistic. For example, if you don’t have the right resources, abilities, finances, or followers, perhaps you should create a smaller goal and adjust it as the situation improves. If you focus on what you can do, it sometimes reveals new opportunities. For example, potential sponsors – many are probably in your own backyard but are often overlooked for the larger, sexier opportunities.
Goals should grow with you. As you gain more resources, abilities, finances, and followers, your goals should get respectively larger. Having them just out of reach helps you stretch. However, having them too far away will only cause frustration.

Relevant

The goals that you choose should matter. They should motivate you and drive your career forward. For example, I’ve talked to many artists who have a goal of playing a large festival like SXSW even though it doesn’t relate to their current state of their music career. Things shouldn’t be goals just because others are doing them. Ask yourself these questions: Is this the right time? Is this worthwhile? How will this directly help me?

Timely

Your goals should have a time-bound deadline. When would you like to reach your goal by? If your goal is shrouded in the idea of “someday,” you’ll have a much more difficult time of reaching it. If you want to achieve a goal by the end of the year, you’ll work more aggressively for it. For example, if your goal is to sell 5,000 records, you would treat it much differently if that was 5,000 someday as opposed to 5,000 by December.

Everyone

This is one that I like to use for musicians. Goals in a band should have everyone involved. If some of your bandmates aren’t on board with the goals, then you might consider having someone else replace them – that’s how important this is. People should be on the same page, have the right expectations, and the proper work ethic for reaching the goal.
Also, when I saw everyone, I mean everyone. This includes spouses or other people whom we depend on for support. If your band members would like to tour 8-10 months out of the year but their significant others aren’t supportive of that goal, some serious issues could arise – especially when that opportunity presents itself. If you want to focus primarily on licensing for films but your manager wants you to focus on festivals, those incongruent goals would also cause issues. Make sure the key players, as well as the most important people in your life, are in alignment when it comes to your goals.

Revisited

Goals should be revisited often. Not only should you be checking on your progress toward your goal, but you should also see if those goals need to be adjusted. Ask: are these goals still relevant? Is this what I want/need still?
Years ago, most artists had a goal of signing on a major record label (a few still do). However, since the market has completely changed, most have realized that this isn’t always the most appropriate opportunity for them. Major things can alter our goals: relationships, the market, our fans, political instability, and so on. Revisit those goals and make sure they meet the criteria above.