Items to check out for the Week of April 13

1) The Future of the Music Industry – Part II by Mike McCready (formerly Pearl Jam)

2) Interested in getting radio play?

Check out Airplay Direct.where you can set up a profile for free, then sign up to participate in any number of their promotional programs (for a fee). For example, the Radio Programmers Newsletter features 10 artists each month. Past “Featured Artists” include Dolly Parton, The Raconteurs (Jack White), Merle Haggard, Ann Wilson (Heart), Willie Nelson, Los Lonely Boys, Susan Tedeschi, Black Label Society, Quiet Riot, Nils Lofgren, Pam Tillis, Deana Carter, Elvin Bishop, Ray Stevens, Collin Raye, Conway Twitty, etc. The newsletter goes out to over 3,300 AirPlay Direct radio members and a select number of tastemaker stations that have requested to be on their newsletter list for info on new artists. Plus it is distributed to over 17,000 record label / artist members.

3) Artist or Entertainer?

A blog posting by Artist House Music. My favorite paragraph:

“The line between art and entertainment has always been blurry, particularly with the rise of “popular music” but I think where we are today is a crossroads where every musician is going to have to ask the question of themselves – am I an artist or an entertainer, and from that determine how or even if they fit into the industry.”

4) A little wisdom from Seth Godin, marketing guru

So, who should you listen to?

Your sneezers.

You should listen to the people who tell the most people about you. Listen to the people who thrive on sharing your good works with others. If you delight these people, you grow.

5) LOCAL WORKSHOP: Copyrights & Contracts for Musicians: Sound Advice

Featuring Attorney Peter Vaughan Shaver of Sound Advice, LLC

At AFM Local 99, 325 NE 20th Avenue, Portland.

Sunday April 26, 2009   1:00 – 3:00 PM

$20.00 pre-registration; $30.00 at the door. Free to AFM union members

Description:

The American Federation of Musicians (AFM Union Local 99) and Sound Advice, LLC present an educational workshop with attorney Peter Vaughan Shaver on Copyrights and Contracts for Musicians.
This event will be held at AFM Local 99, 325 NE 20th Avenue, Portland, on Sunday, April 26, 2009 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM.; $20.00 for pre-registration through Sound Advice; $30.00 at the door for the general public. The event is free for AFM union members This two-hour, interactive workshop will provide practical information on various legal topics related to the music business, with a focus on copyrights and contracts. Anyone involved with the music business should attend: bands, singer-songwriters, managers, producers, promoters, or record label owners.

Good items from the week of March 9

Last week these items floated to the top of my radar, so I give them to you to begin your week of continuing to make yourself into a more successful music professional. HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

Weiden and Kennedy Radio – cool, I didn’t know they had their own internet station. Know anyone there? Want me to make a pitch?

Making the most of online music fandom – good little piece on how the fan/musician relationship is changing

Most notable paragraph: “Of course, the flip side to fans’ empowerment is what seems a lot like disempowerment to those who’ve been able to control music production, distribution and coverage. It’s natural to respond to this with fear. The threats are real. Those in industry may want to stop fans from:

Criticizing them, spreading their music, using their name, bootlegging their shows, discussing their private lives, writing fantasies about them, spreading misinformation. But getting control back is not an option. That genie is not going back in the bottle. The power struggle and the tensions it raises will continue for the foreseeable future. The relationship between fans and artists is less and less like abusiness relationship in which artists and industry set the terms and audiences either buy or don’t, and more and more like a social relationship in which bands and fans have to negotiate terms together.”

Ellis Paul raises $90K for new recording Ah, the power of igniting your fanbase. As we all know Ellis grew his fanbase in the old music business model, so he has a definite leg up. But you could potentially do something like this, albeit on a smaller scale. This was from his e-mail newsletter, and his not posted in his website. This is his excerpt below.

Some of you know that we paid for this recording through contributions made at the website by fans of my music.

A ladder of package choices was posted online from simple pre-orders of the album up to a $10,000 special level that includes guitars, house concerts, songs written for loved ones, signed lyrics, concert passes, demos, my next child, etc…

To date we have raised $90,000 and counting.
I can’t believe it myself!
When the economy crashed we felt we shouldn’t do a hard sell on the project, and just accept the consequences of what we had and the circumstances of our times. But we found the contributions and inquiries keep coming in. It’s humbling to see how much people care about what I am creating. And to all of you, thank you.

The music industry has been turned inside out by the sea of change of technology. Record labels traditionally provide money and short term marketing to artists and within a short few months abandon both the artist and the project to move on towards other investments. Unless the record breaks huge, its over. Yet, the label owns the recording forever. The artist sees little return from the actual CD unless he/she is lucky enough to sell enough copies to pay off the recording debts and even then the royalty rate is a dollar an album.

Thanks to you folks, I will own the masters to this recording. If the songs are placed in a movie ten years from now, the money will go back to me, my management (who work tirelessly everyday to get my work out to the world) and my family where it belongs.

The added bonus is I can put out a record that doesn’t have to adhere to a label’s tastes. My songs are eclectic; A mix of folk, rock, country- this is the first time I have made production choices to match the songs needs, not the labels needs. The sense of ownership is greater as well, so I am finding a new attention to detail that I would normally leave to the producer’s ears. I love songwriting- I treat it like a religion of sorts, a Zen practice. Usually recording the songs has felt less than the prayer then writing them, but not this time around. I think because I own every note on the record, the whole process is feeling like church. (But funnier. SORRY God!) It feels as though we passed around the plate and the community kicked in to support.

Okay on a completely different note…I recently have been exploring Second Life, an artificial reality world on the internet that has the best and worst of what the net has to offer. There’s a lot of beauty and a lot of darkness.

But I have met people (or a version of them) and getting to feel a little reborn in the process. Newcomers are treated poorly by well coifed veterans for being dressed poorly and for not knowing etiquette and secrets of grace and style. There’s racism, nationalism, capitalism, sex is rampant, and you can find fights or love depending on your needs.

All of this, of course, is escapism, for whatever reason, I am sure each person has a reason to be there.
There is also a lot of kindness, knowledge, humor on second life.

Traveling in this alternative world has been a great reflection on real life for me. It reminds me of things taken for granted.

We live in a pliable universe. There are people here armed with crayons, guns, brooms and bank notes
Some people make war.
Some make babies.
Some write poetry.
Some invest money.
Some teach
Some learn
and in this universe joy is a relative word. But it’s not a complacent one. It’s directly related to the work of your life. The making of war, love, babies, poetry.

People are starting whole lives on the internet. They have families in functioning maternity wards. Attend concerts, build homes. Last night I was chastised for the animation of my avatars walk. The anonymity of second life brings out the petty I guess, but then again some cool people have shown me around, taken me on balloon rides in Africa, dancing in Paris.

Anyway, my point is I’m counting blessings back here in the real world. I’m reminded that I have some control here in the fabric of my life. My actions and my work shape my universe and my joy. I think this recording is really going to make a difference in my life and my family’s future. Thanks for giving me the support to create it!

Using Twitter for public meetings?

Definitely off the subject of the music biz, but in the realm of something I care about – accessible and efficient government. I think this could be a really cool use of Twitter technology, as a sort of large public meeting facilitation and feedback tool.

I have an idea public meetings. I read an article today  from Pistachio Consulting about how participants use Twitter during presentations to not only interact with the outside world, but to interact with people at the presentation to help them understand what is being said.

The quote below prompted me to wonder what it would be like to have this as part of public meetings at the county and city.

“The back-channel blurs the line between the presenter and the audience. Now everyone can be an active participant. Here’s an account from Gary Koelling of a twitter-fueled participative meeting:
And what struck me was the dynamic of this meeting. It was participatory. No one was talking out loud except the guy presenting the ppt. But the conversation was roaring through the room via twitter. It was exploding. People were asking questions. Pointing out problems. Replying to each other all while the ppt was progressing along it’s unwaveringly linear path.”

My concept is this:

• Each meeting is given a Twitter code and people at public meetings are informed of this
• A county or city employee sitting right near the commissioners is designated to monitor the Tweets during the meeting to get a temperature on the room and receive any questions.
• Relevant and important information is then summarized on the spot and relayed to the commissioners.
• People not at the meeting would also be able to monitor as the city employee could broadcast major milestones.
• Another benefit is that, as you know, meetings often get some people that continue to ramble, and often times off topic or too long. Well, by getting a real time temperature of the room, those people would be potentially asked to cease, leading to more efficient meetings/ less wasting of time.

I think there are some legs to this, though it would require a little more fleshing out for it to work effectively. It could create some pretty great participatory government.

iPhone apps growing in use by musicians

Well, it was a matter of time before musicians figured out how to leverage iPhone apps to connect with their fan base, and hopefully generate more revenue. Wired posted a couple of interesting articles on this subject. The first (from October), iPhone Apps Could Be the New MySpace Page, profiles artist Pink and how she had created the first truly interactive App for her fans. The author muses about how artists could create a subscription model to give fans access to all their music, and other content. $40/ year?! I don’t think so. Maybe something more reasonable. The second article (February), Major Label Acts Get Hip to Music Apps, discusses the partnership of major labels and Kyte to create compelling Apps for their fans. Cool stuff.

Now, how could an independent artist use the iPhone App format? This remains to be seen as the cost may be too high for the limited audience. Perhaps, though we could create a localized App for music fans and invite artists to be part of it, for a fee. I’d love to have an iPhone app for Portland (OR) where I could see what my favorite artists are up to. Maybe there’s a different model that could have a free ad supported version and paid version for artists who want to be able to give more content to their fans. Hmmm….intriguing.

Buzz Sonic compiles list of 200+ music industry sites

This is pretty cool, though a bit overwhelming. Maybe something to start working through piece by piece. Check it out though, there are some good nuggets; and the music blogs, yummm…..

Buzzsonic.com

Music has a good future in the smartphone market, says Terry McBride

I think Terry McBride, from Nettwerk Management, is onto something in his blog posting today about how music can be part of the future of smartphones. He doesn’t provide any easy solutions, but a call to action to get busy on generating your ideas and programming software to deliver to the masses. What does this mean for musicians? A new delivery channel is emerging, so jump on. And he is not talking only about the music streaming Apps, he is talking about how music could be an enhancement to many smartphone applications.

Don’t know much about iPhone and iPod Touch music specific Apps? Here’s a little piece from Paste Magazine. I suggest reviewing their list of Apps and verifying that your music is available on them. If not, contact the company and find out how to add your music. And don’t forget to register with SoundExchange so you get paid for the streaming of your songs.

Fughettabout the 800 pound gorilla

Great post about dealing with the 800 pound gorilla that is the music industry. Basically, don’t think about it, focus on your fans and your music career.

Read it.