The Digest: Volume 1

Note: The Digest is a new feature to the Sketchbook blog. My goal is to provide a weekly annotated listing of links to relevant articles about events, trends, people, and things that have a direct impact on us as musicians. If you find The Digest useful, or if you want to suggest improvements, please let me know. Also, if you have content you’d like to see included, please send a message via Twitter or Facebook and let me know that as well. And share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media. 

Three Critical Reasons Why a Facebook Profile Can’t Replace a Fan Page, by Jon Ostrow on Music Think Tank.

Why should I create a fan page on Facebook? Can’t I just use my personal profile? Not if you want to use Facebook as an effective marketing tool for your music, says Jon Ostrow, who goes on to say that your family may not necessarily be numbered among your fans.

If the Internet Is Working for Musicians, Why Aren’t More Musicians Working Professionally? on The Trichordist

With all of the cool internet tools musicians have to send their careers into the stratosphere, why aren’t more of them making their living as musicians? When less than 1 percent of TuneCore artists make minimum wage, and when only 2 percent of artists who released albums last year broke 10,000 units, something’s wrong. Are the digital technologies that are supposed to help artists really helping?

Artists Are Like Children. They Simply Lack Discipline, by Paul on Digital Music News.

On another take as to why technology isn’t working for some musicians, Chuck D. opines that it’s the lack of structured classes in high school. That, he adds, along with the fact that young music students don’t have football coach-like mentors who order them to run laps if they don’t do their theory homework.

Ten Reasons How (Digital) Music Controls Your Life, on Manila Standard Today.

Headset manufacturer Skullcandy runs down a list of the top 10 ways music controls our mood, energy level, and even intelligence.

The Healing Powers of Music: Repairing Brain Damage, by Melanie Spanswick on Classical Mel’s Piano and Music Education Blog

“Patients with left-side brain damage who can no longer speak,” says author Melanie Spanswick, “can find they are able to sing words, often without trouble or training.” Her article defines melodic intonation therapy and discusses how therapists used it to teach former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords how to speak again.

I’m a Music Industry CEO. And This Is Why I Tossed Your Resume Into the Trash, by Paul on Digital Music News.

Trying to land a job in the music industry, or do you want to be a musician? There is a difference, according to Lee Parsons, CEO of digital distributor Ditto Music, and you need to understand that difference before applying to his company. He spells out the top 20 list of things to do (and not to do) if you want to land that customer support/marketing position he has open.

Is Spotify’s Business Model Broken? by Greg Sandoval on CNET.

The music streaming service Spotify is struggling, posting a 60 percent revenue loss from 2010 to 2011. While analysts say there’s enough cash to keep it going for a while, its current business model is “unsustainable” for the long term.

Pandora Offers Song and Dance About Music Sales, by Greg Sandoval on CNET.

Here’s the skinny: Pandora, according to cofounder Tim Westergren, says that they pay a lot of royalty money to their artists. And they do: Coldplay and Jason Aldean are on track to make a cool million each from the internet radio company. But terrestrial radio broadcasters pay much lower royalties, and now Pandora is trying to get the government to lower internet radio royalty rates. Meanwhile, the music industry is trying to get radio stations to pay the same royalty rates as Pandora (understandably, they’re not interested). One thing’s for sure: the election will long be over before this issue gets settled.

How To Build a Professional Music Team, by Ryan J. Colburn on Music Clout.

It’s time to start putting together a team, says Ryan Colburn, when you’ve released a CD, put on some big shows, and gotten some decent press. Pick your managers, booking agent, publicist, and attorney carefully, and understand what they’re supposed to do. They, in turn, should understand your goals and objectives as an artist.

Classical Music: Musicians as Entrepreneurs on The Economist.

Quite a few classical musicians have had to become real entrepreneurs in order to ensure they can rely on a market for their work. Without flexibility and creativity, classical music will struggle to find the audiences necessary to sustain itself. Read how some innovative classical musicians try to cultivate these audiences by reaching out to the communities through unconventional means, such as coffee shop concerts.


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