The Digest: Fresh News About the Music Business – March 30, 2013

ramonePhil Ramone, Music Producer, Dies at 72 NPR The Two-Way

While the cause of death was not immediately disclosed, Ramone was known to have been hospitalized with an aortic aneurysm in February. Ramone, a South African native, studied at the Julliard School in New York when he was a teenager and went on to earn 14 Grammy Awards.

Topspin Offers 5 Direct-to-Fan Lessons From SXSW Hypebot

South by Southwest is more than just a venue – it’s a place where artists can learn about the latest trends that affect their music and what lessons they can learn from those trends. The Hypebot article describes five of these lessons and strategies for musicians and those who work with them. Among them: the digital streaming experience must evolve to allow fans to dig deeper into the music and discover the artist completely. Also, artists must also go beyond the metrics, such as followers and likes, and focus on the authenticity of their messages.

Get Ready – Apple’s iRadio Is On the Way! Forbes

Slated to launch sometime this summer, iRadio is acknowledged to be the next logical step in the progression of iTunes, iPods, iPhones, and so on. So what took it so long? The sticking point seems to have been profitability: Pandora pays artists $0.12 per 100 spins, and Spotify pays a whopping $0.35 per 100 spins. Apple, however,  wants to pay only $0.06 per 100 spins. Whether or not they get that rate isn’t etched in stone, but if talk of a launch is buzzing about, you can be sure that Apple has the hammer and chisel ready.

House Concert Tips and Advice Music Music Marketing [dot] com

house-concertIf you’re considering playing a house concert, take time to listen to this podcast first. The folks from Music Marketing [dot] com discuss topics ranging from which artists benefit from house concerts the most to whether house concerts should be streamed to getting Beyonce to play your house. And for more information about house concerts, click here.

Guitar Giant Gibson Takes Control of Teac Scotsman

The deal is worth a reported $52 million, and according to the guitar company, will help it expand into Asian markets.

Why Your Facebook Page Isn’t Growing Music Think Tank

Face it. You’re probably not going to get above 6 percent engagement on your band’s page, and that’s on a good day. In fact, most users have fewer than 256 followers. Some of that is your fault: you don’t post interesting content, you don’t use pictures or infographics, and you don’t engage with the community. But Facebook has stacked the deck against you. You can’t reach 100 percent of the people out there because the advertisers are paying for that privilege.

The Rise of the Musicpreneur Music Think Tank

Tommy Darker has written the first of three articles that provide “a well-organized overview of the tasks involved in being a modern do-it-yourself artist,” and it’s worth a read, especially if you’re just starting out on the indie artist road. What follows is a solid tutorial on music business terms and tasks, such as sustainable business model (what you do to stay in business), and growth/metrics (how you measure how well you’re staying in business). Then there’s stuff about web presence, branding, SEO, online platforms, and so on. If it seems intimidating, then you’d better read it twice and brace for parts 2 and 3.

Bob Moog Inducted Into Inventors Hall of Fame Music Industry Newswire

robert-moog-2Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the legendary Minimoog Synthesizer, earned his rightful place among his fellow peers recently when he was posthumously inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame. A statement from his company headquarters in Asheville, NC, explained Moog’s honor as one given to “individuals who conceived, patented, and advanced so many of the great technological achievements that have changed our world.”

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The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an 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 share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.

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The Digest – March 23, 2013

fire saleIs the $1.99 Album the Next Big Thing for Musicians? Digital Music News

On February 26th, Amazon decided to offer several albums at the fire sale price of  just $1.99, including Bruno Mars’ latest album, Unorthodox Jukebox, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ The Heist. As both albums had been out for more than four weeks, they promptly climbed up the Billboard 200 chart. But who will pay the artists’ royalties? Or will that change, too?

Emerging Trends in Social Media, and How They’ll Impact Music Music Think Tank

Obviously, mobile devices and apps will gain importance to musicians in 2013, with increased emphasis on email marketing to mobile users. Band websites that are not now optimized for mobile browsing will ultimately cost their owners fans and revenue. And thinking beyond the obvious ways we connect to the web needs to be part of a band’s marketing strategy.

Musicians Accused of Buying Virtual Fans on YouTube BBC Newsbeat

A US-based data monitoring company reports that artists are buying followers and comments in order to bolster their image with the music industry. Is such a practice ethical? Doesn’t it cheapen the music? That’s debatable, but apparently the scheme works well enough for Justin Bieber, who was outed after his YouTube video views surged into the millions.

Songwriters: Find Your Natural Audience Music Think Tank

What’s the difference between Taylor Swift and Nick Cave? Ms. Swift is a pop artist, while Mr. Cave is what the industry calls a niche artist. And you can use these two extremes to figure out where your music lies. Ask yourself who you are, and if your music is more mainstream or more indie. And remember, you’re the mirror of your audience. They’ll come to see themselves in your music.

Unwanted Electronic Gear Rising in Toxic Piles The New York Times

e-waste-dump-nigeriaOld cathode ray tube monitors used to be an easily recyclable item. Not anymore. Since the arrival of the flat screen monitor, the CRTs have become fodder for warehouses, overseas waste shipments, or landfills here. And, as reported in another Times story, unwanted pianos are also finding permanent retirement at the dump. Maybe I should shop for gear there instead of the local music superstore.

Transitioning From Covers to Originals The Big Picture Music Production Blog

If your band has been playing out for a while, chances are one of the members has suggested writing and performing a few original tunes. Problem is, you’re known for being a great cover band. How do you make the transition? Bobby Owsinski offers four good suggestions as to how morph into an original act. One of the secrets? Don’t sound like the record.

Tips For a Great Recording Session Galaris Music Industry Directory

studioIt should go without saying that you need to practice outside the studio. A well-rehearsed band not only saves more money on studio time, but also brings more energy to a session than one still trying to work out parts. Galaris also recommends bringing spares of everything, getting used to a click track, and not believing you can fix it in the mix.

Ten Ways to Unclutter Your Band’s Website Bandzoogle

Exactly how many social media feeds do you need on your website, anyway? Will 40 pictures of the lead singer taken at the same gig really add gravitas? And while you’re cleaning up your website, ditch the guestbooks and hit counters. An uncluttered web presence is your friend.

The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an 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 share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.

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The Digest – March 19, 2013

Express - 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive FestivalSouth by Southwest: Recapping the Music Festival Time

A rundown of the SXSW highlights, from Prince to Justin Timberlake, to Waxahatchee, to Death Grips, to Dave Grohl, it’s all here. Next year I’ll drop some more names.

How the Internet Is Changing Everything (feat. Amanda Palmer on Vocals) Sex, Genes, and Rock

Thirty years ago, says Rob Brooks, if you wanted to listen to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” you had to buy Thriller. Today, if you want to listen to “Gangnam Style.” you need only go to YouTube or download it from iTunes. Or a bit torrent site. Piracy abounds, which has dramatically affected royalty payments to artists and producers alike. Now the question has become “how do we make listeners pay?” Brooks says bands to tour more, and fans to pay to experience music live. And that, he says, completely inverts the way technology changed music in the 20th century.

Twitter Enters the Music Business  SFGate.com

Similar to Pandora, the new Twitter Music app suggests songs to listeners based on the bands they follow. Expect a launch date by the end of March.

So You Want to Play the Piano Available For Preorder Classical Mel’s Piano & Music Education Blog

Concert pianist and piano teacher Melanie Spanswick recently finished her new book, So You Want To Play The Piano?, and it is an excellent guide for anyone thinking about the piano as his or her instrument of choice. Within its pages the novice pianist can find advice on finding the perfect instrument (and teacher), supporting a child who is learning, practicing, and much more. Spanswick’s book is officially on sale April 1, but readers can order So You Want to Play the Piano? in advance from Amazon.

Music Business: Investments Are Not Expenses The Media Online

productionNo one has to tell musicians these days that times are tough, and it really doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran or just starting out. And labels aren’t doing any better, despite the mythology of  them having hoards of cash in their secret underground vaults. So it’s no surprise that artists wince at ponying up mega bucks for things like production, live sound, and branding. But what musicians must realize is that these things aren’t expenses – they’re investments in the artist, his career, and the success of the label.

New Study Finds That Music Piracy Doesn’t Negatively Affect Sales WebProNews Technology

According to the music industry, music piracy will be the death of it. But a new study shows that such is not the case. In fact, most users who are interested in music visited both pirated sites and online music stores. The study went on to claim that pirate sites actually contributed to an increase in clicks on online music stores’ links by up to  2 percent.

The Disconnect Between Musicians and Promoters The Lowry Agency Blog

Opening acts should spend less time whining about a low turnout and more time getting out on the street and promoting the show, says artist management guru David Lowry. In Part 1 he goes on to describe the costs, wheeling, and dealing involved in putting on a show, and offers sage advice to openers: get out and help put butts in seats. Part 2 involves landing a gig as an opening act, and doing that is all about developing a relationship with a promoter. “Business people are looking for persistence, reliability, creativity and hard work,” Lowry explains. “This is a very speculative business, and so promoters are looking for artists that will make sure they deliver and help make sure the show doesn’t operate at a loss.”

Seven Music Career Myths The Musician’s Way Blog

zeusBeing technically proficient with your instrument helps, but it’s not going to make your career all by itself. Nor do managers handle everything for you. (Nor should they. It’s your career!) And rather than rely on winning the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, students can better serve their careers by “performing innovative programs for diverse audiences, [and] growing their fan bases in the process.”

The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an 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 share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.

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