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BeatsOnToast on Digital Music Trends [Video]

This week I had the pleasure of taking part in the much respected weekly show, Digital Music Trends, discussing the latest news and breakthroughs in digital music and technology. 

Along with host and digital music maestro Andrea Leonelli, was Darren Hemmings former head of digital marketing at [PIAS] Entertainment Group and now founder of digital marketing agency Motive Unknown.

Together we discussed the week’s latest developments in music and technology, including; the closure of TuneWiki, iTunes Radio royalty rates, Jay-Z & Kanye album release strategies, Spotify apps & where are they heading, Sony Unlimited & offline playback, Xbox Music & their new web based player, Pandora’s recent PR disasters, plus much more.

You can watch the video below, and I recommend subscribing to the DMT mailing list and Youtube channel to keep up to date, or if you like you podcasts via iTunes then subscribe by clicking here. Andrea has a certain knack for getting in the most knowledgeable and active members of our industry in for one to one interviews and discussions, all of which are worth watching or listening to.

DMT 138 – 26th June 2013

What I’m Listening To: Spring Offensive – Speak

‘We’re saving live music’ – Introducing: GigOwl

Grown out of a need for innovative solutions to problems in the live music and events sector, and to push independent musicians further in the UK, GigOwl was formed in early 2013 by Anthony Bliss and Chris Mead.

“We are a community marketplace for venues and event professionals.”

GigOwl is an ethical community booking service that connects musicians with studios, promoters and event organisers. At their core the GigOwl team want to make things simpler for musicians and venues.

Through streamlined gig requests, guided marketing support and giving organisers and musicians the tools needed to promote their gigs, GigOwl aims to develop a platform that empowers musicians, promoters and fans within the world of live music.

In their own words: “Great new talent exists, it should be experienced, and we want to help make that happen a lot more.

And they’ve already started! GigOwl are offering an up and coming; folk, indie or alternative act the chance to play the final day of Sheffield’s inner-city music festival Tramlines on the 21st July, you can apply by simply clicking here – Apply For Tramlines Festival.

Apply To Play Tramlines Festival By Clicking The Image

They also want to hear from YOU, independent musicians. Share the experiences you’ve had with venues, promoters and other musicians, tell them how you think gigging needs to be improved, so that GigOwl can adapt to make itself the best platform it can be for you; the musician. You can either drop Anthony and Chris an email OR Tweet them OR message them on Facebook. They’re really friendly guys, so do get in touch.

GigOwl Website
GigOwl Twitter
GigOwl Facebook

What I’m Listening To: Lorde – Love Club

All My BeatsOnToast Posts In One Place

Create Your Digital Street Team

It’s hard trying to expand your audience and spread the word that you’re someone to pay attention to. So here are a few tips on how to make the most of the people already supporting you, in the form of your very own Digital Street Team. Want to read more?

Stop Making Them Wait and Give Them The Music

This post featured on Hypebot, MusicThinkTank and Fortitude Magazine – Is an album the right route for you to be going down? Have you considered releasing a few more singles, or EPs to get your music out to your fans faster and to keep them interested? It’s worked for other up and coming bands. Want to read more?

Don’t Shout! Speak and They’ll Listen

Having a bit of trouble connecting with online press and bloggers? You may be going about it the wrong way, it’s about connecting as you would in real life, this post may give you some tips. Want to read more?

Upload Your Biography To Spotify

If you’ve had your music distributed to Spotify then here is how you can ensure all your artist information is linked to your music. Want to read more?

Cover The Basics – Get The Views

You’ve probably uploaded cover versions of songs onto your Youtube channel in the past and gotten minimal views. But have you considered looking at smaller, more approachable bands to help increase the views you get and help fans find their way to you? Want to read more?

Collaborate & Split The Audience

Collaborations are nothing new, but if you aim for a similar level artist as yourself in a different region it could help you both reach new audiences in new territories, here is how you can split your audience. Want to read more?

10 Top Instagram Tips For Musicians

You’ve probably got an Instagram account, but have you got a band one? If so are you using it to its full potential? Want to read more?

Are You – ‘Unknown Artists 01’?

Ever wondered why when you import your CD into iTunes you’re entered as ‘Unknown Artist 01’? Well here is why and how you can change it. Want to read more?

Reach Your Facebook Fan-atics Through Opt-in Notifications!

Facebook released a new feature to help band pages connect with your hardcore fan base much easier and to ensure people are seeing what you’re posting after Facebook EdgeRanks decreased. Want to read more?

Don’t Miss It, Schedule It

You’ve got a busy life, writing music, performing, recording but also your life outside of music. So how do you make sure you can reach your audience at the best time for them, when you’re busy? Try scheduling. Want to read more?

Bandcamp Launches: ‘Bandcamp For Fans’ – Turning Fans Into Promoters

Recently Bandcamp opened up the availability of fans to create accounts. Fans can now connect with artists and other fans and sift through the music they’ve bought like old school record collections. Want to read more?

200 People Are Attending? Your Really Think So?

Facebook Events, are they really worth it? Have we gotten past taking them seriously and are they now just a landing page for information? Want to read more?

Show Off In 6 Seconds: Introducing Vine For Musicians

Using the Vine App on your phone? Here’s how you can be using it in your band life! Want to read more?

Here is What I’ve Been Listening To!

Stop Making Them Wait And Give Them The Music

Right then,  you’ve been writing and performing for a while now, you’ve got a nice notepad scribbled with lyrics and a hard drive full of demos, “rough mixes” and a fan base that hits a few cities. So you might be fooled into thinking now would be a good time to take some time out to write an album, right?

*UPDATE: Despite how it has been interpreted, I am in no way advising artists to abandon all quality of music. My comment about releasing “rough” mixes were as teasers/freebies. All musicians should work to their best at all times, my point is that may they should send that quality out sooner rather than later.*

Nope.

You’ve spent all that time building yourself up, faced all the challenges of getting people to connect and you want to take 6 months to year out to write music, only posting “Exciting things to come, can’t wait for you to hear it” on Facebook every other week? Sounds ridiculous! People don’t have big attention spans, if you disappear for that length of time, when you come back with that pristine, packaged album you’ll forgotten about.

So what should you be doing?

You should be releasing as often as possible. If you have the content for an album you have the content for 10 singles or 5 Eps. What’s going to keep you at the forefront of your fans mind; the promise of music to come or consistent music every other month?…Exactly!

You may worry about the quality, I mean, how can you guarantee consistent quality music when you’re firing out an EP every two months? Well think of it this way, if one EP flops, you’re fans will probably forgive you and you can focus on making the next one better. Whereas if you’ve spent a year on an album making your fans wait and it flops, you’ve lost a year and you’ve lost the fan.

There is too much pressure on bringing out a spectacular album. An album which is essentially 3-4 great singles and a bunch of fillers, so why put yourself through that? Release more often and you can work on different EPs which lets you experiment with your music, while giving your fans more to listen to, more to talk about and more to share. If you want an example of this in play, check out the guys of Bastille. They’ve been whipping out EPs and singles more often than they (probably) change their underwear. Some have been crackers, some have been ‘meh’, but do I make sure I get every one of them? Yes I do!

So if you have track that goes down a storm at a show, why make fans wait a year to hear it on an album? Record it straight away and get it out, if it’s a rough mix, give it away for free with the promise it will be fully mastered on the next EP. You’re supplying demand here remember. The last thing you want is to disappoint fans by taking ages to release music, for it then to be crap. The disappointment will be tenfold. This method gives you more “lives” if you want to call it that, you have more chances to play. Mess up one, it’s ok, you’ve got the next one to sort it out.

If you write a song late on a Friday night, why not record it over the weekend and send it out to your mailing list? Give them the story of  how it’s just for them and that you wrote it just two days ago, they’re getting first listen. They’re going to feel way more connected than if you’d just said “Wrote a sweet song, you’ll have to wait for the album to hear it though!

They idea here is to create as many new moments as you can between you, your music and your fan, keep them coming and the fan will stay. Make them wait 6 months and not only will the fan become disconnected with you but you’ll become disconnected with the music.

Hope you enjoyed the read! Please share the post, follow and subscribe!

Feel free to comment below or Tweet me!

Tom

Follow @TomSSatchwell

What I’m Listening to: JettaStart A Riot 

Don’t Shout! Speak & They’ll Listen

Connecting with bloggers and online Influencers is a great way to generate hype and gain visibility for your band. But how to stand out from the crowd? How do you contact a complete stranger and get them to show interest in your and your music?

Compared to say, even ten years ago it is difficult to distinguish between journalists and bloggers. Some blogs are so well written and have such a large following, that they become the first port of call when readers wish to know what they should be listening to.

Because these Influencers have built up such as large following, they hold a lot of influence within their circles and it is difficult to get onto their radar. So how do you grab their attention? Here are 5 dos and don’ts:

Do Your Research

Don’t even say hello to an Influencer until you identify what that blogger’s topic of expertise is. You need to be able to connect with the Influencer on a shared interest or value. If they write about folk music and you’ve got a new folk album coming out, you can go ahead. If they write about the best ways to grow turnips, you might want to look elsewhere.

Online Influencers nearly always tend to be early adopters. So ensure when you do approach, that you are offering something new and exclusive. A sneak peak at your latest EP, or first look at the music video to your new single might just be thing that gets them to engage with you.

Do Pitch Yourself

The same way magazines and newspapers receive hundred of pitches a day from bands requesting reviews or features, online Influencers don’t have time to respond to every request, so here is a tip. Before your try to pitch, first break the ice. Instead of going in all about yourself, show consistent interest in themselves and their work by:

Engaging with them on social media, but don’t stalk them.
Commenting on their blog posts, with something substantial. A “Nice blog” will do nothing for them or you, make sure you add to the conversation.
Share their content over your social media sites, and be sure to tag, mention or link back to them.

It might seem like a lot to do, but when it comes to pitching your music you’ll stand a much better chance of catching their interest having done this, because they’d have read your name before.

Don’t Stalk

The same way you wouldn’t follow a person in real life shouting “HEY @INFLUENCER, LISTEN TO MY MUSIC” at them, so you shouldn’t online. A big no-no (and something we see a lot) is posting comments that have nothing to do with the bloggers post. If they’ve posted content and you comment with nothing but a link to your music, you’re adding nothing to the conversation and they won’t care.

Don’t email them everyday, you’ll eventually find yourself amongst their junk mail. Also don’t come across arrogant or curt. Posting snarky comments isn’t going to win you any allies in any industry. When you engage with Influencers, be polite and genuine and use common sense, you’re speaking to a person after all.

However, people now tend to share more about themselves over social media, so its OK to bond and be more informal over these platforms, as long as the context is appropriate and you’re doing other things to build the relationship.

One main point: Bloggers and online Influencers use different social media networks for different reasons. So respect their right to do so. Work by this rule: If they don’t share blog or work related content on a particular social media site, don’t reach out for them on there and DEFINITELY don’t attempt to add them on Facebook.

Don’t Expect a Publication For Something They Haven’t Heard

A bloggers reputation is vital to them. So, if you’re trying for a review or feature don’t just ask them to write something without them having experienced some part of your music.

Embed media, either Soundcloud or Youtube into your emails, so they just have to press play to have a listen, don’t send MP3s. Similarly, if you’re posting your requests, make sure you include your EP or album within that envelope, along with a handwritten note (for that more personal touch).
As mentioned before, offer them exclusivity. First listen to your new EP for example
If you’re local, then offer them free tickets to your next show or album launch. If you’ve really built up a relationship, ask to meet up at a gig you’re both going to for a pint, the informal setting will work in your favour.

Don’t be shocked or angry if they don’t give you the five star review you were hoping for, like I said, their reputation is everything, so if they say something is great and it isn’t, then they lose their reader’s trust. It’s the music industry so you have to take the good with the bad.

Don’t Name Drop

The whole “it’s who you know” attitude may help in some cases, but when those people are shoved into the faces of others, you’re damaging your own reputation. By mentioning to another Influencer that, “So and so has written about our new EP in his blog” you’ve instantly wiped out the exclusivity you were offering this Influencer and they won’t care, its been done before, its old news.

Influencers want to be the first to know, especially if its something they love. So by listing a load of other bloggers, whom are essentially their competitors, you’ve just told this Influencer they aren’t important enough to be on the top of your list.

Try out these tips on your next campaign, its never too early to start building relationships, just be natural about it. The days of firing your link at everything that moves is over, be personal, build a connection and you’ve got a fighting chance of winning yourself some very helpful press.

What I’m Listening to: Imagine DragonsRadioactive

Don’t Miss It, Schedule It.

You’ve got your fans, you’re making your music, you’re connecting on some level with them on your social media sites, but you’ve got your own life to live too. You can’t be posting content 24/7 without being one of those people staring at their phones when they’re standing in a bar oblivious to the real world. So here is what you can do to make sure you reach your fans when you’ve got your own plans.

Shedules!

First off we’ll start with Facebook, a site that makes little noise when issuing new features for page administrators, so you may have missed this.  Facebook’s scheduling tool offers the ability to add dynamic links and post images in an easy to use format by selecting the date and time of when you would like the post to appear. You can schedule your post to appear up to 6 months in the future in intervals of 10 minutes. So if you want to post the iTunes link to your new single at 7pm Thursday evening, you can set up the entire post on Monday. Then you can forget about it, that post will go out 7pm Thursday evening. Here is how:

Now, to be able to have this scheduling option you’ll have to add a “Founded” date. To do this, click Milestone and add the date that you as an artist or band were “Founded On”. Also, like your other posts make sure they’re as you want them before you post. Make sure all links are correct, thumbnails are effective, spelling and grammar are correct etc.

After you click the “Schedule” button, your post will disappear. However, you will be able to see that it is scheduled by following the following steps:

  1. Click “Edit Page” within the admin panel (above the cover photo)
  2. In the dropdown menu, select “Use Activity Log”.
  3. On the next page, locate an arrow to the right of the scheduled post. When clicked, you will be able to change the time of the post, publish the post immediately or cancel the post.

So what about Twitter? The official Twitter site,doesn’t allow users to schedule posts, however Tweetdeck & Hootsuite do. In case you didn’t know, Tweetdeck & Hootsuite are social media dashboard applications to help manage Twitter and Facebook accounts. I use Tweetdeck to simultaneously run the Twitter Accounts I manage, and this allows me to schedule posts on any account for the day, week or month.

Firstly, Tweetdeck is free and is damn good, so I’d recommend checking it out, I won’t go into setting up your account or columns here it’s something you can play about with and set for your own preference. Once you’ve set yourself up a Tweetdeck account it’s pretty similar to Facebook scheduling. Here’s what to do:

These two ways of scheduling your posts allows you to reach your fans even when you’re not actually there to post. If you’ve noticed that the best time for you to post is 3am but you want to be all snug in bed, these tips will allow you to set up a 3am post and get your 8 hours all at once.

They will also allow you to cross oceans more effectively. If you have it, you don’t want to ignore international audiences. A lot of the time your international audience will still be at work or school while you’re jumping into bed, so set up posts for them, so that when they log in after work, you’re the first thing they see, even if you’re already in the land of nod.

Hopefully you’ve gotten something useful out of this simple post, so please feel free to Comment, Subscribe and Follow!

What I’m Listening to: Esco WilliamsNew Challenger 

Upload Your Biography To Spotify

Image

So you’ve gotten your music on to Spotify, you’re getting played but what you really want is for people to know who you are and what your album is all about. So how do you do that? 

Click here to read more.

Cover The Basics – Get The Views

So, a post about covers and how they can help boost your views. When I say covers,  I don’t mean doing your own “rocked up” rendition of “Call Me Maybe.” This will only be a short post as it’s something most bands and artists do anyway but it’s also something they don’t use to it’s full effect.

Now most musicians grow up playing their instrument or singing along to music that influenced them at the time. I have to admit I dabbled in a bit of 80’s Glam Rock when learning the drums, mostly because I liked the stick flicks but there we go. I got out of that phase without a mullet, and it’s left in the past.

But to use covers now, when you’re an ever so serious “professional” musician creating your own art seems backwards right? Nope. It’s a great tool! Especially for you savvy digital lot.

(First off, if you haven’t got a Youtube Channel, make one. Seriously, what are you doing? Also Set yourself up a Soundcloud account, both are free and are great for musicians. Get EVERYTHING you have onto those sites, and make sure all your other links (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are in your info, everything must link to everything else.)

Now, hopefully if you’ve took on board anything I wrote about in Collaborations, you’ve scouted about and found similar bands to you, that maybe share a similar fan base in a different location. You can use this same information with your covers.

First, find a song you like from these bands, (think strategically about what band and song you choose, no point doing it if you get nothing out of it) learn it and do yourself a cover. It could be acoustic, or if you have the time, a rough live version during practise. You can video it (not on an iPhone please) or just record the audio, either way make sure it is uploaded to Youtube. When you’ve finished uploading, check the tags the original band have used for that video, use those same tags but also add you own. Add links to the original band in the description and also the links to your own profiles. With all this data added and with your tags mimicking the original, your video will show up alongside it in the search results.

When that’s done, lets everyone know about it. Let the original band know about it. Let their fans know about it. The band will be flattered you’ve chosen one of their songs to cover. They will almost definitely Retweet it, if not to show off that they’ve been covered but because they like it. They might repost the video with a shout out to their own fans to check you out. That recommendation & influence will get you views of the cover and from your cover lead them to your own music. Simple. However, don’t get spammy with your posts, make sure they’re targeted, for example, if the band has a Fan account, post your video to them, they are, after all the people you want to get on board. Also something to look into is making you video a Video Response to the original as well as any related videos you can find.

This type of strategy works best with bands around your own level, don’t drop a cover video of Snow Patrol’s “Run” and expect the band to go “Well bugger me, a band from Runcorn has covered Run, why has no-one done this before?! RTRTRT” won’t happen. The douche bags.

But if you want to cover some bigger artists you can. Have a look what an artist named Jay Alexzander (@JayAlexzanderUK) is doing with popular songs his fans enjoy.

Jay has started his own “series” if you like, of covers on his Youtube Channel. The songs are chosen by his Facebook & Twitter followers who vote for what song they want him to cover. Jay will then video a version and upload it, tracking the hype on Twitter using the hashtag #JACS (Which I think stands for Jay Alexzander Cover Sessions or something similar) Jay has got big numbers on all his cover videos, and they’re just simple acoustic covers of songs voted for by his fans. The reason he’s succeeded is because he interacts with his fans, gets them involved in what he’s doing, and gives them something in return; music. It makes them more accessible when it’s time for Jay to post a link to his own music. It’s worth looking into if you have a very vocal fan base.

So there it is. Two different strategies for what you can do with covers. Simple as anything, which anyone can do, and if done right can work wonders. Now I proof read this, that wasn’t short at all. Bugger.

Comment, Subscribe and Repost!

What I’m Listening to: Fitz. – Caves

Create Your Digital Street Team

I recently read a few forums which had a lot of similar questions along the lines of “free online promotion.” It led me to think about the subject and subsequently to writing this post instead of the scheduled post on “Covers” which will be coming soon, promise.

With so many of the old industry models being thrown out, the “Street Team” is one tool artists and bands can still make the most of.

The street team of the past hasn’t changed all that much, only the street they’re working on. Instead of physical flyers they’re sharing/tweeting tour and show posters, instead of leaflets they’re sharing your Facebook/Twitter/Youtube pages.

The digital street team has more weight behind it than the old model of actually going out and speaking to people. They hold the ears of the 500 or so friends on Facebook plus the number of people following them on Twitter. That is more people than they’d ever reach on a hundred rainy Saturdays standing in the high street. Not only that but they get more than once chance to influence these people.

You probably already know your street team, they may have been doing the job already without you realizing. They are the people who always like your posts, share your links and talk about you in their networks. They’re most likely some of your friends, some of your family, or even just diehard fans. You need to find these people and connect with them, induct them into the “[Insert band name] Street Team”, try to add a bit of locational variety, so that your street team isn’t limited. It’s a digital street team, they don’t need to live two streets away. It makes no sense for that team to only be reaching people you can reach yourself.

They’ve already proved they’re loyal to you by taking it upon themselves to promote your music. By adding these people to your street team, you will show you recognise them and appreciate their efforts.

Set up a private Facebook Group and add them into it, then from here you can chat with them privately. It’s a casual platform where you can post links you need promoted, discuss your ideas with them, request promotion on certain social networks, put out personal queries for sites or people, you never know your team might know somebody.

But it’s not all take, take, take, for their efforts you need to reward them. Give them exclusive content, they’re your team, if you want them to be convincingly excited about your new release they need to see it. So give them first look at your new video, first listen to your new single/album, free tickets, discounted merchandise etc. For the exposure these people will give you it is worth the effort and at very little cost to you and it shows them you do appreciate what they’re doing, and it gives them a reason to continue promoting you.

Treat your team like they’re not just anybody, show your appreciation, your digital street team could increase your exposure massively, it’d be foolish not to set up your own.

Please comment, subscribe and share!

What I’m listening to: Next Lover – Coffee & Cakes for Funerals

Collaborate And Split The Audience

Collaborate With Other Musicians and Split Your Collective Audience

Believe it or not but there was a time not long ago when all collaborations in music didn’t include Pitbull. A time before seeing “Feat” wasn’t met with a grimace at the thought of another cheesy, self indulgent, irrelevant verse in a pop song. Hard to believe I know.

There was a time when collaborations were the coming together of great artists, to put together a fantastic track. Whether that collab was joint vocals, a guitar riff or even a harmonica solo, it didn’t matter, as a fan seeing a band you enjoy collaborating with another well known name was great! Especially if it is an artist or band you also enjoy.

So, how to get started? As I’m assuming you don’t have any contacts to Pitbull or Sean Paul and you want to avoid recreating the sinfully awkward Mick Jagger/David Bowie fiasco, I’d say start by looking at yourself.

What ever level you think you’re at, look at your fan base and find the connections. Use tools like Last.fm & Twitter to see what bands are similar to you (and therefore likely to have a similar fan base) and see who your followers are also following. What connections to other bands do you have that you haven’t noticed before. Check their location & check the location of their audience (which you can do using Facebook to see what regions they make the biggest impact), have they got a large southern fan base, but are lacking in the North West? Do you need help in the South but are big pimpin’ in the North West? Add it together and you’ve got equal opportunities for both of you.

Some bands/aritsts I guess would find it odd to be approached about a collaboration by a random band. So approach it slowly, why not follow them on Twitter first, open up a dialogue, let them know you enjoy their music, then approach the subject from there. Try & move the conversation to email, as to explain it all in 140 characters would be a pain in the backside.

I’m sure you’re wondering “what about the cost?” – I know studio time etc can be expensive, let alone travel, accommodation, beer, food etc. so in this ingenious digital era, what is stopping you recording separately? Have your collab record their part in a location, local to them & have it sent over so it can be mixed & mastered with your own parts. You can use tools like Dropbox for the sharing of large files if needed. Or maybe the band is on tour, if they’re passing a nearby town, why not have them pop in to lay down the tracks in between gigging?

Going on tour? Well you’ve already done one part, you’ve found a band with a similar fan base & style to yourself. So why not record an acoustic version of one of your tracks with the collab one night while on tour and throw it up on Youtube, or if it’s just audio, put it up on Soundcloud & let people download it for free, what have you lost? Having different versions of your songs online is great! Be they live, lyric videos, still images, official videos or acoustics! When people then search for your video the right hand bar is taken up by these versions instead of other non-related videos. Yourself and the other band/artist can plug the video, you’ll get views from the bands fans & get recognised by association, they may enjoy the acoustic version, check out the original, from which they SHOULD easily be able to find links to you Facebook, Twitter, Website etc. and be able to check you out in more detail (given you’ve customised your Youtube Channel properly).

By recording an acoustic version while on tour, you’re giving both band’s audiences an insight into the backstage goings on, which in itself is nothing special anymore now bands can Tweet & Instagram about what beer & sandwiches they’re being given. Like i’ve already said a collab will introduce each band’s fans to the other.

I understand that there are some logistical issues with what I’ve suggested, but I’m sure you could find a way to make it work. Having that association with another band or artist could bring some more traffic, and from that traffic more fans, and potentially from those fans, more sales. You could find an entirely new fan base in a region you were struggling to enter, you could come to the attention of bloggers, promoters, etc who may have had an eye on this other band or artist and their interest could spread to yourselves. You could even return the favour down the line if you wanted. You’ve created a professional relationship between yourself and the other band, who knows how that could work out for you further down the line.

So that’s it, to summarise: Check your connections > find a collab > approach > organise > plug > watch the effects.

Comment, follow, & subscribe.

What I’m listening to: French Wives

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