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
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.
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.
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.
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.*
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.
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