The Tip Jar Effect

The Tip Jar EffectRemember the Seinfeld episode where George goes to give the guy a tip at the pizza place, but the guy doesn’t see him put it in the jar and he tries to reach in and take his money back?

It’s funny because most of us can relate to it (well, hopefully not the part about reaching back into the jar!). If we’re being totally honest, when most of us give someone a tip we want them to see us doing it. We want them to feel like they’re getting hooked up and a part of us wants to be acknowledged for making a contribution. Read more…

Are You an Artist or Just Someone Who Plays Music?

Many of us use the term ‘independent artist’ or ‘recording artist’ to describe ourselves, but are we really artists, or are we just people who play music?

To answer that question we need to decide what it means to be an artist. Many of us grew up in an environment where we were only taught what art means at a superficial level. Maybe our first definition of an artist was someone who was really good at making realistic paintings or drawings or maybe someone who made weird abstract creations that were supposedly only understood by special people. Read more…

The Album Release Schedule Is Back!

CD Baby and IndieGuide.com have put together a very interesting and helpful album release schedule – updated for 2011.

Back in the late-90s at Sony Music Entertainment, we had these incredibly detailed setup schedules for albums. That included everything from getting artwork approvals, passing elements to distribution, setting up artist interviews, the works.

Read more…

Top 5 Music Business Mistakes of 2010

I’ve never been one for top 5 or top 10 lists, but I have seen these mistakes so many times in the past year, I figured they needed to be documented. #1 Waiting. You may want to reconsider. With replication costs low and mailings that can be made for little more than the cost of a stamp, putting your message on disc may be the smartest way to tell your company’s story and interest new and existing customers in your latest offer. Read more…

Licensing Your Music Ain’t Easy – Be Cool

I recently had lunch with the founder and CEO of a popular website for independent artists. It was great to catch up and hear about all the exciting things going on with the site. On the other hand it was a bit of a concern hearing about some of what he and his staff have had to put up with recently in dealing with some of the more, shall we say, frustrated and/or unstable musicians that use his services. Read more…

Music Marketing 2.0: The Digital Brand Manifesto

Every artist needs a fully customized DIGITAL BRAND to succeed. Proper branding requires the following:

  1. A unique web domain separate from an artist profile on the record label website. The artist’s website functions as the central web hub for that artist’s digital brand.
  2. A simplified e-commerce system on the artist website. Easy check-out store supporting various forms of payment (PayPal, credit, debit, etc).

Read more…

Progress vs. Perfection

About 8 years ago I used to smoke two packs of Marlboro Red cigarettes a day. It was hard for me to imagine what it would really take to quit. I tried to kick the habit cold turkey a few times and it just made me want to crawl out of my skin. Then I heard about the patch and decided to give it a try.

I put it on one morning and made it until about 10PM before I ripped it off and started smoking. The fact that I don’t smoke today has a lot to do with how I chose to look at what happened that day. Read more…

Achieving Success with your Music – Disc Makers Seminar

LA seminarJoin us at our Los Angeles seminar where we will share years of knowledge about what it takes to be successful as a musician in today’s world, including:

• What Makes an Artist or Band Instantly Signable
• How Good Your Demos Really Have to Be
• How to Dramatically Increase Your CD Sales
• Radio Airplay: Myth Or Reality for Independent Artists?
• How to Get Distribution and Not Get Burned
• And Much, Much More! Read more…

The Thing About Ping, Apple’s New Social Network

PingApple announced last week that they were launching a new social network called Ping which is integrated into their ubiquitous iTunes player. Ping allows music fans and artists to interact and share details about their listening habits. This is another great way for musicians to market themselves, share content, display concert info, and boost sales (artist profiles link to iTunes artist pages). Unfortunately, Apple is currently only allowing artists to start profiles by “invitation only,” though anyone with an iTunes account is welcome to start a user profile. Read more…

5 Sales Tips for Independent Artists

Sell your music better and you’ll have resources to make more music, better-sounding music, and get more people to hear it. Here are five tips to help you generate more sales:

1. Believe In Your Product
It’s difficult to look someone in the eye and ask them to buy something that you don’t believe is a good deal for them. If you’re trying to sell a CD to someone for $10 that you believe is worth $5 then you’re going to have a hard time selling it. The idea is to focus on ‘giving’ them something that’s valuable to them at a fair price. You can always tell when someone is just trying to ‘get’ something from you. Don’t underestimate the intelligence and intuition of your fans. Read more…

More Music, Less Marketing

I am sitting at the edge of the Grand Canyon with a teaspoon trying to fill it in. That’s what marketing and self-promotion can feel like in the digital age or at least, that’s the way it feels to me.

I walked into a cavernous Barnes and Noble a few months ago. They opened another location by me on East 86th street in New York. I can’t begin to describe how big it is. I’ve lived in Manhattan my entire adult life so I do a double take when I see wasted space- but this? This place is ridiculous. It completely freaked me out. I felt a primal fear that I haven’t felt since Sylvia Rhone (former CEO of Elektra) used to scream at me- but that’s a whole other blog post. Read more…