Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros


April 28, 2008

Tom Jackson Joins Indie Buzz Bootcamp Lineup

Here's the latest update on the Indie Buzz Bootcamp music conference, coming June 20-22 to St. Louis, MO ...

Just added: Performance coach Tom Jackson. The Bootcamp just got even better, with the addition of this sixth and final presenter.

Tom Jackson has been the music industry's premier "live music producer" for more than 20 years. His gift is helping artists develop their live show into "unique memorable moments." Tom is renowned for his entertaining and eye-opening workshops that prepare artists of all genres for tours, events, and showcases.
I've seen Tom do his thing a few times over the years, and I can guarantee this: You'll never think of a live performance the same way again.

At the Bootcamp, Tom will reveal the key factors in creating a memorable (and profitable) live show. But, more importantly, you'll watch as he works with a real act and coaches them to squeeze the most out of their songs in a live setting. If you've never caught Tom Jackson live, you're in for a treat!

Tom joins Derek Sivers, Ariel Hyatt, Nancy Moran, John Taglieri, and yours truly as the main lineup of presenters.

Check out the latest event details at www.IndieBuzzBootcamp.com.

-Bob

P.S. Coming soon ... preview audio interviews with some of the Bootcamp speakers. Stay tuned.

Promote Your Music on MySpace
Make the most of the world's biggest social networking web site with this great primer on MySpace Music Marketing. Available in paperback or ebook format. Get more details here.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 2:27 PM   0 comments


April 23, 2008

Internet Music Marketing: New Podcast

How do you create awareness and stand out on the Internet? How can you increase the chances that the right people will find you? On the latest episode of the Artist Empowerment Radio podcast, I give you an excerpt from an internet marketing panel I appeared on at the Self-Employment in the Arts conference.

You'll also hear Tim O'Neill, an indie artist who has sold nearly two million self-released CDs of piano music he created with his brother. That's right, TWO MILLION!

Go to the podcast page now and start listening!

-Bob

Indie Buzz Bootcamp Music Conference & Workshop
Register now and get discounted tickets!


Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookCheck out Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, the classic guide to indie music promotion. Now revised and updated, with four new chapters on Internet and Web 2.0 music marketing.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 10:47 AM   0 comments


April 21, 2008

Passive Music Income & Fan Choices

Over on the Music Think Tank group blog, Derek Sivers published a post called "Never have a limit on your income." Here's an excerpt:

If you make a living only providing an in-person (hands-on) service, you are limiting your income. If you were in a "while you sleep" business, there is no limit to how much you can make.

So … what about musicians?

For the last few years, many people have suggested that the products (CDs, even downloads) are now just the free giveaways to get people to go to the show -- that musicians are only in a hands-on service-provider business now.

Of course I disagree because I watch CD Baby pay more and more to musicians every month (while they sleep). Musicians MUST NOT buy into that "only earn by performing" belief because it limits your income.

I just published a response to his post. In case you don't make it over there, I'll reproduce it here:

Great post, Derek. This is classic passive (while you sleep) vs. active (while you work) income. The key is to grow your passive income streams while lowering your reliance on hands-on revenue. Artists should always put a focus on live performance (if that suits them) but not have to rely on it for their survival.

There's a growing sentiment that recorded music is now like a business card. Give tons of them away free to build recognition and exposure among your core fans. I agree that can be effective, especially early in an artist's career. But as the fan base grows, an artist has a lot more options to profit from his or her music, as well as live shows, merch, etc.

One passive income model I like is what Trent Reznor did with the recent indie Ghosts release. He made it available at five different price points: from free to a $300 Ultra-Deluxe edition. Smart move. Instead of a new CD available for $15, he gave his fans a choice. And 2,500 people took him up on the $300 option.

This is basically the PBS pledge drive approach. Ask people for their help, and let them choose their level of support. Don't assume all of you fans are looking for free downloads. Many of them may actually want to support you and will send money your way -- if you only ASK. And you won't have to lug in and set up equipment to get paid that way!

-Bob

P.S. Derek will be one of six speakers at the Indie Buzz Bootcamp music conference, coming June 20-22. Go here for details on this unusual conference.

Online Music PromotionWant to create a music buzz online? Check out my special report 70 Ways to Promote and Sell Your Music on the Internet.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 12:20 PM   2 comments


April 16, 2008

MySpace Haters & Corporate Conspiracies

It seemed simple enough. But who knew it would stir up such poisonous venom from readers?

I'm referring to my blog post last week about the upcoming launch of MySpace Music, which is supposed to allow MySpace artists (both signed and unsigned) to sell music downloads, merchandise and concert tickets from their MySpace profiles.
The opportunity to not only get exposure, but also make a few bucks from a MySpace music profile, seems like a potentially good thing to me. But some readers felt otherwise, mostly because of the involvement of major labels in the new MySpace Music venture.

One reader wrote "How can this be a good thing for indies if 3 out of the 4 major labels have a stake? It smells fishy to me. Why does a major label need a percentage of ownership?"

From what I've read, it's a business decision on the part of MySpace. For any company to take on iTunes and make available a vast amount of music to sell, they'd have to pay the major labels exorbitant licensing fees.

By bringing on the labels as partners in the project, MySpace is most likely avoiding a ton of upfront costs and the labels will get paid later as their music sells, and will likely get a cut of ad revenue as well.

I understand the concerns. Here's this hugely popular site that was built in its earliest days in part by the indie musicians who flocked there and promoted it to their fans. There's a fear that the magic will be tainted now because the struggling and desperate major labels are sinking their claws into it.

Hence the fear, the worst case scenario expectations, and the cries of "Chicken Little, the sky is falling!"

But here's some news for you ...

Three years ago, MySpace was purchased by NewsCorp, the media conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch. Back then, the conspiracy theorists predicted that life as we knew it would come to an end. But here we are in 2008, and MySpace continues to be a major online force in music.

I'm not saying that all is well and these business entities always have the best interests of indie artists in mind. (Remember, I'm the guy who for many years has been saying "You don't need a record deal.") My attitude is, it sounds good, but let's wait and see. Why rage against the machine when nobody has even seen what the new music agreement will be?

If the new MySpace Music lets artists sell stuff (without claiming any crazy rights) in addition to what they can currently do with a music profile, who cares if the majors are involved? Who cares if they're getting a cut of ad revenue? Heck, maybe they'll help draw even more traffic to the site. No one knows, so let's just wait and see what happens.

But what if they change the rules and make it harder for indie acts to get exposure on the site?

Well, that would indeed be very short-sighted on the part of MySpace. But here's the ugly truth: MySpace doesn't owe you or any other artist anything. Just because they've made all these cool tools available to you the last few years doesn't mean it's now part of the Bill of Rights.

There were no guarantees when you first signed on, and there are no guarantees now.

In case you're wondering, my core message here isn't one of being helpless in the shadow of a corporation. Instead, it's a message of self-reliance. If your success depends on the existence of some distant entity, there's something wrong with your career plan.

I think MySpace is a cool promotional tool (so much so I wrote a popular book on it). But I've always warned musicians about making MySpace their primary Internet presence. Every artist needs their own domain name and web site. Then you use MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and other popular sites to funnel fans to your personal space on the Net.

That's the best plan, in my opinion. That way, if one stream in the funnel dries up, you have multiple other streams to keep fans coming your way.

There's another aspect of this that concerns me, especially after reading comment threads on this around the Internet. It's the anger, resentment and fear that wells up in some artists at times like these.

Why get so worked up over something you know few details about? Plus, I believe you are far better off focusing your energy on what you WANT, not on what you DON'T want.

It's a choice. You can get frustrated and rail against the evil you perceive in the world. Or you can decide what you really want from your life and music career, then go to work making that positive vision a reality.

As Mother Teresa said, "I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. But as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."

-Bob

P.S. I encourage your comments, whether you're a lover or a hater.

Indie Buzz Bootcamp Music Conference & Workshop
Register now and get discounted tickets!


Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookCheck out Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, the classic guide to indie music promotion. Now revised and updated, with four new chapters on Internet and Web 2.0 music marketing.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:09 AM   15 comments


April 09, 2008

'MySpace Music' to Take On iTunes

Here's some big news that could be especially good for indie acts ...

MySpace announced that it has partnered with three of the four major labels (Universal, Sony BMG and Warner) and over the next few months will roll out a new "MySpace Music" platform.

A press release states that the new venture will help users "discover, share, and socialize by adding commerce and music management tools."

That's corporate gobbledygook which means MySpace users will soon be able to buy digital music downloads (as well as merchandise and concert tickets) from both major and indie artists.

My take: This is an interesting development. MySpace claims to have 30 million unique monthly visitors to its Music channel and more than 5 million artist profile pages. This will add an iTunes-like sales component amidst all the social networking chatter on the site.

The question is: Are MySpace surfers actually serious music buyers? Some acts say yes while others say no. Will MySpace Music cut into iTunes' brisk business? Maybe. Amazon recently launched an MP3 download service that apparently has done well, but iTunes continues its growth streak nonetheless.

As long as MySpace opens up its new store to the millions of acts already actively promoting themselves on the site, and if they mix together major and indie music choices, this will be good for a lot of active MySpace music marketers.

Note: Yes, I know that bands have been able to sell downloads on MySpace using Snocap -- a company that has had its struggles and is now being acquired by iMeem. But this MySpace Music deal sounds like it will be a far more prominent and potentially profitable tool.

Stay tuned for more details as it rolls out soon.

-Bob

Indie Buzz Bootcamp Music Conference & Workshop
Register now and get discounted tickets!


Promote Your Music on MySpace
Make the most of the world's biggest social networking web site with this great primer on MySpace Music Marketing. Available in paperback or ebook format. Get more details here.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 8:55 AM   10 comments


April 04, 2008

Jay-Z Live Nation $150 Million Deal

Here we go again. The music industry change wheel keeps on turning.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that superstar rapper Jay-Z "is on the verge of closing a deal" with concert promoter Live Nation for a reported $150 million -- a deal that could rank among the biggest music contracts ever awarded.

Jay-Z still owes one more studio album to Def Jam, where he was president for three years before stepping down in December after he and Universal Music Group could not agree on a more lucrative contract.

This follows on the heels of another agreement Live Nation struck last week with the band U2. According to Billboard, "It's a 12-year deal ... that includes worldwide touring, merchandising, and the band's U2.com Web site. The deal, however, is not a true 360-degree pact, as there is no publishing component and the band retains its relationship with Universal Music to release music."

Exciting times indeed. And it all reinforces the idea that aspiring musicians need to break free from the "I need a record label to save me" mentality.

These days, artists can team up with any number of business partners to make money, reach a wider audience, and make more of an impact. These partners include:
  • Retailers (like Wal-Mart, Starbucks or a local indie record store)
  • Events (such as Earth Day celebrations, SXSW or your church picnic)
  • TV shows (Gray's Anatomy, QVC, a local cable access show)
  • Organizations (Habitat for Humanity, PETA, Obama for President)
  • Venues
  • Web sites
  • Concert promoters
  • Clothing brands
  • Restaurant chains
The list goes on.

Ask yourself these questions ...
  • Where is there an intersection between my style of music, my fans, and the supporters of a business or organization?

  • In what way could I use my music to help a company connect more with its customers?

  • And how might they help me in return?
It's an amazing era. So ask the right questions ... and you might get some amazing answers!

-Bob

Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookWant to create a music buzz online? Check out my special report 70 Ways to Promote and Sell Your Music on the Internet.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:39 AM   1 comments


April 03, 2008

Berkleemusic's Spring Term Starts April 7

Becoming part of Berkleemusic's online faculty has been an amazing experience. I never knew there were so many students around the country and across the globe who take college-level, accredited courses online -- on a schedule that fits their lifestyle.

The course I developed and facilitate is called "Music Marketing 101," and I encourage you to consider it. But don't overlook the dozens of other great online courses covering Production, Songwriting, Guitar, Bass, Arranging, Theory, Harmony & Ear Training, and of course, Music Business.

For details visit the Berkleemusic web site.

-Bob

Indie Buzz Bootcamp Music Conference & Workshop
Register now to get discounted tickets!


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posted by Bob Baker @ 2:34 PM   0 comments


April 02, 2008

Indie Buzz Bootcamp - Tickets On Sale Now

I invite you to attend what promises to be a life-changing, one-of-a-kind experience. I'm talking about the Indie Buzz Bootcamp, an event I'll be presenting for the first time this June 20-22 in St. Louis, MO.
Tickets for the Bootcamp went on sale nearly two weeks ago to people on my mailing lists and already we've got attendees coming from Atlanta, San Francisco, Tucson, Fort Lauderdale ... and as far away as France, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

This music career development weekend is going to rock!

My mission with this special event is not only to educate you for two and a half days. It's to give you empowering, life-changing ideas and specific strategies you'll use for months and years after you leave the conference.

But here's the deal ...

There is room for only 150 paid attendees. I expect the event to sell out before June. We have a great lineup of top-notch speakers, including Derek Sivers, Ariel Hyatt, Nancy Moran, John Taglieri, and yours truly (with a couple more surprises in the works).

If you want in, get moving now and go to the Indie Buzz Bootcamp page today.

Remember, there's room for only 150 people. And soon the enrollment price will go up. Check out this page for a complete list of speakers, topics and the unique format of this new event.

I hope to see you in June!

-Bob

Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookCheck out Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, the classic guide to indie music promotion. Now revised and updated, with four new chapters on Internet and Web 2.0 music marketing.

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posted by Bob Baker @ 2:51 PM   0 comments