A new partnership with CloudBounce means that CD Baby users can now instantly master music from within their CD Baby dashboard for just $4.90 a track. The startup is an Abbey Road Red music tech incubator graduate. “A large segment of the indie artist community is drastically changing how they release music. There is definitely a shift to releasing songs as soon as they are finished instead of the traditional album release,” says Kevin Breuner, VP of Marketing at CD Baby. “As artists release more and more singles, this gives them mastering options that fit within their budget and workflow. CloudBounce ensures these artists’ master recordings have the final touches needed to sound totally pro.” With instant, algorithm-driven mastering, a higher-res file (24-bit WAV or AIFF) is uploaded onto a separate server, and within minutes, the mastering process is complete. Artists can then accept the final cut or tinker with a number of settings to tweak the results. “Mastering engineers can do amazing work, but aren’t always accessible to all artists or right for all projects. Automated mastering is a perfect solution for self-managed and emerging artists,” explains CloudBounce CEO Anssi Uimonen. “A mastered recording simply sounds more professional, giving it that polish that makes it far more likely to get it onto a high-trafficked playlist. It should be the standard for all artists.” “We’re excited to fold yet another key service for artists into our dashboard,” says Breuner. “It’s part of our mission to support indie artists every step of the way, as they find the right strategy for releasing and promoting their music.”
Sofar Sounds has announced $25 million in new funding led by Battery Ventures and Union Square Ventures with participation from existing investors Octopus Ventures and Virgin Group. That brings total investments in Sofar to $31 million. Three months ago, former Spotify and The Echo Nest executive Jim Luccesse was name Sofar CEO. "It’s absolutely mind-blowing," said Sofar dounder Rafe Offer, "and I’m excited for the opportunity this creates for Sofar to grow, creating new products for artists and tools for our global community to deliver on our collective mission to support developing artists." The UK based company has built a global network of house concerts and other intimate live music venues in more than 430 cities. Sofar currently averages 600 shows per month, and to date 25,000 artists have played shows for the company. How Sofar Artists Are Paid While the promotional value of playing Sofar shows should not be discounted - you decide if 40 of the 25,000 artists who’ve played its gigs going on to be nominated for or winning Grammys is impressive or depressing - the now very well funded company has consistently come under fire for underpaying musicians. "I love almost everything Sofar does, it’s almost the best concept, it’s almost the next best thing for musicians ," wrote indie musicians Joshua McClean, who used to play Sofar shows, " just include us in your business model, pay us, and don’t exploit us. " Tickets for the typical Sofar show are $15 - $35 for a three act bill. Each act is usually paid just $100, with the host getting nothing and Sofar keeping the rest. The average Sofar gig grosses $1100 to $1600 and often more, according to Techcrunch. Given that Sofar's financial risk and obligation is limited to $300 in artist guarantees and some legwork, the company would seem to be being less than generous with the artists who provide all of its content. "On the surface, it appears that Sofar Sounds is the first startup to have actually gotten everything right with their business model: community, great music, big audience, intimate setting - they even give a pitch before each concert about the importance of seeing live music. All the stuff you want in a performance/listening room experience," says McClean. "Sofar, however, seems to be just fine with leaving out the most integral part: paying the musicians. This is where they willingly step onto the same stage as companies like Uber or Lyft - savvy middle-men tech start-ups, with powerful marketing muscle, not-so-delicately wedging themselves in-between the customer and merchant (audience and musician in this case). In this model, everything but the service-provider is put first: growth, profitability, share-holders, marketers, convenience, and audience members - all at the cost of the hardworking people that actually provide the service."
It's important to stay ahead of your competitors and Instagram and email are the two best platforms to make that happen. Pete Campbell breaks down the best strategy for Instagram promo, how to most effectively execute an email marketing campaign, and how to combine the two. _____________________ Guest post by Pete Campbell As an entrepreneur, you must always stay at the pinnacle and play your marketing games in a smart way. That is the best way to beat your closest competitors and expand your business. Of all methods, email marketing and Instagram promotion are the best ways to survive in this age of stiff competition. There is no doubt about the same. The traditional approach is sending text-based emails and hoping that your customers will read and act on them. That means visit your website and check out your products or services offered. No, it does not work that way anymore. No one has so much time and patience to read text emails. These messages will be left unread and finally abandoned. The new game is Instagram and email marketing that gained traction over the last few years to help you reach out to a wider audience base. By incorporating Instagram and email marketing, you can devise a unique and innovative way to promote your product or services. It will help your company gain more customers and business in the days to come. According to an article published on https://www.inc.com, you can post photos that tell about people’s lifestyle instead of highlighting the sole product. Once these images gain traction, you can integrate the post links into your emails and send them to your potential buyers. Read on to learn how to make the most of social media marketing leveraging email and Instagram. Instagram promotion When it comes to Instagram promotion, it means sharing your visuals, images, and videos on the photo-sharing app and then sharing your content on your business Instagram page. These will appear on the newsfeed of other Instagram users in no time. Instagram is a visual site and therefore, you must post the best pictures and videos related to your business and brand. This way, your users will like your content, share, and comment on them. With the link, users can read about your brand and products together with the visuals. It is a more direct marketing form where the customer is aware of your products, what to expect from your merchandise when he or she wants to purchase them. It is that simple and obvious. There is no place for ambiguity and confusion later in the process. Email marketing campaigns Email marketing is more advanced than traditional email sending to your prospective buyers. Today, just describing your merchandise and hoping that your prospects will read and respond and then subscribe to you’re the list is living in fool’s paradise. Modern email marketing is all about shooting targeted messages to your targeted audience, who shall receive details about your products in a visual form supported with crisp and lucid marketing copy. The copy must be persuasive enough to make the CTA clickable. Only including walls of text will not help you in this age of speedy business environment. You can provide your prospects with an option to subscribe to your emails or services. Make sure you shoot monthly newsletters with information related to your company, products, services, and upcoming discounts and deals to keep your prospects informed. That way they can make a wise purchase decision. You need to ensure that your email marketing content is short and simple with the relevant photos. This is where Instagram images play a significant role. Besides, when you post high-definition images and integrate them into your email content, you also get an opportunity to buy real Instagram likes. Make sure that your emails do not look vague and dull. Again, if the text is too much, people will not read because they do not have the time to read a long message. Therefore, Instagram is the best bet in this regard. The ideal combination Combining email and Instagram is the key to the success of your marketing efforts. There is no doubt about it. Continue with email promotion. Instead of adding too much text, balance the content with relevant Instagram photos, providing thumbnails from your profile page about the items that you want to sell to your customers. You can also highlight how many users have liked your products, made comments, and shared the images. This way, people will feel that you have a genuine business and quality products to sell. Integrate Instagram marketing campaigns as well as incorporate direct links to your business Instagram profile. That is the best thing you can do. Request the mail recipients to follow your Instagram page instead of asking them to subscribe to your emails directly. If you have quality products and content to show, people will like your merchandise and willingly subscribe to your email newsletters. This way, more individuals will follow your brand and products. Try this strategy and you will see positive results in a short while. Even the big brands are using these marketing tactics to gain traction. The Benefits There are many advantages of email and Instagram marketing. People love to see visuals and respond to them more than walls of text. Email messages with a short and simple persuasive copy with the relevant product images will do the magic. The link in the email will guide your prospects to your products page, where they can read more about your merchandise. If they like the product features and the images, they will buy your merchandise. Therefore, the trick is composing short, crisp emails with supporting visuals to spur interest. With Instagram thumbnails, people will click on them and see what your products look like. It only takes a few seconds to look at a picture than reading chunks of text. Therefore, it gives an opportunity to your buyers if they like to buy from you or not. They do not need to wait for the entire information and then decide. People will get a better perspective from your product visuals instead of walls of text. Therefore, make the most out of Instagram and emails to achieve your business goals. Conclusion Now that you know how to leverage Instagram and email marketing, you can take your marketing efforts to the next level for increased sales and revenues. Author Bio: Pete Campbell is a social media manager and has immense knowledge about email marketing and Instagram promotion. He delights clients, helping them to buy real Instagram likes. He loves to travel, write, and play baseball.
Love it or hate it, a record deal is a big deal, and while it may only be words on a page, those words can ultimately make or break your career. Here we break down the ins and outs of what's in a record deal, and what red flags you need to be on the lookout for. ___________________________ Guest post from AWAL The almighty record deal — sought after, vilified, ever-evolving — boils down to words on a page, and those words hold weight. When signing a record deal, one clause can be the difference between picking your singles and losing your vision, amassing wealth and missing out, buying the dream car and leasing the minivan (nothing personal, minivan). Signing day is as serious as it is celebratory. These agreements bind company and creator in legal matrimony, spelling out business specifics to fend off future he-said-she-saids. Some contracts have expiration dates. Others last forever. Almost always, they dictate a trade: multi-year copyright control for racks of cash, marketing commitments for a chunk of royalties, early investment for the final say on whether your hair should be green or blue for the next album cycle. Kidding. Sorta. For better or worse, deals double as status symbols. An ongoing race to net the next big headline (“Artist X Signs for $99,000,000,000!”) distracts teams new and old from the underlying mechanics that impact more than money. It’s easy to gloss over hidden complexities and fragmented payouts to secure surface-level bragging rights. But big digits hardly scratch the surface of what’s inside the PDF files that lawyers go to war over, which is why we’re taking a tour of the fundamentals, right here, right now, in the second Decoded: Record Deals installment. Pt. 1: The History of Record Deals P.S. This is not and is not intended to be legal advice. Any and all contracts / agreements / deals etc. should be discussed with a licensed attorney. Make Way for Boilerplates To honor humanity’s endless push toward pure efficiency (and to protect label financial interests), many record deals start with the same foundation, which is what we’ll dissect in a second. While most of these agreements consist of the same Commercial Clauses (advances, royalty rates, term lengths, etc.), actual numbers vary wildly. The following conditions often impact why two supposedly similar artists might receive different offers. Whether the artist already has a track record of music sales and streams Whether the artist has co-signs from notable writers, producers, artists, etc. Whether the artist’s live show is a victory lap or a work in progress or a wreck Whether the artist’s social channels show over-indexing engagement rates Whether other music companies are looking to sign (or resign) an artist Whether the artist is working with a high-caliber team already (e.g. management) Whether the lawyer has a particularly close relationship with the company Whether the artist brings a built-in audience to the table (e.g. Instagram maven) Whether the artists’ catalogue (prior releases) are available to distribute Whether the label’s A&R team believes in the artist’s music more than most Whether the label’s executives are personally interested in the deal process Record Deals (Abridged Version) Short and sweet synopsis below. Keep scrolling for deeper dives. Territory: Where the label controls the rights to your music Term / Exploitation Period: How long the label controls the rights to your music Rights: The different things the label can legally profit from, use, and/or control Recording Commitment: The # of songs or projects you have to deliver Release Commitment: The minimum product(s) that the label has to formally release Advances: Recoupable cash payments (aka future earnings) you can spend freely Budgets: Recoupable cash reserves usually used for specific things, e.g. recording Royalties / Revenue Share: The % of revenue you keep v.s. the % the label keeps The Juice: Expanding On Record Deal Key Points With pesky caveats sidelined and high-level perspective provided, we can now dig into the meat of the matter: the contractual language that many record deals have in common, from small-scale indies to traditional corporations to yours truly. Grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and buckle up. Territory: All the places a music company can distribute, market, and profit from your work. This tends to be “universe” because future humans will stream “Rocket Man” (Thugger’s version) on Mars, among other reasons. That said, it’s still common to find territorial windows; for instance, working with a French-based label to build buzz in Europe while a U.S. company handles the rest of the world. Rights / Grant of Rights: All the things the music company plans to make money from and/or promote, which might include streams, downloads, and sales of master recordings, official artist videos, photos, logos, cover songs, synch licenses or sublicenses, your name, cover artwork, and bios, plus merch, touring, and more in 360 deals. Term / Exploitation Period: The period of time in which the music company you sign with has the right to distribute, market, sell, and/or profit from your work, usually exclusively, aka if anyone else tries, they’re gonna be in big trouble. Terms are often the sum of two things: The Initial Period, e.g. the time it takes to produce, deliver, market, and sell the first EP or LP, plus any Extensions, e.g. prolonging a deal because the artist hasn’t made back the money provided by the label, plus Options, aka the company’s right to keep an artist for another project if they so choose. Labels will pick up their options if (1) the initial release meets financial or cultural expectations, (2) if they believe in the artist enough to weather weak commercial performance, or (3) if they want to drop the deal but don’t want another company swooping in and signing them up, lest they look foolish later. That last one does happen, and yes, it is depressing. Some terms last as little as 30 days for rolling distribution. When a company takes on more risk by providing funding, marketing support, physical distribution, or radio promotion, deals tend to last longer, ranging from 24 months on the low end to life of copyright on the high end. Perpetuity deals give labels a Perpetual Grant to release, administer, own (or co-own), and profit from a song or project until the world ends, aka until the copyright expires, and they are unfortunately still common practice. Shorter deals, on the other hand, exist as Exclusive Licenses, which is when an artist tells a label, “You can release this — your welcome — and collect money from it for X months and then you have to give it back.” Recording Commitment: The number of master recordings the artist has to deliver in a given time period. This can define how long an album has to be. Sometimes, it’s literally just that, a preset number of songs, and sometimes it’s spelled out as a Product Commitment, aka a collection of songs explicitly used for an EP or LP. Release Commitment: The company’s pledge to release a minimum product (a single, EP, or LP) within X days, weeks, or months of you delivering the final recordings to them. Advances: Lump sums of money (usually cash) given to an artist when they sign a record deal (aka Execution), marking the start, or Commencement, of the Initial Period, or when they begin a subsequent project period, marketing the start of an Option. It’s common to see an advance split into parts, e.g. 50% paid upfront and 50% paid after delivering the required EP or LP. Generally, artists can do whatever they want with advances — aka a Discretionary resource. Some use that money to fund tours. Others cop mansions. Whatever you do, know the initial dollar amount isn’t what you take home. Managers (15 - 20% share) and lawyers (5% share in the U.S.) traditionally commission off these label payments, meaning a $100,000 advance would really be $75,000 - $80,000 for you, before taxes. Unless you’re a superstar with some extra bonus cash courtesy of the company, there’s also a good chance advances are Recoupable, a loan the artist must pay back. Think of them as your future earnings. If the label expects you to generate X dollars over the course of the deal term, they can afford to provide a portion of X early to cover important costs. Recording Budgets / Marketing Spend: These are recoupable advances that you can’t freely spend. Usually, in addition to cash advances, labels will establish these dedicated resource pools to cover the costs of making and promoting music. These things are sometimes Mutually Approved, which means exactly what it sounds like, though traditional companies tend to have the final say about what’s spent where. Artist Royalties: Your cut of revenue from streams, downloads, CDs, etc. Royalty rates can vary by territory (e.g. a higher rate for domestic sales and a lower rate for international sales) and won’t hit your bank account if you have an unrecouped balance (if your royalties haven’t paid back your advance and budgets). It’s standard for acts to receive around 15% of revenue in traditional deals, 50% with indie labels, and generally between 65% and 85% with AWAL, depending on our level of involvement and the resources we provide. Industry legalese for sales is Exploitations, btw. Need more caffeine yet? It’s easy to overlook a crucial truth about revenue shares: Recoupment of advances solely comes from the artist’s portion, not the label’s, in traditional record deals. In other words, if you receive a $10 advance and you have a 15% royalty, your music will have to generate about $66.67 in Gross Receipts (total sales), not $10, before you start seeing steady checks from your music. Additionally, Direct Costs (costs required to create, distribute, and market your master recordings) also tend to come out of gross receipts before artists see their royalty rate take effect.So long as artists receive the majority rev share, this model does no harm, but it’s still standard practice to give creators much less than 50% at most traditional companies. Conversely, Net Profit Splits, which you might find at indies and streaming labels, offer an alternative, with both company and creator splitting costs evenly. Only after all costs recoup will either side see profit. Mechanical Royalties: Money owed by the label to the composition owners (songwriters and publishing companies) for every stream, download, and physical purchase, enforced in numerous countries by government bodies and societies. In the U.S., the statutory mechanical rate is 9.1 cents per track purchased, and fractions of a penny per stream. Grey Areas Red Flags Record deals aren’t always black and white, making “red flags” a bit of a misnomer, but some additional clauses, phrases, and keywords can have a big impact on artists’ careers. Related / Connected / Collateral Entertainment Activities: Essentially a 360 deal, this legal language lets music companies take cuts of different artist revenue streams, including merch, touring, fan clubs, sponsorships, endorsements, etc. First Right of Refusal / First Look / Matching: Lets music companies make an initial offer or competitive offer to support (and profit from) an additional portion of your business, e.g. a music company striking a deal between you & their merch division, or securing additional music rights, e.g. having digital release rights to your work with a “first look” guarantee on physicals. If you ever wanted to sell vinyl, your label would get a chance to make and sell them on your behalf. Min-Max Floors / Ceilings: Pre-agreed advance-budget combo ranges that ensure artists receive no less than X dollars for a future project, and ensure labels pay no more than Y dollars for that project if they choose to pick up that option. For example, an artist might receive at least $400,000 and at most $700,000 for their second LP option, no matter how much or how little the first album sells. Think of it like two-way insurance. How does the label land on an actual figure? Quick maths. An equation roughly bases a project’s total budget on ~67% of the previous project’s 12-month sales. So, $1M in sales on LP1 means a $667K budget for LP2, with 15 - 25% of that (around $130K) going toward the cash advance. If this figure is above the pre-agreed ceiling, you won’t get any more than that maximum figure. Bumps / Escalations: Automatically triggered boosts to royalty rates, bonuses, advances, and budgets in the event of a pre-agreed achievement, e.g. recouping an initial advance, winning a Grammy, or scoring a Top 10 hit. Controlled Composition Clauses / Reduced Mechanicals: Lets label pay a fraction of the mechanical rate ($0.091), usually 75%, to artist / songwriter(s). Also lets label only pay mechanical royalties on a pre-set number of songs per project, e.g. paying 10x the rate for all LPs you produce, even if you make an LP with 15 songs, which would otherwise warrant 15x the rate. Key Person’s Clause: Lets artist leave a deal if the designated label person leaves. Holdback Periods: Ensures music company a window of exclusivity in which the artist cannot release other music within a stretch of time, e.g. a singer agreeing to not release a non-LP song within six months of that LP’s public release. Cross Collateralization: Lets the label cover the losses of one release by an artist with profits from another release by that artist. In 360s, labels can also take money from additional revenue streams, e.g. merch or touring, to cover music losses. Accounting / Audits: Lets label control when, and to what extent, you can examine their reporting statements and pursue legal action if something is fishy. Third Party Obligations: Makes artist or label responsible for handling accounting of certain costs, e.g. featured artist royalties or sample clearances. Consider this the tip of the iceberg of things to consider when signing a record deal. Some contractual fragments reflect artists’ rising power, while other ancient, oddball clauses might turn to dust if you shake them hard enough. Record deal standards still largely reflect old realities (the risks of manufacturing physicals, the costs of international distribution, vinyl breakage, a monopolized chokehold on different promotional platforms). They read like tree rings, fossilizing the legal and financial realities of a different era. Music’s history exists in archived articles, old footage, TV appearances, social media, fans’ memories. The industry’s history resides in redlined documents and the words above dotted lines. When those words regularly reflect all that has changed — marginal distribution costs, plummeting costs of production, globalized streaming — artists will emerge in control, as they should be.
Long term planning and careful preparation goes a long way toward achieving success in music. Erin Frankenheimer, Manager, Entertainment Relations at TuneCore looks at three guideposts to help artists navigate the music industry's choppy waters. _____________________________ Guest post by Erin Frankenheimer Manager, Entertainment Relations at TuneCore Most independent artists know that success doesn’t happen overnight. They see that thoughtful planning and preparation, doing the hard work and treating people with respect pay dividends. As a helpful reminder, I’ve put together three simple rules for artists to follow to stay in the right mindset and focused on achieving their goals. Timing is Everything A solid plan must be built for every project you put out. But the most critical element of all is time: successful artists give themselves enough time to get a release out without stressing. There are more than 250,000 artists using our platform for distribution, promotion and revenue and we see that when they rush things they do themselves a disservice. A new single, EP or album is something that you’ve worked really hard on, so take extra time to make sure everything goes live across stores and streaming platforms seamlessly. This kind of planning allows you to focus on other support for a release, like publicity and a release show. It’s also good practice to make sure your work is registered with a performing rights organization (PRO) and that you have a partner to ensure you get all of your publishing royalties Follow the Golden Rule Maybe the most important lesson for any artist: how you treat people really does matter. Early in your career you may not have what it takes to impress a big agent, A&R person or somebody in radio. However, if you work hard and treat those around you well, you will stay top of mind while earning the respect of others in the industry. When your talent and hard work takes you to the tipping point, all that goodwill can put you over the top. If the doors don’t open up right away, patience and hard work might get you through later. Stay on your grind and know that nothing is beneath you. Get out there, distribute music, make your own merch and handle your business for a minute before getting a team in place. Industry power-players are likely to remember somebody who works hard and exhibits the right attitude and work ethic. Eventually, someone might turn around and say, “You know what, she’s been trying for this forever and I think she’s in the right place now. She’s someone I know is going to show up on time, do what she promised and be professional.” Build Your Network There are college students sitting in class right now who don't realize that the people to the left and the right of them may be in their lives for the next 40 years. Your classmates could end up being important colleagues, kingmakers or gatekeepers down the road. Start early and figure out who your allies are going to be. At the same time, if you’re not already part of an established music scene, get involved immediately. From the very beginning of your career, being part of a solid music or arts community can be incredibly valuable. Where you are right now doesn’t matter. I’ve been lucky to be a part of strong music industry communities in Los Angeles and New Orleans, and they have brought richness and value to my career. Hard work, thoughtful execution of your projects and treating people with respect can make all the difference. I hope these rules are helpful -- though they are simple, it can be easy to forget how much following them can pay off on the road to music business success. Before joining TuneCore, Erin Frankenheimer Burns co-created and hosted two late night radio shows for Entercom New Orleans, focusing on new music discovery, worked as an artist manager, and was the Director of Youth Programs for The Tipitina’s Foundation. She was previously VP of A&R at Amazing Radio, and worked for Live Nation as the Marketing Manager for Louisiana and Mississippi.
Jay-Z and Timbaland are being sued by soul singer Ernie Hines for copyright infringement over the use of his 197o single “Help Me Put Out the Flame (In My Heart)” on two separate songs released 20 years ago, documents filed in U.S. District Court in New York reveal. In the suit, filed on May 18, Hines claims that “Help Me,” which he co-wrote and composed, was sampled on both Jay-Z’s song “Paper Chase” from his 1998 album Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life and Ginuwine’s “Toe 2 Toe” from his 1999 album 100% Ginuwine, without his knowledge or consent and with no financial benefit to him. Both songs were composed and produced by Timbaland. The 81-year-old also alleges that the infringement was “willful,” citing the credits for “Paper Chase” on Jay-Z’s streaming service TIDAL, which he claims list the “Help Me” sample. Hines is asking for a dollar amount “to be determined by the Court,” in addition to interest, attorneys fees and other relief the court “deems just and equitable.” Other defendants named in the suit include Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, Def Jam Recordings and Universal Music Group (the labels behind “Paper Chase”) and Sony Music Holdings, which released “Toe 2 Toe.” Ginuwine (a.k.a. Elgin Lumpkin) was not named as a defendant. photo: Jay-Z by Joella Marano CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - CelebrityAccess
Sony/ATV Music Publishing has signed a global content licensing deal with music app maker Gismart. Titles from music apps and games publisher have over 350 million downloads and 17 million monthly active users across its product portfolio. The new deal will allow Gismart apps, such as Karaoke Face, gain access to Sony/ATV’s catalog, which includes the copyrights for the likes of Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Pink, Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder. Commenting on the partnership, Lana Meisak, VP of Business Development & Marketing at Gismart, said: “Gismart is committed to developing its ‘A-team’ of global music partners. Our new strategic deal with Sony/ATV supercharges the content available in Karaoke Face, which is the world’s first karaoke app featuring AR masks and filters. With over three million tracks and songs the Sony/ATV catalogue covers every era and genre of popular music.” Previously Gismart announced its first international artist collaboration in its Beat Maker Go app with The Chainsmokers. The company also partnered with Universal Music Publishing Group last year, and it is currently working on expanding local music catalogs including Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. - CelebrityAccess
Selling merch is a great way for artists to pull in additional revenue while they're on the road, while simultaneously expanding their audience and growing their brand. But how do you know which items will sell? Here we help to take some of the guess work out of merch by breaking down some key data on what sells best in which genre. ___________________________ Guest post by Tarryn Meyers of the Symphonic Blog As a musician, promoting shows and traveling to different venues takes a combination of willpower, love for the craft and of course, lots of money. Selling merch at your shows is the best way to take your visibility to the next level and get you some cash to make your future shows even better. When it comes to selling your merch successfully, it’s essential to not put out products that look like everyone else’s. If you want yourself to stand out among all the rest, your merch needs to represent you and all you stand for, but it also needs to be represented in styles that people actually want to wear. Before you even start selling, be sure to make sure you’re creating goods that will sell the best among your respected audience. Of course you’ll want to have standard items like T-shirts, but what else are fans of your genre into? Alternative Tank Tops Sweatshirts Zip-up Hoodies Electronic/Dance Tank Tops Pullover Hoodies Shorts Punk Tank Tops CD’s Hats Rock Tank Tops CD’s Zip-up Hoodies Country Tank Tops Long-sleeve Shirts Koozies Pop Tank Tops Zip-up Hoodies Programs Singer/Songwriter Zip-up Hoodies Posters Wristbands Christian/Gospel CD’s Zip-up Hoodies Jerseys Metal Tank tops Long-sleeve Shirts CD’s Artists in the Hip-Hop game have been selling crazy good merch consistently for the past year. Every new drop seems to be sold out before you can even get your card out of your wallet. Kanye West sold $500,000 worth of ye merch in under 30 minutes when it was released back in June. The merch offered in this genre has been so hot, it wouldn’t hurt to keep some of their methods in mind. Bright colors, bold graphics, and unique items like socks, water bottles, and even limited edition jean jackets can barely stay available during the time it takes to decide what you want. Keep your styles on trend and offer items like cropped hoodies rather than plain ones, beanies rather than baseball caps. Even the button up shirts Kanye offered during his Kids See Ghosts tour were gone almost instantly. Festival goers know that if you want your favorite EDM artist’s merch before they sell out, you’ll have to be the first in line, ready to go. Take a hint from Illenium’s crazy successful merch. His items are always the first to go and for good reason. He’s got his logo plastered on everything he puts out in all different styles, including unique patterns with holographic detailing and popular items like his bold, signature jerseys and tank tops. Be unique, up to date with the hottest trends, and true to your brand and you’ll have no problem emptying out your merch table by the end of the night. May the merch gods be ever in your favor! [Statistics originally appeared in a 2014 article by atVenu]
AM BRIEF: Sofar Raises $25M • Pandora Predicts Summer • Leadership Music Turns 30 • eOne Earnings • More
WEDNESDAY 5.22.19 Music Business News From Around The Web Updated continuously under the More News tab
Yesterday, top music industry analyst Mark Mulligan wrote that Niche Is Music's New Mainstream. But how do you find your own unique niche and connect with what Mulligan calls "a passionate cluster of fans?"Tarryn Meyers says that it is by building a brand that is uniquely you, but can also successfully bridge genres. _____________________________ Guest post by Tarryn Meyers of the Symphonic Blog How do you define yourself? Success in today’s music industry is no longer about being the ruler of a given genre. More and more artists are finding success by appealing to listeners across multiple genres. A lot of people in the industry will tell you focusing on your niche is the only key to success. While it’s true that building a reputation with smaller audiences can help you stand out as you establish your career, we propose a slightly different take on this concept. Instead of appealing to one genre, break the mold and let the absence of labels work in your favor. Build a brand that is YOU and use every niche associated with your music to your advantage. We’re going to explain what it means to market your individuality and how your niche can help you out. Music Data — What is it? Most streaming services today rely on algorithms to decipher the best song recommendations. These algorithms collect and synthesize listener data to tailor everyone’s listening experience to their unique taste. Different algorithms will sort data in different ways and adjust according. Pandora, a pioneer in utilizing music data, is powered by the Music Genome, a system by which recordings are each manually sorted using 450 describing factors. Spotify, on the other hand, uses a combination of three data-driven algorithms: collaborative filtering, which takes from users’ listening patterns, natural language processing, which tracks the mention of artists or songs in “clusters” with others, and audio models, which maps clusters of songs based on characteristics like the key and tempo of a song. As different as these seem, these models have one main thing in common. They all focus on the unique elements that songs possess. Because of this, what a song’s genre is classified as seems way less important now, right? For so long, a song’s self-chosen genre has always been what sets it into their specific category. In an age of unlimited streaming and extensive metadata, experts are changing that mindset and accepting that music taste is less linear and more of an intertwined web. Sorting music is no longer so black and white, and the power to decide placement has entirely shifted to the audience. So what should an artist do with this information? What role do you play? Think about one of your songs. Break down its individual elements and consider how these elements translate to your audience’s expansive array of music choices. How will they influence movement through these platforms? By being aware of your music’s appeal to different genres and sub-genres, you can pick up fans from virtually any genre and wind up on all kinds of playlists. Knowing The Scene As we’ve learned throughout this article, music genres are a constantly evolving landscape. The best way to find your place on that horizon is to pay attention to how it changes. Start by identifying niche genres and try to trace their history. You’ll need to do your research, so try to find niche publications and take note of how they and their readers categorize music. Ask yourself what key elements tie songs together in a given sub-genre. Being able to trace the birth and development of a sub-genre will help you better understand how to pitch your music to these niche publications. Tag Wisely One of the primary ways your niche identity can help you is through playlisting. Getting your songs on niche playlists is the first step to propel you through the ranks on platforms like Spotify. However, getting on these playlists comes down to how you pitch and, more importantly, how you tag. When pitching a song to Spotify for playlisting, you’ll be asked to tag it according to genre, sub-genre, mood, style and more. This is where knowing the niche landscape will pay off. Becoming familiar with a niche allows you to tag more specifically. Elements of a song that may seem insignificant can be the key to landing a playlist. The more specific your tags are, the more you will stand out to curators looking for music in that subgenre. Want to dig deeper into all this? Check this out: Types of Algorithmic Spotify Playlists and How to Get on Them You’re also given a space to include notes in your Spotify pitch. Use this space to emphasize aspects of the song that align with certain subgenres. You can even include which playlists you want to be in. In fact, telling Spotify which playlists you think your release is best for will increase your chances of it getting placed. Remember that recommendation models on Spotify are data-driven, so the way you tag any music you upload will affect which audiences it’s exposed to. That’s not to say that using every tag will get you in front of every listener… Instead, focusing on the niche of individual songs and using as much specificity as possible when tagging will get those songs to the right audiences. Tying it Together You might think being identified with a single major genre is a necessary part of building your brand, but I urge you to opt out of being labeled. Embrace crossover and ambiguity; make music that is true to YOU regardless of genre. When it comes time to upload and pitch, do your research, tag with specificity, and let your niche identity speak for itself. You could wind up creating an entirely new sub-genre all your own! Tarryn Meyers: Voracious music consumer & mac 'n' cheese connoisseur