In this week's revisitation of the past week's music industry news, we check back in on Spotify's payment of over $120,000 to a hacker, a spike in streaming which The Cars and Eddie Money have seen following deaths related to both performers, Instagram's plan to replicate TikTok features, and more! Spotify Has Paid Hackers $120,000+ The Cars, Eddie Money Streaming, Sales Surge Instagram Reportedly To Replicate TikTok Features DOJ Confirms Live Nation Under Investigation For Alleged Ticketmaster Consent Decree Violations Fender Play Foundation Launches With Help From Avril Lavigne, Chris Stapleton, Pete Wentz All The World’s A Vertical Stage - Particularly On Instagram 95% Of U.S. Latin Music Revenue Comes From Streaming, says RIAA Report Teenage Hacker Arrested For Selling Unreleased Music
This week on MusicThinkTank, industry contributors shared insights on what the optimal playlist is when you're pumping iron, how the music lover's enthusiasm for listening to music on the radio while driving endures, and what a degree in music education is really all about. Scott Huntington | What's The Best Music To Work Out To? Giles Kirkland | Love Of Listening To Music, Radio While Driving Is Not Dead Richard Lawson | 4 Best Insights Into A Music Education Degree
Our wise counsel to DIY artists this week provided them with tips and ideas on how to identify your fanbase, what every artist ought to be aware of when it comes to Shazam, how to make touring on a budget work, and much, much more! 3 Ways To Identify Your Target Fanbase What Every Musician Needs To Know About Shazam Touring On A Budget: How To Make It Work 6 Music Related Hashtags You Must Follow On Twitter Bandsintown For Artists Launches with Free Geo-Targeted Messaging To Fans and, More Complete Guide To Planning Your Next Tour 5 Ways To Use Instagram Properly To Promote Your Band 8 Tips To Make Your Email Newsletters Mobile Friendly
This week, some of our most popular and often read articles on Hypebot dissected a Spotify playlist promotion pitch letter, explained exactly what an EP is and how it's used in the present day, Spotify users feelings on the new Amazon Music HD, and more! Dissecting A Spotify Playlist Promotion Pitch Letter What Exactly Is An EP? Amazon Music HD Launches, Spotify Says 'Users Don't Care' 20 Highest Paid Hip-Hop Stars 2019 [Forbes] Roland Acquires Open Lab's Stagelight, Launches Zenbeats
There's no promotion quite like free promotion, and one of the best ways to drum of some PR on the house in today's social media landscape is through the use of hashtags. By tapping into current trends, either among your fans or in the broader public conversation, you can expand your outreach and connect with new fans. ________________________________ Guest post by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehari of Disc Makers Blog When it comes to getting free promotion, one of the most effective techniques is piggybacking. With the help of hashtags, you can join conversations and increase your outreach, introducing you and your music to potential new fans and followers. Once you have music released, a solid persona, and a web presence, you need to find ways to get your name and music out there. Big movie studios and labels spend millions of dollars to build awareness of their latest blockbuster releases — putting up billboards and posting ads on TV, the sides of buses, in magazines, across YouTube, and more. But how can you build awareness for your latest release when you don’t have the millions to spend? One of the most effective and inexpensive strategies you can use to get your music discovered and noticed is to piggyback on something that’s already popular and has an audience. Basically, someone else has already done the marketing for you and attracted a following that is paying attention to a space where you can put a message. One way to do this is to piggyback on popular culture. For example, our band, Beatnik Turtle, wrote a song called “Star Wars (A Film Like No Other)” which summarized the original Star Wars trilogy in one song. Around the same time, StarWars.com released a video mashup tool, so we decided to use that tool to make a video using actual movie clips. The video ended up becoming one of the most popular on the site, getting played more than 15,000 times thanks to the active community. That popularity led to it getting picked up by Atom.com as a featured video, which in turn led to it being licensed to air on SpikeTV to celebrate the Star Wars 32nd anniversary. The entire cost to us was $0; all we had to do was spend some time using their tool. And yet, we picked up a ton of new fans in the process. Popular culture isn’t the only thing you can leverage for piggybacking: you should also use news, current events, and holidays. Social media services like Twitter and Instagram provide a quick and easy way to piggyback on shared experiences with hashtags. By tagging a post with a trending keyword word, you make it easy for other people to search, track, or follow related posts around a particular topic. For example, to see everyone who is talking about stir fry at this very minute, check out the #stirfry hashtag. If there’s a hashtag for stir fry, you can bet there’s a hashtag for every topic out there, including ones which might be a perfect match for your music, lyrics, or videos. And since social media sites make it easy to let users watch a trending hashtagged topic, it’s easy to “tune in” to a conversation that everyone can participate in. Naturally, the biggest trends are based on current events so it’s used extensively by media outlets, news, corporations, governments, and more. For example, during the Oscars, you might see a lot of posts with #oscars in it. Hashtagging creates a tremendous number of targeted marketing opportunities for you and your music if you do it right. And each post just takes a few minutes and costs you nothing, so hashtags represent a free method to reach tons of people that are interested in a topic. To take advantage of this to extend your social media reach and get more fans and followers: 1. Add hashtags to all of your posts Every time you create a post, use relevant hashtags to extend its reach. Those posts reach your followers as well as everyone outside your followership who is watching the hashtag. Because of this extended reach, some studies have shown that there is as much as a 50% increase in engagement in posts that have hashtags. 2. Copy the successful influencers and artists your potential fans are following Similar bands and artists, as well as particular influencers in your music space, have already done your research for you. They’re already using hashtags that are relevant to your fan base or reflect your music. The ones they’re using are likely the perfect ones for you to use and target, so borrow those. When researching, be sure to look at which posts get the most interaction, likes, or responses, since this can help you create better and more engaging posts of your own. 3. Monitor trending topics your fan base is interested in If you know your audience, you can keep track of the topics they’re most likely to pay attention to. For example, your music might be related to particular political, religious, cause-based, or niche-interest topics. Each of these topic areas has a rich set of hashtags that your potential fans are likely to track and follow. Check out the current tweets, news stories, hashtags, and posts on those topics to get a sense of the conversation and what is resonating with people. 4. Explore the tools to stay on top of trending topics The best tools for monitoring trending topics and hashtags are built into the platforms themselves. Each one has a “top trending” feature so you can see what most people are paying attention to and can view the posts that are related to it. Checking on these may give you ideas as to what to piggyback on and how you may want to post. But keep in mind that top trending topics cycle quickly, so while they’re seen by a ton of people, the topic and hashtag may quickly disappear off the list as public conversations change. Outside of the top trending posts, you can also monitor your niche-interest hashtags to see what the latest posts are. Finally, some social media platforms might include hashtag analysis tools, but you can also try using a specialized hashtag tool like Hashtagify.me or social media posting tools like Hootsuite.com which include keyword-tracking features. 5. Find something to share that’s relevant to the public conversation If you have a song or video that’s on topic for the hashtagged conversation, this could be the time to share it. To avoid overly self-promoting yourself, just participate in the conversation, or give your posts an informational, emotional, or clever angle. Hashtagging posts you create is easy, so go ahead and experiment to see what works best. For example, if you’ve written a song with lyrics relevant to a topic, quote the lyrics, use the hashtag, and add a link to the song or video. But, you don’t just have to share your music: try sharing photos, engaging directly with others in the conversation, or shining the spotlight on others. By using these other techniques, you still trigger engagement and make people more interested in exploring who you are — especially if you’ve set up your profile correctly with links to your website, music, and more. This increases the likelihood they’ll follow your account, which gains you more fans and gives them a reason to explore more of what you create — your music, videos, live shows, merch, and more. 6. Answer any responses and track retweets Remember, by posting a hashtag, you’ve joined a public conversation, and you may get responses, retweets, and even direct messages. You should answer these rather than just posting and moving on to something else. Each response represents opportunities to engage with potential fans and grow your followers. With a little creative thinking, you can piggyback on the ongoing hashtagged conversation in ways that cleverly introduce you and your music to new fans and followers. Music is more than just an artistic expression, it can also be a valid statement on trending topics, sometimes expressing a point of view more meaningfully and profoundly than words alone. Authors of the critically-acclaimed modern classic, The Indie Band Survival Guide, Billboard Magazine called Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan “the ideal mentors for aspiring indie musicians who want to navigate an ever-changing music industry.” Their latest book, Making Money With Music (Macmillan) and free Making Money With Music Newsletter, help all musicians — from startups to pros — build a sustainable music business so you can make money in today’s tech-driven music environment.
BUSINESS OF INDIE: Independents Join Climate Protest • Kobalt Hires • Music Row N.B.T. • Tireless Pup • More
In a new edition of the Business Of Indie, Independents join global climate protests, Kobalt makes some key hires, Music Row launches the N.B.T. directory. a look at the punk band Pup and much more. Like Hypebot's More News section, The Business Of Indie is nestled under its own Indie tab at the top of the site and features a regularly updated compendium of indie news from hundreds of global sources. READ BUSINESS OF INDIE HERE.
When it comes to finding success with your music, you can't rely on fans coming to you, and instead, have to put the elbow grease to seek them out. Here we develop three essential tactics for finding your target audience before zeroing in on your marketing strategy. ________________________________ Guest post by Angela Mastrogiacomo of TuneCore You got into this industry to feel connected. Maybe you wanted to change the world, or maybe you just wanted a way to creatively express how you were feeling. Maybe you just wanted to tell your story, and maybe you wanted to hear the stories of others. No matter your reason, most of us can safely say we got into this industry because we were craving connection. We wanted to let others know that they’re not alone. We wanted to change lives. Then somewhere along the way we got bogged down in having to write the next social media post or having to book the next show or having to run a PR campaign. We forgot to remember why we got into this—and our audience suffered. What I want to talk to you about today isn’t about how to book more shows or how to run your next PR campaign—all of those things are incredibly important, but the truth is they don’t mean anything without an audience. And if you’re thinking, “I just have to make the right music, my audience will find me”, well, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not how it works. Getting in front of your audience means getting clear on a few key things. The truth is it’s really not all that complicated—it’s just most artists fail to invest the time and energy needed to find their fans and then let them know how much they matter. We’ve outlined three ways you can get started today with finding your target audience—the steps are simple, and the results will speak for themselves. So don’t be one of those artists who thinks just making good music will bring them a loyal fanbase. Show your fans what they mean to you and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. 1. GET CLEAR ON WHO YOU ARE Before you even think about strategizing how to find your target audience, you want to make sure you’re crystal clear on who you are and the message you want to convey. I’ve seen so many talented bands go unnoticed simply because they have no idea who they are. It’s not good enough to know you’re a rock band out of Dallas or that you like to post all your photos in black and white. I’m talking about having an actual brand. Think about your favorite well-known artist and tell me what comes to mind. I doubt you’re fumbling around trying to put the pieces together and that’s because they have a really solid brand. For instance: What do you think of when you think of Halsey? Mental health. LGBTQ rights. Social justice. What about Taylor Swift? Her brand may seem to change with nearly every album cycle but there are serious consistencies that mean you and I always strike up some very clear imagery when we think of her. She takes risks. Offers her fans connection. Empowerment. And love her or hate her, she’s a force to be reckoned with. Think about your favorite bands and see what comes to mind instantly. Your fans should be able to do the same when it comes to you. Because in order to find your target audience and know who they are and what they feel, believe, and desire, you need to first know who it is you are. 2. TAKE NOTE OF WHAT OTHER BANDS ARE DOING Find a couple of artists who are in the position you want to be, in a similar genre, and make a serious case study out of them to figure out what they’ve done to get there and what they continue to do to stay there. Find artists who are in the position you want to be in, say, another two or three years. It’s not realistic to compare yourself to a major label artist because they’re operating with an existing fanbase that quite frankly isn’t going anywhere even if they fail to post to social media or take another three years to put out an album. So find artists who are more established than you are, but still growing (i.e. not necessarily signed to a label or touring the world, but who are playing more of the kind of shows you want, getting the endorsements your after, the Spotify playlists you want, etc.) then you’ll have a really good idea of what’s working. Study what they do and how they do it. How do they interact with their audience? What platforms are they on? What kind of venues do they play? What kind of merch do they have? What cities are they popular in? What hashtags are they using to get in front of their fans? (tip: make a Google Doc of different groups of hashtags to use, so when it’s time to post to IG you can simply copy and paste your go-to hashtags. Having a few different groups to choose from means mixing it up so that IG will favor you in the algorithm. For whatever reason, if you use the same 10 hashtags over and over, IG tends not to like that. Probably because they think you’re a robot.). Pay attention to everything those artists/bands do, take note, and then make it your own. If you can start to use their own strategies for getting in front of fans and make them into your own, you’re well on your way to building an engaged audience. 3. SEEK OUT YOUR FUTURE FANS There are a lot of ways to find new fans. Offline, shows are a great place to get in front of new faces. This can be at your own shows or (and especially) the shows of others. Sometimes this means going to other artist’s shows and interacting with the audience, maybe hanging at the merch booth if one of the artists on the bill is your friend, and just getting to know people and introducing yourself. It can also mean standing outside venues of major label artist’s shows and getting to know everyone in line, having a conversation, and eventually sharing your music and asking if they want to sign up to your mailing list on the spot. Online it can mean joining different Facebook groups and getting involved by offering feedback on fellow artist’s posts, commenting with your own stories and thoughts, and just getting involved in your online communities. On Instagram it can mean finding artists that have a similar sound and are of a similar size to you and seeing who their fans are. If those fans they seem like they might like your music, then get to know them by following and commenting on their posts. (Note: I do NOT mean comment about your music, I mean find common ground in their photos and interact with it – i.e. comment on their photo of their latte with how good it looks and ask them what kind it is. Don’t post comments that say “we’re a rock band from Arkansas, check us out.”) At the end of the day, building a community isn’t only one of the smartest things you can do for your career, it’s honestly one of the most fulfilling. Because when you get down to it, we got into this to build a connection. And sure, it can be overwhelming sometimes to keep up with all the day-to-day. But don’t forget why you got into this—to make a difference. To meet others who are just like you. To tell your story and hope it connects with someone else. That’s all getting in front of your target audience really is. A chance to connect. So don’t worry about “getting it right” or putting a ton of pressure on yourself. Just see it for what it is—a chance to get to know the others who truly think like you, and see the world in the same way you do. We’re just getting started—if you’re looking for more tips and examples on increasing fan engagement through simple, effective social media strategies then join me for my free Masterclass ‘How to gain your next 1,000 fans. 3 simple steps that lead to higher engagement, sold-out shows, and life-changing opportunities’ on September 18th at 6pm EST. Register here and I’ll see you there! Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, and more, as well as the Co-Founder of Music Launch Co.
Robbie Robertson, the co-founder of The Band and Ringo Starr have joined forces with Playing For Change, a grassroots multimedia music project dedicated to “inspiring and connecting the world through music,” for an epic, global rendition of The Bands' song “The Weight.” Born in 2002 as a shared vision between co-founders, Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke, to hit the streets of America with a mobile recording studio and cameras in search of “inspiration and the heartbeat of the people,” the idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. Since then, the project has grown to include 15 music schools across 11 countries, as well as documentaries and viral videos that have seen artists from different cultures come together to perform renditions of songs like “Redemption Song,” “What’s Going On” and more. This time around, Robertson and Playing For Change brought together a host of musicians, including Ringo Starr, over the course of a year and a half of production, which took place on five continents, to perform “The Weight” in honor of the song’s 50th anniversary. Commenting on the process, Playing For Change co-founder and Grammy-winning producer-engineer, Mark Johnson, recently told Rolling Stone: “We made it brick by brick, starting with Robbie. That’s what makes this special. We could never have never assembled this group in the studio. You need to go there, and then when you go there, you’re where they feel comfortable. You hear that in the music.” He added: “[Robbie is] so proud of it. He told me the other day that it was a dream come true for him to see it. All the musicians on it really moved him, to see how his music is able to travel all over the world. A musician like Mermans Mosengo; he comes from the Congo. He was smuggled out of the Congo in an empty oil tanker to get to South Africa, where he became a refugee. A musician like that plays music to stay alive. A guy who comes from one of the most dangerous places in the world realizes that music is the ammunition we need to move forward. It’s not guns, it’s not violence. I think anyone who sees somebody come from something so difficult and persevere, it just inspires you.” photo: I, Truejustice [CC BY-SA 3.0] - CelebrityAccess
Spotify stepped up its efforts to thwart hackers by paying some of them more than $120,000.Since May of 2017 Spotify teamed with bug bounty platform HackerOne to offer rewards to hackers who find and report bugs and vulnerabilities. "365 valid and actionable reports" According to Forbes contributor Davey Winder: Spotify now has an average time to resolution of 24 days from when a vulnerability is disclosed to a fix being implemented. Once that fix is deployed, the hacker gets paid the relevant bounty commensurate with the severity of the report. The severity scoring is based upon the industry-standard Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS.) To date, Spotify has paid $120,000 (£97,000) in bounties through the HackerOne platform, for more than 365 valid and actionable reports. According to the Spotify program page at HackerOne, the average bounty payout is $300 (£243) and "the highest we’ve rewarded has been $2500 in a few instances," says Nathan Ferch, site reliability engineering and security manager at Spotify. It takes, on average, just 18 days for the researcher to get their payment after the first disclosure."
Since Apple Music for Artists recently added a feature which shows musicians their Shazam stats, more artists are looking to get their music added to the song-recognition program's database. Here we walk through the surprisingly easy process of how to make that happen. _____________________________________ Guest post by Greg Majewski of DIY Musician Now that Apple Music for Artists displays Shazam stats, many independent musicians are wondering how to add their songs to the popular music-recognition tool’s database. Good news: Getting your music on Shazam is probably a lot easier than you think. What is Shazam? The year is 2003 and you’re at a show waiting for the next band to set up. You hear a song playing over the loudspeakers that you’ve never heard before. None of your friends recognize it either and before you can ask anyone else, the band finishes tuning, the house PA fades down, and the set starts. By the time the show is over you’ve forgotten most of the lyrics to the chorus. When you get home, you clumsily sleuth online. You can’t hum the melody into Google, so that’s out. Let’s see now, there was something in the chorus about her “loving” more than “them.” That’s not enough. Man that hook was catchy, but what was the phrasing? If it was five years later you would’ve been able to hold your phone up for 10 seconds and have your answer. Here’s what happens during Shazam’s quick matching process: Your device listens to a snippet of the audio. Then it transmits that sample to Shazam. The app’s signal processing program then scans its database of millions of songs for matches to the recording’s unique audio fingerprint. Within seconds, you’ve found your match. In the example above, that match is “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This is Shazam, a revolutionary music-recognition tool that first launched as a dial service in 2002 in the UK, and 2004 in the US. Back then, Shazam would text matches back to the user, but the app really took off in 2008 alongside the smartphone revolution. Since then, Shazam’s database has grown to include many millions of songs, TV shows, ads, and more. It’s also helped users identify audio more than 15 billion times. Soon after the app became available on smartphones, an important functionality was added that displays links to the music on various platforms. How Shazam works So, what does this mean for indie artists? In the case of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it would’ve meant that showgoers hearing their single for the first time in public could have identified the song much faster and more accurately. That ability holds as much truth and importance now as it did 11 years ago when users first embraced it, and it’s still Shazam’s most important function. Shazam hears better than we do; it breaks music down to digital data, matching multiple points of a sample against a spectrogram (a graph of a song’s time-frequency) to ensure an accurate match. This helps, for instance, to differentiate multiple covers of the same song, so you don’t get a match for Jessica Simpson’s cover of “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” when you’re actually banging your head to the Megadeth version. But more than audio recognition, Shazam is part of the get-it-now instant gratification movement of the twenty-tens. Get a match and the app will not only send you back the song title and artist name, but also options to stream it on services like Apple Music and Spotify, buy it on iTunes if you’re on iOS, or hear it/buy it on Google Music if you’re on Android. Just click the link to your favorite platform and get that new tune you heard during your Lyft ride home. Again, this functionality is why Shazam is so key for artists, including independent artists who need to take advantage of every discovery opportunity. When someone hears your song at a local venue, in a coffeeshop, or on community radio, Shazam doesn’t just provide that person with context for their passive music discovery; it actually links the user to a place where they can hear more of your music, follow you, add your songs to their playlists, and more. Shazam will even display lyrics, videos, artist bios, and concert tickets if available. How to get distributed to Shazam CD Baby makes it easy for your music to be added to Shazam’s database. If you select the Downloads Only level of distribution or higher for your submission (which is basically everyone who uses us for digital distribution), your music will be sent to Shazam along with any other platforms you select once your release is finalized for distribution. After that, anyone with a smartphone can use the app to identify your music. When they do, the Shazam user will see links to other platforms where your music has been delivered, creating that ever-important synergy across platforms. Shazam once claimed to have driven more than 400,000 song downloads per day. In 2017 Shazam was generating 30 million clicks a month to music streaming services. Now that we’re squarely situated in the streaming era, the app’s 150 million active users are no doubt creating an even bigger frenzy of song plays and playlist adds. If you’re distributing through CD Baby, your music is accessible to that massive user base, and all they have to do is hold their phone up. Now, you might be wondering “How do I tell if my music is actually on Shazam without someone hearing a song in the wild and matching it?” The first step is to check if CD Baby has delivered your music to Shazam. To do that: Log into your artist dashboard Click the View/Edit button for the submission in question Click the Distribution header Then select “Partner Delivery” This is where you can see your submission’s delivery status with all of our partners. If Shazam is listed as Delivered, then congratulations, you’re on Shazam! But, how do you know you’re really in their database after delivery? Luckily, Shazam has a website that’s searchable without requiring an account log in or even an app download. If you ever want to check the database, head there and search your artist name. After your music has been delivered, there’s nothing left for you to do but tell your fans to grab their phones and hold ‘em aloft if they hear your music when they’re out and about. Okay, now I’m on Shazam, but how do I get my artist biography on there? Shazam licenses their bio information from AllMusic/ROVI. Head there to create a profile and submit your biographical information if you have not done so already. AllMusic is an important tool for artists because most partners pull bio information from them. What about lyrics? Shazam pulls lyrics from a site called Musixmatch. If you create an account with them and enter your lyrics, Shazam can pull the words to your songs from there. They make sure to clarify in their submissions FAQ that they reserve the right to not display lyrics due to licensing restrictions, so if someone else owns the copyright to your lyrics they might not be able to display them. What if I play live? Shazam has you covered there, too. When a user matches an artist, they can see any tour dates that artist has posted. They get this information from Songkick, so if you’re playing shows we suggest you create an account with them and post those dates! Once on Shazam, your music will stay there One thing to keep in mind is that since Shazam is not a retail site, your music will still be in their database even if you decide to cancel your distribution. This is because they destroy all audio files once they’re fingerprinted. So they have no way of knowing you might have cancelled your distribution the same way a DSP like Apple Music would. There is currently no way to remove music from Shazam. Once your music is on Shazam, it’s there to stay. Despite its magical name, Shazam is far more than a piece of audio wizardry. Its audio fingerprinting software makes your music recognizable to anyone with a phone, and that makes it an important tool for connecting with potential fans. The more avenues the better, as the old indie artist saying goes! With Shazam, every instance of your tracks being played in public is a possible entry-point to your music. GET YOUR MUSIC ON SHAZAM Greg Majewski has written about heavy tunes for Invisible Oranges, Metal Bandcamp and his own blog, Luminous Deluge. When not writing he can be found at the gym or scouring forums and blogs for obscure ‘90s death metal. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his fiancée and hundreds of plants.