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Are you using YouTube to its full potential? For many artists, YouTube is a secondary thought. Lots of musicians will simply put their music, music videos, and vlogs up on YouTube without much thought and then forget about them.  If they get a lot of views it will be a nice surprise, but many don’t do anything to help their music and videos get those views.

The truth is, like everything in the music industry today, you need a plan if you really want to get the most out of YouTube. Figure out what kind of videos best fit with your image and brand as an artist. Do a little experiment to see what your fans like watching. Release 2 videos on the same day, promote them equally, and see which gets the most views after a set period of time. Depending on your music, personality, and fan relationship you could focus on cover songs, original music videos, vlogs and behind-the-scenes looks into your life and musical career, instructional videos, or live footage from shows.

Here’s some misconceptions many musicians can have about YouTube and how to fix them to create a great strategy:

1. YouTube is a secondar, tertiary, or more like septenary focus.

Most times when we’re talking to creators, they approach YouTube with a “set it and forget it” mentality.  They upload their videos onto the platform (“set it”) and forget any strategy around how to amplify viewership.  

You can absolutely build an audience with new music videos, but there are countless ways to help increase views.  Your keywords, metadata, and release strategy all play a large role in discovery.  Don’t tag things you think will get you views, only relevant keywords.  And use every space!  Fill in as many sections of the metadata as you can: album title, song title, ISRC, UPC, etc.

When you finally get through the upload process, tell people about it!  Tweet it, post it on Facebook, share it with your Circles on Google+, and send it to any blogs or journalists who’ve written about you in the past.

 

2. Artists under estimate the power of the audience on YouTube.

Not only does YouTube have an enormous and rabid community, but they have a fan base incredibly eager to discover new content of all kinds, especially new material from talented musicians. Think of YouTube as the modern-day equivalent to CBGB, Troubadour, the Fillmore, or the Roxy, except potential fans are behind a screen at any given moment instead of hanging around by the bar.  

And, who knows, maybe there’s a young, longhaired Rick Rubin looking to lay down some bass on your punk band’s new single. Remember that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and people want to discover your music.

 

To read the full article and learn about the other 3 misconceptions, visit Digital Music News.

Why do most music players look like spreadsheets?

Discovering music on your own requires that you listen to a song for a period of time to see if you like it. Sure, if one of your friends tells you about a track you may “discover” it through them, but you will also spend some time listening to the song before you decide if it’s for you. This is the nature of the beast. Music is a time-based phenomenon.

Unlike with videos where you can “time compress” a video into a single frame image that you can easily visually scan, with music there is no alternative format that represents the song that can be easily scanned, except for the song name. This explains why most music interfaces display playlists, with song names as text not unlike in a spreadsheet, or list of song names. These can be easily scanned, but have no direct correlation to the sound or feeling of the song itself. I have always found it odd that in this era of digital music and highly designed interfaces, that most players default to a spreadsheet of song names to present music – true of iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Rdio and many others.  Spreadsheet music players.

Sure you can have a thumbnail of the album cover, but rarely do you see this on a song-by-song basis. Maybe in parts of Beatport or other DJ sites that are focused on tracks, but not generally on the web for the mass consumers of songs. And yes we have also seen many different visual interfaces like Sonorflow that let you visually traverse music genres or the linkage between bands, but these do not convey information about the songs themselves or the emotions that they convey.

What if we had a way to make a song come alive visually? This was the whole idea behind the original MTV and it was wildly successful for decades. What is the online equivalent, or even better, what can we do to push the whole boundary of music discovery and showcasing to new levels by embracing the time-based nature of music and coupling it with visual expression and a modern interface that lets you experience and interact with music in new and interesting ways. And no, I’m not talking about the waveform displays on Soundcloud.

I am working with a new company called Viinyl which is in the final testing stage for a whole new video-based version of their Music Showcasing platform that is very hot. I haven’t seen anything like Viinyl 2.0 and I think it represents a whole new way of presenting music. Viinyl amplifies the emotional content of songs visually, in a way that is enjoyable and super easy to use. This is a whole new way of showcasing music.

Viinyl is re-defining the way music and videos are experienced. In fact their video player is a new way to attract attention, engage an audience with the emotion of a song, and make money on singles and tracks. From a simple URL you can run a full screen video with interactive overlays and gather email, sell tracks and tickets, connect to your social networks and literally showcase music thru video. You can sell any digital file including music and movies, and provide relavent information directly in the context of the song including bios, links, credits, contacts, concert dates, lyrics, etc.

Here are some examples of the new Viinyl 2.0 in action:

http://hiphopdraft-ghost-in-the-machine.new.viinyl.com/
http://synthetica-mini-documentary.new.viinyl.com/
http://destination-brazil.new.viinyl.com/
http://idareyoubeta.new.viinyl.com/

The new platform supports audio file sales with fixed or flexible album pricing (minimum price and Pay What You Want) along with various free distribution options. The software is lightning fast, with just a few clicks, musicians and labels will be able to share their work independently – and hold onto all revenue generated.

The new Viinyl 2.0 LP format delivers a visual playlist, giving listeners and fans a far richer, more immersive and inviting music experience compared with the current spreadsheet format.  This new software will be available in the coming weeks.

The music industry is being reinvented before our very eyes. Learn how it is developing from today’s entrepreneurs including Ian Rogers from TopSpin, Steve Schnur from EA, and Derek Sivers and how you can capitalize on the changing opportunities.

MPN is my latest project and an online service for music business people and music and artist managers creating the future of the industry. MPN provides online music business lessons, exclusive video interviews and advice, career and business planning tools and thousands of specially selected resources designed to help you achieve success in this ever changing industry. MPN gives you the tools, expertise and guidance to help you get organized and take your music career to the next level. Learn from industry experts, set your goals and realize your vision.


Here is a very interesting study of how Netflix took on the better financed and entrenched players of the day, and took over. This is a true digital revolution and a cash machine to boot. There is a lot to be learned here from studying this model. I invite your comments below.

Netflix is a solid example of the Long Tail concept.

“Customers have flocked to Netflix in part because of the firm’s staggering selection. A traditional video store (and Blockbuster has some 7,800 of them) stocks roughly 3,000 DVD titles on its shelves. For comparison, Netflix is able to offer its customers a selection of over 100,000 DVDs, and rising! At traditional brick and mortar retailers, shelf space is the biggest constraint limiting a firm’s ability to offer customers what they want when they want it. Just which films, documentaries, concerts, cartoons, TV shows, and other fare make it inside the four walls of a Blockbuster store is dictated by what the average consumer is most likely to be interested in. To put it simply, Blockbuster stocks blockbusters.

Finding the right product mix and store size can be tricky. Offer too many titles in a bigger storefront and there may not be enough paying customers to justify stocking less popular titles (remember, it’s not just the cost of the DVD – firms also pay for the real-estate of a larger store, the workers, the energy to power the facility, etc.). You get the picture – there’s a breakeven point that is arrived at by considering the geographic constraint of the number of customers that can reach a location, factored in with store size, store inventory, the payback from that inventory, and the cost to own and operate the store. Anyone who has visited a video store only to find a title out-of-stock has run up against the limits of the physical store model.

But many online businesses are able to run around these limits of geography and shelf space. Internet firms that ship products can get away with having just a few highly-automated warehouses, each stocking just about all the products in a particular category. And for firms that distribute products digitally (think songs on iTunes), the efficiencies are even greater because there’s no warehouse or physical product at all (more on that later).

Offer a nearly limitless selection and something interesting happens: there’s actually more money to be made selling the obscure stuff than the hits. Music service Rhapsody makes more from songs outside of the top 10,000 than it does from songs ranked 10,000 and above. At Amazon.com, roughly 60 percent of books sold are titles that aren’t available in even the biggest Borders or Barnes & Noble Superstores4. And at Netflix, over two-thirds of DVDs shipped are from back-catalog titles, not new releases (Blockbuster outlets do about 70 percent of their business in new releases). Consider that Netflix sends out 45,000 different titles each day. That’s fifteen times the selection available at your average video store! Each quarter, roughly 95 percent of titles are viewed – that means that every few weeks Netflix is able to find a customer for nearly every DVD that has ever been commercially released.”

From John Gallaugher David becomes Goliath – Netflix case study

There are many lessons in here for the music business to pay attention to.

Here is a comprehensive map of sites driving the future of social media. From Overdrive Interactive, an online marketing services firm that really gets it. Enjoy and proliferate.

Attention indie musicians and marketeers. Digital Music News reported on a recent industry panel at UCLA on the importance of using video, controversy and good content to build buzz and promote your band in the digital age.

“Video is key,” said David Dorn, a senior vice president at Rhino Records, speaking to a group of students, executives, and reporters at UCLA on Wednesday. “Right now, online, video is what everybody is interested in. And if you are working with a new band, you have to make sure there are enough video assets.”

Well, what is particularly new about that? After all, MTV built an empire on the backs of major label produced video content for nearly two decades. Remember Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and thousands more? Now YouTube, MySpace and other sites are doing the same thing on the back of major and indie artists and individuals. Today it is Avril Lavigne, Beyonce, Shakira, MCR.

During the session, Dorn also pointed to the importance of other types of content, including images and MP3s. Fans are simply ravenous for fresh content, including video – and that is a demand that must be satisfied. For artists and labels, that means filming the band on the road, offering live clips and interviews, and uploading studio outtakes. “Document it, because that’s what the fans want,” Dorn assured.

Most motivated artists are already saturated within a number of online and video-specific outlets. But what is the secret to winning the seemingly hopeless attention game on YouTube? “Anyone can get 5-10,000 views,” explained Larry Weintraub, chief executive of Fanscape. “But if you want to get into the hundred-thousands or millions, you’ve got to court some controversy.”

That often includes a combination of “sex, killing, drugs, and violence,” something few would argue with. Of course, the content involved must be aligned with the image of the group, though edginess and controversy are great viral lubricants. That will cause more fans to embed the videos into their profile pages, share links online, and boost rankings on YouTube.

Ok, again – nothing new here. Any good marketer knows that getting into the minds of potential customers is much easier if your product or service is controversial or surrounded in mystery. Remember “Paul is dead” for the Beatles? Madonna’s “like a virgin”, Public Enemy’s comments, and Elvis’s hips. All propelled by controversy.

The discussion happened within a class conducted by longtime industry executives Lenny Beer (Hits), Jeff Jampol (The Doors), and Jeff Sturges (Universal Music Publishing Group). The class, “The Music Business Now,” held its final class on Wednesday before adjourning for the semester. More information at myspace.com/233962706.

Read more here at Digital Music News.

The lesson to be learned is that good music marketing works. The times have changed, the methods are more varied, the channels have exploded – but many of the tactics are the same – superimposed on the new digital landscape.

For more info, check out these new Berkleemusic marketing courses here and here and programs here.