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Lyric Music Videos

Guest Post by Caroline of Culture Coverage

When everyone is scrambling to bring more to the table, lyric videos pop up to prove to the industry that less is not only better but also incredibly effective. Cropping up as fan posted videos long before they became a thing emulated by artists, lyric videos harken back to days of Bob Dylan, but the contemporary counterpart of Cee Lo Green and his breakout hit “F*ck You” is attributed for breaking the ice this time. And from there, the videos only get edgier, but no less aggressive, at grabbing viewers and getting them to hit replay in the millions.

For bands and artists looking to make it to the big time with a small time budget, here’re a couple of reasons why the lyrics video should be your next project.

1. Big Budget Films

Skyfall  Lyric Videos

Lyric videos have a natural segue into the industry to keep fans content while bigger budget, artistic music videos were being made. Lyric videos for artists such as Katy Perry were essentially just created as placeholders until the big bucks could be dropped on making groundbreaking artistic music films.

But in the case of artists such as Adele and her Skyfall single, the lyric videos brought in the big bucks up front, and for indie artists, landing on movie soundtrack can be a big deal, even if it’s just for an opening. Why the love for the lyrics? Fans love being able to sing along, and with a lyric video, it’s taking the place all those ugly lyric websites and put what the artist has to say right in the forefront. What’s better than that?

2. Social Media Madness

Social Media Lyric Videos

Ever since Facebook and Instagram updated their platforms, lyric videos have become the new gateway to followers. Since the move to instant video play while scrolling through a feed, Facebook and Instagram have pushed viewers to respond to images and the overlaid words in a new way—even if it’s a music video intended for sound.

While music videos used to be most concerned with the best sound, now they have to be concerned with the triple threat of sound, visual and words because viewers are getting sucked in by sight alone and getting more hits than videos that forego the lyrics overlaying the images. While it may seem backward, words are getting back into the mainstream as indicators of whether you’ll like the content (and as a writer I see this as a good thing).

For new artists, don’t worry about having the best video first, worry about getting the lyrics out there. With royalties you can get from your songs being attached to photos (check out #3), you can fund a bigger project by creating a lyric video first. And the good news? Even lyric videos can go viral.

3. YouTube Changed the Game

YouTube Lyric Videos

Before the internet, music came on records, often with no lyrics, and the only visuals to accompany the sound were those that came on the jacket cover. YouTube’s crop into the music industry radically changed that forever, and lyric videos are taking their share of the fame and fortune.

When access to the world’s population is no longer a problem (thanks to my Virtual Private Network for that), videos can rack in the numbers simply by existing—and that’s exactly what they’ve done. While online radio players have skyrocketed, YouTube has done the same, giving access to millions to free music at their fingertips. And it’s not just the “official” version that’s playing, but the fan made ones too. Now we’re even starting to see the artist made videos that sometimes leak online long before they make it to streaming companies. Thanks to the boom, “Best Lyric Video” is now a category at the VMA’s, making it a cash cow all on its own.

When new artists get onto this trend, they can see big results in a short period of time. So ask your friend who’s getting married to post their wedding video with your song attached to it—YouTube will start sending you bigger checks with each video hit.

From updates on social media to the contribution of YouTube, it’s a worldwide trend that’s about to hit the big times, so stay tuned for more—we’re sure Justin Bieber has much more left in him!

 

About the Author: Caroline is an entertainment blogger, who specializes in all things music and soundtracks. She hopes these insights into the world of lyric videos will make your listening experiences that much more entertaining. You can find Caroline on Twitter at @CultureCovC

New Artist Model member Angèlia Grace

New Artist Model member Angèlia Grace

By Dave Kusek and Lindsay McGrath
Sponsored by the New Artist ModelTurn your passion for music into a rewarding career

Breaking into the world of independent music can be tough. But it looks like vocalist Angelia Grace might just have it covered.

The gifted soprano is “covering” music from some of the most famous movies in the world. Her YouTube videos have earned her hundreds of thousands of fans since she began posting in 2012.

Her performances include selections from the soundtracks for Superman, Inception and Interstellar composed by Hans Zimmer. She also covers music from The Revenant created by Ryuici Sakamoto, Jurassic Park by John Williams and other films.  Angelia Grace’s videos have been viewed more than 394,000 times.

While most musicians perform music and sing lyrics when “covering” a song, this artist brings a unique style to the task. Angelia Grace’s soundtrack covers include the original recording of the music, and she sings along to these instrumental selections using beautiful tones and sounds — not lyrics. She calls it “singing without words.”

“I had never heard about a ‘cover strategy’ before. I found out about it from Dave Kusek at the New Artist Model,” she says.  “This is where my combination of abstract music and soundtracks came from.”

“On YouTube, people are just really honest and tell you their reactions. I always want to take this as really valuable feedback,” Angelia Grace says, adding that she is working to create a new music video each week. “I ask fans which soundtrack they want me to do next. I want them to feel like they are co-creators. That relationship is so incredible.”

Born in Moscow and raised in the Netherlands, Angelia Grace is now living in Ireland.  She is hard at work on Crystal Voices, an album of original songs with lyrics, due to be released later this year. “Soundtrack covers are a great way to exercise my vocal potential,” says the artist who plays piano and flute.  “But people want a story,”

Angelia Grace also plans to release another album called Shine which will feature “soundtrack-like” music. Previous releases include Angelic Healing Sleep (2013), Angelic Tones (2014) and Asatoma (2015).

In addition to performing, working on her Youtube videos and writing her albums, Angelia Grace maintains her own artist website at http://angeliamusic.com/

She also studies voice with Frank Merriman and Edwin Williamson at Dublin’s Bel Canto School of Music, a place that has helped launch the careers of many musicians including Sinead O’Connor.  

While most of Angelia Grace’s performances appear online, she is beginning to weave more live appearances into her schedule including dates at festivals in Holland.

In 2015, she performed at the Marowa Leadership Conference, a spiritual retreat for business managers held in Nagoya, Japan. Angelia got the gig through connections on Facebook.  

“If Facebook didn’t exist I wouldn’t have gotten to Japan,” according to the musician, adding that she “friended” people from Japan who were connected to an artist friend of hers. “One of them contacted me asking if I could show them around because they were coming to the Netherlands. We skyped to get to know one another better. She learned I am a singer and asked me to be part of this three day spiritual event. All of my travel expenses were covered and I was paid to perform.”

Angelia Grace has a manager in the Netherlands but is extremely involved in the business side of her career. She uses Youtube, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about her music and stay in touch with fans.  

She has more than 4000 Youtube subscribers, over 1100 likes on Facebook and 900 people on her mailing list.  Right now, she says, Youtube is her most effective tool.

“The most important skill I’ve learned is the ability to use YouTube as a business tool and training stage,” she says. “It gives you the ability to practice performing without a live audience and get perspective that you can learn from. YouTube is an incredibly important part of my strategy. It is my portfolio.”

Instagram is also becoming an increasingly valuable tool, Angelia says. She likes the fact that her posts automatically go to Facebook and Twitter. And she especially loves what happens when she adds a hashtag to her pictures.   

“They explode online,”  she says, adding that reaching many social media platforms at once is essential.  “As an independent artist, you have to work smart because you have limited time.”

Every day Angelia Grace answers all of the messages she receives from fans, Youtube viewers and producers. She says that New Artist Model has helped her understand the value of constancy and discipline when creating a community. Maintaining relationships is essential, the artist says, so she makes it a point to communicate at least once a week with her followers.

“You have to be out there,” she says, adding that publishing valuable content is key. “If you don’t engage, what’s the point? I am building a relationship with people who will stick with me for years to come. That’s one of the most valuable lessons I learned from Dave.”

Her biggest challenge right now, says Angelia Grace, is learning to create professional working relationships with people who contact her. Often producers and musicians will reach out to discuss the possibility of working together. Ironing out the details can be a challenge, she says.

“It is great to have people praise you for what you do. It is even better to have people pay you for what you do,” she says.

Angelia Grace’s goal is to continue to grow her audience as she moves closer to realizing three of her biggest dreams — working with Hans Zimmer;  being hired in Hollywood to help create iconic soundtracks;  and filling large arenas with fans eager to share in her musical experience.

She expects the strategies she is learning from New Artist Model to continue to be central to her growth as an artist, she says.

New Artist Model is helping me think like an entrepreneur and is helping me with marketing. You don’t have to do what Dave is suggesting, you should want to do it. It’s fun, helps you get closer with your team and fans — the people who believe in you — creating a foundation of support,” she says.

“The New Artist Model is going to change your music career forever. I’m not getting paid to say this! You have to know that this is the best investment you can make for your career. You need to build your career brick by brick. Learn what you need to know so you can be successful. It’s a leap of faith you have to take. The knowledge has given me so much confidence. How much is your dream worth? Priceless.”

Check out Angelia Grace here http://angeliamusic.com/
and here https://www.youtube.com/user/AngeliaCrystalVoice

 

New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo. For more info on the New Artist Model visit http://newartistmodel.com

Every musician today needs a great website. Each week someone asks me what platform is the best band website builder for musicians to create a killer website. There are many choices to be sure.

Bandzoogle has what appears to be the best balance of features and performance at an affordable price. Their monthly packages start at $8 per month and they do not charge any commission on sales of music or merch or tickets of any kind. As of the date of this post, Bandzoogle artists have generated over $21 million in sales of music, merch and tickets using its proven cloud based platform. Don’t you want to do that too?

best band website builder for musicians

Over 25,000 musicians have signed up for Bandzoogle, including many New Artist Model students. These guys have the best solution for presenting yourself online as a musician or band. And they have agreed to give you a 90 day free trial so you can check it out. This is a no brainer if you need a website or want to update the one you have.

Click here for a free webinar on building the ultimate musician website

Bandzoogle is easy to use with a step-by-step system that will get you up and running in minutes with a custom site that can grow along with you. With over 100 different mobile themes you can easily customize a site to really stand out.

Move your existing domain over or setup a new one.

Here’s what you get with your Bandzoogle website:

• Sell music, merch & tickets commission-free.
• Stream your music and setup downloads.
• Built in email list to send professional newsletters.
• Integrates with all online musician services.
• Reports and analytics to target your fans.
• Unbelievably great customer service.

Pull in content from all of your online services like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Pledgemusic, CDBaby, Gig Salad, Bandsintown, ArtistData, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iTunes, Amazon and more.

Add a store to your site in two clicks and start selling music, downloads, tickets and merchandise without having to pay any sales fee.

Create a blog and EPK. Post music, videos and photos. Setup your events calendar and a lot more. Everything you need is built-in and just a click away.

Try it for 3 months for free. After that, plans start at less than $10/month. Or you can simply walk away and pay nothing.

What’s the best band website builder for musicians to use to create a killer musician website? Check out Bandzoogle.

Just last week, Dave Cool of Bandzoogle and I did a webinar.

Build the Ultimate Musician Website

  • BUILD a high converting musician website.
  • LEARN exactly what features you need and why.
  • GROW your email list and expand your fanbase.

Click here to watch this recorded webinar – all free.

New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo.

For more info on the New Artist Model visit http://newartistmodel.com

Let’s talk social media. It’s something we all do as artists, but a lot of musicians aren’t using it to it’s full potential. Maybe you’re posting to Facebook and Twitter everyday but feel like your efforts are wasted because you’re not seeing any growth. Or maybe you don’t post as often as you should because you don’t know where to start. These are problems every musician will face their entire career.

The problem, I think, lies in the fact that we often will dump all social media channels into one big category. The term “social media” includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snap Chat, Pinterest, Linked In, Google Plus, and whatever else is out there. But all of those platforms couldn’t be more different!

Let me explain. Instagram is all about images. As an artist, you would post visually interesting photos relating to your music, use the description and comments to engage with your followers, and use relevant hashtags to try to reach new fans. If you tried to use that same approach on Facebook people would think you’re crazy. That’s because the way these two platforms work is completely different.

I’m sure you’ve run into “that guy” who just pushes out the same message to all his social channels. More likely than not, the message comes out formatted incorrectly on a few platforms because they didn’t take the specific requirements of those platforms into consideration when they posted. You end up with links in Instagram photo descriptions (even though they’re not clickable), messages that span across 3 tweets, and Facebook posts that go on and on in one big long paragraph.

The best solution is to get to know the social platforms you use. And I mean really get to know them. Pick one or two to focus your efforts on and learn everything you can about what to post, when to post on social media, how to format your posts and photos, and how to attract new followers on the platform.

To help you get started, I wanted to share this infographic from Start a Blog 123. It breaks down the best times and days to post on each platform as well as a guide that breaks down the best image sizes so you don’t get your awesome photos cut off!

when to post on social media

Image via CD Baby Blog

Image via CD Baby Blog

YouTube is an incredible platform for indie musicians, and a few recent updates will make it even better. YouTube has always been a great platform to attract new fans and forge deeper connections with your fanbase, but there are actually a lot of features that enable you to monetize those fans and drive them to your website, merch, and crowdfunding projects that most people don’t know about.

Recently, YouTube added Cards. They are basically an evolution of the annotations. Eventually YouTube plans to phase out annotations and replace them with cards once cards have the same capabilities as current annotations. We’re not quite there yet, so expect annotations to be around for a while longer.

So what makes cards different? For one, they look better. Annotations tend to look really unprofessional and a lot of people find them really annoying. With cards, you add in a image, a title, and a call to action. It’s much cleaner, much more professional, and much more customizable. They are also a lot less intrusive compared to annotations. When they pop up, all you see is a small info button with your title. If you want to see the card you can click it, if not you can just ignore it.

Another awesome improvement is that they work on mobile. More and more people are watching YouTube videos on their phones and tablets, so you really want to be able to capture those audiences. On top of that, YouTube Cards will be trackable in analytics, so you’ll be able to see just how well they are performing.

Currently, there are five types of cards:

1. Merchandise cards can promote your licensed merch from the video. This is a way to drive your subscribers on YouTube to support you on a deeper level.

2. Fundraising cards can link your viewers directly to projects on certain fundraising sites like Kickstarter, Patreon, or Pledge Music. This is a great way to raise awareness about your project.

3. Video or playlist cards link to your other videos or playlists on YouTube. This is a great way to keep people watching your content instead of clicking off to other people’s videos.

4. Associated website cards will link to your associated website if you have one set up. YouTube is great, but you really want all of your social media channels to drive back to your website. I would definitely recommend taking the time to set up an associated website.

5. And lastly, Fan Funding cards allow fans to give you donations right on the video page. A lot of your YouTube subscribers and fans would support you if they had the opportunity, so this is a great way to take advantage of that. The key is to bring their attention to this capability in the video since fan funding isn’t very common on YouTube yet, and cards are a great way to do that.

At the moment, there’s still no subscribe card, so you’ll have to keep using annotations for that.

So let’s walk through setting up YouTube cards. If you want a step by step tutorial with pictures, check out this article on the CD Baby blog. The process is a lot like using annotations, so if you’re familiar with that, this will be a piece of cake. Just go into your video manager, click edit on one of the videos you’d like to add cards to, and choose the “Cards” tab at the top. Now click “add card” and choose the card you want to add. You’ll then be able to add in a url, an image, and some text. You get 50 characters for the title and 30 for the call to action. Also, keep in mind that if you’re linking to another video or playlist of yours, the text and images will be set automatically to correspond with the video. You can also adjust the timing so it pops up at the right time.

Let’s take a closer look at the associated website card. Being able to link to your website in the actual video will help you convert more of your viewers into fans and buyers. The easiest way to associate a website is to go into your channel settings, choose the “advanced” tab, and adding your artist website in under “associated website.” Once you do that you’ll have to verify your website with one of the options they provide. Just choose whichever is easiest for you. Once you’re verified, you’ll be able to link to that website from your videos with cards.

YouTube is also releasing YouTube for Artists. Basically, it will be a music-specific version of their Creator Hub with lots of great information and tutorials. After that, they’re looking to release an analytic tool that will show you information on your viewers down to a city level. This could be huge in helping artists route tours and book gigs. So keep an eye out for both of these things and if you haven’t already, make sure you check out YouTube’s Creator Hub for more YouTube tips for making great quality videos and growing your subscriber base. It’s an awesome resource.

Earlier this year, Edison Research and Triton Digital released their Infinite Dial Report describing the trends in music, streaming, radio and digital music. They report that:

  • Mobile devices are quickly rewiring behavior, especially with young users and image sharing (Instagram and Snapchat)
  • Internet Audio is growing at a fast rate with Pandora as the #1 player in online radio by far
  • Podcasts are increasingly growing their listener bases

The smartphone either is or will shortly become the dominate way that people interact “online”. If you are trying to break new music, you need to make sure that your presentation is mobile friendly.

Smartphone Growth

This may be old news to many of you, but if you are trying to break music or gather a fan base and you are not on YouTube, you have little or no chance of success these days.  YouTube is absolutely dominating the listening/viewing habits of 12-24 year olds as you can see in this chart from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

Youtube 1

While radio remains the top source for new music discovery, YouTube was the No. 1 source for the very important young listener market aged 12 to 24 years.

Youtube 2

And finally, nearly half the audience in America is listening to online radio (Pandora mostly).

Online Radio

self publishing your music on YouTube

Everyone knows how important the YouTube platform is for indie musicians. It’s a great way to get your music out to fans, grow your fanbase, and provide your fans with great content from music videos to vlogs. There are plenty of musicians out there who have become successful mainly because of their YouTube channel, with Karmin and Pomplamoose being two of the most successful examples. They grew their audience by targeting young teens with covers of popular songs. Other musicians, like Alex Day, have based their career entirely on recorded music sales and a YouTube channel featuring music videos and hilarious vlogs.

However, there is another aspect of YouTube that is vastly underutilized by the musician community on the platform – self publishing. You don’t need a publisher to get your music placed in YouTube videos. You just need to be proactive with social media and reach out to YouTubers you think would be interested in using your music with their creative content.

There is a huge community of amateur and professional video makers on YouTube with topics ranging from beauty and fashion to gaming to health and fitness. There is also a big surge of professionalism among these YouTubers and many of the more popular channels act as full-time jobs for their creators. As a result, many YouTubers are investing in better cameras and lenses to make their channels more professional and entertaining for their viewers.

Many are also looking to music to differentiate themselves from the masses of other channels on the platform. As you probably know, YouTube has a tough copyright policy and videos illegally featuring copyrighted material can be taken down. As a result, many YouTubers seek out free music they can use without violating copyright. There are plenty of royalty-free music tracks out there, but many sound generic and repetitive. Another popular option is to find remixes or original tracks by amateur and indie musicians and get direct permission to use the music – usually in exchange for a link back to the musician’s website or soundcloud page or a shout out in the video.

So why try to get your music in YouTube videos if you won’t get paid? It’s another form of marketing and a great way to reach a potentially huge subscriber base in a really authentic way. Think about how you find new music. More times than not you get recommendations from your friends or another trusted source, not a big flashy advertisement.

YouTubers are tastemakers. People subscribe to their channels and watch their videos because they trust their opinions. When they recommend a product or brand their viewers will be more inclined to try it out, and the same is true with music. When YouTubers feature really great music in their videos, either by mentioning the band or by syncing the music with their videos, tons of their subscribers will go listen to more or even buy the album.

Let’s take a look at a few examples. Day[9], whose real name is Sean Plott, is an ex-pro-gamer, a game commentator, and a host of an online daily Starcraft show, the Day[9] Daily. While he doesn’t sync music in his videos, he often chats with the audience telling them what bands he’s been listening to lately. During one of his videos he mentioned a Blue Sky Black Death song and as a result, the comment section on that song’s YouTube video was inundated with people saying “Day[9] sent me!” A lot of new Blue Sky Black Death fans were made that day because of Sean Plott.

There is an enormous fashion and beauty community on YouTube and some, like Jenn Im of Clothesencounters, are getting really creative with the music they sync with their videos. Instead of using repetitive royalty-free tracks they seek out remixes on Soundcloud, get permission from the artists, and edit their fashion videos to really fit with the track.

So, how do you approach YouTubers for self publishing? First you need to do your research. Know what kind of videos they upload, their personality and style, and what kind of music they have used in the past. Gaming YouTubers may have completely different musical tastes from the beauty gurus. Next, figure out which track would be best-suited for their purposes and contact them directly. You can do this through Twitter, a YouTube message, or an email. Most YouTubers list their email addresses in the “About” tab. Make sure you keep their audience in mind. Try to target YouTubers whose subscriber base shares traits with your fanbase. The key here is to start small and work your way up. You won’t get much traffic coming to your site from the smaller YouTubers, but it’s just one step on the ladder.NAM_FINAL-horizontal-dk.png

The New Artist Model is an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers and songwriters. Our classes teach essential music business and marketing skills that will take you from creativity to commerce while maximizing your chances for success. We’re offering access to free lessons from the New Artist Model online courses to anyone who signs up for our mailing list.

 

10 Social Media Secrets

Today, social media is the cornerstone of your music career. It’s what lets you stay in touch with your fans and easily notify them with exciting news. With all the social media guides out there, you’d think no one remembers one of the key behavioral aspects to being human – socializing. I know, it’s hard to find a balance between social and promotional – afterall, you still need to sell your show or record. Here’s 10 social media secrets to help you find that social media balance.


If you want more ideas and ways to promote your music on social media, check out this free ebook. You’ll get a ton of social media post ideas and 3 checklists to work through while promoting your music on social media.


1. Listen!

Socializing is, by nature, a two-way exchange. Try holding a conversation with someone with your ears plugged. Social media is talking with your audience! There are other tools out there for talking at an audience. Make it a habit to read comments and @messages. You’d do the same on your personal accounts, wouldn’t you? By listening to your fans you could also get valuable information like what new song they are digging the most or what they liked about your show last night.

2. Leverage online and offline.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. While some artists, like Alex Day have managed to build their career on one channel, most of us need to find a balance of online and offline. Maybe you leverage Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and some local shows in your area. The key is to think about how you can send fans from online to offline and visa versa. You need to create a flow.

3. Write posts yourself.

Don’t completely outsource Twitter or Facebook to a third party. Fans can tell the difference. Keep it real and learn. If you have a band, have members sign their posts with their name so fans can get to know everyone’s personality.

4. Be conversational.

On Twitter, make your tweets two-way. If you just make a statement, there’s no where for the conversation to go. Think about how you would approach starting a conversation in real life. Instead of saying “We have a gig tonight at this place,” try “We have a gig tonight at this place. What songs do you guys want us to play?”

5. Be genuine.

Talk about your life and what you believe in, as well as your music and career. Open yourself up, so that people can get to know you. It’s amazing how much interaction you can generate by posting a funny picture of your dog.

6. The 80/20 rule.

So exactly what is the balance between personal/interesting content and marketing content? I don’t like putting a formula to something as spontaneous socializing, but a general rule of thumb is that 80% of your content should be personal, funny, interesting, and entertaining, and 20% should be reserved for marketing pushes. Go beyond 20% and people start ignoring you. Keep it social. Keep it fun.

7. Drive interest.

Just like the flow between social media and the offline experience, you should also create a flow between your social media channels and your website. Your website is the hub of your career online. It’s where you make sales and have more detailed information for fans. Link creatively to your website, so that you give people fun and interesting reasons to visit.

8. Don’t over-invest yourself in every social media platform available.

A lot of musicians I’ve talked to find themselves completely consumed by social media. As a result, they don’t have much time left over for their music. You are only one person and can only do so much. Pick a few social media platforms and really focus on creating strong interaction and engagement on those platforms.

9. Pick platforms that are relevant to your image and brand.

If your target fan is a young teenage girl, Twitter and Instagram are your best bets, as these are the platforms where these girls spend the majority of their time. If you are a improvisational jazz band whose target fan is a forty-year-old working man, Facebook and email would probably be your best bet.

10. Make your channels unique. It’s also a good idea to use each social media channel slightly differently. Give your fans a reason to follow you on all platforms. While you can and should push important information out across all your channels, try to give it a different spin. If your announcing a gig try this approach: Take a picture of yourself in front of the venue and push it out to Instagram and use Facebook to drive engagement, asking fans what songs they want you to play. Get creative!

Want more social media secrets and ways to promote your music? Check out this article next and learn about 6 ways to promote your music.

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There’s been a lot of success stories on YouTube with artists like Karmin, Psy, and Baauer getting seemingly instant popularity with viral videos. Because of this, there’s a lot of misconceptions about YouTube. It’s not a platform for instant fame, and, like many other aspects of the music industry, requires a good deal of dedication and hard work.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start a YouTube strategy today! YouTube is one of those platforms that you can make something really great with a limited budget if you take the time to plan and put in the creative effort.

This article was written by Matt Sandler, musician and founder of ChromatikYou can follow him on Twitter @mattdsandler. This is just a short excerpt. You can check out the full article on Hypebot.

1. YOU NEED TO START

Failure isn’t your biggest obstacle to success, it’s not even starting. Most people talk the talk, but never actually walk the walk. You want a great YouTube presence? Start making videos…today.

I know that there’s a tune you can crush. Maybe it’s Classical Gas, maybe it’sTwinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Perhaps 15 seconds of a popular chart? It doesn’t matter. Spend 30 minutes recording and uploading it to YouTube…today.

Start viewing YouTube as a sandbox for playing, performing, and sharing. Not everything you upload to YouTube needs to be perfect or professional quality initially. We’ll get there. But as a relative unknown in the YouTube ecosystem, you’ll want to just get comfortable with the recording and upload process first.

2. BE PROLIFIC, ON A SCHEDULE

One of the YouTube myths I hear all of the time is – “I just need ONE video to strike it big.”

So what do folks do? Pour a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money into producing an incredible video. Cool. Assuming that you rocked and it miraculously went to the front page of Reddit, you now have 100,000 views and a couple hundred subscribers. Now what? Can you replicate that?

The unfortunate reality is that 100,000 views and a couple hundred subscribers doesn’t get you very far in the YouTube ecosystem. Not to mention, with over 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, there’s a 1/1,000,000 chance of you achieving that result.

The myth is dangerous because it forces you into an assumption that “if you build, they will come.” Which, as many creatives – from musicians to tech startup founders – learn quickly, just isn’t the case.

So let’s focus on starting small and building a community. Without a miracle, the only replicable way I’ve seen to build a successful YouTube channel is by being prolific and regimented with content production. One of my favorites, Gabe Bondoc – now with 272k subscribers and 48 million views! – was phenomenal at this early on.

 

Do you have a YouTube channel? Check out the New Artist Model YouTube channel for tons of interviews with music industry greats.

 

 

Photo by Mark Thorsen on Flickr

Photo by Mark Thorsen on Flickr

For musicians, video is an extremely powerful media. Many music fans use sites like YouTube to keep up with news from their favorite bands, discover new bands, and listen to music.

Indie musicians with a limited budget do not need to be intimidated or discouraged by the big-money major label videos. You can create great video content on a budget. As a musician, you are creative. Use that creativity to come up with great video ideas that don’t require millions of dollars! Your fans will appreciate the thought you put into the video and the fact that you didn’t follow the default “we’re playing our song in the woods” approach.

Kelley James is a singer/songwriter. This article he wrote for Hypebot is a great example of how real musicians are doing great things on a limited budget. Here’s a short excerpt from the article. You can read the full article on Hypebot

1. When creating content, think outside the box.

Everyone is pretty familiar with the two main standbys that most artists will utilize when it comes to creating videos: the video-blog update and, of course, music videos. One is low budget with the potential to be stale and contrived while the other often seems like too big of an investment for artists who are still growing. That’s why it’s very important to think outside the box when it comes to video content. What are your viewers getting from your videos that they can’t get elsewhere? If the answer is “nothing”, they probably won’t be tuning in any time soon. When I’m creating content for my channel, I like to give my fans something they can’t see at a show or buy on iTunes, so I like to do one of my signature freestyles on-the-spot. Other times, I’ll mash up two songs into one streamlined acoustic performance. Once your viewers realize that they’re getting in on something special when they watch your videos, you can bet they’ll be back again next time.

2. More is less.

There’s proof all over the web that a clever idea can be as valuable, if not more, than a bloated budget. A lack of funds can be a blessing more than a curse in that it forces you to think creatively and work with whatever resources are immediately available. In 2012, I released my single “Summertime On My Mind” and wanted to create a unique video to promote it without spending a ton of cash. I was involved in a campaign for Patagonia at the time called “Repair, Reuse, Recycle” which was aimed at promoting cleaner environmental practices and conserving resources, and I saw one that one of the logos was an acoustic guitar with only one string. Inspiration struck. With the goal of showing that you can create something awesome with only simple tools, I rounded up five friends and six guitars – each with only one string. We played the entire song together, one string per person, and over 13,000 views later, I was able to prove that it doesn’t take more than a few buddies and some ingenuity to make something special. Don’t get caught up in trying to copy the music videos you see on TV, because the average major label video usually has a budget somewhere between $200,000-$500,00. Use your brain and remember, more is less.

For more tips from Kelley James, check out the full article on Hypebot.

How do you make the most of your  video budget? Share in the comment section below!

YouTube and music work very well together. You can easily hype up a new release, create awareness for your music, and engage with your fans by giving them exclusive or more in-depth content.

Check out this infographic from The Music Bed to learn more about the tools YouTube has to offer.

Infographic YouTube

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.

Indiegogo has recently released a guide to monetizing your YouTube channel with crowdfunding that features 9 tips to make your campaign and your channel more successful. You don’t need to be a full-time YouTuber to take advantage of the tips in this guide. Most musicians and bands today have some form of a YouTube channel where they upload music, music videos, behind the scenes footage, and vlogs that give fans a glimpse into their lives. This guide will give you some ideas on how you can incorporate some YouTube features into your crowdfunding campaign to keep your fans engaged and excited.

1. Stretch Goals – “For example, you’re asking for $50,000 to publish a book, but you tell your contributors that, if you raise $60,000, you’ll also be able to do a concert, if you raise $70,000 you can make an album — and so on.”

2. Contributor Map – “You can…incorporate this into your project itself; for example, the top ten contributing cities will be the stops on your road tour. We’ve even seen campaigners post interactive contributor maps on their campaign pages to help leverage the global reach of their channels.”

3. Referral Contests – “You can use the tools provided to you in Indiegogo’s Campaign Dashboard to track which individuals are driving the most traffic and contributions to your campaign — and then reward those people accordingly. For example, you could offer a top secret perk or exclusive opportunity to the winner.”

4. Live Hangouts – “Put that ‘You’ back into YouTube by leveraging Google’s ‘Hangouts on Air’ feature that allows you to stream live on your YouTube channel. This is a good way to interact with contributors, answer their questions, perform, make special announcements, solicit feedback about your project and perks, or just have some fun.”

To see the other 5 tips, check out the article on Hypebot or download the full guide for free from Indiegogo.

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.

Today, indie and DIY artists have the potential to bring in more money than ever before, but sometimes all the potential revenue sources can be overwhelming and difficult to manage.  This article describes the three most profitable revenue sources for indie musicians.

1) YouTube

Complain all you want about musicians making YouTube covers and goofy videos instead of being “serious”. The reality is many of them make a good living from this. Costs are minimal compared to professional studio time. Distribution costs are near zero. The casualness of the content also allows for more rapid creation than one might find for “official” recorded work.

Companies such as Maker Studios and Big Fra.me have grown to help these artists monetize their music with better-leveraged ad rates, production assistance, and channel cross-promotion. Once ramped up with a lot of content, successful artists in this area can clear mid-to-high five figures in revenue. Since they are often solo artists, they also don’t have to split it up much.

To find out the other two revenue streams, visit Music Think Tank.

Alex Day has proudly made his way in the music industry without the support of a major label by building his fanbase online.  Here he recounts a hilarious meeting with an A&R person and why he left the meeting unsatisfied.

He doesn’t tour either and doesn’t see the need to:

Typically I make around £3500 a month from YouTube (I’m on a network so they can sell the ad space higher) and at least £10,000 a month from music and merch sales. I’ve also done other projects – I co-created a card game with my cousin which we sell online, I have a business called Lifescouts I launched this year – which add a bit of extra cash to the pot also.

Read a full case study at TechDirt.com

Ale Delgado wrote this great recap of our CMJ panel on merchandise last week.  Thanks Ale!  Here is most of it.  Visit her site for more:

Considering that I’m always looking for the next big thing, I knew I had to go to CMJ’s “Modern Merch: Beyond the Tour T-Shirt” panel. See, merch is a $2.2 billion business and one of the biggest ways an artist can make money. But while most merch is sold at shows, most people at shows don’t buy merch. Tricky, huh?

The basic premise of the panel was that opportunity comes when you marry a point of passion (e.g., a song stream or live show) with a call to action (e.g., a merch sale)– and yes, they had some tips to help you take advantage of any opportunities that come your way.

Moderator: Dave Kusek, co-founder of MerchLuv and co-author of The Future of Music.

Panelists: Zach Bair, founder of RockHouse Live Media Productions and the original CEO of DiscLive Network, which records, masters, and burns concert CDs to be made available to fans right after the show;  Mary Sparr of screen-printed gig poster pros Print Mafia and culture blog Young Mary’s Record; and Alexandra Starlight, funky and spunky indie starlette whose Kickstarter campaign resulted in 205% funding and a rainbow glitter 7″ EP.

 

1.Think of merch as an extension of your brand

As always, the first thing to do is consider your brand as an artist. Once you develop a consistent aesthetic, you can open the door to more innovative merch because fans will recognize it as one of your pieces. For example, Starlight created a one-of-a-kind rainbow glitter vinyl record for her self-titled EP. A record like that had never been pressed before and each one was hand-glittered, so each fan received a unique copy. If you’ve ever peeked at Starlight’s website (or rainbow-dyed hair), you know that a rainbow glitter album fits perfectly with her brand– and it’s damn memorable.

Furthermore, if you think of merch as your brand being integrated into someone’s lifestyle, it opens up even more creative possibilities. For instance, The Hold Steady created branded foam fingers. Y’know, the ones you wave around like crazy when you’re cheering on your favorite team. What do foam fingers have to do with music? Not much, but they’re fun, different, and priced for the college-aged fan. And judging by the fact that they’re sold out, they’re a big hit with fans.

2. Cater to your spectrum of fans

Take another look at The Hold Steady’s foam finger. It’s $10 reduced to $5. Easy sale for a teenager or college student who might have a lot of spending money but is willing to pay for something cool to show off to their friends. Making sure that you have different tiers of merch for different fans is key to building sales. You should have something at your merch table for the fan who just wants to snatch a free download card and for the fan who wants to buy everything. That also means bundling items together (CD, t-shirt, button combo) for a quick sale.

3. Be show-specific

If possible, create show-specific merch. It can be as simple as individual gig posters for each city in which you tour or something a little more involved. Sparr brought up the tickets that Mumford & Sons created for their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Tour. Each ticket was a commemorative passport that contained a download code for a compilation of songs recorded at each Stopover. Then it got better. Fans could get their passports stamped at the merch tables at each Stopover, personalizing their passports to their experience. Then it got even better. People were wandering around each Stopover with unique stamps, essentially turning the passports into a Pokemon game. (Gotta stamp ‘em all!) Talk about fan engagement.

Next, update your Facebook and Twitter on the day of the show and let your fans know what merch you’re going to be offering, especially if you have something that will only be available at that show. The more people can prepare (or at least consider the possibility of picking up your record), the more likely they’re going to buy something.

 

4. Work your merch like a pop-up shop

Think about every grumpy salesperson you’ve had to deal with. They don’t greet you, they don’t look you in the eye, they don’t care if their store is a mess, they don’t want to help you find anything, or (even worse) they’re way too pushy… Okay, now be exactly the opposite.

Your merch table is your pop-up shop. Have your items propped up nicely so that fans who are moving past your table can see what you have to offer. Greet them as they walk up to your table; don’t badger them, but put on a friendly face like you would if they were customers coming into your brick-and-mortar store. Also make sure that you’re being as meticulous as you would be if you were running a store: keep track of your inventory and double-check any email addresses written down on your mailing list. Remember that the experience doesn’t end when your show does; fans will remember what you were like behind the table.

5. Extend the experience

Well, actually, the experience doesn’t have to stop when your fans walk out of your venue either. There are a lot of ways you can extend your show experience, from the simple to the elaborate. Here are a few ideas from the Panelists:

  • Make sure there’s someone taking pictures of your show, including grabbing a few shots of the crowd. Then post it on Facebook and encourage your fans to tag themselves.
  • Have your fans post pictures of your show to Instagram with a hashtag of your choosing, and then sending them aPostagram thanking them for coming to the show or giving them a discount for your store.
  • Use DiscLive to record, mix, and master a live recording of your show. By the time you’re ready to sell some merch, they’ll have CDs ready to go. DiscLive also allows for preorders, meaning that a) you can bundle tickets and CDs and b) you’ll have an estimate of what you’ll sell at your show.
  • Use MerchLuv to bundle streaming songs with merch items to cater to those new fans who hadn’t heard of you before your show, but want to check you out afterwards. Remember, opportunity lies where passion meets action.

Read more here including a Happy Halloween Bonus Tip!

For artists struggling to make a living in the digital age, a strong merch strategy can be the difference between living life as a starving artist and making a comfortable living.

Yet compared to the recording, publishing and ticketing businesses—which have felt the full effect of technology and the Internet— the merch business today is mostly stuck in the analog 70s. If we are looking to make money in the music industry of the future, why focus our energies on debating the intricacies of Spotify payments or whether licensing terms stifle innovation. Instead let’s examine an area ripe for disruption and revenue expansion.

A Highly Fragmented Environment

Indeed merch seems to be a highly fragmented business ripe for consolidation and transformation. To illustrate, let’s look at some research conducted by a company I work with— Merchluv. We looked at the August 2012 Big Champagne charts and came up with a list of  100 top artists and analyzed their merch availability:

– The 100 artists on the list used 44 different merch vendors (how’s THAT for fragmentation?).

– 75% of artists sold merchandise on their website, Facebook page or through an official supplier.  A surprising 25% of the top selling artists in August did not sell any merch AT ALL.

– 18 artists were “self” merchandisers, meaning they used Topspin, Paypal, Amazon, or a 3rd party services or ran their own commerce site/shopping cart.

– The remaining 57 artists were served by 26 different merch suppliers.

That means to sell merch for the top 100 artists in August you need to make nearly 44 deals with merch suppliers. Clearly a consolidation of merch vendors could help to rationalize the market. Where is the Amazon of music merchandising?

Merch is an Insulated Service

The merch business is largely disconnected from the real heat in the music market today, namely the explosion in digital music services. For example: 45 BILLION songs are streamed or viewed every month, yet there is NO MERCH being sold against this engagement. And that number is just going to BLOW UP to hundreds of billions of streams per month in the next few years.

Imagine if streaming services allowed fans to browse and buy an artist’s merchandise from the same page where they  are streaming their album or buying their tickets? There is a complete disconnect between where most music is discovered today, and the $2.2 billion in annual merch revenue.  The vast majority of merch is sold at the venerable merch table at any given concert. Why not make the effort to expand that experience into the digital realm? An alignment of merch distribution with the direction that the overall music market is headed would serve artists and merch companies extremely well, and potentially unlock a flood of new revenue.

Merch is Analog

Most artists sell 85% or more of their merch directly at live shows at the merch table. As effective as they are, merch tables can stand to be improved on in the digital age.  For example:

– Fans have to know where the merch booth is.

– Why stand in line when you can order from your seat?

– What if the merch guys don’t have your size or color preference at the table?

– When you buy merch at a show you have to hold it and take it home. Do you want it delivered instead?

– What if you want a bundle of something physical and something digital.  Is this easy to buy?

– How about something personalized for you, or something bigger than you can carry home?

There hasn’t been much innovation at the merch table at all, except for perhaps using Square readers to process credit cards. I wonder if the major merch vendors of today are going to be blindsided by technology and the changing habits of music consumers in much the same way that the record labels were hit.  Merch is extremely difficult to digitize.  But the sales of merch are not.

Tons of artists have web stores attached to their web sites and Facebook pages.  Companies like Reverbnation and Bandcamp can help independent artists manage their merch on their web stores and spread the merch offer out via social media to numerous outlets.  There are many businesses such as Bandmerch and Cinderblock, JSR and Bubbleup addressing this niche, providing fulfillment, webstores, warehousing and shipping services.

But the problem with this approach is that fans need to navigate to an artist’s web site and find the merch for sale and be ready to buy.  Today only 15% of merch is sold online.  New companies like Merchluv, which I am an investor in are about to blaze new trails in digital merchandising. The reason to do this? Grow overall revenue.

The large merchandising companies are very aware of the opportunities of snaring a hot band and bringing their merch to market effectively.  The holy grail of this is the long-term sales possible from mega-popular bands over time.  Anyone want to guess how many Dark Side of the Moon T-shirts have been sold?  Companies like Old Glory have been licensing artist merchandise for decades.

Now we can argue whether there will ever be another blockbuster band like Pink Floyd or the Rolling Stones or Metallica – but if there is going to be significant revenue in the music market of the future, merchandise is going to be a huge contributor.  Merchandise might possibly become the single largest revenue generator for artists of the future. You have to think big here and broader to see what I am talking about.

When artists today are being pulled in various directions to run their businesses, create, act, teach, write and express themselves and interact with their audience, what could be better for supporting a career than a good merch strategy?  Think about the merchandising empires built by Jimmy Buffett, Jay-Z, Puffy, 50 Cent, the Grateful Dead.  The merch is the tail wagging the dog and it has made these artists a fortune.

For musicians in the digital age, revenue needs to come from something than other the recording itself.  To some extent this has always been true, but never more so than today.

Creative Explosion

My friend Todd Siegel and partner in Merchluv tells me that these days creating innovative merch and finding things that resonate with your audience is easier than ever, and many clever artists are using fan sourcing and crowd sourcing options like Talent House and Creative Allies to design merch with their fans.  Once you have a design, you can use sites like Zazzle to test ideas for new products without investing in inventory up front.
Bands like Insane Clown Possee (ICP) have created a cult-like brand through the use of iconic imagery and building a strong following by involving their fans.  The Misfits have sold more merch than music because of that iconic skull that people buy because the merch itself is cool and fashonable.

And talk about branding, take a look at what Deadmau5 is doing with the goofy mouse head. This guy has merch everywhere and may just overtake Mickey Mouse in brand awareness across teenagers.  Even if you have never heard him perform, you know who he is.

Beats by Dr. Dre is another example of merch that has gone over the top and transcended the music entirely to become a lifestyle product that in some respects is becoming a big part of the music industry.  This in only a matter of a few years.

The brainchild of artist/producer Dr. Dre and Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine, Beats is bringing high-quality audio to fans through their headphones, sound systems, and now the recently acquired MOG digital music service. Dre has taken a brand established as a recording artist and is in the process of turning it into the music industry of the future, through a grand merchandising strategy.

Conclusion

In the face of declining recorded music sales, many of us are looking hard at the opportunities for generating money in music today. Most of the investment from VCs, Angel investors or Private Equity in music has been in streaming music, discovery, ticketing, crowd funding and artist services. Businesses like Pandora, Spotify, Beats, Ticketfly, Soundcloud, Songkick and Indiegogo all have received significant investments in recent years.

There are two ways that bands have always made money. One is by performing and the other is by selling merchandise. Both are tried and true methods, difficult to download or duplicate, and solid and reliable opportunities.

Why have hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital been poured into online music services in the face of severely declining recorded revenue, when one of the most profitable parts of the music business—namely merch—been largely ignored by investors? Wouldn’t it make more sense try to increase sales of an already healthy and expanding market segment, ripe for disruption?

This video from James West and Len Henriksen shows that the consumption of music has come along way since the days of vinyl records. But now with all the digital variants of music available to anyone with an internet connection, what has become of the stability of the industry and the ability of artists’ to make money?

To sum it up, while digital consumption has absolutely exploded – the revenue per download, or spin, or play has collapsed. Data is from 2010.

Great content attracts attention.

Our friends Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan are Karmin and have found amazing lightning-fast popularity with this cover of Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes “Look At Me Now”.

2.9 million views on YouTube as of a few minutes ago, in less than 7 days. Wow. That’s some velocity.

Nod from Ryan Seacrest adds some juice: http://tinyurl.com/3hypspf

Then appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show today on ABC.

Similar strategy to Pomplamoose. http://tinyurl.com/4yk9nn2

Let’s see how this plays out and what they do with it. The Internet rewards quality with hyper efficient recognition. The Future of Music.

HERE IS AN UPDATE 5/20/11

14.5 Million Views and Counting

The duo have since performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and On Air with Ryan Seacrest, and taken the stage with hip-hop legends The Roots. “It was basically an explosion of awareness that happened for us,” Amy says. “We didn’t see it coming and didn’t really know how to handle it, but we did our best.

They are now being courted by the major labels and publishers. More to come…

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.