Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spotify Begins Original Music Series

Spotify logo image
Spotify may soon find itself under siege thanks to the introduction of iTunes Radio the other day, but an initial response might bring at least some music fans into the fold. Yesterday the streaming service launched an original documentary series called Spotify Landmark which will feature significant moments in music history, and is built along the lines of Behind The Music.

The first episode is "The Real Story of Nirvana's In Utero," and it debuts on the 20th anniversary of the album and a week before the album's deluxe reissue. The audio-only program features lots of behind the scenes stories from Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, producer Steve Albini, Curt Kirkwood from The Meat Puppets (who toured with the band), and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait (who opened for the band).

The site doesn't require membership, but it does require that you sign in to Spotify to hear it. It launches the series of smaller clips that play sequentially.

One of the things that both smaller cable channels and Netflix discovered is that they can compete with the big guys if they have compelling original programming. Landmark probably won't cause a major shift to Spotify, but it's a start in their fight against Apple.

Sign Up For The Free "6 Keys To Musical Prosperity" Teleseminar

6 Keys To Musical Prosperity Teleseminar image
Are you in a musical career rut?

Not doing the things in music that you thought you’d be doing?

Are you frustrated because you can’t seem to get the better gigs you think you deserve?

Then 6 Keys To Musical Prosperity teleseminar might be just the thing you need to kickstart your career.

I'm inviting you to a free 60+ minute telephone seminar I'm offering next Tuesday, September 24th with a group of my music industry friends like Dave Pensado and Paul Ill who currently work with hit artists that have recorded some of the classic songs that you hear on the radio every day.

If you're not making enough money or working with the best musicians and people in the industry, it's time to find out how to overcome the common hurdles that block musicians, engineers, and producers from doing the things they've always dreamed about.

Together we'll teach you things that 95% of all musicians don’t know.

To register for this call, which is free except for your normal long distance charges, go here now:

Once registered (remember, it’s free), you'll receive all the details to join the call via return email. I look forward to "seeing" you on the call next Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Top 10 Best Selling Vinyl Records

Best Selling Vinyl Records image
Amazon recently presented a report that stated that vinyl sales are up 745% since 2008. One of the reasons the company feels that sales are up that drastically is because of its Autorip service, which provides MP3s of the tracks of the vinyl album, so it's like getting two products for the price of one. Here are some interesting Amazon vinyl facts.

Best Selling Genres
Rock - 55.6%
Miscellaneous - 19.2%
Pop - 9.8%
Urban - 4.3%
Dance - 3.9%
Folk - 1.7%
Blues - 1.5%
Easy Listening - 1.5%
Jazz -1.5%
Reggae - 0.9%
Classical - 0.1%

The shock here is not that rock leads the pack, but how poorly jazz and classical sales are, considering that vinyl is a centerpiece of the listening experience of both genres.

That said, here are the top 10 best selling vinyl records of last year.

Best Selling Vinyl Albums In 2012
1. Blunderbuss - Jack White
2. Abbey Road - The Beatles
3. Babel - Mumford & Sons
4. El Camino - The Black Keys
5. Sigh No More - Mumford & Sons
6. Bloom - Beach House
7. For Emma Forever Go - Bon Iver
8. Boys And Girls - Alabama Shakes
9. 21 - Adele
10. Bon Iver - Bon Iver

The surprise here is that both Mumford & Sons and Bon Iver both had two records in the top 10, and that Abbey Road is still popular after all these years.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

8 Tips To Getting Played On College Radio

College Radio image
Hypebot recently ran a great article by David Roberts and EricTheReDD about how to get your music played on college. David is the founder of the Sunshine Promotion company while Eric is the former general manager of WJSC-FM of Johnson State College, Vermont. While you can read the entire interview of the Hypebot website, I thought I'd distill the main points here.

1. Make sure that the title track has the ability to "wow." If that track sucks, it's tough to take the rest of the album seriously.

2. Send a pressed CD that's professionally packaged. CDR's don't cut it. In fact, send two; one for the music vault and one for a possible giveaway. Remember, the liner notes will be read, so take care in crafting them.

3. Make sure the songs are registered with Gracenote and have the proper ID3 tags attached so the info doesn't have to be input manually when transferred to the digital library. No Gracenote information may be enough to keep your songs from getting played.

4. Make sure you send a short press kit. Short is the operative word, keeping it to only a page about who you are and what's on the disc.

5. Address your package to the music director. He will assign it to the appropriate DJ. Do not send to the program director, as he's in charge of scheduling and is too busy to deal with music. If you have the DJ's name that deals with your genre, it's okay to send it to him to directly.

6. A short personal note can go a long way. Something like, "Hey WJSC, thanks for the airplay" can get you extra attention.

7. Call the request line or the DJ and ask them to play your song. It really works and might even land you an on-air interview.

8. Don't take the shrink wrap off the package. If the CD gets smashed in transit by the post office, the disc stands a better chance of being playable, and there's less cleanup involved for the station.

Remember that these tips come directly from someone on the front lines of college radio. They're pretty simple, and can make the difference between getting played or not.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Clear Channel - Warner Music Deal: Not What It's Cracked Up To Be

Car Radio image
It was announced last week that radio station group Clear Channel Communications and Warner Music Group (WMG) entered into a “historic” agreement where the label and its artists would finally be paid for airplay performances on Clear Channel’s 850 terrestrial broadcast stations. The United States is one of the few countries in the world where that hasn’t happened until now, as broadcasters have been resisting the notion for years, successfully fighting any legislation that promises to do so. Performance royalties are paid on satellite and digital radio streams however.

Although the terms of the deal haven’t been released to the public, insiders have intimated that Clear Channel will pay WMG 1% of advertising for terrestrial broadcasts and 3% for digital, which could amount to some $50 million over three years, including an up front payment. For that it receives a discounted rate on digital streams from the 22 cents per 100 streams it pays now to no less than 12 cents per 100 streams. WMG will also receive special product promotion from Clear Channel stations that would include album previews, interviews or other kinds of special broadcast segments, as well as artist appearances at events like the iHeart-Radio Music Festival

While there’s generally been praise for this agreement, I’m afraid I can’t be so kind, as it may not be all it’s cracked up to be. When looked at closely, it seems to provide possible downsides for all parties involved, especially the one generally missing from the conversation - the artists. Read more on Forbes.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Twitter's New Music Features

Twitter Verified Filter
Everyone's getting caught up in IPO fever after Twitter announced that it was filing to become a public company last week. Almost lost in the announcement was two new music features that could actually have some bearing on the offering.

First of all is the new Verified filter, which can be set to only show users who have verified accounts by Twitter. This is primarily a feature that's useful for artists who experience a surge in popularity and find that their @mentions are getting out of control.

The filter sits under the Connect tab and will show only those users that have a profile with a little blue tick that symbolizes their public standing. This is said to be incorporated as a way to get Twitter's more high-profile users to personally interact more, rather than delegating it to their social media person.

The second new feature is the new Spotify app, which will deliver to Spotify users whatever is trending on Twitter, which could be a boon to up and coming artists breaking on Twitter but not on other forms of social media.

Follow me on Forbes for some insights on the new music business.

You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.


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