Tag Archives: Promotions

Woodstock To Coachella, How Smartphones Have Changed The Concert Experience [INFOGRAPHIC]

image from www.google.comTechnology has changed a lot about how concerts are marketed, ticketed and produced since Woodstock. Recently, the greatest driver of change – particularly from the fan perspective – has been the smartphone. From taking photos to texting friends and song requests, smartphones are changing how concerts are  consumed and remembered. But early glimpses of projects from Live Nation Labs and startups like Dave Kusek’s Tastemate show that we’re on at the start of a smartphone driven live music revolution. This infographic chronicles the journey so far:


4 steps to take to market yourself as an independent artist

Disc Makers and TAXI present “Achieving Success With Your Music: Hard-hitting tips on marketing, A&R, record labels, and more”

Top 10 Music PR tips for Today’s Unsigned Artist

As an unsigned artist, publicity is a huge driving force when you’re looking at success in the music industry. Although it’s definitely beneficial to retain a publicist once you have your music career in gear, you can still manage to create a little buzz on your own in the meantime. Below are the top ten tips for generating your own publicity as a music artist. 1. Make sure you have a press kit that includes a well-written bio, an 8X10 photo, CD and contact info.
2. Go local. Local press is by far the easiest press to get. Let them know your story and send in a CD. Shoot for the music editor or columnist and if they don’t have one assigned specifically, contact the entertainment editor.
3. Social networking sites are all about music these days. For example, Myspace’s reach is incredible for gaining new fans. Where else can you find people to listen to your music in the convenience of their own home? Make sure you are updating your music, adding friends, keeping them all posted, and updating the tour dates. There are magazines on Myspace looking for music to feature all the time.
4. Radio is a great way to share your music with the masses. You don’t have to approach the big ones—you can see success with air play on smaller stations as well. Send in your CD to local DJs and look up college radio shows nationally and see if they’ll spin your music. Online radio is picking up these days too… USA4Real.com is a great option… it doesn’t cost much and it gets your music heard.
5. Music licensing is a great way to make money and get publicity. Try contacting some music supervisors on TV shows for a start. Send them an inquiry with your information and a link to your music. If you get placed, you can use it for press—and it becomes a story!
6. Music websites and e-zines are always looking for music to review. Look up their websites and send emails to their editors. Tell them why you’re a fit for their magazine and ask if you can send in a CD. Again, try to make contact first… sending in a random package may be useless.
7. Youtube.com and Stickam.com are wonderful outlets to share your music. You can even upload your music videos and video tips for other artists now at Getsigned.com. Just Upload your videos HERE and they’ll be on the site in a couple of weeks when the new site re-launches! When done right, you can really start gaining a fan base. Try to do something charismatic and original. Reaching out to people online can do wonders. Create a music video, a video blog, sing an acoustic set, take a stab at some comedy– anything… Just remember, first impressions are everything.
8. Be philanthropic. Charity does wonders for publicity outreach. Find something you believe in and offer to play at their event or donate proceeds to their cause. Not only does it get you out there and give you a story angle… but it feels good to help out.
9. Send your CDs to appropriate magazines for your music’s genre. Make sure you call ahead and find out the right contact, unsolicited packages get lost in the shuffle. A good rule of thumb is to look up specific writers you feel would enjoy your music and find out how to reach them.
10. Try to book shows in different towns, that way you can easily label the cluster of shows as a tour and contact local newspapers and radio stations and offer them merch in exchange for promotions/articles.

Note that PR is about being smart and creative. It’s about finding a reason for people to care about you and your music. Sure, great music and a good look are helpful, but you also need to reach out to the public and come up with stories. Think outside of the box and you’ll really benefit from the results in no time. Good luck!

What is a Publicist and How Does a Publicity Campaign Work?

Curtis Smith, the head of Maelstrom Music and Maelstrom Music PR, walks us through the various ways that a publicist gets attention for an artist in the press, how a regional or national press campaign is orchestrated and what such a campaign can do for an artist’s reputation, and what publicists can and can’t do for an artist as part of their services.

What Gets Fans Engaged? SXSW Panel Explores Methods Beyond Facebook By Dan Rys


The “Secrets to Fan Engagement” panel at SXSW Music veered from the most effective methods of online engagement (Facebook took number one, with email blasts just below it and Twitter surprisingly far behind) to the ways in which innovative marketing strategies and events can bring in new fans and press.

Moderated by The Knitting Factory marketing director Valerie Gurka, the panel consisted of ReverbNation’s Lou Plaia, Stageit CEO Evan Lowenstein, World Cafe Live talent buyer Laura Wilson, and LYVA Music founder Lynda McLaughlin.

One effective method of engagement came through Stageit’s live-streamed performance platform, where artists can sell tickets to performances that can take place in their bedrooms or kitchens, and allows them to limit tickets to provide an air of exclusivity, while video interactions with fans resonated so well that it represented the third-best method of engagement, ahead of blogs and radio. “I don’t think there’s any way to undervalue a video,” said McLaughlin.


McLaughlin also promoted creative events as a good way to generate buzz, noting a friend who ran an unofficial Hooker Runway party at CMJ this year that garnered press in droves, mostly because of its unique cache. “There’s no golden rule of how to do it, but it’s really powerful to do something no one else is doing,” she said.

Wilson, representing World Cafe Live from Philadelphia, also agreed, saying the her venue has positioned itself as one that often offers meet and greets and special events that bring fans and artists together, crafting that into a reputation for the venue in the process. Special event-based shows or concerts also serve as good ways to bring in diverse crowds, such as partnering with local businesses to put a new spin on a concert or help promote a show.

But the most important aspect the panel discussed was having a continuous conversation with fans, and offering them creative content that acknowledges how important they are to artists. “You have to let people know they are part of a 2-way conversation,” said Plaia.

What Gets Fans Engaged? SXSW Panel Explores Methods Beyond Facebook


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Music Promotions, Marketing – Using Social Media Skills To Get Video Views

Here are a few tips on music marketing, promoting using social media skills like keyword threading and other geo-tagged methods.

How To Sell And Market Your Music Using The Latest Research BY: CATHERINE HOL / MTT

If you keep an eye out for the latest research on music consumption habits, you can use these statistics to help guide you in creating an effective sales and marketing plan for your music releases.

After all, that’s how the marketing department of a major record company would operate – basing their plans on the latest market research.

If you’re despairing at the idea of having to add market research to your “to do” list, don’t worry – there’s an easy way. Just google for Google Alerts, and set up a few alerts such as “music consumption research”, “music consumer survey”, or “music market research”. The latest research will just appear in your email inbox.

Then, all you have to do is choose the studies and surveys relevant to your own music market, and ask yourself how these statistics could shape your music sales and marketing plan.

You don’t have to go into too much detail here – taking note of the general trends will guide your strategy quite effectively.

Take the following example of worldwide music consumption statistics in 2010, courtesy of Midem.com:

A global survey of music consumers by Nielsen (Sept. 2010)

Nielsen (one of the most highly regarded market research firms) conducted a global survey of 26,644 people in September 2010 on their music purchasing and listening habits. It surveyed people’s music consumption for the previous 3 months.

What can we musicians learn from this research?

  • We need multiple ways to reach music consumers worldwide: The survey found that there is considerable diversity in music consumption habits globally, and that no single channel dominates.
  • We need to make videos: Watching music on video is the most popular way to consume music. 57% of those surveyed had watched music videos on computers in the preceding 3 months. 44% watch internet videos several times a week.
  • Giving away some of our music as free downloads is likely to be a good promotional strategy: Downloading a song without paying for it was the second most popular form of music consumption. The survey did not distinguish between “legal” (free downloads – often promotional) or “illegal” downloads (pirate copies), so many of these free downloads could have been obtained legitimately. Obviously there is still a great deal of interest in downloading music, and people like to get it for free … legally or otherwise.
  • People aged between 21 and 34 are the “core digital music audience”: People in this age range have a generally higher level of music-related activity. They watch the most music videos (on computer or TV), download more songs (both paid and free), and stream more music.
  • It’s worth selling digital downloads; particularly if aimed at a younger audience:The survey found that just over 20% of people under the age of 34 had paid to download a music track to their computer in the preceding 3 months.
  • We need our own artist website, with our music readily accessible for streaming and buying: About 18% of people surveyed had accessed music from an artist’s own website in the preceding 3 months.
  • A Facebook fan page is worth having: 35% consume music via social networking sites. Check out the usual suspects – but also keep an eye out for niche social networks that relate to you and your music, for a more targeted audience.
  • Streaming services are worth factoring into our promotional strategy: 36% stream music via a computer. The survey doesn’t go into details about this streaming figure, so it’s an amalgamation of all the different ways someone could stream music these days. However, it tells us that services such as Spotify, Pandora, Last fm, Jango, etc, are a viable option for getting our music heard.
  • We should look into the sales and marketing potential of creating our own music apps: 30% listen to music via their mobile phone, and 20% of respondents had downloaded or used music apps on their mobile.
  • We should promote our music on internet radio: Just over 30% of those surveyed say they listen to music on web radio several times a week. The vast array of genres and sub-genres catered for by specialist radio shows online means that, if we take the time to investigate, we are likely to find the perfect audience for our own music.

Creating a realistic music sales and marketing plan

You can see that, just through interpreting the statistics of this one study, we can lay out the basis of a sales and marketing plan that is rooted in the realities of the here and now.

It would be best to take note of a number of different studies, of course, for the greatest accuracy. And it is important to update your information regularly. But thanks to Google Alerts, this is not the time-consuming chore it used to be.

I hope this is helpful to those of you who are confused about which of the countless marketing strategies to adopt, and who have precious little time available for trying to figure it all out.


Nielsen white-paper for Midem.com: Digital music consumption and digital music access published January 12 2011. http://bit.ly/fhz3BO

Nielsen Music (www.nielsen-music.com ) is a division of Nielsen ( www.nielsen.com ), the leading global market research company.

MIDEM is “the most important event for the world’s music community” http://www.midem.com

How To Sell And Market Your Music Using The Latest Research  

Tour Merchandise Deals: Eight Important Clauses By Heather McDonald

It may not surprise you to know that tour merchandise (like concert t-shirts and stickers) are a significant source of income for many musicians, but what may shock you if you’re from an indie background is how complex tour merchandise deals can become. Instead of having a friend sell your t-shirts at the merch table in the back of club, major tours involve large music merchandising companies that license your band’s name and likeness and produce and sell your stuff, paying you a royalty. Merch deals can be like record label deals, but there are some important differences. Here’s a look a the major points in tour merchandise deals.

1. Tour Merchandise Royalties

Of course, the royalty you’ll be paid by the tour merchandise for selling goods featuring your name, face, album names, logos, artwork and so on is one of the most important points of any merch deal. There are two ways tour merch royalties can be calculated: percentage and splits.

With percentage deals, the musician simply gets a pre-determined percentage of gross sales of their goods. Gross sales usually mean sales minus any taxes and credit card fees paid by the merch manufacturers. In the US, musicians tend to get royalties in the 30% to 35% range, though it can vary, as do foreign royalties (which are usually a bit less than the US rate). If you receive a percentage for your royalties, you can sometimes work a provision into the contract that your royalty rate increase as you reach certain sales thresholds.

Profit splits are usually based on NET sales – so the merch company deducts all of their expenses from the sales income and then splits what is left with the musician at a pre-determined rate – often 85/15 (in the musician’s favor), though again, these rates can vary. Profits splits are common in foreign royalty deals as well as deals for stadium shows and festivals. Additionally, concert bills/programs are nearly always sold on a split, even if the rest of your merch is sold under a percentage deal.

Note that if you opt to have any merch that requires an the merch company to bring in an outside designer (like a jacket specially designed by a well known name in fashion), your royalty rate will be lower on these items than the rest of the merch. Why? Because the merch company has to bear the cost of the outside designer, and the lower royalty rate is their way of recouping the costs.

2. Tour Merchandise Advances

Yes, like a record deal, you DO get an advance on a tour merchandising deal. Before you get excited, you should know that the terms are much worse than record deal advances. Why? Because tour merch advances are usually recoupable by the merch company – meaning you could be on the hook to pay back the advance.

There are a number of circumstances that can put you in the unfortunate position of repaying your merch advance, but most of them are tied to you not touring within the time frame specified in your contract or not playing to audiences of the sizes expected when your deal was signed (we’ll get to performance minimums later, which is closely tied to this). If you decide you want out of the contract, you will have to pay back your advance with interest.

Advances vary in sized depending on your bargaining power, the length of your tour and the size of the venues/size of your fanbase.

Most tour merch advances are paid over the course of your tour, to help you meet your costs and to stop payment if you are failing to meet the terms set out in your contract. You’ll get a lump at the start and the end with one or two payments in the middle.

Your contract should state the amount of your advance and the terms of the advance clearly.

3. Terms

The term of your deal is the length of your deal. For tour merch, you are usually tied down for one album cycle or until your advance has been repaid – whichever is LONGER. Technically speaking, that means if you repay your advance but never release another album, you’re under contract with a tour merch company forever. A good lawyer can help you negotiate exit strategies from the contract, but make sure you are very clear about where the finish line is, or you’ll be stuck with a merch deal for a very long time to come.

4. Hall Fees

Once you get off the bar circuit, you’ll find that many venues charge a percentage of profits for letting you sell your merch in their place – these are called hall fees. Agents negotiate hall fees with the venue when they book your tour, but tour merchandising companies usually put a cap on the hall fees they are willing to pay (often around 30% or so). If your agent negotiates a hall fee that is more than the cap your merch company set, they take the difference out of your royalties.

5. Performance Minimums

Basically, the performance minimum is the number of people that must attend each show to make you compliant with your tour merch deal. Where does the tour merch company get off telling you how many people need to be at your shows? Because the number of people through the door determines how much merch they can sell – more people, more merch sales. Tour merch deals usually measure this in how much they expect to sell “per head” – what is the average spend at the merch stand of each person through the door?

Merch companies don’t count every attendee at a show as counting towards your performance minimum. For instance, no one on your guest list counts. They also count people differently at different venues. Stadium shows are counted most harshly. Even though more people go to stadium shows, they tend to spend less, since they may attract casual fans who aren’t interested in buying anything. Some merch companies try not to count stadium shows towards your deal AT ALL, though a better compromise can usually be reached during the negotiation stage. Remember that falling before your performance minimum can trigger repayment of your advance, so be sure the numbers are realistic before you sign a deal.

6. Artwork Approval

Your deal should specify if (and how and when) you will get to approve the merch thecompany/designer is producing for your shows. Even up and coming artists with little touring track record can get full creative control in merch deals.

7. Exclusivity

You can’t have a deal with two tour manufacturers at the same time, of course. Where exclusivity gets tricky is when you have a separate deal for retail merch and/or your label is planning some kind of merchandise promotion at your show. It is common for merch deals to exclude you from selling any merch within 48 hours of the show within two miles of your venue. You need to make sure that this clause leaves retail stores out of the equation, since you can’t control where a record store selling merch is located in relation to the venue.

Record label promotions, such as a concert shirt giveaway by the local radio station set up by the label, should also be allowed in your contract. However, the tour merch company can – and will – limit the amount of merch you or your label can give away for free before a show.

8. Selling Leftovers

What happens if you don’t sell everything the tour company produces during your tour? The merch company will try to sell it off. You have the right to limit where they can sell the merch and for how much. Your contract should provide you an opportunity to buy the leftover goods at cost plus a small markup (though be sure the contract doesn’t say you HAVE to buy it).

If you don’t want it, the merch company usually reserves the right to try to sell your good (often to a retail store) for up to six months after your tour ends. However, they can’t sell your goods at a cut price. They also can’t purposely manufacture more than you reasonably could have expected to sell on tour just so they have some leftover after the shows end, nor can they make new goods after the shows end. Further, their sell off of your merch should be on a non-exclusive basis, as long as the other terms of your deal have been met, so you are free to make new merch deals.

Tour Merchandise Deals: Eight Important Clauses

What Artists Should Know About ReverbNation’s Promote It BY: BRIAN HAZARD / MTT

Running a Facebook ad campaign is confusing. You bid for ad placement, but the price you pay bears little relation to your bid. What’s the difference between reach and social reach, connections and clicks, CPC and CPM? More importantly, is there any way to tell how many people played, downloaded, and shared your song, or signed up for your mailing list? (answer: no, there’s not)

ReverbNation’s new Promote It tool addresses those shortcomings, and then some.You pick a song, photo, and budget, and it automatically generates dozens of optimized Facebook ads based on past Promote It campaigns, and continually optimizes your campaign based on the performance of those ads. New fans click through to customized landing pages that track not just clicks and likes, but plays, downloads, shares, wall posts, and mailing list signups. As I’m quoted as saying in the press release, “It’s the ultimate ‘set it and forget it’ fan-making machine!”

I was invited to try it out and provide feedback during the beta period, and I’m flattered that some of my suggestions made it into the final product. So far I’ve run six campaigns. Let’s walk through the creation and performance of my latest and most successful one.

Promote "But Not Tonight"

As of this writing, there are two types of campaigns available: promote a song, and promote your Facebook page. Soon you’ll also be able to promote a show or release. Most of my experience is with promote a song, so let’s continue with that:

Setting up your Promote a Song campaign requires nine simple inputs:

1. Which Song Would You Like to Promote? You should pick one that grabs the listener in the first 5-10 seconds. The song I chose starts right in on the first verse, with no instrumental introduction whatsoever.

2. Pick 5 Similar Artists. Since I was promoting a Depeche Mode cover song, I picked the band and its members’ solo projects: Dave Gahan (lead singer), Martin L Gore (songwriter), and Alan Wilder (long-departed yet still beloved keyboardist/producer) – plus Erasure, since half of that duo was in the original line-up of DM. The product manager for Promote It told me that artists who have between 50,000 and 500,000 likes work best, and my results bear that out:

Similar Artist Scorecard

The Dave Gahan ads performed so well that they completely crowded out the rest. Perhaps it’s because Depeche Mode has millions of casual fans, but only the most serious ones keep up with the lead singer’s solo work, and are therefore more motivated to check out my cover.

3. Write Ad Text. You can choose to author one of the ads yourself, or let Promote It generate them all. Since my custom ad was outperformed by the auto-generated ads, I won’t bother sharing it with you.

4. Choose Picture. Your choice here can make or break the campaign! My previous campaign was identical to this one, except I used a close-up of yours truly. The results were pathetic. It should come as no surprise that a photo featuring 1) a world-famous band and 2) an attractive female does a better job of catching the eye.

5. Geo-Targeting. Choose between local (your state), national, all English-speaking countries, or global. Theoretically you should get the best results from global, but national did just as well for me in my limited experience.

6-8. Name Your Campaign, Sync with Facebook, Start Date. Pretty much self-explanatory.

9. Budget. Choose between $25, $50, $100, $250, or $500 on a one-time, weekly, or monthly basis. I recommend you experiment with successive $25 campaigns until you find a winning formula, and expand from there. My $50 campaign lasted six days. Here are the results:


I was most pleased with the 44 mailing list signups, but 57 likes is nice too. There’s sure to be some overlap between those two figures, but in any case, that’s a lot of new fans who will be hearing from me on a regular basis.

How does Promote It compare to running Facebook ads directly?

It really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you just want to boost the number of likes on your page, direct ads have a serious advantage: you can structure them so that a click is a like.


But if you’re looking for the kind of things we musicians tend to care most about: song plays, downloads, shares, and mailing list signups, there’s no way to know which is best. Facebook doesn’t provide that information.

And no, you can’t just take the best performing Promote It ad and copy it over to Facebook. ReverbNation doesn’t share the text of its auto-generated ads with you, perhaps for that very reason.

But who says you have to choose?

What Artists Should Know About ReverbNation’s Promote It

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