Just a quick note to let you know that David Rose, who is editor over at www.knowthemusicbiz.com and responsible for Artist X’s website, has published an article yesterday on his strategies for getting X’s site up and running. Once again, this is a good overview for any musician who lacks website creation skills and who needs to get things rolling fairly quickly (and who is on a budget of $20/month)
The final choose for X is a mix of popular online band services:
RockDex Pro is a comprehensive, simple and complete analytics solution for bands who wish to know who’s talking about them and on what social network. One of my favorite features here is the Twitter integration.
“Initially launched just before SXSW Music in March, RockDex provided a measurement of an artist’s overall social presence with its RockDex Score. RockDex Pro vastly improves on this by providing in depth information on how artists are represented and discovered across various social networks and blogs. Bands and their reps can use this information to understand how their marketing efforts are working, discover rising talent while its still off the radar, and understand customer behavior”.
If you are using Twitter for your band, you’ll want to check this out. RockDex not only shows you your Twitter stats, but also indicates who’s tweeting about you. So basically you can directly connect with the twitterers who are preaching the good word. Very useful stuff.
The RockDex Pro beta was just launched on Friday. You can take a look at the app at http://rockdex.com/signup using the invite code ‘gigdoggy’.
Finding and understanding your fans is crucial in the current music environment. I built RockDex Pro to bring a lot of that fan information into a single location to make marketing and promotion decisions easier.
Hypebot’s interview with Amanda Palmer is a must read for basically anybody, so I highly recommend you take some time here and there and check out all three parts (as well as the comments!).
Posted exactly as on Hypebot’s blog:
“If the point is to find meaning and fulfillment but the very idea of staying connected is causing you eternal anxiety, it’s defeating the purpose… I simply feel blessed that I’m an emotional exhibitionist right around the time is seems to be expected and en vogue.”
Porter Mason is the guy who drew gigdoggy’s main splash-page cartoon, and a very smart and talented individual at that. I follow him on twitter (@portermason) and the guy’s got a real sense of humor. Not only that, but he’s the embodiment of a DIY artist: he publishes his own books, is on top of the social media game, uses all the tools out there to get his brand out etc..
I received this email this morning, and I just thought I would share it with you doggy-readers as an example of GOOD marketing practice (simple, personal, and funny – i loved the Micheal Bay bit :)
please note that this is the first email of this kind that I ever received from Porter – so I’m not preaching spammy practices to you lot out there – and no, we aren’t paid to write this post :-)
Summer is here, and prices at PorterMason.com are dropping. Dropping like my rent when I move to Los Angeles in September!
Yes, in September I’m leaving New York to move to Los Angeles.
And you know what I don’t want to move across the country? Unsold piles of my book of comic strips, All Local Bands Suck (Except Ours)!
So help me out: buy my book of comic strips now from PorterMason.com
We all know you want to buy the book, but you just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Well friends, this is your moment.
I’ve even dropped the price to $11.99 for a limited time.
Only $11.99!! That’s less than a single ticket to Transformers 2! For 92 beautiful pages of comic strips from my hit cartoon, Bassist Wanted! And none of that $11.99 will go to support director Michael Bay. I guarantee it.
I think we can all agree my book is this summer’s alternative to Transformers 2.
So again, if you’ve thought about buying the book, I’d really appreciate it if you’d pull the trigger now.
You can use your PayPal account to pay for it, but if that annoys you, PayPal also lets you just use a credit card.
Now if you ever see me in person, I will always have copies of my book on me, and will be happy to sell you one right then. Believe me. Just ask.
But don’t wait to see me! Who ever sees me? No one! And you won’t have cash! Or I won’t be able to make change! Bah! What a hassle! Just buy it now online instead.
And if you wouldn’t mind, please pass on the word about the book.
Email friends. Blog about it. Put stuff on Facebook. Twitter some tweets. Every little bit helps.
Remember, this is a one-man operation.
I have no company backing me and my comics. It’s just me and you, friends. It’s me and you (and my book) against AIG and Halliburton! So let’s really give those corporate jerkfaces a run for their money, huh? Yeah!
OK, that’s it.
P.S. I promise I’ll only send these emails once or twice a year.
Porter is right, i WAS meaning to buy the book and just hadn’t gotten around to it, and I can totally relate to his situation, having moved around myself quite a bit.
Congrats Porter, you just got my $11.99, and we wish you good luck in LA!!
Yesterday, Adam Yauch from the Beastie Boys did something that I consider to be bold and courageous. Something you would really not expect from the likes of such an artist. Something that will garner respect and appreciation from his fans. He announced to the world, via Youtube, that he had (treatable) cancer to jutify the post-poned tour dates:
Why would he come clean like that? The announcement is very natural, even got me thinking I knew him a little. I’m not a huge fan of the Beatie Boys but that got me connected. Such and honest way of updating the people who truly ‘want to know’ is a sign of respect. He is respecting his fanbase in an extremely delicate way, and just for that, I’m going to check out his tunes today.
Rockband is opening up its doors to, well euu, bands! Through the creators.rockband.com website, bands will be able to submit their own tracks after having made them Rockband-compatible. It’s all explained in the video bellow, but in a few words, bands will have the possibility to record their tracks, MIDIfy and package them for the RockBand platform, have them reviewed by the community, and if everything goes well, will be able to sell their Rockbanded songs to the world.
Here’s the trailer:
Seems like an ok idea. All depends on how musically inclined the RockBand community really is. Will the gamers take time to try out songs they never heard before? Will the bands take the time to package those songs? The process of MIDIfying every track must be pretty time consuming, not to mention difficult. Will the work be worth it? Will having your song uploaded to such gaming networks be a sustainable source of promotion and revenue for bands, as the above trailer so proudly says it will? hmm, I’m very skeptical here. I’m really not sure many indies will jump through the hoops, but labels might give it a try for promotion purposes.
“If nothing bad is ever said, Nothing good will ever be done”
In the music 2.0 realm, these two past years have been all about describing what bands should or could do to leverage their fan base, to promote themselves to the outside world, to better their networking tasks and skills etc. Discussions on the web lately are almost only referring to ways bands can use tools to augment their reach, and the Gigdoggy blog is no exception.
One thing I hardly ever come across tough is “how bands can better their music”. It seems to me that discussions on the quality of music are often shadowed by those on the importance of networking, or the importance marketing/promotion. I never stumble-upon blog posts that encourage artists to take a step back and focus on say, the meaning and the originality of their music. Why is that? Is it because we are afraid of asking the tough questions? Is it because the creative process is so “personal” that it should be left untouched, pure and, well, personal?
I find intriguing that our online world that boasts to be infinitely communicative is seldom the place where it is possible to gather real cold-hearted feedback. Everyone involved in social media wants to be friends with everyone else and what is said out loud is hardly what is thought inside. Add that to the fact that art is considered subjective and you will realize that being exposed to constructive criticism is not an easy task.
So, how do you manage to get real feedback for your music on the web? (The only places I can of are SoundOut and TAXI.com.)
[Here is the third post of the series of articles Mike Raine thought about doing on individual songs. They focus on background, meaning, and anecdotes, to varying degrees.]
To the amazement of some, there was a time when Pete Doherty was half of an infamous song writing duo instead of half of an infamous tabloid duo. In the former’s case, Pete’s better half was fellow Libertine Carl Barat. Pete, Carl, and the rest of The Libertines exploded onto the British music scene in 2002 like a group of Hell’s Angels with a knack for writing catchy punk rock tunes. They lived without care or caution before imploding in a haze of drugs, fights, robberies, and arrests. The most important element in the band remained the relationship between writers and co-founders Doherty and Barat. The pair became inseparable in the public consciousness. Like many inseparable musical pairings before them, their brotherly relationship dissolved into a haze of drug abuse and betrayal while their fans watched in despair and their detractors in amusement. Amidst all the drama and in an amazing display of peace and reconciliation, Pete and Carl recorded Can’t Stand Me Now
a song so revealing and personal, you feel as if you’re eavesdropping on a couple splitting up.
Pete and Carl were this generations’ addition to the long list of great British rock duos from Lennon and McCartney to Morrissey and Johnny Marr. Like their predecessors, Pete and Carl had an us-against-the-world mentality and aura that could make onlookers envious of their obvious bond and friendship. Whether it was Carl finishing Pete’s sentences in an interview or Pete carrying Carl to an ambulance after he drunkenly fell off a table on to his face, they had an inseparable bond that went beyond mere friendship. Fans lived vicariously through them, wishing they could be on board for the ride.
Then along came Pete’s crack and heroin addiction. It’s easy to forget that Pete was not a user of class A drugs when the band first broke the charts. It wasn’t until the release of their superb debut, Up the Bracket, that Pete first tried both heroin and crack. His use quickly escalated to the point where Carl and the rest of the band knew the end was near. That became abundantly clear when Pete was left behind as the rest of the band toured so that he could seek treatment. Instead getting clean, Pete broke into Carl’s flat stealing a guitar, laptop, and the band’s NME Award, all for the purpose of selling the items for drug money. Pete got a two month prison sentence. In an astounding display of forgiveness, Carl greeted Pete at the prison gates upon his release. That night The Libertines played a show at a nearby pub which would be named “gig of the year” by NME magazine.
All this makes Can’t Stand Me Now an incredibly personal song. Carl opens the song with, “an ending fitting for the start/you twist and tore our love apart” before Pete counters in the next verse with, “no, you’ve got it the wrong way round/just shocked me up and blamed it on the brown.” It’s obvious from the start that the song is directed at each other rather than the listener. Musical soul mates breaking-up through song rather than conversation. Every verse drips with the sentiments of the last words of a close relationship.
It is Pete and Carl’s well known history that gives lines such as “I know you lie, I know you lie/I’m still in love with you” such resonance. When they go into the back and forth vocals in a chorus of “you can’t stand me now” you can’t help but wish they would just work things out. But like every breakup conversation, it comes down to the question of whether the relationship is worth saving when it is clear that it’s no longer what it used to be. The lines of the final verse, “have we enough to keep it together? / or do we just keep on pretending / and hope our luck is never ending”, make it clear that the answer is “no”. The fights, drugs, and arrests had simply created too much drama for Carl to bare it anymore.
Both Pete and Carl would go on to blame the other for the disintegration of the band. Pete claiming that his being left behind while the rest of the band toured was just a final act of betrayal by Carl. Carl said that Pete’s drug use was getting in the way of the music and that he never kicked Pete out of the band. Carl simply wanted Pete to get clean before he rejoined. When they sing in unison, “I know you lie/ all you do is make me cry/ and all the words, they ain’t true”, they are both laying blame on the other.
“Can’t Stand Me Now” would go on to chart at #2 in the UK becoming The Libertines’ best selling single. British fans couldn’t resist hearing the audio diary of a couple that they had all followed from the start. What Became of the Likely Lads
the second single off the album – which contains equally personal chorus of “what became of the likely lads/ what became of the dreams we had/ oh, what became of forever/ I guess we’ll never know” – would chart at #9. The Libertines played their final show in December of 2004 but Pete was not present. In a wise move, Carl disbanded the band following the show saying that it wouldn’t be right to continue to play and record under The Libertines name without Pete present. After all, there is always something vaguely sad about a band playing under a given name when a key part of the original line-up missing (Gun ‘n’ Roses, enough said).
Pete and Carl would both form decent bands following the clasp of The Libertines — Pete with Babyshambles and Carl with Dirty Pretty Things — but neither would equal the quality of The Libertines. In the past year, Pete and Carl have reunited to play on stage on a few occasions sparking endless speculation in the British press that a full Libertines reunion is in the works. However, The Libertines meteoric rise and fall have created a mystique and legacy that is hard to match. Many fans feel that a formal reunion would only detract from that legacy.
It clear from the first days of The Libertines that Pete and Carl were a flame that would burn out before it faded away (I know that is cliché but it is apt in this case). Can’t Stand Me Now gave fans a glimpse of what was happening in those final days of their partnership. The song allowed us to be a fly on the wall, listening to them bare it all. It was clear to everyone when the single came out that Can’t Stand Me Now was the public breaking up of one of the best bands in modern times. Not since the Sex Pistols has band risen and then imploded so quickly while leaving behind legacy that will be discussed for decades.
A set of key music industry peeps, that you could know about (or maybe should) if you are a musician or in a band and that you spend some time online trying to perfect your music 2.0 skills, are getting together to focus on helping an anonymous hard-working indie musician get out of his day-time job and start a full time career. The project is called the Indie Artist X Music Marketing Plan. Bellow are cited its participant:
Bruce Houghton from the Hypebot (brings us daily music news through his truly inspiring Hypebot blog, and is probably very active in other realms of the music industry – follow Bruce @hypebot). Bruce will be taking care of Commerce.
David Rose from Knowthemusicbiz.com (a great resource for all musicians. You can follow David on Twitter @dbrose67) David is in charge of the website.
Heather MacDonald from the music careers section over at About.com. Check her tweets @mountflorida.
Martin Atkins from Revolution Number 3 that I have never heard of but that I am sure are great at what they do. Martin will be taking care of live show and touring strategies.
Here’s the initial pitch for the ArtistX project:
The goal of the Indie Artist X Project is to develop a basic, actionable music marketing plan designed around simple strategy, prioritization of tactics, tools and a reasonable budget that can be implemented by any indie artist who has the inclination to follow it. A group of like minded people (us and the other sponsors) interested in helping foster the success of independent musicians have banded together to create this community based music marketing plan. It’s our hope that any hard working, talented musician can utilize this plan to grow their fan base and help lay the foundation for a sustainable career in music. We will be working with one anonymous artist to design and implement this music marketing plan then track and report the actual results over a four month period. All the details of the plan are publicly available in this document.
“This document” being a Google Spreasheet you can view here.
This artist must stay anonymous so publicity from the project will not skew any potential results.
Seems like a very interesting idea. If I understand correctly, the six influential music industry peeps above will chaperon artistX’s music career for the next 3 month and attempt to determine what the best strategies to leverage it are. Seems like the first market study conducted on an indie musician. Result promise to be intriguing and most certainly up-lifting for the DIY crowds. I’ll keep you updated on their progress.
…is a song that tells the story of a band member (Dave Caroll from The Sons of Maxwell) who got his Taylor guitar smashed by United Airline Luguage handlers. After attempting to seek compensation, and failing due to United’s crooked policies, Dave decided to write this tune:
Here’s an extract of the full story: “In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didnt deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say no to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise.”