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5 Crowdfunding Backer Rewards That Have Been Proven to Work for Indie Musicians

CrowdfundingMaxCollins

Max Collins funded his first solo album through PledgeMusic. (Image via wcyy.com)

This article, written by electronic music industry veteran, Adam Bernard, originally appeared on Sonicbids.

Adam’s tips are perfect to use with our Marketplace partner app, RocketHub. RocketHub is a musician-friendly crowd-funding tool that gives you all the money you’ve raised (whether you hit your goal or not), and offers the highest payouts and lowest fees compared with the other guys. Check out their Success School to build a personalized plan for your campaign. Now… onto the blog post! 

You’re an artist, you need money, and you want to attempt to generate those funds via an engaging crowdfunding campaign. That’s all well and good, but as soon as you’ve figured that out, you have to stop thinking like a band and start thinking like a fan.

Crowdfunding has become one of the most popular ways for independent artists to generate the money they need to create albums and tour, but far too many artists offer backer rewards that are overly simplistic. This makes their campaigns look less like a true fundraiser and more like an attempt to do the least amount of work possible. A perfect example of this is using downloads of music that’s already been released as rewards. Anyone can buy your album online, and being that the first word in “fan funding” is “fan,” most everyone you’re targeting with your campaign already has your whole catalog – so what makes you think they’re going to want something they’ve probably already bought themselves?

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Campaign Marketing Tips Courtesy of Naked Press

NakedPressOur Marketplace partner, Naked Press, helps you extend your reach into the UK Press. But pitching to press isn’t as easy as just sending your music in when it’s ready — it requires planning. To get the most out of your press campaigns, follow these great tips from our friends at Naked Press, and check out the app in The Orchard Marketplace! 

To start with, it helps to have an approximate schedule of events planned for your release, to give it the best opportunity for review consideration by the music press. So when you have your completed, mastered and mixed record, you also need to have your assets (biography, photos, cover artwork etc.) ready in advance, to roll out ahead of the actual release date. Writers are under deluge from so much music every single day — why should they pay attention to your new record? Make them want to know more about you, invite them in, make sure they don’t pass you by. In a nutshell: make your whole package look as intriguing (and professional) as you can!

Whether it’s an album, EP or single, it makes sense to have at least one track available for listening early on, preferably via a streamed link (there are various platforms you can use — Soundcloud, Press Kit, etc.). It’s all very well having that great cover art, really cool photos and a fantastically exciting biog post, but without the music to listen to, these aren’t that useful to a music writer, so think about a strong lead track to anchor their attention and make them want to hear more.

Monthly publications typically need to receive your record news up to 12 weeks ahead of the release date in order to plan their editorial coverage to coincide with its availability. For instance, if your release is coming out in May, make sure your key contacts at the monthlies can hear it, or at the least know about it, in February. Newspapers and weekly supplements work with shorter lead times and if you’re aiming more for online press, then you’ll still need to work ahead but 4-6 weeks is long enough for most sites to commission any interviews, features or reviews.

The rule is that the music press generally doesn’t like reviewing music that’s already out there, so think ahead if you want to be considered. Plan, strategise and be prepared! Good luck!

New Analytics Feature: YouTube Ad-Enabled & Ad-Disabled Streams

YouTubeAnalyticsImprovements are always around the corner at The Orchard, and our latest update involves how you view your YouTube data in The Orchard Workstation: as of this week, we’ve introduced a few new YouTube-related data channels in Analytics. Rather than lump all your views into one category, Analytics now conveys how many YouTube views are either “ad-enabled,” and are therefore eligible for earnings, or “ad-disabled.”

With that, your new channel lineup includes:

  • Ad-Enabled Audio Streams: number of audio views that were enabled to show ads
  • Ad-Enabled Video Streams: number of video views that were enabled to show ads
  • Ad-Disabled Audio Streams: number of audio views that were disabled from showing ads
  • Ad-Disabled Video Streams: number of video views that were disabled from showing ads

The screenshot below shows sample data from August 1, 2013 through August 1, 2014. YouTube data from prior to October 7, 2013 did not provide a distinction between Ad-Enabled and Ad-Disabled — thus you’ll still see YouTube analytics data in Ad-Supported Streams channels up until that date. Going forward from October 7, 2013, your YouTube analytics data will exclusively be split into the four Ad-Enabled and Ad-Disabled channels for Audio and Video streams mentioned above. For all other monetized streams coming from services like Spotify, Deezer and Hulu, your data remains on our existing Ad-Supported Streams channel.

Ad-Enabled Ad-Disabled

These new data channels provide you with a more complete picture of your YouTube business. We’ve created a one sheet with additional information about factors that may affect whether your content is enabled or disabled for ads. Feel free to open a dialogue with your Client rep and YouTube Account Manager.

Zone In on Accounting: How to Draw Intelligence from Your Revenue

Header AccountingPart of my job in running The Orchard French and Benelux office with my colleague Philippe Giard is to meet up as regularly as possible with our local labels to discuss life (of course), and the development of the music business. In particular, we serve our clients best by reviewing how things are going in their relationship with us and sharing ideas on how to help this partnership grow even further.

When we do this, we typically prepare a brief presentation/analysis of developments we’ve noticed with their catalogue revenues and trends, whether by artist, top tracks/albums, label imprints when relevant, by store, by source of income (streaming, downloads, YouTube, RingBackTones revenues, etc.) and more.

Those who use our Workstation regularly will have probably already dug into a lot of this for themselves, but a refresher with a few tricks and methodology never hurts, especially when it comes to digging into your revenue data, i.e. money, and working out where more sources and mines of this precious metal can be found and maybe tapped and developed better.

Since we’re talking about actual revenues here, the “Accounting” tab in your Workstation is most useful as it reflects final revenue that has been reported and entered into clients’ accounts. Analytics, on the other hand, shows real-time developments of your label’s catalogue, and though useful to analyze data trends and activity around your content, numbers serve as a guideline and aren’t considered 100% verified until amounts are actually paid.

When using Accounting, I usually start by taking a period that is representative: remember you can now have 1 year’s worth of accounting displayed on your main page. I usually use the last 12 months or four quarters so it includes stronger and weaker sales periods, and I view by Country to spot the top 10 territories where a label’s customer base is most active:

Screenshot Accounting1

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Reintroducing: The Analyics Heatmap

As some of you may have noticed, we’ve updated the look and feel of our iTunes Heatmap in The Orchard Workstation Analytics. While the interface itself is a thing of beauty, we couldn’t just stop there! You’ll notice an increase in speed and overall performance of the tool as well. The most substantial difference is in the heat, or lack thereof, once you really zoom in on a region or city. We’ve made our metrics more reliable and interactive, so you get the best insight in the simplest way.

Heatmap_clusters

Once you reach a certain zoom level, the heat will disappear and you’ll see markers and clusters take their place. A marker denotes sales for a specific postal code, while a cluster aggregates sales from multiple postal codes. You can tell them apart by the layer of shading surrounding a cluster vs the more “solid” border of the marker circles. Hovering over a cluster will tell you how many postal codes are being grouped up to make up the sales, while hovering over a marker will just give you the postal code information. Want to see a more detailed view of what is hidden beneath a cluster? Just click and the map will zoom in to that cluster’s area.

We’ve covered look, feel, and performance, all of which come together to make a pretty killer tool on The Orchard’s utility belt. If you haven’t used the Heatmap in a while, do yourself a favor and check it out, poke around a little bit and enjoy! And as always, let us know what you think.

About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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