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Celebrating Springtime and Record Store Day at The Orchard

The Glitch Mob RSDFor some folks, it’s the return of baseball season. For others, it’s Easter. But for us here at The Orchard, nothing heralds the return of warmer weather quite like Record Store Day! This internationally celebrated event has been getting bigger and better every year since its inception in 2008, and this year looks to be no different. So let’s dive right in and let you know what exclusive vinyl releases we’ll be bringing to the party this year.

First up is Orchard favorites The Black Angels with Clear Lake Forest. Hot on the heels of their acclaimed album Indigo Meadow, this EP features seven new tracks on 10” clear vinyl. Next is Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek. This classic live collaboration will be available as a triple LP set on red, clear, and blue vinyl. Then there’s Sam Roberts Band with We’re All In This Together/Shapeshifters 12” single on clear vinyl. Or how about a four song EP from Creepoid called Wet that features a B-side etching. And last, but certainly not least, is The Glitch Mob’s Drink The Sea/We Can Make The World Stop.Words cannot do this release justice, so just check out the accompanying packshot to see it in all of its glory.

Over in Europe, Transgressive Records are releasing Africa Express Presents: Maison des Jeunes, featuring the likes of Damon Albarn and Brian Eno, available as a double LP set in blue vinyl. Additionally, metal-heads across the pond will be excited to pick-up their copies of Death of a Dead Day by SikTh and Circles‘ incredible debut, Inifinitas on LP for the first ever time courtesy of Basick Records.

And don’t forget, Record Store Day isn’t just about records. There are also the in-store performances! Be sure to check out Cincinnati natives Tweens, who will be appearing at their hometown shop Shake It Records.

See you all on Saturday, April 19th!

Engage with Streaming Services to Better Engage Your Fans

Engage with streaming services: playlistingAs more and more of our clients here at The Orchard see streaming services generating a major share of their revenue, a blog post about marketing your releases on streaming services seems pertinent.

À-la-carte download stores do not always have the discovery dimension that full-length streaming functionality offers, and the structure of the store is very much built around a lead homepage and a few editorial pages. Marketing your releases on such a service is therefore highly dependent on the relationship you’ve built with the editor and the quality of your pitch.

With streaming services who boast about 20 million tracks open to for users to browse and listen to, the game has somewhat changed. Other than Beats who position themselves slightly differently, a lot of these services make heavy use of algorithms to populate their recommendations or browse sections, limiting editorial placement so far.

To help increase your visibility despite these restrictions, here are a few guidelines on what you can do to market your content on streaming services:

Less is more (isn’t it always?)
It’s more effective to make fewer playlists containing a limited number of tracks (10-15) and keep them updated regularly. Every time you update your playlist, your followers receive a notification.

Keep an eye on what’s trending
Consider including tracks that are popular at the time into your playlist in order to increase your chances of gaining more followers. Your playlists don’t necessarily have to include releases from your catalogue only.

Weave your own web
Good ideas for artist playlists are themes such as what they listen to before going on stage or what they listened to while writing their album. These playlists also offer a great opportunity for artists from a same label to include each other.

As a label,  you can take advantage of a large catalogue by creating playlists around  one of your strongest genres.

Be active on the service, even when you don’t have a recent release
No matter what stage you’re in in producing a new record, it is important that you not wait until said release is coming out to start engaging with streaming platforms. On a service like Spotify, you want to build a base of followers before the release comes out, so that when it finally does, all your followers get a notification about it.

In a nutshell, you want to keep your profile exciting. If you need ideas or additional best practices, keep an eye for service-specific resources, like Spotify for Artists, and follow our updates on The Daily Rind.

How, Why, and When to Advertise Your Stuff

via Reddit's Ad Pitch DeckDeciding to spend money to increase awareness of your project is a big decision. You’ve probably already spent a ton of money creating your art and the idea of spending again may be anathema to you. You may have already gathered the funds for a large-scale media purchase and are ready to go. I don’t know this and have no supernatural powers. I’m just writing a blog post for The Daily Rind and trying to help.

Managing our clients’ and our internal advertising budgets, I’ve seen the gamut of situations in which advertising could be useful and have executed campaigns. I’ve found that a step-by-step thought-process prevents one from completely blowing it. Completely blowing it can mean wasted money or a project no one knows about. This is my process and the one I recommend to others.

  1. Define your goals — What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to grow awareness, or drive those that are already aware to a place to purchase?
  2. Define your message — What is the message you want to deliver? Go through the process of creating a simple sentence “Promote the new video duh!” is not good. Your message is something like “Watch this video and learn more about this artist.”
  3. Research your fans and potential fans – Who should receive this message? You may not know who your fans are as much as you think you do. Even if you’re the label, you can lack perspective. You have no objectivity and that’s normal. Rely on data and numbers to combat your definite bias. Use tools such as Facebook Insights. Pay special attention to the “People” tab. Those are the ones who engage with your page. Some people are lazy and just Like pages they do not plan to engage with. The “People” tab shows you who the engaged fans are; the people who will buy your stuff. You may also find tools like Google AnalyticsBeluga (free), Next Big Sound, Musicmetric, and others handy. Create useful names for the different segments: “18 – 24 year old bros in Arizona who love action sports” or “Hipsters that pirate your stuff in Silverlake.” All of this is valuable if you create segments that mean something to you.
  4. Identify your targets — Who do you want to receive the message based on your research? Maybe you’ve found that your audience is “75 – 85 year old vagrants with an iPod touch and Starbucks WiFi.” This is not an audience that is worth your hard-earned, borrowed, or stolen ad dollars. If your goal is to create awareness for a video, even though most of your audience are these vagrants, you should target the small part of your audience that is of a demographic using the platform on which your video is published. If your budget is limited, you should focus first on the fans most likely to purchase and only go outside of that fan-base after you’ve given the core fan-base every opportunity to give you money. They can be best targeted through tracking pixels from third parties such as Google, Facebook, or The Trade Desk.
  5. Devise your strategies — In what voice do you want to deliver your message? What’s your angle? Are you enticing people with a free track?
  6. Decide which tactics you will use — What tactics will you employ to execute the strategy? Video? Search Ad? Retargeting Landing Page visitors with banners? Asking a question in a promoted post? Leveraging memes such as Doge (such link. so lol)?
  7. Identify the platforms / technology you will use — Where will you deploy your tactics? Facebook? Google Search? Bing Search? LinkedIn? Banner inventory on the coolest sites? Video inventory?
  8. Execute your campaign – Double-check everything. A misspelling or typo can be absolutely devastating to your cause. You don’t want that. We don’t want that. Deploy your campaign at hours of peak traffic for your audience, strategy, tactic, and platform. This may mean that you deploy each part at a different time.
  9. Optimize your campaign — Don’t just let it sit there spending your money. Constantly optimize. What’s working? What’s not? Don’t be alarmed by lower click-through-rates (CTR) on banner ads than you see on Search ads. Banners are about impressions and you are billed per impression. Search is about clicks and you are billed per click.
  10. Recap your campaign — Even if you are doing your own digital advertising, you should do this step. Create a document that is an overview of the campaign. You will find nuggets of information in this document that you will not find by just looking at numbers on the platforms.
  11. Learn from your campaign — After you have created this document ask yourself if it was a success. Go back to your goals. Did your video get more views than they would have without it? Did your Facebook page see a higher rate of engagement? What would you do differently next time?

Spending money to promote your work is a big deal and it’s worth your time to go through this process to make sure you don’t completely blow it. I’d love to answer any questions (no centaur questions) or address any feedback so do not hesitate to comment.

Got Live If You Want It…

we were promised jetpacksThe title of this blog post is the title of the Stones’ first “live” album (a play on bluesman Slim Harpo‘s “Got Love If You Want It”). It’s a poor recording (even rumored to be live in the studio with overdubbed cheering) and the Stones essentially disowned it. We’ve come a long way…

In the beginning, every song was recorded live. Get everyone in the room and get that tune down on cylinder, then wax, eventually tape and so forth. The pioneering Les Paul (at Bing Crosby‘s suggestion, apparently) helped to develop multi-track recording (which he had experimented with since the 30’s) in 1949 when he began working on an eight-track recording machine with Ampex, which was finally produced in 1957. Prior to this, every recording was virtually live.

So we’ve gotten used to the studio sheen of echoes, reverbs and gated drum machines — effects that keep our favorite new songs modern and up-to-date. But there’s nothing quite like a stellar recording of a great show in a memorable venue to bring a sense of history to a listener… early live landmarks like Judy (Garland) at Carnegie Hall and James Brown Live At The Apollo 1962 give almost equal (and deserved) billing to the venue and artist. As recording techniques got better, the live Rock albums of the 70’s came into vogue (The Who Live At LeedsLou Reed Rock & Roll Animal and The Allman Brothers Live At The Fillmore East are varying examples) culminating in one of the biggest sellers of all time: Peter Frampton Comes Alive. Check out the similarly warm room sound in the Fillmore East during that time on the Allman Brothers sets as well as the albums recorded there by Neil YoungFrank Zappa & The Mothers and Derek & The Dominoes. Records recorded at Bill Graham‘s other venue, the Fillmore West, by SantanaMiles Davis and especially Aretha Franklin also have a unique, warm sound.

As time marched on, improved recording techniques brought a lot of live albums to the forefront; simultaneously, cranking up the cheering and crowd noise also came into vogue with mixed results. While Supertramp‘s Live 1988 and Ted Nugent‘s Double Live Gonzo might seem like polar opposite ends of the sound spectrum, they both suffer sound-wise. Coming into the 21st century, contemporary artists of all genres are finding that performing live is their bread and butter. While there is a dearth of live albums now, many artists have steered those recordings toward thematic albums of innovative versions of their hits and/or clever covers. Our own Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek is a very strong seller; Daft Punk produces a live album every decade (in 1997 and 2007 so far); Pink, Beyonce and Katy Perry all have shows available, and Eric Clapton‘s Crossroads Guitar Festival features him alongside Robert Cray, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr., Buddy Guy among others.

Our taste for hearing live shows remains insatiable, and enough is never enough. There are 89 show recordings by the legendary SF Blues/Rock group Hot Tuna in The Orchard catalog… isn’t that enough? I think not. Just released: We Were Promised Jetpacks‘ E Rey (Live In Philadelphia) is a sonic feast for your ears!

*News Flash* The Music Business Has Been Fixed

billboard_musicpopularityThat’s not really true. Let me start differently. The music business is not broken. If I hear one more artist complain about the broken music industry and the small digital payouts, I am going to pull my hair out. (Luckily I am already bald so it is not a real concern.)

If you are successful, the music business is amazing. Lots of fun, money, drugs and alcohol (if you choose and I am not endorsing this behavior) and of course the opportunity to make music that people enjoy. If you are not popular, the problem is that there is not much money. Still lots of fun, drugs and alcohol (but you have to pay for them) and still plenty of opportunities to make music. But no money. And it has nothing to do with Spotify payouts or the quality of the music.

I used to hear complaints about the broken business back in the 20th century. Here is a list of a few of the common ones:

  • I need to get signed by a label to release my music.
  • Recording is too expensive.
  • I have no way to reach potential fans.
  • I can’t get distribution.

These problems don’t exist anymore. Solved. But still there is a lot of complaining. The system must be broken. The business just doesn’t work. I can’t make enough money to survive with my music. Digital services just don’t pay enough.

SSShhhhhhh. Let me tell you a little secret. It is a secret that all the successful artists know. Are you ready? You need to become popular. Then you earn a lot of money. People that knew this: Elvis, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, every rapper that ever existed, Taylor Swift, Jarvis Cocker, Oasis, and the list goes on and on and on.

The last time I checked there was still only one number 1 single every week. Make it to number 1 and you will see that the system pays out a lot of money. Don’t get hung up on your numbers of streams, downloads, views, etc. It is only the amount in relation to the other artists. So 100,000 video views may seem like a lot but it really doesn’t stack up to the billion views a top artist receives. Same with streaming payouts. Even 1 million streams is not a lot. There’s no money in 1 million streams.

So please stop blaming the system. It is hard to make money in the music industry. But it is not because the industry is broken.

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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