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Merch, “Experiences,” Serendipity: Spotify Has Everything But The Kitchen Sink

bandpage_spotifySpotify has really ramped up their fan experience with the roll out of their successful artist merchandise store on verified profiles, incorporated tour info via Songkick and stream counts to help fans find popular songs.

They recently took a step further with the integration of BandPage onto artist profiles. Besides providing fans with the option to buy merch, concert tickets and vinyl, BandPage enables artists to really connect with their fans by way of “Experiences.” These experiences can range from private online concerts to meet and greets to even song collaborations. The sky is the limit! The greatest news is that it is completely free for artists to use! For more info on how to get started with BandPage, click here; and for some FAQ action, click right here.

But wait — Spotify also has more fun on the cards with the roll out of their “Serendipity” app that shows users across the world streaming a specific song at the same time within the last hour. So where was your favorite song played across the globe??

Spotify Serendipity

Annotations 2: Revenge of the Annotations

My friend Matt Gielen and I discuss all aspects of running YouTube channels from the very small to the cliched 30,000 foot view. Matt’s as old a hand at YouTube as you can get and has done great work leading the audience development effort at Frederator Studios, distributors of the finest animated shows on YouTube. We’ve discussed annotations at length and Matt has written the definitive blog post of 2014 on how annotations could be hurting you. Please go read that! Since his post is so definitive, I wanted to touch on some examples from our network where we’ve also proven those best practices, not rehash them.

For our purposes we’re going to use two videos from our action sports channel, Echoboom SportsStreet Dreams is a feature-length film about skaters and features many popular skaters from 2008/2009. We have uploaded the full film to the channel and it’s currently the most-watched video there.

Street Dreams Poster

The other video is a full scene (what we call a “full part” in Action Sports video) from our release Like a Lion – The True Story of Legendary Skier Tanner Hall

Like a Lion film poster

With Street Dreams you can see that the video, launched in January, has very high close rates on its annotations. This means viewers are actively shutting them off. I consider annotation closes to be anti-clickthroughs. They aren’t simply a viewer passively ignoring your message. They are actively doing the exact opposite of what you want them to do. The clickthrough rates (CTR), in this case on annotations asking viewers to subscribe, are very low in part because there’s a high close rate.

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A Little Bit (But Not Too Much) About Album Trailers

Coming Soon

There are a lot of little things we can do to help our clients get the word out about their music. We build splash pages, optimize social profiles and make sure they’re posting the right things at the right times. Lately, we’ve also been encouraging our clients to really embrace the use of album trailers across all socials, but particularly on Facebook and Instagram.

Album trailers provide the opportunity for fans to sample a clip of new music and learn basic information about a new release while they’re scrolling through their feed (which, let’s be honest, they’re doing all day anyway). Facebook doesn’t have a specific time limit for videos, but we’ve found that trailers between 15 and 30 seconds do best. When uploaded natively (as in not shared from another network), videos auto-play in the Facebook news feed as users scroll by. This catches the eye and leads to noticeably higher engagement rates. Similarly, Instagram video lends itself perfectly to album trailers. The 15 second time limit allows just enough time to get the message across without giving too much away, and the ability to choose a cover image allows the creator to feature a still image conveying information without requiring the user to play the full video.

One of the best things about album trailers is how easy (and in my opinion, kind of fun) they are to make. We often use a service called Animoto to create trailers for our clients. Animoto is great because they’ve created a simple and straightforward interface that uses a super secret original algorithm to sync a small deck of images and title cards with a song clip of your choosing. This means that when the music changes, the image changes — automatically. The only downside to Animoto is that you gain simplicity at the cost of some control. But not to worry — we can easily put together completely customizable trailers using basic music and video editing programs and a little bit of Photoshop magic.

Whether you’re putting out a full length album, music video or even a single, trailers are a great way to let your audience know something’s coming and they should start getting excited about it.

4 Tips to Make Your Band’s Instagram More Engaging

Instagram 4.0 - 03 EditThis article, written by freelance pop music journalist Hugh McIntyre , originally appeared on Sonicbids. We’re excited to be working with them to bring you the best and most relevant content for your business!

Every band and artist knows that social media is important (or, at least I hope they do), but sometimes doing it well can be tricky. What works for Facebook may not be the same as Twitter, and sometimes you need different strategies for different platforms. Instagram’s importance is growing, especially as younger people are gravitating towards it and away from other social networks, so learning how to engage people on the photo-only platform is crucial.

Here are four tips to make sure your Instagram profile is one that people will want to follow and engage with on a regular basis.

1. Be genuine and relatable
While Instagram has started allowing ads in order to actually make some money (so Facebook can start earning back some of that $1 billion they spent acquiring the app), it really isn’t meant to be much of a space for advertising. People don’t go there for you to sell them something, but rather for entertainment and insights into people’s lives.

While I love Beyonce and the photos on her Instagram are beautiful, she’s not a good example of what up-and-coming bands should do. Everything is staged, obviously shot by professional photographers, and carefully planned by what I can only imagine is a privately-employed social media team. If you’re on Bey’s level, by all means follow her lead. If not, you may want to stay a bit more grounded, mixing real photography with things that remind your fans you’re just like them.

2. Don’t hog the spotlight
Yes, people do follow your band on Instagram because they like you and your music, but please don’t be like that friend we all have who posts a daily selfie. Nobody follows that person for very long.

Instead, find ways of bringing other subjects and people into your feed, as long as they’re interesting and enjoyable. Maybe you’ve seen another band recently and loved a photo you took at the show, or perhaps you saw an outfit you loved on someone walking down the street. If it’s on-brand, feel free to share. Make sure it’s something your audience will want to see and they’ll welcome it, no matter how off-course it is from your new album.

3. Invite people to engage
If someone is already following you, chances are they’ll jump at the chance to interact with you. Don’t just expect people to engage with you – social media is best when it’s a two-way street. Ask your fans to submit photos they took of your latest show, or share videos of them singing and dancing to your new single, and then call out your favorites. This way, people feel like they are truly interacting with you (if they know you’re watching their videos and seeing their photos), and you’ve just promoted your tour or new music without it seeming like typical marketing.

4. Don’t take yourself too seriously
One of the mistakes some celebrities make on social media is trying to appear flawless, or as too much a serious artist to post anything off-beat or silly. While it’s easy to understand that nobody wants to share a photo where they don’t look good, looking too perfect all the time can backfire as well.

Should you share that amazing new photo your photographer took of you at a recent show? Absolutely, but follow it up with a selfie with your eyes crossed, or a picture of what your bandmates drew on you when you passed out drunk on the tour bus (assuming it’s Instagram-friendly). Some of the most-loved people on the site are those unafraid to look stupid for the sake of entertaining their fans. That’s why you’re there, right? This goes back to being relatable, but on a whole other level. It’s not just about coming off as a real human, but one just like your fans.

Bridge the Purchasing Gap with GeoRiot

GeoRiotPurchasingGapOur friends at GeoRiot are on a roll – their service keeps getting better and better, all the while still fulfilling a simple promise: getting your fans to the most appropriate storefront for your music, and filling your pockets with a bit of extra cash while they’re at it. Here’s GeoRiot’s CEO, Jesse Lakes, on their latest feature: Genius Links.  

We’ve been fortunate enough to be a guest on The Daily Rind a couple of times, discussing why it doesn’t make sense to use raw links in your marketing, and how you can earn a nice secondary revenue from using the affiliate programs of the world’s largest storefronts. We’ve also talked about how GeoRiot helps you fight “geo-fragmentation” by automatically globalizing your links to help international users purchase in the correct country/region-specific iTunes and Amazon storefronts.

Today we want to introduce another way that GeoRiot helps you earn even more from every link by not only solving the issue of geo-fragmentation, but also helping you bridge something we call The Purchasing Gap (dun dun duuuun!). We define the Purchasing Gap as the rift between the product you’re promoting and where each individual customer wants to purchase.

Simply put, if you’re promoting your music not only internationally, but with multiple stores, such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc, you can run into issues with getting every user to the destination where they’re most likely to buy your music. People listening to your tunes through their Android phones or tablets can’t directly buy from iTunes. iPad users probably don’t want to go to Google Play — they’ll want to view and purchase your music straight from iTunes. Mixing in factors such as geography, desktop computers with different operating systems, and promotional dates, can make managing your links terrifyingly complicated very fast.

GeoRiot has your back. We’ve developed a new feature that makes bridging that Purchasing Gap seamless and easy. We call them Genius Links. Built on top of our links that automagically localize and affiliate, Genius Links allow you to create additional custom scenarios for each of your links to route specific traffic to the destination with the highest chance of conversion.

What this means is that you can decide where a click goes based off a fan’s device type, operating system, country, or even when the link was clicked.

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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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