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The DIY Self-Release Timeline 1: Prior to Release

August 22, 2013 Marketing 2 Comments

checklistI get asked about release plans and timelines quite a lot and have put together a fair few in my time, so thought I would share and outline some basic thoughts of mine as relating to the self-releasing musician or band. Keep in mind, every release project is different — what might work for one band may not work for another — however you should hopefully find most of the below tips relevant. Of course there is much more you can do and tailor accordingly, but this should be a good starting point.

An important question to ask yourself first and foremost is how you want to be portrayed, whether this is your first or your fifth release. There are great blogs out there about building up your “brand” and I highly encourage you to look them up. Consistency and quality should be the overriding factors that shape your campaign — this applies to all content, messaging, sales, as well as all live and promotional activities. Please do yourself a favour and read up on all best practices for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (or other preferred sites). There is a wealth of great information out there.

4-6 MONTHS BEFORE RELEASE

In my experience, everything in the DIY world takes more time (for the most part). This may not be true for everyone, but when budgets are low, resources limited and favours plentiful, delays are bound to take place. Records take longer to record, mix and master. Videos take longer to film and edit. Website work can drag on, artwork can be difficult to finalise and spec…. you get my point, so be mindful of it.

So, 4-6 months ahead of release would be a good time to:

  • Get your single/EP/album recorded and mixed
  • Start work on the artwork
  • Do a photo shoot
  • Sort out a distribution agreement: Figure out if physical distribution makes sense for you or whether digital-only is the way forward. Negotiating the right contract for you can take time and be costly if lawyers are involved, so educate yourself as much as possible prior to starting this process. There are of course routes that do not involve distributors at all but in today’s world (2013 at time of writing), having your music out on every major digital store around the world is invaluable.
  • Start working on consistent social media re-skins: Make sure your FB/ Twitter/YouTube channel/artist website all look visually appealing and consistent
  • Do you have an official site? If not, register your domain and set one up. If yes, is it up to date or does it need to be refreshed?
  • Brainstorm a list of social media content you will aim to put out over the course of your campaign
  • If investing in a publicist and/or radio team, arrange meetings with all prospective people and be ready to have them hired by the end of this period
  • Sign up with a mailing list company for a regular newsletter (Mail Chimp/ FanBridge / Constant Contact)

CONTENT TIPS: Compile studio footage, photos of writing sessions, photos of song arrangements or sheet music if applicable, release snippets from demos, behind-the-scenes at photo shoot.

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Use FanRx To Spruce Up Your Facebook Page

May 14, 2012 Client Tool No Comments

FanRx, the Facebook app that helps you create super cool band pages, recently underwent a major makeover. Not only did it change its name from BandRx to FanRx — to better reflect its vast offering, which isn’t limited to music — it also revamped its features.

Now, FanRx allows you to take full advantage of Facebook’s latest updates, particularly the extra space allotted to apps, and has added highly anticipated features like customization and embeddable Spotify playlists — one of the few apps along with FanBridge to have incorporated the Spotify Play Button.

In more detail, new features include:

  • Widescreen Tabs: With the intro to Timeline, tab apps can now fill up 810 pixels in width. Never one to let an opportunity like this slip by, FanRx has widened the app to fill out the extra space.
  • Two-Column Layouts: Still taking advantage of new screen real estate, widgets are easily arrangeable into one or two columns.
  • Custom Themes (Premium): Stand out with 12 visual color themes – for premium users only.
  • Duplicate Modules (Premium): The more the merrier! Premium users can now have several modules of the same type: Banner Images, Audio Players, Contests…
  • Spotify Play Button: Now incorporated into FanRx’s Audio Player, you can access your Spotify playlists super easily.

Needless to say, we’re fans of FanRx here. We’ve used it for some of our artists already, like Devin, where we took advantage of the full size banner to promote his latest release Romancing with a music video and a Like-to-stream lock to access the album. We also used the BandsInTown importer to list upcoming concert dates in the Events module. As a result, Likes increased by 14% through the FanRx page alone, and paired with strategically placed Facebook ads and Sponsored Stories, they skyrocketed by 82.2%.

For Riverboat Gamblers‘s FanRx page, we took advantage of the Spotify Player and the two-column look. Add a sleek wide banner to that and a module with Twitter updates and you have a simple yet effective band page that does exactly what it should: it imprints the name of the band in your mind; it allows you to stream the music easily [and get it monetized]; and it establishes a social connection with the band through photos and social updates.

FanRx, along with all its new features, is available at your fingertips in The Orchard Marketplace.

Jamming to the Tune of Spanish Music Industry and Streaming Effects in Barcelona

social music jam barcelona 2012Just a couple of weeks ago, on April 27, I attended the Social Music Jam conference in Barcelona. I was in charge of moderating two panels: one on “The State of the Music Industry in Spain” and a debate on “Spotify: Does it Help or Interfere with the Music Industry.”

Although the line up was decent — CEO of EMI Spain, Digital Marketing Manager of Sony Spain, Business Manager of GFK, Spotify’s Label Relations Director Will Hope, The Orchard’s VP of Spain (yours truly, of course), Herzio’s CEO… — it was still a local conference and didn’t include any big names in the international start-up world (except for Jamendo and AllBeTuned). But that was the intention: it wasn’t meant for industry people but for young people, artists and managers-to-be; it was aimed at information-hungry guys (and gals) with open minds who want to live their passion — music — and who understand the physical CD as merchandising but do not understand piracy. All in all, there were about 100 people in the audience — and this was probably one of the most interesting conferences I have attended yet.

The State of the Music Industry in Spain” panel included the band La Pegatina and the label Bankrobber, both distributed by The Orchard, and both demonstrating examples of how to naturally perform successfully and grow in the current environment. A few highlights from the panel: focus on good music/product; embrace the new environment (social media, YouTube streaming, Spotify); and be creative and take risks. The other panelist was Borja Prieto of Herzio, the Spanish alternative to FanRx with 31,000 users and 51+ million fans; he offered a good perspective and some interesting case studies.

spotify social music jam albert torresFor the “Spotify: Does it Help or Interfere with the Music Industry” debate, we opened with the recurring topic: does it cannibalize sales? That’s a debate in which everyone has an opinion. I personally find the discussion irrelevant. On-demand streaming is online’s natural way of music consumption, and Spotify (like other services) monetize it. The best thing about the panel was how the audience was able to learn some basics about its functioning and listen to ideas and experiences on how to positively use it.

During questions, an obviously anti-Spotify person asked why Spotify paid less to small artists and more to famous ones, and also how Spotify decided their editorial in the store. That question drew a lot of attention and excitement in the venue. When it came to the basics — the “A-B-C” of Spotfy — the public was not in the know, and of course wanted to be. Explaining that each play of any artists has the same value in principle and that Spotify’s landing page is neutral was a very impactful moment of the panel.

Too often in conferences, people have debates where it is assumed that the audience is informed of the topic at hand when they are not, or not enough. This leads to misunderstandings and sterile debates, where those who know showed they know, and the ones who don’t know remained silent — and unaffected.

Spotify Reaches Beyond The Nest with Its Play Button

April 13, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

spotifyJust push play! It’s as simple as that. The long awaited embeddable Spotify player just went live, making it super easy to add your awesome — and monetizable! — music to your website and blog, as well as some fast-moving Facebook apps like FanBridge and FanRx, which you can install straight from The Orchard Marketplace.

The Spotify Play Button is powered by the Spotify app in the background, so listeners will still need an account (and will be prompted to create one if they don’t have one already) to enjoy your tunes, but they won’t have to leave your site anymore to do so.

So, how do you get one? Pick the song, album or playlist (yep, that’s right, you can embed any and all of those!) you’d like to include, grab the Spotify URI code by right clicking on the title and head over to Spotify’s developer website tools in hand. Do some pasting and copying, customize size, theme and view and bring your music to your fans pronto!

We know you’re dying to get started, but if you have time for a sneak peek, check out Zambri’s FanBridge page on Facebook and “play” around.

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