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Sound Out Your Music Before It Hits

the orchard marketplace soundoutWhether you’re an avid Marketplace user or new to the party, I’d like to spotlight one of our partners that’s added some value to its offering since it launched in our Marketplace last year: SoundOut.

To rewind: SoundOut is a service used by majors and indies alike that sends music to an active group of over 300,000 music consumers who listen to an unmarked track and rate and review it based on several criteria, all of which SoundOut then synthesizes and packages for you within a specific time frame based on the package you’ve opted into. This is a great tool to use if for example you’ve got an album prepped for release in Release Builder and you want to find your first hit single. You get a sample public reaction from closely vetted music lovers that includes track ratings, emotional ratings, demographics and detailed comments, all of which you can use to better market your release.

And because I know you’re thinking about it… don’t worry — several layers of safety measures are in place to protect your music: all music is stream-only, reviewers never know what they’re going to get, and they can only listen to the song once. No artwork is shown, and additional anonymity options hide both track title and artist name.

In addition to all of this amazing stuff, SoundOut also manages a Track Of The Day program, where it picks one star track to highlight to users each day and sends it either via email or via their Android mobile app. If one of your songs scores above 80% market potential, it will be considered to blast out, putting your music and your name in front of users looking to find the next #1 hit before everybody else. Of course, you get to approve the feature first — if your track is selected, SoundOut will contact you directly and make sure you’re on board.

Another way SoundOut helps get your music heard is through their “Tomorrow’s Hits Today” playlist. It has lived on CBS’ radio.com since 2011 and is entirely powered by SoundOut, making it a great predictor of future chart hits. Being eligible for the playlist abides by the same process as the Track Of The Day program: your track needs to score above 80% market potential to be considered, and you’ll get final approval on whether or not it’s ultimately included.

Get some insight into your next potential chart toppers and dive into the music discovery niche by installing SoundOut in the Marketplace. You can choose from several different plans, and we’ve negotiated a 20% discount just for our clients. Get a full demo and more deets in this introductory blog post, and as always, let us know what you think!

Become A SoundCloud Master and A Master Of Your Rights On SoundCloud

soundcloud logoBetween updating their subscription plans and experimenting with more visual profiles (still in early beta), SoundCloud has been on fire lately. ComScore even recently reported that their traffic increased by 26% in one month, making SoundCloud the 8th fastest growing site in the U.S. Though it’s certainly evolved since its launch in Berlin in 2008, SoundCloud has retained an attractive simplicity that makes for a winning platform all-around.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, SoundCloud is an online platform that allows you to listen to, share and create sounds — from music, to commentary, to podcasts… essentially anything that can be recorded and heard. Unsurprisingly, it’s taken on an increased importance in the music world and has become a space to premiere new tracks — press outlets often embed SoundCloud players on their sites — share works in progress — safely, thanks to the secret link feature — and generate buzz around a new or upcoming release, be it through sets (SoundCloud playlists), free downloads, or other engaging content.

Being such an influential audio service, SoundCloud obviously takes its copyright policy seriously. New uploads are put through a rigorous screen to make sure that all content adheres to copyright regulations. In order to help ensure that everybody’s rights are respected, SoundCloud uses a well-established and market-leading third party content ID system to help identify and block known copyright works from appearing on their platform. As a result, you may have gotten a copyright notification email while trying to upload one of your very own songs… This could happen if someone else has uploaded the song before you, for instance if you’re uploading a track to your artist profile that your label has already put up. In these cases, where you’re obviously not violating any copyrights, you could benefit from getting your profile whitelisted, so your tracks don’t get blocked while uploading.

If you’re an Orchard client, you’re in luck. In partnership with SoundCloud, we’ve updated our Marketplace app so that any track you upload using the app automatically gets whitelisted. If you don’t have access to Marketplace, you can still get your account whitelisted by shooting an email over to your client rep. We’ll take care of you.

In addition, we worked with the folks at SoundCloud to secure an exclusive 20% discount on upgrades to SoundCloud Pro Unlimited accounts for all our clients, giving you access to advanced features like more detailed analytics and further audio storage. For instructions on how to get your individual discount code, check your inbox for our Client Newsletter dated May 28.

And if you’re not ready to upgrade just yet, as a special bonus for using SoundCloud through Marketplace, you’ll still gain access to exclusive Partner Tools: geo-blocking, which will automatically be added when your profile is whitelisted, domain locking, which you can access via this link, and scheduling, which allows you to specify a time for your sound or embedded widget to go public. These features give you increased control on your sounds and help to better target your impact, so take advantage!

To find out about these tools and more, take in this amazing SoundCloud/The Orchard Label Guide our teams have put together for you. In it, you’ll find everything you need to know about SoundCloud, how to install our SoundCloud Connect Marketplace app, and the amazing features you’ll find on the platform, plus tips on how to use them. I recommend checking out how to optimize your tracks (page 5), which widget to use on your website depending on your needs (page 9) and how to make the most of your analytics (page 15). Other useful resources are the SoundCheck Blog and Newsletter, to which you can sign up here.

Get In On The Crowdfunding Action with RocketHub

RocketHub crowdfunding logoBetween Amanda Palmer and Veronica Mars, crowdfunding has proven its worth beyond the shadow of a doubt. In one year alone, global crowdfunding initiatives grew 81% to generate a reported $2.7 BILLION. Of that, music-related projects represented a very respectable $202.5 million, i.e. 7.5% of all raised funds and 4th most important category after social causes, business and entrepreneurship, and films and performing arts.

So, how do you get in on this? It couldn’t be more simple: install RocketHub via The Orchard Marketplace. For step-by-step instructions and a video demo on how to create a campaign, check out this blog post. The design has since changed but for the most part everything is still the same.

To add to the appeal crowdfunding has on its own, RocketHub has just announced an exclusive partnership with A&E’s Project Startup. Through this new deal, projects launched via RocketHub will have the opportunity to be featured on air, online and in print through A&E’s channels. In addition, if a project is really unique and attention-grabbing, A&E just may add itself to your list of funders.

“But I’m not a startup, I’m a musician!,” you say.

Don’t worry, we asked that question, too. While the first wave of projects is startup-related, RocketHub is planning several other engagements with A&E, Project Startup just being one of them. With music representing such a significant portion of the crowdfunding sphere, related projects will naturally ascend to higher visibility, and as such raise awareness in line with RocketHub and A&E’s goals: amplifying crowdfunding projects to do more than just raise funds, but also gain significant and strong awareness.

So get your thinking caps on and start an original campaign with RocketHub. The more stellar the idea, the higher the chance your project will not only get you money, but also create that oh-so-precious buzz and engagement you can’t get enough of.

RocketHub is accessible via The Orchard Marketplace. Read more about them on their One Sheet.

Guest Post: Timeline for Promoting a UK Single Release

UK Record ClockThe name Caroline Bottomley may sound familiar to you on The Daily Rind. As Managing Director of our Marketplace partner Radar Music Videos, Caroline has already guest written for us to share the merits and best practices of her amazing platform, which connects artists and labels with talented music video directors around the world. Today, she gives us a timeline for promoting an independent single release, beginning 14 weeks from release date, and on an imaginary budget of £5,000. 

A lot of promo people we talk to say artists and managers often don’t know what professionals do to promote single releases. So we asked for help from some real professionals. Then we made up an indie band with an established following and a few previous releases. We made up £5,000 to spend. And we wrote this rough guide.

14 WEEKS FROM RELEASE

  • Commission single artwork, even if it’s for download only — Designer: £300
  • Commission artist photos — Photographer: £500

TIP: “Commission nice/weird/cool COLOUR band photos, the brighter the better.” –David Laurie, SiC Records

  • Start social media engagement — Digital Promotions: £500 – £1,000

NOTE: Social media work continues from here up to and after release date.

12 WEEKS FROM RELEASE

  • Begin promoting. Release advance copies/links to share to monthly press, for reviews, i.e. Q, Mojo, Clash, Uncut. Start with sending out a simple press release announcing the single and put the single into context, i.e. is it from an album or a stand-alone track; and will there be associated shows? — Engage PR: £500 – £1,500

TIP: “There are very few print outlets for singles, a couple of dozen really. It’s ALL about online for singles.” –David Laurie, SiC Records

NOTE: Press work continues from this point up to and after release date.

TIP: “The press release needs to be straightforward and attention-grabbing. ‘Artist releases great new song/album’ just isn’t enough. What’s your story? What’s special about you/the song/album and why?” –Gillian, Million PR and Naked Press.

  • Engage Agent: 10% of gross
  • Engage Radio and Video Plugger: £500 – £1,500
    Note from The Orchard: We also have a radio plugging partner app in the Marketplace: iPluggers

… Continue Reading

The Marketplace Presents: iPluggers

December 11, 2012 Client Tool, Featured News 9 Comments

iPluggersPlugging — it’s a word we often hear in relation to promoting something, recommending it, giving it your stamp of approval. iPluggers does just that for your music, and it does it all around the world.

With a 100% airplay guarantee (or your money back), iPluggers provides the platform for you to pitch your music to more than 30,000 radio stations of all genres and all types, including AM, FM, satellite, internet, and more. You can create an artist profile (or online airplay kit) on which to share and promote your tunes in minutes by following the steps below:

  • Install iPluggers through the Marketplace on the artist of your choice, and select a profile name for your iPluggers page (typically the name of your artist or band). Enter a contact email address on which you can be reached and click Submit.
  • On the next page, select “add a new release for worldwide plugging.”
  • This is where it gets interesting. First, choose what kind of release you’ll be plugging (Single, EP or Album). Then, choose a release cover from the pre-populated drop-down menu or upload a new one. Select the title of the release, confirm the artist name and add any featuring artists if needed. Choose the tracks you’d like to promote and click Next.
  • Once your tracks have been imported, you can choose up to three genres you’d like to target. You also have the option to carve out territories you don’t want to plug your music to. Optionally fill out release information to give radio stations some more background on why they should plug your release and click Next.
  • The last step before submission is completing your track information. While The Orchard provides a handful of iPluggers’s required metadata, there will still be missing fields. To fill them out, click on Edit Track Details and go through the fields to confirm pre-populated metadata and fill out what’s missing, such as Composers/Writers, Publisher and Song Genres. Click Submit.

Now iPluggers will review your release before approving it to plug. This can take up to 5 business days, and you’ll get a notification as soon as they’ve given it the green light. Once your release has gone through iPluggers’s system, you’ll get to set a plugging date, after which all radio stations subscribed to the genre you chose to plug will receive your release. To increase the likelihood of your release getting picked up, we also recommend that you complete your Artist Profile. Many fields will already be completed thanks to the app’s integration with our API, but you’ll need to tweak it to make it just right for iPluggers.

Track your releases by clicking on the Results menu and download reports for your plugged tracks by clicking on the corresponding link. You’ll be able to track the artist, song, radio station and country as well as when said radio station downloaded your track. While iPluggers can’t track if a specific radio station has actually played the song, the likelihood is high once the song has been downloaded (because stations can preview the song on your artist profile, it’s unlikely they would download it unless they intended to play it). Furthermore, all plays will be tracked via the usual SoundExchange/CMJ/MediaBase channels.

As Next Big Sound shared recently, and against popular belief, radio spins continue to positively impact track sales. Now that you have it all laid out in simple steps, there’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of that extra push to bump up your sales!

See below for a more in-depth demo on how to get your music heard around the globe:

iPluggers is available via The Marketplace. Find out more about them, including special pricing for The Orchard’s clients, on their One-Sheet.

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