Saturday, November 15, 2008

360 Deals...ohhhh noooo!

I love when people use Trent Reznor as an example of why an artist doesn’t need a label. Somehow people forget that the reason everyone knows the name Trent Reznor is because of a record label.
I’m not completely on the “360 Team” BUT the labels have a point. Artist not only sell CD’s because the labels promote and market them, but they sell out concerts, sell merchandise, all of which wouldn’t happen in such great numbers if the labels weren’t behind said artists. While it’s possible for a band/artist to “go it alone” and be successful, the chances of becoming a successful act are extremely low.
One option that has yet to be discussed is lowering royalties that record labels make off record sales. I’m not against fair. It is fair that record labels make money off of our a tour, but they can’t take EVERYTHING. Things like breakage clauses on digital sales are not only unethical, but outright theft.
The recording contract as we know it must be reworked and reformed so that the record labels get their fair share as well as the artists. It’s no secret that the record labels have screwed artists in the past but it’s time for both parties to do the right thing and be fair about everything.
I see people writing this and that about the labels being rediculous and the artists “going it alone”. Here is an absolute truth:
The labels need the artists and the artists need the labels. While that will never change, the RELATIONSHIP between the two must. This is just the beginning, and music WILL be free.
Look up Ad-Supported Music,, iMeem, WE7, Datz Music Lounge, etc.
The 360 deal won’t work in itself, because it only cut’s an already small pie into smaller pieces, BUT it can spark the fire that’s needed to actually change the relationship between labels and artists.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Prez Yo

We have a new president. I'm proud to be an American today. I don't hate John McCain, I don't absolutely love Obama. I'm just proud to be a part of this country, proud for change, and proud for our future.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

iTunes? Nahhhhhh

This weekend I moved. I mean MOVED. Somewhere in the process of moving one of the guys in my band called me up and proposed the idea of putting one of the songs off our new record on iTunes as sort of a "leak" type promotion. At first I thought it was a cool idea and told him we could talk later about it after I had put down the couch I was holding.

I started to think about it and putting 1 song on iTunes, while in theory is great, won't really do much for a band (unless your selling 50+ thousands of CD's).

What SHOULD a band do?

Help build that band/fan relationship! It's key! If you want to leak a song, put it up on your own website. That way the fans 1) don't have to pay for it and if they do YOU get all the money for it (don't give iTunes a cut for a "leaked" track) 2) you get a ton of traffic to your site because everyone loves free stuff and 3) it actually makes your fans happier getting it from YOUR site than iTunes because even though its online, they still feel like they're getting it directly from YOUR hands. Plus if it's on your site, they'll know YOU WANT THEM TO HAVE IT where as on iTunes they may not know who leaked the song or anything like that.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Free is for Me...and You!



What does that mean to you? It's usually a good thing. Now how about this,

Free music.

Still a good thing right? I thought so. How about this,

Your music is free music.

Now I'm sure this isn't as good right? Why is it that some artists are freaking out about their music being free?

I am an artist myself and a few weeks ago I got into a healthy arguement with the owner of one of the clubs we play at who is also a good friend after a gig. My band, Highway Jackson, is about to release our second album and my good friend, we'll call him Joe the Club Owner, was very "passionate" about us selling our CD for at the very least $10. He kept saying, "But this music is AWESOME, you HAVE to sell it or you're not doing yourself justice, etc". Of course I thanked him for the kind words about our music (friends always have great things to say) but I also let him know that $10 was WAY to expensive for us to be selling ANYTHING.

Music will be free soon, whether it's ad-supported or through Lala or maybe even a different channel. Most of the uneducated public (in the music business) think they know a lot of things that usually prove to be false.

1. An independant artist who is up and coming should not be selling a CD for anything more than $5. That is for a FULL LENGTH ALBUM. Highway Jackson has 10 tracks, and $5 is the absolute most we will sell it for.

2. The CD, as in Compact Disc, is almost obsolete. The MP3 rules all and technology like the iPhone will make sure it stays that way. Bands used to press 1000 CD's at a time and now they only need to press 3-500 and sell the rest through digital distribution streams.

3. Part of the reason CD's used to cost so much was all the hidden fees and clauses included in a bands record contract. For example, the breakage clause. The breakage clause in a contract basically was created under the assumption that a record (45") could break during the distribution process, so the label would take a larger cut of the sales because THEY assumed the risk of sending the product out, thus making CD's a tad bit more expensive so the artists could get a fair cut of the profits. Now that most music is distributed digitally, clauses like the Breakage clause no longer are in effect (although at first record companies still tried to carry this clause over to digital sales...scumbags).

4. Common sense. If a kid goes to an all ages concert, chances are he/she doesn't have too much money. They already paid between $5-15 to get into concert, chances are if they have any money left it's not much. Make your album as cheap as possible especially at a live show. There is NO better time to get someone to buy your album than at a show. How tragic is it that a individual loves a band and thinks they'd like to hear their album and learn all the lyrics so they can be the ultimate fan only to find out that the album, which has 8 tracks is $10-12. That fan probably won't buy it because 1) they don't have enough money (most bands don't take plastic) and 2) they don't want to spend the money on a gamble, meaning they don't know if they'll like it or not. Make it cheap, if not free. 100 fans with your album for $2 is way better than 25 for $10. Nobody cares about how much money you made on your CD, they care about your fan base.

5. It's a lot easier to create a band/fan relationship with free music. For example, how great is it when a band emails a brand new mp3 right out of the studio to members of their fan club? The fan feels like the band cares about them (which they should).

On that note, never ever ever EVER play for free. Thats for another post.

Over and out!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lala...lala...LA! The NEW and IMPROVED online music retailer

To make a long story short, Lala is a new online music retailing selling songs at $.10 each. The only catch is, it's a web song (a song you can only listen to by logging into your account and listening to it via your online library). Right now I need you to do one thing...


I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Sweet, so I can buy songs for 10 cents but I have to listen to them via an online library which means I need a computer with speakers and an internet connection to listen to my music. Why would I want that?"

You do want this, and I'll tell you why. You buy a song for $.10 and listen to it online only. If you want to listen to it offline thats fine, you can pay the full $.99 for a song and put it on your iPod. There are two big points that I want to make sure you, the reader, understand because this is such a great, innovative idea in the music industry:

1. You can upload your entire iTunes library to your web song library no matter how you obtained the songs(illegal and legal).

***2***. With new technology, the iPhone, the new Google phone, etc, you're ALWAYS online. You may not even realize it but if you've got an iPhone you're connected to the net 24/7. The iPhone doubles as an iPod. See where I'm going with this? For $.10 you can buy a song and listen to it via your iPhone or any other mobile device that has internet connection.

Let me just repeat, you can buy a song for $.10 and listen to it whenever you want on your mobile device that is connected to the internet.

This concept could completely destroy ad-supported music and that rediculous venture that many are trying to push. With this model, if successful, the price of music will not venture into the hands of firms selling adspace on music. Lala has already signed four major labels and 175,000 independant artists to it's online library. Many adsupported music sites can't get one label let alone four.

A year ago I would have been 100% against this idea, but because of devices like the iPhone, I'm betting this service takes off like the iPod.

Over and out,


Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Band's Dream: Bandzoogle

I'm sure I've mentioned Bandzoogle before in past posts, but now that I've started using it and really gotten a chance to dive into what it's all about I figure it deserves a proper review.

"Bandzoogle lets bands build great websites in minutes. All the stuff you need (like an online store, mailing list, forum) are built right in. You don't need to know anything about web design -- we do the techie stuff so you can concentrate on your music."

Let's start off by saying, you don't need to be an HTML genius to use this service. In fact, you don't need to know HTML at all! Bandzoogle makes everything as easy as a MySpace page...but with the awesomeness of your own website. Yes, I said "awesomeness". Let's face it, while its imparative to have a MySpace page, it's also imparative to have an actual website, a .com, a unique way so people can type in "Your Band" in google and find "".

Building a website from scratch is a lot more complicated than knowing how to insert an image or create a link. You've got to be able to make tables, buttons, menus, etc. and that's just the beginning. Don't you love going to your favorite bands websites? They've got awesome graphic design work on their site, killer fonts and overall a vibe that makes you want to come back. That's what's so great about Bandzoogle, it helps musicians and bands create a sense of urgency with their website that they probably would not be able to produce/afford on their own. Check out these sites that are created using Bandzoogles tools:

The Pimps:

Namoli Brennet:

Crafty Records:

Another touchy(and that's putting it lightly) subject with musicians around the globe is the idea of selling music. Everyone agrees it should be sold, the question is, "for how much?". The cool thing about Bandzoogle is you can set up a streaming music player throughout your site, and you can also SELL your music via an online store (completely seperate from the streaming player) at prices you set on your own. No more iTunes $.99 or Amazong $.79. If you're an upcoming band, your music should be $.00. That's my view. Take what you will. This way you can track what your selling (whether it's $.01 or $2.00 a track).

Really quick I need to emphasize the importance of the streaming music player. I remember when my band first hired a web programmer and it was extremely difficult (at least that's what he had us believe) to create a streaming music player for you site, let alone a player that carries over from page to page of your site. The Bandzoogle player is as easy as uploading songs to MySpace. Let me repeat, AS EASY AS UPLOADING A SONG TO MYSPACE.

The photo gallery feature of Bandzoogle is also really great because it doesn't involve page after page of photos. When you click on a photo, it triggers a seperate photo viewing box that lets the user browse through your photos at actual size.

Does your band have a mailing list? I bet you do. Have you gone on facebook and looked at all your friend's school emails and copied them to your "mailing list"without them knowing? I bet you've done something at least similar to that. The Bandzoogle mailing list feature is an awesome tool for bands without a real way of creating and maintaining a mailing list. It allows your site to allow users/fans to submit their own emails to the band and also lets you keep track of each from from a variety of parameters such as city, state, zip code, etc. Remember that gig coming up in Philly? Good thing you have a way to tell which of your fans are from that area so you can send out a personalized email letting them know about your show...Oh don't. You could with Bandzoogle.

Other great features include guestbooks, blogging, polling (wouldn't you love to know what song is your fans FAVORITE?), contact submission boxes and even an introduction page to show your logo before your fans actually enter the site (talk about branding!).

Now what's the catch? No catch. You obviously pay for the service. I need to emphasize pay for the service. Bandzoogle does it all for you, for as little as $14.95/month to $19.95/month. If you pay $19.95/month thats about $240.00 a year for your website. Most web designers charge $200.00 just for the initial set up!

Being able to update your own "News" section is enough for me. I'm sold.

Go to right now and start your free month trial.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Essential Marketing Plan

So the new Highway Jackson album sounds great, and we're just about ready to put it out (when I say just about ready I mean 3-4 months away). I've been talking a lot about marketing and wanted to put our existing marketing plan out on the table to see if anyone had any cool and innovative ideas that we might have missed.

Web: will be up and running within the next 2 months and we'll be giving away one song a week when the album comes out so everyone can get it for free if they wish via the site.

Our last EP "Leave Your Girl Pants at Home" will also be available for download(free) via the site.

The HJ MySpace page is going through a major face lift with graphic designers, etc to turn it into an awesome page instead of a normal band page. The songs will be available to listen to, but in order to download them for free you'll have to visit the official website.

The Facebook group Highway Jackson will be keeping everyone informed of all this as well through messages and events.

Radio: As far as radio advertising goes, HJ will be running ad's for the new album, CD Release Party, Spinout appearance, and pending Bullmoose in-store performance for 3 weeks prior to the release on WCYY, Q97.9, and FNX.

We'll be in the studio with Mark Curdo on WCYY's Spinout, as well as submitting to to various commercial and college stations including WTOS, WFNX, WBLM and WCYY as well.

TV: This is not set in stone, but we'll be pushing an appearance on The 207 as well for an on-air performance.

CD Release Party: We have yet to decide if there will be just one or two CD Release Parties but we are 100% sure the first will be at the Big Easy, possibly another at Champs. We'll have to play it by ear.

During the 3 weeks before the record is released we'll be doing give-aways for CD's, Tickets to the show, free merch and meet and greets with the band for the fans as well.

Retail Sales: The new album will be sold through Bullmoose and Newbury Comics locations. For the first two weeks the online sales will also be sold exclusively through Bullmoose Music before going to iTunes.

Digital Sales: The album will be distributed digitally through one of IODA's subsidiary distributers to over 60 retail digital outlets including iTunes and Amazon.

Promotional Material: We're going to be getting in contact with Daddy's Junky Music to possibly sponsor a banner for the band with the band logo for upcoming shows. We'll also be printing flyers and other print materials to get the word out.

Print Media: We'll be sending the new album to The Portland and Boston Phoenix, The Portland Press Herald, Performer, Northeast Performer, and other well known regional magazines.

Stay tuned for more info...