CASE STUDY: Students Use Cyber PR®, Next Big Sound & Topspin To Boost Dove Awards


This article was original published on Hypebot

The Recording Industry department at Middle Tennessee State University has partnered with Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity to create a Cyber PR course exploring the intersection of social media with engaged behavior, PR, and online marketing.  The Spring 2012 advanced section was tasked with designing, analyzing and implementing Cyber PR strategies for The Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards in April of this year.

The class learned and used Next Big Sound’s Premier and Topspin Media’s Plus applications alongside Cyber PR strategies to aid in their marketing and analysis. The results – which provide insights and lessons for all music marketers – are a detailed case study of the marketing plan and its resulting execution.

Click here for the downloadable PDF.


The Musician’s Guide to Spotify and Rdio

Radio Gets Social

This article was co-written by Corey Denis of Toolshed. She can be reached most easily on Twitter.

This week we are going to focus on something that I believe is the biggest missing link in today’s fractured “new” music business.

The old way dictates that we should get radio airplay.

The formula was simple. Get as much radio airplay as you humanly could, saturate the market, drive people to stores to purchase the CD, go on tour, sell the tickets, win big.

For any of you who have spent money on radio campaigns, as independent artists, without extremely deep pockets and major label support, you probably ended up turning a large fortune into a small fortune. And aside from a few radio chart reports, most probably, you had very little to show for your expensive radio campaign.

The new music business says it’s all about social media, making as many friends as you can across prevalent social media platforms and driving those friends to your mailing list, creating a mailing list that goes out regularly and consistently with calls to action and tracking your effectiveness.

As you can see, these two models are disparate.

Here at Cyber PR®, we consistently work with artists who are using traditional radio promoters to try to break their music as well as us to help them with their social media strategies. What follows is our signature system for connecting the dots.

Rdio and Spotify: The Alternative to Terrestrial Radio

Rdio and Spotify are On-Demand Subscription Streaming Music Services. For those of you familiar with Pandora, they are not the same.

Pandora, like radio, enables you to passively listen to streaming music without choosing what music you want to listen to, or when. Rdio is an on-demand service which means you can pick what song or album you want to listen to and listen to it at that exact moment on your computer, mobile device or even your TiVo (among many other devices, including cars).

What makes Rdio and Spotify special is that they are also large social networks built solely upon music, and what people are listening to. This is where you will find people who love music. It’s the only reason they use the service! To listen to music and socialize around it!
How to Get Your Music on Rdio & Spotify

Rdio and Spotify do not do direct deals with artists at this time, so you will need to make sure your distributor has enrolled you in distribution to Rdio and Spotify. All of the important indie distributors can distribute your music to both platforms.

You may also notice that in using other social applications (such as Facebook, Twitter, Soundtracking, Turntable and others) that Rdio and Facebook are integrated. In other words, when you tweet a song from Rdio, anyone can click your tweet and they will see the Rdio player. Anyone can click play on the player. Subscribers will hear the full song, as will anyone who is using Rdio’s initial free version.

How to Get Set Up With Rdio

To enter the community as an artist, create your profile on Rdio. It is free to sign up, and you will have a long time to listen to music free before you are asked to subscribe.

Connect your Rdio profile to your twitter profile (for your band). If you want, you can also connect it to your personal facebook page.

Now start using Rdio! Once you’ve connected Rdio to your twitter account you can search for fans who are also on Rdio and follow them. Add music to your collection and make playlists.

Like all other social networks you will need to use Rdio in order to maximize your presence and role in the existing community. Practice using Rdio for one full week without promoting yourself. Follow others, make a few playlists, review a few albums and spend about an hour a day perfecting your Rdio skills. You may even enjoy listening to all that music!

Don’t forget to tweet out music when you are listening to it so you can take advantage of (and maximize) the social syndication of twitter.

After that week is finished…

How to Use Rdio

Now that you know how to use Rdio and have fearlessly clicked buttons, happily listened to all that music, and feel confident that you know how to use it….

Make A Collaborative Playlist

A collaborative playlist is like a mix tape that anyone can add songs to, and has no time limit. Make it have a theme and invite your friends, fans and family to collaborate on your playlist!

a. Log in to your Rdio Account
b. Find the first song to put on your Collaborative Playlist
c. Click the arrow next to the song and choose “Add to Playlist / Create New Playlist”
add 3-5 more songs
d. Name the playlist – make sure it has a theme!
e. Write the description of the playlist in the space provided
f. Click “Make Collaborative”
g. Tweet the link to your fans by clicking the “share” button, then choose the Twitter option. Add some language to your tweet and encourage all of your fans to add music
Have fun!!!! Make as many of these as you want!

How to Get Set Up With Spotify

Unlike Rdio, Spotify is deeply integrated with Facebook and you will be required to sign up (and log in) with your Facebook account. In order to do this, you must have a Facebook account (personal – not just a fan page).

Once you do, go to Spotify and log in.

Note: All of your account information on Spotify will pull from your Facebook account, so make sure that your profile picture is up to date!

Any music that you listen to will automatically post to your Facebook timeline so there is no need to take the extra step and share the music you are listening to. This includes songs, albums and most importantly, playlists that you listen to will all be displayed on Facebook for your friends to see.

How to Use Spotify

Once you’ve made your Spotify account, you will automatically be connected to Facebook and thus you’ll be ready to start making playlists to share with others.

While all of your playlists can be subscribed to by any of your Facebook friends (after all, the playlists do automatically post to your Facebook timeline), you can also make a ‘Collaborative Playlist’ just as you did with Rdio!

Here is how you can do so:

a. Login to your Spotify account.
b. Click the ‘+ New Playlist’ button on the left hand side.
c. Name the playlist – make sure it has a theme!
d. Once the playlist is made and appears on the left hand side of your screen, right click the playlist and click ‘Collaborative Playlist’
e. Start off the playlist by adding at least 5 songs to the playlist (make one of these songs your own!).
f. Once again, right click the playlist name on the right hand side and click ‘Copy HTTP Link’ – this can be used to share your playlist on Twitter and your Facebook Fan Page so you can invite your friends and fans directly to the playlist.
g. Have fun!


Cyber PR® Tribute to 9/11 – Part 2 of 2: “Hope After Tragedy”

It has been almost 11 years since the tragic events of September 11th. This fall, we have 20 Cyber PR artists who are paying tribute. These talented women and men all have unique stories of how the events changed their lives and shaped them into the musicians they are today. These are 11 artists who have songs about hope after tragedy.

View Part 1 of our 9/11 Tribute series here.

Ariel and Team Cyber PR®

Grab the player for your website here:

Susan Picking


Susan Picking found her way to being a singer/songwriter on a path in the sky….spending 16 years as a flight attendant for a major carrier. She writes songs through her life experiences that are often skewed through her lens of quirky humor. This spiritual song, I Pray, was written on the Anniversary of 9/11 in honor of her lost flight attendant and pilot colleagues. The song is intended to be A Peace Anthem to remind us all of our human connection. Picking’s musical intention is to reconnect people with themselves, others, with LOVE,JOY, and HUMOR. Susan is a World Citizen based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and performs her message infused Contemporary Folk throughout the country and world.

Larissa Jaye


Larissa Jaye’s “All This Empty Sky” was released as a special edition benefit single on Rella Records in September of 2006, to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. An ethereal and futuristic firsthand narrative that speaks to the concept of historical tragedy as big-screen blockbuster, “All This Empty Sky” is a piece that Jaye conceived in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, though wrote slowly and therapeutically across the first two years that followed. Since that time, Jaye has built an additional career as a Life Coach, and counts supporting others creatively through challenging times among her most important work.




October Project



October Project is its own Brill Building of spiritually-transformative pop. Like the famed American music landmark, the trio has its own distinct division of talents with Marina Belica’s sensually angelic vocals, Emil Adler’s imaginative and dreamy compositions, and Julie Flanders’ achingly beautiful harmonies, supportive counter-melodies, and revelatory lyrics that mesmerize as they illuminate. The three’s connection dates back to their teenage years and their richly storied history together fortifies their nearly 20 year professional career as October Project.


Patty Mattson

Patty Mattson’s sensational singing voice and revered spoken voice are each success stories on several dazzling fronts.

No stranger to recording, Mattson, a gifted songwriter, invites us to share her undeniably well written and performed Debut release “The Road” Late Oct 2011. Completed with the expert production and mixing of Grammy winning producer Rob Chiarelli. Mattson takes us on a moving personal journey from the powerfully rockin, soulful and sexy, to the pristine and still manages to deliver amazing surprises along the way. This is a record that will inspire you, make you wanna dance, rock, tug at your heartstrings and send chills up your arms. “The Road” is Record of the year material that you shouldn’t miss…



Rajdulari is a Hindi name that loosely translated means Daughter of a King. A most befitting moniker for a woman who emanates the tantalizing, elegant gold light of royalty the moment she steps into one’s presence. A prolific artist – vocalist, storyteller, songwriter, poet, plus model and producer, this stunning singer exhibits a spicy balance of acute seasoning, deep silky soul and vocal freedom in her music. Her purpose on this earth is to entice her subjects with her art which at once stimulates, nurtures and fills the human spirit.


Wes and Victoria

Wes and Victoria are performers in the American/Folk genre. Wes is an award winning songwriter whose work appears in a compilation CD along with Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger and in the upcoming Sony Film’s release Abel’s Field as a featured vocal performance. Victoria is an extraordinary Harmonica player who has recorded with Johnny Cash, Robert Altman and Hans Zimmer. The duo has appeared with Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams, and Donovan among others, artists to whom they get compared. Veterans of the Austin and Los Angeles music scenes, they currently reside in Colorado.

Prayer for the Living was written and performed for a celebrity fundraiser in NYC on 11/ 2/01 that raised over 40,000 dollars for Engine 219 and Ladder 105, who lost 7 men in the Twin Towers.

Dahlia Wakefield


Dahlia Wakefield is a powerhouse adult contemporary performing singer-songwriter from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with 3 commercial releases under her belt. Dahlia graduated from Grant MacEwan University, is a vocal coach with Cooper Studios as well as a busy mom of two little girls who also love to sing. Songs off Dahlia’s latest CD “Full Circle” have been played on CBC Radio and many internet stations worldwide, as well as placing as finalists in several international songwriting contests. She recently sang for the Edmonton Indy. Currently, Dahlia is promoting her new album and looks forward to a lifetime of making music.


Parents With Angst

Parents With Angst is the reincarnation of NYC folk-indie band Amelia’s Dream, featuring standout songs about the trials and tribulations of parenthood. From angst ridden songs like “No More Time” to happier and calmer numbers like “Pinwheel” the duo, consisting of singer/songwriter Amelia S. Gewirtz and producer/songwriter Harold Stephan, breaks ground in the new arena of parenting music. With hints of folk rock and family-inspired tunes, the songs on Parents With Angst creates an undeniable connection with listeners recently earning them a NY Family Magazine “Choice Music Pick” award.


Michael Lee


You’ve never truly understood the phrase larger than life until you’ve met Michael Lee. The San Antonio-born, LA-based actor, Emmy-nominated television producer, singer, songwriter, director, ghost hunter and alleged vampire walks the walk in a whirl of outrageous clothes, chutzpah and a mischievous mirth not seen since the heyday of hair metal. Enamored with the glamour of big-time rock n roll, Lee lives the dream by staying true to himself, a throwback to the days when people made rock n roll music that they themselves liked instead of writing for a myopic commercial niche.


Joe Blanda


Growing up in Texas, just across the river from Louisiana, Joe Blanda soaked up a wide array of rootsy music styles. You can hear it in the songs he writes and the soulful way he sings and plays guitar. While attending the University of Texas, he discovered the vibrant music scene that’s made Austin a synonym for great music. It inspired him to begin writing his own songs, songs that are clean and spare but powerful. His song “Faith Is An Angel” is about enduring pain and adversity . . . and finally rising from the ashes to begin again.

Leslie DiNicola


Leslie DiNicola’s debut EP, It Resembles Fiction, was released in 2010 and immediately launched Leslie into the spotlight singing the National Anthem for nearly every major New York sports team and opening sold out shows for bands like the renowned October Project. Currently in the studio again with acclaimed producer/musician, Julian Coryell (Aimee Mann, Leonard Cohen, Jewel), Leslie will be releasing her highly anticipated sophomore album (including It’s Alright) in 2013.


Cyber PR® Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools & Sites – Hootsuite


Ever since the inception of Twitter in 2008, the most frequent complaint has been the lack of organizational options, leading to major content overload.

Thankfully, several 3rd-party services have been introduced over the last few years that help Tweeters (Twitter users) to get organized by offering an experience that focused on the idea of breaking down each component of Twitter (i.e. main feed of tweets, @ replies, direct messages, lists, etc.) into their own feed.

This gives one ‘30,000 foot view’ version of Twitter so all aspects are viewable at once, in an orderly fashion.

While many of these services originally offered very similar experiences to users, such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Seesmic, Hootsuite has carved itself out as the clear leader of the pack by offering users a highly customizable and integrated experience to manage not only Twitter, but their entire social presence.

Social Analytics

Unlike other services such as Tweetdeck and Seesmic, Hootsuite has always put their focus on your ability to not only get organized but to then have the opportunity to analyze the effectiveness of your content so that you can truly maximize your efforts.

Hootsuite offers fully customizable social analytics reports that will track not only the effectiveness of your tweets, but your Facebook fan page, website and blog (using Google Analytics) as well as give you a full breakdown of what is currently your most engaged demographic.

NOTE: In order for Hootsuite’s social analytics to work properly, all links must use an link (Hootsuite’s own short link) so they track fully track the click-throughs.

Content Scheduling

While Twitter is an amazing tool for engaging in two-way, real-time conversations with your fans, it can also be difficult to keep up with posting high-quality content on a consistent basis with so many other things going on in your life. An obvious benefit of Hootsuite is it’s ability to schedule your content ahead of time using the Hootsuite ‘Publisher’ feature. Using the Hootsuite ‘Publisher’, you can schedule as many tweets as you would like in as far in advance as you’d like it to be!

Klout Built-In to Hootsuite Profiles

Last week, we introduced the Cyber PR® Arsenal series with focusing on Klout, a social monitoring service that can help you to understand the influence of yourself, your fans and followers as well as help you to identify niche influencers in separate markets (read the full Cyber PR® Arsenal article here).

Hootsuite makes Klout even more effective by baking it in to their user profiles so that you can see the Klout of every person you engage with, helping you to quickly and effectively identify influential people to follow and/ or interact with on a more regular basis.

Hootsuite Empowers Your Entire Team

If there is one thing that any successful ‘DIY Musician’ will tell you, is that do-it-yourself doesn’t mean do-it-alone. Having an effective and reliable team is critical to your success as a musician. Hootsuite makes it easy for your whole team gain access to all of your social presence to work on your behalf.

Apps Directory

While Hootsuite was created as a way to effectively organize your Twitter account(s), it has since become a platform to manage all of your social content in one dashboard. Hootsuite’s App Directory allows you to expand your social presence into additional niche platforms (i.e. Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, etc.) without ever having to leave your hootsuite dashboard.

Note: While this is an amazing tool for you to stay organized, some social networking platforms, particularly Facebook, don’t work well with 3rd-party platforms and may hurt the overall effectiveness with your content, so be careful and test the waters with each new account you add to your Hootsuite dashboard.


Cyber PR® Tribute to 9/11 – Part 1 of 2: “All-American Heroes”

It has been almost 11 years since the tragic events of September 11th. This fall, we have 20 Cyber PR artists who are paying tribute. These talented women and men all have unique stories of how the events changed their lives and shaped them into the musicians they are today. These are nine artists have songs about our All-American heroes of 9/11.

Ariel and Team Cyber PR®

Grab the player for your website here:

Jennie Walker


Jennie Walker’s debut album “Night Flight to London”, includes the song “Hero In My Eyes,” inspired by a firefighter in London and former boyfriend, who was affected with PSD by the happenings of 9/ 11. The entire album was co-written and produced by Grammy-nominated and twelve-time platinum selling producer, Tommy Faragher and won the British Airways Face of Opportunity award in 2011.

Derik Nelson


Derik Nelson is a singer, songwriter and producer in Los Angeles. He can be seen weekly as the guitarist on the FOX TV show “Glee,” and has produced and recorded six full-length albums to his name. His original 9/11 Tribute Song, “Phone Call,” was inspired by the chilling phone calls made by passengers to their loved ones in the planes on that tragic day. Derik prides himself in his honest lyrical approach, and his biggest dream is to connect with millions of people through his original songs.




Kurt Hunter



Kurt Hunter has played music in over 35 states, internationally, and on one of the world’s largest cruise ships, The Norwegian Epic. His songs have been featured in airplane radio, movie theaters, and national television. His most known appearance to date is an Esurance commercial where he got “animated” by the team at Esurance. Kurt has released two full-length albums and countless singles and covers. His music has also appeared on MTV’s Teen Mom, Auction Kings, Delta Airlines, and Fox promotions. He describes his sound as a blend of Jason Mraz and James Taylor.




Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson’s song, “Angel of the Fallen,” was written on the 10th anniversary of September 11. It was inspired by the Naudet brothers’ re-released 9/11 documentary about the NYC firefighters of Engine 7, Ladder 1. This film opened her eyes to the continued physical suffering still faced today by many of the firefighters who worked at Ground Zero. She felt a heaviness inside for days, then began to hear this song in her head. With the song came a clear visual image of an angelic woman figure dressed in white walking.





Eric Hansen

Eric Hansen’s song, “Hero in the Dark,” can speak for itself. Eric might as well have a campfire on stage. The warmth and intimacy of his songs and performance style embrace every person in the audience. Stephen Seigel (Tucson Weekly) writes: “…His trademarked earnest-in-a-time-of-irony-songwriting.” His body of work includes whimsical songs about frogs and baby geese, passionate songs about love lost and love found, playful adult songs with a groove and sexy slant and inspirational songs that ask human beings to build a bridge of hands in cooperation. His performances have made grown men cry and children adore him.


Steely James

STEELY JAMES is an American Songwriter/Recording Artist living in Nashville, TN. He tours consistently to promote his music and message. 
The lyrical content of his most recent release titled FREE SPEECH EXPERIMENT has landed him an invitation to play at The First Amendment Center’s annual concert as well as a licensing deal with The Discovery Network. (Military Channel, History Channel)
With songs like “No More War,” “Things That Kill People,” “Unmanned Police Drones,” “The Corporation,” and “Black Gold.” Steely James’ Free Speech Experiment CD gives an inside look at the psychological effects a decade+ of war can have on an indie artist who writes songs of social significance.

Rob Owen


Rob Owen is a Singer/Songwriter currently residing in Santa Cruz, California. Rob’s compositions have been aired on MTV’s Real World and most recently have been accepted for a major network licensing deal. His newest single, “Another Breath,” has garnered interest from White Knight Music and Tinderbox Music’s president, Jon Delange. His song, “Common Ground,” was inspired by people’s natural tendency to come together in a time of crisis. The song aims to offer uplifting, hopeful and inspiring words for the people who were directly affected by the 9/11 tragedy.


My Silent Bravery

My Silent Bravery’s new LP, Can’t Quit, was produced by Anthony Resta (Collective Soul, Elton John, Shawn Mullins) and features a track with Grammy nominated recording artist, Matisyahu. Can’t Quit was nominated for album of the year at Indie Music Digest and the album’s first single and title track also picked up honorable mention for the songwriting competition, Song of the Year, which receives entries from all over the world. The video for the song “Can’t Quit” has amassed over 300,000 views on YouTube and was recently featured on the AOL music home page. The video covers the heroic struggles of the wounded warrior, youth at the hands of bullies and our fellow American’s coping with the wave of national disasters plaguing the continental US.


Bobby Katz


The 9/11-themed title track, “Lifetime Thing,” perhaps this album’s highlight, was originally written about Bobby’s romantic interest, the widow of a 9/11 firefighter. The goal was to turn his personal experience into a message of love, hope, and perseverance for all. The recording has a personable R&B musical flavor, with a Booker T. and the MGs-inspired organ signature and a wailing female background vocal accompaniment. However, Katz plays against those expectations with a vocal and guitar overlay that sounds more like a Stephen Stills folk-rock tune. As Katz sings about overcoming crushing adversity, the song manages not to just straddle both worlds, but to make something that sounds brand new out of these disparate influences.


Cyber PR® Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools & Sites – Klout

Jon here, and I’ll be taking over for Jason as your new guide through the killer apps, tools & sites featured here in this series.

So… I’d like to introduce you to the next phase of Musician’s Arsenal – now called Cyber PR® Arsenal.

We are going to continue exploring social media services that can be instrumental in established your digital footprint and conquering your niche, but I’ll be focusing in on very specific takeaways, with each weekly entry giving you a deep understanding of how you can best utilize each unique app, tool & site.

I’d like to begin this new phase in the Cyber PR® Arsenal series with something that everyone needs to understand in order to effectively build a digital presence.

Social monitoring

While there are many social monitoring services out there, Klout is one that has ruffled quite a few feathers, as some people feel it incredibly important, meanwhile others feel like it is irrelevant and/ or inaccurate. So let’s dive into Klout and explore the 5 most important takeaways that you need to understand about the platform:

1. Assist with Targeting Influencers

One of the most difficult things for anyone to do when establishing themselves online is determining who the influencers within a niche actually are. This is where Klout truly excels. By analyzing the content that you are posting to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google +, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Wikipedia, Klout is able to determine the relevant keywords and will identify 3 critical groups:

  • Your Super Fans – Your most powerful fans. These fans last a life-time!
  • Influential Followers – These fans can help you convert others to fans.
  • Niche Influencers – Very important to know. Connecting with these people can help you to increase your overall relevance and influence over a niche.

2. Offer a Frame of Reference

Speaking of targeting the most influential within the niche you are are targeting, Klout gives you both a visual as well as a numerical frame of reference for you to be able to compare your own influence to others within the space. This is important for you to understand if you ever hope to become influential enough to conquer your niche.

3. Discover Content Topics Worth Sharing

Posting relevant content on a consistent basis is one of the keys to social media success. But how do you know what content is relevant? A huge benefit of Klout is that it analyzes your content and identifies not only which of your previous content was the most successful, but also which overall topics you have the most influence in. This will allow you to target in on specific topics within your niche so that each relevant piece of content you post (of course on a consistent basis) are as effective as possible.

4. Identify Where You Make The Most Impact Online

While you may be publishing content on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Tumblr or any of the other countless platforms, how do you know which platform will ultimately play the hand in your overall digital success?

Because Klout tracks your presence across MANY platforms, it has the ability to show you where you are really growing your fan base. This way you can spend more time on platforms that are working really well and less time on platforms that aren’t working – OR, you can identify where you need to spend more time in order to ramp up your presence that is currently lacking.

5. Take with a grain of salt

While Klout may have some great tools for you to use (as outlined above), please keep in mind that it is a monitoring tool to help guide you based on suggestions. Klout is in no way the end-all say-all, and should be absolutely taken with a grain of salt – if you see Klout say something isn’t working for you, but you see that it absolutely is, do yourself the favor and trust your instinct….

What Do YOU Think of Klout?

While Klout clearly has quite a few advantages, there are those who feel it is a complete waste of time. I want to hear from YOU to find out what your experiences with Klout have been like. Leave a comment in the section below.