A few days ago, the unstoppable Bob Baker asked me to write my predictions for marketing your music in 2012. I was included amongst a list of incredible thought leaders and it sparked a conversation here in the Cyber PR Office. So I asked my trustworthy team to share their own predictions for this coming year. Here they are:
Ariel Hyatt – President Ariel Publicity Founder of Cyber PR® Twitter: @CyberPR
1. Staying Positive and In Gratitude Will Help Tremendously Before I make any music marketing trends and predictions for 2012 here’s where to start: Remember, success in today’s quicksand like music business is HARD and takes WORK, getting into a negative, overwhelmed and angry place will directly effect your success. I’ve seen it now thousands of times in 12 countries. The artists I know who manage to stay positive and who are grateful for the little wins and for the small miracles are happier, more successful and go farther than their counterparts who let it all get the best of them.
2. Music Subscription Sites Will Continue To Takeover Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, DeezerMOG & Slacker. These subscription based streaming sites are great for music consumers & not so great for artists. To stay ahead of the pack smart artist markers are going to have to come up with clever ways to incorporate their music and sharing on these powerful platforms that have music consumers going gaga. Sadly this will mean less revenue from sales of music but could provide great opportunities for discovery based creative marketers
As you look to the future you may be getting in the mode to set goals for your career.
I am always surprised when musicians I work for at Cyber PR®, are frantically trying to reach more and more potential fans without really focusing on the fans that they already have. These fans don’t need to be found, because they are already your fans.
Studies have proven that it is much harder to make a new client and get them to purchase something than it is to get a client that already knows you and trusts you to purchase from you over and over.
I always suggest that, in measuring fans, the best place to look is at your social networks and at your mailing list.
Your newsletter list is the only place where you can directly engage with your fans on your own terms and ask for money.
Here are 12 fail-safe ways to increase / engage with your fanbase by pulling from fans that you already know and have who trust and like you for 2012.
1. Get serious about your newsletter. Use Fanbridge, Nimbit, Hostbaby, Bandzoogle or ReverbNation. and send your newsletter one time per month. Track your effectiveness by monitoring your open, forward and bounce rates.
2. Mine through your email inbox and outbox for names and addresses to add. Ask all of your friends if it’s OK to add them to your list, otherwise you might be considered a spammer.
3. Bring a clipboard to each and every live appearance. Invite people onto your mailing list with a raffle or giveaway from stage, and collect e-mail addresses. During your performance, hold the CD up on stage, talk about it and than give it away, you’ve just inserted a full commercial into your set without feeling “salesy” and you’ve excited one of your fans by giving them a gift in front of everyone else who will secretly want a gift too.
4. Include a special offer on your website with a free exclusive MP3 or video (or better yet – several). Use the ReverbNation Fanbridge or Pledge music widgets to deliver it.
TIP: Make sure these downloads are not available anywhere else. Not streaming on your, Facebook page or on ReverbNation – widgets. Only on your website. Advertise that these are available on your other social networks.
And of course it can also be available for purchase on your CD, but make sure that no one can get it anywhere else online. This will motivate people to sign up to your mailing list!
5. Follow 25 new people a week on Twitter. I know what a pain in the arse to focus on this but many of these newly followed people will indeed follow you back and your network will begin to grow.
6. Send out e-mails to your most engaged fans through Facebook and ask if you can have their e-mail addresses for your newsletter. This is a bit arduous but the results will pay off.
7. Do the same with any other networks you frequent.
8. Start a simple Tumblr blog and share photos, stories and thoughts.
9. Start a podcast or a vodcast and interview other artists with big followings. Ask them to share your podcast with their fans and followers. It doesn’t have to be a big production. It can be a small, informal video at YouTube.
Click here to see mine. http://www.youtube.com/arielpublicity (I make them in my office with my iPhone and edit them on my mac)
10. Ask your fans to review your music at CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon. Ask them to make iMixes and Amazon Listmania! lists, and include your music on them.
11. Wish people a happy birthday (everyday) on Facebook! Send a link to you singing Happy Birthday on YouTube… This will be the most memorable birthday wish that they receive.
12. Practice random acts of kindness online regularly. Introduce people to each other who may benefit from knowing one another. Always start by asking how can I help instead of: What can they give me?
We’ve had a fantastic year hear at Cyber PR®. We had the privilege of working with over 200 artists across the spectrum of all genre. Though it is always difficult to a ‘top 10′ list, especially with the level of talent that we proudly represent. Nevertheless, we have taken a look back at the year 2011 and have compiled a top 10 list of the Cyber PR® artists who have received the most attention from bloggers, podcasters and internet radio stations. Enjoy and Happy New Year!
- Ariel and Team Cyber PR®
Top 10 Cyber PR® Artists of 2011
Bowling For Soup
Bowling for Soup (acronym: BFS, or sometimes B4S) is a pop punk band based in Denton, Texas formed in 1994 from the ruins of an old metal band. Quoting Jaret Reddick, the lead singer, “we wanted to make happy music”. They’re known for their often humorous lyrics, upbeat guitar riffs, and Jaret’s distinctive voice.
It’s that time of year again when it’s time to buy some gifts. It you’re in a quandary about what to buy for that musician or recording engineer in your life, you’re in luck. I have a list of recommendations that covers a variety of items and price ranges. Most of these products I use regularly.
1. Etymotic Reaserach ER 20 Hear Protection Ear Plugs I personally never go into a loud audio situation without these little gems. They are soooo much better than foam or wax earplugs in that they cut the level down without affecting the frequency response. Since I found the Etymotic Ear Plugs I feel absolutely naked and scared when I don’t have them on me. At less than $10, you just can’t go wrong.
3. Monoprice 8323 Headphones It’s shocking how good these phones are for about $22. They’re pretty comfortable, have a really tight fit, and provide a surprisingly balanced sound. In fact, I would trust the low end on the 8323′s more than on a couple alternatives that I have that cost 4 or 5 times more. Don’t let the “DJ-style” in the description scare you, these are terrific for the price.
5. Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones Etymotic makes a lot of really great earphone products, but I especially love these MC5‘s for listening to my iPad or computer on trips. They totally seal out everything around you, which is great for eliminating that plane noise on a long trip. Plus, they’re a huge upgrade over the standard Apple earbuds (which aren’t even in the same league). They’re about 60 bucks, and well worth it.
6. NewerTech Voyager Q Hard Drive Dock Granted, this is a little geeky, but a total boon to the hard working person on a DAW. Raw hard drives are so much cheaper than buying them already in the cases, but how to connect them? Use a drive dock, that’s how. This version of the Voyager is the one I use every day. It allows you to hot-swap drives and connects to the computer via Firewire 400 and 800. eSATA, and USB 3, so you won’t have any hiccups editing video or that project with 100 96k/24 bit tracks. It’s about $75.
7. FMR Really Nice Compressor Everybody wants big bang for the buck and you can’t get a bigger bang than the products from FMR, especially their Really Nice Compressor. The RNC provides excellent high-quality compression complete with a special “Super Nice” mode that chains multiple compressors together internally for an especially smooth sound. At $175, it can’t be beat. While you’re at it, buy one of their Really Nice Preamps as well, a great sounding preamp for an amazing price.
8. T-RackS 3 Mastering Suite Don’t get me wrong, it’s usually not a good idea to master your own stuff, but on those occasions where you must, T-RackS is the way to go. I especially like the fact that it can be used as a stand alone desktop app. It has a great metering package and a wide range of EQ and compressor options. A word of caution, it’s best to stay away from the EQ if you’re mastering yourself, but T-RackS is a great way to do one of the main jobs of a mastering engineer – setting all of your songs to the same relative level. You can purchase T-RackS 3 for $249. While you’re at it, pick up a copy of the T-RackS official guide (written by yours truly) for some mastering tips and tricks.
9. Golden Age Project Pre-73 Everybody wants a Neve preamp but a lot of us can’t spring for a couple of channels of 1073s. The Golden Age Project Pre-73 was built to sound a lot like the 1073 and it does a pretty good job of it. It’s not the real thing, but for only $350 it’s surprising how close it gets.
10. Royer R-101 Ribbon Microphone There’s now a number of cheap ribbon mics on the market, but let’s face it, they sound like crap compared to the real deal like a Royer R-121 or a vintage RCA DX-44. Now you can own a great ribbon mic for a reasonable price thanks to Royer’s new R-101. It’s about 40% cheaper than it’s big brother and just the thing for recording electric guitars and horns of all type. Plus, it’s a real Royer.
That’s it for this year. Hopefully there’s a little something in the price range you’re looking for. I probably could have written about 10 more gift ideas, but I think I’ll save them for next year. In the meantime, don’t you deserve a present too?
A few months ago, Google introduced their own social networking platform with the intention of entering the ring to contend for the social media crown against the likes of Facebook and Twitter. This platform, simply dubbed Google + (pronounced Google Plus), showcases quite a few similar features as its leading competition. So as a musician, you may be asking yourself ‘why would I even bother if Im already on Facebook and Twitter? Do I REALLY need to update yet another social account??’.
Well frankly, the answer is yes, you really do need to get yourself set up on Google + and the reasons as such are quite simple.
Why Musicians Cannot Avoid Google +
1. Google + pages rank very highly (if not #1) in Google searches.
This is incredibly important for any emerging musician trying to establish an online presence, as it will almost instantly increase your visibility. Even if you are still too obscure for your Facebook Fan Page or your personal website to appear towards the top of a Google search, a Google + page will almost instantly rank towards the very top.
2. Google + is the fastest growing social network in history.
Of course it is! Google is already such a dominant force that anything they introduce can grow, and fast. So it is no surprise that Google +, introduced in July of 2011, received 20 million visits in the first 21 days of its existence. As of September 2011, Google + was up to 25 million registered members, which is still infantile compared to Facebook which is somewhere in the range of 750 million registered members. But if Google + can continue to grow at it’s current rate, it may be able to give Facebook a real run for the money.
3. Google + has already shown to be a powerful tool for musicians.
Within the first weeks of the Google + launch, a singer/ songwriter named Daria Musk took advantage of some of the FREE Google + features, namely Google Hangouts, to host a virtual concert to hundreds of fans and new listeners.
Sound Advice w/ Daria Musk
Whether or not Google + is the most wildly original social network since the dawn of Web 1.0, 2.0 or beyond isn’t important. What is important is that because of the reasons outlined above, Google + is here to stay and should be an important platform and marketing tool to consider when creating a strategy to build your online presence and influence.
The following are five of the most important features that you as a musician need to know about in order to make the most of your time and effort put into Google+.
This is the quintessential feature that you all must be familiar with. A Google + Band Page is a page that you can make, just like a Facebook Fan Page, that caters directly to musicians.
It is crucial that you sign up for a band page as soon as possible so that you can solidify the URL and Band Page name to remain consistent with the rest of your social presence. This process is very simple:
Once you sign up for a Google + account, you will see a link to ‘create a page ’ on the right side bar towards the bottom of your profile.
From here, all you need to do is select the ‘Arts, Entertainment and Sports’ option and create the page!
It is truly that easy and will make a HUGE difference in your overall online visibility. Of course, you want to make sure you complete your Google + Band Page with a Bio, Hi-Res pictures of yourself or your band. Unfortunately at this point in time, Google+ Band Pages still don’t have a way for you to upload music directly to the page, so you’ll want to use this page primarily to engage your fans.
Google +’s Circles are THE core function of the website and is how Google + positioned itself as a unique competitor in the social networking market…
As far as you need to be concerned, Circles are really just lists. See, Google + functions similarly to Twitter in that you can simply follow anyone you’d like without needing their approval by adding them to a Circle. The Benefit of this is that you can create separate Circles for all of the different people and resources that you need to stay on top of. Here are a few types of Circles that I suggest you create:
Fans (create a new circle for each major market or region where your fans exist. Great for upcoming show!)
Blogs that you follow
Music Industry Resources
Here is a great video overview of Circles made by Google!
As mentioned above, singer/songwriter Daria Musk was able to utilize Google Hangouts to host a virtual concert for hundreds (and eventually thousands) of fans and listeners within her first 3 sessions! So what is Google Hangout?
Simply put, Google +’s hangouts is a free and easy to use video conferencing service similar to Skype (actually, Facebook’s introduction of Skype video chatting was a response to Google +’s introduction of Hangouts).
The reason this service is so important for emerging musicians is because it allows you expand the face-to-face time with fans to beyond just live events.
Here is another great video overview from Google:
I know what you’re thinking… more photos??
Well, yes. More photos. But thankfully Google + has made it far easier than any other platform to upload photos directly to your profile! When Google + was originally introduced, Google also released the Google + mobile apps for the iPhone and Android operating systems. Within these apps is a fantastic function that allows the app to automatically upload all pictures taken from your phone directly to your profile. Yes this will drain more battery from your smartphone… but I think it’s worth it to know that every photo you take, be it from the recording studio, from the road, or even from an awesome new restaurant, is now a piece of content that you can share with your fans.
Before Google + was in the running for the social media contender, Google introduced it’s own form of a Facebook Like button called the ‘+1 button’. Then, when Google+ was launched, the +1 button became a fully integrated engagement marketing tool, allowing anyone to ‘+1” any page with the button, which not only acts to help the page rank higher in Google searches, but it now also appears on that person’s Google + profile.
So what does this mean…
Well, it doesn’t mean much in terms of how you use Google +. But it does mean that the +1 Button is now an absolute must, along with the Facebook Like button, on your website and blog! Including this will turn your website into an easily sharable, highly visible site on Google +.
As an emerging musician, it is critical that you stay on top of the ever-evolving trends of social media so that you can properly establish, maintain and grow your online presence, ultimately leading to a bigger more dedicated fan base. Google’s introduction of Google+ is simply the latest, major introduction into this world and as such it is important that you are on top of it to make sure you don’t fall behind other artists who are growing with the trends.