News & Views - Ep. 3

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Sex on Fire

THIS IS ONE REASON WHY I LOVE KINGS OF LEON! Being a lover of classic southern rock, Kings gives me the grittiness and sexiness I expect, but with a modern edge. The new single “Sex on Fire” is the epitome of what I mean, (and not just because the words “sex” and “fire” are in the title). I wish I could say I understand the meaning of the song, but I’ll admit I don’t really get it. In my defense, though, when I play it I need to be armed with Kleenex to wipe the drool off my face. Yesterday for example, “Sex on Fire” came on the radio in the office and my body went all rigor mortis and I felt like my eyes were spinning around in cartoon-y circles. When the song faded out and my body melted back to real-time I remember thinking, “what the fuck just happened?” Same goes for the video, it will knock your socks right off.



Here's the Vid:
Sex On Fire



The Fall of Communization and the Rise of the Music Fan

It has become very apparent that when author, marketer, and blogger Seth Godin talks, people listen. In his Ted Talks video "Sliced bread and other marketing delights" he covers a wide range of topics that I would like to expand on today.

He argues that at the heart of spreading ideas is TV and stuff like TV. Within the system that he calls the TV-Industrial Complex he explains the process of how early companies figured out how to spread their ideas by buying ads, which got them more distribution, this allowed them to make a bigger profit, and they then turned around to use the money to buy more ads, thus completing a cycle.

He goes on to say that companies used this complex to touch people in a way that they weren't expecting, in a way they didn't necessarily want, with an ad over and over again until they bought that product. What the marketers who brought us the likes of Fruity Pebbles and Pop Tarts have found over the last couple of years is that these old ways are no longer working. Record Labels used a system very similar to this idea, but they of course added a few steps.

1. Release the single 3 months before release
2. Pay mass radio to play song, 3 times an hour
3. 1 ½ months before release send MTV and Fuse video
4. Release album on a Tuesday with other popular artists
5. Rise up the billboard charts
6. Use profits to buy more distribution and tour support
7. Release the second single 2 months after release
8. Pay mass radio to play song, 3 times an hour
9. Top the billboard at #1
10. Make second video
11. Start tour of the United States
12. Halfway through, release third single
13. Make third video
14. Finish the tour dates
15. Use whatever money the label didn't take to go on three year journey
16. Find your inner self before continuing to work on second album
17. Do it all over again

What record labels found out years after CD Release Complex stopped working, their money had been spent, and the bands they threw at pop radio no longer stuck is that the environment of the music industry had changed as well. No one cared about what they had to say. In a world where people now have way more choices and far less time, the obvious thing happens, people start ignoring you.

To bring this full circle, in the YouTube video "An anthropology introduction to YouTube" professor Wesch highlights that there is a cultural inversion happening where people are becoming increasingly individual and the more individualized we become, the more we value this sense and want for community. We become more independent yet long for stronger relationships. There is commercialization all around us; therefore, we now seek out authenticity.

This cultural inversion that he speaks of is a perfect example of how the way people interact with music has changed. Many of us have developed very diverse and complex listening habits. We now form communities around our favorite bands, we want to establish a connection or relationship, and we have a strong desire for music that is real, authentic, and meaningful.

As music fans we are now walking in a crowded room where everyone wants our attention and what happens naturally is that we've tuned out the frequency of noise in our lives. The permeability of the walls we put up around ourselves now only lets certain messages through. You now have to be smarter about what you do, because it's no longer as easy to buy your way into our headphones.

What relationships are you building, where is your community, what connections are being made, how authentic is your message?



Is Active Rock Radio the Soft-core Porn Pusher of the Internet?

Have you looked at the web site for any active rock radio station
lately? When did you have to start featuring a "Hottie of the Day" (An example) to get music fans to check out your web site? Here are just some of the categories of "Hotties" I discovered recently while researching contact info for radio stations nationally (my social comments are in parenthesis):

-Whipped Cream Bikinis (not gonna work in the sun ladies)
-Drunk Girls Kissing (OK, so if you're female this is old news...)
-Hand Bras (gee, I never knew modesty qualified as clothing)
-Under Boob (for those with a fetish for only seeing the bottom half of
-Chicks that Rock! (what does the exclamation point mean?)
-Wet on the Net (don't electrocute yourself)
-Hot Chicks with Fish (I was scared to click on the link)
-Hot Cheerleaders (an age old fantasy, fellas)
-Bath Towel Babes
-Ghouls Gone Wild (nice play on words)
-Goth Girls (for those who are too cheap to visit the Suicide Girls site)
-Side Boob! (again with the exclamation point?)
-Maxim's Top 100 (my husband votes religiously for Maxim's Hometown Hotties every week)
-The Breast Test (I passed)
-Tramp Stamps (the first time I heard this term was in Wedding Crashers and
it still makes me laugh)
-Tag or Release (just plain mean)
-Butterface Girls (again, I was too scared to click on the link)
-PETA Hotties (Pammy, Hef's Girl Hollie)
-Match that Ass (can they consider this portion of the site educational?)
-Sexy Tats
-Lovely & Large (breasts of course, heaven forbid they actually feature a normal sized woman)

My two cents worth--it's a sad day when you can't attract fans to your site to check out the music you're playing, maybe it's time to start playing better music!

--Mistress AMG

Spilled On Canvas, Music Marketing For 21st Century Bands

Sioux Falls, South Dakota natives The Spill Canvas have taken on a strategy that may not be new to some, but is essential for thriving in the music industry today. When visiting the band's website you see traditional content such as news, tour info, lyrics, street team, and a store. The game changer is how they have set up their fan club.

The take action now style of copywriting says it all, "Now there are two ways to get all over The Spill Canvas!" Within their fan club, they have two tier levels of interaction and access.

Free Basic Account:

Build Your Own Spill Canvas Profile, Put Yourself On The Spill Canvas Map, Comment and Communicate With Other Spill Canvas Fans, and Get The Latest Spill Canvas News Sent To Your Inbox.

All very common elements, but executed with some with new twists. It is within their official fan club membership for $19.99 that they lower the barrier of adoption for their true fans. They give clear incentive for joining because when looked over its almost common sense.

Paid Advanced Account:

All The Free Benefits, A $20 Gift Certificate To The Spill Canvas Store, Access Exclusive Content (Personal Videos From Band And Unreleased Tracks), Fan Club Only Contests, Access To Fan Club Member Only Merchandise, Interaction With Other Spill Canvas Fans, and Upload Your Fan Photos and Blog.

If you were already in the market to buy something and like any music fan, you want the biggest bang for your buck, The Spill Canvas pricing strategy works in your favor. There are two Limited Edition versions of "No Really, I'm Fine", each accompanied by their own exclusive t-shirt for $20. It is the same cost of gaining access to the Official Fan Club, which in turn you would get the gift certificate so you could get the membership and the CD/t-shirt combo.

Andrew Dubber, blog author of New Music Strategies, has an e-book out called "20 Things Your Must Know About Music Online." In this, he addresses critical points that The Spill Canvas have build into their online marketing strategy.

By embracing Web 2.0 they've made their website an environment where people can gather, connect, and interact rather than a destination or sales brochure. Through reward and incentive they are giving fans a reason to consider joining the club and spending money. Within a single transaction they are dramatically increasing the frequency of their interaction with the fan which allows them to sell the relationship, not the product, and provides them with a platform that could lead to further purchases from that person.

If this is, music in the 21st century, what other elements do you think are essential for marketing your music today?


Why Myspace is Still Essential

Alright so I have a lot of artists who come to me, and ask if they still need Myspace. Some come to me and ask if they still need any physical distribution of their music. Personally, I say why not do both, but just like in college have a major and minor. Figure out which one you will devote 80% of your time/money, and 20% to the other. Going in 50/50 has gotten a lot of people fucked (excuse the language, but its just the truth). Going 100% in one direction is no good either for your losing revenue from a potential of millions. A potential because it all depends on talents and consumers' tastes.

Now comes Myspace. This to me seems a little low, but all the statistics are from January 2008. Myspace has over 110 million users around the globe, with an average of 300,000 new people a day. There has been over 14 billion comments, and more than 8 million artists.

How do you stand out with 8 million artists? Easy, be better than them. Have the 7 second rule for your starting song, if the song just doesn't catch my interest within 7 seconds I move on. There has been a few successes, but do not use your Myspace as the only selling tool for your album. You can promote it, but don't have people buy off Myspace. Instead you should link them to your official page. Myspace is really a promotion site for your artists, not generally a selling tool. Every artist I have seen selling off their Myspace using Snocap or something else doesn't know of the better tools like Nimbit, Reverbnation, or even Amazon. Plus why should I be interested in your music if the artists themselves do not invest the time/money into their art? I mean doing a little research can be great. You can find so much great stuff that can be essential to an artist's career, but not too many people do that. Why? They think "talent" alone can get you a deal and make you money. Wrong! You need sites like Myspace/Facebook and other social networking websites to network and get your music in the ears of listeners.

Myspace is so over saturated that every time I get a band's request now on my personal page I just decline it unless they have a cool name or profile page looks legit. On my business page, I accept everybody but rarely check their music unless the friend request is followed up with a comment or a message. This shows you're interested in every fan. Mass friend adds is so "last year". Now you have to express personality with the message. Anybody can copy and paste to make it personal, but what if you search for… let me say a random artist, Jay-Z. Lets say I still hate Jay from the studio beef between him and Nas, so in my favorite artists section I put, "Nas is the best, fuck Jay-z" (excuse the profanity again, that was taken from somebodies profile as is.). Now you do a search of profiles for Jay-Z fans, and my name pops up, and you say Hey, saw your a fan of Jay, I sound similar check me out. I would probably delete and report spam just because your trying to be personal and your not.

So pretty much, use myspace for a marketing tool to promote your music/shows and have links to pages where fans can purchase music/tickets. Merchandise is in the same boat. If you do all of the above and you still are not getting a piece of those 14 billion comments from your fans now "friends", than check your style of music, the way you added people, your quality, or just the people you send the request to. Be smart with your Myspace, and Myspace will pay you back. Be dumb with your Myspace, and your one of the people who still think it doesn't matter. It's just a tool, use it, don't live it.

From the mind of


**Based on stats found HERE


The Breaking Point

I am an avid blog reader of the music industry. Before I even thought I was reading blogs, I was enjoying them. The original blogs are reviews. Thats what blogging is right? A review of a certain point, a product, or even a review of how people dress. Well I loved reading music reviews, editorial reviews in magazines, and even reviews in the comment section of what people thought of that review. All that was what blogging was back in the day. Now its a market, with an industry, with people making a job out of it. I don't know the exact figures, but I'm pretty sure its competitive with newspapers and magazines going out of business. Which brings me to my point, I'm here to review a collection of blogs I've read over the past 2 years that have a similar topic, but is missing something. They all say that the record industry is failing miserably losing 20 some million dollars every year. They are all missing the breaking point.

When a business loses money, they look to find a way to keep their doors open and if they can't find it they close the doors. I wonder if people finally realize they can make their own coffee (or cawfee, however you pronounce it), would Starbucks close their doors? They closed 600 of them, but if people stopped giving them money, then what would their breaking point be? Would Starbucks close all of their doors? Or would they finally go back to their roots and make coffee thats actually coffee? Will KFC ever make non genetically mutated chickens if people learned how to genetically mutate chickens themselves? I mean people already know how to make music on their own, how to get it for free, how to burn and bootleg it, and even how to get free promotions from fans. What is this breaking point that will come of this industry? I said it before, I'll say it again, downsize to Indie labels or DIY if you want to work business and music, which is difficult as hell. Now when I say "downsizing" I don't mean that in a bad way, I just mean there are people who do one thing then retire, and they should not be getting more than a quarter of a percent of royalties. Thats why I like Indies, because from what I've seen everybody is a family working together. The majors pay a lot of people and here is some stats I got from Coolfer.com, from their Tuesday Business link section, and their other blogs.

"Digital distributor The Orchard reported a loss of $800,000″

"Napster has an accumulated deficit of $199 million."

Thats just this week on their Q3 earnings. Every week though, they state who was the #1 artist this week on Billboard and compare sales to this time last year. Sales are almost always lower than the previous year. At this trend will their be a year it just stops? Nobody buys music anymore and people who go to shows have been hindered by the rise of gas and ticket prices. I can go on about this forever, about how the major industry's are failing, if their going to collapse, how Indies are increasingly becoming a much better option, how even though Michael Jackson looks like an ugly woman he still does better music than most people, and how this recession is messing everything up (I won't get into politics because I get enough of it in life), but I'll just say that every business has a breaking point. Ex, Tower Records and Simon Delivers. WHAT IS THE RECORD BUSINESS' BREAKING POINT?

From the mind of Keveeno


WMG Mafia Tactics

This just in, Warner Music Group wants more money for music video game sales!

Just when things look up with Rock Band's 12 million sales of tracks, WMG's chief executive, Edgar Bronfman, states, "The amount being paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small."

That all may be true, but isn't it a little late? They already sold 12 million tracks for the game, do you think that in later games people will be willing to pay a larger price? Price from what I've seen is already around $1.99x + $159(special edition). Add a dollar to the equation and chief up there thinks "whats going to be the difference?"

Money drives all industries, and I'm sure the company that owns Rock Band is using the money to expand on their games, which will help push more artists for majors and indies. Just because WMG's stocks have fallen, Sony BMG is now SMEI (Sony Music Entertainment, Inc), and indies have grown past what was expected, they want to increase their prices to a successful business in mafia like standards. I would think that if Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and other games like that helped raise awareness of bands and increase record sales, they would keep the cut they are getting or charge less to get more benefits later on from improved games.

Hey, chief, I guess in that nice business chair that maybe lost a wheel, or that nice fedora hat that let a screw drop out your head, you are getting nervous that a growing trend in the music industry is making more money than you thought, so you want a larger piece of the pie. I'm not going to lie, if I was expecting to make a small pie, and it ended up bigger than I thought, I would want a larger piece too. At least I cooked the pie, and didn't just take a larger slice when I saw my friends slice may be comparable to mine.

Inspired by the Billboard.biz Article - Warner Music: Music Video Games Must Pay More

From the mind of


Who Will Crack First?

So I'm going to Calgary later this month for the Ryan Adams/Oasis show and several things come to mind:
1. Why are there so few US tour dates? (My guess, they don't have that big of fan base here.)
2. Will there be anything interesting to do during the day? (I hope so!)
3. Who will have the first meltdown? (I'm putting my money on Ryan Adams, since the Gallagher Brothers seem to be getting along better in their middle age... maybe this time the love of the right women is/are making them fat & happy?)
4. Is it just me or does the month of August seem to be slow as far as club touring goes? (Maybe it's more cost effective to play the big outdoor festivals because of gas prices?)

-Mistress AMG

Biting the Hand that Feeds You

I have been thinking a lot about connection these days. Namely what makes people connect.

The Internet has become a relatively new catalyst for connection. The written word has become just as powerful as the spoken word and all over the world, people are connecting in ways they never thought possible.

Now not only do I get to go see a new or an old favorite, I can check out any social networking site to find others who enjoy the same and make a new friend by writing to them and sharing experiences near and far; good, bad and ugly.

When I think of the new ‘raw’ entertainment era that we’re in, I look at ways entertainers are reaching out to their people. No longer does a person have to pay for the latest album or movie; it is readily available for download somewhere on the net where you are not supposed to go, right or wrong. I believe, for an entertainer, creating an experience online and offline is the next level of attack and the entertainers are getting it.

NIN seems to think so. Instead of taking the Metallica road to warfare against piracy, they embraced that their fans are loyal, educated and smart; they gave them the experience of free music on BitTorrent, but in addition to that, they told them in writing exactly what to do to get it. This created camaraderie and a good feeling for all, not to mention buco bucks in their other offerings.

Buckcherry on the other hand, has recently played their audience as fools by having their manager, Josh Klemme, release their new track from their upcoming album on a torrent site and fake that it came from God knows where, knowing radio stations monitor the popularity of downloaded songs as a gauge on what to play on mainstream radio. Better yet, that band had the gall to blog about on a July 3rd MySpace posting stating they felt their fans were cheated because they wanted to bring it to their deserving public first.

I understand, publicity is publicity; now they are being talked about and maybe that is what they wanted, but I know that today’s fans are not going to put up with that type of trickery. What fans are looking for is a connection to a group, not deceptive marketing. Time will tell if they bit the hands that feed them and I personally hope they get disengaged but it teaches us all something about true connecting and how a band will hit the next level or maintain their status.

Personally, I want to see bands playing out on the street corner for free once in awhile where they can entertain, interact with humans and share their gift with the world. If they are good, fame, money and respect is sure to follow. If they are well established, they will be reinforcing a bond. Even with the power of the Internet, the lure of true connection will never be replaced.



News & Views - Ep. 2



Are Majors Becoming Obsolete?

With the rise of the indies being years in the making, and the fall of the majors being decades in the making, is it time to call majors obsolete yet? The majors still monopolize the billboards, with a few indies breaking into the boards, but sales are down. Top of the lows is what the majors control now, and indies making record sales because of the rise of talent through cheaper recording practices. Who needs that "Major" deal anyways? Everybody knows its a scam. They pay you money, and your happy. You do a lot of drugs, and now your broke. You think, oh, I'll just keep making music and I'll get money. No. You owe the label all the money they gave you that you sniffed away.

Who didn't see this coming? With the internet age, just about anybody except your grandmother can be posting music online. While your grandmother is still trying to download MP3's on a typewriter, the next "next" big indie label is going to step up and possible outsell the majors. Artists are wising up and working with indies since it is more of an incentive deal, you do good you get paid and you don't… you don't. Simple. You do better next time. Majors are still on the, you get paid, you do good, they bleed you dry till they find another. You do bad, they drop the artist and they never touch music again unless its on mixtapes, reunion tours, or a reality show.

In Conclusion, majors are not close to being obsolete though since they own TV, radio, venues, stadiums, and you. They have investors, and people who believe it can change, and little do they know record sales are a bubble that started a few decades ago, and when that internet needle came and popped it, indies jumped on life rafts that were significantly smaller but they are making some waves. The last major waves from the majors get smaller everyday, while the indies grow from their small ships. So Indies haven't taken over yet, they just haven't hit their bubble yet.

Inspired by HypeBots prank, Major Labels are Obsolete

From the mind of