Sunday, January 25, 2009
by Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity/Cyber PR
Many experts say that the #1 way we will all communicate within the next 3-4 years will be thorough our mobile devices. It is no secret that the United States is far behind Europe and Asia in ease of use and advance technologies in the mobile realm but it is never too early to begin looking at a mobile strategy.
With that said I will be exploring how musicians can fully utilize using mobile technologies throughout 2009 but here is a primer. I saw Helen Keegan present in Iceland at the You Are In Control conference at Iceland Airwaves 2008 and I was wowed by her presentation.
Helen is a mobile marketing, advertising and media specialist working with a range of clients from media owners to brands and agencies to mobile technology companies. She has been working in mobile marketing for more than 8 years.
I asked her a few questions via email and she was generous enough to answer them for us here:
How Can Musicians Effectively Use Mobile For Marketing? - 7 Questions For Helen Keegan of Beep Marketing
Using mobile phones is now integral to our lives. Artists should be thinking about who their audience is and how to build it - whatever ways are relevant. And that has to include mobile today. Young audiences in particular are technology agnostic and want instant gratification and will use the nearest device or service available to them whether that's their phone, their laptop, the TV, their iPod, their PSP, whatever.
1. Where is a good place to start for artists just beginning to think about a mobile strategy?
The artist should probably start by using their mobile phone to create and capture content themselve - short video footage, podcasts, moblogging, photographs, twittering etc. All this can be done instantly and cheaply from a mobile phone and helps the audience get to the real essence of the artistóthey feel they're getting beyond the branding and the manufactured image. Music is about soul after all isn't it so being able to share what you're really thinking and doing would seem to make sense to me.
2. How often should artists communicate via mobile platforms once they have one set up?
There is no fixed answer to this. It's about building a community and having a conversation with members of your community and allowing your community to chat to each other. What I would say is that if you're using SMS, then make sure you have permission, make it easy to opt out at any time, make sure it's free (or very cheap or sponsored) and don't overdo it. Think about how much you might tolerate. Also think about what messages those individuals might be getting at that time - Friday night at 6 PM is probably not a good time to promote stuff when a lot of people are organizing their weekend. Similarly, if you have a teen audience then waking them up with a text message at 7 AM on a Sunday morning might not always go down well. We're talking about real people here and real conversations not just push alerts about gigs and releases.
3. What's the easiest way for an artist to build a mobile list?
It's not about building a list; that's too simplistic. It's about building a fanbase and community and allowing those people access to you via mobile and vice versa. Permission is a given when using a communication method. Spam is in the eye of the beholder and even if it's legal, people won't tolerate it - fans or not. Personal information can be collected in a variety of ways - text in promotions at gigs, fill in leaflets with your information, capture it on websites or mobile websites - all the usual methods. But make sure you have the tick box to opt in and make it easy to opt-out (by replying STOP to a text message for example).
4. What's the easiest way for artists to deliver MP3s to fans via mobile?
Helen suggested we ask Steve Lawson who coincidentally also writes for Music Think Tank and he generously provided the answer:
The MP3s to fans thing is an interesting one - the easiest way if you don't want to make your audience pay for them would be to do an MP3 blog with Wordpress, add the Mippin plug-in, and just post the links in blog posts - most mobile phones will just ask where you want to save the file when clicked on.
If you want to charge for it, life gets a little more difficult. I had a conversation recently with the former head of Paypal mobile - there's a joke name for a division. He left after Paypal failed to do anything sensible for mobile at all, despite him organising meetings with the top dogs at Nokia for them. He did say there is some code that can be used, so I'm going to get onto him, find out what it is, and as soon as I do, I'll post it on music think tank! But at the moment, it's pretty tough to do.
The big problem is that most of the online sales apps is that the front end is flash driven, and virtually no mobile handsets can handle flash. iPhone users can obviously use iTunes. I've no idea what the deal is with getting ones music onto the Nokia music store. I've had emails from the head of Nokia music, so will ask him as soon as I can!
This is an answer that seems it will unfold as time goes on.
Helen also comments:
Research tells us that young people are sideloading more tracks than their downloading from their phones. That means they're downloading tracks to their laptops and transferring the files across to their iPods, phones, whatever. So what I would say is that DRM is a no-no otherwise you're not able to share the track between devices.
5. I know ringtones have experienced a decline in popularity. Should artists still make their music available as ringtones? If so, what's the easiest way for them to do that?
Yes, ringtones are still important - short snippets of a track available in the various mobile formats would make sense. There's plenty software available on the Internet to allow for you to do that cheaply or free.
6. I know you are a twitter evangelist, just like me. Are there any tips on how musicians can use Twitter to create group mobile communication?
I love twitter and for me the most important things are authenticity and joining in. Be yourself and engage with other Twitterers. If Stephen Fry and Richard Branson can do it, then so can an artist!
7. Do you have any parting mobile advice you'd like to give a band or an artist looking to learn more?
Yes, check out Paul Brindley's MusicAlly and read David Jennings' book Net, Blogs 'n Rock 'n Roll. And get yourself into blogs and google alerts to keep track of what's happening in mobile and music.
You can read about Helens work and follow her interesting blog here:
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Kevin is a podcaster, blogger, and sync licensing agent. He resides in Portland, OR where he developed and maintains the podcasting and sync licensing efforts for CD Baby.
Podcast - http://cdbabypodcast.com
Blog - http://kevinbreuner.com
Twitter - kbreuner
Q: How long has the CD Baby Podcast been broadcasting?
A: Our first episode of the DIY Musician Podcast posted back in May 2007, so we have been podcasting for a year and a half.
Q: What do you try to acheive with each podcast?
With each episode, I'm always asking myself, "What can artists learn from this episode. Does this create discussion around topics that are really valuable to the indie music community?" Those questions are bouncing around in my head from the beginning to the end of an episodes production. I think with a podcast or blog, it's incredibly important to stick to the intended purpose, and because of that, there are interviews that were never released. When it came down to it, they didn't serve the purpose we want to achieve with the podcast. Ultimately, I hope that each episode continues to empower artists to take their music career into their own hands and make some realistic steps forward.
Q: What is the main goal of the CD Baby Podcast?
A: My goal with the podcast was to create an "honest" straight forward resource that CD Baby artists and the indie music community at large could use to help move their career forward. I always enjoy talking to other artists and musicians(I'm an artist as well!), and throughout my time at CD Baby, I've talked to thousands of artist that are trying to breakthrough with their music. What surprises me, is how many artists, both newbies and seasoned veterans alike, fall into the same traps over and over again.
Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have effected you most?
A: So far, podcasting has remained relatively untouched. There are quite a few podcasts that play mainstream music (that has not been properly licensed), and I think we'll start seeing the major labels take an interest in cracking down on the usage of that content. But the beauty of the podcast and the invention of the RSS feed, is that you can have direct access to people who are interested in what you are saying. There is no gate keeper telling you what you can and can't do.
Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel podcasts have that power?
A: I do, and I'm actually surprised that more bands aren't using podcasting to help promote their music. We actually interviewed a band that released a podcast before they even had all their members. The podcast chronicled their journey as they found the final member and wrote songs, recorded and so on. It immediately caught the attention of the folks over in the iTunes podcast section, and the band's podcast received a front page feature before they had even played a show. By the time they had all their members and started playing out, people were coming out wearing the bands t-shirts they were selling through their website. The fans really felt a connection to the band. I will say though, for a band to have a podcast that builds their fan base, it must have a couple key components. 1. It must have a point - It can't be people goofing off in front of a mic or telling inside jokes 2. It must draw the listener into the bands story - Save the shameless self promotion(They probably already are a fan) and give them the real you. 3. It has to be consistent - quite possibly the hardest part. Nobody will be interested in it if you do one episode every couple months. I'm actually in a new band here in Portland, and we have a podcast in the works. We've spent so much time really trying to define what it will be and how it will work just to make sure that it becomes a part of what we do. If we just made a random haphazard stab at it, it would be doomed from the beginning.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Our Cyber PR Holiday Fundraiser for 2008 was a success! The goal of the Cyber PR Campaign was to bring musicians to make a difference. Because of our participants we were able to raise a total of $850 for charity!
Here are our prize winners:
Silver Tinsel Winner
Andrew Hand - Charity: World Hunger Year & Musicians on Call
Raising $125 they will be receiving a copy of my brand-new Sound Advice DVD featuring Derek Sivers – 82 minutes of our best marketing and PR tips.
Sparkly Lights Winner
Tom St. Louis- Charity: Sleeping Children Around the World
Raising $300 they will receive my “Music Success In 9 Weeks” book and the Sound Advice DVD, plus they will get full access to my closed private online Mastermind website for life.
And our Grand Prize Winner who raised the most was:
Jana Mashonee - Charity: Jana’s Kids
She will receive the Sparkly Lights prize package of Raising a whopping $425 she will receive my “Music Success In 9 Weeks” book and the Sound Advice DVD, plus get full access to my closed private online Mastermind website for life. We will also send her my Musicians Web 2.0 Boot Camp.
We would like to send a big THANK YOU to all of our participants including those who helped promote the fundraiser!
Sunday, January 4, 2009
During times like this when the television and the newspapers seem to be chock full of only doom and gloom, it is an appropriate exercise and it is simple. Here it is:
Write down at least 20 notable accomplishments that you have achieved over the past twelve months. They don't all have to be music-related, of course. Some of them can be things that are happening in your family, or at work, if your work is not being a full-time musician. Some examples are:
• Released an album
• Made 30 new friends on Facebook
• Played a benefit concert.
You get the idea...
When you have written them all, take a look at them, fold them up, and carry them around with you in your wallet. The next time you're faced with the doom and gloom, read them to yourself and acknowledge what you've done.
Bonus round, write down your lifetime accomplishments on the other side of the paper.
Happy holidays and may you have a healthy and successful 2009!
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