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Author Topic: clever and easy music distribution ideas  (Read 3322 times)

superboyac

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clever and easy music distribution ideas
« on: June 20, 2013, 12:18:54 PM »
On my new website, where I'll be posting my music, I want to make the actual songs available for free (for now) and I want to leverage the latest and greatest technologies we have available.  If anyone has suggestions, please throw them out!

the goal:
I want the music to get on the devices and pc's of users even if they can barely use a computer.

My ideas so far:
I have the mp3 file available as button download for desktop users).  For itunes (and other music management software), I'm hoping when they click on the button to download (links directly to the mp3 file), itunes will immediately pop up and add it to the library (is this correct?).
I also want a QR code with a direct link to the file so people can do the same with their mobile devices, whether it's an iphone, android, or whatever.. Once again, if the QR links to the direct file, it should always work, right?


edit, here's the website, for reference:
http://tbgentertainment.com/

40hz

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 01:03:37 PM »
Take a look at bandcamp.com
 :Thmbsup:

Also - if you plan on eventually selling - it's wise to start managing fan expectations early  to avoid midunderstandings down the road.

Offer no more than one or two songs for free  If you'll be doing much more, set the rest up for "pay whatever you like", allow for generous free audition listening times for everything, and optionally set the bottom figure at $0 if you still feel that strongly about it.

It's not so important what you charge as you make a statement that you believe it's worth something up front. Otherwise many people feel resentful down the road when a price tag gets sprung on them. It's a common if somewhat irrational attitude - but so it goes.
 ;) 8)
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 01:19:36 PM by 40hz »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2013, 01:12:45 PM »
On my new website, where I'll be posting my music, I want to make the actual songs available for free (for now) and I want to leverage the latest and greatest technologies we have available.  If anyone has suggestions, please throw them out!

the goal:
I want the music to get on the devices and pc's of users even if they can barely use a computer.

My ideas so far:
I have the mp3 file available as button download for desktop users).  For itunes (and other music management software), I'm hoping when they click on the button to download (links directly to the mp3 file), itunes will immediately pop up and add it to the library (is this correct?).
I also want a QR code with a direct link to the file so people can do the same with their mobile devices, whether it's an iphone, android, or whatever.. Once again, if the QR links to the direct file, it should always work, right?

edit, here's the website, for reference:
http://tbgentertainment.com/

I suggest that you first put a little pondering into the "licensing" side. Because there is no such thing as "for free, for now". Something that you make free needs to BE free. Now, *other things* can be upsells/add-ons/premium/etc, but you walked into a microcosm of what we rail about with the "limits on digital rights".

"I want to get the music on devices and pc's of users even if they can barely use a computer".

But then you have the classic "lazy line" on the bottom:
"Copyright © 2013 TBG Entertainment."

Nope. Not having it! BizarroAC cackles, from his chair with his cat:
"Yesssss Userssssssss. Come download the Preciousssss Sssssong... get it on alllll your devicesssssss... that'ssssss it. Torrent and Facebook and Tweet and Youtube and ssssshare away... Now let me call in my copyright for 95 years on it!!!"

So I don't know what your "monetization" plan is, but make it one of the really permissive Creative Commons licenses, like maybe Attribution Only. (And then list who we are supposed to attribute it to!) Then spread it to the wind!



40hz

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2013, 01:29:57 PM »
Note: if your goal is to "get signed" by a label, be careful about using Creative Commons.

Publishers (books music.etc.) want clear lines of ownership and title. They understand and like copyright laws and copyright assignments - probaby because they are also pretty successful (to date) whenever they choose to abuse them. Your having something under CC can muddy the waters and screw the deal.

Not saying to skip CC if thats where you're coming from. Just be aware it may have unexpected repercussions at some future time. Had a buddy lose out on a publishing deal because he released his comic book on the web under a CC two years before one of the biggies got interested. Because they couldn't be given exclusive distribution rights purely under copyright law due to that CC, they backed out.

Sad part was, if he just posted it and didn't do a CC on it, it would have been ok because he automatically had copyright, and retained full rights, just by virtue of being the creator of the work. But not after he CC'ed it.

All CC does for the creator is reduce *their rights*. Because each CC term chips away at what rights you already have under existing law. CC primarily protects the consumer - not the creator. That's important to realize.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 01:58:03 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2013, 06:02:43 PM »
Hmm...lots of food for thought here.  Thanks guys!
I was not aware of most of these things.  I wonder what my best approach is.  Do I expect to get signed?  Good question.  I didn't even think I was good enough to get signed, but if it's really a possibility, I'll consider it.

What if I do something where I put teaser tracks online (which is me doing all the parts), and then I record an album with all the parts played by the respective musicians, and that's the one I sell?  that way, for the free stuff, I do it with a certain set of procedures, and the stuff for sale I do with the more formal procedure.

But it sounds like 40hz is saying that even then, the labels may take issue with such an arrangement.  I'll have to look into this with the pros I have contact with.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2013, 06:03:51 PM »
Damn, I'm gonna have to go into literary studies and do the Collected Works of 40hz!

Yes, I was speaking from a "consumer" standpoint based on the culture of fear on the consumer side in current copyright law. To address 40hz's point I'd say that it A, goes into my first comment of "ponder the licensing side", but you're also right, it seems to be different if someone has their eye on the Big Boys. I don't have a good answer on that. Sorry for getting too fierce on "nope, not having that". That was born of the too-simplistic of "I want to get my music out there free" theme. I'm just especially wary of Bait and Switches on "it's freeeeee" (copyright notice below).


TaoPhoenix

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2013, 06:06:23 PM »
Hmm...lots of food for thought here.  Thanks guys!
I was not aware of most of these things.  I wonder what my best approach is.  Do I expect to get signed?  Good question.  I didn't even think I was good enough to get signed, but if it's really a possibility, I'll consider it.

What if I do something where I put teaser tracks online (which is me doing all the parts), and then I record an album with all the parts played by the respective musicians, and that's the one I sell?  that way, for the free stuff, I do it with a certain set of procedures, and the stuff for sale I do with the more formal procedure.

But it sounds like 40hz is saying that even then, the labels may take issue with such an arrangement.  I'll have to look into this with the pros I have contact with.

I'd recommend you get some high grade help on this, if you can find someone/group who has some of this stuff down to a science. My instinct says that you make teaser *songs* and later record other ones "for the big boys".

I did listen briefly to the initial one up there, and I honestly didn't like it enough to listen to it much more than twice. But I don't think I'd be a fan of a "limited" version of a song, with the "real thing" for pay. Freemium doesn't work well for music!!
:tellme:

After you get a bit of better equipment, I'd much prefer like 5 promo songs and then your big album of 14 might be for sale with different ones and maybe the "favorite" of the promo ones.

superboyac

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2013, 07:58:10 PM »
Hmm...lots of food for thought here.  Thanks guys!
I was not aware of most of these things.  I wonder what my best approach is.  Do I expect to get signed?  Good question.  I didn't even think I was good enough to get signed, but if it's really a possibility, I'll consider it.

What if I do something where I put teaser tracks online (which is me doing all the parts), and then I record an album with all the parts played by the respective musicians, and that's the one I sell?  that way, for the free stuff, I do it with a certain set of procedures, and the stuff for sale I do with the more formal procedure.

But it sounds like 40hz is saying that even then, the labels may take issue with such an arrangement.  I'll have to look into this with the pros I have contact with.

I'd recommend you get some high grade help on this, if you can find someone/group who has some of this stuff down to a science. My instinct says that you make teaser *songs* and later record other ones "for the big boys".

I did listen briefly to the initial one up there, and I honestly didn't like it enough to listen to it much more than twice. But I don't think I'd be a fan of a "limited" version of a song, with the "real thing" for pay. Freemium doesn't work well for music!!
:tellme:

After you get a bit of better equipment, I'd much prefer like 5 promo songs and then your big album of 14 might be for sale with different ones and maybe the "favorite" of the promo ones.
Yeah...I wasn't even thinking about a bait and switch thing right now.  Regarding the site, I'm just using it as a place to share stuff with musicians for now, nothing formal.
But yes, i'll talk to some of my musician friends, see what the business is like.

About the songs, I didn't care too much for the first one (Alexander), but I thought the 2nd one (Meetin Time) sounded pretty good.  No?

40hz

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2013, 09:32:13 PM »

What if I do something where I put teaser tracks online (which is me doing all the parts), and then I record an album with all the parts played by the respective musicians, and that's the one I sell?

Can't speak for the industry as a whole (not that I'm qualified to anyway) but my feeling is you can only have one product if you're a musician. Doing a "lite" version and a formal one sends mixed messages. Which might work for software. But I don't think it works for music.

From my experience, your real listeners are looking for a relationship. They want to go on a trip with you - and you're the explorer they're gonna follow. The Grateful Dead understood that. They embarked on a musical journey and invited their fans to come along for the ride.

And it worked. Whether you love them or could care less about their music, nobody can dispute that they probably did more for their fans than anybody in music before or since. Because regardless of where they played, they offered only one thing: the opportunity to hang with and listen to them. And the shows were pretty much identical. As was their music whether live or recorded. Album or concert, you got the whole shebang. You got The Dead.

You can't really do that by offering two tiers of product in music. It's sorta like accepting a date from an admirer, and then saying "Ok. You'll get a kiss good-night...and I'll buy dinner. But you won't be hearing any of my best jokes - and I'm not getting all dressed up for this date tonight. Maybe later on, if it gets more serious, I will. Are you ok with that for now?"

So...I'd recommend only going public with your absolute best. Nobody but hipsters want to know how you work your magic. At least not in my experience. (There's a lot of truth behind the magician's advice to never tell an audience how a trick is done because it only disappoints them.)

Most listeners want to hear something really good they can relate to. And if there's enough of it - and you keep it coming - then they'll become your fans.

About the only listeners I've ever found, who can be counted on to really get into watching all the little steps in the process of creating music or a band, are the parents of the kids who are doing it. Them and the occasional deranged and obsessive stalker - which some parents remind me of.

If I were doing a band right now...or even a solo project (double basses at twenty paces anyone?) I'd do a couple of things. First, clearly understand what the primary initial major goal is: get signed, just have fun, start my own label, get invited to perform and cut an album with Dana Fuchs, impress my workaholic friends, create some "real music" for a change, get rich, get wasted, get laid...whatever. It doesn't matter what the goal is. Because it will probably change once you get rolling. Bands are like battle plans. Few ever survive contact with the target unchanged.

Hmm...maybe they are battle plans?

Anyhoo...once that is sorted, move toward it and start lining up like minded musicians to participate, and set up a "reality check" composed of a very few trusted friends and knowledgeable supporters to honestly help you assess how well you're meeting your goals, and to be people you can occasionally bounce things off.

Because where they really come in handy is in letting you know when something just isn't working.

Living600.jpg

By example: the group I most enjoyed being in had a song Put the Shame on Me that I and the rest of the band absolutely loved. Problem was...it didn't work. There was just something about it that prevented it from ever coming completely together even if the three musical ideas in it were all very solid. We worked on it for about a year without ever getting it completely right. It just sounded rough no matter what, in marked contrast to all our other original numbers - of which we had 25 finished at that point.

Finally, one of our cadre of insiders told us it just wasn't happening with that song - that it kinda lost the audience somewhat - and definitely spoiled the "vibe" - every time we performed it. So with heavy heart (and red faces) we abandoned it as written, recycled the usable pieces of it into other songs (which did work) and freed up rehearsal and composition time for more promising new tunes. And once we were cut free from the anchor of that one unworkable song, our creative output went into overdrive. We had a second hour of new music (14 songs total) written, arranged, and ready to play out less than two months later.

Apparently, that miserable song was actually holding our entire group back. Good thing somebody pointed it out to us.

So what does all this have to do with your original question? This: decide what you want it to be. And then create the organization and infrastructure to accomplish it.

Live performance group, studio group, solo act? Major label, indy label, own label, no label? Get rich, make money, break even, work for beer, work for free? New career, full professional, semi-pro, patron of the art, hobby, an excuse for a night out?

That determines the next step. If it's purely for fun, it doesn't matter what you do next. And if money isn't a concern, or even a factor, it doesn't matter much either. You can play for free seven nights a week if you want to. And give away recordings for as long as you can afford to pay the bandwidth.

But...if you're approaching it as a professional rather than as a serious amateur (or an artiste) then you have to focus on quality and finish. You have to release everything to one standard - your absolute best and only allow fully finished product out the door.

Because, unlike a live club performance, a bad recording lives forever. And if it's put up on the web (which it will be whether you want it there or not) it can be heard by a virtually infinite audience. Blow a club date and a few hundred people will hear and maybe remember it. But probably only for a little while. Release a song like In the Year 2525* and you'll never live it down.

So...I'd suggest following some of Tao's advice. Get a solid group of songs (say 5 or 6) cut to whatever the final standard is you want to release them as. Setup a free Bandcamp account and get them up where they can be heard. Maybe offer one for free and have the rest as "pay whatever you want." But I'd set some minimum - like a buck each. Bandcamp and the CD Baby websites have some very good practical advice and tips for musicians jut starting out releasing their own recordings. Well worth a visit.

There's tons more, but it's getting late here so I'm gonna stop typing for a while. Till later! :Thmbsup:

------------------------------
*Note: the ironic thing about that song was that it actually topped the charts in the US and UK when it was first released. But a scant few years afterwards, the oddest thing happened. Not only was the song universally laughed at (and deservedly so IMO) - but for some strange reason nobody you spoke to ever seemed to recall they ever liked it to begin with.

Weird! :huh: Somebody must have been buying it for it to make it up to #1. Must have been some other people apparently.


In the Year 2525
is now regarded in many quarters as the absolute worst song ever written and recorded. Now there's a distinction any musician can aspire to!

So it goes. :(
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 11:17:28 AM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2013, 11:37:36 AM »
40, you know I really appreciate your thoughts, thanks so much.

I have to think about my goals, then.  I like the Grateful Dead.  I remember in high school and college how much we liked them.  And I loved how I could always get new music from them whenever I went to the record store because they had so many albums, so many live bootlegs, there was always more to get, and we loved that.  I would like to be like that if possible.  But I don't know what that means yet.  I still have to learn a lot about the business, I need to finish those 3 books you recommended.  I have some contacts here that can help me with specific questions when the time arises also.

The style of music may not be my absolute favorite, but the community of fans for the jam bands really is my favorite.  The Dead, Phish, Dave Mathews...really fan-friendly bands.  They get discovered in colleges, really make the fans feel good about the music.

40hz

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2013, 12:02:21 PM »
^FWIW I'm not a super big Dead fan myself. I like some of their songs and some of their lyrics. But I could never get into the whole mystical experience and tribal dimension many of their followers work their way into. (If I wanted to get that crazy I'm more the type who sunscreens up and heads over to Burning Man.) ;D

But I do admire their non-business business model. And the way they treated their fans.

And apparently their fans did too. Because the GD had to be one of the longest running and most consistent of all music phenomenons.

Don't know if their band model could be reproduced since it was definitely a product of the era that spawned it. In many respects it was a living fossil of what I consider a more gentle and civilized time in America - even if many who lived through it thought the US was coming apart at the seams at the time. Little did they know of how bad it would get once all that "peace and love hippie bullshit" finally got laid to rest and the "New Economy-Regan-Return to Conservatism and Traditional Values" Era kicked into high gear.

Still...a lot of the ferment that led to the creation of the counter-cultures of the 60s and early 70s (there actually were several btw) is beginning to be felt again. Largely because many of the same government and institutional abuses that sparked the original "60s" mindset are coming back with a vengeance - along with a raft of entirely new ones. So who knows? Maybe the Dead's operational model could be used again...

dh.jpg

The catch is you'd have to realize that, when it came to the Grateful Dead, it wasn't just about the music. It was mainly about the vibe. (see above  :mrgreen:)
 :)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 12:07:55 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2013, 12:15:01 PM »
 :D lol, 40, you crack me up...because it's so true.

Here's what I want to make the business model around, but I don't know if it will work or if it is just too outmoded.  But here it is:
When I go to jazz/music shows, I like to pick people's brains about what they like/don't like.  And between the musicians and the hardcore fans, this is the best way for jazz, something that was happening a lot in the 50s-70s that doesn't happen much anymore, so maybe it's just old fashioned.  They used to play long sets, and in a somewhat casual atmosphere.  Like, if the piano player had to use the bathroom, another piano player from the audience would sit in until he came back.  And they would have extended shows as long as the audience was hanging around.  Not too formal with the two drink minimums, or with the set lists.  A bit more interaction with the audience than what we are used to now.

I guess I want to be somewhere in between a Diana Krall and that really good no-name local guy who makes no money and is really artistically intense.

40hz

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2013, 12:32:14 PM »
Keith Urban has that touch. I'm not much into his music either - but my older sister loves him and dragged me to a small concert he was doing before he got big.

I have seldom seen a performer connect with an audience better than him. And he did it within the first few minutes of the first set. Very down to earth and open guy.

About the only thing in music I've seen that was quicker is how fast Chic Corea can get into 'the groove.' (Note: for those who don't already know, that's within the first pico-second of the first beat of the first song on his set list. :greenclp:)

superboyac

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2013, 03:28:00 PM »
Keith Urban has that touch. I'm not much into his music either - but my older sister loves him and dragged me to a small concert he was doing before he got big.

I have seldom seen a performer connect with an audience better than him. And he did it within the first few minutes of the first set. Very down to earth and open guy.

About the only thing in music I've seen that was quicker is how fast Chic Corea can get into 'the groove.' (Note: for those who don't already know, that's within the first pico-second of the first beat of the first song on his set list. :greenclp:)
Yeah, I've never given Corea much of a chance, I should.  My teacher likes him a lot too, and I like him, so I figure it's gotta be good.

app103

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Re: clever and easy music distribution ideas
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 03:47:41 PM »
You should get yourself on every one of the following sites. The ones that allow you to give away mp3's, do so without you having to give up any of your rights to your music. All of them are either social networks, encourage sharing to social networks, or make it very easy for bloggers to share your music with their readers.

Inform me if you get on any of the sites in bold, and I'll help out as much as I can with spreading the word and getting people to listen, through various means. (G+, Facebook, Friendfeed, and my music blog, if it's an instrumental)

last.fm (you can give away mp3's here)
myspace.com
soundcloud.com (you can give away mp3's here)
reverbnation.com
bandcamp.com (you can give away mp3's here)

A new online radio site that encourages and rewards listeners for helping out indy artists by promoting them to their friends. You can get mailing list signups through this, too. Then you can offer your free mp3's to your mailing list subscribers.

earbits.com

Get on youtube, even if it is just with your music playing as background sound to a static image. Include a link to your site and offer for free mp3's with each video you post.

Sites that could be good or maybe to stay away from if you are opposed to CC licensing:

jamendo.com (they require CC licensing for you to upload your music)

Get in touch with these guys if any of your music falls into the Instrumental/Experimental/Post-Rock genres:

Lost Children

They go to the ends of the earth to promote and distribute their free CC licensed compilation albums and have a whole section for their releases on archive.org, and quite a following spread out all over the internet.

And if your stuff is post-rock, specifically, get in touch with the guy that runs the post-rock page on Facebook and see if he will share your stuff with his Facebook, Last.fm, twitter, youtube (and wherever else he is) subscribers.  (he hasn't posted very much music this month because he's been participating in the protests in Turkey, but he will be back to it, as soon as he can)