Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dropcards: Upgraded Download Cards

Dropcards are music download cards that come complete with custom artwork, a website address and a unique access code to unlock digital downloads. According to their website, these cards “help successfully bridge the gap between the physical and online world of music downloads.” In January, Dropcards unveiled their new download card platform and last week, they held a webinar to give people a tour of the new features they added. With these new additions of detailed redemption reporting and interactive graphs, artists will be able to keep all of their offline marketing efforts focused and data-driven. There is also a redemption map powered by Google where each user who redeems their media is pinpointed according to their actual location. In addition to being a really cool looking map, this can help artists plan potential tour routes and they can see where their fans are clustered.

We’ve been talking in class about how the CD is so ubiquitous and I think Dropcards are a great alternative. They’re versatile – you can sell them at shows or hand them out for free, include them with other merch, and you can change the content at any time. Dropcards also offers the option of e-mail collection where users would be prompted to enter their e-mail address after submitting their access code. This gives the artist more contacts and hopefully widens their fan base as well.

I think we’ll start seeing more Dropcards being handed out at shows because of all the extra benefits they offer to the artist. It’s a much better strategy than blindly giving people a CD sampler and hoping they actually listen to it and decide to come to your next show.


~Emilia Segatti

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Did Apple Kill Music?

A shocking headline, but according to an article on Techradar a UK record company (Naim Label) owner/producer Simon Drake believes Apple’s products (iPod and iTunes) are the reason why everything went wrong with music over the past decade. A bold statement considering Apple has just sold its 10th billion download on iTunes and of course the iPod is responsible for this huge milestone. But in the eyes of Simon Drake Apple’s dominance over the music industry is the problem.

Some of the arguments he makes is that it’s hard for specialized labels like his to generate revenue off of songs on iTunes because they dictate the prices, which he feels are too low. He also believes that music has lost its value because the iPod has made music so accessible that people take the experience of obtaining music for granted. Lastly, he explains how iPods are the cause of short attention spans and low quality in music because listeners don't take the time to listen to music anymore.

I found this article interesting not because of the content, but how not every indie label sees the benefits of supporting iPods or selling their music on iTunes. I do agree with some of his statements especially about the lost of quality in sounding recordings, but the rest of the argument is looking at the revolution of Apple's products in the wrong way.

I believe Apple did what needed to be done in order for music to be relevant in the digital era it was headed into after Napster. I think Simon Drake might want to reconsider his position on this topic because Apple's products may be his only chance of survival as digital music continues to rise.

Submitted by: Jarvis R. Smith


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vedera Wristbands = FREE MUSIC

This past weekend at the Jack's Mannequin headlining show, the wristbands that were given to people 21 and up had a great promotional idea printed on them that helped opening band Vedera gain a larger fan base and also help them get their music out. The wristbands came with a special code to text to a certain number that if sent, would give you a free Vedera song to be sent to your email! As we learned in the audio book, people love free, and much like what Cypress Hill did with collecting fan's emails in exchange of a song, the emails can then be saved and used to send out more information about Vedera such as upcoming tour dates, and other news thats happening with the band. This is a great idea, especially at a show where the band being promoted is opening. It gives people the opportunity to see them play live and get excited about them, and then get more fans listening to their music by obtaining a free song which will then remind them about how much fun they had at the show they just went to!
-Abby Goldstein

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Warner Withdraws from Streaming Services: Muse Speak Out Against It

Warner Music recently announced their decision to stop licensing their artists' tracks to free streaming services such as Spotify. One of Warner's biggest-selling artists, Muse, is speaking out against this decision. Bassist Chris Wolstenhome of Muse expressed his disdain for the idea by saying, "It's like taking your song off the radio isn't it? You're instantly taking your song away from a group of potential listeners." He also went on to explain that these kinds of initiatives are being made by big corporations, not the bands themselves. He further elaborates, "As far as bands are concerned you just want people to hear your music whichever way they can."

Unfortunately for Muse, Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman says these free streaming services are "clearly not net positive for the industry" and "not the kind of approach to business we will be supporting in the future."

I agree with Muse's Chris Wolstenhome's statement that taking music off of free streaming sites is exactly like taking it off of the radio and worst of all, keeping it away from a potential fanbase. As we've been reading about, so many underground bands only became huge because of fans accessing their music for free over the Internet. By taking the music off of streaming sites, this kind of exposure will be greatly limited. I also don't see the point because honestly, right now I could probably find any Muse song on YouTube within 2 minutes if I wanted to so what's the difference? I thought the record labels might have learned by now that the best way to compete with free was to just go along with it but apparently that's not the case.

- Samantha Bruno


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Reverb Store

Selling Merchandise on Facebook in Two Minutes or Less from ReverbNationBlog on Vimeo.

This week two companies, ReverbNation and Audiolife, joined forces and launched a new venture called the Reverb Store. Both e-companies already run operations geared towards helping musicians market themselves, without any record label behind them. With the Reverb Store, bands can now create and sell merchandise through their Facebook pages all via a surprisingly simple interface. Artists can set their own price and all profit goes straight to them. The video above is not really worth watching, unless you're ready to start using the Reverb Store, as it's basically just a step-by-step tutorial. It did, however, make me feel like I could design a bitchin' t-shirt for my band and start selling it immediately and I'm no graphic designer. I'm also not in a band. It's just that cool. With companies like ReverbNation and Audiolife creating marketing platforms this easy, it's a wonder every band isn't skipping the middle mand and going the DIY route.

--Katherine Wood

2009 Beacon Box Set

The Allman Brothers, who play a spring residency in New York every year, have released their 2009 concert series in a box set, the 2009 Beacon Box. The box features their 15 concerts played at the Beacon Theatre in 45 CDs. The box also includes a 60 page CD booklet with liner notes, set list, and exclusive photos, as well as souvenir backstage passes, and a 2-CD bonus show they played at Warren Haynes' 20th annual Christmas Jam in 2008 . All these things are packaged in a custom-made, serial numbered, hand-crafted wooden collector's box, screen-printed with the Beacon Theatre's marquee and other images for the price of $499.99.

To some, $500.00 is a lot of money to be spent at one time, but to devote fans it's a steal. Each of the 45 CDs can be purchased separately for $27.99 each, but if you purchase the 2009 Beacon Box you get the CDs at an approximated price of $10.00 a piece plus a bunch of free collectors items! If you are planning on buying the Allman Brothers' CDs, you are best off the purchase the box set, where the price of each CD is less than 50% of the regular resale price.


~Rebecca Weyhrauch

Monday, February 22, 2010

Radio Revenue Down in 2009

According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, radio revenue for 2009 dropped a whopping 18%. Because the radio's number one product is the listener, one would hope that the on-air advertising would have been more present, but advertising was down 20%, to just $13.2 billion.

What does this mean for the music industry? Internet based products are in demand, leaving traditional forms of entertainment, like radio and CDs, in the dust. Like I mentioned before, the radio's number one product is its listener, because it basically sells its listener to advertisers. The fact that advertising was down 20% shows that the money being put out by advertisers is going somewhere else...internet radio. We are all aware that websites such as Pandora have grown astoundingly large, so it is no surprise that many advertisers have left the radio and put their money towards internet advertisement, which is where more of the consumers are.

Although I am aware of how huge internet radio is, I am still surprised at how much radio revenue dropped in 2009. Although it dropped, I don't really think the radio will become obsolete, because it is convenient for people who can't always be by a computer...millions of people still listen to the radio in their cars. Also, the shift to internet radio has been mostly made by people who listen to the radio for music. Talk radio is still the biggest radio format, so while many music listeners are listening to internet radio, there will always be listeners who prefer traditional radio.

-Ashley Stokvis


EMI Disables Embedding Option on YouTube

Ok Go is well-known for their rise in popularity thanks to their treadmill dancing in their music video for "Here It Goes Again." The band credits this success largely in part to YouTube, where fans could watch the video, then embed it in other sites, thus passing along the video until they gained so much recognition for it that they were performing on the VMAs.

Recently, YouTube and the band's label, EMI, have placed restrictions for embedding on these videos. YouTube, which now pays record companies a very small amount for streaming their artists' videos on the site, didn't agree to pay the labels for streaming on any other site. So, EMI doesn't get any revenue from any of those times Ok Go's video was embedded on another site, and with so little revenue in the music industry, the label is trying to get all the money they can.

Ok Go is rallying against disabled embedding, saying it will kill the free viral marketing that they owe so much of their success to. The band can't even post the YouTube versions of their videos on their own site. According to the article I read, when EMI disabled embedding on the "Here It Goes Again" video, "views of the 'treadmill video' dropped 90 percent." That's pretty huge.

The members of Ok Go argue that since there is so little revenue coming from streaming YouTube videos, there's really no point to policing it as much as EMI is. And, honestly, I just went on YouTube and found the "Here It Goes Again" video on two random people's pages that had the embedding option available. So, it doesn't look like it's working.

-- Ashley Snider


Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Survey Shows 30% of U.S. Never Uses the Internet

A new survey by The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration shows that 30%of U.S. consumers do not access the internet. When participants were asked why they have no internet connection at home, 16.7% responded “don’t need/not interested” while 38.9% answered “too expensive.”

So what does this mean for the music industry? Perhaps we shouldn’t abandon the physical format so quickly since 30% of potential customers do not have access to iTunes or Amazon. The article stresses the idea of making the product available wherever the consumer spends their time. So this could mean pushing to get a CD into Wal-Mart’s limited music section or maybe even seeing if Dollar General or similar stores will start selling CDs. Maybe we’ll start seeing portable music pop-up stores across from arena size concerts or at the state fair.

One thing that this survey didn’t address is smartphones. Are the people who don’t need or can’t afford an Internet connection in their homes using their mobile phones to access the Internet and download music? If that’s the case, then apps for bands become more important than ever as a way to reach potential fans and consumers.


~Emilia Segatti

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Mobile Device is better than Your Computer

According to Read Write Web there’s a new trend that’s starting to happen right within our pockets, and it’s with mobile devices. In particular, mobile devices being the preferred choice for Internet access among consumers. R.W.W. stated that research shows that the average American is spending more than three hours a day on their mobile device than on their computer. So what’s driving this new obsession? Well according to R.W.W. it’s the ability to access and more effectively use social networking platforms.

Mobile devices are becoming the preferred choice for accessing social networks because it allows people to update, talk, and share the everyday happenings of their lives in real time (right at that very moment). Also, mobile devices make social networking more accessible because they have it right in their pockets, ready to go, and they don’t have to wait for lengthy loading times unlike a desktop.

This article is similar to what we talked about in class, and how it’s just as important to have a mobile app for your band as it is to have a website. Also, I think this is important to marketing music because we’re witnessing another change in the behavior patterns of how consumers consume. So if a good portion of people are downloading apps and accessing social networks from their phones. Then the way music is distributed needs to accommodate this new behavior pattern as well.

Therefore, with the rise of mobile device users I think there’s going to be a bigger demand for music applications then before. This is good because it’s going to open up the doors for new innovative ways to distribute and sell music.

Submitted by: Jarvis R. Smith


Ad Supported Guvera To Launch In U.S. March 30th

Australian designed Guvera, an ad supported music service, will officially launch in the U.S. on March 30th. Content has been approved by Universal, EMI, IODA, BMI, SESAC, and INgrooves.

The content of Guvera is paid for by advertisers looking to target customers via branded channels. Once you view the ad, DRM free mp3's are offered. Although Guvera is starting as music based, the company plans on expanding in the future to include other forms of digital media. "We also see a huge future in delivering film and television content, especially after the success of the Australian beta," according to Dan Thompson, Head of Content of Guvera Limited.

Free music, television, and film content is a lot to offer from an ad based website. If Guvera is successful, I could see a continuing trend of similar ad based free digital media sites. Critics argue that the company may not be able to stay afloat with a specific ad based revenue, but only time will tell.

-Scott Schaffer


Creators of Pirate Bay create payment system for artists

"Pirate Bay co-founder and spokesperson Peter Sunde is leading a new startup whose goal is to encourage users to donate money to many of the same rights holders that he once helped them grab content from."

Great idea right? Enough people might use Flattr that it will become a viable means of getting paid for a cyber contribution. I love it.

Too bad it probably won’t work.

Here’s why:

Call me pessimistic, but I think Peter Sunde's claim to fame "The Pirate Bay" was successful because there is always a demand for free. Bottom line, Pirate Bay costs nothing and gets you pretty much anything. Flattr on the other hand, costs something and gets you pretty much nothing… besides the ability to give that money away… which I’m pretty sure I already have.

Yeah, it would be great if I gave money away to starving artists like myself. After all, if anybody needs my charity, it’s whoever had enough time to spend 30 hours making that music video for “Chimpanzee riding on a Segway” (by the way it’s so amazing you have to Google it). In fact, it’s pretty much decided, I was going to spend half an hour out of my day and $10 out of my wallet to contribute to Haiti, but after seeing this Flattr thing, I know where my oh-so-expendable student loan money is going now. I want to see that Chimpanzee ride a Harley.

Back to a serious note, I really do like the idea of Flattr. But when you put Flattr into a different light you can see that it might run into some problems. We will probably hear about it a little more, see a few Flattr buttons here and there, and then be like, "Whatever happened to that Flattr thing?”

So, best of luck to you Sunde. It's great in idea. But, though the Swedish have a saying, "Many small streams will form a large river", the Americans have a saying "Finders keepers losers weepers". And for reasons like that, you may want to rethink your Flattr model.

-Ian Gollahon

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Analysis: Major Labels Acting More Like Indies Online

When it comes to direct-to-fan sales and marketing, the focus is currently on independent artists and labels and how they are using new digital tools to sell music and other merchandise outside of traditional retail channels. Nowadays, there are all sorts of non-traditional products being sold directly from major artists’ web stores.

For example,, under Universal Music Group's umbrella, is offering a bundle consisting of Lady Gaga’s Heartbeats headphones with a T-shirt for $100. The headphones themselves cost $100 so the buyer is essentially getting the t-shirt for free. The bundle does not include any recorded music. Another major artist taking this approach is Mary J. Blige. Mary J. Blige, an Interscope artist, recently partnered with Carol’s Daughter beauty products to sell five hundred units of a bundle containing her new album, and three, limited Carol’s Daughter products, for $29.99 each through her web store.

I think it makes sense that major labels have caught onto the fact that they can make a lot more money by selling exclusive products to super-fans. Diehard fans are going to be willing to pay a little bit more to get something other than just a CD or a download. Major labels can certainly capitalize on this idea to make some extra revenue. Though selling a CD with beauty products for only $30.00 (like in the case of Mary J. Blige) may seem very minimal, labels will still be making more money than they would with just a digital offering of the music. Every little bit counts.

- Samantha Bruno


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Rumor has it that Lady Gaga will be one of the headlining acts of Lollapalooza 2010. The lineup for the festival is traditionally announced in the spring, but every year it seems to leak earlier than it's official release date. Last year's headliners were released in early March by Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot, and the entire lineup was prematurely released by Chicago Sun Times' Jim DeRogatis.

Although the lineup is supposed to be released in April, do the early leaks have a positive or negative impact on the festival? Some might say it spoils the surprise, but it could feed the anticipation. With big names like Lady Gaga being thrown around, one can only hold their breath so long to see who else will be making an appearance.

If you remember back in 2007, on a side-stage with a daylight performance, Lady Gaga (at the time less known) performed in a disco bikini and thigh-high hosiery. This year she is said to be performing her new, arena-sized version of Monster Ball, her latest tour for her new album Fame Monster.

Other names rumored for Lollapalooza 2010 are Arcade Fire, Green Day, The Strokes, Phoenix, and reunited Soundgarden.

-Rebecca Weyhrauch

Monday, February 15, 2010

Live Nation + Wal-Mart

Live Nation has announced that they will be partnering with Wal-Mart to sell tickets for Live Nation events nationwide at participating Wal-Mart stores.

Wal-Mart will offer tickets in their entertainment section for various concerts and sporting events in the area. About 500 stores have signed on to participate in this program, and that includes the markets in Chicago.

What does this mean for marketing? We may start seeing tours being advertised in Wal-Mart commercials, perhaps? Maybe more ads in Wal-Mart stores?

I think that this just enhances both Live Nation's and Wal-Mart's grip on the entertainment world. Live Nation made a strategic move partnering with Wal-Mart, and I think it's going to make them a lot of money. Many people rely on Wal-Mart as their source for new CDs, and this partnership may mean that people will rely on Wal-Mart to tell them what concerts to attend. Tours may take their marketing approach and include Wal-Mart as a valuable advertiser.

This is going to be a strong partnership, and it will be interesting to see if it boosts any concert ticket sales or not.

Proposed Break Up for EMI Group

EMI, one of the "big four" record companies, has been experiencing rather large problems. What does Guy Hands, chairman and chief executive of EMI think would be best? According to court documents filed in New York three months ago, Hands thinks EMI Group should break up.

In a letter from Hands, he stated that if there wasn't a restructuring of EMI's music publishing and recorded-music divisions, a dissolution would be the only other choice. He was quoted writing, "[t]he implementation of the separation of RM [recorded-music] and MP [music publishing] is essential."

The proposal, which was written to Chad Leat, head of the alternative asset group of Citigroup, was rejected.

This is huge news for the music industry, primarily for the British industry. Although Terra Firma Capital Partners, the owners of the company, did not approve of the company break up, the proposal itself shows the instability in the industry. If EMI, which has been around since 1931, broke up, there would be a void in the British recording industry. Although this article is about EMI, other major labels are going through the same ordeal right now because of the changes happening in the industry. In order for them to succeed, they are going to need to think outside of the box and restructure their business. Specifically, they will need to learn how to cope with the advances in technology, because that is what's causing change in the music industry.

-Ashley Stokvis


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lessons from the Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead are donating their abundant archive, which includes four decades’ worth of commercial recordings and videotapes, press clippings, stage sets, fan letters, business records, and even a handwritten thank-you note from President Obama, to the University of California at Santa Cruz. While this is a dream come true for fans, it is also a great opportunity to learn the management secrets behind one of the most profitable bands of all time.

The Dead were the first to focus intensely on their most loyal fans. They started a telephone hotline to alert their fans of their tour dates ahead of public announcements and reserved some of the best seats in venues for fans. They also capped ticket prices and distributed tickets through their own mail-order house so that fans didn’t have to travel or camp out to get tickets. According to Barry Barnes, a business professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, “The Dead were masters of creating and delivering superior customer value.”

The greatest lesson that the Dead can teach about business is called “strategic improvisation,” according to Barnes. An example of this is the Dead’s decision to allow fans to tape their shows. Their logic was that a ban on taping would be unenforceable, that the sharing of tapes would widen their audience, and that anyone who taped a show would probably spend money on merchandise or tickets. This same reasoning can be applied to today with downloading. As John Perry Barlow, the Dead’s lyricist, stated “the best way to raise demand for your product is to give it away. The important correlation is the one between familiarity and value, not scarcity and value. If I give my song away to 20 people, and they give it to 20 people, pretty soon everybody knows me, and my value as a creator is dramatically enhanced.”

The key to The Grateful Dead’s success seems to be in focusing on the loyal “true fans” and creating customer value in addition to constantly adapting to new technologies and trends in the industry. I think there are many artists and managers out there today who could benefit from studying The Grateful Dead’s business practices.

~Emilia Segatti

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Free.99 vs. $9.99

A blog entry I read by Mark Mulligan (Forrester Research analysts) states that the debate between free on-demand music and subscription based music continues to rage on. He mentions how Edgar Bronfman Jr. (CEO of Warner Music Group) stated that WMG will no longer license their music to free streaming services due to their lack to generate significant revenue.

Mr. Mulligan takes this issue of free music and shades some new light on how to make it work in today’s age. The point that Mr. Mulligan makes is that these services are serving as major tools in helping build the new paradigm of music monetization. He also argues that consumers just don’t want to pay for digital music on a month to month basis when they have the option to legally stream it for free. The idea he suggests is a three-tier hierarchy that integrates the premium, subsidized, and ad supported methods of music monetization together. Mr. Mulligan believes with this system free on-demand music can work, and satisfy both sides of the debate.

I am a supporter of free streaming music because it has proven to help lesser known acts gain new fans. Also, from a marketing perspective this try before you buy method is a good tactic because it gives consumers more options to obtain music legally. Therefore, I feel free streaming services should be given more time to prove themselves as a lucrative source of revenue. Because the free model is showing us a lot about the demands, needs, and wants of consumers.

Submitted by: Jarvis R. Smith


Friday, February 12, 2010

Take a look at what Edgar Bronfman (CEO of Warner Music Group) had to say about their loss in this article at Billboard:

When multi-rights (a.k.a. 360) deals start to provide significant revenue, WMG will have the added benefit of lengthier contracts. Bronfman told an analyst that “in many cases the 360 deals are actually longer than a recording agreement.” That means more time will elapse before WMG has to renegotiate with an artist. Since WMG is not in the business of “paying retail” for established artists, as Bronfman put it, the longer contracts allow the company to accrue additional benefits from the artists it breaks. Once the contract is up, a superstar artist will be able to command much better terms and may be out of WMG’s price range.

(taken from

Why is this important? Well, let’s start with a brief explanation of 360 deals:

Previously, record companies paid for a big expensive album to be recorded all awesome. Then, they took most of the profit from the record sales. Now that people are buying less CDs, record labels can’t recoup their costs. So for a company to invest in the production of an album today, many tend to do two things different- Firstly, the company invests less (because albums are cheaper to record/manufacture and less likely to sell). Secondly, they ask to be fully invested in the bands success (they want part of ticket sales, merchandise, licensing, etc.).

So, for big acts like Switchfoot (who reports being very happy about their 360 deal), it makes sense. The record company is able to make back their money through shows and merch, Switchfoot gets to make another album that makes me wish for death- everybody wins. Only problem is, it hasn’t quite kicked in yet (if it ever will).

Warner is counting on the monsters they create to tour, sell merchandise, get commercial time, and otherwise exploit their brand. I’m interested to see if Bronfman was explaining that 360 deals will pay off or if he was stalling for the sake of stockholders. I guess only time will tell.

- Ian Gollahon

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Importance of Social Media for Musicians

In the late 1990’s, “web 1.0” saw the mp3 and file sharing programs revolutionize music marketing, primarily the product and price, and the industry as a whole. Over the past few years, “web 2.0” has dramatically changed the place and promotion of music with the help of social media websites. Social media sites, such as facebook, myspace and twitter, are ushering in a new low cost, efficient and effective way for musicians to create buzz, promote their art, interact with fans and ultimately increase their popularity and sales. According to Tom Williams of the Hit Singularity blog, the six goals of a social media campaign for a band are to:

1. Reach more people.

2. Keep their fans informed.

3. Allow people to sample their music.

4. Sell their music and merchandise.

5. Have content that people pass along to friends.

6. Engage their fans to encourage continued interest.

One social media site that is a great tool for musicians and recently has become immensely popular is twitter. Although twitter lacks media content, it is a great way to keep fans informed and interested in an artist and their music. One artist that comes to mind that has mastered the use of twitter (and the media for that matter) is John Mayer. Like him or not, Mr. Mayer currently ranks sixth in terms of followers (second with musicians) with over 3 million people following his tweets. Another well-known John in the music industry, Jon Bon Jovi, isn’t too well-known on twitter.

If you google “Bon Jovi Twitter” the first result that comes up is First of all, the page doesn’t exist. Second of all, twitter is for connecting with fans, not selling merchandise! The second and third results of the search are fan created twitter accounts that do not even break 500 followers combined. The fourth result is a site with a twitter widget that has about 64,000 Bon Jovi followers.

Although twitter is only one social media resource for artists in a sea of many, how does the use (or lack there of) of social media sites affect record sales? According to Billboard, Mayer sold 286,000 copies of his new album “Battle Studies” his first week while Bon Jovi sold 163,000 of his new album “The Circle.” If younger music fans traditionally download illegally and older music fans still buy CDs, why did Mayer’s sell almost twice as much? Albeit there are many factors to consider here, nobody can deny that the effective use of social media sites are an important factor of a successful marketing strategy and can help today’s musicians by keeping fans interested and engaged, acquiring a larger fan base and ultimately selling more records.

- Steve Jordan

Weezer has launched a contest that is allowing their fans to take the new single off of their recently released album, and remix any way that the fan chooses. A public vote will then be taken on which top 10 remixes are the best, and the winners will receive a signed copy of "raditude", but the grandprize winner will get the opportunity to have a one on one collaboration with creating a new song with lead Rivers Cuomo

Weezer put out an invitation to their fans to:
"Step up to the challenge and show them that your mix is the answer. Use the stems to create a remix or cover the song in your own style to show the band what you've got. Weezer will be hand-picking the top submissions to be released as an official compilation and the winners will be paid appropriate royalties based on their version being on the release."

This is great because it gives the fans the opportunity to win something great and be creative with the music they love while also promoting Weezers newly released album and single. It's so cool that the band wants to see what kind of re-mixes their fans can come up with using their single as a base. It'll be interesting to follow this and see what the grand winner's song sounds like, who knows, that grand winner can become the next master producer.

-Abby Goldstein

Say Anything's Song Shop

Singer and songwriter, Max Bemis, of emo-rock band Say Anything is offering to write personalized songs for fans for the price of $150.00 through the "Max Bemis Song Shop". This is the second time he will be opening up the song shop to fans due to popular demand. As it says on the web site, "In an effort to minimize the gap between music listeners and performers, take up time on warped tour, and find some solution for the fact that anyone can download any of his gosh-darn albums for free, Max came up with a predictably crazy idea in a haze of sleeping medication. " For a limited time, Say Anything fans can submit one to two paragraphs about an issue they are having, a serious problem they are going through, or anything they feel should be written about, and Max will deliver an acoustic, full length actual Say Anything song based on their experiences and what the fan submitted. Each song is 100 percent written by Max uniquely for the fan. Max promises that no two songs will be the same, and it will even be named after the fan. Songs can also be written for special occasions such as anniversaries. At the bottom of the page, fans are encouraged to participate with the slogan, "Get involved and change the way music works!".

Not only does this idea seem seriously cool, but in a world where almost 100% of musicians are struggling to make money, this could be a great way for Max and Say Anything to make some extra revenue. I don't think $150 is too expensive for a custom, creative and unique song written especially for you, and I'm sure plenty of Say Anything diehards will definitely jump at the chance. Besides, you never know, maybe if the song is really good they might even use it on the next Say Anything album.

- Samantha Bruno


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Warner Music Group's 1st Quarter = LOSS

This morning Warner Music Group reported their financials for the first quarter of their fiscal year (which ended on Dec. 31). Not surprisingly, they lost money this quarter: $17 million dollars, to be exact. If you're interested, the full breakdown can be found at or on

For me, reading the specifics of Warner's loss remind me of dinner conversations with my mother, the treasurer of a steel company, which inevitably employ financial jargon that goes over my head. What did grab my attention though, were the statements that WMG higher ups made. Edgar Bronfman, Jr., the company's chairman and CEO, said, "We are pleased to have delivered stable revenue and OIBDA in our core Recorded Music and Music Publishing businesses despite ongoing recorded music industry pressures and macroeconomic headwinds," and Steven Marci, CFO, added "As our stable margins show, we carefully manage our costs and regularly work to adjust our business in order to minimize the impact of a transitioning recorded music market."

The company seems to be suggest that the already deflated state of the music industry coupled with the current economic situation are to blame for a bad first quarter. However, they are hopeful that changes in their business practices, like a focus on music publishing and recorded music (digital revenues were up 10.3% from the previous quarter). Has WMG, or any of the other majors for that matter, found a strategy (in increased publishing maybe) that will allow them to weather the bad economy and come out strong on the other side or is this loss the result of too little change to late in the game?

--Katherine Wood

Expensive Music Equals Slower Sales at iTunes

Last year when iTunes music prices went from $.99 to $1.29, music labels got what they wanted, a variable pricing system. This allowed labels to price their music from $.99 to $1.29. This morning it was reported by Warner Music Group that unit sales growth at iTunes has been decelerating since the change in price last April. This is not to say that they haven't been selling music, but the increase in sales growth has been declining from a 10% sales increase in September to a 5% increase in December.

According to Warner CEO, Edgar Bronfman Jr., the price increase has been a "net positive" however increasing prices 30 cents during a recession wasn't the best idea. (Well duh!)

It's now a question for the book market, with the digital book downloads on products such as the iPad and Kindle, what to do with their prices. If prices are high in the beginning, they will be adopted more easily than if they were raised later in the digital adoption period. As goes for any product, it's easier to launch a product at a high price and lower it than try to raise it once consumers have gotten accustomed to the lower price point.

~Rebecca Weyhrauch

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Ads Feature Various Musicians

Last night, millions of Americans gathered around their televisions to watch the most popular program in television history, the Super Bowl. While most people enjoy watching their favorite team battle it out on the field, there are those people who tune into the event for another reason--to watch the commercials. With so many people tuning into the Super Bowl, it's no wonder why airing a 30 second commercial during the big event can cost around $3 million.

As I was watching the broadcast last night, I noticed the strong presence of famous musicians in the highly anticipated commercials. For example, T-Pain was seen in a Bud Light commercial, Kiss in a Dr. Pepper commercial, Stevie Wonder for VW, Cheap Trick for Audi, Beyonce for Vizio, and countless others. These celebrity endorsements not only benefit the company they're endorsing, but they benefit the celebrity as well. When these musicians appear in commercials, their music is usually playing along in the background. Any regular commercial could benefit a musician greatly, but the commercials aired during the Super Bowl were seen by an astronomical amount of people. According to The Nielsen Co., an estimated 106.5 million people tuned into the game. That puts this year's Super Bowl as the most viewed show in television history.

Celebrity endorsements are a great way for both the company and the celebrity to promote their product and make the public aware of their presence. While commercials featuring musicians and their music aired during the Super Bowl, countless amounts of people were noticing the music and thinking "hmm...this song is pretty cool. I'm going to check it out on iTunes." What an effective marketing tool!

-Ashley Stokvis


Topspin's Marketing Finds

Topsin is a music marketing and sales platform that focuses heavily on the use of data in spotting trends in buyers' habits as well as analyzing marketing strategies. The founder Shamal Ranasinghe recently released Topspin's findings to the public, and they are very interesting.

The data shows that many music buyers are willing to spend $10-15 extra if it means they get a physical good or premium product, such as a limited edition, a tshirt, or a box full of all kinds of goodies.

The study also showed that "more than half of the transactions in the Topsin study are under $10, but they only accounted for 17% of overall revenue. Rather the majority of revenue for most artists came from items priced $25 and over that included physical items."

This leads back to our discussion in class last Wednesday about the value of a product. We talked about "true fans" who are willing to spend more than the average price to get the limited edition product, and that the artists who use this gain a significant profit by having this option.

This data would show that idea to be true. Although many people just want to spend the $7.99-9.99 on iTunes to get the album (or, download it for free) it seems that if an artist markets to their core fans with a product that provides a physical item, they will still make a good profit.

--- Ashley Snider


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tapulous announces new music-based iPhone game, Riddim Ribbon

From Tapulous, creaters of the iPhone game sensation Tap Tap Revenge, announced their newest release today. Their new release, Riddim Ribbon, is a fusion between racing, popular songs, and to some extent, remixing music.

The game allows you to choose a song before you are thrown into a hyper-colorful racetrack, where you pilot a futuristic spherical vehicle. The track is filled with small orbs (which are good) and obsticles (which are not), and there's a path showing you where to drive. Tilting your iPhone side to side will control the vehicle's steering while modifying the music in the course. Riddim Ribbon is expected to be at the top of the iPhone application sales charts upon release, much like previous releases from Tapulous.

As more and more video games based around music are produced, music marketers are offered a unique opportunity to have their music licensed for these games. Riddim Ribbon, for example, features the Black Eyed Peas. I have a feeling that the trend of music based video games will continue, helping more and more musicians launch their careers through licensing abilities.

-Scott Schaffer


Biggest accomplishment of iPad- less annoying hipsters telling me how awesome Apple is.

After reading this article in Wired, I'm thinking the iPad is more likely to revolutionize a cat's favorite place to sleep rather then the music industry?.

Alt Text: Who’s Still Excited About the iPad?Read More

Last week, the iPad was going to make paper obsolete, change the music industry forever, and answer the ancient question of "Why were we put on this planet?" - to buy an iPad of course.

This week, it looks more like the iPad will not be taking the music business a step further into the digital age- more like a little nudge in the digital direction.

So what does the iPad do? It's like my iPhone except it doesn't call people or fit in my pocket. Wait, does it take pictures or video? So, it's like my iPhone except virtually useless and $500 right?

That's probably an exaggeration, but the market seems to be less excited about the iPad since it's press release. This marks the first time that Apple has been the new cool thing to make fun of (take that anti-PC commercials).

I'm betting the iPad will still be a huge seller. Mostly because the novelty of looking like it is from the future. As pointed out, it beats the hell out of whatever book is currently collecting dust on your coffee table. Plus Stephen Colbert has one (see the Grammy Awards), so that means we probably all need one too.

- Ian Gollahon

Six Pak Format – Cutting Albums in Half

In an attempt to combat rapidly falling album sales, Warner Music Nashville is releasing Blake Shelton’s “Hillbilly Bone” on March 2 as a “Six Pak” – a six-song album that will be followed by another six-song release in August.

The advantage of the Six Pak is that it will allow artists to deliver music to their fans on a more regular basis instead of just releasing an album every two or three years. It seems that artists usually release an album, go on tour, disappear for a while, and then release another album. In this age of short attention spans, artists can’t really afford to disappear for a while to write new material. The Six Pak would help to eliminate the gaps in the marketing cycle between new releases. I think the Six Pak would help artists to maintain and grow their fan bases since they would be releasing new music more often.

Of course, the success of the Six Pak rests heavily on the price which is not yet available, but Peter Strickland, senior VP of sales and marketing at Warner Music Nashville, said that fans would be getting music at a “vale price package.” That leads me to believe that consumers would pay for both halves of the album upfront and then receive the second Six Pak later. If the price of two Six Paks is less than what we would normally pay for an entire album, this could signal the end of the full-length album and the rise of the Six Pak (aka the EP).


~Emilia Segatti

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Interactivity + Grammy’s = Success

This past Sunday’s Grammy awards were a huge success as the final ratings indicate over 56 million viewers watched the program this year. This is the highest number of viewers since 2004’s show. So what was the cause of this new found interest for the Grammy’s? Was it the stars, the nominees, or the fact that Stephen Colbert whipped out an iPad from his tuxedo?

I’m not sure, but according to Wired Magazine it was the viewer interactivity that played a major role in the Grammy’s success. Viewers were able to interact with the show in a variety of ways: from choosing which song Bon Jovi would play for their set, posting tweets (in real-time) on a website called “We Are All Fans” that allowed viewers to communicate with one another about the nominees, and a interactive radio station CBS put together that kept viewers in loop about all the happenings that were going on; on and off the camera.

I think the event staff made the right choice by getting the viewers involved with the show. If web 2.0 has taught us anything it’s that people want to not only experience the arts, but interact with them as well. This is also important from a marketing standout because it shows how impactful fan engagement can be in the overall commercial success of an event. This is something I think more award shows should do because social media continues to be the main driver of all fan engagement whether it’s online or not.

Submitted by: Jarvis R. Smith


Friday, February 5, 2010

Facebook Adds Ability to Gift Song Streams, Downloads via Lala

Facebook has added the ability to purchase songs as gifts for friends via retailer new Music and MP3s section of the Facebook Gift Shop now includes over 8 million songs, which can be gifted as a one-time listen for free; purchased as Web-only songs for one credit (10 cents); or given as DRM-free downloads for nine credits (89 cents). A Facebook user who receives a song will see it show up in his or her news feed, where it will be visible to friends -- who may also play the song once for free. This is a great way to get songs circulated to increase the fan base. Facebook is an extremely well known social network that allows an artist, especially, to have a very wide fan base. The offering of web songs for little of nothing to members who have friends that can see them on their page, click on the link, and also get one free listen is a great way to market an artist; if impressed, they will definitely spread the word as well as purchase the music. Even better, you can get the DRM free download for 89 cents and add it to your computer's music library to have forever. To the music industry's benefit, illegal downloading is prevented from the use of this  DRM software because it limits the use of the digital media (song). It prevents users from copying and using the downloaded music in certain ways in attempt to prevent piracy. Great idea, hope it works!

~Angelique Moore~


Are you ready to catch the fever?
Be one of the first customers to purchase the exclusive $122 BEYONCÉ Heat fragrance set at the NYC Macy's Herald Square Women's fragrance counter, and you will receive a VIP party pass to meet and have your picture taken with BEYONCÉ!!!
See you there!

Beyonce's partnering with Macy's has been a huge success in the past. This marketing idea is fantastic. It benefits both the artist and Macy's. Consumers/fans are attracted to this event, first of all, just to get the chance to see her at the store. Second, they are encouraged to purchase the entire fragrance set for $122 and in turn receive a VIP party pass that includes a meet, greet, and a picture taken with her. Either way the fan is satisfied. Whether they purchase the set or just the perfume itself, they get the chance to see her in-person. Also, the number of folks allowed to have the opportunity is not mentioned therefore drawing a numerous amount of  fans out to take their chance. Macy's benefits off of this because consumers/fans will definitely spend money to get the entire set as opposed to the individual bottle knowing that they get the VIP party pass.  I belief it is also assumed that the others that miss out on this opportunity will buy the individual bottle just to get the chance to see her in-person at the store. Fans like when an artist gives back; Beyonce definitely will benefit from this one!!!!

~Angelique Moore ~

Slash's Contest

In hopes to promote his first solo album on April 30, 2010, Slash Hudson has teamed up with Guitar Center and is offering a contest for unsigned bands to win the opportunity of recording an 3-song EP with one of the greatest guitar players in the world. Winners will have their single featured on iTunes and will also win a bunch of free gear from Guitar Center and Ernie Ball.

Slash quotes that,

"he's excited at the opportunity the contest will provide for emerging acts to gain recognition. The contest coincides with the "Shred with Slash" guitar strings promotion that offers a 2-hour master class with the guitarist, among other prizes."

*This is a great promotion and marketing strategy because it gets consumers that are also involved with music excited for not only for Slash's solo album to come out, but gives musicians an opportunity to put their music out to the public and be involved in a once in a lifetime opportunity. The fact that Slash will be personally listening to everyone's submission can make them a bigger fan of Slash and his music.

-Abby Goldstein

Thursday, February 4, 2010

eMusic joins with Facebook Connect

This article first poses the question, "Do fans want to connect around music on generalized social networking sites or would they rather get more social via their favorite music sites?". While there's not really one answer to that, eMusic is taking the first step to bridge the gap between these two worlds.

Now when eMusic subscribers login using Facebook Connect, they will be able to publish their eMusic activities right onto Facebook. The activities that subscribers can publish onto their Facebook profile include album ratings, reviews, album and artist links, all of which will also appear on their friends’ News Feeds. This is all very simple to do; all it involves is clicking a button from various artist and album pages on eMusic.

Deirdre Stone, eMusic SVP of Product Development says, "Back in the day of the corner music store, word-of-mouth was one of the best ways to find out about new music. Facebook is the modern day equivalent and we want to empower the eMusic community to engage in this way."

Not only do I think this is a fun idea, but I also think it could really benefit in promoting artists. Music selection through word of mouth is a huge part of the way people discover new music so I believe doing this through social networking technology sounds like a really smart idea. I know there is a lot of music that I listen to that many of my Facebook friends have never heard of before and vice versa. By publishing information about these artists right onto our friends' News Feeds, it could turn them into fans and then turn THEIR friends into fans, etc. I know I'd be interested in checking out an artist that a Facebook friend posted about, and I'm sure my friends would be interested in checking out what I like as well. Facebook is such an enormous social networking site so this could be really beneficial in getting the word about artists that people may have never heard of before.

-- Samantha Bruno


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Exit Stencil: i Free February!

The small, Cleveland-based record label, Exit Stencil has decided to open up their catalog for free downloading this month. According to their website, this generous offering has no strings: "No gimmicks, no asking for donations, no limit to the number of releases available to each person --- just a free chance to check out a bunch of bands that we've been happy to have had the chance to work with over the past couple of years." They also suggest that you, "feel free to post, forward, tweet, or whatever, this to as many people as you'd like!"

Undoubtedly this relatively unknown label, whose catalog contains around 20 records, is looking to gain exposure with their Free February stunt. And their openness to people spreading the word probably means they're hoping to get some viral marketing action. Hopefully, starving college students, and anyone else whose mouth starts watering at the idea of free entertainment in this tough economy, will download music from these artists they've never heard of and love it so much they buy a concert ticket or the next album. If they don't do that, maybe at least they'll tell a friend with deeper pockets about the groups and they'll buy something. What I wonder is whether this strategy will work for them? Will the people who stumble upon their website for the free music, me included, become loyal fans or will they have a loss on the books in February and no real gain in March? If nothing else, it's in interesting case study in whether labels can create value through free downloading.

--Katherine Wood--

Is Internet Radio the Next Big Thing?

According to a study on ratings of Internet radio, 60 million Americans tune in each week. 84% of those 60 million Americans, listen to online broadcasts of radio stations that are on the AM/FM channels such as Chicago's WGN Radio 720 or 97.9 The Loop. 62% of online listeners tune in to online-only stations, such as Pandora.

I think people want to hear music everywhere they go, which is why so many people are tuning in online. People are in their cars for a short time commuting and then spend a large amount of time inside. With music on MP3 and iPods, I see less and less radios in people's homes, so when someone does want to listen to the radio they turn on their computer. Now, with cites like Pandora, people are getting the music they want to hear when they want to hear it.

by Rebecca Weyhrauch

Monday, February 1, 2010

Muziic Provides Ad-Free Music From YouTube

Muziic, a new website that provides free music and videos without advertisement, is causing an upset amongst major record labels. When the former Windows software application failed to gain a following, a web-based version of the service was released. Now that the website has become a success, major labels are worried that they will no longer gain the revenue that they had hoped for with the launch of Vevo video service.

YouTube operates Vevo, which is owned by Universal, Sony, and Abu Dhabi. Vevo video service was created as a way for consumers to watch free music videos while labels could still profit from advertisements placed on the site. Now, with the emergence of advertisement- free Muziic, record label hopes to create a profit from online music videos may be crushed.

The problem with Muziic, however, is that it uses Vevo's video content via YouTube. In a statement to, Vevo stated, "Vevo does not authorize, condone, or otherwise endorse, in any way whatsoever, the actions of Muziic which involve our licensed music videos or registered trademarks."

In addition to the lack of advertisement on the site, Muziic has a lot to offer to music fans. The site allows users to make playlists, download a desktop player, and it features an iPhone app as well as a FaceBook app. These tools make it easier for the consumer to access their facorite music, and they set Muziic apart form other music websites. Sixteen-year-old Muziic co-founder David Nelson stated, "[o]ur integration of Vevo content reflects how many (myself included) felt should have been. Examining user feedback for Vevo on Twitter and in the blogosphere was a big factor in its design."

Muziic is great news for the music fan, but not so much for the record label hoping to make a profit form music videos. Regardless, this website has succeeded in becoming the go-to site for many music fans, because the creators listened to what consumers wanted and created their product accordingly.

-Ashley Stokvis


ReverbNation's New Makeover

ReverbNation is a really interesting marketing tool that both musicians, venue owners, managers and fans alike can use to both promote and discover new music. The site is getting a "makeover." The development team said they are adding upgrades, including "greater customization of artist pages and more social network synching features, a new Reverb Store that follows the Zazzle and Audiolife model of print on demand merchandise, and a tour dates section that detects a visitor’s location and highlights an artists' upcoming shows within 50 miles of the fan." This, including working out some of the bumps in reverbNation's operation as well as its initial layout, hopes to bring in more indie artists as well as others in the industry to the site.

The site itself is a hub of marketing techniques. It is trying to become the go-to place for, say, a venue owner looking to bring in the right bands. It offers ways to distribute music for less, easy set up of press kits, detailed description of their fans' demographics, the ability to automatically find any press source that has mentioned your band, and a ton of interesting, easy, and helpful tools.

Does this mean that artists don't necessarily need any help from a manager or label or other professional to truly market themselves and build a following? I think this shows that independent artists can do a lot themselves these days. That might mean that music industry professionals might have to adapt and offer some other advantage to the artist who can now do everything by themselves.

--Ashley Snider