7 Things Making Musicians (and the Music Industry) Go Out of Business

The music industry - and musicians - are struggling.I recently stumbled across a really interesting documentary – “Unsound.” No, it’s not out yet. In fact, maybe it never will be. Right now, it’s in the funding stages on IndieGoGO and I beseech everyone to go help make it become a reality. Writers, artists, musicians – anyone who does creative stuff needs to donate to the campaign.

It’s not really a donation, anyway, since you get the movie out of the deal.

Unsound is about the increasingly harmful effects of “Free” on the economy – from journalism to music. That’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, too. Mostly, I want to know why the creative economy is in such peril. So, today, let’s focus on music.

Here’s what’s happening to the industry, and why musicians everywhere are struggling:

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5 Ways Your Band Should Be Using Facebook

Bands can learn a lot from the Facebook Page of Dead Letter Circus.Facebook for bands is a Rubik’s Cube. If it works, it can really work. But if it doesn’t… it’s embarrassing.

A lot of bands use Facebook on a less-than-monthly basis, but there’s some power to steadily creating a stream of content for fans. In fact, I realized the impact of social media when I was waiting to buy a CD, “The Catalyst Fire” by Dead Letter Circus, for almost three months.

That’s kind of a miracle. The “album” as a concept is dying because singles are selling so much better. Not only that, “anticipation” for a creative product is almost a foreign feeling on the Internet, where we’re entitled to instant downloads and streaming.

But there I was, waiting impatiently for October 29 when I could finally buy an album that had been on YouTube since August and available in Australia for months.

So what happened? Social media. Specifically, Facebook. Dead Letter Circus – and what I suspect is some help from the band’s album label, UNFED - brought social media marketing to some next level craziness and it worked. The album debuted at #2 on the ARIA Album Chart.

Here’s what any band can learn about social media from Dead Letter Circus:

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How to Use a Blog to Sell Your Book

Blogs can sell books... kind of.The government shutdown is over. For now. After so much productive and rigorous hashtagging on Twitter, complaints on Facebook, and half-plagiarised news articles looking for traffic, our representatives had no choice but to start funding things again. And agree to fund the things they passed this year already.

During that time – while I was caught up in the virtual world of eating different blog posts like Cheetos – I stumbled upon one entitled “The Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed by budget cuts, not fire.”

Interesting headline. Related to the current crisis, albeit peripherally. It was enough to get almost 100,000 views since October 8, along with over 200 comments, so I would consider the piece a success.

And the best part? The blog post was advertising a book by the author. A book I actually clicked.

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Art-Shelf: A Platform that Lets Artists Do Art, Not Marketing

artshelfhomeWhether you’re a painter, a sketch artist or a sculptor, the Internet can be an alluring place to market your art.

But a lot of the time, artists get bogged down by the amount of work it takes to maintain a website, promote their work on social media, and constantly offer new pieces to stay relevant in the noise of the online world.

One of the platforms that’s trying to help change that is Art-Shelf, an online retail start-up that offers artists a place to sell their art, without having to spend the rest of the day marketing and advertising.

I recently spoke with founder Josh King about how the business started and what it’s like to market art online today.

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3 Social Media Mistakes We Can Learn from the Concert that Never Was

Bands and businesses have a lot in common when it comes to social media strategies... and mistakes.

This post originally appeared on MarchPR.com

I recently tried to go to a concert here in Boston. I won’t name the venue or the bands, even the most popular of which is pretty much unknown. The show was on a Monday night. My mission was to see one band in particular, but I didn’t know when they, or any band, were going to start playing.

I embarked on a treasure hunt to put together whatever clues I could find. Now, if you’re in PR or know anything about PR, you’ve probably heard the term “messaging” before. Messaging is the cornerstone of any PR campaign. Companies do a lot of research and work very hard to make sure that a message is on-target before sending it out into the world. A good message is consistent on all platforms and channels.

None of these bands had good messaging. The club didn’t have good messaging, either. And, as I tried to piece things together, I couldn’t help but think about all the different ways a solid social media strategy could have helped.

Here’s what I noticed:

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7 eBook Statistics All Writers and Book Lovers Should See

3323718703_8d5d4399b4Ebook studies about market shares and sales are all over the place. But eBook studies about reader habits are a little harder to find.

That’s why I was excited to finally see one that talked about… copyright.

What is a book “worth” when authors are being taught by Amazon that the way to promote their work is to give it away? Or when a quick search for “free ebooks” on Google can get you over 100 million results?

Here are the results from “The Online Copyright Infringement Tracker” from Kantar Media. The statistics are UK-based, but have a lot of significance for any author, reader or otherwise lover of books in all their forms.

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How Pandora Could Help Bands Sell Tickets to Shows

eltenelevenLast week, I ventured out to see a band I had discovered on Pandora – El Ten Eleven. I’ve known about them since 2009, when their song, “My Only Swerving,” emerged onto one of my radio stations.

Ever since I graduated college and moved to a place where bands actually visit, I’ve been periodically checking to see whether El Ten Eleven is making any East Coast tours. But they usually don’t, because they’re a West Coast band and incredibly obscure.

After all, they’re not just an instrumental band, they’re a duo. Yup, that’s right – there’s a drummer and bassist-guitarist guy. When they finally did come around to Boston, I grabbed tickets. I brought friends.

“Who are they?” Friends asked.

“Don’t worry about it, I found them on Pandora,” I said. And I wasn’t the only one.

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