Forget Facebook, Your Band Needs Email Marketing

karnivoolemailBands have a lot of different attitudes when it comes to how they use Facebook.

You’ve got the guys who don’t like to fill out any information. Then the ones who prefer to post vague and mysterious, almost nonsensical blocks of text. You’ve also got overly gracious bands that thank fans for being at shows or buying an album or posting on their wall.

Most, though, reserve Facebook for just a few things: behind-the-scenes photos, concert pictures and announcements.

That’s usually the case whether your band’s Facebook Page has 10 Likes or 10,000. The real curiosity, then, is why all those Likes don’t translate into something more tangible a lot of the time.

Every band has been there: You post something about an upcoming show, sit back and… no one likes the post. Or comments.

Why? The truth is that only 15 percent of your fans see your posts. If the average band has about 200 Facebook fans, that means 30 people see that you’re having a show.

What’s the solution? Get email addresses. And keep getting them.

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Does Giving Away Your Music for Free Really Get People to Buy It?

musicfreeIn October 2012, I was inspired to start this website (at least in its current form), because I talked to a musician. Specifically, I talked to Owen Packard, the guitarist for UK-based metal band, Earthtone9.

I was  trying to figure out whether eBooks and mp3s could still make authors and musicians some kind of money. And, if so, how could you get discovered in a world full of noise?

Earthtone9 had experienced a surge of fame in the early 2000s, but then, as Owen put it, “imploded.” However, they had a plan to get back together and make a new album.

To do it, they wanted to try combining live shows with some serious online promotion.

Here’s what they did:

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Are Spotify & Pandora Killing Music?

2743756315_68501e40c4_bLast week, Thom Yorke of Radiohead caused something of an uproar when he proclaimed that he was pulling his music (or at least the stuff he held the rights to) from the online streaming service, Spotify.

He wasn’t worried for himself, really, but for the bands and musicians looking to sell their stuff and promote their stuff and generally make a living by making music, arguing “[it] cannot work as a way of supporting new artists’ work.”

Why? Well, because Spotify pays 0.4 pence per stream… in the US, artists get paid $0.0018 cents per stream. 

And the horror stories continue…

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Is Writing & Music & Art Getting Specialized to Death?

nicheartwritingmusicI just watched “Dear Mr. Watterson,” a light-hearted documentary about the impact that Bill Watterson’s ever-famous, ever-persistent comic strip, Calvin & Hobbes, has had on people over the years.

The part that gripped me most was when several prominent cartoonists spoke in extremely gloomy terms about new media.

Berkeley Breathed, the cartoonist behind Opus, Bloom County, and Outland, said that Bill Watterson had created the last great comic strip. He claims that art itself is now “atomized.”

He reasons that there’s a lot of stuff out there, but nothing that could be water-cooler conversation material, a piece of art that people – including Breathed’s mom – all know.

That made me wonder – are artists specializing their work to death? With so few filters to get through, and the freedom to only support the very, very specific, niche work we like, are we guaranteeing that no art can have the same widespread, enduring impact of something like Calvin & Hobbes?

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6 Ways to Promote Your Band Online

promotebandWhen it comes to promoting creative stuff online, I think bands might have a bigger problem than anyone, even authors.

Now that bands can upload music to a Bandcamp page in about five minutes, they can give their stuff away. You know, the music they made. For free. To no one.

They can also charge money for it, which no one will spend because everyone is an entitled content thief.

So what’s the secret formula for bands trying to break through the noise with their own noise? How can they get discovered in a way that actually helps them… make money?

Here are the first six steps in that journey:

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The Internet Has Made Us All Entitled Content Thieves

paycontentThis week, the New York Times closed another loophole that got around its notorious paywall.

You know… the paywall.

The thing ensuring that one of the last bastions of what Americans call journalism (even if it’s owned by someone with a dubious background at best) doesn’t have to depend on advertising revenue that directly influences its content.

All to avoid paying $4 a week for news?

Hey, are you listening to music right now? Maybe you just read a great article on a news site. Or are you thinking about what kind of movie you’re going to watch on your computer tonight?

I bet you’re not going to pay for it.

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4 Things You Have to Do to Get Google to Show Your Personal Website

showupgoogleresultsA lot of authors, artists, and bands are creating their own websites these days, only to find that… whoa… Google isn’t showing their page.

I’ve been blessed and cursed with a one-of-a-kind name, so getting BlaiseLucey.com to the top of Google wasn’t that difficult. I also basically blog for a living, so that helps.

The truth is that it can be nearly impossible to get your name to the top of Google if you’re John Smith, instead of Blaise Lucey. Just remember that the fans searching for you know that, too, and they’re likely to give you the benefit of a third word (“John Smith author” or “John Smith Band Boston”).

Here are the four things you have to do to get your personal website to show up in Google:

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Music, Writing, and Art in the Age of the Optional Purchase

makemoneyebooks1

In the summer of 2010, when I started my first job, I listened to about six hours of Pandora a day. The ads were an annoyance, but I sat through them because I loved the songs that Pandora found for me.

I knew that there was such a thing as “Pandora One,” but, like most millennials, I scorned the idea of paying for something I knew I could get for free.

Yet Pandora persisted. Hours and hours a day, it brought me amazing bands I never would have otherwise heard.

A few months in, I took the $32-a-month plunge. And I’ve never looked back.

Why did I buy something that was so optional? More importantly, how can any creative person ever hope to get compensated in the age of the optional purchase?

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3 Free Platforms for Writers, Musicians, and Artists to Make a Website

authorbuildwebsiteIf you’re a writer, musician, or artist looking to make a website these days, what do you need to start?

Not any knowledge of HTML. Not a web designer. Not a lengthy textbook
about “building a website.”

You just need about an hour of time and a slightly foggy notion of what to
do.

Oh, and money?

No.

You don’t even need money. Most platforms for making a website that are out there today are free.

Making a website for yourself is incredibly easy. So easy, in fact, that web-building platforms are competing with each other to out-ease the other.

That’s right – there have been reckless innovations in recent years when it
comes to user experience. A few years ago, sure, you may have struggled a
little and pulled at least a few hairs out while trying to get something live.

Now? Not so much.

Here are the three platforms that are the best for writers, musicians, and artists who want to make a website:

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How to Get Your Creative Stuff to the Top of Search Engines

howseoworksMy friend, Tim, had a problem with search engine optimization (SEO).

The problem, as with most things on the internet, was with Google.

He’s in Doze, an up-and-coming band that recently released their first EP.

No matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t find Doze using Google. Pages upon pages of other imposter bands with the word “Doze” showed up instead, whether you typed “Doze band” or “Doze band boston.”

So, I decided to help him out.

Here’s how we got Doze to be the first three results in “Doze band boston” and the fourth result for “Doze band” in one week:

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