Wednesday, March 26, 2008

strategic music listening and marketing on Last.fm




A secret formula for effective music marketing: use the Recently Listened Tracks, My Radio, My PlayList, Top Artists This Week, and Top Artists Overall to promote your band and bands you like.








Think about it.

On Last.fm, artists mix with fans to an incredible degree, like is done on MySpaceMusic, but in a somewhat convoluted style. This is easy to grasp once you've done the metaphysical math, as I have done. It's not rocket science: people are curious about what other people, especially their peers and idols, are listening to.

The big idea, successfully executed with very few glitches, bugs, or downtime, on Last.fm is you share information on what you like and where to find more of it, and others do the same for you.

Thus a band or musical artist or net label CANNOT ram their crap into everybody's radar screen with amateur drivel like "If you like this band, you'll probably also like my band, the Hermeneutically Sealed Hero Sandwiches. Check it out at this URL: [blah blah blah]".

Every time I read a comment or shout box remark like that, I want to puke. It's a must to avoid. That undisguised self-hype is so 1950s, and nobody tolerates it anymore. Especially in the music, art, and film scenes. Get with it you old-fashioned slackers.

NEVER self-promote on any music social network. That's not what they're there for. It's all about sharing and caring about music. Not selling. Sales is sleazy, everybody knows that. Sales is bullying and marketing is deception. You must believe this, then find a more pure form of helping music lovers find your band.

Sales and advertising are demeaning intrusions, boring profit-machines, unwanted invaders. The only exception might be a low-key, self-deprecating, "marketing as nuisance" type announcement about a brand-new CD or video album DVD. Once. On your own site.

Do NOT use other artist's socnet pages to hype your shit.

Hype your shit on your own site. Period. Even then, do it as a footnote, a P.S., a "we hate advertising", reluctant, no-glam afterthought. Act [and actually BE] annoyed at having to announce a new product, -- especially if people have to lower themselves to actually paying for the shit. Most fans are used to getting FREE music, and will BUY music only when they've downloaded, legally hopefully, tons of material by the artist, prior to shelling out any sympathy cash for dreaded Paid Product.

"FREE music?," you whine like a shriveled miser. "How can the band eat, seduce women, and party -- with no money coming in from record sales?"

You make money with ticket sales for live shows, with special Paid Product that collector mentality fans will crave, with other things that I'm not going to reveal right now, since you're acting so dopey and clueless.

Now wake up you wankers.

Don't give those stupid 0:30 "previews" of your precious shitty music. Give the fans the whole shebang, the whole nine yards, the ENTIRE song.

How petty and full of misgivings is that? To grudgingly give a short excerpt of a song to fans, rather than the whole song? Get up off your genius music and share it, in its entirety, with your fans...or they'll move on to less stingy, less archaic and greedily uptight musical artists.

Now, you're a band and you're on Last.fm, right? Which makes you automatically, simultaneously, a fan. You're not just a band on Last.fm, you're also a fan, because Last.fm, if you allow it, will track your song plays on iTunes.

Okay? So when fans of your music arrive at your Last.fm page, they'll see your glorious junk, plus what music you're listening to, both right now, and in the past. Use this information display to your advantage.

One of the best ways to promote your music is to inflict it on other bands. BUT, BUT, BUT -- the only way to inflict your music on other bands is to give them FREE records, tapes, and CDs of it, or to praise them on their own Shoutbox (or MySpaceMusic comments). Compliment your idols, wait a long time, do it again, and eventually, someday when they're bored and curious, they may listen to a bit of your band's groaning and flapping around on instruments they should NOT be playing.


Once these idolized bands are hooked on your tunes, nice things might happen. Once these guys get it "under their skin", once your music has somehow wormed its way into their memory jukebox, and they like a few seconds of it, you may end up reaching all their fans, as these other bands critique, disrespect, and complain about your music.

Got it? Now do this: compile playlists on your iTunes, NOT with your shit, BUT with the great tunes of other bands. You'll be promoting the other bands, not your own.

(NOTE: I'm a lousy example. My own Last.fm Top Artists list displays something like 400 plays of Str8 Sounds, versus 20 or 30 plays of other bands, but all that happened accidentally, before I knew this Secret Music Marketing Technique, the one I'm sharing with you now.)


Strategic Last.fm Listening, Introductory Principles of:


1. You compile playlists, call them "Killer Kuts" or whatever, of bands you really enjoy, and want to help publicize...but also throw in famous, high-recognition bands, as long as you honestly like them, so people will be able to relate to you. All esoteric tastes is a turn-off, from a marketing viewpoint (not condemning your tastes, just tripping you into a new way to participate in the New Online Music Scene.)

2. Play these playlists ("every little once in a while" -Leadbelly).

3. Fans, when they arrive at your Last.fm page, will see what you're listening to, and be able to click on their names (in most cases), and visit the Last.fm page of those artists.

4. Your own avatar will display on the Last.fm pages of these other artists, perhaps, if you're lucky, as a Top Listener. This may cause those bands you idolize to want to check out your own band, and may contact you about opening for them in their upcoming European Tour and other stuff like that.

5. You indirectly promote your own music, when you strategically listen to other bands that, if a fan of them discovered your music, they might like it. Not that you necessarily sound anything like the bands you admire, but the same attitude or charisma is present. You're saying, "Hey everybody, I dig these bands and songs. It reflects handsomely upon my own music, to be a fan of these cool artists, I hope."

6. Strangers, those you've requested to Add as Friends, have your Recently Listened, Top Artists, etc. to use to evaluate what kind of person you are: classical, jazzy, goth, punk, new wave, mystical, folksy, bluesy, noisey, radical, artistic, experimental, exploratory, grungey, pop, electronic, tribal, afro-beat, ragga jungle, down tempo industrial, pensive ambient, outsider, avant-garde, etc.

7. Thus, you, an unknown purveyor of musical slop, go from Stranger to Friend, based largely on what music you tend to listen to, as displayed on your Last.fm page. This is the chief business of music marketing. There's too much music, and it's too easily available. So, how do you become an item that is known, liked, buzzed about, craved, collected obsessively, asked to contribute to compilations, get invited to group shows, etc.? By giving out tons of FREE music...and making it easy for fans to get to know the real you. That's how.

8. .......

9. .......

10. ......




I had a lot more to say about all this, but I need to make today's new album by Str8 Sounds, as I generally release one new album every day, it takes a couple hours, and I certainly, by all means, must not allow myself to betray the legend I'm building.


Adios until next time.


Your pay pal, Vaspers.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

evaluating music social networks






Music Social Networks?

Only MySpaceMusic and Last.fm, at this point in my investigations, are worth bothering with.

Music social networks, like many Web 2.0 products, are seriously dysfunctional and a waste of time. I have been testing such sites as MOG, iJigg, Pandora, etc. and they all fail miserably. My goal is to find sites where artists can create profiles, upload free dl mp3s and videos, and assemble an online community of fans and peers (other musicians).

I'm currently investigating the music socnets listed on Mashable: "Rock On: 12 of the Best Music Social Networks".

http://mashable.com/2007/
06/22/music-social-networks-2/

Fans seek socnets that cater to their musical tastes, enabling them to discover new songs and bands, and interact with the musicians they like. Artists seek to display and distribute their mp3s, m4as, photos, videos, promo trinkets, and news about upcoming shows and recordings.

It pissed me off yesterday when iJigg kept giving me the idiotic, non-informative "oops!" every time I tried to upload mp3s of my own music to it. "Oops!" is not a legitimate, professional error message, it's a lazy crap coder's cop-out.

JamNow seems okay, and I look forward to setting up some music collaborations there. Want to jam with The Str8 Sounds Therabusive Noise Carnival? Watch this blog for updates on my progress at JamNow.

Str8 Sounds on Last.fm

Last.fm enables you to create separate albums, with CD cover art, and keep adding more tracks to them, if you wish. This means you can make exclusive "online only" digital albums for your fans. Those with obsessive collector mentalities will hunt down every song they can find, and will be delighted to find these "rare" items on the internet.

I'll reserve more commentary on Last.fm for an upcoming Guide to Last.fm Artist Promotions post.

If you're a fan, you may like several music socnets. But artists with Web 2.0 proclivities may want to conserve their time and energy for the cream of the crop, which your pal Vaspers is in the process of determining and revealing.

Music changes everything.

Peace activists need anti-war anthems. Animal rights activists need pro-sentient life jingles. Feminists need anti-patriarchy tunes. Anarchists need pro-freedom music. I'm working on providing such songs to all the groups who are sincerely deconstructing and humiliating the Powers That Pretend To Be, the domination systems propped up by guns and bullshit.

Music is so subversive, many tyrants in history, including Plato's Republic and North Korea, outlaw certain types and content.

Music is the belief system re-orienting artform.

Just remember what the Beatles did to culture, and how the most effective training for children is memorizing songs (like for Stranger Danger programs). Socrates said melodies and lyrics are calming to the mind, like metaphysical lullabyes. Radical militarism kooks sound trumpets and beat on drums to psyche out the enemy and encourage the government-sponsored killers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

tagging your music on Last.fm



Are you tagging your music effectively? What are the coolest, weirdest, smartest, most unique things you can say about your sound, your aesthetics, your performance style, your genre, your type of music? Be creative, funny, and wild.

It's music, after all. You better take yourself only half-seriously. All music is stupid, but it's also revolutionary and fun. Keeps kids out of trouble. Keeps husbands home. Keeps the bills paid, if you let me help you "monetize it"...which begins with massive amounts of FREE content: mp3s, videos, photos, tee shirts, anything to generate buzz.

FREE = Go from Unknown and Unwanted...to Known and Craved.

Okay? Now: tagging your silly musical output you hope to inflict on innocent fans.


++++++++++++++++++++


Here's what Last.fm tells users about tagging an artist's music.



[QUOTE]


Tag Your Artists, Albums and Tracks

A way of making sure your artists get streamed on the radio and discovered by users is by tagging them. There are buttons to do this on artist, track and album pages, as well as in the Last.fm players themselves. Tags can be genres, moods, personal notes, anything really! Get as many people, to tag as many things, as possible.

[END QUOTE]


Here's what I have tagged my STR8 SOUNDS music with:


STR8 SOUNDS
Last.fm Tags


experimental

punkatronic

trouble-making

grouchy

activist

Loisaida NYC Art Scene 1988

industrial

brooding ambient

ambient sludge

Sludge Farm Records artist

nice

nightmarish

complex sound confusions

assorted sound confusions

sonic bliss

oxycontinental

exotic

dis-oriental

panic-stricken

menacing but in a nice way with good intentions

indescribable

unlistenable

cosmic

comical

electronic

computer

psychosomatica

unendearing

romantic Pepto Bismal

avant garde

art music

Schoenbergian

Subotnickian

Stockhausenian

techno

psychedelic

psychoanalytic

psychotronic

healing crystal tone generators

mind wave

eggular

rubular

musique concrete

hauntology

cut and paste

trivial troubador

troubled lad clang

exalted din throne tunes

din

cacophonical

dreadful

dreary

droll

sub-normal

supernatural

hypertronic

digital synthesis

virtual musical instruments

online beat box

phantom ensemble

shadow trumpets

immaterial orchestra

pseudo musical

music theory violations

auto-mutilating

cybergenic

tribal electronica

xenophonic

ethnomethodologist

pink Freudian

DIY

droopy

failure

dismal failure

Casio

Yamaha

cheesey mall organ

advanced music technology

French knob-twiddling

new age

new wave

light wave

surrealist

therapeutic

massage music

therabusive

millions of years ahead of its time

best taken in extremely small doses

a few seconds of okay music buried in there somewhere

ouch

not my cup of tea

this can't be music

this is not music

why does he call this music?

ultra-modern

modern composer

misunderstood

underappreciated

underwhelming

ridiculous

non-music

anti-music

zzzzzz, huh? what was the question?

unknown

unwanted

non-addictive

easy to dismiss and forget

controversial

provocative

ethereal

mystical

spiritual

flambouyant

unsinkable

triumphant

ear pain

difficult music

an acquired taste

college radio fare

underground

6 feet underground


promoting music on Last.fm






Last.fm is a good place to do things musically:


1. Discover new bands.

2. Connect with fans who like the music you like.

3. Join in conversations, via Shoutbox, about artists you like.

4. Use the Shoutbox to post messages of appreciation and encouragement to favorite artists.

5. Display your musical tastes (and promote favorite artists), as Last.fm tracks your iTunes plays.

6. Expose your own music to this music-loving community.

7. Get the attention of record labels, venues, sponsors, and industry movers and shakers.




Here's the Last.fm guide to getting your own music promoted effectively. I have rendered in bold large red such text as I wish to emphasize.



[QUOTE]

How to:

Make the Most

of Last.fm


New to Last.fm, or just want to make sure you're doing everything you can to promote your music? This guide should help!




Upload ALL Your Music

Uploading as much music as you can to Last.fm is a great idea, tracks have an equal chance of being played on our streaming radio. T makes your back catalogue just as important as your current release




Make Your Songs Available for Full-length Preview and FREE Download

On Last.fm, your songs will automatically be streamed on the radio and made available for 30-second preview. However, offering tracks for full-length preview or download can give your artists a real promotional boost. Doing this means that your artist will become more visible and more accessible on Last.fm as we promote free content more vigorously than everything else.




Upload Your Videos, Make them Embeddable

You can find videos everywhere on Last.fm, they make your artist page more interesting and are recommended on user's dashboards. If you also make them available for embedding, you might find that users spread them for you, on their blogs, websites and other social networks.




Listen to (and Scrobble) Your Artist’s Music

Making sure your artist is being scrobbled is a good first step towards making an impact on Last.fm. Make your music available for full-length preview, then ask your fans to download the Last.fm software and listen to your artist’s music. Certain features on Last.fm work better when you have reached a certain amount of listeners, so this is important.




Make Your Artist profile Rock

Make sure you upload artist images and album images as well as write a bio for your artist. This way if someone ends up on your profile they won't be confronted with an empty page, and may well have a listen.




Tag Your Artists, Albums and Tracks

A way of making sure your artists get streamed on the radio and discovered by users is by tagging them. There are buttons to do this on artist, track and album pages, as well as in the Last.fm players themselves. Tags can be genres, moods, personal notes, anything really! Get as many people, to tag as many things, as possible.




Spread the Word

Let your fans know that they can embed your music in their own sites or blogs, they can then help promote your artist not just on Last.fm itself, but also across the entire web, whilst enjoying immediate access to your newest content!




Treat Yourself to a Boost


Purchase a Powerplay campaign, this can kick start the whole process of getting a first small listener base, and will only target users who are likely to enjoy your music. You can do this here; http://musicmanager.last.fm/promotion/powerplay/




[END QUOTE]

Saturday, March 08, 2008

the HOW of innovation




Today, on Twitter, for we Twitter addicts are always "on" it, like being "on" a drug or a vacation from reality, my pal @carterlusher pointed to a blog post or podcast or streaming seminar, on the "how" of innovation.

www.twitter.com/vaspersthegrate

That sparked my brain.

Before visiting the site and consuming their informaton about the "how" of innovation, I burst forth the froth of the cream of my best thoughts on the subject. For the benefit of my tiny, rapidly diminshing, demoralized blog readers, I now graciously bestow my boring Twittered insights on the HOW of innovation.

On Twitter, you get a maximum of 140 characters per message, so you must be awkwardly, or majestically, concise, pithy, to the point. You sacrifice a little accuracy for the sake of instant clarity. Please excuse all such hyperbole as you may find it in my humble tweets.




[QUOTE]

The "how" of innovation: dare to be different, despise conformity, rock the boat, shock the sheep, investigate the underground, subcultures.




@carterlusher - Avoid all anti-innovation: radio music, TV shows, ads, best-sellers. Treasure art, literature, philosophy, eccentricity.

@carterlusher - The "how" of innovation is best seen in Edison. He was workaholic visionary. Work plus Vision. Obsession with goal, bravery.
@carterlusher - The "how" of innovation: think upside down, question all authority and rules, break rules, study other geniuses, work hard.
@carterlusher - The "how" of innovation: compulsive overachiever insomnia, hatred of mediocrity, touch heart of actual user needs and goals.



[END QUOTE]

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Top Friends on MySpaceMusic






Your band is on MySpaceMusic, you've uploaded 6 songs to the mp3 player, and you've sent out a lot of Friends Requests.

You're thrilled to see some of your long-time favorite bands accept you as a friend. You're even getting direct, personal comments and private messages from musicians you've admired from afar.

So, you've got a lot of Friends and your online fan/peer community is growing by leaps and bounds. You spend a lot of time sending out Friends Requests and it's paying off. But how should you display these friends?



Here are 10 tips on ...


How To Display Your
MySpaceMusic
"TOP FRIENDS"



(1) Always display the maximum number of Friends, up to the limit of Top 40.

(2) Put your closest allies, favorite bands, and biggest influences at the top.

(3) Include bands everyone's heard of, like Beastie Boys, Beck, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, early in your display, so people can see that your band is not totally obscure and unknown. You'll gain some credibility by association, especially if these artists post comments on your page.

(4) New struggling bands should be displayed, to help them gain popularity and exposure to their music.

(5) Displaying mostly non-musical individuals and fans is not a good idea. It makes it look like other bands, your peers, don't care much for you. A favorite artist, like Warhol, or writer, like Proust might be okay. But use your Top Friends display as a way to communicate what kind of music you like, what your tastes and influences are.

(6) If your band has multiple MySpaceMusic pages, like for each album, or for specific products or shows, try to vary the bands that are displayed in those pages. Don't just repeat the same Top Friends of the original page.

(7) Check your New Friends and juggle the Top Friends display around to accomodate those important artists that have recently Friended you. Once you get beyond 40 Friends, this will mean dropping some artists off your Top Friends display, but they will remain in your All Friends list.

(8) Give special preference to artists who miraculously take time from their BUSY performing, recording, and partying schedules to post a comment on your page, or send you a private message. Push their avatars up higher in your Top Friends display.

(9) Fuss with your Top Friends display often, juggling the avatars around, making the display look nice. One thing you can do is put the vertically long avatars on the right and left sides of the 4 avatar rows, so the rows look more balanced.

(10) Look at how your musical mentors and heroes handle their Top Friends displays. You may discover some new artists, and you may get some ideas on Top Friends display strategy.








Sunday, March 02, 2008

MySpaceMusic marketing comment strategy




Your band is on MySpace, in the artist space called MySpaceMusic.

You've uploaded your content: mp3s, photos, CD cover art, lyrics, videos, external mp3 players, links to your website, blog, and Last.fm page.

You've sent Friend Requests to all the bands you can recall as being an influence and inspiration. You've checked out their Top Friends, and sent Friend Requests to some of them.

Now what?

Well, here is where we cross over from artist productivity to the realm of blogocombat, (I am burdened with being the King of Blogocombat, according to Google. Just take a moment to Google that word and see what happens).

Now it's time to interact as a good member of the MySpaceMusic artist and fan community. Careful with that axe Eugene! Here's where you could blow the whole deal and become a despised and shunned idiot.

The worst thing you can do is start posting self-serving comments, links to commercial products, and ads announcing your upcoming gigs and CD release dates.

You will sound like a greedy jerk doing that.

Especially if you use big splashy bullshit posters and sales hype.

Slow down maestro.

First you need to study other band pages and notice the various types of SPAM COMMENTS that are out there. These spammers will teach what NOT to do. Learn your lesson well. Notice how many spammers are pushing ringtones, visitor trackers, online dating services, and other crap.

Notice how many comments say nothing about the artist, whose page they're a guest on, and go straight into what they're trying in vain to promote or sell.

"Check out my new song I uploaded today! Please post a comment and let me know what you think!""

"Come to our show at the Pylon Plaza next Thursday and say hello!"

"New video posted on my page today, and it ROCKS!!!!!

Need I go any further in this swamp of unpersuasive sewage?

STOP being a jackass, and go mingle in the MySpaceMusic party in the correct and more effective way. What way is that? In the same way you'd act and speak if you were in that musician's home.

Here are some suggestions on how to post comments strategically, in keeping with more enlightened socialist-anarchist marketing principles.

COMMENT STRATEGY:

1. Tell the artist what your favorite songs or CDs or videos are by them -- and why you favor them so much.

2. Tell the artist how you discovered them.

3. Tell the artist briefly about an experience you've had at one of their concerts.

4. Ask the artist an intelligent question, one that shows your deep familiarity with their music, philosophy, personal interests, or history.

5. Say something funny, clever, inspiring, or bizarre.

6. Post an NON-promotional image, like some weird photo, a surreal artwork, or a poster you made that PROMOTES THEM instead of your stupid band.

7. Offer to do something nice for the artist.

8. Reveal something cool that other fans probably don't know about the artist.

9. Alert the artist to a site that's bootlegging their music, videos, or photos.

10. Tell the artist about your most recent purchases of their work.

11. Simply ask how they're doing or remind them of how much you love their music.

12. Ask them to upload more songs if their player contains less than 6.

13. Inform them of a problem with something on their MySpaceMusic page.

14. Tell the artist how their music makes you feel.

15. Tell the artist about how you played their music real loud outside as you worked in the garage.

16. Tell the artist how you promote their work via Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Facebook, Ning, and other social network (socnet) sites.

17. Tell the artist about something you know they'd probably like: a film, other band, restaurant, art gallery, etc.

18. Tell the artist about something you're band is doing, ONLY if you can relate it somehow to being inspired or jealous of something the artist has done.



There.



That should give you a few good topics to post comments about a music band's MySpaceMusic page. You as a musical artist need to know how to interact with other bands -- the ones you have admired many years, and new phenomena of spectacular promise. I hope this little essay has given you a better direction to follow than the vain psycho-capitalist marketing folly so often encountered on MySpaceMusic.



HOT FINDS


Lies Vexus

Librarians

Times New Viking

Battles

Purple Wheelchair

Heavygrinder

Sacred Harp

Amps for Christ

Magical Forest

Rainbow Kandicaine

Alec Empire

Chino (a brave "Free Tibet" rapper)

Black Orphan

True Primes

Monsters are waiting

Friends With You

Apes