Posts tagged: iTunes

Promote By Playing Cover Songs

By chrisbrummund, August 20, 2009 2:41 pm

I stumbled across this article at Music Think Tank that gave advice on how to make instant money by playing music.  Most of their advice consisted of playing, playing, and more playing.  They advised to take on as many gigs as possible, not just live shows with your band (although they recommended plenty of that, too).  But the biggest point that stuck out to me was the advice to play covers.

Alien Ant Farm Smooth CriminalIn the article, they say it’s a good way to practice and play different styles of music as your band is starting out.  Once your band gets more experience and recognition, then you can start pushing your own original music.

I’d like to look at this from the reverse angle.  If you are a band that has some solid playing experience and have written a solid catalog of original songs, try playing a cover and give it your own unique spin.  I have a friend who plays in a screamo band (I really hate that term, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it).  They’ve been playing and touring the country for about five years now.  This summer, they were in a studio and recorded a cover of a hit pop song that was getting a lot of radio play at the time.  They posted it on their MySpace page and it blew up.  They had over 15,000 plays of this song after only three days!  There were loads of new friend requests each day from people saying they loved the cover, and quite a few more who said how much they loved the band.  That’s a whole new slew of fans just from playing a cover song.

Here is how I would do it:

  • Pick a song that’s compatible with your own fanbase, but crosses genres and potentially draws new fans. 
  • Put in a solid effort when writing and recording this cover.  Nobody will want to listen if it sounds terrible! 
  • Acquire mechanical use licenses so you can legally distribute and sell this recording.  Let’s say my friend from the example 10,000 downloads of this track over that weekend; if their cut after paying the publishers and distributors (iTunes, Amazon) is around $0.50, they would have made $5,000 that weekend!  I realize that not every cover would generate that type of response, and a 2/3 conversion rate from plays to downloads is pretty generous (especially since the 15,000 plays probably were not all unique plays), but any additional income stream can help an independent musician, no matter how small.
  • Push your original music on website visitors who come to hear your cover.  If you are using a MySpace page, set up one of your own tunes to auto-play when a visitor hits your site.  This will increase the chances of new fans hearing, liking, and/or buying your other tracks or CDs. 
  • Make sure you splash your tour schedule and other merchandise all over your site so new fans have more opportunities to support you.

So what’s you opinion?  Does your band play cover songs?  Or do you think it’s wrong to capitalize on the coattails of another song’s success?

Apple in Talks to Release More Content Alongside Music in iTunes

By mvt2412, July 30, 2009 10:48 am

According to Business Week, Apple is currently talking with major record labels about the possiblity of more than just music being sold with an album.

It does not seem that this will benefit the average artist until Apple makes the service avalible to more than just popular record labels. However, when it does, internet music sales can be taken to another level. Instead of only providing consumers with a music single, artists would be able to provide their listeners with lyrics, info about the band, short clips, pictures etc. The possibilities are endless. Check out the article here.

Leave a comment and let us know if, as an artist, you would provide consumers with more than just music on iTunes.

Rock Band Game Platform Opens to Indie Music

By mvt2412, July 22, 2009 12:13 pm

The popular video game “Rock Band” is letting indie artists submit their music to be used in the game, but is it really worth it? Check out the article here.

Many indie artists are desperate to get their music out to the public. Is Rock Band the way to do it? Let’s weigh the pro’s and con’s.

Pro:

  • If you manage to get music on Rock Band, it becomes visible and accessible by every single owner of Rock Band.
  • Adjustable price for your music. Anywhere from $0.50 to $3.00.
  • 30% profit from every sale.

Con:

  • $99 charge per year, with no guarantee that the music will actually sell.
  • The process for submitting music is lengthy, with no guarantee that the music will be accepted.
  • Only 30% profit from ever sale, as opposed to 70% on iTunes.

In my opinion, putting your music on Rock Band is a risk. However, the most that you can lose is $99 and a few hours of your time. If an artist has the time and is willing to take the risk, then why not? But for many indie artists, their time would be better spent getting their name in the public eye in more effective ways.

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Michael Tuschman

COPYCATS Media Marketing Intern.

Weird Ways to Distribute Music: Do They Work?

By mvt2412, July 20, 2009 2:15 pm

I came across an interesting article over at wired.com about new ways that artists are marketing and selling their music. Check out the article here.

According to the article, teenagers are less frequently downloading music and more frequently using online radio sites like Pandora. To combat this trend, artists are trying to find more creative ways to market and sell their music. Some of these are a bit absurd, and range from offering a free music download when you purchase a can of soup, to selling music in older formats (8-Track anyone?). Some artists are even offering t-shirts that include a download of their album. The question is “Is any of this effective?”.

It’s anyones guess which, if any, of these things will catch on. However, I’m willing to bet that at least a few of them will NOT catch on. Especially the ones that use older media formats…

cassette-tape

While selling music on a cassette tape would certainly make you different, I don’t think it would necessarily increase sales. I doubt that the current generation of iPod users would trade their iPod that carries multiple thousands of songs, for a walkman just to listen to one cassette. In fact, check out another article on that subject here. The same is true of artists who are offering their music on the now ancient 8-track.

Some of these methods, on the other hand, have great potential.

remixable

Some artists are offering iPhone apps that allow users to not only listen to their music, but remix it as well. In my opinion, something like this could really take off. It can be downloaded instantly, used wherever you are, and is compatible with an iPod. I can fully imagine many teens using something like this, where I cannot with something like an 8-track version of an album.

Make sure to check out the article here.

Michael Tuschman

COPYCATS Media Marketing Intern

Give a Physical Copy of the CD with an Album Download

By chrisbrummund, May 15, 2009 11:24 am

I came across this post on Twitter today and it made me happy:

@melodicart I think you should still get the physical cd sent to you when buying album downloads on iTunes. the artwork people! It matters! Missing out

As an employee at a CD duplication company, how can I not like that statement?  It really makes the point that you should get some more value when buying an album.  There’s really nothing to experience when just purchasing an MP3 download.  It’s just a string of binary code (zeroes and ones).  Of course, you get the music, but you can find many places online to simply stream (or illegally download) the music for free.

Most people who just buy the occasional single are OK with this.  They only plunked down $0.99 for the single song download, and they don’t expect much else other than the song itself.  But if you’re paying $10 for an entire album, I think you should get a little something extra.  A physical CD would go great with your downloaded MP3s.

It’s getting harder to market recorded music to the masses when so many are enticed to illegally download music for free.  That’s why it’s important to add value to the recording you are selling.  Invest in good graphic design services that may end up on a list like this.  Track your CD sales and give your buyers access to exlusive content like videos or bonus songs.  The more value you can add to your products, the more people will be enticed to buy.

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COPYCATS Media Featured Artist: Nina Yasmineh

By copycatsmedia, May 12, 2009 3:20 pm

When you work at CD duplication company like COPYCATS Media, you get a lot of perks.  One of those obvious perks is seeing and hearing a lot of talented musicians come through our office.  Here’s one that stuck out: 

Last fall, Nina Yasmineh released an EP and we had the privilege of duplicating her CDs.  Although she’ll be graduating from high school in June, her songs and voice have an incredibly mature sound.  She’ll continue performing and recording as she attends college at New York University this fall.

CD cover for "Real Good Thing"

CD cover for "Real Good Thing"

What’s really impressive is the way she has promoted and put herself out there in a short amount of time.  While she has been singing for nearly all her life, her first live performance was in January.  Since then, she won second place in a highly regarded local talent competition and has been playing a steady stream of solo coffee house shows.  According to this article from the Knight Errant, her music has received radio airplay in Mexico, and her album has been ordered by fans in Japan.

Just last month, she was featured in a music blog run by Teen Vogue magazine.  How did a nationally published magazine find out about her music?  Simple: Nina just sent a CD to their office and they loved it.  When she plays her first gig in New York, she’ll have some fans out there already.

We at COPYCATS Media wish her the best of luck as she heads to NYU this fall and can’t wait to hear her first full length album.  If you’d like to hear more of Nina Yasmineh’s music, you can buy her EP, “Real Good Thing,” on CD Baby or iTunes.

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$0.30 more per track equals $43K more in four weeks

By chrisbrummund, May 4, 2009 2:56 pm

Posted by Chris Brummund

Billboard posted a brief analysis of iTunes revenue after they made the price hike a few weeks ago.  The best selling tracks would be priced at $1.29 per download.  Apparently it paid off in the short term.  They earned $43,000 more than they would have if they kept the prices at just $0.99 per track.

This seems to be a good pricing strategy.  Obviously, the hottest tracks are going to sell whether they’re at $0.99 or $1.29 each.  I mentioned previously that I assume the vast majority of iTunes users are driven to the service because they can buy singles.  When buying just one song, $0.30 isn’t that big of a deal.  But if they were buying an album that now costs $3 more, there would be a little bit more of a backlash.

The other thing I noticed about this article is the downward trend on the graph.  I’m sure it’s nothing, as four weeks is a relatively small sample size.  Certain new releases can cause big spikes in sales, and I’m sure that’s what may have happened on Week 2.

Graph from www.billboard.biz

Graph from www.billboard.biz

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Music Services: Pay-per-download or subscription?

By chrisbrummund, April 30, 2009 12:21 pm

Posted by Chris Brummund

I started writing up this post for another site, but then I thought, “This is related to music.  I’m going to use it for my work blog and then I can just take the day off.”  I’m kidding about taking the day off, but the rest of it is true.

I came across a good article touting all that is good and great about Rhapsody’s music service. I tend to agree with most of this article. Rhapsody gives you on-demand access to an extensive music library for $15 per month.  That’s about the same as buying 1 or 2 CDs a month.  The only other “cost” is you have to put up with their rarely-updated, buggy software.Rhapsody Logo

This article and it’s accompanying reader comments inspired me to resubscribe.  I actually had a subscription but ended it about a month ago. It wasn’t intentional. Well, it sort of was. My credit card on file had expired and I didn’t update my account with a new number. They e-mailed me a couple times before shutting down my service, but I decided to hold off on submitting payment. I thought I’d use this as an opportunity to explore some other services.

I again tried to get into iTunes. I really dig their store and the software is fairly easy to use. Unfortunately, iTunes does not offer subscription services for their music. That’s kind of a deal breaker for me.  I absolutely love the subscription model and think it’s the best choice for music fans.

As a music fan, I like to go out and explore all types of music. Rhapsody gave me an entire catalog of over 6 million tracks on demand. I could listen to them streaming online, download them to my hard-drive to listen offline, and transfer them to my MP3 player. If I wanted to burn a mix CD, then I would pay the obligatory $0.99 a track. This is perfect for music fans like myself. Unfortunately, music fans like myself are in the minority.

There’s a reason why iTunes is so incredibly popular, and it’s not just because of the iPod’s complete and utter dominance of the MP3 player market. The reason is that the $0.99-per-track model is perfect for the majority of music consumers who have a narrower listening preference. Most don’t care for full albums, b-sides, and live tracks. They are happy with just purchasing singles they hear on the radio.  Most consumers may not hear more than $15 worth of new songs in a month.

That’s perfectly fine for them, but not me.  I want the whole enchilada (sometimes with a side of rice and refried beans), and a subscription service delivers that at the most reasonable price. I wish Apple and others out there would start offering subscription plans. More competition for this market will lead to better products and services for us all.

Some people have said to me, “Wouldn’t you rather own your music?”  Ultimately, yes I would.  But due to my budget limitations, I would never be able to purchase as much music as I listen to through the subscription service.  Plus, if I am to “own” some music, I’ll go out and purchase the CD to get all the added frills.

So what say you?  How do you purchase and consume your music?  Pay-per-download?  Subscription?  Streaming online?  CDs?  Vinyl?

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Save the Record Stores!

By copycatsmedia, April 29, 2009 10:35 am

Posted by Chris Brummund

There’s a great 3-part story about traditional record stores over at CNET’s MP3 Insider blog.  The first and second part dissect both the good and the bad features of the traditional brick-and-mortar record store.  The third part then offers some ideas going forward.  It’s a good read, and I like the ideas presented in the third part.hifidelity

Here’s what I suggest to enhance the value and longevity of these record stores: integrate web business with your regular brick-and-mortar business.  The article suggests a few ideas like offering access to a shared iTunes library through their WiFi network or setting up an inventory database with other area record stores. 

I’d take it another step further and try selling online.  It may take some time and investment to build a fully functional online store, but in the meantime just set up an area on the site where a customer can send a request for a particular item.  A store employee would receive that request, look up the item, and call or e-mail the customer back.  The customer could then pay for it with a credit card over the phone and have it shipped, or the clerk could put it on hold for the customer to pick up.

I actually came across another articleprofiling an online vinyl dealer who is opening up a brick-and-mortar store in NE Minneapolis.  You heard correctly: a new record store is opening.  You can read the article here, but this is the best quote:

If I were just to open up a record store, there’s no way it would survive. But I have the online component, which is the main part of my business.

Integration is going to be key.  There’s still a place for record stores, but they have to embrace the web and digital formats.  They don’t have to build their own iTunes or Amazon.com, but they should be finding ways to use the web to increase sales.

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Just Got Your CD Replication Project Completed? Add Your Album Info To CDDB

By admin, March 10, 2009 9:17 am

Here’s a fun story:

A sales rep at COPYCATS Media once had an infuriated customer call and tell us that his newly replicated CDs had the wrong music on it.  We don’t take this kind of situation lightly.  If we made such a crucial manufacturing error, we would do everything in our power to correct the situation. 

Our sales rep immediately pulled up the job file and called the project manager.  The samples we had on hand were all accurate.  This means that some copies are perfectly fine, and others could have the wrong data on them.  There’s an unknown number of the customer’s CD that have the wrong info.  The copy he had could be the only one, or there could be 500 bad discs or more.  

Before we recalled the delivered CDs and printed up new replacements, we did a little more research.  We called back the customer and asked for the serial number on his bad disc.  Each replicated CD or DVD will have a bar code/serial number on the mirror band (the reflective ring around the center hub).  This will help us locate the source of the manufacturing error and figure out how exactly these other discs got mixed in with the customer’s batch. 

When he read us the serial number on the back of his bad CD, it was the exact same number as his good copies.  We asked him to play the “bad” CD and tell us what he heard.  Wouldn’t you know it: he heard his own music.

Why was this guy hollering about having the wrong music on his replicated CDs and having us running around in a panic to find a solution to this supposed problem?  Continue reading 'Just Got Your CD Replication Project Completed? Add Your Album Info To CDDB'»