New Music Friday: January 20, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow THE NEW – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!

nombe
Wait
NoMBe

Alternative, Electronic

cocorosie
Smoke ‘Em Out
CocoRosie

Alternative, Electronic

miss tara
Let’s Live!
Miss Tara

Electronic, Dance

haley mae campbell
Lose My Number
Haley Mae Campbell

Singer/Songwriter, Country

early november
Fifteen Years
The Early November

Alternative, Rock

los rabanes
Alokte
Los Rabanes

Latin, Hip Hop/Rap

a-oh
Visions
A-OH

Electronic, Dance

bryan lanning
Us
Bryan Lanning

Pop

maine
Bad Behavior
The Maine

Alternative, Pop

flint eastwood
Queen
Flint Eastwood

Alternative

When The Be Now? 3 Music Tech Trends in 2017

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the co-founder of 24West a full-service creative agency focusing on music and tech.]

 

As we’ve all grown accustomed to over the past decade, the music industry we will come to know over the next 300 some odd days will look very different than the year we just bid farewell to. That’s not to say you should abandon that focus on building your Spotify numbers or that Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram stories should be removed from your marketing agenda, but a lot of what will likely become essential to an innovative and successful marketing campaign for independent artists this year probably wasn’t particularly of importance for you when you were putting out music or going on tour in 2016.

As we move into 2017, here are a few things that artists should be aware of and, when budget or personal connections allow, incorporate into their next release.

360 Video | Virtual Reality

Those of you who have released music videos over the past six months have probably noticed that they don’t get quite as much mileage as they used to. Many of the top-tier press outlets are starting to shy away from ‘premiering’ or posting new music videos if it is not also the first listen for a new track. This is due in large part to the fact that in the current “discover-via-streaming” world of music consumption, very few people that you would consider ravenous seekers of new music are sitting down to watch anything other than dog videos as they scroll through their social media feeds. Instead, they want new music that they can listen to while they’re doing other things.

While this will likely continue, the next phase in having a visual component to your music is poised to hit the internet hard in the form of more ‘experiential’ videos. At the base level, we are already beginning to see 360 video creep more into use. Over the next few months, we will likely see those artists with a bit more of a budget start delving into the world of virtual reality to add another level for fan’s to enjoy their projects.

I imagine that at some point in the relatively near future we will get our first multimedia release where an artist creates an entire album where listeners are able to take a virtual reality journey set to each song, creating a ‘concept album’ of sorts.

More Applications Built on the Spotify Platform

One of the biggest trends of 2016 was the importance of growing your presence on Spotify. According a report by Nielsen music, streaming has become the number one way in which people consume music, accounting for about 38% of the market in the United States. That number increased by about 76% from 2015, passing digital downloads for the first time ever. With Apple apparently undertaking an aggressive plan to terminate music downloads in the iTunes store over the next two years, that seems to be a trend we should get used to. While Apple Music is growing quickly in this arena, Spotify still rules the roost with over 40% of the streaming market.

Most people in the music industry have already accepted that fact and shifted focus to upping streams as opposed to downloads in their marketing efforts. In 2016, this was accomplished by official Spotify playlsting, as well as, by getting your music on playlists by unofficial tastemakers such as brands, blogs and individuals with large followings.

These will remain essential to growing streaming numbers, but in 2017 we will see more applications built directly on the Spotify platform that will become essential to increasing plays. Right now Cymbal.fm is the best of these services, at least in my experience. But I personally know of several competitors in that world with plans to enter the market over the next few months, each of which have several points of separation that will appeal to different sects of music fans. I tend to view Spotify playlistings much in the capacity of the “new blogosphere” for music discovery.

My feeling is that these new services are set to become a crowd sourced variation on the way we traditionally view radio.

RFID & Beacon Technology

This is another technology that has, with larger artists, already started making headway. A lot of festivals and arena tours are already using RFID (radio frequency identification) and Beacon technology to incentivize fan purchases and form other initiatives with sponsors. I’m hearing a lot of buzz that this technology will start to trickle down to smaller venues in 2017, creating new revenue sources for the promoter/venue and bands alike.

Another aspect of this technology is adding an interactive or gaming component to the live music experience. Particularly in the electronic music world, I’m very intrigued to see how artists do so this year.

(It’s Not Digital but…) Cassettes Will Replace Vinyl As The Most Popular Physical Product

I know this article is supposed to be digital based, but I feel as though this is a point worth mentioning for up-and-coming artists. Yes, vinyl is beautiful and it sounds great, but it’s expensive. Often way too costly to be worthwhile for an independent artist doing a small run for a tour. In 2017, I believe we’ll see cassettes overtake vinyl as the most popular physical product at merch tables for artists on tour. It’s way cheaper and faster to create and it still holds a particular sense of nostalgia for fans, harkening back to the ‘good old days’ of music.

Truth is, a large portion of those people that are buying vinyl aren’t listening to it anyway. They just want a keepsake from one of their favorite bands to display in their home, and to offer support to the artists they love. Cassettes are a cheaper, more convenient way to satisfy those desires for both the artist and the fan.

Wednesday Video Diversion: January 18, 2017

There’s something interesting about the date January 18th. Well, at least there was something pretty interesting happening on this date in the 1960s: in ’64, the Beatles entered the US Charts with ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ for the first time; a year later, the Stones recorded two iconic songs, ‘The Last Time’ and ‘Play With Fire’ with Phil Spector; and just two years later, The Jimi Hendrix Experience belted out ‘Hey Joe’ for the first time on Top of the Pops! Let us all revel in that classic rock trivia and distract ourselves with something a little more modern:

 


Chrysalis, “My Eternity”


Raylin Joy, “Sunny Grey”


Los Rabanes, “Funky Movimiento”


Epic Rap Battles of History, “Nice Peter vs. Epic Lloyd”


Lee Mazin, “I’m Her”


Nobigdyl., “Purple Dinosaur”


Lennon & Maisy, “Up and Up (Coldplay Cover)”


Ryan McCartan, “When You Went Away (Acoustic)”

Utilizing Soundcloud to Drive iTunes Sales

[Editor’s Note: This blog was written by Janelle Rogers, the founder of  Green Light Go Publicity, a music PR firm which helps up-and-coming musicians reach their audience.]

 

There’s no doubt that convincing fans and music listeners to buy music in 2017 can be an uphill battle. For nearly 20 years the music consumer has been conditioned into downloading music for free. Services like Spotify, Pandora and Soundcloud have made it even easier, while making it legal.

You may think the only way to get your music heard is to give it all away for free.

Not so fast.

Like any legitimate business model, you should be looking at how you can market your product to drive sales. A single can be your product to market while iTunes provides the vehicle to drive sales.

How do you do that? Let’s dive into a simple five step strategy to market your music on Soundcloud to drive sales on iTunes.

1. Create a Sales Goal

Before you start marketing your music, you should set a realistic sales goal of what you hope to achieve. Note, I said realistic. If you only have 30 Soundcloud followers and 100 Facebook followers, chances of you selling 1,000 downloads of your album on iTunes within two months are fairly unrealistic. In that case you need to make a compromise, either extend the timeline to where you can realistically sell 1,000 downloads or decrease the amount of sales to reflect your current followers.

2. Offer a Track for Free

If you want people to buy your music, you need to give them a sample of your music to try out. It’s the equivalent of going to your local market, trying that new crunchy snack at the sample table and then buying the entire bag because you can’t get enough.

Determine one single you can give for free off your new album and set a limited time frame to download it. You’re offering a single for a limited time for three reasons. It allows listeners a chance to really hear your music and decide if they want to hear more. The limited time creates incentive to download before it goes away and it keeps fans from solely relying on free music.

Lastly, by only offering one single it gives incentive to purchase more music if they are interested or at the very least streaming from Spotify where you’ll be paid for each listen. If you were to give away your entire album, you’re essentially giving away the entire bag of chips without asking for anything in return.

3. Post iTunes Pre-sale or Sale Link

Next, you need to make it easy for fans to know where to buy your music on iTunes. Post your iTunes pre-sale link or sale link on your Soundcloud profile, any public tracks from the album, and your Facebook and Twitter profiles. You should also include the release date so fans know when it’s available.

4. Alert Soundcloud Followers of New Music

Soundcloud made notification changes in 2014, which make it difficult to communicate when you have a new song available. In the past, when you uploaded a song, your followers would receive an email notification with a link to the new song. Currently, Soundcloud offers no bulk email notification option to alert fans of new music. Without your fans receiving notifications of your new music, what can you do?

First, you’ll unfortunately have to take the time to privately Soundcloud message every follower on your list individually to notify them of a new song available. That’s the good news if you only have 37 fans. It’s very bad news, if you have 10,000. This would be a very time intensive process if you did this every time you released a new single. You need a notification process that is both efficient and in your control. The best way to do this is to also notify your Soundcloud followers of your email list with a direct link to sign up and receive notifications when you release new music.

If you don’t have an email list, that should be your first priority for two reasons. One, you control how your fans are notified and you also don’t risk losing fan contacts on a platform who owns the contact information or controls how information can be sent.

Lastly, keeping your iTunes objective in mind, you should also include that iTunes pre-sale link and call to action in your individual messages and newsletter announcements.

5. Increase Soundcloud Following to Increase Sales

In order to increase sales outside of your base, you also need to increase your following. The best way to utilize this within Soundcloud is to follow those who would be interested in your music and are current Soundcloud users. If you also factor in users who repost tracks regularly, no more than 2-3 times daily, you have the opportunity to grow your base exponentially.

First, think about bands who are similar to you on Soundcloud and follow them. Then take a look at their followers and start following those who fit the parameters in the above paragraph. Soundcloud does limit how many you can follow in one day, so I recommend keeping it to ten per day, which will also make it more manageable as you engage with those who follow you and comment on your tracks.

This brings me to engagement. You should also be engaging with those you follow or who follow you, by liking tracks they post (If you like them) and commenting. This is especially true if you are following a band or someone else in the music industry.

This is also the one area where I suggest NOT sending your iTunes link, keeping in mind you should have it included in your song description. You are building a fan relationship when increasing listeners so you need to make sure the listener experience is a good one. Once you have built that relationship, then you can repeat the above process by releasing another single to support the album and including the iTunes link when you privately message.

This method is the first step in increasing sales for your music. In this day and age, however, you need to be creative and adapt to a constantly changing industry. Album sales are just a portion of revenue for a band. You should always look at how you can build your audience and create an experience they want to be part of, so they will in turn support your every endeavor.

New Music Friday: January 13, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow THE NEW – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!

sza copy
Drew Barrymore
SZA

Pop, Alternative

chrysalis copy
Reminder
Chrysalis

Heavy Metal, Rock

lennon and maisy copy
Up and Up
Lennon + Maisy

Singer/Songwriter, Pop

knox hamilton copy
Never My Love
Knox Hamilton

Alternative

gloria estefan copy
One Day At a Time
Gloria Estefan

Soundtrack

the menstruators copy
Dead Glitter
The Menstruators

Alternative, Rock

baby kaely copy
Outta Space
Baby Kaely

Hip Hop/Rap

ryan mccartan copy
When You Went Away
Ryan McCartan

Pop

pegboard nerds copy
Nerds By Nature
Pegboard Nerds

Dance, Electronic

lowland hum copy
Folded Flowers
Lowland Hum

Singer/Songwriter, Folk

jetty rae copy
Can’t Curse The Free
Jetty Rae

Singer/Songwriter, Folk

ocean sleeper copy
Six Feet Down
Ocean Sleeper

Heavy Metal

sean danielsen copy
Product Of Isolation
Sean Danielsen

Singer/Songwriter, Alternative

morgan page steve james copy
Candles
Morgan Page & Steve James

Dance, Pop

vafa kaamil copy
Hope You Ready
Rafa
Kaamil
Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul

phoebe bridgers copy
Smoke Signals
Phoebe Bridgers
Alternative, Singer/Songwriter

koboogie copy
Rich Get Richer Poor Get Poorer

KoBoogie
Hip Hop/Rap, Soundtrack

3 Habits of Artists With a Strong Social Media Following

[Editors Note: This blog was written by W. Tyler Allen and originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

 

There are many tactics that go into a solid social media marketing campaign, but tactics are just theories unless they’re put into action, right? Even then, you need to ensure that these tactics become habits so that you maintain a level of consistency with your social media presence. Wondering which habits you should be forming, exactly? Well, for starters, here are three that artists who have built up strong social media followings all have in common.

1. Embrace new social media channels

Bobby Shmurda may be in prison right now, but no one can forget his track “Hot Boy” (under the clean title), which surged to the top of the charts and even closed out the 2014 BET Music Awards. The track began gaining traction on the video-sharing app Vine, when users began to mimic Shmurda’s dance and the line “about a week ago.” This viral meme turned into a standard radio hit and really blasted Shmurda from struggling rapper to full-blown artist.

The key here is to always be aware of current outlets. Sure, Shmurda’s fans may have taken the effort to create memes, and it seems to have happened organically, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to hop on Vine with your own fun content and encourage folks to remix it, share it, and remake it.

2. Perfect your balance of promotional and personal posts

It’s hard to find ways to promote your work, and it’s also hard to find ways to integrate your personal life in your outlets – but it’s essential. Talking about your day, your life, and your non-musical interests really help fans feel like they’re getting to know you.

My favorite examples of this are 2 Chainz’s food and culinary posts on his Instagram and Diddy’s posts of his family and nights out. Rappers and mainstream artists obviously aren’t the only example of this, either – bands like American Aquarium and Angus & Julia Stone have gotten in the habit of using that healthy mix of posts, too!

3. Network to have the power of social media influencers in your corner

Indie artist Ryn Weaver wasn’t a very well-known name, but that all changed when her single, “Octahate,” was tweeted and shared by artists like Charlie XCX, Paramore’s Hayley Williams, and Jessie Ware. This push from those heavyweights single-handedly assisted in the catalyst to her success.

Whether it’s organic, paid, or squeezed into, having influencers in your corner might be that extra boost you need to get your work heard. Check out paid networks like IZEA and Fluence, or better yet, simply make an effort to build genuine connections with journalists and fellow artists who have that large pull and following to help your work.