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Archive of ‘Social Media’ category

Is The Internet Doomed?

Potentially, yes.

Really – do you think the suits in high places like us being able to disrupt industries, undermine monopolies and overthrow governments using upstart technology that they have no control over?

Could “stopping piracy” possibly be just a great excuse to gradually lock the Internet down and turn it into a top-down broadcast model that serves nobody well but big business and conservative governments?

OK – stealing other people’s art is not cool; I would obviously rather you paid for my music than nicked it. But reducing the Internet to a flacid corporate wasteland is NOT the answer. SOPA just might do this if allowed to go through unchecked.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

A Purple Ocean Music Model

Derek Sivers: Promotion! Creating the music is easy (though still underrated). Distributing the music is so easy it’s moot. So now the delicate art of calling attention to your music means everything. Marketing is distribution.

I just read this interview and the above quote in particular got me my mind racing. Especially about this: If you are running around saying that you want to be “a successful musician” – what does that actually mean? What will you be doing from day to day when you are a successful musician?

When I started out in music I knew what I wanted – big crowds, pretty girls falling at my feet, free beer and weed – and a get-out-of-work-free card that lasted the rest of my life (which at that point I saw lasting until about 1998 if I was lucky).

Well I got the first three for a while before the sum combined effect of these gifts on my little boy mind caused a complete blow-out and I went off the music scene radar. And now, at the youthful age of not quite 35 I am playing a kind of music that I can see myself playing when I am 95 and I am eager to get out there and “be a successful musician again”. Not because of the same reasons though. Not because I need the ego trip – but just because I enjoy making music. Not because I think “I’ll be happy when” but because I am happy now – even when I am not (weird but true) – and this gives me a a kind of freedom and confidence to just do what feels right. And not because I want to get rich but (call me a hippy) because I am abundant.

So I have my new CD – click here and go have a listen and then if you like it you can buy it. It is also available through digital distribution outlets like iTunes and the like. And I have well and truly returned to live performance. Yup, I am slowly but surely getting my thang back on the boil.

But what does this actually mean?

Well I know what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean hedonistic excess for me anymore – I’m over it. And it doesn’t mean ‘not having to work’ because I love my work which is more like play and have no desire to give most aspects of it up.

And it doesn’t mean “Rock Star”. That concept is hackneyed and irrelevant as far as I am concerned although I concede that this may just be because I am, like, totally ancient.

And I don’t want it to mean countless gigs in front bars full of barflies who don’t care about my music. Why would I bother with that strategy? Popular wisdom has it that you do it to build a following – but is it really an efficient way to do that? I seriously doubt it. All those hours spent negotiating with horrible grumpy egotistical promoters just for that? Pah.

Personally I think that what is called for is a new model. This may not be revolutionary for others, wiser than I, but for me it needs to get clear in my head if I am to take my new music and get it heard by a decent amount of folk who will appreciate it.

So here is the model I have in my head – well it’s a model in the making actually and far from complete (and assumes that great music is being made else why would you bother). It draws on Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” book and the business strategy called “Blue Ocean Strategy” so instead of being a blue ocean it is a purple one to combine the two (very similar) theories.

My Purple Ocean Music Marketing Model

  1. Use Social Media to promote music:

I know, revolutionary hey? But actually it is.

If you were to successfully use social media to actually sell a largish amount of music then you’d be a God in my eyes because you’d have done it from your lounge room which is actually very flipping revolutionary.

And in my limited but rapidly increasing experience with using SM it is not just a case of jumping up and down screaming “look at me, look at me”. You have to have something to say otherwise you might as well not bother. I suppose there are people who do this already. Be cool to know who and explore their methods.

  1. Do Purple Gigs:

Seriously you don’t want to be stuck in front of a screen all the time as this will never come close to the sensation if playing live. (I mean it’s just crazy how much screen I do these days and yet ten or twelve years ago I didn’t have so much as a hotmail account and everything to do with music had nothing to do with computers for me then.)

But like I wrote earlier, I don’t want to do the same old rounds of crap gigs all over again. I might take the easy gigs that come my way but I am sure has hell not going to invest bulk time and energy into chasing two bit gigs. But how to approach playing live then?

Well, I have this model in mind of basically just copying what theatre people do which is they book out a theatre and pre-sell the tickets so that on the night they know how many crew are going to be there and all the emphasis in the lead up to the night is on the actual show itself.

None of this madly texting everybody at 6pm to try and convince them to come out to some crusty bar to hear you sing. No way, instead the idea is to book one night in a small theatre, pre-sell the tickets and then make sure it is such an awesome show that word of mouth kicks into gear and the venues start getting larger.

Think about it like this: Hit theatre shows don’t do endless gigs in two-bit dive bars. They rely on good self-promotion and then word of mouth based on the quality of their show.

  1. Sell Across My Brand

What I mean by this is:

  • I, Seamus Anthony, am a brand. My brand is that I am a musician, a writer, and an entrepreneur.
  • Giving away music is an excellent promotional strategy but relying solely on music sales is a poor business strategy.
  • So I will give away as many mp3s for free as people are willing to take. I will also sell them to those who are happy to buy them and will also sell other forms of music like CDs, USB sticks and live shows.
  • But I will also sell across the brand into my other offerings. For example, at Rebel Zen me and my business partner Steve have released an eBook I wrote about how to get high without drugs, call Psychedelic Meditation.

So you might come across my free mp3s, dig them, dig my blogging style here, also get into my writing style over at Rebel Zen and then buy the e book.

Voila. I gave away music and free blog content to sell a book. And that’s just one cross selling example. I have many more. But I’d rather do them than hypothesize about them.

  • This is where the Blue Ocean theory will come in because a lot of musicians don’t offer other services and products. Ok it has been done – Henry Rollins’ spoken word for example – but it isn’t wide spread and I am not aware of anybody who has offered the kinds of stuff I am thinking of.

4. Start Pumping Out New Music – and partner up to do it.

Although ‘Dogs May Bark’is a 100% solo effort, and while I will surely do more solo stuff, I am currently preparing to team up with some other dudes to release music under a couple of different names. I don’t see why you wouldn’t. Mixing it up with dudes always makes for different music than I would just make by myself, and if one project takes off, then I suppose we’d just run with it. Meanwhile you could cross-sell the acts amongst each other.

5. Re-Package the Past

One thing I think is a real shame is how some bands burn really bright for a while and then just get forgotten because they are not then re-packaged and re-marketed (yeah, I sound like a corporate tosser I know, can’t help it, I flick from business to artists brain really easily, but really I am just a nuff-nuff in a funny hat).

For example I was in one band called reckoning, and not to blow my own trumpet but well, you know, Bwaarp! So me and Peter from this band are getting back together this summer to record new music and meanwhile we are going to put together a website and a best of compilation (plus make all the mp3’s available for sale too) of the old band because it was a great band and more to the point, when I get into a new band or solo artist, I always want to know what other stuff they have done, so I assume that’s how other music fans also think.

So yeah, don’t let the past just die (but focus on making new music of course). Your history gives you context and depth.

6. Just Study the way things are done and try to do new things. (or if not new then just plain excellent).

If any readers could offer some ways to help invent a truly different music marketing model then I’d love to hear them so leave a comment (so far very un-comment-y visitors to this site, I see the stats but I don’t get much feedback, speak up! I love it!)

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Social Media Madness!!!

Sad as it may be I spent my Saturday arvo getting some serious social media action happening to promote my music. Well, to my credit it is a rainy old winter’s day here in Melbourne, especially in the hills where I live. And I did break it up with a disgustingly healthy walk with the dog and other humans…

I was at a loss as to where to start so I just googled something like how to promote your music online and got this article and went off from there. I was obviously already on MySpace so decided to hit iLike.com instead. I was surprised to see it was considered such a big deal because I signed up once ages ago but had kind of forgotten about it. Anyway I relocated my log in details and found my profile, languishing and attention starved little bastard that it was. Well, still is really.

The short story from there is that I spent yonks uploading my songs and tweaking yet another fucking profile page, but at the end of the day I am not sure how to use it still. To promote my music that is, although I am sure I could use it to totally waste many, many precious hours, but when you get past 30 you don’t want to do that.

I read as much as I could stand but, call me a Luddite, I still can’t figure it out. I worked out that it somehow links up with Facebook, although (without asking me) it created a new artist page for me (Fuck! Like I need TWO goddamn Facebook profiles in my life! Aaagh!) and I am not sure how to link that in with my existing Facebook page yet. And besides, seeing as I use Facebook pretty much only to find out how fat or bald old school mates I haven’t seen in years have become, I am not really sure what the point of promoting my music through that service is yet. Like some girl you made a drunken fool of yourself in the sack back in 1990 is going to get all excited about your new tunes when she has three brats to look after and an alcoholic husband who never stops griping about how much he hates his job. Or whatever… anyway …

Then I figured out that it also linked up to Hi5.com – which seemed weird. I mean I really don’t think that all that many two year olds are going to get my particular brand of world weary grumbling but what the hey – get ’em young right? So I went over there and realised that it’s just like ANOTHER Facebook or MySpace or whatever, and before I knew it I was slavishly filling out yet ANOTHER freakin’ profile page. Strange thing was I pretty quickly found out that there are at least 7 real world friends using the service, and all people who I know already use the usual culprits. What do people DO with their time these days? No wonder I never see anybody anymore! Everyone’s too busy keeping up with the rampant proliferation of social media sites to get out and visit each other in the real world!

And if you go and look at these two new profiles I created, here and here, you will see that they look completely and utterly lame. I really love the way they say things like “Seamus currently has no friends” or “Total fans: Zero” which, if anyone ever actually manages to stumble into these virtual-backwaters is just gonna look to them like “Ok, this guy is, like, the world’s worst Nigel-no-friends ever. I am totally outies.”

Anyway, jokes aside, I went through all this pain because apparently I am going to be able to promote my music through this beserko thang called social media, and if so, then fine by me. But I can tell you now, today I learned two things:

1) Social Media may work (I bloody hope it does) BUT it is fiddly stuff that will chew up a WHOLE lotta time. So you will need to figure out which strategies work for you and stick with them, but lose the blind alleys. I will be. Oh yeah, I’ll be like the Jack the Ripper of the social media world, silently killing off any street-scum profiles that don’t work (okay prostitutes do actually work so that analogy didn’t really fly did it…)

2) I gotta get out and do some real gigs or I am gonna disappear up my own butt. Amen.

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Laying the Foundations for Music Success by Making It Easy for People to Get Into Your Music

Let’s get one thing clear, I’m a musician. The blogging thing is just a tool to promote the music, and this is not primarily a blog about blogging; God knows we don’t need any more of those.

However, as it happens, I do enjoy blogging so that’s great. Personally, I reckon it beats the hell out of wandering the streets at 2am sticking posters up in the freezing cold only to find them ripped down again a day later, but that’s just me. I guess I did that enough back in the 90s, back when ‘they’ used to leave them up for a while. These days the Gentrification Nazis have them pulled down every morning at dawn by poor sods in fluorescent safety-jackets who couldn’t pay their (outrageous rip-off) parking fines…. sorry, went off on a tangent … where was I?

Oh yeah … So blogging is not making music, nor is it as much fun. It’s just not the buzz that gigging is. And, after a break for a couple of years to refresh (and father a baby!), I am keen as mustard to get out and start gigging again.

So what I am doing with this blog is laying the foundations to capitalise on every gig, to make it easy for whoever happens to be in a bar when I set up in the corner and start bawling out my tunes to find me online afterwards, and to listen to (or even buy!) my tunes.

You see I spent years playing gigs in bars, to some success initially but then to less and less. I don’t mean musical success, that was never an issue. What I’m talking about is marketing my music rather than just enjoying gigging for the hell of it (which I did). Truth is that by the late ’90s, once I had moved from Adelaide to Melbourne, I just did gigs and then went home. Or to some girl’s house if I was lucky. But I did nothing to capitalise on whatever favourable attention I won in the pubs and clubs that I gigged in. Some people enjoyed what I did every night for sure, but I had no idea who they were or how to contact them again.

And look – at the time I didn’t care, I was going through a, “like, totally zen” phase and just wanted to hang loose like I hadn’t ever done when I was in Reckoning which was pretty much my entire post-high school life.

Then ten years went past in the blink of an eye.

Whoops!

I had a lot of fun in those ten years but the old music career “break” was starting to look pretty permanent 🙂

But now, call me a sad case, but I want back in again, I miss gigging and jammin’ and all of that. But these days my time is precious (Wife, Baby, Extended Family, Career, Friends, House to Maintain). So what I am doing with this blog is making sure that this time around I do things properly. When people see and hear me in a bar, they will be able to buy my disc straight away if they want. But if they aren’t quite convinced I will make it easy for people to find me on the web.

So you hear me at a gig, go home with one of my tunes stuck in your head, you Google my name, Voila! Then you land on this blog and there will be an big thing saying “buy my tunes Now” and also “listen to my tunes now for free” (for the cheapskates). And whatever gigs are coming up will be easy to find. And you can subscribe to the email list and I’ll let you know what’s new.

And further to this, I am giving this blog a “point”. Rather than just being a blog that exists for no other reason than the fact that I have an enormous ego (fact) I have made it into a kind of “how to get your music shit happening – by example” blog. (Note: if you look through the archives, you will see that it was only relatively recently that I decided to focus the blog in this way. In that time I have already seen traffic increase by about 400%. Why? It’s called the “what’s in it for me?” factor.)

And so that means learning how to do all this online marketing guff better. So Steve is showing me how. I spent the couple of hours I could spare over the last two days signing up for every stupid social media/bookmarking site under the sun. Not my idea of bliss but you gotta do what you gotta do.

One other thing I gotta do is work out how to make a template for posting so it ends with a “subscribe to the blog or mailing list” link at the bottom, as recommended by Copyblogger. Meanwhile, why don’t you scroll up the top of the page and subscribe right now?

I’d better go and get on with it.

What do you gotta do today to get your music shit happening?

My Online Media Marketing Lessons Begin!

I have mentioned before that Steve Mills my Rebel Zen partner and I have an agreement to help each other out. He will scratch my back by teaching me how to market my music online, and he will benefit from this by refining and promoting his SPOKE system.

So today we begin.

Lesson One
Here’s the email I got:

Yo (we email each other all day so nothing formal tends to go down)

First thing you need to do is to go to http://www.socialmarker.com/

and sign up for all of these social media sites. Place your
full bio and picture in the profile section of each

# Propeller.com
# Slashdot.org
# Digg.com
# Technorati.com
# Del.icio.us
# Stumbleupon.com
# Twitter.com
# Reddit.com
# Tagza.com
# Fark.com
# Newsvine.com
# Furl.net
# swik.net
# Connotea.org
# Links Marker
# Sphinn.com
# Blinklist.com
# Faves.com
# Mister-wong.com
# Spurl.net
# Netvouz.com
# Diigo.com
# Backflip.com
# Rawsugar.com
# Bibsonomy.org
# Folkd.com
# Linkagogo.com
# Indianpad.com
# Plugim.com
# Myjeeves.ask.com
# Buddy Marks
# Connectedy
# MyLinkVault
# Google Bookmarks

Long process I know, but is your spokey foundation for linkage. If you
cant get them all done, don’t sweat for now, but try to get as many as
you can.

Great! I thought. I just go to social marker.com and sign up for all of those at once. But I couldn’t tell how so I emailed Steve back and asked for further instructions:

For the Spoke part 1, What you need to do is go to propeller and sign
up for a user account as seamusanthony, and fill in the bio
information and url link to point back to seamusanthony.com

Then do the same for slashdot

Then for digg.

Repeat for the list that I gave you

Oh dear, that IS going to take me some time isn’t it.

Ok. I’d better hop to it then!