Are you one of the (less than) 1% in digital sales?

Some interesting stats on iTunes store music sales from 2011 have become available (2011? Does it take this long for them to compile stats? Anyway…).  I’m getting this data from where he’s already analyzed it thoroughly, but I’ve got a couple comments of my own.  Here’s the one that stands out to me:

94 percent – 7.5 million tracks – sold fewer than one hundred units, and an astonishing 32 percent sold only one copy.

Yeap, there’s a ton of music being published.  A ton of it is probably horrible, but it’s also probably horribly marketed by the artists that are publishing it.  It’s likely if you’re on a label that’s promoting you at least somewhat your tracks are not going to be counted as one of the many that made up this stat, but it’s telling me that a ton of people are just firing and forgetting with their music.  They publish to e-stores and hope that shoppers browsing the samples are going to hear one 30 second clip and be enamored.  I think that happens almost never.  Heck, even a shopper randomly coming across your music in the store without being directed there from somewhere else (like your marketing efforts!) is going to happen almost never!

0.00001 percent of the eight million tracks sold that year generated almost a sixth of all sales

Make sure you’ve got a following AND a good way to tell them where to get your tunes before you publish to stores.  Otherwise, get ready for a whole lot of no sales.



The kids are leaving Facebook. Make sure your eggs are not all in one basket.

Facebook currently is a good tool for music promotion and interacting with listeners, but it may not be so forever. Usage in the US is declining since last year, and static in the U.K.

Research shows that the number of unique visitors to the Facebook website from computers, smartphones and tablets has fallen from 153m in March 2012 to 142m in March this year, having peaked at 158m last August. – The Guardian

A good portion of the users lost may be young people, particularly teens. It seems one main reason for this is that parental units and other un-cool family members are also on Facebook! Facebook as an exclusive place for young, techy people in the know, as it was five or so years ago, no longer exists. Sharing things your parents may not approve of requires carefully navigating privacy settings for each post, plus it’s just plain not cool that your parents are on there anyway! Kids may have accounts, but they aren’t very active users.

They’ve moved on to networks like Instagram and Tumblr.  These are newer networks that parents haven’t yet adopted and are likely a bit more obtuse to figure out for less savvy older folks.

Teens seem to be the segment that is abandoning Facebook the fastest, but who cares?

You’re trying to make a profit with your music somehow, right? Teens don’t have much money. They probably pirate like crazy and don’t buy your stuff.

However, they will soon be college students and twenty-somethings with income. If you’re in this for the long-haul, they can be valuable fans down the road. Toyota, when it realized their cars were beginning to only be bought by older and older customers and were considered boring among younger people, decided to create the Scion brand of funkier cars aimed at a younger audience to re-capture the younger drivers and build brand loyalty with a younger generation.

It is important to keep up with where your audience is going. EDM music is primarily powered by a younger crowd at the moment, so it is doubly important for us to stay on top of the hot social media trends.

The long-term viability of all social networks is of concern to me, which is one reason I advocate for always harvesting emails. Email is not going anywhere anytime soon, making your email list a much more evergreen source of contacts with fans.

Facebook probably won’t be around forever, but I doubt it will go poof in the near-term. It is still definitely a viable place for promoting our music, however I’d suggest thinking about how hard you want to focus your time (and money, if you pay to promote your page or posts) on a social network that may be at the beginning of its downswing.

Rumblefish, CDBaby and YouTube Content ID may hinder your abilities to spread your tunes on YouTube

Content IDCDBaby provides an easy way to get all your music on popular (and un-popular) music stores, plus through their partnership with Rumblefish, you can easily make your music available for all kinds of licensing opportunities.  Rumblefish is also partnered with Youtube and hooks into their Content ID system which can automatically identify music used in a video.  YouTube places ads on any video containing your music and pays ad revenue to Rumblefish who pays CDBaby, who then pays you.

This whole system is attempting to make sure you get paid when random users just decide to put your music in a video with or without permission.  When it works, you don’t have to do anything.  Money you weren’t going to be making otherwise just pours in, plus correct credit for your song is posted with the video.  Sounds great for the most part, right?

There are some serious irritations with this system, making running your own YouTube channel with your own content problematic, plus this severely inhibits your ability to make legitimate direct licensing and usage deals for your music with popular channels and Youtubers who could get you massive exposure or even direct money. Read More

6 reasons not to use free vst plugins

VST logoEDM producers are likely the prime audience for free plugins.  Always looking to find a new and unique sound, experimental and niche software can be great for producers to tinker with and explore without laying down cash for the privilege.   VSTs let you expand the capabilities of your DAW, providing new sounds and effects, and getting them for free can be wonderful.  However, there are reasons you may want to stay away from or limit your use of free plugins and stick with a lean and mean team of professionally developed and supported plugs.

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Protagonist Records – my failed netlabel postmortem: what worked and what didn’t

A few years ago, I started up a little net-label called Protagonist Records.  I largely ignored the structure and business models of other labels, believing that I had a possible path to greatness that did not involve typical corporate and marketing techniques.  The market and method was changing a mile at the minute at the time (and it still is) and I thought my idea might work.  My music, and my friends’ music was so cool that we were sure to get a viral following and be at least somewhat successful!  Right?  Nope!

I ran the label for around two years with some pretty good indie talent involved, but never saw much attention gathering, much less any income.  I was pretty naive, however I had a full-time job at the time and could afford to spend my spare time on a project like this without major repercussions.  The most major repercussion was that I blew a lot of my spare EDM-creating time on administration and accounting duties for the label rather than just making my own music and promoting my own SGX identity.

protagonistIn the following article, I’ll outline my business plan, what went wrong, and what I learned.  I’m not sure how much of it will be relevant to my readership, as I don’t think everyone is trying to build a label business, and if they were, they probably aren’t doing it the way I did, but I think there are some overall lessons to be learned here.  A lot of the best lessons are learned from failure, so please let my misguided attempt educate you at least at what NOT to do, and what NOT to do with your own music.

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Free e-book, DJ Marketing Bible contains plenty of great info for EDM producers

DJ Marketing Bible
Even if you don’t perform live or have plans to, this free downloadable PDF from called the DJ Marketing Bible contains many relevant tips I think are applicable to EDM producers regarding:

  • Choosing an artist name
  • Writing a bio
  • Designing a logo
  • Facebook and the importance of owning your own website as well
  • Networking
  • Marketing
  • Demos for record labels

The book, which you can find here is generously published via a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-noDerivs 3.0 Unported License.  It’s really worth a read for the marketing lessons, and if you plan on getting into DJing or performing your music live, it’s full of plenty of awesome information as well.