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Dear Music Business: Among The Reasons You’re Struggling

Dear record label execs, promoters, and managers:

While you’re busy trying to figure out how to save your business, doing things like launching apps and having rooftop concerts, you’re losing sight of the basics. You are often your (and your artists’) own worst enemy.

Many examples of this have been documented over the years. I’m not here to give you shit or tell you that you suck. I love music. I love musicians. I want to help you.

Within 5 minutes of trying to get more familiar with an artist – including purchasing tickets to an upcoming show – I ran into several obstacles.  Here’s what happened:

I’ve been hearing about The Weeknd for a while, so:

1. I went to Facebook

It’s important for you to understand how music fans are looking for music and information about artists. They are not going to your artist’s website as a first stop, and they’re probably not going to Google first either. They are going to sites like Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and Soundtracking. That means you need to make sure your artist’s presence on those sites is easy to find and comprehensive.

Facebook recently launched Graph Search. For the record, I hate it, but unfortunately 1.1 billion people on Facebook are stuck with it, including your artists.

When looking at search, you need to think about how people will search. Account for user error. The conversation goes:

“Have you heard of The Weekend?” or “I love The Weekend!” or “Are you going to see The Weekend at The Greek Theatre?”

Or, a radio DJ or blogger on Sirius XM’s Blog Radio will say something like, “That was the latest from The Weekend.”

What are people going to search for? Will they know it’s spelled “The Weeknd”? This is about artist discovery and during the discovery phase, fans will be less likely to know the unusual spelling of your band’s name. If you have an artist with a name like The Weeknd or CHVRCHES, then you need to look at how people will actually search for them. Do search optimization for the incorrect spelling as well, so people can easily find your artist. Have a way to direct people from the incorrect spelling to the correct spelling.

Here’s what happens now when you search for “The Weekend” (as someone just discovering the artist would search) on Facebook:

This is a new development. Before Graph Search launched, a first-time search for “The Weekend” on Facebook went like this: the artist’s official page is the FIRST result, after typing in only the first few letters (before the potential spelling error would ever take place).

You may say this is a Facebook problem – a flaw with their search. I agree. There are numerous flaws with Facebook – here’s one more we can add to the list. Unfortunately, as evidenced above, this is your problem as well.

Solution: Facebook and numerous media outlets issue alerts about new product developments and features well in advance of their launch. When this happens, your “digital person” should get on the phone with Facebook or fly to one of their offices and explore how this will impact your business.

The product is Search. That’s pretty important to your business and how people will find your artists on Facebook. You should have these conversations early and do everything you can to help avoid what’s happened in the case of The Weeknd.

As a larger business lesson: make sure you have strong relationships at every key social media site. Maintain these relationships. Have dinners and regular meetings. Don’t just call when you need something. Look to these businesses as partners and work with them consistently.

Since I couldn’t find The Weeknd on Facebook by doing a simple Facebook search, I went to a company that actually knows how to do search, Google. As expected, Google (even with an incorrect spelling) directed me to The Weeknd’s Facebook page. Once I got there, I saw they had a “Video” tab, so:

2. I tried to watch The Weeknd’s videos posted on Facebook

Here’s what happened:

 

Solution #1: If you aren’t actually going to make the videos available for viewing on Facebook, then don’t include a YouTube tab on your Facebook page.

Solution #2: Pull your head out of your ass.

Ok, as it turns out now – I am giving you shit. Few things piss me off as much as this. This is your artist, right? And these have been deemed as official videos/streams? I’m assuming so because they’re on your artist’s Facebook page (even though that’s fucking useless) and YouTube channel.

Why on earth would you make it so difficult for people who actually want to hear your artist’s music to listen to it through the official, LEGAL, channels? Stop bitching about file sharing sites until you stop doing shit like this.

3. I went to YouTube:

No problems here. A Google company, YouTube has efficient, easy, and effective search.

Why am I showing you a good example? So that you can maximize it. Understanding that you want people to be able to find your artists, put your money where search is most effective. Run ads on Google and YouTube, as Atlantic Records is doing for Portugal. The Man in the example above.

In the case of artists who have unique names, like The Weeknd or CHVRCHES, you should probably run ads on Facebook as well. This will help get your artists in front of fans who couldn’t find  them through a simple search.

4. After YouTube, I went to Ticketmaster:

After all this, I was considering going to the show.

Ticketmaster has similar search issues to Facebook:

As it turns out, Ticketmaster’s search is better than Facebook’s though. If a user types in “The Week”, the appropriate artist will come up.  Nonetheless, there is an even better solution.

Solution: On Ticketmaster, whether I search for “NIN” or “Nine Inch Nails”, I get the correct results for that artist. This leads me to believe it’s possible to optimize search for artists like The Weeknd and CHVRCHES on Ticketmaster as well. 

Call Ticketmaster. Explore the option of having the correct results show up, whether somebody types “The Weeknd” or “The Weekend”; “CHVRCHES” or “Churches”.

In closing: Please pay attention – you CAN fix things like this, which will ultimately help you reach your objectives:

  • Increase an artist’s fan base
  • Sell tickets
  • Generate advertising revenue (your YouTube video views will increase if you allow video embedding)
  • Perhaps even, sell music

I apologize for coming across angry, but this is important to me too. I’m tired of hearing about how the music business is failing. I want musicians to succeed and if you’re doing a good job supporting them, I want you to succeed as well.

Don’t lose sight of the basics:

  • Make sure people can quickly and easily find your artists on the sites that matter most.
  • Make your artist’s official content (videos, music) accessible. It’s a bit unfair to be going after fans on file sharing sites when you’re not allowing them to access the music legally, through your artist’s official channels.

Furthermore, be happy people are interested in your artists at all. We’re not on opposite sides of this. The people listening to your artist’s music – whether they’re paying for it or not – are the people you want on your team. Stop punishing people for caring about your bands. If you make music accessible, you will win.

Thank you,

Colette

 

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Metric at The Greek Theatre

Metric

Metric at The Greek Theatre

The guy behind me was jumping up and down before the show began. “I can’t help it! I’m just so excited!” he exclaimed. I looked at him, smiled, and screamed, “I’m excited too!”

Metric shows are always a lot of fun. The mere thought of their high energy performance is enough to fuel fans before the show begins and carry them all the way through to the next show. Their performance at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles Tuesday night was no exception.

Shouts of “I love you Emily!” roared through the night sky between every song, the audience expressing their appreciation of the dynamic and captivating lead singer, Emily Haines. Typically the passionate cheers occurred as Haines was setting up for the next song. Without stopping, without breaking concentration, it was apparent Haines felt Emily Hainesthe love. A smile would start to appear on Haines’ face and then she and the band would launch into yet another crowd favorite – the musical equivalent of “I love you too”.

Rather than make the audience wait, wonder, and hope they’ll play it, Metric played “Help I’m Alive” fairly early in the set. It was a kind of gift, as if to say, “Now you can relax and enjoy the remainder of the show, without wondering if or when we’ll play that song.” Playing the encore-worthy hit early in their set was also quite a testament to Metric. The songs that preceded “Help I’m Alive” and the songs that followed punctuated the fact that Metric is no one-hit-wonder. Every song in their set is equally strong and infectious.

Metric’s concert at the 5,900-capacity Greek Theatre signifies quite a journey from the nights they used to play Club Spaceland (capacity: 260). During one of several moments in which she expressed gratitude to all in attendance, Haines reflected on those early days in Los Angeles. “As I sing these songs it brings me back to that time. I remember eating expired Power Bars from the 99 Cent store,” she said with laughter.

Metric

“I guess – when you look back on your life story – you want your life to be a collection of really great jokes” – Emily Haines

As I listened to Haines speak and reflected on their lyrics, I realized what I like most about Metric is that they celebrate all aspects of life, even the things others would classify as “fucked up”. It’s what makes us who we are – the good things and the challenges. The celebration is that we’re here to experience it all, together.

“I guess – when you look back on your life story – you want your life to be a collection of really great jokes. ” Haines continued.

As Metric played “Clone”, the crowd sang along, making the song their own personal anthem. “Nothing I’ve ever done right happened on the safe side. . .” the voices of the audience joined Haines proudly.  Then, in celebration of it all, “My regret only makes me stronger yet!”

MetricListening to Metric, experiencing their live shows, embarking on the journey from clubs to amphitheaters with them, it’s easy to understand why the audience adopts their songs as personal anthems.  Truth and acceptance. The truth is ok. Embrace it. Accept and celebrate who you are.

The light display along the back of  the stage transformed into a countdown clock prior to the encore. Again, a kind of gift, alerting the crowd that the band would of course return, no need to worry.  Rather than expend a lot of energy, creating thunderous applause and ear-piercing cheers to woo the band back to the stage, the audience gained energy in anticipation of the band’s return. As the moment neared, the audience roared, “Ten. . . nine. . . eight. . . seven. . . six. . . five. . . four. . . three. . . two. . . one!” and Metric took the stage again.

“It’s rock and roll, for fuck sake. I’m glad we survived. I’m glad you’re here with us. This is something we built together, at this point,” Haines said, once again thanking, and metaphorically sharing the stage with, the audience. The passionate anthem sing-a-longs continued until Metric left the stage and the house lights came on.

In addition to being a great band, Metric is an example of hard work and perseverance  paying off. Even as they celebrate their successes now, they continue to work hard. I saw them play, back in the day, at Spaceland – Metric has been giving it everything they’ve got, every step of the way.

Catch them on tour if you’re able: http://ilovemetric.com/tour/

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Win Tickets to See Grizzly Bear at The Greek Theatre

Time for another ticket giveaway at one of my favorite venues,  The Greek Theatre!

As always, this summer’s line-up at The Greek has been exceptional.  I’m really excited about this next giveaway and am launching it early so that we can run it longer, giving you more opportunities to win!

One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see Grizzly Bear and Lower Dens, at The Greek Theatre LA  on Wednesday October 10.  Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST September 22, 2012
  • TO ENTER:  Visit Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend on Facebook
  • You will see there are several ways you can enter and you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do.  You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more.  ENTER NOW
  • Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on September 23, 2012.  Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
  • Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Greek Theatre on the evening of the show
  • Transportation and accommodations not included

About Grizzly Bear:

Grizzly Bear Grizzly Bear will release their first album in three years on September 18 via Warp Records. Recorded over the better part of a year, Shields represents the band’s most charged and concise collection of music to date and follows 2009′s critical and commercial breakthrough, Veckatimest. Preview the track “Sleeping Ute” here: http://bit.ly/KepO2h

Veckatimest debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Billboard Indie chart in 2009, and was one of the year’s most lauded releases. It ranked #1 on the NPR Listener’s Poll and Top 10 on year-end lists in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Pitchfork, SPIN, The Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop Poll, and many more. In March 2012, The Wall Street Journal’s Jim Fusilli declared it “one of the best rock discs of this century so far.”

About Lower Dens:

Lower DensBased out of Baltimore, MD, Lower Dens is one of many side projects from singer/songwriter Jana Hunter. Hunter is also joined by guitaristWill Adams, bassist Geoff Graham, and drummer Abram Sanders. Together, the freak folk quartet has a sound that is psychedelic and murky, embodying the experimental nature of the Baltimore music scene with songs that are equal parts reverb-drenched folk and swirling ambience. After playing a string of house shows, Lower Dens went into the studio to record their first album with Chris Freeland (of Oxesfame). In 2010, the band released its full-length debut, Twin-Hand Movement, on Devendra Banhart’s Gnomonsong label. In the months that followed the group would refine their sound through touring and experimentation. Sanders stepped down as drummer in 2011, replaced by Nate Nelson. The band was also filled out with additional guitarist/keyboardist Carter Tanton. This expanded version of the band returned in 2012 with sophomore album, Nootropics. (All Music)

About The Greek Theatre:

For “official” information about The Greek Theatre, you can check out their website, but here’s my take:  The Greek Theatre is one of my all-time favorite music venues. Start to finish, The Greek Theatre is an EXPERIENCE!  You can get there early, picnic, and drink wine. If you don’t mind a walk, you can park on Vermont and enjoy the walk to and from the venue.  If you’re reading Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend, chances are you’re not the type  to leave the show early, so you can take the easy route and commit to the stacked parking option.   The venue is beautiful, outdoors, surrounded by trees.  The sound is impeccable.  I’ve seen some of my favorite shows at The Greek and I’m very excited to share these opportunities with you.

What Now?

Well, if you haven’t already done so, ENTER TO WIN TICKETS NOW.

For more info about this show or Greek Theatre, click here.

To buy tickets to this show, click here.

If you have questions or comments, please leave them for me below.

Thank you!

Colette

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Win Tickets to See The Felice Brothers at The Satellite

October 24, 2011

One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see The Felice Brothers at The Satellite in Los Angeles on October 28, 2011. Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST October 27, 2011
  • TO ENTER: Visit Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend on Facebook
  • You will see there are several ways you can enter and you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
  • Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of October 28, 2011. Winner will have 5 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
  • Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Satellite on the evening of the show. Please bring photo ID.
  • You must be 21+ to attend this event
  • Transportation and accommodations not included

About The Felice Brothers:

The Felice Brothers

“…what separates The Felices’ mud-stomping folk from that of their peers is their no-winking honesty – the sense that these songs and the places and people they’re singing about aren’t literary devices but actual people doing their damnedest to rage against the growing darkness.” – Filter Good Music Guide, 2009

Here’s what’s already known about The Felice Brothers: they are a close-knit band of two brothers and three longtime friends, all in their twenties.  They are self-taught, not one of them played an instrument prior to the band’s inception in 2006 when they started busking in New York City subway stations.  The Felice Brothers have released three full-length albums; their last, Yonder Is The Clock, on Team Love Records (2009).  The majority of their work was recorded in a converted chicken coop in upstate New York near their hometown of Palenville.  Esquire, Filter, The New York Times, NPR, Spin, Time Out New York, Uncut, and Under The Radar have praised them, among others.  They are on virtually constant tour in the States and overseas, and have performed at festivals including Bonnaroo, All Points West, Outside Lands, Langerado, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Recognized for their live show, The Felice Brothers will play for their audience come hell or high water; the foremost example is their transcendent performance at the 2008 Newport Folk Festival, where they soldiered on, unplugged, in the rain, and barefoot in the mud after a lightning bolt shorted their stage’s power supply.

Here’s what might come as a surprise about The Felice Brothers: their new and fourth LP Celebration, Florida is an exhilarating amalgamation of frightening horn sections, unexpected 808s, ambient synth lines, schoolyard taunts, booming, primitive drum beats, heavy bass lines, piano, violin, accordion, ringing guitars, rave beats, and sinister acid jazz that captivates and mystifies.  Recorded in the gymnasium and theater of Beacon, NY’s old high school, the band explores a multitude of sounds and instrumentation throughout the expansive album.  It’s inspired, imaginative, heady, menacing, passionate, and rollicking.  Most importantly, it’s as steadfastly authentic as ever, expanding upon the dark, woozy undercurrent of ramshackle barroom blues, vaudevillian atmospherics, and surreal storytelling of their previous albums.  Under The Radar wrote in a review of Yonder Is The Clock that The Felice Brothers find “inspiration and freedom rather than constraints in the traditions of folk music.” Celebration, Florida revels in this inventive, outlaw spirit; it’s the sound of a band that knows its roots and knows where it’s growing.  It’s a group who just might expand the definition of Americana music along the way.

Celebration, Florida casts scenes of dreamy characters and stories interwoven like a block of primetime TV.  Among the tales: a young woman who sets off to find a secret paradise; a teenager who enters a boxing gym in Catskill, NY; a late night host recounting his rise to fame to his honeybee while traveling in a private jet; shady degenerates who get lost in a mystery concerning a Honda Civic; a young girl who crimps her hair and spies her dead father driving down the road; a Wall Street scandal hits a little too close to home; and even a trip through space to find long forgotten Hollywood parties and hopefully make it back there in time to walk down the red carpet.

The Felice Brothers are: Ian Felice, James Felice, Christmas, Greg Farley, and David Turbeville.
www.thefelicebrothers.com
www.fatpossum.com

About The Satellite:

The Satellite

The Satellite is one of the premiere music venues in Silverlake, located at: 1717 Silverlake Blvd,  Los Angeles, CA 90026

Pros: 2 bars, great view of the stage no matter where you’re standing, friendly staff, strong drinks. Did I mention 2 bars?

Cons: small.  But that’s not a bad thing if you like intimate shows like I do.  I’ve seen everyone from Zwan (Billy Corgan) to Foo Fighters to The Scissor Sisters here.  Well, actually the venue was called Spaceland at the time, but my point is: this place rocks.

What Now?

Well, if you haven’t already done so, ENTER TO WIN TICKETS NOW.

For more info about this show or The Satellite click here.

If you have questions or comments, please leave them for me below.

Thank you!

Colette

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