Monday, February 23, 2009

On the radio...

Just a short note to give ya'll the link to our recent radio interview & performance at KSU Owl Radio with Matt Nix.

Radio Show 2/16/09

Thanks guys!!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What is a fan?

As an independent artist I always cringe at words like selling, marketing, and buzz... There is a common perception that a musician must learn all these things if he or she wants to have a career being a performing artist. This overwhelms me at times.

I'm not any of those things, I just want to write music that touches people and points to truth!

I do want to make a living with my music. Right now, Susanne is in school learning about music business/marketing & I work at a church as an audio technician. In the past couple weeks we have engaged in some interesting conversations about marketing Besides Daniel.

My roommate, Tommy, runs a brand consulting business and a few nights ago I asked his opinion on a few things. Our conversation changed my view on the whole idea of "fans."

My conversation with Susanne and Tommy allowed me to see that we don't need a million impersonal fans. I'd much rather have fewer quality "fans" we respect as more than just a consumer of a product and with whom we can interact. I'll be okay if we don't have masses of "fans," and we will always value the folks that do support us.

All this to say, if you are someone who enjoys our tunes and wants to help us realize a dream of doing this as a career, then please let us know by signing up on our mailing list. You will receive updates from us about interesting things going on with us on our journey to quitting our day jobs. We will not Spam you! We hope to gain more than fans. We hope to develop friends.

So here's to you! We respect you and want to develop a real relationship with you.
Thanks for reading this.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Music Marketing

The New Music Marketing:
From Mainstream to Avant-Garde

Susanne O’Day
Marketing in the Music Industry
Dr. Fredrick Taylor
February 16, 2009

Today is an exciting day in the global music industry. If traditional marketing and distribution blueprints are the ebb, innovative and contemporary strategies are the flow. The numbers are in, and they are not good. Since 2000, the global music industry lost a third of its business in CD sales with the biggest losers being major labels (Kot). In the first six months of 2008 alone, total album sales fell 11% (Fine). Anyone with enough courage to blaze a trail in today’s music business must embrace a rapidly changing industry in order to succeed. Forget about the glamorous romanticism of getting a hit, being #1, or becoming the next NSYNC. Instead, try adopting a do-it-yourself attitude toward music marketing.

Some may use plummeting major label sales to discourage newcomers from entering the industry. Others ask, what better time for creative and tenacious businesspeople to rise to the top? Now is the time for young artists to embrace this lull in the majors and adopt a more independent attitude. Peter Spellman, director of career development at Berklee College of Music, tells Electronic Musician,

“Getting signed by a major forces you to toe the line of the corporation, which is owned by shareholders wearing 90-day glasses… art [is put into a] machine that treats music like a disposable product… Creative artists are moving away from wanting to be taken care of by the record companies” (Levine).

Spellman’s insight on major labels points out the bias toward mainstream music, alluding to the fact that the majors have forgotten how to cater to the smaller, more specific markets making up the majority of the global music industry. Thus, an easy explanation is made for the staying power of independent labels. According to Sub Pop (veteran indie label out of Seattle), record revenues in 2007 rose 79% to around $20 million--14% from licensing its bands' music to advertisers and entertainment properties. Sub Pop also sold more records in '07 than in any other year (Fine). Last March, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails independently released a boxed set of instrumental music and reported first-week revenue of $1.7 million. Because he had no affiliation with major-label publicity and marketing, he kept most of the revenue for himself (Kot).

So who says the music industry is a sinking ship? There may be a few cases of “man overboard” (major labels) but there is no need to surrender. True, majors will probably always be around since they are owned by some of the most powerful corporations in the world. This does not mean there is no hope for the independents or those creative enough to go against the grain.

Indeed, today’s artists and marketing teams must require outstanding work ethics of themselves. No lazy person will succeed in the music business. It would be too easy to overlook a slight change or a new idea in this ever-changing industry. Herein lies the importance of knowing the market. It is imperative to capitalize on the advantages that come with recent advances in technology. Technology has created a huge market where fans are directly connected to the artist and artists have absolute control of their product. However, taking advantage of the resources is the challenge. Artists still need name recognition, word of mouth publicity, inspiring live performances, and standout recordings. It takes strategy to produce enough buzz that people want to invest their money into a certain artist or product.

This is the age of peer-to-peer piracy (i.e. LimeWire), pay-what-you-want (i.e. Radiohead), free mix tapes (i.e. Lil Wayne), tell five friends for a free download (i.e. NoiseTrade), and more of the like. Once consumers find enjoyable music they will most likely support the artist financially, but they want to test the product for free before they invest in it. Most of the public—especially the younger generation—is tired of being ripped off by the major labels and major corporate retail system.

Illicit downloads now outnumber paid downloads 40-1 (Fine). This fact alone implies people are listening to more music than ever. However, the mainstream industry hasn't been able to take advantage of this extraordinary marketing opportunity. Greg Kot, music critic at The Chicago Tribune, hit the nail on the head in his review of the 2009 Grammy Awards.

“The big labels have the resources to expose music in the mainstream media, [but] they have lost the trust of consumers by placing profit and expediency ahead of artistic accomplishment and long-term growth. Listeners no longer deem many CDs worth the $18 list price and have sought out alternative means of sampling music, including file sharing. Instead of following the consumers' lead, the industry has tried to stifle them by suing file-sharers” (Kot).

This new music climate inspires millions around the globe to fight for a new, ethical industry. Personally, being apart of an independent band feels like one of the most exciting and potentially worthwhile activities. Having the resources for marketing, production, licensing, recording, and publishing at the click of a mouse is empowering. There is no need to frantically throw music at labels hoping for a signing deal because progress can be made independently. If there has ever been a good era to aspire to be a musician or music businessperson, that time is now.

Works Cited

Bernardy, Cathy. “Internet's a Double-Edged Sword for Indie Artists.”
Goldmine. 13 May 2005: 52, 60 IIMP. Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. 14 Feb 2009 < url_ver="Z39.88-2004&res_dat="xri:iimp:&rft_dat="xri:iimp:article:fulltext:iimp00345892">

Fine, Jon. “Drowning Out the Big Labels.” Business Week. Aug 2008: 75 ABI/INFORM. Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. 29 Jan 2009

Kot, Greg. “What Grammy can learn from Radiohead, Lil Wayne, and Paul McCartney: Awards show, music industry in need of a makeover.” Chicago Tribune. 1 Feb 2009. ABI/INFORM. Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. 15 Jan 2009

Levine, Mike “Working Musician: The Shifting Sands - Marketing your Music in Today's Changing Climate.” Electronic Musician. Oct 2006: 88, 90. IIMP. Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. 15 Feb 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009


Here I am, sitting in the music lounge at Georgia State University, while Danny is home listening to some podcasts.

The EP is going well! We had a full 12 hour day at 800 east studio last Thursday to record drums, piano, and strings. I would go so far as to say it was magical.

We had lots of support from friends. That felt way good. Thanks friends!

Now we have the giant task of replacing the scratch tracks with final tracks and editing the results of Thursday and piecing it all together... Whew. All in the next few weeks.

Next Monday we will be on Matt Nix's new radio show on KSU radio. Cool! We have only ever done one other radio interview and it was fun, so this should really be great!

Oh, by the way, if you guys ever get a chance to see Loney, Dear or Andrew Bird you should definitely get on it. Inspiring & extremely talented folks.

Alrighty, well everyone around me is getting up so maybe it's time to go to class... Bummer. Music theory here I come!