The Best Online Resources

This was a great panel: Brad King of Northern Kentucky University kept a tight leash on some big names from web innovators Bebo (Angel Gambino), (Matt Ogle), Sonicbids (Panos Panay – who looks like Roger Federer, btw), iLike (Ali Partovi), and Myspace Records (Jon Pikus).

The consensus from this panel was that ubiquity is a good thing, bands should get themselves up everywhere they can on the web, but remember to try and get maximum return on their investment of time. iLike is a site that offers syndication of your gig schedule and other updates across other platforms like myspace and facebook, and seems like a great time saving tool for self promoters, as it also has a facility for sharing music with friends with particular tastes in music quickly.

The panel recommended that self promotional material strike a balance between viral entertainment value and a marketing or promotional message – creativity is always key in this area, as is frequency of updates for whatever material you’re putting out; keep the momentum up. Make sure that tracks posted to the web have proper ID3 tagging, so you can see when and where they’re being played. For the rest – remember that everyone else is trying to get online too, learning some search engine optimization basics and apply them to the content you’re putting out will help you stand out from the clutter that web 2.0 stuff generates, and just like touring, plan your attack on the web carefully; don’t just splurge stuff randomly onto the web and hope it will get attention.

Tour Smart

Panel: Martin Atkins (Public Image drummer/Invisible Records), Eddie Spaghetti (The Supersuckers) – Martin Atkins took quick and charismatic control of this session. His advice to bands comes from 25 years in all aspects of the music industry. He advocated the idea that before anything else, a band planning a tour should form a coherent strategy, and plan all the stages of their rise to fame before embarking on random thrusts that seem like a good idea at the time.

This was a session full of sound practical advice – Atkins and Spaghetti both agreed that there was no substitute for hard graft, taking responsibility for every aspect of your band’s and your own development. Someone needs to do publicity for the gig? Don’t assume the publicist (if you’re lucky enough to have one) is going to do all the promotion you might think necessary; get those promo cd’s printed yourself – stand in the street yourself, handing them out, get the edge over the competition not through strokes of genius, but by being creative and working to make the most of every opportunity. Oh, and if you’re touring in the USA, 80% of the major markets are in the East of the country, so unless you like spending time in the van, smelling your band mates and spending your gig receipts on gas, stay right of Chicago…

Simian Mobile Disco Live at SXSW

Austin proper doesn’t seem to extend further than 40 blocks square on the north side of Ladybird Lake, but it’s packed with venues – 75 on the official programme and more doing their own thing on the fringe of the event. Despite this seeming superfluity of stages, even the delegates who’ve got official SXSW badges have trouble getting into the popular shows. Top tip if you come here is to pick a venue and stick with it if you don’t want to be stood in a queue all night.

That said, I caught some of the fringe bands last night, and while the talent was of varying quality I was mostly impressed. Simian Mobile Disco are a personal favorite, and their set in Antone’s was very well attended and recieved, despite their early (8pm) slot.

Heading to SXSW

Two things particularly struck me about arriving in Texas for my first SXSW – the first was the extra-wide wheelchairs waiting at the airport to ferry the extra wide Texans through the airport, and the second is the huge milling crowd of musicians with regrettable haircuts, skinny jeans and a stack of guitars on their luggage trolleys.

South By South West has become one of the largest events in the music industry’s calendar over the last few years, and list of delegates shows the festival/convention hybrid’s appeal. Everybody from eMusic to Billy Bragg is here (including some guy from AutoTrader magazine), playing music, pitching their services and giving away free beer to each other.

Beggars Group Sign Up To The Amie Street Music Model

Over at Crenk, they have posted an article about Amie Street and how they have just signed the Beggars Group to their catalog. The Beggars Group consists of labels such as XL, Rough Trade, 4AD, Matador Records and Polyvinyl Recording Co. This means a further 15,000 tracks to the Amie Street catalog.

Here at RouteNote we have had Amie Street on our radar for over 6 month, but it is hard to determine if DRM free Mp3s are in the best interest of the record industry or not. I realise they are totally in the best interests of the consumers, but will signing up to a service like Amie Street mean we arent able to sell as many mp3s, because all the consumers are deliberately heading over to their site. Thus, they know they only have to purchase the track once and then can share it.

These are the types of questions that are very hard to answer at this point in time!

Limewire Signs Redeye Distribution To Their New Online Store

Limewire has just announced that they have signed Redeye Distribution to their new online store. Redeye have joined Ingrooves, Nettwerk Productions, IRIS and RouteNote in the new online store from Limewire.

The deal adds 20,000 tracks from over 200 labels, including their own in-house labels, Yep Roc Records, Eleven Thirty, and Bonfire. Redeye’s catalog of tracks by established artists such as Lisa Loeb, Donna Lewis, Martin Sexton, The Apples in Stereo, Widespread Panic, Afroman, Chuck D of Public Enemy, The Donnas, and 2008 Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale is complimented by titles from newer, developing acts such as the Billionaires, Liam Finn, T.H. White, Malajube, and Bell X1.

Vivendi Has Just Launched Zaoza in France

Vivendi (Universal) has launched their own mobile music portal, Zaoza. It has been reported that the music portal also embraces social networking and file-sharing. The current price tag per month is at €3 ($4.40), which includes unlimited downloads of exclusive content from both mobile and PCs. Vivendi has also already signed Sony BMG to provide their content on the service. Zaoza has already launched in France and soon will be found in Germany then the UK. Vivendi are also reporting to estimate the usage of the product at 500,000 by the end of 2008 and 1 million users by the end of 2009.

So Much Music News, So Little Weblogs

I have always struggled to find really good music news sites. Be it either related to digital music or not. Why is this? Why are there so many music magazines out there and millions of people all over the world want to be professional musicians, but there are so few really good quality music news weblogs?

Anyways, here is my list of some of the best music news weblogs on the internet today:

Are there actually any other good sites out there that I am missing?

Myspace Trying To Sell Music Again

We have learnt that News Corp is trying to put together a joint venture for Myspace. This joint venture will be similar to their current video joint venture with NBC Universal. In other words the joint venture will be for content providers to place their music on the service and in return gain an equity share in the company. The companies involved would only consist of the four major labels, Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI.

Im guessing the music will be DRM free but will have some sort of ad support or watermarking to it. Since the Myspace deal with Snocap there has been no real use of the 7 million bands on myspace to sell some music. Im sure if this was done properly there is a chance for the service to become a real challenge to Amazon and hopefully iTunes.

Where Do Musicians Hang Out?

Currently for RouteNote we are in the stage of purchasing advertising for the site, both online and offline. This brings us to the point of asking the question “where do you musicians hangout online?” Im trying to build a list of possibly places in which to advertise our service to musicians who will actually really benefit from what we are trying to achieve.

Currently I have several options, but not sure which resources would be the most appropriate. If anyone has any suggestions it would be greatly appreciated and any feedback on my suggestions would also be great.


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