Musician Self Promotion

We’re changing the look and content of our tools section to make it more useful to artists, and we’ll be posting a series of articles to go along with some of the tools we’re putting up.

Things we’re going to be introducing include:

  • An iTunes linkmaker tool, to get your fans straight to your music on iTunes
  • A widget building guide, to help you make professional looking applications for yourself and fans to post on their websites, myspace pages, etc.
  • Links to manufacturers of merchandise
  • Links to CD manufacturers
  • Guides to selling your own products

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to this blog via the RSS feed on the right, and get the goodness right to your reader (we’d recommend google’s reader if you don’t use one already…).

Yahoo Music Is The Most Used Music Site in Japan, Ahead of Sony Connect

A study by comScore revealed that nearly 40 percent of the Japanese online population visited an entertainment site in August. Yahoo! Music led as favorite with 7.3 million visitors, followed by Sony Connect with 3 million visitors, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment with 2.7 million visitors. Sonny Connect is expected to drop.

The Ocarina. Turn Your iPhone or iPod Touch Into A Wind Instrument

The Ocarina from Smule synthesizes sound in real-time based on your “wind input” (fancy talk for you blow on it), tilt, and finger placement over four graphic “holes” overlaid on the multi-touch pad.  Unlike some iPhone audio apps, the sound is not pre-compiled but is generated by the individual performer.  As a result, “it allows an iPhone user to explore and master the musical sounds of an entirely iPhone-native version of an ancient flute-like instrument.” Its available for $.99 at Apple’s AppStore. Here’s a demo and be sure to check out “Starway To Heaven” after the jump. You can purchase the Ocarina Application on iTunes here. Ocarina

Top 20 Digital Music Promotions From Oct 2008, ACDC, Pink and More!

The team over at MusicAlley have put together an amazing list of music promotions that happened in October. This is the first time I have come across their lists and it seems as though they do them every month. Enjoy!

1. AC/DC Excel video (above). Sony BMG turned the new video from the Aussie rockers into an ASCII-art video, embedded into an Excel spreadsheet. The idea: fans would be able to email it round workplaces without fear of getting carpeted by bosses. Watch It

2. Pink branded iPhone application. Sony released a free branded iPhone app for Pink’s new Funhouse album, with 30-second previews of tracks, as well as photos, news and a discography. Cleverly, it had direct links to buy the songs on the iTunes Store. Download It

3. Ben Folds The Sounds Of Last Night. Another wizard-wheeze from Folds, who’s one of the more digitally-savvy artists around. He’s recording one track a night on his US tour, and releasing it the next day on iTunes as a digital download. It’s a distro deal, then, but also a great way of promoting his music. More Info

4. A Cursive Memory cameraphone codes. Cameraphone (or ‘QR’) codes are popular in Japan, but pretty much unknown in the rest of the world. However, US band A Cursive Memory is using the technology through an app called ScanLife. Codes are placed on posters for the band’s new album, and when photographed using a ScanLife-equipped mobile, the user is taken to a WAP site to get free wallpapers, watch a video and buy ringtones. More Info

5. Dido Nectar compo. UK loyalty scheme Nectar has recently launched its own digital music store, and to promote it they’re holding a competition to win a trip to the US to Dido’s album-launch party. What Dido gets out of it is an enormous mail-shot to Nectar’s UK customers – and prime placement on their music store too. More Info

6. Zune artist podcasts. Microsoft is launching a series of artist-focused podcasts for its Zune player, branded as ‘The Green Room’ (isn’t that also the name of Nokia’s music TV show?). It’s kicking off with Common, Oasis, T.I, Dierks Bentley and Seun Kuti. More Info

7. Asylum Records online games. Hip-hop label Asylum Records teamed up with web games firm PopJax to launch a series of online games based on its artists. They take the form of customised quiz games with video and trivia questions, to be hosted on both companies’ websites, as well as on MySpace. More Info

8. Nick Harrison in The Secret World of Sam King. Universal Music Group has been breaking new artists in Bebo’s online TV drama The Secret World of Sam King – for example, singer/songwriter Nick Harrison, whose video fans of the show were invited to appear in. The show was getting 100,000 people tuning in a day at the height of its run. More Info

9. Tool getting creative with Guitar Hero World Tour. Rock band Tool didn’t just want to license tracks to the new Guitar Hero game – they asked if they could be involved creatively, and ended up designing a virtual venue based on their artwork and videos. More Info

10. Britney Spears joined Twitter. In fact, Britney’s post-insanity comeback is pretty Web 2.0 savvy on all fronts, but Twitter is the one that’s got most publicity. It started badly, with pure promotional messages, but has since evolved into a more conversational feed. You can laugh at the idea of signing up to updates on what Spears has been up to with the kids, but Britney’s people are clearly getting the hang of this new fan interaction thingy. Read Her Tweets

11. John Legend Spotify exclusive. We’ve been hearing pretty universal praise for new streaming service Spotify in recent weeks, but the company isn’t resting on its laurels. It bagged an exclusive pre-release stream of John Legend’s new album Evolver for its Swedish paying users, who got to listen to the album the weekend before its release. More Info

12. E-postcards from Ricky Martin. Nowadays, Livin’ La Vida Loca means paying $3.99 to send a personalised Ricky Martin video greeting to your friends over the internetweb. No, really. Ricky is the first celeb on board Postcards From The Stars, a Puerto Rican venture. He recorded greetings for 100 Spanish and 100 English names, 100 city names and 50 special occasions – and these are then strung together for the e-vid-cards. More Info

13. Nokia’s Comes With Music benches. How to promote your new Comes With Music service (apart from splurging on radio and TV ads, obviously)? If you’re Nokia, you send some colourful benches travelling around the country, which when sat on, allow people to listen to some of the UK’s favourite tunes. Nifty, even if one of those tunes – Hey Jude – isn’t actually available on Comes With Music). More Info

14. REPO soundtrack on BitTorrent. Less of a marketing scheme, more of a hopeful piracy deterrent, this. Film director Darren Bousman (of Saw fame) urged fans to upload fake versions of the soundtrack to his new film REPO to BitTorrent, to foil pirates. It probably won’t work, but drums up awareness of the film nicely. More Info

15. Christina Aguilera iLike video exclusive. Christina is the latest star to sign up for some exclusive marketing on music site iLike. In her case, she debuted the video for her new Keeps Gettin’ Better single on the site – and iLike said she was the first major artist to do so. We would say iLike is the new MTV, if there weren’t 18 other music sites also claiming to be the new MTV… More Info

16. Snow Patrol also get a branded iPhone app. It came out the same week as Pink’s, which in our book makes a HOT TREND. Anyway, Snow Patrol’s took a more arty approach, getting users to unfold coloured paper to discover lyrics and videos. It was free, and has apparently been going great guns on the App Store. Download It

17. Nokia’s N-Gage Dance Fabulous game. Okay, this doesn’t come out until next year, but it was announced in October, so counts. It’s a mobile game for phones with Nokia’s N-Gage platform on, and is a music rhythm game. However, the marketing angle is that it’ll feature a new artist, Cindy Gomez, whose songs will be in the game, as well as her avatar. Ex-Eurythmic Dave Stewart brokered the deal, as part of his ambassadorial role with Nokia. More Info

18. Queen + Paul Rodgers’ virtual world listening party. You might think that artists doing stuff in virtual worlds is so 2007, but that didn’t stop Queen from commissioning a warehouse-themed virtual world to hold a listening party for their new album. Visiting fans could stream the album, watch archive videos and buy merchandise. More Info

19. Pepsi Maxcast on MySpace. Pepsi has rounded up a bunch of ‘tastemakers’ to curate collections of their favourite music, to be streamed to users via embedded players on MySpace. Among the initial batch of curators are indie frontman Carl Barat and dancebloke Sam Sparro. The site will also include interviews and video profiles of the curators, as well as a section for unsigned bands. Have A Look

20. Tap Tap Revenge: Nine Inch Nails version. iPhone game Tap Tap Revenge has been around for a while now as a free download, but there’s now a premium version featuring songs from the last two Nine Inch Nails albums for users to tap along to. It costs $4.99 in the US, and ties in with a competition for NIN gig tickets and a signed guitar. Download It

MTV Executive Tells His Friends He Is The New Myspace Music CEO

Courtney Holt, MTV’s chief of digital music, has told friends he will accept the job as MySpace Music’s new CEO, according to a source close to Holt.

His name is not yet on the dotted line, but Holt has given a verbal commitment to MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, said a music industry source. MySpace Music is the newly launched digital music service formed by News Corp. and the four largest recording companies. The service will sell downloads of unprotected Mp3s and offer ad-supported streaming music.

“Anything can happen when there isn’t a signature, but it looks like he’s the new CEO,” said the music industry insider.