How About Standardizing The Technologies That Enable Artist Compensation?

I am concerned that the music licensing/compensation issue has created a polarized debate, but I don’t see a lot of discussion of how to fix the model. I think we all agree musicians (and producers and engineers, for that matter) should be fairly compensated for creating music. We also all agree that there is an increasing amount of music available to consumers for cheap or free, and that is unlikely to change. How do we reconcile these conflicting ideas? Because my business background is in software marketing, I always see things in terms of the opportunities created by technology advancements, bounded by the disorganized nature of the marketplace, especially in new or changing businesses. The music industry is certainly in flux – both in terms of production and compensation. That makes it both frustrating and exhilarating.

One thing I find interesting is how the opinion of the musicians (producers) differs from that of music consumers, and also from that of  industry commentators (who are not creating music themselves, but make money indirectly from  musicians and the creation of music.). We all have different points of view because they are informed by where we make our living. I think there is money to be made in nascent and confused markets, more than in organized ones, and that factor, to some extent, is preventing a model that is more streamlined and thus fairer to the musician/producer.

By bringing down barriers to both the creation and sharing of art, technology advances have resulted in the exponential growth of the number of hobbyist artists creating and distributing art for their own satisfaction and self-expression. This is true not only in music but also in publishing of the written word, movie-making, and photography. Along with some really awesome artistic content, there is also a lot of crap out there. But… everyone’ can be an artist, right? Art is all subjective, isn’t it? Isn’t it just a mater of visibility, rising above the noise? Just find your niche, and you will find someone who will pay for your art…. right? This is the perspective that daily keeps me from quitting making music.

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Delighting Your Customers With Likable Social Media (Book Review)

The introduction of social media tools has made transparency in marketing not only important, but critical. Social media enhances the ability to listen to what customers and prospects are saying publicly for any size company and brand in almost any industry today.  I would argue that listening to customers has always been one of the key tenets of good marketing, and I agree with Dave Kerpen’s precept that that it has never been cheaper or easier to do so because of social media. There is no longer any excuse for companies to be ignorant of what is going on with both their customers and, I would add, their competitors.

Highly readable, this book is just the right mix of case studies, guidelines and suggestions. I read the book in one beach sitting. It is broken into digestible chapters of 12-15 pages in length, and the style is conversational yet substantial, with suggested “Action Items” at the end of each chapter. (I do always wonder if readers actually stop to write down their answers to these exercises. I just wanted to keep reading the book!)

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4 Factors That Encourage Hashtag Spamming of Twitter Chats

I was physically present (IRL, In Real Life) recently at an event where the Twitter hashtag stream was completely co-opted by twitter spambots. I’ve live-tweeted from a half-dozen tech and cultural events since the beginning of this year, when I first immersed myself in Twitter. I’m very curious about how social media interactions work – and when and why they can go very off-track. When I live-tweet, I try to observe the hashtag stream in real time, usually using Tweetchat.com or setting up a Hootsuite stream. I’ve followed a handful of events remotely via the Twitter hashtag as well, including a recent conference in Boston called Rethink Music (#rethinkmusic). In addition, I participate regularly in a weekly Twitter chat called #ggchat, one of thousands happening all the time in the Twittersphere. Following Twitter hashtag streams has become an integral part of my participation, and that of many others, in this virtual global sociological communications experiment called Twitter.

Maybe because I’m relatively new to Twitter, I’ve never seen a Twitter stream completely taken over by spambots. I found it fascinating and dismaying at the same time. This article in The Atlantic Wire by Rebecca Greenfield gives a good overview of some of the different ways in which Twitter hashtag streams can get co-opted or become annoying. The stream I was on recently was taken over by the Types 1 and 2 spammers which Rebecca mentions: Porn Bots and Jokesters. I didn’t click on any of the links; I could tell the Porn Bots by their Twitter avatars of scantily clad women and the fact they had few tweets, no followers and were following no one. The other category of spammers I saw which Rebecca doesn’t mention I’ll call Job Bots – these are the same as Porn Bots, except the links they promote are to scammy Craig’s List ads, you know: “Easy job! Earn $500 a week using your computer…”

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Interview # 2 With Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder

This is the second half of my hour-long interview with Brian Thompson (theDIYDaily.com), a Vancouver-based music industry entrepreneur, record label owner, artist manager, marketing consultant, digital strategist, brand architect, web designer, blogger, podcaster and industry speaker. Formerly the corporate head of buying and marketing for a large Canadian music retail chain, Brian faced a crossroads when his long-time employer went bankrupt. Using social media, Brian has since re-created himself over the past three years to become a well-respected voice on the convergence of independent artist development, music marketing, social media and technology.

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Personal Branding in a Digital World

What is branding? Is it a tagline, a visual icon, a jingle? Or does it stand for something more? What is personal branding? How are our deepest and most personal values – what we stand for – reflected in what we do online and how we present ourselves in a business context?

I just attended the first in a series of workshops facilitated by Michael B. Maine (who I met through Twitter). Michael is a specialist in socially responsible marketing and social entrepreneurship, and is both staff and student at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI), a pioneer in the sustainable MBA degree.

There are so many good things to say about this workshop. The majority of the attendees were members of Michael’s cohort or instructors at BGI, and I have to say: Wow, I have never seen a group of MBA students more excited about being in MBA school. (I am not affiliated with BGI in any way, this is just my personal observation from one evening). I was nowhere near that excited about getting my MBA!

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Interview # 1 With Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder

As a student of social media, I am interested in the role that content plays in the development of a personal brand. To get some firsthand insight into the processes and dynamics that are involved, I interviewed a social media marketing influencer I met through Twitter, Brian Thompson (of theDIYDaily.com).

Brian is a Vancouver-based music industry entrepreneur, record label owner, artist manager, marketing consultant, digital strategist, brand architect, web designer, blogger, podcaster and industry speaker. Brian’s been in the music biz for twenty years. Formerly the corporate head of buying and marketing for a large Canadian music retail chain, Brian faced a crossroads when his long-time employer went bankrupt. Using social media, Brian has since re-created himself over the past three years to become a well-respected voice on the convergence of independent artist development, music marketing, social media and technology.

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