“NFT, yeah you know me!” (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

I thought I would talk about something relatively new that could affect the music industry in a major way in the very near future …..NFTs.

What are NFTs? 

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital tokens stored on a blockchain that can record the ownership of a wide range of digital or physical items, from digital art to event tickets or even music. As well as a token, NFTs can be coded in a way that allows for royalty payments to the creator, which makes them a highly interesting technology for musicians. Songs, albums, music, lyrics, and soundbites can all be NFTs.

Experts say NFTs will be especially transformative in shaping the future of music. NFT sales totalled $25 billion in 2021, compared to just $95 million in 2020. Read more here about how NFTs could define the future of music.

How does it work?

NFTs are a kind of cryptocurrency, but instead of using money, they use assets like art, tickets, music or merchandise. NFTs operate on a blockchain, which is a publicly accessible and transparent network — meaning anyone can see the details of any NFT transaction. NFT could be defined as a rare collectible that is stored digitally. Artists and musicians can create NFTs themselves to auction off as various forms of digital media to their fans who pay using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. A musician or band will decide what they want to sell to their fans, be it an audio file, concert tickets, merchandise or something else. Then they will inform their fans of the release of their NFT drop, and put them up for sale at whatever value they would like to sell their works.

How will it help?

For years, musicians have been poorly compensated for their music. The typical revenue split of  50/50—with only 50% of revenue going to the entertainer and the rest shared among agents, lawyers, and distributors. Despite the ease with which people can now listen to music, according to a study, artists receive only 12% of the money made by the entire music industry. This is where NFTs are making all the difference. NFTs could have a huge effect on streaming platforms that simply don’t earn artists enough. We could see an era when artists are able to do business directly with retailers and sell their NFTs like they used to do with self-made CDs.  Fans who buy the NFT become an owner of the musician’s work. They are then able to store the music NFTs in their crypto wallets, and if they want, may sell off the NFT to a higher bidder in the future. Despite being the owner of the NFT and being able to sell it, the musician who created the NFT can earn from the re-sales of their work as well, which is one of the most powerful ways music NFTs can empower musicians.

“NFTs will give artists another outlet to create exclusive content for fans in a more artistic fashion. In the future, we’ll see the value of songs appreciate, like Basquiat paintings.” – Dallas rapper Rakim-Al Jabbaar

Currently, there are only a small number of musicians who are exploring the uses of music NFTs such as  Kings of Leon, Tory Lanez, Aphex Twin, Ozuna and Belave. . However, with increased knowledge by musicians and fans, the opportunities for artists to benefit from NFTs are growing substantially. Read more here about the Kings of Leon being the first band to release an NFT. 

Water and Music wrote an article about the various strategies that music NFT platforms use to attract, onboard and retain their fans, collectors and artists in an increasingly competitive marketplace if you’re interested in learning more.

I know I’ll be keeping a close eye on how musicians are working with NFTs and how it could potentially help your profile relevance and garner new audiences!

Cheers,

I Spent $100 on Playlist Submission Sites – Here’s What Happened

Today I wanted to share with you a “case study” – if you will – on getting your music added to Spotify playlists. Spotify playlists continue to be a great way for musicians to gain listens, new followers and engagement with their music. But, getting on them or finding quality playlists is not easy.

One of my clients had a release last month and wanted to try and get the track on Spotify playlists with a budget of $100. So, here’s what options we had and what happened.

Getting on an official Spotify playlist wasn’t an option to attempt since my client released the track immediately, and to be considered for a Spotify playlist, you have to submit it at least 2 weeks in advance of the release. They only consider unreleased tracks for their playlists.

So, moving on from that…we researched several sites that offered playlist submission services. We ended with moving forward with the following 3: GrooverSongrocket and Submithub. We split the budget across the three.




SUBMITHUB – Submithub allows you to submit tracks and music videos to blogs, record labels, radio stations, Spotify playlists and YouTube or SoundCloud channels.

For $27 we bought 30 credits and submitted them to 22 curators. Granted, we had some layover credits from previous campaigns so we were able to submit to what Submithub calls ‘Premium’ curators, so in total, we used up 54 credits. 

Results: We got a 100% response rate, and got approved for 1 playlist.

Would we use them again?: Overall, yes. Set up was simple and was reasonably priced. I also liked the fact you could see the genre match, quality level and influence level of each curator. The filters are great too so you can really narrow down what could work for you.

GROOVER  – Groover is a French company that guarantees feedback and visibility from blogs, radios, playlists and labels. 

We spent about $40 USD and were able to submit to 17 curators. We do have some credits left over.

Results: As Groover’s about statement says, you do get feedback, but we’ve had 0 success on placement.

Would we use them again?: No. It really seems better suited for music that you’d like feedback from vs media placement. Set up was quite simple as well, but you are overwhelmed with 1500+ curators, so it’s important to filter down to exactly what you’re looking for.




SONGROCKET – With Songrocket, you can pitch your music as independent, label, PR agency or management to Spotify playlist curators – so they are focused on what we were looking for.

We purchased a plan for $45 where we could pitch up to around 20 playlists / 9 unique curators.

Results: We got a response from 9 curators so far and one playlist placement.

Would we use them again?: Probably not. While setup was simple and appreciated, the cost didn’t match its value.

A runner-up site that we considered using was MusoSoup, however, they required a press release which we felt was not worth our time to write out for a cover song release. This might make more sense for a track that we’d really want a lot more media push around.

How many more plays did we get on the track after those two playlist adds? It was just under 400 additional plays that we gained from the 2 playlists this campaign earned.

Overall, it was really interesting to see how far $100 (actually, a little more) could take us with these playlist submission sites. With anything, I’m sure it depends on the timing, genre and quality of the track, but it’s safe to say that with a limited budget you’re looking at limited results. It would take a lot more money to gain more plays using this strategy.

Cheers,

Do’s and Don’t’s of Job Posting

I hope you all had a recharging holiday season and already kicking down doors in the new year! For some of you, I’m sure you are looking at your business and building your team. I myself have been there and have learned along the way on how to bring the best possible applicants to the table. SoOo, today I wanted to share some of those tips so when you’re posting a job for a VA or anyone else for your team, you are creating attractive and effective job postings. 

Here are my do’s and don’ts of job posting descriptions.DO: Write a good job description

This might be obvious, but you do have to go beyond the ‘Musician seeking Virtual Assistant’ or ‘Seeking Graphic Designer’. You want to be clear and concise in your job description. When writing a job posting, focus on the essential details. Include key responsibilities of the job and be specific with what you are looking for. What helps me is to sit down and write out all the daily, weekly or monthly tasks I expect from the person as this is the ground level of what the job entails.

DON’T: Start hiring before you are prepared

You want to make sure that you have the right accommodations to expand your team. Growth is great, but you must have a clear idea of what you need and what can work for you financially. You don’t want to go in blind or lead candidates on.

DO: Clarify what’s required and what’s desired

Some skills may be essential for the success of the candidate; others are desirable but can be learned on the job. Make it clear which skills fall in which category to help applicants make the right choice when deciding to apply. This is also an opportunity to hear from them how they would handle learning a new task!

DON’T: Make the application excessively lengthy

A survey found that 60% of applicants who thought an application was too complex or long would likely not even try to apply. As mentioned in the first “DO”, keep it clear and concise. A somewhat long application is perfectly fine in order to be thorough, but at a certain point applications can simply become far too extensive. 

DO: Get enthusiastic

Enthusiasm can show through how your job description is written and can really sell on applicants to apply! Discuss growth and expansion opportunities that that person can be included on if both of you are successful!

DON’T: Try to eliminate bad candidates

If you’ve had a bad fit in that role before, it can be tempting to write a job posting to turn away similar candidates. Avoid this urge; instead, write for the ideal candidate, not the “not bad” candidate. Keep negativity out of your job posting.

DO: Reply to all candidates

Even if it’s not a good fit, do try to reply to all candidates. They deserve to know if you’re considering them for the job or not. And make sure to be timely about it. Taking weeks to respond is not professional to an applicant.

I hope you find this helpful in your endeavors of building your team! If you have a job description you’d like me to review, shoot it over! I’m happy to give feedback and help you build your support team. :)Cheers,

My 6 favorite resources of 2021

We are here in December of what has been quite a year, and I just want to say I’m very grateful for you being here. I thought it might be nice to reflect on the year and share what my six favorite resources and tools were and why. If you haven’t used any of them below, hopefully they can help you out in your career!

Indiepreneur – https://indepreneur.io/
Indiepreneur was founded by musicians and offer real and practical advice for marketing your music in today’s world. I specifically enjoy their podcast that continually gives great ideas. I highly recommend you subscribe to their feed today.

Ecwid – https://www.ecwid.com/
Ecwid is an e-commerce platform and I just enjoy how SIMPLE the set up is on their site and integrating with your existing website along with Facebook and Instagram. I actually enjoy using this platform so I try to recommend it to anyone looking for an e-commerce solution.

Thrivecart – https://thrivecart.com/
This is a pricey one, but I personally saw my client earn her investment on it (and then some) within months of signing up. This platform creates fast and easy to use landing pages where you can promote products or events and easily grow your email list. It’s worth the price if you’re looking to invest in landing page strategies in your business.

LinkTree – https://linktr.ee/
I think every musician should be utilizing this tool for their social media accounts. If you’re not familiar with what LinkTree is, it’s the ability to create one link to promote multiple links. So, you could add this one link to your Instagram profile, and it could include your latest release, your merch, your tour dates, and whatever else you want to promote. And you don’t have to change the link whenever you want to promote something and include #linkinbio.

SweepWidget – https://sweepwidget.com/
Without the ability to go on tour, some of my clients were left with merch sitting in storage all year. As an idea to push out merchandise as well as grow their audience, we offered contests during the year! Depending on what my client wanted to focus on, we’d have some sort of gate where they had to follow them on Spotify, or give their email address – they had to do something in order to enter. It’s a win win for everyone!

Ari’s Take – https://aristake.com/
Ari Herstand is someone I’ve followed since I’ve started working in the music industry (ahem 10+ years ago?!?). I still reference his blog today, and his best-selling book “How to Make It in the New Music Business” is fantastic. My favorite post is the one he did comparing all of the distribution options.

Have you used any of the tools or resources above? Are there others you think are even better? Let me know…and see you in 2022!

Cheers,

Sync Licensing Tips for Beginners on Songtradr

Hope your November is starting off well – I can’t believe we’re basically at 6 weeks left of work of the year. Only 6 weeks! I’m looking forward to tackling the last goals of the year and relaxing for the holidays. I don’t know about you, but I think those holiday decorations are going up sooner than usual. 🙂


Today I want to share with you an interview that my client, Robyn Cage, did with Digital Music News on Sync licensing. She’s gotten her music in films (a Tyler Perry film!), movie trailers and commercials with the use of the platform Songtradr.

There are some really great tips in there to help you navigate the platform and to get your music licensing! For some musicians, it can be the most lucrative part of their revenue! Read the full interview here.

Cheers,

Publishers: You could be missing out on $$$

I was chatting with a friend this past week and in that conversation, realized – WHOA. There’s only 5 months left of this year! It sure doesn’t feel like it, but the holidays are just around the corner. Has it hit you yet?!?

Anyway, I also had the pleasure of reconnecting with a past client this past week by giving a couple of consult sessions. We dived into the world of distribution, royalty and registrations. It’s not the most fun of things, but it’s oh-so important to songwriters, publishers and performers – especially if you’re all three!

We first looked at PROs and how to register your releases with, in their case, ASCAP.  We pointed out something really important that I knew I wanted to share with you right away once we saw it.

Most artists know you should register for a PRO if you’re a songwriter. But, you also should register as a publisher too!

Why?
When a PRO sends royalties for a performance of your music, half goes to the writer (or writers) and half goes to their respective publishers. Simply, if you want your publishing company to get a share, you should also set up a publishing company with your PRO.

This goes for BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, etc.

What do you need to register your publishing company with a PRO?
What you need is a mailing address, email address, tax ID number (EIN or if you want to register as an individual/sole proprietor, your SSN), and of course the name of your publishing company.

I would hate if you were missing out on $$ as a songwriter, so I hope you find this little tip helpful. 

What questions do you have about song registration? Hit ‘reply’ and let me know and I just might answer it in the next newsletter :).

Cheers,

P.S. Thank you so much for being here and reading my newsletter.

I realize some of you reading are virtual assistants yourself, looking to make musicians your niche, too. My team and I are creating something really special for you, stay tuned! 

It’s easier than you think to create an experience with your music! 🎶

I hope you’re enjoying your summer so far! Things are rockin’ and rollin’ in my world – clients are busy as ever now with live shows coming back and 2022 on the horizon. It’s never a dull moment in my office and there’s always a new challenge on my plate.

This past month I was helping a client create an experience with one of her releases. She wanted to make it more impactful with her fans beyond putting out the single on Spotify. She wanted to share behind the scenes how the track was made.

I have done this before for albums, taking months of work and content creation – but this was the first time I worked on a condensed version for a single. I thought it was a genius idea and enjoyed putting it together. On the first day of release, we saw a great reaction and generated income for my client – without any hands-on work (after it was published).

Here are some tips that helped made our experience successful!

1 – We decided to delay the release of the music to the streaming and online platforms to create exclusive access. Since the single is not available anywhere else, fans will more likely go for purchasing the experience.

2 – We allowed them to pay what they want. We had a set price for all the content they were getting but allowed them to give more if they felt generous that day! I highly recommend offering this in your store on your items. You’ll be surprised what people will do!

3 – We kept everything digital. Yes, we could have created on demand physical merch or send cards, etc. But, in the end we really wanted this to be something that lived online and could be hands off for both of us. Plus, my client is very environmentally conscious so the fact that no mailings had to be done to give her fans an experience was a plus.

4 – Everything was hosted on her site – no funnel programs, no special tools. We simply created a product and linked it to a password-protected page. We didn’t need any expensive programs or gadgets to pull off the experience!

Care to take a peek at what we created? Visit my client’s insider access product here! Get some inspiration for your next release and how you can give your fans a little something more – staying connected in any form is so important right now with live events still slowly coming back!

Cheers to your next release,

What’s in a Band Agreement (And Why You Need One!)

This year is FLYING for me. Maybe it’s because things are opening up again nationwide and internationally but things are moving and grooving, and it’s just making these months fly!

With new shows and tours coming together, my world has become about agreements recently for my clients and their band members (I prefer to use the term agreements over contracts). These documents have become so important for these groups. What’s helpful about them is that they spell out the details of the event, dates, times, what’s expected, and most importantly, terms of payment! You won’t get asked over and over again, “When do I get my check?”, “Do I get reimbursed for this Uber?”, or “Who’s paying for this meal?”

Maybe you already have your agreements created, maybe you don’t. That’s okay, you’re here now and I want to share with you some of the top things to include in your agreements that maybe you didn’t think about beyond date, time, and amount of pay. All of these tips came from REAL situations that I’ve seen happen. Doesn’t make anyone a bad person, just means life can get in the way of commitments and you have to protect yourself, your name, and your business at the end of the day.

Here are 6 things you may be forgetting in your band agreements:

1. How they will be paid: Be sure to specify the way that you will be paying so it’s clear to folks when they will receive their money. With checks, sometimes it can take a few days to process and if you have bills depending on the paycheck, that can cause your bandmates late fees. Which brings me to…

2. Late Fees & Lost Checks. Make sure you state you’re not responsible for any late fees, charges, or lost check fees if you are paying by check. To reissue a check it can cost you, so your bandmates should be aware of that and understand they should be timely with depositing your checks.

3. Lost or stolen instruments or equipment. Sadly, this has happened a few times on tour to a couple of my clients (Be sure to park your tour vans in safe, well-lit areas!). Be sure to make it clear that you’re not responsible for paying for your bandmates stolen or lost instruments even though it was during your tour.

4. Tour and Performance etiquette. This can be touchy, but I’ve seen it included in some high-profile performances. This is if you don’t want someone chugging a beer on stage, cursing on stage, or jumping in the crowds, etc. It can also be having no phones 5 minutes before showtime or making sure phones are silent during the show. 

5. Recording ownership, publishing rights, copyright, writing credits. Sometimes you have times where you are recording new music or during rehearsal, you write a new melody to your songs. Make sure you clarify who gets the rights and percentages to the band if it’s picked up by publishing.

6. Terms if the band member has to leave the tour early. This happens more often than you might think. Life can hit hard and band and personnel sometimes have to leave the road. Make sure the protocol is clear in how they should leave. They can’t just be gone one morning. Request communication and replacement options if applicable.

I hope this proves helpful in navigating agreements with your bandmates. I’ve never heard anyone regretting putting agreements in place with their band members, so be sure to start doing it today.

Keep making your great music

Enhance Your Single Release With On Demand Merch

To make up for the lack of live shows, 2020 was a big year for online streaming. The growth as the number of paid subscriptions increased by 24% in early 2020, and lots of music was released during the pandemic. Many of my clients started pouring out singles and releasing them throughout the year – so we got to working on how we could make these releases a fun experience for the fans – beyond just listening to it on Spotify or Apple.

One strategy was using the on-demand printing service, Printful, to create merch specifically around a single release for a limited time. The major artists do this all the time – they get you hyped up about a new release and create unique merch around it. However, you don’t always want to invest in 100s of items, so using the on-demand services is ideal. There are some things I learned along the way. Here are the pros and cons of using on-demand printing that I feel are most important to understand, whether for a release or in general.

CONS
1. Limited items – You are limited to the merchandise that the on-demand printer can offer. That can sometimes be frustrating if you’d like to offer something unique. 

2. Profit Margins – You may have to increase the cost of your items to your customers in order to make a decent profit margin, but you have total control on how much you want to make.

3. Return management – It can sometimes be trickier since you’re depending on a third party to process a refund to you in order to refund a customer if there’s an issue. That’s why it’s important to have a clear return policy on your store site that benefits you. Most of the time though, the on-demand printer will want to work with you because they only make money when you do!

PROS
1. No Bulk Orders – The obvious one here is you don’t need to place orders of 100s of items to be able to offer merch in your store. So, you don’t have to worry about having boxes of merch that doesn’t sell sitting in your closet.

2. Inventory Management – You don’t have to worry if you will sell out of an item because it’s all on-demand. Plus you save the headache of having to count and keep track of what was sold / not sold.

3. Design Experimentation – You’re able to explore as many designs as you want, and in turn offer that to your followers. However, I do recommend having a limit of items. You don’t want to overwhelm your shoppers!

4. Fulfillment is a breeze – Never go to a post office again or deal with packing up envelopes of shirts. You can even customize your products and packaging with your branding with Printful, so there’s no sign that it’s coming from a third party.

It’s been really fun to be able to play with new merch items for my clients’ stores without having to invest in boxes of merch. We’ve learned that some things sell really well, and some things do not. So, go ahead and head over to Printful (or another on-demand printing service) and see what merch items you can create today!

Getting Google Verified

One of my favorite things is to figure something out with a client and then be able to share that tip with the rest of my clients, and you! And that thing this past month was claiming their Knowledge Panel.

What’s a Knowledge Panel?
Knowledge panels are information boxes that appear on Google when you search for entities (people, places, organizations, things) that are in the Knowledge Graph. They are meant to help you get a quick snapshot of information on the topic you are googling. It looks a little something like this 👇

Now, my client came to me saying, “How can we remove XY and Z! It’s not correct, it’s not relevant!”. Which is when I noticed the button at the bottom of the panel saying “Claim this knowledge panel”. I thought this had to be the way to edit this panel since there’s no dedicated person or any person on the side of support that could just change it for us. 

We worked on being able to claim the panel. Once we were successful, boom, we were able to request edits to be made to the panel! Now, of course, the changes could take months, but it does assure us that we have *more* control than before with what is shared with the world when they search for my client.

So, what are you waiting for! Claim your knowledge panel today. It’s quick and painless, full instructions here.