Tag Archives: indie artist help

Paper CD Case!

This is an awesome idea, especially if you can get one of your artist friends to draw some crazy stuff for you. Could be a SICK mailer. http://www.papercdcase.com/about.php

How can Musicians get Paid already?

This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked when I talk about my website. It turns out there is not just one answer, which is definitely a good thing.

There are many different ways artists can get paid today. The most common ones are to sell their CD’s, sell their merchandise, and sell shows. But especially with the internet’s explosion, there are more ways to make money than ever. I will get to these in a minute.

First of all, selling CD’s, merch, and shows sounds easy enough, but it all requires effective promotion. This promotion can be an investment in itself. Buying magazine or radio ad space can get pretty expensive, and there’s no guarantees. Also, online promotion is pretty ineffective at allowing you to reach new people everyday. You are almost limited to the people you know.

Promotion is the key to how artists earn money, but right now the promotion available sucks! (unless you sign to a label, spend millions on billboards and tv, and end up a slave to the label for the next 10 years trying to pay everything back, while they keep your rights)

As an artist myself, I designed my website (Beat-Play – in beta this spring) to solve this problem. We utilize a social network system, similar to Twitter, but for music. You will follow others that you share a taste in music with..like friends or favorite bands..and any music that gets saved into a playlist by those people automatically gets sent to your radio player.

You press play, and the music your friends liked enough to save, comes to you. If you like it, you save it too, and it gets sent to anybody following you. It’s a ridiculously viral way to spread the good music. It is an automated word-of-mouth…and best of all, it’s free promotion and distribution!

With this promotion it becomes infinitely easier for people to find your music, thus easier for them to buy. But with this system, CD sales, merch and shows aren’t the only revenue streams available.

With this social network, the more people that listen to your music, share your music, view your profile, videos, and live events, the more money you can make from advertising revenues. In fact, if you opted to give your music away for free, you could avoid people bypassing your payment page for a torrent, and you can actually track all of the fans you get.

This, with a good ad model that is unobtrusive, but effective, and that gives artists 95% of the revenues generated at each level, is enough for artist to gain a good steady income, potentially for something as simple as Youtube views!

So let’s talk about other revenues possible for artists. Along the same lines of the social network, come the opportunities for live streaming concert ticket sales, regular ticket sales, increased booking of shows, paid video music lessons, blogs, musician competitions and battles for money prizes, auctioning off of samples, sound effects, instrumentals, lyrics, sheet music, rights, ect, and even purchasing and selling of instruments and gear, among many other things.

Add this to advertising revenue for all pages with an artist’s content, including videos, music, blogs, merch, fan groups, and anything else, merchandise sales, CD sales, and shows, and the full time independent artist may be more prevalent than ever would have been expected.

The most important thing to remember in order for this to become a reality, is that independent artists need to organize together as a whole, and support one website. The reason for one is simple. Every band or artist has their followers, but right now they’re all spread out on different websites, and not all of them transfer over. If there was one site, the cross pollination of fans alone would be enough to create a huge boost in artist’s views and promotion.

Add all of the revenue streams I’ve been talking about to that single, strong community of indie artists, and you’re looking at a stable, independent industry, run efficiently, and very cost-effectively. And best of all, it’s free to join and use, and costs nothing up front, not even risk.

The question of how artists can make money is a rarely answered one today, mostly for lack of good answers, but with a good tool, and the power of the internet to connect people, the answers to this question could go on as long as an artist’s creative imagination.

The picture is starting to change, and the future is really looking up. Didn’t even realize? Now you do…cheer up!

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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The Misconception and Over-Rating of Live Performances

Long have I sat quietly on expert panels or music forums when people are professing the dominance of the live performance in todays environment. The reason is you just can’t seem to convince people otherwise right now. “Then, Now, Always.” Seems to be the creed, and it is easy to see why people believe this..but I still disagree. When people talk about live performances they’re usually referring to concerts with big stages, lights, and huge crowds bursting with energy. Let’s analyze what live performance really means however.

It’s probably the longest standing tradition in music, having been around since long before recording was even possible. It’s the art of entertaining someone, and it has slowly evolved from small living room & bar room performances, to huge stadium filled spectacles with fireworks and 20 ft screens. You can thank the Beatles for the current format, which includes huge standing, screaming crowds. Before them, people usually sat down at concerts. Sometimes today performances are even coupled with advertisers and big events, like football half-time shows, or the X Games. In a sense, you could say that live performances have kind of sold out since the times of their modest roots.

Some people say that if you can’t perform live, then you shouldn’t have a career in music. Where did this crazy idea come from? First of all, if you perform amazingly on record, then you can do the same live. Think about it, a recording is a performance. Even legally speaking, when it comes to copyright law, songs played on the radio are referred to as performances. There are exceptions like if someone were amazing by themselves, but too nervous to perform on a live stage. But wait a minute, if a situation like this were to occur, is the live performance really so important that this person should give up all together? NO! and here’s why.

The live performance is a beautiful thing. It’s spontaneous and full of energy, and sometimes surprises. However let’s remember again what most people are referring to when they talk about live performances. Hint: It’s not mom playing the piano for the family. The number one reason people still go to see artists live is to get something they can’t get on an album. Some bands even perform better live, because there is way more improv. Why however, have the words Live Performance become synonymous with big stages and huge mobs? This isn’t what a live performance was “Then.” Sadly it is “Now,” but I pray it won’t be “Always.” I firmly believe that this aspect of live performances is going to be less and less important as the evolutionary process of music continues into the future.

The only thing that I believe can turn the live performance around, and back towards the direction of its early days, would be the internet penetrating deep enough into the picture to really change the perception. So why is changing the connotation of the term important? Why is it a good idea to go back to the roots of playing in one’s living room?

With the perception of a live performance being what it is, it’s no wonder that some people are scared to do it, especially those deeply sensitive enough to really make music that moves you. With a live, streaming, online concert, the spontaneity is still there, but there is more of an intimacy, leaving room for more of those vibes that leave chills down your arms. Another amazing reason is for the artists it also cuts overhead by…100%..there aren’t any insurance issues, and the artist can keep nearly 100% of the profit, while performing in the comfort of their home if they want.

Now this doesn’t mean that the show can’t still be put together with all the trimmings, like a stage and lights and pyros, and even a live crowd, but it does mean that this won’t be the only option for an artist, and in fact streaming traditional concerts as well could not only bring in more revenue for the artist, but it also has the potential to expand a band’s reach incredibly. Can’t make the show in Australia? No problem, I’ll just stream it on my phone while I’m in the car driving to see a friend across state. Favorite band not playing in your area for a year? No problem.

This makes the claim that live performances (referring to the traditional concert setting) are the most important thing an artist can do these days, completely false. The online presence is going to be the most important tool for an artist moving forward, simply because it incorporates promotion, distribution, merchandise sales, live performance, agent responsibilities, revenue management, ticket sales, and fan connectedness, all into one place manageable by one independent artist. For those of you who have heard the horrible advice by many to drop everything else and focus only on live performances, it’d be a good idea to un-hear that..and learn how to use a computer so you can leverage all of the opportunities soon to be coming your way via the internet.

Wondering what the hell these opportunities may be? Check out our Beat-Play Beta Overview and see if there’s really nothing to get excited about with the internet.

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC