Wednesday, September 14, 2016


The following blog comes from Mark Meharry, CEO of Music Glue (pictured inset). Music Glue is a direct-to-fan platform which enables artists to sell tickets, music, merchandise, experiences and more from a single integrated website. Its clients include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flume, Metallica, Mumford & Sons and Zara Larsson (pictured).

Music retail is broken.
It’s 2016 and consumers have migrated from the high street to the mobile phone, and despite all of our technological advances we have now managed to create a retail experience for music fans that is considerably worse than it was 30 years ago.
As an industry we are leaving £/$/€ billions on the table because we frustrate fans.
When you consider that retail [merchandise, CDs, tickets, etc] still accounts for the vast majority of all income into the industry (and will do so for the foreseeable future) this statement should alarm you, because it alarms me.
The youth market has disengaged with music retail. If this continues unchecked we risk alienating consumers forever; and once they go, they may never come back.
The problem is vast, deep rooted, complex and highly nuanced. So, where are we and how did we get here?

Let’s go back in time 30 years to a simple ‘supply chain’ world, when music retail was uncomplicated.
Consumers would walk into a local record store, listen to new music, flick through the vinyl racks, peruse the range of T-shirts and posters, chat with the clerk and other customers, then make a purchase that could include concert tickets.
Music formats changed, but the basic paradigm remained consistent.
Then Napster hit, followed swiftly by the iTunes Store, and everything changed forever. Physical retailers started to fail and traditional retail collapsed.
By the mid-noughties a new model appeared called Direct to Consumer (D2C) and a bunch of companies emerged promising a brand new world embracing a shift in consumer behaviour toward the direct relationship with the artist.
We flocked to these new D2C services, with artists, managers and labels becoming global retailers overnight.
The promise was utopian. However, the execution and delivery were terrible.
We were sold automated end-to-end solutions, yet quickly discovered that behind the scenes there were humans processing orders instead of robots.
As the tech companies scaled, so did the problems. Fans complained. Artists complained. Managers complained.
Companies like Trinity Street and TopSpin crumbled under the weight of universal disappointment and inefficient order processing.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon evolved into the ‘go to’ destination for physical music products – for both consumers and the recorded music industry. Jeff Bezos got it right.
Direct to Fan ticketing appeared, merch companies built their own e-commerce solutions, the majors started owning D2C rights and subsequently either built their own systems or acquired multiple technologies with aspirations of integration.
The severe fragmentation of the music industry was then reflected online and the importance of the consumer experience was completely ignored.
We complained about the royalty rates paid by streaming services, yet left £/$/€ billions on the table by frustrating the very fans that fuel the entire industry, fans that want to give us their money – but cannot.
That is where we are now.
If I go to the website of almost every band on the planet with the intention of buying a pre-order vinyl album, an MP3, a ticket or a T-shirt, I am sent to four different stores, forced to enter my credit card four times, create four different accounts with companies I do not want to be associated with and deal with four different customer support centres chasing the delivery of my orders.
Try it yourself: I challenge you to actually buy something from the artists you work with, without wanting to hit your computer.
Even better, try doing it on your mobile phone! It doesn’t work. The music industry has broken every rule in e-commerce; we have effectively broken the internet!

So how important is this ‘artist direct retail channel’? A good question, that we can now answer.
At Music Glue we know the marketing reach the artist has into market:
  • We know that when we go on sale for a tour at the same time as all other outlets, and we all keep selling until we sell out, the artist’s Music Glue website always sells on average 70% of the tickets. Every time. No matter the size or genre;
  • We also know that 1 in 3 customers buying directly from an artist will buy more than one item;
  • We know that when merch is bundled with tickets, on average an artist will sell an additional £19 of merch per ticket;
  • We know customers on average buy 2.4 tickets and that over a 5 year period will return and buy an additional £53 of products;
  • We have been doing this a long time and also know that these numbers are all going up!
So what does the future look like?
If we work together and address this issue then the future is bright. Very bright. We must understand customers better and start affording them the respect and ease of use they have now come to expect from e-commerce.
Amazon have set a very high bar, but that is the bar we must now rise to.
Sending fans away to separate stores when they want to give us their money has got to stop.
Fans don’t care about our fragmented industry, they just want to buy stuff. We must now make it easier for them to do so.Music Business Worldwide

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tune for the running and working out Basique by Little People

Ihokurt itunes Pick for Running and Working Out

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Peter Lik Sets World Record for Photograph 6.5 Million

Peter Lik Sets World Record

12/9/14 8:00 AM
“Phantom” Sells for an Astounding $6.5 Million
Peter Lik has officially made art history by selling the most expensive photograph ever – setting a world record. An official press release was issued today, outlining details on the $6.5 million sale of masterwork, “Phantom.”
One of Peter’s all-time, favorite places to shoot lies in the Southwestern region of the United States, where he is continually drawn to Arizona’s Antelope Canyon – a slot canyon carved out by natural flowing water over the course of millions of years. It is here, in a subterranean cavern, that Peter captured “Phantom” – a stunning, black & white depiction of a ghostlike figure.
The private collector, who purchased the $6.5 million “Phantom” in November 2014, also acquired Lik’s masterworks “Illusion” for $2.4 million and “Eternal Moods” for $1.1 million. With this incredible $10 million sale, Lik now holds four of the top 20 spots for most expensive photographs ever sold. He already has a position in the ranking with a previous $1 million sale of famed image, “One.”
For over 30 years, Peter has followed a calling to capture and share the most beautiful places on earth. A myriad of awards and accolades mark the career of a dedicated and talented artist – a man who came from humble beginnings in his native Australia. This historic moment only further proves that Peter Lik is undoubtedly a true leader in the world of fine art.
Congratulations Pete!

Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions - Look What They've Done to My Song Ma performed by Miley Cyrus & Melanie Safka

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

SXSW: The 7 Hottest Topics In Music Tech Right Now

SXSW: The 7 Hottest Topics In Music Tech Right Now

The music portion of South By Southwest conference in Austin, Texas officially kicked off Tuesday. Infiltrating the movie buffs and techie nerds who are in town for the film and interactive portions of the festival, are the skinny jean wearing, bead sporting, aviator donning, shaggy, smelly musicians of the world. And of course, the leaders of the actual business side of the music industry. Last night, 6th Street was still relatively tame as the Interactive to Music transition happens. But, no doubt, tonight will get weird.
The first panel I attended was with the Director of Product Management at Facebook, Michael Cerda, VP of Business Development at BandPage, Chris Wiltsee, Managing Director of Walden Venture CapitalLarry Marcus and the moderator was SF MusicTech veteran, Todd Tate.
The panel seemed to meander somewhat aimlessly for the first half hour around general tech topics until someone from the audience nearly interrupted with “So what ARE the 7 hottest topics in music tech right now” (the name of this panel session) to which the room erupted in applause. People like lists. And they like structure. It would have been nice if the list was displayed on the projector so the room could follow along. But nonetheless, the 2nd half hour provided a bit more form and direction for the overflowing conference room at the Hilton hotel in downtown Austin.
Here’s What The Panel Had To Say About What’s Happening in Music Tech Right Now

1) Video

Tate started it off by referencing YouTube’s new terms of service for independent artists which Zoe Keating revealed in her blog, about how they are requiring artists to put their music on YouTube at the same time they release it anywhere else. This prevents windowing releasees, putting them on download stores like iTunes and BandCamp prior to releasing it for streaming. To which Michael Cerda of Facebook replied, “There are more places on the Internet to put video.”
And as Facebook video inches closer to YouTube”s traffic, with 3 billion views A DAY, he’s right. However, they don’t have the monetization features that YouTube offers such as Content ID or even in video annotations where artists can link to merch, tickets and downloads. And Cerda would not discuss a timeline for these updates, however he did say “we’re really just getting started.”

“YouTube is more like a library. Facebook is more about discovery. We’re building a feature set around that.” – Michael Cerda, Facebook.

Larry Marcus, whose VC firm works with Pandora, SoundHound, BandPage, Jukely and others said that “you may have 2 million followers on YouTube, but you can’t actually reach those followers. It’s really important to own your fans.”
It’s true, building followers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or any other third party service is of course important, however over night the service can change how it operates and artists could lose access to those fans – like Facebook did with Page reach a couple years ago.
YouTube just announced yesterday, YouTube For Artists, which provides artists with tips on how to chart on Billboard, get airplay on Sirius/XM and NRJ in France. YouTube plans to debut an analytical tool that will provide geographical viewer information to help artists route tours, ala Pandora’s Amp.
Wiltsee discussed BandPage’s partnership with YouTube which now allows artists to place graphic annotations over their videos which link to merch offerings.
“One of the biggest headaches in the business right now is there’s a ton of engagement happening on Pandora, YouTube, Spotify are the big 3. Artists are rightly very frustrated and pushing back. For the amount of plays we should be seeing a lot more revenue.” -Chris Wiltsee, BandPage

2) Crowd-Funding

Much of the panel’s time was spent discussing Amanda Palmer and Patreon. And no, I didn’t guide the conversation this way. So I’m not the only one that thinks this is revolutionizing the industry! But all agreed that artists need to build the fan base first. Crowdfunding is not about discovering.
Wiltsee advised that the traditional album campaign is outdated and doesn’t work anymore. He said that artists need to be releasing content all the time along with bundling in exclusives and special merch so “you can continually come out with new things to engage with that fanbase. An artist’s career is always in cycle. It’s a perpetual cycle.
“Amanda Palmer is a multi-media star, but how many Amanda Palmers are there? She’s figured out how to break through.” – Larry Marcus, Walden VC
“Above fan funding, artists need to have more regular conversation with their audience. Artists shouldn’t come out and just say ‘come buy my merch or a ticket. It’s about a conversation. It’s about the perpetual cycle. You’re not just merchandising, you’re engaging.” Michael Cerda, Facebook.

3) Radio

“Artists should be demanding of Spotify and other services to promote their wheres. That’s the spot where you’re going to want to reach your fans to consume your products,” Marcus said. Wiltsee agreed “there are fans listening to bands 800 times a month.” But currently, artists have no way to actually connect with these fans. Not on Pandora. Not on YouTube. Definitely not on Sirius/XM and not really on Spotify.
Pandora released it’s artist analytic tool AMP a few months back. It was a great step forward, however, it needs to go further. Fans should be notified (ON THE PLATFORM) when their favorite artists announce new shows. When they release a new song. When they launch a crowd-funding campaign. And fine, these services SHOULD take a commission so they have skin in the game and can work WITH artists on increasing this revenue. If 100 people in Baltimore created an Ari Herstand radio station, these 100 people should get a special notification when I announce a show in Baltimore. There are over 600,000 people in the city, there’s no way I could find these 100 through general advertising or grass roots promo to get them out to my show.
Internet radio NEEDS to do more for artists to help connect them with their fans. It’s a FEATURE that fans would appreciate. A simple notification when a concert is announced in their city is not invasive. Hurry up Pandora! Hurry up Spotify! Hurry up Rdio! Hurry up Deezer! Hurry up Apple!
The conversation was steered towards curated playlists versus algorithm created playlists and Cerda said that in a blind listening test he bets he could hell you which playlist was hand picked and which was created by an algorithm. I’d like to see this test.

“Algorithms do a lot of things, but they don’t feel.” – Michael Cerda, Facebook.

The panel also has high hopes for what Spotify is going to do with The Echo Nest, “One of the deepest tech companies in the music ever,” said Marcus.
They touched on Wonder.FM, which used to be WeAreHunted, which lists the top tracks onSoundCloud. SoundCloud has been enjoying success under the radar and has been the favorite streaming app to integrate into new music apps, startups and existing behemoths (like Twitter), however, now that they are striking deals with the majors and starting to officially monetize, forcing them to update their course, this could all change very soon.

4) Business Models For MusicTech Companies With Copyright Reforms

“The big problem in music tech right now is that the ecosystem has been broken for many years. If you ever tried to get funding when you’re trying to license music and sell it. It’s nearly impossible to do.” – Larry Marcus
Marcus is very excited about the live concert subscription service Jukely (which he is an investor of), where for $25 a month you can go and see “all the concerts you want” – of those that are actually signed up to the program of course. He claims it will have a great selection and discovery element to it. Currently it has launched in NYC, LA, San Francisco and Chicago. Of course this program will not include the huge arena shows. But might be a nice way to get more people out to see local and mid-level artists.
Marcus thinks that once the statutory rates for radio are updated there is going to be “the opportunity for people to invest in the space. I think you’re going to see a very exciting spreading and merging of radio and on-demand services.”

“I hope there is a shifted mindset for people who own the copyrights, the labels, to construct win-win deals. And that’s NOT about upfront cash payments. It’s where if the company succeeds then everyone succeeds.” -Larry Marcus, Walden VC

However with Lucian Grainge of UMG  exclaiming that freemium, ad-supported subscription services “weren’t working for anyone except streaming services and music fans.” And Doug Morris of Sony Music, says that free music is causing the death of the music industry, don’t hold your breath that the labels will join in with Marcus’ dream anytime soon.

5) Winners And Losers

Cerda said “Apple is poised to be a big winner” with their (re)launch of their Beats inspired streaming service. And that “Spotify if poised to be along time winner.” But he wonders how long Rdio and Deezer will last. However, Facebook has been in bed with Spotify for years now, so it’s no surprise that he believes in Spotify above all else.
Marcus discussed The Edison research firm which lists market share data from the consumer side for all listening services.
Marcus is excited about live music apps like StageIt and Maestro (where you can attend concerts from your couch).
Wiltsee believes the companies that will succeed are those that are embracing artists and helping them connect with their fans and helping them to sell to their fans. He said “there are billion dollar opportunities” which aren’t being realized in music.
Everyone was pretty uncertain about how SoundCloud is going to move forward now that they’ve fallen under major label rule.

6) Breakout Apps

The big winner at SXSW is the live broadcast from your phone app Meerkat. It’s been wildly adopted here at the festival from Pedicab rids to panels to the exhibit hall. Anyone can comment on the realtime live stream. Jimmy Falon, Julia Louise Dryfus and Al Roker have all name dropped Meerkat. So it’s about to hit mainstream. I guess if Snapchat is too delayed, we now have Meerkat which literally cannot connect you any quicker to the action. I’m interested to see how this will take off.
Marcus is excited about Set.FM which is a near identical concept to the failed – which enables fans to download the concert they just saw. Not sure how they’re going to succeed with this where failed. But maybe they have better management.

7) What’s To Come?

“Algorithms can do a better job at live mixing than most people” – Larry Marcus.

He thinks the “Virtual Sound Guy” app is just around the corner. And with the notoriously shitty house sound guys, I’m interested to see what an algorithm can do.

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog,Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Artist Spent a Year in the Woods Creating Mysterious Sculptures

Deep in the woods of southern France, artist Spencer Byles transformed the forest into a mysterious wonderland through a series of spectacular, organic sculptures. Byles spent a year immersed in the woodlands of La Colle sur Loup, Villeneuve-Loubet, and Mougins for this ambitious project. Surrounded by flora and fauna, the sculptor used only cables and natural, found materials to create his stunning, large-scale works of art.
According to Byles, many people come across his sculptures by chance in the woods. Met with the sight of towering, woven structures and suspended symbols made of twined branches, the viewer may question whether the mysterious installations were formed naturally, assembled by human hands, or left in the forest by supernatural forces.
The ephemeral nature of Byles' creations is integral to his work, as each piece exists in its completed state for only as long as the elements permit. The sculptor says, "The temporary nature of my sculptures is an important aspect of my experiences and understanding. I feel my sculptures are only really completed when nature begins to take hold again and gradually weave its way back into the materials. At this point it slowly becomes part of nature again and less a part of me."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

14 ways to make money from one song

14 ways to make money from one song

14 ways to make money from one song[This post was written by Bobby Borg and it originally appeared on the SonicBids Blog.]
As with any business, your products and services (whether they be your recordingstoursmerch, or anything else) are the stars of the show. They generate revenue and keep your music career afloat. This is why it’s so important to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity and find a variety of ways to satisfy your audience and make sales.
Take a song, for instance. It can be recorded and simply released as a single, but that’s not all.

Here’s how to turn a single song into 14 different money-making revenue streams:

1. If you remix it and take the lyrics away, it’s now an instrumental version that can be licensed to film and TV.
2. If you re-record it live, you can release that version as a live single.
3. If you re-record it acoustically, it can now be sold as the unplugged version.
4. If you sing it in another language, it is now a translation suitable for new markets.
5. If you remix it with a guest DJ, it can now be the electronic dance version.
6. If you compile it with six or 10 other songs, it can become part of an album or compilation.
7. If you offer the recorded stems to your individual track, it can be an “interactive product” where fans can create new mixes and share them with each other.
8. If you allow the song to be experienced (heard, critiqued) in real-time during the writing and production phase, it can be an exclusive content perk to paying fan club members.
9. If you take the words from the song’s chorus and place them on T-shirts and hats, it becomes a cool piece of merch.
10. If you create a video of the song being performed and/or acted out, it can be part of a DVD collection of video singles with other songs and/or used as a tool to generate advertising revenue on video sites.
11. If you film yourself while writing and recording the songit can be part of your “making of” video.
12. If you transcribe the music into printed form, it can be a piece of sheet music.
13. If you keep the broken drumsticks, skins, picks, and other tools that were used during the recording of the song, they can be sold as collectors’ items.
14. If you pile a number of the items discussed above into a classy box, it can be a cool limited box set that your fans might find as a great value and must-have item.
The same concept can be applied to your music lesson business (offered at home, on DVD, in an instructional book, in a master class clinic, streaming live online, etc.) or to any other product or service.
The point is that with a little creativity, one product can be turned into a variety of extensions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the more products you offer, the better – in fact, that could actually create confusion for your fans. Rather, if you can keep the juices of creativity and innovation always flowing by being open-minded and observing what’s around you at all times, you can better satisfy the needs of your fans and serve others you may not be reaching currently with quality offerings. 
That’s how you can generate even more income for your music career.
Just remember that if you take your music career seriously, it’s a business – and the purpose of a business is to make a healthy profit. If it’s not profitable, it’s not a business – it’s just a hobby.
Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014). Find the book on Hal Leonard’s website under “Trade Books” or on Amazon. Signed copies with a special offer are also available at