Opening the SFMusicTech conference is a panel of musicians, content syndicators, and consultants discussing outreach strategies for musicians: Francis Ten- West Indian Girl (and Moderator), Davis Powers- Current TV, David Katznelson-Birdman Recording Group, Zoe Keating- Cellist and Composer, Matt Goldberg- VolumeEleven, Emily White-WhiteSmith Entertainment.
Ten: How do we define “popular enough”?
White: Not having a day job. If you can make your living doing your music, that’s success. Your retirement plan is your email list.
When I took on Family of the Year, I had to do some education. I showed them what we could do on Facebook and Twitter and we actually released an EP in the last 3 months. Email list is extremely important. Amanda Palmer sold 10,000 albums in the first week, 8,500 directly through her site, 1000 through iTunes, and only 500 through the label.
Katznelson: Sustainable momentum-fueled organization. In the world that we live in, playing live is essential, getting out there is essential. It means you’re a working artist hitting the pavement with your art.
Keating: Introducing your music to people who can introduce it to more people than you could. My career has moved with the internet. Working with people who are more known than I am. RadioLab has helped me even more than twitter—and maybe led me to Twitter. The show is distributed nationally on NPR and has done more for my career than anything else. My goal is to be omnipresent because then things just happen for you. Start in as many places as possible, start small and get known.
My responsibility is to stay on top of the best communication method for my fans at any point in time. Some people I can only reach on Twitter, others through email list, others on MySpace. I figure out how they want to be contacted and I contact them that way. I answer my fan mail and twitter messages. It’s a lot of bang for the bank and it’s nice to be in touch with them.
You need to be ready. Magazine spread, being on KCRW 3 times, twitter. 7X7 magazine said: we had all these musicians to choose from but you were ready.
Has reached a point where she doesn’t know anymore where her influencer come from. Sold 30,000 albums without a label “and I keep all that money to myself. It may not be a lot to a big label but it’s a lot to me. I bought my house with iTunes.”
Playing at tech conferences has worked too. Get out of your music world. Doesn’t go to music conferences because they tend to hold to the past whereas tech conferences seem to talk about the future. I think of myself as more of a nerd than a musician some time.
Goldberg: It’s about finding what your fans like, look for someone who played music like you and emulating what they’re doing. If you’re a jam band, you’ll focus on that market…you put yourself on jamband.com. Diversification and effort.
Next thing is streaming. They’re figuring it out. Justin.tv is willing to promote bands now and you need to be there first.
Davis: current TV is in 50mil homes. It’s knowing exactly the audience artists want to get in front of helps much more for authentic ideas and collaboration. We’re creating content.
Ten: How would a band get on Current TV?
Powers: We hand pick everything. Playing gate keepers and content selectors. respond to pitch: White pitched Dresden Dolls which Current put on Jimmy Kimmel—but don’t have a process for UGC.
Gate Keeper are changing every second. Keating is on suggested user list now but that’s going to go next time. Read the Tipping Point.
White: Almost everyone today knows HTML or someone who does. Family of the Year: The base player is a web designer, another is a web designer, the other is an actress, another is an engineer who recorded everything. 6 people who are their own label.
Most use Google apps. Additional tools: tunecore, tweetbeeps, bipedit
fanbridge, Iota, TopSpin, Cashmusic—developing OS platform for artists, Nimbit- bundle with Physical goods, Bandeyes, WordPress
Tips for production:
Keating: I record everything myself with a microphone and a computer. I have one person I trust for fresh set of ears.
Ten: you can do all the recording yourself. Spend you money focusing on mastering and mixing.