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July 12, 2014

Wazzup

Filed under: Twitter, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:44 am

Toyah Willcox wandering around The Antiques Warehouse during BBC2's Bargain Hunt Famous Finds
Toyah Willcox wandering around The Antiques Warehouse during BBC2’s Bargain Hunt Famous Finds

Over the past few weeks I’ve been helping an old and dear friend with her website promotion - Hilary runs and owns The Antiques Warehouse. The Antiques Warehouse (AW) is a ’small’ antiques business, and even though it’s been operating since 1995, Hilary hasn’t really fully embraced the social media. I’ve recently set up a Twitter page for her - I’ll encourage and help her to sort out a Facebook page later.

Since I started helping bands with their website promotion in 2004, I have found the differences between promoting a business website and a musician’s website extremely interesting - Independent artists, musicians and bands do need to put in a little more creative sales effort! On the other hand, small businesses need to become slightly less focused on selling and concentrate more on just connecting with people.

When I first created the AW Twitter page (@AntiquesFarnham) and started following other antique establishments, in the hope they would follow back, I began receiving direct messages from TrueTwit:
@Bla-di-bla, uses TrueTwit validation service. To validate click here: TrueTwit.com/1234Link.
I had discovered TrueTwit validation, and as I unfollowed them I thought, what a dreadful first impression, what a social media branding blunder, what utter nonsense. I advise you NOT to use TrueTwit, however, I’ve never met a musician that does and maybe that says something?

As a footnote, TrueTwit validation service is meant to stop Twitter spam, confirm people aren’t robots and save you time. I’ve found the opposite is true, and that the people who use TrueTwit are usually spammers, spamming their fucking eBay & Etsy websites.

April 27, 2014

WordPress Your Band’s Website

Filed under: WordPress, Music Marketing, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 3:00 pm

Shiplosion - Party Metal for your booty

Chris Seth Jackson of @HowToRunABand has written three extremely useful articles named: How To Create A Band Website With WordPress.

Seth is experimenting in music marketing with a real band, Shiplosion and he’s doing it from scratch. And along the way he’s blogging, podcasting, video-blogging… well, you name it he’s doing it, to inform and teach you all the tricks of how to run a band! Is he a Seattle Seahawks fan?

So, as I heartily recommend new bands to get themselves a WordPress blog/website, have a gander:

  1. How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 1: Domain, Hosting, and E-Mail
  2. How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 2: Installing WordPress
  3. How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 3: Themes

March 1, 2014

Fresh Site For Open Source Independent Record Label - LibreRock Records

Independent Record Label | LibreRock Records

#LibreRock @LibreRocks The Open Source Independent Record Label - LibreRock Records Have Got Themselves a Fresh & Sweet New Look Website - I like it Matt :)

January 30, 2014

Who To Unfollow On Twitter!

Filed under: Twitter, Band Promotion — ian @ 9:40 pm

I’m almost certain that you need to do some Unfollowing on Twitter!

Your band’s’ Twitter account isn’t really the same as your personal Twitter account, it should be much more productive and engaging - You are entertainers.

This post is also about the people who you should follow (opposites, if you get my drift), and they should be friendly, interactive and informative tweeps.

  • Unfollow everyone with a Verified Account (identified by a white tick on light blue rosette), like: https://twitter.com/JimiHendrix - They hardly ever follow back or interact - they are only interested in themselves.
  • Unfollow everyone with Twitter’s own egg avatar, because they’re limp & lazy, like: https://twitter.com/WhiteStripe - No avatar, No follow. Also ignore the sexy girls in bikinis, if you can!
  • Unfollow everyone without a Profile Bio, like: https://twitter.com/AtlBluesSociety - They’re not just lazy, they’re usually fake!
  • Unfollow everyone with foreign or strange symbols in their Profile Bio, like: https://twitter.com/Rock_Bar_Garage - A contentious, politically correct issue? Maybe. But why would you follow someone who you do not understand? Also a sign of a spammer/ scammer/ Fake/Bot.
  • Unfollow everyone with an odd, problematic and conflicting Username (@Moftyr369) and Profile Name (Mick Jagger) combination - If you don’t understand the connection between the two, then something is wrong. They’re a Fake/Bot.
  • Unfollow everyone with an inactive account (less than 50 Tweets or hasn’t tweeted for 60 days) - they are lazy or defunct accounts. Watch out for new accounts!
  • Unfollow everyone with a strange follower::following ratio. Usually there is a large disparity between who they follow (usually very low) and who follows them (usually very high), like: https://twitter.com/MercuryPrize - They’re not going to follow you, if they just did, they’ll unfollow! Also, zero (very low) followers, but following 2001 commonly indicates a fake account.
  • Unfollow everyone with a strange tweet::follow ratio. Zero tweets, very bizarre - A repulsive and Fake account! Generally it’s the other way round with too many tweets.
  • Unfollow everyone with unintelligible tweets::tweeting patterns. Genuine people who are worth following tend to follow a recognisable theme - People who are not worth following repeatedly tweet bollocks of the day.
  • Unfollow everyone who tweets the same “reply” to @everybody Check out my music video and share: http://www.youtube.com/… - They’re Spammers.
  • Unfollow everyone who doesn’t interact with other people. Typically it’s a “quote of the day” scenario, but equally it could be a too much automation and synchronisation with Facebook, YouTube or WordPress: fb.me/… youtu.be/… wp.me/… - The spammers are self-promoting and not using Twitter!
  • Don’t be tempted to follow people who Favorite or Retweet your tweets but who don’t already follow you.

The duffers are easy to spot because they will frequently fall into more than one of the above categories. Of course there is a proviso… Some of these people who I’m telling you to unfollow may turn out to be your friends, and you really Do want to follow them. That’s okay. However, it may be a good idea for you to follow them from your own personal account, if you’ve got one!

When someone follows you, follow them back (unless you think they’re fake accounts) and try to keep some sort of parity between Followers and Following. And above all, endeavour to build real relationships with people :)

Resources - to keep track of what’s going on:

justunfollow.com - General Twitter tracking tool

unfollowers.me - General Twitter tracking tool

untweeps.com - Unfollow inactive Twitter users

January 11, 2014

Gypsy Girl by Captain Andy Hignett

Filed under: Band Promotion — ian @ 8:19 pm

Love it Andy :) x

On the album: Gypsies, Heroes, Pirates & Beggars: A Science Fiction Story

December 2, 2013

How To Become A Successful Independent Recording Artist

[EDIT] A couple of weeks ago, mid November, Francis Gane of Chartburst (a platform for unsigned artists, that says they will get you heard by major labels, producers, bloggers, pluggers, etc.) asked me if I would be interested in contributing to Chartburst’s blog. Very flattered, I said, “Yes.”

However, on reflection, I have got to decline the tempting invitation, because I haven’t got time to write for myself! Blogging, as informative content creation, is such a time consuming taskmaster. Sorry, but LibreRock Records and UnsignedBandPromotion must come first. Being independent means taking responsibility for yourself, and that’s what I’ve got to do!

Find, support and follow Chartburst on Twitter and Chartburst on Facebook - Good Luck Francis.

Anyway, How To Become A Successful Independent Recording Artist WAS destined for Chartburst; I’m sure Francis will be pleased that I posted it here instead.

“How do I become a successful independent recording artist?” is just the sort of puerile question a schoolboy would Google right after he had Googled, “How do I get a girlfriend?” I can hardly believe someone posed this innocent question so sincerely to me. But they did, and I can’t believe that I am actually going to genuinely bother to answer it. I’ll not over inflate the article with fluff, and as a convention, I’ll use “artist” meaning artist, musician, band, etc….

Firstly, at what point would you say, “I have become a successful indie artist?” Here are a couple of my favourite answers: 1. When I can jack in the day job and earn a living playing music. 2. When the mainstream media starts to take notice. I’m sure you’ve got your own individual answer, maybe it’s relative to the artist? Set your goals - and maybe that’s too unfluffy for you!

How good at doing it are you?

It’s my belief that if an artist wants to become a success on the music scene and make a living from their music, the most important area to get right is their musicianship and stage act (Music and Performance). This is The Core Essential and best indicator of whether you are going to make it or not.

Seek criticism and advice from an independent and qualified person whose opinion you value and trust. Then act on their advice and continue to seek their feedback for continuity. I am Not talking about crowd-sourced, public opinion here; I am talking about a qualified individual who can tell you the truth.

Do you have a Business Plan?

To make a money out of your music, you need a Business Plan - talent is sometimes (usually) not enough! Running a business is a big subject, too big for this blog post anyway; it includes: finances, technology, marketing & PR, sales, staff, regulations & legal stuff - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, off the top of my head!

Being an independent artist doesn’t mean you that have to do everything yourself, you will need professional help and advice - maybe it’s an accountant or maybe it’s a website designer? Find the right professional for the job. There are a number of music industry pros. worth contacting, here’s a list: 22 champions of the independent music community - one should be able to set you on the right path. Personally, I’d start off by talking to a specialist music industry accountant.

How do you connect with people?

The third element in this trilogy is Connectivity. Actually it’s a subsection within business - Marketing and PR. It is how you connect with people and how you get them to take notice. It’s being on the same wavelength as the person with whom you are talking, it’s empathy and rapport. It’s marketing - bringing yourself to the attention and consciousness of your potential fans. Yet another massive subject, however, it’s a key factor in becoming a successful indie artist. Talk to LibreRock Records for some personalised information and help.

So there you have it, a simple, candid answer to a puerile question! The Three Core Essentials are: Music and Performance, Business and Connectivity - get them all right and you’ll do okay …even though in reality, the odds are set against you ;)

November 26, 2013

LibreRock Records Website Design and Website Hosting Package

Filed under: LibreRock, SEO, Band News, Band Promotion — ian @ 11:43 pm

LibreRock Records Website Design and Website Hosting Package

My friend Matt Early from MattEarly.com and LibreRock Records is offering a brilliant Website Design and Website Hosting Package that includes Domain Name, Hands-On Support and everything else you need, for only £197 (one time payment). And that’s a bloody good deal. If you don’t believe me, search google for: “cheap website design and hosting” - make sure you read their small print!

The LibreRock Records’ Website Design & Website Hosting Package is the ultimate deal for any independent artist, musician, band or songwriter looking to advance their Web presence, attract new fans and progress their business. Matt’s experienced and individual touch for intelligent website design is second to none. But even better than that, I’ve offered to help with some Free Website Promotion ;)

YOU decide how your website looks and how it functions, for instance: you may want a crowd pulling speciality landing page, to promote a gig and increase ticket sales - Matt can do it.

This is what you get:

  • One off cost of £197 - no hidden fees :)
  • Any available .co.uk or .com domain name
  • 12 months secure hosting (After 12 months: hosting and domain name costs: £10 a month or £100 for the year)
  • 12 months free technical support and website tweaks
  • Multiple domain based email accounts (you@yourdomain.com)
  • The Handmade Website is custom designed and developed to be Responsive (a responsive Website reacts to user’s device - desktop, tablet and iPhone/Smart Phone, etc.)
  • 60% discount on future major website updates, inc. back-end coding or additions made to site after completion
  • Fully integrated Content Management System
  • Feature packed cPanel
  • Easy to use blogging software
  • Full image and video support
  • Integrated enquiry/contact form with spam protection
  • Social media links to: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, SoundCloud etc.
  • In-depth website visitor statistics
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Basic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Easy meta-tag editor to assist with SEO
  • Compatible with all major browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera
  • Free LibreRock Website Promotion Package

I think Matt wants to be paid through PayPal, because it is an incredibly safe and secure method, very easy too!

Contact Matt Early: webdesign@librerock.com
or @Matt_LDN on Twitter

September 8, 2013

The Whaam Showcase Widget

Filed under: SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 12:09 pm

Whaam Showcase Widget

I was emailed by the marketing whiz kid @FredrikNederby who works for a Swedish start-up called Whaam - “We are releasing our latest service to open beta the 2nd of September. The service is called The Whaam Showcase Widget. It is a kind of business card for artists and bands to show what they have on the web.” And I thought Oh My God here we go again, yet another website offering links to bands …Sorry to sound so cynical Fredrik.

My cynicism is born out of my experience with creating and promoting UnsignedBandPromotion’s now defunct Online Z-cards, which are Microsites for bands and are ostensibly on the same wavelength as The Whaam Showcase Widget, see: Build Yourself A Microsite.

Night Riot’s Whaam Showcase Widget

Are bands looking for another place where they can hang their hats? I’ve an extremely strong suspicion that they’re not! I have a feeling that it is the Bands’ Flyers Go To The Wall scenario all over again.

Whaam’s mission is to change the way music related content is presented; and that’s my problem, the Whaam Showcase Widget isn’t really all that different and it’s certainly not as exciting as the interconnection between Facebook and ReverbNation for bands; it’s also a lot like: ThingLink, but not as good in my opinion! Read more: ThingLink/learn.

The Whaam Showcase Widget is embedded in an iframe. An iframe is usually used to display information supplied by another website, in this case Whaam, on your web page. What is the effect of iframes on search engine optimization? Not good, web crawlers will either skip the iframe’s content or get diverted and miss out the rest of your website; plus, the iframe will not help your website’s pagerank either! What helps improve pagerank? Content. Actually it would be very easy to create an online business card, a Z-card, for yourself within a <div> tag - Google would love it. Need some help? Just ask. I’d say it’s best to avoid using iframes if possible!

I can hear Fredrik saying, “But The Whaam Showcase Widget is a simple line of code and easy to share.” True, very true Fredrik - Share this why don’t you: <a href=”http://www.unsignedbandpromotion.com/”>UnsignedBandPromotion</a> A Simple link. BTW, it’s easy to set up a share button with sites like AddThis.com.

Why won’t The Whaam Showcase Widget be successful? Here’s why:

The Standard Package for independent artists, musicians, bands, small blogs, etc., is FREE - there are conditions though. The Premium Package for larger blogs, small record labels, small festivals… $9 per month - and there are still conditions! The Premium+ Package for large festivals, large record labels, ticket agencies… $99 per month - Sorry Whaam, but you’ve got to be fucking joking; good luck with that. Seriously, I mean it, good luck.

Please note Fredrik, LibreRock Records can not afford $108 per annum for a glorified hyperlink.

The Whaam Showcase Widget is now beta testing; don’t be put off by my negative comments, please give Whaam a whirl; and I would love to hear how you got on - I’d also be happy to blog your band’s Showcase Widget.

July 29, 2013

A Sex Pistols Marketing Strategy?

Filed under: Live Music, LibreRock Records, Band Promotion — ian @ 7:49 pm

image - Chris CB Photographie | BB Brunes @ Magic Mirror

@CheltenhamUnder Tweeted to me:

Here’s my reply:

Even in a world where a Sex Pistols marketing strategy has become acceptable, is there ever a good time to call a potential customer a c*nt?

Sorry Cheltenham Underground, but I think that you’ve lost the plot, categorizing customers into subspecies of a c*nt: the deaf, dumb and blind, is truly offensive; it demonstrates appalling customer relations and a complete lack of understanding of how to deal with people - I’m surprised that you’ve got any Regulars!

When I was in my late teens and early twenties (1973-1978) I used to walk past Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop (430 King’s Road - it’s now called World’s End) many times a week on my way to and from work on the King’s Road, Chelsea - occasionally I’d pop in on a Saturday afternoon. The shop had a number of guises and names; when it was called Seditionaries (Christmas ‘76) I bought myself a very expensive T-shirt. I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking for a discount - it wasn’t the done thing! BDSM Nazi bondage sex war upside down images of bombed out London and faux threats, were all very subversive, provocative, anarchistic, anti-establishment and anti-christian; but quite frankly, the shop workers were very welcoming and wanted to help, I can’t ever remember having any agro, the only difficulty I had was having enough cash to spend! …questioning cost would have been even more radical and rebellious!

How times have changed. My wife works in a local charity shop that funds a day centre for the elderly; regularly a customer will stand confrontationally in front of her brandishing their chosen item, “What’s your best price?” they usually say in a hostile, barefaced tone.
“I’m sorry, we can’t reduce the price, all prices are as marked. We’re all volunteers here and all the profit goes to the Day Centre.” she politely replies.
“Oh come on, there’s a dirty mark, I don’t want to pay the full price.”
“I really can’t reduce the price, all prices have been carefully thought about by the manager, if there wasn’t a superficial mark it would be much more expensive.” The customer either buys the item or leaves it! My wife returns home frustrated and uptight, however, never once have I heard her call them f***ing c*nts, not because she’s a saint (obviously she is), but because she knows that that customer will be back next week saying exactly the same thing and maybe making a purchase or worse, joining as a new volunteer!

Maybe The Cheltenham Underground are using their article, All our shows from here on in will be FREE ENTRY as a cheap promotional gimmick by being f***ing controversial to boost their business. Promotional Bullshit more like!

I do of course have strong views on the live music scene as I am a founding member of the open source record label LibreRock Records, please have a read of our Live Event Ethos - it states exactly where I am coming from.

July 23, 2013

Championing Unsigned Bands - Get Your Music Reviewed

Filed under: LibreRock Records, Band Promotion — ian @ 6:51 pm

Reviews | LibreRock Records | BETA Version
Reviews on LibreRock Records - BETA Version

Well that says it all really! If you want a track reviewed, sign up to LibreRock Records, upload your tracks, and your music will instantly start getting reviews. Obviously it’s a BETA version, so stay tuned for more information!

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