Its been a while since a new social network has really connected with me but Pinterest is it. Like all the best ideas its a simple one, bookmarks with visuals basically, almost like a cross between Delicious and Flickr if you like. There does seem to be some controversy over copyright right now, but that aside its a great viral medium and is catching on quick. You can post images, or links to images as you please or you can be more organised and categorise your images into specific ‘Pinboards’.
Right now I’m beavering away collecting all the music industry infographics and visuals I can, old and new and its proving to be very popular as more people cotton on to what has quickly become the third most visited social platform around.
I was using Twitter Tools to gather my machine gun Twitter feed and post the days shouting into one neat post over here. Worked OK for a while, but after a WordPress update somewhere (I don’t know which one) things started getting a bit moody with the database and I found I was getting duplicate posts every day which was a real pain to edit out daily.
So, have been looking for an alternative that looked a little better too and am now trying out Twitter Blackbird Pie, which basically uses shortcodes to post selected tweets in a blog post like thus..
Actually looks much better than what I was doing here (let me know what you think OK).
Having said that, am looking into the new beta of Twitter Tools, so may well revert back or use a combination of both!
Other ways of keeping track of the resources I post via Twitter are at my Delicious account, which grabs all the URL’s I post (why they had to mess up Trunk.ly I don’t know), and another really cool tool I’ve been using is Twylah, which basically grabs your Tweets and arranges them in a neat categorised news display, excellent!
Phew, well now I’ve actually finished a blog post for the first time in over a year (hey I’ve been too busy over at Twitter) I thought I would ‘weld’ together my three lengthy posts on digital music distribution and put them out there as one lovely PDF!
Now take into account that I haven’t reorganized anything so you’ll be getting them in chronological order from the top. I’m going to post it at Google Docs so feel free to grab. This is just the rough’ beta mix’ as I do intend to tidy it up and reorganise very soon. Feedback please!
I’ve actually been promising an update to my two earlier posts on digital music distribution for waaay too long now, so apologies to all for the horrible delay (April 2009? What the..). Anyway. In case you missed them…
There were seventeen companies mentioned in Pt.1 and thirteen in Pt.2. Out of them, the only change to report from part one is that Australian based Musicadium has been rolled into Valleyarm.
The rest, as you were.
Rather than go over the same points here you’ll be much better off catching up with the first two parts. To make things a little more convenient I’m welding the three pieces together as one PDF so you can print and study at leisure.
Some points you may want to take into consideration when choosing a distributor.
Location. Is your distributor of choice in your own country? Possibly a key issue because of currency differences and support concerns. Do they have phone support? A physical address?
Read the websites about page to find out names, history and credentials. If they have none, move on. Use Google. A lot.
Always amazes me when some site pops up claiming combined “20+ years industry experience” but giving no actual NAMES. Then you get a PO BOX for a mailing address. Run. In the opposite direction. Continue reading
I didn’t get to mention all the digital music distribution outlets that I wanted too in my (part 1) post a few days ago, ‘Exploring The Digital Music Distribution ‘Jungle’’, so I thought I’d update the list in this ‘quick’ additional post. Thanks also to the feedback and suggestions I got, especially from 101 Distribution and @Charles at 247 Entertainment.
Again I’ll refer to the major download retailers as the ‘Big 5’ which right now would be iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, Napster and Rhapsody.
Pro Music – Online Music Stores – Not a distribution company but an online worldwide map of legal online digital music retail stores listed by country and maintained by the IFPI and a very good resource for checking out worldwide outlets. The same website maintains weekly download chart links across mainland Europe and Japan. Right now Lady GaGa seems to be universally topping the charts across Europe with ‘Poker Face’.
EPM Electronic – (Maastricht, Netherlands & London, UK)- European based company with a very comprehensive list of stores they service, including the ‘big 5’ worldwide and a very large selection of niche and independent retailers, including all the major electronic dance music stores across the USA, the whole of Europe, Asia and the Far East. Also cover some of the major mobile platforms like Nokia, Vodaphone and 3 Mobile. MySpace.
Its one of those application deals, where you fill in a short form and upload a music sample. There’s no terms on the website but there’s a demo page for label management.
WaTunes -(Atlanta, Georgia, USA)- One of the newer aggregator/distribution channels around, WaTunes are different from just about all the rest in that there is no sign up fee (at the moment) and the artist gets to keep 100% of sales royalties. They distribute to four of the ‘ big 5’ (excluding Rhapsody), plus Shockhound, Zune, Beats Digital and Masterbeat. I’m not entirely comfortable with the ‘everything is free’ revenue model tbh as it doesn’t exactly stimulate financial stability. CEO Kevin Rivers is blogging here and tweeting here if you want to fire questions. MySpace.
Vidzone Digital Media -(London, UK) – leading distributor of Independent music via mobile networks internationally. More than 130 distribution partnerships across 40 countries. Have a very informative PDF of digital music FAQs too. A checklist of the basics and more advanced info on need to know stuff like UPCs, Metadata and ISRCs. Aimed at labels rather than individuals.
Digital Pressure -(Hollywood, CA, USA)- Another long standing big player on the digital distribution front and one of the first. Digital Pressure have been around since 1997 and are a subdivision of Peer Music. Seem to work more with labels/catalog and a percentage cut with no upfront fees. MySpace. Twitter.
“Our contracts with content owners are four-year, non-exclusive distribution agreements. These simple contracts empower Digitalpressure to become your exclusive agent for all of the partners within our global distribution network, but allow you to distribute your music outside of our relationship through any other service or site, including your own.” Contact page.
Ingrooves -(San Francisco, CA, USA) – Long standing distributor who also specialize in licensing music. Main site was down at time of writing. Another aggregator working with a percentage share. MySpace.
Zebralution -(Berlin/London/LA)- One of the longer standing independent digital music distributors headed up in Berlin, Germany with multiple regional offices worldwide. Huge network of retailers worldwide including the ‘big 5’, genre specific retailers and mobile music outlets. Warners acquired a significant stake in the company in 2007. There’s an application process for labels here. MySpace.
The CAN -(Australia) – Oz based Chaos Artist Network supply all major digital retailers globally (iTunes etc) and traditional retailers throughout Australia (JB Hi Fi, Sanity, Big W, Leading Edge etc). Distribute physical product, CDs and DVDs as well as servicing digital retailers. Part of the Stomp entertainment group. MySpace.
EarBuzz.com -(New Jersey, USA)- Two programs offered here, the earBuzz set-up, which costs $25 sign-up and $2 a month for you to sell Cds and downloads on the earBuzz website. An additional $39 enters you into the WWX program which gets you into the ‘big 5’ retailers, ringtone store Myxer, We7 and LaLa. There’s same day payout for sales onsite and 100% royalty share. MySpace.
DashGo -(Santa Monica, CA,USA) – A slightly different selling point from Dashgo. They distribute music via the usual ‘big 5’ retailers and also offer placement on social music outlets including LastFM, iMeem, Blast My Music, iLike and YouTube which includes analytics breakdown. Also provide “full-service digital sales and marketing solutions, promoting your content to digital retailers, securing positioning with social sites, and soliciting coverage on influencer blogs and discovery sites.” Also offer the Audioswop service with YouTube. Twitter.
Kontor New Media -(Hamburg, Germany)– Worldwide digital content distribution of music, video, ringtones and audio books. Include the ‘big 5’ and a bunch of dance music outlets, Zune, Nokia, FNAC, 7 Digital and mobile music retailers. Contact. MySpace.
Consolidated Independent – (London, UK)- Not a service for individual artists. CI only works with labels or distributors with more than 200 tracks in their catalog. Fees start from £150 a month. Cover just about every retailer on the planet it seems and promise to get labels into ones that aren’t already on their list.
FineTunes-(Hamburg, Germany)- Not to be confused with Finetune. Finetunes distribute across all the major digital retailers as well as providing software solutions for labels, download stores and artists websites. Twitter. MySpace.
Was going to add Wild Palms but their website seems to be in disaray right know, so we’ll see later.
Digital Distribution For Unsigned Artists (PDF) (Chaos.com)
WaTunes Sells Your Music On iTunes And Amazon Free Of Charge (Techcrunch.com)
Get Music Online-Online Music Stores (Pro-Music.org)
DashGo Connects Musicians and Labels to Social Media (Mashable.com)
IFPI Digital Music Report 2009 (32pg. PDF) (IFPI)
The Digital Top 40 FAQ PDF (VidZone Digital Media)
Independent Distribution Solution:Getting Records from Concept To Consumer (Narip.com) (MP3 audio files with PDF and Excel Spreadsheet documents in a zip file.$59.99)
Music and Metadata (XML.com)
Digital Distribution (BeMuso.com)
Should I Do Something About Metadata? (NewMusicStrategies.com)
I’ve touched on music distribution issues here before with Tunecore, Bit Torrent and even good old analogue vinyl but thought I’d dig around a bit deeper as there seems to be new distribution services springing up on a regular basis these days. Be they aggregator or ‘widget’ type tools. Ill be covering digital music aggregators here first and covering website widgets later in the week.
Things To Consider When Choosing Digital Music Distribution
With the Internet its easy to research background on companies these days. Thats what Google is for. Do it. Search around the distributors website. Look for the names of people running the company. Put a shout out on Twitter or music forums if you need user feedback on any service.
Which digital retailers do the aggregators distribute too? Also, check the distributors list of bands, artists and labels that are using their services. Always a good reference point. Its reassuring to know that Tunecore (who I use) also handle digital distribution for established artists such as NiN, David Byrne & Brian Eno and Jay Z and newer MP3 blog faves like MGMT.
Also you need to know that you wont be signing away rights to your music and that you wont be tied down to any lengthy fixed terms
Music industry scribe Moses Avalon has a good breakdown of distribution terms for a few aggregators on his website. Its a couple of years old and as such covers only the longer established companies but is still very relevant. Continue reading
In a climate where many artists are struggling to find income streams every avenue helps and one area worth exploring is music placement in film and TV.
The ‘gatekeepers’ to these type of gigs are the music supervisors. The music supervisor is a person who coordinates the work of the composer, the editor, and sound mixers. Alternately, a person who researches, obtains rights to, and supplies songs for a production (namely films and television programs).
TV viewers (particularly those who are geeky about music) tend to notice what songs get used on shows, and those touches can be credited to the music supervisor.
If you want to find out who the music supervisor is on any given movie or TV show you might not have earmarked the Amazon owned Internet Movie Database as a go-to music industry resource but the site is packed with info on cast and crew members, including music supervisors.
Look up movies that have really great soundtracks then scroll through the credits and you’ll find out the names of the person responsible for music supervision.
This was supposed to be one of those short snappy posts that was concise and to the point. Instead, and this happens all the time, I continued to research as I was writing and the post grew into another lengthy monster. Hey, I’m the editor so I guess its OK.
Anyway I was looking around for radio resources and stations that play independent music and associated resources and as usual the post kept expanding.
I write using Live Writer (which plugs into my WordPress install), pulling notes in from Google Notebook at the same time as having a bunch of web pages open with my RSS reader running in the system tray. Input crazy.
I’ve concentrated mainly on terrestrial radio but I’ve also included a bunch of streaming resources. I came to the conclusion that anyone with a little time on their hands could put together a respectable mailing list for a radio ‘campaign’ with a little creativity.
I’ve also focused on the USA (where I live now) and the UK (where I’m from). I’ll probably extend things to Asia, Europe and the ROTW in a later post.
Where To Start?
Some tips from UK recording artist and radio DJ Tom Robinson first who has one of the best articles I’ve seen for a while on getting radio play. How To Send CDs To Radio. Its written from a UK perspective but the basics apply anywhere.
With all the hype about ‘music 2.0’ tools, hosts and websites for musicians, bands and artists, its quite possible that you could easily forget one of the most important aspects of having an online presence as a band/label/DJ/creative. Its strictly old school too. Its your own domain name.
I wrote about it last month here and this is just to expand on the advantages. OK, you have your MySpace sub domain name, one at iLike, Multiply, iMeem and all the other free social music sites. Great, but unless you’re paying for a premium service there’s a possibility that any of these services could disappear down a dotcom black hole. OK then, maybe not MySpace, but its a crowded marketplace and sites do go dark.
“Dec. 2, 2003 was doomsday for independent music. As of noon Tuesday, Mp3.com closed its server and deleted its roughly 750,000 files, marking the end of the largest catalogue of free Internet downloads from hundreds of thousands of unsigned bands..” (from the Eagle Online)