Music Artists
House Concerts

In the article, Jazzlanta: The Future of Atlanta Jazz, I briefly spoke about house concerts being the new phenomena around the country. With the lack of live performances at restaurants and clubs on a local scale, it’s becoming more of a challenge for artists who depend on shows to gain exposure, build an intimate relationship with fans and sell merchandise. With the record industry transitioning into the Digital Age and record sales declining, touring and performing live is the last outlet an artists has in sustaining a decent standard of living. If this outlet collapses, what is left for an artist to capitalize, especially in this economic recession? House concerts are proving to be an alternative for artists to regain exposure, build a loyal following, sell their CD and merchandise, as well as receive a percentage of ticket sales. At a restaurant or club, artists are usually tuned out by side talk amongst the audience and distractions at the bar, which in turn lessens the possibility of an artist connecting with their fans. When the show is over and its time to sell merchandise; who really paid attention and listened to the point where they will happily purchase anything the artist has to offer? With that being said, even if the opportunity to perform at local restaurants and clubs were to thrive and the opportunity, look at the atmosphere and experience that it produces. With home concerts, a resident would provide a space for family, friends and neighbors to enjoy an evening of music. The benefits of that would be a trusted and welcoming environment. You can exclude the distractions that you would endure at a restaurant or club because the people came to see you, so you have their attention. With that environment and the center of attention being solely on you, this increases the chances of you selling more CDs and merchandise because you can connect with the audience on an intimate level. At the end of the day, you walk away with new fans, money from selling your CD and merchandise, money from ticket sales at the door and last, but not least, you can save on hotel costs because the host will probably let you stay overnight in their guest room. As house concerts become more widespread, this could definitely redefine the live performance and how an artist can connect with their fans. Below is a video from Concerts In Your Home, giving you insight about the new phenomena.


The Music Artist
The Challenge
Illegal Downloading: An Artist’s Perspective

“Will you let me and my bands come live in your house and feed us meals for free when we can no longer survive because our product no longer has any value?” – Randy Nichols

As we transition into the digital age, the growing pains become more unbearable to some. Illegal downloading has been at the forefront of many debates as the main reason the music industry is in shambles. Even through reports by many researchers such as Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf have proven that illegal downloading doesn’t affect CD sales as the music industry claims, many still carry the notion that it does. Is this an excuse being used by many in the industry who cannot accept change and will do anything in their power to prevent it? Organizations such as the RIAA and record execs are quick to put artists at the forefront of the debate, speaking of their misfortunes and gaining much sympathy from the public. I reported at the beginning of 2008, that reported a 119% increase in CD and digital sales due to the acquisition of by CBS. This is further proof that the record industry should explore and embrace the digital age instead of complaining solely about how the shift is effecting them.

The Opportunity
Topspin Upgrades Direct to Fan Platform

“Topspin is a media technology company dedicated to developing leading-edge marketing software and services that help artists and their partners build businesses and brands. We help artists manage their catalogs, connect with fans, and generate demand for music.” – Topspin Site

One of my expectations for music artist is to build stronger relationships with their fans. There are several platforms that allow you to connect with fans providing tools such as widgets, newsletters and analytics to track your buzz across the web. One such platform is Topspin. There mission is to provide artists the tools they need to build successful businesses.  Mastering the art of online marketing can be a dreadful task. Having the necessary resources and tools to target your niche market and remain connected to them at all times would be a life saver. Topspin provides three channels for marketing: viral, target and direct. Included in the package are customizable widgets that give the artists the ability to publish, update and sell content across the net. If that wasn’t enough, Topspin also provides services that allow artists to bundle content such as pictures, videos, etc, merchandise and has a feature that will allow the artist to pay their fans for marketing. Where do you sign up? Well, Topspin has finally made the transition from beta stage; however, their staff is selective about the artists they work with. If you are one of the lucky artist or manager who is accepted, Topspin has partnered with Berklee, the online continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, to offer online music courses to teach the effective use of the Topspin platform. Enrollment for the course will open in July 2009 and classes will begin in September. 


The Music Artist
The Challenge
The A,B,C Approach to Music Marketing

“…..What exactly is the best route to market for a new artist these days?
Two HUGE questions face you:
1. Just what do you do to get your music heard? and;
2. Just how long do you intend to last?” - Keith Jopling

In today’s competitive and saturated market, music artists are given unlimited resources to promote their music to the world. Many fail because they don’t understand the digital landscape and/or they don’t have a solid plan in motion moving forward. I’ll give the analogy of standing in the middle of the desert without a compass and no sense of direction. Keith Jopling, author of the Juggernaut Brew blog, provides great insight on the ventures a “not yet popular” pop musician endures while trying to reach the masses. He also gives good advice through his A,B,C approach to Music Marketing from live performances, uploading your music to digital aggregators and filters to building loyalty with your audience.

The Opportunity
NIN Released New Album for Free in New PlayApp Format

“PlayApp is being designed as a new music sales format that offers more than just songs as a downloadable multiimedia collectible with DRM optional.” - Hypebot

Trent Reznor, front man for Nine Inch Nails, is at it again. He has started another trend in the attempt to change the way music is marketed, distributed and formatted. At the beginning of 2007, he released the NIN album, Ghost I-IV, as a free download and gave his fans multiple purchasing options. This unorthodox distribution method garnered the attention of the industry and the album went on to become a success. With the release of the new NIN album, “The Slip”, Trent is experimenting once again.


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