How to market music on the internet

According to the big record labels this internet thing is close to the worst thing that has ever happened. They do what they can to work against the possibilities and enormous potential this fantastic distribution and communication platform has to offer.

Let’s do a wild hypothesis and assume that people will actually come to your concerts, buy your t-shirts, use your music commercially and actually pay for your tracks as long as you make the music available and tap into the power of the internet. What are your options?

Market yourself
Make a profile on MySpace. Publish your videos on YouTube. Make a channel in Democracy Player. Be present on and in Pandora. A lot of people use these sites to discover new music.

If you make quality music you could end up on BoingBoing like Sophe Lux. If you do cool stuff like Bare Naked Ladies you could end up on digg several times, on BoingBoing, Slashdot and in general – all over the place.

Join the conversation
Start a blog. Follow the blogsphere. Be active on the music forums.

Make yourself available
Millions of idiots buy music on iTunes music store and MSN music. Files that will only play on certain players and with heavy restrictions on use. Still, it’s a good idea to be there because of those millions of idiots… Even better, be available on eMusic and any other stores that sell DRM free music. If your music gets popular it will be available out there without DRM anyway.

Give your fans control
Let fans take pictures on your concerts. Let them record on their phones and cameras. Let them share their works. Make tags on Flickr and YouTube and so people can find you. Let them remix and have fun with your music. Let them help you with your next album. Use creative commons to avoid commercial exploitation.

Do like BNL
Yes, simply do like the already mentioned Bare Naked Ladies. BoingBoing have a good roundup of all the cool stuff BNL do here. You also find them on Flickr and YouTube through the tag “bnl”.

How to market music on the internet

Virtual Drums
Link to video

All the way trough Siggraph this year I have tried to keep a close eye on the companies and brains behind the stuff that I have seen. To be able to provide my readers, the people listening to my presentations and myself with links and relevant sources of more information.

Virtual Drums
But some images and video clips managed to get into my camera without any other info. This is one of them. I wanted to share it because this is the solution for the parents that refuse to give their son a set of drums because of all the noise.

These virtual drums, a pair of high quality headphones and you’re all set…

Virtual Drums

Human drums
Link to video.

I am of the opinion that the way we separate art from technology today is bad for creativity. And bad for engineering. And bad for problem solving. Here at Siggraph one of the great attractions each year is the art exhibition. Where art meets technology. Just like back in the good old days of guys like Leonardo da Vinci.

Human Drums
Tetsuaki Baba has made a system that turns the audience into drums. By using electro dermal activity and skin resistance he detect contact and gives the different participants different sounds.

It was truly fascinating to try out the system. You really feel like being a part of the music.

You find more information and some more videos over at Mr. Baba’s project page.

Human drums

Sex, violence and a small rubberduck

From time to time I am teaching media students about possibilities and new media. I love the fact that it is now possible to make high quality content without having to invest millions of dollars in equipment.

Cheap possibilities for editing, sound design and motion graphics have been around for a while. With an HDV camera and a high resolution digital SLR you can shoot pretty high quality footage as well.

Still, for years it has been the privilege of big media companies to own distribution. Both newspapers and television channels had this big advantage of being able to distribute.

Now the internet has changed this. There is an estimated 240 million broadband users out there. That’s 240 million potential content producers with a distribution channel. And cheap production equipment. Geeks like me can reach more that 100 000 people with videos like this.

But why the utterly speculative headline for this article?

The Norwegian band Ugress is an example of a couple of guys making high quality music with relatively limited resources. Then they team up with some uttrly creative people making some very cool music videos.

If you look carefully at the videos on their web page, at least two of these videos could have been made with an extremely low budget. No expensive actors. No expensive locations. No expensive props. Of course you have to disregard the insane amount of hours needed to make stuff like this. In a commercial world time is money. As students it is possible to think different. Be creative. Have fun.

You find inspiration over at the web page of Ugress. You’ll find both music and a couple of videos. One video featuring the true story about Makina the rubber duck. One lovely Bollywood inspired show and a fantastic little video inspired by computer games from the eighties featuring sex, drugs and rock & roll…


Sex, violence and a small rubberduck

Record your Pandora streaming radio

With Pyrrha you can now record music from the streaming radio stations that you set up in Pandora.

You can still find the application here. (Thanks, Trevor)

The application gives you a simple interface where you log on to Pandora, select the channel you want to record and how long you want to record.

Pyrrha makes one 128 kbit MP3 of the recording and a playlist-file (PLS) with the correct song and artist names. Simple as that.

Have fun while it last.

Pyrrha used to have a page on their site with an explanation of the fact that it is legal to record your Pandora radio stations for personal use. For some reason this page has been removed. When I tried Pyrrha for the first time it was a trial, and Pyrrha had a page where you could purchase the full version.

Right now the information on the Pyrrha site is very limited and for me it seems like the version 1.0.1 of their application is a fully working free version.

I got this very good answer from Pyrrha:

Unfortunately after pursuing legal council it came to our attention that we could incur legal liability if we charged for this type of application. In light of this information we have decided to release the application for free to the community to enjoy. As a part of this release we also hope to obtain feedback from the user community with their reactions and thoughts on the legality and usefulness of such an application. If the community deems this type of application valuable we would encourage the community to email with their thoughts.

Additionally we are attempting to provide small improvements to the current application and will take into account your suggestions in regard to duration control and login credential saving. We are also looking for feedback from the community and would love submissions for feature enhancements. I must preface this however by the fact the we have chosen to not support the download of single mp3 files and consider this an abuse of the service.

We ultimately hope that our application will bring additional attention to the service and the experience it can provide users outside of the web browser. We will also attempt to reintroduce a legal disclaimer about the use of Pyrrha. One point to note is that we are attempting to distance ourselves from the moniker “podcast” because this could convey the distribution of copyright materials from the service which we obviously discourage.

Record your Pandora streaming radio