Guitar News Weekly
Edition #114, October 30, 2000
THE MP3.COM EXPERIENCE
Geoff Nicholson, Production Manager for Hitsquad (publishers of GNW) writes:
"I was talking to a friend the other day who was disappointed with his experiences on a well-known MP3 artist portal (NOT MP3.com). His music isn't bad, but he simply wasn't getting any listens. Then again, he wasn't promoting his music. Therein exists the cold, hard truth about putting your music online."
If you want people to listen to you, you need to promote as well as create.
"I offered him some advice such as setting up a mailing list, getting linked to on relevant music sites and developing good relationships with similar artists. It all seemed to work. Within a week he had quadrupled his listener base and had 20 people on his mailing list! That's not breaking any records but it is a start."
"Just remember that if you want to make money out of MP3, whether it be from MP3.com or IUMA or wherever, you need to promote to your potential audience. Get out there and let the world know you exist. You may even make a few friends along the way!"
MP3.com extends Payback For Playback into October
Your New Best Friend: Your Mailing List
MP3.com electronica goes ballistic
mp3 software http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/cat/MP3/
Downloads down under @ MP3.com.au
There now follows an article relating a personal experience of promoting music through MP3.com, by Robert "Lee" Johnson.
"this is an excerpt of a letter I wrote to Bob, a Friend Back in Saint Louis, a Guitar Player, who I worked my first computer repair job with in 1977. I thought it would be of interest to you since it basically concerns my experience on MP3 COM, and the recording of Guitar Music..." Robert Lee Johnson
I have had my songs on MP3 COM for a year now. My songs have been on the charts Continuously for one full year at MP3 COM. The MP3 COM Payback Program started in November of 1999. Though I always did pretty good in the payback program, my songs hit it big starting in July of 2000. For three months now I have made more money from the MP3 COM program than I have made working my day job. I'm thankful for this.
I have made over $8100 in the payback Program in 2000. I'm sure thankful that Michael Robertson, CEO and founder of MP3 COM, saw fit to establish the Million Dollar a month payback program in May of 2000.
If you have not already visited my MP3 COM Web Page, you want to see what the Web Site is all about: http://www.mp3.com/theguitarman
I guess you could say that I'm a MP3 COM expert, having near lived on the web site for a year now. It was a year ago that I first had a song on the MP3 COM Country charts. This is my first Anniversary I guess you could say.
MP3 COM has about 10 Music Genres, and each Genre has about 10 sub genres. This is a great system. The Commercial Music Industry should have as many Categories of Genre Charts as MP3 COM.
There is a Main Top 40 Chart for MP3 COM., encompassing all the Genres. Since MP3 com has over 600,000 songs up for play and download, to get on the main top 40 Chart is an incredible Accomplishment.
The closest I came to getting on to the Main Top 40 Chart was having a song get the #57 Position, and have that song in the MP3 COM top 100 for 13 days. That was a really big thrill Bob, every musician needs to have this experience in life. It is an experience worth trying to achieve.
In the Commercial Music world there is the main Billboard Chart, then a Country Chart, and I think a Rhythm and Blues Chart, maybe a Jazz Chart. This limited number of Genre Charts hurts the Musicians which cannot fall under the few sub genre charts that Billboard has, and makes it near impossible for a non mainstream musician to ever get on the charts. And Charts are there to sell records by letting the Music Lovers know what is popular.
So when you put your Music on MP3 COM, choose the Genre and Sub Genre where there is an audience for your songs. Try to figure out, try to define, your audience, then put your songs in that Genre and Sub Genre. And believe me, the Genre and Sub Genre you choose can make a big difference. Don.t be afraid to experiment in placing your songs in Genres and Sub Genres since you can change the Genre and Sub Genre any time you want.
The reason that the Commercial Record Companies are successful is that they employ people who work full time at making the CDs they record be successful on the Market. The reason that most individuals never get a hit is that they don.t have anyone working for them to make their CDs become hits.
Of course no recording can be a hit unless it.s a great song, the arrangement is good, and there is that Artistic Spark that is Magic. You could spend billions of dollars in promoting a Bad Song and it would never become poplar for no one would want it. You cannot buy popularity, you cannot pay someone to love your music; this just cannot be done.
However, if you do have a great song and a great arrangement, it sure helps to have someone working full time at making the song, or songs, go over. The average individual cannot do this. There are agencies now that take on individuals and promote their music. Of course the agencies charge, and they can only be successful with good songs. The Agencies cannot do magic.
I have seen at least one group on MP3 COM who.s music is handled by an agency. The Agency has a good group with good songs, so they do a great job in keeping their songs constantly on the MP3 COM charts. Expertise is Expertise, and a certain amount of expertise is very helpful in getting your songs on the Charts at MP3 COM. Of course how good the song is, how much it will be liked is foremost in importance. If you have something that the audience will love, they seem to have a way of finding your music.
If you must put your energy into running your business, if you could find an agency that would promote your music on MP3 COM, your music would have a much better chance of being heard. And remember there are over 600,000 songs on MP3 COM, so the competition is great. Having the Edge of An Agency who knows how to promote MP3 COM music, is a tremendous advantage.
If you want to go it alone, and not have an agency to promote the songs you put on MP3 COM, there is a book you can buy Called:
"Mp3 for Musicians : Promote Your Music Career Online"
You can get the book at Amazon Books on the Internet.
There are other books on MP3 Music on the Internet you can purchase also at Amazon.
The truth is that most people have neither the time nor the know how to Promote their music on MP3 COM. And the average person who is not making their living by playing music do not have the time to devote to their music, or the recording of their music on MP3 COM. And those who are working as full time musicians are often the least successful on MP3 COM. It takes a special breed to be successful on MP3 COM.
The Computer Nerds are the most successful with their music on MP3 COM. The Computer Nerds are into Computers and the Internet to such an extent that they seem to automatically do the things that make them successful on MP3 COM. The fact that Electronic Music is the most successful on MP3 COM, to some degree, proves that Being A Computer Nerd, or Geek, and also being a Musician, will get you the most listens/downloads, and their CD sales are also the Greatest of all Genres. However, anyone who is willing to put in enough time to being successful on MP3 COM, and is computer and internet savvy, can be successful on the Great Web Site.
By the Way, the Music World of MP3 COM is beginning to more and more resemble the commercial music world. The natural laws that govern things, dictates that this happens I'm sure. However, music that does not sell well on the Commercial Music Market is selling in much greater quantity on MP3 COM. Classical Music and Easy Listening Music, are the 2nd and 3rd most listened to and downloaded Music Genres on MP3 COM. Comedy, which sells few CDs, is probably 4th in listens and downloads on MP3 COM. Blues which is not a major Genre in the Commercial Music World has an incredibly large audience on MP3 COM. Some Classical Guitarist do incredibly well on MP3 COM. Instrumental Music in General does really great on MP3 COM. The most popular music in the Commercial Music world does well on MP3 COM, but it seldom comes in when the top 10 MP3 COM Payback Earners are announced.
The more songs you have, the more likely you are to get some big hits on MP3 COM. The larger your catalog of songs on the web site, the more likely you are to be successful. All those who are big MP3 COM Payback Earners, the Top 10, in Payback, have a very large Music Catalog.
If you record your own music and do not have to pay a studio to do it, you can afford to do things on MP3 COM you could not otherwise do. You can write and record songs that you might not do if you were paying a studio big bucks, if you do it yourself and only your own time is invested. You just never know if a song is going to hit or not. Sometimes a song turns out really great that you never thought was going to be one of your best songs.
Let me tell you that the MP3 Audience has a nose for good songs and they will pick your best songs. It is a great place to find out what songs you have that are good enough to be successful. MP3 COM is a great test ground for songs. Only those songs with that Spark, that Magic, will get big downloads and listens on MP3 COM. Any song that makes it high on the MP3 com charts have been pre-tested, and might be worth putting out to the commercial market.
I'm sure you are aware that about one CD out of a thousand that is put on the Commercial Market ever pays for itself in Sales. So MP3 COM is a great place to test you Recordings since there is no cost for Producing and distributing CDs, and no real promotion Cost, unless you have hired an Agency to do your promoting on MP3 COM.
In My Opinion, Small Record Companies would be smart to scout MP3 COM for songs and artists for their songs have been pre audience, or market, tested, if the songs have gone high on the MP3 COM Charts.
You know it's incredible, but when you are recording a song you get into it so much that you cannot really know if it is going to be a chart hit type of song. Your perspective is in a certain mind set when you are recording. When your songs get posted on MP3 COM, the audience will decide if your songs are worth having or not having.
Sometimes songs that you just knew were going to be hits, get very few listens/downloads. Some songs that you wondered if you should have recorded, become big smash hits on mp3 com. All you can do is be spontaneous and record those songs that turn you on. The audience will decide if your songs are worth listening to or not.
I don't think one can consciously decide what wil be a hit and what will not be a hit, with the MP3 COM, or commercial music listening audience. The Major Record Labels have people who make their living at making good decisions on what songs and artists to Record, and this assures a certain amount of success, but even the professionals cannot be right all the time. It would be interesting to know how often the professional record people are right. I bet they do not have a 60 percent success rate, I imagine that a 30 percent success rate is considered very good in the Professional Music World. So how could an individual expect to have a hundred percent hits when they post their songs on MP3 COM? There is success in numbers. Write and Record Enough Songs, and you are bound to get some hits, if you are successful with a live audience already.
One thing I love about marketing my music on MP3 COM is that I retain control of both my music and performance. When you record with a Commercial Record Company, they own your performance, and some publishing company owns your songs, this sucks.
Another nice thing about marketing your music on MP3 COM is your are the producer, unless you hire someone to produce for you, which I don.t think you are going to do Bob. As you well know the Big Record Company Producers often take and artists and make him/her do a style that is not the real and natural style of the Artist. This often causes the Artists to be a failure in the Recording Business. So you can be yourself when you record and place your songs on MP3 COM. If you have any savvy in how to make a record that will sell, you will be successful. In any event, with MP3 COM, the music is yours, you will stand or fall under your own judgement. I think this is great.
Most of us cannot get Record Contracts. The big Record Companies have a limited number of Artists, as you well know. They take only those who they believe might have a good chance of selling CDs for them. You can.t really Blame the Record Companies for doing this, for their investment in an artist is huge, big, big, bucks. They have to do some filtering.
Michael Robertson knew that there were many talented Artists out there who could record and post their songs on a Web Site. So he founded MP3 COM, then started the payback program so that artists could make money from the Royalties that are paid for Download/Listens. If you can get some songs that are well loved by the listening audience, you can make money from your music on MP3 COM. And MP3 Will make CDs, on Demand, for those who want to buy a CD of your Music. Or you can list a web site and sell CDs yourself. What a Deal, it could not be better for Musicians.
There are musicians who have made some big money from the Payback on MP3 COM. The top 10 payback earners on MP3 COM usually earn from $6000.00 a month to $24000.00 a month. The money is there, if you can just record and post songs that will go over with the world wide Music Lovers that come to MP3 COM. One MP3 COM artists has earned over $122,000.00 in the time that MP3 COM has had the payback for playback program.
MP3 COM has over a half a million visitors each day. There are more than one million listens and downloads from MP3 COM each day. There are over 15 million people who are registered music lovers of MP3 COM. And there are over 90,000 music artists who have songs posted on the web site, with more than 600,000 songs posted for free listen and download.
If your music is popular on MP3 COM, your CDs sales wil be there. The most popular artists on MP3 COM have some pretty good sales of their CDs. You get half the sales price when your CDs are ordered from MP3 COM. Or you can sell your own CDs from your own web site, as I told you before.
You are signed to no MP3 COM Exclusive Contract. You can do anything else with your music that you want to do. Contrast this to a Contract with a small record label that usually signs you for life, so if they don.t sell any records by you, you are stuck with them, and can never be successful in selling CDs.
I don't think there is a better deal for Musicians than MP3 COM. Without MP3 COM, I would never have had CD sales all over the world. Without MP3 COM, no one would have ever heard me play the Guitar on the Recordings I have made. I have had over 250,000 listens/downloads in the one year I have been on MP3 COM. Without MP3 COM, I would not have recording my songs. Having a web site where people listened to and downloaded my songs, and bought my CDs, has been the incentive I need to record my Guitar Songs. I have developed greatly as a Recording artist by having my songs on MP3 COM. And my musical Consciousness has expanded greatly since my Recorded Songs have been on MP3 COM. I think this is a quite testimony to the Great Web Site, MP3 COM.
Remember one thing, the most successful commercial music artists were not successful in the beginning of their recording careers. All the really big stars made recordings in the beginning of their Careers that were not that great, and never made the Charts in sales or radio plays, so how can anyone expect that the first songs they post are going to be monster hits on MP3 COM; though it could happen, it.s not likely to happen. One must have much experience in Recording to develop their Abilities to Record a Hit. Placing your songs on MP3 COM can be the Incentive you need to develop you Recorded Music Ability, maybe to the point of becoming a commercial music success in Selling CDs.
Sometimes the world is just not ready for a certain song. This happened with "Gentle On My Mind," written by John Hartford and Recorded by Glen Campbell. The recording was out on the market for a year before it took off; when it did take off, the song was one of the largest all time selling Songs, being recorded by more artists than you can believe.
Any recording artists must have experience to develop, as a recording artists, no matter how successful they have been in performing for live audiences. No Artists that I know of has ever had a big hit from the first recording. It usually takes one to three years of recording for an artists to acquire the success every musician would love to have.
Robert Lee Johnson
continues next week...
also for mp3 fans...
Free MP3 Informer newsletter
Get your copy now: http://www.mp3machine.com/
Back To This Week's Contents
Find what you're looking for: