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How to brand yourself as a musical artist

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In your capacity as performer, musician, lyricist, tour manager and business strategist you also need to fit in the small matter of becoming a branding expert.

Nobody said this was going to be easy!

Although some musicians might see creating a brand as a something akin to exam revision, we’ve created this guide to hopefully show you that the creative process of devising and developing a brand is nothing to be feared.

In fact, it should be as absorbing and artistic a process as song writing itself!

Here’s what we’re going to cover:
Why some artists shy away from branding

How to begin creating a brand as an artist

The ‘3 Es’ of branding (careful now!)

Key takeaways

But before we begin… what actually is a brand?

We interact with brands all the time. In its simplest form it’s a logo, along with a name, tagline, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes it from its rivals in the eyes of fans or customers.

However, many will tell you that a brand is much more than that. It’s engrained in our tribal psyche as human beings to gravitate towards badges, flags, symbols and ideas– to claim allegiance to a cause, and literally ‘nail our colours’ to the mast.

Brand is visual representation of identity and the best artists in history are all about identity and identifying with their audience. So, as a musical artist starting out in a career you are already a brand whether you like it or not.

The question is whether you are a good, bad or just plain ugly one (in many cases this is no bad thing; check out those early Rolling Stones album covers!)

Why many artists shy away from branding

A common mistake some artists make is to confuse authenticity with branding. ‘But isn’t it supposed to be about the music’ is a common complaint when discussing a band’s image, for example.

There’s a fear that credibility can be lost by taking any focus away from the music and concentrating on image.

While there’s no doubt that style over substance always causes problems, even the most credible artists in history have cultivated a strong, defined image, story and visual identity (AKA a brand!).

The Sex Pistols are credited with turning the entire music industry on its head; a vital disrupting force that led to one of the most creative and exciting periods in music’s history.

They were also entirely manufactured by Vivienne Westwood and her then partner, Malcolm McClaren. Does this make their music less credible?

The best artists have always understood that being a successful artist is about more than having well-crafted songs. Remember Nelly’s face band-aid, Madonna’s cone bra and Lady Gaga’s crazy, well, everything? All those quirks and styles helped created their image and brand as an artist. (If you want help finding your trademark style, we’ve got you covered.)

Artist branding is about taking that music and channelling its energy through a consistent visual style and identity. In a way that, hopefully, builds the kind of tribal loyalty that causes normal people to sell everything the own and follow you on tour for the rest of their lives.

Your brand should be considered as much a part of who you are as your music. It should be respected and nurtured just like any other valued artistic element. A Spinnup act we think really nails this is Swedish songwriter/producer/performer duo Vaz, who put a huge amount of effort into their brand, from their album artwork, to artist imagery and outfit styling. Check out their Instagram to see what we mean.

How do you begin creating a brand as an artist?

Paul Wilkinson, former Creative Director at MTV, believes that the trick when starting out is to take inspiration from your idols:

“When most artists start out they tend to emulate the people they admire as they find their own voice. The best place to start is to think about who inspires you and look at what they’re doing. Don’t directly copy what they do, but study them carefully and introduce your own ideas. Keep it simple.”

Quite often there will be someone in your band or close to you that has a natural affinity for creating a visual identity. If not, it might be worth enlisting the support from someone who can.

Good artists collaborate, so find some inspiration from artists or designers who resonate with you and even see if one can help you begin to create a brand that will elevate your music to where it deserves to be.

“Try reaching out to your own fanbase,” says Paul. “If you have a few hundred followers ask them for feedback and see if any of them can do better. There’s bound to be someone amongst them who will step forward and offer good creative ideas. It’ll also help foster a sense of community, which is vital in the early days.”

One word of warning. When starting out remember that everything you post online will still be there a few years down the line, so take this stuff seriously from the start.

“Everything stays online these days,” says branding expert Bridgette of Zambesi Digital, “so think carefully before you put anything out there.”

“Are you going to be embarrassed in a few years’ time? Is it going to come back to bite you?”

Don’t get caught up in the moment. Guard your image jealously.

What are the ‘3 Es’ of branding?
The 3 Es of Branding are often highlighted by branding agencies when helping companies to devise a new brand identity.

The Es stand for Enabling, Elevating and Enriching – and don’t just apply to the logo design and colour palettes, but are used to inform everything from imagery choices to the tone of voice.

We aren’t saying that these principals will always be applicable to every artist, but they help to give you an idea of how a professional agency might approach branding an artist.

Enabling
In other words, whatever brand you choose should feel simple, effortless and accessible for anyone who is attracted to it either directly or through your music

Elevating
Your brand should aim to create an experience through the senses. Think about textures, colours, environment and storytelling.

Enriching
Fans should be able to feel part of what your brand represent. It should resonate with them and create that sense of tribe and community that they seek.

Think of what you can provide your fanbase with that will help this. What tangible objects can you give out at gigs? What different ways are there to interact with them?

When you get these three elements right it can create a catalytic effect that delivers real magic – which is all your audience is really looking for.

Key takeaways
Keep it simple
Study your idols; be inspired by them
Collaborate!
Take your time, get it right – you wouldn’t put out a half-arsed song!
Be careful what you post on social media – will you still be proud of this in 5 years’ time?
Branding is a living, breathing thing, so expect it to evolve over the years as you become more successful. Coldplay, for example, evolved from a simple scruffy busker look to the colourful and distinctive visual identity they enjoy today.

The most important thing is to take it seriously, and not dismiss it as some sort of inauthentic corporate exercise. It’s really all about visual communication and a chance to stand out from the crowd. And remember, enjoy it and your fans will too!

Article Source – Spinnup.com

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10 SOCIAL MEDIA MYTHS THAT RUIN BUSINESS RESULTS

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Just a few short years ago, companies questioned whether they should use social media to connect with key audiences. But, with as much as 72% of all internet users active on social media—936 million on Facebook worldwide, 1 billion on YouTube, and 270 million on Twitter—the question has evolved into how companies should use social media to connect with their audience.
These statistics are growing every day. It’s no wonder why social media has become the fuel driving the modern marketing machine! So, how can we better use social media?
Before thinking of a strategy for better social media optimisation, let’s re-examine the common our outdated myths about social media that we simply need to let go.
What separates fact from fiction? The truth from the fibs? The internet is brimming with social media misconceptions about how to ensure a high return on investment with social media campaigns. These fallacies actually travel faster, farther, and wider than they do in other industries, simply due to the very medium through which they have evolved…digital communication.
Here’s a roundup of the top 10 most common social media marketing myths and how you can debunk them before your next planning meeting.

MYTH 1: IF YOU AREN’T ON EVERY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM, YOUR STRATEGY WON’T WORK
Brands need to focus their efforts where they are most effective, and this holds true for social media. We speak about social media in generalities, but there are nuances to every platform. To best serve your audience, you must go to where you’re target audiences are spending their time.
A company never needs to be active on all social media sites, though it might be beneficial to claim handles on the top-performing ones in case your social strategies change or evolve over time. Instead, companies should be active on the platforms that work for them and make sense for their brand.
In order to let this myth go, reflect on your company’s function and role in the lives of your audience. Decide which accounts you will prioritise and emphasise, and how each social media platform will aid in your strategic engagement goals.

MYTH 2: PUBLISH CONTENT AND PEOPLE WILL ENGAGE
With millions of blogs posted, tweets exchanged, and purchases made online daily, standing out among the feed is more important than ever. Simply put, it’s not enough to produce content on your social media channels, you need to be actively engaged with your audiences. You need to have a content extension program in place to ensure the necessary reach required to get your target audience to take action.
To let this myth go, consider how often you want to be promoting content and how you will work within the confines of each platform in order to generate engagement, clicks and retain attention.

MYTH 3: SOCIAL MEDIA WILL TAKE ALL YOUR TIME
Social media marketing is not a regular job; you have to be active 24/7/365 to attain the best results. However, we’ve come a long way in terms of social media management, and there are several programs available to help you automate your content publishing and alert you to content seeding a response.
53% users who mention a brand on Twitter expect a response within an hour. The percentage increases to 72% for those with a complaint. Another interesting set of statistics reveals that people aged 35-44 are the keenest late night shoppers, with 41% of this age group claiming to log on for late-night purchases.
53% USERS WHO TWEET AT A BRAND EXPECT A RESPONSE WITHIN AN HOUR.
And when purchasing online, 71% visitors expect help within five minutes.
To let this myth go, ensure you are both scheduling content to go live outside of the traditional work day and that you have a plan in place to offer customer service quickly – around the clock in necessary.

MYTH 4: POST, REPOST, REPEAT, WORKS
While it is true that only a small portion of your social media audience is going to see your live content, reposting the exact same content over and over again (or worst of all, setting your Facebook posts to auto-post to Twitter), runs the risk of annoying your followers into clicking that unfollow button. Be cautious around reposting the same articles and links over and over.
Research also shows that social media posts perform better, attracting more engagement and shares, when they contain other forms of media.
To let this myth go, explore adding GIFs and photos to your Twitter links, play with headlines and evaluate which perform best on what platform. Ensure you are publishing a mix of promotional and useful content.

MYTH 5: SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE BEST TOOL TO GAIN NEW CUSTOMERS
In most cases, your primary audience on social will be current or past customers. As such, you can look to drive loyalty through repeat purchases and brand ambassadorship through social endorsement. However, brands need to stop expecting social media to be a primary driver of immediate, direct sales for new customers.
To rethink this myth, view social media as a means of cultivating customer retention and increasing brand loyalty.

MYTH 6: A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE WILL OPEN US UP TO NEGATIVE COMMENTS
Social media is a two-way street. You are bound to acquire negative feedback or complaints, which you shouldn’t ignore. Arguably, social media is the perfect platform to engage your B2B or B2C audience effectively when it comes to feedback—good or bad. The problem with this perception is that the conversation is already happening. Without social media monitoring, you’re simply not able to respond.
The silver lining to a complaint is that it opens the door to dialogue. Not all conversations will be positive, but it is important to understand that receiving negative feedback on social media will not ruin your company, but being ignorant of its existence might.

MYTH 7: SOCIAL MEDIA IS A MARKETING CHANNEL FOR SALES
As a one-to-many communication channel, social media should not be seen as another one-way sales or marketing channel. Promotion that directly advertises goods or services needs to be mixed in with standalone value. Think education and entertainment first.
There is great value in offering your audience content that helps them succeed. Sometimes that content is going to be a solution in the form of a product or service. But keep relationship-building and community building front and centre of your strategy. Content marketing pieces should relate to your business, but not always be about your business.

MYTH 8: THE BIGGER THE FOLLOWING, THE BETTER
Particularly in the fashion and lifestyle space, the purchasing of followers – through paid advertising or sketchier means, is rampant. The belief that bigger is better leads brands to put a follower count above all else when it comes to success metrics.
The truth is that there is very little value to be gained from adding thousands followers who are disinterested in your company, and are likely coming in from dead or inactive accounts.
CONTENT MARKETING PIECES SHOULD RELATE TO YOUR BUSINESS, BUT NOT ALWAYS BE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.
It’s easy to see if a company has clearly paid for their following, which reduces your credibility and puts your entire reputation with your genuine following at risk. Instead, focus on increasing engagement with your existing audience.

MYTH 9: THOU SHALL NOT PROMOTE COMPETITORS
The majority of social media marketers believe that sharing competitors’ content will damage their own image, business, and brand reputation. This is a fallacy. In fact, sharing valuable content produced by your competitors can lead to partnerships and goodwill.
Now, you may not want to share the marketing or promotions of a direct competitor, but an article penned by the CEO of a like-minded company shows an awareness and interest in your industry beyond sales, and your audience is likely to appreciate the recommendation.
These brands may also reciprocate the gesture by sharing your content.

MYTH 10: GO FOR REACH OVER NICHE
As an example, many social marketers do not take Google+ seriously because they don’t see a specific use for promoting their business. However, according to Marketing Land, more than a billion and a half photos are uploaded at Google+ photos each week from more than 300 million active users present in the Google+ Stream.
Now, this isn’t to say that Google+ is right for your business, but social media platforms that are regarded as too niche or emerging for serious effort, could be a serious miss. There are platforms that cater to everyone. From foodies to the cat-obsessed, and these niche sites can be a win for brands looking to effectively connect with a particular audience.
So be flexible and test out different platform to find the right social media mix.
Social media offers compelling, impactful opportunities to drive consumer loyalty while effectively telling a multi-media, content-rich story about a particular brand. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach here, it’s all about exploration, testing and continual refinement to figure out what works.

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Benefits of Going to Live Music Concerts

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Seeing your favourite artist or DJ is such a life-changing and exhilarating experience. It’s one thing to be sitting at home listening to a Spotify compilation or watching their videos on TV or on YouTube, but being in the crowd, packed out in a stadium, or detached from the real world on an underground dance floor it’s taking things to another level.

However, going to a live music concert isn’t all about letting your hair down and having fun, although that’s obviously a considerable part of it. It can benefit you as a person, as well as your overall well-being.

To get you started, here are some benefits that attending live music concerts can bring into your life!

1. Something to Look Forward To
When you’re browsing online, or your friends call you up to tell you that your favourite artist is playing in town, this is where to excitement starts.
From getting a group of friends together to booking the tickets and organising the details to actually attending the event, the feeling of being excited is enough to get you through anything life has to throw at you.

2. A Personal Connection with the Artist
If you’ve ever seen the ‘bonus’ features of a DVD, whether it’s a live show or a film, these are the little extras that you’ll be able to experience at the venue itself. The lead singer or band may like to talk to the audience between songs, giving you a personal insight into the life of the artist, the dynamic of the band or the meaning of a track.

3. Meet New People
When you’re in a concert, your potentially surrounded by thousands of other people who already have a similar interest as you. So, when it comes to meeting new people and starting a conversation, the hard work has already been done for you!
Music is renowned for bringing in feelings of unity and compassion, so what better way to enjoy them than sharing with hundreds of like-minded people!

4. Improving Your Social Connections
When you go to a gig, the chances are that you’ll be going with your mates or family. This is a great activity for everyone to get involved in and it’s safe to say that it’s normally a lot more enjoyable than sitting at home playing a board game or down your local bar.
Going to a gig is a great way to build relationships with the people in your lives and a chance for you all to have a collective memory of something great that you’ll never want to forget.

5. Chance to Appreciate
Hand in hand with the benefit above, going to a concert doesn’t have just to be appreciated in the future but also in the time that you’re there.
Whether you’ve traveled alone, with family, friends or even with strangers, being a concert can feel euphoric and happy to be in the present moment where all the problems of life wash away.

6. Discover New Music
There is a seemingly infinite amount of music out there just waiting for you to discover, but first, you’ve got to find it. When you go to a live music concert of your favourite artist, the chances are that they’ll have one/two support artists going on first.
This is a great way to discover new music that is similar to the music you already like but with their own take on things. Who knows, you might even find a new favourite!
Plus, if you’re a musician yourself, let’s say a beginner guitar player, you can notice what all equipment the opening bands/artists are using. That way, you may come across capable new gear like P90 pickups, distortion pedals, and even short-scale guitars.

7. Find the Inspiration You Need
Have you ever felt like you really want to play an instrument (most feel like playing the guitar) or sing, but you could never find the motivation to learn or to even try it for yourself? Attending a concert can be one of the best ways to spark that level of motivational or inspiration, giving you all the get-up-and-go, you need to start your own musical journey.

8. A Captivating Source of Energy
For those of you who have been to a gig or a concert, meaning you’ve queued up for hours to get in, got your hand stamp or wristband and then walked into the venue, you’ll know what an unbelievable and unmatchable energy you feel when you walk in. This energy releases a huge amount of dopamine into your brain, the chemical for happiness.

9. A Feeling of Togetherness
If you’ve ever been to a concert, you’ll know the sense of togetherness you get from the rest of the crowd. Out of a crowd of 250,000 people, every single one is there for the same reason, and when the crowd erupts for the artist or a favourite song, it’s a sense of community you won’t get anywhere else.

10. A Unique Experience
While on the subject of new experiences, when you play a computer game or see a film, you have engaged in the same experience over and over again. However, a live music concert is one-of-a-kind, and you’ll never be able to re-enact or have that same experience again; a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

As you can see, there are so many benefits that attending live music concerts can provide and this is only scratching the surface when it comes to personal level benefits.

Whether you love the atmosphere and energy of a venue, have a gigging partner so that when you have a tradition of attending concerts or just want to hear your favourite artists live, there’s a live music concert opportunity for everybody.

Source: musicoomph

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HOW MUSIC ROYALTIES WORK IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

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How do music royalties work and how to get paid? This guide breaks down the complexities of music royalties and music copyrights in the music industry.

WHAT ARE MUSIC ROYALTIES?

Music royalties are payments that go to recording artists, songwriters, composers, publishers, and other copyright holders for the right to use their intellectual property. There are UK copyright laws that give artists these exclusive rights to their work.

Music Royalties are also generated for various types of licensing and usage. The types of music royalties include mechanical, public performance, synchronisation, and print music. The music industry relies on these royalties as a primary form of payment to musicians. Moreover, contracts define music royalty agreements between the creator and distributor.

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF MUSIC ROYALTIES?

There are four different types of music royalties. Each music royalty type also has separate and distinct copyrights. The four sources of royalty revenue in the music industry are:

1. MECHANICAL ROYALTIES

Royalties generated for the physical or digital reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works. This applies to all music formats such as vinyl, CD, cassette, digital downloads, and streaming services. For example, a record label pays a mechanical royalty to a songwriter every time they press a CD of their music.

2. PUBLIC PERFORMANCE ROYALTIES

Royalties generated for copyrighted works performed, recorded, played or streamed in public. This includes radio, television, bars, restaurants, clubs, live concerts, music streaming services, and anywhere else the music plays in public.

Performance Rights Organisations known as PROs often collect performance royalties. PRO organisations such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC negotiate licenses for public performances and tracks their usage. They also collect and distribute the royalties generated to the rights holders.

3. SYNCHRONIZATION ROYALTIES (SYNC)

Royalties generated for copyrighted music paired or ‘synced’ with visual media. Sync licenses allow the right to use copyrighted music in films, television, commercials, video games, online streaming, advertisements, and any other type of visual media.

Furthermore, a synchronisation license does not include the right to use an existing recording with audiovisual media. A licensee will also need a master use license before using copyrighted music with a new audiovisual project. This is an agreement between the master recording owner such as a record label and the person seeking permission to use the recording. Any use of protected music in an audiovisual project, whether it’s a full song or short sample, will need a master license as well as a sync license. For example, you need both a sync and master agreement before syncing up the latest Jauz track with your wake boarding video on YouTube.

4. PRINT MUSIC ROYALTIES

Print royalties are the least common form of payment a copyright holder receives. This type of royalty applies to copyrighted music transcribed to a print piece such as sheet music and then distributed. Additionally, these fees are often paid out to the copyright holder based on the number of copies made of the printed piece.

HOW DO MUSIC ROYALTIES WORK?

Music royalties and copyrights is a complex subject. This guide outlines the basic rights and usages of musical compositions.

TYPES OF COPYRIGHTS FOR MUSIC

There are two sides of music copyrights: master rights and publishing rights.

Master rights belong to the owner of a master sound recording. A master recording is an original song or sound used for reproduction and distribution. Master rights usually belong to either the artist(s), record label, recording studio, or any other party that financed the recording.

Publishing rights belong to the owner of the actual musical composition. The publishing side of music refers to the notes, melodies, chords, rhythms, lyrics, and any other piece of original music.

WHO GETS MUSIC ROYALTIES AND ADMINISTERS MUSIC ROYALTIES

The following roles either receive or distribute music royalties for the use of copyrighted music.

1. SONGWRITERS

Songwriters are those who write both the music and lyrics for a song. They receive either mechanical, performance, or sync royalties depending on the usage of their recordings.

2. PUBLISHERS

The publisher is the person or company responsible for ensuring copyright holders receive payment for the use of their music. For example, a music publisher will obtain the copyright from the songwriter in exchange for royalty privileges. They also issue licenses for the use of music they represent as well as collect licensing fees. These fees get split between the publisher and the songwriter.

3. RECORD LABELS

Record labels are responsible for marketing and distributing an artist’s recordings. Generally, they issue contracts that allow them to exploit recordings in exchange for royalty payments over a set length of time. They also often have the master rights to a recorded song, but not the publishing rights. Moreover, record labels generate royalty income from mechanical and performance royalties. The artist then receives a percentage of these royalties.

4. PERFORMANCE ARTISTS

A performing artist is anyone who performs the songwriter’s original work. Performers do not have publishing rights unless they are also the songwriter. Moreover, public performances of copyrighted music generate performance royalties for songwriters. These fees are often collected by the PROs such as ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC.

5. PERFORMING RIGHTS ORGANISATION (PRO)

PROs collect public performance royalties and distribute those fees to the songwriter and music publisher. These organizations also track performances and broadcasting of registered music played in public. The PROs in the United States include ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

6. MECHANICAL RIGHTS AGENCY

Mechanical rights agencies manage mechanical licensing rights for the music publisher. They also issue those rights to anyone reproducing and distributing copyrighted musical compositions. These agencies often charge a set percentage of gross royalties collected for their services.

7. SYNC LICENSING AGENCY

Sync licensing agencies acquire the rights from record labels and music publishers to issue licenses for syncing music with visual media. They also distribute royalties for sync licenses to whoever owns the master recording rights.

MUSIC ROYALTIES BREAKDOWN

Various music copyright usages generate royalties. New royalty streams emerge as the music industry and technology continue to evolve.

Additionally, every song has two copyrights. There are copyrights for musical compositions, which consist of the underlying music and any lyrics. The other is copyrights for the “master recording” used for reproduction and distribution.

There is a difference between licensing and royalties. A license gives the right to use a musical composition owned by someone else. While royalties are the payments generated for the use of those compositions.

In general, artists issue exclusive rights to a publishing company for the use of their recordings in exchange for royalties. The music publisher has the right to release the recording or issue rights to either a record label or mechanical rights agency. Additionally, artists can assign the master sound recording copyright to a record label. This agreement allows the label to reproduce, distribute, and license that recording in exchange for royalties.

Furthermore, all parties involved in the production receive a percentage of royalty payments. The royalty amounts are often negotiated up front and then defined in a legally binding agreement.

Source – ICON Collective

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