The New Music Strategies Archive

NMS has been around for 13 years and in that time has changed, grown and adapted. We don’t talk very much about MySpace any more, for instance. But in contrast to a lot of websites that have removed or deleted old and dated content, we’ve decided to archive it all – just in case there are still any gems in there.

Proceed with caution. The advice may be past its use-by date, but give it a quick sniff to see if it’s still fit for consumption before throwing it away.

Pure Solo

PureSolo.com is a site and free downloadable software that enables musicians to play along to a wide variety of professional, original and well-known music tracks, then record and share the music. According to the press release, PureSolo.com was founded by a mixture...

PS: There's a bit more to this

A campaign lobbying for blanket extension of copyright for performers produced this very effective video, which is an open letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Filmed at Abbey Road Studios in London, it features professional session musicians who put their...

Concerts In Your Home

Why play at smoky bars, and schlepp around the country in clapped-out vans, when you can turn up to someone's house, play a private concert to thirty of their closest friends, earn more than you ordinarily would in a month, get fed, stay in a comfortable bed, and then...

When should I put my music online?

There are so many musicians putting their music on the internet these days. Some of them are consummate professionals who have high production values and years of experience and practice behind them. Some are posting YouTube Videos entitled Me, Learning to Play the...

What's a Netlabel?

There seem to be three main approaches that independent artists take to the idea of record labels these days. The first is that record labels are the best way to get your music out to the public. The internet is all well and good, and we are in favour of it, but...

Rumblefish

Rumblefish is an intermediary between artists wishing to license their music for synchronisation, and media outlets who wish to use music for their projects, games, films and installations. Through the Rumblefish music licensing store - described by Billboard as an...

Shockhound

Shockhound is part mp3 retail site, part online pop culture magazine. They sell merchandise as well as tunes, but the core of the site is content-driven. Interviews and features have an alternative rock slant in line with the site's connection with alternative...

Skoggins

Skoggins is a directory site that allows bands to list for free, and lets people search for live performers for events in their area. It seems a fairly straightforward idea. Your thoughts? Is this a solution for events bookings? Something to add to your arsenal? Worth...

Cherrypeel

Cherrypeel is the democratic music revolution, apparently. And by democratic, they don't mean that it brings access to the excluded and disaffected; that it levels the playing field so that the powerful elite are not unfairly advantaged, or that it gives power back to...

Is localism important?

As part of Swn Festival (pronounced 'Soon') in Cardiff this weekend, I was on a panel discussing independent and DIY music business in the digital age. One of the questions asked (and it comes up a lot) was about whether localism and local scenes still play an...

Ooizit

Ooizit is a social networking site aimed at promoting UK bands to UK audiences. That's pretty much the whole pitch. What do you think? Do we need another social network? Do we need another site for 'unsigned bands'? What's great about Ooizit? Do you use it? What does...

Radar Music Videos

Radar Music Videos is a clearing house to connect artists with video makers. There's a recommendation system and a showcase of prior work. Filmmakers can pitch for commissions, and artists can lay out their budgets and briefs, and solicit proposals. A good way to get...

ReverbNation

ReverbNation provides a whole lot of tools for the artists, record labels, management and venues. Rather than acting as a platform in its own right (although you can use it as such), ReverbNation supplies you with widget tools, fan signup tools, mailing lists, street...

Greatest Hits Compilation

When I was growing up, I used to love a series of albums called Solid Gold Hits. They were compilations of the hits from the year gone by, and they came out just in time for Christmas shopping. The first one I owned, if I remember correctly, was Volume 11 - and it had...

People's Music Store

People's Music Store is a site that allows you to create your own online store from the catalogue they have available to sell. Build your own site, sell music, keep 10% of the sale price as a retailer. You decide what to stock, and you recommend and sell the music you...

MixMatchMusic

With over 2500 guitar, bass, keys, drum and other music stems and works-in-progress added to its catalog since it debuted in mid-September, MixMatchMusic is a place for music professionals to collaborate, share stems and make music with other musicians from around the...

Is audio fidelity important?

I've talked about making different file sizes available for download before. We've acknowledged that there are differences of opinion on the topic. For some, OGG is everything. For others, 128k is sufficient and makes things better for people with slow connections....

NoiseTrade

NoiseTrade offers musicians a 'pay what you want' service, similar to the Radiohead thing that happened over a year ago now. Really. Perhaps more interestingly, they offer fans the opportunity to buy the album, or tell five friends about it and get it for free....

Apology

I get an awful lot of email, and I dispense with it quickly. Things are either "To do" (so they go into my "to do" system), or they are "For information", so I file them appropriately - or they are Junk. If I receive unsolicited email from a band promoting a gig or a...

CreateSpace

CreateSpace is Amazon.com's self-publishing operation. If you've written a book, made a movie, or perhaps recorded an album, you can use CreateSpace to manufacture and replicate your media and sell it over the internet. Rather than keep stock on shelves, CreateSpace...

Has music been devalued?

About eight months ago, possibly a bit longer, I heard the phrase "music has been devalued" for the first time. At the time, I thought "what an odd thing to say" - and gave it very little more thought. But then it popped up again, and this time with more certainty...

Music Dating

Music Dating is an idea you probably weren't expecting. Essentially, as the name suggests, it's a dating site built around people's tastes in music. Linked into users' Last.fm profile, Music Dating provides a way for people who are genuinely passionate about their...

Who's doing this stuff well?

This might actually be the question I get asked most often. At the end of a seminar, a lecture or a guest talk at some event, somebody will raise their hand, and ask the question. I kind of dread it, because I can only really disappoint every time I answer it, but...

SoundCloud

Soundcloud is an online file upload/download site for music, mixed with some social networking facility. It's designed to help people who work with music (say, musicians or record labels) with a way to easily drop their music somewhere that collaborators and other...

Here's a question nobody ever asks

Here on New Music Strategies, I've been posting the sort of questions I often get asked at seminars, conferences, lectures, and public events, and putting forward the answers I usually give. And then you come in with your perspectives on both the questions and the...

Jamendo

Jamendo is a site on which artists can give their music away to audiences for free, under a Creative Commons licence (which can, of course, include prohibitions against people using that music in a commercial context elsewhere). Fans can make a donation if they wish,...

Can I still be enigmatic?

In the last post, a lot of interesting issues were raised and contentious points made. This is exactly what New Music Strategies should be about and I'd like to thank everyone, including (indeed, especially) those people who did not agree with the points I made, for...

Rocudo

Rocudo is a site that lets you build widgets and provide them to your fans, so that they can plaster them all over the internet. It's specifically designed to prevent 'piracy' - but still allow people (ie: potential fans and customers) to hear your music and get to...

Bandmetrics

This one's in private beta - but it sounds like a great idea. Bandmetrics was a semi-finalist at the TechCrunch 50, so that's a good sign to start with. Sign up on the site - you might get lucky and get to try it out. If you do - be sure and head back this way and let...

But if they steal it – how can I make money?

Apologies in advance. This is a long post. Take the weekend to think about it, and I'd be delighted for you to weigh in with your thoughts and comments. I've linked to some other reading, which I think would also be helpful. This is one to mull over, and I'd love your...

What should I do with all these tapes?

If you've been doing music a while, you'll find that you have somewhere about your house, boxes of cassette tapes and quarter-inch reels full of jam sessions, recorded gigs, experiments, "demo" recordings, band practices and other bits and pieces of your music-related...

Bandcamp

Quick disclaimer here: I've been asked to join Bandcamp as a member of an advisory board. I've said yes. Bandcamp is a platform for musicians to promote and sell their music online. They say their job is simply to power a site that’s yours. No banners, ads or Bandcamp...

My Music Source

Okay - so you get the idea now: I point you at a website you might find useful, and you tell us whether it's any good in the comments. Today's site is called My Music Source. Click on the image to visit it. Check it out, see what you think, then come back and write...

Review this website

New Music Strategies has a sister site. It's called New Music Ideas. It started life as a place where a handful of clever people - and me - investigated websites that claimed to be of use to musicians and people in the music business. We wrote reviews of those sites...

New approach

Like a garden, a website needs to be tended, pruned and taken care of. Occasionally, things need to be uprooted, and new things planted. It's not a perfect metaphor. You get the idea. I'm changing stuff around here. I've been thinking a great deal about ways to...

Demo on CD or mp3?

First of all, let's dispense with the word "demo". Stop using it. What you have made is a promo. These days, the word 'demo' has acquired connotations of "not as good as it would be if we had a decent budget and could play our instruments properly". Having sorted that...

How can I get a music video?

One of the best ways to promote your music is through the use of video. While not all of us have the massive budgets sometimes at play in the world of MTV, not of all of us are happy with the results of a handheld camera in the rehearsal room either. And there's...

How many social media platforms?!!!

Okay, so you're on MySpace. And you're probably on Facebook too. You might be using Twitter. You certainly should be. And then there are the other social media platforms - not the least of which is your blog. Wordpress? Blogger? Vox? Mog? For music, you've got...

So what's with all the silence?

You may have noticed that my week away from the blog turned into 'the rest of the month'. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have picked up my return to blogging was scheduled for October 1st. That would be today. I've enumerated my reasons on my personal blog, but...

Back in a week

This is where you'll find me I've had a pretty hectic time of it recently - especially on the writing front - and so I'm off to the Scottish Isle of Islay for a week. I don't expect to be posting a great deal on New Music Strategies in that time... though - who knows?...

How can I sell mp3s from my website?

A while back, I gave some thought to the question "How can I sell my music online?" and concluded that a good mix seemed to be getting it as many places as you possibly can using a digital aggregator like CD Baby or maybe a no-frills option like TuneCore - while...

What's the best way to manage a fan list?

One of the things that most people have figured out about online music is that it's a great way to communicate directly with fans. If you collect their email addresses, or connect with them using some online social network or contact management system, you can send...

Can the internet help improve my playing?

Not everyone who reads this website is ready to record or release an album. I'm impressed by the number of emails I get from people who have stumbled across this site shortly after finding themselves in their first band. And not everyone plays everything as well as...

What file size and type?

So you're putting your music online. You're going to make it available to people, and now you have to make a decision about what file format you're going to use, what encoding rate, and what sort of file size you're going to subject your customer's bandwidth to. There...

Is the album dead?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say 'no' to this one, just as I said 'no' to the one about the CD being dead. That said, I think we're going to have to redefine our notion of what constitutes an album. There is no longer any medium-specific reason for popular songs...

How can I put my gigs online?

When I get asked this question, it's usually by young bands who have developed something of a following through touring, by being really active with their online promotion (typically via MySpace) and by keeping and maintaining a healthy and regular online mailing...

Is the Long Tail good for musicians?

You are, of course, familiar with the Long Tail principle - Chris Anderson's now famous idea that attempts to explain what happens to hits and niche products when things like the scarcity of retail shelf space go out the window thanks to the internet. There was an...

Cliff Bolling is a hero

The Wired Blog points to the Herculean effort of one Cliff Bolling who has been digitising his collection of 78s and uploading them for the world to listen. The thousands of files are at 128kbps (though Cliff has been saving the source WAV files to DVD) and the ID3...

What's the loudness war?

This is about compression. Not the sort of compression that makes file sizes smaller, though the two types are often confused. Audio compression reduces dynamic range (the difference between loud and soft) in order to make recordings sound 'punchier' or - at least...

Should I use auto-friend-adders?

I get this question pretty much every time I go and speak somewhere. It's generally about MySpace, but it also relates to anything like the automated friend adders, chat bots, scripts and automatic human being replacements in social networks. Essentially this is about...

How long should music copyright be?

The ideal term of both recording rights and composer’s rights is five years. A five year renewable copyright term for recorded works and for compositions allows for people to continue to earn from their works, encourages the development of under-utilised assets, pours far more music into the public sphere for the good of culture, and provides opportunities for enterprise.

How can I keep coming up with ideas for my blog?

Blogging: such hard work Blog inertia is a real problem for a lot of people. You start writing and updating on a regular basis, but even though you understand the importance and benefits of the practice for your music business, sooner or later you just kind of run out...

How not to approach the blog-o-verse

I received a press release from a fairly big record company yesterday afternoon. You've heard of them. The release went like this: _______________________________ Hi blogging community, Here at [XXXXX] (name of record label withheld), we’re on a cyber-crusade, and we...

Technical difficulties

Wow - that was frustrating. A week or more of the site being offline, and more than a week before that of some teething issues as we tried (with varying degrees of success) to carry off The Great Hosting Migration of 2008. As far as we can tell, everything is pretty...

Make a wish

Not strictly New Music Strategies territory, but I guess there's a good reason I should tell you what I've been up to for the past week or so. Apart from all the usual stuff I like to occupy my time with - like travel to Northern Ireland to give a music industry...

Q&A at Content Agenda

I did an interview by email for a website called Content Agenda. Some really great questions too. I decided in advance that my answers should, for once, be succinct and to the point rather than try and go into too much depth and end up writing entire essays on each...

What websites should I be on? (part 3)

Two days ago, this would have been way down on my list, but while it's fresh on my mind I thought I'd mention it: you should be on Facebook. The good news is that you're probably already on Facebook. Statistically speaking, you're likely to have been bombarded with...

How long should song samples be?

I've gone on record as saying that in almost all circumstances, I'm generally opposed to the 30-second sample. 30-seconds is not enough time to learn to like a song. It might be enough to recognise one, but that's about it. As a rule of thumb, if you want people to...

Belfast on Friday

I'm going to be speaking at this event this week: Music: It's The Business Friday 27th June 2008, 1pm – 3.30pm Blackbox, 18 – 22 Hill Street, Belfast, BT1 2LA This seminar will cover the changing shape of the music industry and the ways in which independent...

Good news / bad news

Well, the good news is, I have wrested ownership of http://newmusicstrategies.com back from my old webhosts. They were not nearly as evil as they could have been about it, and my only problems with them are: 1) the ruthless efficiency with which they turn off the...

The Hijacking of New Music Strategies

If you're reading this anywhere near the time I'm writing this, you're either getting it in an email, or it's popping up in your RSS feeds. How do I know you're not looking at the website? Because it's not there. If you were to visit the website New Music Strategies...

No stop it! My sides…

In the tradition of fine journalism you've come to expect from New Music Strategies, I'm just going to cut and paste a press release from the British Phonographic Institute (BPI) verbatim. They're the UK equivalent of the RIAA, in case you weren't aware. I would add...

Well said

Yes, Yes and (mostly) Yes. One caveat: when Jay Smooth says "music industry" he means "record business". There's a whole lot of stuff going on out there in the music industry which has nothing to do with making and selling recordings. There are people teaching music...

What websites should I be on? (Part 2)

Image via WikipediaI used to joke that the way to be successful in the music industry was to look at whatever the major labels were up to, and simply do the opposite. It's getting to the point where that's not really a joke anymore. I learned yesterday that Warner...

What websites should I be on? (Part 1)

When you're thinking about 'Getting your music out there', there are quite a few choices. We've already covered MySpace, to a certain extent - though it's worth mentioning a pretty good bit of coverage about How to Promote Yourself on MySpace on Wired. You'll notice...

What should the price of recorded music be?

DJ Cro supporting Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings in Birmingham One of the problems of recorded music is the issue of price. With mp3s being an essentially infinite and perfectly replicable resource, the market price is a theoretical (and quite often practical) zero....

Record Industry Innovation Prize

I just posted the seed of an idea in Music Think Tank, and I'd be really interested to hear what you think about it. Head on over and have a read. Essentially, the idea is that the Record Industry should offer a cash prize to the most innovative and successful new...

Is 'pay to play' ever a good idea?

This one's easy. No, no, no, no, no (yes, occasionally) and no. By and large, venues, festival organisers and promoters who insist that musicians bring a certain number of ticket-buying punters to their gigs should pretty much have their licences revoked in my book....

20 Chinese Things

My free e-book, The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online is finally available in Chinese. It was translated months ago. I was the bottleneck. I was quite nervous about formatting and laying it out, and so I put it off for ages. For which I apologise. It's a bit...

How can you sell mp3s at gigs?

I've had this question in a number of forms. The most common one is the artist who doesn't really sell many CDs through retail, but every time they perform live, they go through 20, 50 or even 100 CDs over the merchandise table. The question is - if I make the leap to...

So what should be on my MySpace page?

An entrant in Ze Frank's Ugly MySpace Competition Another one I get asked an awful lot - particularly by musicians who are just getting started in the online environment. They've heard about MySpace, and that it's where all the musicians are - but they've had a bit of...

Is MySpace over?

I get this question a lot. Because you hear this a lot. And musicians want to know, because most of them rely on MySpace as an integral part of their online strategy. Well, as much as it pains me to say this, I have to come back with the answer: No, I'm sorry - it...

How do I find time for the internet?

One of the biggest problems of integrating internet strategies into your already busy music industry life is the problem of becoming overwhelmed with information. Now that you're using the internet, there are all these sites to maintain, update, and provide content...

Social Music

Scott Cohen presents... I was unexpectedly at Futuresonic in Manchester on Thursday, and I’m pretty glad it worked out that way. I can’t recommend strongly enough that if you get the chance to go to this sort of thing, that you make the most of it. Attending seminars...

Meeting Gerd Leonhard

So I didn’t quite get to Chicago yesterday. You may recall that I “won” a trip to attend a blogging conference. Well, I missed my flight. And since I was in Manchester for an extra day, I went along to Futuresonic, which seemed a pretty good use of...

Are CDs dead?

When things are new, and people are making a name for themselves by making bold assertions that sound futuristic, doom-laden or revolutionary, sometimes they fall into the trap of talking nonsense. "CDs are dead!" is one example of this phenomenon. Think about it....

Can independent record stores survive?

I get asked this question quite a lot by two distinct groups of people. One is the retailers themselves. The other is the group of people passionate about independent music stores. The customers. And therein lies the answer to the question and the solution to the...

Experiments with retail

One of the areas of music business I've always been interested in is retail. The romantic notion of owning a record store and being surrounded by so much great music all day is really appealing. As, of course, is the idea that your opinions about music will be sought...

Do I really have to blog?

In most instances, the answer to this one is a firm YES. In fact, I'm struggling to think of an instance in which the online presence of a musician, band or music enterprise would not be enhanced by the addition of a blog. The most common counter-argument against...

Which video service should I use?

We'll return to our regularly scheduled series of 'questions I keep getting asked about music online' after the weekend. In the meantime, I just wanted to follow up this thread of video services. I tried all the ones that were suggested to me - and a couple of others...

Like magic cornflakes

I did a Strategies For Success seminar in Plymouth today for the Musicians Union, and I did it along the the theme of the 'Questions I Keep Getting Asked About Music Online'. I managed to get some of it recorded, which has allowed me to experiment with the fact that...

Like an e-book only shorter

A while back, I released an e-book called The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online. Some people seemed to like it, and I've started on a new book tentatively called 100 Questions I Keep Getting Asked About Music Online. But completion seems a way off. At my...

How do I even start?

So you've decided to 'go online'. How do you manage such a process? You'll need the following things: A piece of paper A pen A computer connected to the internet Some music A credit card or Paypal account with about £50/$100 on it And you'll need a bit of time and...

How can I sell my music online?

When I go and give lectures and seminars, this is by far the most frequently asked question by the musicians in the audience. There are variations on this theme, but essentially it boils down to this very simple question: now that there's this internet thing, where's...

Should I be worried about piracy?

I would discourage worrying of any kind as a general principle. Worrying is a fear that something bad might happen -- a negative emotional state with no external cause in reality. So on that basis, no -- I wouldn't worry about piracy. I'd also suggest that piracy is...

How do I get on the radio?

Actually, this wasn't going to be one of the hundred questions I keep getting asked about music online... but it's a good question, and I've come up with a fun theory about it. I've been doing some consultancy for an artist known as Krause. You might place her...

Can I avoid the internet and just stick to what I know?

Of course you can. You might even make a very good living at it. The chances are increasingly slim, of course. I mentioned earlier that this was a shift in the way the world of music works of the same magnitude as the shift that happened when we went from sheet music...

What's going on?

I've covered the basics in this site before - but I still get this question a lot. So here's an attempt to answer it. It seemed sensible to start here. Not every musician is immediately at home online Welcome to the Internet. It’s a network of computers, allowing...

100 Questions

So I've started writing this e-book, and I thought it would be appropriate to just lay out a bit of an introduction that explains where I'm coming from. This is what I came up with. 100 Questions I Keep Getting Asked About Music Online INTRODUCTION I do quite a bit of...

100 Things

This conversation is responsible for my next book Sometimes speculative public funding works. Friends of mine went to South By Southwest Interactive. They're smart people, they're from Birmingham, and the idea was that they would bring back new perspectives and new...

Songpull

This is the excerpt of your first post template…

Melodyne

Really interesting development in digital music production: The Melodyne plugin allows you to separate notes out of a chord to manipulate individually, as if they were multitracked - or, more accurately, as if acoustic recordings were MIDI. It's pretty impressive -...

Free the whitespace

One of the great things about the migration to digital broadcasting platforms is what gets left behind. As the VHF band is cleared of television and radio signals, previously unavailable (or incredibly scarce - and therefore expensive) spectrum becomes freed up. That...

Michael Arrington is NOT an idiot

You may have encountered talk online about Billy Bragg complaining that musicians aren't getting money from the $850m Bebo payday. If so, the talk you've most likely encountered is that of TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, who pretty much denounces Bragg and barely...

Twitter

This is the excerpt of your first post template…

Why you should win this contest – and not me

Chris Garrett is one of the better bloggers on the subject of blogging. Regardless of what business you're in, the act of being an authority -- or, as I've put it elsewhere, being thought of as an opinion leader -- is a very strong driver of traffic, builder of...

Five things I learned by NOT going to SXSWI

Photo by Liz Henry A whole bunch of local blogfriends went off to Austin, Texas this week to attend South By Southwest Interactive - which is kind of the tech end of what is probably the biggest music industry conference and festival on the planet. I've been to some...

Music Think Tank

I'm really delighted to be able to announce the launch of a new group blog I've set up. It's called Music Think Tank and it brings together some of my favourite thinkers in the area of online music. This is something I've been working on behind the scenes for a while,...