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 of stuff to talk about.

But it can actually be a breeze, rather than a dreaded chore – if you just take a few minutes to develop a bit of a strategy for those down times when the inspiration seems to be in short supply, it can be something you can do easily, quickly, and at times when you just don’t feel like it.

There’s a simple solution, and it’s one that I’ve recently implemented myself.


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.

I So WishApart from all the usual stuff I like to occupy my time with – like travel to Northern Ireland to give a music industry seminar, make a video blog about whisky, listen to lots of records, meet with commercially inviable record labels, do a spot of research about the BBC, and involve myself in long examination board meetings at the university – I’ve thrown together a new website with a talented friend of mine.

It’s a simple idea: people make wishes – and then… well that’s kind of it, really. People make wishes. You can type your wish in on the site – or twitter it (just follow isowish on twitter, we’ll follow you back, and then “d isowish that I was Jimi Hendrix”) – and then you can take a code away and embed that wish on your blog or other website etc.

Like this:

What do you so wish?

The website’s called I So Wish… and the grammatical awkwardness serves a purpose as well as fills a need because so many of the other desirable domains were gone.


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 online music business startup. Moreover, tech entrepreneurs who enter to compete for that prize should be exempt from royalties for two years while they grow their business and prove their concept.

Other than that – no real rules. I think it would probably be a mistake to impose upon the technologists criteria such as ‘it should be about streaming’ or ‘retail models only’. The idea is to cast the net wide in order to generate new ideas that will grow the industry. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

It’s a hypothetical, but I do like the idea. I’ve called it The Record Industry Innovation Prize. I’d love for you to jump in with your comments.

Newest Music Strategies

New Music Strategies will be different in 2008. Here’s what we have to look forward to.

There’s been a constant thread running through New Music Strategies in 2007. You probably haven’t noticed it, but it’s been there all along. It has to do with my reluctance to predict the future, and talk about what the industry will be like. You’ll notice that I’ve avoided that, pretty much at all costs.

As a result, much of what I’ve discussed to date has been descriptive and reactive. Here’s what’s going on, here’s a way of thinking about that, here’s a strategy to deal with or maximise the possibilities inherent in the current environment — and so on.

In fact, the whole idea of this blog, the e-book and the seminars and workshops I’ve been presenting has been to understand the contemporary music environment as it is, rather than preparing for some hypothetical future that awaits us just around the corner.

New year, new approach.

No, I’m not going to start writing science fiction, engaging in crystal ball gazing and imagining the way things are going to be. I’m not going to start making wild claims about some new business model that will fix or change everything. That’s not what I do.

But there was a point to getting our heads around the contemporary music environment. It wasn’t just out of interest. It was Phase One.

The future is not something that’s going to happen to us — it’s something we can make happen. Now that we understand the new music environment, it’s time to take control and start shaping it.

This is Phase Two.

You heard me. In 2007, we learned about the new music business environment. In 2008, we claim it, take the reins and start driving it in a direction that suits us. It’s a direction that’s good for consumers, good for artists, good for entrepreneurs and good for music. It uses the new technologies, but it is not subject to them.

Technologies are tools, not rules. We decide how and when to use them. They don’t decide what happens to us. Best of all, we can get new ones made as and when we think of them. To our specifications.

In a couple of days, I’ll be writing the New Music Strategies New Years Resolution. It’s something that with your help, I want to fashion into a new Manifesto.

We’re taking 2008. It’s our year. There are going to be some pretty radical changes — to this blog, to my role, to the online music environment.

But this time, we’re driving the bus.

Newer Music Strategies

Things are changing pretty fast around you. But your needs as a music business are comparatively constant. Let’s spend a moment looking inwards, shall we?

Just back from a few weeks in New Zealand and trying to get my head around where we’re up to in terms of the current online music environment. There have been a few significant developments in that short time — mostly to do with the number of sites that have sprung up to help musicians and music businesses do what they do best.

There’s a range of services that simplify things for the music entrepreneur, not the least of which is the rather cool new PayPal storefront which Laurence Trifon reviewed on New Music Ideas. If you’ve got something to sell, and you just want to embed a widget somewhere, all you need is an email address, and people can start giving you money.

Then there’s Artist Data Systems, which lets you update all of your many profiles and online music portals from the one spot. It centralises and automates the process of uploading music, updating news and information and changing your profile details. Pretty clever.

But while it’s great that there is all this simplification and centralisation is going on, these are pretty much solutions looking for problems. They are very smart, of course, and no doubt incredibly useful — but that doesn’t change the fact that these are essentially generic answers to the kinds of issues the technologists assume that a large number of people in the creative industries are facing.