This one is EPIC!
This one is EPIC!
Started a new project last night, “Black Sun”. Check it out!
I have been redoubling my efforts promoting my music by tapping into the blogosphere. I figure that getting my music featured on some well-read blogs is a good way to get a new audience to listen to my music. I scoured the internet for lists of blogs that I could use. I came across an ad for a list of 10,000 music industry contacts for $5 and I figured that I couldn’t really go wrong for that low of an investment. The publisher promised to send the list in three days. By the third day I was starting to worry but then I got an e-mail with a link to the files.
The list actually came as seven separate files in a variety of formats and it took some time to consolidate and reformat this into one spreadsheet which actually had 14,396 e-mail addresses! I imported this list into Mail Chimp and was immediately warned that due to the projected number of potential bad addresses and bounces that I should get the list validated first (otherwise bad things would happen). So I was off to evaluate e-mail validation services…
Of the three suggested validation services I selected DataValidation. It cost me $71.92 to validate this list, pruning its size down to 6,553 addresses. That means that over half of the addresses in the original list were bad. I have since discovered that there are some free e-mail validations services out there; not sure if DataValidation is better in some way, but that is all water under the bridge now.
I imported this new, cleaned list into Mail Chimp and sent out my introduction e-mail. This eventually pared the list down to 5,501 addresses from of bounces and unsubscribes. This list has only produced an open rate of 9.1% and a click rate of 0.2% both of which are much lower than my other lists. I had to upgrade my account from the free account to a paid account to handle a list of this size but I plan to downgrade after I pull out just useful addresses.
All in all I invested $150 in this list which turns out to be mostly useless. After I send out the announcement of my next release, The Final Rave, on August 30th, I am going to pull out the segment of this list that have actually opened my message and discard the rest; At this point I will be able to downgrade my Mail Chimp account to something more manageable. This list was mostly a waste of my time and money but I choose to view it as a valuable learning experience.
After this general failure I decided the best way was for me to actually manually search for electronica music blogs and gather the contact details. This is fairly painstaking work, since the blogs are in a myriad of formats and the link to the contact details is not always obvious. Some blogs just don’t have any contact details at all. It takes me on average about 5 minutes to research each blog.
Some blogs don’t allow submissions by e-mail but require you to fill out a form or upload your track to their Soundcloud drop box. I make a notation of this in my spreadsheet and then go back and perform those manual submissions by hand.
I have found a couple of useful music blog directories that have proved to be very useful. I have gotten the most use from Hype Machine which allows you to filter by genre—very handy. My goal is to research 20 new blogs a day until I have a decent list compiled. After each daily batch I send out my introduction message to just the new addresses. Mail Chimp makes this easy by allowing you to choose the segment of the list that is new since your last campaign.
At the end of the day anything worth doing requires effort and you get what you pay for. So far I have compiled a list of 100 blogs that has an open rate of 36.4% and a click rate of 10%. This is much better and more in line with my other lists.
Queen of Denmark by John Grant is one of my favorite albums of all time. I got introduced to John Grant’s music through his appearance on the BBC television show Later with Jools Holland. I instantly fell in love with the two pieces that he played on the show and had to jump up, get on the Internet and check him out. I immediately purchased his two solo releases.
John is primarily a singer/songwriter but explores themes from a variety of genres which influenced his musical life. His music is always very personal and is, at times, beautiful, haunting and humorous, but always quirky. John sings about themes of an adult nature and generously drops the f-bomb; so more sensitive listeners should be warned. He is also open about his homosexuality and HIV+ status and explores these themes in his music.
Only a few years younger than me, John and I were obviously heavily influenced by the music, culture & media of the ’80s. I can here elements of the music, movies and experiences from my own life in his music which makes listening to John Grant a very personal experience for me—I feel like I know John, and we have been old friends for a many years.
“Marz” is a strong contender for my favorite song of all time. It is very beautiful and haunting; and the contrast of its word-salad lyrics makes this song very unique. I often listen to this song in a loop, over and over again.
“Where Dreams Go to Die” is one of the greatest bitter, breakup songs of all time. I’m fortunate not to dislike anyone in my life enough to send them this song. “I regret the day your lovely carcass caught my eye…”
“Sigourney Weaver” drops some of the best movie references of the eighties without being overly gimmicky.
“Chicken Bones” is just great fun. This is a song about frustration. It is strewn with clever lyrics like “Pop Rocks and cyanide” and “I need a mongoose baby, and some Calgon, to take me up outta here”.
You would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful and more artfully written song than “It’s Easier”. In contrast to “Where Dreams Go to Die”, this is a more sad and melancholy break-up song. The Theremin-like break in this song provides a lot of interest.
“Outer Space” is a very quirky and beautiful love song. The lyrics in this song are crafted very artfully.
“Jesus Hates Faggots” is obviously a song about homophobia and bigotry, especially from one’s own family. It combines all the elements of this experience with poignant epitaphs while maintaining a sense of humor and quirkiness.
“Caramel” is the kind of love song that you would expect to hear late at night in a smoky, and nearly empty, night club. Once again the Theremin-like lead makes an appearance which effortlessly blends in with the song.
This album is very easy to listen to and varies enough throughout to maintain interest. The songs are so well written that by the end your instinct is to go back to the beginning and play it again. I hope that we find a cure for HIV in my lifetime; because to loose John Grant to this horrible disease would surely break my heart.
Lately I have been spending more time promoting my music. I found the following ranking from eBiz MBA to be most useful: Top 15 Most Popular Music Websites. These rankings helped me choose where best to spend my time on music promotion sites. It even helped me discover a couple that I had never heard of.
#1 Pandora is ranked #1 with over 27 million unique monthly visitors. I thought CD Baby automatically pushed my music to Pandora but was shocked to find out that this is not true. I created a free Pandora account and have completed the submission process for my first album, String Theory. The submission process is rather complicated and involved. Your album has to have an UPC and be available as a physical CD from Amazon and, if approved, you have to send them a physical CD. Unfortunately Pandora pays the lowest streaming royalties in the industry and is fighting to pay even less!
#2 Yahoo! Music is a complete mystery to me. I can’t see any good reason why they would occupy the #2 slot, I can’t figure out how to use it and I can’t figure out how to get my music published there. Since they are ranked #2 this does warrant some further investigation but it doesn’t look promising.
#3 I have been a loyal user of Soundcloud for some time now. All my music is published there and I use this excellent platform to publish my music to my own website. I have not; however, figured out how to get the kind of following there that I see others getting. I did fall victim to one scam claiming to get me real plays and followers on Soundcloud. They did get me the actual number of plays promised but appeared to be some kind of hack since I got no comments and no real statistics from those plays.
#4 I was aware of Last.fm but hadn’t, until reading this article, figured out how to publish my music there. My catalog is actually on there twice now, once from my publishing from CD Baby (this copy only has previews of my tracks) and once from uploading (this copy can stream entire tracks, be part of Last.fm Radio and has my custom link to Bandcamp).
#5 I have been on MySpace Music since the beginning of my music career. My music gets automatically published there directly from CD Baby. I didn’t give much thought to MySpace until their recent overhaul. I have grown to like their new platform. I find it visually appealing, easy to use and quite well streamlined.
#6 It appears that my music gets automatically published to Aol Music. I haven’t quite figured this platform out yet. Apparently you have to pay a subscription fee to do anything useful as a listener. I’m just not willing to do that at this point.
#7 I wasn’t even aware of Grooveshark; but, because of this article, I figured this platform out and published my entire catalog. I found this platform to be quite straightforward and easy to use. I will continue to publish here.
#8 I My music isn’t on Tunein and I haven’t figured out how to publish there yet.
#9 I haven’t even given Radio a look yet, but plan to do so soon.
#10 I’m confused: I thought Jango actually became Radio Airplay; but they seem to be separate entities now. I used Jango for a while; but, for a pay to play platform (you have to pay to get your music played), I have grown to prefer Earbits.
#11 My catalog gets automatically pushed to eMusic. I haven’t really given it much more thought.
#12 I haven’t given Playlist a look yet.
#13 My catalog gets automatically pushed to Rhapsody. I haven’t really given it much more thought.
#14 My catalog gets automatically pushed to Spotify and I even get a small amount of streaming revenue from this platform.
#15 I haven’t really given Live365 a look yet.
I will continue my quest to get people to actually listen to my music.
Electronique - the title track to my upcoming album Electronique, a project that is pretty far out in the future at this point.
Yesterday I migrated my perkXsoundlabs e-mail list from FanReach on Reverbnation to Mail Chimp. For the size of my list (209 subscribers), and the number of e-mails I send out, Mail Chimp is absolutely free; and it is just plain better. I had been paying Reverbnation $19.95 a month for their lowest plan but came to realize that I wasn’t really getting much for my money, so I cancelled that plan and switched to their free services. I don’t use Reverbnation for digital distribution, and the only thing I lost by switching to the free plan was the ability to export fields other than just the e-mail address from the mail list. Reverbnation is primarily for artists so the contacts I make there are primarily other artists which really isn’t my primary target audience: music listeners and consumers. I get the best quality contacts for my money from Earbits which I can easily import to Mail Chimp.
Mail Chimp is superior in every respect. The interface is clear, slick, intuitive and easy to use. The fan collectors are easy to customize and integrate into my other places on the internet like my website, Facebook and Tumblr. The analytics are easily as good and get even better when you switch to the paid account. The mail templates are great, are easier to customize and the messages generated look much better. Mail Chimp can even export your messages to your Twitter feed and your Facebook pages which is nice.
The only problem I have is that you cannot edit the HTML for the templates, for example to add a background image to the mail message. You can export a message to HTML, edit it and then import it back in but you can’t edit it after you import it. That is a bit clumsy. I just today tried out their drag and drop editor which I think will allow me even more flexibility.
The only sad thing is the analytics I get on my messages. For the message that I sent yesterday only 8% of my subscribers have opened the message and only 1% have clicked on any of the links. Hopefully that will come up a bit over the next couple of days. Mail Chimp claims the industry average is 22.7% opens and 3.6% clicks.
album Sampler 1
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"Full Stop" from my upcoming albu, "Tri!"
Recently I haven’t done a very good job updating my blog regularly. I feel I should explain. Back in March my mother came down with the flu. As she is 90 this was a rather big deal and resulted in her hospitalization. She was only in the hospital a few days but while she was there she took a fall. Because of this they wanted her to go to rehab afterwards. My Brother and I found a really great place. At the same time as this my Father came down with a very bad chest cold and was practically bed ridden the whole time this was taking place.
As I am on an immunosuppressant as part of the clinical trial I am participating in, I didn’t want to go near either of them. I felt pretty helpless. Fortunately my brother managed my hospital stay and I got the church people to look in after my dad. While my mom was in rehab I felt it was safe enough to go there, especially since this particular facility received an “A” rating for infection control. I went to visit my mom nearly everyday, did her laundry and advocated for her care while she was there; which was for nearly a month.
They took great care of her and she had physical and occupational therapy every day while she was there. My mom was there for nearly a month. Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that when my mom got sick (probably before she even made it to the hospital) she had a small stroke or TIA. A lot of her memory is gone and she has trouble remembering new things. This was quite sad for me in the beginning because my mom has always been my best friend and part of what made my mom my mom was just gone. Fortunately some of this is slowly coming back. She is slowly beginning to remember new things and she even figured out how to use her Kindle on her own. When she first got home she had no idea what to do with it.
Managing both my parents care and dealing with my own health issues pretty much took all of my available time and energy. I really didn’t have much left over for my music, thus my blog suffered. Everything appears to be status quo now so I will try to update my blog more regularly.