File under: Music Industry News
It's that time of the year again -- the time when musicians, filmmakers, techies, and artists from around the globe descend on Austin, Texas. Now in its 30th year, the SXSW festival spans nearly two weeks of music performances, film showings, panel discussions, conferences, and more. And, just as in year's past, there's plenty for the DIY musician to learn.
If you could see our personal calendars, they're packed full with back-to-back music business panels and talks. We're running from part of the conference center to another in our attempt to catch all we can from some of the top industry leaders and services helping to shape the new music business. This year some of the bigger themes echoing the convention hall include getting heard, publishing and licensing, marketing, building a fanbase, and of course, how to make money with music.
Here's a small sample of just some of the 2016 SXSW panel discussions. These can give you a sense of where DIY musicians and the music industry's minds are at today. It turns out to be topics that we cover here throughout the year, so if you're hungry for tips, tricks, and techniques now, The DIY Advisor has your back: click the links for related articles on all of these topics..
- Building Your Music Business: "Do Musicians Still Need Record Labels?", "Creative Convergence: Artists as Labels", "Secrets of The Trade – Release Your Music Without a Traditional Label"
One of the hottest topics this year is the reality that the musician is the label. You're a business. This means that on top of all the producing, engineering, and recording you do, you're also your own agent, manager, publicist, booker, publisher, accountant, attorney, and more. But, being responsible for these roles doesn't mean do it all yourself. It's all about delegation. Today there are tools, services, and experts you can use to do this work when you actually need it done. Plus, you keep all your rights.
- Making Money with Music: "Latest Trends and Tips in YouTube Monetization", "Music Content Value in a Post-Ownership Age", "YouTube: Stop Complaining and Start Monetizing!"
- Getting Your Music Heard: "How to Get Heard When No One's Heard of You", "Radio 411 - Do's & Don'ts of Getting Radio Airplay", "Making Streaming Royalties Fair(er)", "Innovation in Digital Music & Making Streaming Pay"
With the growth of streaming, there's a greater scrutiny on what streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music pay artists. That said, if your music isn't available on these services, then you haven't put your music in all of the places that fans want to listen to it. Also, you need to be on mobile because it's where people are listening to and discovering music. If your music isn't streamable on a mobile device and your web presence isn't mobile-ready, you're being left out.
- Marketing, Publicity & Fan Engagement: "DIY Music PR: The Secrets of Pitching Your Band", "Music + Social Commerce: Connect, Engage, Amplify", "Fan Engagement & Loyalty: Multi-Channel Marketing", "Digital Strategies in Indie Music" Today's musicians need to build relationships with their fans, engage through social media, be seen as well as heard, and market in ways that help make you stand out from the crowd. YouTube continues to be the number one music search engine and artists need to make videos, get views, and make money from the platform as well as the videos themselves. But sharing on social media, marketing your music, and getting publicity often require you to give your music away. But should you or are there other options to build your fanbase? And if you do give music away, can you still convince fans to buy it or can you find other ways to monetize it?
- Understanding Your Legal Rights: "Four Agreements Every Artist Needs to Understand", "Cover Your Tunes! Legal Protections for Musicians", "Content, Copyright, and Commerce"
Although the tech-driven music industry changes quickly, the law lags slowly behind. Copyright is baffling. Royalty rates for streaming services confuse. And figuring out the world of copyrights for sync licensing continues to be difficult. And yet, musicians need to stay on top of these rights since it forms the basis of many revenue streams. Then there are the contracts. For instance, do you know when to use a work-for-hire, what to say when someone asks you to sign one, and when to use one for yourself?
- Publishing & Licensing: "Music Licensing in a Digital World: Songs and Sound Recordings", "Why Publishing Is Key for Songwriters & Performers", "Better than Sync: Why Music Partnerships Work"
Companies and big name brands are now starting to hire musicians to create original music specifically for their products and services rather than rely on popular music from the past or today's hits. This is opening up a revenue stream that historically has been reserved for large and well-known acts. Do you know your legal rights? Is your music set up to receive song and sound recording royalties if you sign a deal? Do you know what work-for-hire is and what you are giving up if you sign such an agreement? And, do you know all the other ways a brand can "pay" you?
And that's just a taste of what's being discussed this 2016. There's a lot to learn, but don't worry -- we're taking a ton of notes as always and we'll be sure to share all we discover in future columns right here at The DIY Advisor.
- Master Class: Song Release Checklist
- Making Money from Free
- What Every Musician Needs To Know About Work For Hire
- Getting YouTube Views: 8 Different Types of Music Videos You Can Make
- The Indie Band Survival Guide (Remixed & Remastered: Second Edition)
- Making Money With Music (15-hour Online Course)
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Photo Credit: Randy Chertkow