TagYerit's Journal CMJ 1998 The CMJ (College Music Journal) Music Marathon was held Wednesday Nov 4 through Saturday Nov 7 at the Millenium Broadway (not to be confused with the Millenium Falcon or the "millenium fever") Flo and I (Rich) are the band TagYerit (tag you're it). But TagYerit does not play at this or any other venue. But we do volunteer to work in exchange for free admission. We pay our dues, and get a bit of an inside view at the same time. Then we get to whatever panels that we can squeeze in. This is our chance to network, and learn how to get our music to the people who can help promote and publicise us. We're passing along our notes to help those of you who might not have had the chance to go. To tell the truth, you never know what will pan out? What will be the most important connection or lesson you learn? We've been to half a dozen of these now. This was the first one where there was a sizable number of djs. And yet due to the layout of the sessions, we met fewer djs than at other conferences. The panel on College charts was an eye opener in helping to realise the potential power a few college stations can have in influencing the larger college radio population. Maybe due to the different demographics, there were few antics that you'd expect bands to be doing to grab attention. I heard from a security personnel of one band that apparently slid a flyer under the door of every hotel room. If they had been caught there may have been repercussions, and I doubt that was the most effective ploy. At one point, while fulfilling my volunteer responsibilities, I was stationned in the lobby to answer any questions. This gave me the chance to see what may have been the most succesful techniques. Standing in the lobby, just out of the way, stood a man who discreetly asked every passerby if they were a college dj. If they were, he would proceed to discover what type of music they were looking for and follow through with the pitch on his music if it was appropriate. I don't know how many CDs he handed out, but I'd be willing to bet he reached his niche more succesfully than 70% of the artists there. I doubt he paid to be there and I'm sure he would have been asked to leave if discovered. But I found this event too instructional to punish. I only hope that he gathered information from the djs in such a way as to be able to follow up with email or phone calls. Panel : RETAIL.COM: SELLING MUSIC ON THE INTERNET Moderator Mara Schwartz (DVD Mags) Panelists: Ken Caesar (Jupiter Communications) Rory Cumming (Columbia House) Eric Feidner (Music Boulevard, N2K) Rich Masio (CD Now) John Rigos (CDuctive) Kevin Sheehan (Soundstone) Rich Masio and Eric Feidner were originally invited to the panel to represent their respective companies, CDNow and N2K. But by convention time, these 2 major online music stores were in the process of merging to become the largest online seller at this time. Eric Feidner: "Anyone can build a website. Getting them to come is expensive. You have to get big fast. Spend a lot. Make a lot of deals. Using AOL search engine to drive traffic, you can spend millions to get people there. Then you have to have an expensive backend. An indie band or artist can be much more grassroots. We want you to build your site and your traffic, and then we'll handle the transactions." Kevin Sheehan (Sound Store): "Most important is to think of your site as a location. What is a location. Like putting in kiosks. Lower cost strategies will get lower volumes." Mara Schwartz DVD Mags (moderator) What are some of the benefits of this vs. retail? Rory Cumming Columbia House): "Consumer can go shopping at his own convenience. Open 24 hours a day. The variety is far more than retail. It broadens reach for consumer and seller as well." Ken Caesar (Jupiter Communications): "Gives the ability to add contnent to product. List prices tend to be the same, but s&h cost will be higher. Personalisation helps tartgetting" John Rigos (CDuctive): "We've found that people do go to buy full length from hearing the individual track" Eric F "The biggest benfit on both sides "efficiency of distribution". If you expect to sell 5000 CDs, it's not efficient to send 5 or 6 to individual retailers, but to have them all in one warehouse. The "efficiency of distribution" is ultimately what is going to help us. With a distribution network like this, you can print up 2,000 (Their fulfillment is handled through Valley)" Ken C: "Sales curves on line are flatter than in retail where a few artists like Celine Dione dominate." Mara S: "How worried should record stores be? Rich M: "Rural customers. Taking customers out of big retail outlets like K-Mart and Walmart which sells 70%" Ken C "We think that while we may take a small 20% away from brick and mortar stores, their sales will also increase." Kevin S "But that 20% is the profit margin." Mara S "What is the biggest buying population?" John R "30 to 50 males who make a lot of money Ken C "For our demographic is 13-35 Rory C "We're probably reaching a younger audience but it depends on the individual promotion." Eric F " The pace is changing quickly Anything we say today will be different tomorrow." Ken C "Still you have to think about specific segmentation" Mara S: "What is the role of content?" Rich M "Maybe a third, at most browse. The rest move through quickly. You have to have it, but it can be cumbersome. But it gives you more credibility." Kevin S "We hope "retail content" works, because it's what we do." Eric F "Define what's the important content. It's easy to spend a lot on resources,but it's important that someone wants that content. ... With a dynamic content (not html) ... So it's picture, song list, and sound files are the most important. People love the AMG - Music Boulevard which provides information on what artists are similar." Mara S. "How many records do you find people buying. Is it multiple?" Eric F "Average order size is 2 1/2 CDs" John R "Because of the nature of our site, people do come to explore. People like to be guided There's great technology that everybody here (on the panel) uses that helps to steer the buyer." (I missed this next question) Rich M "Work yourself regionally. Distributions are dropping labels. The internet may be only option here." John R "Every label artist should have your own website. IUMA provides a grouping.We're talking independent artists as well." Rich M addresses JohnR "How many bands can you take on?" John R "We could accomodate 10s to 100s of thousands of bands" Kevin S "Look at Anna Vour's site - a 24 hour site. One of first interactive realworld sites (Eric F "soft porn also") As pipe (bandwidth) gets bigger. it gets more and more dynamic. With 28.8 it's still constrained. " ? concerning MP3 Rich M "Magnititude! Over 5 million players downloaded. With 3 mg files you can fit 150 titles on one CD" Eric F " think you have to look at it as the free CD single. How do you use it as a promo tool?" Mara S: "Are major record labels going to go direct?" Rich M "Sony is trying it. But people won't go to Sony to buy music." Eric F "It's arrogant. It's only their records. Consumers aren't interested in only one label. And there's a pricimg issue. They have to offer it at full price. Otherewise, it's not fair to their retailers. They'll lose on selection and pricing. Obviously they have the margins." Ken C "BMG sells direct. Columbia House is Sony & Time Warner but they are not at any advantage." Rory C "I agree. I don't think it's much of a threat. They're really not consumer marketers. Smaller indie labels definitely do cater to a niche." ? What percentage is domestic vs. international Rich M 25-30% is international Eric F 20 % John R 30% Big players? Ken C "CDNow/N2k will be on top . Amazon.com will be second. Wildcards are clubs like Columbia House and BMG Amazon.com has over 14.4 million sales only 5 months after launch search engine position? Rich M Our search engine deals give us priorities. Eric F We buy positioning, versus "how do you get your site to show up?" which requires a lot of legwork. We just buy it. PANEL: TRIPLE A: DISSECTION OF THE FORMAT Moderator JenniSperandeo (Jacknife Enterprises) Panelists: Andy DiGiovanni (WKZE Connecticut) Tom Gates (Arista) Vick Mickunas (WYSO) Rob Miller (Bloodshot) Paulette Smith (KBBI Alaska) I missed the first 10 minutes where they were presumably introducing themselves and trying to define AAA Vick Mickunas (WYSO) "We play music to retain newslistenners. The 43 year old man with post graduate degrees, making $90,000 a year.. It (the program) is softer, singer/songwriter." Tom Gates (Arista): "AAA used to be really more accessible, but the market is really flooded. But this is the most artist friendly format. AAA really embraced Patti Smith. (Patti is one of the artists that Tom works.)" Andy DiGiovanni (WKZE): "If we really dig it, nwe play it." Rob Miller (Bloodshot): "It's tough to get your foot in the door, but if they like it, they stick to it." Andy D: "Our format is based on rock and roll, but we're open to other styles. Not dance! " Tom G: "Deregulation killed AAA in big cities" Jenni S: "Best sign of the future. A Triple A station in LA. A major ownership group. Clear Channel 103; world class rock. (Keep an eye on that station to see if this is a viable trend) Andy D "Very few have ratings in major markets. There is growth. Our audience has doubled. We play 5 or 6 songs deep. We're an album driven station" Paulette Smith (KBBI) "I actively avoid singles" Vicky M "We play the single off an album until the label tells us to play it. Then we drop it for another cut." Jenni S: "Triple A is local driven." Vick M: " We get a lot of variety. Calling us to badger us will have an inverse effect." Jenni Sperandeo, the moderator has set up a CD player into to play different CDs to see what consensus the panelists might have as to whether a song is AAA First track played Andy : I'd have to hear more. Vick: We play it Paulette: Yes Jenni: "That was Kelly Hogan" 2nd selection Andy : No Vick: Yes Paulette: Yes. We'll give anything a chance Jenni: That was Jon Spencer Andy: I guess we did add it. Vick: We get good phones to see if our listeners like it. (referring to caller input) Jenni: Test Rotations Tom: Research can be terrible. It can take 8 weeks for a song (or artist) to connect. Research, phone and sales drive commercial radio. A song from Suddenly Tammy got all negatives from the AAA stations Gimme Cats / Blue Mountain & Loco (spelling? name?) Andy D: Too low fi Vick M: I'd have to hear more Tom G: THis is the epitome of indie labels Vick M: This band has a pedigree so you'll listen to more (before deciding) Beth Orton Andy: "I would consider it" Vick: "We are dedicated to the artist." Andy D: " We can't necessarily get to it. Even if we love it. We have to wait until there's a spot on our playlist." Jenni S: "AAA is really grown up college radio." CHART THIS Moderator: Theda Sandiford-Waller (Billboard Top 100) Panelists: Trudy Lantz (Soundscan) Colin Helms (CMJ managing editor) Vinnie Esparza (Gavin) Theda S : "Diccuss the purpose of the chart?" Colin H (CMJ) "Briefly, between five to six hundred college and non-commercial stations report the top 200 non-commercial albums. This attempts to represent album heard. Not times played. A lot of labels can look at college charts as farm teams. Trudy L (Soundscan) For the industry it's useful to see if you have everything in place. To see if the popularity charts and to make sure you have enough product in the stores. Vinnie (Gavin) "We get 73 charts each week. Both by albums and by spins. The accuracy is determined by what the program director tells me. The update is every Tuesday at 6:00 Call (4??) 495-1990 ext 607 after Tuesday at 6:00 to get the weekly update." Colin H: " Our method relies much ore on trust. The BDS technology is not in use in non-commercial. The accuracy is strictly based on trust. If the stations misrepresent, and it does happen, that effects the college radio'strust. I think a lot of music diretors realize that because the turnover is quick." Vinni E: "A station will get called if the numbers are unusual. And Gavin will drop the station. Theda: BDS has cleaned up on commercial radio except for an occasional overnight jam of repeated spins with one song. Trudy L: "We collect from over 15,000 stores. Collection is from Sunday eve to Tuesday eve. The results are calculated using a weighted scale. A chain (5+ stores) are weighted at 1. An independent store (1-4 stores) is weighted by market. If it's one out of 2 sotres in a market it's weighted as 2" Colin H: "CMJ weights stations by power, wattage, market reach, enrollment ... 1 is smallest ... 6 is largest ... 1 could be an AM career college broadcasting to 50 people in a dining room ... 6 might be a non commercial station reaching 6 million... Each station lists 30 " Vinni (Gavin):"We don't do weighting. I do look at wattage and their market. You do have to have a lot of clout and a lot of juice to be a Gavin reporting station. 3,000 to 5,000 watts might reach 100,000 listeners Berkeley is only 500 watts with a potential listening audience of a million." Trudy L: " Soundscan reporting is open to everyone who has system in place. We pay chains." Theda (Billboard) We have over 700 (?) Fourteen different formats take top 10 highest rated. BDS creates a digital fingerprint when it hears the recognised part, it's compiled and crunched down." Trudy L. The bulk of our system is not the charts. But tracking and breakdown which is valuable information. Soundscan data is similar to Nielson. A store that's a reporter, they automatically get a DMA (Designate Market Area report)" Vinni E:"How a station is dropped in Gavin .. When you don't report for months at a time. If you're not reliable you will get dropped. Then you won't get the same service from labels. Please be responsible." Colin H: " I would second that. It's casual environment, but done in the right way, it can be important. It carries over" Trudy L:"Stores do get dropped if they're not reliable. Manipulate numbers and get called on it twice, you're dropped." Vinni E: " It's important that reporting stations educate their djs at a meeting." Colin H: " We ask for the reporting of new releases. Not the old songs." CMJ and Gavin only report on albums (royalties which are paid on songs are not figured into this.) Spelling can make reporting confusing. We double check but don't always catch them." Theda: "The A&R that I talk to are happy to see you do really well in just one market." Trudy L: " They might to look to see if something unusual appearsin 3 separate DMAs 4 or 5 hours apart. .... $$$.com (pronounced 'cha-ching-dot-com): HOW TO MAKE MONEY FROM A WEBSITE Moderator: Merv (CMJ online Panelists: Kevin McNally (Happy Puppy - online games) Tom Roli (Webnoize) Samantha Fein (Yahoo revenue for entertainment products) Scott Parris (IUMA) While the thread of this panel would be interesting in the greater context of discussion of revenue models on the internet, I found very little insight to pass on to readers who are looking to make money as a band or small label using a website. For example. Scott discusses what will create a revenue for IUMA. And while their band template makes it easier for certain bands to create a web presence, there is little info in the way of what the band need do to create their own revenue stream. Here are a few tidbits that I salvaged that you might find useful though. Samantha Fein shared this information that she gleaned fro a Business Week report. People in online space want to see
  1. something unique to onlnie user
  2. contest or promotion
  3. discount offer
  4. Source of information that was quick
There's a 150 to 200% increase on banner success if the banner says"click here." or has arrow. Removing branding can get positive results. Tom Roli: A study done on "click me" ads show banners do get 200% results, but they get 50% less sales and responses.. ... Our service is 98% text based. People get what's on top of the page. Samantha: We rarely sell an ad that's below the "fold".... (under the first screen) WHAT WOULD YOU DO?: A MARKETING SUMMIT This has an interesting premise. The panelists weree presented with a real band and asked what they would do bring the band to the next stage of its career. In this case, The Mekons proved to be a fairly contrary choice. The members of the band see themselves as artists who tend to want to avoid the obvious choices. Moderator: Sally Timms (member of The Mekons) Panelists: Mike DePippa (Elektra) John Hammond (TVT) Errol Kolosine (Astralwerks) Terri MacMillan (De-I Recordings/ Koten) Sally Timms: "We're looking for solutions for a band that everyone's heard of, The Mekons. The question is 'How do we get people to buy ?'. The Makons have been around a very long time. We're an English band that started in 1978 (she was not a member at that time); originally a punk band changing to country punk. The band has had many changes in lineup. We don't care about our audience. We've put out a book with an attached CD, an opera. Crazy wacky projects only sell about 5,000 records. Two records on A&M sold about 20,000 which was great for us, but ot for A&M." John Hammond: "I've been aware of the band and seen shows. Your band has an emotional attachment to the material. Define what are the tools? How broad range of styles collectively and solely, visual element, sense of spirit, sense of humor, greaty live act. Has there ever been a film project?" Sally T: "A documentary. It's not very good. Some live footage ..." John H: "Someone may kill me for saying it, but anyone talked about using in commercials?" Sally T: "No, but we're kind of anti-commercial." Mike DePippa (Elektra): "Right now we have Stereolab on VW, but we're not selling more albums." ErrolK: referring to Mike" Then slap a sticker on the album" Terri M: "Having your music in other films or film school" Sally T: " Everyone's trying to do that. Does it make a difference? Everyone on the panel responded, "Yes!" Errol K: "Who owns your publishing? That can be a full time staff position." John H:" That really worked for Morphine. Their placement on Spanking the Monkey got the on Homicide." (Not sure who's quote): " Fans do like to see you spread the 'joy'. A little nagging from the stage is necessary but do it with some humor. You need to give your fans something to share with their friends." Question from audience: "What are bands goals." Sally T: "In some ways we don't care." Errol K: " At the end of the day, bands that are willing to put the time out, often will come out on top." John H: " It has to be a joint agreement with everyone. How much money a label or a band is willing to spend. Question addressed to small labels: " Do you aim at keeping it small? To sell only 10,000?" Errol K:"We try to look at every band separately. If the band has sold 10,000, then just try to double it." Terri M: "Being small staffed, we have to do it creatively. The underground is huge." Errol K: "Sometimes you have to look at what'sin your stomach ..." John H: "There's a new template evolving. Border Books cross promoting on radio ... " Errol K: "My artists say no to me more than they say yes. It can be hard getting offered something huge like MTV and then the artist says 'No!'" Terri M: "As a label, we try to get from the artist what they do and don't want to do." Errol K: "A lot of times, the artist is right ... If you (as a label) take a step back, you can see how the artist's instinct was right. ALTERNATIVE MARKETING THROUGH NON-MUSIC ENVIRONMENTS:
OR ... WHO NEEDS RADIO This discussion intentionally avoided discussing the internet as that was being handled by a number of other panels. Moderator: Michael Krumper (Mercury) Panelists: Ed Brogna (Urban Outfitters Inc.) Ron Voss (HiFrequency) Gregg Link (Style File) Timothy Jones (Starbucks) Jane Kopecky (Cafe Music Network) Timothy J: "We had played Blue Note recordings in the store. I had been in the music business before and went into the coffee business. We were getting questions, 'What are we listening to?' So we started providing samplers. It seemed strange selling a pound of Guatemalan and selling music. Blue Note Blend in 95. We tried to see how we could expand this experience. We've done 24 or 25 CD compilations. What if we did songs of sirens? Last year with the Lillith fair we worked with the artists. We have a continuing opportunity to bring new artists to people who have trouble buying music. It was customer driven ... through those customer comment cards. We don't really try to make money out of this. " Jane K: " Started two years ago. We service coffee shops with a month full of CDs. To independently operated coffee places, we send them newsletters. About 2 or 3 weeks after shipping music we survey. We publish our own charts. It's hard to monitor what impact we've had. There's no time limit. If they like something, they just play it ... 3 or 4 times a day for 2 years. The specific locations pay ASCAP, BMI through their regular fees. We have a database of 5,000 cafes. We get paid by record companies." Michael K : " (directed to Ed Brogna) At Urban Outfitters full CDs are played. How does that get decided?" Ed B: " I'm a graphic artist and our department handles the music. 18 to 30 crowd. We can share the audience with labels and with independents. Music that doesn't get much attention. Send out 3 or 4 CDs for the Head of Rotation. We use Now Playing Sign. We all try to work together with our stores (31 locations). Just establishing European store and one in London. We try to vary with the prior weeks rotations. We distribute the music to the stores. The stores decide whether to carry it. There is some profanity. We do play Liz Phair. If the profanity bothers customers, we will pull it. Ron Voss: " Hi Frequency is a national music marketing company. Together we hash out a plan. Our street team works the plan. To build a following band by band; store by store. Our localreps knkow their market so it's not the corporation that decides what's appropriate where. We look for the captive audience." Gregg Link:"StyleFile. We liaison between fashion and musicians. Example VH1 Fashion ...Foo Fighters, Jamiroquoi .( this discussion was lost on me, so I have no further notes on it. Sorry) Michael K: " I think the label has to come up with every idea and give it to the artist. And it's the artist and managers to decide how it fits their goals. WEBBED FEATS: SUCCESFUL ONLINE MARKETING AND PROMOTION Wendy Rubin (Joe's Production and Grille) Tanya Edwards (Rocktropolis / Music Boulevard) Dave DiMartino (LAUNCH) Scott Graves (Sire division of Time/Warner) Jennifer Hollett (Sony Music Canada) Jeff Weber (Global Music Outlet) Scott G (designs website for Sire): " Having a website is no longer news. One in five American churches has a website. You have to do something. Some Excitement. Our department is building a website and a community around Melaney D (? dian, donan?) There's a campaign, "Be a record executive for a day. " To enter they have to answer a 5 page survey. Over 2,000 entries. Another band 5440 uses their website to let the fans decide their set list for their shows. (Ask) What can we do to be different? Our big company Time/Warner won't allow full length videos or songs. ...For website design, I'm a big fan of simplicity. we're trying to draw people to a site for a band Dead Sea where there's just a picture. In a week the picture will change" Tanya E: (Community Relations Rocktropolis and Music Boulevard) " Create real content. ... online chats and contests. Our site is sales driven. What we've learned? Content does drive sales. Being on the spot drives sales. Engage people. You can't just send them things. Dave D Executive editor of LAUNCH CDROM, MyLaunch website : " MyLaunch (a portal site?) is admittedly dry. People want to get in and out. We're not interested in sales. We worked with Firefly. We want to build community. Our goal is to get more people who define their music interests. Launch is a CD-Rom ....??? Wendy R: "Joe's Production provides online distribution for independent bands .... We cross market. We have a radio show that features the independents. ... We offer downloadable coupons. Jennifer H: " With content make it exclusive and keep it updated. Jeff Weber: "At Global Music Outlet, we have incredible tools. Different technologies. GMO works hand in hand with A2B (MP3 watermarked saleable files.) The other competitor to Liquid Audio) A file that downloads on mail, bulk email to your friends, The E-Spot; a digital postcard, & ROM songs, where half of the song is on a CD-Rom, the other half is downloaded. We offer physical product distribution