Bobby Owsinski is a music and television producer, recording engineer, former touring musician and author of a number of best-selling music and recording books like “The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook” and “How To Make Your Band Sound Great.” His latest book, which he discusses here, is “Music 3.0 - A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age.”
Here Bobby Owsinski answers some questions about his new book. If you have a question about the book, please leave it in the comments. We'll pass on the best five questions to Bobby, and publish his answers in a separate article.
What exactly is Music 3.0?
Music 3.0 (or M30 -em three oh- for short) is the 5th stage of the music industry evolution and the one that we’re in right now. It’s significant because it’s the first time that an artist can actually communicate, interact, market and sell directly to his or her fans. The problem is that there are new rules in how to do that, because if you’re not careful you can spend all your time tending to social media and none on actually making music.
Just for some background, as I see it Music 1.0 was the first generation of the music business where the record labels were run by entrepreneurs, vinyl records were bought from retail stores and radio was the primary source of promotion.
Music 1.5 was the second generation where the product was primarily CDs and still purchased from record stores, labels were now owned and run by large conglomerates, and MTV caused the labels to shift from artist development to image development.
Music 2.0 signaled the beginning of digital music, piracy ran rampant due to P2P networks, but the industry took little notice since CD sales were still strong.
Music 2.5 was the fourth generation of the music business where digital music became monetized thanks to iTunes and others, CD sales took a nose dive, the music industry contracted and retail stores closed. Which brings us to Music 3.0 where we are now.
If you’re an artist that’s already on MySpace and Facebook, aren’t you taking advantage of Music 3.0 already?
Sure you are, but there’s a lot more to social media than just MySpace and Facebook. There are literally over 100 social media networks with more than a million subscribers, but if you were to try to use them all, it would suck up so much of your time that you’d never play music again! So you need a social media management strategy in order to bring some efficiency into the equation, and that’s a lot of what my Music 3.0 book is about.
Give us an example.
Most artists concentrate on MySpace and Facebook (and to a lesser degree band sites like ReverbNation), but spend less time on what should be their primary focus - their website and email list. Your website is the most important tool that you have because it’s highly controllable and you can customize it quickly as your needs change. It should be your focal point, and every other site that your connected with should feed into it. The same with your email list. For many successful artists it’s their most important communication tool, but if you have separate friend lists on MySpace and Facebook, you defeat the purpose of having a primary list, increase your workload and dilute your message. What you really want is for anyone who wants to be your friend to also sign on to your primary mailing list so you can easily reach out and interact with them.
Give us an example of a major artist that understands the principles of Music 3.0.
Trent Reznor is perhaps the most astute artist when it comes to using social media. He’s always way ahead of the curve, from putting viral messages on T-shirts, to leaving flash drives with songs in the restrooms of concerts that point to a private concert, to having his own Nine Inch Nails iPhone app. He’s the innovator that everyone looks to because he’s doing it on his own and isn’t tied to a label any more, but Coldplay, Radiohead and Pearl Jam are trying some interesting things as well and are worth watching. They’re not as cutting-edge as Trent, but they try some new things and aren’t afraid of technology.
What other kind of help does your book have for the average artist.
It’s called a “survival guide” for a reason. Not only does it cover the most recent social media concepts that have turned the music world upside down like the Economy of Free, Seth Godin’s “Tribes”, The Long Tail and the Theory of 1000, it shows exactly how they apply to today’s music marketing and distribution. Plus there are things some easy things to implement like 10 low cost hi-tech promotion tips, 10 low cost low-tech promotion tips, a few sales tips, and website and email optimization tips. But everyone knows that it’s really hard to make money in the M30 world, so the book covers just where the money is and who’s making it, and how you can too.
If you still have some unanswered questions about the book, ask away in the comments below. We'll pass on the best five questions to Bobby, and the person with the best question will win a copy of "Music 3.0".
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