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Bobby Owsinski's "Music 3.0": Your Questions Answered

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Here are the answers to the questions regarding the blog tour of my Music 3.0 book. Thanks everyone for the questions.

Johnny asks, “Will I only learn how to make a social media management strategy? or if it is a “101 tips for success” book? what bands have tested those tips? or on what bands are those tips inspired by?”

There’s a lot more to the Music 3.0 book than social media management. You’ll find things like 8 keys to fan communication, 10 low-cost hi-tech promotion ideas, 10 hi-tech promotion ideas, keys to a successful website, 10 low-cost, low-tech promotion ideas, 10 music marketing ideas, 10 sales tips, tips for growing your audience, all about the current online distribution system, how to get make money for what you do, and where the opportunities are in Music 3.0, and a lot more. Check out the table of contents.

As far as bands that use these techniques, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is the current master and trendsetter, and to a lesser degree Radiohead, Pearl Jam and Coldplay to name just a few.

Edwin James Lynch asks, “Just how web 2.0 should our website be? Without social media, I get almost no traffic at all.”

That’s probably because your site is not search engine friendly, and you’re not pointing your fans to it via the social networks.

    Do you have a blog tied to your site (you should)?

    Does you site have a lot of flash content (the search engine’s won’t index it)?

    Are you using the right keyword phrases and are they relevant to the text content on the page (a must or you’ll get penalized)?

    Did you limit your keyword phrases to 5 (any more and you’ll get penalized)?

    Do you have any dead links (you’ll get penalized again)?

    Is the site stagnant or is there always fresh content?

These are all the things you have to think about when building your site in order to attract the search engines and as a result, your fans.

There’s a great interview in the book with Gregory Markel, who’s company Infuse Creative does the search engine optimization for Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, the television show “24” and Gibson Musical Instruments among many others. He discusses just what it takes to bring your site up to speed SEO-wise. You can read an excerpt of Gregory’s interview here.

Vonbrucken asks, “Why letting your fans set the price of your music (pay what you want) is a bad idea after all?”

I think what Vonbrucken means is “Isn’t it a bad idea to let the fans decide what your music is worth?” The Music 3.0 book goes into great detail on this, but the fact of the matter is that tests show you’ll sell a lot more product when it’s priced attractively, or even free. You can’t get any more attractive to the consumer than have them pay the amount that’s comfortable for them.

For example, Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” 2007 experiment is the best case study where the fan could name the price he wanted to pay. Although the band never released the total number of copies that where downloaded, it’s known that they had about 1.2 million prepays. It’s also known that of these, 62% downloaded the album for free, but the rest of the buyers paid an average of $6 USD. The band only needed $1.50 per download to break even, so they made out pretty well. But even more astounding was the fact that when the CD was finally released, it immediately went to #1 on both the US and UK charts and eventually sold another 3 million copies. Radiohead made more money with that release than they ever did with a record label release.

Donnotron replies, “I also disagree with his idea that your website should be the most important focal point in your web effort, I think he greatly underestimates the influence of facebook fan pages for certain bands. For my band, we’re trying to make facebook our only focal point. It really excels at direct one-way communication with the fan base, and you know that you’re reaching out to real people who use the site daily, whereas the same can’t be said for a dedicated site or any other music profile site ( including myspace ).”

I’m not saying that Facebook isn’t valuable because it is, you just can’t utilize it as well as with a dedicated website, and if you haven’t captured your Facebook friend’s email addresses to a master list (see my blog post on “4 reasons why an email list is still important”), your missing out on an opportunity for another way to market yourself and communicate with your fans.

The idea is not to get too hung up on one social site since there are over 100 that have more than a million subscribers, and the only thing that limits you to how many you can use is time. The fact of the matter is that Facebook could change their policies (just like they just did with their privacy policy recently), could get new management or a new owner, or a new and hipper social site can pop up, any one of which could make it a lot less attractive to you and your fans almost overnight (look what happened to MySpace).

The more networks you can be part of, the better, as long as you capture your fan’s email addresses back to a master list that can always be used in case a social site suddenly loses favor.

Valentin asks,” How can you stay ahead from other bands like yours if they use the same social promoting methods?”

This is less of a problem than you think and can even be a positive. First of all, you probably have a different fan base from your immediate competition so there might not be much of a crossover. One of the advantages of Music 3.0 is that music is pretty “siloed” these days, meaning that regardless of the type of music you play, there are fans somewhere out there that will be into just what you do.

If you share fans with another band, all the better, since it’s actually an opportunity. You know that these fans like the general type of music that you play because they like your competition, and they can become your fans as well if you can get on their radar. That’s already easier to do since you share some fans, and those fans will be your advocates.

The idea is not to “stay ahead” of other bands, but to build your fanbase by making some of theirs become your fans as well.

Congratulations, Valentin. You get a signed copy of the book for asking the best question.

Please check out the daily blog about Music 3.0 that I’m writing for a new way to survive the current state of music that we’re in.

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