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The Social State of Music In 2011 And What I’m Paying Attention To


… by Walt Ribeiro

Let me start off with this quote by self-employed musician Jonathan Coulton “Now is a better time to be a musician, or a fan of music, than any other time in all of human history. Discuss…”

As a fellow self-employed musician myself, I agree that it’s certainly an amazing time to be a musician. Sure, there are no more gatekeepers, and things are cheaper and more convenient than ever – but it’s more than that. Social media, and music in general, is not about creating a huge community of millions of people. In fact, it’s never been about that – it’s about creating a small family of evangelists.

Let’s discuss the 2 biggest game changers in music:

1.) Going Digital
2.) The Cloud

These two things are what combined to create the Amazon 99 cent Lady Gaga deal. Lady Gaga’s Manager, Troy Carter, did not work with or know about the Amazon 99 cent deal with him and Lady Gaga.

As an orchestra arranger of pop music, I find this incredibly interesting (and smart). If Amazon loses 6 dollars per CD, but gains from people entering the Amazon eco-system (assuming they start buying bikes, furniture, DVDs, etc. from Amazon), then we can certainly start seeing more of this.

But why would Amazon have done this in the first place? The answer is because of the digitalization of music, and the fight to win the cloud.

But don’t confuse cloud with music – the cloud is the storage bin for all of your multimedia (books, music, and even videogames). Where music is normally becoming a loss leader for bands so that they can sell concert tickets, it’s also now becoming a companies loss leader so they can fill up the eco-system.

Case in point: Apple doesn’t make a whole lot of money from music, as compared to the App Store which sells games. So what if music albums are sold for 99 cents as a loss leader, so that Amazon and Apple can start making money off the eco-system? It’s rumored apple paid major labels 150 million dollars for publishing rights but that’s a drop in the bucket from the 6 billion they made in 2010.

And where did most of those profits come from? Certainly not from the iTunes Music Store, it’s been from the iOS devices .

Apple is now a distributor, and the people are the publishers – so I could totally see this happening. Is that my big prediction for online music? No, but its a trend I’m paying attention to. Another thing I think is important is how social media is effective sales – and I think Facebook’s recommendation engine is going to be big for that. In that way Pandora recommends songs you might like based on similar artists, Facebook will recommend artist you like based on your friends. This is also why Apple Ping teamed up with Twitter.

Should be interesting how the economies of this pan out. Certainly it is an interesting time.

BlogWorld contributor Walt Ribeiro is founder of For Orchestra where he arranges pop and rock songs for orchestra every week – from Lady Gaga, Slayer, and more. He frequents many social media, tech, and music conferences, and spoke at BlogWorld in 2009 and 2010.

SEO Blog Tips: Turn Emails into Search Engine Visibility


Speakers: Rich Brooks
Session: How to Dominate Google & Bing with Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 9:00AM
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A07

“I don’t know what to blog about” and “how can I blog for SEO?” are two blogging concerns that I hear all the time from people. Luckily, there’s a simple trick I use that can help address both issues.

First thing to keep in mind: you are an expert at what you do. You have forgotten more than most people will ever know about growing plants or raising kids or building a business.

Chances are that when you’re in front of a customer or prospect, they are asking some of the same questions time and again. Even more may be emailing you those questions.

Well, if you’re fielding all those questions, how many more people are asking the same questions at Google?

  • How do I tie a Windsor knot?
  • What are some simple stir fry recipes?
  • How do I survive a zombie apocalypse?

When you receive the next email asking for advice or help, don’t respond. Not immediately, at least.

Copy the question and paste it into your blog. You may need to broaden the question to make it more helpful to more people and remove any reference to whomever sent you the email in the first place. (They may not be completely comfortable that you put their name at the bottom of a question about how to buy a toupee.)

Once you’ve got the question, go ahead and answer it in the most helpful, non-salesy way possible. As appropriate you can create keyword-rich links to a page on your website that offers a solution to the person’s need. Answering a question on reducing turnover? Link to the page on employee recognition gifts.

When you’re all done, create a keyword-rich title for your post. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Create a shortened version of the question: What are good fruits for making baby food?
  • Phrase it as a how-to: How to Take Better iPhone Photos
  • Frame it as a tips post: Fashion Tips for the Color Blind

After you publish it, go back to the person who first emailed you and tell them that it was such a great question you turned it into a blog post. I’ve never had anyone get upset with this, and almost everyone has been psyched to see their question get posted to my blog, even if I renamed them “Puzzled in Portland.”

In conclusion:

  • Use emailed questions as blog fodder for “long-tail” searches.
  • Increase your visibility by using appropriate keywords in your titles and posts.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Rich Brooks is founder and president of flyte new media, a Web design and Internet marketing firm in Portland, Maine. His monthly flyte log email newsletter and web marketing blog focus on search engine optimization, blogs, social media, email marketing, and building websites that sell. He is currently an Expert Blogger at FastCompany.com and a regular contributor at SocialMediaExaminer.com.

He is a co-founder of Social Media FTW, an organization putting on conferences and events to educate small businesses and non-profits about the power of social media marketing.

He is a nationally recognized speaker on blogging, internet marketing and social media. He is the “tech guru” on WCSH Channel 6’s evening news show, 207, and teaches Web marketing and social media courses for entrepreneurs at the University of Southern Maine’s Center for Continuing Education.

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