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Idea: Musician’s own website as definitive source of all info.

Musicians spend too much time entering their data on multiple websites. Filling out forms. Uploading MP3s. Uploading photos. Entering dates and venues into concert calendars. Pasting lyrics and bio. All those stupid profiles scattered around the web, which of course will soon be outdated unless they’re constantly updated.

Some outside sites say, “We’ll manage all your data!” – but I don’t want to go to yet-another-website to enter all of my data, and trust them not to go out of business. In fact, I don’t want to enter my info anywhere but my own website!

So, I think the musician’s own “.com” homepage website should be the one-and-only place the musician ever has to enter their info. It should be the sole definitive source for their music, photos, bio, lyrics, calendar, blog, and especially their fan/friend/email list.

Then it’s the web hosting company’s job to spread that info other sites.

How it works for the musician:

  1. Log in to your own website.
  2. Recorded a new song? Upload the master-quality audio file
  3. While it’s uploading, enter the song info: name, copyright, credits, lyrics, sample-start-time, etc.
  4. Booked a new show? Enter the date and venue info.
  5. Have a new photo or bio? Enter it just once in your site.
  6. That’s it. You’ll never need to enter that info or upload that song ever again.

You own all your data, and your web-host makes it easy to get a backup any time, like mailing you a USB drive.

Then your web-host can do the boring copying:

Your web-hosting company gives you some simple options:

Do you want us to send this to...
[x] MySpace
[x] Facebook
[x] iTunes
[x] Amazon
[ ] Napster
[ ] Pandora
[ ] Spotify
[ ] ReverbNation

You’d give them your account details for the places where you already have an account, or at the others, they could create an account for you.

Best of all: all of this extra service is included for free in your basic webhosting package, as thanks to you for choosing to host your website there. (Assuming the standard web-hosting rate of $10-$20/month.) They don’t need to take a percentage of sales or anything. The $10-$20/month webhosting fee has plenty of profit margin to cover everything.

How it works on the back-end:

For some websites, the distribution can be automated. The web host sends a server-to-server message to the remote company’s servers, adding the necessary info and files. This is how digital distribution of music already works.

For other sites like MySpace and Facebook, there can be some quick simple human labor. An employee quickly logs into your MySpace page (with your permission) and uploads the song, info, photos or calendar, using the super-fast internet connection.

The trickiest part would be copying the friend/fan list from multiple sites back into your one definitive master database of fans/friends.

Because the company does it for dozens of clients per day, they can do it incredibly fast and cheap, so they don’t need to charge extra for this hands-on service.

But where it gets really exciting is for the company to set up an open API where any outside companies can pull information directly from the source!

That way, any new music websites could launch with instant access to thousands of musicians, with the most up-to-date info, and not need to host any of the audio, images, or text on their site. Everything be pulled real-time from your site using the API.

So if you changed a photo, removed a song, renamed a song, or even changed the name of the band, it would all be changed instantly on ALL sites, worldwide.

Who’s doing it?

ArtistData is awesome, and the closest I’ve seen to this idea, but they don’t host websites (yet). I heard of them after I came up with this idea two years ago. I was still at HostBaby then, and honestly everything I described above was my plan for “HostBaby 3.0”. Maybe they’ll still do it. If not, I hope someone does.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mmqb01/468351110/

August in Arizona

I’m finally getting adjusted to Eastern Standard Time again, after being on the West coast for six days. In Arizona, the air is dryer, the sun is hotter and the people are nicer. Yet and still, I was never so happy to return to my home in New Jersey.
The week started early Tuesday morning with […]

How I use Twitter

Someone recently asked my advice about Twitter, since BusinessWeek magazine just named me one of their “20 to follow” for entrepreneurs. I’m not a Twitter expert and don’t claim I’m one to emulate, but here are my personal thoughts on how I use Twitter:

Twitter is a P.A. system

Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and mailing lists are all a P.A. system. (Remember P.A. stands for “Public Address”.)

Speaking through them is like stepping up to a microphone, on a stage, in front of 10,000 people. What can I say that’s worth saying to 10,000 people? It has to be something that most of those 10,000 unique individuals will find interesting.

I try not to let that paralyze me into thinking that everything I say has to be super-important. Occasionally I light-heartedly post something cute or funny. Nobody wants to be around someone who’s too heavy and profound all the time.

Depends on the size of the room

Musicians know that you perform differently to 5 people than 5000. If there are only 5 people in the room, you can take advantage of the intimacy to be more casual.

If I’m hanging in my living room with 5 friends, it wouldn’t be strange for me to say to them, “I’ve been tired all day. My foot hurts.” That’s just regular conversation with friends. But I wouldn’t say that to 10,000 people.

Reversing it: With a few of my best friends I actually do enjoy hearing the tiny details of their day. I want to know that they’re feeling sick, or just had the best Chinese food, or missed a flight.

Because of this, I have two profiles on Twitter and Facebook. One public, for anyone. One private, only for 20 close friends. I highly recommend this.

These social media tools have double use, so if you’re only using them super-publicly, adding tons of “friends” you don’t know, you might be surprised how Twitter/Facebook feel completely different when you’re only following a few real friends. Then you really can enjoy sharing and hearing about the tiny things that shape our days.

Ask interesting questions.

Ask good questions that you think people will enjoy answering creatively and succinctly. Examples:

I’ve been fascinated with the amazing responses that come back from people. Surprisingly insightful, creative, or funny.

(When I asked, “What’s the opposite of music?”, 200 people answered with interesting variations on chaos, silence and nothing. But then came my favorite answer: “Business.”)

It’s like songwriting. Be artistic.

Think about songwriting or poetry: You’ve got something you want to express, but instead of just spewing it out bluntly, you choose to do it artistically within certain limitations. Like fitting an idea into 12 syllables, where the last word needs to rhyme with “train”.

Instead of telling every detail, you use a few key words that give the gist, then leave the rest open to the listener’s imagination.

Sometimes, like a songwriter, I feel like documenting or expressing something big that happened to me, but don’t feel like writing an article about the whole story. So I compress it into an intriguing short post, letting imagination fill in the details.

For example, when my only one-night-stand told me a year later that she was briefly pregnant (because of me), and I was wrestling with the thoughts and emotions behind that, I felt the need to share just: “Found out I was a dad for 10 weeks.

Other favorites:

Like any songwriter, I’d like to think that my mini-statements are at least entertaining and maybe even inspiring to someone. I enjoy the creative challenge of expressing myself publicly in a succinct and intriguing way.

P.S. twitter.com/sivers

You can follow my posts at twitter.com/sivers. Then please email me to give me your Twitter URL if you’d like me to follow you back.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/juanharo/3612156204/

Alice Russell – “All Alone”

Alice Russell has gained an enviable reputation as one of the hottest singers in the UK right now. Her tracks with the Quantic and Quantic Soul Orchestra projects helped elevate her profile further.
Alice’s lavishly soulful voice is both timeless and up to the minute modern. Live or on record, she always performs with her trademark […]

EP’s are where it’s going.

For some time now I've been conceptualizing about how to create a better record label. I won't go into everything about my business model, but a big part of this new label will be to do away with the LP format (long play with 13-16 songs) and release more EP's throughout the year.

Wouldn't it be great to put out an EP and then taylor your next EP to what the reaction of your fans has been? In a sense you will be making custom albums for your fan base! That's a new approach in an old industry that doesn't like change.

Well, it seems that I'm in good company. Thom Yorke has announced that Radiohead will stop making LP's and focus on singles. I like this idea. I like it a lot!

You can read the article from the New York Time here.

Preparing Music Business Financial Statements

I’d like to pick up where I left off with my Music Business Template and talk more in depth about how to prepare your financial statements. I’ve seen many new businesses write their entire plan first, then work the numbers last, wrong move. Once you have established the overall business model in your head, START […]

Chin Chin – “GG and The Boys”

Some chill music with some tight instrumentals. They are a band based out of Brooklyn with 10 or so members. You can pretty much do anything while listening to this music. Eat, drink, dance, run, chillax, sex?…possibly

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