Tag Archives: How To

How to Legally Sell Recordings of a Cover Song

How to Legally Sell Recordings of a Cover Song

Hendrix is dead but “Purple Haze” is not in the public domain. (Creative Commons: Licentie afbeeldingen Beeld en Geluidwiki archive)

Your new speed metal version of “Purple Haze” is about to be released. Of course, it will be available on your Nimbit® store, and it’s going to make you rich and famous. You suspect you should get the rights to use the song. But you’re not rich yet, and Jimi Hendrix is dead, so why do you need a license?

True, Hendrix is history, but that doesn’t mean his music is in the public domain. (“Public domain” means the work is not copyrighted, so it can be freely used without a license.) Copyright law has changed several times in the past 40 years, but the bottom line is, some person or company still owns the rights to “Purple Haze.” In fact, there could be more than one copyright owner.

Even though your derivative version is very different from the original, it’s still “Purple Haze,” and you still need to pay for the license to distribute it. If you used samples from the original, you need to license those separately.

If you don’t, you could be in a heap of trouble.

The good news is, doing the right thing does not have to be difficult or expensive—at least, not in the U.S. and most Western countries. We’ll explain the basics that you need to know to get the U.S. copyright licenses in order to sell recordings of cover tunes that are not in the public domain.

Note that we’re not getting into all the gory details of copyright law here; entire books have been written on that subject. Nor will we discuss the moral issues involved. We won’t get into international licensing here; that varies widely depending on the country and would require a separate article. However, we provide links for this information and much more in the section “Where to learn more about copyright.”

What is Copyright?

In a nutshell, copyright is a set of exclusive rights that the law gives to owners of creative works. Copyright owners may have the rights to distribute, reproduce, adapt, publicly perform, and publicly display the work, and these can involve separate licenses.

A composition is separate from the recording of the composition; to distribute your own recording of “Purple Haze,” via download or physical media, you need a mechanical license.

Note that this license doesn’t let you use samples from “Purple Haze”; for that, you need to license a separate Master Use Right from whoever owns the copyright of the sound recording. Using lyrics from a composition is also a separate issue. (Live performance of a work requires yet another license but usually venues get a blanket license to cover that, so it’s not the artist’s problem.) All of those are beyond the scope of this article. We’re just talking about mechanical rights required to sell recordings of a composition to which someone else owns the rights.

Note that copyright law varies in different countries, and some countries recognize other countries’ copyrights while others don’t. Owning a license to use a song in the U.S. does not necessarily give you rights in other countries; you have to find out where your U.S. copyright is recognized and purchase rights separately for other countries.

Fox Hunting: The DIY Approach

There are two main ways to obtain song licenses: working directly with the rights owners (the do-it-yourself method) or paying a service to handle the whole thing.

Many U.S. publishers use the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) to manage their mechanical licenses and payments. This simplifies matters for the copyright holders, and it also simplifies matters for you because you can buy all the U.S. licenses you need from one agency, assuming the copyright holders use HFA’s services. Most do. HFA also contracts with a number of foreign agencies for collecting foreign mechanical royalties.

Note that Harry Fox Agency only handles licenses for records manufactured and distributed in the USA. Also, licenses for reprinting lyrics (on liner notes, for instance) are a separate issue and are not handled by HFA.

For International rights, you have to contact the mechanical rights society in each country, or contact the song’s publisher directly.

The HFA Songfile online service enables you to search for the HFA Song Code identifier and pay for up to 2,500 U.S. download licenses of songs controlled by Harry Fox Agency. If you need more licenses, you can download the appropriate form from Songfile.

Simple searches for HFA Song Codes are free and don’t require a login. Search by the songwriter last name, not the artist; in the case of “Purple Haze,” of course, Jimi Hendrix is both the songwriter and artist. A search for “Purple Haze” returns HFA Song Code P84800.

A demo of the licensing tool is available at www.harryfox.com/public/Songfile_Demo_v4.html.

Harry Fox Agency’s Songfile® demo

When buying a license for a cover song, you first choose the type of license: physical product (CD, DVD, cassette, Vinyl LP), permanent digital download (PDD), ringtone (no more than 60 seconds), or interactive streaming. To order multiple types of licenses, place a separate order for each type of product you want to distribute.

Once in Songfile, you enter the release info: release date, play time for your version, and name of band/artist. If you do two versions of “Purple Haze” (say, the speed metal version and a punk version), you have to add the song twice and differentiate between them in the version comments. Then you enter your (licensee) info and the credit-card payment info.

The royalty rate and processing fees vary but a tool in Songfile tells you how they’re calculated.

With that done, you get a sample license with the terms of use, which you have to accept. Then you approve payment, and you’ll see a confirmation page (be sure to save it) and also will get a confirmation email stating you have purchased the licenses.

You can then log into your Songfile account and click on “View My Licenses” to save or print your licenses.

You’re legal in the USA—at least, as far as Harry Fox Agency and its copyright holders are concerned!

In the Limelight: Let Someone Else Do It

Another way to get the licenses you need is to pay a service that handles everything for you. The best known such service is Limelight.

Limelight is an online tool that offers the simplest way to obtain the mechanical licenses required for selling and distributing music legally, including physical media (CDs, DVDs, etc.), permanent digital downloads (PDDs), interactive streaming, and ringtones.

Using Limelight, artists can clear any cover song and ensure that 100% of royalties due are paid to publishers and songwriters. Limelight obtains the licenses with all copyright holders and handles royalty reporting and payment.

Five Reasons to Use Limelight:

  • Allows you to be copyright compliant in a few simple steps
  • Licenses never expire
  • Volume discounts are available
  • Customer support via chat, email, social networks, and phone
  • Musicians and bands from over 79 countries and all 50 U.S. states are using Limelight.

Using Limelight is simple. You fill in the basic fields about the songs you want to license; choose the format, or “configuration”: physical, PDD, interactive streaming, and ringtone; specify the number of copies you anticipate in each format; and pay via PayPal. Unlike licensing through Harry Fox Agency, you can get the licenses for all configurations in one form. (Each requires a separate license but you only fill out the form once.)

Limelight also will research the songwriter and publisher information for you; you just need to know the original or prior recording artist.

Limelight verifies the proper U.S. copyright owners, takes care of the licensing, handles royalty accounting and payment, and sends you an electronic Notification of License. Your fee covers all royalties to U.S. copyright owners, plus Limelight’s service fee.

Limelight adds a maximum $15/license service fee (for one to three licenses); the fee is discounted if you buy a greater number of licenses. If you have sold the quantity of licenses you initially purchased, you can rebuy configurations (distribution formats) at a 50% discount.

https://www.songclearance.com/pricing/

Detailed information about royalty rates and fees is supplied on Limelight’s Web site.

Forget it. What Can They Do, Sue Me?

You bet; if you distribute that cover song without obtaining the licenses, the copyright owners can sue—and some of them will do it in a heartbeat.

Let’s assume you aren’t part of some piracy conspiracy, you just “forgot” to obtain licenses for the songs you covered and distributed. We’re not talking about a criminal case but you can still get in more legal trouble than you may imagine.

If you distribute via a service like Nimbit®, the service will receive a Take Down notice. With Nimbit, you are notified and given seven days to respond with proof that you have the proper license. If you don’t respond within seven days, your song is taken offline. Nimbit and similar services have no way to know that you didn’t buy the licenses when you uploaded, and as long as they act promptly when notified, they’re off the hook.

However, you might not be so lucky. The copyright owners could come after you in court. It’s not common—but it happens.

If you are sued for copyright infringement, a lot of things could happen, all of them bad. Note we said “could happen”; we’re not saying any or all of this will happen.

For starters, the plaintiffs (the people who are suing you) might be able to get a court injunction, which is an order (temporary or permanent) that forces you to do or stop doing something—in this case, stop distributing the song that violates their copyright. If you keep distributing the work in violation of the injunction, you could be fined or even, potentially, imprisoned. Of course, you’re not stupid enough to ignore a court order.

The court could issue an impoundment order, which means all copies (if the music is on physical media) could be seized by federal marshals. Worse, you could also lose your recording equipment, including computers, blank media, packaging materials, and so on. Ouch!

So even if you distribute downloads only, you could still lose big time. If you’re found guilty, the infringing goods could be ordered destroyed, sold, or surrendered to the copyright holder.

You could very well end up paying the copyright holder all of your profits from your infringement—plus actual damages, if the copyright owner can prove how much money they’ve lost because of your infringement. Alternatively, you could be hit for “statutory” damages; this is intended to compensate the copyright holder if, for instance, the amount of actual damages cannot be proven or is so small that if that were the only compensation, the plaintiff would not receive enough to be worth protecting their rights. The amount varies depending on a number of factors but if you continue to infringe after being warned or don’t cooperate with the legal process or are a repeat offender, you could get hit hard.

On top of all that, you might have to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees and court costs, which can be quite expensive. So you might get hit for a few hundred bucks for statutory damages and still end up paying thousands.

So even if you only sold ten unlicensed copies of “Purple Haze,” it could cost you a bundle. Scared straight yet? You should be.

Just Do It

Even if you don’t care about respecting other musicians’ copyrights and don’t care if someone rips off your compositions, the practical consequences of getting caught ought to be incentive enough to license the songs you want to use. Besides, if you plan to stick around awhile in the music business, it’s more than worth your time and money to handle your business the right way from the start. It’s not hard to get the proper licenses to sell a cover song, and it’s not prohibitively expensive. Virtually any self-respecting professional musician will tell you to just do it.

By the way, when you do publish that killer (licensed) speed metal version of “Purple Haze” on your Nimbit store, please let us know!

U.S. Copyright Information on the Web

Here are some links where you can get more information about copyright laws in general and more specifically as they apply to music.

The Harry Fox Agency’s Web site has quite a bit of good information about copyrights, as does the Limelight site.

New Hampshire-based law firm Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell offers an article on “Copyright Basics for Musicians.”

The Web site Public Knowledge offers a Copyright Tutorial for Musicians, funded by The New York State Music Fund.

Legal Language Services, which provides law firms and other legal professionals with translation and assorted legal support services, offers the article 7 Things Musicians Should Know About Copyright Law.

A Web search will find many more such articles.

If you need the songwriter/publisher information to set up your release, check the following sites:

All Music Guide www.allmusic.com
ASCAP www.ascap.com/
BMI www.bmi.com
Google www.google.com (search for songwriter)
PD Info www.pdinfo.com (determine if a song is in the public domain)
SESAC www.sesac.com

Books on Music Copyright

Several good books about copyright, protecting your own music, and other legal issues for musicians are available at Amazon.com and elsewhere. This is just a short list to get you started; there are many more.

TITLE AUTHOR PUBLICATION DATE PUBLISHER
Moser on Music Copyright David Moser 2006 Cengage Learning
Hey, That’s My Music! Brooke Wentz 2007 Hal Leonard Books
Musician’s Legal Companion Michael Aczon 2008 Hal Leonard Books
The Musician’s Guide to Licensing Music Darren Wilsey and Daylle Deanna Schwartz 2010 Billboard Books
By the Book Rob Monath 2006 Hinshaw Music

International Copyright

The books we’ve found on international copyright at Amazon.com are very (+) expensive, and we haven’t reviewed them. You can find search results here.

You can, however, get a good bit of information on the Web.

The University of Washington has a Web site called UW©opyrightConnection, which offers the article International Copyright Law.

RightsDirect is an Amsterdam-based company that’s mostly focused on print copyright, such as newspapers, magazines, and books but you can get a good overview of international copyright law from its free article International Copyright Basics

Are you ready to start selling? Sign up for Nimbit today, it’s FREE!

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Nimbit How To: Album Setup & Store/Marketing Overview

So, now that you’ve got a pile of songs ready to sell as an entire package, it’s time to set up an album via the Nimbit Dashboard. We’ve created a handy video that will take you step-by-step through the entire process.

You will learn how to setup an album or single in your Nimbit dashboard, the basics of your Nimbit Store placement and Nimbit Marketing tools. Nimbit Free, Nimbit Plus and Nimbit Premium users all have these features.

For questions regarding any Nimbit functions, email support@nimbit.com or click HELP inside your Nimbit dashboard to use live chat, browse the knowledgebase, or submit a Support Ticket.

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Facebook & Twitter Tips for Musicians

Checking the blogs this morning, I came across two articles with some good advice for musicians.  Here’s a summary.

In 5 Facebook Tips for Bands, Robin Davey recommends the following to reach more people on Facebook.

  1. Use plain text Facebook updates 
  2. Tag other Facebook pages in tweets
  3. Use your header or profile picture to make announcements
  4. Like every comment, reply to every question, and tag people
  5. Have band members accept fan requests and promote from those pages as well

This is all good advice, read 5 Facebook TIps for Bands on Hypebot  to explore these concepts in more detail.

 3 Types of Tweets That are Rarely Retweeted  provides some simple advice on how get your followers to help spread the word on Twitter.

  1. Don’t post automated (and usually truncated) Tweets from Facebook
  2. Don’t use more than two hashtags
  3. Whenever possible use proper formatting and grammar.  That means correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc.

Read  3 Types of Tweets That are Rarely Retweeted courtesy of Ragan.com , a great resource for marketing and communication advice.

Leave a comment with your own advice.

For more music-centric social media advice check out the following articles from the Nimbit blog: 

 

 

 

 

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6 Easy Steps To Promote Music on Facebook & Twitter

We all know how important Facebook and Twitter can be to developing a deeper connection with your fans.   What’s not as obvious is what are the best ways  to use social networks  to promote your music or a new piece of merch, get new fans,  and turn those  ”Likes” and “Follows” into  music sales.  That’s why we created the new Roundtrip Promo Tool, which walks you through the process of promoting your music or merch on Facebook, Twitter, and more.

With Nimbit’s new Promo Tool, it will take you just a few minutes to set up a promotion and best of all, the Promo Tool  will automatically follow up for you with any fan who takes advantage of the promotion.

Check out how easy it is to set up a promotion:

Nimbit Promo Tool Step-by-Step

Click the image see how easy it is to promote yourself.

6 easy steps to Promote Music on Facebook & Twitter with Nimbit’s Roundtrip Promo Tool  

  1. Choose any product from your Nimbit catalog to promote and set whether you want to give it away for free, or sell it at a discount or full price.
  2. Add a link to an optional personal message or music video.  Don’t have a music video or professional video equipment? No problem, you would be surprised at how effective a video of you talking to your fans, filmed only with your phone’s camera can be. It seems more real.
  3. Set the store where you would like the promotion to redeem, this can be your Facebook store, nimbitmusic.com store, or any other URL you have your store embedded.
  4. Choose the time you would like your optional follow up thank you message to be sent and add the text of that message.  You can choose to have the follow up sent the next day, the next week.
  5. Set the date when you would like the promotion to expire
  6. Click in this section to send the promo out on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Remember on Facebook you may want to click this twice to send to fans of your band/musician page and then also send again to your personal friends.  In this area you can also generate links and promo codes for email and download cards,and get the embed code for a widget to put on your website.
Here’s what your fans and friends will see on Facebook
Music Promotion on Facebook Wall

Fans can watch the video, click to get the promotion, like, comment, and share with friends

Fans and friends will see a personal message from you, a video (if you embedded one) and a link to access the promotion.  Please ignore the fact that the only people  who commented on my post were my mom and girlfriend :)

Here’s what your followers will see on Twitter

Music promotion on Twitter

Promotions on Twitter feature your personal message plus a link to redeem the promo

Here’s what an embeddable widget will look like

Fans click the link and the promotion redeems in your store
Nimbit Promotions Redeem in-store

Fans can preview the product,  click the link to get the promoted product or shop more

BONUS: When fans checkout they can leave additional support
Fans can leave additional support

Fans can choose to leave you additional support with every purchase or free download

With every purchase or free download on the Nimbit platform, fans are asked if they’d like to leave additional support . We’ve found 1-in-20  purchase on the Nimbit platform receive a tip averaging $7.80.
That was easy. Now try it yourself
Log in to your Nimbit Dashboard and click Marketing to set up your own promotion.
 
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6 Easy Steps To Promote Music on Facebook & Twitter

We all know how important Facebook and Twitter can be to developing a deeper connection with your fans.   What’s not as obvious is what are the best ways  to use social networks  to promote your music or a new piece of merch, get new fans,  and turn those  ”Likes” and “Follows” into  music sales.  That’s why we created the new Roundtrip Promo Tool, which walks you through the process of promoting your music or merch on Facebook, Twitter, and more.

With Nimbit’s new Promo Tool, it will take you just a few minutes to set up a promotion and best of all, the Promo Tool  will automatically follow up for you with any fan who takes advantage of the promotion.

Check out how easy it is to set up a promotion:

Nimbit Promo Tool Step-by-Step

Click the image see how easy it is to promote yourself.

6 easy steps to Promote Music on Facebook & Twitter with Nimbit’s Roundtrip Promo Tool  

  1. Choose any product from your Nimbit catalog to promote and set whether you want to give it away for free, or sell it at a discount or full price.
  2. Add a link to an optional personal message or music video.  Don’t have a music video or professional video equipment? No problem, you would be surprised at how effective a video of you talking to your fans, filmed only with your phone’s camera can be. It seems more real.
  3. Set the store where you would like the promotion to redeem, this can be your Facebook store, nimbitmusic.com store, or any other URL you have your store embedded.
  4. Choose the time you would like your optional follow up thank you message to be sent and add the text of that message.  You can choose to have the follow up sent the next day, the next week.
  5. Set the date when you would like the promotion to expire
  6. Click in this section to send the promo out on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Remember on Facebook you may want to click this twice to send to fans of your band/musician page and then also send again to your personal friends.  In this area you can also generate links and promo codes for email and download cards,and get the embed code for a widget to put on your website.
Here’s what your fans and friends will see on Facebook
Music Promotion on Facebook Wall

Fans can watch the video, click to get the promotion, like, comment, and share with friends

Fans and friends will see a personal message from you, a video (if you embedded one) and a link to access the promotion.  Please ignore the fact that the only people  who commented on my post were my mom and girlfriend :)

Here’s what your followers will see on Twitter

Music promotion on Twitter

Promotions on Twitter feature your personal message plus a link to redeem the promo

Here’s what an embeddable widget will look like

Fans click the link and the promotion redeems in your store
Nimbit Promotions Redeem in-store

Fans can preview the product,  click the link to get the promoted product or shop more

BONUS: When fans checkout they can leave additional support
Fans can leave additional support

Fans can choose to leave you additional support with every purchase or free download

With every purchase or free download on the Nimbit platform, fans are asked if they’d like to leave additional support . We’ve found 1-in-20  purchase on the Nimbit platform receive a tip averaging $7.80.
That was easy. Now try it yourself
Log in to your Nimbit Dashboard and click Marketing to set up your own promotion.
 
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Ultimate Facebook Guide to Sell and Promote Your Music – UPDATED

The Ultimate Guide to Selling and Promoting Your Music on Facebook 

Since launching the new Nimbit Spotlight Store for Facebook, we’ve had thousands of artists sign up. We’re thrilled with the response and have provided a series of tips and articles to help you get the most out of your music promotion and sales on Facebook. To make life easier, we thought it would be convenient to provide all of those articles & tips in one blog, so here it is…

How to Sell on Facebook
In the video below see how easy it is to start selling your music on Facebook with the Nimbit Store. Also learn why as an artist you need to be using a fan page for your music, not your personal Facebook page.

6 Easy Steps to Promote Music on Facebook and Twitter

We all know how important Facebook and Twitter can be to developing a deeper connection with your fans. What’s not as obvious is what are the best ways to use social networks to promote your music, get new fans, and turn those ”Likes” and “Follows” into music sales. Nimbit’s Roundtrip Promo Tool walks you through the process of promoting your music or merch on Facebook, Twitter, and more. Read 6 Easy Steps to Promote Music on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Win and Engage Fans on Facebook – SXSW Presentation Slides & Audio

Facebook. You know how valuable and vital it can be to a musical career and a musician’s connection to fans. But just having an account isn’t enough, and today there are unspoken rules and powerful tools that you can harness with Facebook. How do you get noticed? How do they differ? What are the best ways to connect without annoying fans? This presentation explores social marketing best practices, tailored to Facebook, in particular addressing the changes to Timeline.

Fans on Facebook: What to Do to Engage Your Fans, Increase Sales and Grow the Relationship

Our VP of Marketing, Carl Jacobson wrote an indepth piece for ASCAP that covers selling, how to engage fans, suggestions how to get fans to promote you, and how to advertise to new fans using Facebook.  Read the article on the ASCAP site.

 

A Fan Found You on Facebook…What’s Next?

Nimbit Co-founder and CTO Patrick Faucher also provided an article for knowthemusicbiz.com that is a great guide on making sure you are covering your bases when it comes to making your music available and more importantly accessible to potential fans.

 

Facebook Marketing Tips For Entertainment Brands

In a recent article by Mashable.com, they gave readers some awesome Marketing Tips for Entertainment Brands.

1. Use Questions, Polls and Quizzes to Engage Your Community
2. Reward Your Fans
3. Let Fans Behind-the-Scenes
4. Use a Facebook Storefront to Turn Fans into Buyers

As you can imagine, because of Nimbit’s popular Facebook Store, Mashable included mention of Nimbit on tip #4. The entire article has some great advice, check out 4 Facebook Marketing Tips For Entertainment Brands on Mashable’s website.

 

More Facebook Tips on the Nimbit Blog

Here are a couple more simple examples of things you can do to improve your Facebook Fan page:

 

Create the Ultimate Store for Facebook with Nimbit Spotlight

Nimbit’s new Spotlight feature is a compelling showcase that offers everything you need to create a personalized, custom “window display” for your store on Facebook that is seamlessly integrated with Nimbit’s fan commerce and promotional tools.

If you’re really looking to grab people’s attention on Facebook, it is important to install your Nimbit Store for Facebook, and start showing off your Spotlight. Already got the Nimbit Store installed on Facebook? Then log-in to Nimbit and click on Stores to set up your Spotlight, it just takes a few minutes.

Nimbit Spotlight enhances your Facebook Timeline page with:

  • Sell music, CDs, merch, and tickets without the need to send fans away from Facebook or to other applications
  • featured product promotion
  • A video player for promo videos or personal messages to your fans
  • An audio player for your featured track or album
  • Custom header image and bio
  • Next gig notification
  • Fan rewards, such as a free track for email
  • Social Sharing: fans can leave Comments, Like, and Share products to promote artists to their friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter
  • Tracks can be shared and listened to via a Facebook Ticker, Wall and Timeline Player

Click here to Install Nimbit Spotlight on Facebook

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How to Sell eTickets for Your Shows

Sell Tickets
As a Nimbit artist, you have the ability to engage your fans on every level. That means not only selling your music and merch products and giving your fans the latest news about your upcoming gigs, but selling eTickets to those gigs as well.

If it’s all in one place, they’re more likely to buy, and with Nimbit, selling eTickets is easy.

To sell eTickets for your next show, simply:

1. Log in to your dashboard and click the Catalog tab.

2. Click Add Product in the left-hand side-bar and choose Tickets from the drop down menu.

3.  You will be directed to the Calendar page, where you can set up an event for your next show by clicking the Add button on the right side of the page.

4. Fill out the venue information and event details and click Save.

5.  Then click the Sell eTickets button next to your scheduled event.

6. Click the button next to eTicket, fill out the ticketing information, and upload a photo.

7.  Click Next Step, review your product information and click Complete Setup

You’re done! Tickets for your gig will now be available for sale from your Facebook Mystore, your website, or anywhere you have a Nimbit direct-to-fan storefront installed.

When the ticket sales period ends, you will be emailed a will call list of everyone who bought a ticket for the show. Bring that list to the gig and you’re good to go. Lastly, don’t forget bring the venue their cut, or create a split payment for the venue when you set up the tickets.

Don’t have a Nimbit account? Click here to sign up

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Build your Fan Base

A TRUE FAN SUPPORTS YOUR BUSINESS:

Sounds a little crude,  but really — what good is a fan if they are not creating income for you in one way or another? Some fans buy anything you have to sell. Others only buy music and never come out to live shows. And then there is a growing number of fans that only download free music. They are a new breed of fan that need to be embraced in the direct to fan economy. Are these fans buying tickets to see your show? Buying merchandise? Willing to donate to your cause? Try not to get too hooked on exactly what they need to buy from you as long as they are or could be buying something.

Direct Patronage of the Arts

Nothing new or mind shattering here. Direct patronage is a return to an age old concept that makes more sense than ever today. Fans want to support you. They want to give you money and be a small part of your success. There’s no excuse not to set up ways for fans to support you directly and feel involved in your growth as an artist. There’s no excuse not to engage your fans and make sure you communicate your appreciation for their support. It’s not rocket science but it does take a little effort and a plan.

Your mission is to get as many fans as possible to support you in one way or another. We’ve defined support as participating in creating more income for you! So lets look at some approaches to creating fan driven income. Some programs may seem like no brainers and others will hint at where you can go with your own creativity. You know your fans best so you’ll have to apply that knowledge to whatever tools you have, execute programs to engage your fans, create reasons to buy and measure the results. Do not be afraid. Take it one step at a time.

CAPTURING FANS:

Centralize your List

Get your fans and their contact information into one central place. The most benefit will come from centralizing your lists where you can track additional interactions (sales, promos, attendance) with ease.  This is one of the core concepts of the Nimbit platform.

Import all your contacts into a real messaging system. Part of centralizing your lists is getting rid of doubles and getting all of your existing lists into one place.

Get Signup forms or links to signup forms everywhere it makes sense to capture a fan’s interest. Try to have all your forms go to the same system. If all your signups can post to one list, you won’t have to update constantly. From simple email forms to email for track widgets, keep it simple as possible to get all the signups to come into one list. (see the theme here? Make things easy on yourself.)

Give Away Free Music

Remember, Free really isn’t free. You should give away your music in return for some kind of engagement! At its most basic application, get an email in return for free music. Or drive fans to your store to “purchase” a free track. Encourage fans to forward a promotional link that gets the fan AND their friends a free track. Offer “Free” music for purchasing merchandise or a “boxed set” of albums.

Look at Free as a license to engage in a sales pitch with a new fan.

Using Social Networks

Whatever social network you are thriving in, you should make sure you capture a fan’s email address in case you lose your social network page or your social network changes it’s mind about how you can engage your fans. Social networks are great but you eventually need an email address to identify a fan and track their interaction over time. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the viral nature of your social network to launch a free track giveaway link or promotional code that trades free music for an email address. Nimbit makes it easy for you to create different promo codes for different networks so you can track the interest through the response of different social network channels.

CREATING REASONS TO ENGAGE (KEEPING YOUR FANS)

News and Alerts

The most important thing to keep in mind is whether what you have to talk about will be interesting to the audience that you are sending it to. Twitter fans are going to want short bursts of immediate news. Email subscribers might read a story if it’s interesting and engaging.

Contests

Everyone wants to win something! Contests can be for just about anything but the key is to make sure the prize is interesting yet easy to deliver. We’ve seen everything from VIP backstage access to a phone call from the band work as great prizes in contests. Whatever the contest is, it should be as entertaining to know who won as it is to win.

Friends Are Fans Too!

Tell A Friend / Bring A Friend. There is nothing more powerful than the recommendation of music by a friend. Fans fit the most sought after profile of the best sales teams! They are motivated by their emotional tie to your music. So don’t hesitate to engage them in sharing your music with a free promotional link or rewarding them with VIP access or a download card for bringing someone new to your shows.

Reward Good Behavior

Don’t promise bonuses, give rewards. For instance, send everyone who spent more than $10 in your store last month a thank you note with a free download. Whatever you decide to reward them with, try to make it special and feel exclusive. We’ve seen everything from live board recordings to physical VIP access passes as rewards for shopping direct!

CREATE REASONS TO BUY (MAKE YOUR FANS VALUABLE)

Support The Arts

Fans seem to understand this better than they understand that you should pay for music! Strange but true. So make it clear that buying from you directly supports the creation of more of the music they like.

VIP Packages

When you sell direct, you have the opportunity to make that sale very special. First, you are making a direct connection with the customer. Second, you give them exclusive products and bundles that are not available anywhere else! You can’t buy a t-shirt and download bundle on iTunes! So create cool VIP packages and bundles. Change them often. Experiment and see what fans are willing to pay. We’ve seen everything from Signed CDs to VIP access sold at a premium with great success.  VIP packages can be changed often and give fans reasons to buy directly from you. Why buy a ticket from Ticketmaster if you are offering a Ticket bundled with VIP access after the show, special seating and some live digital downloads? (you make a premium and the fan gets a new level of engagement.

Unique To Buying Directly From YOU!

I can’t overemphasize how important it is to make your direct to fan storefront a better deal all around. Offering better products through bundling, better pricing and more choices will engage fans to choose your store as the place to shop. Don’t expect to sell direct if you are pushing iTunes and selling your music at a higher price than iTunes or Amazon MP3. Packaging bonus tracks with your Album, giving a compelling price and emphasizing that buying direct is supporting the artist are all compelling reasons to engage.

It May Not Be About Buying the Music

A fan that shows up at a gig is as valuable as a fan that buys music but never shows up to a gig! So don’t discount the fans that don’t buy music. Take all the folks who you know consume your free giveaways and offer them a great deal on VIP tickets or Merchandise. Have download cards that you only give away at shows so that you can track which fans are actually coming to gigs. As long as they are paying a cover charge, they are supporting you!

MEASURE AND DO IT AGAIN (FANS ARE A SCIENCE)

Confirm Your Hunch

It’s difficult to know you had a good marketing idea if you don’t have a way to measure it. It’s not that hard. Download cards at shows can give you an idea of how many fans come to shows and care about getting more of your music. Using a promo code to giveaway a track will tell you much of the same info except make it easy to see where on the internet you are getting the best response.

Never Give Up

Don’t be afraid to try things. Put together different levels of packages ranging from free to very pricy. See what sells. Change prices and try again. Sometimes fans don’t connect with a specific track that you giveaway and sometimes they take off like wildfire. The key is to measure what moves and what doesn’t. Look for the clues and try again.

Perfect What Works

Look at how many people read your emails and when they read them.  Believe it or not, 25% or better open rate is good! 10% or better click through on a link is good! If you are doing that well or better, keep messaging. If the open rate goes down, you may be sending too many messages. With Nimbit you can even track what day and time is best to send a message. Use any type of measuring tool you can to get feedback on your marketing.

If something works, by all means repeat it until the approach gets old.  But watch the numbers to avoid oversaturation.

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