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CMJ Issues NYC Ebola Scare Statement, After Patient Attends Showcase 

image from cdn.cmj.comApprehenshion spread among those attending this week's CMJ Music Marathon, after it was learned that a New York City based doctor who was confirmed to be infected with Ebola had visited Brooklyn nightclub and bowling alley The Gutter the night prior to being admitted to the hospital.  The Gutter is an unofficial CMJ showcase venue. Today, CMJ has issued this statement:

"We have been diligently following the news on Ebola and will continue to be proactive of the situation and circumstances. At this time CMJ will continue on as scheduled and if anything should change we will act accordingly."

More as the story develops...

Spot.IM Gives Social Media Marketing a Facelift  

Spot-im_web_mostpopular02The brainchild of a former TechCrunch Disrupt winner, Spot.IM is demanding the attention of the social media marketing community

Allowing any website to become a social network with two lines of code, the company puts website owners back in the drivers seat by giving them more control over the management and monetization of their site traffic. 

A truly 'everywhere' social network platform, Spot.IM is the first of it's kind. Even in the Beta stage, it's built an impressive user base. The platform is being used by over 1,000 websites and boasts 250,000 registered users. Over 2 million messages were sent last month alone.

“Approximately 20 percent of the messages sent in Spot.IM are private, hence 1 on 1 conversations between individuals that met in those embedded communities are a major part of what we’re seeing.”

Spot-im_web_profilehoverSpot.IM is currently courting investors and zeroing in on a monetization strategy, but they're first focus is improving the platform. 

"In the near term, we are focusing solely on adding more features to enhance the community experience,” say Green and Shoval. “Building a platform for a real-time conversation is a huge achievement, but it’s just the first step. Our larger goal is to focus on building the tools to create complex and multilayered communities.”



PledgeMusic President Shares 9 Proven Direct-to-Fan Strategies 

DtfBy Jayce Varden from the Sonicbids Blog.

One of the most rewarding opportunities for loyal fans in the 21st century is the ability to watch the artists they love create and release music in real time. Invaluable for the artists themselves is learning the process of constructing direct-to-fan strategies that work for both the band members and the public. Now a massive online community of musicians and their supporters, PledgeMusic enables artists of any size to take control of and monetize their artistic process, building connections and forging unprecedented fan engagement. Here are nine tried-and-true tips and best practices from PledgeMusic’s team of campaign managers to help you enhance your own direct-to-fan ideas.

1. Research, budget, then research and budget some more

Understand the true costs of every item and experience you're going to offer, especially the full scope of fulfillment. It's not just postage – it's packaging, protective bubble wrap, and additional non-standard package fees, not to mention the "cost of time." Take into account the percentage the direct-to-fan platform takes, any sales tax that may apply, and the eventual tax on the income you'll be reporting. PledgeMusic has a simple P&L calculator that can generate accurate margins on each item you offer.

2. Develop an irresistible product mix

This varies by fanbase, but here are some interesting stats: 83 percent of what is ordered on PledgeMusic is physical product. The average transaction for 30 percent of our orders, however, is $800. What this means is that fans want both physical product and high-end experiences. Expect volume orders in the $25-100 range. Limit the quantity on high-end items and experiences to preserve exclusivity and add a sense of urgency.

3. Brand consistently across your website and social media

For example, create a custom Facebook cover photo featuring the direct campaign URL and a clear call to action to motivate fans. Use an edited version of the same image with the appropriate changes to fit other platforms. Create a consistent message across all of those social channels. Your voice may be different, but the call to action and value proposition should be consistent. 

4. Be authentic 

Don’t bend your story to fit the desired outcome. Allow your journey to transcend the potential outcome.

5. Exude honesty, integrity, transparency

Give fans up-to-date, transparent info at all times. In the event of delays – and there will be delays – fans will appreciate being in the know.

6. Gamify the strategy for your rollout of exclusives and updates

For example, "When we get to 50 percent, we'll release X," or, "At 75 percent, pledgers can snag this brand new track!"

7. Make it a two-way conversation

Ask for your fans’ direct feedback through surveys and calls to action. For instance, you could share multiple options of artwork and ask fans to vote on the final cover, ask them to help order the track list, or source artwork directly from your fans for a unique video.

8. Stay ahead of the game when it comes to fulfillment

Know your manufacturer's lead times, and how they will impact your shipping dates.

9. Be memorable

It may be a cliché, but it's true: You’ve only got one shot at a first impression.

The overarching theme here is planning and detail. It may seem like a lot of work, but once the campaign is live, the orders start rolling in, and the positive fan reactions start, the connection you'll feel with your fans will be quite inspiring.
Jayce Varden is the president of PledgeMusic.

Image via

You'll Never Guess Which Country Hosts The Most Pirate Sites 


The UK IP Crime Group has released it's annual IP Crime Report. While it showed significant progress was made in the war against online piracy, it also revealed the United States as the host of the most pirate sites across the internet. This news comes as a bit of a surprise since earlier this year, the US-based IIPA pointed fingers at Canada without reservation suggesting they were a 'magnet' for pirate sites. 

The report gives a brief nod to Hollywood-funded industry group FACT, commending them on their instrumental anti-piracy efforts over the past year. FACT remains at the forefront of the internet battle, targeting alleged pirate sites as well as their hosting providers.

“Analysis has shown that the three key countries in which content is hosted are the UK, the USA and Canada. However, Investigating servers located offshore can cause specific problems for FACT’s law enforcement partners,” the report notes.

The chart below, generated from this year's IP Crime Report, suggests that the US has plenty of it's own work to do before shaking a stick at Canada's 2% piece of the pie.




Deezer Acquires Stitcher Adding 35K Talk Shows and Podcasts To Music Platform 

Deezer SticherGlobal music streaming service Deezer is acquiring Stitcher, a talk radio and podcast platform. The combined assets will help Deezer differentiate itself in the increasingly crowded streaming sector by offering consumers one-stop access to 35 million music tracks alongside 35,000 radio shows and podcasts. Deezer says it will continue to support Stitcher's mobile app, where it is the top rated podcast app on Android and the second most popular app on iOS behind iTunes.

Stitcher currently carries eight out of the top ten terrestrial radio shows and features content from over 12,000 content providers, including NPR, BBC, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, This American Life, Marc Maron, CBS Radio News and others which will now also be available within Deeezer.

Deezer Sticher"Almost every music listener listens to some form of talk radio, whether it is news, entertainment or sports," said Daniel Marhely, Founder of Deezer. "We see the ability to deliver better talk streaming solutions in the same way that we are doing in music to super serve the needs of our global audience of 16 million users and growing. The acquisition of Stitcher helps us realize this opportunity."

Major Automative Expansion

The deal also means Deezer is also expanding its automotive partners since Stitcher is already enabled in more than 50 models including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar and Mazda vehicles. Sticerh was also an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto launch partner.

8 Steps to Creating an Effective Sales Promotion Strategy for Your Music  


Sales promotions are short-term incentives intended to stimulate a quick buying response in your target customer. Coupons, one-time exclusive offers, customer loyalty programs, two-for-the-price-of-one discounts, and limited-time prizes with purchase are all examples of sales promotions in the consumer world. 

While it’s true you'll have to give away your music for free to build awareness and help start a buzz, sales promotions can be applied to everything, including merchandise, studio time, music lessons, concert tickets, and more. From choosing the right type of sales promotion that fits your band, to executing your sales promotions tastefully, these eight tips will help you create a strategy that brings light to your products and services and generates healthy sales.

1. Decide on the type of sales promotion that fits your band.

Whether you choose to utilize discount ticket coupons that you allow fans to print out from your website, or you announce a "one-time exclusive offer" to purchase your music at your record release party, remember that you must always stay in sync with the desired image you’d like to project into the marketplace. An anti-capitalistic punk band must obviously use sales promotions very subtly (or not at all), or they might otherwise come across as being phony.

2. Decide on the different media you’ll use to deliver your sales promotion.

Remember that sales promotions can be delivered using internet techniques (email and your personal website), guerrilla marketing techniques (postcards and flyers you hand out to people on the street), direct marketing techniques (brochures you mail), and face-to-face selling techniques (pitches you make to music students and recording clients). The idea is to utilize a couple different mediums to ensure you thoroughly reach your intended audience.

3. Decide exactly when the sales promotion will begin and end.

Sales promotions must have a clearly defined beginning and an end. Will it be just for the night of a show, for two weeks, or for the entire holiday season? Whatever it is, make it very clear. "Urgency" is a key ingredient in sales promotions and in getting your fans to ultimately respond.  

4. Test the sales promotion on a limited number of people.

Before printing a few hundred coupons to send off to your fans, be sure to get some feedback on the words and graphics you use. The idea is to create the most effective promotion that will push your fans’ buttons and get them to take action. Test out your sales promotions on a small sample audience first and make any necessary adjustments. You’ll save time and money.

5. Keep the purpose of your sales promotion clearly in mind.

Be clear on why you're holding a sales promotion and what you’d like to achieve. Is your goal to sell a specific number of units so that you can take your musical act out on the road? Or is it to raise a certain amount of money for your Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaign to produce a live concert that will benefit a charity? Whatever it is, state a very clear objective.    

6. Control the number of promotions you hold.

Remember that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Sending out emails every other week telling people that they can record in your studio at a "one-time specially reduced price" just looks bad. Always be tasteful, truthful, and subtle.

7. Stick to the rules of the promotion.

Don’t be tempted to make an offer that's not in line with the rules of the promotion. Doing this can clearly compromise the integrity of the promotion and even your brand. Stick to your own rules! If you say the promotion ends on December 24, the promotion really needs to end on December 24.

8. Remember that "sales" is not a bad word.

Some people think of marketing as sleazy or pushy. This reaction is usually due to bad past experiences with deceptive advertisements or pushy marketing tactics. But as media critic Douglas Rushkoff said in a PBS special entitled The Persuaders, "Don’t let your marketing show." If you can focus on the creation of products and services that uphold your vision, satisfy fans by giving them what they need, and present your offers in a non-intrusive manner that make fans feel like they're part the process, people won’t even know you’re marketing to them. 

Unless you're just a hobbyist, at some point you have to start generating some type of income from your music. Sales promotions cause fans to take action and help increase your sales. So make no mistake: if you want to make it, you have to market.

bookBobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014). Find the book on Hal Leonard's website under "Trade Books", or Amazon. Signed copies with a special offer are also available at

How To Become a Digital Music Marketing Superhero 

Smm superheroWith album sales on steady decline, being able to convert marketing into monetization is more important than ever. Of course you're pushing promos to social media, ads to targeted websites, and special offers to already engaged fans, but do you know which of those avenues are generating more revenue? GeoRiot's Conversion Score allows you to track the success of each individual campaign through iTunes

Employing time based decay algorithms and the analysis of multiple data sets, GeoRiot takes your web traffic and converts it into a measurable analysis of your marketing success. GeoRiot breaks down the data click for click allowing you to see where you're getting the most engagement and how that engagement scales in relation to your sales. If you're looking to up you're marketing game, GeoRiot should definitely be on your radar. Dig deeper with Jesse Lakes on

"With the conversion score activated Jim found that the band’s website was about 50% more effective than the label’s website in promoting the label.  Further, he found that Twitter was 3X more effective than Facebook while both significantly outperformed YouTube."

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2015 Grammy Nominees To Be Announced Dec 5th With A Twist 

image from www.aceshowbiz.comThe nominees for the 2015 Grammy Awards will be announced by The Recording Academy at a special ceremony on the morning of Dec. 5th.  But one of the most important categories, the coveted album of the year, will be missing. “We’re freshening up, changing this up a little bit and the kickoff for Grammy season will still be getting our nominations out that day, albeit a little differently,” according to Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow.

The nominees for that top prize will not be announced until much later in the day as part of the Academy's new TV special, “A Very GRAMMY Christmas." CBS will air the holiday show at 9 PM EST on Dec 5th featuring performances by Pharrell and Ariana Grande.

The 57th annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS live on Feb. 8th from Los Angeles.

Live Nation And Yahoo Introduce Backstage With Citi Interview Series wit Katie Couric 

image from www.celebrityaccess.comCiti Private Pass, Live Nation Entertainment and Yahoo today announced Backstage with Citi, a new exclusive behind the scenes interview web series on Yahoo Music.

Citi is now an official sponsor of Yahoo Live, a music experience on Yahoo, including the Live Nation Channel which offers fans a live concert everyday for a year. The new series Backstage with Citi is an extension of Citi's long-standing relationship with Live Nation.

For nearly a decade, Citi has offered thousands of live events annually to their cardmembers through the Citi Private Pass program. Now, Citi is offering behind the scenes backstage access available anywhere, anytime and segments of the interview will be exclusively available on for 48 hours before it posts on Yahoo.

"Our customers love the access that we offer across live music and entertainment, and with Backstage with Citi we are able to pull back the curtain even further putting our cardmembers in the room with artists when they sit for a comprehensive interview with one of the nation's top interviewers and on one of the most popular media platforms," said Jennifer Breithaupt, Citi's SVP of Entertainment Marketing. Yahoo News Global Anchor Katie Couric will interview a select number of artists who will be showcased as part of the series, giving Citi card members and music fans a glimpse behind the scenes with in-depth, compelling, interviews with some of the biggest names in music. Yahoo Music editor, Lyndsey Parker will also bring Citi customers up close and personal with some of their favorite entertainers.

"We're thrilled to welcome Citi as a presenter of this unique interview series on Yahoo," said Darin Wolf, Executive Vice President, Live Nation Media & Sponsorships. "Throughout our successful partnership, Citi has shown a commitment to providing its customers extraordinary access to the best musical artists in the world. Backstage with Citi is a natural extension of that commitment, giving fans access to see and hear their favorite artists in perhaps their most comfortable setting -- backstage."

Grammy(R) Award-winning superstar country trio Lady Antebellum will kick off Backstage with Citi when part of their interview with Katie Couric premieres Thursday, October 23 on Citi Private Pass. The band will be discussing their fifth studio album, 747, which was released September 30, 2014 by Capitol Records Nashville. The album captures the speed and spirit of its critically acclaimed live show. O.A.R. will be the second interview, the first with Yahoo Music editor Lyndsey Parker and will premiere in early November.

"Katie is so good about digging in and really asking about the stories that inspire the music -- from the studio to the stage," said Lady A's Hillary Scott. "We always love chatting with her and think it's a fun way to complement the concert experience for the fans!"

Citi offers Citi credit and debit cardmembers access to tickets to thousands of live events annually through Citi Private Pass, the bank's entertainment access program. In 2013, Citi offered cardmembers more than 5,000 music events, ranging from preferred tickets and early access to top concert tours to curated special events with Grammy(R) award-winners and VIP experiences including pre-show performances and Q&A. Last year, Citi sponsored the Rolling Stones' 50 & Counting Tour mobile app. In addition, Citi presented "Katy Perry's: We Can Survive" benefit concert and exclusive cardmember pre-show experience at the famed Hollywood Bowl. Other experiences have featured artists such as Lady Gaga, Band of Horses, John Mayer, Lady Antebellum, and more.  - via Celebrity Access