Industry News Courtesy Of Hypbot                   

Are You Psychologically Suited For Success In The Music Industry? 

Greg-savageA recurring theme of business writers is the topic of personal psychology and success. Often this comes in the form of looking at an aggregate sample of successful entrepreneurs, figuring out top psychological traits and saying you need to be this or that personality type to succeed. Yet research into entrepreneurship has repeatedly shown that successful business people have all sorts of personality types. A recent post at Diy Music Biz looks instead at what musicians must do to succeed leaving the door open for a wide range of personality types.

Sure, there are personality types that are unlikely to succeed without family money, for example:

  • the type that always complains when someone charges a fair, sustainable price for an online service because they cannot evaluate actual value;
  • the type that always quits when things get tough whether or not that means they're making progress;
  • the type that's just too nervous or insecure to get on stage or push themselves into the limelight.

But when one flips perspective and looks at success, it's hard to find a common denominator beyond not quitting though quitting is sometimes the best thing to do. In such cases one quits "the right stuff at the right time" so that one can keep moving forward.

Greg Savage's post "5 Traits Of Successful Music Professionals" approaches the topic based more on the things one needs to be able to do which could be accomplished in a variety of ways that take into account one's individual psychological type.

Here's what Savage discusses with my take on each point:

"What Sets Those Who Are Able To Make A Living In Music Apart From Those Who Aren’t"

1. "Willingness To Please The Client"

If you want to be a business success in music, i.e. get other people's money, then you're going to have to please the people whose money you're trying to get.

For some musicians this means studying pop hits and attempting to move in that direction. For others it means finding the audience who cares about what you want to do and connecting with them, even if it's a tiny niche that seems unlikely to lead to a major label signing.

2. "Successful Musicians Are Self Educated"

Savage looks at this topic more from the producer's side, focusing on an example of new equipment with a steep learning curve, but this goes for everybody.

To succeed in the music biz you not only have to keep improving your basic musical and performance skills but you also have to learn how to do your part in the studio, promote yourself online, deal with new business opportunities and so much more.

To some degree this may be the biggest challenge beyond simply becoming a solid musician.

3. "They Position Themselves In Front Of Opportunities"

Successful musicians put themselves in places where they can succeed or can build a base for future success.

Sometimes this means moving to the big city. Other times it means moving to someplace a bit less noisy so that you can be heard. This holds true on the web as well.

4. "Successful Musicians Are Persistent"

Savage discusses the concept of "no meaning not right now" and finding ways to turn people's resistance around.

This point also covers continuing to search for opportunities after the obvious ones have shut you out. If you can't find a fresh way to approach those who say no, doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results is a likely path to failure.

5. "Successful Musicians Take Action"

It's important not to jump into things without taking a solid look at what you're jumping into but, at the end of the day, if you're not predisposed to take action you can always find ways to stall long enough to avoid success.

Don't Let Your Personality Type Hold You Back

It's not your personality type that's going to hold you back, except in extreme examples, it's how you choose to face challenges that matters.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

How To Get Gigs That Make You Money 

How to get gigsGetting and performing gigs is a critical part of any musicians career. Live shows gives you a unique opportunity to interact with your fans and share your music with new audiences. Good faith gigs are great, but paying gigs are better. How do you get the gigs that make you money?

Shaun Letang cracks the code on Join the conversation. Learn when to play free gigs, three alternative ways to make money from gigging, what gigs earn best, and how to get them.

"Some gig types have a few revenue sources you can tap into, while others tend to be hard to make money from. So today I’ll give examples of which gigs you should and shouldn’t get booked for if your main aim is to make money from them."

[Continue Reading]

YouTube Accidentally Reveals Top 1% Of Music Channels In New Google Preferred Lineup 

Google-preferredAs YouTube continues its long disruptive trek to replace broadcast tv, among other things, they've been developing what could be called a hits strategy. They're starting to run tv ads for top creators to reach an even broader audience and they're identifying top channels for "Google Preferred" ad status. Last week Tubefilter uncovered promo materials and the channels that are being identified as the top 1% in their respective verticals including music.

I was surprised to hear that YouTube was running tv ads for creators like Michelle Phan but I would assume that's a short-term tactic not a long-term strategy. In fact, it reminds me more of that phase in the first tech boom when all sorts of computer companies were advertising their wares in newspapers. It helped newspapers but only temporarily.

It's pretty clear that YouTube is a disruptive force in relationship to broadcast tv. As they work their way up from a "good enough" product to whatever the YouTube challenge to tv will end up being, they're taking a lot from the tv industry including participating in Digital Content Newfronts which are the web version of tv's upfront where they lock in advertisers for the upcoming season.

YouTube will again be participating but are giving major advertisers who buy ahead of time more privileged treatment than they've enjoyed in the past.

Part of that process is the creation of the Google Preferred program which identifies a large group of higher quality sites with large followings and original content.


TubeFilter first sniffed out some sizzle reels for such verticals as music identifying an initial cross-section of the preferred channels.

Here are the first channels identified in music:

Hip Hop

Jay Z’s Life + Times
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis


Boyce Avenue
Girls’ Generation
One Direction
Bruno Mars
Ariana Grande


Blake Shelton
Zac Brown Band


Spinnin Records
UKF Dubstep

YouTube then made those sizzle reels private but Tubefilter went on to uncover a group of Google Preferred Lineup channels that identify the top 1% of YouTube channels that are included in the program.

They initially identified this channel as the Music channel but it's actually the "Electronic Dance" (new phrase?) channel that is a subsection of the Music category.

Though I'm certainly no match for Team Tubefilter, I did manage to dig up the Hip Hop channel and I assume there are Pop and Country channels as well featuring the top 1%.

You can check out the top 1% identified on these pages and get a sense of the future of YouTube's whole tail approach which now includes hits, middle tail creators and the long tail of rarely watched uploads.

Perhaps YouTube is less a likely disruptor of broadcast tv than of cable tv. On cable you tend to have a mix of everything from the major broadcast networks to cable-only hits to community television. YouTube's already winning the long tail and the middle tail. Now all they need is to complete the buildout of their hit factory.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

Vube: So How Does A Cover Music Video Site Hit The Top 100 Websites In A Single Year? seems a bit too good to be true. It's a user-generated music video site that features cover songs and monthly cash prizes for those who get the most likes. Vube hit the top 100 global web sites on Alexa in its first year which is quite an accomplishment. Yet it hasn't appeared in any major tech blog nor had I heard about it till this time. I spoke with two co-founders and was very interested in what they had to say. However it left me puzzled about their backstory and searching on the web cast a shadow on the whole enterprise.

One way companies deal with a troubled past is to not discuss it. That works surprisingly well sometimes even in the age of the internet. For example, Russell Simmons, who has had some huge music industry successes also has a long list of failed projects especially in the digital space. Most people don't know that cause those projects get shut down quietly and I was the only person who seemed to write about those failures on a regular basis in the previous decade.

I've given up the role I played in hip hop media. I'm no longer interested in being a watchdog. Unfortunately when a situation like that of Vube presents itself I'm stuck in that position again.

What Is Vube?

Vube itself seems like a good site for those involved. People are getting views and when I spoke with co-founders Scott Perkins and Shawn Boday they portrayed a rich global community of musicians who were getting way more attention than they could get on YouTube.

For some individuals that's said to have already helped them on a local level to get gigs and kickstarted the beginning of careers that just weren't going anywhere previously. However, other than a tweet by one musician, I haven't seen any real evidence of that though it may well be true.

The company was formed in January 2013 and then the site itself went live in April 2013. They got to a top 100 global position on Alexa in a year or less.

Here are some Vube stats I was given by a publicist. Vube has:

nearly 2 million registered users;

over 20 million visitors per day;

and gives away over $55,000 a month.

The site is described in the email I received as a "viral video engine" which is driven by a "global marketing initiative with advertising in hundreds of countries."

But there are also a handful of web discussions making claims about adware (malware delivered through advertising) and a past in the webcam porn industry.

So What's Really Going On With

I didn't raise the webcam porn question in the interview because I'd only seen a passing reference at that point and I hadn't yet figured out the connections to Accretive Technology Group. At that point adware seemed to be the main point of discussion.

I asked the Vube co-founders a fairly general question about comments I'd seen on the web referencing adware and popup ads.

They told me that there had been an adware problem but that had come from a third party in September and had been quashed. And it's true that a lot of what I'm finding on the web clusters around that time.

They also mentioned that all their advertising focused on the artists and that seemed to be the primary way they were driving traffic.

Given that I hadn't dug very deeply, this response seemed reasonable. But because some of the answers hadn't been clear and I hadn't asked the right questions, apparently, I began digging on the web after the interview and found a backstory that they would have been smart to address on their own.

Here's Where Vube Dropped The Ball

Here's the thing. I'm not a journalist or an investigative reporter. The ROI on that kind of work for me is negligible. In fact, it requires so much work that it would push my per-post rates down into the "I might as well start panhandling cause that's a better business model" territory.

And the other thing is that people mostly don't care about the truth. They just want things they can gossip about that confirms their beliefs about the world. That deeply saddens me but I've come to accept it.

So I'm not trying to expose anything here, I'm just trying to sort out the details of something I'd rather leave behind. Perhaps some of this will be useful to others who will take it further.

My interview with the Vube guys was very awkward. It was one of those rare cases where they sat and waited for questions. I've had that happen only 2 or 3 times before in the last 3 or so years.

Typically startup founders have an agenda and they aren't going to wait for my questions to decide what's said though it's almost always done in a very positive way that leads to a productive exchange. This was not that productive an exchange though if I had the right questions they seemed open to giving reasonable straightforward answers.

But they should have told me more. For example, I asked where the $50k+ a month in prizes came from.

I was told they were "internally funded" and that's all they said. That's fine and I didn't push on that because companies that haven't gotten documented funding from outside sources often keep quiet about the details. That's perfectly appropriate.

But that statement didn't match the picture I was erroneously drawing. By the end of the interview I thought I was talking to two coders who were articulate but didn't normally volunteer information because of their personalities and focus on product development.

If it was just two guys in Austin building product that would explain a lot as to why the interview was so awkward. But it left a gap in their backstory. How did they come up with that money?

There's not much about the two individuals Scott Perkins and Shawn Boday except for limited Vube coverage and people talking shit about them online.

Now talking shit online is easy. And people get things wrong all the time and they'll go on and on about their wrong ideas as if it they were arguing over some contentious sports figure while out drinking.

But there is a history here which looks bad as currently presented especially when these guys did not volunteer any information about who they were or their business past. At this point I can't say if they didn't want to talk about it because they mostly just answered my questions.

But if you're interested in digging in, here's a selection of relevant links. I'll let you figure out the connections if you wish:

Webutation: Vube

Who is the owner of

Flying Croc Promotes Its Webcam Sites with Even More Lies and Messenger Spamming

There Were Better Ways For Vube To Handle This

Honestly, if these guys had proactively addressed their history, who they are and what they're doing, I might have written a very different post.

Instead I assume they didn't want any of the backstory to come to light because they do not present much at all about themselves on the web. To be honest, I only encounter such low profiles from people who:

a. - don't know what they're doing,

b. - have something to hide.

These guys know what they're doing. That part is clear.

And that's where I'm going to leave it.

I don't want to investigate further. I don't want to talk to these guys again. And I certainly don't want their publicist trying to put pressure on me after reading this post.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

The Spark Run: Kaskade Announces 5K Run With Glow Necklaces Followed By EDM Concert 

The-spark-runDJ Kaskade yesterday announced an interesting approach to a 5K run that seems influenced by The Color Run. There will be activities at the "pre-run plaza", a 5K run in which costumes and glowsticks are encouraged and a concert to follow. Kaskade will run in the 5K in Denver and perform afterwards. Other U.S. cities will follow though it's unclear who will perform at those locations.

Kaskade took to Tumblr to announce The Spark Run.

Kaskade explains he "had the opportunity to partner up with some friends and create The Spark Run" which he then describes:

"The Spark Run is what in the past people have called a 'fun run'. But we’ve updated this business. We are here to celebrate originality. This run encourages costumes, glowsticks + LED’s. You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy this. Register, show up early, take part in the activities, then walk the 5K with a bunch of friends."

"Obviously (you know me, right?) theres an after-party with live performances. Get down with the community of people who just shared the same experience. And if you are a runner? Get in there! Running at night, on a course like we’re creating is incredibly satisfying."

Kaskade will run and then perform in Denver, May 9. He states:

"We will have the sound loud and lights lit. You will know you’re at the finish line, friend."

It does sound like fun and I don't think it detracts from what Kaskade and company are doing to say that The Spark Run sounds a lot like The Color Run especially if you compare their illustrated maps.

The Spark Run map:


The Color Run map:


The Spark Run sounds like a fun idea and could well be a real business not unlike The Color Run.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

Emmis Communications Takes 40% Stake In Funkmaster Flex's Flexco 

Dj-funkmaster-flexEmmis Communications may be known for radio but they're putting money into a DJ's web and mobile operation. Funkmaster Flex, a well-known hip hop dj at New York's Hot 97 radio station, also runs Flexco which creates websites and mobile apps for other radio stars. Though the exact investment amount is not public, Emmis ends up with 40% of Flexco.

Funkmaster Flex has long been a key player in New York hip hop due largely to his longstanding gig at New York's HOT 97.

Back when I was following his work he was putting out a lot of mixtapes with pay to play spots for artists vying for attention. He also had an ongoing sponsorship from Ford customizing their vehicles for special events and even had his own limited edition Ford Explorer.

One of his many other projects, Flexco, apparently grew out of developing websites and mobile apps for himself and other Hot 97 celeb djs according to the Emmis investment announcement:

"Flex has already launched for Angie Martinez, Afternoon Drive Personality on Hot97, for DJ Enuff on Hot 97 and is working on a digital project for Hot97's morning show personality Ebro Darden."

Funkmaster's Flexco doesn't seem to have a web presence. That may not change given the nature of the deal with Emmis:

"Emmis Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: EMMS) has entered into a joint venture with Flexco, owned by popular Emmis personality Funkmaster Flex, to build a network of owned and operated digital platforms for Emmis' biggest personalities."

Regarding the announced 40% ownership stake, Emmis Communication's multi-hat wearing CFO, COO and Emmis Radio Division President Patrick Walsh stated:

"We're thrilled to invest in Flex's digital assets and work closely with him to continue to innovate in the digital space...Flex has built a successful mobile and online platform that reaches more than 5 million people monthly and he already has started work with other talented Emmis personalities at Hot 97 to expand their digital presence. We expect this partnership to enable us to rapidly expand our digital content offering for our passionate fans and advertisers."

The platform to which Walsh refers includes the Flexco-created In Flex We Trust website and the DJ Funkmaster Flex mobile app (iOS and Android).

Looks like the Android app identifies Mobile Roadie as the creators (see url of Android app) so Flexco may be outsourcing actual development of digital properties.

Let's give the last word to this press release quote from Funkmaster Flex:

"Today's digital world has changed how personalities and DJs interact with listeners and music fans...We must reinvent ourselves to stay relevant and grow. I jumped in feet first to learn what it takes to create an audience online. The partnership with Emmis provides the foundation we need to turn our brands and personalities into a real digital business. The opportunity to share what I have learned is exciting, and our future lives in doing digital with our biggest brands and best personalities."

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

Beatswitch Raises € 250,000 For Concert Music Business Platform 

image from res.cloudinary.comBeatswitch has rasied € 250,000 ($342,000 USD) in seed funding for its concert planning platform. The startup incubated at Antwerp based accelerator Idealabs, who introduced them to investor Strike4 (Engager, Scanadu, Argus Labs). The funds will be used to build out the already launched site. 

PogingCo-founders Gertjan De Wilde and Thomas Van Orshaegen are creating a platform to connect stakeholders in the traditionally tech-resistant live touring sector. Beatswitch is designed as a single business platform for artists,agents and concert bookers to plan, collaborate and work more efficiently. As the booking process progresses BeatSwitch can make suggestions on what action to take when before and during the event. 

SFXE Picks Up Merchandising Co. Perryscope Productions, Takes Tomorrowland 2014 To MTV  

Sfxe-logoSFX Entertainment [SFXE] has announced the acquisition of licensing and merchandising company Perryscope Productions. Team Perryscope will bring their expertise to all of SFXE's operations completing another major piece of the puzzle. Earlier this month MTV revealed they will be broadcasting Tomorrowland 2014, the first time this major festival has been televised. In addition SFXE completed the purchase of React Presents which is responsible for multiple festivals in the Midwest.

SFXE x Perryscope Productions

SFXE's purchase of Perryscope Productions adds a key element to their process of owning every layer of the EDM experience.

Interestingly enough, Perryscope Productions is not an EDM-specific company:

"[Founder Norman] Perry has had an extensive career as both a live event promoter and a pioneer in entertainment merchandising, be it at events or through the sale of a wide array of lifestyles products in online and retail stores around the world."

"Over the years, his clients have included a diverse lineup, including Pink Floyd, Genesis, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Police and the festival that started it all – Woodstock. Perryscope has also represented theatrical properties, including The Who’s Tommy, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark and A Night With Janis Joplin, as well as family shows, such as Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!"

However Perryscope does work with such EDM festivals as Life in Color, Mysteryland, Q-Dance, Sensation and Ultimate Music Experience.

Perryscope isn't just important in terms of handling licensing and merchandising. Given that EDM will ultimately appear everywhere that other genres appear, including on Broadway, understanding those realms will be key to SFXE's longer-term existence.

MTV To Televise Tomorrowland 2014

MTV will be televising Tomorrowland 2014 bringing a major EDM festival to television for the first time in its 10 years of existence.

However the whole thing won't be televised. MTV wil create two 60 minute specials that will premiere in August.

Now SFXE can add tv to its media initiatives which also include radio. Television offers a truly major opportunity for EDM at this stage. And if you're convinced EDM is in bubble territory, you're way ahead of the timeline.

It won't be a bubble till Deadmau5 capitulates and does a reality tv show.

React Presents Purchase Complete

SFXE announced an intent to purchase Midwest festival and concert producer React Presents back in February.

That purchase was officially completed earlier this month.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

What Three Startup Founders Learned About Industry Networking On Their First Trip To SXSW Music 

Toneden-logoWhen I interviewed two of ToneDen's co-founders back in February, they told me they were planning a trip to SXSW to broaden their music industry contacts. So I decided we should touch base afterwards and find out what they learned on their first music industry networking excursion beyond the Bay Area. We finally got the chance to do that last week and to also chat a bit about their new customizable SoundCloud player.

I previously described ToneDen as an for music. But they actually started out with quite a bit more including a single page site designed for fans, a single page EPK for the industry and an analytics feature so that you can keep up with core social media accounts from a ToneDen dashboard.

Now they're adding their own embeddable SoundCloud player to the mix and even open sourcing the code for those who want to take it and do their own thing.

It's designed to give you an alternative to SoundCloud's look. Though it's a tad more complicated right now than embedding one of SoundCloud's players, the option to copy and paste a couple of lines of code into your blog post is not far off.


When I spoke with ToneDen CEO Tim Thimmaiah, CTO Nick Elsbree and CMO Ali Shakeri about the company it turned out that the player doesn't just represent a chance to spread the word about Toneden though it does have an almost hidden link back to the site.

The ToneDen player is designed to be agnostic in all possible ways making it accessible to whatever use musicians wish to make of it. So it's not only intended to be usable across browsers and operating systems but also eventually to include other music services.

And that openness to all with an emphasis on bringing value to the artist is a key aspect of the brand ToneDen wants to build.

So What Did ToneDen's Co-founders Learn At SXSW?

Most of our conversation centered on their trip to SXSW Music. Though they already have strong contacts in electronic music, particuarly with up and comers, and reach out in various ways to others in the music industry, they felt going to SXSW would be a great way to expand their network and introduce ToneDen.

Given that they put their trip together rather last minute, they discovered a key SXSW lesson: Plan Ahead! There's a huge competition for accomodations at SXSW and, from everything I've heard in the past, there are likely plenty of people already booking 2015.

But Team ToneDen did have specific goals going in. Beyond introducing ToneDen they wanted to get an understanding of what people in the industry really needed beyond the up and coming musicians they were working with and to meet more people in the industry especially those associated with larger indie labels and with pr agencies.

SXSW Music also provided an opportunity to meet people that they'd previously only emailed.

They decided not to get wristbands this year having been advised that, for their goals, wristbands would not add enough to the experience to make them cost effective.

Here's What Happened Once They Got There

At SXSW they found the unofficial route worked well for their purposes. They would RSVP beforehand for parties and also get on guest lists if they had a contact.

To focus their efforts, Team ToneDen did such things as attend parties where they would know the most people so it would create a comfortable environment meeting new people. In addition they held informal meetings in spots like hotel lobbies which they found both more personal yet more busines-like than events.

But they also introduced themselves to strangers, for example, when finding themselves standing next to somebody they didn't know they'd simply ask, "So what do you do?"

They quickly discovered that they needed thick skins because no matter how you approach some people they aren't all going to be interested in chatting with strangers. This seemed to especially be the case with people higher up in the industry who didn't have a very public profile.

The upside at such events may be that the pros get to "no" (or to a facial expressive that says "go away") a lot more quickly which actually maximizes your time for those who are interested as I discovered at the MIA Music Summit.

Team ToneDen didn't let that stop them and they ended up meeting people who worked at big labels, artist managers and booking agents whom they would not have otherwise met.

The team shared what they learned in the process including the fact that different encounters required different approaches. Sometimes it seemed more appropriate to take a casual approach. Other times they ended up basically giving an elevator pitch. Technical conversations also arose on occasion.

So they found it important to be open to the moment and to adjust based on what seemed to fit the individual since they were often encountering folks they didn't know.

I asked about meeting well-known individuals who might be swarmed at events and they said that often meant waiting in line or catching them at random moments.

What they realized is that such situations are actually great opportunities to meet professionals at lower levels of visibility who could become solid contacts. In some cases they wished they'd figured that out a bit sooner.

But with SXSW Music there's always next year.


ToneDen Launches For Music With Extra Features For Musicians

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.