THINKBAND 10: Bye bye Warner Music PT2 (Welcome Spotify).

As-Metallica-Arrives-on-Spotify-Napster-s-Sean-Parker-Makes-Peace-with-Lars-Ulrich

If last week’s announcement about the split between Metallica and Warner Music wasn’t surprising enough then you are ready to see Napster’s founder and current Spotify partner Sean Parker having a friendly press event along with his new partner Lars Ulrich from Metallica. Yes, Parker and Lars together… pure surrealism

If you are reading this blog I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Just in case you didn’t know Metallica sued Napster for several copyrights infringements back in 2000, a move led by the band’s drummer Lars Ulrich. Not only the band image was damaged by this but their global fanbase turned against them and Lars became one of the most hated guys in the music industry, and memes like the following appeared everywhere…

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But yesterday Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek along with Parker announced their brand new partnership with Metallica which represents the second big strategic move from the band in less than a year (actually in less than a week) so now we can guess why the band split with Warner Music. We all know that copyright licensing can be a real nightmare nowadays and in the end of the only winner is the lawyers’ team.

But apart from avoid losing time and money, what exactly is Spotify going to gain with this partnership? Apart from the obvious (more advertising and memberships to say the less) we can suspect that Spotify will take advantage of the band’s wide catalog, immense global market and diverse psychography to develop strategies that can integrate more and more partnerships in an exponential way (streaming of the band’s never ending tour performances, for example).

So what could be the next big move for Metallica? Looks like the genius musicians turned into brilliant businessmen…

THINKBAND 9: Bye bye Warner Music…

Last week Metallica ended their 28+ year relationship with Warner Music in order to launch their brand new label: Blackened Recordings. This move will allow the band a 100% control over their master recordings, including music and videoclips.

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Even when the label was considered enough with the band’s terms (in 1994 they re-negotiated their contract to please the band’s requirements) it seems that Metallica’s assets are bigger than any offer Warner could give. Behind this strategy is music business mastermind Cliff Burnstein, the responsible to bring the band from the underground stage to the mainstream stardom. Earlier this year Burnstein stated that despite their successful tours the band had more liabilities than ever and needed to expand their business in new and disruptive ways. The time has come and the band started to stay away from the traditional path.

Cliff-Burnstein

Metallica’s first release under their own label will be Quebec Magnetic, a 3D concert movie that will be premiered this monday December 10th. Blackened Recordings will take care of all marketing and promotional activities while the distribution duties will be under Rhino Entertainment and with a licensing deal with Universal Music Group.

Time for Metallica to start being the real masters of puppets.

 

THINKBAND 8: Meet Charlie Parra, the guitar (and social media) wizard.

There’s a lot of unsigned guitar enthusiasts out there with millions of Youtube views, but just a few get the following in say, less than 3 years:

  • Endorsement of one of the most important guitar makers: Kramer Guitars (yes, the guitar brand that Eddie Van Halen used in his early recordings).
  • Endorsement of Laney Amplifiers.
  • Endorsement of EMG pickups (Metallica’s choice)
  • Sign to a major label and start a world tour with one of Canada’s most promising bands: Kobra and the Lotus (discovered by Gene Simmons).
  • Get sold out gigs in USA, Canada and Europe.

This is the story of Charlie Parra, a peruvian guitar player that did all of the above on his own, without a manager but with clear goals.

His strategy was based in engaging his music through social media on a regular basis. Also, his competitive advantage was the skill to play a cover song of almost every style (from Lady Gaga to classical to Peruvian cumbia) but transforming it into metal shredding. Then his solo album was released and was available in almost every music streaming service, iTunes and promo videos for every song with huge success.

Creation, performance, distribution and marketing strategies. All done by a guy that picked up the guitar for the first time because his school psychologist told him that it would help his “lack of concentration issues”.

THINKBAND 7: CONQUER YOUR AUDIENCE.

Why are vikings so cool in the metal scene? The answer might be in Carl Jung’s collective unconscious theory in which he proposed that there’s a common language between every human being throughout the times and places in the world. This language is formed by primitive symbols that go beyond reason, he called them archetypes.
One of these archetypes is the warrior; “a person who shows great vigour, courage or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.”

Amon Amarth is regarded as THE viking metal band despite that many bands included the “viking” thematic many years before them (Bathory, Enslaved and even Manowar). They are one of the most successful metal bands right now with a never ending tour agenda around the world. But it’s not the fact that they were the first ones or not to come with the concept; it’s what they’ve done with it, for example look at the brand experience they set up in their live performances (or battles):

Although there has been quite a few musicians that had developed their brand image and experience in a sensational way more than 40 years ago (Pink Floyd, for example), the challenge comes nowadays that there is too much music to listen and too little time to hear them all. In that sense, Amon Amarth is a really great example of what BRAND EQUITY can do for you. This kind of performance makes their fans to enter into a true catharsis and release emotions in a positive way, giving the band a unique added value that it’s then transformed in record and ticket sales to their loyal fans around the world. They are Amon Amarth fans beyond reason.

To all professional musicians out there: practicing/composing/learning music all day is a GREAT idea. But have you thought about giving your music a concept? Can you describe your music in one UNIQUE word that nobody else could really have or at least its not generic like “soulful”, “inspired”, “aggressive”, “deep” or, to say the least “post-experimental”. None of these terms will really help you. You need to think about this in order to effectively approach to your audience.

THINKBAND 6: Jagermeister delivers!

They are delivering CONSISTENCY, a simple word but hard to reach in the times when if something doesn’t work for a brand it’ll move into the next “big” thing.
Since their debut in 2002 the Jagermeister music tour has delivered the most extreme rock bands out there, from Slayer to Slipknot to Unearth. So, are metal bands selling that well nowadays to keep sponsoring them? The answer is YES. But not because these bands are selling billions of records, but for something they share and that give value to the brand’s equity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“With sales increasing up to 40% per year since 1985, Jägermeister is the most popular drink nobody likes.” Sally Hogsheads concluded on her “How to Fascinate” case study about Jagermeister, she also concluded that this phenomenon was due to 7 fascination triggers of attraction:

MYSTIQUE – Why we’re intrigued by unanswered questions
LUST – Why we’re seduced by the anticipation of pleasure
ALARM – Why we take action at the threat of negative consequences
POWER – Why we focus on people and things that control us
VICE – Why we’re tempted by novelty and “forbidden fruit”
PRESTIGE – Why we fixate on rank and respect
TRUST – Why we’re loyal to reliable options

If you think about it, these triggers are definitely shared with most of the extreme metal bands that take part of the Jagermeister Music Tour. Think of “Angel of death” by Slayer, it’s not just about the combination of visceral lyrics and loud riffs, it has a mystique on it’s own. The same with Korn’s lust and Slipknot’s power. This is not an extreme metal blog -I need one!- but you get the idea. In the end of the day the brand gets the most loyal FANS (not consumers!!) worldwide, just like heavy metal.

Near the end of her case study, the author concludes “Jägermeister has no competition. This brand is irrationally, irresistibly irreplaceable. A category of one.”

Looks like a virgin territory, headbanging entrepreneurs ready?
Jagermusic website:
http://www.jagermusic.com
Lastly, you can find the Sally Hogshead article here:

Thinkband 5: A story to sell.

In ancient times when a plebeian tried to approach the king to ask for something he had to make an offering. This offerings could be slaves, state of the art weapons, land, or just gold. Despite that the plebeian had the opportunity to talk with the king, nothing was taken for granted, it was just a right to talk to the majesty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although it’d be interesting to have some lands for my own negotiation purposes, I’d prefer to talk about a similar story that might interest you as possible band managers: two weeks ago a couple of colleagues and me went to a venue we targeted to show the managers/owners a new startup band that we are promoting called Puerto Argento. We felt more than confident since this band has three conservatory members with undoubtedly quality in terms of musicianship, performance and charisma. I had a well prepared speech to talk about how good they are, the possible negotiation to set up the show, the benefits for the venue and even some small talk to break the ice. What could go wrong?

After waiting for 20 minutes we finally approached to this guy and start talking about business, I spent a few minutes introducing myself and my colleagues, describing the band and talking about how this band could be beneficial for both sides. Although he was paying attention and making eye contact, some problems appeared just when I was starting to describe the band’s musical style. His cellphone rings 3 times in a row, he answers them all, one of the waiters rush to give him a document and two people interrupt my speech with effusive smiles and handshakes. At the end of the conversation he had no idea how the band looked and sounded like, therefore no negotiation could be done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One week later we had our first EPK ready for Puerto Argento so we grabbed an iPad and approached to a similar venue and showed it to the owner. In just seconds he turned off the cellphone ring, called their 2 waitress and said “hey guys, check this out”, then 30 seconds later he whispers to himself “look at the singer, she has a beautiful voice”. He shown immediate interest in booking the band gave me his business card for the follow up coordinations. Now we are closing the deal with really good benefits for this promising band in the long term.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the EPK we used as today’s plebeians:

Thinkband 4: The best ideas come from the most basic questions.

There are quite a few apps and websites that I can’t live without right now, all of them share something in common: they were born from very basic questions that we all ask ourselves everyday. It’s hard to believe that some of these ideas were created just about a couple of years ago (months in some cases). Since you are probably a musician or a music fan I’ll show you a couple of great apps/websites that came from these basic needs.

MUSICIANS
Question: ¿Where can I find a drummer that shares my music taste, live in a nearby area and is available RIGHT NOW?
Idea- Fandalism: gives you the ideal band member in just seconds, you can do the search with lots of relevant filters to match style, area, age, amongst others.


Q: ¿Where can I find REAL backing tracks? (if you are a musician you know what I mean, we all hate midi-based backing tracks)
I: Jammit: gives you the possibility of having the actual songs of your preference by channels, in an exclusive mixing software platform. If you are a musician you’ll love it:

FANS

Q: ¿When is my favourite artist going to play here, in my city? (without having to surf for each artist’s tour)
I- Bandsintown: gives you the chance to track your favourite artists in a one-only step for the first time, then it uses the built in GPS to determine your exact position, giving you the dates, prices and, since it’s integrated with Facebook, you can see which of your friends are also attending the desired gig.

Finally, I’d like to share a few questions that I have right now:

Q: Which bands will open for Fear Factory’s concert here in Valencia? (I did my research and couldn’t find anything about this, as usual for startup bands)
I: A community for bands that are just starting out and are opening for big artists that you are tracking on Bandsintown, so a partnership with them can be convenient for promoting this soon-to-be-wellknown bands.

Q: Am I the only one going to Barcelona to see Steve Vai in December?
I: A Facebook app that detects the friends of your friends that are planning to take a short/long trip to see their favourite artists, so your direct friends can introduce them and have a safe new musical friendship that can last just for the concert or for life.

Q: Where can I find a place to play with my band right now?
I: Yes, Tickstage again, but I still have the same question: thinkband-open-think-tank-for-the-music-industry

What kind of questions do YOU have right now? You may become a successful music entrepreneur soon.

Thinkband 3: Opening for a supergroup (even if your band is just starting out)

Not even an album in the market and an almost unknown Peruvian metal band The Fallen Symmetry is already playing in the same stage with THE multimillion selling metal band from Sweden: Arch Enemy. So how could that happen? I had the chance to interview the vocalist of TFS, the band I managed just a couple of months ago.

Jaime: Hi Gustavo, what’s the secret to play alongside Arch Enemy without even having released any album in the market?

Gustavo: It`s all about hard work and seeking opportunity. You have to be ready when the chance comes knocking at your door. We did not had our album out yet when it happened, but we played some good gigs, we had a pretty professional sounding demo out and we even had a Video of one of the songs of our demo. So, looking back, even if we did not had a official LP out, we did had material and had worked pretty hard for the last year as a band. Now, besides that, I guess there´s a matter of luck too, we were in the right place at the right time. But I guess that´s how things work, as I said before, you have to be ready when the train of opportunity passes by.


J: Your fan is a very special one: you don’t have a big amount of clicks in your Facebook fanpage or Twitter account, but I know your live shows always get packed, what do you think about this?

G: We as a band, exist for just over a year, so we are in the process of building our fan base. The thing about the metal genre is that fans are pretty loyal, they will go out and check out new bands, even if they don´t know you, of course, after that you have to make your thing so they become fans of your band, so they leave the show and go to their houses and look for your fanpage or webpage and stick with you in future shows. It´s a slow and hard road to make a name in the scene, but every show is a wonderful chance to gain more fans, for me, if at least only one person leaves the show in love with the band waiting for the next show, I´m happy.

J: Not so many long ago we did together some PR for the band having El Comercio (Peru’s most important newspaper) with positive reviews about the band’s debut videoclip, what are your plans now?

G: Just work and try to do things right. We are always looking for the next step for the band. We release our first album in a month time, we have 3 shows this month, after that we have the Arch Enemy show and 2 weeks after that, we headline one of the biggest local metal festivals in Lima, so we have no stop until the end of the year. We plan on shooting a video early next year for one of the album singles and then we want to record the band playing the whole album live on a location soon to be picked. so, actually we don´t have a PR plan, we just believe in doing things the best we can, and releasing the best material we can do, and with a little luck, word will pass along. There´s always space in the music business for bands who make a good job, we believe in that.

J: What do you think of festivals? What does Metal Madness mean? Tell us if you see potential of getting it outside Peru.

G: Festivals are always awesome. It´s pretty sweet to share the stage with other bands, listen to them, getting to know great musicians and all the vibe around what a festival represents. It´s also a great chance to bring your music to people who do not know. The Metal Madness Festival is pretty important for us because we along with 3 other bands are the promoters. It´s our way to thank everyone who support and listens to us. We put the best equipment we can, we put on the absolute best conditions we can even if we don´t get the money back. As I said, it´s our way to thank our fans and the people who support us in any and every way. It’s still a very early stage to say we’re gonna export this festival outside Peru but we never close any doors.

J: What does “artist management” means to you? Do you think a manager is a vital part of your business or do you believe more in the DIY culture?

G: Of course it´s super important to have a manager. As a musician, it´s vital to have your head on the music. Nothing else, nothing more. You, as an artist, have to be focused on your craft, that´s a main thing if you want to reach certain level. Of course, in the beginning, it´s not easy and you have to do things for yourself until someone checks you out and wants to take a chance with you, that may take some time, so it´s always very important to know how to move your band in the market until someone wants to do business with you. You have to know how to do things for yourself first, then delegate…

THINKBAND 2: Be a 121 musician and start making money NOW.

If you liked the idea of TICKSTAGE from my last post (https://intermediaries.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/thinkband-open-think-tank-for-the-music-industry) but thought that it would be only possible to reach for rich investors or wealthy entrepreneurs well, this time I’ll be discussing about a very simple idea, affordable for most musicians: 121 strategy to sell your music directly to your client’s needs.

But let’s focus on the problem set first:

PROBLEM

Bands aren’t making (enough) money. The times of playing in big arenas are part of the past. And we all think: wouldn’t it be nice to receive a fair amount of money just like any other job? But wait, what if you start working with your band as a real job? For example, freelance designers work their $·”$ses off to get paid, and they usually start making projects for their friends, relatives and network in general. Now, what if people pay for something they really, really want to hear from you? If you have a band with very TALENTED musicians on board continue reading, if you are not sure GET some good musicians first and continue reading…

IDEA

Some basics to get birth to the idea: people love seeing themselves in multimedia content that is RELEVANT for them, some of these contents are special occasions as birthdays, weddings, welcome parties, you name it. That is no other than creating EXPERIENCE. Now, everyone is talking about brand experience but just a few brands had been able to develop 121 marketing, with name and surname products or campaigns on it. BUT, actually musicians can do it in a very clever, creative way.
So here’s the idea: make your friends your first clients, pick 5 of them and charge $50 to make the song they NEED to accomplish something, for example a guy that wants to apologize to her girlfriend but doesn’t know how, or a girl that just wants to say something but is not sure about how to say it, or even a couple that want to make their recently born baby a very special song. You new clients will have the right to pick the subject and MAYBE some lines for the lyrics, the music should be ENTIRELY yours and your friends should know about it, obviously they have to like the kind of music you are doing. Then you can make multimedia content in Youtube (about 1 day of work with iMovie and some photos or videoclips your clients can facilitate) and the people for whom you made it will take care of getting it viral: they will share it everywhere with everyone.

RESULTS

Now you made $250 for this experiment. In worst cases you’ll feel it’s not your thing but still earned some cash to get new lovely gear. In best cases you’ll find that more and more people is getting into your proposal of custom made music (thanks to viral factors) and you’ll have a lot of work and nice amount of money by the end of the month, that is what it’s all about right?

Note: his is a think tank post series to get your mind outside the box, not a secret formula. This ideas MAY work if you develop them with ideas of your own.

THINKBAND: OPEN THINK TANK FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.

This post series will discuss some ideas to help musicians, music entrepreneurs and managers think outside of the box and take creativity as their main tool. The first post will present is a business idea I had 2 weeks ago that I’d like to share.

TICKSTAGE: YOUR TICKET TO PLAY ONSTAGE

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Problem: musicians beg to play live when they are starting out, even if they have a high quality as performers there are some facts they have to deal when trying to get a deal with a venue:

1-    High costs of a personal manager and booking agent.

2-    No contacts or known network to make a deal with a venue.

3-    Dissonance with the music the venue they are trying to reach (ex: a punk band playing in a jazz club)

4-    No strategic plan on touring, just isolated gigs.

So here’s the idea: create a web portal designed to give musicians the change to play live WHERE they want, WHEN they want and WITH whom they want (5 acts per night), the mechanic is similar to Groupon. Musician’s can register for free on TICKSTAGE and look up for venues to play for a minimum rate (small bands $300) or (mid sized bands ($500), they can filter the area they want to play, the preferred style of music and the day they want to play, charges can apply depending on the day chosen (weekend, holidays, etc).

Also, they can taylor make a TOUR PLAN for a flat rate, strategic planning for this service is free when signing for 10 or more gigs (ex: local tour, 10 concerts for $2000, the band will have $1000 in return from TICKSTAGE if the past concerts had 50% of positive reviews from the venues).

TICKSTAGE can start by building a 50+ database with local venues, first local, then regional, then global. These venues will benefit by getting their night spaced filled up every day, with the band’s payment in advance. The venues could have the right to pre-select each band without having to actually listen then, TICKSTAGE could confirm the band’s quality by giving 4 or 5 stars, 3 stars or less will depend on the venue’s taste. 90% of the band’s payment will go to the venues, while 10% will go to TICKSTAGE.

COMPETITORS

–       Reverbnation/live nation: just promotion, not real deals with venues.

–       Nuevostage: the most similar, but “only a few” get to play, and just in empty spaces (probably w/no people as well –too early, too late-).

–       Girando por Salas: supports bands that want to play live, but it’s contest-based, just a FEW get the chance to play live.

–       Bands in town: just informative, descriptive, no interaction for bands, just for fans (no room for beginners)

Some basic SWOT to consider:

Strenghts: unique service

Opportunities: thousands of unsigned artists/venues (make exclusivity contracts with them)… hundreds of opinion leaders.

Weakness: initial investment

Threats: big companies could copy this model without giving EVERY band the chance to freely play live wherever they want.

Investors invited…