Archive for the 'internet promotion' Category


The Short of the Long Tail

I’ve been finishing my reading of Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail” recently (bought it a year ago on special, started reading then got sidetracked). I know it’s a bit out of vogue now but I think it still has a lot of valid and valuable arguments and it bats for the hobbyist content creator such as myself.

I’m actually writing this post because of an inspiring round-up of his at the end of chapter 9 where he talks about the ‘dangers of Hitism’ and the cynical mindset that affects society in general regarding the entertainment industry. To give a couple of examples: The belief in society that everyone going into the music industry ‘wants to be a star’, or they’re ‘in it for the money’. The former attitude is further reinforced by the likes of the Idol franchise, and the latter by the image of hiphop stars and producers, and a gleaning through Billboard might not help either.

Does that mean that success in music (i.e. talent etc…) and success in the music business are almost unrelated? Is it all just about a self-indulgent grab for money, fame and attention?

The dangers and tyranny of ‘hitism’ doesn’t mean that people going into the industry are necessarily like that, but that the public perceives it to be so. Anyway, the positive point of the longtail is that many artists can make a comfortable living without being a part of the ‘hits’ culture, through online niches and the wonders of social networking. There are still hits, but the non-hits don’t necessarily mean misses. Since the attention of the mainstream media only has room for a handful of stars like Lady Gaga etc, I still recommend this book for all kinds of content-creators.


My latest cartoon character: “Marketingman”

Just for fun… Even though ‘Rise of Reflux’ first series has ended (my cartoon about a wannabe rockband), I just may put this character in the next series if I continue. My original idea was ‘The Three Marketeers’ but there are already companies around the world using the name, so this is more generic -like ‘Superman’.

But while Superman can defy the odds and do the impossible in the physical world, Marketingman does the impossible in the marketing world, which is what everyone really wants. Who needs a downing plane to be rescued? Who cares about the stranded girl on top of the Empire State Building? Get my product out to the masses! Make my brandname a household name! Let me grab the leading market share! Let my website/song/Youtube video go viral!

Sometimes it seems in the music industry the emphasis is on marketing and promotion rather than a good product (i.e. the music). If the marketing works, and the numbers are impressive, it pretty much defines it as ‘good’ -but depends how long it lasts. People can be like lemmings, they follow whatever seems to be the flavour of the month. But perhaps a good band or act proves it has something special when it grows despite of little or no marketing. Then it doesn’t need Marketingman to do the impossible!


DIY artists on Youtube

When I’m on Youtube I’ll try to follow any ‘DIY’ artists and singer-songwriters that I come across, and the following two seem to have made a lot of impact. The main common feature about them is their hard work and perseverance….

Mary Win -Singersongwriter:

And Alex Chudnovsky -An Australian guitarist.


Success of Susan Boyle

I’m not cynical about the Susan Boyle phenomenon -good luck to her if she can inspire millions of people around the world! But I think her success reflects some things about the nature of music and marketing:

<>The general public wants to listen to classics and familiar tunes, regardless of the genre -and Christmas time is a peak of that.

<> They want to hear it performed well -in fact sensationally, which Susan Boyle has achieved.

<> A good background story  makes a huge difference -Her story was second only to Michael Jackson’s for the year in music:


“Facebook… Killer” article from Guardian (via SMH)

I came across this, but it’s probably all over blogland already… Interesting how Facebook can have such an impact.


And another article about a Facebook “no-good thieving scoundrel“, but no, he’s not in the music industry.



Competitive Musos and the ‘Cottage Songwriter’

With the internet allowing all music to be displayed almost on a level playing field, perhaps music will be more like a big competition, a tournament, if you will. So I suppose you’ve got to be in it to win it, as they say.

I’ve only been in one sports competition in the last few years, and that was a Korean martial art (when I was living in Pusan, Korea). I didn’t get past the first round, but I was somewhat of a hobbyist who practiced a few times a week after work, where as I was up against some pretty fit, competitive uni students. But it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about myself (and how unfit I really was -after 1 minute of sparring in the comp I was breathless).

I guess if you want to make money from your music in the ‘music biz’, you’re either just supernaturally talented and gifted, or you’ll have to be fiercely competitive, hardworking, dedicated (and talented).

Think about sportspeople who make a living: they have to be competitive, hardworking and dedicated, right? These days it seems pro sports has the training and lifestyle down to a science -even knowing when and how to rest for muscle development.

But arts people don’t like to see things that way sometimes, and sure, art is more about self expression, how can it be competitive? But if you watch successful artists, whether they be of paintings, novelists, songwriters, directors or what have you, they usually go the extra mile to come up with something worth the public attention. They’re often visionaries who know that to realize their vision they’ll have to break through a few barriers.

But back to the internet -as songwriters we see things like Myspace and Youtube and they offer ways for us to ‘compete’ in the great online tournament. Sure, for songwriters it’s not an even playing field when major bands have publicity machines and good production behind them, but I think there are also people searching on the internet for something inspirational. I, for one, like to check out the ‘cottage songwriters’, but that’s because I am one. And even if a few hundred or a few thousand listen to your song, that’s a privilege.

And it’s motivating to keep going, to write a song that just might connect with people, or inspire someone to cover it etc… And it’s interesting to see which songs may be more popular compared to others, though on something like Youtube you don’t know if it’s because of the song or the tags etc… But it’s still a great way to get feedback.

Il4 song obscurity


Trouble with social networking revolution…

… is that it can get very distracting.  For DIY musicians how do you divide the time between all your social networking jobs and actually practicing and doing music?  I think it’s better to practice your music first and maintain a minimum presence on the net, updating only when you need to, rather than get distracting by the ‘marketing’ aspect of the net.

If you can provide good music, do something remarkable, write a great song or perform something well, then you can let people online do the recommending for you, rather than be focused on self promotion that sucks precious time needed for developing your own talents.

Il4 social networking curse