Derek Sivers’ Incubator of Musician Services

As head of CD Baby, Derek Sivers has been a go-to person on the web and at conferences for musicians looking to learn how to make it in the biz. Having recently sold CD Baby to Discmakers, Derek Sivers has begun work on a bunch of new projects, all with the similar goal of helping artists. They seem to be in the planning stages, but you can go to his website and sign up for announcements and see what he’s got cooking.

Also, you should download a FREE e-copy of his Music Marketing Advice book.

Sell Music Directly from Your Website

Thanks to constant tech innovations, there are now a million ways for the independent artist to distribute music digitally. We’ve looked at services like Tunecore and CDBaby that will get your music to many of the major players in digital music sales. And now there are a bunch of ways for the artist to sell music directly from their websites, and enables fans to do the same, with little to no start-up costs. Awesome.

There’s a good introductory article on this topic by David Rose at Know The Music Biz’s Blog. He did a quick survey of his top 10 bands and found that many of them still don’t allow fans to buy mp3’s directly from their websites, myspace profiles, etc. His point being that this just makes it one step harder for people to become your fans. Sure they can go to iTunes, but you might lose some potential listeners that don’t want to bother loading iTunes, etc.

David points to a few services that will allow artists to set up their own webstores for mp3 downloads. These are: Musicane, Hooka, Easybe, and Nimbit.

I’ve checked these out and listed below are some initial thoughts on each one, based on my own requirements as a musician with very limited resources and not a huge fanbase. Most artists aren’t really going to sell that many downloads, no matter how good the music is. So getting free technology is key to making direct music sales worthwhile.

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Interview with NYC Musicians Meetup Organizer, Part II

Yesterday we began running our interview with Phil Robinson, organizer of the NY Musicians Group meetup.

Here are more of Phil’s insightful comments on marketing music and participating in the NYC music scene…

How long have you been a musician in NYC?

I’ve been a musician in NYC since I moved here five years ago.  However, I spent the first year and a half practicing and writing, so I’ve only really been publicly active for the past 3.5 years.

What music projects are you personally involved in?

I write and perform my own music, both solo and with my rock band, The Bliss Jockeys.  In addition, I’m also an ongoing guitarist for the Jessica Lee Band.  All of these activities are well-represented on my web-site.

Apart from my own direct projects, I run the indie record label, Roomful of Sky Records, and in that capacity, I produce and/or help promote the recordings and shows of our ten artists.

Has the Meetup had a significant impact, professionally and/or personally, on your singer/songwriter career?

Yes.  The Meetup group has enabled a great and supportive community of musicians to come together and stay strong for the past couple of years.  Personally, I’ve formed many mutually beneficial relationships with other musicians which have given me the opportunity to ‘grow by doing’—eg. when you feel safe enough to try things out in front of other people, so that even if you fail miserably, it’s understood as the kind of healthy experimentation that’s part of progress—by having an environment like that, I’ve been able to both expand my skills as well as increase my confidence, all the while very much enjoying the process and forming quality friendships.

The networking aspect of the group has been tremendously beneficial as well—I’ve found all sorts of collaborators, as well as built relationships with venues, rehearsal spaces and studios which have resulted in me having more power to call my own shots as places are more willing to work with you when you have the strength of numbers behind you.

To what extent has the Meetup improved your skills as a musician and songwriter?

First and foremost, I feel that playing regularly with (and for) others has really desensitized me to most of the nervousness that can often be associated with performing or with presenting my ideas to others.  That in itself has enabled me to feel more comfortable to just GO FOR IT whenever I play/sing/write.

It’s like anything else, you take baby steps and take a little risk and it turns out to be OK, and so next time you take a little bit bigger of a risk and, again, it turns out to be OK, so just by participating in an ongoing process of playing over time, you wind up having the opportunity to keep pushing your own envelope.

Playing regularly with others has also helped me to get my mindset ‘off the page’ or ‘out of the head’ and or whatever you want to call it.  What I mean is, when you sit in your room by yourself, you are playing music and it’s a one-way communication.  When you play with other musicians, however, they are creating music simultaneously so it becomes a two-way street; while playing you are also LISTENING– there’s something going on larger than just you, which is the collective creation of everyone in the room.  So, becoming more sensitive to that and becoming more able to allow the simultaneous listening inform what I myself am playing.  That’s the very essence of musicianship, and you only develop that ability by participating in music making with others, and the Meetup has given me a tremendous opportunity to create and participate in many of those kinds of situations on an ongoing basis.
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