Wow! Where Should I Start?
Yesterday was one of the most helpful, informative, and interesting music industry seminars I have ever been too. Ariel Hyatt (Cyber PR) and Michael Whalen put together an amazing group of panels for a free music industry education for today’s business! YOUR MUSIC, YOUR RIGHTS, YOUR CAREER took place January 10th, 2015 at City College of New York from 12 to 6pm. I am so grateful for Ariel & Michael for putting this together. They did an absolutely amazing job. The range of topics were so helpful. They had guest panels that spoke about everything from copyrights to publishing to monetization to marketing/PR/promotion and last but not least fundraising. They could have easily charged for this kind of knowledge for hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I am sure everyone in the audience felt the same way, as the energy was amazing! Everyone clapped and cheered with gratitude and excitement after each panel was complete. Everyone left feeling so empowered!
Conversation as Currency And All The Conversations You Can Be Having
One of my favorite parts of this seminar was when Michael Whalen put creating music into a whole new perspective. He spoke about how you shouldn’t always worry about selling music, and instead you should focus on creating it and, in turn, creating a unique and wonderful experience for those it reaches. He also spoke about the relevance of understanding how people interact with your music telling us how a fan wrote to him saying his mother passed away while listening to his music. I am sure this touched Michael deeply. It really is incredible how music makes a difference in peoples lives.
Another favorite moment of mine was the focus on conversation as currency. Engaging with your audience about various topics is really as valuable as selling a product. The minute you have people talking about you, good or bad, you have their attention, and they are helping bring awareness to your brand. Michael cited various opinions of Madonna on Instagram (good or bad) and how these comments and responses help keep her in the public eye. This view really made me shift my perspective. Some examples Michael gave of conversation currency were social, political, celebrity, spiritual/religious, sexual, fashion, artistic, enlightenment, and many more. From now on, on social media I want to start implementing different conversation currencies into my overall social media marketing strategy. I am grateful to Michael for opening up my eyes about really connecting with my fans/clients in a different way.
PR/Marketing/Promotion. Put The Focus On You!
Another ah-ha moment came from the PR/Marketing/Promotion panel. This lovely panel was moderated by Ariel Hyatt, and featured music promotion leaders Patrice Fehlen (September Gurl), Pamela Workmen (Workman Group Communications) and Jo-Na Williams (The Artist Empowerment Firm). I have to say how inspiring it is to see so many leading women in music on stage! This is extremely empowering to me and makes me believe more and more that it’s possible to become a leader as a woman in the music industry. I learned that when it comes to branding you have to focus on what makes you unique. For example Ariel Hyatt`s team, Cyber PR, turned Darius Lux into a gluten free rockstar! How creative is that? It is not just about your bio, it`s about your story. It is about the message you want to get across. Be different, stand out, tell them something that makes you memorable!
I am a very spiritual and positive person, so I want to try to incorporate my spirituality more into my brand because it really means a lot to me and I feel very strongly about things like law of attraction and following your passion. Now, I could say I am a singer/songwriter who has a dream to be in music, but how boring is that? Everyone could say that! You gotta make your story stand out and be relatable. They said the more you can really be human and emotionally connect with yourself, the better people will relate to your music. The most important thing I got out of that panel was just be you!
Some Of The Little Known Things About Social Media Strategy
I could go on for pages about this panel, but I feel our attention span is so short these days you wouldn’t read the pages I could write. Therefore I will just mention two more things: Ariel Hyatt and Marni Wandner (Sneak Attack Media) did an absolutely amazing job speaking on social media. They are in the top leaders of PR and social media strategy. They taught us the 80/20 rule for social channels, 80% content, 20% promotions. I have to admit this is something I have a challenge with, because I love posting about what I am up to with my business, but after going to this seminar I am going to try harder to fight the urge to post about business all the time and focus more on other conversation currency!
On Facebook, they advised us on the importance of having a personal and business page. With a personal Facebook page you max out at 5,000 people, that is not an invite cap when it comes to getting your music out! They also advise one should focus on 5 themes to post on socials. Some examples could be your favorite city, your favorite sports team, your dog, lyrics you love etc. Be creative, and be interesting. It’s key to posting! Post what you are passionate about and you will go far with grabbing your audience.
Crowdfunding: Creativity and Connection
Benji Rogers (Pledge Music), Kristin Henderson (Antigone Rising) and Aly Tadros (Aly Tadros Music) gave us their incredible advice on crowdfunding. Being an entrepreneur and an artist myself for www.creativespotlights.com, I understand money can be challenging to ask for. But all of these panelists made it sound so fun! For example, Kristin from Antigone Rising spoke about after each show, this all female rock band would sell a personal bra on eBay to raise money – a genius and out of the box idea! They explained how you have to get really creative with it. Another thing Kristin and Antigone Rising created for their crowdfunding campaign was “anything goes” boxes where fans could purchase surprises boxes which could contain anything the band thinks up. They were a huge hit during their Pledge Campaign for Whiskey & Wine Volumes I and II. Another amazing concept I definitely want to use for my future campaign.
Benji from Pledge Music spoke about how there are two approaches to fundraising. You can either approach it like you are asking for money to do xyz, or you could share the experience of making the xyz with the fans and let them buy into being part of the experience. I do agree that the second way is way more appealing!
It’s Not All About the Art!
The final takeaway from YOUR MUSIC, YOUR RIGHTS, YOUR CAREER, was: being a musician is not just about the art. It is also about being your own business person. You must learn as many tricks of the trade and tools as you can. Artists should never rely on anyone else to help them. They have to help themselves first. We all need to become DIY artists and gain as much knowledge as possible. We have no excuse because almost everything we want to know is in a book, a blog, or on a website. And I added The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer to my reading list.
Thank you to all the panelists for the incredible information you left all of us with yesterday. What an amazing new years gift!
About Dani Felt:
Dani Felt is an upcoming singer/songwriter and CEO of Creative Spotlights, a platform to help and support creative talent. She is currently co-writing a book titled: In The Spotlight: Over 100 Voices In Music with her partner and life coach Emily Correa to advice artists about how to be successful in the music industry. Look out for it in the next couple months.