This post is a contribution from Mark Montgomery, president of echomusic, a Nashville-based company providing creative and marketing services to a variety of country and acoustic artists. He is also a past President of The Americana Music Association.
The images Mark references in this post can be found at the end of the piece, with image titles corresponding to the figure numbers Mark uses in his text. Click any image to see it enlarged in a new window. You will need to click the (more…) link to see the images.
I am honored that my buddy Brance (and his partner John) asked me to write an installment for Bluegrass Today, so here goes. He told me to “write whatever you want about the business of music,” which gives me a bunch of latitude. So I thought I’d cover something small and practical, and then something a bit larger and more to get you thinking.
On the small and practical side, here’s a little tip when you are putting a piece of product into the market (whether its a commercial release or you are doing some pitching to create a buzz…)
When you are putting music out looking to create interest, make it easy for the folks that are getting the music to check it out. One of the first steps in that process is to register the CD with the CDDB (or gracenote) database. That way, when your target listener gets the disc and puts it in their computer the name of the artist (you), album title and song titles are
all pulled from the CDDB database real time.
LOTS of folks, particularly industry folks and press folks, have computers driving their listening – move it to the computer, then to the iPod. No typing the info in (track listings, artist, title etc.) for the listener, and you want the listener to know who you are, without having to do the work. If you are like me, lots of music listening, particularly new music listening, is done on my iPod – in the car, on the plane, working in the yard, etc., and when I like something, if the info is not at the fingertips, it can be irritating. In a world where competition is stiff, make it easy for your listener!!
Here’s how to do it. One, get iTunes, and put it on your computer. It has an easy interface, and allows you to submit CD track names to the Gracenote database from the “advanced” menu. Once you have iTunes loaded up, you put your promo CD (or new release CD) into the computer and you will get this (figure 1.) You then select all and under the “file” menu, select “get info” (figure 2.) Then fill out the “multiple song info” – this is a shortcut to getting the artist name, album name, composer etc., filled in quickly (see figure 3.) Once this is complete, you will have a list with all the info except the individual song titles (figure 4.) Then select the first song and under file, select “get info” again, and fill in the song title (figure 5) and click the next button until all the songs are entered. Then you will have all the info on the music in, and now you will need to submit to the CDDB database. Under the “advanced” menu, click on “Submit CD Track names,” fill out the final pieces of info, and click OK (figure 6.) After the disc info has been submitted, you will get a message from the Gracenote database (figure 7) confirming your submission.
Das it! Now, when that disc arrives on the desk of a reviewer, or music biz big shot, and they put it in their computer, the work is done for them. They have all the info they need at their fingertips, and if you have other music in iTunes, with one or two clicks, they have access to more of your music! And don”t forget to put your contact info on the disc and insert!!
So, that”s the small and practical (and if that seems daunting, its not once you do it a time or two, it will become second nature…and no one is more responsible for promotion of your music than YOU!) and I think we’ll save the larger and more contemplative entry for the next time I’m asked to fill in…we’ll talk about LiveNation’s (aka ClearChannel) acquisition spree, and what that means for the entertainment business…until next time, be careful out there!