… Its name would be Yowie.
Yowie, a new contender in the live streaming sector, combines some of its competition’s most attractive features to turn the streaming experience into something even more personal for fans.
Ustream, as you may be aware, allows for interaction, but this interaction is text-based; fans can submit questions to an artist (or chat with each other) during a broadcast via the chat window. Chatroulette, on the other hand, brings face-to-face video chatting into the equation. However, there’s no audience - video conversations are limited to you and one other person… And the other person is selected at random… And there is a high likelihood of them being a pervert.
When you begin a broadcast on Yowie, you’re greeted with a very Ustream-like setting: you’re on camera, and your legion of fans is watching. But from there, things can get interesting.
First, you can activate more than one broadcast window at a time. So, let’s say you’re in a duo. If your partner happens to be traveling, but you still want to hold a live stream for fans (and you want him/her to be part of it), you can easily make it happen with Yowie.
Second, and this is the cornerstone of Yowie, you can hold face-to-face video Q&A sessions with multiple fans. Here’s how it works: during the broadcast, fans can type out and submit questions. Whenever there’s a question you like, you can pick the fan who submitted it to appear on camera and ask it to you live.
Third, using Yowie’s media sharer, you can play video and audio content for you audience during the broadcast.
To see Yowie in action, watch this archived video of a broadcast that Neon Hitch recently held. You can also watch the introductory videos on the site’s home page.
Live video streaming has always been on the top of my list of fan-retention techniques, and the features that Yowie brings to the table have the potential to make the connection formed during a broadcast deeper, more personal, and more engaging for fans. While anyone can use Yowie, targeting artists appears to be a significant part of the company’s strategy, and it will be interesting to see how many artists (both emerging and big-name) jump on board, and how exactly they use it. If you have any experience with the service, let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Companies are increasingly using the internet to facilitate online scout networks, empowering communities of young people interested in a certain field to submit their findings for consideration through online portals. Some of these companies use their scout networks to collect and provide intelligence on fashion, sports, and emerging brands. Others are specific to music.
On the music-specific front, Major Label Scout has separated itself from the pack.
The NYC-based A&R consultancy firm, founded by former Arista Records exec Ken Krongard (credited with signing Avril Lavigne), utilizes a network of 200 scouts dispersed across the US, the UK, and Canada to provide recommendations to its major label and publisher partners, as well to find potential management clients. Artists discovered and signed through the company include Jason Reeves (Warner Bros.), Inward Eye (RCA), and Joe Brooks (Lava/Universal Republic).
MLS was the first music company I got involved with. The scout program can almost be viewed as an online internship, and it’s focus on education certainly redefined the way I look at artist evaluation, making me much more selective in judging mainstream viability. In the hopes that some of our readers may be able to get as much from the program as I have, I direct your attention to the following:
MLS is now accepting applicants for the final time this year (click HERE to apply).
Submit, review, and receive feedback on artists. Scouts are each responsible for submitting an artist on a cyclical basis, as well as reviewing artists submitted by fellow scouts. So, in addition to having your submissions considered by MLS for presentation to its clients, you gain critical listening skills. Furthermore, the MLS team provides feedback on your finds, helping you get inside the heads of major labels/publishers and tailor future submissions accordingly. Anyone considering a career in which artist evaluation important (A&R, manager, music supervisor, music journalist, etc.) can benefit from the process.
Receive access to educational materials. First, MLS provides it’s own learning materials on A&R. Second, it has a partnership with Berkleemusic to offer access to content from the school’s music business courses, as well as to videos and articles on career strategies in the music industry. Finally, it gives scouts access to a collection of relevant articles and interviews with industry people from across the web.
Take part in conference calls. Each cycle, a group of scouts gets to take part in a conference call with the experienced MLS team, giving them a chance to ask questions and discuss the industry with people who are in the trenches everyday.
Engage in marketing activities. Every so often, the company launches scout-inclusive marketing initiatives for its artists, great experience for anyone who wants to learn about music marketing. In fact, the company’s creative Facebook marketing campaign for Jason Reeves inspired this Artists House post.
Last December marked the first round of LP33.tv’s Studio Fast Track, a competition that gives emerging artists a shot at personalized marketing support from the site, a financed record with the help of Pledge Music, and an Epiphone prize pack… Oh, winners also receive access to a common denominator in the successes of Madonna, Depeche Mode, and Augustana: mentorship from legendary A&R exec Michael Rosenblatt.
Following a successful first run, the contest is now back for a second installment; visit the Studio Fast Track page for full details.
I caught up with Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Jamie Drake, the contest’s first winner, to reminisce about her Fast Track experience. Having spent the last few months receiving business and creative guidance from the pros, she offered some insights we all can learn from. Here, we discuss the marketing support she received, the online tools she has discovered and found to be the most effective (pay special attention to Music Glue), and what she gleaned from working with Michael Rosenblatt.
Artists House: Give us a brief rundown of where things stood with your career prior to winning this contest.
Jamie: Before I won the Studio Fast Track contest, I had been playing small shows around LA while finishing my first album. I was a little scattered as far goals I needed to set, unorganized as to how to get to where I wanted to go, and was seeking some sort of a boost to push me to the next level of things.
Artists House: A team of people from both LP33 and Pledge Music assisted you with marketing. What were some of the most effective strategies they had you implement to take things to the next level? What did they suggest that perhaps you had never considered before?
Jamie: The interesting thing is that by going through this process, I discovered I am actually a natural marketer. I have my own style of saying things and inviting people into my world; but I wouldn’t have known it without the help from winning Studio Fast Track. The blogs that Michael and I wrote on the LP33 page were a fantastic way to have something viral that’s out there for the world to see and track my progress. We were also featured in shorts together that LP33 made for their site where we would say silly things and act like dorks in front of the camera - which was fun. Benji at Pledge Music had a ton of marketing wisdom to share with me while helping me put together my Pledge campaign and was always there anytime I had a question about how to do updates or track something. When we were setting up prices for incentives on my Pledge profile, I whined about not wanting to make the CDs ‘too expensive.’ He said something along the lines of “people will pay what you think your music is worth,” and I was just like, “Well, alright then” and shut my mouth. He also gave me tons of tips on what sites to use to promote my music from. Meeting him and Colette was like putting three fire starters in a room - we all had ideas flowing and wanted to see how to make something new. Colette and I started up a series called ‘Adventures in Rock’ that has been featured on her blog, www.rockisagirlsbestfriend.com, and we still have many more stories to write.
Artists House: You’ve mentioned that the experience forced you to beef up your online presence. Tell us a bit about what that entailed and which tools are proving to be the most useful.
Jamie: Music Glue is incredible. It’s an online site where you sign up your artist page, upload whatever tracks you’d like to provide for free, and then send out tweets, emails or have a widget set up on your website or myspace where people can click on the ‘free download’ button to get your track(s). All they have to give you in return is their email address. It’s a great way to expand your fan base and hope that they like your music and are cool enough to actually attend a show you tell them about via email. In the past several months I’ve been using Twitter more and more as well and learning that there is a certain time of day and even week to say what you want to say in order for it to be heard.
Artists House: From a creative perspective, how did Michael’s mentorship affect the material you started out with and the way you’ll approach writing and recording in the future?
Jamie: Michael knows the difference between a good song and a great song. Having the guy who discovered The B52s and Madonna in my corner, mentoring me in my songwriting and coming to my shows to watch and listen to my progress has been a complete honor and joy. I’ve been writing for over a decade and I am at a point when I know if something is good or bad. I’ve sent Michael dozens of old and new demos to listen to to see if there is/was any magic inside those good songs. Pushing a song through the Michael Rosenblatt filter might come as a shock to some artists, but like him, I don’t have time for “good” songs. I only want the great ones. And although I may not always agree with him, I appreciate his honesty and I’m lucky enough to have been told by him at least three times: “That is a GREAT song,” and I believe him. From now on, I will be sending songs through the Michael Rosenblatt filter. Always. Even if I don’t listen to his opinion, I want to know what he thinks.
Artists House: What was you biggest takeaway from the experience?
Jamie: The biggest takeaway from this experience is knowing that I’m on the right track. I’m not crazy or wasting my time. It’s been proven that people actually love my music and will buy it. Now all I have to do is mark out the next step.
Special thanks to Jamie for the interview. Be sure to check out her music and stay connected with her in the following places:
Pat Pattison’s resume is impressive to say the least; he developed the curriculum for the first-ever songwriting major, authored three of Berklee’s online writing courses, and wrote Songwriting: Essential Guide to Rhyming and Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure. But if you need more proof that his status as one of the most renowned songwriting teachers in the world is justified, look no further than the videos that follow.
When you’re writing a song, do you think about the emphasis put on prepositions and other “weak” words? How about the fact that you might be letting the song’s rhythm alter the natural shape of the language?
These elements are so subtle that they’re the last thing on many songwriters’ minds. However, in the below videos, Pat dissects a song that falls into common subtle pitfalls and shows just how dramatic the change can be once they’re corrected.
2010 is striking a heady blow to my TV schedule. We had just welcomed the New Year when we learned that the groundbreaking “Ugly Betty” would not be returning for a 5th season. The knife was twisted in even further with news that 24’s exit would be making Monday nights much less suspenseful. I don’t even want to THINK about “Lost” ending in May.
However, one positive has come from this. As I watched the series finale of “Ugly Betty” last Wednesday, I began reminiscing about the scores used in the show over the years. This program had a particularly distinctive atmosphere, thanks in large part to the cheeky, brazen, and often latin-inspired instrumentals that flavored each episode.
Who was responsible for adding this dynamic to the “Betty” brand? Credit goes to three-time Emmy winner Jeff Beal. Having scored several major movies and the popular show “Monk” (in addition to “Ugly Betty”), Beal is one of the most accomplished and in-demand film and TV composers in Hollywood. If there’s anyone to learn the ins and outs of this business from, it’s him. And as it turns out, I found several Jeff Beal interviews that should be of great help to anyone interested in film or TV scoring.
In one of his most comprehensive interviews to date, Beal sat down with Northern Sounds and discussed how he broke into scoring, the typical workflow on a scoring project, his methodology, his advice for aspiring composers, and package deals (a common means of compensation for scorers). You can find the entire interview here: www.northernsounds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14014
But that’s not all.
In this video, he talks about his entrance into the music world and how he came up with the distinctive scores used in “Ugly Betty” (you may want to skip to 5:25).
And here, he discusses the process of scoring the western “Appaloosa,” staring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen.
These days, most of the people you’ll be pitching your work to prefer being sent links to music rather than MP3 files. However, if they like what they hear, they’ll likely want to have it for permanent download so they can listen to it and/or play it for colleagues more readily. And there are a few people who want to be sent files in the first place.
If someone only wants a few files, you can simply send them via email. But if someone wants an entire album (a common request from music writers who are reviewing you), it can be easier and quicker for everyone if a file sharing service is used.
So, I’m here to bring one such service to your attention: Drop.io.
It was recently used to send me an album download, and it’s one of the best options I’ve seen. You can easily make a full album (along with the cover artwork) available for download in zip format. (For album downloads, I find that zip format is often favored by recipients since it automatically creates a folder of properly-sequenced tracks — fast and organized.) If the download is only meant for certain people (industry people, for example), you can opt to password protect it, an option that’s not given by many other services. If, on the other hand, you want to give an album or song(s) away to fans for free, you can also use this service, but opt to make the download public. However, in the later case, you might want to consider an option like Bandcamp.
The Dropio site should cover all the information you need to get set up, but here’s the introductory video to get you started: