I love creative presentations, especially when they involve music. There have been quite a few videos on Youtube with bands playing songs on iPhones and iPads, but none of them really connected with me. I didn’t know the songs and didn’t know the bands, so I didn’t care. This video I saw on Hypebot today connected. Carol of the Bells, Have A Holly Jolly Christmas, and Feliz Navidad sound awesome on iBand instruments! See for yourself:
I love the first day of Apple’s WWDC. This is the day where I geek out while eating lunch, refreshing Macworld as they live blog the keynote address by Steve Jobs and drooling over the latest products. A while back, I wrote about the innovate product from Square that allows you take debit & credit card payments through your iPhone. During today’s keynote, Apple announced a noteworthy iPhone app that could make musicians’ interaction with their audience a bit easier: iMovie for iPhone. Why, you ask? With the iPhone 4, you can shoot 720p HD video and, using iMovie, you can edit the video right on the phone.
So? OK, lets make this a little more real: while driving to your next show, you diligently shoot video for your band’s Youtube channel, but you keep running out of time to upload the video your computer, edit it, and publish it for your fans. So you don’t do it. Now you’ve got all this old footage that’s no longer relevant to your fans weeks later when you finally have the time.
Now imagine the same situation, but using an iPhone 4 with iMovie. You shoot the video, but you edit it right away instead of just staring out the window. By the time you arrive at the venue, you’ve shot, edited, and uploaded a new video blog entry for your fans. You could even create promo videos for that night’s show on the way to the show!
Add this to Square and you have damn good reasons to get an iPhone – just wait until June 24th when the new ones come out!
I just read about a new product coming out early next year that will be a massive help to performing musicians running into an age-old problem. You have an excited fan who really wants to buy your CD, t-shirt, sticker, whatever, but they only have a credit/debit card. For most of us, this means a lost sale. However, this new product, called the Square will remedy this nicely!
The Square is a card-swiper that connects to your iPhone that reads credit and debit cards. It’s from the guy who started Twitter, Jack Dorsey. You don’t have an iPhone? The best part is, this can be used with just about any phone (iPhone and Android phones right now). The website says it can be used with any device with an audio jack, but I doubt your 80′s Walkman will help you much. Even better: one penny from every transaction goes to a charity of your choice, so you can help improve the world and make more merch sales at the same time! So now, your excited fan can swipe their card, confirm the transaction, and head home with piles of your merch!
Supposedly, they will be giving away the Square for free, you’ll just sign up for service. There aren’t many details out there right now, but they say there are no contracts and monthly fees and your customers get an emailed receipt. Many news sources are saying it will work like Paypal, with a per transaction fee. As a touring artist who’s getting ready to print up physical CD’s, this solves a problem before I’ve even had it!
A few years ago, Chris Anderson from Wired wrote an influential book called The Long Tail. Owen Kelly, from the The Indie Digest, put together this great chart showing the Long Tail concept and how it applies to your fans. I’m a sucker for cool graphics, especially ones that use typography in a fun way. My favorite part of this is how he uses each section to describe the fans and where they are in relation to you. The goal is to move everyone into the far left column, true fans. Unfortunately, this is more difficult than ever.
Chris Anderson recently released a book called Free, which explains how “free” works as an economic model. I’m still working my way through it on my iPhone version. I recently read a blog post on Union Square Ventures that stated value comes from scarcity. When information was scarce, it was more valuable. One example: encyclopedias used contain vast amounts of expert-based knowledge and were expensive, but Wikipedia allowed anyone to share their expertise and knowledge and everyone gets it all for free. So information is no longer scarce and, while still useful, it’s not as valuable. What is and always has been scarce is attention. We only have 24 hours in a day, so our attention is more precious and valuable than ever, which is what advertisers have always known and constantly vying for with an ever-increasing amount of annoyance.
Our challenge as artists is to make what we do valuable enough for people to spend some of their precious attention on us. The keys are truly simple: make good music, play it extremely well live, and connect with fans.
I’ve been hearing for months about this music service in Europe called Spotify and how it’s simply amazing. They say it will be the death of the MP3. They say it will rival iTunes. They’ve said that about alot of stuff and none of it came true.
However, I just saw the demo video of the Spotify iPhone app and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. I can see how this will make buying songs obsolete. Why would you store songs on your iPhone when you could just stream them, anywhere, anytime, nearly instantly? Plus, you’re not limited to the songs you own, you get all six million+ songs in their catalog. That doesn’t even mention the fact that you can sync it with your iPhone to play them when you’re not connected to the Internet. I know Elliot Van Buskirk at Wired really likes it. Am I a new believer? Yep, call me converted!
Recent news says that Spotify is coming to the US, but I’m sure our greedy labels and the RIAA will find a way to screw it up and/or make it ridiculously expensive. Let’s also hope that Apple doesn’t get a case of the stupids and reject the app.
Check out this video. You’ll be blown away. I’m thinking this is exactly what The Future of Music described. This IS the future of music. If you’re an artist, you gotta find a way to get your stuff onto Spotify!
I’m a total tech geek and gadget freak. I refresh MacWorld and Engadget every 30 seconds to get the latest pics and tidbit of info when Apple has major announcements. I geeked out when Google recently announcement Google Wave (soo looking forward to using that!). When I found out LA Band The 88 recorded their new single entirely on the iPhone app Four Track, I had to check it out. The results are impressive and the song is really catchy!
So, my fellow artists, if you have an iPhone, you have no excuse for not having recordings of your songs. Four Track is only ten bucks. I use it and it’s well worth the price. You can get The 88′s song, Love Is the Thing, from iTunes, check out the making of video:
Two years ago, I heard the announcement that Apple was planning to release a phone. Having been a Palm phone guy for years, this excited me. I’m a totally Apple fanboy, I admit it. I nearly crapped myself as I read the live bloggers posting pictures of the first iPhone and transcription of Job’s announcements. My wife and I switched to AT&T in anticipation. Unfortunately, the first-gen iPhone was priced out of my reach. A year later, they announced the iPhone 3G. I could easily save up and purchase this one. Right about the time I had the money saved up, I got a job at Belmont, who offered to provide a cell phone for me…and uses AT&T for their service. After some wheeling and dealing, I got my first iPhone. I tried to hide my giddiness as I opened the package and turned it on. I began to find uses for it in my daily work: taking pictures of error messages, downloading to-do apps to keep track of what I had left to work on, etc. I used for personal stuff too: music, pictures from vacation, & addresses for eBay sales. Thus begins my folly.
Saturday, I went to a foreign post office to mail a wah pedal I sold. Not foreign, like in another country (I’m in Nashville for Pete’s sake!), but foreign like, it’s not the one I normally go to, foreign. There was no one in the room when I entered, but I could hear the postal workers jabbering the back. I used their automated machine to print the shipping label, but it requires that you write the sender’s name and address. Woodbine is apparently the ghetto in the burbs because all the pens were missing. So I fetched one from the car and when I got back to the counter, I set the phone down and copied the address. This is where my nightmare begins. I put the pen in my pocket, picked up the package and put in the mail tumbler, and walked out the door. I got in the car and started driving to my parent’s house for my birthday dinner plans when Anna mentioned something about her phone and I panicked, realizing I didn’t have my phone. I immediately threw the car in reverse and zipped back into the parking lot. With my eyes glued on the front door, Anna began calling. No answer. Parking in front of the front door, I ran back inside… no phone anywhere. She kept calling. I didn’t hear any vibrations or her ringtone. Nothing.
We called at least 20 times, sent multiple text messages with offers of cash to return it, begging, pleading – all to no avail. There was only one person in the post office when I returned and I asked him at least twice if he had seen and he said no. The grumpy backroom guy said he didn’t see it in the mail bin (I thought maybe I had dropped in with box by accident). It was just simply gone.
The most horrifying thing about it is that the phone didn’t belong to me. I already had images of my boss screaming at me and sending me home crying over a lost phone and a lost job. By the grace of God, she wasn’t upset. She wasn’t sure I’d get a replacement phone, but there was no yelling, no screaming, not even a red tint to her face. She just called the AT&T rep to check on a replacement. He called back the next day saying there would be no free replacement and the phone would be full price ($600 – ouch!). I work for a specific college too, so the dean would have to pay for it since she paid for the first phone.
Having used an iPhone for two months, it will be difficult to use anything else. Sure, other phones can do all the same stuff, but after driving a Porsche for a while, do you really want to go back to your old Toyota? I haven’t heard the dean’s answer yet, so there’s still hope. If they say no, then I’ll probably have to hold out. If the school provides a cell phone, it would be stupid to pay for another cell.
A few weeks ago I noticed a posting on Craigslist: singer-songwriters wanted to open for experienced producer. Normally, I would ignore such a thing, since it’s probably just some scam, but the gig was taking place at 12th & Porter, one of the prime rock venues here in Nashville. I called and got put on the list of writers that would get 5 minutes each after the producer’s band played their show. For some reason, that night I just didn’t feel up to going down there, so I stayed home and played with new iPhone instead. Turns out, that was a good call. The writer’s portion of the night got cut off because of a knife fight that took place just outside the club, who promptly shut everything down and sent everyone home. I got a call a few days later from the show’s producer apologizing and offering me another slot for a writer’s night to be held later.
They called this week and the show will be October 29th, starting at 8 pm, at the Douglas Corner Cafe. I believe its a 21+ venue and there’s no admission, plus we get to play two songs this time. I saw Brittini Black play there once and could always see myself playing there, so it’ll be fun to be on that stage and rock the house. Hopefully, my friends (and wife…) will come with me!
In case you’re not a big Apple nerd, like me, the new 3G version of the iPhone is rumored to be launched in the next few weeks (June 9th last I read). Along with it, Apple would like to have more content available for it’s iTunes Mobile store that allow users to download music over the cell network directly to their iPhone. Ideally, users would also be able to use these tracks for ringtones. As usual, the major labels are scraping the bottom of the barrel for more profits and demanding that these wireless purchases be more expensive.
I’m with John Gruber on this one, they want more money for files that cost nearly nothing to produce, are hosted on someone else’s servers, using someone else’s network? That’s plain greed, pure and simple. They should take whatever money they can get from recorded music and quit trying to screw everyone like they have for the past 50 years. Get over it. Your time is through. You will not win, we will not let you. The power has been given back to the people and you need to find a way to make money again. Start by giving fans what they want at a price they can afford and you’ll make more money than you can dream. But you need to follow your consumers, not dictate.
I have never liked the idea of subscriptions for music. You pay $x amount per month and you get to play all the music you want. Stop paying, you’re outta luck. It just seems mobster-ish to me, which is par for the course for record labels, but not for Apple. So I’m a little queezy about the idea of iTunes offering the same thing. There seems be a giant void for details, so here are my questions:
- There is something floating around about paying a premium for a player that comes with a lifetime (of the device) of music. Is there a pre-determined lifetime for said premium device – as in, even if it’s still working, the premium expires after x years?
- What happens to that music after the device dies or the premium ends?
- Is this the mobster-esque, pay a fee every month and we’ll provide music. Stop paying and it’s nite-nite time? I hate this idea.
- Will there be DRM if it is the mobster route I also hate this. I was planning to avoid Rhapsody, Napster, and others who force DRM. I wouldn’t buy this and I wouldn’t sell it either.
- Will this work more like eMusic and Limewire, where you pay for a subscription that allows you to download x amount of tunes per month for free and pay per track after that? This one I could go for…