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If you are a big fan of widgets like me, you know that finding ones that suit your needs is quite painful. Nothing ever fits just right. Recently, we told you that ReverbNation did a huge update to their site and over the weekend I had time to really look around and was quite impressed. One of the most impressive things that got lost in this huge update was that they updates their widget collection with more options for size, look and overall feel of the widgets. Making their widgets blend more seamlessly into your layouts. Head to your ReverbNation profile and check out all the awesome new widget options.

Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats And Rhymes Video Preview

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A short piece from the documentary "Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes" which takes a look at the roles of gender in rap and hip-hop. Certainly seems like interesting subject matter that is not discussed often enough (at least by those who actually have an inside perspective).

Getting Good At The Art Of Shameless Promotion

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CopyBlogger is one of the best blogs on the net, but most of their posts aren't exactly applicable to musicians lives. That said, they have up another fantastic post about The Art Of Shameless Self-Promotion. A great read for anyone trying to come to grips with what can sometimes feel tacky and uncomfortable.
Many people are obsessed with the idea of "going viral" especially on YouTube. When marketing their music think of this as some sort of way to win at the poker table and clean up with one quick study. If you are one of these people you may want to read the E-Book How To Become Popular On YouTube. This book does a great job of explaining your odds and some of the hurdles before you, before you fool yourself into thinking you know all about this undertaking. Get it here.

The net is abuzz about Google Buzz! As you can see from the above video, Google has decided to go to war with Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, FourSquare and countless other web startups in trying to monopolise your Internet time. The one noticable absence was any way to communicate with music. While we are sure this will add to more music sharing, we are left wondering what the soundtrack to sharing on the net will be???

Ditto Music Now Links To Billboard SoundScan

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In the past we have told you about using Ditto Music to get your music on Spotify. They have now announced the exciting news that their service will register you to be measured by Billboard SoundScan. For more details head here.
BandJob is a great idea that we cant believe didn't happen sooner! I'll let them explain in their own words...

"Band Job is a community where select professional designers, working within the music industry, come to showcase their work. With Band Job you are part of a community of artists. You get to network with those artists, check out great work, message people directly, save your favorite projects, check out job postings, create job postings, and say curse words in the forum! Band Job is a community of professional graphic artists, but it is also a community run by professional graphic artists. We want to keep the caliber of work here top notch, but we don't have the time to approve projects one by one. Our solution was to require users to first receive an artist code before they can post work. This system ensures only professional quality work will make it onto the site."
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were one of those groups that despite not being in heavy rotation through all of their career, were able to pull in crowds the size of many of the biggest bands out there. With a huge cult following the group could sell out large venues to devoted fans year round in their constant touring pace. A few months ago they dropped a new record, their first in 7 years and Nimbit was a big part of the operation. With their large role in helping the band reconnect with fans, they have now shared a good amount of ideas and data behind the project. Check out an awesome read on how to spread the word about a release.
One of the first questions we are asked regularly is how we know so much about the music business? Today Todd, Jackie and I have decided to go public with something we have been doing for a long time. Musformation Services and Consulting is what we have branded the service we have been providing to many artists and labels. Whether it has been strategy, campaigns or web development, we have been coming up with winning ideas for various projects for quite a while. Today, we felt it was time to go past the word of mouth stage and spread the word a bit. Check out our site, where we explain what we do and if you have any questions or need help, we are at your service.
Yesterday, we got a very strong reaction to a post we put up about how the band Gossip Grows on Trees has been giving out Fortune Cookies with a download address to their fans. We got a very insightful tweet from MicControl editor, Jon Ostrow that really said it all, "Instead of a give away the music feels more like a gift." This saying right there is probably one of the most important ideas to get in your head for marketing your music in the future. My head is definitely spinning still. Looking forward to seeing what we all come up with!

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"Let's Get Down To Business" by Gossip Grows On Trees from Gossip Grows On Trees on Vimeo.

Musformation reader Tyler Drake of the band Gossip Grows on Trees, wrote us with a great story of how his band has been using an esoteric promotion method to get more people to check out their music. Here is what they have been doing -

"We were giving out our music for free in exchange for the listener's email address.  It was hosted at our Bandcamp site and we would use our social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., to try and drive traffic to it.  That was working pretty well, but when we played live, there was no way to get the music into people's hands (or in their iPods) because we had no physical product.  During and after our set, we would give the sales pitch and tell people to go and download the songs. It didn't seem to be working, so we came up with a more exciting approach. First, we set up download page of our own which required to email address for the listener. We then had custom fortune cookies made, printed with the url of the download page and a short message from us.  At shows, we would then walk around and hand out the cookies, which gave us an excuse to talk to fans one on one, and get them to sign up for our mailing list.  People were much more receptive and it worked great."

TuneCore Now Servicing The Zune Store

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zunestore.pngLast week TuneCure announced news that they will be servicing the Zune Store. While they have definitely turned out much more exciting things in the past, for those of you who can't wait to get your music on tomorrow's jurassic technology, it is now easy to do!

4319530939_c9bd980444.jpgIn what is by far the first truly essential read of 2010 for anyone who is looking to sell music, TopSpin have posted a blog about many of their findings about how to effectively sell music in 2010. Whether is is explaining how premium offers drive sales or the succes rate of sales conversion through various social networks, this blog post is one you should read twice. 

Inside Gotta Groove Record Pressing

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mzi.ityxvrmx.170x170-75.jpgOne of my favorite things about doing Musformation is hearing real world stories of bands actually being adventurous in their marketing and doing new and interesting things to sell their music. One such case is the band Legitimate Business who was kind enough to detail their experience of releasing their LP for free.

After meeting the band when they recorded the LP with my co-producer Mike Oettinger, I was glad we stayed in touch since they have gone on to make one of the better web designs I have seen and it has been great to watch them achieve growth in their music by being smart. It is great to see bands have a clear strategy on how to grow their fanbase and go about executing it in a smart way. Go download their record and give it a listen while you follow us to the jump and read a great story on the power of free music in today's punk scene and some real number and techniques about what made it work.
mixtapde.jpgYesterday, we wrote an article about how mixtape's can help build you and your scene/crew of friends a bigger following. Subsequently, Musformation's favorite commenter Davey Wavey asked some questions about the subject -

"So how would a mixtape work over the interwebz yo? Ain't it just a playlist of some kind. Spell it out for me LOL. I want to know how to implement this.

I was talking with a friend and he explained to me that he used to be active on the tape trading scene. He's into Metal and I guess the tapes might be of rare rehearsal recordings and gigs plus maybe obscure bands with material never to be reissued.

So there is a passion for this and it still goes on. But how can rock bands to the mixtape thing?"

After the jump we will get into some details.

We love nothing more than hearing about bands being successful after dumping their disease ridden major label bedmates. The NZ based band Mint Girls told Warner Brothers to take a hike and went with smart minded promotional company Music Hy.Pe who have developed some great ideas to promote the bands new EP with some fansourcing. Running three separate competitions utilizing remixes, fan made video and t-shirt designs the group plans to use this to get the word spread about their new release. To read more of the ideas behind it check this out.

A Few Not Obvious Ways To Gain New Fans

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fan_club.jpgThis week the New Music Seminar is taking place in LA. From there the LA Times dispatched a great article on a few ways you can grow your fanbase that you may have not thought of before. Check out some great knowledge including this tidbit.

"Play nice with search engines. So the obvious thing is to get people's email address. One of the less obvious ways to get new fans is to have good [search engine optimization]. Thirty percent of new fans come from emails. But 30% come from Google or Yahoo. It's people who are using search engines to find you. You need to make sure that if people look for you, they will find you.  - Ian Rogers, Topspin"
One of the things that dance and hip hop groups do often is make mixtapes of their friends and other similar artists. Rock bands unfortunately never take of this amazing marketing tool. These days with the Internet's viral abilities it is a crime that bands are not making this mix and posting it on their websites. By getting all of the groups who are also on the mixtape to link it, you help expand your popularity and help everyone involved grow into a more prosperous scene. Taking one hour to get permission to put together one of these mixes and put it together can be a valuable way to promote you, your friends and your local scene. Start something!
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It is no secret that online radio is one of the best ways to promote your music. With services like Pandora, Last.FM, Jango, Blip.FM and other services not only can you get your music before the ears of listeners who like the type of music you make, but you can also get paid for your plays as you begin to dominate the online radio airwaves.

It all comes down to this. As you come down to entering the studio and then recording your songs you are now tasked with one of the most difficult balancing acts ever known to man (ok... well maybe to musicians). We have written countless articles on how to avoid many of the pitfalls many musicians fall into when they go to capture their material. Read on and make something great for us all to hear.

With everyday, as the gatekeepers die and the major labels lose power it becomes more and more about just having a great song. This being the case you better start brushing up on your skills! We have assembled a lot of advice and tools for you to use to write better songs on the other side of this link.

When trying to break your music out of your circle of friends and out to the whole world, you are inevitably going to have to take on the hat of doing some publicity for your own music. As you begin to take on this large task there is numerous bits of advice that you may have overlooked on how to do this effectively. We have assembled numerous articles on how to take over the world of music and get it out there.

Now that you actually have songs recorded you need to get them out to the world to be heard. With every day that passes more and more amazing tools become available for artists to do this without the help of a label. We keep an up to date guide of everything you could ever want to know about what you should do in order to make the right choice on how to get your music out to the world.

Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Tumblr, YouTube all become more and more important everyday (well maybe not Myspace, but contrary to much chatter it is still important to know the most up to date ways to make Myspace feed your other pages). We keep musicians up to date with the most current ways to use all of these social networks to promote your music. If you are not reading our guides to social networks you are missing out on the crucial knowledge of how to promote your music with the most up to date techniques.

What separates the winners and losers is how well you handle playing live and then getting your show on the road. Playing live and touring may seem easy but there are countless pitfalls that one can encounted over time. We show you all the new tricks of the trade as well as wise advice that has been passed down over the years.

Managing a group of people and keeping everyone on the same page and motivated is one of the biggest make or break factors of any sucessful group. There are many emerging tools that can make this easier and we sort through them, all the while dispensing valuable advice on how to deal with your members with minimal chaos.

Getting covered by blogs is fast becoming one of the things that everyone wants to figure out. Sadly, there is not a lot of information out there on how to do just this. We have quite a few articles with the techniques we use to get the bands we work with on to some of the top blogs out there.