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Old March 4th, 2003, 11:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
Dustin
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March-"Forging the Metal" column

Hey peeps!

This months "Forging the Metal" column is now online at Appropraite Apocalypse webzine! Feel free to head over and check it out! This months column topic, Know your market? is part 1 of a 2 part subject, so there will more to come in April! Questions, Opinions and critacism welcome!

Also, Sheri (my better half!) recently started as a writter for Appropriate Apocalypse webzine, and will be doing reviews and interviews for the zine. You can check out some of here reviews at the webzine right now under her on-line nickname Worldchanger.

\m/
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Old March 5th, 2003, 12:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Dustin,

Read your column - and liked it very much! It's amazing how many bands and artists don't understand or appreciate their markets. Particulary in the metal genres. The music that we all play in this genre automatically segments us into smaller audiences than the "average" listener. Yet' we all pride ourselves on plating music that is anything but average. That being the case, we should only expect to be able to penetrate those markets (or sub-markets) that match our music styles. We'll never be "rock stars" and should never have expected to.

This fact, however, has a pretty big impact on the financial aspects of writing, recording and performing our music. Obviously, their is a pretty significant cost for instruments, recording time and production, rehearsal space, etc. Given that we probably won't make much money with our music, our costs need to be reflective of that. Or, simple, the best way to make money with our styles of music is to keep costs down while still producing a quality product.

Which brings me to mp3.com. I agree that many people don't use this service properly - thinking that all they have to do is post some tunes and they'll be signed in no time. Like you say in your article, it ain't gonna happen! However, mp3.com can be beneficial if used properly. For instance, my band HEX uses mp3.com as a means of promotion and distribution. On the promotion side, we've done a couple lost cost campaigns on mp3.com, which has resulted in nearly 3000 plays in just a few months. Most of these people would not have been accessible to us without mp3.com, simply because of geographic disbursement. On the distribution side, mp3.com is an easy way for people to download our music and a very low cost way of selling CDs, as there is no up front cost of CD manufacturing because the CDs are not manufactured until a purchase. And, the $4 charge per CD that goes to mp3.com is probably significantly less than what a label would require. Finally, mp3.com is just plain easy.

But, a good marketing strategy involves more than one medium, so we do a bunch of other things, including burning our own CDs that we give away at shows (like ProgPower), solicit web-zines (like Appropriate Apocalypse) to feature us as an unsigned act, and simply spend time promoting our material through community "activity" in forums like ultimatemetal.com and Siesmic Radio. Finally, being accessible to what fews fans you have is really important. We respond to every message emailed or posted on our forum usually within an hour. We also are trying to make it very easy for people to hear our music, using the aforementioned mp3.com, mailing free CDs to people or whatever. As a new band, we think the most important thing we can do is build a following. Then we can start selling CDs. And, then, we can pursue labels.

Anyways, sorry for the long post, but your article really resonated with me. Thanks!
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Old March 6th, 2003, 10:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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While I agree with the point that mp3.com is flawed as a promotional tool and not as effective as physical product, it can help raise awareness through nontraditional media...one of which is message boards.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 07:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
Dustin
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Right on!

Wow! Thanks for the feedback you guys! you rock! I wasn't sure anyone actually read my rants!

It's good to know you guys (boB) are beating down doors and "working" to get your material (physical & non-physical ) to the metal fans. Most bands (and this applys to ANY style band) that are independant, looking to sign or at least get their name/product out, don't use the right channels, or all the channels available to do so... and are either to proud to ask for help, or think they know everything about what needs to be done, and get pissed when any advice is thrown their way (ugggg..typical of musicans! )
For those that are always open to new ideas and ask questions to the more established bands and others in the biz will find their hard work much more rewarding. It's all trial and error anyway.

As far as my MP3.com opinion goes, it was not written in any way to hammer on any band(s) that uses it's services, in fact I also mentioned it to be a great promotional tool, if not one of the best out there for any unsigned act. BUT... there are those that use ONLY the said site and nothing else. And on a another note that is sure to ruffle some feathers out there.... sadly, MP3.com offers not "quality control" per say, and any tom, dick or harry who thinks they have some kind of musical talent can take their home digital recorder, lay down some tracks and post their music on the site, thus out of 10 bands/artist for eample, only 2 of them will be of actual quality and talent and the rest....are less to be desired. (did that just come out like Simon for A.I.? )

It's funny because I remember reading a post on this a while ago by Vince from the band Prototype on another forum, and up until then, I thought I was the only one that had noticed this problem. Because of this, there is a lot of "junk" that floods the site, and if you are actually browsing for something good to hear, you have to weed through page after page of half-assed artists/bands who have slopped there music together just to find one or two with actual potential. Generally these days, most people are recomended to check out a band on the MP3 website though the likes of message boards, mailing lists and such, and that is how they hear most bands material on the MP3 website (or at least that's how I hear about other indie bands anyway ) This of course is much more logical than the alternative method... but there are still those that will actually brave the massive selection of bands and dive in fishing for something worthwhile.

There are plenty of pro's and just as many con's on the subject... it all comes down to the bands/arists and how they are using the site as well as using other avenues to promote their music and material.

\m/
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Old March 13th, 2003, 10:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, Dustin, I know what you mean about the overall quality of the artists on mp3.com. Usually, I find about 1-2 good bands out of 20. And, some of the bands are so god-awful, I can't fathom why they would put their material up there. Case in point: Damien Storm!
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Old March 15th, 2003, 02:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgbeach
Yeah, Dustin, I know what you mean about the overall quality of the artists on mp3.com. Usually, I find about 1-2 good bands out of 20. And, some of the bands are so god-awful, I can't fathom why they would put their material up there. Case in point: Damien Storm!

are they really that bad? okay... I'll have to check them out now.

We have several from Utah on MP3.com that are in the same boat... but I can't name them as it would be unbecoming of me to do so. Their not bad bands, But take my word on it.. they need a lot of work on their songwritting and some lessons on recording quality, Of course I would rather a label or reviewer tell them that...

\m/
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Old March 20th, 2003, 04:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustin

are they really that bad? okay... I'll have to check them out now.

We have several from Utah on MP3.com that are in the same boat... but I can't name them as it would be unbecoming of me to do so. Their not bad bands, But take my word on it.. they need a lot of work on their songwritting and some lessons on recording quality, Of course I would rather a label or reviewer tell them that...

\m/
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Old March 20th, 2003, 08:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustin

are they really that bad? okay... I'll have to check them out now.

We have several from Utah on MP3.com that are in the same boat... but I can't name them as it would be unbecoming of me to do so. Their not bad bands, But take my word on it.. they need a lot of work on their songwritting and some lessons on recording quality, Of course I would rather a label or reviewer tell them that...

\m/
Dustin

Damien Storm isn't a band, it's a guy who thinks he is the next King Diamond. I think he fails miserably, but who am I to say?

Check him out at www.mp3.com/damien_storm.

Let me know what you think.

Bob
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Old March 20th, 2003, 09:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You got some good points. The thing is that there are quite a few people that do not believe in posting songs on the internet for people to download. In the band I'm in Chris is that person and since it's his songs, then theres not much I can say to change his mind, so that leaves word of mouth promotion and message boards more or less to promote what we do, along with live shows and merchandising. What else would you personally recommend to someone who wont give songs away?
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Old March 21st, 2003, 02:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Potthead
You got some good points. The thing is that there are quite a few people that do not believe in posting songs on the internet for people to download. In the band I'm in Chris is that person and since it's his songs, then theres not much I can say to change his mind, so that leaves word of mouth promotion and message boards more or less to promote what we do, along with live shows and merchandising. What else would you personally recommend to someone who wont give songs away?
hey Steve... you changed your user name! That through me through a loop for a second!

Regardless, you'll need a finished, solid and tangible product to shop the labels, not to mention to get reviews through the media (magazines, webzines ect.), so having the song available that way is unavoidable, BUT... you can still meet half-way on the MP3 debate.

I have found that posting "clips" (about 30 seconds up to 1:00 worth) is a good way to let people here your material without giving away the entire song. It will let prospective fans get a taste of what your band sounds like, and if they like it...will buy into it! Of course this is just my observation, hopefully that works for you!

\m/
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Old March 21st, 2003, 02:41 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That is pretty much what we've done. We added a 55 second clip of a tune to the site. When it comes to interviews and so on, we usually send out at least one song to em to get an idea of what we're about. In this day and age, the downloading thing brings up tons of pros and cons. Personally, I don't lean one way or the other. What I want I either buy or steal (haha), but I know alot of people download and that I believe really does hurt the industry, specially bands such as you guys and Deathead, that are trying to make a name for themselves. It's hard to prove your value when you can download something before it is even released, but on the other hand, it's also a hell of a marketing tool.
Guess this one will be debated for years to come.
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