• Copyrights

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention Your band is a business and the product is your music. Protecting both from being used by other parties who could make money on your creativity and hard work is a serious part of the business. Registering for a copyright on your music provides protection from having it used by others without your permission.

    1.What is a copyright anyway?
    A copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for the original works of authors and artists, giving them the rights to their published and unpublished music and other intellectual works. What that means is that as the creators and writers of their original music, a band can keep exclusive rights to their work, including how and where it is distributed, who can distribute it, and who they allow to use it for other purposes. For more details on the purpose of the copyright, see http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf.

    2. Who started the idea of the copyright?
    Actually the first copyright laws were passed in England way back in 1710 with the Statute of Anne. The statute was created to encourage writers to continue their literary contributions by protecting them from others who would steal their works for their own financial gain. England had the good sense to see that by protecting the author’s rights, these talented people would be able to make a living as writers and contribute more works to society.

    Sarge Tip

    If you are interested in the history of the copyright process, check out this link for more info: http://www.copyrighthistory.com/anne.html.

    3.How does a copyright happen?
    Here’s the easy part; you actually have a copyright as soon as you or your band documents original work. The means of documentation can be as simple as writing down the lyrics on a napkin, recording the music in the garage, or the combination of both. Registering your copyright is what proves ownership of the material.

     Here’s where it gets tricky; determining who actually owns the songs. Are they owned by the band as a single entity? Are they owned by the individual contributing band members? Is the recording owned by the producer? What about the sound engineer and the session musicians can they claim ownership in the creative process?


    Sarge Tip

    The band members need to have some conversation and agreement early on in the creative process to decide who will have ownership of the songs. Understand that there are typically two types of copyright that may apply; one for the original music and one for the sound recording. In this article, we are generally referring to sound recordings..

    4. Get prepared for the copyright process


    1. The band determines amongst themselves the ownership (author) of the songs and the recordings.

    2. Establish the “creation” date with the recording process. A “creation” date will be required for your copyright applications.

    3. Be sure to have two master copies for submission to the U.S. Copyright Office. Keep the original master in a safe, secure location. Do not send the original with your copyright application documents.

    Sarge Tip

    Do NOT rely on the “Poor Man’s Copyright”. This is the method that some people believe is as good as actually registering with the U.S. Copyright Office; whereby you mail a copy of the CD to yourself. Remember you already have a copyright once you document your music, but the formal registration is what proves you have the copyright and gives you statutory benefit in case of a dispute.

    5. How to register for a copyright:


    1. The most common way is to register on line at http://www.copyright.gov/.

    2. Complete the Form SR, which can be used to register one song or the entire CD

    3. Pay the registration fee of $35.00

    4. Submit two copies of the recording

    5. Be patient; generally the processing time is 3 to 5 months

    6. Use the copyright symbol, i.e. “copyright © 2002 John Doe”. You do not have to wait until the registration is confirmed by the Copyright Office

    7. Store Copyright paper work in a safe, secure location with your master copy of the recording.

    Read more about the process here: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2013/05/how-to-copyright-your-music/
    If you are serious about your music, and of course you are or you wouldn’t have read this far; you don’t want to wait until your music takes off making money and then find that there are a multitude of entities that can claim rights to the creation of the music and subsequent album sales.  Please note, this article should not be taken as legal advice. This is meant to give you the basics on why copyrighting is so relevant to your band and some resources to find out more about it. We recommend that you seek professional legal counsel before entering into the copyright process.

    Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion

  • Managing Your Band’s Website

    An unsigned band’s website is not quite like a standard small business website where its main keywords are products or services and is the first point of contact for a customer. The band’s main keyword is usually their name and the band’s website is often the second point of contact for the fan, the first point of contact might be a flyer.The differences between a small business website and an unsigned band’s website, highlights the need for an additional promotional effort on behalf of the unsigned band.

    1. Check your site for optimization: Loads fast, looks good, all links work, is useful, is interesting, has purpose, stands out, is interactive, offers easy mailing list sign-up, has a clear privacy policy, CDs are easy to buy/download, has updated newsletters, and has clear navigation.

    2. Your URL should be the band’s name or at least relevant to the band.

    3. Does your HTML coding contain a <DOCTYPE>, <title>, <description>, <keywords>, <content-type>, and <author> META Tag?

    Sarge Tip

    Keep it simple, Stupid! Get rid of: Microsoft’s smart quotes, frames and bollocks JavaScript, loose ampersands and double quotes.

    4. Make sure everything is up to date. Regularly update any news, pictures, show dates, and other changing information on your page.

    5. Make sure spelling and grammar is correct throughout page.

    6. Keep things interesting and appropriate for the audience you are reaching out to with your site.

    7. Create a clear security privacy policy. It’s a revenue helper.

    8. Make sure your site is easily found on top search engines.

    9. Your site should give a special access to your fans that social media sites don’t do. You should have a bio, band updates, mailing list sign-up, song streaming/downloading, calendar with upcoming shows, pictures/videos, merch ordering, etc.

    Sarge Tip

    All downloads, streaming, and online shopping should be as easy and user-friendly as possible for those visiting your site.

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Top 5 Social Media Sites

     

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention In this day in age of ever-expanding social media, many sites seem to gain popularity at an exponential rate, and then become unpopular just as fast. It’s hard to keep up with what your fans might be using to keep updated on their favorite bands. Below, is a list of some of the top most popular sites with a little description and tips for each.

    1. Facebook – Currently commands the lead of popularity with with 900,000,000 monthly active users, you can create a artist/band page that tracks your popularity progress and gives you the option to buy add space to help get the word out about your project. Unfortunately, with growing restrictions and reduction of the view ability of your posts by users, facebook’s trendiness is on the decline.

    2. Twitter – The second most popular site with 310,000,000 monthly active users. It is a simplified version of social media that limits your message (or “tweet”) to 140 characters or less making for a rapid and strait-to-the-point form of communication.

    3. LinkedIn – This site holds the third most popular with 250,000,000 active users. Originally created as a professional networking site, it is very business oriented. It can be a great tool for musicians and those seeking to connect with industry professionals. 

    4. Pinterest – Next on the list with 150,000,000 active users, Pinterest is a more “artsy” kind of social media where you can share collections of ideas through visual bookmarks (or “boards”). Bands can take advantage of this site by helping brand themselves, their merch, and creating funny GIFs that can be shared.

    5. Google Plus+ – Finally, with 120,000,000 active users, Google+ is self described as a “social-layer” that is not simply just another social networking site, but a authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its user. Google+ can be useful to your project because it can organize your following very thoroughly as well as allowing you to live chat with members of your fan base.

    Runner-up sites: There are many other sites out there that can help get the word out to masses of people all around the world. Make sure you take full advantage of what social media has to offer. Some other popular sites are Instagram, Tumblr, and Myspace


    Sarge Tip

    Want to secure your brand on the internet? Check out www.knowem.com. This site allows you to search over 500 popular social media networks, over 150 domain names, and the entire USPTO database to check for the use of your brand, product, or name.

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin

  • Creating a Facebook Event Page

    Facebook can be a very useful resource to promote an event. As you create your “buzz,” you can have constant contact with the people in your network. You can track the daily interactions and build an RSVP list to keep a rough estimate of how many of your ‘internet friends’ plan on attending. In connection with your daily face-to-face marketing experiences, you increase the chances of having a successful event.

    1. Log into the Facebook home page with the email address and password that you are registered with (it’s better to use your artist/band page as oppose to your personal page).

    2. Select “My Events” from the navigation menu. You will be taken to a page with all the events you are currently planning to attend. – Hit the “+ Create Event” button.

    3. Fill in all the details about your event, most importantly, the time and place. You can always edit this later, but try to put in as much details in as you can initially.

    4. Choose the level of access to your event. You can choose to host an “open” event (meaning anyone can attend). This will not restrict anyone from viewing the details and adding themselves to the guest list. If closed (meaning only select individuals may attend), only the time and description is shown to uninvited guests.

    Sarge Tip

    Facebook users can request to be added to the guest list to view the complete event info. A secret event will not appear in search results and will be viewable only by those you invite.

    5. Click the “Create” button to complete your event details.

    6. Upload a photo that represents the event. Use the browse feature to find a photo on your hard drive to upload. – The flyer for the event is sufficient.

    7. Now its time to invite some guests. Select your all your friends on Facebook that you’d like to invite. You can even send emails to people not on Facebook.

    Sarge Tip

    Check back to your event page often to monitor the response of the event. This page can be a useful tool to help with other ventures such as album releases, video releases and coordinating video shoots open to the public.

    8. If you’d like to just invite all your friends at once without having to click on each one of them individually, do a search for a “mass invite plugin” cheat.

    Sarge Tip

    Try not to over-abuse these plugins. Most of their codes are frowned upon by Facebook.

    Compiled by Monty Burton

  • Tips for Press Photos

    Sarge_jokersPAYattention Say “CHEEEEESE!” – If you happen to notice someone with a camera running around the venue during your set snapping photos, there are a few things you should keep in-mind to make sure the photos of you and your band don’t come out looking like blurry and out-of-focus blobs. 

    1. When performing, be sure to ‘pose for the press’ during your first few songs. Members of the press are usually only granted a limited time to get good photos from the restricted area near the stage. Make this time work for you.

    Sarge Tip

    Try not to jump around too much or get too sweaty before the photographer is done snapping shots of you.

    2. Try to introduce yourself to all photographers whom you see take your band’s picture. Get the link to the website where the pictures will be posted so that you can use it for your portfolio.

     

    3. Ensure all photo’s you release to be used in flyers and posters are high-resolution and large in size. (500-800 pixels)

     

    Compiled by Monty Burton

  • Build An Email List

    Email blasts can be a very valuable tool that a band/artist can use to keep their fans updated with pertinent information such as upcoming shows, promotions, or just to say “hey.” But how do you begin to gather these email addresses in the first place? Have no fear! There are a ton of ways! Below are 27 easy tips you can use to grab this marketing info.

    1. Put an offer on the back of your business cards to get people to sign up for your newsletter.

    2. Tradeshows – Bring a clipboard or sign-up book with you to tradeshows and ask for permission to send email to those who sign up.

    3. Include a newsletter sign-up link in your signature of all of your emails.

    4.  Send an opt-in email to your address book asking them to join your list.

    5. Join your local chamber of commerce, email the member list (if it’s opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter.

    6. Host your own event – Art galleries, retail shops, consultants (lunch & learn) can all host an event or party and request attendees to sign up.

    7. Offer a birthday club where you give something special to people who sign up.

    8. Incentivize your employees and street team – Give them $ for collecting VALID email addresses.

    9. Giving something for free like a song download. Make visitors sign up to your opt-in form before you let them download it.

    10. Referrals – Ask you customers and fans to refer you, and in exchange you’ll give them a discount or incentive.

    11. Bouncebacks – Get them back! – Send a postcard or call them asking for their updated email address.

    12. Trade newsletter space with a neighboring business or bands, include a link for their opt-in form and ask them to include yours in their newsletter.

    13. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Make sure you optimize your site for your keywords. You need to be at the top of the natural search when people are looking for your products or services.

    14. Giveaways – Send people something physical and ask for their email address as well as their postal address.

    15. Do you have a postal list without emails? Send them a direct mail offer they can only get if they sign up to your email list.

    16. Include opt-in forms on every page on your site.

    17. Popup windows – When someone attempts to leave your site, pop up a window and ask for the email address.

    18. Include a forward-to-a-friend link in your emails just in case your recipient wants to forward your content to someone they think will find it interesting.

    19. Include a forward-to-a-friend on every page of your site.

    20. Offer a community – Use social media platforms to host them.

    21. Offer “Email only” discounts and don’t use those offers anywhere but email.

    22. Telemarketing and phone networking – If you’ve got people on the phone, don’t hang up until you ask if you can add them to your newsletter.

    23. Put a fishbowl on your merch booth or the local music store and do a weekly prize giveaway of your product – then announce it to your newsletter. Add everyone who put their card in on to your newsletter list.

    24. Include an opt-in form inside your emails for those people who get your email forwarded to them.

    25. Use Facebook – Host your own group and invite people to it, then post new links often. From time to time, post a link to sign up for your newsletter.

    26. Use Facebook and Twitter – Post the hosted link from your newsletter into Linked Items to spread the word.

    27. Use Facebook – Include an opt-in form on your Facebook Fan page.

    Sarge Tip

    For a great email marketing tool, check out MailChimp.com.

    Now get out there and make some connections!

     

    Compiled by Chris Erwin