The Real Cost of Direct To Fan

Midem posted a concise summary of the direct to fan model. And I like the SlideShare format for sharability (for what would typically be a pdf or doc), though they could have broken up the text a bit and not made the font so small. Best viewed fullscreen.

Apply Obama’s Marketing Strategy

How did Obama do it? Here are five easy steps to a dynamite campaign.

“The market for something to believe in is infinite.” – Macleod

The Rules Of Engagement

  1. Truly believe in your cause. Work harder than anyone for the cause.
  2. Spread the word. Be ready to tell it in 1 word, 10 words, 100 words, simple and powerful, all the time. Know it’s essence and never stray from the core message. Constantly champion the stories of those behind the cause.
  3. Make it urgent. Always be beating the drum for some impending deadline to advance the cause.
  4. Give the power to the people. Let it sell itself. Give them the microphone, the communications tools, the community building tools, the network and get out of the way. Create environments where it flows. Ride the movement with everyone else. Give up control of your movement, open up to THE movement.
  5. Report from the front-line. Hard-working, open, authentic, sharing, available communicators gather supporters by simply participating in our hyper-networked world.

Short and sweet: Believe in your cause, spread the word, make it urgent, power to the people, and report from the front-line.

The Rules of En-J-ment

  1. Truly believe in my cause: Nothing is more important than making and sharing great art, song. This year I need to make a great album, site, and share it with Austin (DC, New York, San Diego…) and the world.
  2. Spread the word: I am a songwriter who cares about lyrics and poetry and uses a palette of folk, funk, soul, jazz, latin, rock and reggae. Everyday J making poetry pop.
  3. Make it urgent: Countdown to the next album: 5 months. It’s been 4 years since my last album and I’ve got scads of unrecorded songs. I’ve been in Austin for 13 years and am almost completely unknown beyond my friends. The time is NOW! Make a great album, show, site. Get on the map in Austin, at the very least.
  4. Give the power to the people: Solicit fan feedback on everything I do. Listen, write, record, perform for them. Create ways for fans to easily share it with their friends.
  5. Report from the front-line: Progress reports all the time from the center of the action.

In a nutshell: Make music, post songs, live for deadlines, share and engage with fans, always be broadcasting cool new stuff. Break!

I’ve got 5 months to make an album and 6 to sell it. I’ve got 8 songs picked for a theme and want it to be a soul album called Folk Dub for its personal funky acoustic beach reggae feel. Songs stripped down to rhythmic essence adorned with funky jazzy bass, guitar, organ, horns, and back-up singers. Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder and Jobim. Manu Chao,  D’Angelo, U2/Eno/Lanois.

  1. I Can See You –  reggae soul
  2. God Has Been Good To Me1 and 2 –  gospel funk
  3. Sat Morn (video) –  funk folk
  4. Mi Estilo Es Tranquilo –  reggae tejano
  5. Un Momento Perfecto – folk samba jazz
  6. Lake Rules  –  reggae kids fun
  7. All The Above –  pop folk rock funk vocal
  8. Speeding1 and 2– reggae folk rock bluegrass
  9. Nobody Knows What It Means – soul pop horns and harmonies
  10. Dub Lub – stone cold reggae jam (needs lyrics?)


Crowd-funding Article in the Statesman

My boss Dave told me last week that a reporter from the Statesman had called inquiring about sources for an article on crowd-funding, and that he’d referred him to me. So I met Barry for an interview, and Deborah for a photoshoot later in the week, and this morning the article is on the frontpage of the business section of the paper: Crowdfunding is the new creative way to finance movies, CDs and more

Standing in Waller Creek - Photo by Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

I was quoted:

“It was the most valuable thing I’ve ever done as a musician,” Molin said. “It made me ask something of my fans. And before I could ask something of my fans, it made me figure out what my value proposition was. … What am I offering, and what are people getting in return?”

Molin, 38, said he realized he needed “to stop looking for new fans and trying to get new people interested; you’ve got 100 people who like you already. Make them happy.”

“This is really part of the whole do-it-yourself, social media promise, which is that you don’t need a record label any longer, you are not waiting to be discovered, you’re not waiting to get picked,” Molin said. “Reject the tyranny of ‘picked’ and pick yourself.”

That last bit about rejecting the tyranny of picked is straight up Seth Godin. Thanks Seth!

Continue reading Crowd-funding Article in the Statesman

Be Audacious, Make Connections

Matt Van Horn

I saw Matt Van Horn speak at SXSWi on how to be audacious enough to build business relationships from nothing. Here are my notes:

  • make a list of your top ten companies and stalk them
  • send quick 2-3 line emails (w/in 48hrs of meeting)
  • mention one unique thing about yourself to help them remember you
  • add them on your social network
  • add value! do some research and thinking about how you can help them
  • get a 1 on 1
  • read Never Eat Alone
  • fit as much info in the subject line as possible, very helpful
  • LinkedIn is great for search (b/c of degrees of separation, FB could kill them if their search did this) and nothing else, don’t use to contact people
  • Twitter is great for @replies for getting on people’s radar, pre-introduction
  • Dunbar’s number says we can only maintain 150 connections, know yours, choose them wisely
  • Major relationship decay occurs after 9 months of not seeing someone so make sure you at least contact important connections every 3-6 months
  • get interesting people together, example: when you visit somewhere, tell all your friends to come to a happy hour and introduce them
  • build a personal board of directors, mentors with whom you keep monthly contact
  • when you go to a conference make a list of 10 must-meet people and find connections, introductions

Gowalla SXSWi Breakthrough

The SXSWi themes this year were mobile and games. The keynote by the SCVNGR kid got me dreaming of how I might use a location based service to augment gigs, possibly in remote settings. My mind has been reeling with ideas for mobile apps and ways to use location to enhance, reward, share, and show what I’m doing musically.

How can I use location based mobile enhancement when I'm playing by a creek?

So I was thrilled to find this panel today, Rockin’ the Check-in: Location Strategies for Musicians, where the Gowalla music dude (@jimcaroll) testified to what a huge, wide open potential there is for collaboration. Here are my notes and some clues for where to begin.

  • develop a custom badge
  • give fans status/rewards for check-ins and more check-ins
  • musicians, indie artists aren’t using LBS, huge potential
  • a few have: Josh Grobin, Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, Better Than Ezra, Old 97’s
  • integrate with Soundcloud and Hipdigital
  • Weezer offered a download for checkin at concert, best price on album, millions of views, chance to win trip to concert
  • OYA – Norwegian Festival that utilized completely (700+)
  • The National offered an album for a checkin at a record store
  • make a map of artist’s favorite places (to play, to see music, to eat, etc.)
  • create an experience (the digital natives expect it)
  • develop using the API, lots of potential for combining available data in cool new ways
  • the MP3 is dead, long live the API!
  • links available at
Gowalla Mural
I need to put some natural settings on Austin's music map. What better way than Austin's own Gowalla?

Narrowing In On A Niche

I’m trying to ask all the hard business questions about where I fit  in the music world. I try to continually remind myself that the goal is to find a niche, and better yet, to define a niche.

The Only One

So here’s the current hypothesis: My niche is palm-tree poetry. Good lyrics, upbeat, laid-back song for enjoying warm weather outside, a sunny day by the water.

What is the need?

I am the anti-dote to fast, frenetic, noisy songs that leave you with nothing: no memorable lines, no sweet melodies. You can’t hear the singer, the lyrics are crap, and there’s too much going on. The need is for classic songwriting, easily heard and understood. The need is for music outside the box, outside noisy venues, outside on a gorgeous day.

What is my answer?

Laid-back literate reggae, roots, and soul music, with horns and backup singers. The message is mystical, thankful, thoughtful and loving.  The answer is for a break from the noise, the job, being inside, being busy. The need is for nature, celebration, community.

Who’s in this space?

  • The international laid-back reggae, soul, folk-rock scene:  Ziggy Marley, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson
  • The local reggae, soul, world/folk scene: Grimy Stiles, Suzanna Choffell, Killer Bees (Papa Mali), Dan Dyer?
  • The outside, outdoors, beach music feel: Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffet,
  • The doodling poet: John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Jason Mraz, Hugh MacLeod, Austin Kleon
  • The local channels: Flamingo Cantina, KUT, KOOP, KGSR, The Chronicle, Flipside

Pressing FOK DUB

Today I turned 38. My birthday wish is to make my second album, FOK DUB. We went into the studio yesterday and laid down some nice drum and bass and we’ll finish up tomorrow.

I’m taking pledges for the next 38 days at Kickstarer from anyone who wants to hear the album and support my music. Check out the video, drawings, and custom art I’m offering. Pledge now for your CD and Tshirt!

Kickstarting “FOK DUB”

Here is the first draft of a video I’m submitting to, to use their service to get the support I need to press my second full-length album, FOK dUb. The video is rough, and has no titles, text, but I think it gets the idea across.

Kickstarter is a brilliant idea that creates an interface for artists and supporters to work directly together. Direct engagement is exactly what I’m always reading I should be doing, and Kickstarter inspired me – with it’s endless catalog of interesting, funded projects – to use it to try to explain to my fans exactly what I’m trying to do and why I need their support in the clearest value proposition possible.

I discovered how much better it feels to ask people to fund a project than to buy a product. I want to believe in it, not feel like I’m bugging people. It’s a better application of the Obama campaign communications code.Fok Dub

I still need to do some creative thinking about what I can offer for various levels of support, but basically I’m going to start with

  • $1 gets you the digital download
  • $5 also gets you the CD
  • $10 also gets you the t-shirt
  • $50 also gets you a custom song
  • $100 also gets you a house concert

I don’t know what the right goal is, but I’m thinking somewhere between $500 and $1000.

Originally conceived of over the last year as “Folk Dub,” I’ve spent this year refining the set and the business behind it, into “fOK DUb,” an acoustic-soul reggae-remixed album of ten songs.

I’ll record the album at Tonehaus and ask fans and friends to remix the tracks, dub-style (or however they want).

There is a funky, syncopated feel and frequent beach/water theme running through the songs below, making them a perfect set to subject to a reggae-remix production.

  1. I Can See You –  reggae soul
  2. Mi Estilo Es Tranquilo –  reggae tejano
  3. Un Momento Perfecto – folk samba jazz
  4. All The Above –  pop folk rock funk vocal
  5. Speeding1 and Speeding2– reggae folk rock bluegrass
  6. God Has Been Good To Me1 and 2 –  gospel funk
  7. Sat Morn (video)
  8. Nobody Knows What It Means – soul pop horns and harmonies
  9. Lake Rules  –  reggae kids fun
  10. Dub Lub – stone cold reggae jam (needs lyrics?)

That’s FoK DuB. Over the next six months I will make an album out of these songs with full band, horns, and backup singers while at the same time asking friends, fans, and the public for feedback and colaboration. As I post songs please make sounds of your own, send to me to remix, or remix yourselves. fOk dUb.