Use video forget audio – are you crazy!

Forget audio – are you crazy what is music without audio??? 

This about priorities. Sure audio is always going to be important but if you want to reach your audience as fast as possible is it the best place to start?  

Today Youtube is the number one site for music discovery. It is available in every country and reaches a worldwide community of over 500 million people. Sure the advertising payments are small but the value to an artist is not just the payments. Here is a gold plated opportunity to reach your global audience.

So lets say you have one great song and a number of less stunning songs. What could you do? The options right now are make a very creative unique and viral-worthy video that your audience would dig, OR make an audio album. An album with at least 10 tracks which may take months. What comes first? Video video video.  Remember you need ONE great song and your made, so invest in the front runner before expending your time and money on an album. The album can come later. The pathway to your audience is to create great songs AND great video. And while your getting your Youtube channel set up check out multi-channel operators. They can offer marketing of a bigger offer to their communities and management of advertising revenues. You could be part of that. Remember this a partnership decision – the same as finding the right drummer or guitarist. Work out if it fits your direction, style and values. If so consider signing up. 

Formula for Youtube success:  A great song + A viral video + Great marketing partnership.

The Lowest Common Denominator

Hi folks, music biz advisor and pro musician Mike Fitzsimons here. From time to time I’ll be dropping some new ideas your way to help you with your music careers. Of course The Fan Formula is the best way to move your career on but here’s another thought provoking formula to add to your collection and it may help you get what you want – SUCCESS  and avoid what you don’t want – WASTED TIME.

All you maths heads out there will know what a lowest common denominator is: the smallest whole number that divides into a set of other numbers in a series. So what’s this got to do with a band? For bands it is worth knowing right from the get go who is the lowest common denominator or as I refer to them the LCD. What this means for you is this: who in your band has the least ambition?  and probably does not want the same future as you (even though they may say they do).

What happens if you don’t know? Your band will achieve what the LCD wants – much less than you want – i.e. the lowest outcome. The consequences are frustration and in many cases destructive resentment.

What do you experience?  Some band members don’t pull their weight, don’t want to play the harder gigs, don’t want to improve their playing,  wont rehearse, wont dress in the band style, prefer the comfort of a day job, like to ‘be in a band’ but avoid the real work of creating a lasting long term future. Where will you and your band end up? Probably nowhere.

It happened to a good friend of mine. I shall use a ‘nom de plume’ for him: Raul ‘Mad as Hell’. He joined a local band in 2006 who claimed they wanted to ‘make it’. They said they wanted a record deal, and wanted success. Three years later and after much hard work on the part of Raul generating a following, showcasing at international festivals and being seriously courted by record producers, managers and labels, they split up. At that point it became clear that two members of the band had never had any intention of giving up their daytime careers for music. Sure they loved the music, they loved being in the band but they did not want to do the work, and when the biggest opportunity of their music career came knocking they were gone.

Another musician friend had a similar experience: Frank recruited four new members to his band. Five years later, after three albums the band were getting nowhere. He asked them to work harder and improve their playing ability – they refused – they had other priorities. He left! 

I’m sure you’ll recognise this type of story. The saddest thing is that those who really want to have a serious career are often so pissed at the outcome that they give up too.

Don’t let this happen to you. Get the direction, the ambition and the commitment sorted out right at the beginning. Make sure you are working with the right people and you all want the same thing. Once that’s all agreed then set off. That’s what the fan formula does for you. Even if you have to lose some people at the beginning that’s better than wasting your time pretending you all wanted the same thing when you didn’t. And if you’re already up and running and this formula has set off a light bulb in your head – then challenge the LCD.  If you’re uncomfortable with that and can’t do it right away, then set them a test. If they don’t deliver then time is up for them.

Get the book, download the worksheets, plan the success you want!

Huge increase in sign-ups

screenshotI’m kicking myself because I didn’t take a screenshot of this artist’s website before we started working together to boost his income using The Fan Formula.

He set himself a goal of boosting his income three-fold in three years. We’ve been working together for a year and he is on track. One of the key things we’ve done is to get his website creating more sign-ups. More sign-ups = more income.

This screenshot shows what happened after he made a simple change to his website.

The artist’s name is Chris Casello. He is the best guitarist I have ever seen.

Check out his new and improved website


Strategies for increasing your income

Having a sort out over the Christmas break, I came across some notes from a Music Week conference session with Terry McBride, CEO and one of three founders of the Nettwork Music Group. McBride was talking about ‘Millennials’, a new generation of music fan who have the power to ‘pull’ music. Songs ‘belong’ to them as an emotional memory that they want to share. Consumption is ‘get it when you want it’. Music used to have a scarcity value. Now digital is always available.  Fans do not need to own music. What they value is access.

McBride spoke a lot about strategies to maximise income. His conclusion – create a continuous supply of music to buy, not a piecemeal one album a year, but a track every month. That’s 12 tracks a year with a constant presence rather than one album a year with a short blip then forgotten presence. Versions of songs can generate multiple sales to different fans, including multi-lingual releases (Averil Lavrine: 7.5m downloads of one song, 200 million hits on Youtube). Releasing stems may work for fans who are musical. Use releases to grow your fan base.

But where does scarcity come in? The value is in creating scarcity of access to the artist from loyal super-fan gig tickets to special one off concerts and merchandise and access to ‘backroom’ activities like rehearsals, and songwriting sessions.

Someone in the audience asked McBride for his predictions and observations: brands will sign acts – especially acts that will align their tribe to the brand.

And the year? 2008.

Reflections and visions

It’s still the 31st December here in the UK. A time to reflect on the year that’s coming to a close and look forward to the new year. This is what I find works well for me.

I take a few minutes to write down what I have achieved, what I’ve learnt and what I am grateful for. A couple of weeks ago I met with a few musicians in a local pub and we did this together. It was amazing how long our list of achievements became. I also asked my partner because he often has a different perspective and comes up with things I find difficult to acknowledge or I’d forgotten. So my list got even longer!

So thinking back on last year, it has been a wonderful year. We fulfilled our plan to spend a long time in the States and it was even better than we had imagined. One of the highlights was recording in Studio 19 in Nashville with one of the loveliest artists I have ever met. Another was driving across the Mojave Dessert. On our return I wrote my book and launched The Fan Formula.

I am grateful to you for joining my email list this year and I feel happy knowing I’m helping you achieve the success you want in your music career, whether it’s in a big or small way.

So now I’m sitting here in my kitchen with a cup of coffee imagining what my life will be like in a year’s time. I’m thinking about what have I achieved, what’s going on around me. I’m feeling happy and grateful for the things I have accomplished. I am imaging what these achievements will enable me to do in the future. I’m not worrying about ‘how’ I will get there. I’m just visualising how things will be. I’m make my future a reality now. I’m allowing it to happen.

In the new year I challenge myself to get out there in a much bigger way …

With my very best wishes for the coming year,

Eliza's signature

My son wants a music career

Ellen, single mother of a teenage young man called Ben, saw The Fan Formula and bought it for her son for Christmas. I asked her what motivated her to get it for him.

“Ben has been playing guitar since he was 12. His guitar is attached to him. He plays it all the time. It goes everywhere with us – even on holiday.

Ben is self-taught. He is fiercely independent, clear about what he does and does not want but feels deflated by the music business and pessimistic about realising his dream of having a career as a musician.

To survive he works in a pub and restaurant. I feel like he is hiding and not getting out there with his music. He is a perfectionist and he tinkers a lot. He suffers from a lack of confidence and self-belief.

BenI am 100% behind him but I feel this whole situation is a risk to his creativity and I’m concerned about him. I see him turning things over and over in his head. He exists in a bubble. He feels deflated by the bigness of what he needs to do. He was working with another musician but that’s fallen apart now. He can see his energy and commitment was not matched by his partner. He now wants to meet other like-minded musicians who are as motivated as he is. He wants to make music and sell it but he is still searching for his own voice and how to get it out there.

What he really needs is a framework to work to so his problems don’t feel so huge. Ben likes how-to books so when I saw The Fan Formula has a structured, step-by-step approach I knew it would help him. He doesn’t have to invent it all himself. The book will give him short-cuts and a process to work through.”

I asked Ellen what she wants for her son.

“I want Ben to find other like-minded, passionate musicians to work with. I want to see him perform his songs. Above all I want Ben to feel happy and fulfilled as a musician. I feel certain The Fan Formula can help.”

To get a copy of the book for your son or daughter for Christmas, click here.

Why get your music out there in a big way?

You’re committed to making your music career a success or you wouldn’t be reading this (and I wouldn’t be writing this if I knew I couldn’t help). But all sorts of things get in the way of your success so you feel frustrated. Your frustration makes you look for answers on the internet, in books, from your peers, in magazines, from industry professionals – and that’s what lead you here.

You may be stopping yourself achieving what you want because you are not clear what success really means for you. And that’s because vague goals don’t work. (There are theories to explain why they don’t work but I won’t go into those right now.)

So why has The Fan Formula got the hook line ‘Get your music out there in a big way’? I’ve just told you an achievable goal needs to be specific so why is my hook line so vague? It’s deliberate. Let me explain.

Something you need to know about me is I strongly believe in empowerment. The journey I’ve been on, up to writing this blog today, began many years ago. In my early career I was a lecturer. I used to stand in front of my classes quoting from my lecture notes. I freely admit it was not a good learning experience. Then I did a post grad in action learning and I’ve never looked back. I put away my lecture notes and opened up the whole learning experience by posing real-world problems and working together to find solutions. It was scary but the results were amazing. The solutions we came up with were so much richer for everyone’s contribution and the level of buy-in was huge. What I learnt then set me on a new journey which today strongly influences my values and beliefs. In a nutshell – I firmly believe the answer lies within you, you just need a little help to dig deep and discover your riches.

The more ownership you have of the solution, the greater the likelihood you will succeed – by a long, long way.

So how does someone so focused, goal driven and successful come up with a hook line like ‘get your music out there in a big way’? What does ‘get your music out there’ mean? What does ‘in a big way’ mean?

Get your music out there in a big way means what you want it to mean.

I could not write a one-size-fits-all book or create one-size-fits-all programs* because I know you are unique. It would be wrong of me to assume I know what you want and to deliver solutions to fit my version of what you want. That’s not empowering for you.

My promise to you is, in everything I do, I will help you get super clear about what you want so you can achieve success in your music career, on your terms.

I can help you remove the blocks that come up on your journey. I can help you succeed by giving you tools to draw out your strengths. I can be your sounding board and keep you accountable.

‘Get your music out there in a big way’ is unique to you. You make it yours. It’s your music. Your career. Your success.

My goal is to empower you. I look forward to helping you achieve all the success you want in your music career.

Eliza's signature

Your music career success coach & author of The Fan Formula

* New programs coming soon to help you achieve success – affordable, high value, bite-sized “Success Boosters”. Can’t wait for a program and not got ‘the book’ yet? Click here to get started now.

A master plan to break into the UK charts

Bitter Ruin
Ben & Georgia, Bitter Ruin

Bitter Ruin are on a mission to get their music into the UK charts on Sunday 9th October.

“We all want that so what’s new”, I hear you say.

Well of course it’s not new but what’s different is Bitter Ruin are seeing the results of a very good piece of planning that everyone can learn something from. Plus there’s the fact that they’re unsigned and doing all of this themselves with grace, enthusiasm and a good pinch of strategic thinking.

Bitter Ruin formed in 2007 in Brighton when Ben Richards and Georgia Train met at music school. Although they understood each other musically through their classical training, they had dramatically opposing music tastes. Georgia listened to Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor and The Talking Heads whereas Ben preferred rock and bands like Metallica. The result? ‘Contemporary Expressionism’ with passion and musical intelligence at the heart of what they do. Their songs are about the darker side of life and their innovative performances come alive with theatricality, strong sparing vocals, harmonisation and raw instrumentation.

Bitter Ruin put in the hours and are persistent. They have a strong belief in themselves. After doing over 500 gigs they were good enough to be paid and they started getting great support slots in bigger venues. They’ve toured before now but it wasn’t the right time for them. This time it was very different.

Their plan was masterful and it payed off. They recorded their single and made a video (the first thing you see when you visit their site They decided on a release date for the single and went on a three month tour in the lead up to it. During the tour they concentrated on growing their email list and afterwards, back home, they plugged the single using Facebook and Twitter. They are clear about their mission and give their fans clear a ‘call to action’ to support them. Their single, ‘Trust’, is only available in outlets that notch up sales registered in the charts. They know how many sales they need to get to number 1.

All good stuff. Their big break came when Stephen Fry got involved. Then followed radio and TV interviews on local stations.

And their ultimate goal? To have someone do the leg work for them so they can spend more time doing what they love – creating great music for their fans.

10th October update : Bitter Ruin achieved a #19 placing in the Official UK Independent Singles Chart. A fine achievement.


Where the paid gigs are

Simon Scardanelli (photo by Paul Winter)
Simon Scardanelli (photo by Paul Winter)

When Simon Scardanelli started gigging with a band again he made a firm decision – “we don’t play for free”. There are a few exceptions of course, however the large majority of Simon’s gigs are paid. And we’re talking in the £hundreds.

So how does he do it?

Simon Scardanelli is a child of the 60’s. He’s been singing, writing and recording since the age of 16. He’s worked extensively in Europe and the US. Having been signed to both major and independent labels, Simon has an uncompromising attitude to his work and now releases independently through Resonator Records.

A charismatic and engaging performer, Simon’s live shows are peppered with wry anecdotes and dry, self-deprecating humour – he is able to look back on a long and varied career with an ironic appreciation of its highs and lows.

Scardanelli enjoyed chart success in the late eighties with Anglo-Canadian duo Big Bam Boo (MCA). When the band scored a top 20 radio hit in the US in 1989, they re-located to New York. When Big Bam Boo had run its course, Simon stayed on in New York composing installation works for Art Events and experimental films, became a regular at the infamous Lach’s AntiFolk nights at the Sidewalk Café in New York’s East Village and gigged up and down the East Coast. In ‘95 Simon returned to London and shortly afterwards moved to Brighton to study 20th Century Music at Sussex University. Over the next few years he put his energies into experimenting with sonic-composition and was awarded a PhD in musical composition (University of Birmingham).

Returning to the live scene in 2005, Simon released the acoustic album Hobohemia. Working solo Simon found the plethora of “acoustic” nights at pubs and clubs rarely paid, even expenses. So earlier this year when he formed his new band, Dr Scardo, he was determined to play only paid gigs. Even though the band play originals songs, no covers.

“How does my band get paid gigs? That’s the decision I made after travelling all over the country as a solo artist for little or no money. You can’t get the commitment from a band if no-one’s getting paid. We have an up to date EPK on Reverb Nation and we use their venue booking tool. We focus on the quality of the songwriting and the performance. A lot of the songs are up-tempo and we make sure our fans having a good time at our gigs. You have to convince the venue that you’re going to be as a good as or better than a cover or tribute band. Rather than taking any gig that comes our way, we have concentrated on building a good reputation and being good enough that venues are more than happy to pay us to play. Of course it helps that I’ve got a large back-catalogue – that means we can do two 45 minute sets of good originals. What’s interesting though is that most of the paid gigs are not in Brighton – the market is flooded with bands here. Outside of Brighton, fans will fill a venue to see a good band.”

Scardanelli’s most recent album – That Dangerous Sparkle – was released in June 2007. As Maverick Magazine said – “You never know what is lurking around That Dangerous Sparkle’s dark corner, but whatever it is will always shock and surprise. Scardanelli is always prepared to take a risk, and we should all hope that it is this experimentation that is the future of British singer-songwriters.”

Dr Scardo’s debut single is WALL STREET HUSTLE, a song in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It can be previewed at their website.

Further details
Dr Scardo (photo by Paul Winter)
Dr Scardo (photo by Paul Winter)