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Are you an Anti-marketer?

Special guest blog about the “Drive-by” from StreetJelly blues musician: Clifton Printy

An interesting phenomenon occurs every few months or so. I call it “anti-marketing.” There are those who for some reason feel entitled to viewers coming to their shows. Some are atrocious hacks and some are superb artists, but almost all of them are completely without a following. They get on StreetJelly and play for a short while.

"Did you just pull a Drive-by?"

“Did you just pull a Drive-by?”

As a passerby, they wander through other shows gradually adopting the attitude wanting… no demanding… other musicians’ viewers. Then :bam! They announce in someone else’s show for those viewers to come to their show. It’s the infamous “Drive-by,” the biggest faux-pas you can make in online live streaming.

There are regulars on the site who have shared so much of their crowd.  Like Larry, Lana, Image and Family, Heading West, and Kelly_Mark who have honed their branding and created a crowd. Larry brought his following with him. He still frequents other shows and introduces many to the SJ family. He advertises his shows on Facebook and talks directly with his followers. Beside him being a professional musician, Larry constantly checks out new artists and encourages them. Heading West spent months supporting SJ members before ever doing a show. Lana sends out tagged Facebook posts to her followers and her fans every single show. She supports other shows and engages the audience directly from her show. Image and Family has supported everyone, worked to solve problems, created events for other artists, and sends random swag to individuals. Kelly_Mark has done a few shows and has supported hundreds.

The examples are endless and exactly what it takes to relate to a crowd in the modern age. We deliberately build connections with our followers. It helps them identify with us and conversely us with them. We connect and support one another. There will probably be viewers at any given show, as it is at most venues. But we must not forget this is a stage. Your viewership here depends on you, your sound, your ability to perform, how well you engage the audience, and how well you treat others.

The problem I see with the drive-by is not only for the musician getting his viewers barked at, but also for that person committing the blunder. It is very hard to discern the talent level or personal attitude of the individual. They may very well be a person of quality and integrity with a great show to offer. Because of this I think a lot of us are willing to overlook the intrusion into our time, and the disruption of our show’s flow. We try to encourage the other artist to the extent that we pseudo endorse the encouragement of that artist. Our fans also reciprocate the same. So that person then some how has become part of our “brand.” Basically, the people on SJ are so nice that the offender may not even know he has trampled on others.

Further; there are many performers in these virtual settings that feel entitled to a stage. It is important to consider that these shows and the attendance is not always about talent. Sometimes we are talking about long forged friendships and value systems. As an example, would a Christian band’s fan-base be likely to attend a death metal band show? Probably not. So why would an artist expect to solicit viewers from a completely different genre? Also, it does happen sometimes that a great performer sits empty on SJ while at the same time a so/so artist has a great draw. It’s just something we have to accept.

Having witnessed the huge heart of our regular StreetJelly crowd, I know how hard it is for people to discourage certain behaviors. There is, however, no benefit for you as an individual artist to allow this bad behavior, i.e. the drive-by. Go ahead and say, “It is really not polite to come to my show and tell people your are going to play in 10 minutes.”  My friends, it is not about attitude nor is it rude. Would you go to an amphitheater and ask the people to come to the parking lot for a show? Would it be polite to walk up to the stage at a local pub and ask people over the microphone to come next door in ten minutes? It is an unethical practice that steals from the moment of the performing musician, and puts the offender in an unfavorable light. The dreaded Drive-by is the opposite of marketing. It’s anti-marketing!

The Power of Music Playlists

I had the pleasure last month of being a guest speaker at the Nashville 2015 Music Technology and Futures Summit. There, I saw a fascinating presentation by Jay Frank, CEO of DigSin music publishing. His talk was about the disruption of the market caused by Spotify. The article below is not a defense of Spotify, nor does it get into the controversy of streaming royalties, musician payout percentages, etc. It is about how the old ways are just that, old. Read on.
~Frank Podlaha, CEO StreetJelly.com

The Power of Music Playlists

Part One – The New Way People Listen to Music!

Playlists

Playlists

Guess what? Few people are searching for new music out there on the internet! Streaming music services like Spotify are transforming how everyday people consume music. “Playlists” are the new aggregators of music and delivery of entertainment.

A playlist is exactly what you think it is. It’s a collection of your favorite songs. Back in the 80s, we called them mix-tapes. Same thing. Unlike radio, or other music catalogs, playlists are not necessarily organized by music genres. Playlists can consist of any song you like. Heck, it’s your collection – add whatever list of songs you are in the mood for!

Two decades after my mix-tapes, we all learned how to make playlists on our iPods and portable mp3 devices. Now, online services like Spotify have taken that concept and tied it into a streaming service with the social component of sharing playlists among friends. Nothing really surprising about all that, yet. Here’s the amazing part, Spotify has stumbled upon a fundamental difference how the modern listener consumes his or her music.

Overwhelmingly, people do not search music sites trying to discover new music. Yes, when they will first sign up for a streaming service, they will search and create playlists of their favorite bands and soloists. But most consumers eventually signup or “follow” public playlists curated by others. On Spotify, anyone can create a playlist and share it publicly with the whole world. Playlists themselves get ranked in popularity. Those in the Top 50 playlists have 100,000s and even millions of followers.

Playlists are popular because they are not categories by music genres. Instead, they have become popular because they group music in how we emotionally enjoy music.

  1. Mood. So often we flip around the old radio because one station may not match our mood on each song. Sometimes you want Sunday afternoon chill music, or perhaps it’s an evening of love songs, or quick happy pop songs to get you through a long day at work. There is a playlists for each one of those in this new world.
  2. Activities. Getting ready to workout? Put on that techno-beat playlist. Going out on a Friday night, there’s a party dance mix playlist for that.
  3. Time of Day. Our daily schedules also dictate how we feel and what we may need to listen to. That drive-time commute to work each day requires a different playlist of songs to the same drive home in the afternoon. I can’t listen to hard rockin’ metal right before I go to sleep – it’s mellow music time for me.

The millions of users on Spotify generally subscribe to the popular public playlists to listen to the majority of their music. They are NOT searching for new music, and they are NOT purchasing the ownership of music. This is how playlists are changing the very nature of the music industry.

Part Two – Disruption in the Market

Online Music PurchaseOnce upon a time, we purchased music to own. We ran to the record store on new-release day to plop down $10, $15, whatever for our favorite band’s album. If you think of it, however, it was a risky purchase. We buy a dozen songs on that album, but in reality we probably only liked 3 or 4. Plus, we paid our money up front to listen to that music once, a few dozen times, or a few 100,000 times. We took the risk, not the record labels.

When the 99¢ download came out, not much really changed. Yes, we could buy one song and not an entire album of songs for 3 or 4 we liked. But we still had no expectation that we would listen to that one song for decades, or get tired of it after a few weeks. Is the value of a song still the same if we enjoy it 25 times or 2,500 times? Should an artist get compensated more if you play it more?

As consumers, we no longer have to take that risk. With music streaming services, we never actually purchase ownership of that music. We pay only for the momentary rental while we consume that stream. We pay through subscriptions or by listening to advertisers. But unlike radio, we control what we listen to. The musician makes his or her money over time, not all at once with an album sale.

When any market goes through a significant change in how its products are purchased, and when and what moods persuade a purchase; we label that change a disruptive technology.  Entrepreneurs like myself love disruptive technologies. The old businesses who do not embrace that technology, do not last very long.

Part Three – How to Take Advantage of Streaming Services

Yes, you can make money and become successful on Spotify and streaming services. The answer, you guessed it, get your music listed in popular playlists. According to Jay Frank of DigSin, music streaming royalties are significantly higher to any song once it gets listed in popular playlists!

I am not touching the controversy of how much a cut Spotify takes. But an amazing fact has surfaced that new, independent artists can easily make more money on services like Spotify than superstars on that same service. This secret may not last forever, but knowing this now can help boost any music career.

The interesting thing about playlists is that they can be created and managed by anyone. Some of the most followed playlists on Spotify are owned by everyday people who meticulously maintain their songs. How do you get listed in these playlists? The old fashion way, you gotta ask. Nicely!

The playlist owners of today are like the radio DJs of yesteryear. You have to sweet talk them into playing your music. I know, that’s a lot easier said than done. But with a little homework and interpersonal skills, you should be able to get listed in someone’s public playlist. Here are some tips.
Spotify

  • Get to know the playlist owner. “Follow” them on Spotify.
  • Look them up in other social media platforms and make friends with them there.
  • Don’t stalk them! (I know, I had to say that)
  • Learn what type of music they like and fill their playlists with. Don’t expect a classical jazz enthusiast to add your heavy metal EDM fusion tracks to their playlist.
  • Don’t spam playlist owners. Junk mail in any form is still junk mail.
  • Introduce yourself, be helpful, be friendly.
  • Finally, ask politely to include your song in their playlists. These are people, or companies run by people. Treat them as you wanted to be treated if you were in their shoes receiving a 1,000 requests a day.

At StreetJelly, we are also trying to embrace this disruptive technology. We are learning how to network and engage these playlist owners for ourselves. And, we have created our own playlist for StreetJelly musicians, click here. Remember, anyone can create a playlist! So please, help us grow our playlist to zillions of followers. No reason why our musicians can not benefit from more stream plays and royalties.

Become a user on Spotify and follow the StreetJelly playlist. They do have a free-level of membership. If you are a musician and have music on Spotfiy, please send us a message at: support@streetjelly.com, or share your song with us directly within their website (find us under Spotify username “StreetJelly”). We will include up to 3 songs from any of our regularly performing musicians in our playlist.

Who knows where this technology journey takes us? But we won’t sit back and let it pass by!  ~Frankie

Heckling

Special guest blog on Heckling in the new Social Media World, by Clifton Printy

ShoutingHeckling

Heckling is generally defined as trying to…

”…to embarrass and annoy (someone speaking or performing in public) by questions, gibes, or objections; badger.”
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/heckling

However, it is also a more subtle problem. I would further define it as intentional and unintentional acts that cause breaks, gaps, disruption, and interruption of the performance.

Most of the performers here on StreetJelly are not technological wizards freshly instilled with a degree in sound engineering or computer programming. It is their intention to share a passion and love with you. Many of them are in fact singular musicians who have only begun to perform publicly online.

Please remember that as an audience member you have a job. You came for a great performance. Here’s how you get one.

  1. Encourage, Encourage, Encourage
    • “This song is OWNT!” (David Wesley)
    • “Super Great”
    • “That song was awesome”
    • “Holy Moly” (Frankie)
    • CNTRL Clappy Clappy Clappy
    • “You are amazing”
  2. Sell
    • Put the performer’s link in the chat.
    • Chat to and about the performer. (DCrann)
    • Favorite the artist so you can see when they are on.
    • Share their performance links on social media pages.

Now for the hard pill to swallow. If you are not going to pay for production, or transportation for tutelage, and/or are not Simon Cowell; then it is probably not helping if you critique the performer’s style, ability, prowess, set-list, or looks. These things stall the performance at the least and completely decimate an artist’s timing at most. Think about it! They are remembering the chord progression, the lyrics, the pitch, the tempo, and the punch line introduction to their next song. As they answer a question about how they are, read a side joke between Image and Clifty that makes no sense what-so-ever, and quiet their friend who has just barged in; you say, “raise the bass a little.” It is completely disarming! Worse still, when a musician has a connection problem or a sound problem that is not readily repairable, he or she is constantly attacked.

Look out folks, I am just getting wound up. Making a request from an artist usually involves having an understanding of the artist. However, you have to remember that you are trying to make the show better. If you ask Image and Family to play Pantera, you are unequivocally heckling with malicious intent. As funny as it would be, we should remember that our job as an audience is to enjoy the show. For the Image and Family show, a good request may be Drunken Sailor by Great Big Sea. Continuing on with this particular vent, there are people who understand this. Ever notice that when someone is barraging the request-o-meter with impossibles that a Don Gaynor or a Damian will come in and request a song they are sure the artist is good at. They are a practical participating audience.

Important and most obvious: not every performer is for you. If you don’t like a show or performer, just leave the show. Everyone has something to offer, but maybe not to you. Be polite, too. An explicit comment may work sometimes, but not other times. Remember that your chat is visible to not only those here but those who will join in a moment. If you know you are derailing the show, pull back and encourage. You are the audience, not the heckler.

Also, a certain persistent problems frequently arise from a free to use site of this nature. Please be kind and courteous. Smoking weed, swearing, illicit sexual content, vulgarity are not always appropriate in the conversation and/or the performance. Many of us are here for pure music and art. We are all of different values, culture, and political opinion. Going into a family performance such as Image and Family’s show, or Lana Eve’s performance with illicit sexual rhetoric is more than a social faux pas: it is blatantly rude. Would you act like that at the White House, church, grandma’s house? I bet not. Could you drop a licidious comment at Molotov Colostomy’s show? Sure, they are a different sort of musicians all together. But you shouldn’t go there and try to pull a sermon off, either. Very honestly, you are not anonymous and it is not your chat. It is the artists’ show, and all viewers are entitled to hear and enjoy that performer without the rudeness and distractions from a few jerks. Make sure you know the performers and their sense of propriety before you try to shout out the familiar…. or you will really be a heckler.

Clifton PrintyLikewise, performers need to remember to be cognizant of the camera personally seeing boogie sleeve wipes, a crotch torn out of a pair of jeans, a funny cigarette, a nose pick, (special woman note: don’t bend down in front of a desktop cam), and pay attention to what you have in the frame around you since you are also live to the world.

Last, most performers here are willing to play for free, and we do. But your tipping shows us that we have value. Want preferential request treatment, familiarity, and kinship, then give compliments that come from the heart. You will know if it’s good if it builds friendship, and makes it more enjoyable for the listener and the performer.

P.S. Believe me, some of this is learned from personal mistakes. Our personal accountability will keep StreetJelly.com a wonderful and rare respite on the internet.

Top 20 Countdown – Bleh

InspirationThe other day I was flipping through the cable TV channels and settled on a Top 20 Music Countdown show.  I was so underwhelmed!

After watching this countdown show for about an hour (I didn’t last the full two hours), it made me start to wonder what was so mediocre about it.

Then it hit me, I wasn’t entertained.  The music, the videos, the try-too-hard-to-make-a-cool-video camera angles were so uninspiring.  The passion didn’t come through from the artists.  I couldn’t help but comparing the videos to the over sensationalized local news “stories.”  You know them well, you watch them every evening.  The local-beat reporter spends around 60 seconds on a bit.  They stretch a 10 second statement of the actual news fact into a superfluous series of one-liners and sound bites.  Worse, the video is almost always a series of 3 second clips.  Watch it next time, on each new camera angle count to the three!  These music videos were the same way.  Lame.

Most of you that know me understand that I’m not a ranting type of guy; I don’t care for politics, controversy, and especially cynicism.  Who am I to say what is “wrong with the world today” or even just the music industry?  But I want to tell you what I witnessed on StreetJelly in the past six months that blows away pop culture music.  Nothing speaks better through music than the passion of a live and intimate performance.

Yes, I am very biased toward SJ.  But it’s true, I’ve never been able to experience so much love in music since we launched the website last fall.  I actually feel sorry for the mainstream consumer being fed their formulaic music videos.  They are really missing out on the art of music.

~Frankie, the Founder (a.k.a. King) of StreetJelly

What would you change if you made a music video today?

Caution: StreetJelly Flies are Biting

JellyflyCaution: You may have been bitten by the StreetJelly Fly?Jellyfly

StreetJelly FlyHow has StreetJelly changed your music listening, daily habits?  I’ll start…

I was listening to music on my headphones, a Grateful Dead ‘tube, and when a song was over…  I reached for my mouse to clap with smileys!  There are no clappy’s on YouTube. LOL  ~frankie

Almost everynight when I say bye on Facebook chat, I keep instictively go looking for a waving smiley to say bye.  ~merv

Musicians I love always come on when I’m cooking dinner.
Frankie gets a lot of burnt meals now. ~martina

Got StreetJelly Syndrome symptoms? Add them below…

Give Yourself a Big Smiley

Happy Thumbs UpYep Smiley

StreetJelly News: we’ve updated our Smileys to bigger and better fun!

There’s a bit of a story behind this.  We originally used smileys, emoticons in our chat windows, that were borrowed from another instant messaging system.  We had these in place during our beta phase and applied for the proper permission and licensing to use on the site.  The paperwork took a while, but we finally heard back from this large national company.  For whatever reason they declined our application to license their artwork.  They didn’t even offer a chance to pay a licensing fee.  Oh well, that’s the way it goes in this business.

HurrayWe moved ahead with Plan B.  We found a new supplier of artwork that was happy to take our money.  I know, right!  Originally, we didn’t choose this company because their smileys were so large and didn’t quite fit into the chat window.  But StreetJelly evolves.  Turns out, bigger IS better for the site.  While performing, the musicians are often further back from the screen and have a harder time viewing and reading the chat messages.  The larger smileys are much easier to see.  And, we increased the font size and thumbnail pics while we were updating the code.

Hoola-hoopThere is a lesson here, too.  It’s about copyrights, ownership of artwork, licensing, and all that legal mumbo-jumbo that follows.  Everything that applies to smiley graphic files also applies to songs and songwriters.  We believe strongly in the rights of any artist, their art work, and fair compensation for use of their work.  At StreetJelly, we do our best to make sure everyone is credited or compensated properly.  We hold web licenses through songwriter associations, like BMI, ASCAP, SECAS, for the cover music performed by our musicians.  These fees come out of our budget, not musicians’ tokens.  We do this not because we’re supposed to, but because it’s the right thing to do.  Check out our friends at FarePlay.org and all the great work they are doing to curtail illegal downloading of music.  We support them, you should too.

Remember, if you didn’t create something, make sure you are giving credit or paying the person who did.  It’s that simple.

Hope everyone enjoys the new smileys!

Giving Songwriters their Fair Credit

At StreetJelly.com we love songwriters as much as we love musicians.  And we also love live, spontaneous music.  Actually, that’s whole point of StreetJelly!  Our musicians play whatever they like, whenever they like, from wherever they like.  StreetJelly has licensing agreements with various songwriter associations, BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC, that allow us to stream music from the songwriters they represent on our website.  We pay licensing fees through various calculations based on our revenue.  And we always take these fees away from our budget, not from the tip money earned by StreetJelly musicians.

The songwriter associations then take our fees, along with the 1,000s of other music websites out there, and distribute royalties to the original songwriters.  But with StreetJelly, we don’t quite fit the mold.  Because we are live and unscripted, we never know what our musicians are going to play.  They can be originals or covers.  Most other music websites are streaming saved content from mp3s or videos.  It’s easy for them to know exactly what they play.  The songwriter associations can really only take our lump fees and distribute among their artists through their own magic formulas.  That’s not really fair to the songwriters whose songs are actually played on StreetJelly.

To better approach a world of music fairness (I know, don’t start), we at StreetJelly are asking our artists to self-report what they play.  We made it as simple as we could and created a “Enter Play List” section on the StreetJelly broadcast screen.  In between songs, we encourage our musicians to enter what they have played.  It’s not hard, just takes a few clicks.

But there’s more to it than just self-reporting songs to outside songwriters associations.  Our playlist section is useful for the musician to keep track of what they have played.  It takes a little planning to put together a set play list.  Every musician can totally relate to the, “what should I play next” feeling.  We hope this helps a little.

Covers or Originals?  Both!

We take the data entered in the playlist and send it off to the licensing agencies.  They can then better distribute royalties more accurately with our song lists.  But that list is inclusive for both cover tunes AND originals from StreetJelly musicians.  Assuming our musicians are registered with the above groups (and we encourage you all to do so), our musicians can collect royalties on their original material through these agencies in addition to the tip money made on StreetJelly.

We know we’re not solving all the musical industry’s problems, but ever little bit helps.  And being a good steward of honesty and fairness is probably the most important thing we can do.  Courtesy is contagious!

No, You Can’t Upload a Video

Can I upload videos and mp3s to my profile?
No, you may not!

Did we just break the cardinal rule and say “no” to our customers?  I guess so.  But I’m not really the type to do what everyone tells me to do, anyway.

We’ve been asked a few times at Street Jelly if an artist can upload their videos and mp3s to their profile.  When an artist is not performing live, understandably, they would like their repertoire of songs and videos to be easily accessible.  We can totally agree with this.

But at the same time, Street Jelly is about LIVE performances.  We don’t allow musicians to broadcast recordings, presumably over and over, to put up some kind of tip jar filling machine.  There is a craft to entertaining the public for tips.  The great performers do it for the love, and the tips come naturally.

We thought long and hard about adding the ability to upload files to a Street Jelly profile.  Our decision was to stick to our guns about LIVE music and not allow uploads.  After all, there are plenty of websites out there for uploading videos and songs.  The last thing we want to be is yet another place on the web where musicians feel obligated to put up their “store front.”

We also believe that the delivery of music will fundamentally change again in the near future.  Digital downloading, piracy, copyright infringement, etc. has made one big unsustainable mess of things.  But one fact hasn’t changed – we humans love our silly love songs.  And we will be seeking that love by any means practical.  (Note I said “practical,” not free.)  It’s our guess that people will seek live music more and more for its true entertainment value.

So Street Jelly is not a digital uploading / downloading site.  Hurray!  We do what we can, however, to help promote our artists.  We made it easy for them to place links to their YouTube channel, ReverbNation, etc. right on their Street Jelly profile.  In fact, we encourage it.  This week, we released a feature that now embeds YouTube videos directly in the artist’s profile page.  Now music lovers can watch artist videos on Street Jelly without having to pop over to another browser window.  This should make life easier for musicians.