Hey friends-

Happy New Year, and sorry for the lack of updates in a while!  We’re kicking off the new year with a new blog location… we have moved the MUSIC:NUVO blog to Blogger, which you can view here:

NEW URL:  http://musicnuvo.blogspot.com

If you are a subscriber to our blog, please redirect your feed to the following:

FEED URL:  http://musicnuvo.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

There are a few reasons why we’re doing this… we’ve found Blogger to be much more flexible and easy to use, and HTML edits are profoundly more simple.  Plus Google owns Blogger now, and we’re huge fans of Google.

So head on over to our new location… see you on Blogger!

As the #6 most trafficked website in the world, there’s no doubt that MySpace has become an important part of the web fabric, and one that independent musicians should not take lightly. But I’m afraid too many artists either A) don’t use MySpace to it’s full potential, or worse, B) expect far too much of MySpace and overuse it.

There is a happy medium in there, and independent artists need to learn to use MySpace effectively and efficiently. As I’ve said before on this blog, MySpace is but one tool in a giant toolbox, and that tool needs to be implemented in the way that is most useful for you.

It was mentioned to me once that your MySpace profile is like one giant business card. Business cards should give a brief introduction to a company and tell people how to get in touch. Well, if your MySpace profile is your business card, you need to be of the mindset that it should serve the primary purpose introducing them to your music and telling them how to interact with you. Here’s some tips on how to do that:

TIP #1: Your MySpace Profile Is NOT Your Artist Website

MySpace is good at some things, and terrible at most others. Ultimately, you have very limited control of what you can and cannot do on MySpace – cannot use javascript, cannot build multiple pages, cannot place content outside of MySpace’s predfined text boxes. You cannot let this level of control decrease your ability to interact with your fans, therefore, every effort on your MySpace page needs to ultimately be centered around how to get them to your real artist website.

TIP #2: Maintain Your Brand Image

Every artist has a brand image, and that image needs be maintained throughout every piece of product, performance, and website. The design of your MySpace profile – how it is visually perceived – should be consistent with the design of your artist website. This leaves the fan with the sense that everything you do is interwoven. Use the same color schemes, graphics, and fonts.

TIP #3: Reduce The Clutter

Artists have gotten carried away with sticking anything and everything up on their MySpace profile. Widgets have taken over MySpace to the point that the profiles have become unwieldy. Check out artist 50 Cent’s MySpace Page… this dude has got so many banners, and surveys, and icons, and gadgets, and videos, and other ridiculous things. Someone must have set the marketing intern loose. Tone it down a bit – post only what is important… onto #4

TIP #4: Post Only What Is Important

People come to your MySpace page to do two things – discover your music and/or interact with you. Discovering your music means posting songs in the MySpace music player is crucially important. Make sure your most recent or most important song is set to auto-play first. You need to have a bio of sorts, but stay away from those fake third-person sounding bios, where you try to come across like a professional PR person wrote your bio, when in reality you wrote your own sitting in your bedroom at 1:30 in the morning. Hey no offense, those have their time and place. But MySpace is about being personable, and your fans want to hear from you – that bio should sound like you’re writing a personal letter to directly to the person that is visiting your page for the first time. Keep it short and succinct. You do need to have “Buy Links” for fans to purchase your product. Finally, you want to give a few things for your fans to interact with on your page – current news items, blog posts, a short video, a signup for the mailing list. Give a few options, and solicit their feedback on each by asking them to comment on your page.

TIP #5: Limit Your Options To Buy

Far too often I see artists go nuts on the “Buy Links” options… “You can buy our product at iTunes, CD Baby, Aware Store, Amiee Street, Napster, Rhapsody, Snocap” and on and on and on. Too many options can be overwhelming, and not all of these stores may be in your best interest! Ideally, all of your product can purchased from the same online store (hint, MUSIC:NUVO), but if that’s not the case, you want to feature and emphasize just a couple that give you the best bang for your buck – the highest royalty – and point people there. Give people a download option and a physical CD option. Position these boldly on your page, and then if you have other buy options, simply create a link that directs people to a page of your website that hosts a comprehensive list of links: “for a list of other places to buy our stuff, click here”.

Stay tuned for more Tips on “Creating An Effective MySpace Page”. We’ll wrap it up next week with the final 5!  In the meantime, I encourage and appreciate your comments on the blog! I’d love to hear back from you on how you’re making the most out of your MySpace profile.

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Put to use the most powerful online store for independent artists and start selling all of your content from one place! Visit www.musicnuvo.com to learn more.

NUVO CardsNow you can take the world of digital downloads with you on the road! NUVO Cards are the innovative new product from MUSIC:NUVO, giving indie artists the ability to sell their digital content in the form of a physical coupon card at their live shows. To kick things off we’re offering a FREE TRIAL of 15 NUVO Cards at www.musicnuvo.com/free!

Artists can use NUVO Cards to:

  • Sell a digital sampler of their music at concerts
  • Add value to physical CD purchases with redeemable bonus content online
  • Provide a free digital backup for sales of vinyl albums
  • Sell any music that they haven’t yet pressed to CD
  • And much, much more!

Using NUVO Cards is extremely easy, and setup is a breeze. There are absolutely no monthly fees and no obligations. Here’s how it works:

  1. You order a set of NUVO Cards from musicnuvo.com/nuvocards
  2. Your custom NUVO Cards are printed and shipped to you
  3. You sell your NUVO Cards at shows at a retail price you determine
  4. Fans return home and redeem their content online at musicnuvo.com/redeem
  5. Sell all of your NUVO Cards and return to MUSIC:NUVO for more!

MUSIC:NUVO guarantees the best prices in the industry on download cards, and compared to pressing CDs, NUVO Card prices will definitely make you second guess pressing those additional 1000 CD. Take a look at the full pricing chart to the right comparing our service with the pricing of competitor Disc Revolt.

NUVO Cards can change the way you offer your music and the way you do business on the road. Want to get started with NUVO Cards? Check out our 15 card FREE TRIAL – free money for you!

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Put to use the most powerful online store for independent artists and start selling all of your content from one place! Visit www.musicnuvo.com to learn more.

MUSIC:NUVO has been re-born, re-vitalized, and re-focused, offering indie artists a truly all-in-one solution for their online merchandising needs.

As a relatively new entry into the world of digital music sales, MUSIC:NUVO has spent the last 9 months in constant development. From the beginning it was the intention to offer the best place for artists to sell their digital content, with extremely low rates ($8/month) and high artist royalties (70% of retail).

This goal morphed into wanting to be the best place for artists to sell ALL their content – digital and physical – whether it be MP3s, CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, Posters, or any other number of products.

Now we believe we’re on the cusp of realizing that goal:

  • MUSIC:NUVO is the only store completely and solely focused on the independent artist
  • Through MUSIC:NUVO you can sell absolutely any product you want – digital or physical
  • For digital products you still earn 70% of retail, but you can increase it up to 100% through referrals
  • For physical products artists earn 100% of retail, from day one
  • And it still only costs $8 / month

Does all that sound good? If you’re an artist and want to LEARN MORE, come visit us!

For the benefit of our existing artist family, here’s an outline of all the upgrades that went into re-launching MUSIC:NUVO…

REDESIGNED ARTIST STORE NAVIGATION

Each artist store now includes five product categories (Music, Merch, Videos, Graphics, & Bundles) plus a Home page which allows the artist to post an artist image, short biography, and web links. We dropped the Ringtunes category because, when it came down to it, we are not a mobile provider… ringtune users 90% of the time download their ringers directly from their phone. We cannot offer this service, which meant we were simply offering customers the ability to download clipped MP3s directly to their computer, and then figure out for themselves how to get it to their phone – that’s a mediocre service so we stopped it. The five categories we kept pretty much capture anything an artist would want to sell.

SUPERIOR DIGITAL DOWNLOAD SERVICE

The great thing about MUSIC:NUVO is that it’s easy to send your artists there, and your Artist Store is entirely dedicated to you…. it’s not like you’re sending them to some external application like iTunes and making your customers search around for you. Selling your digital downloads via MUSIC:NUVO gives you several great advantages. First, we let you keep more of your digital download sales than any of our competitors – 70% of retail for all downloads, which you can increase up to 100% through referrals. CD Baby offers a nice digital distribution service, but the royalty rate there can be misleading – they say you get to keep 91%, but that’s 91% after iTunes takes their cut – when all is said and done you only get 63%. Second, you choose the quality of the songs you offer for sale – typically iTunes will sell tracks at 128 kbps (descent quality). But if you want to sell tracks at 256 kbps, or even higher, via MUSIC:NUVO you have that option. And finally, a great resource for MUSIC:NUVO artists are our embeddable stores called Top Tracks Stores. Like Snocap, you can place these small versions of your Artist Store in your artist website or social networking profile… Unlike Snocap, through MUSIC:NUVO we offer the ability to sell your full albums via your Top Tracks Store, and again, you keep more of your money with 70% of retail royalty rates.

SELL PHYSICAL CDS

Artists can now sell physical CDs directly from their artist store, and they keep 100% of royalties from day one. Compare this to CD Baby (who keeps $4 / CD sold) or even PayPal (who will charge you 3% + $.30 for every transaction). Let MUSIC:NUVO be your all in one store – direct all of your customers to your MUSIC:NUVO store, and in one transaction they can buy your physical CD, your new digital single, and a T-shirt! Also note, there are no product setup fees for either digital downloads or physical CDs.

Note that artists are responsible for their own fulfillment of orders. Upon sale of a physical product, MUSIC:NUVO will send the artist a fulfillment email indicating where to send the product. MUSIC:NUVO will collect shipping costs on your behalf from the artist and reimburse you via your quarterly royalty check.

SELL PHYSICAL MERCH

Yup, just like CDs you can now sell any type of physical merch product you want… T-shirts, posters, stickers, buttons, coffee mugs, hats, bandannas… heck, sell your dog for all we care. And once again, the artist keeps 100% o all royalties from physical products.

PRODUCT SETUP FEES REDUCED

It has always been the case that recorded music products (digital albums and physical CDs) do not have product setup fees – this is still the case. Initially artists were charged various product setup fees for non-album products, ranging from $5 to $25. These fees have all been dropped to $5 per item. So, for instance, if you want to setup a DVD or a T-shirt product for sale in your artist store, you will be charged a ONE-TIME fee of $5 per item. Compare this to CD Baby who charges artists $30 for every new product!

NEW MEDIA PLAYER

Previously when shoppers clicked on “preview” links in an artist store they were taken to an external media player – MAC users particularly had trouble with this player and often times couldn’t hear previews. All Artist Stores and Top Tracks Stores now benefit from a built in Flash based player through which they can listen to clips, compatible on all browsers.

A LITTLE BEAUTIFICATION…

The original musicnuvo.com website suffered various browser incompatibilities, especially for MAC users and Firefox users. We have shifted our website and all of our artists stores over to a CSS based stylesheet design, which in layman’s terms means we did away with those browser incompatibilities. Also, artists will remember that when a visitor would open up an artist store, the store would act as a pop-up and resize itself (and shift to the right hand side of the screen). The original purpose of this was to make the store un-intrusive and prevent taking people away from the artist website. However, this feature was giving us problems and didn’t make sense in tabbed browsing environments (e.g. – Firefox and the new Internet Explorer), so we did away it. Artists are now given as part of their Artist Resources a Javascript enabled link, which when used, will simulate the original intention of the resized store.

READY, SET, GO!

So those are the updates! We welcome any comments or questions! Artists – be sure to check the layout and design of your new Artist Store and make sure everything is working properly. And if you’re an artist who is interested in learning more about the benefits of our MUSIC:NUVO Artist Stores and how they can work for you, please drop in and take tour tour!

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Put to use the most powerful online store for independent artists and start selling all of your content from one place! Visit www.musicnuvo.com to learn more.

Quick update here for you to look forward to things to come at musicnuvo.  We’ll be making a few developments to the site over the next several days to make a more complete offering to independent artists.

 Developments on the way:

  • Integrated listing of both digital AND physical albums in the Music tab
  • Creation of a new Merch tab, allowing artists to sell T-Shirts, Posters, Coffee Mugs, whatever…
  • Inclusion of product information listings (so you can include an album description in your product listing)
  • Addition of an Artist Bio page so artists can include a short biography, photos, and web links directly from their musicnuvo store
  • Digital / Physical audio product setup will remain free; All other physical / merch product setup fees will be REDUCED to $5 per item

As before, musicnuvo offers the lowest monthly hosting / service rates in the industry at only $8 per month (compare to industry standard of $10-$12).  Also, we start you out at a royalty of 70%  for digital download product – you can increase this up to 100% through artist referrals.  And finally, you get 100% of retail for all physical product you sell through the site – that includes CDs and all merch products.

Ultimately, we want musicnuvo to be the ideal online retail location for indie artists, allowing them to sell all of their content from one place.  If you have new ideas and suggestions for the store that you want to share, or if you have questions about what we offer, drop a comment below!

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Put to use the most powerful online store for independent artists and start selling all of your content from one place! Visit www.musicnuvo.com to learn more.

I view the vast expanse of the internet as a giant toolbox, and there are tons of effective “e-tools” out there to help you communicate, interact, and build your online presence. From time to time I want to introduce some of those tools as they make sense for the indie artist.

ShoutMix PreviewEnter ShoutMix. I’ve been working with an independent artist recently and in the development of his new website we want to make it possible to post previews of new songs as he’s working on them in the studio, and then allow fans to comment and provide feedback on those previews. I suppose typically you would post an MP3 of a song, require fans to download it, and then if you wanted feedback just list a line and your email address soliciting comments. I suppose a few people would write in, but it sounds like a lot of steps… follow through would be minimal.

I wanted to find a comment tool that fulfilled four key things:

  1. Allows fans to post comments for the world to see directly in the webpage you are listening to the song on;
  2. Allow you to post the tool on multiple webpages with the same comment thread live and active on each one;
  3. Must be free;
  4. Must look slick, have no ads, and work bug-free

OK, I guess that’s six things… but ShoutMix does / is all of these things. To explain #2 a little more… say you’ve got your song preview on your website and your myspace page – I want people to comment on the songs in both places, but I also want the people on my website to see the comments being left through myspace, and vice-versa. It’s real-time interaction across multiple sites.

There are several different implementation options through ShoutMix. On your regular website (where you control 100% of the content), you can implement the tool as an IFRAME. MySpace and other social networking sites don’t allow IFRAMES, so they also offer a Flash based embed option. For the very tightly controlled sites that don’t allow IFRAMES or Flash (like this blog), you can simply link off to your Shoutbox like this.

All in all, this is a pretty cool feature and would come in handy for a lot of bands looking for some immediate and integrated feedback from their fans. How are the rest of you getting fan feedback? I would love to hear of some of the tools everyone else is using!

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Put to use the most powerful online store for independent artists and start selling all of your content from one place! Visit www.musicnuvo.com to learn more.

I was talking with a friend today about the music industry, record labels, bands, etc. and it became very evident that, as much as the major labels want to talk about being “quick to change” and “embracing the age of the internet”, it’s far from the truth. There is an old guard running the labels that still tries to protect this nostalgic way of doing things that’s dripping with money and involves a lot of arm wrestling with radio stations and back-room deals with distributors.

This is simply not effective, nor economical, for the indie artist.

You know as well as I do that we’re now in the age where you can cut a quality album from your bedroom using your personal computer, and we’re now certainly to the point where you can distribute it internationally without hardly moving a muscle. I would argue that you can just as successfully market and distribute yourself today as an independent artist as any given developing artist on a major label.

I’m not saying it will be easy – in fact, it will take a significant amount of work on your part. But after all, it’s your career, and it’s something you’re passionate about, and the nice thing is that you’re in control of how to guide the ship towards your own success. Here’s a few simple ideas to keep in mind as you consider the “big picture” of your career:

  • Embrace Your Niche: The major labels spend a lot of time on the “shotgun” approach… lets just throw this ( and this, and this, and this…) at the wall and see what sticks. You don’t have time for that. Figure out your audience and what makes them unique, then determine how to get to them. You need pinpoint accuracy to be able to quickly and effectively get your message out to your target audience.
  • Collect The Names: Every time you perform and on every web page you’re on, have a way to quickly and easily gather fan information for your mailing list. Make it simple – get their Name, Email, Cell Phone, and Zip Code. Zip code is important because you need to be able to target your fanbase (e.g. – you’re playing Dayton, OH on Friday night… you need to be able to let the people within 40 miles of Dayton know you’re coming). Cell numbers are important for the increasing ease (and affordability) of mass text messages… plus the fact that no one is ever without their cell phone.
  • It’s All About Community: You have got to stay in touch with your fans – regularly and often.  Use your mailing list diligently – you need to have a monthly newsletter with the most recent news.  Your website should be informative AND, more importantly, interactive.  You need to give fans a reason to come… maybe it’s entertaining YouTube videos that you’ve created on the road, maybe it’s a fan photo submission contest… whatever it is, you need to get the fans involved.  You need to have a blog – talk about life, being on the road, the recording process, and make sure you set your blog to allow comments.
  • Distribute Internationally: PayPal is an easy way to collect money from people all across the globe… in a matter of minutes you can set up a rudimentary store for your physical CDs. CDBaby is another great resource that I particularly like for their digital distribution service – service your core products to them for distribution to the major digital accounts (iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Zune, etc). CDBaby’s royalty rates for digital are fair (64% of retail), but their physical rates are a little on the high side ($4 per CD)… you can do better through PayPal. Our service, musicnuvo, offers you the ability to sell digital downloads direct from your store (70% of retail commission) and process transactions for physical CD sales (100% of retail commission).
  • Never Stop Touring: Three things to remember when playing shows… 1) Do them as often as you can. 2) Consistently play the same markets to build and strengthen your fan base up. 3) Push yourself each month to expand into a new market, and add it to your regular rotation.

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Put to use the most powerful online store for independent artists and start selling all of your content from one place! Visit www.musicnuvo.com to learn more.