Section 101 at New Music Seminar, June 9-11, 2013
Section 101 participated in the New Music Seminar, which took place at the New Yorker hotel in midtown Manhattan from June 9-11th.
As a co-sponsor of the event, as we were last year, we were excited to see several of our peers exhibiting alongside us. The Exhibit Area was packed for two full days, with Section 101 doing many demonstrations of our new Build-It-Yourself platform. We were able to offer a 30-day trial to attendees who were interested, and were gratified by how many people were interested! Besides enjoying the free tutorials and website reviews we made available, the Twizzlers at our table were once again a much appreciated snack.
As you may know, I am usually the representative for Section 101 as far as panelists go, but New Music Seminar got to experience the magic of co-founder and CTO of Section 101, Jim Hoffman. Jim participated in the Direct to Fan panel, which took place on June 11th in the Crystal Ballroom. Other panelists included David Dufresne of Bandzoogle, J Sider of Bandpage, Stanislaz Hintzy of Moozar, Todd Brooks of Topspin and Asya Shein of Fusicology.com. The moderator was Bryan Calhoun of Blueprint, who kept everything running smoothly. The audience was great, the room was crowded and there were many questions at the end – always the sign of a good panel. There was so much good information being bandied about, I put together a list of highlights from the panel that will definitely be useful to any artist who is trying to stand out on the web.
The New Music Seminar is a great conference for Section 101, not to mention convenient because it’s in New York City! It was wonderful seeing all of our ‘conference’ friends, the people we tend to see at all the conventions we go to, and catching up with them. I was really excited to see how many artists attended this year, with a passion and laser-like focus I haven’t seen before. Musicians of all kinds were participating and soaking up everything that was available to them – I think it’s finally starting to sink in that signing to a label isn’t the only way an artist can have a career in 2013. There’s a lot of excitement happening in music right now, and we’re happy to be in the thick of it!
TIPS FROM THE DIRECT TO FAN PANEL, NEW MUSIC SEMINAR, 2013
* Make sure you can identify your “minnows,” “dolphins” and “whales.” Minnows spent a tiny bit of money on your product, dolphins know your music and will probably buy it if they’re aware of it, and whales spend all their money on your product because they’re such a loyal fan. It’s your job to find creative ways to sell it to them. (J Sider, Bandpage).
* Try something different to get fans to sign up to your mailing list. A funny example was a band that put cupcakes on the edge of the stage and invited people up to the front for a snack if they signed up for their mailing list. It worked! (Stanislaz Hintzy, Moozar)
* While some of the bigger acts Section 101 works with, like Pentatonix, BUSH and Duran Duran, have paid fan communities, you don’t have to be a huge artist to connect with your base on that level. Smart developing artists reach out to their fan base via their email list and try and fill in off days on their tour schedule with house concerts. It’s a great way to help fund your tour and your fans really appreciate the one-on-one attention – and bragging rights of having a cool band play in your house! (Jim Hoffman, Section 101)
* Try anything once and see how your fan base reacts. Maybe do an online concert for a certain amount of fans to make it exclusive, or a virtual meet and greet via Skype for fans that are particularly supportive of you online. Just try it. Make music, play shows and most importantly, be yourself. (Todd Brooks, Topspin)
* Make sure your landing page is informative. Have all the ways they can reach you on social – tumblr, twitter, facebook, instagram, etc on that page, making it as easy as possible for them. They will appreciate not having to look around. (Asya Shein, Fusicology.com)
* Kickstarter and Indiegogo are becoming another part of music discovery. While your email database is still the most reliable way to raise money for your project, these apps are becoming another way that music lovers discover new music. People are starting to tweet and discuss how they were turned on to new artists just by looking at current music campaigns on crowd funding sites. (Jim Hoffman, Section 101)
* Make amazing music. Nothing else matters if your music doesn’t hold up. Artists worry about whether to use QR codes, what type of content you should have on your website, if it’s worthwhile doing contesting, how to build your email database, but nothing will hold a fans attention if the music isn't outstanding. (David Dufresne, Bandzoogle)