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New Music Biz 101: Website Analytics

As a DIY artist, it’s important that you treat your music business like just that, a business. When it comes to marketing your “business,” you need to be constantly collecting data to adjust and improve your strategies. One of the best ways to do this is through using Website Analytics.

For those who aren’t as familiar, Website Analytics such as Google Analytics, allows you to track tons of data about the users who arrive and participate on your web site.

This tool gives you the ability to not only see where the traffic is coming from, but it tells you how long the user has stayed on your web site, what pages they visited and the page where you’re losing the majority of your visitors.

As a musician, one of the ways you should be using analytics is to tell how much traffic you’re generating from your social media sites. You probably are generating new visitors from one site over another and you don’t even know it! This is important information as you can adjust your marketing efforts accordingly, spending more time engaging with your fans on the high traffic sending sites, and thinking of new strategies for some of your slower sending social media. Knowing where your efforts are paying off the most is really a valuable piece of information.

With analytics, you have the ability to find what key words people are using to find you on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.  You can then optimize your content accordingly based on this information. Ensuring that people are able to quickly find you via search engines is essential to your career. When a fan hears about you, they often use a search engine to find more information. Using Google Analytics to track your keywords and incoming traffic will help you keep closer tabs on your search engine optimization efforts.

The great news about this tool is that the service is free! So, what are you waiting for? Set your analytics up soon and start tracking that data!

Judge In The Subway Fresh Artist Competition For A Chance To Meet The Goo Goo Dolls

The “SUBWAY FRESH ARTISTS™” National Finals Competition is kicking into full swing during the month of October. Last month, artists across the US entered their music into 10 regional “SUBWAY FRESH ARTISTS™” Competition Channels for their chance at making it into the Finals. The Top 50 artists from each of the regional channels are now competing in the “SUBWAY FRESH ARTISTS™” National Finals Competition Channel for a shot at opening for The Goo Goo Dolls,  and they need YOU, the fans, to be the judge to help them get there. SUBWAY® is offering a killer prize package to the fan who earns the best predictor score in the channel: two tickets to see The Goo Goo Dolls perform live along with a meet and greet with guys in the band! All you have to do is judge! For official rules and competition information, check out the “SUBWAY FRESH ARTISTS™” National Finals Competition page here.

Needle in the Haystack Follow Up: Hailey Wojcik

It’s been a fantastic week working with Hailey Wojcik as this week’s Needle in the Haystack nominee on MTVmusic.com. We had a great interview with Hailey yesterday so we put together a video with some sound bites of our talk.  It was definitely an interesting chat, so check it out below!

If you haven’t done so already, download Hailey’s free track “Pumpkinteeth” here and stay tuned for next week’s Needle in the Haystack!

Pop Stars on Film

What do Cher, Diana Ross, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Mark Wahlberg, Peggy Lee, Queen Latifah and Will Smith have in common? All pop stars-turned-actors, they each mined gold and platinum or scored chart hits in music before landing Oscar nominations. This fall, Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake will launch campaigns to join their company.

Unlikely, you say? You’re probably right, but early word is that Justin Timberlake just might be needing a tux come Oscar night next February 27th, thanks to his performance as Napster co-founder Sean Parker in the Facebook drama The Social Network, which opens today. A friend of mine who has seen the film says no way, but Popeater writer Jett Wells, who presumably saw the same movie, thinks it’s a distinct possibility, if not quite a probability: “Timberlake, who appears to have finally shaken the awkward pop star-making-movie-cameos phase of his career, seems poised to become a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.”

And his 2003 Justified/Stripped Tour co-headliner? Considering what has become of Christina Aguilera’s music career—her current album, Bionic, is a certified flop that likely won’t even go gold—Burlesque, her film debut (November 24th), would have Showgirls written all over it were it not for her above-the-title costar. Say what you will about her strangely immovable face, but she will forever be known as “Oscar winner Cher.” As for Aguilera, she wisely chose a role —wannabe American idol — in which she doesn’t have to completely give up her day job. In the trailer, Cher and 2010 Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci do most of the talking (words by director Steve Antin along with Juno writer Diablo Cody and Erin Brockovich scribe Susannah Grant, an Oscar winner and nominee, respectively), while Christina Aguilera does what she does best: She sings.

I’m still not 100 per cent sure what Timberlake’s Nipplegate partner at the 2004 Super Bowl, Janet Jackson, is doing in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls (opening November 5th), or why her eyes are that unnatural shade of light brown on the film’s poster. She plays Jo, one of seven women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, in the film adaptation of the 1975 Tony Award-winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She’s lucky to be top billed in an ensemble that’s embarrassingly rich with talent: Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Kerry Washington, Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine and Thandie Newton, who, interestingly, was cast after Mariah Carey had to bail for medical reasons. If Jackson doesn’t bring it and more, she’ll rue the day that Beyoncé didn’t get the job.

By Jeremy Helligar

Jeremy Helligar is a former staff writer for People, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly, who now writes about celebrities and pop culture from his couch in Buenos Aires.

Enter Guitar Center’s “Your Next Record with Keith Urban” Competition

Want to win a chance to record a single featuring Keith Urban, work on an EP alongside a top producer and score $20,000 in new gear from Guitar Center, Gibson, D’Addario, Evans, Planet Waves and more?  Sure you do!  And we all know you want to receive a major feature of your song on iTunes. Thanks to Guitar Center and Keith Urban, who are collaborating with OurStage,  country, pop and rock artists will get their chance in the “Your Next Record with Keith Urban“ Competition.  Artists can submit their best track to the “Your Next Record with Keith Urban” Competition through November 30, 2010.

Calling all fans: Do your part to help determine the next superstar artist. Now through December 15th, you can judge for your favorite artist.  Each week one fan will be selected at random and receive a $50 gift card to Guitar Center. Check out more info along with the official rules for the “Your Next Record with Keith Urban” Competition and pick up Keith Urban’s new record Get Closer November 16th.”

Punk On The Rocks: Glen Matlock & The Philistines “Born Running”

While Sid Vicious may have been the most famous bass player for the Sex Pistols, Glen Matlock was undoubtedly the most talented. Glen is credited by his bandmates as having written most of the music for the bands songs, and is listed as a co-writer on ten out of the twelve songs on Nevermind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, including three of the Pistols biggest hits, “Anarchy In The U.K.,” “God Save The Queen” and “Pretty Vacant.” After leaving the Pistols in early 1977, Matlock continued his musical career, forming new wave band The Rich Kids and playing bass for Iggy Pop, The Damned and, most recently, The Faces.

Rebel, Rebel: Glen Matlock

Matlock’s rock/pop sensibilities are on full display on Born Running, his third record with his band The Philistines. If your looking for a rehashing of “Anarchy In The U.K.,” you’ll be best served sticking to the Pistols back catalog. If, however, you’re into straight ahead rock with catchy melodies and a great guitar sound, give Born Running a spin.

First, it should be noted that Matlock plays nearly every instrument that appears on the album. Born Running’s credits list him as “…Lead vocals, guitars, bass, bass, keyboards, percussion and B.V’s [background vocals].”

All of Born Running‘s twelve tracks are pure rock, but the influences vary. Standout “Something Tells Me” has an almost gospel feel, with layers of strong, harmonizing background vocals while the intro to “Rock Chick” sounds like it could have been lifted off of a vintage Scorpions track. Always a sucker for a sing-a-long, I couldn’t help but dig the bah-bah-bahs and oh-ohs of “Way To Go.”

On the lyrics front, Born Running may leave a little something to be desired (Do we really need another song that rhymes “insane” with “brain”?), but hey, it’s only rock and roll, and I like it.

Born Running is out now on Montreal’s Stomp Records. You can buy Born Running on iTunes here.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees announced

Champagne’s a flowin’ at the homes of Bon Jovi, Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, LL Cool J and Dr. John, who among others, were all nominated into the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week. The induction ceremony will take place on March 14th in Cleveland, Ohio. We would like an Alice Cooper/Neil Diamond duet please … to whoever is taking requests.

Joe Jonas is ridin’ solo

Following in his little bro’s footsteps, or maybe heeding the advice of Jason Derülo, Joe Jonas announced plans to record a solo all by himself. Something with “a sexier, Justin Timberlake vibe,” says the Middle One. Sexier than “Camp Rock”? Can it be done? We’ll all find out in 2011…

The Bad

Mariah Carey falls in Singapore

If you’re gonna fall, fall with class. Like Mariah Carey, who took a tumble in Singapore but smiled the whole way down. Then things got a little more diva-ish when Carey yelled for her assistant to come help her take her shoes off while the band kept playing “Make It Happen.” Check it out below.

Katy Perry avenges her “Sesame Street” snub

On SNL this past weekend, Katy Perry avenged her Sesame Street-banned bust by donning a low-cut Elmo t-shirt and bouncing around on a sofa. Those muppets must be seeing red!

The Ugly

MC Hammer starts beef with Jay Z

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Back story: On Kanye West’s song “So Appalled,” Jay-Z delivers a line about “blowing through $30,000 like Hammer.” Well, Mr. MC Hammer was none too pleased about that, and responded on Twitter by linking to a video of himself beating up a punching bag. “You want my attention [Jigga] you got it.” Punch, punch, punch. It’s all kind of embarrassing and feeble, but we’ll play along. Please Hammer, don’t hurt him!

Miscellany

Soul Searching: Jeremy James

There are a few important qualities that we search for when “Soul Searching” for artists. Significant industry accomplishments, a unique style and ridiculous vocals to name a few. Jeremy James has all these and then some! James has shared the same stage with an extensive and impressive list of artists including India Arie, Erykah Badu and John Legend. As for Jeremy’s voice, it’s often described as a mix found somewhere between Stevie Wonder and Seal. Although these are two enormous shoes to fill, we can definitely see where they’re coming from!

Jeremy’s music is creative, and it’s apparent that he’s not just a singer— he’s a songwriter and talented overall musician. In his song, “U Should Know” take a listen to the old school/new school mix in both the vocals and backing track. We’ve included four of Jeremy’s tracks below to stream. Which one do you like the best? Any comments for or about the artist are always appreciated. Let us know what you think!

Tune Up: M-Audio Axiom Review

A couple weeks ago, I talked about using software synthesis to beef up your recordings or live sound. However, if you want to perform those synths you’ve built, the easiest way to do so is with a keyboard. How do you connect a keyboard to your computer? Well, most of you probably know that a MIDI controller is a pretty obvious concept. They all do the same thing, right? So you wouldn’t need to worry too much about which one you buy, right? Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. This week, I’m reviewing what have become my favorite MIDI controllers on the market: M-Audio’s line of USB-connected/powered keyboard controllers, branded Axiom.

The Axiom comes in a few different sizes: 25-, 49- and 61-key varieties. They also offer a “pro” line which has comparable features plus a few added perks. For this review, I’ll focus on the Axiom 49 for its affordability, features and flexibility. The Axiom 49 keyboard has enough octaves to give you the ability to play realistic piano lines, but it’s also portable enough to easily carry from show to show or from studio to studio.

Now that we have the right size, let’s look at some important specs for this M-Audio Axiom 49:

  • 49 semi-weighted keys with assignable aftertouch
  • 8 knobs, 9 sliders, all assignable
  • 8 assignable pads
  • 15 assignable trigger buttons
  • snapshot capabilities

While the keyboard has a lot of different specs, I’ve listed things that I look for in a solid MIDI controller. First, you need some solid keys that are velocity sensitive for a realistic feel during performance. Next, you want assignable knobs and buttons, so you can trigger on-screen knobs quickly without fussing with a mouse (e.g., you can set it up so that a specific knob on your keyboard controls a specific knob or function on the software view). You also want to be able to take quick snapshots on the keyboard so you can quickly switch between sounds (much like presets on a hardware synth). Finally, where the Axiom stands out most is its inclusion of trigger pads right on the device. This is unique among most MIDI keyboards out there as it gives you the ability to use drums pads when controlling drum samples, eliminating the need to purchase a separate USB drum pad controller or drum machine.

The keyboard is connected and powered via USB bus, so it’s simple and plug-and-play. There are also MIDI ins/outs as well as a power adapter input for added flexibility. Overall, I have had some of the most realistic sounds, feels and takes with this specific controller. While it is a little heavier than I would like my controllers, it makes up for it in features and size. I strongly recommend this for any live, studio or hobby musician.

B.o.B.’s Big Year

Born Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., B.o.B. is the latest young rapper taking the pop world by storm.  You could say the rock-loving rapper is on a roll of sorts and showing no signs of slowing down. His singles turned to summer anthems overnight and earned him five VMA nominations, as well as nods for BET and Teen Choice Awards. B.o.B. performed to packed crowds from the main stage at Coachella and Lollapalooza, and caught the attention of more than just hip hop fans.

Photo by Wuz Good Courtesy of Atlantic Records

He just watched his third consecutive single, “Magic,” soar to the top ten charts and score him an Adidas commercial featuring the song.  B.o.B. received his first BMI Urban Music Award in September, where President and CEO, Del Bryant, called him “the future of music.” The Southern sensation opened the show to an industry-packed crowd with his hits, “Nothin’ On You” and “Airplanes,” accompanied by nothing but his guitar.  A couple days later, he took the stage alongside Paramore front-woman, Hayley Williams for a show-stopping performance of “Airplanes” at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.  His debut album, B.o.B. presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray was released earlier this year by TI’s Atlantic imprint, Grand Hustle Records and features cameos by an eclectic bunch including Eminem, Janelle Monae, Lupe Fiasco, and Weezer front-man, Rivers Cuomo.  The album shot to Number 1 on the Billboard Top 200 in its first week, making B.o.B the thirteenth male solo artist to achieve such success with a debut release.  His unique, clever delivery coupled with his unusual affection for instruments and artistry makes him a welcomed rarity to the sometimes stagnant style of pop-rap.  This fall, B.o.B. will hit the road with Paramore when he joins them for their UK tour before gearing up for his own cross-country caravan, The Shootin’ For The Stars Tour.

By Cortney Wills

Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.

 


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