December 31, 2008

Internet Music Promotion (pt3)

So here we have it, the final part of my Berklee assignment a few weeks ago that discussed the good and bad sides of a strong internet identity, based on this article from the NY Times. In this final section we discussed how to apply the lessons learned to your own music career promotion, and I thought these would make good tips for you to follow too. Just in time for the Holidays!

Adhering to learn from this article and the example artists given, I feel revitalised in my Indie stance and very positive about the online marketing possibilities. It reinforces some of what i do already, and has helped me ‘brush up’ on how I can achieve further. I will be careful regarding the personal depth of my blogging, and try and strike the right balance between the 'exclusive' information that my fans want, and not 'ruining the aura' that an artist should have. I will aim to achieve, as Thomson described one artist's approach, "a nuanced ability to seem authentic and confessional without spilling over into a Britney Spears level of information overload".

I like the ideas that both Coulton and OK Go embraced; their 'song a week' and 'treadmill-dance video' respectively. While it would not be good practice to copy these too closely, I feel that what they do preach to me is the importance of how viral the internet can be, and it's possible subsequent explosion in fan numbers. This is something I aim to use in my career for certain, and i see it as a vital part of a low-budget musician’s armory.

Something else to take away from the article, is when Thompson states that of the artists he interviewed, "many of them also said that staying artistically “pure” now requires the mental discipline of a ninja". This kind of need for focus and discipline is something I consider myself to be currently good at, maybe even approaching a trainee ninja level, and it is something that I intend to maintain in the future.

One comment that Thompson made really hit home for me; "It seems likely that the artists who forge direct access to their fans have the best chance of figuring out what the new economics of the music business will be". I see this as ringing very true, as these artists are adapting and evolving with the music industry, and collaborating with new media entrepreneurs and technologies all the time to produce fresh, innovative ideas and business plans. Proof of this is even included later in the article, as it mentions that Coulton has set up deals without any record label contract involved, and "uses a growing array of online tools to sell music directly to fans". Various online companies offer opportunities to not just distribute the music digitally to popular online stores, but they can also store physical CDs, process credit card payments and then ship the CD out. Interaction between forward-thinking artists and companies like this shows that an online promotional route really can be a successful one for Indie artists.

This new route to success is only achievable when "the artist has the correct emotional tools"; I believe that I have, and I aim to project myself as part of the new breed of empowered independent artists (Lee Jarvis 2.0 ?), fully embracing the new wave of internet consumers and contributors, along with the opportunities that it provides.

Happy Holidays, and check back in the ’09 for more blog posts from the UK Music Jobs team :)

Lee Jarvis.

December 17, 2008

Internet Music Promotion (pt2)

Following on from last week’s post discussing the pros of internet marketing from a NY Times article by Clive Thompson, here are a few of the cons that are worth considering when you promote your music career online...

One of the drawbacks that interested me most from this article, is the fact that artists could be "ruining their own aura by blogging". I can definitely see the validity of this point - rock stars have often been 'untouchable' and the pedestal on which they perform is part of the reason that fans adore them. Remove this, and all of a sudden they are a bit less rock-n-roll and a bit more tea-n-biscuits. One interviewed band member even goes as far to say that "the intimacy of the Internet has made post-show interactions less intimate and more guarded", speaking after one comment to a fan was later quoted online and spread like wildfire. Being burnt from this interaction, he now keeps his comments muted and possible more 'banal'.

Obsessing over the numbers after a successful online campaign can drive you crazy. The belief that if 10 people commented on one record and no-one did on the follow-up means that the latter track was a failure can torture an artist. Coulton would "rack his brains trying to figure out why people loved those particular songs so much", and the pressure of trying to achieve the same numbers would "sort of ruin me for a few weeks" he says. Sticking with Coulton and his promotional peaks, his biggest spike in traffic to his Web site was after he appeared on NPR’s 'Weekend Edition Sunday', something that he thinks "proves how powerful old-fashioned media still are". He has a very good point, old-fashioned media aren't completely dead, and maybe "there’s no way to use the Internet to vault from the B-list to the A-list. If A-list celebrity status is what you are after, then you could consider this another drawback of online promotion.

A major negative is the "relentless and often boring slog of keyboarding". Coulton "hunkers down for up to six hours of nonstop and frequently exhausting communion with his virtual crowd" pretty much everyday, and I can certainly relate to that kind of commitment to maintain my online presence, without as big an established crowd (simultaneous yet smaller fan-base DJ / producer / pseudonym producer / remixer / blogger / marketing careers will easily eat up my working week). It certainly is tiresome, but a necessary evil if you will. It could be argued that this keyboarding is taking time away from the artist being creative, and possibly even eating away at their creativity itself. Many would agree that it is "precisely the sort of administrative toil that people join rock bands to avoid", which voices another well raised point in this article.

Having called it a 'necessary evil', it is also addicting in an empowering way. Retaining ultimate control over your career is a strong pull, and as Coulton states “I think I’m addicted to running my own show now.” This addiction could also be seen as a positive or a drawback, depending on how much you enjoy the control / dread the responsibility / what kind of day you have ;)

Finally, next week, I’ll discuss how you can apply the lessons learned by the artists in the article to your music career and develop a strong online strategy ready for success in 2009!

Lee Jarvis.

Cross-posted at UK Music Jobs

December 10, 2008

Internet Music Promotion (pt1)

There was a discussion posted over at the Berklee Online Music Marketing course the other week that really struck a chord with me (no pun intended). It resulted in a rather lengthy reply, but of some value (it earned me a good grade so I assume there's some good content here). We were asked to read this article over at the NY Times and then asked to consider all of the Internet tactics used by the artists featured and discuss what we felt to be the most positive aspects of online music promotion covered, along with the drawbacks of Internet promotion and in what ways we could you use some of these techniques to market our own music. Much of it is relevant to the advice on Music Jobs, and in part 1 here I mainly discuss the positive aspects of a strong online strategy. Enjoy...

One of the big positives of online promotion is the interaction an artist has with their fans. In the past it was rarely possible to connect with them as often or as strongly; it was mainly a passing comment or autograph at a show. Nowadays, fans think it nothing to send their idols an email or blog comment, sometimes simple but sometimes quite deep and meaningful. As Coulton realised, "his fans do not want merely to buy his music. They want to be his friend". The connection with fans can be inspiring and give an artist creative (and other) motivation. I think there is another very important positive here because, as Thompson writes, fans can be a "promotion department" for an artist. They record videos at shows and distribute them online, they re-blog and link to digital stores in order to assist record sales, they tell friends on social networking sites about upcoming concerts. Having a good relationship with fans also enables new strategies such as Coulton's "flash mob approach to touring". Playing at lesser known towns that not only have a strong local following, but are also a good mid-way point between other cities with additional fans, means that he can play one very good gig and earn well from it, rather than a possibly financially uncertain, and sometimes unrewarding long drawn-out tour schedule.

Online media may be a relatively new thing, but it has fast become the norm with the young 'Generation-Y' music consuming public. "Fans aren’t hearing about bands from MTV or magazines anymore; fame can come instead through viral word-of-mouth, when a friend forwards a Web-site address, swaps an MP3, e-mails a link to a fan blog or posts a cellphone concert video on YouTube". I feel this statement shows just how important it is to be a part of the change in the industry; fans are in online chatrooms swapping links, no longer at a record fairs swapping notes in notebooks. It really should be a key part of any artist's marketing strategy, and it has certainly created "a fresh route to creative success". Thompson writes, regarding the rapid success of Scene Asthetic on Myspace, "This sort of career arc was never previously possible. If you were a singer with only one good song, there was no way to release it independently on a global scale — and thus no way of knowing if there was a market for your talent". Myspace provided that platform, and the band embraced it. This success, although rare, is completely possible of all online artists, and a very good argument for the positives of online marketing.

Another plus of the online promotion route is the cost. Although the article doesn't directly mention the fact that the online social networks are a great free tool for hardworking newcomers, it does point out that "This is not a trend that affects A-list stars. The most famous corporate acts — Justin Timberlake, Fergie, BeyoncĂ© — are still creatures of mass marketing, carpet-bombed into popularity by expensive ad campaigns and radio airplay." As we have all learnt by now, this type of marketing approach is not viable or effective for new artists and extremely expensive.

Check back soon for part 2 and the negative impacts that you should be aware of!

Lee Jarvis.

Cross-posted at UK Music Jobs

December 05, 2008

Selling records on iTunes


I've covered a bit recently on AC/DC dropping iTunes because of Apple's requirement to sell album tracks individually and the band's belief that this is wrong. Well, assuming that you aren't a rock supergroup that can strike up a great physical distribution deal, iTunes could be on your list of download sites, and using it to sell your records, possibly through a digital distributor, could be a great way to boost your digital sales. A site that has sold over 5 billion songs cannot be ignored.

For a start, no-one makes as much......

Read the full post here:

Lee Jarvis.

November 28, 2008

Hello? Is it Lee you're looking for?

If you're wondering where I am, If you're wondering what I do.... I've moved to Chicago.

I'm pretty sure that's a good enough reason for the lack of blogging over the last 10 days, but I'm now settling in nicely and ready to rock once again. Things here will basically work the same - I will still share my articles over at UK Music Jobs, and I will now be blogging for sister company US Music Jobs. So, no matter which side of the Atlantic you are on, I'll be pointing you in the right direction with music job finding advice. Plus you'll get my more personal advice and views on the industry right here - I still keep my fingers in many industry pies. Although I am going to have to cut back on the British quips such as that - I received a very strange look the other day, I think they thought I was some kind of pie-dophile.

Moving swiftly on, you can look forward to more useful insights very soon, starting with some tips for maximising your record sales. If you find yourself asking "Tell me how to be a star, For I haven't got a clue", then let me start by saying... "iTunes".

Lee Jarvis.

November 17, 2008

7 reasons to go Indie!

This applies to all those thinking of becoming freelance or going alone on their music career. The word ‘Indie’ used to be applied to just record labels, often run by musicians in their spare time, but any reader of Bob Baker will know that ‘Indie’ should be a frame of mind and you can apply it to everything that you do.

1) Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day again.
Or something like that, I’m sure someone far wiser than me has said it better. Point is, I love getting up in the morning, switching on some kind of computer, and writing / recording / organising / sharing / listening. I may say that I have many jobs, as they all supplement my income, but in another way, I never feel like I’m actually working. I enjoy it, therefore it can’t be work, can it?!?

2) Doing what you love will earn you MORE money.
It’s often thought that to do what you love, you will have to give up your well-paid ‘normal’ job and make less money… Wrong! If you do what you love, then your passion shows through, and people in the music industry love to see that. Your passion makes you driven and motivated. Everyone wants to work with people like that, right? Motivation and determination make you succeed. It’s not always immediate, but if you stick to your guns... Kerrrchinggg! (I constantly learn from Gary Vaynerchuk in this department.)

3) Job security.
No, I’m serious. I feel more secure having my job, career, and income under my control as opposed to having all my eggs in someone else’s basket. Someone on a board who doesn’t know me. Somebody who is being told to cutback wherever they can because of an ‘economic downturn’. Think about it.

4) “My job allows me to be as creative as possible”.
Imagine being able to say that everyday. It’s one heck of a feeling.

5) You own everything that you create.
I’m not just talking about the dread of another label owning your songs, or another mag owning your articles. There was a recent post on the topic of ‘Who owns your friends?’, pointing out a case where an employee had created a strong network of acquaintances through online social networking. He had done this as a representative of the company he was working for, and upon leaving, thought he could take this with him. A Judge thought otherwise; as this was done on company time, and he was effectively paid to do so be the company, the company basically owned his network of peers. Ouch.

6) You can create your own luck.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I don’t believe that getting a lucky ‘break’ happens any more (if ever). You create your own luck. Sitting at your workplace waiting for a magazine to call you and ask about your band will not happen. You have to spend your time creating and fine-tuning your press kit and media relations. Again, Bob Baker has some very wise words on this.

7) Become part of the FUTURE.
By finding what you want, and acting now, you will create a great opportunity for yourself. The music industry is going crazy, as is social media and guerilla marketing. It’s an ideal time to get stuck in and make yourself part of the industry. The days of being just a consumer are over. People create, share, remix, re-hash and become a lot more involved than the music marketing strategies of old.

This may be a bit of a cross-over between freelancing ideas and ideas that you could still do in your spare time, but I believe they all come with an ‘Indie’ frame of mind. It’s certainly a determined and passionate frame of mind, and it’s definitely at the heart of what I do. Either way, I want these tips to instigate and encourage you in your music career. Feel free to comment if they do or don’t or if you want to add your own.

Lee Jarvis.

November 10, 2008

AC/DC album news – the physical revolution?

...From Guns n Roses to AC/DC! Yes, we really are keeping up with the times! It’s funny how these, ahem, ‘mature’ bands are leading the way with their music strategies.

Anywho, I thought I’d report on the Young Brothers and co, because they recently took a stand against iTunes. They believed that an album should not be able to be broken down and purchased as individual tracks. Something that Apple is very sure should be able to happen, and something that I am sitting on the fence about. If you are going to make a ‘proper’ album (and I wouldn’t do it any other way), then...

Read the full post here:

November 05, 2008

A chance...

No prizes for guessing the (off)topic today. Where were you when a man landed on the moon? Well, I wasn't born for another 14 years, but people will be saying to me, 'Where were you when Obama won?'. Unfortunately I wasn't in Grant Park, but I had a 'source' there ;) and did enjoy watching the scenes live on the BBC (I do love the BBC).

Putting the historical nature of the first black president aside, I am excited for another reason. Also putting aside his charisma and public speaking talents (great leader qualities though they are), I am actually excited about the words this chap is coming out with. He has great vision and explains what is wrong with *healthcare/ economics/ environment/ overseas policies (*delete as appropriate), then explains what he wants to do to fix them. No matter what party you are, or what race you are, or even what country you are from, it's been a long time since a politician has done that.

This is now the chance everyone has hoped for, to move forward and create a strong future. Doing it together means we support each other's weaknesses, and rejoice in each other's strengths. It makes the journey so much sweeter.

Everyone deserves a chance to do that.


November 04, 2008

Voting, viral marketing and your new music strategy?

...Ok, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this one, but ride it out with me… Over the last couple of days I have received emails and feeds reminding me to vote in the US Election from people such as MTV, OM Records, and many, many more. In fact, MTV news headlines are dominated by election predictions and results.

What has all this got to do with the changing face of the music industry? Directly… nothing. Indirectly, the thing that has struck me, and that you should really think about too, is that the way that both the political parties and neutral organisations are using the internet and new media to encourage people to vote in incredible numbers. National Geographic...

Read the full post here:

October 29, 2008

'Getting a break'

Does it still happen? Well.....

It may SEEM like someone gets a lucky break now and then, but trust me, that particular gig where the (insert national newspaper) reviewer pops along and likes what they hear – that’s because it’s your 1052nd gig and they are there because you’ve contacted them through the whelm of social networking sites. They checked out your UK Music Jobs profile (which is in all your signatures) before replying, which was up to date with info, press shots, new music and carefully crafted branding. Someone in their office had actually heard of you already because you are always chiming in on (insert blog) with insightful comments and linking back to your own regularly updated tour blog. Their friend had won free tickets to your last gig that you’d offered to the local radio station (along with a CD and biog for the specialist genre DJ there).

Here’s the good news, and the bit to focus on. Your career is now in YOUR hands....

Read the full post here:

Guns N' Roses album finally released!

...I reported the leaks on Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Chinese Democracy’ album recently, and now it’s finally getting a timely full release. The recent official statement from Best Buy and Geffen Records gave us a street date of November 23rd for CD, vinyl LP (with a free digital download) and digital album versions...

Read the full post at

October 28, 2008


Well, I'm sure every artist will agree that for every day that you are awesomely inspired, you will also hit a serious wall.

Today has been really tough. Musically and otherwise. And yeah, some songs you listen to just make it tougher, but you know you've got to get through it and that sometimes you like the songs that hurt, so the only thing you can turn to is the music. Ironic? Maybe. F*cked Up? Definitely.

There's one artist who's albums have never left my side since I discovered him 13 years ago. What was a 12 year old white kid doing listening to Neo-soul when his whole school was only into Blur? I have no idea, but this guy's music speaks volumes to me, and never fails to stir emotions, those that hurt and those that heal. So, it's always a roller-coaster, but I conquer my walls with some help from D'Angelo...

Hurt: One Mo' gin
(I miss your smile, your mouth, your laughter)

Heal: Spanish Joint
(Serene but in need of feelin free, letting go and landing on my feet,
brushed the dirt off my back, no time flat, gonna be a good thing)


October 22, 2008


So... I'd not even attempted to make some beats for about a month now for one reason or another. After a couple of weekends partying and a lot of soul-searching, I thought I'd give it a crack the other day: I spent about 28 of the last 48 hours on a completely new EP, that's now finished and ready to shop.

All those times I've had the free time to put in, I've felt a bit lost. Then all of a sudden this came from nowhere, and now I'm behind with my studies, I've been going to bed at 5am, and I think it's safe to say I have somewhat neglected my personal hygiene. But I just had to write these tracks! It was just pouring out of me, everything I'd wanted to say through that dry spell.

I think it's strange how you can find inspiration in the most unexpected places; new people, old memories, random trips to the coffee house. When it hits you, you know you're writing / composing / painting is going to be deep and meaningful.

Not that my stuff is in the same league as this, but I thought I'd leave you with a clip from an artist called Sia Furler, whom I was introduced to by a good friend this year. I can't help but think that her singing is so full of emotion, that there is something monumental inspiring her up on stage. Maybe she's been through one heck of a heartbreak; it's that same kind of 'loved and lost' stress in her voice that Ella Fitzgerald used to have. A truly haunting and moving singer.

Edit: I found this clip instead where I *think* she says 'I wrote this when I was sad' at the beginning. 'Sad' doesn't even begin to cover it.

October 17, 2008

New UKMJ Blog: Giving your music away

I’ve been thinking some more about my post last week, debating how much you actually earn from selling your music online these days. Coupled with the news that’s been finally weaned from Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’ Album and the fact that the more forthcoming Trent Reznor’s figures on Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Ghosts I-IV’ album, I thought I’d blog further on the topic of what you can earn by giving your music away.

Read the full post here

October 14, 2008


I've decided to get my personal blog page here up to date, there's a lovely new picture of me (>>>) and some snazzy looking links on the right hand side now.

As you can see, most of my posts here have been linked from my weekly blog posts over at UK Music Jobs, and the occasional status update from my social networks. Well, it's about to get a whole lot busier....

I will soon be blogging from the US, and with that move, I also venture into two new websites, US Music Jobs and Media Match. These weekly blogs will continue along the music industry /social networking / music marketing / digital music revolution line of attack, and then also see me venture into similar aspects of TV and film freelancers.

Also, not liking to give myself any spare time, our much loved and recently neglected Moochin website is getting an overhaul, and I will post weekly on there with gig news / record releases etc.

The best way to stay up to date and keep in touch will be to subscribe to this main blog, either as an RSS feed or as an email update. Of course, I look forward to many of you posting comments on here or any of the above projects I'm working on :)



Wise words on the Future of Music

Status Update:
Going back over some wise words from David Kusek:

October 10, 2008

Myspace Update October 08

Status Update:
I've uploaded some new tracks if anyone wants to check some house music...

October 08, 2008

New UKMJ Blog: The Big Royalties Debate

New Blog: The Big Royalties Debate

Royalties? Publishing? RIAA? Pirates? Here’s my two cents...

October 02, 2008

New UKMJ Blog: The UK Music Jobs network

New blog: The UK Music Jobs network

How to make the most of it and help find your dream job!

September 17, 2008

September 11, 2008

New UKMJ Blog: Interview with John Webber, Freelance Engineer

New Blog: Interview w John Webber, Freelance Engineer

A chat and some advice from successful UK engineer John Webber

August 28, 2008

New UKMJ Blog: Guns n Roses album leak & arrest

New Blog: Guns n Roses album leak & arrest

Serious action from the authorities but is it justified or well placed?

August 21, 2008

New UKMJ Blog: Back to the Future? (LP)

New Blog: Back to the Future? (LP)

A brief look at the return of decent artist albums and vinyl buying trends.

January 12, 2008

NYE 07'08

Well, i'm so glad i booked all the DJs that I did. We had a lot of fun, all got drunk and fell over, and the music was spot on. The Quirks and Souljay gathered at my flat in the evening, munching on pizza and talking shop/ playing half finished records and the like. Andy Quirk, shame you weren't well mate but thanks for coming down and making the effort!

Also, thanks to Lil' Mark for coming all the way from Bristol, and thanks to the Moochers for sticking by us and waiting for our room to open - we were delayed a coupla hours by the venue but that certainly didn't affect their partying spirits!
Happy '08 Everyone :)