March 23, 2016

Happy Democracy Day: Register to vote!

Young people, women, and people of color have had to fight for right to have a voice in our government. You get to choose who represents you in Washington D.C. and shape the future of this country -- and you are the future of this country. 

Today is National Democracy Day. Celebrate by getting registered to vote so you can vote in the upcoming national elections. Get started right here, thanks to our partners at Rock the Vote. Just fill out the form, print the copy of the form Rock the Vote sends you, and follow the directions for your state (some states require you to mail the application in and some will let you register online.)

March 22, 2016

Internships at Spin Doctors Music Group in Nashville

Interns wanted for growing Music Business artist services company in Nashville. 
The ideal candidate will:

  • Possess an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Be passionate and excited about the music industry
  • Have excellent communications skills 
  • Have the ability to function productively in a fast paced creative environment
  • Computer skills: mac os and windows, graphic design, audio editing software, etc.

We have a virtual label, with several developing artists, a management company, marketing and social media, radio promotion company, and other artist services. Our goal is to hire future employees and promote from within. This is an excellent chance to get in on the ground floor of a growing Nashville music business company.

March 19, 2016

Stream Wars: Is There Any Hope Left for Jay Z’s Tidal?

This article was originally published on GenFKD

A rough couple of months for Tidal culminated in the company’s satirical skewering in a recent Saturday Night Live skit. Despite support and ownership by several major artists, Jay-Z’s music streaming service is struggling to gain traction among consumers despite Kanye’s earnest efforts.

So, what’s unique about Tidal’s business model and why has it failed to keep pace with competitors like Spotify and Apple Music?
Jay-Z 2011
By Joella Marano [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Music industry 101
To understand why Tidal is different from any other streaming service, let’s start with some basic information about the music industry and its economics.

When you stream or download a song, there are two pieces of the song that are making money: the song itself and the recording of that song. The songwriters get paid for the song and the record label gets paid for the sound recording (this is admittedly oversimplifying things, but we did say this was just the basics). The artist gets paid a contractually agreed amount per stream or download based on their contract with the record label.

So, when a song is streamed, companies like Spotify and Apple Music owe both the record label and the songwriter money for using that song (again oversimplified). The problem is that many musicians have said that these streaming services aren’t paying very much. What’s more, when you take into account that many artists get paid only a portion of that money from their record label, it means that musicians aren’t necessarily making very much money from streaming.

Since streaming is becoming increasingly popular and has been touted as the future of the music industry, this is kind of a big deal. If musicians can’t earn a living by making music it will radically shift the nature of the music industry and put a lot of people out of work. That’s why people like Taylor Swift, who are popular enough to have a bigger say in what happens to their music, have been pulling their music from streaming services.

March 14, 2016

How to find the right keywords for your resume and cover letter

Most jobs and internships require you to submit your resume and cover letter to an online application system. When you do, your information could be joining hundreds of other applications in a digital database that's, frankly, overwhelming for the hiring manager. As a result, your resume may never ever be viewed unless the system tells the hiring manager that your materials are a good match. The trick is figuring out how to get your materials tagged as a good match so you can get your application in front of decision maker in the first place and to do that you need to know the right keywords. Luckily, there's a secret and clever way you can get ahead of the competition.

What's a keyword?
Think of a job application system as a giant search engine that will match the words in your application with the terms used in the job description to provide the hiring manager with the best matches. Many systems evaluate the content of an application and give candidates a score to tell hiring managers how much of a match an applicant meets what they are looking for. The problem is that this means small differences in terminology and buzzwords may mean your qualified applications gets overlooked entirely. If the company calls it "digital marketing" and you say "online marketing" you risk not being flagged as a match. So, in order to get a higher match and have a better chance of having your resume seen by a human, you need to be sure that your application uses the correct keywords.

Finding the right keywords 
The easiest way to find the right keywords is by reading the job description. But, when you read the job description, you're still thinking like a human and these application management systems are computers. It can be hard to tell which words are the most important and which exact terms need to be included. That's why I recommend a trick: use a word cloud generator. Word cloud generators analyze the words you input and create a visual representation of the most commonly-used words within a document. There are a number of free word cloud tools online, all you have to do is google and then copy and paste the job description into a word cloud generator.

For example, I took this old internship posting off of this site and put it into a word cloud generator. Here is the result:

March 05, 2016

How do the GRAMMY Awards impact music sales?

This was originally published on GenFKD as "How Adele Won the GRAMMYs Even Without Taking Home A Trophy"

Would it surprise you to know that there are 83 different GRAMMY Awards given out each year? The categories range from those you might expect like Song of the Year to Best Spoken Word Album (which is why presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama are both GRAMMY Award winners).

Most of the awards are actually given out before the star-studded telecast. In fact, the GRAMMYs give out fewer awards live on air than any other major awards show. The televised version has been refined over the years and honed into a celebration of live performance that often creates unique opportunities for duets and memorable, larger-than-life performances from both rising stars and icons.

That’s not an accident, it also happens to be a brilliant way to attract viewers and sell more music. In fact, in 2015, post-GRAMMY week sales were 87 percent higher overall than the previous two weeks. Here’s a look at how the GRAMMY Awards impacted record sales in 2016 and historically.
Arcade Fire and Dixie Chicks: Album of the Year
Album of the Year, undoubtedly one of the biggest and most prestigious awards of the night, tends to be a guarantee of a huge sales boost. Over the past ten years, the winner of this category consistently saw a significant increase in sales — especially for artists not already on the top of the charts.

When Arcade Fire, an indie band many mainstream music fans weren’t familiar with, won Album of the Year a year in 2011, many Twitter users took to social media to discuss the fact that they hadn’t heard of the band. However, it’s clear the exposure that came with the award had a huge impact on their popularity; they experienced a 238 percent increase in sales. Similarly, after much controversy and outright boycotts, The Dixie Chicks’ Album of the Year win in 2007 led to an impressive 714 percent increase in sales and their song jumped to number four on the charts — making it their most popular single to date.

While the award can be a career-changing moment for lesser-known artists, it still leads to record sales for even the most popular of musicians. Swift’s record-setting album “1989” won this year but only had a 91 percent increase in sales. That number becomes more impressive when considering the album was already the fastest selling album since 2004, with more than five million records sold. Similarly, when Swift won in 2010, she only experienced a 58 percent increase in sales.
Andra Day to the stage, please: Performance and sales
This year’s big winners in sales prove that performances, with or without award wins, can lead directly to big sales bumps. This year’s biggest sales increases were Andra Day, Gwen Stefani and Alabama Shakes; two out of the three didn’t win any awards, while all three performed in some manner.

Day had the biggest overall sales increase of any artist despite not winning any awards. She did perform with Ellie Goulding, demonstrating that performances can be just as, if not more, powerful as a win. Similarly, Adele’s album was released too late to be nominated this year, but her performance lead to a 21 percent increase in overall sales, putting it back at the top of the charts, and the song she performed, “All I Ask,” saw a 526 percent increase.

Gwen Stefani also didn’t have any nominations, but her innovative live music video commercial with Target lead to a 275 percent increase in sales, the second biggest increase of any artist. Alabama Shakes, who both won and performed, had the third largest increase, 239 percent, of any artist The connection isn’t limited to sales though, there were similar results for streaming services, where Alabama Shakes and Andra Day respectively saw the two largest increases.
“Thinking Out Loud”: Social media and sales
It’s hard to tell how much influence social media reactions had on sales since the most-tweeted moments were all reactions to award wins. But it is clear that all the most-tweeted moments experienced an obvious increase in record sales, where other award-winning albums may not have seen as much of an impact.

According to Twitter, Ed Sheeran’s win of Song of the Year was the most-tweeted moment of the night. It seems like that positive reaction can be linked to an increase in sales, “Thinking Out Loud” saw a 249 percent increase in sales.

The second-most talked about moment on social media was Kendrick Lamar’s performance. Lamar was also the most-nominated artist of the night and won five awards. His album had a 229 percent increase in sales and “Alright” — one of the songs he performed — went up 645 percent.

The third-most tweeted moment was Meghan Trainor’s win of Best New Artist and she saw a 29 percent increase in sales.

Our take
The link between GRAMMY nominations and music sales has been present since the start of the awards. It’s no surprise that this eventually lead to a telecast that focused more on impressive performances and less on trophies. As such, artists and their record labels can feel confident that a chance to perform on the GRAMMY stage or win one of the most prestigious awards — like Album of the Year — is a catalyst to see a big increase in sales.

Perhaps more interestingly, this year’s awards demonstrate that performance can be more valuable as a promotional tool than an actual win and that social-media-worthy moments can also be linked to increased sales.

Ultimately, it seems one of the best way to succeed in post-GRAMMYs sales is by using it as an opportunity to capture attention by being bold and creative — which is exactly what the GRAMMYs were intended to celebrate.
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