Friday, August 22, 2008

Must Pandora Die?

Kurt Hanson of RAIN (The Radio and Internet Newsletter) posted a GREAT Blog today about the current webcasting royalty situation that is forcing Pandora radio to seriously consider pulling the plug.

Kurt suggests that if Pandora does fold as a result of the new webcasting royalty rates, it will be the "tipping point" that either (and I quote) "(1) triggers a consumer backlash against the RIAA, which, if expressed in the form of a boycott, as some bloggers have proposed, could cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in record sales, (2) leads to belated reasonable negotiations from SoundExchange, and/or (3) spurs Congress to pass the Internet Radio Equality Act."

Perhaps the loss of Pandora Radio (loved by millions) would be the very thing that would finally bring about some real significant action and resolution to the issue. But I hope, I truly hope, Pandora doesn't become a casualty of this.

Read Kurt's blog at .

And also don't miss the follow up blog at .

Why should YOU care about this? Because Pandora is giving significant radio exposure to thousands of unsigned artists. I know that I, personally, have sold a bunch of CDs as a result of having my music played on Pandora Radio.

If we lose Pandora, I would suggest that it is a worse tragedy than when we lost the original to Vivendi Universal back in 2001. I've sold far more CDs from exposure on Pandora Radio than I ever did back in the days of Michael Robertson's Why? Because, for the most part, the people who paid the most attention to were the very musicians who were promoting themselves on it. In contrast, Pandora's audience is comprised of everyday people who just simply love discovering new music. was populated mostly by musicians and music promoters.
Pandora is populated by music lovers and music buyers.

Anyway, read Kurt's comments.... and while you're there, subscribe to the RAIN newsletter. It's a great way to stay informed on what's happening with the radio industry.

David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Music Industry Internet Radio Smackdown...

In response to my last post, "Pandora Ponders Pulling the Plug," a reader asked me whether the corporate music industry was using the new, high-priced webcasting royalty rates to deliberately kill off Internet radio.

My answer was... it sure seems that way. If the Copyright Royalty Board sets royalty rates so high that only corporate controlled companies with millions of dollars in the bank can afford to pay those royalties, then smaller, independent webcasters (like Pandora) either have to shut down or risk being sued. Most will shut down. And that will mean the only webcasters out there playing music will be those the music industry WANTS to leave intact.

Sounds like conspiracy-theory craziness? Yea, maybe a bit, but I'm not the only one who sees it that way. Just saw the new article at Pollstar today called "Internet Radio's Royalty Misery."

To quote the article...

"...There's also the underlying suspicion, first voiced last year when the CRB announced the new rates, that the music industry does not want to see Internet radio thrive. Or that it doesn't want to see as many players as the field contains, and that a smaller, more robust Internet radio industry would be more to the record labels' liking.... A 'thinning of the Internet radio herd' could result in more major-label music being streamed over the remaining Internet stations to the detriment of artists on independent labels."


Read the article in its entirety at

And then do your part to Save Internet Radio at

David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pandora Ponders Pulling the Plug...

Anyone else out there love Pandora radio? Uh, yea, a zillion of us.... it's one of my favorite services on the net. Not only as a music fan (you truly can create your own radio station of music YOU like), but as an ARTIST....

Many, MANY people find my music on Pandora radio. It's been a fantastic way to target listeners who are into my style of music. The last time I checked, almost 400 people had created "David Nevue" stations or created stations featuring my music. Pretty cool. I sell quite a few CDs from that exposure...

And yet Pandora, as recently as this week, announced it may soon have to shut down. Why? Because of last year's royalty hike for web radio. Remember that? You don't hear about it much in the news anymore, but it's still a very big deal. You can read more about that at Please do.

What it comes down to is that the very folks who claim to want to help and protect artists (SoundExchange in this case) are, by their very own actions, shutting down some of the few avenues independent artists have for getting radio play on the Internet.

SoundExchange means well, I think. I mean, they send me my royalty checks and I'm grateful, very grateful. But on one hand they send me a check, on the other they threaten to take away a great source of income and exposure for me.

For those of you who are interested in following all this, I really recommend you sign up for Kurt Hanson's Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN). You can subscribe at . Kurt's team will give you the latest info every day on what's happening with Internet radio. It's interesting reading.

As for Pandora, Tim Westergren, Pandora's founder, was just quoted as in the Washington Post as saying that Pandora is nearing a "pull-the-plug" decision as to whether to continue. The new "royalty fees" will absorb 70% of their revenue.

Read about it in the article, "Giant of Internet Radio Nears it's 'Last Stand'" at

And join with me in doing everything possible to Save Net Radio. Visit

Post your thoughts below....

David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Disc Makers offers "Elite Artist Services" to Former Major Label Artists

Fresh off of acquiring CD Baby, Disc Makers is now offering "Elite Artist Services" to former major label artists.

To quote the web site...

"Elite Artist Services offers major artists who go independent virtually all of the manufacturing, distribution, promotion and ecommerce infrastructure support required to release your own project - profitably. From CD and DVD design, mastering and manufacturing, to downloads, custom merch, distribution, ecommerce, print and digital marketing and more, Elite Artist Services offers you the services the record label used to – without the record label constraints. In the rapidly changing music business, Elite Artist Services takes care of your business, so you can focus on your music. You work directly with the manufacturer, and all the profits go to you."

Disc Makers offers virtually everything an artist could want. Manufacturing, distribution, content syndication, traditional retail distribution, promotional services, custom merchandising, warehousing and fulfillment, e-marketing and press kit development and print marketing advertising. Everything under one roof. Wow, sounds great!

Unfortunately, the service is only being offered to artists who "qualify." Again to quote the site....

"Not every artist qualifies to be a client of Elite Artist Services. Why? Because the level of logistical, business, and customer support you'll get from Elite Artist Services can't be offered to artists who have not yet achieved a higher level of success. Our clients don't just dream about succeeding in the music business – they already have."

Here's the web site...

So Disc Makers now has CD Baby for "unqualified" artists in one hand and Elite Artist Services for "qualified" artists in the other.


David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to Build a Following on Twitter...

Twitter is a fantastic marketing tool - a terrific way to spread your message to many people at once - in an instant. But to do that, you need to build a following, you need to "find" other people who will, in turn, find you interesting enough to follow.

How do you do that?

Jim Spencer answers that in a terrific article I ran across this morning called, "Is Twitter for the Birds?" Jim puts forward, in a very simple way, how to grow your army of Twitter followers.

You'll find the article at


David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy


How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sirius XM in Perspective: Winners and Losers...

New article posted to the Music Biz Academy...

Sirius XM in Perspective: Winners and Losers by Paul Resnikoff.

The freshly-combined Sirius XM Radio shifts the radio landscape somewhat, though the broader impact on the music and media terrain will be modest. The days of four TV channels and ten radio stations is over - consumers now have more options than they can possibly handle, and that makes it difficult for any one company to dominate. And now that approvals have been granted, there are more winners than losers.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sivers Says.... Bye-Bye, Baby!

Read Derek Sivers announcement regarding the sale of CD Baby to Disc Makers on his blog at .

I can't help but be saddened by this just a bit. It feels like the passing of an era, although Derek does indicate that he "hasn't worked at CD Baby since last year" and has "hardly been there" since 2002. Even so, he has always been the "face" of CD Baby.

I very, very happy for Derek. Well-earned, my friend! It does seem inevitable to me though that CD Baby will start to look and feel a bit more "corporate." I can't help but wonder how long it will take before I and other CD Baby artists start receiving email ads from Disc Makers? Not long, I bet.

Still, I can say one thing for sure. I love the new look of the CD Baby home page. That right there is an improvement.

And, truth be told, if anyone was going to acquire CD Baby, Disc Makers is probably one of the best-positioned companies to do it.

Here's to Derek. Cheers! Thanks for CD Baby. Looking forward to seeing what you invent next!

David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Networking on Twitter? Then Heads Up...

Malware hunters at Kaspersky Lab are seeing early signs that Twitter is now clearly big enough to be a distribution mechanism for malicious software....

A heads up post on ZDNet this morning. For more, read the blog post Twitter being used to distribute malware at

The Lessons of Vinyl

It won't save the recording industry. But the recent resurgence in vinyl is happening for a reason. The numbers aren't jaw-dropping, but they are difficult to ignore. Just recently, Boston-based Newbury Comics pointed to monthly vinyl sales of more than $100,000, and other independent stores are also reporting gains. Majors are also taking notice. That includes EMI, which recently started offering vinyl versions on a select number of titles. The major pointed to an 80 percent jump in vinyl sales last year. And the RIAA pegged 2007 sales at 1.3 million, a 36.6 percent increase from 2006.

Read more in the article The Lessons of Vinyl by Paul Resnikoff.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Making a Living from Just Your Music....

Can it be done? Can it really be done?

The answer is yes. I've been doing it. I've been making a living from music for the last seven years now. Living the dream. Doing music full time.

An artist friend of mine (Catherine Marie Charlton) forwarded an email to me from Michael Laskow of TAXI. He's seeking out musicians who are making a living doing just music and nothing else. To quote the email...

"Have you made any significant money selling your music digitally online or using the Internet to sell CDs? I'm truly curious, and thinking about adding a person or two (if I can find one) to a Road Rally panel on the subject this November. What do I mean by significant money? Enough that you were able to quit your day job. We've all been bombarded by the hype surrounding the DIY career path, but as I've said in previous rants, I haven't seen much evidence of SIGNIFICANT success. Has anybody on this list made enough money that you can, or already have walked away from your day job? Please send emails to"

So I sent Michael an email. I'll be interested to see if I hear back.

I'm sure many of you skeptical musicians are out there going... "yea, right... how much is this guy REALLY making from just his music?"

When I responded to Michael, I added it all up. I was quite surprised. It was more than I expected.

If you include CD sales, digital download sales, sales of my sheet music, concert ticket sales, performance fees and royalties, I made over $100,000 in the last 365 days. That's over 100K just doing music in the last year. That *doesn't* include income from sales my book, How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet.

Now, lest you think I'm sitting here rolling in the dough, you need to realize that my EXPENSES ate up half the income I made last year. It takes money to make money. But when all is said and done, I'm making a decent living just doing music.

Now you're thinking, "wait, his expenses were over 50k just to make that 100k? Well, I don't have 50k and there's no way I can do that!"

Actually, yes you can. You see, I started out promoting my music online back in 1995 with NOTHING financially. All I had was a web site and a couple CDs to sell. My only ongoing expense when I started out was the cost of hosting my web site. I started from there and built my music business a little bit at a time. The more money I made online from my music, the more money I had to invest back into my career. So it was a very gradual thing. But, by 2001, just six years after I started promoting my music online, I was able to quit my day job working for Symantec Corp (SYMC) and start doing "just the music."

Here's the kicker... most people think you have to be a ROCK STAR to make a good living at music. Not true. Guess what I do? I'm a pianist. Just a simple piano player. I write and arrange simple, beautiful piano melodies. You can see my web site at or visit me on MySpace at if you'd like to hear that.

So I spend my days promoting my music online. I'm here at home with my family. I get to see my kids all day. Get to practice basically whenever I want. I book my own tours all through my mailing list and so I get to travel and perform about four months a year as well. I am blessed beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. Just doing music. Just living life. Thank you Lord!

So yes, you can make a living doing music.... providing that your music is music people want. That's one of the key things you must have that you can't get around. Your music must be music that people fall in love with - music they want to own - music they want to invest in.

Now you might be saying.... "David, tell me all your secrets to making money with music!"

Well, there aren't secrets. Just common sense and a basic understanding of Internet marketing. And before you ask... no, I don't do consulting. You know, a lot of people have offered me huge sums of cash to help them with their own music careers. But I always pass on doing that. Why? Being a consultant isn't what I want to do with my life. I'm a musician. I have no interest in spending my days on the telephone!

I'm a musician - a professional musician. That's what I do. That's who I am.

Although I don't offer consulting for artists, I do keep up the Music Biz Academy web site. There are lots and lots of music business articles here written by not only myself, but many others in the industry that I respect. And there's my book, "How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet" for those who want a step-by-step guide to how I do what I do. I wrote that book - a labor of love - for all of you. Anything I would talk to you about in a consultation is in there.

So go out there, work hard, make music, do what you love what you do. And if you're making a living doing music full time, drop Michael Laskow of TAXI an email at . He wants to hear from you, too.

Have a great day...

David Nevue
The Music Biz Academy