I wrote a course for Berkleemusic called Online Music Marketing with Topspin, which starts this Monday, June 28.

My friend Peter Brambl at Topspin put together a post that details a few examples of the work some of the course graduates have been involved in. Take a look:

Crush Luther

Sheila Hash has been using Topspin to set up what she calls “The Living Room Sessions” for artist Crush Luther.  “Basically, you can request the band play your living room,” says Shelia.  “You need to send pictures of the space and guarantee that at least 20 people will show up. We set up a private ticket link on Topspin and every ticket purchase gets a hard copy of the album upon arrival to the show. It’s been highly successful and the band is booked at various houses throughout the summer. They love it because it’s much more intimate and interactive than a regular show. “


Annmarie McMath is kickstarting a fan acquisition project for artist Jonesez.  “The course was instrumental in not only honing my online marketing skills but educating my artist on best practices for social media marketing and direct-to-fan initiatives,” says Annmarie.  “We have had a steady intake of sign ups, and social media interaction is increasing. We have received a stack of great feedback from fans, musicians and others in the industry..and of course the widgets and music players have been a hit too. Thanks Topspin & Berklee.”

Brandon Hines

Dan Conway is applying his marketing skills to student projects at Drexel University as well as his own record imprint:  “With our latest release on Drexel’s student run record label (called MAD Dragon Records), we utilized Topspin in creating a new website for the band (streaming player, mailing list, store functionality, etc.) as well as marketing the album using techniques covered in the course. Next year, I plan on incorporating Topspin into the everyday classroom through courses like Marketing and Promotion in the Music Industry and E-commerce in the Music Industry. I will also use it as our direct to fan platform for every Drexel released artist.  Along with my work at the university, I have applied the knowledge at my own record label, Revel Music Group. We used Topspin to release a free promotional “mixtape” for an R&B artist, Brandon Hines, that we have signed. We were able to grow his mailing list from 0 to over 5,300 in a few months (and still acquiring an additional 100 per week) using the email for media widget to exchange 10 free tracks for an email address. We continue to view Topspin as a large piece of the puzzle in both our distribution and marketing strategy and plan to incorporate it into all future releases.

Soul Mekanik

Ian Clifford is applying the best practices from the course to the marketing of online stores for artist Soul Mekanik. “I had some internet marketing experience already, but I had never applied it in an indie basis,” says Ian. “I learned about the process from the course. In six weeks we have added 600 fans to the email list.”

Sign up for Online Music Marketing with Topspin, get your own hands dirty with the tools, and send me your success stories to feature next term!

I feel like I owe an apology for the lack of activity on my blog lately. While I’ve been better about keeping up with Twitter, I’ve definitely let the posts slip here. A resolution of mine for 2010 is to get back on the horse and get the posting schedule back on track. Not that it is any excuse, but I’ve been particularly busy with creating content in a couple of other ways. Here’s what I have been up to over the past few months.

I’ve written two new marketing courses that are enrolling now for Berkleemusic’s next term, starting January 11th. As I have mentioned on this blog before, Online Music Marketing with Topspin (co-authored by Topspin’s Shamal Ranasinghe) will teach you how to use Topspin’s unique marketing, management, and content distribution platform to help you market and retail direct to your fans. In the course, students will develop the in-depth marketing expertise necessary to properly execute a successful sales and marketing campaign using Topspin. You can watch some videos of Topspin’s CEO Ian Rogers and myself talking about online marketing and the course here.

I also just finished a second online music marketing course called Online Music Marketing: Campaign Strategies, Social Media, and Digital Distribution. This course covers some key areas that all marketers need to focus on, such as social media marketing, effective use of data to direct you campaigns, what partners you should be aware of, and much more. By the end you’ll have a fully timed, integrated, and optimized online marketing plan that you can use to generate interest in your music, acquire new fans, and sell your music online. It’s a great companion course to Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution, and Retail, with a greater focus on the online side of marketing.

Finally, the companion book to Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution, and Retail is done and available. The book contains additional interviews and content which complements the online course of the same name. I’m giving away a free chapter and selling the book on a discount here if you’d like to check it out.

That’s all from me. I wish you the best in 2010!

Here’s a video of me talking about the new Online Music Marketing: Campaign Strategies, Social Media, and Digital Distribution course:

If you’ve been following my blog, you might be aware that I am a fan of artists and managers A) starting off by doing what they can themselves to help market and sell their own music, and B) seeking out partnerships with companies that can help them to do more than they are able to do themselves, for a fair price, and C) building up, communicating, and monetizing their own list in a meaningful way, using best practices with direct-to-fan marketing. I think direct-to-fan not only has the potential of generating more margin for artists now, but if done properly, DTF (direct-to-fan) can also help to ensure that artists are building a passionate base for the future. It’s not the only marketing segment that matters, but it is a segment that all musicians and managers should be paying close attention to, and integrating into their other traditional marketing and sales campaigns.

I’ve been working with Shamal, Gary, Ian, Adam and others at Topspin for the past 8 months or so creating a course dedicated to outlining the best practices that folks should be aware of in terms of online DTF (and traditional) marketing, and how Topspin’s software can be used to help facilitate these best practices. I’ve had the good fortune of not only taking a look inside Topspin’s platform to analyze their key features – a content management system that hosts your media assets, a fan management system that collects, organizes, and analyzes fan data, detailed reporting features, e-mail management system, widget creation and viral tracking, and more – but also to see the best practices and real data that Topspin has generated from the 150+ campaigns they have run over the past couple of years. While every marketing and sales campaign is different, this course presents folks with a unique opportunity to “look behind the curtain” to see exactly what has worked for some bands, how they set up their offers, the income they generated from these offers, and how they went about acquiring new fans. I think it’s helpful information.

I sat down with Ian here at Berklee in August to do a quick overview of the course, which turned into a bit of an online marketing clinic. Below is one of the clips from our conversation. To see them all, click here.

Online Music Marketing with Topspin is enrolling now, and begins on January 11th. If you are interested in learning more about the course, feel free to connect with one of our Admissions Advisors at 1.866.BERKLEE (US) or 617.747.2146 (International).

While I’m preparing the agenda for the online music business chats I’m hosting tonight (discussion items so far: the effect Apple’s variable pricing has on publisher’s income, Sarkozy’s thoughts on the three strikes rule, direct to fan marketing techniques, and more), I thought to drop a quick note here to say that our next term here at Berkleemusic begins this Monday. There’s little I like more than to talk about music and the music industry, and I’m lucky for the opportunity to do that with 19 other folks from around the world on a weekly basis. If anyone is interested about what studying music business online is like, I’d be happy to give you some background. Direct message me here: www.twitter.com/atomzooey

www.artistshousemusic.org, a non-profit online musician’s resource funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation, interviewed several Berkleemusic authors and instructors last fall. Take a look at the player below to watch some great clips with George Howard (Artists Management / Music Industry Entrepreneurship), Don Gorder (Legal Aspects of the Music Industry), Rick Peckham (Guitar Chords 101 + 201) Matt Marvuglio (Basic Improvisation / Basic Ear Training 1 – interviewed by Berkleemusic’s Dean of Continuing Education Debbie Cavalier!), Jeff Dorenfeld (Concert Touring) and myself (Music Marketing 201).

I think these videos do a good job of illustrating the deep background and knowledge of the faculty teaching here at the online school.

Check them out: