Monthly Archives: June 2010

Anatomy of a Successful Promotion

To help our users more effectively use Headliner, I thought I would take everyone through the steps of creating a successful promotion.

Step 1: Setting Goals- The first step towards creating a successful promotion is setting goals: How many people do I want this promotion to reach? Where do I want to drive traffic to? For this example I will set the number of fans I want to reach at 10,000. The average acceptance rate is around 15%; that means that to reach 10,000 fans in one shot, I will have to send my promotion to bands with a total fan base of approximately 70,000. For this promotion, I am going drive traffic to Myspace.

Crafting an a message/ setting a date

Step 2: Crafting a Promotion Message- The next step is intelligently crafting a promotion message. This is a message that will be sent out to the bands I select–with the hopes that those bands will pass on my message to their fans. Since I am asking band to send out the message for me, the message has to be written in the third person. For this example I am going to go with a message of “Listening to Bottle Service’s new song. Check it out.” I am also going embed a link to Myspace with Headliner’s URL shortener so that I can track the results of the promotion. Note: the URL must appear in both the shortener and the promotion message to be properly embedded.

Step 3: Scheduling- I want to give enough time for bands to see and respond to,my request. I am therefore going to schedule my promotion to go out 4-5 days in the future, so bands have a chance to accept it.

Properly Selecting Bands. Note the Filters on the Left

Step 4: Selecting Bands- Step three is properly choosing bands. Let’s say that in this example I am a rock band based in New York City. I select “Rock” in the Genre Options and Geo Target “New York City.” I am now looking exclusively at rock bands based in New York. Since I want to reach 10,000 fans, I am going to select enough bands so that I have a potential reach of around 70,000. That way, even if most of the bands reject my promotion, I will still reach 10,000+ fans. It is important to choose a bunch of smaller bands rather than one or two larger ones, since smaller bands are more likely to accept requests. I filter out all bands with over 5,000 fans. I now listen to the music of a bunch NYC based bands with less than 5,000 bands and select the ones I want to promote with. I select 27 bands with a potential reach of around 70,000.

Step 5: Send Out Your Promotion and Wait-I am now ready to send out my promotion. After my promotion goes out, I can keep checking on the stats as the accumulate in the “My Promotions” section.

Headliner Breaks 60 Million Fans

Headliner.fm broke 60 million fans today. The number of quality artists on Headliner is steadily climbing. While looking through the system today I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Teenagers, a band I personally like a lot, signed up for the site. Headliner is doing well, but that doesn’t mean we are ready to stop improving. As you may have noticed, we redesigned the main page to give it a more streamlined look. We have a number of new features in the works right now that are going to greatly improve the ease and effectiveness of creating promotions.

Headliner Has 4.1 Stars on Facebook

Users have given Headliner.fm’s Facebook application 4.1 out of 5 stars. To put that in perspective I checked how that stacked up against some other online music services. Here are the results:

Headliner.fm: 4.1 out of 5

Soundcloud: 4.1 of 5

iLike: 3.9 of 5

Reverbnation: 3.4 of 5

Last.fm: 3 of 5

Headliner Tip of the Day: Make Sure to Read our User Guide

Headliner may seem confusing at first, but its actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. To help you get started we put together a short user guide which answers most of the questions you will have while using Headliner. The user guide includes everything from tips for creating a successful promotion to explanations on how to earn Band Bucks. You can check out our user guide by clicking on it in the “Select Fans By Artist” screen or by going here.

Headliner Interviews: Dinosaur Feathers

Dinosaur Feathers is an indie rock band from New York City who combine skilled songwriting, African rhythms and soaring vocal harmonies. The band’s self-released album, Fantasy Memorial, has drawn favorable reviews in the Village Voice and New York Times amongst other places. Last week, I sat down with Greg and Derek from Dinosaur Feathers before they were scheduled to go on at Cake Shop and asked them a few questions. For more information on Dinosaur Feathers check out their website.

How did you guys get started as a band and what projects are you currently working on?

Greg – I started working on songs about two years ago. I was doing a solo project– just me and the drum machine . Derek and I went to college together. He was at a show I played by myself here in New York, actually the only one that I played by myself here in New York. He and another friend of ours offered to join up to help out, do some keyboards and some vocal stuff. Then shortly thereafter, we just started working on some stuff, and about 6 months later, we really started playing and doing shows.

Derek- I feel like it grew pretty organically out of Greg’s stuff. We’ve always been working primarily with Greg’s songwriting. We expanded and elaborated on that. Some of the new stuff we are working on has been a bit more collaborative.

Greg- We’re working on some new songs for an EP. That has been a much more collaborative process.

What is your favorite New York venue to play?

Greg- That’s tough. Derek, Ryan and I have played a lot of different places. We really like Cameo Gallery. Bar IV in Brooklyn–It’s sort where we got started. So it’s great to go back there and play. Studio at Webster Hall has always been really gracious to us.

Derek- we have played lots of wonderful venues

Greg- we are getting close to having played all of them

Derek- we have been very lucky to get to play a lot of great venues in New York

You guys have been compared to the Beach Boys. Are they a big influence?

Greg- I would say its half and half I really like the Beach Boys. I think the vocal harmony stuff we do is where a lot of the comparisons come from. That’s partly because Derek and I sang acapella together in college. We are both good singers so singing seemed like a natural thing to do, rather than trying to be the Beach Boys. In fact, when we were on tour we listened to Pet Sounds. Had you ever listened to the whole thing the whole way through?

Derek- No, I hadn’t even heard the thing before!

Greg- Pet Sounds is one of my favorite albums of all time, but Derek hadn’t even heard it!  I mean clearly there are other Beach Boys songs that Derek does know. They are definitely an influence, but I think some of the reasons for the comparisons are due to other things.

What other up-and-coming New York Bands are you guys listening to these days?

Derek- We are good friends with Pearl and the Beard, We have been playing shows with them ever since the early days. They continue to astound and astonish with their incredible skills.

Greg- Our buddies Shark? are really awesome. We love playing with them and their stuff is really great. The Darlings are great, we have played a bunch of shows with them. I mean there are so many good New York bands. We got to play a show recently with Twin Sister; that was awesome. They are a lot of fun. We have been lucky; we got to play with some touring bands.Also some up and coming bands from other cities: the Fatty Acids from Mllwaulkee, Carnivores, our friends from Atlanta, and our friends from Philadelphia, Grand Children who have an album coming out..So while we’ve been in New York, we have gotten to make friends with some cool bands from other cities as well.

Many of your songs have a kind of whimsical feel to them. How do you convey that feeling through your writing?

Greg – The album that we released is actually a break-up album. So the lyrics are kind of sad, but the music is kind of joyful. It’s joyful in a wink and a nod almost, with humor but also sadness — it’s done as a joke almost. So it is a combination of serious content and the whimsy in the music.

Derek – There is a sense of joy in the music. I feel like that’s one of the best parts of being in this band- I get to play like, really fun music.

You guys use a drum machine rather than a drummer. How did that develop?

I bought a drum machine.  I didn’t really know any drummers in New York. It was just based on not having the resources. We didn’t have a place to practice with a drummer… I didn’t know a drummer… so it just came out of that.

Derek- As things developed, the drum machine parts got more and more inventive. Not that we wouldn’t want to play with live drums at some point– with live drums you can do some crazy stuff.

In what ways have you used the internet to reach new fans?

Greg- We use Myspace…after months of poking, we have a Facebook site.. I don’t have Facebook myself, so Derek made the Facebook page..

Derek- I don’t have motivation so we didn’t have a facebook page for the longest time! We did release our first EP as a free download through our website. I would say that blogs, especially blogs around New York, have been absolutely instrumental in helping us reach new ears and find  bands that we would like to play with.

Greg- The blogs have taken care of us. The community of passionate music people have been super, super helpful for us. We owe them a lot.

Your Music Often Features the use of African Rhythms. How did you make that choice?

Greg- I spent some time in Mali, in West Africa during college, I studied abroad there and also before the band played any shows, I went back to Mali to visit my host family and travel around. Mali was definitely was an influence along with some other world music that I was listening to…some Tropicalia and stuff. It also was a matter of what sounded good on the particular drum machine I had and what particular samples I had access to. If the African stuff had sounded really terrible, I wouldn’t have used it. I just liked the way it sounded. I was just following the random path life led me on, and also developing music based on what the drum machine had to offer.