Music Blogs – How Unsigned Artists Are Converting MP3s to Cash

In 1999, when file sharing sites like Napster started to become popular, the music industry was a thriving market with over $14.5 billion in annual U.S. sales alone. Fast forward to today and music sales have declined by nearly 50%-a catastrophic loss by any standards. The ease and convenience with which music fans can get free music has permanently changed the rules of music marketing and promotion. While this bad news for major record labels, it has created big opportunity for unsigned artists.

As the music industry fights for its life, many internet-savvy artists are starting music blogs and marketing their music directly to fans. Ironically, the key to their success is not in selling music, but making their songs available as free downloads on their own blogs. Taking a page from entrepreneurs like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (who amassed a fortune of over $ 4 billion giving away “free” web pages), these artists have learned how to make money in music by giving it away. Here’s how it works:

The first step is starting a music blog. Using free WordPress software–a powerful, yet extremely ease to use blogging platform–artists can easily create a blog on their own domain names without having to learn a single line of code. Since the software and domain names are free, their only overhead is the monthly fee charged by their web hosting company (typically less than $10 per month). The entire process can be done by a complete novice in less than 10 minutes. After another 1/2 hour or so spent choosing a free theme and installing free plugins, they have a fully-functional, professional-looking blog.

Next, they set up a few web pages. An artist bio, a contact page and page where fans can listen to and download MP3s are pretty standard. Photos and videos are optional, but definitely recommended. Depending on the amount of content you want to add initially, this can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

Finally, they set up several revenue streams on their blogs by signing up for various advertising networks and affiliate marketing programs. This allows them to earn money from the actions of fans who visit their site to download the artists’ songs.

With this basic framework in place, all that’s left to do is start publishing and promoting more music-related content. If properly executed, the artists can start generating web traffic (and money) in a matter of few days.

It’s a near-perfect business model for unsigned artists. Music is used as a form of social currency–“MP3 money”, so to speak–which artists can use to “buy” fans. The more fans they can attract by giving away free MP3s, the more passive income they can earn by fans clicking on ads posted by various companies in their advertising network or buying products from the affiliates.

With a solid understanding of internet/music marketing and promotion, even mediocre artists are managing to earn a living from music while completely bypassing commercial radio, mainstream media and major record labels.

Obviously not every unsigned artist will be successful with this approach. Most don’t have a clue how to go about it. But for the ones that take the time to learn, they stand to make a lot more money online than many popular artists earn from record sales these days.

2 Work at Home Online Opportunities That Cost Very Little Or No Money Out of Pocket

For the cost of a cheap date, you could you start your own online business. If you are researching work at home online opportunities, I want to give you a few ideas that cost very little or no money at all. You really can work at home online for very little out of pocket money or free, if you choose to do so.

1. Start a blog with the world’s largest search engine. Did you know that Google also owns a blogging platform that you can set up for free? Go to blogger.com and start a blog of your own in 3 easy steps. Google also offers tutorials on how to set up your blog to get it ready to make money. If you want to own your own domain name, you can get one for under $10.00 and have it hosted at one of the many hosting companies for less than $10.00, as well.

One thing you certainly want to do is join the Google AdSense affiliate program as it is very simple to place ads on your blog. It is free to join and Google will provide advertisers based on a script that your blog brings up and every time someone clicks on one of these ads you make money.

This may not sound like a big deal but you need to understand there are people learning six and seven figure incomes doing nothing but setting up niche blogs, adding content, and monetizing it with a Google AdSense.

Adding blog content is not something that needs to be difficult either. You can learn how to easily write blog articles if you choose to. You can also learn how to add content to your blog created by other people. This could include blog articles, videos, audio, and so on.

2. Other work at home online opportunities include providing a service that Internet business owner’s need. Let me give you an example of one thing that is in high demand right now. We mention starting a blog and there is a new blog started somewhere in the world every second now. However sadly there are millions of blogs that are sitting dormant because the owners do not have time to keep them up.

This presents a tremendous opportunity for you to work at home online not only for free, but where you will get paid instead. Blog owners will pay you to write content for their blog. You can write 200 to 300 word articles in 10-15 minutes and earn five dollars for every one you write. This can work out to 20 or $30 an hour sitting at home being a blog writer. Over time you can develop a consistent customer base and earn a full time income working at home online for yourself.

In conclusion, I’ve listed two work at home online opportunities that you could start with very little money or better yet, free. There are many other ways, but the point is, where else in the world can you start a legitimate business for free or with so little money out of pocket?

Influencing Consumer Behavior Through Social Networking

Social media has gone from being just a place to meet people and make new friends to a virtual sales floor. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or other social networking site, you can find many businesses and sales-minded individuals putting their product on display. They are not only selling themselves, like the rest of us, but their brand. Because of the different type of appeal they wish to have, they’re are certain rules they must abide by in order to achieve the social influence they intend.

It’s very important to appeal to all in order to sell to the most. It is a number’s game so with that in mind, business leaders and other entrepreneurs must present a personality that will be liked by many.

The first step in creating an attractive profile is to make it friendly. Most social network users prefer to enjoy their time online in a relaxed manner. Pressure, in the form of multiple tweets and spam like messages, will only pressure a person to move on to the next page. We want to have our online experience be an exploratory one, we want to learn about others, we want make connections. In order to present a friendly profile, businesses should take the time to set up a complete profile by filling in all the fields. A profile without information about the operator is boring; there is nothing to hold our attention. Another important part about keeping the attention of potential clients is having fresh content. Staying up to date with the social trends is a must and will bring more users to your profile. If one person sees an interesting tweet or post on your page, they are likely to mention it to a friend and word of mouth advertising takes over.

It’s almost important to not overdo the posts and tweets as people will see it as “attention-needy.”

I don’t think it’s important to separate your personal and business accounts but actually can be a nuisance to have to juggle both. If your personal page is operated honestly without too much personal information, it might be the best way to come across as a people-friendly business owner.

Anything that might shut off any group of the population should be avoided. For example, political, religious and other controversial information should not be on your profile. You don’t want to give people a reason to dislike you as that dislike is likely to be directed at your company. The purpose of the profile is to influence consumer behavior in your company’s favor, not to invite debates.

If you end up having more than one social media site, which is recommended, you must be sure that all the profiles are consistent in what they display and represent. Different sites have different tools and it’s good to make use of them but over all, keep the focus on maximizing business.

Also, remember, whatever you put on the internet is permanent so choose wisely what you want to reveal to people. You can always delete a post but most users will have seen it before you are able to delete. Deleting can also make you look doubtful and you do not want to create doubt when trying to increase sales.

Always keep the long run in mind when you post information or tweet ideas. Present yourself as a smart, aware, worldly business owner and your business will gain the same reputation.

Social media is the modern day market place, do not miss out on one of the most effective means of influence marketing and a great tool for customer relations management. Join, but operate with care.

5 Internet Marketing Tactics That Will Boost Your Brand Online

Internet marketing is the process of promoting your business on the world wide web. It’s not unusual for new online entrepreneurs to become overwhelmed trying to understand things like Search engine optimization, content marketing, Cost-per-click, Pay-per-click, keyword phrases and many more.

To help get you started if you’re new to the online business world, or even if you’re a seasoned pro, here are 5 internet marketing tactics that are proven to boost your brand online.

1. Email Marketing

Reading emails is the number one activity online (94% of people online send or receive emails, whereas 83% use a search engine and 61% use social media). In worldwide research conducted with marketing professionals they stated that email marketing was the most powerful online marketing technique. You can use emails to connect with your audience and build your brand using discounts, information on sales and by providing valuable and useful information for your audience.

2. Social Media

Social media is another powerful internet marketing tool. But don’t waste of your time striving to be on every single platform. It’s better to do your research and pinpoint which ones will be most influential for your online business. It’s better to have one really good social media site rather than numerous poorly managed sites.

3. Blogging

Blogging is an effective way to boost your business, catch the attention of potential customers and maintain relationships with your current customers. Fresh and regularly updated content engages your target audience and also helps your website rankings in the search engines.

4. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is the process of organizing your website so that the search engines will list it in their search page search results. This organic, or unpaid traffic, includes how you insert words and phrases (known as your keywords) on to your web pages. These keywords are what your audience will type into a search engine when they are looking for the products and services that you sell online.

5. Content Marketing

If your website does not have good, valuable content that is useful to your audience then your online business has no value to your audience. Content can be read, watched, listened to and shared. Constantly deliver, on a regular basis, the best quality content you can. Create it for a human audience to read, watch or listen to, rather than for a search engine robot to pick up keywords. You can’t just stuff keywords into webpages, blogs, articles etc.

How to Search For People on Tumblr

Tumblr is one of the many blogging sites that make it easy and simple for people to post media. Find out how you can locate people that are on Tumblr from the following article.

If you want to know how to search for people on Tumblr then you will find some ways of how to go about it mentioned in the paragraphs below. This is one of the many blogging sites that make it easy for people to post media that is why it is so popular. You can search for people using tumblr.com/search. That is one way of going about this search. There is just one search entry that has a drop down list of options.

You can choose to search all of Tumblr; you can search my tumbleblog, all my tumbleblogs or search for people that you follow. The other option is to use tumblr.com/following. This one allows you to search for someone using their URL, username or email address. Just type anyone of them into the search field and search. If the person is a user; then their information will be displayed. This is an alternative way of how to search for people on Tumblr.

These are very limited options and a site called Roll Call has been launched that can be used to view tumbleblogs at random. This is another way of how to search for people on Tumblr. You can check it out, find one or two interesting blogs and then locate other tumbleblogs based on who these ones reblog or use their followers list. There are various other sites that have been created to makes searches for other users simple. You can lookup some of them and try a couple of searches to see which ones works better than others.

What Is RSS – The Difference Between RSS And A Blog

These are questions I am frequently asked: what is RSS and what is the difference between RSS and a blog. The answer is not as easy as you might think, but there is a fundamental difference.

RSS stands for a number of different things, depending on what you read, but the popular version is “Really Simple Syndication”. It is actually short for ‘Rich Site Summary’ and is an XML format used to share content such as items of news between different web sites. It allows you to provide fresh ever-changing content on your website that refreshes itself even while you sleep.

The word ‘syndication’ with reference to websites refers to the publication of an item to many other sites at the same time, which is probably where the popular version of the term arose. Using RSS, a website can let other web sites publish permitted content by posting a link to an RSS feed that the content they distribute can be read by other users using an RSS reader. So what’s the difference between RSS and a blog?

In fact originally, RSS feeds came from blogs, and still accompany them in many instances. However, they are merely extensions of blogs, but are a different medium altogether. If you consider a blog, it is a single web page that is a log of a website, in the same way that captain of a ship maintains a log of the goings on in the ship and its course on a daily basis.

Guest Blogging and Viral Marketing Campaign

When it comes to getting the word out about your new viral campaign, there’s no better place to start than on your very own blog. Of course, that limits your exposure to those who already read your blog, or those who find your blog due to your fantastic SEO skills. That’s not insignificant, but there must be a better way, right?

Of course there is.

Guest blogging is an absolutely fantastic way to get your message out to the masses, introduce yourself to a whole new audience, and get some free advertising while you’re at it. How does it work? Simple.

You start with a well-researched, beautifully written, useful blog post, and you give it away for another blogger to use on his or her blog – with a catch. They have to include a blurb about you with a link back to your website or blog. In a viral marketing campaign, that link should be to your freely downloadable product, either a video, eBook, or other content that you’re hoping will go viral. It’s a simple plan that has the potential to have a dramatic effect on your bottom line, and it won’t cost you a thing – other than your time, that is.

Start by finding the influential bloggers in your niche – those with loads of traffic – and offering to guest post for them. Make sure you study their blog ahead of time, so you can have a good feel for the tone and level of expertise they expect from guest bloggers. It helps if you approach them with a topic in mind, or even a post you’ve already written, rather than asking them what they’d like you to cover.

Make sure you craft a compelling resource box about you and your business, with a link to your offer, and sit back and wait for the traffic. If you’ve targeted popular blogs with large followings, this alone can be enough to make your marketing campaign turn viral.

Starting a Hip Hop Blog – 5 Easy Steps to Rap Profits

Are you a hip-hop artist, producer, entrepreneur or fan who wants to make money in the rap industry? Have you ever thought about starting a hip-hop blog? Believe it or not, hip-hop blogs are becoming more and more popular, and there are plenty of opportunities for hip-hop bloggers to make money online. If the idea of getting paid to share your thoughts and opinions about rap is music to your ears, here’s how to get started.

Step 1 – Choose a Domain Name and Web Host

A domain name is the website address that people will use to visit your blog. In general, you will want to choose a domain name that is easy to remember and gives people an idea of what type of content they will find on your site. Examples of things you may want to use as a domain name are:

  • Your stage name (if you are an artist)
  • Your company name (if you have an entertainment company or independent record label)
  • Your blog name
  • Catch phrases or descriptive names

Chances are, your first option for a domain name will already be taken, so be prepared with alternates.

Once you find an available domain you like, you will need to register it quickly to prevent someone else from using it. There is a small domain registration fee, but many web hosting services will waive the domain registration fee when you sign up for hosting.

Step 2 – Install WordPress

WordPress is blogging software that has been used to power over 200 million websites. There are a number of reasons WordPress is so popular:

  • Affordability – WordPress is 100% free
  • Ease of Use – It does not require any computer or programming skills to install or use
  • Highly Customizable – There are thousands of free themes and plug-ins available for download
  • Supported – WordPress has one of the largest development communities of any open source software, so it’s easy to find free technical support online

WordPress can usually be installed in less than five minutes through your web hosting control panel. Once installed, you can customize your blog by downloading the hip-hop theme of your choice and installing whichever plug-ins you want to use through your blog’s dashboard.

Step 3 – Start Publishing Hip-Hop Related Content

Once you set up your blog, you will be ready to start publishing content. In general, you will want to publish content of interest to hip-hop fans. This could include:

  • Hip-hop related news
  • Music, videos and images featuring rappers
  • Reviews of new rap music
  • Information about upcoming hip-hop events
  • Links to other hip-hop blogs

If you are a rapper or producer, you should have no problem creating content based on your own music. Similarly, if you are starting your own entertainment company or independent hip-hop record label, you can blog about the artists you’re working with. If you are not in the music business at all, you can spend a couple of hours each day reading other hip-hop blogs and write a post each day about the hottest hip-hop topics. The key is to create as many good hip-hop related posts as you can each week.

The posts you publish on your blog will eventually be “crawled” and “indexed” by the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Once indexed, your blog will start showing up in search results for hip-hop related content. The more posts you publish and the better the quality of those posts, the better chance you have of people discovering your blog through search engines.

Step 4 – Monetize Your Blog

There are lots of ways to make money as a hip-hop blogger. Here are some of the easiest ways:

  • Join an advertising network and earn money each time someone clicks on an advertisement on your site
  • Join an affiliate program and earn commissions by recommending products and services you use to your readers
  • Install a free e-commerce plug-in and sell your own CDs, digital downloads and hip-hop related merchandise
  • Sell ad space directly to artists and labels who want to promote their music through your site
  • Turn your blog into a membership site and charge people a fee for access to exclusive content
  • Charge a small fee for each CD you review on your blog
  • Charge people to post their rap videos on your blog

These are just some of the easy ways to make money as a hip-hop blogger. Experiment with each of these methods and see which methods earn you the most cash. Or, be creative and come up with something entirely new. As long as you keep coming up with content and getting traffic, the money will come.

Step 5 – Promote Your Blog

Now that you have got your hip-hop blog up and running, you need to start promoting it. The more targeted web traffic you get, the more money you are likely to make. Therefore, it is important that your blog gets seen by as many hip-hop fans as possible. Here are some free ways to promote your hip-hop blog:

  • Add your website to as many hip-hop friendly website directories as you can
  • Become an active participant in hip-hop forums and conversations on other hip-hop blogs (be sure to include a link to your blog in your “signature”)
  • Set up pages on social media sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, and link them to your blog
  • Talk to other bloggers about reviewing your site, swapping links and possibly writing guest posts
  • Write hip-hop related articles and submit them to article directories (like this one)

By following these quick, easy steps, you can start your own hip-hop blog and be on the road to rap profits in a matter of hours.

5 Gift Ideas for the Bloggers and Vloggers in Your Life!

Hey listen – blogging is serious business! Like literally – it is! And if you friend, family member, loved one or spouse is a blogger (or vlogger/video blogger) than you know just how serious it is to them! I began blogging in the early part of 2000, while it was still in it’s infancy. Back then, it was still taboo and most people kept their online hobby on the down low. Now here we are, a decade later, social media has taken over the internet and blogging has become a way of life for many. As we approach the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions – you are probably asking yourself – “What special gift can I give to th blogger in my life?”. I’ve put together a list of the top gift ideas for the blog fanatics!

1. Services: There are a few essential items that a blogger will need when he or she decides to take their website to the next level. Many will begin on free platforms such as Blogger (formerly known as BlogSpot), WordPress.com or Typepad, however if they want to be taken seriously – moving to a dedicated host (i.e. an independent.com) is a must. Having your very own website is a relatively simple process – you just purchase your domain name from a provider like GoDaddy.com and register for hosting service, with a company like HostGator.com. You can purchase a domain for as low as $1.99 with coupon codes, and hosting packages for as low as $4.99 – $9.99. Give the gift of a full year of hosting service paid upfront. For less than $100 – your loved one will be on their way to super blogger status!

2. Website Templates and Design: After your blogging friend upgrades to a dedicated hosting service and their own.com, they will then need to decide on a blog platform and begin to build their website. WordPress.com is the most popular CMS (content management system) available. It’s a free software that’s available in a one-click install via the HostGator.com hosting service. It’s the most versatile platform on the web, however – the “out of the box” install comes with one standard template that is pretty boring and plain. What I personally love the most about using WordPress is the ease of building a great looking website. There are literally thousands of web templates available on the net, a great number of them are free. Now, I’m not one to turn my back on “free” – but when it comes to establishing yourself as a reputable blogger and building your brand – it’s best to go with one of the Premium WordPress themes. Premium themes can cost anywhere from $25 to $150 – but it’s money well spent in my opinion. You get a streamlined, modern looking web template that you can edit to your discretion – and most packages come with support for a limited (or unlimited) amount of time. My favorite WordPress premium template sites are WooThemes and StudioPress. These are, hands down, the go-to sites for quality themes and support.

3. Services: As a blogger, I know there are a ton of tedious tasks that must be done on the back-end if you really want to be successful in your chosen blog niche. Some of these assignments include managing a Facebook Fan Page, building back links, banner or logo design and building your social network. As mundane as they are, they are crucial to the success of a website, I like to outsource many of this tasks – doing so frees up my time to do other things (such as the actual blogging!). My favorite outsourcing site is Odesk.com – I’ve been able to hire workers to do tasks for as little as $2 per hour (yes, it’s true!). If there’s something that needs to be done, and it’s able to be outsourced – Odesk.com is the best place to go to find quality pre-screened talent who are competitively priced and ready to work!

4. Organization: An organized workspace is essential for successful bloggers. Similar to your office workspace – a website owner needs a place to store important books, items, drives, and a quiet place to work. If you’re bedroom has turned into a blog headquarters – it is a good time to dedicate a portion of the house just for their online hobby. If you have an extra room – spring for a high quality desk and chair. The desk should have enough space for multiple computers and/or computer screens, as well as a printer, scanner and hard drives. If you’re pressed for space, opt for a mobile desk – like the FoldAndStow mobile desk from StacksAndStacks.com.

5. Gadgets: In taking a brief, informal survey – there was one item that every blogger selected for their holiday wish list, and that was a new laptop! We aren’t casual internet surfers, there are days when I can spend hours working on my laptop, researching, writing, editing photos or doing general maintenance on my websites. Because of this, the computer of a dedicated blogger goes through more wear and tear than average. We need computers with a ton of space, wireless capabilities, easy to tote, and multi-media friendly.

Of course you can always go for the top of the line, coveted Macbook Pro, just keep in mind that there tends to be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the Apple products. Macbook Pro will run between $1999 and $2500, but they are known for security, durability, and includes all the bells and whistles. Generally speaking, Macs last a long time, although you’ll pay more on the front end – you will save a ton over the years as well.

If a Mac is out of the question, you’ll want to look for a laptop that is portable – thin, light with a decent sized hard drive. Netbooks are affordable, sleek, effective, and strike a balance between mobility and performance. I also find the standard notebooks to be great alternatives to Macbooks. I’d recommend the Sony Vaio Laptop (notebook) above anything else.

7 Easy Suggestions for Celebrating National Book Blitz Month in January

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How many times have you started reading a book with all good intentions of completing it within a timely manner, yet only to find that you have bookmarked a page and forgotten to pick the book back up in weeks or sometimes months? It's time to rededicate yourself to completing a book or two as we celebrate National Book Blitz Month in January.

Here are 7 simple tips for getting into the swing of the celebration:

1. Set a book-reading goal on how many books you want to read this month. If you are only trying to read one, take the number of pages in the book, divide it by the number of days in the month, then commit to reading at least that number of pages per day. If you can read more than the designated number of pages, the quicker you will get through the book.

2. Begin a personal library. Start by collecting books that you love to read. Gradually add reference books and other genres to give your reading routine versatility. Library book sales and garage sales are some good places to find inexpensive books to add to your collection.

3. Confer with writing groups, book clubs or publishers' lists of recommended reads to find books that you would be interested in reading and adding to your collection.

4. Get a reading accountability buddy who will help you to stay on track of your set reading goals. You will reciprocate by doing the same thing for them. Having a partner will help you stay committed and hold you accountable for your reading goals.

5. Book swapping is another great idea to help save money on purchasing so many. If you have friends or family who enjoy reading, you can swap out a book or two with them.

6. Attend area book and poetry readings during the month. Mingle with other attendees as well as with the author at these events.

7. Tap into the best format that you enjoy reading books. Whether it's an e-book, on your Kindle, iPad, an audio book or in the traditional hardback and paperback versions, indulge in the format that you prefer.

The newness of the new year is such a refreshing time to embrace the essence of books and to learn more about their authors. National Book Blitz Month is a perfect time to get started and commit to the beauty of reading.

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Source by Kym Gordon Moore