Have you tried this?


OK, there’s a lot of evidence that the music CD is dying out. In the short run, we still sell some, but the writing is on the wall – CD sales are not going to be a big part of a musician’s income in the future.

Something will replace the CD and it may not be the mp3 or a subscription service like Rhapsody. It may be something that hasn’t been invented yet.

I just read a Wired article about creating an artist-specific iPhone app, just for me and my music, in which I can showcase music videos, photos, games, concert schedules and interactive features. I’ve got to try this.

See Ingrid Michaelson’s app, pictured above. It was made with iLike’s iPhone app toolkit.

Has anyone tried it? What do you think? Click Leave a comment» below if you think this is a lame idea.

We definitely want to hear your comments if you have experience with this. Will people pay to get your app on their phone?


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5 Responses to “Have you tried this?”

  1. Blaise Alleyne Says:

    Generally speaking, I think these artist specific native apps are a lame idea (with the except of maybe NIN’s — they did some cool location based stuff for which a native app made sense).

    Make one for the iPhone… then what about Android, Blackberry, Palm WebOS, Windows Mobile…?

    For most artists, a better approach, I think, would be to make web apps for mobile devices. It’s easier to “port” to other platforms, and then you’re not expecting fans to download and install programs for so many different artists.

    I just don’t think that would scale. Would you want a different application on your desktop for every artist you’re a fan of? Why on your mobile?

    I mean, I think it’s a cool thing to experiment with, but I think there’s gotta be a better way than artist-specific native apps.

  2. Dana Says:

    I just saw guitarist Dominic Miller, Sting’s “right and left hand man” perform in Sedona. http://www.sedonacreativelife.com/events.htm He and Peter Kater, 5 x Grammy nominee sold nearly 100 CDs. Why? Perhaps because their audience is over 40? Maybe some people still like a tactile experience?

    That’s not to say I don’t agree with you that CDs sales have plummetted, just that it is important to understand the buying habits of your niche. If you have a product your audience wants, they’ll buy it.

  3. Dan Says:

    Good points, Blaise. I’m keeping my eyes open for that ‘better way.’

    Dana, thanks for your comments. I wish I had been with you at the concert.

    I would never advise anyone to stop selling CDs if their audience is currently buying them. I’m just looking to the future. I personally prefer CDs over digital downloads. Of course, I’m over 40, so that supports your point.

    My point is, if you think you’re not selling as many CDs as you should be, maybe it’s not the music. Maybe it’s the medium. I want to make my music available on as many different media as possible (for now, that’s CD, sheet music, digital downloads and streaming). The trick is to see which ones sell best.

  4. Blaise Alleyne Says:

    “I want to make my music available on as many different media as possible (for now, that’s CD, sheet music, digital downloads and streaming). The trick is to see which ones sell best.”

    I agree strongly about having the music on a variety of mediums in a variety of formats, but I’m not sure that selling is the best metric to consider.

    I think it’s more about connecting with fans — whether or not they’re buying copies, or paying for access to a stream. Once you connect with fans, there are lots of opportunities to experiment with other business models on top of that connection.

    The NIN app was free, for example. That was about giving people another reason to come out with shows, another way to connect with other fans and the music, and then they build the business models around that community.

    I don’t think mobile apps should be considered as a source of revenue directly, but more as a way of promoting music, connecting with fans and building the type of relationship with fans so that they’ll buy stuff from you, come to shows, help fund the next release…

    (okay, finished my tangent 🙂

  5. @jfdi Says:

    I was quite intrigued by this, but my sense is that (again) Christine Kane ‘has it’ in that mp3 I posted at Performing Songwriters (United Worldwide): http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=110532175707&topic=10469

    She talks about the idea of ‘leverage’ at the end of her tips list, and I think we both know that when you give people one thing they’re likely to get interested in your personal work. However, my experience is: that doesn’t automatically translate to SALES. And having done only a week of hard core sales training for a telecom company back in December, I learned something about myself, and this may be true for you: I’m really good at delivering the pitch, and terrible at closing the sale. It might merit some investigation into that as a concept, actually. We all think that ‘sales’ are so horrible, but there are things to learn there. Back to the idea of using an iPhone application to simply post your website. I also think it’s a lame idea.

    It’s one more thing to promote, although if you have a rabid fanbase that care enough to download you into their phone because THEY WANT YOUR INFO NOW, then it might justify the cost. How does one CREATE these things? The problem is: you can’t track anything and getting back to Marketing 101 as espoused by CK above, she reminded me that it’s critical to have a more direct relationship with fans, and email is about as direct as it gets. I find Facebook not too bad, also.

    So, I’d agree we need to put a variety out there to please fans, but at the end of the day I find that people buy in their own time, they impulse buy, they shop for gifts (someone finally just bought three gifts for friends for Christmas…how nice…and nice planning ahead, too). Lyrics that are put into PDF’s and are downloadable with website info are the way one band I know are doing it. I liked that.

    So. Blabby today, me. Sorry. I’ve missed reading your blog. Gotta get back to it. It’s inspiring.


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