After a night including performances from Prince, Taylor Swift and Lil Wayne, Billboard is looking for one act to take the Billboard Music Awards from the party to the after-party.
One group will get to follow the evening of superstar acts with an official gig at the Billboard Music Awards after-party in Las Vegas on May 19. Bands who think they’re ready to follow up the Purple One can submit their music via SonicBids, with Billboard readers to vote on five finalists to take the final slot starting May 8. The winning act will be flown to Vegas to open for the to-be-announced after-party headliner at the Marquee at the Cosmopolitan.
The Billboard Music Awards, which will include performances from Prince, Swift, Wayne and acts ranging from Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber to the Band Perry and Kacey Musgraves, will air live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. “30 Rock” alum Tracy Morgan will host, with Don Mischer producing.
As previously reported, Sonicbids, an online service that connects musicians with booking, promotion and marketing opportunities, has joined Billboard and Backstage in the recently formed Billboard Group, a division of Guggenheim Digital Media.
Click here to submit music to the Billboard Music Awards after-party talent search. Submissions are open until 11:59 p.m. on May 7.
You no longer have to be Ryan Seacrest, Ne-Yo or Jason Mraz to play with Twitter’s new music discovery app. After testing the app with music artists and influencers, Twitter #Music will be available starting today at https://music.twitter.com and as a separate app for the iPhone through the App Store.
So what does the service do? Well, it does what you might expect from a music app from Twitter — it helps you find music that’s popular on Twitter and music based on the bands you follow. The app is centered around four pages or tabs, which you can swipe through to access.
The Popular page shows you new music that’s trending across Twitter while the Emerging tab shows “hidden talent found in tweets.” While those two parts feed you information about what the collective Twitterverse is jamming to, the last two focus on who you follow and your personal music taste.
The Suggested tab shows artists you might like based on the artists you follow on the service and who they follow. And finally the #NowPlaying tab shows songs your friends are listening to or tweeting about. For instance, if your friend tweets that they are listening to a song by Justin Bieber, that song will show up on that page.
The iPhone app, which “Good Morning America” got an exclusive early look at, has a slick and polished design. All the pages have a grid made up of artists and songs; tap one of those and the song will start playing along with a fun spinning CD animation in the bottom left corner. Tap on that and you get an enlarged CD — you can drag your finger around the CD to fast forward or rewind within that song.
And the fact that you don’t have to leave the app to listen might be one of the best parts. Twitter has integrated current music services like Rdio, Spotify and iTunes to allow you to play the songs right through the app or webpage. With iTunes, you will only hear a preview, but with Rdio and Spotify, users can log in with their accounts to hear the full tracks. Twitter says it will continue to work to add additional music providers to the app.
Twitter put artists and bands at the center of the experience. You can go to artist’s Twitter profile pages within the app and see what artists they follow and listen to. As Twitter says, it’s like getting recommendations from your friends, except they happen to be music superstars. You can search for artists through the search field and play a selection of songs from them.
Twitter announced last week that it had acquired “We Are Hunted,” a music recommendation and streaming company based in Australia. Twitter also released Vine, a dedicated six-second video app, in January.
“There are times when you need a single-purpose driven knife in the kitchen and there are times when you are out camping and you want a Swiss Army knife. We have different apps for different purposes,” Michael Sippey, Twitter’s VP of product, said earlier this week at the “All Things D: Dive into Mobile” conference when asked about the different apps Twitter has been releasing. Last week Facebook released Facebook Home for select Android phones. Home provides a Facebook experience deeper than an app.
The Twitter #Music app will be out later today in the Apple App Store; there is no Android app yet.
Source: ABC News (by Joanna Stern)
It’s no secret Justin Bieber’s ascension to pop superstardom started with a cover song (a version of Ne-Yo’s “So Sick”). Could he have achieved an “underdog to celebrity” rise without one? Maybe, but Bieber performed a new spin on a decades-old formula readily available to any recording artist looking to acquire new fans and make additional money from their recordings.
Cover songs (a.k.a. “remakes”) provide an easy path to building audiences. Releasing one is similar to getting introduced to a new person by way of mutual friend (the song) rather than through a chance encounter (an original tune found on a Bandcamp / MySpace page). A positive introduction is more likely when there is immediate common ground.
Cover songs also provide a unique way of tapping into alternate revenue streams for only modest expense (i.e. money spent securing the required mechanical license and paying royalties via Limelight, time spent learning the song, etc.). So why is this an effective way of promoting your music? Let’s explore…
Recording Cover Songs to Meet Demand for Incomplete Catalogue
Digital music services offer instant access for consumers to a 24-hour music warehouse that never runs out of stock. The downside? Two words: incomplete catalogue. Not every track you have (or want) in your vinyl or CD collection is available to buy in digital format for any number of reasons (including licensing issues, artist reluctance, not enough ham sandwiches, etc.).
Just as one person gathers what another spills – “incomplete catalogue” represents a simply supply and demand market opportunity for savvy artists and labels. If an artist’s music isn’t available via an online store, other recording artists can take advantage by recording and releasing their own cover versions to meet market demand.
For example, if you search for Kid Rock’s music on iTunes (one of several mainstream artist catalogues that aren’t available), you’ll notice an early 1990 release, a live recording of “Bawitdaba” from Woodstock ’99, and surprise, surprise, several tribute records. Why? iTunes search focuses on track popularity related to song title, artist name, album name and a variety of keywords. Since the majority of Kid Rock’s catalogue is unavailable, the closest matches are tribute recordings and cover versions of his repertoire. In fact, two separate cover recordings of Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” charted on the Billboard Top 100 in 2008 (The Hit Masters, The Rock Heroes) based primarily off digital sales alone. The same principle applies for AC/DC, Garth Brooks, and a several other marquee artists whose catalogues have not seen digital release.
Recording Cover Songs to Compete with Album Only Tracks
From a consumer viewpoint, a digital release’s major advantage over its physical counterpart is the ability to purchase individual tracks without spending money on unwanted tracks. While the majority of online releases allow for a la carte downloading, many online retailers give record labels the option to carve out certain releases as “album-only” — the motivation being to increase full-album sales at the expense of individual song downloads (though sometimes done for rights clearance purposes). Needless to say, “album-only” tracks deny consumers the opportunity to download individual tracks without purchasing the entire record.
Once again, obstacles presented by some labels represent a chance for entrepreneurial-minded artists and labels in releasing cover versions. Since digital versions of television and movie soundtracks (such as Twilight and The Hangover) are routinely offered out as “Album Only”, recording cover versions of those songs in particular can present another opportunity in capitalizing on simple supply and demand. If titled via an easy search terms comparable to the soundtrack, the cover versions will appear in search results alongside the original soundtrack.
Selling Cover Songs (and Originals) By Association
Physical retailers are limited – staff on hand, hours in a day, and especially by the product real estate available to them. While Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and other brick-and-mortar shops can only shelve music via singular genre / artist name fashion, digital music stores offer sophisticated search mechanisms, including track title, album name, release year, and even lyric focus.
While many artists may already be familiar with the term “search engine optimization” for purposes of their websites, less have extended that thinking to online music stores. In the digital age, cover songs provide simple, effective music search engine optimization (especially for covering artists who don’t currently appear on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, etc.). The sophisticated search mechanisms afforded by online stores over their brick-and-mortar counterparts grant artists an easy tool to sell more music.
In instances where an artist’s repertoire (such as Journey, Beyonce, Katy Perry) is available via digital music stores, cover songs can benefit by way of song title searches. While common song titles are unlikely to provide any benefit in enhancing search results, cover versions of songs with distinct titles can eclipse the original recordings in search results. For example searching for “99 Problems” (Jay-Z) on iTunes actually results in a unique cover rendition by the artist Hugo ahead of the original. Users who listen to and enjoy Hugo’s cover version are also likely to check out Hugo’s additional repertoire (including originals).
Next Step: Clear the Rights and Sell
Before recording and releasing cover songs, you’ll need to secure a mechanical license (also known as a DPD license for digital downloads distributed via iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, etc.), which provides permission to legally record and distribute the song. Several entities exist to help artists and labels clear mechanical licenses and ensure songwriters get paid, including Limelight — a simple, one-stop shop to clear any cover song and secure mechanical licenses for digital downloads, interactive streaming, ringtones, and physical albums. Artists, bands and other musical groups can clear any cover song and ensure 100% of royalties are paid to the appropriate publishers and songwriters via Limelight.
Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/) and written by Alex Holz.