Plugola Music 2.0 Community Interview – Part 2

by Trevor T

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..continued..(for part one)

What’s the biggest mistake you made getting started in music business?

Where do I begin? I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’m sure I will make plenty more. However, I would have to say my biggest mistake was doing what I wanted and not what the fans wanted. Ego can be your enemy.

What big mistakes do you see others make?

Artists giving away their entire catalog of music for free with no marketing strategy or model in place. Personally, I think anyone giving away all their music for free is a mistake for most, though there’s nothing wrong making a few available. If you feel the all-for-free route is the way you would like to go, be sure you have some sort of strategy behind it. Otherwise you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping something will stick.

The other mistake I see a lot is when I visit a band’s web site, I have to search for their music. Sometimes I’m even sent to another site (usually Myspace) to hear it. If you’re lucky enough to get an interested visitor, don’t make them work for it. Again, you must think like a visitor to your site. Ask yourself what you like to see when you come to a new band’s web site for the first time.

What would you say is the one more important thing you’ve learned?

That’s a tough question to answer, because I’m still learning everyday. So far, I would have to say the most important thing that will help you throughout your lifetime are your connections. One of the reasons networking is so stressed just about everywhere you turn.

What information do you wish you had when you were first starting out?

Nothing is as easy as it seems. It sounds kind of dumb to me now, but I still fall for it from time to time.

What do you think are the keys to becoming a successful in this day and age?

Don’t give up. Although some of us may have it a bit easier than others, it’s tough for all of us to reach success. As an old business partner of mine used to say, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” There is no magic path to success.

What is the difference between you, and all the other music social networking website services doing the same or similar thing that you do?

We’re attempting a slightly different approach. Yes, we have your typical, basic social networking features (friends, favorites, commenting, rating, etc.) and what you would expect from being in control of your own music store (pricing, stream length, etc.). The difference is that we have devised a number of tools to actually market your music and to be sure your efforts don’t go unnoticed. In other words, we have more than just embeddable widgets to entice music fans.

The feature that stands-out above the rest is our “Plugging” feature. This allows music fans to resell (or ‘Plug’) their favorite music and earn a commission for doing so. The idea is to give your fans an incentive to share your music with their friends and hopefully beyond. The artist controls the commissions and has the final say on who can and can not ‘Plug’ their music. Plugola handles all the back-end (billing, payments, etc.).This is an optional feature, so artists do not have to participate if they do not want to.

We have also developed a download coupon system to attract potential new fans to your profile and digital store. Artists can set any number of their songs to free download. A personal promo code is created and artists can print the coupons directly from their account. We figured this is a much more cost effective way to get your music heard by drunk bar patrons, than passing out CDs they have to carry with them the rest of the night; but the code can also be used separately however the artists wishes.

Please share one or two of your favorite, and most helpful resource links?

I find Music Think Tank very useful, as well as Artists House Music. They’re both very informative for anyone in the music industry and they don’t seem to have an agenda

What do you think makes the difference between a success and failure in the music business?

I think success can only really be described in one’s own goals, however a failure would not doing anything about it at all. If you’re an artist just sitting and back waiting to be discovered, that is a failure in my book. If you’re out there hustling, playing live and interacting with your fans; you’re already doing more than most will ever do.

What’s the favorite part of your day running Plugo.la?

Of course, I love when new music is uploaded. Part of the reason I began PLUGOLA is to help music fans discover new music and upcoming musicians. I love checking out new stuff and I have a pretty wide range of tastes, so it’s always a treat for me. As far as the day-to-day operations go, I favorite part is promoting both Plugola artists and Plugola itself.

What’s the least favorite part of your day?

I really do not enjoy the actual business-end; all the boring stuff that MUST be done – meeting with lawyers, finances, etc. I would much rather spend that time growing the community and working on making Plugola better. Hopefully one day I can hire someone to take care of all that for me. *fingers crossed*

What are some realistic long-term and short-term goals for our listeners?

In the short term, I would recommend focusing on building your brand and presence. In the long term, you should aim for the stars. Realistically, only a very few become The Beatles or the Jay-Z’s of the world, but why shouldn’t you be one of them? Or why shouldn’t you be at the top of the food chain in your own scene?

What were some of your goals early on?

Of course, my original goal in the music industry was to be a “rock star”. At one time I truly believed that to be my destiny. After a few years of reality, my goal really just turned into being be able to make a comfortable living doing something I love.

I hear the term “networking” a lot. What does it mean and how does it effect our listeners?

For me, ‘networking’ means connecting, helping and sharing with like-minded individuals. It’s important because you never know where that opportunity or break is going to come from. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was not keeping in touch with contacts, even when moving into a different industry. I don’t how many times I have thought of someone that could help me with something, but I haven’t talked to them in 5/10 years. Even if I knew where to reach them now, what would I even say? “It’s been 10 years, but I need a favor”.

What’s the first thing you recommend our listeners do after they’re done listening to this call?

Sign up with Plugola, of course. =) But if you’re not interested in that, I would say you should begin by getting involved with your scene; both online and off. Take advantage of all the free social media tools available online. They’re your friend. Offline, just be a part of the scene. When you’re not playing go to the shows, go to the parties or wherever your fans and peers are. Remember what they say, “Out of site, out of mind”.

Who are the people that inspired you and why?

The people whom inspired me most in life is Benjamin Franklin, Robert Kiyosaki and my father.

What did you learn from those people that you’d like to pass on to our listeners?

They taught me to think smart, think outside the box and to never give up on my dreams.

What do you see as the next big trend in music consumption?

It’s hard to say with certainty, and no one is quite sure, but I see streaming music becoming part of the norm. Services, such as; Pandora or Spotify, I see eventually phasing-out radio altogether. As far as actually purchasing music goes, I’m curious how the public will embrace the new album format(s). There’s also a lot of talk about iPhone apps saving the day, but it’s too soon to see if it’s just a passing fad or if they are here to stay.

As we wrap things up, what should our listeners be doing for the next 30 days, 90, and 1 year to accomplish there goals and aspirations?

Set mini-goals for yourself, all the while leading up to your main goal. As cliche as it may sound, taking baby steps helps you accomplish much more. Not only that, but you also feel like you’re actually accomplishing something.

What final words of wisdom would you like to pass on to everyone who’s reading this?

When marketing/promoting your music, try to think like one of your fans. Would you visit your site? Would you download your music? Would you pay for it? Don’t ever underestimate your fans.

Where can our listeners find out more about you?

Plugola Blog

Plugola twitter

Erik twitter

Erik Facebook

Thank you Erik. From all that get the value out of this..

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