On the Mathematics of Marketing New Music

Some recent discussions floating around the music industry include the inability of some new artists to get noticed.  If the music is weird (you know, the stuff we like here on AMN), divide the likelihood of being noticed by some weirdness factor.

You can’t just put your music out there and expect a reaction.  You need to do sales and marketing. But, as the professional youtube services from themarketingheaven.com makes clear, with more music being produced today than ever before, how do you stand out?  One person recently quoted a statistic that less than 2% of all media publications bother listening to promo copies of albums they are sent.  While I cannot verify this number, it doesn’t seem out of the ballpark.

But let me focus on a few things I can verify.

Here at AMN we get around 80-120 promo releases per month.  Most of these are accompanied by a request for a review.  We publish about 6-10 reviews per month.  This number is what it is because only four of us write reviews on any regular basis, and all of us have day jobs.  We don’t do it for a living.

Further, finding good reviewers is difficult, and I give them tons of latitude in what they cover.  Thus, they usually pick and choose what to review, which may be from these 80-120 requests, or may be something completely different.

In addition to these promo requests, I request about 3-5 promos per months and purchase about another 10 releases or so with my own cash.  Some of those might end up getting reviewed just because I find them interesting enough to request or buy.

This massive skew between the amount of new music that is available for review and the amount of time that we (and other websites I suspect) have for writing reviews explains the quoted 2% hit rate.

This is one of the reasons I publish the AMN Picks of the Week.  This gives us the opportunity to say, “Hey, this release is pretty good, check it out” without having to review it.

I suspect some sites mainly review well-known artists to drive traffic and hits, and thereby sell more ads.  We don’t have that constraint here, as AMN is a break-even venture at best.  In a good month, profits from AMN will buy a sandwich.  A small one.

So the math looks bad.  Your odds of getting a review on AMN, as well as any other web site, are pretty small unless you’re an established name.  But don’t stop.  Don’t give up.  Some of the best releases I’ve heard over the last 10 years came from artists that I’ve never heard of who sent me an email asking for a listen.  I did, was impressed, and either published a review or included the release on a Picks of the Week, year’s best of list, etc.  I cannot guarantee when this will happen, but I can guarantee that it does.

And for the record, we listen to about 40-50% of all submissions, curve-breakers that we are.

This Week in Buenos Aires

ranaldoFrom Buenos Aires,su Nueva Musica:

Steve Shelley drums
Lee Ranaldo & Alan Licht, guitars
Timothy Luntzel, bass
At Vorterix , 19.00 hs

feniger, saxophones
groshaus drums
salgado trombone
roldan , bajo
lazo guitar
At Casa Presa , 22.00 hs

Ramiro Flores (sax)
Patricio Carpossi (guitar)
Leo Cejas (contrabsso)
Sergio Verdinelli (drums).
At Virasoro Bar 21.30 hs

NOSESO RECORDS FEST 10th anniversary
– “Return to Bolivia”
– Audiovisual La Matanza
– Primeros videoclips noseso
– Charla con fundadores del sello
At Potosí 4292, 18.00 hs

Nicolás Ojeda: contrabass.
Mauro Mourelos: trumpet.
Ernesto Amstein: keyboards
Nicolás Olivera: guitar
Mariano Motyczak: drums.
set II
Nicolás Olivera – Martín Messineo duo, guitars
At No Avestruz, humboldt 1857 21.00 hs

Nico Said ,saxophones
Leo Paganini, saxophones
Diego Goldzsein contrabass
Martin Lambert, drums
At Onyx club , midnight show 00.00 hs

NOCHE SURREALISTA (films music poetry theatre films)
Omar Grandoso *Trombone
Leandro Kalen * keyboards
Fernando Posse* Contrabass
Lucas Sofia* drums
At la libre , bolivar 646 22.00 hs

Guillermo Klein (piano)
Richard Nant (Trumprt & perc.
Sergio Verdinelli (drums)
Matías Méndez (bass)
Patricio Carpossi (guitar)
At Virasoro Bar , 22.00 hs

CICLO HERTZ ( experimental multimedia )
-Juan De Cicco, Dionisio Pérez, Rocío Pérez Belarra y Tomás Martinez “Monstrorum Artifex” Performance audiovisual
-Termotank : Guido Flichman y Matías Brunacci
-Leandro Barzabal / Lucía Di Salvo
At Una Casa , 22.00 hs

Carmen Baliero (piano y voice). TBA guests
At Virasoro Bar , 21.00 hs

Musique Machine Reviews

Merzbow, prominent Japanoise musician, in 2007
Merzbow, prominent Japanoise musician, in 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Musique Machine:

Cory Strand – Nosferatu: A Reinterpretation
Malabimba – Self Titled
Burial Ground – The Exorcist
Ryan Teague – Four Piano Studies
White Hills – So You Are. ..So You’ll Be
Anonymous – My Lai
Small Hours – A Love Like This Is Hard To Find’
Violetshaped – Self Titled
Pussy & Sorrow – Opening the Theta Door
Dead Body Collection/Static Mantra – Har Megiddo
khkharu – Celebratum
Merzbow – Takahe Collage
Angus Carlyle – Some Memories Of Bamboo



July 11, 2013
Jonah Rosenberg Daniel Carter Levy Lorenzo, Douglass Street Music Collective
Daniel Carter Jonah Rosenberg Levy Lorenzo

July 11, 2013
Steuart Liebig Tom Rainey Nate Wooley Kris Tiner, Douglass Street Music Collective
Kris Tiner Nate Wooley Steuart Liebig Tom Rainey

July 8, 2013
Maja Ratkje & Ikue Mori with Zeena Parkins and Okkyung Lee, Spectrum
Ikue Mori Maja Ratkje Okkyung Lee Zeena Parkins

Rebekah Heller’s CD Launch: ICE Sizzles on the TUNDRA

From the International Contemporary Ensemble:

Just ten days after moving to Oberlin, we retraced the steps of Claire Chase’s momentous origin-of-ICE journey to Chicago to attend the launch event for Rebekah Heller’s new CD 100 Names on June 30, 2013. Resplendent in a stunning white frock festooned with ostrich plume shoulders, Rebekah took the stage of Constellation Chicago after Claire’s rousing introduction in which she claimed “the only proper genre label for Rebekah’s work on this CD is musical badassery.”

John Zorn at the Barbicon, London, Reviewed

John Zorn
John Zorn (Photo credit: volume12)

Another review, this one from The Guardian:

Tonight’s concert, celebrating the 60th birthday of New York maverick John Zorn, lasted well over three hours, featured 22 musicians in seven separate lineups and hopscotched through countless musical genres. There’s a string quartet and a thrash metal trio; a lounge band who sound like they’re playing Charlie Brown themes; and an a cappella quintet who sound like a medieval Andrews Singers. Faith No More‘s Mike Patton and Norah Jones‘s co-writer Jesse Harris are on hand to provide words for several of Zorn’s instrumentals. Yet all this still barely scrapes the surface of Zorn’s prodigious output over four decades.