Surviving on the Internet

Course Description

The two most valuable things on the Internet are content and the email addresses of people who are interested in it. This will be a  course in the creation and development of a website that would replace the traditional  record company’s marketing and fan club functions by building and maintaining a CAN SPAM compliant mailing list and newsletter. Relationships are fleeting and must be periodically renewed in order to build a following. This course will teach students how to create, maintain and run a legal active website and newsletter.

Learning Objectives

  1. Choosing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with the features you need.
  2. LAMP stack ( Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP ) and CPanel.
  3. Registering a domain. Creating subdomains.
  4. WordPress – making your pages with only a browser for no cost.
  5. File Transfer Protocol (FTP)Filezilla (free)
  6. HTMLKomposer (free)
  7. Using CSS to format your page
  8. Staying CAN SPAM legal
  9. CPanel and the databases
  10. PHP Preformatted Hypertext Preprocessor –
  11. Search Engine Optimization and why it is a scam.
  12. Creating a login capable of capturing email addresses
  13. Creating a newsletter and sending it to your fans.
  14. Advertising Adsense/OpenX
  15. Streaming services iTunes, Spotify, UTube, Soundcloud
  16. Licensing

The Problem
The problem this course would like to address is the fall of the record companies who no longer have the finances to promote a fan club, create records sales, concert dates and a million other details that develop a career. On the plus side performers have more direct access to consumers than ever before. The bad news is that everyone has the same access so it is difficult to stand out. If you put up a website you have just added a leaf to a forest that already has 644,275,754 trees with several trillion leaves.

The Solution
The tools to enable musicians to do these promotional things for themselves are easily available and can be learned by almost anyone with a few basic skills and the Internet. The focus will be on how to harvest email addresses using cookies and logins from your fans and how to create and maintain regular newsletters at no cost to establish one-to-one connections with their fans and business associates. Many website owners are unaware of the fact that even a small site can generate income from advertising. Money on the internet comes from advertising. If you build a great big honeypot you can sell the attention of the flies.

Many years ago Steve Jobs used the term “convergence” to describe what will happen when everything starts to exist in 1 and 0 format. At that point all we will really need is a high quality 1 and 0 player. Like an iPad.Please look at the front screen of your smartphone and count the number of businesses that have been absorbed due to convergence – Calendar, Address Books, The Post Office, Watches, Photography, Maps and GPS, Video recording and editing, Weather Forecasting, Radio station, Book shop and I am only 1/2 way down the front of my iPhone. The only businesses that have survived are those that embraced the new models that convergence offered. Those that did not simply vanished.

The Music business has been deeply affected by convergence. In the old business model ASCAP and BMI tracked plays using monitors and radio stations paid money per play which was then passed on via Royalties to the composers and performers. Record companies sold songs on CD’s 12 at a time which were frequently bought on the strength of one hit song. Once MP3 arrived the desire to pay only for the song we liked put an end to that model and it took a computer company to show the Music Business how to sell music.

Embracing Convergence.
Musician’s equipment costs are legendary and I spent 15 years working with Yamaha in Los Angeles and Hamamatsu as part of the teams that  made those high end tools and came to a deep understanding of the cost structures. 99% of the cost of a professional synthesizer are nothing to do with sound creation. Buttons and sliders were the killers, not to mention hard drives,  LCD displays, steel case, keyboard, design, packaging, shipping distribution and so on ad infinitum. The cost of the custom chip that actually makes the sound was less that 100 yen ( under a buck).

For example:  A hardware studio

Mac Book Pro $1299
Motif XF-8 Synth $3,559.99
M-Audio USB Interface $249.99
PRoTools recording software $899 – a then you have to buy those plug ins for $300- $1,500.
Powered Speakers $799.99

I make that $6,805 plus tax just to generate music in 1’s and 0’s
But a musician who learns to make his product with 1’s and 0’s has some amazing opportunities to reduce their cost.

Suppose we do this instead using software.

Apple iPad Air 2 $499
M Audio MIDI controller $99
Instead of Pro\Tools lets go with Auria for $49.95 (24 bit, 96k sampling rate 48 track recorder plus plug effects included, automated mixing, DSP for days.
Garage Band for basic synths and loops $15
SunRizer Analog synth $4.95
Animoog Anisotropic Synth $9.95
Addictive Additive synth $9.95
Minimoog synth $4.94

I make that $687.75 plus Tax and it will sound EVERY BIT AS GOOD as the hardware set up above. Plus it comes with a DropBox so that if you collaborate with other writers you can send files back and forth using Auria on the internet with a single click.

What makes the sound is software not hardware. Software writers used to have to write the code, create packaging, and write and print a manual , burn CD’s and estimate how many they would sell and decide how to distribute it. Too many and they were stuck with a warehouse of boat anchors, too few and they missed a great opportunity. But now they can just write the code, put it up on the App Store and hundreds of thousands of musicians can download them. If you sell 100,00 units at $5 a pop you are doing OK.

The result has been an explosion of synthesizers and music making tools on the internet with new and highly inventive options appearing every day. My current favourite is TC11 ($19) which can track 10 fingers on the screen at once and route their movement to 10 qualities of the synth at once. It sounds amazing.


Lecture Plan

Surviving on the Internet