Idea: “SnapPosts”

Since social media posts are like ships passing in the night, why not just design around that?

How about a service that let’s you store “evergreen” posts and re-posts them at a certain interval?  Then, the service removes the post from the timeline after a certain period.

Why?  So your timeline is always fresh and doesn’t have redundant posts cluttering it up.

Example: Live events.  Say you are hosting an open house in 2 months. You can create a nice post with pictures, info, etc. and set the post to “SnapPost” every 7 days between a give time period.

Does something like this exist?

Gigable Update June 2015

It’s been 18 months since the official launch of Gigable. What started out as a simple crowdfunding concept has evolved into musical brand that people are recognizing.

The best part about it personally, is how much fun we’re having. So many of these projects can get heavy and grueling (especially when there’s very little progress), but this project is very inspiring each and every day.

Last Saturday, we had our 5th official sell-out show. The feedback so far is amazing.  People really love going to a comfortable setting to discover new music that moves them – which most don’t expect. They also like to meet the artists and get a chance to talk about their own stories.

We’ve added Gigable Radio as a new feature on the site. I’m really excited about this, since it allows us to easily add songs we’re discovering and share with the Gigable audience. We want to put the music first and introduce great music in a way that’s fun and local.

Very soon, we will be adding a download store so that anyone can buy exclusive tracks from the artists who have played Gigable shows. All of this should culminate to a curated experience so that music fans will “tune in” to Gigable to find great music and emerging artists.

We’re also about to kick-off Gigable 2.0!  This is the first major project to improve the platform and streamline some features.

We’re going to add promoter tools for easier management of email lists. Also, we’re integrating with Facebook so fans can easily login and engage with Gigable shows and artists and share with their friends.

This is all needed, however the big deal in my mind will be the mobile app! The mobile app should really promote more widespread use of the platform with fans. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but let’s just say this should bring everything to a new level.

Feel free to ask questions about Gigable or about the emerging artists that we’re discovering!

New eBook: How To Host An Amazing House Concert

Very excited to announce a guide I’ve been planning/writing for some time is available today on Amazon!

There’s an insurgence of indie musicians taking to living rooms, backyards, decks, farms and winning new fans. House concerts are not a new concept but they are taking center stage as artists are using new tools such as crowdfunding to plan these unique gigs.

I’ve talked to many people about hosting these shows and some feel reluctant not knowing how much effort is involved.  House concerts can be public or private and I layout a full plan of attack in the ebook.

Grab a copy for free until midnight 4/8/15!  It would be awesome to leave a review on Amazon so more people can learn about this exciting trend!

#SXSW via #meerkat and @mazzeo

So I couldn’t get down to Austin, TX this week to partake in South-by-Southwest. I was pretty bummed, but I think maybe I may have caught some of the best conversations despite being in Chicago.

Last week, I saw a post on Product Hunt for Meerkat.  Meerkat is a live video streaming app, mobile-to-mobile. It uses your Twitter login and when you start a stream, a tweet is sent with a link to the live feed.

So, I happened upon a few key players streaming from SXSW like Gary Vaynerchuk, Sarah Evans and someone I’ve been looking to meet, Matt Mazzeo.

Via Meerkat, I caught Matt’s daily “lowercase office hours” in the lobby of a hotel where he does quick interviews/discussions with founders and other influencers during SXSW.

Today’s session was pretty great and he even did a quick discussion with the Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis’ agent.  Very cool impromptu conversation about a movie in the works for Mikhail Gorbachev.

Here’s a quick recap of the startups he put on his “hang”.  Hopefully I’ve captured the correct elevator pitch for each of these:

Homerun – Killer stories about sports players built on their stats

Rex.is – Great stuff curated by interesting people

Class.travel – Worldwide travel rewards program

Snowshoe – Plastic ID that uses smartphone screen for recognition

Humin – Contacts stored in a more human way

Clinton Foundation – not a startup but a mention, none-the-less.

Looking forward to more great stuff from @mazzeo on @meerkat!

How Many Times A Day Do You “Shift Gears?”

As I’ve been working with multiple clients/projects/startups, I’m constantly battling focus challenges. A common misconception about productivity is the ability to multi-task. There’s good and bad multi-tasking.

I believe good multi-tasking comes in the form of activities that are complimentary to a big goal. I’m listening to Spotify while writing this post and not checking email. Many people watch the news on the treadmill. All good.

Bad multi-tasking is switching between tasks that are going after different goals. For example, writing a proposal and answering email about your kids’ sports team.

All afternoon, I’ve been working on Gigable and then tried to read a brief about another startup for which I’m advising.  It didn’t work.  Better to stay in the Gigable headspace as long as possible, then take a good break and reset.

I sometimes call this “spinning plates” and I think human nature forces us to pay attention to something new as it happens. Can someone drop mail on your desk and you don’t open until end of day?  Email is the same distraction.  Do you have your email open all day and anytime the drug-like “Inbox(2)” shows up, you are a pavlovian dog. I am.

However, as I bucket activities and goals into daily sprints, this is all changing. My newest routine is to plan and focus activities based on big goals. So, I’ll only work on Gigable activities on Wednesday until I’ve exhausted the to-do list.

This mindset became apparent to me while songwriting.  Songwriting is the type of activity that needs 100% focus. Any type of creative activity requires a “flow” state which takes a while to achieve (it does for me anyway).  Once you are in flow, you move through it until you reach a point.  This point can be 1 hour later or 4 hours later.

Blocking off full days for focused activity pertaining to a major goal seems like the optimal strategy. However, I think it’s possible to break the day into 2 parts.  3 parts if you are really energized.

Conversely, switching between every possible goal/project daily is sure death. That breeds burnout, stress and adult ADD. This may work for a while, but it will catch up to you.

What works for you (or doesn’t)?

My #7daylaunch Post-Launch

It’s been 2 two weeks since I went live with the stock music service. I’d love to say that there’s been a steady stream of subscribers, but alas, that is just not the case. I’m really not discouraged since I’ve been spending time adding more tracks to the catalog.  Based on a few discussions, part of the MVP is catalog selection. My goal is to have 25-30 unique tracks available and then ramp up more discussions with more video producers.

The “P” in MVP is the catalog, in my case. There are many different styles of music that will need to be presented.  Right now, I have an abundance of acoustic guitar-driven songs and need to diversify.

So, my two main goals at this point are:

  1. A diverse selection of tracks in various musical styles.
  2. Discussions with video producers to understand their needs and get feedback on current state of the service.

Once I have time to absorb the feedback and make adjustments, I will be ramping up on a larger marketing plan.

It’s very clear to me that I will need to talk to 10-20 video producers and understand their world.  Once I can integrate those learnings, I will have proven (or dis-proven) minimum viable product for this stock music service.

My #7daystartup Day Seven (Launch Day!!)

It’s 3:07pm CST and I’m sitting at Starbucks (or should we call it “StartBucks”) in West Dundee, IL.  The staff knows me – now.  I’ve been coming here every afternoon for the past week plowing through the work required to get to launch.

I’m pleased to announce that EchlinMedia Stock Music is online.

I’ll be the first to admit that the hill got steeper the closer I got to launch-ready.  I think I need to caveat what I mean by launch.  Since I was following Dan Norris’ 7-Day Launch blueprint, what has been launched is a MVP stock music service.  The best part of this process has been the awesome people I’ve talked to via Dan’s FB group who have helped shape the MVP.  This is the essence of what he discusses in his book.

“You don’t earn till you learn” – not sure if Dan said that, but I might use it as my own. The feedback has been valuable and interesting.  It’s been interesting because the first lesson is that not all customers want the same thing.  The opinions and ideas that have been discussed have been unique and “one-size-fits-all” does not apply to a stock music service.  Also true for just about every business.  This speaks to the exercise of finding the ideal customer profile or avatar.

I talked to 5 potential customers from different walks and they all want something different.  A couple love the idea of a subscription, while others just want a la cart songs at a competitive price.

I think I’ve come up with a model that is easy to understand and provides a fair solution.  It’s basically a freemium model.

  • One free track per month delivered to email
  • Monthly subscription that provides download codes
  • A la carte store ($14-$99 per track based on license usage)

The licensing model is one concept I’m pretty excited about since it could be a good differentiator – in addition to the awesome music :)

Here are the three license options:

  1. Audio (Podcasts, Radio, Commercials(non-video), Website)
  2. Animated Video (Video Games, Apps, Animated Videos)
  3. Moving Pictures (Theatrical, TV, Cable, YouTube, Video)

Pricing is relative to license option, audio being the least expensive.  It just made sense to offer licenses based on usage type.

I’ve got some other ideas that I will be testing over the next few weeks, such as a creator community. There still is a lot of work to do on the UX and navigation so that signup and store browsing is simple and intuitive.

This is all very exciting, especially since I got my first paid subscriber just this afternoon!

A huge thanks to Dan and his community for a swift kick in the pants to get this going.

My #7daystartup Day 6.5

Okay – juuuust about ready to launch!

I had a great conversation with internet marketer/podcaster Nicola Cairncross and she buys stock music for her podcasts.  We talked about pricing/licensing and it’s clear I need to keep it simple.

So, I’ve come up with two options:

  1. A la carte store – Buy one track at a time and chose the appropriate license.
  2. Monthly Subscription – Discounted tracks with universal licensing.

I think this will allow customers to get the best of both worlds.  If they just need to buy a track here and there, great!  However, if they are an agency or music super, you can get several tracks per month at a steep discount.

The new landing page is completed.  By tomorrow, 1/14/15, I will have the store component ready to go.  The subscriptions will be handled via PayPal.

Then, it’s a matter of fine-tuning a few dozen tracks to populate the store and we’re off! It’s really a ton of work, but I’m very excited to launch this and get more customer feedback.

Thanks to all who have commented and provided moral support!

My #7daystartup Day Six

So here we are day six.  One “day” before the official launch.  As I stated before, I’m considering these “7 days” as steps really, since I’m not doing these steps in sequential days.  I am however, getting through all seven steps rather quickly (less than a month).

Day six was very sobering.  I created a pro-forma, (aka financial model) and quickly realized that I needed at least 500 active paid subscribers to make this a viable business. And when I say active, I mean that they need to be purchasing tracks on a monthly basis.

Then I started to consider how many unique pieces of music I needed to have in inventory to support 500 active subscribers.  Is it hundreds or dozens? Not sure this is a question that I can answer at this point. I do have about 200 song ideas that are usable, however I need to fully produce most of them before I can add them on the stock music site.   Producing these tracks will likely take up to a year to complete, but that should be ok since I can add them to the site as they are completed and they will keep the site freshly stocked with music.

I’m still stalled a bit on the landing pages and think I’m going to need some help.  Since each track (I use “track” and “song” interchangeably) will be available with an exclusive and non-exclusive license, I need to setup EDD with variable pricing.

This is the point where I start to glaze over and consider hiring someone to handle all the technology and WordPress work since I need to be in the studio creating music.