Mailing List Management

It happened again this week: an event producer to whom I had given my email address sent out an announcement of their next event. But instead of using a mailing list management tool they copied and pasted all 100-odd mailing list addresses… into the TO: field of their Gmail message rather than BCC:. So I and every other person on their mailing list now have those 100-odd addresses in our email client!

Asided from having to scroll through them to reach the actual message, why is this anything other than mildly annoying?

– If anyone who received the message hits “reply all” (and may do that by default) can all end up in a looping flamewar as others reply all “Stop sending!” “Take me off this list!!” etc.

– All recipients whose inbox resides on their computer (i.e., they don’t only ever access email via a web browser) now have all of our addresses on their hard drive… which means if any of them get a computer virus that looks for email addresses to “harvest” (most viruses do not want to destroy your computer, but to take it over and use your data and internet connection to spam others) we all get even more spam as our addresses are added to lists for sale to spammers.

It’s particularly easy to forget to use BCC when using a Gmail account because the default Compose window now doesn’t give you a BCC field by default – you must click on a small link to open it. The event people use Gmail and did successfully use BCC previously.

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Use Evernote To Record Meetings, Lessons, Etc.

Recently I was pleased to discover that the built-in recording feature of the Evernote note-taking application works very well for recording long meetings without using up tons of space on your smartphone or PC:

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Friday Faves (Free-Cheap Edition) 03-05-13

Free Music Business Book

I’ve just started reading an ebook, The Six-Figure Musician. So far it seems filled with good points about what you need to do to “make it” as a professional musician (spoiler: mostly, work really hard at what you decide you want to do). It is available as a free PDF download from the author’s site (and geek kudos to him for getting the domain name “”!), or you can buy it on Amazon for Kindle for $4.99:

Free Facebook Newsfeed Optimization

I’m testing a 30-day free trial of a Facebook posting service. PostRocket analyzes the fan engagement data you see at the top of your band/business/etc. Facebook Page and uses a proprietary algorithm to decide when to make posts to the page that maximize your fans’ interaction with them.

To do this you set up several posts in advance and they post those at the times they deem best. And since recent research shows that pictures get more attention than just verbal posts they help to turn the latter into pictures from the site being linked, and let you apply some Instagram-like photo filters and add text into the image.

I didn’t have to give them a credit card to get the free trial, and even after 30 days they have an ongoing free option (which limits your account to managing 3 Pages, and does not give you as much analysis of your posts’ performance).

Pay What You Will Music Downloads

First, if you haven’t seen Amanda Palmer‘s recent TED talk The Art Of Asking  I recommend you do so.

Palmer’s message is that there is no shame in asking your fans to support you, and that while it’s impossible to force people to pay for music they generally will give you money and/or other kinds of support if you give them the opportunity to offer it.

So keep your eye out for performers who offer their music for whatever you are willing to pay. Usually there is an option to stream the music first so you can get an idea about whether you like it –  if you do please consider the time, efforts, cost of musical gear, cost of music lessons, nights spent playing in bars for little or no pay while honing their chops, etc. as you decide what amount to give them for their download.

If you are a starving artist/musician/un-or-underemployed whatever: don’t feel guilty if you can’t toss a lot into their virtual hat – but DO drop them a note about liking the music, and tell your friends about it.

Here are a few musicians with pay-what-you-will downloads:

Amanda PalmerTheatre Is Evil

Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken ToysSoft Time Traveler (just released!)

JaggeryPrivate Violence

Ginger IbexThe Rusty Goat Sessions (disclosure: this is one of my bands!)

Ginger Ibex – Firefly (our 2009 album – following my own advice and just made download PWYW!)