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Wednesday
Jun172009

Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them.

Shouldn’t you announce your goals, so friends can support you?

Isn’t it good networking to tell people about your upcoming projects?

Doesn’t the “law of attraction” mean you should state your intention, and visualize the goal as already yours?

Nope.

Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun132009

Basic Marketing Principles For Artists - Part 2: Increasing the Frequency of Purchases

The first piece in this series focused on increasing the amount of fans and how this is a necessary step towards success. Part 2 of the basic three principles is increasing the frequency of purchases.

The cornerstone of this is simple: You can not only sell music.
In order to get the frequency of purchases up you must provide something that actually gets your fans to buy more frequently.

If you are only selling one album or one set of MP3s, it’s pretty near impossible to get this step accomplished because your core fans will only have one thing to buy (therefore making frequency non-existent).

Billboard recently reported that over 2,500 record stores have closed in the US since 2005. This points out to one very clear conclusion: People are buying fewer CDs (of course we already knew this) but think about it –

Are you only selling music?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun122009

The Hector Letter

Hector from The Hector Fund has a love/hate relationship with The Lefsetz Letter…so he manages this internal conflict by offering this, The Hector Letter. As Bob himself might say, “Because it’s RELEVANT”.

Today’s industry is a sham. Artists make music that nobody claims they want to hear, and the folks that people do listen to suck. Driving down Blue Hill Ave, I pop a tape into my deck and prepare to be amazed. My pal Kato over at Fenway sent it to me. He knows what’s up. He manages MGMT - one of the biggest acts in the world right now

“I was born in a barrel of butcher knives/Shot in the ass with two Colt .45s”

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun082009

What's your songwriting process?

If you’ve been writing songs for awhile, you’ve inevitably been asked, “Which do you start with - words or music?” It’s not always that simple!

I usually work from a title. When one hits me, I’ll rough out some stream-of-consciousness prose to make sense of it. It could end up meaning something completely different than what I thought it meant at the beginning. Next I’ll flesh out the song structure and melody. Then I’ll mold the useful bits of my garbled prose into a lyric. The production goodies come at the end - typically the hardest part for me. At that point, I just want it to be done. I can only spend so much time finessing automation envelopes.

How about you? Where do you draw your inspiration? What hits you first — a lyric, a melody, a groove, a bass riff? What’s your songwriting process?

Wednesday
Jun032009

How Do I Get Booking Agents To Take My Band Seriously?

The answer to this question is simple, straightforward, but not necessarily the easiest to stomach. So here goes….. Drum roll…..The best way to get booking agents to take your band seriously is…..

Click to read more ...

Friday
May292009

What artists should know about thesixtyone

thesixtyone is quite simply my favorite music site, both as a listener and and artist. Billing itself as “a music adventure,” t61 is like a massively multiplayer game, complete with reputation points, levels, quests, and achievements. It’s a fun way to discover and be discovered. The rules are constantly in flux, so I’ll omit the fine details and walk you through the broad strokes of establishing yourself as an artist.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May272009

7 Insider Tips On Getting More Gigs For Your Band

It’s the famous old question on every hungry band’s mind - How To Get Gigs?

I can hear your pain from this computer screen - “Everyone else can get gigs left right and centre but my band is still struggling to figure out how to get gigs…..”

The truth of the matter is that getting gigs and playing live shows isn’t really that hard, you just need to understand the sensitivities of how the live music system actually works.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May202009

Popular Music Think Tank Posts

Tuesday
May192009

Tighten the low end of your mix with a frequency analyzer

This is the second in my series of “mix tips” articles. You can read the first here.

Most mix engineers don’t hear the bottom octave (20-40 Hz) because their monitors can’t produce it. Unless your room is 300 square feet or larger, and professionally tuned, adding a subwoofer will probably do more harm than good. Whether or not you can hear it, it’s important to balance the sub bass with the rest of the mix. You want deep full tone from the bass and a healthy “chest thump” from the kick without blowing out any speakers.

A common DIY solution is to simply roll off the whole mix with a highpass filter (HPF, also known as a low cut or LC), but that’s ugly and imprecise. Even if the frequency and slope of the filter leave an appropriate amount of sub, the EQ will color the mix, usually in an undesirable way. Instead, we want to sculpt the low end on a track-by-track basis, balancing out the sub bass and shaping competing elements to produce a clear and powerful foundation for your mix.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May182009

Don’t go over the self-promotion cliff; crush your local radio station instead.

The more that I read about the latest and greatest music marketing trends, the more I want to stand up on my desk and shout “don’t go over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings!” But, given the current hype and the herd mentality that artists usually exhibit, twenty-four months from now 5,000,000 artists will be using Twitter and fan relationship management tools to attempt to acquire fans and/or to boost average-revenue-per-fan (ARPF). When I think of the prospects of millions of artists traveling down this road, ARPF is exactly what I want to do. Three years from now, most artists will be disappointed and a new crop of artists will be jumping off a different cliff altogether (remember the MySpace cliff?).

The famous hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is; a great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” In this post I want to uncover the obstacles to self-promoting music and suggest an alternate path that will take you where the puck is going to be.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May142009

Basic Marketing Principles For Artists - Part 1: Increase Your Fanbase

As many of you know my company Cyber PR specializes in Internet Marketing, Social Media and PR. I am an avid Internet Marketing student and I gather the nuggets I learn from my studies of musicians.

I recently spent two intense days in Los Angeles, where I attended an Internet marketing retreat led by my mentor, Ali Brown. I belong to her mastermind group and participate in her yearlong program.

It was a whirlwind, and the core principles I learned were both basic and critically important.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May092009

What makes a good "manager" in the DIY world?

The meaning and role(s) of a “manager” have changed dramatically over the last decade, as the traditional CD/Radio/Retail business model has given way to the “new” music business. Traditionally, a manager managed an artist’s efforts to get signed to a label, and once signed, he/she managed the relationship between the artist and the label. The label itself managed marketing, distribution, artist development (ah, the good ol’ days), radio promotion, producer and writer relations, etc.

But given the state of labels today, the unsigned artist must assume that he/she will never be signed - and build a career accordingly. A traditional manager is often unable and ill-equipped to successfully manage and develop an artist’s career in this new “DIY” environment.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May082009

Is Jango payola?

old radio

My last article on Jango sparked spirited discussions on the Just Plain Folks and CD Baby forums, and in the comments. Words like “scam” and “payola” are recklessly thrown about. We need to dispel these unfair and inflammatory accusations before we can have an honest debate.

Is it a scam?

Absolutely not! It is a service that delivers everything it promises. Jango sells airplay, not results. To put it in perspective, I’ve spent $4,000 on Taxi since becoming a member in 1997. I’ve had over 100 forwards, but no deals. I’ve spent $7,000 on traditional radio promotion, with literally nothing to show for it. That doesn’t mean that Taxi and traditional radio promotion are scams. They just haven’t been effective (YMMV).

Is it payola?

Click to read more ...

Monday
May042009

What artists should know about Jango

Would you pay $1 for a new fan? Would you pay 2 cents to have your song played to a fan of your favorite band? I would, and did, with Jango Airplay. Jango offers free internet radio that plays listener-selected artists alongside similar artists. Tell it which artists and songs you like and dislike, and it adjusts accordingly. Basic social networking features are included, allowing listeners to share music and compare tastes. Jango Airplay lets artists buy their way into Jango’s recommendation engine, promising guaranteed airplay alongside your pick of popular artists. You can buy 1000 plays for $30, 2000 plays for $50, or 5000 plays for $100. I started with 5000 plays, and was so encouraged by the results that I spent another $200 for 10,000 more.

Click to read more ...