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Lately I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of subscribers and it’s been a very cool process. So many of you have had some success in the music licensing world, or are getting approached by companies to sign agreements and have your music represented in third party catalogs. But the most common question I see is:
Who do I reach out to in the first place?
And while this answer depends on your main goals (do you want to pitch music yourself or work with a company? Are you looking for a major label deal or trying to get into a music library?) the process for finding your key contacts is the same.
Imagine that you no longer feel like you’re sitting and waiting for something to happen. You’ve invested time, energy, and probably a good amount of cash into your music but you can’t help but feel like you need to do something to get noticed.
When reviewing websites for musicians, we generally break down the reviews into 3 categories:
- Organization & Navigation
For each category, there are certain key things that we look out for. We’ve decided to share our checklist so bands can assess their own websites!
You email your heart out to target industry people and you are probably used to not getting many responses. This is the life of a hustling artist. Don’t hate it – embrace it. I always tell my bands – if you feel like you’re doing it wrong, you’re not! You’re doingsomething proactive; therefore you’re doing it right.
First things first – don’t get discouraged by rejection (you can read my other blog here with more info on that). Sometimes you might not get any responses. But when when you do, they are seemingly cryptic. As a fellow industry person, trust me when I say we aren’t trying to make you rip your eyes out. We are talking in industry speak. We are moving quickly, managing a million things and sometimes the idiosyncrasies can get lost in translation. Sometime we are too short and a more elaborate answer could help, we know.
It takes that one email sent in the right moment to the right person to change everything. Hopefully this blog helps to navigate some of our answers and feedback.
Since releasing my first digital album back in 2002, technology has played a crucial role in the distribution of the music I create. At that time, CDs were still the way folks listened to music but sales were definitely well in decline. Napster had scared the crap out of the music industry and was shut down for good. Mp3s were all the rage and there were these things called iPods that were changing the way people consumed their favorite songs and albums.
Thanks to archive.org and Creative Commons, I was able to distribute my music free of charge to my listeners without fear of the music being used for commercial purposes. I’d release a concept album that could be downloaded and enjoyed around the world. At the time, this was a novel idea for an independent artist.
Drag-and-drop online mastering is here, and it’s free to try. LANDR provides unlimited 192 kbps mp3 masters of your tracks in seconds.If you like what you hear, you can pay for uncompressed 16-bit .wav masters. Pricing is very reasonable at $9 for four or $19 for unlimited masters per month. Paid users also get to select the “intensity” of the mastering: low, medium (the default), or high. Their algorithms were refined over eight years of university research, and they even have a resident astrophysicist. An astrophysicist! Guess this mastering engineer is out of a job, right? To find out, I selected tracks from three recent mastering jobs, to compare my results with LANDR’s.
The new music industry is really about finding your own path - one that is unique to your music and career. That’s exactly what Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn did with Pomplamoose and it is the foundation on which Jack’s new endeavour, Patreon, is built. Pomplamoose and Patreon may not be names you see plastered all over billboards and flashy advertisements, but Jack and Nataly have made a sustainable career for themselves, and that is something all musicians should strive for.
Recently, I talked to Jack Conte about some of the tips and strategies that have gotten him to where he is today - living comfortably as a musician and CEO. He gave me some really great advice that you could be incorporating into your music career right now. Here’s a few tips, but we’ve got a full hour of information for you that you can check out in this free webinar.
Over the last year, people have been responding to me differently. They view me as someone who is a famous, successful musician… People want to be part of a winning enterprise and they are star struck because they have watched my content on-line and know that many others have as well. I can command more a higher fee for concerts becasue people’s perceptions of how much I am worth as an artist has changed.
For the past 3-4 days, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing from artists and local labels asking why YouTube is going to be removing their music. For those that haven’t already heard, YouTube (owned by Google) is planning on launching its own subscription music service soon. It has been in negotiations with the 3 major record labels and the independent labels to set a rate for their music used in the new service. The details of these deals has been kept very quiet, but apparently the Big 3 have already signed on, as have most of the independents. Only a small percentage of indies are holding out for better rates.
The big swirl of confusion started a few days ago when the Financial Times website posted a story quoting YouTube exec Robert Kyncl, stating music could start being removed in a couple of days. This sent “the internets” into a frenzy, and is what began my phone ringing.
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(Updated Sept 29, 2014)