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DIY Musician Debunked: Of Course You Don't Do It All Yourself

The Real DIY Musician The reality is that though you may call yourself a DIY musician, there is no such thing as a successful DIY musician. There are only successful musicians. Everyone who is successful has help, and every large venture is a collaborative effort. Music careers are no different. DIY Musician = musician who is knowledgeable in the basics of online marketing, music distribution, and other music industry related business skills.

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Score a License: What Music Supervisors are Looking For

There has been a great deal of buzz about music licensing in recent years, and with good reason! Compared to other revenue streams, licensing can have potentially big payouts for indie musicians. It’s also a pretty confusing aspect of the music industry. Just how exactly do songs get on those TV shows? The conductors behind those licenses are music supervisors.

What is a Music Supervisor?

Music supervisors oversee the music-related aspects of TV, films, and video games. They are in charge of interpreting the producer’s vision, finding the right track, and negotiating the contract with the artists. Of course, there are MILLIONS of songs out there, so finding the right one is no easy task. On top of that, licensing for use in visual mediums is a juggling act, with as many as eight separate deals depending on how many parties are involved (songwriter, recording artist, record label, publishing company, etc.) and how the song will be used.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: The 7 Fundamental Steps To Cover Band Success (Part 1 of 2)


The Cyber PR Guide to Creating an Effective Music Marketing Plan (Part 2 of 3)

Releasing an album or EP into today’s music landscape can feel like a daunting task. Who do you send it to? How will you get people to listen?  How do you cut through the noise? Where are all the places to put it online?

Marketing And Advertising

The first blog post in this 3-part series for creating an effective marketing plan dealt with building a strong online presence, so if you follow those instructions you are already in better shape than the majority of artists releasing music today.

In this, part 2, we will discuss steps to take in order to have a successful new release launch.

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The 7 Fundamental Steps To Cover Band Success (Part 1 of 2)

If you’re in a cover band and serious about getting more lucrative private and corporate event bookings chances are you’re starved of specific strategies and tactics that’ll help you achieve this.

There’s plenty of excellent marketing advice for musicians working on original material but very little for cover band musicians.

A word of warning. While the marketing info for original artists can be very valuable, there’s a fundamental distinction that needs to be made. Artists writing their own material are generally focused on ‘getting exposure and building a fanbase’.

As a cover band looking to secure wedding, private party and corporate event bookings your main priority should be different. You don’t need exposure per se, you need to generate actual leads and inquiries from prospective clients that want to book your band for their event.

The difference seems subtle but the approach you take to marketing and selling your band is in many ways fundamentally different.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Music Publicist


5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Music Publicist

by Janelle Rogers, Green Light Go Publicity “We hired a music pr company to promote our last album and were really disappointed in the results.” This is something we hear a lot when new clients come to us. I get it. Nobody wants to spend a ton of cash on something and then see very little come out of it. I know I don’t. I could go on and on about starting with a clear vision of where you want your band to go and what you hope to come out of a successful campaign, but first things first – you need to make sure you are in the right hands.

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“Thinking Music” vs. “Emotional Music”: Two Different Kinds of Music Listening Experience

I’ve always wanted to share my thoughts on how I listen to music and how I interpret what I hear. What is it that makes some tracks “work” for me while others leave me uninspired? Of course, there’s no short answer. Sometimes it’s a vocal hook, sometimes a driving guitar part, sometimes a floating ambience or a pumping bass line. With every track it is different. However, after giving some thought to this and “analyzing” the way I perceive music, I’ve come to realize that I can clearly distinguish between the two types of music: what I call “thinking music” and “emotional music”.

“Emotional music” is probably the most obvious kind. This is the type of music that makes you feel good or makes you want to cry or just makes you feel like you’re flying through the sky and all your problems just seem to melt away. This music caters to the basic human emotions, and this is what you usually can hear on the mainstream radio. Of course, that does not exclude jazz or classical or any type of indie or alternative music. For instance, Bach’s “Air on the G string” or Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” or even Philip Glass’ fabulous score to the film “The Hours” are all — to me — examples of this type of music. As are Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” or U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” or Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” or even Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and, strangely, most of Sigur Ros’ catalogue as well. As you can see, very different music genres belong here. This doesn’t have to be pop music in the narrowest sense of the term but tracks belonging to this type usually have a strong sense of melody and/or harmony and quite simple chord progressions (although again, this is not mandatory) especially when compared to what is called “academic music” or some of the more complex forms of jazz.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: What Artists Should Know About Next Big Sound


5 Portable Must Haves for Musicians

Inspiration cannot be scheduled. It could be the rustling of leaves or the sound of traffic whizzing by that forms the theme of your next song. To make sure you can record your latest musical genius, here are a few things you should always have with you.

Make It

If you play an instrument like a harmonica, it is fairly easy to keep it at hand, but what happens if you are a drummer or play the harp? For musicians who can't carry their instruments, it becomes essential to find a tool that creates music in a similar way. A musical app like the KORG iMS20 is a great example because it emulates a synth and is easy to customize. You can install it on your phone, and move around town with a mini studio on hand. It includes a synthesizer, sequencer, mixer, effects and drum machine all rolled into one.

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Mozart or Most Art: What’s Really Good for Kids?

My wife and I are gearing up to take our six year old to see Styx in October and a few of our friends have expressed concern at the idea of taking a young child to a rock concert. Despite my comebacks of “We’ll make him wear earplugs,” and “Come on, it’s only Styx!” — I keep getting flack. 

This article is for all the naysayers out there. Believe it or not, I am not going to warp my kid’s fragile little mind by exposing him to live music. In fact, I’m going to be expanding his horizons. Why? Because live music is good for kids.
Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with distractions. At concerts, kids are compelled to focus on music for an extended period of time. When children are actively listening to music – and I’m talking really engaged – they’re listening to the lyrics, singing, dancing, and letting their imaginations be steered by what they’re hearing. When it boils down to it, live music teaches children how to listen.

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What Artists Should Know About Next Big Sound

Perhaps you don’t sell too many albums on iTunes, or have that many SoundCloud plays or YouTube views. But maybe, just maybe, your music is really popular in some far off corner of the digital universe you never even knew about, and all that “exposure” you’ve racked up over the years is paying off behind the scenes.

Next Big Sound provides detailed online music analytics to measure the growth of bands on streaming services and social networks. It doesn’t cover everything, but it casts a wide enough net to shatter an artist’s dreams with cold, hard data. I know it did mine! <sniff>

Cidney at NBS agreed to give me an artist credit for one month so that I could write this article, way back in April. Hopefully she’ll forget to downgrade my account.


Key Metrics

The screenshot above shows a dozen “key metrics” of my choosing. It’s an easy way to focus on what’s important to me, and not get bogged down in all those numbers. So for example, I could replace Rdio plays with Vine loops, shouts, or unique pageviews of my website.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: The Best Ways To Approach Record Labels


The Best Ways To Approach Record Labels

So, you’re in a band and want to get signed. Welcome to a very large club! Unfortunately, most bands won’t get signed, but in this article we’re going to discuss how to give yourself the very best chance. 

Of course, the first place to start is in creating great music that people want to listen to and see live. Sounds obvious, but amongst all of the music marketing aspects that bands need to think about these days, it’s something that can often be forgotten. Hone your sound, create something unique, and make sure that your band has a clear identity. 

No matter how good your music, what you need to bare in mind is that record labels receive thousands of demos a week. What’s more, in the digital age they get sent thousands of YouTube links, and get plenty of attention on social networks by bands and their fans trying to get attention. So, to get your sound heard, you need to think outside of the box and follow these key tips to give yourself the best chance to succeed:

  1. Be polite: being rude, egotistical, or demanding is not going to get you anywhere. If you have a bit of diva in you, keep it in at this point. Record labels are dealing with a LOT of music, so if yours is with a message that is anything but 100% polite, chances are you’re not going to get the attention you deserve
  2. Be brief: whilst you want to explain your bands history, bear in mind the time that potential scouts have for each artist. Sum yourselves up quickly, or maybe even visually by using a tool like Canva to create some great explanatory images
  3. Stand out: make sure that you present yourself in the best way possible. Try sending something physical such as a personalized USB drive from the likes of USB Makers, or a personalized print or postcard with your music from the likes of Moo
  4. Show popularity: it’s hard for some people to brag – but make sure the scouts know just how popular you are. This might mean including links to your YouTube or SoundCloud pages, or even a Facebook link. Other options could be to include footage from some of your shows featuring your fans. Either way, make it clear that you’re riding the crest of a wave with your fans.

The key is not to get disheartened. Try your best to keep your chin up, and keep creating music and sending it out. Sooner or later, if you try hard enough, you’ll get the attention that you deserve!

The Best Ways To Approach Record Labels