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Entries in music career (75)


The Compelling And Powerful Power Of Confidence

I’ve seen oodles of bands perform over the years in dark and dingy small clubs to soft seat theatres to hockey arenas. I’ve seen some of the world’s best and quite possibly the worst. I’ve also worked one-on-one with countless musicians and aside from sheer musical talent, one of the things that separates the good from the great is confidence.

When I think of bands without confidence, I think of shoegazers for example. You know, those bands who stand on stage and simply stare at their feet, too shy to truly connect with the audience. Too nervous to even look up and be ‘present’, for fear of being judged.

Think about it. Who’s more entertaining to watch on stage? Someone who has no confidence can be incredibly boring. In fact, you don’t even watch them, you end up watching the other guys. 

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Artistic Efficiency: How to Create More and Get Out of Your Own Way

Eight years ago, I left college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music. Untested and honestly, quite naive, I spent the next three years using money from designing websites freelance to ineffectively tour as an artist around the country, gigging myself into over $6k of high interest credit card debt. Embarrassed and defeated, I stopped writing, I stopped playing music outside of my home, and my answer to “what do you do?” begrudgingly changed from music to websites.
Fast forward to today and I’ve been debt free for over 2 years.  Within that time, I self-funded my own full-length record from cash and recently started a music marketing company to promote independent artists. I took 2 months, wrote/recorded and shot a video for one song a week about anything my blog readers submitted and released them all for FREE, and I’m currently in the process of booking the most extensive tour I’ve ever played.
How did I do it? I want to show you and show that you can too with 5 simple rules.

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3 Signs Your Band Is Getting Scammed 

Yesterday a friend of mine called me with a question. His band had been contacted (via ReverbNation) by a company who claimed that they were a publishing and licensing firm in Los Angeles. Oooooh Los Angeles.

The company told him that they saw his profile, liked one of his songs, and thought they could get their song placed in Television and Film, but of course there was a price, three hundred dollars to be exact ($300!!!). For this price the company would spend the next year getting the band’s music out there…. rrrrrrright.

See this example contains all of the classic signs you’re being scammed and they are…

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So Whatcha Want?? - The Indie Musician's Diagnostic Check

The zombie apocalypse has eroded into the music world. For every person that decides to pursue a career in the music industry, there is another that is paralyzed in a state of limbo, eyes glazed over fixating on the the current sentiment of the socio-economic climate brainwashing them into believing-  “there just ‘aint enough (paying gigs, deals, quality tours..[insert your ideal music career scenario here] etc.. )to go around.” If you’re not careful, your career could be over before it even gets started simply by inadvertently allowing your mindset to fall victim to the fickle, ever-wavering mood of the economic atmosphere.

Sadly, for some, this may very well be true, but it doesn’t have to apply to you. As a savvy indie musician, you owe it to yourself to run a regular inventory check on your mental approach to your music career. The notion that our thoughts create or sabotage our own success is a real phenomena… I promise, I’m not trying to turn you into a magical law-of-attraction fairy  - but I assure you, I’m not the first person to suggest that the link is crucial. Don’t believe me? Brian Thompson over at The Thorny has a wonderful post on your thoughts and their link to your success here.

Friends, the truth is, identifying and defining key areas in your outlook regarding your expertise, and the opportunities available to you form a sturdy protection barrier for your perception - (which is directly linked to your motivation) - and ultimately poises you for a greater likelihood of success. As for success, it’s all relative. It’s up to you to do the maintenance to ensure you attain it, how you want it, and on your own terms.  Understanding the power of self-discovery and awareness is a priceless, invaluable tool in your musician’s toolbox. Here are a few ways to nurture and stay high on your own supply.

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Best Kept Secret for Advancing Your Music Career

Let’s paint a scenario. Let’s say you’ve got some great music. You’re an up-and-coming independent. It doesn’t matter who you are - the songwriter, the producer, the artist, the manager, or the indie label owner. You’ve generated some pretty good buzz for that music. And, you happen to have $5000 to spend. What should you spend it on? What would really help advance your career?

A. Spend it on advertising
B. Spend it going on tour
C. Hire a publicist
D. Hire a lawyer
E. Hire a college radio promoter

And the correct answer is…

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The Importance Of Taking (The Right) Action In Your Music Career

In any industry you go into, there are always two types of people: People that take action, and people that don’t. In fact, let’s not limit that to industries people are in. In LIFE, there are two types of people…

The people who take action are the people who usually end up getting further. They are brave enough to make things happen, and even if they don’t work out as planned, they can always give it another go.

So why am I talking about taking action? Simple, because this is exactly what a lot of musicians fail to do!

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Navigating the Music Business - Mapping Out A Living

So how hard is it really?  You write songs and sell them, that’s all there is to it, right?  Unfortunately the music industry isn’t quite as simple as we’d all like it to be.  There are many different sectors through which an artist must pass and even more ways in which these sectors can be negotiated and traversed.  To successfully navigate the music industry one must learn what happens in each of these sectors and how they inter-relate.  To help you get started we have a ‘Map of the Musical Universe’ courtesy of PRS (click to enlarge).

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Reason #1 for The Fan Experience – A Take That Story 

At the tail end of 2005, I was sitting in my office as Digital Product Manager at Sony (BMG) working on the Take That website. The band had been away for ten years. Take That were making their comeback and this event was marked by many things - a documentary charting their career, a new “Greatest Hits” album called “The Ultimate Collection - Never Forget” and of course their first official website. Until this point in time the “Take That Appreciation Pages,” had occupied the prime real estate of web space as the number one destination for all things Take That. The owners of the “Take That Appreciation Pages,” were doing a better job then we ever could have at managing the fans. Resources at Sony were stretched between many, many artists. The Take That Appreciation Pages,were dedicated to their cause. When it came to Take That as Lulu said in the documentary you weren’t so much a fan as you were a disciple.

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On Being An Entrepreneur - Ariel Hyatt Interviews Andy Bernstein Founder of HeadCount 

Last week I went to Nashville to guest lecture at my Cyber PR® Course at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).  The class has 18 amazing students in it.  17 of them are certain they want to create careers in the Music Industry.  I believe that they can.  I told them hat the best way to do this is to follow the path of the entrepreneur and not the path of the CEO. They shared with me their visions for their own futures and I will be posting much more about them here in the coming weeks. This is the 4th installment on entrepreneurial leaders in the music business for Music Industry and Music Business students, so that they can begin to follow their paths and look to them for inspiration.  This weeks inspiration comes from a man who inspires me deeply.  Why?  Because of him and his vision (which was born out of just one frustrating political conversation) there are now 175,000 new registered voters and a network of 8,000 volunteers working to make a difference for the future of our country. Please meet Andy Bernstein who like so many of us started as a fan…

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Make Practice Perfect

As musicians we’re all constant works-in-progress. Picture a your favorite musical moments from even the most gifted of musicians/artists alike and I guarantee you at some point one of them will admit that during one of those times, they felt they were not performing to the best of their capabilities.  It’s an inevitable facet of the human existence, and a necessary hurdle to jump early on in your artistic career. Plain and simple. We cant be “on” everyday. On the flipside, there are things we CAN do to eliminate this truth from ever obstructing our creative improvement ever again.

It’s similar to the adage of “doing the best you can,” and in the unavoidable events where things still go awry, it means cultivating a resilience that comes from being experienced enough that your “mistakes” are good ones- or not noticeably mistakes at all.

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On the Money: Examining Musicians’ Revenue Streams in the New Digital Landscape

Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has launched a groundbreaking research project called Artist Revenue Streams, where we ask US-based musicians and composers, “How do YOU make Money from Music?” Project Co-Director Kristin Thomson from FMC explains in this MTT post where they idea came from for this research and why it’s so important that every musician or composer in the US takes this online survey, which is available at until October 28, 2011.

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Building a better Network

Most musicians or artists think of only one or two aspects of their career; music and social networking. I find that most musicians just go through the motions not really giving it their all especially when it comes to social networking. In order to improve your skills as a musician, get more gigs and make more money you have to think outside of the box. Improvisation is a key asset to your bag of tricks and can pay you back ten fold. If you always practice what you know you will never learn anything new or improve your craft and skill set. Trying new things out and getting out of your comfort zone forces you to expand your mind with the side effect being some potential hit tunes on your hand. More importantly it will help you to bridge out of your genre of music, once you get good, and allow you to diversify your income potential by taking on other projects or gigs. This article however is not about making better music or writing hit records, it’s about doing simple steps with social networking, like improvisation, that will pay off in the future.

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How Jail-Time and Cults Can Help Your Band Become Successful, PART 1: A Poll of Leaders from Bandcamp, CD Baby, FanBridge, ReverbNation, Topspin Media, and More

The founders and leaders of web-based services for the music industry have the unique opportunity to see what musicians are doing to build awareness among fans and what they are doing to amplify their story
through the media. I polled seven such thinkers with the question: Can you tell us about a band or two whose STORY has helped their careers? They told me compelling stories about jail-time, tragedy, and cults, but also about crowd-sourcing band members, using technology to answer fan questions, and giving fans ownership of a band. Here is part one of two:

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So, You Want a Label Contract?

“I wanna get signed!”

How many bands or musicians say that? Perhaps not as many as in past years. These days, an independent musician has access to tools that allow them to self promote through a giant web of online resources and then sell their music through the same. Certainly some musicians have no desire to sign to a label contract – their musical style is one that may not be saleable to mainstream audiences, or they prefer the self-control of handling their musical career independently. Some major artists were label signed, and having already gained a large audience share, they feel their own team can now market and sell to those same fans, without the controlling relationship certain labels may offer.

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