As an up and coming artist it’s hard to break out and get recognized in the music industry, let alone reach big enough audiences to earn a good living but when push comes to shove, if you have no marketing budget, you have to find another way.
Music Think Tank Open
Anybody (no really anybody) can contribute anything relevant to this page…All mp3s should be posted on the MTT radio page. If you cannot find your post here, your article may have been moved to the MTT homepage.
Ra released over 200 albums, many of which were home-recorded to tapes that he copied himself or cut to vinyl in small batches and sold at shows. He pioneered a lot of experimentation with technology in jazz and free jazz starting as early as the 1950s in Chicago. A funny tidbit about Sun Ra is that as he was experimenting with early synthesizer keyboards, electronics and tape delay, he was given one of the first prototypes of the Minimoog by Robert Moog to play around with before it even went on the market.
In the early 1950s Ra formed the immensely influential Arkestra, which would become his outlet for experimentation and exploration into “space jazz” for the rest of his life. He led the Arkestra like no other bandleader in history, as a musical director but also a spiritual and philosophical leader. The band still performs today, is named after him and dedicated to him. When Ra died in 1993, saxophonist John Gilmore inherited the band until his own untimely death two years later at 63 years old. Directorship of the Arkestra was then taken over by the next in command, saxophonist and composer Marshall Allen, who still leads the group today. Allen has made a lifelong effort to continue the legacy of Sun Ra in his inherited role, bringing the group around the world and teaching audiences about the gifts that Sun Ra has brought the people of Earth.
Here are 10 things Sun Ra can teach us about band leading:
1- Find A Language That Only Your Band Speaks, And Master It
Sun Ra invented a new way of interacting between conductor and players, a new language of conduction that is still in practice in some free jazz communities. His conduction methods were more influenced by interpretive dance and tai-chi than traditional conducting; he did not have to wave his hands necessarily, to get you to perform a musical task. In fact, in a James Brown kind of way, often he might wave his hands to have the entire horn section hit at the same time, but there wouldn’t be a written note. So what you’d get is the interpretive amalgamation of 15 notes that would all be somehow perfect in that moment.
2- Learn The Rule Book From Others, Then Throw Out The Rule Book
Yup, play in people’s bands, see what they do right and wrong, then customize your approach. Simple enough.
3- Work With Tight Frameworks For Your Performers, And They’ll Find Limitless Expressionistic Possibilities Within Them
Ra was completely obsessed with precision and discipline, in the thinking that the ancient Egyptians perfectly balanced a creatively fulfilled life-cycle, a spiritual quest, through precision and discipline. Over the years, he filled his Arkestra ensembles with players that he knew could handle being molded and sculpted but would also pop out the other end a truer version of themselves. Channeling creative freedom through “Arkestration” is something every bandleader mediates, but a more focused approach could completely change the band’s dynamic.
4- Sometimes Its Best To Show AND Tell At The Same Time
Ra somehow was able to simultaneously conduct his band and play at the same time. In fact, he often played two synthesizers at once, and conducted the band as well as dancers and singers through changes. Not everyone can do this, most can’t, and no one can like he did, but think about alternative ways to keep the players’ focus on the leader at times, or to grab back their attention after periods of free playing.
5- Leaders Find The Right Sound For Every Note
Yes it’s the musician’s job to know their instrument, we should all be able to identify the perfect timbres for each note we play. But it’s the leader who says, “well, maybe we should have this trumpet melody played on the snare drum, let’s hear how that sounds” or “is this progression right for the synth, or the piano, or the harpsichord? And when the other instruments come in, should their tones mimic the properties of the harpsichord?”, etc. When Sun Ra enlisted instrument inventor Bill Sebastian into the Arkestra to play his OVC (Outerspace Visual Communicator), which produced images rather than sounds, it was a way to experiment with playing images as if they were notes, so it was treated like a keyboard.
6- Create The Space For Capturing Spontaneous Experimentation
Ra had most of his bandmates living in his house in Philadelphia, and that house is still where most of the Arkestra lives today. Okay, that’s definitely not a tip for bandleaders per se, but the idea is that creativity can strike at any minute. You might be sitting around playing a lick on the guitar in the living room and someone walks in with their horn and starts playing around it, there’s a tune right there. How as a bandleader can you create that type of spontaneous environment for creation in your rehearsals, or soundchecks, or in the tour van?
7- You Are Responsible For Finding The Frontiers
You didn’t become a leader to sit around and do things like everyone else. It’s your job to lead your group into the unknown, to find new places that you didn’t even know you were looking for. It’s a journey and sometimes there is no map. For Sun Ra, the band was his spiritual spaceship, his “ark.” What vessel is your band and where will it take you?
The Outer Space Employment Agency will take you to the places you want to go, just don’t expect any salaries in their dimension.
8- The Voice Of The Band Should Reflect The Voices Of Many
The Arkestra mixed gospel, jazz, bop, boogie woogie, free improvisation, funk, black spirituals, afro-beat, salsa, blues, spoken word and performance art. Create the identity of your band around your influences. The ability to take the voices of many and filter it through one’s musical project in a fluid, powerful way is one quality that a bandleader may strive to achieve.
9- Create Ownership Amongst Bandmates Over Your Vision
The Arkestra’s members didn’t just play someone else’s music. The path from composition to performance was a fluid journey of creation, implementation and cyclic evolution. Ra might be influenced by his bandmates to create a work that lent itself to their talents, their explorations in sound and technique, and also their weak spots. Yet, as soon as a piece is written, it is embellished by the very performers that contributed to its genesis. They were able to see themselves in his writing, so they could feel at home in his music.
10- It Should Be Hard Work, And The Band Leader Shouldn’t Always Make It Easy
Musicians need to practice. Their skills need to be stretched, sometimes uncomfortably, but what then is the pay off? The harder you work the bigger the pay off in the music, and in the ascension the music brings to your life. Sun Ra’s Arkestra finds an eternal pool of joy every time they perform, but they’ve put in the work and also the hardship, to get there.
“They say history repeats itself, but history is only his story. You haven’t heard my story yet. What’s your story?” -Sun Ra
About Jeremy Young:
Jeremy is a music business guru and loves giving advice to young, emerging bands on how to make their tours more effective. He also plays guitar, publishes audiobooks, runs a record label, and is an artist working in sound media. He has performed and released material throughout Europe, Asia, the US, UK and Canada, mostly with his trio Sontag Shogun.
Today, Pare Booking announces the launch of an innovative new tool that allows artists to book live shows directly through a clean and easy to use iOS application. By streamlining the booking process and putting power back in the artists’ hands, Pare transforms an outdated system that has burdened the music industry for years.
With the Pare app, any artist, regardless of demand, can view the details of their past and upcoming shows, control their schedule, submit counter-offers, sign contracts, and accept payments, all in one digital space.
“Pare Booking is a booking agency for the 21st century,” says CEO & Founder Brandon Breitenbach. “Over the years, every aspect of the music industry has changed–except the way shows are booked. With the growth of online streaming services, it makes more sense now than ever for artists to be able to control their greatest source of income: live shows.”
As a professional road manager for touring artists, Breitenbach experienced firsthand the frustrations that come with booking shows, a process that often overlooks independent artists. Partnering with a team of music industry experts and software engineers, he created Pare, a tool that empowers artists to manage every aspect of the booking process from the palm of their hand.
“The goal is to increase artists’ profitability and productivity through a simple website and mobile application,” says Breitenbach. “We want Pare to champion every artist, from aspiring musicians to well-known acts.”
Pare will launch with artists spanning all genres of music and is expected to get the most traction in cities known for live music like Austin, Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles. The app is available for any artist in the United States, but will soon be open to artists around the world.
Your album is getting the final mix down and being sent off to mastering.
Next up, getting the word out so that hopefully - hopefully - you can sell a decent amount of records and put some coin in your pocket.
You could do it like most other amateur artists do when they release independent records…
Maybe you are heading back home after a night shift from work. Or you could be on a cross-country trip when you decide to soldier on overnight instead of stopping at a hotel. Or maybe you’re just cruising around town, giving yourself time to think and appreciating the lack of traffic.
Many circumstances could leave you driving in the middle of the night. When those moments arise, make sure you have the proper soundtrack. Consider these five albums for accompaniment the next time you embark on a nocturnal journey.
Are you tired of looking for the Top Trending Tracks in SoundCloud? So do I. That’s why i’ve developed a program that goes over all tracks from my favourite genres. Then it creates a playlist with the top 20 ones in my account, sorted by the number of likes.
A Plea To The Industry: Don't Let Your Hunger For Success In The Music Biz Override Being A Good Person
There’s no litmus test or bar or SAT you must pass to hold an influential job in the music industry that affects the lives of many others. The industry doesn’t require years of schooling or the ‘daunting’ requirements of being psychologically sound and thinking carefully about your decisions. I would even argue that this industry attracts those of us who are slightly delusional, self-centered, under or over medicated, and rebellious. In fact, those exact things could allow you to excel in this industry. That is what makes it a pretty futile environment to work and live in – because being a skeezy asshole could in some cases get you further ahead than being kind and generous.
Let’s start with the introductions. My name is Paul and I am a Publicity Assistant for Green Light Go Music PR. I am going to explain what you need to know about PR from a musician’s perspective—and a musician with a young band. I’m in a local band from Detroit called Go Tiger, Go! and PR is very new and uncharted territory for me. I have a fresh perspective because I’m coming into this as a rookie, but we’ll both come out as pros. I’ll document my adventure into this awesome career path in the form of this electronic manuscript, while compiling every tip and trick I can think of into a digestible grouping of words. It’s a win-win!
Atlanta, GA – August 18, 2015 - BRASH! – A Music Marketing Blog began in August of 2011 with the notion of providing new/independent artists with music marketing knowledge to help advance their careers.. Since its beginnings, BRASH! has made a grand name for itself by sticking to its original notion along with giving independent artists exposure and displaying how the music industry is gaining innovation. Now celebrating its fourth year, BRASH! is looking to gain more ground to reach a broader audience, provide more content, and fulfill the vision of music marketing in the Indie music industry. “I remember sitting in an office cubicle writing blogs for this corporate company that I had no interest in. Then, I got the idea of writing my own, I wanted it to be helpful, I wanted it to be about music & entertainment, and I wanted it to be BRASH!” says founder/editor-in-chief E. Alexcina Brown. “My goal was to provide an outlet for great artists who were not fortunate enough to have that mainstream exposure.”
Is it weird that I love to study Boar’s Head? You know, the sandwich meat company?
Not only is their quality spot on but I LOVE their slogan –
Boar’s Head – Sacrifice Elsewhere
That is dope (Did I mention that I have no life?). But, it’s a testament to our thinking here at HTBAMS.
We would rather pay 2x the price knowing that we get an amazing product, versus saving a few pennies to get the knock-off. It’s just not the same.
But, what happens when we invest in ourselves?
BELOW IS AN EXCERPT FROM http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-ca-ms-motley-crue-20150809-story.html#page=1
“Mötley Crüe’s longtime manager, Allen Kovac, sees Led Zeppelin, which disbanded in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham, as the ideal precedent. “No one has left more money on the table than Zeppelin, and yet they have one of the highest-selling catalogs and merchandising lines in the world because they didn’t go out and diminish the brand like so many bands have,” Kovac says. “Mötley Crüe recognized that part of the puzzle.”
Perhaps Kovac has a point about branding? Cut to… http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/on-the-charts-led-zeppelins-in-through-the-out-door-back-in-top-10-20150809
Why Taylor Swift is wrong about online music
Where can we find quality music today?
It’s a no-brainer that the music industry has DRASTICALLY changed since some of our favorite mainstream artists began. These changes have created a domino effect on how music is made, distributed, marketed, and handled business wise. A lot of our beloved artists who were once signed to major labels have now started their own or joined independent labels. On the other hand, technology changes have had a grand effect on new indie artists who have hopes on getting picked up/signed by major labels OR continue their growth on the independent route
This article originally appeared on the Sonicbids blog.
With months and sometimes even years going into the creation of a new body of work, it’s an understood expectation that artists put together some sort of marketing plan in anticipation of their album release. And once your music is available, it feels like the weight of the world is officially off your shoulders. However, too many musicians suffer the fate of their album having a few days of initial buzz but losing most of its momentum within the first week or so.