Almost all distributed audio files online use lossy, data compressed file formats. Formats such as MP3 (a shortening of MPEG-2 Layer III), AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), .wma, .m4a files and the slightly lesser known and oddly named Ogg Vorbis. These files use complex algorithms to reduce the file size for faster upload and download times and allow more tracks to be stored on phones and iPods. Streaming services such as Spotify, online radio stations and Soundcloud also use compressed audio streams which reduce the data rate of the music that is heard.
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.
As an artist, dealing with the legalities of the music business may seem uninteresting and time wasting, but getting it right from the start is absolutely essential If you want to avoid complications further down the line. Here are six pieces of advice from professional music lawyers to developing artists.
1. Establish the splits between all writers
“Always introduce yourself to as many people as possible. The more you know the better you will be. Do not burn bridges, because you will learn this industry is a lot smaller than you think!
The number one piece of advice I give to an artist as a music lawyer is to make sure that you have an agreement in place which establishes the royalty splits between all writers of a particular composition. This is true even if you are best friends, and can literally be done a piece of tissue signed by everyone. Trust me this will help in preventing any problems that may arise in the future once you become rich and famous!”
- Donald Glista, Universal Music
Summary: There was a time when I used ReverbNation daily to connect with fans, promote my music, and grow my network. Things were great. But then things started changing and I began using the platform less and less. I used to be an advocate for their services and now I find myself telling people not to bother.
Below I will share my perspective and experiences with the platform simply to provide insight to those who want it.
If you want to know why I wrote this before reading, feel free to skip to the why.
In the beginning…
Back in 1999, when I decided BUNKS was the musical direction I would take into the future; we chose to stay independent and use the Internet to promote and market the music.
OK, you’ve got your website together, but is it really together? I see a lot of indie band websites and most of the time they all look OK, but sometimes when I go to find something…it’s not there. In my internet travels I’ve seen some great and terrible websites, but the majority of the time, my problems with a band’s website come about because of a lack of the following 5 things.
I can’t tell you how many times I hop online to find out more information about a band and can’t find their press kit or press information ANYWHERE. Now, I know that some bands outsource their PR to 3rd party firms, but for indie bands it’s an absolute must to have proper press photos, a biography, and a “one sheet” of everything I need to know about the band. Press outlets don’t usually have time to dig through the bowels of your website to find what they need. They want to hop on, click download, and get on with things. Don’t only have press photos on your Facebook or your Twitter. Put them in plain site so everything is easily accessible by the people who need it.
I still can’t figure out how lyrics websites are able to get the lyrics of indie band songs so quickly, but they do. When someone hears your song in their local coffee shop or on the radio and they jump for their phone to Google the words they remember, why not make sure your website is the top result? Don’t lose out on website traffic and a potential sale because you don’t have your lyrics on your website.
Gah! This kills me. I don’t care if all you’ve done since your last album is play 2 shows in the local McDonalds. Tell me about it. Your blog should provide meaningful content (and sometimes you’ll have to throw in a McDonalds post here at there to keep things going), but most of all it serves as a beacon that reads “I’m still alive and still working on music.” When your Twitter, Facebook, and blog go untouched for weeks and months at a time, it makes visitors think that you’re on hiatus from music or that they’re probably not going to see you on tour anytime soon. Keep your blog up to date and maybe even integrate it with a Tumblr/Instagram so that you can always have new content flowing to your website.
Why bands don’t put their email addresses on their website still baffles me. I promise that I’m not going to trudge through your website, find your Facebook page, hunt to your About section and see if I can find an email address for how to contact you. Put a “Contact” tab right there on your site and put all relevant contact points on there. You need to have booking, press, and general email address all listed to help save the headache for press people. Do it already!
Proper Search Engine Tags
I’m not here to give you a lesson in search engine optimization, but do a quick Google search and see what you need to do to make everything on your website more optimized. The difference between copying and pasting your lyrics, blog, and Facebook URL all onto the same page and having your website organized with headers, body text, and sidebars means that your results are easier to organize on search engines.
I hope that all bands have things like social media links, tour dates, and a music player on their website so that fans don’t have to go very far to get what they came for. The above things are just some minor things that will take your website from amateur to professional with just a little bit of work.
Based out of Nashville, TN, “Sunshine Promotion” at sunshinepromotion.info helps artists achieve real goals with hard facts, case studies, and templates of music business plans to follow.
Music Keywording Techniques
This is a brief guide to help artists create for themselves, a tagging protocol for their music library. After tagging music for Pandora and currently tagging and collecting metadata for licensing companies, I have gained some important and vital techniques for music keywording/tagging.
It is important to have a basic set list of keywords that you use consistently to describe the nuances of your music. Compile a list of words that fit with these categories:
Mood (i.e. Happy, Somber, Energetic, Sinister)
Industry Usage (i.e. Blaxploitation, Earthy, Organic, Radio Imaging)
Description (i.e. Textural, Atmospheric, Gritty, Smooth)
Subgenre (i.e. Orchestral Hybrid, Dubstep, Bubblegum)
Construct sentences that are populated with effective keywords.
Sentence structure sample:
“Pulsing and bright, featuring breathy female lead vocals, gritty electric guitar and warm electronic textures that create an introspective and reflective mood.”
1. Start the sentence off with the song’s textural information. Use two effective keywords. (i.e. bright and sparkly/smooth and warm/gritty and crunchy)
2. The middle section of the sentence should highlight the featured instruments (which you can also describe based on the mood or texture of the instrument. i.e. aggressive guitar, driving drums, introspective acoustic piano) Also, emphasis on musical form or style should be mentioned in this section if it is a dominant characteristic of the song.
3. End the sentence with mood descriptors. (i.e. solemn and somber mood, or uplifting and inspirational mood.)
By using consistent tags and short descriptive sentences, you increase the possibilities of having your music available for the right spot. If you have a high volume of tracks or need assistance, my team is available. Visit our website: http://www.tagteamanalysis.com
Every day, we hear a wide variety of sounds and noises that our brains must process for us so that we can make sense out of them. Some of these noises can be pleasant and others can be jarring. A nice piece of classical music can be soothing, but if your dog starts barking in your ears, then you might lose that soothing feeling. Psychoacoustics is basically the study of these psychological and physiological interactions with sound. Obviously, the way a sonata makes us feel is entirely different than the way Rover’s yap makes us feel.
The Basis of Psychoacoustics
Psychoacoustics essentially relies on the idea that sound waves produce unconscious activity within the brain. If you think of sound waves (including spoken words), you really have to think about them as aural units of measurement. Each of these units enters into the ear and then into the brain where both psychological and physiological changes can be observed. Obviously, we know that a song that makes us nostalgic is going to produce certain psychological shifts in perception.
But, there is also a physical component to the sound waves that makes its way into your brain. Each sound wave must be broken down by the brain into neural information. Obviously, this produces a wide array of action potentials that scurry around in your brain to make sense of the information. This happens much faster than we’re really able to realize, but that is the basic crux of psychoacoustics.
There is also clear evidence that slightly detuned tones can make brain waves speed up or slow down. We often think of sound as something that we merely keep hearing throughout the day, but we are also most of the time physically responding to the sounds around us, whether we know it or not.
The Implications of Psychoacoustics
The physiological response to sounds is something that has caused many scientists to look into psychoacoustics. There is an undeniable way in which the rhythms and noises in music affect the way we think, feel, and react physically. A song with an undeniably up-tempo beat might get your foot tapping or your body dancing, but those are generally conscious decisions that you make. What you might not realize is how the music is affecting the way your neurons fire and the way your entire nervous system is reacting to the change. A lot of evidence suggests that your nervous system is actually going to be jittery as a result of the faster tempo.
On the flip side, a song with a slower tempo or even the calming silence of the wind rustling through the trees can produce much calmer and more regulated neural action. A softer, steadier rhythm can help regulate breathing patterns or shift heart rates. Of course, the same is true for faster, more hectic rhythms except that breathing and cardiovascular patterns might be elevated.
Clearly, most of us would be more agitated trying to talk over the sound of a blaring, frenetic jackhammer than we might while sitting in a room with soft ambient music playing. While this might seem obvious to many, it actually has strong implications for what sound can do within the body and how we are influenced by sound during almost every waking moment. The concept is based on resonation or the idea that sound waves are constantly moving, reflecting, and being processed in and by our brains.
There are really two distinct ways in which psychoacoustics can prove to be a highly legitimate field of study. Therapeutic sound has wide ranging indications for a number of different mental and physical illnesses. Of course, it doesn’t mean that patients will be subjected to 2 hours of easy listening music per day. Instead, sound frequencies are used to sort of retrain the brain to think differently. Many adults and children have already benefitted from some of the finer nuances of psychoacoustics. For the most part, real progress has come in the way of subtracting lower frequencies and then reinserting them all during a single listening session. This has the effect of shifting the auditory processes which then essentially carves new molds in the neurodevelopmental processes as well.
The other practical application of psychoacoustics comes in the way of sound production and editing. The new understanding of how sound affects our physical body has caused the compression of sound data to be looked at more closely. When we listen to something like an mp3, we are obviously going to have a psychological and physiological response. But, when the sound is compressed into those smaller pieces of data, some of the integrity might be lost. Thus, the sound file might actually produce adverse reactions where none were intended. This has forced digital music and sound makers to rethink the way they process information in the form of noise.
Overall, psychoacoustics is a fascinating field of study that really delves into the ways that sound can truly affect us. Many people are already experiencing the benefits of “sound therapy” as a way to treat certain ailments. In the end, psychoacoustics makes us understand just how powerful sound is as a way of shifting both mental and physical reactions.
Rajiv Agarwal works as a sound designer and mastering engineer. Visit our awesome online studio Audioshapers for amazing audio mixing, mastering, editing, Sound design and audio post production solutions for movies, documentaries, podcasts, games, songs etc. Click here now!
Let’s talk about wristbands (yipee!). This is an idea I’ve been toying with for a little while after seeing it posted by a few other music blogs around the web, but I haven’t actually put it into practice yet. Wristbands are required at the door of just about every show you’ll be playing, so why not see if you can distribute your own wristbands at the show to get some additional branding/exposure for your band both before and after you’re done playing.
You’ve probably seen venues with custom wristbands before (where I’m from they’ll print coupons for Domino’s pizza onto the wristbands), but have you ever considered asking the venue if you can use your own?
After Four years into beginning its service for indie artists, Bandcamp has finally got the look of a legit online music store. The site has slowly been making changes over the past few months to appeal more strongly to consumers as an alternative to iTunes and Amazon, starting with the launch of fan profiles in January. With the April 9 revision of its front page, the site now resembles a storefront rather than a sales pitch to meandering troubadours, all the while maintaining the same humility that has characterized its grassroots approach.
Hey guys. Today I wanted to talk a little about the social giant ‘FB’. How to promote your music on Facebook, and why the majority of musicians are using it in the wrong way. That’s right; A lot of people aren’t using it right! Furthermore, a lot of musicians have unrealistic expectations about what Facebook should be used for. You’ll know if this is the case if:
WASHINGTON, DC, April 29th, 2013 — UndergroundMusic.fm wants to make underground music mainstream. The startup has officially launched a new Internet service that provides a simple way to play and share underground music.
“It sounds paradoxical because it’s never been possible before,” says co-founder Max Acchione. “The underground has always been the source of musical innovation: blues, jazz, rock, punk, hip-hop, electronic, etc., and being inside it as it happens is exciting. It’s hard to experience because it’s so spread out and recording and distribution have been expensive. That’s why we have a mainstream in the first place. But today, the underground is thriving with affordable recording technology and it can be directly accessed through the Internet on ubiquitous devices.”
Music used to make millionaires. There was a time when Rock Stars were right up there with Russian Oil Oligarchs, a steady stream of champagne and cocaine trailing behind them as they traverse the globe on their private jets. Nowadays ‘rock stars’ are more commonly found lining the pavement leading up to the Job Centre. I know, I’m one of them. And whilst I, like most people, didn’t get into making music to be rich, as I sit and eat my Tesco Value beans on toast, I can’t help but ponder what the future holds for us all. So how did we get here? What went so wrong?
The Music scene used to be for young people only, now to use the overused cliche 40 is the new 30, 30 is the new 20 and so on. As we all get older it is very tempting to look back and say that the music and the scene were better 5,10,15 years ago depending on our age. So if you are pushing 30 then I am sure that you have caught yourself complaining about the way the scene that you are into is changing and expressing your personal gripes to others that might actually care along with you. I bring this up because Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich just gave a pretty candid interview with pitchfork…
What started as a 5-6 page white paper suddenly turned into an all out manifesto for our community. I’ve written the MusicPreneur Manifesto and I encourage you to read it. It’s an open letter written to and for our global gang of Independent Artists, Songwriters, Musicians, Composers, Producers and Service Professionals in The New Music Industry.
I hope you find it relevant, inspiring, and useful. Please share your feedback if you found it valuable enough to do so.
You can download it for free, for a limited time-by simply going here.
You can also follow me on Twitter.
and on Google+.
Be Your Best,
How much does Spotify pay artists? It’s the biggest mystery in music. One independant artist claims to have received a measly $0.004 per stream. There was a rumor that Lady Gaga only earned $162 from a million streams. Even indie band Grizzly Bear chimed in to express their displeasure with the alleged slave wages of Spotify declaring that they only received $0.001 per stream. Some have even taken to restricting their music from the service altogether. Is it really that bad? are the payments that low?