Pesticides: An Environmental Toll

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

Pesticides: An Environmental Toll

The advent of new technologies coming out of World War II led agricultural researchers to start experimenting with new classes of chemicals they could use to boost agricultural production. As human populations swelled, these “advances” were applied around the world so farmers could grow more food to feed the hungry masses and stave off widespread famine. This transition from essentially organic farming practices to what we now consider “conventional” (that is, aided by chemicals) has been dubbed “The Green Revolution.” But “green” in the name doesn’t mean it’s been good for the environment.


Chemical fertilizers are synthetic or inorganic materials added to soil to aid in plant life. Pesticides kill insects or other organisms that are harmful to crops, while herbicides kill any unwelcomed vegetation that may affect their growth. According to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American farmers use upwards of a billion pounds of pesticides every year. Meanwhile, the United Nations reports that globally we use about five times that.


Indeed, the widespread adoption of these synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides has done a great job at boosting crop efficiency to feed more and more of us. For example, India was on the brink of a mass famine in the 1960s due to rapid population growth. Using the techniques of the green revolution, Indian farmers were able to grow enough produce and rice to stave off widespread starvation. Another advantage of pesticide use in India and elsewhere has been the prevention of disease, because pesticides kill insects carrying viruses that could be passed onto the crops.


However, pesticides not only kill the pests but also the natural enemies of those pests. In nature, everything is balanced out. Indeed, there is no free lunch, as pests respond to treatment by breeding stronger offspring that are resistant to these chemicals, and with natural predators gone, these pests will quickly multiply, which is why the need for pesticides to kill these pests keeps increasing.


Furthermore, persistent organic pollutants, also known as “POPs,” are highly toxic pesticides and chemicals that do not decompose. They poison non-target organisms in the environment because they are passed through the food chain (bioaccumulate). Consumption of POPs disrupts the endocrine system and is linked to cancer and infertility in humans. Pesticides also take a toll on our environment, contaminating water and soil. Along with insects, pesticides are also toxic to fish, birds, frogs and more.


Pesticide use is very controversial and should be taken seriously. While here at home, the EPA has banned many pesticides that are harmful to our environment and our health (though the battle for safer food rages on), in many other countries agricultural oversight and environmental regulations are non-existent or unenforced. Fortunately, we can all be part of the solution by eschewing conventionally grown foods and opting for organic varieties whenever we can. While growing your own food is one sure way to know that what you’re eating is safe, you can also find an increasingly large amount of organic food in your local supermarket, let alone at a Whole Foods near you. Another great way to eat healthier and organic is to shop at local farmers’ market. Find one near you by searching the free online database maintained by the non-profit Local Harvest.


CONTACTS: EPA, www.epa.gov/agriculture/agriculture-organic-farming;

Local Harvest, www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/; Whole Foods, wholefoods.com.

EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer & Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of the nonprofit Earth Action Network. To donate, visit www.earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.

6 Tips For Passing The Audition Of A Music School

Enrolling yourself in a prestigious music school is not as simple as it sounds since you have to pass a difficult audition at the first place. And in order to pass the audition you have to have that hunger for learning music as you need to prepare a lot for it. In fact, clearing the music school audition is so demanding or arduous that half of the people don’t even try it fearing that they will never be able to pass it successfully.

You have to take out the time from your busy schedules for rehearsals and should try to upgrade your music skills. When it comes to preparing for music school audition, it does not matter how young and old you are, since all you have to do is enhance your knowledge as much information as possible on different types of instruments, rhythms, and music notes etc.

A lot of it also depends on what kind of music school are you taking admission at, for example, if you are planning to join a music school like New York Jazz Academy, you do not have to struggle that much to pass the audition. On the other hand, if you are thinking of joining a performing arts school and want to clear audition for it, you have to put a lot of efforts.  

While giving the audition you have to prove your talent, and that can only happen if you have sufficient knowledge of music.In addition to that, the person taking your audition should be convinced that you are extremely serious about learning music.  

It’s your responsibility to make them feel that you are a fantastic candidate, by showing your talent and skills. 

Here are some momentous tips on how to prepare for your audition

#1. Learn to play at least one musical instrument  

Before you present yourself in front of the judges or the admission committee it is better if you can learn to play at least one musical instrument among guitar, piano, trumpet, violin, cello, harp, drum, and accordion. If you can play even one of them during your audition, the judges will definitely believe that when you are given proper training you can improve a lot.

#2. Prepare yourself to sing something

Apart from showing that you have enough knowledge of musical instruments, it also important to win the hearts of the judges by your vocal performance. Prepare yourself to sing at least two beautiful songs in front of the members of admission committee so that they get impressed by it. And yes, it would be great if you can sing a song in a foreign language, it shows that you have enough potential to learn anything. 

If you are thinking of performing two different songs, make it sure that you can show variation in that as far as music genres are considered. Singing two songs of same style and genre won’t be effective. In that way, you cannot show your versatility to them. On top of that, if you want to perform flawlessly you must memorize the songs.

#3. Don’t forget to engage your audience

If you want to steal the hearts of judges, nothing can prove to be more advantages than proving yourself a great performer during the audition. A good performer is the one who can rock the stage and can have the fans on their feet throughout his/her performance. In short, when you start performing the audience should enjoy your performance like anything and you should look enough confident. Just remember that confidence is one of those thinks which can take you a long way.

#4. Collect enough information about your audition requirements

There is no denying the fact that different music schools have different requirements when it comes to judging a person giving an audition. And if you are preparing for scoring high in your audition, it’s important that you have a fair idea of those requirements.

For example, you must know in advance that how long will you have to perform on the stage, and is there any specific genre for which you need to prepare.

In addition to that, having an information of how many members will be there on the judging panel also helps a lot when it comes to giving a high-end  performance.

#5. Prepare yourself for sight-reading

If sight-reading is one of the requirements of your performance, then make it sure to do a vigorous practice. It is always good if you can practice different pieces of music. In that way, you can prepare effectively for your performance.

#6. Take proper rest before the audition

When you perform in front of the judges you should not look tired and nervous, as that creates a bad impression about you. Hence, it is better to take proper rest before you come for the audition so that you can give your hundred percent.

So if you are desperately looking forward to passing the audition of a music school, don’t forget to keep these points in mind.

9 New Rules For Success In Today's Music Business

"We've gone through a mighty change in the music business over the last 10 years, and it keeps on morphing and evolving every day. Since these changes are constant, many of the old school rules pertaining to success in the music business no longer apply.

Here's an excerpt from the latest edition of  Music 4.0 book that outlines some of the new rules for success, as well as a few that may never change.

1. It’s all about scale. It’s not the sales, it’s the number of YouTube views (at least at the moment) you have. A hit that sells only 50,000 combined units (album and single) may have 50 million YouTube views. Once upon a time, a sales number like that would’ve been deemed a failure, today, it’s a success. Views don’t equal sales, and vice-versa.

2. There will be fewer digital distributors in the future. It’s an expensive business to get into and maintain, so in the near future there will be a shakeout that will leave far fewer digital competitors. Don’t be shocked when you wake up one day to find a few gone.

3. It’s all about what you can do for other people. Promoters, agents, and club owners are dying to book you if they know you’ll make them money. Record labels (especially the majors) are dying to sign you if you have have an audience they can sell to. Managers will want to sign you if you have a line around the block waiting to see you. If you can’t do any of the above, your chances of success decrease substantially.

4. Money often comes late. It may not seem like it, but success is slow. You grow your audience one fan at a time. The longer it takes, the more likely the longer the career you’ll have. An overnight sensation usually means you’ll also be forgotten overnight. This is one thing that hasn’t changed much through the years.

5. Major labels want radio hits. They want an easy sell, so unless you create music that can get on radio immediately, a major label won’t be interested. This is what they do and they do it well, so if that’s your goal, you must give them what they want.

6. You must create on a regular basis. Fans have a very short attention span and need to be fed with new material constantly in order to stay at the forefront of their minds. What should you create? Anything and everything, from new original tunes to cover tunes, to electric versions to acoustic versions, to remixes to outtakes, to behind the scenes videos to lyric videos, and more. You may create it all at once, but release it on a consistent basis so you always have some fresh content available.

7. YouTube is the new radio (but it may include Facebook soon). Nurture your following there and release on a consistent basis (see above). It’s where the people you want to reach are discovering new music.

8. Growing your audience organically is best. Don't expect your friends and family to spread the word, as they don’t count. If you can’t find an audience on your own merits, there’s something wrong with your music or your presentation. Find the problem, fix it, and try it again. The trick is finding that audience.

9. First and foremost, it all starts with the song. If you can’t write a great song that appeals to even a small audience, none of the other things in this book matter much."

You can read more from Music 4.1: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

Frugality on DIY Tour: Some Simple Suggestions

A  DIY tour is expensive. There are ways to be successful, but for a band just starting out, I would recommend trying to spend as little money as possible. Here are some suggestions on how you can do that.

-Alternative Fuel

If you’re a new-ish band planning on touring a lot, you may have bought a van or an RV. If you have purchased such a vehicle, I highly recommend converting it to run on a cheaper, more efficient type of fuel. The fact is that you can save hundreds of dollars in gas by doing this.

The first case I heard of touring bands using alternative fuels was that of nerd punk legends Piebald. They worked with a company called Grease Not Gas, which involved fixing their van to run on vegetable oil. If you have the means and you’ll be touring several times through a year, switching to some kind of alternative fuel may be the best way to go. I’m not sure if Grease Not Gas is a company anymore, but I do know that more and more companies are getting involved in alternative fuel, so as time goes on, musicians will have even more options to get away from hiked gas prices and environmentally damaging travel factors.

-Skip the Trailer

A trailer is traditional but not necessary, and assuming you have enough room in the vehicle without it, it’ll end up being an added cost out-of-pocket if you aren’t at least breaking even. In addition, driving with a trailer is much more dangerous than driving without one, and it becomes even mordangerous when you drive at night (which I have done at least once on every tour I’ve been on). A small amount of discomfort is a small price to pay to avoid wasting hundreds of dollars on a trailer that you don’t necessarily need and is a safety hazard.

-Minimize Eating Out

Most bands I know pay for food on a person by person basis - meaning that each member pays for their own self out of pocket. However, if your band is paying for food as a collective, I probably don’t have to tell you it’s wiser to go to a grocery store and buy food for meals that will last you multiple days than to live off fast food. Here are some ideas:

  • Sandwich materials

  • Dried Fruit and Nuts

  • Cliff Bars and Similar Items

  • Fruit combos

  • Campbell’s Soup on the Go

  • Giant Packages of Cereal

-Have Cool Merch

“But doesn’t merch cost money?” Yes, but if you’re smart about how much you spend making it, this could be a huge financial benefit for you. Selling merch matters because no form of income is guaranteed on a DIY tour. So while a number of factors affect selling merch, like how good your band i, or even how well your merch represents the quality of your brand (in this case your band) - you can’t get around merch not mattering at all. Just make sure whatever merch you produce, you produce it well. I sold CDs on tour this October that I burned off my computer and distributed in cardboard sleeves I got at Walmart.I drew a new picture on each CD, and they ended up selling well!

-Skip Hotels and Long Drives

For most bands, what you are paid at each show goes right into your gas tank, so spending less on travel expenses is always best.  While it may seem best to cover the most ground on a tour, it’s sometimes better to make contacts and fans around an area without wasting too much money, and hit a new area next time and do the same thing. That way your drives aren’t as long, and you worry less about making ends meet if a promoter pays you badly or there’s a low turnout at your last show. Then when you have contacts and know you can make enough money to do a bigger tour, get on it!

Also, for goodness sake, don’t waste money on a hotel if you don’t need to. Usually, in my experience and the experience of many others, a showgoer, promoter, or local band member will have a place to stay for you. As stated by Nick from Direct Hit!, “always ask about money and a place to sleep.” It’s best to figure this out in advance to arriving at a venue or even leaving for tour. But ultimately, there should be no reason to waste money on a hotel.

ReverbNation’s Top 10 Must See Acts of SXSW 2016


Americana: Parker Millsap

Rolling Stone recently named Parker Millsap on their “Top Ten Country Artists To Watch: March 2016” list. He has opened for artists like Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell, Patty Griffin and more. Millsap was also named one of Americana Music Association’s 2014 Emerging Artists of the Year.

Hip Hop: Pell

New Orleans hip-hop artist Pell is taking 2016 by storm, with appearances at Hangout and Firefly, after 4 showcases in Austin. He was previously featured on Complex’s “Top 25 Rappers to Know” and Pigeons & Planes’ “25 Rappers You Should get to Know Before They Blow Up” and was named Spotify’s 2015 “Emerge” Artist.

Pop: Secret Weapons

Recently appearing on the Today Show, and opening for Nate Ruess (.fun) and A Great Big World, pop duo Secret Weapons are making a splash on the music scene with their hit “Something New.”  After their SXSW show, they will be on tour with Atlas Genius and Skylar Grey.

R&B: Elhae

Atlanta-based Elhae is on the brink of becoming the next big thing, with multiple 1M+ tracks on Soundcloud, and playing shows with artists like Jazmine Sullivan. Kehlani and Goldlink.

Rock: Residual Kid

Teen rockers, and Austin natives, Residual Kid have been a must-see Austin staple for years. The punk rock trio has won several Austin music awards and played at festivals like CMJ, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Way Out West and more.

Alternative/ Indie: Air Traffic Controller

Real-life US Navy air traffic controller, singer/songwriter Dave Munro and bandmate Casey Sullivan created an alt-rock, indie-pop blend that will have you hooked. They are on NPR’s Hot 100 List for SXSW and were named Guardian UK Band of the Day, and Best Indie Alternative Song in the Independent Music Awards.

Country:  Hailey Whitters

Newcomer Hailey Whitters is already turning heads with her old-school, outspoken style, similar to that of Kasey Musgrave and emerging Maren Morris. After SXSW, she’ll be spending spring on the road, opening for artists like Jon Pardi and Corey Smith.

Electronica: Monogem

Elle Magazine dubbed Monogem “the Female Answer to Passion Pit.” The Electronica songstress has also captured the ears of Noisey, NYLON, Elle Magazine, Hype Machine, and countless others with her synth-pop tracks and soulful voice.

Folk: The National Parks

Indie-folk group The National Parks released their second album last fall, which gained high recognition on NPR’s All Songs Considered, All Music, SLUG Magazine and PopMatters. They also climbed both iTunes and Billboard charts. Last week they were also named “Utah’s Band of the Year.

Blues: Jackie Venson

Blues singer-songwriter Jackie Venson is an Austin alum. The Belk Southern Musician Showcase Winner has received praise from Guitar World Magazine (comparing her to Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse), Popdose, and Joonbug.

Can’t Miss Showcase: Pursuit by ReverbNation CONNECT & Shout Out Loud Music 

ReverbNation CONNECT and Shout It Out Loud Music are taking over Cheer Up Charlie’s for a must-see Friday night showcase. The packed lineup includes Lena Fayre, Chad Valley, New Myths, Monogem, Ron Gallo, Carlson, Thaddeus Anna Greene, AKW, Phebe Starr, Coral Bones, Flying Turns, Learning Secrets, Nathan Ritholz, and Francis Garcia. Get all of the #PursuitATX details here.

The post ReverbNation’s Top 10 Must See Acts of SXSW 2016 appeared first on ReverbNation Blog.

Where Does The Music Industry Stand?


Posted: 07 Dec 2015 02:00 AM PST

Now that the last month of the year is upon us, I’m reflecting on the status of the music industry. In 2015 we as an industry have not made much progress in the terms of growth in sales or the development of new technology. The music industry has a hard time knowing the power of its brand. Labels have too many flops and not enough hits, releasing based on volume instead of quality. Instead of focusing on building a great brand like the brands of the past; Motown, Def Jam, or even Atlantic, they are focusing on the now and not thinking about the longevity. In the recent years the music industry has embraced that there is a problem with artist development and the discovery of new talent. The methods of artist development have become oversaturated. New technologies that are affordable have made it easier then ever to produce music for the common shower singer and have the ability to place content that distracts many. These same outlets that saturate music discovery cloud consumers from buying music. Never mind the streaming services that give consumers free access to larger catalogs of music content. The revenue streaming services have generated over the years is extremely low compared to other distribution platforms of the past. The models have so many floors and need to be restricted with limits. These limitations will give other distributions fair ground and give artists the ability to sell music on different platforms.

We must work on getting fair pay for fair play and never listen to others who tell us that our music has no value. The same people that tell you that music has no value make their wealth from your works. We must know the power of branding and not let others devalue that brand. A good example is when Taylor Swift removed her catalog from Spotify. Swift knew the value of her brand and her album sales are the result of that decision. Swift even made a stand when Apple Music’s service tried to short change artists for the use of their content in their trial run of their service. Swift was extremely professional on her approach when confronting Apple of their wrongdoing. Apple then rethought the decision due to Swift’s letter. Just this month alone we have seen Adele make the same kind of decision not to release her album on the Spotify streaming service. Again she is an artist that knew the power of her brand and has sold over 3 million albums within the first week. I think it’s an incredible achievement in today’s music industry.

In this time and age when many people believe that music holds no value, these two artists have shown everyone that music does hold its value. If we as an industry believe that music has no value, how will consumers see the value that music holds? There are plenty of consumer industries that sell products and services on a day-to-day basis; they face the same problems that the music industry faces today. The film and software industries face piracy each and everyday. However, I never hear Microsoft complain about piracy or that people are not buying DVDs. We need to man up and stop blaming piracy for our entire problems. I want everyone to know that I’m not in anyway saying that piracy is not a problem. I believe that the world as a whole could block pirated sites if we wanted to. If smaller countries have the power to block content, I believe we could too.

We as an industry have to pull together and recreate the way we discover, market, and distribute music. The decrease of music sales over the years affects everyone in this industry. The downsizing of companies means less jobs in a shrinking industry. I have seen many people get cut or let go over the years or even people trade industry lines for safer positions within other industries. So let make 2016 a brighter and better year across the boards, lets thrive again.


Contact Info:

Email:  jason@jasonkventura.com

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/jasonkventura/

Website:  www.jasonkventura.com


Every year, a number of companies offer freebies, discounts and activities to help bring awareness to Earth Day, which takes place on Wednesday, April 22. Here is a list of companies with free offers this year.

There may be other companies announcing additional offers in the next couple days. If so, I'll be sure to add them to this list. Please share any others you find.

Anthropologie: Free rainforest crafts for kids on various days recommended for kids ages 5 to 10. See the schedule for the Durham and Raleigh locations on their website. Call the store to RSVP.

American Eagle: In honor of Earth Day, customers can bring their old denim into any of American Eagle Outfitters’ 823 stores across the United States and Canada, and receive a 20% discount on a new pair of jeans. They are partnering with Make It Right (founded by Brad Pitt) to recycle used and unwanted denim into building materials for affordable homes. Any collected unwearable denim will be shredded and recycled into UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation and other building materials for use in Make It Right’s affordable homes around the country. UltraTouch Denim Insulation provides energy saving thermal performance and sound absorption, creating efficient, quiet, and healthy living spaces wherever it is installed. See more information on their website.  


Caribou Coffee: Unlimited coffee refills in April when you buy their Earth Month Tumbler. See their website for additional details.


Evos: FREE Organic Milkshake at your local EVOS on Earth Day, April 22nd. There is one location in NC in Chapel Hill (next to the Trader Joe’s at 1800 E. Franklin Street). See their Facebook page for additional details.


Pottery Barn: Kids can plant seeds and decorate a biodegradable pot. Kids will learn the importance of pollination and receive a special takeaway. Call store to RSVP. See their website for additional details.


Earth Day coloring pages from apples4theteacher.com.

Read more at http://www.wral.com/earth-day-freebies-2015/14592253/#j1T0MwK2PlIrP3P1.99


These 17 tips can keep you focused in your quest to have a long and successful career in music

Have a happy and productive career in music

Pursuing a career in music business is not easy nor is it for the thin skinned. In fact, with all the challenges one has to face to get noticed, it can actually be pretty darn depressing. It’s the time of year for lists and goals, so here are 17 ideas to help keep your spirits high and your focus sharp as you pursue new heights in your career in music!

1) Feed your brain. Keep expanding your knowledge of your craft and the music business and better yourself every day. It gives a feeling of growth and potential.

2) Focus on your craft. Put in your time, and be great. Write amazing songs and be amazing on stage. Always deliver quality and never cut any corners with the work that you do. As Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, “Be willing to put in your 10,000 hours.”

3) Give knowledge back. Volunteer, teach, and help others. It will give you a feeling of purpose and belonging.

4) Avoid negativity. Negativity is an extremely infectious disease, so try to limit or avoid people who are unhappy with their lives and careers, who have a false sense of entitlement, who are envious, and who try to manipulate and control. And stay away from the haters!

5) Know how to party. What I mean is, know when enough is enough, which could mean not at all. Restraint is power, and if you really want a career in music, you need to focus when it’s time to do your job!

6) Be healthy, eat healthy. The way you feel directly affects your mood, so eat healthy, be healthy, and find ways to be good to yourself.

7) Keep finances, bills, and receipts in order. The mere idea of being in debt can hang over you like a black cloud, so try your best to spend wisely and not to owe anyone anything, and make sure you save something for your future.

8) Keep your house clean and in order. Not metaphorically, but literally: keep your clothes clean, dishes washed, and rehersal space orderly. Peaceful surroundings make peaceful people.

9) Enjoy time with friends and family. Hang out with people who make no judgements and have no agenda for knowing you. There is nothing more empowering than unconditional love.

10) Set your own agenda. Don’t wait around on anyone for anything when it comes to your music career goals. If you want something done, get it done now. Be proactive!

11) Don’t be afraid to be by yourself. Go to a movie, take yourself out to dinner, treat yourself to a massage. Remember, if there’s one person you can always count on for company, it’s you, so be good to yourself.

12) Promote your music both online and off-line. Never stop telling people that you exist. Promotion is an ongoing process and not a one-time task if you want to make a living in the music business. 

13) Hang out and meet like-minded people. Support other bands and form powerful alliances. Some of the independent musicians you know now could be the heavyweights of the future. What’s good for your friends can be good for you and your career in music.

14) Learn how to earn income from your instrument. Give lessons, play weddings, or produce local artists so that you won’t have to kill yourself at some random, energy-draining day job that you loathe. 

15) Have a vision. Know where you want to go and develop a clear strategy to get there.

16) Wear a smile and be nice. Remember that people hire people they like! 

17) Be grateful for loving music. Always remember that having a purpose in life is one of the greatest gifts that you could ever have, and if music is your purpose, embrace it.

Read more: Have A Happy And Productive Career In Music – Disc Makers http://blog.discmakers.com/2015/01/how-to-have-a-happy-and-productive-career-in-music/#ixzz3OjT3mmPX


How To Make It In The Music Industry

 A Guest Post by DiyMusicBiz.com

How to make it in the music business - Music Biz

How to make it in the music industry… Such a popular question, one that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue that enters as well as those who’ve been in for a while without any success. Those who don’t know are confused and those those who understand pretend there’s some sort of secret sauce.

I have 117 emails sitting in my in box right now with this phrase meshed within a pool of other questions. So I figured I’d give my insight on the topic, clear up a few things and point you in the right direction.

First, what does “making it” mean? What does it mean TO YOU? Is it making a good living in the industry or does it mean reaching celebrity status? Is it getting a Record Deal?…What is it? This is an important question because the answer will determine how complex your road to success will be.

If money is the target, that’s easy as there’s plenty of opportunities out there for you to capitalize on, you just have to know where to look. If it’s celeb status, well, that’s more difficult.

A little truth – Most that make a living (5 & 6 figures) in the music industry you’ve probably never heard of. You don’t hear about these individuals much because they aren’t interesting enough to write about and majority like staying behind the scenes.

I lived next door to a successful jingle producer for 5 years before I knew what he did. I only found out because some of my mail was accidentally delivered to his address.

I thought he was some odd guy who had no family or friends. Have you ever seen “The Burbs”? Remember the Klopecs? That’s how closed off and anti social he was. – Low profile foreal

So, what does it take to make a good living?

Great question, but before we get into that, allow me to shoot down some myths that are floating about.


Common Music Industry Myths


1) You Need A lot Of Talent To Succeed In The Music Industry

I believe you need ‘some’ talent, but you don’t need to be the most talented person in the world.

You have to be able to deliver what the client wants and to be honest, they don’t always “need” or “want” the best of work according to the “creator’s” standards.

I know that might be hard to believe because everyone says “hone your skills” “Make sure the music is really good” “Focus on GREAT QUALITY music” Eh… take that with a grain of salt

Talent certainly does help, but don’t let the “lack of” factor keep you from pushing music and chasing opportunities.

Don’t worry about being a perfectionist either. I find that people who chase perfection miss out on a lot of opportunities. You have to know when to let go, and when to move forward.

I would say being able to deliver a quality mix and meeting deadlines trump talent and perfection any day.

2) It’s Hard To Make A Living In The Music Industry

True, but it doesn’t have to be. I find that people tend to make things harder on themselves than they need to. People are afraid to move out of their comfort zones.

If touring is what you love, but you’re not successful with it, that might not be your calling. Some people are great songwriters, but suck as performing artists and vice versa.  We’re all away of 1 hit wonders and or acts that have been signed to big labels, and then later dropped.

Years pass, and you wonder…. “what happened to those guys”. So, you do a Google search, you find their sites and notice, they sound exactly the same as they did during the time they were dropped. Most try to pick up where they left off and the result = music that is totally disconnected compared to the market – just no relevancy whatsoever.

Sometimes, these acts/artists have a small fan base they can rely on, but most of the time that fan base dies down or just fades away completely.

You can’t use what worked 25 years ago and expect to see the same or any results today. Things change, you have to adapt. You can’t cater to a market that doesn’t exist and forcing an old sound on a newer generation? That doesn’t work.

Look at it this way, if it wasn’t working for you 10 -20 years ago that might be a hint → It’s time to make a change!.

3) You Have To Live In A Big City

You can live anywhere in the world as long as you have a decent internet connection. There are far too many indie artists/musicians making $60 – 70k or more a year from the comfort of their home armed with nothing, but a mic, headphones and few pieces of software installed on their laptops.

I will admit, living in a big city has it’s benefits, but it’s not needed. There are hundreds of talented people who live in LA/NYC who have yet to get their big break.

For some, being in a big city is discouraging because they begin to realize “hey, I’m not the only one trying to do this”. They also start to realize how clicky and relationship dependent the industry is.

Big city, no strong connections? Good luck

4) You Need Expensive Music Equipment

It depends on the type of music you’re creating, who your audience is and what you consider expensive. There’s a lot you can do in a home studio these days. In fact, a lot of cues, gameaudio and scores are being created and mixed in the box these days.

I know you see magazines and recording studios full of expensive gear, but that’s not needed. Big recording studios record tons of artists, musicians and rent their facility out to production companies. They run a pretty big operation, so it makes sense.

Think about how silly a big studio would look if everyone hovered over 1 computer and a pair of Alesis monitors. Would you take that establishment seriously? – Most wouldn’t

Now, in a home studio, nothing has to look pretty, it just has to work. The clients and fans only care about 1 thing, and that’s if the music sounds good.

I went in a little longer than I expected on that one, but what I’m trying to say is → Don’t feed into the bull****

5)You Need To Be Original, Originality = Longevity

Oh man, I can just feel the heat from the infra red beam on my neck as I type this.

Deep Breath – Okay, here goes…I think this statement is crap, flat out. I don’t care what any industry professional tells you, ‘original music’ doesn’t guarantee anything. Good music = longevity and good music isn’t always original.

Back in the day, when music was harder to create, if you had a sound or style that people liked, they had to come to you to get it.

These days, there isn’t a sound you can bring to the table that can’t be replicated. Technology has taken the mystery out of this, and it gets easier with each and every software update.

Most clients want something that sounds similar to something they’ve already heard anyway.

“I’m looking for a song that sounds like this”, “can you create something like that?”, “I need a hit that sounds like so and so”.

Manager’s, A&R’s and Record Labels are no different. They talk about the need of ‘original’ music, but every hit that rips through the airwaves is carbon copy of everything else that’s out – So where’s all this original music going?

Older musicians rave about how authentic and original music was in their day. Truth is, if you study older music (from any era or genre) you’ll notice that it was just as unoriginal then as it is today.

Everyone was leeching off the success and sound from the next band or group, or trying to, some were successful and others, not so much.

I’m not trying to be disrespectful, just calling it like a I see it. Alright, I’m ready to move on:)


So, How Do You Succeed In The Music Industry?


1) Stay In The Loop

I know It’s hard to stay updated with the latest and greatest applications, mixing methods or music trends, but do the best you can. If there’s a software application or update that will improve your work flow GET IT.

If there’s a hot music trend emerging you need to be all over it. If mixing is something you struggle with, take a class on it.

Get on a PR lists, find out when new shows, albums and company events are arising, these are all possible placement opportunities.

Learn the business of music, it’ll help with a lot. People like speaking with others who have some idea of what they’re talking about. Go to workshops, so much to learn and they’re FUN.

2) Build Strong Relationships

Ask any successful person how they got to where they are and how they maintain their success and they’ll tell you “I have friends in high places” or something along those lines. Having connections makes a difference.

Every month I find opportunities in my in box from people I’ve worked with over the years. They pass projects my way because they’ve worked with me and know I deliver in a timely fashion once contracted.

These type of relationships keep food and opportunities on the table for a lifetime.

3) No Fan Base = No Career

A must have, especially for bands and artists. You have to have someone to sell your products to. No fan base = no sells, no sells = you go broke, that doesn’t sound like fun in my book.

Building a fan base takes time, but a lot easier than it use to be. Some artist don’t even perform, they just build a social following or email list (of fans) and direct the traffic back to their singles, albums and shows.

Some are even clever enough to build their following online and then launch a script on their site that allows fans to suggest or where they play next. From there the band can map out a mini tour based on the interest and location of their fans. Very effective if done correctly.

4) Analyze Markets & It’s Competition

People always say “don’t worry about what the next man is doing” I disagree, you should pay close attention to what the competition is doing. Why struggle when you don’t have to? People have already made the mistakes and done the trial and error for you, learn from them!

If company x is seeing great results by doing ‘abc’, then you need to do the same or a variation of it. If you notice companies using a specific sub-genre of music, then you might want to tap into that genre a little.

Can you create it? Is there an element that you can take from it and apply to your own music? If yes, then do so and make yourself more marketable.

If you notice a trend in the media, you might want to reach out to companies who stand to make a profit from it. While people were ragging on Miley Cyrus, I was contacting gaming devs to see if my services could be used in any spoofs they planned on creating.

I did the same during the presidential election. Talk about easy money.

5) Give Up A % Of Your Publishing – Be Worth Someone’s Time

Yes, I’m telling you to go out there and bend over. Give up a percentage of your rights. You do want people to help you make money right? Make it interesting for them. Sometimes 20% from profits isn’t enough. 30% ownership? That’s another story.

Give a clerk 3% from every transaction that went through their register and they’d take their job more seriously.

People are more willing to help when they have a vested interest in your material. I’m not saying just give these rights up to anyone, but give them to individuals who can give your a career a boost. Managers, agents, publishers etc.

I know that probably goes against everything you believe in, but this is the real world.

6) Be Flexible – Keep Your Options Open

Be willing to accept contract jobs. Not everyone can make it as a top record producer, musician or performing artist. Don’t let this frustrate and stop you from earning good money in other areas of the industry.

There are talented singers who make a killing doing voice overs. I know a lot of audio engineers who make good money editing sound for video, games, audio books and all sorts of random things.

Yes, this might not be where they wanted to be initially, but it’s still audio related, and it’s opened doors to other paying gigs allowing them to make a living from their craft.

7) Always Be Creating Music!

This industry is a numbers game. The more music you create, the more material you have to shop around. . If someone likes a song of yours chances are they’re going to ask for more and if all you have is 5, that could be a missed opportunity.

Why ask for more? Because, they want to hear your range, your consistency and if you’re someone who has enough music to submit on a regular basis. If you have to create everything from scratch, that could be a problem depending on how long it takes you to create.

Some opportunities only have 2 maybe 4 hour windows.

If it takes you 5 hours to write, record and mix a track and the agent needs it in 2, you’re SOL. A lot of opportunities have short deadlines so get use to the time crunch.

A good % of placements and opportunities come to those who have the ability to deliver with consistency – Be one of those people

8) Keep Moving Forward

You’re going to hear “no” a lot. Deals will fall through, people are going to tell you “you’re not good enough”, family may doubt you…. Heck, you may even doubt yourself.

Push all that nonsense aside, and just keep moving forward. Good things happen to those who are consistent and persistent with their goals.

How To Balance A Family, Your Music Career, And Your Stresses

Re-posted from December 7, 2012

It can be difficult for adults to have to take care of their families and manage their music careers. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. As a result, here are a few steps in how to do take care of your family and your music career without getting stressed.

Try to set goals for yourself when you manage your family or career. When you go to work each day, try to set some goals for you to accomplish. For instance, let’s say your goal for today is to finish the report that your boss wants. At the end of the day, you will feel better about yourself knowing that you were able to finish that report. When you accomplish these smaller goals, you will feel happier, more confident, and less stressed.

Delegate part of your responsibilities. When taking care of the family, get your spouse to help out. If your kids are older, get them to assist you. If you are at work, only take on what you can handle. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Learn to delegate and work with other people.

If you try to do everything, you will get stressed and anxious. A person can only do so much in a given day. Do not everything. Learn to manage your responsibilities. If you feel like your doing too much, then take a break and evaluate your situation.

Try to do things in terms of their importance. Let’s say that you have to clean the living room, go to the supermarket, and wash the dishes. Go to the supermarket since this is the most important thing that needs done. Do the other two tasks later on. Determine what needs done right now and do those particular tasks in order of importance.

Managing your family and career does not have to very stressful. Learn to budget your time and manage your tasks. Eventually, you will be able to balance your career and family. If you still have trouble, then talk to a professional who can give you additional advice.

About the Author:
Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to:  http://www.managingfear.com

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

I first heard the term DIY when perusing a scrapbook store. It’s simple. Whatever it is you do it all by yourself…without any help.

That’s what that term means. Understand? Good, glad that’s settled.


Now what about DIY musician?

When I hear the term “DIY musician” I interpret that to be stuff that musicians normally didn’t do in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.

So what did musicians normally not do?

Booking. Promotion. Marketing and on and on.

Nowadays this is what musicians end up doing. In a way, we are forced to do this.


Because it’s hard to find good help especially when you can’t pay much. Also major labels are only interested in helping if you have a very large audience that they can further monetize using their marketing methods.

There is also the latest development of label services, but again that’s hiring help and requires money.

The other assumption I make about the phrase DIY musician is that it means the musician doesn’t have a label. You could also call them independent artists or independent musicians.

To some degree, when it comes to the business end, these musicians are “somewhat” self-sufficient.

As for the acronym DIY, well you can’t take it literally so don’t think that you have to do everything yourself. You don’t…but you do have to learn things outside of the music creation process.


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.


Learn from other musicians

I run an interview show where I talk to full-time musicians and music industry professionals about ways to build a bigger fan-base and make more money with music.

The goal is to provide solutions for actually having a profitable, sustainable career in music

What I’ve noticed from these full-time musicians is that they all have certain similar qualities (these are artists building careers today and not in prior decades).

The first quality is that they have gotten help from someone in some way. What’s interesting is that none of these cases involved major labels.

Then there are three other qualities that can be drilled down into a simple formula. Understand, Take, Learn.


First there was DIY. Now there is UTL.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call them UTL musicians because that sounds dumb, but this is essentially the approach that successful musicians today are taking whether they realize it or not.

1. Understand

They understand the real opportunities that exist for musicians in our current music industry climate.

Important point: There is a difference between blind optimism and seeing things for how they truly are. This business is not for everyone. It’s very tough. A huge amount of musicians’ careers will not get off the ground and will not grow.

But for those willing to put in the time, make the necessary sacrifices, and see the music industry with the most realistic and pragmatic eye, doors will be unlocked and success will find them.

There is a lot of negativity going on right now about making a sustainable career out of music. I’ve personally interviewed musicians whose examples fly in the face of the negativity.

Quit with the negativity, but don’t be unrealistically positive either.

Be an opportunist, but not a snake in the grass.

2. Take

Successful musicians take control of their time.

Time to quit TV. Time to lay off the video games. Time to get your priorities straight, because you can always make money somehow but you’ll never get your time back.

Get productive. Get prioritized. Stop making excuses.

3. Learn

You need to learn new and uncomfortable skills because that is what successful musicians are doing. I mean really setting aside time to learn.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is the only way to really grow. Imagine what your music will be like if all you do is what’s comfortable?

Do you think Miles Davis would think like that? Ever listen to Bitches Brew?

And I want to address something else here…you don’t want to do anything but create music?

Me too, so welcome to the club. What is the reality here? Can you really just focus on the music?

The biggest music success fallacy is that all you have to do is just make great music and everything else will fall into place.

Ignore your business end at your own risk. There are plenty of derelict talents out there with great music, no money, and a small audience.

Stop complaining. Get to work.


The 3 Most Common Music Publishing Deals for Songwriters

Here’s a story you’ve probably heard before: band makes it big, everybody gets rich, the songwriter gets richer.

Why does the songwriter make more money? Music publishing!

If you’re a songwriter, you could make huge amounts of money from your songs… IF you have a deal with a publishing company.

By performing a number tasks that are often too difficult (or time consuming) for songwriters to do on their own, music publishers can help open up lucrative opportunities for your songs.

But what do the different kinds of publishing deals that are out there look like? And what are the pros and cons of each?

Ken Consor from Songtrust wrote an article called “The Three Most Common Publishing Deals — Learn Your Options!” which provides a nice summary of this topic. In that piece, he says:

The moment you decide that a song you have been working on for weeks is finally finished, you own a copyright and 100% of your publishing. This 100% is divided into two very important sections – The Publisher’s Share (50%) and The Songwriter’s Share (50%). It is imperative to understand that most publishing agreements only take a percentage of ownership of your Publisher’s share (50%). Unless you sign a work for hire agreement (See Below), you will never lose any ownership of your Songwriter’s share. 

He then goes into a description of the three kinds of publishing deals you’re likely to encounter in the today’s music industry.They are:

Administration Agreements

In an administration agreement, you the songwriter keep 100% ownership of your copyright and gives away only 5-20% of your publisher’s share for a term of usually 1- 3 years. Administration agreements typically do not include any creative services and focus solely on properly registering your songs with collection societies around the world as well as collecting royalties on your behalf.

CD Baby Pro provides this exact service, and is a great way to start collecting your publishing royalties worldwide without getting locked into a long-term publishing agreement. For more info, click HERE.

The next most common kind of publishing agreement, according to Consor, is…

Co- Publishing Agreements

A co-publishing agreement is the most common publishing deal for major songwriters today. As songwriter, you typically give away 50% ownership of your publisher’s share (hence “co-publishing”) to the publisher you sign with. In doing so, you retain 100% of your songwriter’s share and 50% of your publisher’s share so 75% of your overall publishing royalties. In this deal, because the publisher takes partial ownership over the works, they have much more of an incentive to exploit the songs and generate royalties from them. The ways in which your songs can be exploited are predominantly through synchronizations in Television and Film as well as being recorded and released by major artists – these are things the creative teams at any reputable music publisher will actively do for you on a daily basis. Many music publishing companies will offer you generous advances to entice you to sign with them. Remember however, that these advances will need to be recouped in full once your songs start to generate income.

And the last kind of common music publishing agreement is…

Work For Hire

In a work for hire agreement, for a flat fee, you will give up all ownership and administration rights for your works for the life of copyright. These agreements are most common in film and advertising when the film studio or production company wishes to own and control all aspects of the production.

For more information about music publishing, and how you can earn more money as a songwriter, download our FREE guide:

Guide: Make More Money From Your Music

How The Mainstream Media Lies About EDM

On Wednesday, June 25th, an Avicii concert at the TD Garden in Boston hit every news source. As the temperature inside the venue skyrocketed, the media coverage went spiraling out of control. Being the opening night of his US and European tour, TV and newspapers in Boston took the opportunity to dig their claws into the incident. They provoked a media-fueled “hysteria” much like the response to Rock & Roll music that first took root in the U.S. during the 1950’s.

Before I even address what happened that night, I would first like to point out that the following day, the Boston Globe published a piece including text about a Zedd show last August in which they say, “A 19-year-old woman died at that concert of a suspected overdose of Molly. Two others at the concert were also treated for apparent overdoses.” Can someone please explain to me how words like “suspected” and “apparent” can be used 10 months after the occurrence to describe an incident?

I’m no forensic expert, but I’m pretty sure there is sufficient technology at this point to bring these inquiries to their conclusion, most certainly in 10 months time. Boston EMS Deputy Superintendent Michael Bosse presented the diagnosis of those hospital visits during the Avicii concert being, “Mostly heat and alcohol related symptoms.” He then stated, “There was a lot of underage drinking tonight and some illicit drugs. However, we can't identify anything specific.” The Boston Globe portrayed that, “dozens of teenage ravers were hospitalized.” The Boston Globe also reported concert-goers were treated "after consuming a dangerous substance.” None of these drug claims have been proven since, I feel this is targeted media hysteria and I’m here to call it out.

If you spent any time reading up on this as I did, the reports are all rather conflicting. The only thing all the Boston media seemed to agree on was that Avicii played a “techno show” in Boston that night. This truly shows how far off the mark they are from understanding anything about EDM, even on a superficial level. Avicii’s concert at the TD Garden in Boston wasn’t a rave, and it wasn’t a club night; there was no EDM festival in Boston that evening. Live Nation booked a tour stop for Avicii at a concert venue large enough to hold someone of his popularity level.

Throughout almost every ticket holder interview I read in the endless pieces that covered the event, I noticed two main complaints: the crushing heat inside the venue, and how difficult security made it for kids to get on and off the main floor in order to get water, even if many said they couldn’t even breath while down there. “Cooling off” areas were set up, and as most of us weren’t there, we have no idea how easy they were to find or to maneuver to through the crowd. I personally spoke to one woman who was there that night and she left early because of how “poorly organized it was and the harmful atmosphere that came to be as a result of it.” If venues can’t properly look after us, then we need to step up and look after each other. It is our collective duty to look around and make sure that not only our friends are alright, but that the people we don’t know are also healthy as well. All of this is still a learning curve of all of us, as indoor, local events of this size are still new to the EDM scene in America.

McKenzie Ridings, social media manager for Boston Public Health Commission, toldRolling Stone that a "Level 2 Mass Casualty" incident was declared, which Boston EMS uses to "notify area hospitals of the potential for 11-30 incoming patients and allow for them to be prepared for that influx." But the kicker here is that Michael Bosse, deputy superintendent for Boston EMS, said that many of the concertgoers attending TD Garden on Wednesday showed up intoxicated and several needed hospitalization; a worker at the TD Garden said there was "vomit everywhere.” The Boston Police Licensing Division cited TD Garden for allowing intoxicated concertgoers to enter.

I can’t imagine why this all sounds familiar; oh wait, “adults” in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s tailgate & enter that stadium after drinking endlessly, pre-gaming there for Bruins or Celtics games for almost 20 years now. Why would the security that night know any different? In my experience of going out in the many cities I’ve lived in for 20+ years, I’ve gathered one thing about security; muscle gets you work. I wouldn’t have expected anyone working that event to understand the unique situation they were in. This was not only a breakthrough act that is typically playing outdoors, but the crowd that showed up also wasn’t well-versed in managing their health in those conditions or atmosphere. Last time I checked, usually no one sans the players at Bruins or Celtics games at TD Garden do much more than stand up, sit down, or make a few trips for food or the restroom. Avicii had that whole stadium dancing for hours on a hot summer night - of course it was hot in there.

The typically collegiate aspect of this incident was that the EMS workers at the show said the injuries were primarily as a result of dehydration, alcohol and drug use. Now I’m not here to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do; I believe in personal responsibility. But I play in Boston many times a year, and with 102 colleges within 50 miles of the city, it is common for the shows there to get more rowdy than most. NV Concepts, who I always play for, is always on alert for kids in trouble, as they have people out in the crowd solely making sure that everyone is alright and that everyone who attends their events is protected the best they can. I’m not saying that this didn’t happen at the Avicii concert, but the size of that venue is exponentially larger than any club I’ve ever played at in Boston, so when you have more people with less experience in that level of excitement, problems are naturally going to arise.

Today, there is no other EDM act that has anywhere near this kind of draw in the cities they play in. Avicii’s single “Wake Me Up” is the most streamed song ever in the existence of Spotify. Avicii is no longer a DJ/producer, he’s a Pop star and a celebrity; Madonna, Coldplay and Ralph Lauren all in tow. The majority of the people that are coming to see him are not clubbers, ravers, or even “night-life enthusiasts.” These are working class people and kids who hear his songs on the radio and want to go out and have some fun. To pin this on our culture is simply wrong.

The media needs to do better than this. I know we live in a social climate where chaos gets “clicks,” but misrepresenting OUR culture is something that we all need to stand up for and fight against. If we stand by idly as this all goes down, the media will paint us all to be apathetic, wasted screw-ups which as a whole we are not. Right now, it’s beyond important to make sure that you & your circle of friends behave in an exemplary and safe manner, as this is the moment where those who do not understand us will try to dismantle what we’ve spent over three decades creating. If we abide by PLUR and live a life full of Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect, then it really isn’t far out of reach for us as a culture.

At this point, these things should come naturally and none of us should have to try. What we do confuses people who look in from the outside. They have no idea what all of this means to us; how could they? A portrait of ourselves is being painted by the media and we need to take back the sensationalism and the hype of that narrative so our story is told accurately and truthfully. This is the duty shared now by all of us who care about the future of our music and our culture. I leave you all with a single thought: how do you want our generation and our music to be remembered? This is within our control in entirety, and do not forget that - ever.

It should be noted that this piece was written for another website the day after these events took place but their connection to Live Nation prevented them from running my words above. What you’ve just read is 95% the same as what was rejected with only things added for clarity, nothing has been removed. This was the first time I encountered censorship in regards to our culture and I very much appreciate EDM.com for stepping up and running this piece so you all could read it.

Tommie Sunshine's third installment of his "Sunshine Forecast" mix has been exclusively provided through EDM.com before its public release on Monday. Dedicated fans can expect a private e-mail containing the exclusive link to the mix, as it will be available on Tommie's public SoundCloud come Monday.

Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of EDM.com.

Four Ways to Promote Your Album

You’ve worked long and hard on your new album, but all that work is for nothing if no one knows about it! That’s where promotion comes in. The key with album promotion is to start early and to be really active. Just changing your Facebook cover photo to the album cover and announcing the release the day of isn’t going to cut it. You need to build up hype over time and keep on going even after the album drops.

The fact of the matter is you don’t need the marketing department of a record label to launch an album campaign of your own. With all the tools available on the internet, you can spread the word for little cost, or even for free. In fact, the creative campaigns executed by agile indie musicians tend to be more effective than the one-size-fits-all strategies employed by big labels. Here’s four cool creative strategies you can use for your next album release.

1. Employ your fans

For the most part, as an indie artist you need to make things happen on your own, and that includes marketing. But, you actually have a whole team of marketers out there just waiting to spread the news – your fans! While you can’t email them a plan and expect them to finish appointed tasks, you can, and should, build a strategy that incentivizes them to share.

One of the best ways to get fans talking is involvement. If people feel they have contributed something meaningful to a project they are more likely to share with their friends. This could be as simple as asking fans for photographs to use in your single’s music video. Crowdfunding platforms let you offer fans cool rewards like using their name in a song, allowing them to write a line of lyrics, or personally thanking them in the album booklet.

Contests are another great way to get fans sharing. Make sure you offer something really awesome, like a live webinar/Google Hangout concert and Q&A in which you’ll be exclusively premiering a new song. Ask fans to share something, like your single, via social media to be entered in the contest. You’ll be getting the word out while also incentivizing the winners to talk about their awesome experience.

2. The live promotion

These days, album releases are becoming more and more digital. You don’t need to worry about getting your album in the big stores and then going to signings on the day of release. Instead, you just have to press the upload button, send out a few tweets, and call it a day. However, just because you can release entirely online doesn’t mean youshould. The person-to-person experience is still extremely important in the music industry.

I know recording an album can be a little chaotic as you scramble to get everything done on time, but this is exactly when you want to start playing some gigs. Let your fans know that you’ll be premiering a new song at your shows. Not only will this bring people out and get them excited for the album, you’ll also have a chance to tweak the songs based on your audience’s reaction. If it doesn’t sound quite how you wanted when played loud, you can still make some changes! You could even schedule four shows in the month leading up to the release and tell your fans that you’ll play the entire album at one of them. This way, if they really want to hear the new songs early, they’ll have to come to every show.

We all know the live show can be used to build up local hype around your album after the release. It’s pretty common practice to have an album release show or party and then set off on a tour, but you need to be thinking about how you can take this strategy to the next level and deliver something that will really get your fans excited while simultaneously spreading the word about your album. Doing a mini house concert tour in your local area is a great way to give your biggest fans something extra special. You could even run some cool contests or sell two CDs for the price of one to incentivize sharing.

3. Constant content

The last thing you want to do is start working on your next album and disappear for a few months. After months of silence, when you finally come out with an announcement your fans may not be listening or looking out for your content.

Social media is one of the easiest ways to stay on your fans’ radars. Post Twitter updates about the recording process, pictures from the studio, or short teaser Vines. If you have a blog configured on your website, keep the content flowing! Share stories from the studio or your inspiration behind the album or certain songs. You want to get your fans coming to your website on a regular basis leading up to the album release. That way, they’ll be able to purchase the album and maybe even some merch when it drops.

You could even go a little deeper and open up the door to show your fans the writing process. A lot of people find the creative world of musicians really interesting. Post short videos of rough songs you’re working on or photos of short lyrical ideas. Ask for your fans’ opinions and talk to them about your inspirations. Not only will they follow your interesting content, you’ll also be able to forge a more human connection.

4. Bloggers and press

If you want to reach out to an audience beyond your active fan base, bloggers are the way to go, and placement on a blog is totally within your reach as an indie artist if you have a strategy in mind. The best part about blogs is that they tend to have a dedicated following that really trusts the blogger’s opinion. On top of that, their following is usually very niche specific. This means you’re guaranteed an audience that already likes the type of music you play.

Do some research and find blogs that cover musicians in your genre and at a similar career level to you. Next, you’ll want to send out an email. You can usually find the blogger’s contact information pretty easily with a little digging through the website. Make the subject line clear and the email personal, short, and to the point. Share an interesting story about your album with a link to your music, but don’t send them a long, drawn-out life story. Remember, the point is to intrigue them enough to check out your music – the music should do the talking.

If you want to convert the blogger’s followers into fans, try offering them an exclusive first-look at your single or a free download for their users. If they get one song and like it, they are more likely to go and buy the rest of the album.


15 Very Quick and Simple Things You Can Do to Help Your Music Career

#1 Remember Peoples’ Names 

Ya ya ya, you meet a lot of people… we get it. If you want people to remember your name, you better sure as hell try to remember theirs. Find a good system. Make notes. Facebook stalk. Do something.

#2 Send Thank You Notes 

A small and simple gesture that goes a long way to ensure you leave a great impression.

#3 Database Relentlessly

Keep organized and detailed databases of your mailing list, the local media, your supporters, promoters, and everything else. This will save you tons of time and help you manage relationships with ease. There’s a kazillion great databasing tools out there and a simple spreadsheet does the trick as well.

#4 Role Play

Now this is a fun one! As an indie band you often need to wear a number of different hats. One minute you are a publicist, the next you’re an agent, and the next moment you’re a merchandiser. It can happen so fast sometimes it’s easy to forget the intricacies that make each of these professionals so good at their jobs. Every time you write an email or make a call in one of these roles, approach it as if you are the best publicist, agent, or merchandiser in the world and think about what a professional in that field would do. Then do it. This will help people take you professionally.

#5 Read Up 

Being well read will do more for you then make you look cool while schmoozing industry types. Watching the industry, keeping tabs on changes, and more will allow you to make the best strategic decisions possible, and managing a band or being in one is all about strategic decisions, as I’m sure you know. Websites like Hypebotand Billboard Biz are good starting points.

#6 Learn How to do a Proper Show Advance

There are subtle intricacies that go into having a show run smoothly and a promoter walking out thinking you’re a professional. Lots of that starts with a great advance. Take a moment to learn from a professional on what a good advance looks like. Here is a good article to get you started: DIY Musician.

#7 Always Update your Materials

Don’t make excuses for old websites and demos when sending it around to industry – as a person who receives those emails constantly, they now read as, “Don’t waste your time clicking on this because it’s going to suck and even if it’s awesome I’m not so confident in it myself…so never mind.” It’s like a limp handshake. If you send someone something you should stand behind it and ensure it is the best presentation of your band, otherwise forget sending it! I know it’s hard to keep up but find systems and tools that help you stay on updating pretty please.

#8 Don’t be Sketchy About Paying People 

Being reliable and easy to deal with needs to carry through to your money dealings as well. When someone does work for you, no matter how discounted, it is a sign of good faith to pay them quickly. It shows you value their time and appreciate their support. This will go a long way in the relationship and allow you to use them again for discounted work. If you don’t have the cash flow at the time that you need it (it happens) be upfront and clear about when you can pay and set a plan. Stick to that plan religiously. The minute any professional realizes you are not reliable when it comes to paying bills is the minute they question how much energy they can invest in you project.

#9 Hire an Amazing Designer 

Your brand and artist logo is SO intensely important. Great designers have a special talent that comes through many years of experience in their craft and you just can’t shortcut this important step to presenting you brand to the public.

#10 Protest Your Assets
Gear ain’t cheap and there’s mean mean people in the world who like to steal it and sell it on Craigslist. Get your gear insured by a reputable insurance company. The cost of a plan is much less than the cost of having to re-buy everything. Also always load in/out when you can. Don’t leave your gear in the van overnight if you can avoid it and if you have to park the back doors tightly against a wall. Also padlock the back doors. Don’t take any chances.

#11 Ask the Right Questions 

Sometimes it’s hard to know what the right questions are but if you sit down with the band before an important meeting with an industry professional and really do some prep work the right questions can usually can uncover themselves. If you don’t understand something ask for it to be spelt out. If you have a concern, voice it! Asking the tough questions is what a good manager’s job is – if you don’t have one, you have to learn to ask these questions yourself.

#12 Go Direct to Fan Whenever Possible 

Interact and spend hours with your fans. They are the most important thing you’ve got. Learn from them, take their feedback, and inspire them to fall in love and promote your band from the heart. This will be the key to your success if you play your cards right. Amazing platforms like PledgeMusic and your various social platforms allow this to be an easy feat. Don’t miss key opportunities for interaction and engagement.

#13 Be Patient

If you stay focused and work hard you should start to see some great results. Nothing happens overnight.

#14 Be Humble 

Appreciate everything you have and get to do. Share your credit, wealth, and glory with those around you who helped you get there.

#15 Expect Nothing 

You are not owed anything and thinking that you are will only drive your dreams further in the wrong direction and push away the people you need to bring them closer.

Good luck friends! Being an artist can be the trickiest but most rewarding professional as all. Hope you find these quick tips helpful! Let me known what I might have missed @SARIDELMAR.

How, Why, and When to Advertise Your Music

The following is a guest post from Aaron Ford, digital advertising manager for online media distributor The Orchard. Aaron regularly helps recording artists advertise on various networks, so we feel like he probably knows what he’s talking about when it comes to advertising music. We hope this is of interest to recording artists and readers who are curious about the decisions artists face when contemplating how, why, and when to advertise their songs.

when to advertise musicDeciding to spend money to increase awareness of your project is a big decision. You’ve probably already spent a ton of money creating your art and the idea of spending again may be anathema to you. You may have already gathered the funds for a large-scale media purchase and are ready to go. I don’t know this and have no supernatural powers. I’m just writing a blog post for The Daily Rind and trying to help.

Managing our clients’ and our internal advertising budgets, I’ve seen the gamut of situations in which advertising could be useful and have executed campaigns. I’ve found that a step-by-step thought-process prevents one from completely blowing it. Completely blowing it can mean wasted money or a project no one knows about. This is my process and the one I recommend to others.

1. Define your goals – What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to grow awareness, or drive those that are already aware to a place to purchase?

2. Define your message – What is the message you want to deliver? Go through the process of creating a simple sentence “Promote the new video duh!” is not good. Your message is something like “Watch this video and learn more about this artist.”

3. Research your fans and potential fans – Who should receive this message? You may not know who your fans are as much as you think you do. Even if you’re the label, you can lack perspective. You have no objectivity and that’s normal. Rely on data and numbers to combat your definite bias. Use tools such as Facebook Insights. Pay special attention to the “People” tab. Those are the ones who engage with your page. Some people are lazy and just Like pages they do not plan to engage with. The “People” tab shows you who the engagedfans are; the people who will buy your stuff. You may also find tools like Google AnalyticsBeluga (free), Next Big SoundMusicmetric, and others handy. Create useful names for the different segments: “18 – 24 year old bros in Arizona who love action sports” or “Hipsters that pirate your stuff in Silverlake.” All of this is valuable if you create segments that mean something to you.

4. Identify your targets – Who do you want to receive the message based on your research? Maybe you’ve found that your audience is “75 – 85 year old vagrants with an iPod touch and Starbucks WiFi.” This is not an audience that is worth your hard-earned, borrowed, or stolen ad dollars. If your goal is to create awareness for a video, even though most of your audience are these vagrants, you should target the small part of your audience that is of a demographic using the platform on which your video is published. If your budget is limited, you should focus first on the fans most likely to purchase and only go outside of that fan-base after you’ve given the core fan-base every opportunity to give you money. They can be best targeted through tracking pixels from third parties such as GoogleFacebook, or The Trade Desk.

5. Devise your strategies – In what voice do you want to deliver your message? What’s your angle? Are you enticing people with a free track?

6. Decide which tactics you will use – What tactics will you employ to execute the strategy? Video? Search Ad? Retargeting Landing Page visitors with banners? Asking a question in a promoted post? Leveraging memes such as Doge (such linkso lol)?

7. Identify the platforms / technology you will use – Where will you deploy your tactics? Facebook? Google Search? Bing Search? LinkedIn? Banner inventory on the coolest sites? Video inventory?

8. Execute your campaign – Double-check everything. A misspelling or typo can be absolutely devastating to your cause. You don’t want that. We don’t want that. Deploy your campaign at hours of peak traffic for your audience, strategy, tactic, and platform. This may mean that you deploy each part at a different time.

9. Optimize your campaign – Don’t just let it sit there spending your money. Constantly optimize. What’s working? What’s not? Don’t be alarmed by lower click-through-rates (CTR) on banner ads than you see on Search ads. Banners are about impressions and you are billed per impression. Search is about clicks and you are billed per click.

10. Recap your campaign – Even if you are doing your own digital advertising, you should do this step. Create a document that is an overview of the campaign. You will find nuggets of information in this document that you will not find by just looking at numbers on the platforms.

11. Learn from your campaign – After you have created this document ask yourself if it was a success. Go back to your goals. Did your video get more views than they would have without it? Did your Facebook page see a higher rate of engagement? What would you do differently next time?

Spending money to promote your work is a big deal and it’s worth your time to go through this process to make sure you don’t completely blow it. I’d love to answer any questions (no centaur questions) or address any feedback so do not hesitate to comment.

(Image courtesy of Aaron Ford)

How to Become a Successful Musician: The 5 Keys to Guaranteed Success!


keys How to become a successful musician: the 5 keys to guaranteed success“It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n’ roll.”

AC/DC said that — but interestingly enough, they took a somewhat shorter road to the summits of hard rock glory by combining a couple of the proven methods I mention below.

Do you want to be a musical success? Of course you do. And luckily, it’s simpler than you think. Just…

1. Be the son or daughter of someone famous

The best way to become famous, especially if you’re not as talented as other people in your genre, is to have famous parents. Get some! And then leverage the family name and your genetic similarities to “be your own person.”

If you can’t find any famous parents, an alternate route to musical success is to work hard and become a famous actor; then branch out into your music career.

2. Have wealthy parents who don’t care if you ever get a “real job”

“Thought leaders” always preach about how failure is a necessary component of success. Well now you can fail without consequence, again and again and again. There’s nothing like an endless safety net to bring out your inner daredevil.

By removing all financial concerns, you can devote 100% of your energy to music. You can also bankroll your band’s recordings, videos, marketing, touring, and more. Moral of the story: if you can’t find famous parents, find rich ones.

3. Join a popular band

There are plenty of successful bands already. Why not bypass all that hard work and join a band that’s already “arrived?”

With you in the group, they’ll be able to take things to a whole new commercial and artistic level.

4. Be the first group with major label ties to jump on a new trend

To forge major label ties, see tips #1, 2, or 3. The rest is easy. Just read all the hip music blogs everyday to keep abreast of what’s bubbling up from the underground. Then, be ready to pounce!

5. Pay for 10 million views on YouTube

Actually, 10 million isn’t a whole lot these days; you’re competing with the likes of Psy and the Biebs. Better pay for at least 50 million views.

If your video wasn’t going viral on its own, this sudden spike in views will  ensure that everyone sees it now — on Facebook, on cable TV entertainment shows, and on the homepage of YouTube.


OK, reality check: there are NO keys out there to guarantee your musical success. Even if one of the above suggestions describes you, you’re working with advantages, not guarantees.

But here are some actual, practical suggestions that might increase your chances of musical success:

Write great songs

Practice, practice, practice

Put on an unforgettable live show

Produce recordings that do justice to your songs and performances

Create music videos that are worth sharing

Spend a lot of your marketing energy on building your email list

Make your fans feel included and appreciated

License your music for use in TV, film, games, and more

Tour whenever possible (regionally at first, then build from there)

Maintain an engaging online presence, beginning with your own website

Make sure your music is available globally through all the popular download and streaming services

Sell your CDs and vinyl on CDBaby.com and in over 15,000 record stores around the world

Offer creative merch at your live shows

Use every album release, tour, or video launch as a way of connecting with the media

Set yourself up to collect money from the usage of your music in ever possible way (sales, publishing, sync fees, YouTube ad revenue, etc.)

Attend industry conferences and trade-shows to make connections with other bands, managers, promoters, DJs, etc.

Promote your music to college, community, and internet radio (and podcasts)

Have clear band agreements from the start, so every member is on the same page about royalties, trademark ownership, copyright splits, individual expectations, etc.


Obviously success in the music business requires a lot of hard work and careful attention not only to your music, but to multiple aspects of your music career.

This list is just for starters. Got any suggestions to add? What do you think is a crucial component of musical success? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Smarter Musician

[Keys image from Shutterstock.]


Music success doesn’t come easy, but the truth is we often get in our own way – don’t fall prey to these music career killers!

Avoid these music career killers

This post is excerpted from Music Career Killers! 20 Things That May Be Holding You Back In Your Music Career and How To Fight Back! Written by Ben Sword (AKA Chris Rockett) and reprinted with permission.

Every hour of every day, there’s a talented musician somewhere on the planet who makes the decision to put their artistic side on the back burner in favor of a more stable career. Although they vow they will pursue music in their spare time, just this simple mindset shift could mean that writing songs and playing gigs will always take a back seat to almost everything else in life.

In a way, it hurts too much to do music when you make this decision because it reminds you of all the dreams you had and gives you the feeling of being a failure. Even the most committed indie artists can be ground down to nothing after years of playing empty shows and sending out hundreds of demos with no reply. But once you start to recognize the common mistakes you’re making, you will be able to avoid them and get on with the real work of consistently creating music that your fans will appreciate.

Chris Rockett's music career killers

Music Career Killers: #1 Not working on your music every day
You can spend your whole life learning music marketing and still fail if you don’t have great music to promote, but you can suck at marketing and still do well if your music is on point. The ideal, though, is to find that perfect balance between marketing and music creation. Commit to working on your music skills for an hour a day, and do your music marketing in any additional time that you can spare. It can help to make this into a little game, so every once in a while go back three months in time on your YouTube channel and see the kinds of songs you were writing then. Over that time period, you can really start to notice an improvement if you work on your music and songwriting daily.

Music Career Killers: #4 Not selling anything
So many musicians drop the ball at this stage: they produce great music, but then feel bad and don’t ask people to take the next step to buy something. Or they do try and sell, but because they don’t feel comfortable, they get nervous and do a poor job of it. So if you don’t currently have anything for sale on your website, then don’t do anything else until you do. It can be as simple as a $5 per month subscription to get a song of the week delivered to their inbox.

Music Career Killers: #8 Not taking at least one marketing action everyday
I’ve mentioned the importance of daily progress with your music, but just as important is the power of doing one thing per day that will get your music out into the world and in front of a targeted, interested fan. See, music marketing is like trying to push a car with your bare hands. At first it seems like it won’t budge, but then you start to get a little movement and before you know it, you’re going at a steady and predictable pace. Once in a while, you’ll come across a hill where you can sit back and let things roll, all you have to do is steer. But if you just start to push for five seconds then stop for a few days, then come back and try again for five minutes, you will never build up enough momentum and it will never get easy.

One of the biggest challenges that faces the modern DIY musician is consistency, because things will come up in your life that seem more fun or more important than working on your marketing.
But a little bit of focus on one really cool project can work like magic – all you need to do is remember why it’s important and why you decided to start learning music marketing in the first place. For me, it’s being able to work for myself and staying out of the rat race. I find that idea always allows me to refocus on what’s important.

Music Career Killers: #12 Boring your fans and playing it safe
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this happen. You go to a show and see a band rocking out some amazing tunes, but each time you see them, they just continue to play the same old set over and over again. The bottom line is that one set of good songs does not make a music career. Make sure you write something new everyday, and the gems will come by default. You’ll be showing people considering an investment into your music (a fan, a record company) that you are making a commitment to being consistently productive now and in the future.

Music Career Killers: #13 Playing every crap gig you get offered
When you first start out you might as well play every show that comes along because this is valuable experience, and can even save you some money on the practice room. This becomes a music career killer, though, when you continue to play every bad show that comes along in the hopes that it might just convert one new fan. Playing to empty rooms with no pay not only sucks, but it’s also like a cancer to your career because it will destroy your enthusiasm. Next time you get offered a bad show, turn it down and spend the evening connecting working toward getting a killer show. One really good gig is worth a hundred empty venues.

Music Career Killers: #20 Getting jealous of other musicians
Nobody feels great about getting jealous, but it’s natural right? You work your tail off for months to try and get hits to your site, and then you see another musician getting featured in the press and you know that in one day they are going to get more hits than you got in the last three months. I’m sure you may have felt something like this at some point.

But if you just make a little mindset shift, you can get a new perspective on the success of others. When you see another musician doing something cool like getting played on the radio, getting signed, or getting press, think to yourself, “Cool, that means I have the opportunity to do the same thing, because this guy has just uncovered another opportunity for me to market my own music.” If you go as far as to track other musicians who have a similar fan base to your own, you can find new opportunities for you to connect with people who will be open to what you do because they just featured something similar. This follow up approach is something I call the “slip stream,” because you get to ride on the wave of the work done by other musicians and PR companies and it can take a lot of the guess work out of your marketing.

Ninja image via Shutterstock.com.

Click to get your free download of the Music Career Killers! white paper and read all 20 “killers.”

Ben Sword is a frequent contributor to Disc Makers Echoes blog and is the founder of the Music Marketing Classroom, whose mission is to empower musicians to create a sustainable income, even with a modest music career, and teaches a simple four-step marketing philosophy to achieve that goal. Learn more at MusicMarketingClassroom.com.

Read more: Music Career Killers! Disc Makers http://blog.discmakers.com/2012/09/music-career-killers/#ixzz2tifB3ww6

Why You Should Get Partners Instead of Sponsors

When most people who want sponsorships think about their ultimate goal, it involves money. They’re looking for someone to fund their event, to pay for their tour, to raise money for their charity, and so on. When many business think about sponsoring someone, it ultimately involves money as well: even if it is an incredible cause, at the end of the day, they want to know how sponsoring will help them get more customers. Each party treats the sponsorship as a transaction. However, I believe it is important to shift the definition from “a cash and/or in-kind fee paid to a property (typically sports entertainment, non-profit event, or organization) in return for access to the exploitable, commercial potential associated with that property” (IEG, 2000) to something more equitable: a partnership.

Sponsorship as a Partnership

A sponsorship insinuates something more akin to a one-sided relationship: the sponsor gives money in the hope for more customers or being associated with a positive cause. A partnership denotes an agreement where both parties share the risks, responsibilities, and rewards. By approaching the relationship as a partnership, it also implies a long term agreement.

By examining how we approach sponsorships more closely, we can also identify a few other important factors that should be considered:


●     Who do we want associated with our brand, event, or organization? You hear about companies dropping their advertising dollars or sponsorships of athletes all the time because they don’t want to be affiliated with improper behavior. Recently, talk show host Rush Limbaugh lost multiple major advertisers due to some of his controversial statements. However, sometimes as an artist or non-profit event, we don’t think deeply about who we are getting our money from and how our customers’ perception of us might change as a result.  

●     What kind of people do we want to work with? If you are planning a cross-promotional marketing campaign where you work closely with a brand, you’ll want to know their customers, their work-flow, communication processes, and their approach. Does it make sense for what you are doing?

●     Is everyone getting fair value for their work? If you are getting a $20,000 sponsorship, are you providing at least $20,000 worth of deliverable returns back to the investor? Conversely, is the amount of work you’re doing worth the money/partnership or are there other ways you can get the same resources more easily?

●     What are some creative ways that this partnership can be highlighted? You should be able to do more than simply trade logos on websites and your printed materials. How can you use your respective brands to drive customers towards one another? Is there a way that you can involve the employees of a sponsoring business?


Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer puts it best: “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not so equal, people still want to do business with their friends.” By elevating the value of sponsorship to an established, friendly partnership, you’ll instill loyalty, and get more in return than a simple check could ever provide.

When you approach potential sponsors with this perspective, you’ll be much more likely to succeed.


Simon Tam is the President and Founder of Last Stop Booking, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, and performs in dance rock band The Slants. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found atwww.laststopbooking.com. He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam 


Make a Living in the Music Business – Myths and Methods

There’s no secret formula for how to make a living in the music business, and some of the advice in this post flies in the face of conventional wisdom

make a living in the music businessHow do you make a living in the music business? It’s such a popular question… one that’s on the tip of every newbie’s tongue who enters the music industry and repeated by those who’ve been in it for a while without major success. Those who don’t know are confused and those who understand pretend there’s some sort of secret sauce. I have 117 emails sitting in my in box right now that include some variation of this phrase (meshed within a pool of other questions), so I figured I’d give my insight on the topic, clear up a few things, and point you in the right direction.

First, what does "making it" mean? What does it mean TO YOU? Is your music goal to make a good living in the music industry or does it mean reaching celebrity status? Is it getting a record deal? How do you measure music success? This is an important question because the answer will determine how complex your road to success will be.

If money is the target, that’s easy as there are plenty of opportunities out there for you to capitalize on, you just have to know where to look and you need to deliver. If it’s celebrity status you’re looking for, well, that’s more difficult.

A little truth: most of the people who make a living (five or six figures) in the music business you’ve probably never heard of. You don’t hear about these individuals much because they aren’t interesting enough to write about and the majority enjoy staying behind the scenes. I lived next door to a successful jingle producer for five years before I knew what he did. I only found out because some of my mail was accidentally delivered to his address.

So, what does it take to make a living in the music business? Great question, but before we get into that, allow me to shoot down some myths that are floating about.

Common music industry myths

1) You need a lot of talent to have a career in music
I believe you need some talent, but you don’t need to be the most talented person in the world. You have to be able to deliver what the client wants and to be honest, they don’t always "need" or "want" the best of work according to the creator’s standards.

I know that might be hard to believe because everyone says "hone your skills, make sure the music is really good, focus on creating music of GREAT QUALITY." Take that with a grain of salt. Talent certainly does help, but don’t let the "lack of" factor keep you from creating music and chasing opportunities.

Don’t worry about being a perfectionist either. I find that people who chase perfection miss out on a lot of opportunities. You have to know when to let go, and when to move forward. I would say being able to deliver a quality mix and meeting deadlines trumps talent and perfection any day.

2) It’s hard to make a living in the music business
True, but I find that people tend to make things harder on themselves than they need to. People are afraid to move out of their comfort zones. If touring is what you love, but you’re not successful with it, that might not be your calling. Some people are great songwriters, but suck as performing artists and vice versa. We’re all aware of one-hit wonders and acts that have been signed to big labels and then get dropped. Years pass, and you wonder, "what happened to those guys?" So, you do a Google search, you find them online and notice they sound exactly the same as they did during the time they were dropped. Most of the time they try to pick up where they left off and the result is music that is totally disconnected from the market — just no relevancy whatsoever.

Sometimes, these acts/artists have a small fan base they can rely on, but most of the time that fan base dies down and in most cases will fade away completely. You can’t use what worked 25 years ago and expect to see the same (or any) results today. Things change, you have to adapt. You can’t cater to a market that doesn’t exist.

3) You have to live in a big city
You can live anywhere in the world as long as you have a decent Internet connection. There are many musicians and indie artists making $60-70k or more a year from the comfort of their home armed with nothing but a mic, headphones, and few pieces of software installed on their laptops.

That said, living in a big city has it’s benefits. There are hundreds of talented people who live in LA/NYC who have yet to get their big break. For some, being in a big city is actually discouraging because they begin to realize "I’m not the only one trying to do this." They also start to realize how clique-y and relationship-dependent the industry is. Big city, no strong connections? Good luck.

4) You Need Expensive Music Equipment
While most hit songs on the radio today aren’t being made on simple home recording setups, you don’t need to book studio time or invest in a pro home studio setup to record a song demo or a track for placement in commercials, video games, or other licensing opportunities. A laptop plus $600-$1,000 in recording equipment can get you off the ground.

5) You need to be original
Oh man, I can just feel the heat on my neck as I type this. Deep breath… I think this statement is crap, flat out. I don’t care what any industry professional tells you, "original music" doesn’t guarantee anything. Good music leads to longevity in a music career, and good music isn’t always "original." Back in the day, when music was harder to record, if you had a sound or style that people liked, they had to come to you to get it.

These days, there isn’t a sound you can bring to the table that can’t be replicated. Technology has taken the mystery out of this, and it gets easier with each and every software update. Most clients want something that sounds similar to something they’ve already heard anyway. "I’m looking for a song that sounds like this," or "can you create something like that?" or "I need a hit that sounds like so and so."

Manager’s, A&R reps, and record labels are no different. They talk about the need for original music, but every hit that rips through the airwaves is carbon copy of everything else that’s out. So where’s all this original music going? Older musicians rave about how authentic and original music was in their day. Truth is, if you study older music (from any era or genre) you’ll notice that it was just as unoriginal then as it is today. Everyone was leeching off the success and sound from the next band or group, or trying to, some were successful and others, not so much. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, just calling it like a I see it.

So, how do you make a living in the music business?

1) Stay in the loop
I know It’s hard to stay updated with the latest and greatest applications, mixing methods, or music trends, but do the best you can. If there’s a software application or update that will improve your work flow, GET IT.

If there’s a hot music trend emerging, you need to be all over it. If mixing is something you struggle with, take a class on it. Get on a PR lists, find out when new shows, albums, and company events are arising — these are all possible placement opportunities. Learn the business of music, it’ll help a lot. People like speaking with others who have some idea of what they’re talking about. Go to workshops, there’s so much to learn, and they’re FUN.

2) Build Strong Relationships
Ask any successful person in any field how they got to where they are and how they maintain their success and they’ll tell you, "I have friends in high places," or something along those lines. Having good connections in the music industry makes a huge difference if you want to make a living in the music business. Every month I find opportunities in my in box from people I’ve worked with over the years. They pass projects my way because they’ve worked with me and know I deliver in a timely fashion once contracted. These type of relationships keep food and opportunities on the table for a lifetime, and it takes patience and time to really build up a pool of these quality connections.

3) Build a fan base
A fan base is a must have, especially for bands and indie artists. You have to have someone to sell your products to. No fan base means no sales, no sales means you go broke. That doesn’t sound like fun in my book.

Building a fan base takes time, but a lot easier than it use to be. Some artist don’t even perform, they just build a social following or email list (of fans) and direct the traffic back to their singles, albums, and videos. Some are even clever enough to build their following online and then launch a script on their site that allows fans to suggest where they play next. From there the band can map out a mini tour based on the interest and location of their fans. Very effective if done correctly.

4) Analyze markets and their competition
People always say "don’t worry about what the next man is doing." I disagree. You should pay close attention to what your competition is doing. Why struggle when you don’t have to? People have already made the mistakes and done the trial and error for you, learn from them!

If company X is seeing great results by doing ABC, then you need to do the same, or a variation of it. If you notice companies using a specific sub-genre of music, then you might want to tap into that genre. Can you create it? Is there an element that you can take from it and apply to your own music? If yes, then do so and make yourself more marketable.

If you notice a trend in the media, you might want to reach out to companies who stand to make a profit from it. While people were ragging on Miley Cyrus, I was contacting gaming developers to see if my services could be used in any spoofs they planned on creating. I did the same during the presidential election. Talk about easy money.

5) Give up a percentage of your publishing — be worth someone’s time
Yes, I’m telling you to go out there and give up a percentage of your rights. You do want people to help you make money right? Make it interesting for them. Sometimes 20% from profits isn’t enough. 30% ownership? That’s another story. Give a clerk 3% from every transaction that went through their register and they’d take their job more seriously.

People are more willing to help when they have a vested interest in your material. I’m not saying just give these rights up to anyone, but give them to individuals who can give your music career a boost. Managers, agents, publishers, etc. I know that probably goes against everything you believe in, but this is the real world.

6) Be flexible — keep your options open
Be willing to accept contract jobs. Not everyone can make it as a top record producer, musician, or performing artist. Don’t let this frustrate and stop you from earning good money in other areas of the industry. There are talented singers who make a killing doing voice overs. I know a lot of audio engineers who make good money editing sound for videos, games, audio books, and all sorts of random things. Yes, this might not be where they wanted to be initially, but it’s still audio related, and it has opened doors to other paying gigs allowing them to use their craft to make a living in the music business.

7) You should always be creating music!
The more music you create, the more material you have to shop around. The music industry is a numbers game. If someone likes a song of yours, chances are they’re going to ask for more, and if all you have is five tracks, that could be a missed opportunity.

Why do they ask for more? Because they want to hear your range, your consistency, and if you’re someone who has enough music to submit on a regular basis. If you have to create everything from scratch, that could be a problem, depending on how long it takes you to create. Some opportunities only have two-, maybe four-hour windows. If it takes you five hours to write, record, and mix a track, and the agent needs it in two, you’re SOL. A lot of opportunities have short deadlines, so get use to the time crunch.

A good percentage of placements and opportunities come to those who have the ability to deliver with consistency. Be one of those people.

8) Keep moving forward
You’re going to hear the word "no" a lot. Deals will fall through, people are going to tell you "you’re not good enough," family may doubt you — heck, you may even doubt yourself. Push all that nonsense aside, and just keep moving forward. Good things happen to those who are consistent and persistent with their goals. Sounds like a cliché, but good things come to people never give up.

Image via ShutterStock.com.

Greg Savage is an entrepreneur from California who makes a living producing music and sound designing for various companies without the use of a record label or manager. He started DIY Music Biz because he wanted to create a reliable resource for musicians, producers, composers, and artists that would be useful regardless of their success or skill level. Topics covered on DIY Music Biz include: Marketing Music, Music Licensing, Sound Design, Gear Reviews, Personal Experiences, Income Generation, Case Studies, and much more.

Read more: Make a living in the music business: myths and methods - Disc Makers http://blog.discmakers.com/2013/12/make-a-living-in-the-music-business-myths-and-methods/#ixzz2nq8HCxTs

"How To Ruin Your Music Career In 10 Easy Steps – Part 1 (Steps 1-5)"

The good thing to note about realizing you’ve made a few mis-steps in your career is that this is a perfectly valid entrepreneurial business tactic – it’s called ‘testing’. If something didn’t work, you know not to do it again and that way, you learn what does work. However, far too many musicians spend too long doing things that aren’t working without realizing it, and that adds up to tedium, frustration and a major lack of progress. So, stop for a moment and check if you’ve been doing any of these things:

1) Being inconsistent

Do you only work on your songs when you feel like it? Do you only play gigs when a friend mentions there’s a free slot one evening? If you can’t say when you practice and when you’re next gigging, you are probably projecting a kind of ‘hit and miss’ approach to your career. You can fix your inconsistent behaviour by setting aside certain non-negotiable times when you’ll definitely be working on your music. Try getting one regular gig night at your favourite live music jazz bar or post a new demo every 1st of the month. Set aside at least one day a week for songwriting, when you pull back from the business work and then post the results on a Friday on your soundcloud account. These kinds of regular, predictable actions will help keep your fans engaged and help you to focus on the priorities for your career.

2) Putting out albums or EPs with no schedule for promotion

Paying to get an album recorded, mixed and mastered, but not planning tour dates, release dates and strategic promotion through radio stations, magazines, mailing list updates and social media promotion will lose you sales and mean that your recording, far from being an investment, has been a huge waste of time and resources. The way to avoid this is to decide on the kind of release you want (single, EP etc) and write a list of all the small tasks you’ll need to do to complete it. Then plot those into a monthly overview, showing which things you need to complete for every week for the next three, six or 12 months. That way you can see clearly how long you’ll need to get things done and you can set aside enough time to do the necessary research in order to promote the work you’re releasing in the lead-up to that final date.

3) Staying in and practicing all day and nothing else

Learning how to play an instrument takes time and effort and it’s really important that you practice regularly. However, staying in your room and practicing to the wall does not a successful music artist make. You need to network with people, get out to gigs and generally get yourself known as ‘that great keyboard player’ or ‘amazing singer’ that people want to work with. Try going to venues that people have recommended to see another artist play and check out if it would be right for your music too. While you’re there, talk to the promoter about what you need to do to get a gig. And if you need some new photos for your site, you could ask the photographer who was taking photos of the band whether they would be available to do a shoot for your next gig. Making yourself known to other musicians helps you to support and be supported by a network of people, which will enhance your own career.

4) Avoiding using social media because you’d rather be ‘mysterious’ instead

This used to be a viable tactic. Back in the days before social media, there was a way in which you could work towards getting a record deal and have the record company do all of the promotional work for you. You could remain a mysterious artist putting out great music but not revealing much about your life. [I personally used to love this approach! Check out an old photo of mine - I was totally into moody photos where I hid myself altogether...]


Unfortunately, that just won’t cut it anymore. If you aren’t directly interacting with your fans, you can’t build the kind of following that will get you noticed by companies willing to do some of your promotion and distribution. You have to make it possible for fans to interact with you, so that they can do some of the promotional work for you! If you have a great fan page where your fans comment on the regular posts you make, that is a relationship that can not only lead to gig attendance and sales, but to further industry interest. Just post once a day about competitions for your fans, or ask which of two new demos your fans would most like to see finished first. If people are being asked to give their opinion about something, they are far more likely to follow-up to find out the result and even buy the EP or album that you’re about to release.

5) Not defining your brand

If you are randomly posting on social media however, with no kind of plan of what to talk about you could be damaging your potential for building a fanbase. What do you represent to your fans? Artists who only post sporadically don’t build up a sense of loyalty with their listeners. If you simply look at the kind of music you’re making and the message behind it, you can get an idea of what kind of person listens to your music. Is it dark, edgy, angry songs about break-ups? Then post about the latest arthouse film you watched about a couple who broke up and how great the acting was in the scenes where they’re yelling at each other. Use social media to have a conversation with your fans about the things that define the brand and purpose of your own music.



As an indie artist, you’ve got plenty of hurdles to clear before you achieve success with your music career – a positive mindset is where it all starts!

There are a variety of reasons musicians and indie artists fail. Some lack real talent or work ethic. Some suffer from bad timing – like starting up a hair metal band just as grunge began to take over in the early 90s. Other artists lack motivation or let their fears win. This is definitely an abbreviated list, but you can see a common thread here if you look closely.

We know there are a million and one reasons artists fail. But the #1 top reason they fail is simple: it all boils down to not having the right MINDSET. Almost all the other issues that arise are simply offshoots of this one fundamental flaw.

The right mindset starts with understanding that what you think and the way you think is what determines your course and your music career – and it’s often the under-the-surface thoughts that lurk in the unconscious that run the show. You see, you will only achieve what you believe is possible. It doesn’t mean necessarily that you have to be confident, but it does mean that you stay determined and committed in the face of all odds, and that you get back up on the horse no matter how many times life throws you off.

And I would add that you even have a greater sense of responsibility – almost a sense of duty – to bring your talent to the world and make a contribution as an indie artist (that it’s bigger than just you). When you have a strong mindset, you plan ahead and are mentally ready for each challenge (and figure out a way to adjust even if you’re not ready).

When your mindset is fraught with anxiety and doubt, you can’t come close to living your dream. It’s just the way it works. Because if you don’t believe it to be true, it won’t be. So, I’m sharing with you the top five warning signs your mindset may be a little off. If you watch for these red flags and eliminate them, you’ll know you’re on the right track to a better mindset and more success in your music career as an indie artist.

Red Flag #1
You blame everyone else for your lot in life. But when it comes right down to it – you can’t control others, you can only control you.

Red Flag #2
The reason you dole out for not “making it” is “money.” Even though it seems like money is holding you back – it’s not. You are on an Evolutionary Path and you can’t skip steps. Money is energy – get out there and give – and you will attract what you need.

Red Flag #3
You are afraid to be different. Great artists stand out, not fit in. This takes courage and the willingness to stick your neck out. It also takes support. Find a community that strengthens what is unique in you (this sounds self serving, but it’s not – it’s for YOU: check out my Mind Over Music Membership Circle).

Red Flag #4
You don’t trust anyone, let alone yourself. You’re going to have to put your trust in people (that are worthy), because you can’t do this alone – but put the most trust in YOU – because you are the Captain.

Red Flag #5
You don’t believe in yourself and don’t work on improving. It’s natural for artists to be insecure (an essential part of your nature), but that means you have to work double hard on strengthening your mindset, inner conviction, and faith. Are you?


Read more: The reason musicians fail - Disc Makers http://blog.discmakers.com/2013/11/the-reason-musicians-fail/#ixzz2lK954MGd

7 Ways to Avoid The Psychological Hazards Of Music Entrepreneurship

building a career in music is often much more about becoming an entrepreneur than getting a job.  and like entrepreneurs in other fields, musicians far many emotion  ups and downs that can derail their progress.  psychiatrist Michael A. Freeman recently charred some tups for tech entrepreneurs on dealing with emotional roller coasters that many musicians find relevant.  

In many ways, the high pressure world of tech startups places similar pressures on entrepreneurs to outperform and to forget about their own needs that musicians face when taking their careers seriously.

FOrmer entrepreneur turned psychiatrist Freeman has some tips for entrepreneurs of all types in an article about the "Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship" (via Wes Davenport).

SEVEN Ways to Avoid the Psychological Hazards of Music Entrepreneurship

1) "Most important, make time for your loved ones" - Friends and family can be a powerful source of support.

2) "Don't be afraid to ask for help" - Mental health professionals come in all shapes and sizes.

3) Limit Your Financial Exposure - "Set a limit for how much of your own money you're prepared to invest."

4) Take Care of Your Health - "Cardiovascular exercise, a healthful diet, and adequate sleep all help."

5) Cultivate an "identity apart from your company" - Defining yourself by more than your music career is key to maintaining stability when things are going wrong.

6) Learn to "reframe failure and loss" - Understand that the failure of a music project such as an album release is one step along the way that doesn't define you as a failure.

7) "Be open about your feelings" - This advice may sound odd given the often vulnerable nature of both songwriting and performance but it's far too easy to react to that exposure by closing yourself off emotionally to those around you.

Excellent advice for those facing the uncertainties of entrepreneurship. But at least entrepreneurial musicians know they'll always have music whatever direction the business takes.

Recycling Fashion: Will.i.am, Coca-Cola launch new brand

Global musical artist and producer will.i.am and The Coca-Cola Company are collaborating with other iconic brands to inspire a global movement with the launch of EKOCYCLE™ -- a stand-alone brand initiative dedicated to helping encourage recycling behavior and sustainability among consumers through aspirational, yet attainable lifestyle products made in part from recycled material.

The EKOCYCLE brand initiative was developed to educate consumers about everyday recycling choices and empower their purchasing decisions as part of a social change movement. The initiative supports recycling by helping consumers recognize that items they consider waste today may be a part of a lifestyle product they can use tomorrow. With a dedication to supporting a more sustainable environment, the EKOCYCLE brand initiative will identify products, such as assorted plastic bottles and aluminum cans that can be repurposed into recycled content for fashionable and valuable lifestyle products. It will also encourage demand and use of recycled materials, and reinforce the importance of recycling finished products.

"With the EKOCYCLE brand, I'm on a mission to educate and inspire consumers around the globe to seek out more sustainable lifestyle choices that will ultimately play a part in the movement toward a world with zero waste," said global musical artist and producer, will.i.am. "By making products that contain recycled materials more attractive to both businesses and consumers, everyone can do their part to keep the cycle going to turn discarded waste into cool, new items. The Coca-Cola Company shares this vision and together working with local communities worldwide we will showcase the greater value of recycling, as well as selecting products that feature recycled materials."

Beats by Dr. Dre® and New Era® are the first brand partners to join the EKOCYCLE brand initiative in its mission to inspire and educate individuals and communities to live a more sustainable lifestyle. As a part of the partnership, these collaborative efforts will produce on-trend products made partially from recycled materials. Additional EKOCYCLE brand collaborations will be announced later this year.

"The EKOCYCLE brand initiative is a platform that aligns with our vision of zero waste and our focus on sustainability," said Bea Perez, vice president and chief sustainability officer, TheCoca-Cola Company. "Together with will.i.am, we will promote recycling in a unique way with other well-known brands to create lifestyle products that consumers worldwide desire. Today's generation of young consumers represents an active force and the EKOCYCLE brand aims to be a driver in rallying their support and efforts around a global sustainability movement."

The Coca-Cola Company will donate its portion of licensing profits from the EKOCYCLE brand initiative to support additional recycling and community improvement organizations.

The Coca-Cola Company will make a minimum $1 million financial commitment over the next five years. This donation is in addition to, and separate from, the charitable commitments of 1 percent of operating profits made through The Coca-Cola Foundation.

Earth911®, host of the largest recycling directory in the U.S. with more than 1.5 million ways to recycle, will provide an interactive and searchable recycling directory for consumers accessible at EKOCYCLE.com.

"Recycling is one of the easiest sustainable actions consumers can take, but without real-time access to local options, people are often left confused and frustrated," said Raquel Fagan, vice president of media for Earth911. "The EKOCYCLE brand initiative takes a forward-thinking approach and demonstrates how companies can play a role in eliminating this confusion and empowering consumers."


EDM's Bubble Will Soon Burst

Very soon, EDM will be a victim of its own popularity.

If that sounds like a bold statement, it is. It’s also very realistic.

EDM (yes, EDM, not “dance music” or “electronic”) has undergone a dramatic rise in popularity. In the future, we might credit the Internet’s penchant for rapidly spreading information for the meteoric rise in EDM listeners worldwide. Regardless, this growth is completely unsustainable, and now we have a severely inflated bubble that is bound to pop.

The truly sad part is we are all to blame. Whether purposely or inadvertently, we have created a culture in EDM whereby it is no longer about the music. Our culture is now about fame, stardom and name recognition. The days of a nameless, faceless master of ceremonies taking the decks, reading the crowd and delivering the exact track and set their expert musical diagnosis demands...are over.

Many in the industry are quick to blame the fans. I blame them the least of all.

First and foremost, I blame the agents who create a frenzy of demand only to increase booking prices accordingly. For those that aren’t aware, agents are the people you actually call when you want to hire an artist for a performance. The promoter of the show calls an agent, negotiates a price and date, then (depending on the artist’s exact arrangement) artist management gets involved to plan specifics of the performance. In only the last couple years, booking prices have increased so dramatically it is becoming virtually impossible to do single-performer shows in small markets (like college towns.) The profit margins simply aren’t worth the risk.

This inflation of booking prices is at the heart of EDM’s bubble of unsustainability, because touring now accounts for the vast majority of an artist’s income. Spin recently published an editorial explaining how this focus on touring leads to less studio time. Mixmag followed up with its own feature on ghost-producers, artists who sell music to more popular counterparts who then present it as their own original work. Disappointingly, the magazine stopped short of finding the courage to name names. Finally, The Guardian published an article by the legendary Bill Brewster describing an argument between Calvin Harris and the BBC over comments that appeared to endorse pre-recorded sets. All of these issues are symptoms of the same cause: fans have lost their desire for actual musical talent.

The explanation is simple. As prices increase, fans are less keen on taking risks. For $10, I might be willing to go to a random club and listen to a DJ I read about on a flyer. If I’m spending hundreds of dollars to attend a music festival, I had better be sure the experience will be worth it. For the vast majority of people that don’t have time to properly research and stay up to date on the music, popularity and fame become their benchmarks for judging the worth of any given act.

Fame is truly a funny thing. We use fame and notoriety to find common links with others. As much as some of us might despise Paris Hilton, she serves as a cultural reference point. Humans crave topics of conversation that connect us to each other and diminish the intrinsic qualities that make us feel alone. Famous people are an aspect of our culture that we actively desire.

We used to demand more from our famous musicians. They used to demand more from themselves. When Eric Clapton, the famous guitarist, wrote the song “Tears in Heaven,” his four-year-old son had fallen out of a 53rd-story window to his death. He took that passion, emotion, and heartbreak and poured it into song. Every time he played that song, he reopened an old wound and shared that feeling with his audience. When he felt he could no longer relate nor properly convey the emotion behind the song, he stopped playing it.

The sad truth fans of EDM must face is that the genre as a whole is young, immature, and enamored by the superficial. For me, artists with the goal of enhancing their fans’ lives through their music are the ones I will continue to enjoy. The champagne-spraying, bottle-popping performances are undoubtedly fun, but it is equally certain we’ll look back on them as the necessary and unfortunate stupidity of youth, both our own and of our music. EDM is in dire need of a mature, meaningful message, and there is no reason that a young producer can't deliver it or that young fans can’t demand it.

The most interesting facet of EDM’s fan base is there are now two main types. First, there are the social seekers, more focused on taking a photo from behind the DJ or with their thousands of dollars in liquor and posting it on instagram than with listening to the music. For them, as long as the DJ on stage is sufficiently famous, they are happy to empty their wallets in an attempt to fill some hole within them that, they will soon discover, cannot be filled with money.

On the other hand, there are the devotees of the old rave culture more focused on being with their friends than with whoever is on stage. There is an undesirable element to this group as well in the form of those who will dance to DJ-fill-in-the-blank as long as they are on their preferred drug. For the most part, though, the sincerity of valuing the music and the message over the mainstream is alive and well. You just have to look for it.

At the highest level, the organizers of music festivals and EDM events are eagerly anticipating the day fans don’t need a famous performer as an excuse to have fun. Last summer, Insomniac’s Pasquale Rotella famously described how “ [the fan] is the headliner.” The unfortunate fact is, fans are not yet brave enough to let loose on their own, not the way they currently do when a well-known performer is on stage.

This is why the bubble cannot last. Soon, the fans will realize the emperor has no clothes. They will stop deluding themselves into buying the fame of an artist they haven’t even listened to just because a promoter is able to convince them he is a “big deal.” We are all lying to each other and ourselves, because the money involved has made us believe we have to. The time has come to put an end to the farce and hype we have created.

In many ways, a bubble is a perfect analogy. It expands uncontrollably until it bursts, despite being filled with nothing.

Some day, that space will be filled with meaning. Right now, it’s filled with Facebook likes, YouTube views and Twitter followers.

Champagne, anyone?

5 Tips on Getting a Label, Sponsor, or Booking Agent.

A while ago, I wrote an article for Music Think Tank: 5 Tips on Getting a Label, Sponsor, or Booking Agent.

This week, I got some follow up questions on the best route to go for choosing and pitching to a booking agent or agency. Here’s my thought process on how to find the right partner for your music:

1) Make sure that you are ready for a booking agent

A common mistake is for artists to oversell themselves. If you aren’t ready for serious regional and national touring (spending 4-6 months touring), then you probably aren’t ready to take that step yet. A booking agent is going to want to see solid tour history with a track record of success (making money at shows, around $800-$1000 per show). You almost always should have a publicist or PR agency, a manager, and some kind of distribution in place first. All of these things will help you when you make the pitch. Have you been playing industry festivals like SXSW or CMJ? That’s a good sign too.

Think about the reasons why you want a booking agent. Is it worth cutting up to 20% of your income? It is possible to book your our tour, that’s how I got started. I even wrote this piece on how to book your own tour, step-by-step. Besides, booking your own tour gives you a better insight into the process so you know what they’ll look for and if you are ready.

2) Find the right booking agent

There are many agencies out there. Try and find one appropriate to your level, genre, and fits with your goals. Don’t leave your chances to a Google search. Find similar bands or artists who you’d like to work with and see who they’re using. Is that agency booking similar venues that you’re playing (or even slightly larger)? Do they specialize in a certain region or do they cover more territory (national, multinational, etc)? Also, figure out if you want to go with a smaller, boutique agency or a larger firm with many artists. You can also ask your manager, distributor, or other members of your team for recommendations.

3) Making the pitch

Once you’re ready, go ahead and make the pitch. Remember, the main objective of the booking agent is to make money. Find a way to prove how you will be valuable to them, worth their time. Read my article on pitching your band. A booking agent will want a different press kit than anyone else, cater to that. Specially address your average show attendance, detailed tour history, stage plot/tech needs, attendance records (if available), and the fees charged or guarantees you command per show.

4) What booking agents charge

Most booking agencies charge a percentage of your fees (10-20%) and a 3 year exclusive commitment is fairly common. These are usually more established agencies who only work with well-established artists, most who have strong label support or exceptional tour history. Some agents charge a flat-fee ($25-$45 per show). These usually do not require a contract and provide another option for up-and-coming artists. Determine what is the best deal for where you are at in your career. However, remember that often times, terms can be negotiable. If you are skeptical, hire a good entertainment lawyer to help you with the agreements.

5) Bring the team together

Make sure that everyone working with your band is working in concert together. Keep communication lines direct and clear so that the publicist knows immediately when you get a gig booked, that your booking agent knows when your record’s sales are picking up in a certain market, etc. Unfortunately, it’s common for things to devolve in the music industry where every member of your team will be working independently from one another, trying the best that they can instead of having an overall strategic plan. That’s where having a competent manager comes in handy!

I hope you find these tips helpful. Got other questions about booking agents? Post them below!


Simon Tam is owner of Last Stop Booking and author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at www.laststopbooking.com. He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam 

"Several Top Editors Leaving Billboard"

Billboard is starting to look like a slow-motion implosion and top editors and writers are all getting the grammatically-incorrect memo. That includes deputy editor Louis Hau and editor-in-chief Danyel Smith, both of whom exited over the past two weeks.  And, publisher Lisa Howard, who appears to have quit on Wednesday. Others, including editorial assistant Jillian Mapes, is also among the departed, according to multiple sources to Digital Music News. 

 For full story:



Sixteen Houston acts will play an all-day free show during SXSW from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 16, at the Gypsy Lounge, 1504 E. 6th St. The party is sponsored by The Convoy Group, the company run by Houston promoter and sometime Rocks Off photograher Mark C. Austin, who announced the party earlier Thursday in a press release including the language "If they choose not to invite us to the battle, we'll just bring the battle to them!"

The lineup includes Bang Bangz, Buxton, Finnegan, Folk Family Revival, Chase Hamblin, The Handshake, Holy Fiction, Krhuangbin, the Niceguys, Poor Pilate, the Tontons, Tyagaraja, Benjamin Wesley, Wild Moccasins, Young Girls and DJ Dave Wrangler.

Austin is careful to point out that why he thinks Houston artists don't always get a fair shake at SXSW, he's not trying to pick a fight with the festival.

"I just wanna make sure that Houston's scene is celebrated," he says. "It deserves to be."

Austin says he originally wanted to book a room that could fit twice as many performers, but could not find a venue of that size. A few of the acts playing his party, including Buxton, the Tontons and the Niceguys, are also booked in official SXSW showcases. Buxton and Grandfather Child will play at New West Records' showcase March 14.

As with other years, local artists accepted into SXSW this year are heavily weighted towards hip-hop: Doughbeezy, Marcus Manchild, UZOY, Fat Tony, Dat Boi T, Killa Kyleon, Nosaprise, Hoodstar Chantz, and Trae tha Truth. Christian rapper Tre9 will perform at the Carver Museum's Boyd Vance Theater March 17, and The Niceguys have landed a plum spot on SXSW's "Next Stage" at the Austin Convention Center on March 14.

Rounding out Houston's SXSW corps are punks Something Fierce, goth-rockers Balaclavas, the DJ duo known as Stickygreen Productions, and Navasota gospel group Unity. A handful of Austin-based SXSW artists have roots in the Houston area, including Ume, Amplified Heat, Owen Temple and Carolyn Wonderland.

In the past couple of days, SXSW has announced several perfomers who could be considered "headliners": Norah Jones, the Shins, Fiona Apple, Santigold, several rappers (T.I., Nas, GZA) and both Cults and The Cult, who will headline the free Auditorium Shores stage on St. Patrick's Day. Thousands more will join them. See sxsw.com/music for more information.

"How Not To Get Screwed-Intro: The Six Exclusive Copyrights that Drive the Entire Music Business!"

The instant you write or record an original song, be it on a cocktail napkin or sing it into your iPhone, you get six exclusive legal copyrights as granted by the government.
These six legal copyrights (in no particular order) are:
Public Display
Public Performance
Digital Transmission

These rights protect your song, allow you to make money off it and control how others can use it (hey, it is your song after all!) These laws were written by Congress (or the equivalent in other countries) to protect and empower you ... and advance a culture of creativity, which the government believes benefits society at large.

These six rights drive and dictate the rules and money of the entire music business.

The purpose of this booklet is to arm you with the knowledge that enables you to make informed decisions, control your rights, make money and pursue your passions on your own terms.

Before we drill into the six copyrights, it’s important to have the basics. There are two copyrights to every recorded song – a © and a ℗.

This is Dolly Parton. She wrote the song "I Will Always Love You".
This is Columbia Records. Columbia Records hires Whitney Houston to sing Dolly’s song "I Will Always Love You"
This is the recording of Dolly’s song "I Will Always Love You" that Columbia Records hired Whitney to sing. The actual recording of Whitney singing Dolly’s song is controlled by Columbia Records – this is the ℗ - it stands for "Phonogram"

The song itself is owned by Dolly, this is the © - it stands for "Copyright" Many of the copyright laws benefit the songwriter (Dolly) more than the performer (Whitney).

If you are both the songwriter and the performer, it’s important to imagine yourself split in two.

For example, Dolly wrote the song. Columbia Records then makes a deal with Dolly Parton (the Performer) to sing Dolly Parton’s (the Songwriter’s) song. Dolly Parton (Performer) could make no money while Dolly Parton (Songwriter) could make a bundle due to copyright laws. Which brings us to the first copyright: The Right of Reproduction (and no, that is not a bad name for an adult film!).

The Right To Reproduce is obviously the sexiest one of the copyrights you get when you write a song, and it’s also one of the more technical.

To explain this further, let’s go back to the example here:

Columbia Records hires Whitney Houston to sing Dolly Parton’s song "I Will Always Love You." The recording of the song (the ℗) is controlled by Columbia Records (Label), the song itself (the ©) is controlled by Dolly Parton (Songwriter).

The basic concept behind the right to reproduce is this: under federal law, if you write a song, no one else can reproduce it without paying the songwriter(s) a "Mechanical Royalty." The Mechanical Royalty rate is set by the government, and defines the maximum amount that must be paid to the songwriter for each reproduction.

As an example, Columbia Records decides it is going manufacture 1 million CDs of its recording of Whitney singing Dolly’s song. Each time the CD gets made (not sold), Dolly’s song has been "reproduced." The same holds true if Columbia Records manufactures anything physical — be it a vinyl record, wax spool, cassette, eight-track tape or any other physical product. Under US law (and the laws around the world) each time Dolly’s song is physically reproduced she must be paid by the party who reproduces it the "Mechanical Royalty" rate as set by the government. A second way a song is "reproduced" is when it is downloaded to a computer. It makes no difference if the song is bought from iTunes or downloaded for free from a blog or peer-to-peer file sharing service. Each time the song is downloaded to a hard drive it is being "reproduced."

The Mechanical Royalty rate in the U.S. is $0.091 cents (just under a dime) for each and every reproduction. The rate goes up fractionally if the song is over five minutes in length. Therefore, under the letter of the law, if Columbia Records manufactures 1 million CDs that have Dolly’s song on it, Dolly gets paid 1 million x $0.091 = $91,000. If Columbia Records manufactures 1 million CDs that have TWO of Dolly’s song on it, Dolly gets paid 1 million x ($0.091x2) = $182,000 and so on. It does not matter if the CDs sold, it does not matter if Whitney or Columbia Records made any money, or even if the CD is released — Dolly Parton (Songwriter) must be paid her mechanical royalty even if Dolly Parton (Performer) makes nothing. The same holds true when a song is downloaded.

As with anything, there are some nuances to this law. First, if the songwriter (Dolly) has commercially released her song, anyone who wants may cover her song on their release as long as the songwriter is paid the "mechanical royalty" for each reproduction. In other words, once you release a song, you cannot stop anyone from covering it. However, anyone that covers your song MUST pay you the mechanical royalty rate. If they don’t, they have violated the law and you can sue them.

Second, if the song has NOT been commercially released, the copyright holder (Dolly) can pick who gets to release her song first (herself or someone else), and negotiate any rate she wants for that first use.

Third, the songwriter (Dolly) can waive or modify any of her rights associated with her exclusive right of reproduction. For example, she can agree to get paid mechanical royalties only on CDs that sell. She may also be willing to accept less than the $0.091 per reproduction (called a reduced mechanical). There are lots of permutations of this, but the basic premise is that there is a starting point that everyone must negotiate from.

There is one more type of "reproduction" – these are called "interactive streams." There are two types of interactive streams. One is for services that charge a fee to listen to a song on demand (like Napster, Rhapsody, Mog, Rdio, etc), the other is for services that do not charge a fee to listen to a song on demand but are ad supported services (like YouTube).

With these two new types of reproductions, the government expanded the definition of reproduction and came up with additional mechanical royalty rates.

The owners of these sites and services are required to pay the songwriter a mechanical royalty, which is a combination of a percentage of the revenue generated by the site and a payment per each subscriber. Mechanical royalties are significantly lower for those sites that are non-interactive (like Pandora), than they are for interactive sites (like Rdio) 

The very short version of all of this is, if you write a song, you are to be paid each and every time it is reproduced. This royalty stands alone and must be paid to the songwriter (and only the songwriter (Dolly) – not the performer (Whitney)) regardless of anything else. And this is one of the reasons why Paul and John have so much more money than George and Ringo.

As previously mentioned, when you are the author of an original work (like a song), and you fix that work in a tangible medium (write it down, record it), you are automatically granted six exclusive rights. One of the rights that you don’t hear about very much is the right to create a "derivative work." It, like all the other rights, is codified in the United States Copyright Act and states:

A "derivative work" is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a "derivative work".

Put simply, the only person who can create or grant the rights for a derivative work to be created is the holder of the copyright for the original work.

Translations – i.e. singing the song in another language

When, for instance, The Gypsy Kings decided to do a version of The Eagles’ "Hotel California," sung in Spanish (as seen in The Big Lebowski), it was a translation of the original work, and as such, not a cover. Thus, the Gypsy Kings had to get permission from the copyright holder(s) of "Hotel California" (the songwriter(s)) in order to create this "derivative" version of the work. Remember, as we discuss above in the "Right to Reproduce" section, you can cover any song that has been publicly released without getting anyone’s permission so long as you don’t make substantive changes to the lyrics or melody, and you abide by the mechanical license (i.e. legal) requirements.

A translation, however, is deemed to be a substantial change, and therefore a derivative work, which, as an exclusive right of the holder of the copyright (the songwriter), requires permission to be granted. In other words, you can say "no".

As you can see from the above quote from the Copyright Act, it’s not just translations that are deemed derivative works, and require permission from the holder of the copyright. If you, for instance, wanted to create a movie or TV show based on a song, it would be deemed a derivative work (we, like you, are anxiously awaiting the TV show adaptation of the Justin Timberlake song "SexyBack").


Where I believe derivatives will be relevant to most readers is with respect to sampling. Sampling is one of the most confusing elements of the music business, but understanding derivatives will help you better understand both the rules of sampling, and - depending on which side of the fence you’re on (sampler or sampled) - the money to be paid/made.

A sample is when you take a piece of an existing copyrighted work (the © and/or the ℗) and combine it with another work. If you refer back to the language from the Copyright Act regarding derivatives you’ll see explicitly where samples and derivatives overlap: "…any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted."

Because a sample clearly involves "recast[ing], transform[ing], or adapt[ing]" one work in order to merge it with another work, the copyright holder of the work being recast, transformed, or adapted must grant permission for this to occur. Simply put, because a sample is a derivative work, you cannot sample someone else’s copyrighted work without permission.

Note that there are typically two copyrights that must be addressed when a work is sampled (and thus two copyright holders from whom you must get permission in order to avoid infringing):
1. The copyright to the song itself - the ©
2. The copyright to the version of the song (i.e. the master) – the ℗ 

For instance, if you want to sample the guitar riff from a Beatles’ song, you would need to negotiate a deal with the copyright holder to the song (The Beatles’ publisher(s) - the ©), and negotiate a deal with the copyright holder to the version of the song from the recording from which you are sampling (The Beatles’ label - the ℗). Either party can reject the request and refuse to grant you the right to create a derivative work. Should they not reject the request outright, they will negotiate with you to attempt to come to terms that allow you to create a derivative work. Unlike mechanical royalties (see the Reproduction chapter) there is no legally required maximum rate for samples, so publishers and master holders will negotiate in order to get everything they can - including the rights to the copyright of the song that is using their sample.

A lesser-known approach to sampling is often referred to as a "replay." This is where a derivative work is created and used as part of another work via a re-performance/re-recording of a piece of the original work.

For instance, if an artist, instead of taking the sample of a guitar riff from a Beatles’ record, plays the riff herself and then uses her version within her own song, she creates a derivative work of the composition (the song), but not the master. In this situation, the person creating the derivative "replay" would need to negotiate a deal with the copyright holder of the song (i.e. the publisher), but not with the copyright holder of the recording (i.e. the master holder - typically, the label). Of course, the publisher can reject the request; in which case, the replay cannot be used.

If you do not negotiate the rights to create a derivative/sample work with the relevant copyright holder(s), you are infringing on the exclusive right of the copyright holder(s) to create a derivative work, and you can be sued.

It cuts both ways, of course; should someone want to sample your copyrighted work, he or she will have to negotiate a deal with you in order to do so, or risk you suing them for infringing upon your exclusive right to create derivative works.

A note on the fair use defense of "transformativeness." 

The band 2 Live Crew used a sample of the Sony/BMG controlled master (the ℗) from the Roy Orbison song controlled by the publisher Acuff-Rose "Oh, Pretty Woman" (the ©) in their song called "Pretty Woman".

The U.S. Supreme Court held in Campbell v Acuff-Rose Music Inc. (i.e. the "2 Live Crew Case") that while 2 Live Crew’s unauthorized use of elements of "Oh, Pretty Woman" constituted a derivative work, the infringement was defensible due to fair use because 2 Live Crew’s version provides new insight to listeners, and thus represents socially important commentary (this is very similar to/overlaps with the fair use defense of parody).

This transformativeness fair use defense is likely what the sampling artist Girl Talk will rely on should any of the various copyright holders sue him for infringing upon their exclusive right to create derivative works.

There is no such thing as a "small enough" sample Don’t be confused with respect to misinformation regarding the right to use small amounts of another’s copyrighted work in your composition - i.e. a "short" sample - without legal risk. There is no clear standard for what is considered de minimis usage, and thus you are at risk if you use someone else’s copyrighted work no matter how short that "use" is.

Ignorance is not a Defense
The courts do not view ignorance as a defense. If you create a derivative work without knowing or intending to do so - e.g., you put a riff in your work that is so similar as to be seen as a derivative work of another’s copyrighted material, but you didn’t know about this prior work - the law states that you are still infringing on the copyright holder’s exclusive right to create a derivative work. However, if you can show that there was no knowing or intentional infringement, the damages will be less than if you intentionally and knowingly infringed

As soon as you write down or record an original song you get the exclusive right to display this work in public. This right is more often thought to relate to photographers, painters, sculptors or others who work in the visual realm. However, this exclusive right does have relevance to those who hold copyrights in musical works (songs) as well.

The Copyright Act defines displaying a work as showing a copy of the work, directly or via some "device or process" (like the Internet or a t-shirt). Such a display is considered public in one of four situations: (i) when it is at a place open to the public; (ii) when it is at a place with a group of people larger than a gathering of family or the normal circle of friends; (iii) when it is transmitted to a place open to the public or a group of people larger than a gathering of family or the normal circle of friends; or (iv) where it is transmitted to the public (i.e., television and radio broadcasts).

The most obvious way in which the exclusive right to display a "copyrighted audio work" (i.e. a song) is done is by displaying the lyrics – for example, a website that publishes song lyrics. The display (and, of course, reproduction) of song lyrics on a t-shirt, in a book, on a website etc. can only occur if the copyright holder has granted the right.

This same right needs to be negotiated and granted to anyone that wants to create, distribute and/or reproduce sheet music. Increasingly, this right to display comes into play with respect to online lyric/tab sites. It is unlikely that these websites that make money via advertising have negotiated with the copyright holder to display their lyrics. In other words, they are making money through advertising off of other people’s copyrights.

Of course, if you are the songwriter and record label you likely have the copyright to the graphic elements associated with the package (cover, etc.), you will have the exclusive right to display these elements as well. Thus, album artwork used on t-shirts, posters, etc., must be cleared by you prior to its being publicly displayed.

The Copyright Act grants copyright holders to musical works (the ©) the exclusive public performance rights. This performance includes both live performances and transmissions of performances; for example, songs played on radio or TV.

Under the law, a public performance is: 
(1) it occurs at a place open to the public where there is a substantial number of persons, outside of a gathering of family and friends (like a live gig); or (2) the performance is transmitted to such a place (like being in a bar watching the live gig happening somewhere else); or (3) the performance is transmitted so that members of the public can receive the performance at the same or different places, at the same or different times (like being at home and watching the gig on the internet).

The Exclusive Right to Publicly Perform a Copyrighted Work.
As one example, the exclusive right to publicly perform a copyrighted work means that only the copyright holder of the song (the songwriter) may, for instance, play the song in a club. Additionally, it means that in order for a radio station to broadcast that artist’s copyrighted song, the radio station must have an agreement in place with the songwriter (the ©). Same deal if, for instance, a TV station airs a show in which a copyrighted song by the artist plays during the opening credits or in the background of a show.

The Performing Rights Organizations (also known as PROs):ASCAP, BMI, SESAC
In order for the above to take place, clearinghouse agencies were created– that is, a place an entity can go that represents a whole lot of songwriters. In the United States, these agencies are known as Performance Rights Organizations (PROs). There are three dominant ones in the United States: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. Each does the same thing: they act on behalf of the songwriters who have affiliated with them, and issue licenses to those who wish to broadcast (i.e. publicly perform) these artists’ copyrighted songs. Further, these PROs distribute the money they collect in license fees from these broadcasters to their members whose copyrighted songs are publicly performed.

For instance, club owners pay the PROs a flat annual license fee that allows artists to perform copyrighted music in their club. This is how any artist is able to stand up on any stage and sing a Bob Dylan song. The PROs use a variety of methods (including visiting clubs) to determine which songs are being publicly performed.

In a similar fashion, the PROs monitor radio play and music played on TV in order to determine which of the writers who have affiliated with them are having their copyrighted works publicly performed.

For all of the above, only one copyright holder gets paid: The Songwriter (the ©). This means, for instance, that every time Columbia Records’ version of Whitney Houston singing Dolly Parton’s song "I Will Always Love You" is played on the radio, broadcast on TV or performed by Whitney Houston in concert, it is Dolly Parton (and those who represent her) who receive the public performance royalties from the PRO. Columbia Records and Whitney get nothing. 

This exclusive right to publicly perform a copyrighted work is incredibly important for artists and songwriters to understand as it can generate significant amounts of money.

In order to receive this royalty, the writer must become a member of one of the above-mentioned PROs, and then register each song.

Once you write down or record an original song, you get the exclusive right to distribute. 

With respect to CDs, vinyl, or downloads (also known as "phonorecords"), this simply means no one can sell, rent, or lease copies of your songs without an agreement in place. So, if you are an artist who releases your own records, and you want someone to distribute copies of your records (either physically or digitally), you must enter into an agreement with the distributor to do so.

In addition, there are important elements of the "right to distribute" that relate to the use of music in movies and TV shows. Below, we address each of these things.

First Sale Doctrine
One wrinkle with respect to the right to distribute is that once someone buys a copy of copyrighted work (like a CD), they are able to resell, rent, or lend those works (i.e. give it to a friend or sell it on eBay). This is known as the "First Sale Doctrine". This is how used CD stores and libraries, for example, are not infringing on the exclusive right of distribution held by the author or publisher of the work.

First Sale Doctrine as it Applies to Digital Copies
The First Sale Doctrine is different with digital copies like a download or Internet based stream.
Congress passed The Digital Millennium Copyright Act to address issues with respect to the "First Sale Doctrine" in the digital age. It states that while you may purchase a digital copy of a song, you do not have the right to then distribute it digitally in the same way you are able to resell a CD to a used CD store. The rationale, of course, relates to another exclusive right of the copyright holder: the right to reproduce.

When you resell or lend a physical CD that you have bought, you are actually handing over (distributing) the very same copy of the work that you bought. In other words, you are not reproducing that copy. On the other hand, under the law, you are not allowed to buy a CD, burn a copy of it, and sell that burned copy to a used CD store, because you’re violating the exclusive right to reproduce. Similarly, in a digital world, you cannot download a song to your hard drive, and then sell a copy of that song (keeping a copy on your hard drive), because you are reproducing the work, and you don’t have the right to do so.

The Right to Distribute as it Applies to Synchronizations - film and TV placement
One key component of the right to distribute is its impact on the ability to use a song in a TV show or movie. When a producer of a film, TV show, or ad desires to use music in a production, the producer must obtain the rights to use this music from the copyright holder(s).

If, for instance, James Cameron wants to use the Dolly Parton song (the ©) "I Will Always Love You," that was recorded and released on an album by Columbia Records (the ℗), Mr. Cameron must make a deal with both Dolly (for the song) and Columbia Records (for the recording of the song). He needs Dolly and Columbia Records to grant him the rights to both reproduce and distribute their copyrights. He does this by offering to pay them a lot of money.

Thus, Mr. Cameron must obtain what is called a "synchronization license" from the copyright holder of the song (Dolly) and a "master usage" license from the label (Columbia Records). These licenses grant Mr. Cameron the right to reproduce and distribute the film with Columbia Records’ recording of Dolly’s song in it. If he does this without getting the rights, he could be sued for more money than he made off Titanic (well, maybe not, but you get the point).

Some of you may be asking what about the right to have the film shown on TV, and not infringe upon the copyright holder’s exclusive rights to publicly perform. The answer, as described in greater detail above in the "Performance Right" section, is that those rights are negotiated with the broadcasters (i.e. the TV stations) on behalf of the copyright holders of the song by the Performance Rights Organizations. One side-note, movie theaters in the US are exempt from paying public performance fees.

The Right to Distribute relates directly back to revenue, as no one may distribute (sell, lend, etc.) your work without your having granted them the rights to do so. Additionally, no one may take your song and use it in a film, TV show, or ad and distribute your work without negotiating with you and getting your permission.

There are two ways for your music to get "radio" play:
The old fashioned way: AM/FM radio where a "terrestrial" (meaning a broadcast tower sitting here on planet earth) transmits your music to the world via good old fashioned radio waves.

And second, the new "Digital Transmission" way: for the most part, Digital Transmissions happen via the Internet (like Pandora or another Internet radio station); a satellite (Sirius Satellite Radio or Scotty beaming music down to the poor doomed Enterprise Red Shirt); or Cable TV (like Music Choice).

Under federal law, when music is played on AM/FM radio, the person(s) that actually wrote the song must get paid a royalty for the "public performance."

Taking our example from before: Columbia Records negotiates a deal with Whitney Houston to sing Dolly Parton’s song "I Will Always Love You." Columbia Records’ version of the song is played on AM/FM radio. Dolly (Songwriter) gets paid for the public performance, but Columbia (Label) and Whitney (Performer) get nothing for this public performance. Yeah, it’s weird, but that’s the way it works (and once again, you now know why Paul and John made a lot more money than George and Ringo.)*

The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) changed this by stating when music is played via "digital transmission" radio, Dolly Parton (Songwriter) AND Whitney Houston (Performer) AND Columbia Records (Label) must get paid. The amount paid to the performer (Whitney) and the record label (Columbia Records) is a rate set by the government.

Therefore, if your recordings have been played via Digital Transmission, U.S. federal law requires that you receive royalties. If it’s your song, or your voice, or your instrumental on the recording, you are owed money that is sitting and waiting for you to collect.

To monitor and collect this money, the music streaming companies provide detailed electronic play logs which are matched to individual recordings allowing an entity called SoundExchange to pay out exactly what is earned. As soon as you sign up online for free with SoundExchange (SoundExchange.com), you can collect royalties you’ve earned dating back to the beginning of collections in 1996. 

SoundExchange, a non-profit organization, was appointed by the Library of Congress to collect and distribute these royalties to artists like you. It is free to register with SoundExchange to collect your past or future royalties. 

Just to clarify, plays from sites like YouTube or MySpace do not fall under this law because these sites are deemed to be interactive; meaning listeners can select the specific tracks they wish to stream (a function radio does not have). This means that although YouTube, MySpace and others pay a PRO like ASCAP/BMI/SESAC (talked about elsewhere in this booklet), they are NOT ALSO paying SoundExchange.

If you are the Songwriter (Dolly Parton), the Performer (Whitney Houston) and the Record Label (Columbia Records) and you register with SoundExchange and a PRO like ASCAP/BMI/SESAC you will receive the maximum amount possible each time there is a public performance via Digital Transmission of your music.

*For terrestrial AM/FM radio play, every industrialized country in the world, EXCEPT the United States, requires both Whitney (Performer) and Columbia Records (Label) to be paid when they play the song.

These six rights can sound complex and confusing. Don’t let them intimidate you. It is vital that you understand them, as these are the rights that enable you to make informed decisions, control your rights, make money and pursue your passions on your own terms.

After reading this booklet, your next steps should be registering your songs with the copyright office and registering with a PRO and SoundExchange.

The rest you can deal with on a case-by-case basis as the opportunities pop up.

Remember, these are YOUR rights, and you can do with them as you wish, either enforce them vigorously or waive them; the decision is yours. The point is there are rules and laws in place for you to use as you deem appropriate. This is your music and you career. With this information at your fingertips it should help you make the best decisions to pursue your goals.

Dance/Electronica Music Marches To Its Own Beat

While dance/electronica music is heard in the background in nightclubs, Internet communities such as Beatport and hyperactive car commercials, alongside pop, rap, country, and R&B, some would argue it is a genre swimming underneath the mainstream. On the other hand, in drawing 250,000 fans to festivals such as Las Vegas' Electric Daisy Carnival in June 2011, artists such as David Guetta cracking the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 and a diverse nominee slate for this year's GRAMMY Awards, perhaps the dance/electronica genre is nestled comfortably as a part of mainstream music.

Since nominations were announced in November 2011, some have been calling this the watershed moment for dance/electronica music at the GRAMMYs, with dubstep artist Skrillex garnering an impressive five nominations, including in the prestigious Best New Artist category. And for the first time ever in the history of the GRAMMY telecast, dance/electronica music will be highlighted with a special performance featuring Deadmau5 and David Guetta with Chris Brown, Foo Fighters and Lil Wayne on the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12. This special segment is only an extension of The Recording Academy's embrace of the dance/electronica genre, following the installation of the Best Dance Recording category in 1997.

The Dance/Electronica Field added a second category, Best Dance/Electronica Album, in 2004. Winners have included Basement Jaxx, the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and Lady Gaga. English electropop duo La Roux picked up the album award at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards last February, while Rihanna's ubiquitous "Only Girl In The World," produced by Stargate, Kuk Harrell and Sandy Vee, won for Best Dance Recording.

While dance/electronica music has been widespread and influential for many years, its mainstream acceptance brings with it the risk of being subsumed by broader styles, not unlike punk rock’s gentrification by pop into the more consumer-friendly new wave. But the mixing of genres can also produce the creative DNA to keep a form healthy and thriving. That’s exemplified by the recent partnership between The Academy and Hyundai for Re:Generation, a documentary that makes a powerful statement about music's creative process. Premiering during GRAMMY Week on Feb. 9, Re:Generation chronicles the creative journey of leading DJs the Crystal Method, DJ Premier, Pretty Lights, three-time GRAMMY winner Mark Ronson, and Skrillex as they interpret and put a new spin on traditional styles of music, from classical and jazz to rock and funk. The film captures the DJs collaborating with some of music's top artists, including Erykah Badu, the Doors, LeAnn Rimes, and Nas, among others.

This collaborative spirit of the dance/electronica genre has been recently sampled in songs such as Rihanna's "We Found Love" in which the pop songstress teams with DJ Calvin Harris for a club-ready danceable tune, SBTRKT's "Wildfire" featuring electronica artist Little Dragon and hip-hop newcomer Drake and Guetta's "Without You" featuring Usher.

GRAMMY-nominated artist Moby, whose most recent nomination came in 2008 for Best Electronic/Dance Album forLast Night, recognizes the increasing popularity of the genre.

"If you go to a rock concert, there are four people standing onstage playing songs that sound nice," Moby recently toldUSA Today. "[If] you go see Skrillex or Deadmau5 live, there's a huge production value. The lights, the sound — it's hard not to be impressed."

Current GRAMMY nominee Deadmau5 has built a worldwide audience over several years putting on light-show performances wearing his signature "ugly a** mouse head that only cost me $500 to make," according to the artist. After earning his first GRAMMY nomination in 2008 for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for "The Longest Road (Deadmau5 Remix)," the artist is up for three awards this year, including Best Dance/Electronica Album for 4X4=12.

Speaking to the recently announced plans by television personality/producer Simon Cowell ("American Idol," "The X Factor") for a talent competition focusing on finding the world's best DJs, Deadmau5 says dance/electronica music is finally getting the attention it has long deserved.

"It sure seems that [dance/electronica music] has been deemed fashionable these days to warrant its own long overdue primetime slot to the masses," Deadmau5 said in a post on his blog. "This concept, if anything, is going to catapult the awareness of [the genre] through the roof."

As all indicators point to a heightened mainstream profile for dance/electronica music, artistry and a sense of community remain the key ingredients for Skrillex.

"Now electronic music isn't [just] the side stage thing," said Skrillex in a video interview with The Recording Academy regarding his Best New Artist nomination. "These artists are really being recognized as artists. That's the coolest part. To be a part of that is awesome, and it means so much to my community." 

(Brent Burns is the founder and creator of KickKickSnare.com, a music blog based in Los Angeles. He has a particular love for dance/electronica music and is the GRAMMY.com Community Blogger for the Dance/Electronica Field.)

"The Musician's Guide to Google+"

A few months ago, Google introduced their own social networking platform with the intention of entering the ring to contend for the social media crown against the likes of Facebook and Twitter. This platform, simply dubbed Google + (pronounced Google Plus), showcases quite a few similar features as its leading competition. So as a musician, you may be asking yourself ‘why would I even bother if Im already on Facebook and Twitter? Do I REALLY need to update yet another social account??’.

Well frankly, the answer is yes, you really do need to get yourself set up on Google + and the reasons as such are quite simple.

For the full article: http://arielpublicity.com/2011/12/07/the-musicians-guide-to-google/


MTV's EDM Artist of 2011 scored a whopping five Grammy nominations this year, including being the first DJ to land a Best New Artist nod. Indeed, Skrill's musical background — both on his own and as a member of his former group, From First to Last — has carried over into his brand of fiery electronica. Skrillex has garnered an audience the world over that includes ravers, house heads and rockers alike. In today's laptop generation of music, Skrillex is the new "rock." From his remix of Benny Benassi and Gary Go's "Cinema" to the recent Avicii pop song "Le7els" (not officially released yet), Skrillex dropped massive re-workings in '11, in addition to his More Monsters and Sprites EP. He scored video games, produced records for Korn, launched his own OWSLA label and hit almost every major festival in the States, including Coachella and Lollapalooza. An exceptional catalog of releases coupled with an incessant touring schedule has made Skrillex the biggest EDM star of the year, and in 2012, he plans to tour 322 of the 365 days.


Visit http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1675726/best-edm-artists-201 for the full article.

What is Sync Licensing?

In music industry terms, “synchronization” is the process of playing an existing composition and/or audio recording in conjunction with a moving picture of any kind: TV show, commercial, film, video game, corporate presentation, YouTube clip, etc. (Or on radio commercials with voice-over).

In order for someone to “sync” a particular composition (the song, melody, lyrics, etc.) to their new project (the show, commercial, movie, etc.), they must get permission from the publisher/songwriter and acquire what is called a “sync license.”

In return, a synchronization royalty (also called a “sync fee” or “licensing fee”) is paid to the publishers and songwriters. This process grants the new content creator the right to use the music and lyrics from an existing song in their work, but NOT the existing audio recording.

For THAT, a person wishing to sync an existing recording to their new content must acquire a “master use” license from the owner of the sound recording(usually the label). In the major label world, the publisher, the songwriter, and the owner of the master recording could all be different entities. If you’re in the independent music world, it’s likely that YOU are all three people in one.

How to earn money from licensing your music

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume you ARE all three entities in one, and that with one breath you could grant someone permission to use both your song AND your recording in their next project; what do you do next?

Well, you’ve got to find some folks that want to pay you for sync rights, right? And there are several ways to do that!  

For the complete article, visit http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2012/01/what-is-sync-licensing-what-are-synchronization-rights/.

HostBaby is Green! Offsets 7.43 Tons of C02 Emissions

HostBaby has offset our carbon emissions for the second year in a row as a part of our green initiatives program. What does this mean? Well basically, we measured the carbon production of our web servers and used Carbonfunds' calculator to estimate the environmental cost. We then donated that money towards carbon-reducing projects such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects.

HostBaby is already a paperless company (No paper bills, no catalogs, no snail mail) and we have a robust recycling program.

We all care about our planet. And now you know, when you host your website with HostBaby, we're doing our best to stay carbon neutral and support our environment.

Oasis Alternative Sampler

The song"Agave" was selected to be included on the latest CD, Oasis Alternative Sampler  - Volume IX. 

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