Friday, December 14, 2012

What a Producer Does and Why You Should Consider Using One

What a Producer Does and Why You Should Consider Using One

Working as a producer for the last twenty years, I’ve recorded with all kinds of artists from “fresh off the boat” newbies to artists whose experience in the world of music doubles or even triples my own. In every case, my role as a producer stays essentially the same. It’s that role that I’m going to describe in this article.
What is a Producer?
The best way I know to describe what a producer does comes in the form of this analogy: A producer is to a recording as a director is to a film. When it comes to making a film, the buck essentially stops with the director. It’s the director who steers the ship working with everyone from the actors to the technical editors in order to achieve his or her overall vision of the movie. It is exactly that way with a producer when it comes to making a recording. Not only must the producer have the experience to work with the studio engineer (often possessing the technical expertise to engineer the project themselves) but a producer must also have the musical understanding to help the artist with everything from song choice, structure and arrangement, to the all-important vocal performances that are vital in giving a recording its personality. In short, a producer provides the experience and necessary perspective to guide a recording from start to finish.
Producer Backgrounds
Producers can come from a variety of backgrounds. Here are the four most common and what each brings to the process, but, typically, producers have experience in more than one of these areas.
1) Producer/Songwriter – Since at its essence, a recording is dependent on the quality of the song, the producer/songwriter is heavily involved in the song selection process. Not only does this type of producer have experience in knowing what does and doesn’t work when it comes to pre-existing songs, but often this producer will co-write songs with the artist for a given project.
2) Producer/Musician – Here, it’s often an instrumental and music theory background that gives this type of producer their experience. They have first-hand knowledge when it comes to working with musicians and knowing what instrumental approach will work best in a given situation.
3) Producer/Engineer – In this case, the producer’s primary experience comes from actual recording (i.e., placing microphones on drum kits, recording vocals and mixing albums). By becoming an expert in the nuts and bolts of the recording process, an engineer/producer can make the recording process a smooth one for the artist.
4) Producer/Music Fan – This is someone who lives and breathes music and has the instincts to guide artists and session musicians through the recording process without necessarily having had the “hands on” experience of being a songwriter, musician or engineer themselves. They often bring great perspective to a situation where being too close to any one part of the process might compromise the overall recording.
What Do Producers Do?
Producers can be involved in many different aspects of a recording. Some producers are very “hands off,” acting mostly as the voice of experience and perspective for artists who already have a fairly clear idea of who they are and where they’re headed. On the other end of the spectrum are the producers who are involved in every element of the recording, from co-writing the songs, to engineering, to playing one or even all of the instruments. In some, but certainly not all of these cases, the resulting recordings have such a distinctive sound that the producer becomes as associated with the recording as the artist themselves. For the record, no one way takes precedence over any other for producing a recording. The only measure of a producer that matters is whether or not the resulting recording is satisfying to everyone involved. As most producers operate somewhere in between minimal and complete involvement, here are the main areas where most producers do their work.
1) Pre-production – This includes working with the artist to decide if the songs are as good as they can be and, ultimately, which songs would work best as a group for an album release. It also includes deciding on the overall sound of a recording which involves deciding which session musicians/instruments would be best suited to achieve the sound and feel of a particular song.
2) Instrumental Recording/Arrangement – At this point, the producer works with the assembled musicians and helps direct their performances in the studio in order to achieve a cohesive sound for the recording.
3) Vocals - Finally, because the typical music listener responds first to the voice of the singer, one of the most important roles of the producer is working with the vocalist to help them give their best and most sincere performance of their material. It is extremely difficult for even the most experienced vocalists to have any perspective on their performance while it’s happening. For this reason, a producer is the voice of reason and experience who knows how to encourage a vocalist to do one more vocal pass or helps them realize that it would be better to take a break and come back to fight another day.
How Do I Find A Producer?
For those who are new to the process of recording, whether it’s an album project or even a song demo, it is unclear where to look to find a producer for your project. Generally speaking, word of mouth in your music community serves as the best, most organic way to find a producer right for your project. Another effective way to find a producer, particularly if you’re interested in doing a whole recording project, would be to look at the liner notes on some of your favorite independent CD projects made in the city where you plan to record. Often, those producers are available for hire and it’s just a matter of getting their contact information, which the CDs usually include. Finally, there’s no rule that says you can’t contact a well-known/successful producer whose work you admire. Maybe they will be too busy or too expensive to work with, but you never know. If you’re respectful in your request, there’s no reason not to try.
At the end of the day, it’s a good working relationship and the trust between artist and producer that makes for the best results. So, be sure that you not only like a producer’s work but feel comfortable working with them as well. You’ll be spending a lot of time with this person and trusting them with your art, so make sure that you feel like the producer you choose is willing to give you and your music the attention necessary to get a great recording.
Good luck!

Friday, November 2, 2012

How To Utilize Your Social Networks

If you’re using Twitter a channel for promoting your music, then you know the importance of getting retweeted. A retweet can extend the reach of your post exponentially, and should be one of the main focuses when using Twitter to promote things going on within your music career.

Thankfully for your sanity, there have been hundreds of studies into just what kinds of post get retweeted the most. Here are 10 very easy tips and also some helpful information that will help you get your tweets retweeted as often as possible.

There are many things to consider when created a post to get potentially retweeted. You need to take into consideration the time of day your posting, what type of demographic you have as followers and many other little factors that are specific to your style of music. If your followers come alive at night, then make sure you’re posting tweets during that time to increase the chances of getting retweeted.

Below you’ll find 10 very easy to implement tips to help you get retweeted.

  • Ask questions.
  • Help your followers learn stuff.
  • Stop just tweeting about yourself.
  • Don’t tweet the same thing all day.
  • Post quotes or creative messages.
  • Include a link in your tweets no more than 50% of the time.
  • If you enjoyed a certain post, tweet that author and let them know.
  • Make sure you have a profile pic and not just the Twitter egg.
  • Share other people’s tweets often.
  • Make sure your followers are targeted to your demographic.

Whether you want to agree on it or not, Twitter is a very powerful tool. By doing some or all of the above recommendations on a consistent basis you can see a big increase in your content getting retweeted.

What Are The Essential Features Of A Hit Record

What Are The Essential Features Of a Hit Record?
We have all heard those hit songs that can be considered ‘timeless classics’.
Whether it’s a hip hop track, a rock classic or an 80’s power ballad, these songs share some essential features that ensure they will be on the airwaves for years to come. Obviously there is not one hard and fast rule for this as every song is different, but here is a list of features that many of these hit records share.

A ‘catchy’ song

Starting with the obvious, a hit record must be a great song. Above all the melody must be strong, as this is what a listener focuses on and this should be accompanied by some great lyrics and a good groove. You can apply the best production techniques possible, but if the song is weak then the record will sink without a trace!

A strong vocal

Having a great vocal is a real asset to any record. If you have a quality song and you have a strong vocalist to sing the melody, then this can be the golden ticket to creating a hit record. A great vocal does not necessarily need to be technically proficient, but more to do with how a singer can successfully interpret the emotion in the song i.e. how they can convey the message in the lyrics.

A creative arrangement

After the song and the vocal, you need to ensure you have a strong arrangement. This involves using the right structure and ensuring each section of the music is interesting for the listener. This can be achieved by adding extra instruments, adding a counter melody, changing the drum pattern, or changing the key etc. Have a listen to some hit songs, and pay attention to the subtle differences between each section. How is verse 2 different to verse 1? How is the last chorus different to the first?

An accomplished performance

You may have the heard the crude expression “You can’t goldplate a turd” and this definitely applies to creating a hit record. A track must sound like there is ‘life’ in the performance and no amount of editing in the studio, fiddling with EQ’s, compression or reverb can replicate this. It can be hard to put your finger on it at times, which is all the more frustrating, but sometimes one take just sounds better than another. If you have musicians who put there all into a performance and play with real emotion and intensity, then the production phase becomes far easier!

A well produced track

Although there are examples of hit songs which don’t technically sound very good, generally the really big and timeless records do sound excellent. A well engineered record does not guarantee it will be a smash, especially if the song, vocal, arrangement and performance are not up to scratch, but it can add an extra dimension to the overall sound, if the EQ’s are well balanced and the right amount of reverb and compression is applied.

The timeless factor

Despite having all the previous factors in place, if the track sounds like the last trend, and the musicians or band members look like it too, then the record might not take off as you would like. Having said that, a ‘retro’ look and sound to a band can work out really well if you go back two or more trends.

Are all the above factors essential for every hit song?

Well in short, no.

There will always be some songs which become hit records and cannot be explained. You will find some songs with weak vocals and melodies which take the charts by storm.

However, on most of the really big hits, you will find they contain the majority, if not all, of the factors in this article. Songs like “Merry Christmas Everybody” by Slade will be heard every December in shopping malls and on the radio. Other hits like “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson and “Imagine” by John Lennon will be played all year round for many years to come.

Would you like some great tips on how to write a song and compose music in any style? Download a FREE 10-page guide on “5 Essential Elements On How To Improve Your Music Making In Any Style” at

What's The Real Cost Of Signing A Record Deal

What’s The Real Cost of Signing A Major Record Deal?

If new artists are akin to California fires, the intensity is still the same as it was 20 years ago. It's just that more people now have matches. Sadly, they're all choosing to light up in the same spot. Everybody wants a major deal. It makes you wonder how many more crooked deals will be dealt before newcomers finally decide to promote their art independent of the strings of majors. Aligning with a major label offers few benefits beyond the spoils of fame and the facade of a panoramic lifestyle. Let's examine the merits and demerits of being on a major label, shall we?

Sure, having the long-reaching tentacles of majors will help deliver your product to the masses and bring you ample exposure. The problem is that new artists often get peanuts on their percentages in exchange for fame. Who wants to be a broke but famous star?

It's true that you're likely to get large advances from majors. That said, just remember that you have to pay back the advances and recordings costs from your royalty rate as applied to actual sales. When your records no longer shift those monstrous units, you'll find that you're stuck making money for a label even if the passion and financial benefits are long gone. It's like taking a loan that ties you to your creditor long enough to limit your long-term success.

Ah, the main objective of everyone who's ever picked up a mic. If you made an argument in favor of sales 12 years ago, I would've nodded in agreement and slapped you hi-five. A cursory glance at the record sales within the last 5 years, however, shows an industry that's on its knees. Every dime spent on promoting an artist's record, from video production costs to radio promo, is recoupable from his royalty points (with few exceptions, of course). When, say $300,000 of income goes to the label, only about 10% of that goes towards recoupment. This way, you'll have to shift a bazillion units to see substantial revenue from royalty points.

Major vs Indie
It's a surprise that newcomers, who clearly have respectable artistic goals, aren't deciding to pass up opportunities to sign to majors. Drake, for instance, had an opportunity to buck tradition and stick it to the majors. He had already gathered reams of buzz. His mixtapes were moving like hot cakes. He had an opportunity to debut in the Top 10 as an independent artist. In the end, he chose to play ball with the same people that passed on an opportunity to sign him when he was just Wheelchair Jimmy. The world is waiting to see how his deal with Universal will impact his craft. On the flip side, Chicago outfit the Cool Kids and New Orleans MC Jay Electronica have shown that it's possible to attain reasonable success sans the backing of a major. Did you hear the one about Cool Kids co-headlining a North American tour with the Clipse in 2009? That's an indie act with no full-length album co-headlining a tour with a major act. Lucrative deals with the likes of Nike and EA Sports stand as a testament to the Chicago duo's ability to leverage their music for indie success. Similarly, Jay Electronica, who's affiliated with New York-based indie Decon Records, has managed to build a cult-like street following while churning quality music. Indies like Rhymesayers Entertainment, Duck Down and Stone's Throw Records have all managed to stay relevant for decades while consistently dropping quality albums. Everyone seems to be jostling for the top spot these days, but the smart ones have figured out that the middle is where the gold lies.

Quality vs Quantity
One area that illuminates the disparity between majors and indies is album packaging. Sometimes it takes an album that offers a combination of quality music and unique packaging to get a consumer's attention. Brent Rollins, the mastermind behind many classic hip-hop album covers (including Freeway & Jake One's Stimulus Package) laments that big labels are more reluctant to invest in superior packaging. "When I work with large labels," says Rollins, "it’s like pulling teeth just getting them to use something like a metallic ink on an album cover. Sometimes they talk about something like 5 cents out of a dollar extra to do something. I know that adds up when you’re printing a lot of them, but we’re talking about giving something back to people." While large record companies are typically less enthusiastic about embracing new ideas, independent labels have always been synonymous with creative liberty. Others might continue to seek the rat race that is wooing a major label, but diligent artists will seize every available opportunity to steward their future and change the game. Take it from Courtney Love, who's seen both the good and the ugly side of major deals. "If a record company has a reason to exist, it has to bring an artist's music to more fans and it has to deliver more and better music to the audience. You bring me a bigger audience or a better relationship with my audience or get the f--k out of my way.

Summing It Up
This is not to suggest that major record cartels are irrelevant. Previously undiscovered artists benefit from the huge promotional break a major has to offer. It takes a ton of funds to break a new artist -- funds most artists don't have on their own. But it's important to weigh the pros and cons of signing to a major before making the plunge. What's the real cost of signing a freaking 5-album major deal in the long run? What does it mean when an artist has to recoup, say $250,000 of her promo budget while the label earns 10 times that amount? Keep in mind that most artists makes $0 from royalty points until recoupment is clear. That's sad. The music industry is a burning house and people are running into the building with more gasoline instead of trying to douse the fire. Will this be the generation that finally capsizes a broken system or will it be the one that settles for the okey-dokey? Will this be the generation that revolutionizes music business or will it be the one that settles for a stint in the belly of the beast? That question lies in the hands of the Drakes and the Jay Electronica's of this world.

How To Get Your Music Published

Getting your music published is usually one of the first goals an artist looks to accomplish in a developing music career. However, lots of up and coming musicians are lost in the dark when it comes to understanding how to get their music, instrumentals and beats published. What we decided to do for those who are in need of this information, is layout the basics of getting your music published in today’s music industry.

First and foremost, you will need actual recorded music to make this whole thing possible, so if you’re not at that stage in your career, that’s going to be the first thing you need to complete. Once you have recorded music the next logical step is making sure those recordings are protected from copyright infringements by registering them with the library of congress. This step protects your recordings for basically your entire life plus 70 years, so make sure you don’t miss this step.

Once you have your music, instrumentals and beats protected by the library of congress, you’ll want to then create a spreadsheet where you can add in all of the music publishers that you’re going to be researching. Once you have the spreadsheet created, the next step is going to be researching music publishers who work with your style of music, instrumentals and beats. When researching publishers for your music it’s important to note things like non exclusive or exclusive deals that they offer to their artist. This is a very important step that you don’t want to miss because it can possibly have a major effect on what you would like to do with your music in the future. Ideally, finding more non-exclusive deals is the best possible option for most new independent artists.

When you have your spreadsheet filled up with at least 100 music publishers, you’ll need to create an email template that you can send to all the companies listed on your sheet. Make sure the first email you send is somewhat short and to the point. All you should try to accomplish on your first email is permission to send another email with an MP3 attached or a link to your music for them to consider for their roster addition. As you start getting responses back, make sure you’re noting them on your spreadsheet and also responding back with all of the information that they are asking you for. In some cases, they’re going to request you send them a physical CD. If you have one, send it. If you don’t, just be honest and let them know that you only have digital recordings of the songs that they’re requesting, however you have no problem getting them on a physical CD if needed.

One thing to keep in mind is that as long as the music publishing deals you’re signing are non-exclusive, you can always look for and work with more publishers for those same songs. However, if the deal is exclusive, it’s going to be a guarantee that the publisher you signed the contract with is going to be the only one who can work with the songs that you signed with them.

Once you get this down, the only thing left is to repeat this process over and over as often as possible. Like most things, with more people out there that are working your songs the more likely you’re going to start getting placements on a consistent basis.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kendrick Lamar Reveals Meaning Of "good kid, m.A.A.d city" & Collabo With T.I.

Kendrick Lamar reveals the meaning behind the title of his album "good kid, m.A.A.d City" and discusses working with T.I., J. Cole, and Scoop DeVille.
West Coast hip hop is being revolutionized and Kendrick Lamaris at the forefront. With his first major studio album dropping next week, K.Dot has been making the media rounds to promote good kid, m.A.A.d city and finally comes clean as to the meaning behind the decoded title. He also discusses collaborating with T.I. and his project with J. Cole, and recording with producer Scoop DeVille.
The title of his album is an obvious ode to the city he’s from, Compton, but Kendrick had not actually divulged he meaning of “good kid, m.A.A.d ity”, but now says it is double meaning, “Two meanings, the first one is...My Angry Adolescence Divided,” and adds the second meaning is, “My Angel’s on Angel Dust.” Apparently the Cali rapper smoked a bad batch of weed once that was laced with angel dust, “that’s the reason I don’t smoke...that was me, that the guy laced...It was just me getting my hands on the wrong thing at the wrong time.” As for the capitalized “As” he says it is just a style choice, “I just wanted that to stand out – on the capitalized As.”
Recently he called T.I. onto stage during a performance, and Lamar admits that the two had recorded something together, “We got something, on his album – with Tip...It’s a crazy joint.” As far as the anticipated collabo project with J. Cole, Kendrick remained tight lipped, “Ya, we gonna drop that out the sky, I ain’t givin no dates, no nuthin.”
His single “Poetic Justice” which is a smooth track featuringDrake and production by Scoop DeVille. K.Dot talks about working with the producer, “me and scoop go back, all the way back to like ’08. He always just had crazy beats...I finally got a chance this time around to just lock in with him...he’s thinking out the box, man.”
Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city drops October 22nd.

Missy Elliott Talks "Supa Dupa Fly" And Titles For New Album

Fifteen years later, Missy Elliott talks about "Supa Dupa Fly" and discusses her recording process and possibly titles for her upcoming LP.

Partially responsible for revolutionizing the role of female rappers, Missy Elliott recently spoke about the fifteen year anniversary of her seminal album Supa Dupa Fly. Miss talks about how she feels that album was far ahead of its time, and then discusses possible album titles for her new project and her recording process.
When Supa Dupa Fly dropped in 1997, people did not know how to digest it, as it was a unique flow, and the visuals that accompanied were completely different from anything else people were seeing on TV. In her interview withFuse, via Rap-Up, Misdemeanor talks about how she feels it was ten or so years ahead of its time, “Everything about it, you hadn’t heard it before...even the rap flows was different. I think it was 10 years ahead, 15 years ahead.”
Discussing possible titles for her comeback album Missy mentions a Ustream session she had with fans, and how now she’s stumped on what to call the project, “Somebody said Class Dismissed sounds like class is over. Class In Session sounds like you’re taking people to school. I gotta figure it out.”
It may be fifteen years later, but when creating music goes, Missy believes in sticking to the formula that has worked for her over the years, “My approach to writing and producing, compared to when I did it in 1997. I don’t think it’s any different.” Missy adds that she’s always trying to stay ahead of the trends in music, “ I think I go in the same way, I try to write what is relatable to the people, not necessarily just what I think is hot... As far as producing, even back then, I try to do the opposite of everything I’m hearing.”
She was tight-lipped about features, but did hint that “Not Tonight (Ladies Night)” part two, which originally featured Eve and Lil Kim was a “great possibility”.

Exclusive: MMG's Omarion Announces "The Care Package" EP

During an exclusive interview with HNHH, Omarion announces he will be dropping an EP entitled "The Care Package" on November 12th.
After a summer of dominance, MMG continues to release stellar mixtapes and albums. In an exclusive interview with HotNewHipHop, Omarion announced that he will be dropping a free EP as a prelude to his upcoming album.
Always one to cater to the ladies, MMG’s R&B singer says he will be dropping the project entitled The Care Package, on November 12th, which happens to be his birthday. Omarion said, “I just decided maybe a couple of days ago, I’m gonna be dropping a hot new...what i’m calling it, The Care Package.”
He adds that although it’s his birthday, he wants to give a gift to his fans, “On the day of my birth, November 12th, we just gonna give ya’ll four or five records, hot and heavy for the women, to keep ya’ll warm, we gonna be giving away some free music. It’s my gift to you.”
HNHH will be dropping the full interview this Tuesday where we joined Omarion on the set of his latest video shoot.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Music Managers

Music managers
A music manager (or band manager) may handle career areas for bands, singers, and DJs.
A music manager may be hired by a musician or band, or the manager may discover the band, and the relationship is usually contractually bound with mutual assurances, warranties, performances guarantees, and so forth. The manager's main job is to help with determining decisions related to career moves, bookings, promotion, business deals, recording contracts, etc. The role of music managers can be extensive and may include similar duties to that of a press agent, promoter, booking agent, business manager (who are usually certified public accountants), tour managers, and sometimes even a personal assistant. Manager's contracts, however, cannot license those responsibilities unto the manager in the same way a state license would empower the agent to do so. Therefore, conflicting areas of interest may arise unless those are clarified in the contract. That said, a manager should be able to read and understand and explain a contract and study up on the long-term implications of contractual agreements that they, the bands, and the people they do business with, enter into.
Before the manager enters into an agreement with the band, their relationship may be regarded as competing for interest; after a good contract is signed, their interests, obligations and incentives are aligned, and the interest in success is shared.
Responsibilities of a music manager are often divided among many who manage various aspects of a musical career. With an unsigned act, music managers may assume multiple roles: graphic designer, publicist, promoter, and handling money and finances.[3] As an artist's career develops, responsibilities may grow, and because of their percentage agreement with the band, the manager's income may grow as well.
A music manager becomes important to managing the many different pieces that make up a career in music. The manager can assist singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists in molding a career, finding music producers, and developing relationships with record companies, publishers, agents, and the music-loving public. They should carefully consider when certain contributions have been made which would also entitle them to cowriting credits, Executive Producer credit, or Producer credit should they become involved in songwriting, financing works, or actually producing demos and recordings, and should carefully know these jobs and these fees should be considered either as separate from the contract, in addition to the contract, or as free to the musician as clarified in emails and the contract. The duties of an active music manager may include supporting the band's development of a reputation for the musician(s) and building a fan base, which may include mastering and launching a demo CD, developing and releasing press kits, planning promotional activities, creating social network identities for bands, and booking shows. A music manager may be present during recording sessions and should support the artist during the creative process while not interfering between the artist and the producer, but also musicians may also find valuable feedback in 3rd pair of ears and this should be carefully considered as well. They may gain access to a recording studio, photographers, and promotions. He or she will see that CD labels, posters, and promotional materials appropriately represent the band or artist, and that press kits are released in a timely manner to appropriate media. Launching a CD with complementary venues and dates is also a music manager's responsibility.
Early on in an artist's career, the different facets of management and marketing fall upon either the band itself or, if they have one, their manager. Because the band or artist is relatively unknown initially, promotion, booking, and touring are minimal. A new music manager begins by establishing a clear understanding of what the artist(s) want. This can be accomplished through either a written or verbal contract. A music manager's first task is to solidify all artist development aspects and then concentrate on product development.

[edit] Compensation

Striking a tentative compensation agreement that can be renegotiated after three or four months is recommended, and the rate of pay is generally based on commissions of 15 percent or more of performance and commercial incomes [4]. This amount depends on the level of development the band or artist is at and the experience, networks and resources of the manager. (The less developed the artist and more experienced the manager, the higher the commission.) The artist or band should never agree to circumstances that cannot be terminated or negotiated within a short period of time.[4]

[edit] Photography

Managers usually secure the services of a professional photographer while the artist is recording. Different 8x10 pictures of the artist can be used for websites, CD labels/jackets, posters, and the press kit. Cost for high quality shoots vary from $500 for a basic shoot to thousands for several looks. Photographers are not expected to cover material cost. It is important that the manager obtains an agreement upfront confirming license to use the images which will cover the uses necessary, in addition to high resolution digital images on CD. Managers are also advised to have photographs taken before CD designs or artwork goes into production. Managers are also responsible for hiring additional staff when necessary.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How To Tour Locally

How To Tour Locally

Thanks to the internet, many artists are now able to record, promote, and distribute their music independently. Getting the music out to fans has never been easier, but getting the band to the fans can still be as difficult as ever. Many independent musicians work other jobs to support their passion, but that can make it difficult to go out on tour for weeks on end. Thankfully, there are some viable options for up-and-coming bands to get a chance to tour in their local area while still maintaining their day jobs and lives.

The key to touring locally is to build local sustainable tour markets that you can use to expand upon later in your career. Many major cities are surrounded by smaller towns and cities that would probably love to have good live music come their way. A good starting point would be any city or town within a 2 to 3 hour drive of your hometown. The first step is to identify which venues you can play. Although you can email every bar in town and hope for the best, you’d be better off doing some proper research. You should research similar local artists and see where they like to play. Then take a chance and send them an email; who knows, maybe they’ll love your stuff.

Even though you may not have many people coming out to your show, you should still try your best to promote it; if all goes well, you’ll be coming back to play to hopefully a bigger crowd. The main idea behind local touring is to try and make a few new fans at each show you play. Then next time you play, those fans will come back and bring more friends.

Another good idea is to trade shows with other bands. You can research bands that are similar to yourself in other tour markets, and ask if you can play a show with them in their town. Then when they get a chance to go on tour, you can play a show with them in your hometown.

And if money is really tight and you don’t want to spend a lot on cheap motels, can be a great way to meet local people and stay at their place for free.

It’s usually a good idea to go on local tours every six weeks. That way you have enough time to play all the local markets and take some time to recover at home. Then get right back to it! You want to build a loyal fanbase locally so that when the time comes, you can start expanding to larger markets and hopefully draw in some of your local fans.

Harley - Here We Go (Green Screen Test)

3 Tips For Landing A Record Deal

3 Tips For Landing A Record Deal

We get asked all the time here at Music Clout; how can I get a record deal? The answer is somewhat complex in this day and age within the music industry. With so many things changing at neck breaking pace, record labels are often changing their approach when looking for artists to sign to their label. However, there are some fundamental things acts can work towards that can increase their chances of locking down the record deals they dream of.

We’re going to lay out the 3 basics of what just about every label that is still in business is probably looking for. You’ll probably agree that these things are very simple and what artists should be doing to constantly be evolving with their music. However, with so many music acts out there that are not growing and following these steps, it sometimes makes the most sense going back to the basis.

Ok, so here are the three basic tips that are at the core of how you get a record deal.

Having The Best Music: I know this goes without saying, but you’d be so surprised by the numbers of acts that just don’t pay enough attention to their actual music. Most people end up getting blinded by the truth, because of close friends giving them praise for the music they’re putting out. Always look for people who can give you a non-bias opinion about your sound, and don’t be afraid to take criticism. It’s always honestly that makes you grow the most. Also, make sure your current sound is somewhat in line to what’s popular within your actual style of music. Record labels aren’t looking to go too far outside the box when it comes to their current and future signings. Always make sure that the music you’re putting out is the absolute best it can be, and if you feel like it’s not ready, just be patient and release the music when it is ready.
Having A Ton of Fans: Nothing will get a record label more excited than signing an act that has a ton of fans. Actually, if just this one area is strong, everything else can be overlooked, including having great music. However, don’t count your lucky stars that this is going to happen to you. Most of the time stories like that are made from “American Idol” finalists and rarely translate to your everyday average up and coming music act. Regardless, acts must always try and work on building a solid and supportive fan base for their music because it’s going to be a main factor in helping the acts build their careers and eventually receive a record deal.

Be Proactive: Being proactive is underestimated and totally underused. If you’re working on growing your music career five days a week and someone else of equal talent is only putting in three, there’s no doubt who’s going to make the most moves forward to get a record deal. One of the best things an act can do to increase their chances of getting a record deal is by breaking up the responsibilities to various members of the group. This technique ads accountability for actions and also increases the overall productivity of the bands growth. Once you start to make strides in all areas of your career, you can then be very aggressive when it comes to really learning how to get a record deal. Start off by finding the labels you would want to get signed to, learn their contact information and start being proactive by contacting them and making them aware of your music.

So now you know what to say if ever asked: how can i get a record deal.

Being a Well Rounded Musician VS Mastering One Instrument

Being a Well Rounded Musician VS Mastering One Instrument

As we go along in life we experience our perspectives and views on the world around us constantly changing, Based on experiences and new encounters in society, with jobs, and money we go through many different stages that slightly change our values, our likes and dislikes, our daily routines, as well as who we consider to be our friends and enemies. Human beings especially artsy minds, in general tend to get bored with routines and habits of others who become predictable.

As musicians and music fans we experience many of the same feelings. As years go by, you will constantly be learning your craft, you may even change your instrument of choice, the genre you play, or even go through fads were you decide you are going to master jazz or classical pieces, even though your band plays metal. As these change you may find yourself getting annoyed with band mates, the material you are playing or the region you are playing in.

In the professional business world people are taught to pick one specific concentration and become as fluent and knowledgeable in it as possible. Such as choosing your major in college education, finding a career with that focus and then working a lifetime constantly growing, being promoted and becoming and expert in your field. But is this the same for musicians? What creates a more successful musician, one who is well rounded, been here and there, played keys in one band, guitar/vocal in another, and plays bass now, or one that has always and only been lead guitar since they began playing 15 years ago? Unlike most other professions, musicians do have the choice, and can be successful whether they are moderately good at many different instruments and styles, or focus on one main attribute, but there comes a time when you have to decide which is best for you.

Instances when it can be productive to be a well rounded musician:
  1. Your band is a cover band who plays a large catalog
  2. You are in higher education for music teaching, theory, composing or music therapy
  3. All members of your band play many instruments and you can create a dynamic live show by switching up who plays what throughout the show*
  4. You are a studio musicians who writes and records solely your own materials
  5. Playing music is your favorite hobby and passion but not career

When focusing on one instrument, one genre is good:
  1. You are trying to get your full band signed and put out many albums (A&R reps need to see constancy and steady growth in what the band or artist has been doing, they need to be well maintained and clear visions and goals for their music)
  2. You are trying to be a mainstream top 40 artist (think of all the successful legends, they are know for being the best at one thing, the best guitarist of all time, the best female soul singer, the greatest bassist to ever live)
  3. You want to maintain a steady and loyal fan base (think of the musicians who have dramatically changed their style, or bands who come out with a second album sounding nothing like their first and how negatively their fans react and the press ridicules them)

If you have or plan to work with the same band for years and decades, it is important that everyone in their own time is experiencing with different sounds and improving their own skills, to consistently bring new and exciting concepts to the bands writing of material. It's like being in any other type of a relationship. You have to work as a team, grow together, communicate, express feelings, and if not things could end badly, just think of how many bands end up slitting ways.

While the benefits of practicing and learning many different styles and instruments can be debated, it is always a valuable attribute to be a well informed musician. Reading up on other genres, current events, learning the history of music, especially your genre and about legendary musicians is always beneficial!
Regardless of which you decide is best for you, the main idea to keep in mind is time. Being a successful musician takes time, a life long journey of never quite being perfect or feeling like you have mastered your craft is the true reality of being an artist. So if you think it is a better use of your time to dabble here and there with different genres or instruments and the idea of actually mastering of a particular instrument does not entice you then go for it. But if you find a connection and passion while you are behind the mass of a particular instrument or voice then focus on that one thing. If it truly is your passion and you feel connected to it, it should never really feel like a job or chore, but a duty you must do be an accomplished musician and reach your goals.

Check Out this article on Rolling Stones voted Top 100 Artists of All Times.

Why Streaming Your Music Is A Good Thing

Why Streaming Your Music Is A Good Thing

Streaming music online is a touchy subject with some musicians, therefore there are a lot of different viewpoints on whether or not it is beneficial to allow free access to your intellectual property. The fact is, the benefits and disadvantages will depend on what level you’ re at in your music career. Figuring this out, along with your personal preferences, can help you decide what the best route to take is.

There are some artists spanning over many different types of art, painters, musicians, writers, etc, who have expressed a view that art should not be bought or sold, and its beauty is so great that it’s necessary to a society that it’s freely shared for everyone to enjoy. One can say that these types do have a morally correct viewpoint, and in theory, it’s a wonderful concept. If you are this type of music artist at any level of your career, by all means, let your music stream away and be happy that someone is listening and hopefully being inspired! However, for those of you that are starving and not o.k. with it, it might do you good to just accept the fact that streaming your music is becoming necessary evil, especially when you are an unknown.

The main reason for it being necessary is the invaluable exposure you or your young band can get from allowing your music to be streamed online. Free for anybody to listen? The shear fact that you have made your music free and widely available, could be the only reason new ears are listening. Also remember that the current fears about our economy have resulted in consumers being very selective when buying any product, even if it is just a measly $0.99 song. Allowing your music to be streamed gives a way for the consumer to first “test out” your music before making the decision to buy it which is good because people want to be absolutely sure these days that what they are buying is going to be worth the price, and they’ll actually use it.

Most importantly, in the first stages of your music career, not enough consumers know about you for it to be worth you trying to sell your music through a distributor like iTunes or CD Baby. Sure, you can register with one of these distributors and you may get a small number of loyal, local fans, that will buy your music, and you may receive a small royalty check. Royalty checks, no matter what the amount, are kind of neat to receive, but if you factor in the monthly/yearly cost to have your songs registered with iTunes, and the more expensive, non-monetary, cost of keeping your music sheltered, it just doesn’t make sense. Knowing how tough it can be for a starving, up and coming band, any money, no matter how small the amount, does seemed needed, but in the long run, getting a $100 royalty check every six months won’t do as much for your career as opening it up to everybody, and letting it stream.

There will be a certain point in your career, however, where you’ll have to decide when the best time will be to start really focusing on selling your music. This decision can be made based off your personal opinions about art and intellectual property, or based off the numbers that you proved you can hit, or you can project. We all remember Radioheads big deal a few years ago, where they allowed anyone to download their whole new album off their website for free. This left a lot of people angry, and guaranteed, most were probably those who stood to profit from Radioheads proven track record of selling mass amounts of records. Up until their latest album, The Black Keys would allow anyone to stream any of their music off their website, but in a recent interview, they revealed that it was time for them to stop this, realizing that streaming just doesn’t make sense for established, revenue-generating bands. What this really means is that someone figured that they had potential to make huge profits if they just stop giving free access to their music.

If you are one of those types that would care to make some dough from the work they put in their music (there’s probably a lot of you), the best thing to do is be patient about it. As long as you write good music, stay persistent, and effectively market it, people will buy it. The thing that a lot musicians don’t seem to understand is that ther’re a lot of opportunity costs when starting out a music career, and giving free and easy access to your music through streaming it online, at least in the beginning, can be the one investment that will pay off the greatest.

Defining Your Style

Defining Your Style

What kind of music do you play? That’s usually one of the first questions people ask you about your band. Sometimes that can be difficult to define. With the rise of electronic music over the past several decades, music genres have become mixed and twisted to create new styles of music. So we decided to put together a quick guide to help define some of the many styles of music that are out there.

Acoustic - music that solely or primarily uses instruments that produce sound through entirely acoustic means, as opposed to electric or electronic means. Performers of acoustic music often increase the volume of their output using electronic amplifiers. However, these amplification devices remain separate from the amplified instrument and reproduce its natural sound accurately. Often a microphone is placed in front of an acoustic instrument which is then wired up to an amplifier.
Examples: Matt Costa, Damian Rice, Jeff Buckley

Adult Contemporary Music - a broad style of popular music that ranges from lush 1950s and 1960s vocal music to predominantly ballad-heavy music with varying degrees of rock influence, as well as a radio format that plays such music.
Examples: Taylor Swift, Michael Bublé, Sheryl Crow

Alternative Metal - Alternative metal is an eclectic form of rock music that gained popularity in the early 1990's alongside grunge. In many instances, it can be accurately described as a fusion of heavy metal and alternative rock, especially the indie rock of the 1980's. It is characterized by some heavy metal trappings (most notably heavy riffs), but usually with a pronounced experimental edge, including unconventional lyrics, odd time signatures, unusual technique, a resistance to conventional approaches to heavy music, and an incorporation of a wide range of influences outside of the metal music scene.
Examples: 3 Doors Down, Breaking Benjamin, Avenged Sevenfold

Alternative Rock - An umbrella term used to describe a style of music that emerged in the late 80's and early 90's. Alternative Rock is usually characterized by bands who have a "do-it-yourself" or non-conformist attitude; hence "alternative".
Examples: R.E.M., Pixies, Nirvana

Blues - the name given to both a musical form and a music genre; The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll is characterized by specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues chord progression is the most common.
Examples: Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles

Blues Rock - a hybrid musical genre combining bluesy improvisations over the 12-bar blues and extended boogie jams with rock and roll styles. The core of the blues-rock sound is created by the electric guitar, piano, bass guitar and drum kit, with the electric guitar usually amplified through a tube guitar amplifier, giving it an overdriven character.
Examples: The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray Vaughn

Classic Rock - a radio format which developed from the album-oriented rock (AOR) format in the early 1980s. In the United States, the classic rock format features music ranging generally from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, primarily focusing on the hard rock genre that peaked in popularity in the 1970s.
Examples: The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix

Country - a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music. Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjoes, electric and acoustic guitars, fiddles such as violins, and harmonicas
Examples: Jimmie Rodgers, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash

Dubstep - a genre of electronic dance music that originated in south London, England. Its overall sound has been described as "tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals"
Examples: Burial, Skream, Benga

Electronic Dance Music - electronic music produced primarily for the purposes of use within a nightclub setting, or in an environment that is centered upon dance-based entertainment. The music is largely created for use by disc jockeys and is produced with the intention of it being heard in the context of a continuous DJ set; wherein the DJ progresses from one record to the next via a synchronized segue or "mix”
Examples: Dubstep, House, Techno music

Folk (Contemporary) – Folk music can be described as the traditional music of a country or region. Generally, when people use the phrase “folk music” they are referring to the traditional music of American and Great Britain. Traditional music from other countries and regions is more often known as “world music”.
Examples: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Fleet Foxes

Funk - a music genre that originated in the mid-late 1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground. Funk songs are often based on an extended vamp on a single chord, distinguishing it from R&B and soul songs, which are centered on chord progressions.
Examples: James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, KC & The Sunshine Band

Hip-Hop/Rap - a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted.
Examples: Run-D.M.C., 2Pac, Dr. Dre

House - a genre of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago in the early 1980s. House music is centered around a 'four on the floor' rhythmic structure and may feature a prominent synthesizer bassline, synthesized or sampled drums and percussion, electronic effects, vocal samples, often with reverb or delay effects.
Examples: Swedish House Mafia, deadmau5, Daft Punk

Indie - a term used to describe independence from major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, and an autonomous, Do-It-Yourself approach to recording and publishing
Examples: Two Door Cinema Club, Bon Iver, The Wombats

Jazz - form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of blacks with European music; jazz differs from European music in that jazz has a special relationship to time, defined as 'swing', a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role, and sonority and manner of phrasing which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician
Examples: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis

Metal - a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are generally associated with masculinity and machismo.
Examples: Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motorhead

Punk – a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. Punk bands created fast, hard-edged music, typically with short songs, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics.
Examples: The Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols

Pop - is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.
Examples: Madonna, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson

Reggae - a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. Based on a rhythmic style characterized by accents on the off-beat, known as the skank. Reggae usually accents the second and fourth beat in each bar, with the rhythm guitar also either emphasizing the third beat or holding the chord on the second beat until the fourth is played. It is mainly this "third beat", its speed and the use of complex bass lines that differentiated reggae from rocksteady, although later styles incorporated these innovations separately.
Examples: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Matisyahu

Rhythm & Blues (R&B) - From the early 1950s, the term rhythm and blues was frequently applied to blues records. Starting in the 1950s, after this style of music contributed to the development of rock and roll, the term "R&B" became used to refer to music styles that developed from and incorporated electric blues, as well as gospel and soul music. By the 1970s, rhythm and blues was used as a blanket term for soul and funk. In the 1980s, a newer style of R&B developed, becoming known as "Contemporary R&B".
Examples: Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu

Rock - a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. Musically, rock is song-based music usually utilizing a verse-chorus form, but since its inception, the genre has become extremely diverse, and common musical characteristics are difficult to define. Rock is typically centered around the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with bass guitar and drums, although a variety of instruments are often used. The most common time signature used in rock music is 4/4, however other time signatures are also used.
Examples: Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, The Beatles

Techno - a form of electronic dance music (EDM) that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid to late 1980s; it is a style of fast, heavy electronic dance music, typically with few or no vocals.
Examples: 2 Bit Pie, Altern 8, 2 Unlimited

World - in its classic definition is a general categorical term for global music, such as the traditional music or folk music of a culture that is created and played by indigenous musicians and is closely related to the music of the regions of their origin

Please note, these are just some generalizations. Lots of artists cross over into other genres and you can really define your style as anything you want. But when you’re trying to promote your band, you want to use styles and artists that people understand and have heard of; otherwise you’re just another random band with a strange sound.