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.

The Truth About Mainstream Success

The Truth About Mainstream Success

Ever wonder why so many artists become one hit or one album wonders? Music consumers over the past decade have adopted the idea that the majority of artists are brought to fame using the “boy band” formula. This formula that label executives simply have an idea of an artist molded, find the talent to fill the requirements, and then easily market them to make lots of money sounds like a wonderful idea. However, that rarely is the way that an artist reaches fame. Unless the artist is connected to an already established celebrity, there is a long and sometimes strenuous journey that lies ahead of them and their business partners. This journey is known as the pipeline of events that must happen in making any ordinary musician with recorded songs into a successful main stream well-known artist.
There are many departments and people who will work hard on the development of a successful artist. Much like the many parts used in putting a car together on an assembly line, each part of the music industry pipeline must be properly put in place and work well in order for the ending product to be productive. A new artist, much like a successfully put together new car, must be then well maintained and closely cared for in order for success to continue. If any steps are skipped in the development process or with maintenance, failure is likely to happen. This of which is quite common. Hundreds of artists a year are attempted to be marketed and brought to fame, but fail due to missing or malfunctioning parts in the pipeline.
In this pipeline there is the Artist, Artist and Repertoire, Marketing, Distribution, Retail, Publicity, and Media personnel, all of which are working to get the artist efficiently to the consumer. Each member of the pipeline needs to stay well informed, and aware of the current status of the developing artist. Any malfunction in the communication process could lead to failure. Even Jimmy Iovine, chairmen of Interscope Records once said “if this company (Interscope) is about anything, its about discipline and staying focused”.
The first step an upcoming artist must take is to get noticed. There are millions of bands in the United States, from little jam bands who have never played in public, to huge top selling artists that are featured on covers of Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines. On a yearly basis, each of the major record labels and their imprint labels (Sony, EMI, Universal, and Warner) receive over 10,000 demos of aspiring artists. Of these 10,000 artists, only between 5 to 40 of them will actually be signed. The job of finding and sifting through these artists would go to the Artist and Repertoire person or team, depending on the size of the business. Since the 1960’s, it has been the sole purpose of the A&R personnel to research artists, go watch the artist perform, talk with the artist, the artist’s manager if they have one, and get an overall feel for them. The A&R person is looking for an artist that shows potential to be able to endure the process of becoming a successful part of a label’s roster. These attributes include, having an already stable fan base and marketability at the grass roots level, some sort of history in successful touring and recorded music, and the overall determination to cooperate and work hard with all the departments in the pipeline. The last point is very important. This being because once the A&R person finds an artist they believe is worth their time, they then must work hard in convincing the label executives they work for, and every member of the pipeline that this musician will be an asset to the label.
Looking from the artist’s point of view, the search to getting signed is a grueling and nerve racking process also. Some artists get so caught up in the idea of being signed that they will do anything to get a record deal. Many young aspiring musicians, who haven’t had any experience in the industry and are naive to contracts, sometimes find themselves with the record deal that has a ball and chains attached. Kevin Czinger, the founder of Volcano Entertainment said “In this business, the first rule is, never act out of desperation, because there is always someone out there looking to sucker you.” Many bad contracts will take away all rights of the artist to their music, and leave them with little to no credit or money for their hard work. But let’s say an artist was spotted by an A&R person from a credible label, was offered a decent record deal, and they accepted.
Now with that process over, the real path to success begins. From the A&R department the artist is handed over to the marketing team. The marketing team has the biggest steps to take in getting the artist up and going. The marketing team will analyze what the artist has to offer, what they have already accomplished, and what they are capable of in the near future. The marketing team is responsible for making the artist seem extremely appealing to distributors, retailers, radio and other media. The biggest factor in making an artist look like an asset is to show that they will make the business money. For retailers money means the artist will bring in sales and increase store customers, while for radio it means that the artist being in rotation will increase listeners. For other media like magazines newspapers, and online outlets it means the artist will create a buzz, and increase readers, hits and again sales. The marketing team can always make the artist seem more appealing by giving incentives to the businesses by adding deals, discounts, and promotions if they agree to take on the artist.
While the marketing team is working hard, they will usually hire an image consultant to work with the artist or band on creating an image that will catch the eye of their demographic. Ever since the debut of MTV and large color music magazines, the image and style of musicians has become one of the most valuable and important selling points. Many artists will despise yet go along with image changes and adopt certain character traits to fully create the persona their label and image consultant believe will work best for them.
Once an artist has their image ready and a solid album recorded, the next step is to physically get the artist out to the public. This process is much more difficult than most would think. It involves an important middleman, the distributor. Most major labels have a distributor of their own, and many smaller labels as well as independent labels, will rely on the distributors of the majors because it is not an easy job. When a label has a completed album they will send the master to a duplication factory with an order of how many pressings they need. That factory will then pass the CDs on to the distributor. The sole job of the distributor is to hold the albums safely in their warehouse and to efficiently ship out albums when a retailer requests them It comes back to the marketing department whether or not there will be a demand from the retailers for the albums. If no stores want the albums they will sit in the warehouse collecting dust and the label as well as the artist will loose a lot of money.
It becomes very apparent how closely linked each department in the pipeline is and how much one effects the success of another. Now the demand from the retailers, that is go greatly wanted, will depend on the overall success and growing popularity of the artist in the public spotlight. A retailer will not buy a bunch of CDs from an artist just for them to sit on their racks, take up shelf space, and eventually make the effort to send them back. (In which, yes, retailers have the right to send back albums that do not sell, and for a full refund too.) Therefore a buzz in the media that is reaching the consumers must be on going. No matter how big of a scale or little of a scale the label is working on, the artist should be doing interviews for press, magazines, and newspapers on whichever level they are in. For example if a major label is working with the artist on a big budget, appearances and interviews could be done on widely known media outlets like SNL, Billboard Magazine, late night shows and big radio stations. For a smaller budget and label, local newspapers, smaller magazines, and college radio stations should be having coverage, as well as an efficient online campaign.
The media is a very important factor in an artist’s success in the mainstream world of technology today. A growing attribute in media has been the Internet. The Internet has become the most popular medium for consumers to receive information as well as find music and videos. This transition has also brought the record industry into a different realm for the first time since physical recordings could be mass-produced. The digital recording or the mp3 originally gave the record industry a big scare with significant decreases in sales. This was due to large amounts of illegal downloading, allowing consumers who usually would have paid anywhere from 15 dollars to 25 dollars for a CD, acquiring the same material completely for free. This left the record labels with less income from sales and many distributors piling up returned or unsold albums. The industry has since found ways to use technology to receive a handful of new streams of revenue. Sales in cell phone ring tones, online mp3 stores, such as iTunes and Amazon as well as many online streaming radio formatted stations have become extremely helpful in making up for lost sales. Atlantic Records back in 2007 even announced that, “more than half of its music sales in the United States are now from digital products, like downloads on iTunes and ring tones for cellphones.”
The online streaming stations like Last FM, Pandora, and AOL Radio offer thousands of popular as well as upcoming artists for consumers to listen to and also offer spotlights and capabilities of purchasing songs listeners like. Along with the Internet buzz importance of an artists personal website as grown as well.
Two departments, some that work right within the label, and some who are independent and work on retainer for a label are the Promotion and Publicity companies. Both of these companies are two more important factors deep within the pipeline. The job of a Promotion company is to get radio stations to add artist songs to their rotation. In theory, but not always, it is suspected that a largely played artist on the radio will bring in lots of revenue by touring. The publicity company has what could be a never-ending job. Their duty is to dish out human interest stories, some a little stretched from the truth, and enlarge the public buzz of an artist. As an artist becomes more famous the demand for insight into their lives and their background will grow. Sometimes like we have seen in cases like Britney Spears, the demand can grow to an unacceptable level.
If every member of the pipeline has worked hard and the artist has received a profitable release of an album, a following of more singles being released and music videos will usually occur. Along with a successful release will also usually come a large tour with big ticket sales. Once all of this has happened, the artist and the label will then turn into the maintenance part of the pipelines job. Maintenance is a crucial part in any artists career and will indefinitely determine the longevity as well as the stability of it. Along with this new success an upcoming artist will experience a change in personal relationships with friends and family as well as adapt to the new relationship with their newly found fans. Artists will work closely with their publicist as promotions team to make sure everything stays on track.
Soon after the tour or even sometimes during, the artist will start to work on their next album due to the fact that most contracts bind the artist to a three to four album contract. In most cases this is to ensure that royalties are being paid and all recoupables have been fulfilled. Recoupables are the monies that an artist owes back to the label. The majority of albums will cost thousands of dollars start to finish. The label will pay for everything upfront, but once revenue from the album starts to come in, the artist will usually not receive any more money until all the debt has been paid. In the meantime the artist will usually have received an advance of money when signing the record deal and hopefully was smart enough to ration the spending of the money until they could ensure the album would be profitable.
Royalties are monies earned from songs or sound recordings that will come in from many sources like CD sales, digital sales, and synchronization to commercials and movies. Royalties are given to the entity with the copyrights to a song. In most cases the label will demand that they hold ownership of all songs recorded; however many musicians that are also songwriters will fight for their right of ownership to their music. The RIAA, the Record Industry Association of America is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry in Washington. Their mission is to manage and enforce US copyright laws and to make sure the owners are receiving the proper income. Almost 90% of all professional sound recordings produced and sold in the United States have been created, manufactured or distributed by RIAA members.
The function of maintenance will be ongoing for the rest of the artist’s career. They must now keep a good relationship and work with their managers, publicist, and label to sustain a solid career and credible view from the public. Main stream success is almost impossible to reach and even more impossible to maintain through the years, with so many eyes watching, people pulling for their side to have the biggest say, and struggle over rights, it is definitely not a joke. As your grandmother always said be careful what you wish for!

Finding The Best Record Label For Your Style Of Music & Goals

Finding The Best Record Label For Your Style Of Music & Goals

We are having a discussion today around the office about what are consideration the best record labels around, and it created a storm of opinions that were all across the board with no clear winners. What we did find though, was some of the factors that should go into determining what the best record labels are for your music.

If you’re a musician looking for a deal, you probably asked yourself a few times: what are the best record labels that I should be approaching for a possible recording contact? If you’re anything like me, that list includes an entire page worth of possibilities, only leaving you more confused.

To determine what the best record labels are for you, you’re first going to need to decide on what factors make a label great in your opinion. For instance, do they develop the acts they sign, do they make their acts sign a 360 contract, have they had any success with their acts, who runs the labels, are the artists they have signed in the past happy with that labels performance, and so on.

Once you got your factors down, now it’s time to research and find the best record labels that best fit the type of deal you’re looking to get. Once you have your list of labels down, you can now consider these to be the best record labels for your music.

How Releasing Holiday Covers Can Skyrocket Your Promotion

How Releasing Holiday Covers Can Skyrocket Your Promotion

The Holidays are a time for cheer, spiked eggnog, caroling, and great classic songs! With many celebrity musician's coming out with classic cover's and CD compilations like NOW releasing Holiday favorites, it has become a common and favorable venture for musicians world wide to do their rendition of these classic songs, preform them at gigs around the holidays, put them on an EP they may release around the New Year, and add their version to their website page.

However when being an independent musician it is important to be careful of what exactly you recreate without getting into a copyright infringement mess. Many classics are public domain but make sure that the version you are going has copyright date of 1922 or earlier for it be 100% public domain cleared. Here are some other facts about copyright and the public domain that are vital for us all to know!

In general, under the copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author is also the owner of copyright unless there is a written agreement by which the author assigns the copyright to another person or entity, such as a publisher. Copyright Infringement happens when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.

A work of authorship is in the “public domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.

What Record Labels Are Looking For

What Record Labels Are Looking For When Scouting Artists
So you have hot beats, your rhymes are on point and you even got major swag. What happens now? Is releasing ‘good’ music enough to get you signed?

Although much of the industry is revolutionizing how it does business, certain aspects of it have remained the same. Every act should be doing shows consistently and selling CD’s along with merchandise. That being said, stay up to date with approaching new ways to sell your music. Artists need to see forward-thinking movement. One example is, state-of-the-art mobile apps that allow you to charge your fans by credit card, on the spot! If they just want mp3’s, you can charge them right away and have a link automatically emailed to them to download your album. Selling units is of the utmost importance. Record companies want to see that you can move units without their help. The bottom line is, if you can’t sell records on your own, labels no longer have the interest nor the resources to sign and develop you.

Are you completely inspired by Drake and want to sound just like him? I didn't think so. However, does his sound subconsciously influence how you sound? There is an interesting balance that should be considered here. Record label A&R’s love to hear familiarity in acts they are scouting. However, don’t (by any means) be a copycat. Borrowing elements of the hottest pop music of the moment can be used sparingly, but incorporate your own unique approach! Yes you are an artist, so you may feel inclined to write music that defies genres and sounds like it’s from the year 2040. Just keep in mind that a good song is like a good meal. Most people who like pizza, may be apprehensive of trying a duck burger over their favorite pizza. The argument then becomes, who is your target audience? Yes, many people eat duck but statistically pizza is consumed by millions more (also due to availability, supply etc). In this case, we are talking about record label A&R’s. They don’t want to market and sell a duck burger, they’d rather take a pepperoni pizza, add a dash of duck to it and voila! It’s all about a balance of pop appeal, uniqueness and believe it or not, talent. Just remember, you shouldn’t be 10 steps ahead of radio, but make sure you are a good 2-3 steps ahead.

Social media is so unbelievably important to record labels considering signing a new artist. Immerse yourself into this invaluable tool now. There are so many different ways to expose your music on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites (including the 45,000 sites that will launch by the time I finish this sentence). Once you have a product, you must spend a large part of your day submitting your music to blogs. The exposure a positive blog review can get you, can help propel you to another level. One of the most effective online campaigns, comes in the form of viral videos. Shooting clips can be done on quite the budget nowadays, so explore this idea as much as your resources allow.

Always remember that networking is one of the most important aspects of your career in the music business. The corny record producer from your neighborhood that you don’t like? Keep in touch with him. He may launch a label, get a distribution offer from Universal and be looking for music like yours! You never know, one person could change your life. All things considered, you absolutely should never burn bridges in this business.

If you take into account the aforementioned details and combine them with talent, hard work and persistence, there’s no limit to what goals you can reach!

Why You Should Care About Your Image

Why You Should Care About Your Image

Innovative and successful artists need to capture their audience and time period to be remembered any genre’s hall of fame. Artists often get more recognition and commentary on their style and image even than their music. Audiences are either captivated and copy their musician idol or are fascinated to see what they will come out in next (or both). For artists that have not hit “the big time” it is even more crucial to find an image that stands out and your audience remembers.

Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj both on iTune’s top ten singles right now (as of Feb 21,2012) are flooded through tabloid magazines and blogs to capture what outrageous thing they will wear next. The have mirrored image success from veterans like Madonna whose image is as valuable as her music. Viewers mirror their favorite musicians. Thousands of girls dressed up like Lady Gaga for Halloween decked in leotards, shoulder pads, and jeweled sunglasses, just as millions have put on gloves, bustier tops and piles of jewelry fashioned to be like Madonna.

Time changes and you see masters of image change throughout their albums and years passing, always surprising and captivating their audience. We have seen Gaga in everything from a meat dress to being carried while inside an egg. Even the Beatles seemed to change their look with every new album from suits and matching hairstyles to beards and hippy vests they captured the world with not only their music but also their image.

It is important to be natural and incorporate your style of music. Creating a buzz about your look cannot sustain just by shocking viewers. Madonna has created pop and dance music, and we have seen that reflected in hear early years to even her later albums in leotards and wristbands; it matches her music. There is a necessary balance between being original and being true to your music genre. Find your personal style, stick with what you are comfortable and feels right, because it becomes various obvious to your viewers when you feel awkward. Do not chase after trends or mimic what has already been done, just focus and intensify your look.

As an up and coming artist it is important to develop your look to brand yourself for your online existence for audience attachment. Your image is not just about the clothing you wear, but needs to reflect in everything you do from logos to your social media pictures. Your image is your brand, it is how you are recognized and encrypted into the world’s mind.