<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-TMFBBP" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"> Sonicbids Blog - Music Career Advice and Gigs | Jamie Davis-Ponce
Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians
4 Times You Shouldn't Take the Gig
The Number One Mistake Bands Make Right After Booking a Gig
The Ultimate EQ Cheat Sheet for Every Common Instrument
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3 Old-Fashioned Ways to Get People to Your Shows (That Still Work!)

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In these times of rampant social media messaging, basic on-the-ground community building tactics are more valuable than ever to help you cut through the maze of the digital world and reach potential fans where they study, work, and hang out. In business, they say that only "family, friends, and fools" will invest in your startup company, and the same might be said of startup bands. When trying to fill up a concert venue, the best place to start looking for fans is among your community and in the areas surrounding the venue. Use these three timeless techniques to engage your community in your music and find the fans who may not have seen your latest tweet.

Why You Might Not Be Able to (Legally) Make a Video of Your Own Concert

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Performing cover songs is usually pretty easy because most venues already pay for a performance license from one or more of the PROs, but did you know that you need additional licenses to record those same cover songs (or any songs for which you don't own the copyrights)? Some licenses are easier to obtain than others, and it's easier to make a legal sound recording than it is to make a legal audiovisual recording. Unlike sound recording licenses (aka mechanical licenses), the sync licenses you need to make audiovisual recordings of cover songs aren't available through the Harry Fox Agency. If you'd like to share videos of your performances with fans, continue reading to find out about sync licenses and how you can legally include cover songs in your videos.

Who Owns That Song? How to Research Copyright Ownership

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In many circumstances, musicians and producers find themselves needing to contact the copyright owners of a particular song or recording for permission to use music for something not covered by the standard licenses available through ASCAP, SESAC, BMI, or the Harry Fox Agency. Activities such as sampling and using music in a video make it necessary to contact and request licenses from the copyright owners of the songs and/or recordings. But although we're often familiar with the artists who performed the songs, information about the copyright owners/administrators can be less readily available. Here are some research resources to help you find out who owns those copyrights.

Borrowing Success: How to Legally Sample Music

Biz Markie (Image via complex.com)

Often associated with '80s rappers, sampling occurs when songwriters and recording artists use borrowed sections of music from other compositions or recordings in their new works. The motivations for using clips of preexisting music and recordings in a new song are varied; sampling can lend new songs a sense of nostalgia, quickly give artists and producers a desired sound or riff, and even help new songs benefit from the proven success of a hit. To hear sampling in action, listen to this medley compiled by William Goodman for his Huffington Post article entitled "12 Hit Songs You Never Knew Used Samples from Older Songs."

There's a reason, however, that sampling isn't as widespread among mainstream artists today. Contrary to popular belief, the US courts have ruled that sampling in commercial recordings is NOT fair use (no matter how short the sample) and have even referred infringers like Biz Markie, whose story is below, for criminal prosecution. So if you've ever considered using a sample in one of your recordings, make sure you do it legally.

Standing on Sunset and Vine: How to Busk in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles may not be the most walkable city, but what it lacks in traditional foot-traffic it makes up for in tourists, stars, and film and media executives. If you've ever dreamed of rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest stars in the world, then read on to find out what you need to know about being a street performer on the boulevards, piers, and beaches around LA.