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
15 Reality Checks Young Artists Need to Hear

How To Play the Boston Calling Music Festival in May

Boston_calling_stage_Vikjam

Although still relatively new, the Boston Calling Music Festival is already one of the most buzzed-about events in the region. The first one drew 40,000 of the happiest (though rain-soaked) people I've ever seen. After this year's Boston Calling lineup was released with artists like Modest Mouse, Decemberists, Phosphorescent, Tegan & Sara, Kurt Vile and tons more, you probably thought to yourself, “Dang, Self, how can I play Boston Calling too?”

Don't worry—there's a way to add your name to that lineup. Here’s how.

Tips of the Trade

Aug 6, 2013 06:46 AM

Jeff Israel

How to get your album on Pandora and Spotify



When’s the last time you’ve been at a party and someone threw a couple of CDs into a 6 disc changer and popped it on shuffle?

Nowadays, someone will put open up their favorite streaming app du jour and press play. This begs the question; How do you get your music on a streaming service?

Pandora

OK, that stuff I said in the first paragraph about CDs? Don't go throwing them all away. Pandora needs your CDs.

Here's what you need to get your music onto Pandora

    1. A CD of your music or comedy

    1. MP3 files for 2 of your tracks

    1. A UPC code 

    1. The legal rights to your music or comedy


Once you have all of that info, you can go to Pandora's Submission page to complete the process.

Spotify / Rdio

Are you independent? Great!  Both Spotify and Rdio work with a wide array of aggregators and distributors to put independent music on their service. Spotify | Rdio

Take, for example, CD Baby. Signing up for their service costs $49, but you get your music onto streaming services and into iTunes. TuneCore is a similar service that offers varied pricing structures. Upside: You keep 100% of your profits. Downside: There is a yearly fee.

Are you signed to a label or distributor? If so, sit back, relax and light a cigar with a $100 bill. Your label and/or distributor will take care of getting your music on a streaming service for you. Spotify and Rdio work with a majority of these already. If you’re shopping around it’s good to ask if these companies have relationships with streaming services already.

If you're looking for a label or distribution make sure to search the Sonicbids Find Gigs page with a custom search for those opportunities, as they do arise quite frequently.

Tips of the Trade

Aug 3, 2013 03:10 AM

Jeff Israel

How To Get Your Music Video More Views

Back in the day there were only a few outlets to watch music videos, mainly cable channels. The Internet Era has obviously changed this, which means it's easier for your video to get lost in the shuffle.

There are ways to counteract this, however. Here are some tips to get more views on your music video.

Make A Great Video Of A Great Song - OK we are going to take this point as universally understood and assumed by all.

Have A Hook - Is there something interesting and noteworthy about your video? Take Kopecky Family Band's video for "Heartbeat" for example.  They shot the video for just $9.00. Are you going to click on something to see what a $9.00 music video looks like? Of course you are.



Distribute Distribute Distrubute - Know your audience and know where your audience goes to get their music fix. Identify the blogs that may be tailor made to feature your blog and send them your video. Don't make it too pitchy and overbearing. A simple, 'Hey we think you'd like our new video. We shot it for $9! Let us know what you think.' will suffice for sure.

Centralize Your Distribution- There are so many video hosting services out there. Make sure you distrubute THE SAME link. This may seem silly and obvious, but it  cannot be understated. I recently asked the dudes of Clear Soul Forces what one of their keys to success were and this is what they told me:  "Blogs sharing your links are a sure fire way to get views more than letting them post their own links. Keep everything centralized." Their video for Get No Better has more than 2 million views, so yeah, I'd listen to their advice.
 


Master Your MetaData - What is MetaData? Well, someone smarter than me could answer this way better but, in layman's terms, it's all the info that describes your piece of data; in this case the video. So when you're filling out the description fields in YouTube it's very important for that MetaData to pick up keywords. San Cisco did this with their video and a direct link to their actual video is the first thing that pops up on Google.



Create An Official Channel For Your Band - Wow you're video was great. How can I see more? Oh you have an official YouTube channel that a) houses all of your video uploads b) I can subscribe to c) I can view a playlist if you want me to? How perfect. Set this up yesterday.

Tips of the Trade

Aug 1, 2013 12:31 PM

Jeff Israel

How To Throw The Best Album Launch Party


You’re putting some the finishing touches on your album and you want to share it with your fans and friends. Sure, you can just put it up on your website and say, “Hello fans and friends. Here is our record for you to enjoy.” But that’s no fun. This is something you’re proud of and it deserves to be introduced to the world in a big way.

Here’s how to throw an amazing album release party.

1)   Find The Perfect Venue – If you’ve been gigging for a while you’ve surely experienced all levels of your local venues and made some relationships along the way. Find the right mix between cavernous and closet-sized for your party. Don’t forget to make it a place with killer sound.

2)   Build the Right Bill – Parties are more fun with your friends. Put genre similarities aside and have the most fun possible. Your fans will feel part of that community you’ve built.

3)   Expect To Play – This may seem like a no-brainer, but to some a record release party may seem like an excuse to play a CD whilst drinking wine & cheese. Nope. That was my Bar Mitzvah. Debut your new songs live and in everyone’s collective faces.

4)   Invite Beyonce & Jay Z – Hey, they showed up for the Yeezus release party. You never know, right?

5)   Make It Special For Your Fans – Think of something awesome to do for the people that support you. Whether it’s giving away copies at the door, signing merch, giving away recordings of exclusive tracks or putting together some sort of swag packs for fans in attendance, that’s the stuff that will resonate and make someone a fan for life.

Go off and conquer. Also, can I have a +1?

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How to be your own manager - DIY Band Edition



If you're just starting out or are gaining a following, what do you do when you don't have a manager yet? Trying to make it big as an artist is a rough ride met with a variety of good and bad experiences. It's even harder when you're an indie musician and trying to manage yourself, build your following, write your music and, on top of all of that - book shows. Moreover, if you're not earning money yet, you're probably in school or working a part-time job, so, what do you do when you don't have a manager or friend with enough free time to try and organize your life? Sure, mastering the art of DIY band management can go great, but you probably want to have a manager - so how do you find structure so you can get someone to notice your potential? PledgeMusic did an interview with band manager Gav McCaughey, where he discusses the relationship between a band and their manager. But, maybe before you let someone invest in you, you should take a moment to assess a few things about your career and find structure so you understand how someone could help you:

1. Where are you at? If someone reached out to you today, what would be the first thing you'd want them to help you with? Let's start simple: Do you even have an EPK? Are you trying to build your online presence? Maybe you're looking to build a strong YouTube page and need help figuring out what that is?  Ask yourself these questions and determine which is your starting point. Figure out where you're doing well and where you need some work so you can focus in on where you're at and how to get where you want to be.

2. Time and Money It might not be the most comfortable conversation, but this is something you should talk about in a honest conversation with yourself or your bandmates. Ask yourself how much money you are willing to spend on your music. What are you spending it on: studio time, web stuff, design/branding or travel expenses? What's making you money now, anyway? Similarly,  how much time are you willing to devot to your music right now? Are you playing enough shows? Is your time unbalanced between actually creating music and managing your social media life? Just be honest with yourself about where you're spending your time and money; take a step back and look at what you're investing yourself in - that will help you figure out what you should be investing in.

3. What brings you down? The point of this blog is to get you thinking about your weaknesses and strengths and then to do something about it. So, ask yourself "what is it that's bringing my career down?" Is it a lack of motivation? Are you not getting enough gigs or not hearing back from venues? Do you want someone to be that buffer between hearing a "no" so you're not feeling those emotions at full force?  Do you feel like you need a manager to organize your life or just because you need someone to root for you on the sidelines? If you don't fully understand where your discouragement is coming from, how can you explain what you need help with?

4. What keeps you motivated? Now, think about what keeps you motivated. Let's be honest for a second: why are you a musician? Maybe that's silly to ask, but, reminding yourself of that answer could be the trigger you needed to pick yourself out of this mess. What is it that you love about performing? What's your ultimate dream - do you want to win a grammy or open for your favorite band? Think big and small; it doesn't matter how far-fetched your goal may seem because, by asking yourself these questions, you're determining how serious you are. The more you understand your own motivations or those of your band members - the better your work ethic will be.

5. What is the next step? Ask yourself three questions: who are you, what do you want and what is the first step. This sounds like a cheesy, motivational stepping ladder method, but, maybe that's what you need to do in order to get yourself to actually take that first step. If you want a manager but don't have one now, you're probably more likely to get help from someone if they can easily recognize your potential. And if you don't recognize your own potential and start taking chances on yourself - what reason are you giving anyone else to? Maybe that was harsh, but in all honestly, you should be thinking about those things if you're really serious about your career.   I think musicians are an interesting form of entrepreneurs because you're not just investing in an idea you've had, you're investing in yourself, fully, completely and you're trying to get others to do the same. That's a big dream to chase after and it's obviously going to be discouraging at times. Structure and organization can help keep you motivated and sends a message that you're a serious investment. If you want a manager, an agent, a label or a a fan to commit to you, make sure you understand what you're aiming for, so they can to. But, remember that so many people look up to and admire artists not just because of how great your music is, but because you, as a person, have devoted your life to your craft. When someone sees that part of you, they'll jump at the opportunity to help you out.