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Touring tips for musicians: how to avoid traffic jams, speeding tickets, and accidents on the road

By Guest Blogger
September 17, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 168370127 Touring tips for musicians: how to avoid traffic jams, speeding tickets, and accidents on the road[This article was written by musician Matthew Ebel. It originally appeared on his blog.]

I’ve played concerts all over the USA and there’s one constant that most touring musicians already know: People don’t know how to drive. Seattle drivers are maniacs, Boston drivers are assholes, Nashville drivers are NASCAR wanna-be’s, and Ohio drivers are most likely taking a power nap behind the wheel. Everywhere else, the drivers are an alarming cocktail of the above.

After putting thousands of miles of pavement behind me, I’ve developed what I call Ebel’s Laws as a strategy for surviving the road. Thus far I’ve been able to get The Birdmobile and all of my gear to the venue safely, no matter what time zone I’m in. Read more »

How NOT to write about your music

By Chris Robley
September 17, 2014{ No Comments }

NoBS How NOT to write about your musicMusicians often have difficulty describing their own music. I’ve been guilty many times myself of shrugging when someone asks, “What kind of music do you play?”

After an awkward pause, I’ll say something like “Oh, it’s kinda Beatlesque folk pop” — which, if not a great descriptor, at least gives them a point of reference that’s been confirmed by friends, fans, and music journalists.

Some bands though, they’re not just in a different ballpark when they talk about their music; they’re playing a whole other game.

Avoid useless descriptors and confusing comparisons

Before my buddy Brad and I joined CD Baby’s marketing team, our job — as music editors — was to listen to every single album that got submitted to CD Baby. While the music played, we’d inevitably read some of the information provided by the artist: album notes, short musical description, genre designations, etc.

Probably 75% of the time that album information made sense. But the other 25% of the time? Wow!!! 

We’d read the album notes, listen to the music, and wonder, “What the hell are they thinking? This doesn’t sound like Brian Eno’s ambient music; it sounds like 90′s frat rock ala Barenaked Ladies!” Or “Do they really think this is reminiscent of early hip hop? It’s more like trance music.” Read more »

Scientists locate portal to Hell

By Chris Robley
September 16, 2014{ 9 Comments }

Actually, it wasn’t scientists. It was someone from Reddit. Their strange quest to uncover the whereabouts of Satan’s lair began in Times Square (a reasonable starting point) and eventually led them to a newly opened Guitar Center in Midtown Manhattan.

Behold with much trepidation, friends: Beelzebub’s fretboard hellions; axe-slining minions of the devil — caught for the first time on camera!

Even more terrifying, the idea that this might not be the only gateway to Hades. What do you think? Do these demonic portals exist elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below.  Read more »

How to get a booking agent

By Guest Blogger
September 16, 2014{ No Comments }

iStock 000005911181XSmall How to get a booking agent[This post was written by guest contributor Dave Kusek of New Artist Model.]

There is a huge potential for revenue in the gigging industry, even for smaller, indie bands and musicians. However, many artists are met with an interesting paradox: you can’t get the bigger gigs without the help of a booking agent, but it can be difficult attracting the attention of an agent without some bigger gigs under you belt. Luckily for you, with a little knowledge and strategy from the New Artist Model, this paradox can be beaten.

Booking agents are the middlemen between the artist and the venue owners or promoters. However, it takes more than just a phone call or an email to book a show! Booking agents establish relationships with promoters and know which venues are best suited for which bands. They know exactly what venues to target when booking a funk band from California who can fill a 1000-person room. Because of this knowledge and the personal connection, promoters tend to trust the pitches from booking agents more than they would a pitch from a band they have never heard of before. Read more »

How to stay healthy on the road: simple tips for touring musicians

By Chris Robley
September 15, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 137515451 How to stay healthy on the road: simple tips for touring musiciansSome bands look at touring like it’s a vacation or a moveable party. That’s fine as long as you don’t go out on the road all that often. But if you’re touring regularly, you’ve got to be more careful about your health.

Touring takes so much planning and effort that when you’re in the midst of it you’ll want to make sure everyone is firing on all cylinders. There’s a lot at stake, too, and you risk losing out on money and opportunities when you compromise your immunity on tour.

Here are seven bits of simple health wisdom to follow on the road:

1. Don’t drive long shifts

 If you’re traveling with two or more people, be sure to switch drivers every two or three hours. That’s a long enough shift to make some distance, but short enough to let everyone stretch and use the bathroom before it gets to be an emergency. Plus, you don’t want a tired person behind the wheel. That macho “I can drive eight hours through the night” attitude will get people killed. Read more »

Starting up again after a musical retirement

By Chris Robley
September 12, 2014{ 1 Comment }

 Starting up again after a musical retirementHow to end an “indefinite hiatus”

Alicia J. Rose is no stranger to the big music scenes between Northern California and British Columbia. From her home base in Portland, Oregon, she’s worked with many of the best bands in the region. And yet most of her friends are surprised to learn that she herself is a musician. That’s because for the last decade Rose has been working mostly behind-the-scenes — as a concert promoter, band photographer, and music video director.

But this Sunday, when she headlines the closing night of The Accordion Noir Festival in Vancouver BC, it’s safe to say that Alicia Rose will be fully out of musical retirement. She’s been dusting off a set of the experimental accordion songs that helped her get her start back in the 90′s — and she’s also re-releasing her back catalog into the digital realm via CD Baby.

What’s it like to end an indefinite hiatus? How do you promote music that is being released for the second time around? I asked Alicia about getting back into the gigging, recording, and promotional games after many years away.

An interview with Miss Murgatroid

For anyone like me that first knew you as a photographer, videographer, director, and talent buyer, who is Miss Murgatroid?

Miss Murgatroid is my accordion wielding alter-ego.

And why has she been away so long?
Read more »

5 ways to promote your music with Google’s Hangouts on Air

By Guest Blogger
September 12, 2014{ 3 Comments }

hangouts on air 5 ways to promote your music with Googles Hangouts on AirWhen it comes to online promotion, there is a social media that is often ignored by musicians: Google Plus.

While its potential has been recognized and utilized by many entrepreneurs around the world, for quite many musicians Google Plus is still unexplored territory.

However, while it is true that it may be trailing behind Twitter and Facebook in popularity and usage, Google Plus offers incredible opportunities for promotion and music marketing through the so-called Hangouts on Air.

What makes Hangouts on Air so cool is the fact that they can easily be broadcasted live on YouTube and on artists’ websites.

Here are some creative ways of using Hangouts to promote your music, increase your fan base, and boost engagement: Read more »

Who’s in control at a Kid’s Concert? (And how to make sure it’s YOU)

By Guest Blogger
September 11, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 176478422 Who’s in control at a Kid’s Concert? (And how to make sure its YOU)[This article was written by Maryann Harman, award-winning Children's artist and founder of Music with Mar., Inc.]

You chose to be a children’s artist. Probably because you like kids. You’ve sung for small groups, and that was fun. Then you were asked to do a concert. You thought, “No problem. I’ve got this.”

When you get there, you start noticing things you didn’t think of. The first one is that concerts are different than singing to a group of kids at a party or in a school setting. Other things are:

1. Parents letting their kids run around;

2. Children trying to climb on stage;

3. Older children who will clearly get bored, and that leads to disruption;

4. Parents engaged in other activities (ie texting, conversation); and

5. The way the room is set up isn’t going to work!!

Ah!!!!! Read more »

How to make money from your music on SoundCloud

By Guest Blogger
September 10, 2014{ No Comments }

soundcloud logo 300x190 How to make money from your music on SoundCloudIntroducing SoundCloud’s new revenue sharing platform: On SoundCloud

SoundCloud has always been a distinct outlier in the online streaming music industry. What has set them apart is how they allow anyone to upload and stream music without any annoying ads or monthly fees. For the past six years, SoundCloud has continued to thrive, even in a market dominated by competitors. However, despite their success, the company has shifted gears and recently launched their new creator partner program, called On SoundCloud.

Similar to YouTube’s Partner Program, the new service will allow artists to monetize the content they upload to SoundCloud through paid advertisements. The paid ads will appear on either the SoundCloud player or within a streaming audio file. When the program was first introduced, there were no specific terms to outline how exactly the revenue sharing would work. But from what I’ve read, it sounds like the artist will be compensated for each time an ad appears on any track they uploaded. Read more »

Do you think rock is dead? (Gene Simmons does)

By Chris Robley
September 9, 2014{ 8 Comments }

long live rock Do you think rock is dead? (Gene Simmons does)People have been lamenting the death of rock for decades. Now KISS frontman Gene Simmons, in an interview with Esquire, has declared that “rock is finally dead.”

Long live rock.

But what’s the postmortem? According to Simmons, “Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered.”

By file-sharing, downloading, freemium business models, and a lack of fan support.

“I am so sad that the next 15-year-old kid in a garage someplace in St. Paul that plugs into his Marshall and wants to turn it up to 10 will not have anywhere near the same opportunity that I did,” said Simmons. “He will most likely, no matter what he does, fail miserably.”

Maybe my bias is showing through too soon, but I’d like to first point out that perhaps the 15-year-old kid doesn’t want a Marshall stack cranked up to 11 anymore. Maybe he’s happy playing an acoustic guitar, or a microKORG, or a clarinet, or an iPad.  Read more »