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The DIY solution for anyone who hates smartphones at concerts

By Chris Robley
February 26, 2015{ No Comments }

Last summer I posted an articled called “Mobile phones at shows: a promotional boost for you, or a grand distraction?” Musicians responded with some pretty heated opinions (the stuff of good blog comments, of course).

Well, for anyone who thinks that holding up a mobile phone during a concert is downright obnoxious,  Marky Ramone has your solution: the smartphone swatter. Read more »

How one musician is making a living from YouTube: an interview with TryHardNinja

By Chris Robley
February 26, 2015{ 1 Comment }

TryHardNinja: how one musician is making a living from YouTube“YouTube provides a direct connection with your audience and is the best face-to-face way to build long lasting relationships.” — Igor from TryHardNinja

With millions of views and over half a million subscribers, TryHardNinja (whose real name is Igor) isn’t just connecting with fans on YouTube. He’s using the video platform to drive his entire music career.

“I exist because of YouTube,” Igor says.  “It is my primary means of music promotion, and about 40% of my music revenue comes from YouTube.”

And that’s just the money he’s earning from ads on his videos. Since YouTube is also his go-to promo tool, much of TryHardNinja’s download and streaming revenue is no doubt a direct result of activity on his YouTube channel, too. Read more »

Save on registration for the 2015 ASCAP EXPO

By Chris Robley
February 24, 2015{ 1 Comment }

ASCAP EXPOThe 10th ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO is happening April 30th through May 2nd, 2015 in Los Angeles at the Loews Hollywood Hotel — and CD Baby has partnered with ASCAP to get you a discount on registration.

Enter promo code CDBABY.

The Discount Registration period will be available until March 31st, so register now and meet face-to-face with some of the world’s most successful songwriters, composers, producers, and music business leaders.

CD Baby’s Kevin Breuner (VP of Marketing) and Rob Filomena (Director of Publishing) will be there, so be sure to attend their panel discussion, stop by, say hi, and hang out for a while. Read more »

CD Baby Pro’s publishing catalog quadruples in 2014

By Chris Robley
February 24, 2015{ No Comments }

Music Publishing Made EasyIndie artists unlock new revenue streams never before available to them

Our rights management service for songwriters—known as CD Baby Pro—had a huge year of growth in 2014. The service now represents over 54,000 writers and administers over 246,000 songs. The catalog we administer through CD Baby Pro (which launched in February of 2013) grew by over 250% in 2014.

“While writers could sign up directly with ASCAP or BMI to collect performance royalties, many independent artists can’t get an established publisher to work with them, which is key to making other types of publishing revenue accessible” explains Rob Filomena, CD Baby’s Director of Music Publishing. “We’re making professionalized music rights management accessible to a large group of independents and, judging from the growth we’re seeing, this is an essential artist need right now.”

CD Baby Pro is allowing its members to collect — for the first time  —mechanical royalties from streaming services both in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, direct registration of songs with over 40 foreign societies has accelerated payment to members for performances in these territories by years in some cases, whereas relying on U.S. PROs alone would have taken much longer. Read more »

The #1 reason you should NEVER pay for fake likes, fans, views, or subscribes

By Chris Robley
February 24, 2015{ 36 Comments }

Why you should never pay for likes, follows, subscribes, and viewsWhen MySpace was the dominant social media platform for independent musicians (remember George W. Bush’s second term?), people got obsessed with numbers. How many friends do you have? How many times have your songs been played?

The higher the number, the more legit you seemed. Labels, bookers, even other bands were all staring at your stats and judging you accordingly.

And it was all B.S.

Why? Well, because some bands paid services to boost their numbers for them. Some bands held pizza parties and had all their friends clicking the play button all night long. Other talented bands didn’t have any MySpace friends or plays yet, because they were brand new acts. While other brilliant musicians were never going to see those kinds of giant stats simply because their music was more niche and wouldn’t have broad appeal. Take any of the examples above and you quickly realize — numbers alone have little to do with talent.

And yet… almost a decade later, musicians are still concerned with their numbers: Facebook fans, YouTube subscribers, Twitter followers, and more. Read more »

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Protecting your music through copyright, trademark, and more

By Guest Blogger
February 24, 2015{ 1 Comment }

How to trademark a band name[This article was written by Yannick Ilunga. It originally appeared on The Jazz Spotlight.]

The Internet is a key component of today’s music industry. Social media, websites, email lists, platforms for music promotion… music has been strongly impacted by the web, in a good way.

At the same time, however, the Internet can threaten musicians’ art with online piracy and copyright infringement.

If you ask artists if they are serious about their music career, most will answer affirmatively. Not many take care of the legal side of their career, though. In the latest episode of the Jazz Spotlight podcast, I sat down with New York-based attorney Jo-Ná Williams to talk about what independent musicians can do to protect their music. Whether you’re about to graduate from music school or have been an indie artist for years, you can follow these simple tips that will avoid you huge legal headaches in the future. Read more »

Booking your first gig

By Guest Blogger
February 17, 2015{ 5 Comments }

[This post was written by Steve Rennie, a manager who has worked with the multi-platinum rock band Incubus for the last 17 years.]

For most artists that are just starting out, the ugly reality of booking shows is that someone in the band will need to do it. Period. Why? Because unless you already have a well connected manager or a label willing to subsidize the building of your live career, you don’t mean anything yet in the marketplace. Crying about it won’t get any dates booked. And the reality is that many of the biggest bands around at some point were in exactly the same position as you. And they figured it out.

But I’ll give you a hot tip. Nobody is going to call you, so you’ll need to be the one asking for the gig. If you don’t ask you won’t get.

Case Study: Grouplove

When you are a manager you spend a lot of time talking to other managers. One of the top young managers in the business today is a gentleman by the name of Nicky Berger who manages a great young band called Grouplove. When he first met the band he was not a manager, he was a student at the Univ of Pennsylvania who was trying to figure out how to be a manager and help his friends in Grouplove. Read more »

Can you outsource/crowdsource creativity? Collaboration vs. The Lone Artist

By Chris Robley
February 16, 2015{ 12 Comments }

Musical collaboration vs the sole songwriter

At last week’s Grammy Awards, Kanye West (once again) stepped onstage in mock-protest over the fact that Beyoncé didn’t win Album of the Year. Beck did — for his somber, atmospheric folk album Morning Phase.

In an interview after the ceremony, Kanye said: “Beck needs to respect artistry, and he should have given his award to Beyoncé.”

My Facebook feed blew up, with many of my friends expressing a viewpoint along these lines: “Beck is the TRUE artist. He plays a dozen instruments and writes all his own songs! Beyoncé just sings, and all her songs are written by a team.”

I don’t know if this is an accurate summary of either artists’ creative process, but I kept wondering: why is one method “truer” than another? Both artists are incredibly talented, and (if we can momentarily get over the fact that all this fuss is over a little trophy given for an album subjectively assessed as “the best”) both artists might be equally deserving of that award.

Why do we hold up the idea of the lone genius and disparage “art by committee?” (And I’m guilty of this prejudice myself). Read more »

Every #TBT, check out CD Baby’s “From the Crates”

By Chris Robley
February 12, 2015{ No Comments }

CD Baby's "From the Crates"Every Thursday, a member of the CD Baby team goes deep into our warehouse to highlight an oldie-but-goodie “from the crates.”

CD Baby sells music from more than a quarter million artists in over 600 genres from around the world, so you never know what we’re going to feature. Tune in every #TBT to hear about (and HEAR) another great independent album.

The videos are posted on CD Baby’s YouTube Channel and shared on our Music Discovery Blog, but I figured I’d share the first handful here to get you caught up! Check them out below: Read more »

A letter to a young lyricist, from Gavin Castleton

By Chris Robley
February 12, 2015{ 16 Comments }

Gavin Castleton's "letter to a young lyricist"

[This post, written by Gavin Castleton, is part of a series of letters from established artists (including Gretchen Peters and Mary Gauthier) to young musicians — and it originally appeared on his blog The Great Consolidation. Gavin Castleton is a performing songwriter and music producer whose work spans multiple genres, from pop and rock to R&B and hip hop. He has appeared on Jimmy Fallon and toured the United States extensively.]

Hi Matt,

Thanks for taking an interest in my work! Congrats on your decision to pursue music. As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s a long painful journey with lots of sacrifices but more fulfillment than the average career, I’d bet.

I suspect that my lyrical proclivities are a bit abnormal, so I’m not sure my approach is worth replicating, but I’m happy to tell you my personal philosophy and opinion in regard to prose/lyrics:

1. Read everything. A writer without a thorough grasp of the english language and the myriad of ways brilliant people have been exploiting it for centuries is like a drummer without rudiments… she might hit a few nice pockets, but she won’t have the means to get acrobatic and will work much harder at phrasing than one with a diverse vocabulary and historical knowledge. Watch people like Van Dyke Parks, Joni MitchellLeonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and Bob Dylan speak in interviews. It’s not a coincidence that they are some of the greatest lyricists of all time. Read more »