Author Archive

$29 for 29: the saga continues…

February 12, 2016{ No Comments }

Standard album distribution for just $29? On paper it shouldn’t have worked!

February, 2016: tensions built, rivalries formed, and in just 29 days the world of independent music distribution was changed forever.

Sell your music worldwide. Get paid weekly. No annual fees.

During the month of February, use coupon code 29FOR29 when you sign up an album for CD Baby’s standard distribution and get: Read more »

Music Memos: Apple’s new, free app for demoing your song ideas

February 9, 2016{ No Comments }

Apple's Music Memo: demoing app for musiciansFor years I’ve been using the Voice Memos app on my iPhone to record crude demos, or just to get bits of song ideas down while they’re fresh in my mind.

Now Apple has taken Voice Memos to a whole new level with Music Memos, a free iOS app that,  according to Apple, takes the functionality of Voice Memos “even further by adding musician-friendly features designed specifically for songwriting and developing musical ideas.”

Here’s what a recent Apple press release says about Music Memos:

Read more »

How (and when) to make a Spotify playlist to promote your music

February 8, 2016{ 2 Comments }

How to make a Spotify playlist to promote your music

Spotify playlists: a simple way to get creative, curate a music collection, and promote your music to new and existing fans

[This article is about promoting your music through Spotify playlists that you create yourself. For information about getting your songs added to other peoples’ playlists, click HERE.]

Last month I performed more than sixty different songs across seven nights at a residency in Portland, Oregon. In preparation, I’d actually learned (or relearned) more than eighty five songs. It was fun to dust off so many older cover songs and originals, and to try out a bunch of new songs too.

A surprising number of people made it out multiple times that week (the trophy goes to someone who was there five nights) but since no attendee was likely to be there all week long, CD Baby’s VP of Marketing Kevin Breuner suggested I make a Spotify playlist of all the songs from all the nights, both covers and originals, to share for those who felt like they might’ve missed out.

So this morning I did.

I put together all the songs I could find on Spotify, and created this playlist of original indie-pop songs, David Bowie covers, Harry Nilsson tunes, Katy Perry, Danny Kaye, Erik Satie, old American standards, and many more: Read more »

CD Baby’s 29FOR29 (Part 1): the deal, the drama, the documentary

February 8, 2016{ No Comments }

Years from now you can tell your friends you were there when it happened, CD Baby offering $29 standard album distribution for the 29 days of February!

Read more »

How to double your merch sales overnight

February 1, 2016{ 2 Comments }

How to double your merch sales overnightLast month I played a seven-night residency in Portland, Oregon. It was a blast. A marathon. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Each night I had a different featured guest play their own music for an hour, and I’d usually do both a solo acoustic and full-band set as well.

The week before I flew out for the shows I went to Kinkos, Goodwill, and some crafts stores to try to piece together a new merch display. It’d been a while since I put real effort into a proper merch setup.

I liked what I came up with this time around and thought it was a good compromise between being easily portable (because I needed everything to fit in a suitcase) and easily modular (so I could give different merch items their own little section of the display).

[The picture above shows what it looked like when I first set it up in the venue.]

So the shows began: Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night,…

I sold some CDs, but I wasn’t selling as many as I thought I would.

After my set on Tuesday night I mentioned to my friend Naomi, who performs in Moody Little Sister (the featured guest that evening), that I was feeling a little bummed about my merch sales.

Without missing a beat she attacked the problem like a pro-makeover artist. Seriously, she should have her own reality TV show. In literally three or four minutes she helped me switch things around in such a way that I started selling twice the amount of CDs in the second half of the week as I did in the earlier part of my residency. (Ya know, we’re still talking modest sales, but hey, double is double!)

So here’s the tips Naomi gave me… Read more »

Recording, mixing, mastering, and distributing your music — all from an iPad

January 28, 2016{ 1 Comment }

For almost a decade, Ben Braden has been busy with his band The Lower 48. When it came time to take a little space, he wanted to come up with a completely different creative process. The resulting album, his solo debut Leaves of Trash, was recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely from a tablet and iPhone. This indie songwriter made and distributed (worldwide) his music without ever leaving home.

Above is a short video where Ben shares his story about being DIY musician. Below is a quick interview with Ben about his process. Read more »

A glimpse behind-the-curtain of four independent music videos

January 27, 2016{ 1 Comment }

Behind-the-scenes of a DIY music video

The making of a DIY music video

Between CD Baby and Illustrated Sound (CD Baby’s new YouTube network), we hear from lots of artists who’re releasing cool-looking music videos.

I thought it’d be interesting every so often to share a handful of standouts along with comments from the artist or director about the video production, in hopes that it might inspire or inform your next music video project.

As you watch these, it’s worth remembering that just because you’re an independent/DIY musician, it doesn’t mean you can’t work with pros when it comes to any aspect of your video production: videography, editing, set design, etc.

So, let’s take a look. Below the embedded videos are comments from each of the artists about the shoot. Read more »

What you need to know about hiring players for your next session or gig

January 27, 2016{ No Comments }

Saxophonist at GigA lesson in etiquette for artists who plan to hire musicians for a live show or recording

Are you thinking about enlisting the help of other musicians to record your new song, or to perform at an upcoming show?

Remembering the Golden Rule and applying common sense can go a long way towards making these kinds of collaborations a success, whether you’re paying people or not.

My friend Pony (who I’ve enlisted to play bass in my band on occasion) and I were talking about life as a “hired gun” and we came up with a few pointers for bandleaders who might be new to this situation.

Here they are…

Don’t assume every hired or guest musician is the same.

They all have their own skills, needs, and quirks. Upfront communication is key. The fewer surprises on both ends, the better. Read more »

The biggest myth in sync licensing…

January 18, 2016{ 1 Comment }

… is that music supervisors are only looking for new releases.

That’s flat-out false.

When someone is searching for the perfect song to fit a scene in a film, TV show, or commercial, the ONLY thing that matters is how well the music supports the action.

Unlike other aspects of the music/media business, sync licensing success is not based on age or freshness, release date, or “relevance.”

It’s based on usage and need. What do the lyrics say? What does the music sound like? Does it fit the vibe or theme of the scene? The track needs to be useful for the production. That’s it.

Even your oldest songs — songs you may’ve long since stopped performing — can earn you sync revenue. And you never know what music supervisors will be looking for, so it’s smart to get all your material into a sync licensing catalog. Read more »

Promote your next show with a video poster

January 13, 2016{ No Comments }

How to make a video poster for your next showHow to make a concert poster that moves

To celebrate the release of my new album, I’m playing a seven-night residency next week at one of Portland’s coolest listening rooms.

Part of the arc of the week involves having different featured guests each night to showcase the music of some of my friends and collaborators. I’m excited to have these guest musicians for obvious reasons, but it also gives me a fun opportunity to promote the shows, since I can design a different poster for each night of the residency.

What’s a video poster?

I did have a standard poster designed for the whole week (and I think that was a good idea to present an overview of the entire event), but I’ve also been making little individual video posters, each with a snippet of a track by the corresponding featured artist.

Here’s the first four I’ve published so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about (be sure to scroll over the image to find the play button):

Read more »