Author Archive

The DIY solution for anyone who hates smartphones at concerts

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

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

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

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

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 »

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

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”

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

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 »

Got a cool photo of your band we can use on our website?

February 9, 2015{ 146 Comments }

2heDGcDo41ONxfDp26NqMxc6YvZ6s6mdl_MO_PJHdPoBetween cdbaby.com (our music store), members.cdbaby.com (the site for musicians looking for information about CD Baby), and this DIY Musician Blog, we’ve got a lot of places to feature awesome photos of the artists who use our services — like the one to the left of the rambunctious rockers in Nasalrod.

If you’d like a little extra online promo love for your music, here’s what we’re looking for:

1. Great live shots

2. Interesting pictures of you recording in the studio

3. Sweet pics of you just being a musician (life on the road, practicing, putting up posters, etc.)

Got just the right image? Please share the photo or an image link (with photographer attribution) in the comments section below. Read more »

What makes a great singer?

February 9, 2015{ 23 Comments }

What makes a great vocalist? Bob Dylan has been called many things: legend, icon, troubadour, singer of protest songs, surrealist, Christian rocker, amazing vocalist.

Wait. What? Amazing vocalist?

I’m actually being serious. I think Dylan is an incredible singer — but he’s also been the butt of a billion jokes about bad vocals. (If you had a dollar for every Bob Dylan impression you ever heard…)

Yep, Dylan’s pipes have been quite divisive over the past 55 years, and he talked about it — somewhat defensively — last week in his speech at the MusiCares event honoring his career and music:

Critics have always been on my tail since day one. Seems like they’ve always given me special treatment. Some of the music critics say I can’t sing. I croak. Sound like a frog. Why don’t these same critics say similar things about Tom Waits? They say my voice is shot. That I have no voice. Why don’t they say those things about  Leonard  Cohen? Why do I get special treatment?

Read more »