Author Archive

A breakdown of song structures by genre

July 29, 2014{ No Comments }

Blues 1 650x180 A breakdown of song structures by genre

Of course, of course, of course — the best songs often defy the limits of their genre.

But it’s still fun sometimes to look at compositions as if they’re little collections of songwriting clichés.

John Atkinson did just that with his “Anatomy of Songs” drawing (show below).  Read more »

How to earn more music publishing royalties

July 24, 2014{ 4 Comments }

publishing2 How to earn more music publishing royaltiesIf you write original songs then you stand to earn music publishing revenue, most of it in the form of mechanical royaltiesperformance royalties, and sync licensing fees.

That’s right, someone owes you money every time your music is played on the radio, streamed online, performed in a venue, downloaded internationally, or used on television. With CD Baby Pro, we’ll make sure you get paid everything you’re owed — worldwide.

Lots of artists ask us, though, once they’ve signed up for CD Baby Pro, “What now? How can I earn more music publishing royalties?”

 Here is a list of things you should do to increase the publishing royalties you earn

1. Pursue sync opportunities for the usage of your music in film, TV, games, commercials, and more. Read more »

Finding the right publicist for your band

July 23, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 187157954 Finding the right publicist for your bandLike many aspects of the music industry, effective publicity is about teamwork and good communication. There are many great music publicists out there (and many more not-so-great ones) who’ll work independent releases, but that doesn’t mean just any publicist will do. You’ve got to find the one that feels like the right fit for your goals, budget, genre, and more.

Here’s a list of things to consider when you’re trying to find the right publicist for your next album or tour

1. Budget — Can you pay them the fee they’re asking? Even if you only hire a publicist for 3 months or so, it’s probably going to cost you thousands, so think about your band finances first. Then find the publicist who fits your budget.

2. Track record — Have they had good results doing PR for other acts? What magazines and blogs have they gotten other bands positively featured in? You want to make sure you’re hiring someone who has already established solid relationships with writers, editors, and media producers in the music press. Read more »

Why live music events stopped being fun, and how to remedy that right now

July 22, 2014{ 4 Comments }

1682199 DavidBowie 4 212x300 Why live music events stopped being fun, and how to remedy that right nowRyan Bort, in an article for Esquire called “Why Concerts Stopped Being Fun,” talks about how we’ve grown indifferent to live music experiences because:

1) We’re distractible and addicted to our smartphones, and thus not investing in the art being performed in front of us.

Or as Jack White puts it, “People can’t clap anymore because they’ve got a fucking texting thing in their fucking hand, and probably a drink, too!”

2) Everything sounds homogenous. There isn’t a whole lot that distinguishes this band from that band, so we kinda just assume it’s all just… meh, and we reach for the distractions mentioned above.

Bort, talking about the kinds of events that exist between the small bar venues and the megastar arena shows, describes this phenomena thusly: “… in the middle of these two extremes, from Jack White on down to an exceedingly plentiful crop of indie bands popular enough to tour nationally but not really distinct enough for anyone to get overly excited about, cell phone checking and repeated trips to the bar predominate.” Read more »

How does YOUR vocal range compare to the greatest singers of all time?

July 21, 2014{ 1 Comment }

Screen shot 2014 07 21 at 7.48.03 AM How does YOUR vocal range compare to the greatest singers of all time?

With this fun, interactive chart from Distilled, you can compare the vocal ranges of today’s top artists with the greatest pop, rock, and soul singers of all time.

The chart allows you to sort singers based on the highest and lowest notes they ever hit in the recording studio, as well as by their overall vocal range. (You can hover over the bars to see the songs on which they reached those notes.) Read more »

10 places to take a shower on tour… and we’ve actually tried #7

July 18, 2014{ 25 Comments }

mud BJ blue Mike Tre gree 10 places to take a shower on tour... and weve actually tried #75 serious suggestions, and 5 more if you’re really desperate

How many days can you go on tour without showering? Three, seven, fourteen? The answer probably has as much to do with your bandmates’ tolerance for funk as it does with your own hygiene preferences. Yes, you can Febreze your jeans and steal a fresh t-shirt from your merch booth when things get rough, but one thing is certain: every band has its breaking point — and when you’ve hit your limit, you need to find a shower, and quickly.

Sometimes your tour itinerary will provide you with some obvious shower opportunities. Other times you’re in a van racing through the middle of nowhere, counting billboard signs for The Thing or coming up with your set list for the next show, and you have no idea where you’ll find a good bath on such short notice.

Here’s a list of options for both the careful planners and those prone to B.O. emergencies

1. Truck stops — Did you know you can rent a shower and/or toilet room at many truck stops? Check out this page on the Pilot Flying J site for a list of cities where rental showers are available. It’ll cost you about $12, but that’s a small price to pay for keeping your bandmates from tossing you out of a moving vehicle.

2. Day rooms — If you’re renting a hotel for the night, well that’s a no-brainer. Take a shower, fool! But even if it’s not in the budget to get a hotel in each town, you can still rent many hotel rooms at “day room” rates, meaning you’ll have access to a room for a couple hours to shower, nap, get dressed, and get out. Not every hotel offers this service, but it’s worth asking. The hotel can make some cash off the room, clean it after you’ve gone, and rent it to someone else for the night.
Read more »

How to make album art videos for your songs on YouTube

July 16, 2014{ 14 Comments }

Screen shot 2014 07 16 at 12.07.27 PM 1 How to make album art videos for your songs on YouTubeIndie musicians are earning more and more money from the usage of their music on YouTube. Every quarter, the amount of YouTube ad revenue that CD Baby pays to artists grows impressively.

The giant video streaming platform has already become the go-to destination for younger music fans, and older listeners are catching up quick. That’s why your YouTube presence may be the most important component of your overall music promotion.

But you can’t make money from YouTube if your music can’t be found on YouTube in the first place.

One remedy for that is to encourage your fans to upload their own videos to YouTube using your music. Through CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization program, YouTube will sonically ID your music, serve up ads on those videos, and pay you any revenue generated.

But another simple way to to get your music onto YouTube is to create album art videos for all your songs.

What is an album art video?

An album art video is simply a YouTube video consisting of the audio of one of your songs and an image of the associated album cover. Read more »

This is what musicians really think about the “image” issue

July 14, 2014{ 17 Comments }

RiffRaff2 650x392 This is what musicians really think about the image issueImage: what is it, what’s yours, and why does it matter?

Last month we published an article by Brandon Seymour called Your image is more important than your music – especially if you’re an indie artist.” As you might be able to tell from the headline, it inspired some heated comments, both in agreement and dead-against.

Here’s an excerpt from the article to give you an idea of Brandon’s argument:

The music industry (and I use that term very loosely) isn’t concerned with art or expression. It’s not about identity or originality. And it’s definitely not about talent. It’s about money. I’m not saying that you won’t ever be appreciated as an artist. I’m also not saying that being an artistic genius precludes you from mainstream success. I’m saying that the music industry as a whole doesn’t care who you are unless they can profit from what you have to offer – regardless of how amazing or awful you actually are. It’s not evil, it’s just business. As with any other business, even the greatest products can’t sell themselves; the image or brand perception is what makes people want to buy. Read more »

Thanks, but no thanks: Shook Twins tell American Idol to take a hike

July 10, 2014{ 57 Comments }

1392822276000 Shook Twins Publicity Image 1 1  300x225 Thanks, but no thanks: Shook Twins tell American Idol to take a hikeLast week, CD Baby artists Shook Twins (a folk-pop band fronted by identical twin sisters) received an email from the producers of American Idol asking them to audition for the show. The email stipulated that the sisters “would have to audition INDIVIDUALLY OF COURSE!”

Here’s how Shook Twins responded (quoted from the band’s Facebook page):

Dear American Idol,

Thank you for reaching out to independent Portland Musicians. However, we find it very surprising that you research established and successful bands to compete individually.

You said in your email invitation that, “You would have to audition us individually of course.” It’s interesting that you assume that would be OK. Sure, “Of course” we would abandon ten years of hard work and career building as a duo to be the next new “Pop Star” singing songs that we didn’t even write.

As many singers would love to audition to be the next American pop star, we respectfully decline your invitation. We are proud to be making a living off our art and being successful independent artists by our own design.

This is what we value as “indie” musicians: Read more »

Don’t force people to steal your music

July 9, 2014{ 6 Comments }

shutterstock 192598955 300x300 Dont force people to steal your musicRich Juzwiak wants to buy a song by Elle Varner — but can’t.

Right now the single is only available on SoundCloud until some future date when, presumably, the full album will be released on iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Rich is pissed. He thinks Elle is behaving according to an antiquated “anticipation business model.” He believes…

Actually, Rich says it best, so here it is:

This new song exists only on Soundcloud. It is not available on iTunes. Why? Why can’t I have this song now? I want it now. I would buy it now. When it is officially available, I will likely have already downloaded an illegal rip of it or ripped it myself or forgotten about it all together. What is this stupid anticipation business model the music industry is still trying to make happen? Haven’t we proven that if we want something, we’ll take it regardless of the legality? Hasn’t that collapsed the business of selling music? Will they ever learn?

A commenter then asked why, if the music is that important to him, Rich wouldn’t want to just remind himself to buy it later when it’s officially released. Here’s his response: Read more »