Author Archive

Scientists locate portal to Hell

September 16, 2014{ No Comments }

Actually, it wasn’t scientists. It was someone from Reddit. Their strange quest to uncover the whereabouts of Satan’s layer 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 stay healthy on the road: simple tips for touring musicians

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

September 12, 2014{ No Comments }

 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 »

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

September 9, 2014{ 7 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 »

Please read this before your next band photo shoot

September 8, 2014{ 22 Comments }

shutterstock 150490304 Please read this before your next band photo shootYou want to take great band photos, don’t you? Not just ones where everyone’s in focus and the bassist remembered to wipe the stalactite of spit from his upper lip?

Yeah, of course you do. We all do — especially when the difference between your music getting ignored and getting big exposure in the press often comes down to one thing: having great band photos.

But in order to get that great shot you’re going to need the right clothes, the right setting, the right lighting, the right expression at the right moment, and the right photographer to catch it all in one instant. For many of us, that’s already a tall order. Now consider this: a single band photo is not enough.

You need great band PHOTOS — plural.

Why? Read more »

How to keep your guitar safe during air travel: tips for flying with your instrument

September 5, 2014{ No Comments }

Screen shot 2014 09 04 at 8.41.08 AM How to keep your guitar safe during air travel: tips for flying with your instrument

Download the free guide to flying safely with your guitar

You’ve probably heard horror stories about expensive guitars being destroyed by air travel — maybe via careless baggage handlers or rapid humidity changes during flight.

In CD Baby’s newest guide — “Tips for Flying with Your Guitar” — you’ll find some quick tips to help you minimize the chances of becoming another victim of guitar mistreatment.

Inside, you will learn about:

* When you should check your guitar and when you should carry it on board

* How to make sure you can keep your guitar with you during flight

* How to safely pack your guitar for travel

* What to do if your guitar gets damaged during flight

* How to get the airline to take responsibility for the damage Read more »

What do all successful musicians have in common?

September 4, 2014{ 13 Comments }

shutterstock 131746688 What do all successful musicians have in common?Is there one trait that is shared by all successful artists?

There are countless musical genres (CD Baby’s online store boasts almost 700 genres and that’s just scratching the surface); there are many ways to create great music; there are numerous paths to success; and every musician defines “success” differently.

Despite all the various styles, methods, and temperaments, though, there must be some personal quality that every successful artist has in common: The need to connect with an audience? Discipline? Golden ears? A reverence for the music that inspires them? Daring? The desire to make something that will last?

If you ask me, the common thread for musicians who’ve been able to sustain successful careers is that they’re blessed (or cursed, depending) with some mixture of persistence, stubbornness, and delusion. They have to believe, often in the face of much indifference or criticism, that the music they’re creating is important enough to one day move listeners.

What do you think? Is there a single quality that all good musicians must possess?

Read more »

CD Baby Free: sell your music directly to fans, even if you’re being distributed by another company

September 3, 2014{ 2 Comments }

cdbaby free CD Baby Free: sell your music directly to fans, even if youre being distributed by another companyIntroducing CD Baby Free — a no-cost way to start selling, streaming, and sharing your music online

Yes, you heard us correctly: CD Baby Free!

Artists no longer need to pay a one-time signup fee to sell digital downloads on or via our free promotional tools such as the CD Baby Music Player and MusicStore for Facebook. We’re opening the retail site to every musician on the planet.

There’s no upfront fees and no cancellation fees, so you have nothing to lose — and we only take a 15% cut of your sales (which is comparable to other, similar services like Bandcamp). If you decide at some later point to upgrade to our full distribution service (which gets your music onto platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon), you’ll make even more money per sale, as our share of your digital sales will be reduced to just 9%.

If you already distribute your music through another company, no worries; you can still use CD Baby Free to tap into our huge base of independent music buyers (1.5 million unique monthly customers). Read more »

The website mistake that’s guaranteed to drive your fans away (and other web tips for musicians)

September 2, 2014{ 2 Comments }

WebTipsBanner 650x165 The website mistake thats guaranteed to drive your fans away (and other web tips for musicians)


A whole season’s worth of web tips to help you smarten up your online music marketing

Well, somehow summer slipped by without me posting one of my usual monthly recaps of The HostBaby Blog. To make up for it, here are links to all the best online music marketing tips from June, July, and August — beginning with an article that addresses a website mistake too many musicians are making, and one that is sure to frustrate most of your fans and visitors.

Here are the most recent HostBaby Blog articles:

The website mistake that’s guaranteed to drive your fans away

5 things your fans want to see on your website
Email marketing for musicians: “Make sure your emails are a reference” Read more »

Mobile phones at shows: A promotional boost for you or a grand distraction?

August 29, 2014{ 36 Comments }

Screen shot 2014 02 24 at 7.56.49 AM 1 650x218 Mobile phones at shows: A promotional boost for you or a grand distraction?Perennial copyright curmudgeon Don Henley recently told the Daily Telegraph that “videoing a concert with a phone is a violation (of The Eagles’ rights).”

“It spoils it for people who are going to come to a show in the future,” he said. “We’d like for them to experience it for the first time in the audience rather than experience it on a crappy video that sounds horrible.”

As far as I’m concerned, if you have to sell a kidney in order to afford a ticket to an Eagles concert, you deserve to be able to shoot a little video to prove that you were there. Furthermore, I’m not sure that a crappy YouTube video qualifies as an “experience” for the diehard Eagles fan. They’re still going to want to go to the show.

But matters of copyright aside, what’s happening at concerts today when so many attendees are holding up their smartphones to snap pictures, shoot videos, or tweet about the show? Read more »