The DIY Musician Blog’s top 10 articles from 2014

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The DIY Musician's top 10 articles from 2014

There’s only a few days left in 2014, which means it’s time to recap your favorite DIY Musician articles from this year.

Live performance disasters, the debate over free streaming, the relationship between age and success, music marketing tips, sticking it to American Idol, and much more.

Here’s a list of the top DIY Musician Blog articles from this past year

The worst thing your band can do onstage1. The worst thing your band can ever do onstage

There are plenty of ways to screw up a live show. We’ve all had things go not-exactly-as-planned once we’re in front of the crowd and under those lights.

Sometimes you’ll find your mistakes weren’t nearly as bad as you thought they might be. Maybe the crowd barely noticed. Some things are out of your control. And almost all derailments are possible to get back on track.

Except for maybe this one.

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What you need to know about the music industry if you're returning after a break2. What you need to know about today’s music business if you’re returning after a long break

“I haven’t put out an album in 15 years. What’s changed?”

If you’re asking this question, let me say congrats on getting back into the music world; welcome to a brand new game. Limp Bizkit and Creed are no longer feuding (or making music). Will Smith has stopped rehashing 70s disco hits. And most kids these days think that “Everlast” is the name of a battery.

On the bright side, a few things will feel familiar.

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Shook Twins tell American Idol to take a hike3. Thanks, but no thanks: Shook Twins tell American Idol to take a hike

Earlier this year, 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!”

The Twins responded promptly, pulling no punches in their answer and sharing it on their Facebook page, as well. Click through to read it!

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Has music been devalued?4. Think music has been devalued? Think again.

It’s easy to assume these days that the whole world thinks music (recorded music, live music, your music, all music) should be FREE. Talk to working musicians and it seems like everyone from local bar owners to regional concert promoters are growing more reluctant to provide guarantees.

Is the outlook really that bleak? Is the thing you sweat, toil, and obsess over really not worth much at all?

Hardly.

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Letter to a young songwriter, from Mary Gauthier5. A letter to a young songwriter, from Mary Gauthier

You’ve watched your musical heroes take the stage to thunderous applause, adulation and love, and you burn for that, for yourself, and you want to be a professional writer of songs.

The songwriting call has whispered in your ears for years now, and you’ve decided to answer it. You are ready to embrace it, to begin your journey as a songwriter.

But be warned: the life of a songwriter is not what you think.

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How NOT to write about your music6. How NOT to write about your music

Musicians often have difficulty describing their own music, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s tough to be objective about your own work, and as a result, some musicians’ summation of their sound can end up coming off as grandiose, charmingly inaccurate, or just plain way off-base.

Avoid these common mistakes and make sure potential fans get a clear, concise idea of what you sound like and who you are.

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How to live your dream without a support system7. How to live your dream without a support system

You work a 9-to-5 that barely pays the bills. Your lights flicker on and off as you ponder if you paid your electricity bill or not. Your refrigerator contains only water and iced tea, and your pantry is stacked with ramen noodles. Your mother calls: “Are you still trying to make it in music? Why don’t you get a real job? There’s no money in making music.”

You quickly change the subject.

Sound familiar?

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Ten ways to ruin a song8. Ten ways to ruin a song

As Spinal Tap reminds us, it’s a fine line between stupid and clever. This is particularly true in the world of popular music, where one bad move can kill an otherwise great tune.

Ever hear a song you absolutely love, except for that one part? It doesn’t take much to derail a hit, but maybe that’s why we have radio edits.

Here’s a list of ways to sabotage your next song during the writing or recording process.

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Free music: your best friend, or the devil?9. Free: Your best friend, or the devil?

The debate about free music has raged for years. David Byrne believes the internet “will suck all creative content out of the world.” Thom Yorke famously pulled Atoms for Peace’s catalog from Spotify, believing the service makes it difficult for emerging bands to get off the ground.

Has easy-access to free music helped you build a fan base you might not otherwise have found? Or has it had a serious impact on your earnings?

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You're never too old to make it in music10. You’re NEVER too old to make it in music

Youth has always been a huge component of popular music culture: Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, Madonna, Britney Spears, One Direction, Lorde — they all got their start well before the big three-O. And some of them were still in their teens!

But if youth is a prerequisite for success in the pop music business, well, we’ve gotten used to plenty of notable exceptions to that rule throughout the years.

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What was your favorite music-related article from 2014 (on our blog, or any other)? Let us know in the comments below.

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