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How setting limits in the studio can lead to creative success

By Chris Robley
October 8, 2014{ 2 Comments }

shutterstock 153925208 300x300 How setting limits in the studio can lead to creative success5 ways to improve your recordings by setting limitations in the studio

In a creative space, endless options can drive us crazy.

This is especially true in the studio, where expectations run high and budgetary and time restraints amp up the pressure.  In this environment a limitation can be the very thing that keeps you sane.

Ever seen The Five Obstructions? It’s a great film, and a great illustration of how arbitrary obstacles can help us focus and push beyond our habitual moves.

If you’re about to head into the recording studio, consider some of these creative limitations:

1) Set a maximum track-count before the session begins — It’s not uncommon these days for Pro Tools sessions to have 100 tracks. Sure, if you’re Dr. Luke recording the next #1 single for Katy Perry, go for it. But if you’re squeezing in recording time on the weekends, do you really want to have to sift through all those tracks every time you open your session? Read more »

How to stretch your recording budget and get more for your money

By Guest Blogger
October 7, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 16068823 300x200 How to stretch your recording budget and get more for your money[This post was written by guest contributor Dave Kusek of New Artist Model.]

Budgeting is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of planning for a new album or project. Compared to all attention you give to writing, recording, and marketing, budgeting can sometimes be overlooked entirely or hastily done. It’s just not as exciting as all the creative vision you may have for your next project, or the actual process of writing and recording. However, good planning may mean that more of your creative vision and ideas could become a reality!

If you don’t plan your budget out in advanced you will almost always overspend, taking away from the money you could have used to tour after the release, make a really great music video, get new band photos taken, or a myriad of other things you can spend your money on. And you will have no way of looking back to see if you were on track with your budget and how you can do better next time.

So before you jump into recording your next album or EP, whether this is your first or tenth, here are some tips to budgeting and managing your expenses. Read more »

Boost sales and build hype with a digital music pre-sale on iTunes and Amazon

By Chris Robley
October 7, 2014{ 1 Comment }

shutterstock 208122751 300x300 Boost sales and build hype with a digital music pre sale on iTunes and AmazonStart “selling” your new music before its official release date

A digital pre-sale (via iTunes or Amazon) allows your fans to order your music in advance of its release. All pre-sales will be credited on the official release date — so the more pre-sales you get, the higher your sales ranking for that day. Your pre-sale customers will then be able to hear/download your music on the release date.

A digital music pre-sale is a great way to build hype for your latest album, giving you an extra four weeks to create buzz before the music actually drops. And given the fact that both iTunes and Amazon are prime real-estate for music retail, those four weeks can have a big impact.

With a pre-sale, you don’t have to keep telling your fans about new music on the horizon with no retail solution in place to capture interested customers. Now — in the month leading up to the release — whenever you talk about your new music on social media, on your website, in your newsletter, or at a concert, you can tell your fans where to go RIGHT NOW to make a purchase. Read more »

Can you sing two notes at once? This woman can

By Chris Robley
October 6, 2014{ 1 Comment }

Want to be amazed? Listen to this woman’s polyphonic singing! 

I’m not just talking about David Lee Roth-style overtones here. Anne-Maria Hefele can control her voice so well that she’s able to create parallel, contrary, and oblique harmonies… all by herself. Read more »

A Guide to Getting Gigs: What to do before looking for gigs

By Guest Blogger
October 3, 2014{ 8 Comments }

 gigs before A Guide to Getting Gigs: What to do before looking for gigs

[This article was written by guest contributor 

Some do it for the thrill of being on stage. Some do it to see the world, while for others it is one way to make money as a musician.

Performing live is one of the best things about being a musician. However, for independent artists, who don’t necessarily have the support of an agent or manager, looking for gigs can be quite overwhelming.

What some artists don’t realize, and is the one thing that can bring in frustration, is that “gig hunting” is a marathon, not a sprint.

This 3-part series shows you what to do before you start looking for gigs, what to do while seeking shows and what should be done once concert dates have been confirmed.

This first part focuses on what musicians should do before you begin “gig hunting.”
Read more »

The 3 most common music publishing deals for songwriters

By Chris Robley
October 2, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 130027265 The 3 most common music publishing deals for songwritersHere’s a story you’ve probably heard before: band makes it big, everybody gets rich, the songwriter gets richer.

Why does the songwriter make more money? Music publishing!

If you’re a songwriter, you could make huge amounts of money from your songs… IF you have a deal with a publishing company.

By performing a number tasks that are often too difficult (or time consuming) for songwriters to do on their own, music publishers can help open up lucrative opportunities for your songs.

But what do the different kinds of publishing deals that are out there look like? And what are the pros and cons of each?

Alex Badanes from Songtrust wrote an article called “The Three Most Common Publishing Deals — Learn Your Options!” which provides a nice summary of this topic. In that piece, he says:

The moment you decide that a song you have been working on for weeks is finally finished, you own a copyright and 100% of your publishing. This 100% is divided into two very important sections – The Publisher’s Share (50%) and The Songwriter’s Share (50%). It is imperative to understand that most publishing agreements only take a percentage of ownership of your Publisher’s share (50%). Unless you sign a work for hire agreement (See Below), you will never lose any ownership of your Songwriter’s share.  Read more »

The college radio DJ’s dilemma

By Guest Blogger
October 2, 2014{ No Comments }

tumblr inline mspqugdliU1qz4rgp The college radio DJs dilemma[Editor's note: This article was written by Michael Corcoran of MusicSUBMIT. I'm posting it here because I think it illustrates not only the benefits of a service like MusicSUBMIT, but because it gives a realistic glimpse into the workflow of many college radio DJs. The more you understand the volumes of music being sent to these folks, and the more you think about how to make your music stand out from the pack with creative packaging and promo materials, the better your chances of successfully promoting your music to college radio (regardless of whether you send them CDs, digital files, or use MusicSUBMIT).]

So you work at your college’s radio station, and you’re lovin’ life. You get to talk about, listen to, and play all the cool new bands. And it’s all up to you, who gets played. What could be better?

But wait….now you’re getting hit up by bands you know, friends of bands you know, and friends of friends of bands you know. You’re getting CDs in the mail from bands you don’t know, and emails from everyone who ever picked up an instrument. How the hell are you supposed to deal with all the new music coming your way?

Welcome to the College Radio Dilemma: finding good bands among the oodles of options without losing your mind. Read more »

Are you getting paid everything you’re owed from interactive streaming?

By Chris Robley
September 30, 2014{ 1 Comment }

publishing2 Are you getting paid everything youre owed from interactive streaming?As music streaming continues to grow in popularity, it’s becoming more and more important for artists to understand how they can earn money from this new mode of music delivery.

When it comes to interactive streaming services — the kind where you get to choose which songs you listen to (as opposed to non-interactive streaming services like Pandora) — there are four ways to make money.

When your music is played on Spotify, Beats Music, Rdio, and other streaming platforms, you are owed:

1. The regular ‘ole payment for the stream —

This money is sometimes called a “master use royalty,” an “artist royalty,” or “the master license fee.” What this means in plain-speak is that you’re being paid a fee every time a listener streams your sound recording via Spotify, Beats, etc. If you’re being distributed through CD Baby, these payments are reported in your accounting dashboard.

2. Performance royalties — 

If you’re registered as both a songwriter and publisher with a performing rights organization such as ASCAP or BMI, then you’ll receive these royalties through them for any interactive streams. Read more »

What you should do when your gig is over to make sure you get booked again

By Guest Blogger
September 30, 2014{ 2 Comments }

shutterstock 92434276 What you should do when your gig is over to make sure you get booked againIn my guide “How to Book My Band” I outline steps you can take to get gigs for your band. I also talk about how to plan and pull off a great performance.

In this article I’d like to discuss what you should do once the show is over. It’s not as simple as just packing up your stuff and heading to the party.

What to do AFTER the gig

You finally did it. You got your first gig and rocked the hell out of the crowd. Most of the songs went off without a hitch and your drummer only dropped 5 sticks (hey, he’s getting better!). You played your last song and even got an encore. What a great night.

Now what do you do?

Thank the crowd

As the last notes are ringing, your singer should be thanking the crowd. Read more »

How to effectively promote online gigs

By Guest Blogger
September 29, 2014{ No Comments }

empty room mic How to effectively promote online gigs

Avoid an “empty room” at your next online gig

[This article was written by guest contributor James Wasem from]

We talk a lot about the technical side of doing online events and concerts.  And that is important.  But none of it really matters if no one buys a ticket and the audience never arrives.

Promotion is a big part of any successful live online gig. Communicating effectively with your audience and fan base is the first place to start.

Email lists are still one of the best direct-communication tools available, and you should use that to your advantage.  The people on your email list have signed up because they want to hear from you, or they’ve purchased something from you in the past.  Send regular updates about your upcoming online event to your email list.  Make it special and exclusive.  Don’t make the mistake of sending just one email highlighting your upcoming gig.  Schedule reminders and add new info each time.

Need more people on your email list? Check out this recent DIY post to grow your list. Read more »