Your band bio is SOOOOO boring!

By Chris Robley
September 22, 2015{ 1 Comment }

Why your band bio is boringAre most musician bios really “a mine of useless information,” the term arts critic David Lister used to describe the biography of virtuoso violinist Julia Fischer that was printed in a concert program?

That’s the conclusion of Anastasia Tsioulcas in her piece for NPR called Why Can’t Artist Bios be BetterThough the article is primarily concerned with the world of classical music, many of the lessons apply no matter what genre you perform.

Here’s what Tsioulcas has to say about bad musician bios:

To me, it’s not just an issue of trite phrasing or poor grammar, though those problems exist. It’s a larger matter of conception and approach. Even soloists and groups who go to great lengths to project a bleeding edge artistic image fall, all too often, into the tropes Lister mentions. Here’s a typical (and real) example from one such ensemble, a group that’s far more innovative and unusual than their bio would suggest:

Read more »

“The major record labels are completely clueless,” says Arcade Fire’s Win Butler

By Chris Robley
September 22, 2015{ 2 Comments }

Indie artists, do you still want to get signed to a major label?

In a recent interview, Win Butler, chief singer and songwriter for the Grammy-winning band Arcade Fire, said:

“The major label music industry has completely ruined every aspect of their business. At every step of the way they’ve had the tools offered to them to create an industry that works, and they’ve completely blown it. That’s why we never had any interest in signing a contract with one of these companies because they’re clearly completely clueless.”

It’s a matter of interpretation just how independent Arcade Fire’s career has been. Their albums are released by the small (but legendary) label Merge, and their newest album is distributed by a major. That being said, it’s pretty clear the band has held firm to the reins when it comes to their music, marketing, videos, visual branding, and touring — and that’s a level of control they probably would’ve lost had they signed early on with a big label. Read more »

Are you using Facebook as a music video platform?

By Chris Robley
September 21, 2015{ No Comments }

Facebook for musicians: the new video platform?


According to Digital Music News, Facebook now serves up four billion videos every single day (a quadruple increase over last year), and that number is rising quickly.  “A year or two from now, we think Facebook will be mostly video,” says Ted Zagat, Facebook head of ad product.

Obviously Facebook’s ongoing mission is to make the platform more attractive to advertisers. And what’s more attractive than the prospect of rolling highly-targeted and unskippable ads before trending videos?

Thus begins the loop: Facebook pushes video, so advertisers favor video, so Facebook will favor video (even more than it did before) when determining what content should be displayed in users’ feeds. That means musicians with an active Facebook following will need to adjust in order to reach fans.

You might want to start thinking about Facebook more along the lines of YouTube

If Facebook shifts to become (primarily) a video platform, the pressure will be on for musicians to post more video content there. The bad news? Well, your video views and engagement will be split between two competing platforms, Facebook and YouTube. The good news? Much of the same content you’re currently creating for YouTube could easily work on Facebook, so at least you’re not going to have to do double your work when it comes to video production.  Read more »

What’s an average day like for you as an independent musician?

By Chris Robley
September 18, 2015{ No Comments }

Average day for a musician

Grim? Accurate? Both?

This funny chart comes courtesy of The Violin Channel, which might explain the fear of child prodigies — though really, don’t we all lose sleep worrying about whippersnappers?

Anyway, what’s your “average” day like?

Read more »

8 reasons you aren’t getting publicity for your music

By Guest Blogger
September 18, 2015{ 3 Comments }

Band publicity (why your PR isn't working)[This post was written by Lauren Gill of Power Publicity. It originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

Billboard. Rolling Stone. Spin magazine. Musicians dream of getting massive amounts of publicity and everyone knowing their names, but getting press as an emerging artist can be tough. Journalists and bloggers are inundated with pitches from artists seeking to be featured in their publications. There’s an art and a science to securing press that many emerging artists may not understand. You probably have contacted the media in the past and wondered why nothing ever happened. Are you making one of these eight PR mistakes?

1. You don’t have a story

Being an emerging artist with a hot new single is not a story. There are thousands of artists releasing new music every day. Journalists want to tell an interesting story that their audience would want to read. Tell the story behind your music. Maybe you have a special creative process or a connection to a mainstream artist. Think of unique angles to tell your story, and include it in your pitch.

2. Your pitch was bad

It’s not enough to have a story. You must have a good story. Your story must be newsworthy and relevant to an outlet’s audience. A good pitch is also not self-centered. The media is not there to promote your music; their obligation is to their audience. Before you send your pitch to the media, ask yourself, “Who cares?” If you cannot answer this question, go back to the drawing board and craft a better pitch. Read more »

Save 50% on worldwide music distribution with CD Baby when you switch from another distributor

By Chris Robley
September 17, 2015{ No Comments }

Music distributionUnhappy with your current distribution? Switch to CD Baby and get 50% off our ONE-TIME signup fee.

Every once in a while, a friend of mine (against my recommendations, of course) will use a company other than CD Baby to distribute their latest single or album. In almost every one of those cases, the results were the same: they’d come to me a year or two later and say, “Dude, you were totally right. I need to switch to CD Baby.”

It could be that the distributor they chose is closing up shop, or that the annual fees have finally kicked in (and if you’re paying $50 a year per album just to keep your back catalog online, those fees add up quick).

Whenever this happens, though, I feel a mixture of relief and frustration. I’m relieved the person is going to switch to CD Baby, but I’m frustrated they’ve wasted their time, money, and effort elsewhere.

Obvious full disclosure: Yes, I work for CD Baby. But CD Baby was my distributor years before it was my employer, and I strongly believe that for most independent musicians, CD Baby is the best option.

5 reasons why CD Baby is the smartest choice for artists

1. We do MUCH MORE than just digital distribution Read more »

Metallica now has its own band-branded beer. Is it time to up YOUR merch game?

By Chris Robley
September 16, 2015{ No Comments }

metallica beerBudweiser is now offering a limited-edition beer that’s not only branded with Metallica’s logo, but also “imbued with the band’s essence.” Nasty!

91,000 cans of this stuff will be made available exclusively in Quebec City. Is that a big Metal town? I have no idea. But I’m pretty sure this is a product most Metallica fans neither asked for nor wanted — yet here it is; bottoms up.

What does any of this have to do with independent music, you might ask? Well, not much. Metallica is one of the biggest acts in the world, and Budweiser… they’re doing just fine too. This band/beer partnership, though, made me feel a little bit of merch shame. I might not ever have my own beer, but surely I can cover the absolute basics like setting up a merch booth at shows and offering t-shirts, right?

Sadly, I have a merch confession: I didn’t even set up merch at my last show. (Gasp!) It was a small club, I was excited to hang out with the other act on the bill (my friends Sofia and Jonas who were touring the States from Germany), one of my best friends from childhood ended up coming to the show, then the rush to get my gear set up, and suddenly it’s time to go on.

Meanwhile, glowing in the corner of the room, as if calling to everyone in attendance, is Sofia’s totally pro merch setup. It’s portable, eye-catching, neatly arranged, and even features an iPad that scrolls beautiful pictures of all her discs, shirts, etc. Read more »

DIY Music Licensing Workshop: Make Money from Film, TV, & YouTube [free webinar]

By CD Baby
September 16, 2015{ 1 Comment }

Sync licensing webinarYou don’t need a big publisher to get your music licensed on TV and YouTube! Learn how to get placements, get exposure, and make money from licensing as an independent musician.

A lot of musicians think you need a big publisher to get music licensed, but there are more options than ever for indie musicians to break into the publishing industry.

On Thursday, September 24 at 7pm EST, Dave Kusek (founder of New Artist Model and Berklee Online) will host a free online workshop with guest speaker Kevin Breuner, Director of Marketing at CD Baby. Together they’ll show you exactly how to get your music licensed as an independent musician.

Learn about the ins and outs of independent sync licensing, and discover two easy ways to make money on YouTube.

Sign up for this free webinar HERE.

$79 DIY Musician Conference tickets end tonight at midnight!

By CD Baby
September 16, 2015{ No Comments }

Tickets for DIY Musician ConferenceIf there are any tickets left after Wednesday‚ the price goes up to $99. But that’s a big if.

We’re getting down to crunch time: Not only is the first-ever DIY Musician Conference close to selling out; we’ve also reached the final day of $79 discounted tickets. If you wait till Thursday‚ and if there are any tickets left‚ the price will be $99.

What do you get for that $79? 20+ unique sessions‚ including keynotes‚ panels‚ and networking opportunities‚ as well as our open mic on Friday and our official showcase on Saturday. It all adds up to practical‚ actionable advice‚ so you can walk away with a clear plan to move your music career forward. Read more »

What to do with old unneeded musical instruments

By Guest Blogger
September 10, 2015{ 1 Comment }

Selling used music gear[This article was written by Martin Wells, a musician and writer who covers lifestyle topics including home improvement and life hacks.]

Whether you just bought a new guitar and you’re ready to part with the old one, or you’ve decided it’s time to stop playing the drums, every musician has to unload instruments from time to time. But it’s not always an easy thing to do; your instruments hold value, both physical and sentimental, so it’s important to make the right decision about how (and when) to part ways. Here are six methods for handling unneeded instruments.

1. Sell Them Through Social Media

One of the best ways to dispose of unneeded musical instruments is through your social media channels. If you’re connected with other music professionals, you’re likely to find a knowledgeable buyer with ease.

Post a picture of your instrument with its details and your asking price, and ask your friends to share it around. Even if you don’t have a buyer within your immediate social circles, a friend-of-a-friend might be the perfect buyer. Read more »