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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 »

Which popular Christmas songs are still protected by copyright?

By Chris Robley
September 29, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 168405965 Which popular Christmas songs are still protected by copyright? ‘Tis the season…

… when you start to see Christmas decorations right beside the Halloween candy in Costco.

That’s right, summer is barely over and it’s already time for holiday preparations.

If part of your music promotion plan this year is to release some Christmas songs — and that’s always a smart plan, since people love to buy music around the holidays —  you need to make sure you’re dotting all your i’s and crossing all your t’s.

Are the songs you’re choosing to release still protected by copyright? If so, you’re going to have to pay the songwriters and publishers before you can start selling ‘em!

Are they old Christmas songs that are in the Public Domain? If so, great! You won’t have to pay any mechanical royalties.

But “old” is a relative term. Just because a classic holiday tune seems ancient doesn’t mean it’s in the Public Domain.

To find out, download CD Baby’s free PDF “Christmas Songs in the Public Domain (and those that aren’t).” 

This PDF includes:

* A list of popular holiday songs in the Public Domain

* A list of popular, copyrighted Christmas songs

* Composer names for copyrighted holiday songs Read more »

Awesome Craigslist response to a restaurant asking bands to play for free

By Chris Robley
September 26, 2014{ 5 Comments }

Do you ever play for free? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below. Read more »

Earl Patrick “Praverb The Wyse” McNease passes away

By Chris Robley
September 25, 2014{ 1 Comment }

2194122 1411049341.9603 Earl Patrick Praverb The Wyse McNease passes awayIn Memoriam: a look back at Patrick’s guest posts for the DIY Musician Blog

A couple years ago, the rapper Praverb The Wyse emailed me an idea for a post on this blog. It would become the first in a series of guest posts Patrick (his real name) contributed to CD Baby.

Not only were some of his articles among our most popular, but they were also some of our most generous and inspiring pieces too. Praverb’s deep understanding of the artist’s life, his positivity, and his inquisitiveness were evident in the content of his articles, the way he engaged with commenters and followers online, and in our own email correspondences.

I was very sad to hear that Patrick passed away last week, leaving behind his wife Vanessa, his young son Matthew, many friends, and a giant online community.

To celebrate his sincerity and generosity in mentoring artists, I thought I’d do a roundup of Patrick’s DIY Musician articles:

How to live your dream without a support system

10 ways to support your favorite artists when you’re broke
Read more »