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Crafting a compelling set list for your next concert

By Guest Blogger
June 24, 2014{ No Comments }

Screen shot 2014 06 24 at 8.22.50 AM 1 Crafting a compelling set list for your next concertPutting the right songs in the right order to bring your audience into your performance

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

Whether you’re playing to a packed stadium, an intimate theater, an open mic night crowd, or streaming through your computer to a worldwide audience online, you need to deliver something compelling to your fans. There are plenty of creative ways to be more captivating on stage: banter with band mates and the audience, costumes/attire, props, mood lighting, video affects, and anything else you can dream up.

And still, perhaps one of the best ways to deliver a quality concert experience is to properly construct a set list that complements your show, your style, and the venue where you’re performing. This is a crucial element whether you’re playing the Super Bowl halftime show or the open mic in a pub down the street. A well-crafted set list can make or break the vibe of your gig. Chaining too many songs together in the same key, dynamics, rhythm, or timing starts to sound monotonous. Changing things too abruptly can feel disjointed and jarring. And of course, the way you introduce a song, or not introducing a song at all, can have an impact on how it is received.

As musicians, we might feel more in tune with some of the variables I just mentioned. As an average audience member, I might not know how to articulate why a performance makes me feel the way it does, but I can probably tell you how it makes me feel. And I might not even notice that unless something feels “off.” Read more »

Moby’s advice for younger musicians: do what you love AND diversify

By Chris Robley
June 24, 2014{ No Comments }

Moby — the popular songwriter, producer, DJ, remixer, scorer of film music, singer, guitarist, keyboardist, drummer, photographer, founder of music festivals, restauranteur, and activist — has sold over 20 million records in his lifetime.

His success has enabled him to further pursue a number of those passions, but it’s also true that the diversity of Moby’s skills and interests is what helped him achieve that level of success in the first place. Read more »

How to choose the right song for your single and video

By Guest Blogger
June 23, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 136637576 300x279 How to choose the right song for your single and video[The following is an excerpt from Tamiko Hope's book "The Indie Insider: 10 Key Facts From Music Industry Insiders."]

What makes a great lead single and video? 

Understanding who you are as an artist and knowing your audience is absolutely vital when it comes to selecting a single. The song needs to be solid and the video treatment needs to be appealing. Tuma Basa, VP of Music Programming at REVOLT, underlines both of these points. “If a video evokes emotion via its visual aesthetic and the song is just dope, it has a good shot of getting on REVOLT.”  

Noah Jolles of ND Promotions suggests making sure your single is clean (no profanity) and that you shoot a clean video or prepare to have immediate access to a director or editor for quick edits. “If you pick a street record or have a dirty version for YouTube or the music blogs, make sure you can make a clean version for the networks to avoid delays and budget issues. I’ve seen so many indie artists and labels waste time and money, as well as miss opportunities shooting a video that’s not appropriate for network television.”  

Basa also reinforces the idea of staying ready for video issues that require immediate attention. “If something like being on tour or having a hectic schedule affects your ability to get things done like paperwork, edits or closed-captioning, it’s very beneficial to hire an indie promotions company in order for the programming process to go smoothly.” Read more »

How to fall in love with music marketing

By Chris Robley
June 23, 2014{ No Comments }

“I’ve been teaching and researching marketing for a couple of decades,” says music marketing expert Bob Baker, “and there’s one thing I know with certainty: Most creative people are uncomfortable, confused or downright disdainful about marketing.

In the video clip above, Bob shows you how to break that pattern, reframe the concept, and get on friendlier terms with the process of marketing your music. Read more »

The listening habits of modern Americans

By Chris Robley
June 19, 2014{ 13 Comments }

edison chart american listening 510 The listening habits of modern Americans

A new survey from Edison Research studied how much time Americans spend listening to various audio sources. The report is a fascinating look at our listening habits.

The results show that an average American listens to four hours and five minutes of audio every single day.

Here’s the breakdown of that listening time:

52.1% — broadcast radio (both AM and FM stations)

20.3% — owned music (CD, vinyl, downloads, cassettes, etc.)

11.6%  — streaming services (Internet radio, Pandora, Spotify, Beats, etc.) Read more »

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Deep in the Kickstarter trenches, Pt. 2

By Guest Blogger
June 19, 2014{ No Comments }

Days Deep in the Kickstarter trenches, Pt. 2

Lessons learned in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign

[This article was written by jazz pianist and CD Baby artist George Kahn. Click HERE to read the first part of the series.]

The Jazz & Blues Revue is now two weeks into our forty-day Kickstarter campaign. Although I have released seven albums on my own, using my boutique record company and CD Baby for distribution, this is the first time I have used crowdfunding to finance a project.

Here are four tips that I have learned this week that can help you have success with Kickstarter:

1. It starts with a sprint, and turns into a marathon

Last week I spoke about  “first followers.”  It is important to have key people lined up to get your project off to a fast start.  Getting traction, and being “in the race” is important to attract others to join your vision and goal. We had a very successful launch, and after two weeks we are 33% to our goal of $18,000 to fund our new album. Now the strategy shifts; we are in a marathon, and perseverance and endurance will be more important than speed and flash.

Read more »

Your image is more important than your music — especially if you’re an indie artist

By Guest Blogger
June 19, 2014{ 45 Comments }

shutterstock 152104547 Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artist

[This article was written by guest contributor Brandon Seymour.]

I’ve played in bands on and off for nearly 15 years. In addition to being a musician, I’m also passionate about marketing. Over the past couple of years, I’ve written several articles aimed at helping local, independent musicians improve their online marketing strategy by boosting brand awareness, leveraging social media and building a strong online presence. It just sort of made sense. I enjoy marketing and I enjoy music, so why not integrate the two in some way?

I learned a lot from working with different clients over the years, and I’ve been able to take some of the things I learned at my day job and apply them to my musical projects. What I didn’t realize at the time though, was that the most valuable insight I gained wasn’t from marketing. Instead, it was something I learned from playing in bands that would end up changing my outlook as a marketing professional. I learned that image is, and quite possibly always will be, more important than music. And the same holds true for just about anything else. Image is everything.

They call it “show business” for a reason. The music industry (and I use that term very loosely) isn’t concerned with art or expression. It’s not about identity or originality. And it’s definitely not about talent. It’s about money. I’m not saying that you won’t ever be appreciated as an artist. I’m also not saying that being an artistic genius precludes you from mainstream success. I’m saying that the music industry as a whole doesn’t care who you are unless they can profit from what you have to offer – regardless of how amazing or awful you actually are. It’s not evil, it’s just business. As with any other business, even the greatest products can’t sell themselves; the image or brand perception is what makes people want to buy.

Read more »

Share this articlefacebook Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artist566twitter Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artist103google Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artist17stumbleupon Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artist0linkedin Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artist11pinterest Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artist0tumblr Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artistemail Your image is more important than your music — especially if youre an indie artist

Why the Long Tail is good for independent musicians

By Chris Robley
June 18, 2014{ No Comments }

long tail Why the Long Tail is good for independent musiciansTracy Maddux, CEO of CD Baby, just wrote an article for Billboard called “Tales of Long Tail’s Death Greatly Exaggerated in which he talks about the traditional music industry’s criticisms of the Long Tail (the concept that music in lower demand will collectively comprise a better market share than music released by top-selling major label artists), and why FANS are the future deciders of what music should get heard:

When you look at the music industry from the perspective of an artist who is just starting out, many of the traditional paths to making money are just not accessible. It shouldn’t be up to the established industry to decide who should succeed. It’s up to fans.

The major labels, of course, see things somewhat differently:

Many conversations about the industry break artists down into two groups: those good enough to be on a label, and those who aren’t. In those conversations, it really has nothing to do with “how good” they are, but whether the artist can make a platinum hit that will recoup the massive cost of promotion. That leaves an enormous amount of amazing, diverse music that the old system classifies as “not worth it.” Not only are those artists worth it, but, in the Internet age, music fans are seeking and discovering this music. To ignore the Long Tail is to ignore a sizable chunk of the future of the music business.

To read more of Tracy’s thoughts on The Long Tail and how it benefits indie artists, click HERE Read more »

What you need to know about today’s music business if you’re returning after a long break

By Chris Robley
June 18, 2014{ 18 Comments }

shutterstock 155464796 What you need to know about todays music business if youre 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 70′s 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. Eminem is on the radio. Evil corporations rule the large live event and ticketing infrastructures. Most music is made using any combination of the same 12 notes. And artists still create music wanting people to hear it.

Lastly, the size of that artist’s audience (as always) depends on some combination of talent, charisma, smarts, hard work, and luck. That part of the music biz should feel familiar too.

But here are ten big things that HAVE changed about the music industry over the last fifteen years:

1. Monetization is about experience, not sales

A decade ago, monetizing music was still mostly about CD sales and publishing royalties.

Read more »

Why Willis Earl Beal is leaving his label for CD Baby

By Chris Robley
June 17, 2014{ No Comments }

Willis Earl Beal MG 1042 Interview Under the Radar James Loveday Leaving label 300x204 Why Willis Earl Beal is leaving his label for CD BabyIn just a few years, Willis Earl Beal has built up quite a buzz, put out two critically-celebrated albums, played the starring role in the film Memphis, and performed at major music festivals and on TV shows such as Jools Holland. Now he’s decided to leave his label in order to release his next album, Experiments in Time, on his own terms. No label help. No publicity team.

As music journalist Matt Fink says, “this isn’t typical behavior from an artist on Beal’s current trajectory, of course, and he has a lot to lose by daring to shake off the restraints of the industry that has given him the sort of platform that similarly-minded home-recorders such as Jandek and R. Stevie Moore have never had. But there is nothing typical about Beal, and he seems more than willing to sacrifice comfort for control over his work. After all, if he hadn’t been willing to take things in his own hands, we never would have heard about him in the first place.”

In an interesting interview with Fink for Under the Radar, Willis Earl Beal talks about why he want to strike out on his own at this point in his artistic life, and about the ambitious album Experiments in Time that he will self-release on August 8th via CD Baby. Read more »