Notes from an Independent Record Producer, Part 7: Get It Out There!

By Guest Blogger
April 14, 2016{ No Comments }

Notes from an Independent Record Producer[This article is written by guest contributor and music producer Jamie Hill. For more music production advice, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 of this series.]

As an independent producer/engineer, I work in a lot of different capacities on a lot of different types of projects. Sometimes I’m just putting a mix on something someone else has recorded, and sometimes I’m intimately involved with every aspect of a project from a piano/vocal demo through to mastering. Most projects fall somewhere between those two extremes, and as such I’ve gotten to work with a lot of different types of artists.

I’m currently working with an artist who’s been working on the same record on and off for close to two and a half years. We’ve spent well north of a thousand hours on this project over that period of time. We’ve produced the record once, completely remixed it twice, and are currently on our second round of mastering. It’s an epic project, sort of insanely so.

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New radio show in Toronto looking to feature music by LGBT artists

By Chris Robley
April 12, 2016{ No Comments }

Radio show looking to feature music by LGBT artistsI got an email the other day from Mark Tara, a recording artist and LGBT content creator from Toronto who’s looking for great songs by independent musicians in the LGBT community (any and all genres of music welcome) to feature on a new hour-long radio show called Rainbow Country, launching in June on Toronto’s CiUT 89.5FM — a station available to a population of 8 million, and which has a cumulative weekly audience of more than 426,000 people (not including internet and cable listeners).

The show will be  blend of music and interviews, including episodes with artists like Carole Pope, Molly Johnson, Lorraine Segato, Tom Robinson, and Micah Barnes.

Mark says, “It is my sincere intent that Rainbow Country be a reflection of the community by inviting diverse individuals to share their stories. I am looking to offer radio airplay on my radio show to other LGBT recording artists, so if this maybe of interest to YOU please get in touch!” Read more »

How an indie songwriter charted on folk radio

By Chris Robley
April 12, 2016{ No Comments }

How one indie artist charted on Folk radioAn interview with Monica Rizzio

I met songwriter Monica Rizzio last year at the 1st DIY Musician Conference in Chicago, where we shared some ideas about crowdfunding (I’d just wrapped up a PledgeMusic campaign and she was about to launch one).

In the months following, it’s been interesting to see how her campaign — and the album it brought about — took shape.

From a marketing perspective, Monica hit all the right notes: good music, a story that makes an interesting hook for press, visual branding that enhances that story, advanced praise from some high-profile professional contacts, and more.

One of the things that really interested me, though, was that in the month leading up to her album release her music was getting played a ton around the country and her songs were performing well on folk radio charts. I asked her a bit about the release of Washashore Cowgirl and the process of promoting her music, particularly to radio. Read more »

Why you should be scheduling your YouTube videos (and how to do it)

By Chris Robley
April 11, 2016{ 2 Comments }

How to schedule YouTube videos to post at a later timeDo you post all your videos to YouTube on a regular schedule?

[Take your YouTube channel to the next level with Illustrated Sound, CD Baby’s YouTube network for independent artists.]

Creative people — especially musicians — don’t always work well with deadlines. You might go for months without posting anything to YouTube, then inspiration strikes and you film three new videos in a single week. Of course you’re itching to post them all in rapid succession, but it’s probably smarter to hold back and put together a more deliberate plan.

Many of the biggest YouTube stars talk about the importance of posting new videos on a set schedule, even if it’s only once a month. While many artists don’t aim to use the platform in the same way that “YouTubers” do, there’s still a lot to learn from the strategies of popular YouTube personalities.

Why is it important to post YouTube videos according to a schedule?

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How to establish your band locally and move onto bigger gigs

By Guest Blogger
April 11, 2016{ 1 Comment }

Book gigs locally first, then branch out to bigger marketsThere’s a lot of debate out there about whether or not a band should focus on getting established locally before trying their hand at regional, national, or even global notoriety.

And it’s true – no matter how hard you try, there will always be some localities where hosting an open mic is the greatest level of achievement.

But assuming you’re in a reasonably large town or city (it doesn’t have to be considered a music center), and people like to check out local shows, there is a good reason to build support where you are.

Creating momentum in your hometown can definitively lead to bigger gigs. So let’s take a look at what you need to do get established in your locality.

Practice and perform

I’m not going to be talking at length about this, because every band has to work on their craft if they ever want to go anywhere. You must practice!

But let me talk about a few things that I think are helpful: Read more »

Why social media is DEAD for music marketing (and why email works)

By Guest Blogger
April 8, 2016{ 1 Comment }

Is social media dead for music marketing?It’s hard to believe it’s been over 12 years since the launch of Facebook. Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. That’s good news for marketers, musicians, and entrepreneurs. You have this incredible platform to reach every one of those followers you painstakingly cultivated. Or do you?

Organic Reach is a Harsh Reality

If you’ve been paying attention to the recent developments in social media, you know the rules have changed for business pages and profiles. Now you have a choice: You can post for free, and reach an infinitesimal amount of people within your massive group of followers, or you can pay for exposure. So here’s how it goes down: You get the sound and lighting just right. You shoot an amazing video and take some awesome pics. You sort through the best of them, edit your video, and remove the red eyes from your photos. Everything’s cut, polished, and pretty enough to present to your fans. So you craft a clever headline and upload. Then you wait for the likes, shares, and comments to come… but they don’t. Or they do, but the numbers are puny. When Facebook suggests you pay for more reach, you know you got punked.

If you continue to post on social media without paying, it’ll be like setting up for concerts, pouring yourself into the music, playing your rockstar best, and then you realize the room is mostly empty, the sound is off, and there’s just one row of seating anyway.

What’s The Solution?

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DIY music video production tips from three independent artists

By Chris Robley
April 7, 2016{ No Comments }

Behind-the-scenes of a DIY music videoA glimpse behind-the-curtain of three DIY music videos

Between CD Baby and Illustrated Sound (CD Baby’s new YouTube network), we hear from lots of artists who’re releasing cool-looking music videos.

Every so often I’ll share a handful of standouts along with comments from the artist or director about the video production, in hopes that it might inspire or inform your next music video project.

As you watch these, it’s worth remembering that just because you’re a do-it-yourself musician, it doesn’t mean you can’t work with pros when it comes to any aspect of your video production: videography, editing, set design, etc.

So, let’s take a look. Below the embedded videos are comments from each of the artists about the shoot. Read more »

The top 3 reasons you should attend CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference

By Chris Robley
April 7, 2016{ No Comments }

A musician workshop at CD Baby's DIY Musician ConferenceWhy should you join us in Chicago at the Conference Plaza Hotel (September 30-Oct 2)?

Reason #1: Community!

When we held our first DIY Musician Conference last year, we hoped attendees would bond through their shared experiences and love of making music. They did, and then some.

The family atmosphere felt natural from the start, and it just got stronger as the weekend progressed, with musicians coming together to jam, share stories, and learn from each other.

Artists from across many backgrounds made connections that last beyond the event. In my 10+ years working at CD Baby, one of the things I’m most proud of is that at this conference many of the markers that often keep people disengaged from one another (musical genre, age, race, sexuality, gender identification, career status, etc.) actually served as points of connection, education, and strength for the whole community.

Attendees — whether they were charismatic or shy, whether they were indie success stories or undiscovered talents — built a kind of community network that will continue to support them as they progress in their musical career.

Musician networking at the DIY Musician ConferenceHere’s what some artists had to say about the event:

“The CD Baby DIY Musician Conference was the first musician’s conference I’ve ever attended and I’m thinking it will be hard to beat! Everyone I encountered – both fellow musicians and presenters –  were kind & generous with their knowledge  with not even a tinge of condescension or cliche-y-ness.  I felt supported, empowered and so inspired by the weekend. Definitely on my calendar for 2016!”

“I’m a 47 black lesbian singer/songwriter, and I didn’t feel out of place at all. Not bad, guys! 🙂 “

12187671_10153667197274330_4386392740371764716_n“My band The New York Rock has showcased at a handful of other music conferences. We learned that most conferences are more about the industry folk networking for themselves. CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference was a conference FOR the artists. I personally learned more in that weekend than in the last 10 years of my career. The panels were aimed to help independent artists succeed. There was NO ego. I highly recommend this conference for any independent artist trying to make a career in this crazy god forsaken business we call the music industry!”

“You made me feel very welcome and you brought in great insider content. Kudos!!!!” Read more »

These 59 blogs will listen to your song, guaranteed

By Guest Blogger
April 5, 2016{ No Comments }
 Get music on blogs
[This article was written by Brian Hazard, and it originally appeared on his blog Passive Promotion.]

I hate submitting my music to blogs. Hate hate hate. The process goes something like this:

1. Scour Hype Machine for blogs in my genre.

2. Comment on said blogs regularly to “develop a personal relationship.”

3. Gather relevant email addresses.

4. Assemble a compelling pitch for my latest and greatest song.

5. New email, copy/paste, send, rinse, repeat.

6. Wait in vain for a response.

Hey, I understand. Music bloggers can receive hundreds of submissions per day. There’s no way they can check out that many songs, much less provide feedback. It’s not like they’re getting paid!

But what if they did get paid? Not for exposure. We’re not talking payola here. Just a token amount to compensate them for their time. Say… $0.50? That just might work.

SubmitHub, created by Jason Grishkoff of Indie Shuffle, centralizes the submission process and rewards bloggers for focused listening and timely responses.

Read more »

Band Booking 101: approaching a venue

By Guest Blogger
April 4, 2016{ No Comments }

How to build a fanbase as a new bandAn interview with Lucan Wai of The Central & The Smiling Buddha (Part 1)

[This article was written by Alex Andrews of Ten Kettles Inc. and originally appeared on their blog. Check out their new app for aspiring songwriters: “Waay: Music theory that matters.” Click here to learn about its bite-sized video lessons, interactive exercises, and progress-tracking tools!]

If you’re in a performing (or soon-to-be-performing) band, then booking shows is a regular part of your life. Picking the venue, deciding on the cover charge, organizing the bands, choosing between bookers and a D.I.Y. approach—you’ve likely seen it all. But maybe you still have some questions.

This week we dive deep into the topic of booking shows with someone who’s got a lot of experience: Lucan Wai. Lucan is the owner of The Smiling Buddha and co-owner of The Central—two very popular music venues in Toronto for new and returning bands.

I recently sat down for a chat with Lucan at The Central to talk about his experience working with bands and promoters, organizing great shows, and his advice for new bands. Lucan works with over a 1000 local and visiting bands each year, so you’ll want to check this out. Here is the first part of our conversation (some edits for length and clarity). Read more »