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Cube: Google’s new six-sided music video player

By Chris Robley
July 9, 2014{ 1 Comment }

The folks at Muppet Labs… I mean Google, have invented a gadget that they’re hoping will help unlock new possibilities for visual artists, musicians, and designers.

It’s called Cube, a virtual 3D media experience (available only for Chrome and Android of course) that syncs multiple music and video elements across six different sides of the player. The user can rotate the Cube manually to choose which part of the video they want to watch at any given moment. Read more »

Protecting your voice and preventing vocal cord damage

By Chris Robley
July 8, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 144686600 300x200 Protecting your voice and preventing vocal cord damageAs a singer, your instrument is your entire body, not just your lungs, or lips, or vocal cords, or tongue. The way you treat your whole body — from the food you eat to the quality of your sleep — will affect your singing, and either help or hinder your ability to connect with your audience using that most vulnerable and human instrument.

So how can you keep your voice healthy for the long-haul?

Check out the following articles, many of them from our friends at Disc Makers (who’ve written a free guide all about good vocal technique, care, and maintenance):

1. How to prevent vocal cord damage

2. Vocal health basics

3. Eight ways to improve your vocal health Read more »

House concerts made easy: ten songs, for ten people, for ten bucks each

By Guest Blogger
July 8, 2014{ 1 Comment }

TenTen Concerts 300x192 1 House concerts made easy: ten songs, for ten people, for ten bucks each[This is an excerpt from Fran Snyder’s forthcoming book, House Concerts and Modern Touring for Small Acts. Snyder is the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com, which is the most active house concert community on the planet. Stats and opinions in this piece come from 8 years of watching and helping thousands of house concerts take place.] 

You’ve undoubtedly heard of house concerts, and how they’ve become consistent “life-savers” for small touring acts. It’s tough to beat a show that gives you a place to stay and eat for free, a captive audience, and 100% of the money. Consequently, many touring acts are trying to inspire their fans to host shows for them, and that’s great. Except they’re doing it all wrong.

Yes, it is very gratifying to play a house concert for 30-40 people and make $500-1000. However, if these are the expectations you set for fans you’ll have three main problems:

1. You’ll get very few takers. Most will think their space or list of friends is too small.

2. Those who try will want to host weekend shows, especially Saturdays, instead of the key off-nights that threaten the profitability of your tours.

3. Many newbie hosts fail to draw enough people to make a weekend show worthwhile. You’ll fall short on nights where you need to make the most money (Saturdays), and leave yourself and well-intentioned fans disappointed.

For most people, it is very difficult to get 30 people to show up at your house and pay to hear an act they don’t know. Read more »

How to suck at social media: bad advice for bands

By Chris Robley
July 3, 2014{ 13 Comments }

Conan the Conquerer 1 247x300 How to suck at social media: bad advice for bandsWhen it comes to building your music career, Social Media is a zero-sum game. Your fans should only like one band: your band. There’s simply not enough social media to go around. As an artist, you must either conquer social media outright or leave nothing behind but scorched earth. Here’s how.

Some important things to remember if you want to win at social media

1. It’s all about you — Duh. They’re your “followers,” after all. Treat them as such. Your fans’ only social media medicine should be a daily injection of 100% maximum YOU. And make it clear you’d prefer your monologue to run without interruption.

2. Be a brand, not a band — Don’t let your fans forget the reasons why they followed you in the first place: your corporate sponsorships, your clean website fonts, your newest line of t-shirts. Don’t draw attention to your art or your humanity,… that’s just weakness. Embody the brand and the brand will embody you, making you all-powerful. For extra impact, be sure to use terms like “direct-to-fan” and “value-added” whenever you post on social media.

3. Don’t ever talk about politics, religion, or your personal life — Sure, these things might be important to you. They might even be central to your identity and to your music. But you risk offending people when you get real. So don’t get real. Don’t you dare. Stay polite at all costs, or even better: stay fake. Let’s pretend, though, that you DO get into a disagreement. Well the only correct course of action at that point is to crush them. Make an example of them. Show no mercy. Read more »

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Deep in the Kickstarter trenches, Pt. 4

By Guest Blogger
July 2, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 119079004 300x200 Deep in the Kickstarter trenches, Pt. 4Lessons learned in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign

[This article was written by jazz pianist and CD Baby artist George KahnRead part 1 of the series HERE, and part 2 HERE, and part 3 HERE.]

The Jazz & Blues Revue is now 27 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign. Yesterday we crossed the $11,000 mark on our way to the $18,000 goal.  We are 62% funded, and with only 13 days to go the pressure is on.

My back is aching from too many hours on the Internet, sending emails, posting blogs, sharing in groups. But I feel a sense of calm. The events of the last week have made me more certain that we will reach our goal in the next 2 weeks.

Part of actualizing the result is having a complete vision of the final product.  This week I interviewed (and booked) a Grammy-award winning studio in Los Angeles for the recording session, started confirming the musicians and the album art. As they say, “What you think about you talk about, and what you talk about you bring about.” The more complete the picture, the easier it is to bring it to reality.

Four weeks in, and more lessons: Read more »

Is this the future of pop stardom?

By Chris Robley
July 1, 2014{ 4 Comments }

Hatsune Miku may be a much better pop star than Justin Bieber, and here’s why…

What do you think? Are we better off collaborating with a virtual pop star than being passive consumers of the music of a flesh-and-blood artist? Read more »

5 different ways to release your new music

By Guest Blogger
July 1, 2014{ 3 Comments }

album release 5 different ways to release your new music[This post was written by guest contributor Dave Kusek of New Artist Model.]

In the past, there was only one way to release an album. You spend months – or even years – writing and recording an album, you build up to the release date with a tour announcement and lots of press, you drop the album, you go on tour to promote, and then you go back to the studio to do the whole process again. You end up with a growth chart that looks like a series of large spikes followed by drops in income and awareness.

Even into the digital age, this black and white process is still the norm, but there are more and more musicians breaking out of this box and experimenting with new strategies. You don’t need a major label marketing team behind you to try a creative album release of your own.

Let’s look at a few different strategies and how you can implement them right now with the resources you have available.

1. Perpetual Release

This strategy really blows the notion of the traditional album release right out of the water because, basically, there is no album. Instead, you shorten the album cycle to just one song and release once a month, once every two months, or whatever you can reasonably achieve without sacrificing quality. Use the time in between each release to execute mini marketing plans for each song, building awareness and interest. Read more »

Don’t let album art derail your release: how to get great design on time and within your budget

By Guest Blogger
July 1, 2014{ No Comments }

keithalanmitchell2 Dont let album art derail your release: how to get great design on time and within your budget[This guest post was written by singer/songwriter Keith Alan Mitchell.]

Much was made about the loss of great album art when CDs and then digital took over from 12” LPs as the dominant music delivery format. Now vinyl’s resurgence is helping to turn that back around, as are some streaming sites and apps, which fill your entire screen with the album cover art.

This means your album (or EP) cover art is still incredibly important. Not only will it be seen on someone’s phone while listening to your release, it will be on every digital distributor’s site, it will be shared, and it will appear in reviews. You better like it as much as you like the music, because a lot of people are going to see that image before they hear a single note of your masterpiece.

And it doesn’t stop there. You’ll do merch right? Very likely, you’ll include that cover image on a t-shirt or mug or bottle opener or sticker – or all of the above. How about your web site? Yep, it’ll be there too.

OK, you get it. Your cover art is important. “But,” you say, “I’m a musician, not a visual artist or graphic designer.” What to do?

First off, own up to the fact that you’re probably not a visual artist or graphic designer! This means you need help, professional or otherwise. Second, don’t forget that – just as you toiled away on songwriting, arranging, practicing, recording, mixing, and mastering – art takes time. It’s a process. Don’t wait until the last minute or you’ll end up putting off this year’s release until next year. That’s what happened to me. Mastering was finished on my “new” release a year ago, but it took that long to get the artwork done. Read more »

How the CASL anti-spam legislation will affect email marketing in Canada

By Guest Blogger
June 30, 2014{ 1 Comment }

shutterstock 201192845 300x212 How the CASL anti spam legislation will affect email marketing in CanadaCanadian artists, the CASL anti-spam legislation will take effect on July 1, 2014 (TOMORROW!). Are you ready for it?

If you are a Canadian musician and you use email to market your music, you will definitely want to take heed of forthcoming changes. The penalties for non-compliance are hefty to say the least, so it would be wise to avoid unnecessary legal issues.

Let’s explore this matter in more detail and understand what actions we need to take to ensure congruence.

What is the CASL anti-spam legislation?

According to the government of Canada, spam makes up 75 to 90 percent of all email traffic! As you can imagine, this puts a heavy load on service providers that have to invest increasingly more resources into managing the problem.

However, spam doesn’t just slow networks down. It is also:

* The primary mode of distribution for viruses, malware, spyware, botnets, and so on.

* The primary vehicle for identity theft, online fraud, phishing, as well as criminal and predatory behavior. Read more »