“Musician Advice” Articles

75 tips and tricks to get your music out of the bedroom

May 28, 2015{ No Comments }

75 tips and tricks to get your music out of the bedroomSometimes you need a little inspiration to kick start the process.

Here are 75 light-bulb inducing ideas.

1. Ignore every obstacle anyone has ever put in front of you.

2. Make music everyday – no matter how much time you have.

3. Set a deadline — and stick to it.

4. Learn to record yourself, and do it whenever and wherever’s possible.

5. Master your tracks directly from CD Baby’s mastering page : )

6. Do as much as you can on your own, see what’s missing, THEN get help.

7. Try Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, or buy the original deck of cards made for mixing music.

8. Write lyrics with concrete imagery.

9. Get out of the box.

10. Try a free trial from Ableton, it’ll change the way you make things.

Read more »

CD Baby Twitter chat: “Crowdfunding for DIY Musicians”

May 28, 2015{ No Comments }

CD Baby Twitter chat: Crowdfunding for DIY Musicians

Our monthly Twitter Chat is back Wednesday, June 3rd at 11 am PST.

The topic this month will be crowdfunding.

* What kinds of projects can you crowdfund?

* What platform is the right one for you to try?

* What are the risks involved?

* How can you get over your fear of asking people for money?

We’ll be there (@cdbaby) along with VP of Marketing Kevin Breuner (@kbreuner) and blog editor Chris Robley (@chrisrobley), both of whom have used crowdfunding. Be a part of the conversation by sharing your opinions, questions and experiences with a group of diverse independent musicians.

If you missed our chat about “the place of physical music formats in a digital world,” here are some highlights: Read more »

Why would I need a publishing administrator if I already work with ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC?

May 28, 2015{ No Comments }

Why would I need publishing administration if I have BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC?[This article is the 2nd in a series by Rob Filomena, CD Baby’s Director of Music Publishing. To start from the beginning, check out “What is music publishing administration, and why do I need it?” ]

Hey! We’re back to dig a little deeper into the basics of music publishing and how it relates to the career of the DIY artist.

In our last article, we talked about the basic definition of what a publisher is, and the differences between what a publisher and a publishing administrator does.

One of the other topics of consistent confusion for our members is the differentiation between what a publishing administrator does and what a performing rights society does.

Many members of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC that I’ve heard from think their performing rights society IS their publisher and that they are getting all of the income they’re entitled to directly from that P.R.O. (performing rights organization). Read more »

How to form your band as an LLC

May 27, 2015{ No Comments }

How to create an LLC for your music career[This article by Dave Kusek originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your band. You’ve spent years working your way up, rehearsing, playing gigs, and releasing new music and covers, all while growing your fanbase with your awesome social media, email, and marketing strategies. All your efforts are paying off. There’s no better feeling than getting to the point where you can say that your band is your job, but it also presents a whole new set of problems you need to think about.

When you start making a bit more money as a band and get to the point where this is really your career, you need to start treating it like a job. Your band has become a company, and just like any other company, you need to organize yourself, deal with taxes, and protect yourself. Read more »

Celebrate Independent Artist Day!

May 26, 2015{ No Comments }

Sad that your long holiday weekend is over? Don’t be. Today is Independent Artist Day!

What’s Independent Artist Day?

Well, it’s a day that’s dedicated to celebrating and supporting independent artists and the work they create.

The two guys that came up with the concept hope to turn into into an event that in the coming years will shape consumer behavior. Kinda like a “Black Friday” for indie music, film, books, etc. Read more »

Music publishing administration explained

May 21, 2015{ No Comments }

How CD Baby Pro will help you collect all the publishing royalties your music generates

Last week we posted an article by CD Baby’s Director of Publishing, Rob Filomena, called “What is music publishing administration, and why do I need it?Read more »

CD Baby artist Sawyer Fredericks wins The Voice (season 8)!!!

May 20, 2015{ No Comments }
Photo from NBC.

Photo from NBC.

Wondering who won The Voice last night?

Sawyer Fredericks, the 16-year-old songwriter from upstate New York, was announced as the winner of  The Voice, NBC’s popular music competition show, now in its 8th season.

Fredericks has distributed his music through CD Baby and hosted his website via HostBaby for a while now, so we were psyched to follow his progress on the show.

Sawyer was the youngest contestant on The Voice this year but he seems to have an old soul, singing gritty blues and Americana inflected songs by the likes of Ray LaMontagne, The Soggy Bottom Boys, and John Fogerty.

He was humble about the victory. “I’m feeling great and I kind of want to get back to the farm just to have a little bit of a break from all of this, so I’m excited to get back home,” said Fredericks. “I do not want to move to L.A.!” Read more »

Sadat X’s DIY Musician Blog Takeover

May 20, 2015{ 1 Comment }

Sadat XA series of video interviews with the influential rapper

Sadat X, one of the founding members of legendary hip-hop group Brand Nubian, has put out 12 albums over the last 3 decades — and it was clear to us after his appearance at CD Baby’s official SXSW showcase earlier this year that he’s still one of the most unique and relevant rappers out there today.

He’s worked with hip-hop heavyweights like Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G., Nas, and Common. Sadat X has even collaborated with pop-folk troubadour Jack Johnson. And while a partnership with the DIY Musician Blog might not be as high-profile as rapping alongside Hova, we thought we’d ask Sadat X if he’d be down to offer some of his wisdom in a series of video posts for CD Baby artists.

Every other week or so we’ll be posting a video episode (each about 3 minutes in length) with Sadat X talking about different aspects of a successful music career: social media, building your brand, booking shows and touring, etc. In the comments section of each post, we’d love for you to ask questions and Sadat X can answer his favorites in the followup video.

To kick things off, I asked Sadat X a handful of questions of my own:

* How important is a cosign from a more prominent rapper?

* Should younger artists even bother trying to get signed to a label?

* What’s changed in terms of album promotion over the past 15 years?

Read more »

How literate are YOUR lyrics?

May 20, 2015{ No Comments }

How literate are your lyrics?Studying the dumbness of pop music

When someone says “literate songwriting,” I think of Dave Carter, Kool Keith, Mary Gauthier, Elvis Costello.

But let’s think about it more… literally, as songwriting that requires the listener to have some level of reading proficiency.

If we printed out the lyrics for 225 recent #1 songs on Billboard‘s Pop, Country, Rock, and Hip Hop charts, we’d see that the “texts” of modern popular songs now average between a 2nd and 3rd grade reading level — which is down from a 3rd-4th grade level a decade ago.

Yep. Data now proves that music is getting dumber. Well, the lyrics of chart-topping songs are getting dumber at least. Plenty of contemporary songwriters are penning literate lyrics, of course. And you can write great lyrics, spin an imaginative metaphor, and stir emotions without using big words. But still… Read more »

Touring tips for DIY musicians: tweet-sized advice from the CD Baby community

May 19, 2015{ 3 Comments }
Photo from Magnet Magazine

Photo from Magnet Magazine

It’s springtime, so naturally touring is on the brain

CD Baby’s Twitter chat in April was all about touring.

Then Kevin Breuner and I had a discussion on the DIY Musician Podcast about our best touring advice.

In that same week Carlos Castillo sent me an article with tips on how to sell more merch on tour.

After all that touring talk, we thought it’d be a good idea to write a kind of summary article with lots of tweet-sized advice taken from those three sources (plus a few more peppered in for good measure).

There’s a lot to juggle when planning and executing a DIY tour. Some of it is common sense. Some of it isn’t. If you’re thinking about booking a tour, or just about to head out on the road, read through these quick tips. It’ll be a good refresher.

Things to remember when booking your tour

Read more »