“Musician Advice” Articles

Is it OK to wear your own band’s t-shirt on stage?

April 18, 2014{ No Comments }

Unknown 1 300x220 Is it OK to wear your own bands t shirt on stage?I think Def Leppard’s “Armageddon It” video was the first time I consciously noticed a dude in a band wearing his own group’s t-shirt. As a kid it confused me, and it continues to puzzle me to this day. I mean, I guess it’s one thing if you’re in a touring band and an overly exuberant fan bazooka-barfs on your chest minutes before you hit the stage. Then you’re in a position where you’re just looking for something relatively clean, and digging into your box of merch might be your only option.

But Joe Elliott, Def Leppard’s lead singer, clearly modified that shirt pre-video-shoot. This was all very intentional. Was he worried that the 50,000 Aqua-Netted fans in attendance weren’t sure what insanely popular band with one of the best-selling albums in the history of rock music they paid to see? Or did he not want to ruin one of his good shirts by cutting it into a sweet tank top, which he then proceeded to tuck into his shredded jeans? We may never know for sure.

But we do know this: he’s not the only member of this club. Read more »

What every musician should have when they hire a publicist

April 17, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 187157954 300x225 What every musician should have when they hire a publicist[The following is an excerpt from The StoryAmp Music Publicist Directory.]

 What will a publicist want you to have ready before your PR campaign starts?

Though journalists and media producers are moving towards digital consumption of music before release dates, there are still a shrinking, but significant number of journalists who strongly prefer a physical recording (usually a CD and in special cases: vinyl).

In addition, some journalists want to see what the final physical package looks like to make a decision: the quality of the artwork and packaging; the track titles, lengths, and sequence in print (as digital versions sometimes change before release date); and liner notes, if they exist. The more famous the musician, the more journalists who prefer physical promotional CDs will bend to review with digital only. In rare cases, in order to protect from pre-release leaks or piracy, some record labels will require journalists to physically come to the label office to listen to music. But more and more, journalists are getting used to be “serviced” with digital recordings. This typically means a zip file via Dropbox, Hightail, or a similar service. Sometimes, labels or artists will only allow journalists to stream tracks in advance of the release date. Again, this is tougher to do if the artist is not yet known or popular.

The basics

Regardless, you will need to provide to your publicist Read more »

Does radio play still matter? (Seven industry insiders weigh in)

April 17, 2014{ 1 Comment }

shutterstock 149610761 300x169 Does radio play still matter? (Seven industry insiders weigh in)For decades, radio ruled the music world.

If an artist—or, more likely, a label—wanted to sell lots of records, they needed their music to be in wide rotation across the country. And that meant spending many many thousands of dollars hiring national radio promoters who knew the secret radio handshake.

Fast-forward umteen years and the standard model for getting your music played on commercial radio isn’t all that different. What HAS changed is our listening habits. We have more options now. There’s still terrestrial radio, of course (including commercial, community, and college stations), plus satellite radio services, genre-specific online programs, podcasts, customizable streaming radio platforms like Pandora and iTunes Radio, and more.

Have these changes in the radio landscape altered how people in the industry feel about the importance of radio? I asked seven friends of CD Baby for their opinions.

The experts weigh in: is radio play important when it comes to an artist’s success?

Read more »

A simple trick to getting big exposure for your music in the press

April 16, 2014{ 1 Comment }

music magazine collage 495w 300x211 A simple trick to getting big exposure for your music in the pressEver wonder why some bands get featured so prominently in the music section of your favorite newspaper, magazine, or local weekly?

Think it’s because the editor really loves their music? Maybe.

But when it comes to putting together a print publication, the visuals are just as important as the text. If you don’t have a decent (read: interesting, cool, vibey, crisp, not your iPhone) photo of your band, chances are you’ll never get picked for that coveted big feature.

Out of all the music being selected to feature, a lot of times the band with the best photo gets the most ink.

For tips on taking great band photos, check out these articles:

Read more »

How to get out of your comfort zone for increased songwriting success

April 16, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 187207676 300x200 How to get out of your comfort zone for increased songwriting success[This post was written by guest contributor Anthony Ceseri.]

The best things in life typically happen when you get a little outside your comfort zone. Think about when you’ve done it. Maybe it was asking out someone you liked, or starting your own business.

The same applies to your songwriting. Maybe the idea of getting your songs heard or critiqued scares you. Or maybe you hate the thought of playing in front of a crowd. If you know that doing something can potentially lead you on a path to success and the only reason you’re not doing it is you’re afraid or anxious about it, you’re cheating yourself.

Start taking the steps you know are necessary. You can start small and build on them. For example, if you Read more »

Rule the search engines with worldwide music distribution

April 15, 2014{ No Comments }

music distribution advantage Rule the search engines with worldwide music distributionGetting your music in as many places as possible has quite a few benefits: more exposure, easy discoverability, more sales, etc. But an often overlooked benefit of distributing your music to the many popular music stores and services like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify, is increased rankings in search engines.

There are a few different reasons for this.

Increased visibility

When your band gets listed on 95+ sites through CD Baby distribution, that’s over 95 pages extolling the virtues of your band on the internet. That’s 95+ pages added to the Google directory, and that’s 95+ new pages that will come up when someone searches for your band.

Read more »

Get over it! No one is stealing your music on YouTube

April 15, 2014{ 3 Comments }

musicpiracy 234x300 Get over it! No one is stealing your music on YouTubeI understand. You worked hard creating your music. You’re proud of it. You’re protective of it. That’s your right, of course. But there’s a point where protectiveness can turn into paranoia.

Over the past few years, I’ve spoken with a couple composers who will only record their music via MIDI keyboard with headphones on because they’re afraid their neighbors will steal their song ideas. I’ve heard about songwriters who won’t play new songs live for similar reasons. I’ve talked to artists who won’t sell MP3s because they think the whole world will pirate their latest album. As far as I can tell, these are otherwise rational people.

And yes, there are many musicians out there who don’t want their music available on YouTube because they think it will be stolen by some nefarious character who spends time using evil software (the YouTube-to-Mp3-converter) to rip audio off the internet — audio, I try to remind these musicians, which would already be available on the video streaming platform FOR FREE to anyone with a computer, smartphone, or tablet. So why would anyone want to go through the trouble to steal it?

Read more »

How to turn a boring gig into a memorable event your fans can’t stop talking about

April 14, 2014{ No Comments }

1147100 10153118507690599 2146464763 o 800 300x199 How to turn a boring gig into a memorable event your fans cant stop talking aboutMake your average gigs more dramatic [an interview with The Orion Experience]

The Orion Experience was tired of playing the same old kinds of gigs. You know the ones: you arrive on time, throw your gear in the corner, rush on stage 15 minutes before your set, plug in, play for 45 minutes, etc.

They wanted to make every one of their shows a memorable event. They wanted to make deeper connections with their fans and encourage more audience participation. They wanted to have more control over their performance environment.

Many indie bands share these same frustrations, but they don’t always envision a way to change their live show circumstances. The Orion Experience did. Read more »

The 5-minute musician website makeover

April 9, 2014{ No Comments }

Website update The 5 minute musician website makeoverGot time for a little light spring cleaning on your website?

Most people that encounter your music will find you online. That means it’s crucial to keep your band website up-to-date. If your site looks like a ghost town, your fans might stop visiting, stop sharing your content, and stop recommending your music to their friends.

Let’s not let that happen. Now that we’re well into spring, take five minutes or so to clean out the cobwebs and spruce things up a bit.

1. Remove outgoing links to websites you don’t use

Still linking your fans to an old MySpace page you haven’t updated in 7 years? Yeah, you might want to delete those links. Best to keep your fans on your own website where you can control the experience, rather than sending them to a social media dead end.

Read more »

How one band collected $1800 they didn’t even know they’d earned

April 8, 2014{ 1 Comment }

OrionImage How one band collected $1800 they didnt even know theyd earned“With CD Baby Pro, we’ve already made $1,800 we wouldn’t have made otherwise.” – Orion Simprini of The Orion Experience

The Orion Experience has never toured internationally, yet since signing up with CD Baby Pro, the NYC-based indie-pop band has been paid $1800 in foreign mechanical royalties — royalties that, had they not been claimed, would have eventually been paid out to major-label artists.

Success can come from unusual places.

With so many ways to make money from original music, each successful band is bound to connect the dots differently. In the case of The Orion Experience, a few unpaid song placements on MTV and Nickelodeon started generating a lot of publishing royalties in foreign territories, but they had no way of knowing this money was out there.

With the help of CD Baby Pro, though, The Orion Experience set themselves up to collect all the money their music was generating from international download sales, global streaming, and more. Singer Orion Simprini now finds himself in a far more promising position than when he was signed to a major label more than a decade ago.

I was in a signed band in the 90’s that never made a dime,” he says. “But now we’re able to fund our projects with the money we’re making.”

Now that their hard work is paying off, The Orion Experience is thinking differently about their musical goals. They’re taking their concerts, Read more »