“Musician Advice” Articles

5 tips for online session musicians, vocalists, and audio engineers

April 22, 2014{ No Comments }

iStock 000019139387XSmall 5 tips for online session musicians, vocalists, and audio engineersEarning income through online recording sessions

From Les Paul’s early experiments with Mary Ford, on down through iconic albums like Exile on Main Street and modern classics like Beck’s Odelay, great recording projects often move through different spaces, places and hands. And as recording technology and online connectivity have become more accessible, the trend is only increasing. Doing online recording sessions is fast emerging as a vehicle for business-savvy musicians to earn extra income.

With online sessions, clients get the talent, the engineer and the studio all rolled up in one, and, the talent pool is not restricted by location. So while it will never replace the magic that happens when musicians interact in a live setting, it does open up new music production possibilities for artists, and new streams of income for session players and engineers. Managing a site like AirGigs gives us a unique bird’s eye view into what makes a great online collaboration. So we’ve put together our 5 top tips on what it takes to be successful doing online recording, mixing and mastering sessions for hire.

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Start making income from teaching music lessons (on the side) in the next 30 days

April 22, 2014{ No Comments }

Dollar Symbol 259x300 Start making income from teaching music lessons (on the side) in the next 30 daysTeaching music lessons in your free time can be an excellent source of side income while you create and play your own music.

There are several advantages private music teaching affords over a more traditional part-time job. Here are a few:

* Flexible schedule - You dictate your availability

* Hourly rate – Where else are you going to make up to $100 an hour?

* Satisfaction - It’s rewarding to guide someone from little (or zero) knowledge to playing an entire song

Starting out can be the toughest obstacle for private music teaching. Here are three ways, if done consistently, you will have potential students contacting you in the next 30 days:

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How to use Ads by CD Baby: promote your music online

April 21, 2014{ No Comments }

For many bands that don’t have big promo budgets, advertising on sites like Rolling Stone, Billboard, Pandora, and MTV has been out of the question—until now.

With Ads by CD Baby, you can promote your music to active music fans on the most popular sites at a price that’s right for indie musicians.

Watch the video above to find out how a small promo investment can go a long way for your music sales.

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13 merch table basics for bands: if you’re not doing #5, you’re missing out on sales

April 21, 2014{ No Comments }

merch 13 merch table basics for bands: if youre not doing #5, youre missing out on salesWhether you’re doing a regional tour of 600-seater halls or playing monthly at a local coffee shop, your merch booth probably isn’t the first thing on your mind when you arrive at the venue.

You’re worried about attendance. You’re thinking about tweaks to the set list. You’re introducing yourself to the sound engineer, booker, bouncer, bartender, or barista. You’re hoping you’ll have digested your dinner by the downbeat, or else you’ll be strategically timing burps between verses.

I’m not going to say that properly setting up your merch booth is the MOST pressing thing before your show; of course you want to sound good and fill the club. But once you’ve achieved those goals and expended lots of energy making sure everyone in the audience had a great time, the merch table is where your fans will turn to give some of that energy back — by purchasing a CD, t-shirt, or poster — and providing you with the money and psychic support you need to sustain your music career.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your band’s merch table:

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

April 18, 2014{ 1 Comment }

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?

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

April 16, 2014{ 2 Comments }

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:

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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.

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