“Musician Advice” Articles

How to sign up for Pandora AMP (Artist Marketing Platform)

October 24, 2014{ No Comments }

Pandora launches free analytics tools for artists

Pandora, one of the most powerful platforms for music discovery, has just launched the Artist Marketing Platform (also called Pandora AMP), providing free listener data to the 125,000+ artists whose music is played on the Internet radio service.

If your music isn’t on Pandora yet, click HERE to find out how to submit your songs for consideration. If your music IS on Pandora, enroll in AMP and get a detailed glimpse into how your music is performing, who it’s reaching, and more.

Some of the data you’ll be able to view (updated daily) includes:

* Song performance (total spins, thumbs up, etc.)

* Number of fans who’ve created a station for your music Read more »

Music Conferences: The Good, the Bad, and Mostly the Ugly

October 23, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 170072672 300x200 Music Conferences: The Good, the Bad, and Mostly the UglyWhy one indie artist thinks many small music conferences aren’t worth the price of registration

[This article was written by performing songwriter Joe Marson. It originally appeared on his blog.]

Writer’s note: This piece is mostly disparaging of the small time music conferences that I feel only exist to feed off ambitious, starving artists and dreamers; however, there are nuggets of positive things woven in.   

What is a music conference? It can be described as a one-to few-day event, usually held at a hotel or event space where people in the music industry and artists gather to listen to guest speakers during the day and to performances by showcased artists at night. Unless you are selected as a performing artist, you must pay daily to attend.

Sounds like a great networking opportunity where you might meet some folks who, if they like your stuff, could help take your music career to the next level, right? Unfortunately I have found that these conferences seem to be little more than chance for the oftentimes amateur “music industry” speakers to pedal their services* – as well as to bring some much needed business to a town or hotel during their slow season.

I have been to a good number of these conferences, usually in the form of a showcased performer. Read more »

The Art of Networking: 5 steps to making better music industry connections

October 22, 2014{ No Comments }

shutterstock 196599026 300x300 The Art of Networking: 5 steps to making better music industry connections [This post was written by guest contributor Dave Kusek of New Artist Model.]

We’ve all heard this piece of advice time and time again – in the music industry, it’s all about who you know. However, meeting influential connections can seem a rather daunting task. Connections with major record labels or publishing companies can seem completely unreachable and it can be difficult to identify the independent players in the industry. We’re here to tell you that any connection is completely within your reach as an indie artist, and with those connections come opportunities. Here are five tips for networking in the music industry.

1. Networking on Social Media

The most accessible way to network in the music industry is with social media. Sometimes it can be much easier to reach out to people online. The first step is identifying some industry people you’d like to connect with. Don’t just pick names out of a hat – choose people who work in a field you’re interested in. As an example, if you were a jazz songwriter you’d want to connect with publishers, music supervisors, and jazz bloggers. Also, try to stick with people who work with artists at a similar career level to you or just above. Read more »

NYC busker arrested for playing music (lawfully) in a subway station

October 21, 2014{ 2 Comments }

Over the weekend, Andrew Kalleen was arrested for singing and strumming his guitar in a subway station despite the fact that the New York transit authority allows artistic performances (and the collection of tips) in such locations.

And the whole incident was caught on camera, including the moment when Kalleen cited to the police officer the section of the MTA rule that gave him grounds to stand there and keep singing.

Section 1050.6c of the MTA’s “Rules of Conduct” says:

Except as expressly permitted in this subdivision, no person shall engage in any nontransit uses upon any facility or conveyance. Nontransit uses are noncommercial activities that are not directly related to the use of a facility or conveyance for transportation. The following nontransit uses are permitted by the Authority, provided they do not impede transit activities and they are conducted in accordance with these rules: public speaking; campaigning; leafletting or distribution of written noncommercial materials; activities intended to encourage and facilitate voter registration; artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations.

So why the arrest? Read more »

How to make your music career profitable: 10 business rules for DIY artists

October 20, 2014{ 1 Comment }

shutterstock 200574287 How to make your music career profitable: 10 business rules for DIY artistsBe SMART and treat your ART like a small business

[This article was written by guest contributor Sean Kinney, an award-winning entertainer and filmmaker. His company 1 Stooge Entertainment offers creative consulting to companies and individuals looking to take their brand to the next level.]

Most people hear terms like “the Film business” or “the Music business,” and they only focus on the first part. To be successful in business, any business, you need to be business savvy. If you want to be a working artist, you need to be as smart as any business person in a meeting, or at least smart enough to hire the smartest person in the room.

If you started any other type of business without an accountant or an attorney to guide you, you would be looked at as crazy; however, in the world of art, you are looked at as crazy if you start with them. This is a big disconnect, and you should approach your artistic career from a more logical point of view. Many great artists have lost it all on bad business decisions. The most successful artists have their most successful ventures after they have worked out the business of their art, and put everything in place before their next opportunity. Unfortunately, most starting or “indie” artists try to make a push with only their art, and the business part can be a crushing blow, causing them to feel burned out. Read more »

A Guide to Getting Gigs (Part 2 of 3): How to Look for Gigs

October 15, 2014{ No Comments }

How to Look for Gigs 650x311 A Guide to Getting Gigs (Part 2 of 3): How to Look for Gigs

[This article was written by guest contributor 

This is the second of a three-part article (in case you haven’t yet, check out the first part What to Do Before Looking for Gigs).

As discussed in the first part, before you start looking for gigs you should:

* have your music available in a digital format

* have an active online presence (with a website, email list and social media)

* build a fanbase and connect with other people in music

* think about what you want to achieve with your shows and your “touring preferences

Once you have done all this, it is time to start looking for gigs. Now you have to decide whether you want to carry out the actual gig search yourself or you want to outsource it to a booking agent.

This article focuses on the first option: getting gigs as a Do-It-Yourself musician.

How to Look for Gigs Offline

Read more »

You’re NEVER too old to make it in music

October 14, 2014{ 14 Comments }

shutterstock 103648034 Youre NEVER too old to make it in musicWhy your age doesn’t have to hold you back in the independent music world

Youth has always been a component of popular music culture: Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, Madonna, Britney Spears, One Direction, Lorde — they all got their start well before the big THREE-O. And some of them were still in their teens!

But if youth is a prerequisite for success in the pop music business, well we’ve gotten used to plenty of exceptions to that rule throughout the years.

Celebrated songwriters like Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams, and Mary Gauthier didn’t really break through until their 30′s or 40′s. Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Sharon Jones, Peaches, Thelonius Monk… the list goes on and on. Plenty of artists didn’t find their true voice, or record their best songs, or start to build a loyal following until the September of their years, to quote Ol’ Blue Eyes.

And these days, with the powers of home recording, web marketing, affordable video production, and global music distribution at your fingertips, you have just as much a chance to make money from your music at age 55 as you would at age 15. Read more »

This songwriter used his iPhone’s Autocomplete to write lyrics

October 14, 2014{ No Comments }

Jonathan Mann wrote 2000 songs in 2000 days. Talk about prolific. After writing that many songs, though, Jonathan was probably tired of having to do all the creative heavy lifting.

Enter the iPhone: portable telephone, TV, web browser, GPS, recording device, and now… lyrical collaborator. Check out the video for Jonathan Mann’s “iOS Autocomplete Song” above.

The song is clearly supposed to be fun and funny, but it does have the occasional deep accident of meaning too. This method of lyric writing isn’t too far from the cut-up technique occasionally used by David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Thom Yorke, and others. Read more »

You’re a musician… but is it a HOBBY or a “REAL JOB?”

October 13, 2014{ 10 Comments }

shutterstock 150444227 Youre a musician... but is it a HOBBY or a REAL JOB? New IRS tax rules may benefit independent musicians

[This article was written by entertainment attorney and indie artist Christiane Cargill Kinney. You can follow her on Twitter for more helpful indie-artist tips.]

As independent musicians, there are many times when we have to work second jobs to make ends meet, and after you factor in the costs of recording, manufacturing, marketing, touring, and other legitimate business expenses, not to mention sharing any profits you may receive with your co-authors, managers, agents, labels and distributors, the fact remains: independent music does not always turn a profit.

When tax time rolls around every year, many of us receive the same lecture from our accountants: “You need to start showing a profit, or the IRS may consider this a ‘hobby’ and not a ‘real job.’” If you haven’t heard this lecture in the past, you should probably get a new accountant. However, for those of you who have heard it, your reaction may be the same as mine. Read more »

What it takes to be a successful musician and entrepreneur: advice from Grimes

October 10, 2014{ 4 Comments }

Grimes original 433x650 What it takes to be a successful musician and entrepreneur: advice from GrimesGrimes, the experimental pop singer (and creator of one of my favorite synth-bass grooves EVER), did an interview for Rookie Yearbook Three, edited by Tavi Gevinson, where she talks about what it takes to be a successful artist and entrepreneur in today’s music industry.

Portions of the interview are excerpted in Elle:

Something I didn’t realize when I started making music was that any entrepreneurial endeavor involves hiring people, creating a company, and becoming a businessperson. So, while you may know me as a musician, in practice I am also a boss… This is simultaneously very cool and very stressful. I’m definitely not the best or most experienced boss. I’m also a young, female boss, which can present a very particular set of practical and emotional challenges.

Grimes then shares some tips for musicians that are learning how to “be in charge.” You can read the full interview in Rookie Yearbook Three (on sale October 21st, but available for pre-order now). For a sneak-peak, check out the excerpts below.

Tips from Grimes on how to be a successful artist and entrepreneur:

• You will never hear more people tell you that you’re wrong than when you’re succeeding. After my album Visions came out, I spent a really long time freaking out because people were telling me that in order to take “the next step” in my career, I would have to become a much better “musician,” that I’d need a backing band, etc. I now realize that (a) none of those people have music careers, and (b) I wasted a lot of time trying to do things I was told were “important for every professional musician” to do, without realizing that as a fan, I am far more interested in things that I’ve never seen before. The point is, listening to haters is pointless. People are judgmental about everything—often because they feel threatened. Ignore them. I think this applies to any business or creative thing, because tomorrow’s world will not look like today’s. Doing something different is probably better than doing the same things that other people do. Read more »