When You Need A Label

Today’s artists are very averse to record labels, having grown up around the idea of DIY in all aspects of their careers. That said, sometimes teaming up with a record label can actually be a good idea. Here are some scenarios from The Music 3.0 Internet Music Guidebook that point out when a label can be helpful.
Record labels are not intrinsically bad, it’s just that you have to weigh the advantages versus the disadvantages to determine whether the time is right for you to be associated with one or not. 

Major Labels image
You might want to consider a label if:
  • It’s offering you a staggering amount of money. If this happens, either you must be hot enough for a bidding war to have broken out, or they really, really believe in your future. Just remember that this might be the last money you’ll ever see from the label, and it may have a significantly negative impact on any credibility that you have with your fan base. Best to test the notion of signing with a label with your tribe just to see their reaction first, since they won’t buy anything from you if they feel you sold them out.
  • You need money for recording, touring, or any other needs. One of the things that labels do really well is to act like a bank by using your music as collateral. Major labels still do this as skillfully as ever before, but you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the price you’re going to pay in terms of the freedom that DIY offers.
  • You’re spending too much time on certain aspects of a career. A label can take some of the burden of marketing and distribution off your shoulders. You still have to be involved on some level, though, or you run the risk of things getting way off course before it’s brought to your attention. If you don’t have a manager already, that might be a better association to make at this point than to start working with a label.
  • You need expanded distribution. If distribution into brick-and-mortar stores is beyond what a small indie label can provide, a major label can be your friend. They have the relationships, the sales force, and the means to collect the money. If you’re distributing by yourself, you’ll get paid if and when the stores feel like it because you have no clout. In some cases, you won’t even be able to get into the remaining chains and retail stores because you don’t sell enough to get on their radar. A major label or large indie sells the stores a lot of product and they’re trusted, so it’s a lot easier for them to get the retailer to take a chance. Further, the label has some leverage in that they can always threaten to withhold in-demand product if they don’t get paid.
  • You want to expand into foreign territories. Let’s say that you have a huge following in Germany via your online efforts, but you can’t service them properly because you live in Kansas City. A major label can use their overseas resources to promote you and get product in the stores there. It saves you the hassle of reinventing the distribution and marketing wheels.
  • You need economies of scale. Sometimes the power of a big label can be used to your advantage since they can cut a better deal with a service (YouTube and MTV come to mind) than you ever could as an indie.
  • You need major marketing. Another thing that a major label does well is to market you traditionally. If you want airplay on radio and appearances on television, a label may be your only hope. If you want reviews and articles in mainstream media, they still have the clout to get it done. 
  • If you feel that you’ve gone as far as you can go as an indie artist. If you need help to push your career over the edge to stardom, then a major label or major label imprint may be the way to go. This is what they do—sometimes well, sometimes not. 

There are times when a label makes a lot of sense for an artist, especially when he or she doesn’t want the burden of running the business of DIY. Unfortunately, being an artist requires more hands-on participation in marketing than ever before, so there’s only so much that you can escape. Still, if you want to go to the next level as an artist, an association with an artist can still be the best way to go.


#Video – Why You Should Be Writing Bad Songs (and lots of ‘em)

Here’s a quick video clip from our friend Anthony Ceseri about the songwriting process. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s worth watching, as the message is valuable: you should be writing bad songs!
Not because you’re going to sell or perform them one day — but because in order to write great songs, you need to practice your craft and be open to failure (and the lessons failure brings). Writing bad songs helps you clock necessary songwriting hours.
Or as Pat Pattison says, “I hereby grant you permission to write crap. The more the better. Remember, crap makes the best fertilizer.”
How do you think about this in terms of your own writing process? Are you forgiving of your own failures? Or are you extra tough on yourself? How does your attitude shape the songs you eventually release (hopefully the good songs!)? Let us know in the comments section below

How To Make Sure You’re Booking a Good Venue

Booking a tour can be a difficult process. Not only are you spending hours upon hours emailing venue after venue, but you’re also taking a major gamble on the venues you’re  contacting. It’s often hard to know if the spot is a good fit for your band, if there is decent foot traffic, how hard you will have to work for your draw, and how well their booker will work you to make the event a success. It’s just one huge gamble.
So today we’re giving you a few tips on how to find the right gigs.

1. Ask your fellow musician

Reach out to your friends and ask them how their show went at the venue. Was it worth the trek? Was it a good money maker? Was it a good fan-building experience? Was the staff good to work with. Would your friend play it again?
Your friends will be honest with you and they have the musicians advantage which is very different than a fan’s perspective.

2. Research the Website Carefully

Spend as much time on the venue’s website before you even think of emailing them to pitch a date. Read their booking page thoroughly. Serious websites will have one. These pages will tell you if there is/isn’t a sound system, how long the venue could take to respond to your email, if the space is more conducive to bands or acoustic acts, and if you’re playing for tips or cover (among other things).  You can use this information to determine whether this will be a good gig for you.

4. Visit the Venue’s Facebook Page

A venue’s Facebook page will often give you a better idea of how beneficial it will be to book a gig. It lets you know how responsive they are, how involved they are in their music community, how hoppin’ the space is, and whether they hold events on a regular basis. Sometimes an official website poorly represents the venue; but an extremely active Facebook page can make all the difference. In fact, that matters more these days.
When on the Facebook page look for
  • an up to date events calendar
  • regular status updates by the venue
  • regular page posts by their customers
  • pictures of the venue (easy way to gauge if that “Cafe” is actually a cafe or a dive bar)

3. Use Indie On The Move

We can’t tell you how much we love IOTM. If you haven’t heard of this site, read one of our older post for the scoop: Grassrootsy’s Top 10 FREE Resources for MusiciansIOTM’s venue reviews are a priceless tool in venue booking and we use them on a weekly basis!

4. Scope Out YouTube

When all else fails, hit up YouTube. Watch videos shot in the specific venue you’re considering. YouTube is an underrated tool for scoping out a venue’s vibe and determining whether it will be a good fit.

5. Ask Your Fans

Like we said in tip #1: a fans opinion of what makes a good venue is very different from a musicians. But it’s still work asking your fans which venues they think you should play. After all, they’re the ones coming to see you!

10 Myths of Music Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding is still relatively new but already many myths are in place. Indiegogo recently created “Ten Myths of Crowdfunding,” a free download addressing major misconceptions related to crowdfunding as a whole. However at least two aren’t really myths as you’ll see from my music crowdfunding-focused discussion of their ten items.

As I’ve mentioned before, Indiegogo regularly produces great crowdfunding resources relevant to music crowdfunding.
Their free download, “Ten Myths of Crowdfunding,” is the most recent I’ve encountered and it’s well worth downloading for their extended discussion.
10 Myths of Music Crowdfunding
1 – “It’s online panhandling”
“FACT: Crowdfunding is shared enthusiasm for an idea and an opportunity for people to get involved.”
2 – “I might fail”
Actually it’s true. You might fail. But with estimated success rates of 34 to 44%, your odds of success are higher than that of VC-backed startups! Besides, there are benefits to music crowdfunding beyond the money.
3 – “I can’t raise money without a fancy video”
Levi James of Launch and Release has a three part series on why a “bad looking video” doesn’t have to kill your project.
4 – “I doubt I’ll reach my goal”
Not all crowdfunding platforms require you to reach your goal to get paid. But solid budgeting to identify your actual needs combined with reasonable expectations regarding your base of support is critical regardless of platform.
5 – “I need a big social following to be successful”
Not true. Launch and Release has quite a bit on music crowdfunding without a fanbase.
6 – “I have no perks to offer”
This is likely less a problem for musicians since merch sales are a normal part of the game. However, going beyond such obvious rewards as t-shirts andgetting creative is likely to encourage response. And be sure to include reward creation and fulfillment in your budgeting.
7 – “I don’t have time”
Actually this doesn’t sound like a myth to me. One of the commonalities of crowdfunders’ accounts is that successful music crowdfunding often takes more time than expected. Don’t undermine yourself by going minimal and hoping for the best.
8 – “Crowdfunding is only about the money”
There are numerous benefits “beyond ‘show me the money’” including connecting more deeply with your fans and marketing yourself to a broader audience.
9 – “I should wait until I have the perfect idea/product/etc”
“One huge benefit of crowdfunding is the ability to receive feedback from your audience and crowdsource solutions to your biggest challenges or open questions…There are musicians who are funding albums with only half the songs written – and bands who’ve already recorded the album and just want to print it to vinyl.”
10 – “I’m not sure my idea will be accepted”
Not all platforms have a screening process that is as picky as that of Kickstarter.
Bonus Indiegogo Factoid:
“Campaigns run by a team typically raise 70% more money than campaigns run solo.” (p. 7)
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

10 Networking Tips for Musicians and Bands

For most musicians, this is something that most know they should do but feel uncomfortable with or don’t know how to approach. However, it’s something that can open the doors to better shows, a record label, a new sponsor, or even more fans. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years about networking:
1. The Value You Bring to Others: Many networking events can feel like a shark tank, with people fighting to get business cards out and meeting the right people. It can often be inherently selfish, people seeing who can help them get what they want. However, networking is about building partnerships, so you can often stand out by finding ways to deliver value to other people, whether that is simply connecting other contacts to one another or helping someone solve their problem. That’s far more effective than finding ways to show off or impress others.
2. Ask Questions: Whether you are connecting in person or through email, the best thing you can do is open up communication by finding out what the other person needs. The better you understand them, the better you can build the relationship. That interaction matters more than the pitch you’ve carefully constructed about yourself.
3. The Pitch: That being said, find a way to accurately describe what you do in an interesting way in 15 seconds or less. This article on pitching your band might help.
4. Be Intentional: Whether it is at an industry event or online, you don’t want to spam everyone about what you do. Instead, identify the people who are most relevant to what you do, what you offer, or what you need. Focus on them. It’s better to have one solid connection than 100 meaningless ones.
5. Stay Alert: This is one of the reasons why I don’t drink; acting tipsy in front of others can be a sign of weakness and lack of self-control. It’s also important to proofread emails before they are sent, both for spelling and grammar as well as content and length. All of these things reflect you and your work.
6. Think Outside the Box: Don’t always focus on record executives or promoters. Sometimes, it’s good to go outside of your industry and just focus on the general needs of your music career as a business. You’ll always need printing (business cards, download cards, posters, etc.), so why not connect with a printer?
7. Make Connections: The best way to meet people is to be the person that connects others. Offer to introduce someone to one of your contacts who can help them. If you’re known as a connector, people will be more willing to connect with you as well as return the favor.
8. Accept Rejection: Sometimes, people are too busy or they are uninterested. Don’t take it personally and don’t fire back some kind of hurtful email. Be careful about leaving bad reviews on sites like Sonicbids, you might be viewed as petty.
9. Get Your Hands Dirty: Remember, the payoff for networking comes when you help others. Offer to donate time or resources, volunteer, offer advice. Some of my strongest connections have come from volunteering for non-profit organizations and meeting contacts who believe in similar causes.
10. Follow Up: Following up is one of the most important parts of building relationships. Emails, text messages, and phone calls are often forgotten about. Everyone can get busy and need a reminder. Other times, it’s just good to check in. Make it a habit to follow up with an important contact every few weeks.
Whether you are heading to a music conference like CMJ or SXSW, or you are trying to connect with others via Linkedin, keep the above 10 tips in mind to help you stand out as a vital member of the community rather than someone who is only pursuing their own interests. Keep your communication short, to the point, and valuable to others!
 If you’d like more advice on how to find, develop and win over contacts, check out How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements.

Article Source

Instagram Music Videos With Merch On The Side


Before Instagram added video, musicians and videomakers were already creating music videos from Instagram photos or using Instagram as part of the process. Now, of course, folks are making music videos using Instagram video. The latest example catching attention is a video by NGHBRS for the single “Hold Up Girl” that has already earned them some unique media coverage at WSJ.com.

Use of Instagram photos to make music videos include releases from The Vaccinesand The Plastics Revolution.
More recently Vinyl Thief used Instagram video for a fan-shot music video.
NGHBRS – Hold Up Girl [Instagram Music Video]
NGHBRS recently released an Instagram music video for the single “Hold Up Girl” from their new album “Twenty One Rooms” (via Chris Leo Palermino).
The DIY effort earned them coverage at WSJ.com:
“The entire video takes place in the app, as seen on an iPhone. Singer and keyboardist Ian Kenny came up with the idea, and the Long Island band executed it themselves over a period of weeks…”
“Kenny credited the drummer for pushing the band to persevere as foursome shot individual videos for each scene they cut to in the Instagram app, then mapped out how to get from one to the other, used Schneider’s iPhone to scroll through the uploaded snippets and recorded the whole thing on his computer.”
The end result looks great and is a good match between song and technology.
Instagram Videos and Music Merch
Once you’ve made your own Instagram video, you can take it a step further by tying it into merch.
Cap That has a product designed primarily for consumers. They give you a web app to do such things as take a still image from your Instagram videos to use on individual merch items such as iPhone cases and playing cards.
So consider that an inspiration for your own music merch offerings. There are lots of ways to pull interesting stills from your videos and many reputable companies that will turn them into merch at a price that will then allow you to offer them to fans and still make a fair return.
[Thumbnail image: Cover of NGHBRS’ “Twenty One Rooms.”]
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

Tools To Help With #Songwriting

If you create your own lyrics, the below tools will help make things easier for you. If you’re a songwriter by trade, they should help you too.

Pen & Lyric Book (Notepad)
Ok, so I thought I’d start out with the very basics. 🙂
This one should be obvious so I won’t spend much time on it. In order to write down your lyrics, you need the tools. I suggest you go for a small sized note pad which

you can carry around with you. You never know when you’re going to get a good idea for a lyric, so if you can whip out your pen and notebook wherever you are, that’s ideal.

Vital: A Android Or Apple Smartphone
While pen and paper used to be the staple for songwriters, these days smartphones are becoming an increasingly popular tool for writing down lyrics on the move. That said, you need to install one of the following apps to make this work:

Lyric Writing App For Your Smartphone
Most smartphones come preinstalled with a ‘note pad’ type app (Android / Apple). While these are often all you need for writing down your lyrics easily, there are also some ‘premium’ apps out there which you can buy for extra features or to take away ads. Until you’re a earning musician you should stick with the free apps though, as for most they do the job just fine.

Songwriting Guide
If you’re still new to songwriting and want to get your writing skills up, you’ll want to check my guide on writing a song. If you’ve read that and want extra help however, you can also get a bigger book on the subject. This one by Pat Pattison is highly recommended. 

By Shaun Letang of Music Industry How To. Get another free important ebook here.

#Bands: How To Guard Your Gear On Tour

 Posted by DaveCool Article Source

We’re in Nashville this week for the Americana Music Conference (details here). So we decided to feature another post by one of our favorite bloggers, Nashville based Wes Davenport. Wes is a music marketer, blogger, and publicist. He writes about ways modern musicians can thrive at wesdavenport.com. Follow him on Twitter @wesdavenport for more music industry insights.

Nothing can derail a tour quite like getting your gear stolen. In this post Wes offers some practical advice for securing your gear while on tour. Enjoy!

Too many times, we see heartbreaking news of our favorite musicians getting their gear stolen after a gig. Imagine putting all your mind, body, and soul into a performance, only to come down and discover you’ve been robbed. Personally, it makes me sick and angry.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, I asked musicians how they secure their gear to ward off robbers.

Park Safe

Parking in well-lit areas is a good common practice. The Black Cadillacs guitarist John Phillips says, “We try to be conscious of our surroundings and park in places that are well-lit and populated.” Vinyl Thief drummer Andrew Broadway agrees. “Honestly, parking location is super crucial. We park close to parks or hotels a lot. So is lighting. Don’t park on a dark street.”

Certain Tips Are Outdated

Don’t hide your keys in the vehicle. That includes above your tires, around your gas tank, in the center console, or under floor mats. These hiding spots are so well-known, they don’t do you any good. Would you still hide your house key under your doormat?

Lock Your Doors

It’s obvious, but it has to be said. Phillips took his van’s locks one step further. “Our locks are designed to make them difficult to cut through. This is mostly a deterrent, because if someone had the know how and determination to get in our trailer, they probably could.”

Enough deterrents add up, though. Locking your doors is the easiest one.

Unload Your Gear

It seems like good common sense to keep your gear close to you at all times. Wild Cub lead singer Keegan DeWitt points out the impracticality of this.

“It’s really pretty tough to expect bands to load/unload all of their equipment into whatever house they may be shoving into night-to-night. When you are already throwing 5 people on a floor, adding the gear is almost impossible, especially in a large city where you may be forced to park blocks and blocks away.”

Do the best you can. On nights you can unload your gear, do it. Other times, it’s more practical to leave gear in the vehicle.

Drive a Modified Van

Jay Ollie Stone says, “Don’t drive round in a van with your band name plastered all over it.” Though it may be tempting to promote your brand this way, the risk may outweigh the costs.

Did you buy a used van from a church or retirement community? Instead of plastering your name and logo all over it, leave it looking like a flower delivery truck or other organization that is less likely to be robbed.

DeWitt found an effective rental solution through Bandago, a van rental company. “They convert the back of the van into a windowless cargo hold with a recessed lock that can’t be busted open. That’s the best solution.”

Get Insured

Insurance is another cost, but it’s one that will keep you sane. You’re paying for peace of mind. Though insurance companies can’t replace the sentimental value of your favorite guitar, they can ease the financial burden.

Pay close attention to deductibles, the amount you pay out of pocket when you file a claim, and premiums, the amount you pay every billing period.

An alternative or supplement to insurance is an emergency fund. Instead of paying premiums, you can put funds into a savings account. Or you could have a smaller emergency fund to cover your insurance policy’s deductible. Pick a method that works for your financial situation.

The Numbers Game

Worrying about your gear getting stolen shouldn’t keep you up at night. Theft is a numbers game. By taking all of these precautions, your gear will be a much less attractive target. And even if you suffer a loss, you will be equipped to deal with it and get back on the stage in no time.

★ Posted by DaveCool on September 18, 2013 | 2 comments ★

How To Reach More Fans With Shazam #SAtN

In this special Stand Above The Noise episode from Berlin Music Week’s WORD! conference, Jonathan Davies, a Music Partnerships Manager at Shazam Entertainment, explains how the world’s most popular music recognition service works, how its database is being updated and how it helps musicians sell more music.
In just one year Shazam generates $300 million in digital sales, primarily through iTunes. In the interview Jon talked on that, Shazam’s partners, his take on streaming services, new developments and ways to be heard in the first place.
One of the Shazam updates mentioned in the interview was released yesterday: users can now mention friends and places when share tagged songs to Facebook via an iOS app.
Watch the full interview below:
00:00:33 – Jon Davies introduction
00:00:38 – The ways the Shazam database is updated
00:01:59 – Key partners of Shazam
00:02:32 – How well Shazam works with detecting dance / electronic music tracks
00:03:04 – Shazam’s TV integration
00:04:09 – Jon’s opinion on streaming services
00:05:05 – What’s coming next for Shazam
00:05:55 – Tips on being discovered
Watch this space for more interviews from Berlin Music Week 2013.

Spotify Begins Original Music Series

Spotify logo image

Spotify may soon find itself under siege thanks to the introduction 
of iTunes Radio the other day, but an initial response might bring
 at least some music fans into the fold. Yesterday the streaming 
service launched an original documentary series called 
Spotify Landmark which will feature significant moments in music 
history, and is built along the lines of Behind The Music.

The first episode is “The Real Story of Nirvana’s In Utero,” and it 
debuts on the 20th anniversary of the album and a week before the album’s deluxe reissue. The audio-only 
program features lots of behind the scenes stories from Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, producer Steve Albini, 
Curt Kirkwood from The Meat Puppets (who toured with the band), and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait (who 
opened for the band).

The site doesn’t require membership, but it does require that you sign in to Spotify to hear it. It launches the 
series of smaller clips that play sequentially.

One of the things that both smaller cable channels and Netflix discovered is that they can compete with the big 
guys if they have compelling original programming. Landmark probably won’t cause a major shift to Spotify, 
but it’s a start in their fight against Apple.

Read more: http://music3point0.blogspot.com/2013/09/spotify-begins-original-music-series.html#ixzz2fQpax0Rl
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike