Posted tagged ‘music business radio’

Pretty Soon It’ll be Second Nature

October 18, 2010


Here’s a short one for ya today…

Often when the season changes I feel obligated to make life changes – do things differently, like clean my apartment, among many other thing.  This fall, I began working out,  hanging up my clothes intead of throwing them on the floor, spending less time online,  and taking more time to read. It’s been a refreshing change and it’s also a pretty great routine that’s become hard to shake now that my schedule is used to it.

As I was power-walking (if you really wanna call it that) last night, I realized that there are alot of things in life that we don’t do even though we know we should. If people ate well and stayed consistently active, shows like The Biggest Loser wouldn’t exist. If we did little things to keep our apartments clean on a daily basis, we wouldnt have to do a major clean sweep before guests come over for special occasions.  So…

1. Spend 30-60 minutes looking for gigs each day

2. Post content on your Facebook page at least 2x a day – video from one of your shows, status update(s), details about an upcoming show…etc

3. Listen and learn from others. Music Business Radio is always great…especially a recent interview with Sara Bareille s on how she made it big.

4. Make sure your website has at least one new update per week.

5.  Do it even if you don’t want to. Pretty soon it’ll be harder not to.

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Creating Value: Is your Music Worth Something?

March 2, 2009


Ok, so the point is…if you’ve got something to consume, you need consumers.  Consumers can be music purchasers, show attendees…basically anyone who is willing to be spoonfed your tunes. Stuff it in their faces! (jk)

The number one question is How do I get people to buy me?  Here are some suggestions

Giving Value to Yourself
This is not a “you’re beautiful just the way you are” posts, but if you don’t think very highly of your music, you can’t expect others to do so.  If you honestly don’t think your music is great, take a couple months to focus on making it great. Don’t play out until you’re a confident musician.  When you’re talking to potential bookers on the phone, sound like you know what you’re talking about.  When you’re sending emails make sure you don’t have spelling mistakes and use grammar.  Ask yourself  “If I were someone else, would I take me seriously?”


Giving Value to Your Performance:  First, Best or Different?
When someone comes to your live performance, do you offer something that other artists do not?  Is it easy to find a replacement for you or are you one-of-a-kind?  I was listening to an old Music Business Radio podcast and Keith Mohr, Founder and President of Indie Heaven says…

You have be First, Best or Different.  First is already taken. You’re probably not gonna be best, so you better be different. And people will gravitate to different.


Giving Value to Your CD
Much of this post references my very first post on this blog: “Perception is Reality“. The best way to give value to your CD is to have professional packaging.  Of course there are duplication companies like Dicsmakers and Oasis but if you can’t afford to spend $1,000 on 1000 units (especially if there isn’t a huge demand for your merch) maybe you should consider doing something low key. 

Adding value doesnt always equate to spending alot of money. Head to Walmart and buy a pack of jewel cases.  Once you have CD artwork, head to Kinkos and have the artwork printed on glossy paper (that you can slide into the jewel case.  Make sure the artwork is well done and cut properly according to the dimensions of the jewel case.  Or find a local company who will do a short print run for you..maybe just a quanitity of 100 units.


Giving Value to Your Profession
Have a real website.  Anyone can have a myspace these days but if you actually invest time and money into a real website  you look more serious.  You can also put tons of more information on a website than you can on myspace.  Looking professional also gets you out of the dive bar and coffeeshop scene. 


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“Just Do It”

February 19, 2009
Download Free on iTunes. It's worth listening to

Download Free on iTunes. It's worth listening to


Perhaps the theme for this week’s posts should have been “Just do it” or “Pep Talks w/ JoyI dunno. But I’ve recently had several conversations with artist who are frustrated by the amount of work they’ve put into a project and the fact that no one knows the project exists.   I’ve read An Interview with The Lost Sea  a few times since Monday and I’ve read several more comment posts on Derek Sivers “Nobody’s going to help you blog” since yesterday and here’s my final pep talk. 

Stop Waiting
Stop waiting for a big break because even if you do get one, you’ll have to put in twice as much work to keep the momentum going.  Its the little opportunities that create big ones and if you can do well with the little, the bigger things will come in time. Just be consistent.

Seriously take Sean Atkins advice
If you haven’t read An Interview with The Lost Sea, make sure to check it out.  Sean says…

“sometimes you just have to be persistent and if you think you’re doing everything you can, and you’re not getting anything.. then you’re not doing enough, being passionate means being willing to suffer a great deal and risk everything you have.  if you’re really serious about ‘making it’ then you will suffer for it”

I’d been working full-time for three years before I decided to quit my job and do music full time.  I took a 50% pay cut, I am spending more money investing in my art, and I am working so much harder than I ever have.  Some people reading this think I’m insane (I think I’m insane too…depending on the month).  However, I’ve made more progress in the last 8 months (of being a  full-time musicians) that I have in the last 3 years.  When you are willing to devote time and money to something you believe in, you will see results. And if you dont…well at least you tried.

Remember that Music is a Business
Music is a commodity that you are trying to sell. If it weren’t marketable,  we wouldnt have music in commercials, in movies, at clubs, in the elevator, grocery stores, weddings…etc. When I think about this, I realize the world literally needs music to stay lively.  If you have what someone needs, you need to market it.  You have to somehow convince your potential buyer that you are better than your competitors.  You have to convince yourself that your product is worth selling.  100% of that has to do with having a product you are proud of- whether this is a peroformance or a tangible CD.  Just do it.

I (again) strongly recommend listening to Music Business Radio’s weekly pocast. Its created for artists like you and I who are trying to”make it”.  They interview other artists, industry execs, agents….etc


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Helping Yourself #4

February 18, 2009


Read the other blogs in this series:
Helping Yourself #1
Helping Yourself #2
Helping Yourself #3

Today I went to re-visit Derek Sivers’  “Nobody’s going to help you  blog. Make sure to read this blog if you haven’t already.  Its got some excellent thoughts and excellent reader comments.

Here’s comment by a frustrated reader…

Response # 6,780 by Karsten Schwardt

  • “If I want to write and record my music, and have work and be there for family, there is simply no time left at the end of the day to promote my music or be my own booking agent. So I am excited and frustrated all at the same time. Excited because of everything I learn by doing it myself and the opportunities that exist. Frustrated because a promotion and publicity campaign is a full time job, and I don’t even enjoy doing it much. So I will write my music, record it best I can and put it up for the world to see. If they only knew where to look…”

Its a frustration shared by far too many artists.  By the time you’ve put all of your creative energy into making and performing your music, you don’t have much time or energy left to promote it (espec. if you have a family).  And if marketing isn’t your favorite thing, then you might not do it that well.  I wish I had an easy answer for this. The whole premise of this blog is to help you become better at promoting. But if you don’t like it…well Grassrootsy can’t do much fo you.  Check out “The Things You’ll Hate To Do…But Should Do Anyways

The truth of the matter is that if you are passionate about what you do, you will use all means necessary to share it with the world.  You’ll play out as much as possible, pay out as much as necessary, and work to make connections with people who love your music.  If you have a good product, let people know it exists.  No use spending so much money to make a CD if no one will hear it. 

I strongly reccomend listening to Music Business Radio podcast – specifically the December 17, 2008 interview with indie/folk/pop artists Meiko.  Meiko and her manager Mike Savage talk about  her trek from no-name Open Mic artist to someone who now has over 6 million hits on her myspace and a record contract with Myspace DGC Records. This podcast is especially useful b/c Savage and Meiko talk about how they share the job of promoting her music and how they capitalize on once in a lifetime opportunities to keep the momentum going. MBR is free on iTunes.

If promotions is hard for you to wrap your head around 

  • 1] Be good at the easy things!  Cultivate great relationships with your fans.  KleerStream Entertainment said it best: for every 1 die-hard fan you make, they’ll eventually reel in up to 10 more of their friends who will ultimately become fans as well.
  • 2] Look into other artist friends who are also overwhelmed by promotions.  Meet together, share notes, and collaborate.  Check out to learn about 4 artist who did something similar.
  • 3] If necessary, find a manager who has more music business knowledge than you. (this will probably cost $)

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Stay Informed: Read, Watch, Listen, Go

December 8, 2008


The City Paper: your local guide to city venues and events

The City Paper: your local guide to city venues and events. Most cities have a City Paper, even if it's not called "CP".

In this post I’m basically going to suggest some ways for you to stay on top of what’s going on in your city, get more girls, learn about the music industry, and be more internet saavy..  Read last week’s post “Mimic the Artists You Respect” for other tips.

Read the City Paper
Always read your City Paper.  Stay on top of what’s going on in your city. In the back of the Pittsburgh City Paper, there is a “Call for Artists” section that you can check out for shows. This might be the same in other CPs.  Also check out the CP simply to learn about new coffespots, bars, clubs, lounges who are looking to book entertainment. 

If your city’s paper is anything like Pittsburgh’s then they have an extensive Art Festival listing in the summer.  Sweet!  This is probably my favorite issue of the CP.  I basically skim thru the list, call numbers they provide for the art festivals I want to play at…and book myself throughout the summer. I hold onto this list for the whole summer.  p.s. alot of community and art festivals wont pay you, but you will always have larger crowds outside and get your name out alot easier than trying to book indoors…especially in the summer.

Listen to Local Radio
Listen to local community radio.  They are most likely to support local artist and let you know about what’s going on in your community.  Pittburgh’s local radio station WYEP-FM does this thing called the WYEP Taste Test.  Its a free workshop that allows you to go into their studios and learn how they pick music to be aired on the station.  You always want to check out things like this.  Another thing I use local radio for is to find out what community events they will be broadcasting live from.  Example:  WYEP broadcasts LIVE from a major art show called Art All Night every year.  Because of this, WYEP hypes up the show on their station and I can always be sure that there will be thousands of people at this show (simply because everyone has heard about it).  So I always make sure to contact AAN to see if  I can get booked.

WYEP also has an awesome online Arts & Events Calendar. I visit this every few weeks, see what events are coming up in the area, and contact the appropriate organizers to book myself for the ones I like. Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.

Read Online Music Resources
Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby is a genius!  That’s why he’s make so money off of artist who use CD Baby! (read more about this in one of my recent posts).  But I don’t hate Derek.  In fact, I love him and read his blogs.  He has awesome tips on marketing your music, helping you to make money, and expanding your fanbase.  Read this type of stuff!  He is an artist who thinks like a businessman and this is the number one reason why people love him.  Go here to check out all of Sivers’ various blogs. Subscribe to one or find another. There are tons on the internet! Tons.

Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are just another great way to stay current.  Here are a few that I really like. But there are many others, of course.

  • Music Business Radio: They’re a fun laid back podcast that brings in an industry professional each week.  They talk about what’s going on in the music world, give helpful tips to artists…etc.  They also do this great thing called Demo Derby- aritsts send their CDs and press kits in and MBR plays a song, critiques the artist’s music, and information the artist sent in.
  • My Music Image: MMI is a short 5 minute podcast that gives you one solid piece of music marketing advice each week.  They also feature one artist each week (play a song and give out their website).


Seminars Rock!
Go to seminars!  In Pittsburgh, there is a semi-annual event called Podcamp Pittsburgh. Its a free 2-day social networking workshop that teaches you need-to-know information about being a better manager of your myspace, facebook, twitter, wordpress…etc.  Stuff like this is important simply because it pays to be internet saavy.  Check out your local paper, library…etc for listings on workshops. Many are free.

p.s. you gotta learn html and photoshop. It will make it so much easier for your to be more creative in putting information on your website and myspace.


Watch what other artist are doing at their shows
Lasty, just be attentive when you go to other people’s shows. Get ideas from what they’re doing…i.e. the type of merch they are selling, how much they are selling their CD for, clever ways they promote themselves. 



Feel free to suggest other great resources!

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