40 General Tips to Help You!

Here is a summary of all the gems of wisdom dropped at CMJ in NY this past week. There are 40 tips in all including touring, general direct to fan, entrepreneurial/business, artist branding, music supervision and publishing. Some of the touring tips have been covered in earlier posts, but there is a more expansive list here.

These tips were organized by Digital Music News.

Touring

(1) Reach out to the promoter well in advance. They want to make money and fill the club just like you, and if you prioritize the promoter, the favor is likely to get returned  (credit: various panelists).

(2) Ticketing links, venue directions and dates should be clearly posted on the artist page. Make it brainless for fans (Marc Schapiro, Branch Marketing Collective).

(3) Syndicate tour dates across many sites and services. Create once, publish several times. (Ian Hogarth, Songkick.com).

(4) Shows are actually a great place to win new followers.  The average person buys 2.5 tickets to a show, and many are along for the ride (Hogarth).

(5) Opening bands should create and distribute mash-ups with the headliner to create more buzz (Brian Pacris, The Syndicate).

(6) Use SplitGigs to join forces with other bands and collectively book shows (Pacris).

(7) Create positive relationships with other bands to increase the likelihood of getting future shows (various).

(8) When posting your event on Facebook, make the promoter an admin to grow the potential number of attendees (Jaison John, 5B Artist Management).

(9) Get a laptop, start a Google mailing list or open an Excel spreadsheet, and collect emails right at the show (Schapiro).

(10) After the show, the time to connect with fans is the next day – not a week later (Hogarth).

(11) At the show, take a picture of the crowd, then post it on Facebook and ask attendees to tag themselves. Then, give a prize to one of the taggers (various).

(12) When to start a real team?  If you’re spending more than half your day on logistics, you need to get outside help. You need more than just your college roommate (John).

(13) Target fan emails by zip code to create awareness about local shows (various).

(14) Before hitting a city, build the buzz with the media, local outlets and the venue. Everyone wants to help break a band and then brag about it (Schapiro).

(15) Bands should tell fans that they will be signing stuff at the merch table after the show. That will draw more fans with their wallets, and help to convert offline fans to online fans (Tommy Brunett).

(16) Don’t complain about the sound. It’s so cliche and unoriginal (Jeffrey Rabhan, Trifecta Consulting)

General Direct-to-Fan

(17) Assume your fans are really lazy (because they are).  Make it incredibly easy for them to get information, get to shows, and participate (various).

(18) Give away a download, but get something in return – like an email address (various).

(19) Pitch your tiny band to major outlets like the Village Voice. The odds are better than you think, simply because they seem big and intimidating to competing bands.  It’s like the hot girl at the bar – everyone’s afraid to approach her (various).

(20) Respond to every Twitter and Facebook fan message (various).

(21) Don’t Twitter too much. Don’t clog the channel too much or it will be hard to get important messages through (Schapiro).

(22) The amount that you Twitter depends on the relationship between the artist and audience.  Some artists Twitter all day, and their fans love it (Dick Huey, Toolshed).

(23) Pitch to major radio stations. Commercial radio stations often have local shows, with deejays that want to break local acts (Schapiro).

(24) Don’t be afraid to be yourself and take a stand on things. Not everyone is going to like you (Ariel Hyatt, Cyber PR).

(25) It takes about 7 years to get a substantial amount of traction. “It takes forever.” (Hyatt)

(26) Not all criticism is bad. Negativity can often spur positive counter-responses, and create a positive snowball (Elizabeth Leahy, Section 101).

(27) Fans want access, perceived or otherwise. Appreciation is important, and artists can no longer “just come out for the flashbulbs.” (Jeffrey Rabhan, Trifecta Consulting)

(28) Bands using Facebook, MySpace, or something like ReverbNation for their homepages are generally making less money. The artists that have a website they control – ie, bandname.com – are typically making more, though they also have that site interconnected into pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others (Ariel Hyatt).

 

Entrepreneurial, Business

(29) There’s still a market for recordings, if presented and packaged properly to the audience (Cliff Chenfeld, Razor & Tie).

(30) If you’re starting a label today, you’d better do something that no one else has thought of. Or, smartly spread across a number of non-recording areas like publishing and touring (Mark Kates, Fenway Recordings and various).

(31) There’s more value in super-serving a specific niche or scene. That goes for the broader, hit-driven approaches of old.  “If you’re a generalist, you’ll have a tougher time.” (Chenfeld)

 

Artist Branding

(32) Be aware of your image. Your clothes, your actions, and the way you talk all represent your brand (Jon Ostrow, MicControl).

(33) If you’re going to create a persona, then you need to own it. Otherwise, they’ll know it’s a sham – so be yourself, be your persona, but don’t waffle in between. (Jeffrey Rabhan, Trifecta Consulting)

 

Music Supervision

(34) Music supervisors are really in a service position; they have to handle the requests and demands of lots of different people.  “It’s not that different from being a bartender.” (Barry Cole, SPOT music)

(35) Managing expectations is critical in music supervision, though having relationships with content owners is also critically important. Producers often have big concepts and small budgets – you figure out the rest  (Jonathan McHugh, Island Def Jam Music Group).

(36) Both creative and organizational skills are critical to survive. “Publishing, masters and syncs, cue sheets, and all of the things that make it so a producer or director doesn’t come down on you for something…” (G. Marq Roswell, 35Sound)

(37) Controlling your copyright – or at least having it easy to license in one place – is a good thing. Music supervisors love to clear something in one step – it makes your music more attractive to them (Jake Ottmann, EMI Music Publishing).

 

Publishing

(38) You absolutely need the best team to make it – manager, publicist, label, etc. – and a publisher is part of that (Justin Shukat, Primary Wave).

(39) If you can write a hit, you can still get rich (Ron Perry, Songs Music Publishing).

(40) If you’re working with a major label, remember that they want a hit. And they will go through endless versions until they feel that they have that hit. (Perry)

Advertisements

Making Moves Week 1 (10/21-10/24)

This is the first “Making Moves” post for the Chi Guy Entertainment Blog. In this section I will try to document everything I do on a week by week by week basis to expand my fan base and start making money as an artist. I will include all of the products and services I use, which equipment I use and track how much money I spend along the way. I aim to blaze a path to hip hop success and leave breadcrumbs along the trail for others to follow. Eventually I hope to get others to document their paths and create a rich resource that can be used by others who are in the same boat as I was for a long time: clueless about what to do with their music.

This week involved a lot of registrations, media uploads and typing.

I first set up a separate email account on gmail to keep all of my music related stuff in one place so that I can start to build an address book of fans to send music and other info to.

Over my solo career (the past 4 years) I have kept only a Myspace page at myspace.com/beantownconnection. Yeah, I know. It’s embarrassing considering the tools that have been available to me over that time, but everything was happening so fast with advancements in social media and, honestly, I was just being lazy. But it feels great to be attacking all the social media with a fresh approach.

Since 9/18/2006 (when I started my myspace page) I have racked up a whopping 3911 profile views, 265 friends, and 5192 total plays. Chump change baby. That’s enough of an audience that I don’t want to say goodbye to them when I start a new page. But at the same time it’s not a big enough audience that it will hold me back from having a fresh start. And I have a feeling that most of these plays came from a smaller group of core fans (than the 265 friends) that will follow my music wherever it goes.

Myspace is undergoing a major overhaul of its music site by adding a number of tools for artists, acquiring companies and becoming more open and interconnected with the rest of the web. But I really don’t know if I have time to update a Myspace full time and do all the rest of my social media. I am also a bit spiteful after years of artist neglect from Myspace, and the confusing layouts and all that. I’ve decided that I will keep a Myspace, but devote a lot less time to it. I can do this by updating it automatically through other sites like Reverbnation, Youtube and Twitter. This is my new Myspace page: myspace.com/trevorthetrashman

My base of operations will be my Reverbnation page, and I will use a YouTube channel, Twitter and a Facebook artist page for most of my promotion. I also have plans to use Ustream, street teams, and am looking into paid advertisements on fb or Twitter.

I chose Reverbnation because I feel that it offers the most complete package. The amount of customization that I can do on my page with all the different widgets available is crazy. I can set up a personalized store for my music, post an interactive calendar, update my status to Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace, and view all kinds of stats about who my fans are and where they come from. They just recently added a service that places your music on a whole slew of online retailers like iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3 Store, etc. for only $34.95/year! I’m not sure if that makes more sense than CDbaby but it sounds pretty damn affordable.

Twitter was a no-brainer. It will allow me to maintain an ongoing interaction with fans. It is easy to set up. Here is a link to my Twitter.

I have a lot of friends from my college and high school years that are already on my Facebook. Having that solid base will make it easier to get an initial following for my artist page. To set up a facebook artist page, sign out of your Facebook account. Then at the bottom of the page when you try to sign back in there will be an option to “create a page” for a celebrity, band or business. Facebook then takes you through the steps of starting your fan page, uploading material and suggesting the page to people. One of the last steps is an option to connect to Twitter which I did. Here is my Facebook artist page.

These were some very basic, yet very necessary moves to make as a beginning artist. More complex moves to come.

4 Services that Help Artists Make Money Online

Here is a shortened article I found on Hypebot originally on Mashable that might be useful.

Full Article

Mashable writer Brenna Ehrlich has done a great job at outlining four services that can help unsigned bands make money online. Each of them have been profiled on Hypebot in the past. However, she has given a much more in-depth look at how these services work and who they have been working for. From music licensing to online collaboration to becoming sponsored on a torrent site, these are all real ways that bands can make money online without the help of a major label. Here is a look at the services but click over to get more insight:

  1. Jingle Punks is a music licensing company that specializes in providing pre-cleared music for use in various media productions.
  2. Indaba Music is an online collaboration tool that enables musicians to team up across the globe and also work on commerical projects.
  3. YouTube’s Musicians Wanted Program enables musicians to earn money from advertising that runs before and during videos.
  4. BitTorrent Featured Artist Program spotlights artists and gives them instant global distrobution and exposure to new audiences.

How To Post A Perfect Press Kit on Your Website

This is an article originally from Musicthinktank.com by ARIEL HYATT

I’m often amazed when I go to an artist’s website, and I look around, and I’m trying to find basic press information and I can’t.

It seems that in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook Fan pages, and constantly focusing on your two-way conversations, we’ve forgotten the important basics.

This is a revised excerpt from my book, Music Success in Nine Weeks, (which, btw 65 artists are blogging their way through I’m proud to say) and it talks about an asset that no matter what we all face with new digital solutions, new platforms and apps that we’re going to be forced to learn, we should always remember: Your press kit.

It’s up to you to post your press information clearly and succinctly, so that you’re easy to find and write about. Posting an accessible press kit to share with journalists and new media makers( bloggers, podcasters, etc.)  is good common sense.

Editors need access to your information quickly, because they are constantly under deadline.  If you do not make it easy for them to get your information from your site, they may move onto another one of the 50 artists that are playing in their town that same week.

1.  YOUR MUSIC – ALBUM OR LIVE TRACKS

Make sure you have some music available at your website or a very obvious link to your MySpace page where people can hear the music instantly.  Many newspapers are now including online listings where they include MP3s of artists coming to town, so make it easy for them to grab the tracks to add to their own sites – this is additional excellent exposure for you.

2.  YOUR BIOGRAPHY – MUST INCLUDE YOUR PITCH

Make sure you have a short, succinct bio that can be easily located on your site, in addition to the long form one, the blogs and all of the opinions from each band member – which are fun for your fans but not for music writers who will be looking to get quick information.  Make sure this bio can be easily cut-and-pasted so writers can drop it into a preview or a column.

CREATE A SHORT VERSION FOR THE CALENDAR EDITOR

Make sure you add your PITCH /USP (Unique Selling Point) as a stand-alone portion to your bio that sums up your sound for calendar editors.  It should be no more than 10 words.

TIP: Post 3 versions of your bios

1. Long Form

2. In 50 Words

3. In 1 sentence (10 words or less)

TIP:  MAKE SURE THE BIO CAN BE EASILY CUT-AND-PASTED!

Do NOT have your bio in Flash format; make sure that editors can easily cut and paste it right off of your site.

3.  YOUR PHOTOS – MAKE THEM EASY TO FIND AND

DOWNLOAD

Thumbnails are great for quick and easy loading but are detrimental for use in newspapers.  You should always have a few downloadable photos on your site in at least 300 dpi / jpg format.

TIP: Create an easy-to-see link that says “click here for a hi res / low res jpg.” That way photo editors can get to them easily.  When the photos are downloaded; make sure they are properly named with your name or your band’s name, so that photo editors can find them in folders and on messy desktops!

TIP: Remember to change your photos a few times a year – so if you play the same markets over and over, you can give the media multiple options for covering you.

TIP: Put the band members’ names from left to right (l-r) under the band photo to give journalists a point of reference.  (Many publications publish photos with all band members’ names from left to right to save the writers the trouble of having to ask for the names.)

4.  INCLUDE YOUR ALBUM COVER & ADDITIONAL ARTWORK

You also want to make sure you include your cover art in both hi res and lo res (jpg format).  This way if your CD is being reviewed, the reviewer can download the artwork to add to the review.  If you have additional assets like band logos or graphics add them here as well.

5.  INCLUDE PRESS CLIPS OR FAN TESTIMONIALS IF YOU HAVE THEM

What you say about you is one thing…. However: What others say about you is trusted in a different way.  So, if you have articles that were written about you or great quotes to add from fans – do it!  (if you don’t just ask your fans to contribute to your site – they will be happy to do so)

FINAL TIP: Sonicbids is a fabulous place to build and maintain a perfect press kit and you won’t need a web designer to help you – so build your perfect press kit there, link to it and VOILA!

Building Engaging Campaigns Around Your Live Show

This is a story that takes quotes from various sources at CMJ this week in NY. They cover a bunch of different topics and problems that many artists encounter as they try to build a following.

Here is a look at the full article from Digital Music News.

I will pick out a few of the highlights that jumped out at me. Panelists: Ian Hogarth, Jaison John, Brian Pacris, Sarah Weiss, Marc Schapiro:

Once you’re booked… then what?

Schapiro: Reach out to every promoter – they will support you and want to make money with you.

John: If you prioritize and really get into the promoter’s face, then they are likely to prioritize you – and give you more opportunities down the line.

Schapiro: Get as many people talking about your show as possible.  If you’re not talking to the promoter, they could easily forget to put marketing resources behind you.  “You want basic things like getting it listed…”

Pacris: “You can’t underestimate the power of your own resources…”

That means FB, MS, “leveraging the assets you have,” that’s where it starts.

As much lead time and preparation as possible, “there’s no reason to not start promoting a show right then and there” long in advance.  That includes digital flyers, asking fans to promote locally is a basic thing.

SchapiroTicket links. Just put those links on your site – lots of artists don’t put those on your site.  Put addresses, Google maps links, venues can be hard to find.  “Make it brainless…”

John: Assume your fanbase is really lazy (others chime in: because they are….” )

Hogarth: Also recommends syndicating tour dates across many sites and services.

How to expand beyond local markets?

Pacris: SplitGigs allows bands to connect with bands with gigs already in aother shows.

John: Pairing and teaming with other bands offers a large number of opportunities (“you’d be surprised…” and “you will see a return on it”)

Schapiro: Hard to tell who you’re opening for, you could leapfrog them down the line – it’s “friendly competition”

How much music, photos, etc., should be out there?

Schapiro: Don’t Twitter too much – your posts about the show will not carry through as much.  “There is a balance to how much information you’re putting out there…”

Hogarth: On website, make sure you have “some good songs and your tour dates…”  but also stresses putting up lots of material from shows (and use Songkick to do this, of course).

But, that content that fans have aggregated and uploaded can also be placed on your site.

Audience Question: Do people really want to be on mailing lists?  Are there alternatives?  People are getting dragged into it, too many email addresses constantly…

Schapiro:  “Topspin is making a business out of it…” sure, “no one wants to get spammed again” though Schapiro argues that proper incentives and information can incentivize people to sign up.

Audience member: do fans really care about reading all of these blog posts and information?

Hogarth: Most artists are not sophisticated about how they use their emails.  For example, sending lots of emails to US-based addresses about some show in Portland…

Schapiro: Zip codes are important, targeting.

The 15 Most Popular Recording Software

Digital Music Doctor has published a list of the 15 most popular software products for making music based on search activity on Google, MSN, Yahoo and AOL.  During Q3 2010, four products – Cakewalk Sonar, Adobe Audition, Sony Acid, and Propellerhead Reason – trended downward.

Here is the article from Hypebot.

1. Avid Pro Tools  (9.6)
2. FL Studio  (7.3)
3. Steinberg Cubase  (6.3)
4. Cakewalk Sonar  (5.4)
5. Apple Logic  (2.9)6. Adobe Audition  (2.9)
7. Apple GarageBand  (2.7)
8. Sony Sound Forge  (1.7)
9. MOTU Digital Performer  (1.7)
10. Ableton Live  (1.6)
11. Sony Acid  (1.4)
12. Band-in-a-Box  (1.3)
13. Steinberg Nuendo  (0.7)
14. Steinberg Wavelab  (0.6)
15. Propellerhead Reason  (0.6)

The most popular is Pro Tools, followed by FL Studio, which I hadn’t heard of until this article. Then Cubase, Cakewalk Sonar, Appple Logic, Adobe Audition, and then Garageband.

I have been using Garageband since I started recording solo material 6 years ago. But that’s only because I had a Mac, and it came with my computer. More recently I have played around with ProTools and I can see a huge difference in live recording capabilities. But I have heard that ProTools is not the best if you are trying to compose beats. I have friends that swear by Sonar, and friends that swear by Cubase, but no real compelling argument to persuade me to work with those programs.

What do you use? Why do you use it instead of the others? Do you use one for recording and another one for making beats?

Welcome to Chi Guy Entertainment

You got a problem??

This is the first post for the Chi Guy Entertainment Blog that I’ve been trying to get up and running for a while now. I am a rapper originally from Chicago and now living in Brooklyn. I started out writing rhymes in 7th grade when I was 12 years old in 2001. This was during the reign of Dr. Dre’s Chronic 2001. I remember going to the Up In Smoke Tour in NY (still one of the best concerts of all time) as a chubby little white kid completely bewildered by the smoke around me not really knowing what it was all about but on the real kind of knowing what it was all about.

The first CD I ever bought (I’m not ashamed to admit it) was Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. I was really into alternative throughout the rest of the ’90’s. And I was finally brought into the hip hop world in the aftermath of Biggie’s death when P Diddy came out with P. Diddy and the Bad Boy Fam. That was the crossover album. Then I went back and listened to the beginnings of hip hop,  the classics of the early 90’s, and how the genre evolved over time. I fell in love with the power of this art form. The wittiness of the wordplay of East Coast style rappers like Biggie, Nas, and Jay-Z and groups like Outkast, and Wu-Tang inspired me to start writing raps myself.

The way my raps were in the beginning is embarrassing to me now, but really hillarious and definitely beyond my years in some ways. My voice was higher than most of the girls in my grade. But the flow was on point, ha. I’ll post some of my early stuff in a few days when I find the files.

Since then I have sculpted my craft into something I am proud of. I draw my inspiration from the rappers above mentioned as well as Weezy, Cee-lo, Early Eminem, Devin The Dude, Common, and Scarface. What I respect most is when somebody hits me with something powerful, which is hard to do, and then on top of that the flow is there too.

I have been recording for damn near 10 years now, mostly for my own entertainment, and I feel like it’s time to take it to the next level.

I have recorded two solo albums, and have been on many songs with the Wiggidies Crew from Chicago (http://myspace.com/wiggidiescrew). I recently quit my internship at BMI to give myself time to take a real shot at creating my music and letting people hear it. I am starting on two major projects to begin with. The first is a mixtape called The Classical Movement Mixtape. I’m paying tribute to two songs from each of five classic albums: Reasonable Doubt, Illmatic, Ready To Die, Southernplayasticadillacmuzik, and Iron Man. The second is a full album  (title TBA). I have already started working on both. Throughout the whole process I will be blogging the details of which services I use along the way, how effective they really are, how much everything costs, what equipment I use, etc. One of my missions aside from making head scratching music is to start a company that offers unsigned hip hop artists advice and helps them manage their growth so they don’t need a label. As I learn I feel that others should too.

I hope you ENJOY…

%d bloggers like this: