New Music Friday: September 22, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow The Billion Dollar Club – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


Mitsubishi
24K

Hip Hop/Rap, Pop


Here Comes the Sun
Jeremih & Antonique Smith
R&B/Soul, Singer/Songwriter


Hollow (feat. Quinn Lewis)
Super Duper

Alternative, Electronic


Each Season
Nora Jane Struthers

Singer/Songwriter, Folk


Thin B-Sides
Lowland Hum

Singer/Songwriter, Alternative


My Kind of Girl
Kritikal

Hip Hop/Rap, Pop


F.W.M.
Kori James

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap


Eyeliner
Lieza

Singer/Songwriter, Alternative


Dreamers & Thinkers
AdELA

Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul


Lights Out
Meresha

Electronic, Pop


Undefined
Simply Three

Rock, Pop


Life In Letters (Last Island Remix)
Pierce Fulton

Dance, Electronic


Fear
Joseph & Maia

Alternative, Pop


A Sentimental Education
Luna

Alternative, Rock


Cold War
Cautious Clay
Alternative, R&B/Soul


Man Enough Now
Chris Bandi

Country


Nobodys Home
Dalton Rapattoni

Pop, Singer/Songwriter


Year of the Wolf
B.DIMEZ

Hip Hop/Rap, Singer/Songwriter


I Could Not Plan for This
Witt Lowry

Hip Hop/Rap, Pop


Made For Me
Peter Cincotti

Singer/Songwriter, Pop

Even If You’re a Professional Musician, You Should Consider Taking Lessons

[Editors Note: This was written by Hugh McIntyre. Hugh writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.]

 

When most musicians first jump into the business and try to make a go at superstardom (or even just surviving, which is difficult enough), they are only good enough to get by. It’s fine to begin writing, creating, and recording music while you’re still something of a beginner, and you shouldn’t let technical skills get in the way of you indulging your creative nature and exploring what kind of artist you’d like to be.

It’s fine when you first start to be, well, okay—in fact, “okay” is better than a lot of those just launching what could become careers, take it from someone who has heard from a lot of those bands and artists—but please know that your limited skill set will only be acceptable for a short period of time.

If you really want to be a full-time professional musician, let alone one who makes it big and tops the charts, you are going to need to not only take lessons of one kind or another, but you will likely need to continue to re-up your knowledge and continue your education for years to come. If it sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is, but nobody said being a professional musician was going to be easy.

There are many instances of musicians being interesting enough, compelling enough, proficient enough, or even just lucky enough to sign record deals and make a living with even just a beginner’s musical education, but it’s the ones who don’t just tour and create music, but who work on their craft and stay focused on always wanting to be better than the day before who end up making not just the biggest splash, but who splash for many years.

Think of it like this: Many musicians choose not to go to college for their art, and while that isn’t necessarily a decision I’d endorse, I understand the logic and the reasoning. It is extremely difficult to get a job in that field after school ends, and it’s even tougher with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt hanging over one’s head that needs to be paid off.

While that may be somewhat acceptable in music, especially popular music, almost every other industry in the world requires at least one college degree, if not two. Even those who earn those certificates end up taking classes of going through trainings at the jobs they choose later on.

For many musicians, the equivalent of going to a university is touring, practicing, and definitely taking lessons. If you’re not going to be sitting in a classroom for four years (or hell, even if you are!), you should be spending that much time in lessons, classes, practices and so on throughout your career. You might not need to spend quite as much money, but it’s an important thing to invest in.

It’s also important to note that taking lessons doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bad, or that you still have a long way to go. You can be a working, professional musician with a wonderful body of work and plenty of critical acclaim and still learn something new. Even the biggest and best of the bunch work with other acts, teachers, voice coaches and the like to improve, tone, and work on perfecting their art.

As you progress in your career (or perhaps it’s not a career just yet), you will need to hire teachers and instructors that are more and more advanced. In the beginning, it will be all about mastering the basics, but as time goes on and you become a better musician, you may want to take that next step and pick up a new instrument, or perhaps it’s time you learned to sing. These skills will help you become better overall, and that’s the goal, isn’t it?

If music truly is your number one passion and the thing you most want to dedicate your life to (which it better be if you’re going to try and make a living in this nearly impossible industry), you won’t even mind going back to a coach or a teacher, because improving, learning, studying, and proving to yourself that you can always do better should be a joy.

Have fun with it, don’t worry about being perfect, and work extremely hard, and you might just have a chance at going down as one of the greats.

Wednesday Video Diversion: September 20, 2017

Happy Wednesday once again, people. Today we’re paying tribute to One Hit Wonders The Archies, whose legendary single “Sugar Sugar” hit the charts for a 4-week run no this day in 1969. Underrated was their artwork, based off the Archie comic strip, which could easily pass for an ironic indie synth pop compilation in 2017. Below that wonderful album cover you’ll find a brand new lineup of TuneCore Artist music videos to space out to as you count down the remaining hours of this midweek slump!



Yung Kash, Get Lit (Visuals)”


CarnsHill, “Check Dis (feat. Youngs Teflon, KTrap, 67 Monkey, Dimzy, R6 ST & Itch)”


Cashflow Harlem, “Want My Love Back (feat. Cards B & Ryan Dudley)”


Evil Ebenezer, “Nowadays”


Lil Xan, “Betrayed”


Bunny Michael, “They”


CupcakKe, “Quick Thought”


Lil Donnie, “IDGAF”


Ziggy Alberts, “Four Feet in the Forest”


Lonzo Ball, “Melo Ball 1 (feat. Kenneth Paige)”


Luna, “Fire in Cairo”

Do Less, Get More Done: The Ultimate Time Management Tip For Musicians

[Editors Note: This article was written by Chelsea Ira of New Artist Model.]

 

Pretty much every indie musician I’ve talked to has two big problems that really overshadow just about everything else. Number one, there’s just WAY too much to do. These days, you need to essentially set up a business around your music – which is a full-time job in and of itself – AND you need to find time for practicing, playing, writing, rehearsing, recording, and gigging on top of that. It’s a lot to manage.

And the second big problem is that despite putting a lot of time and effort into their career, many musicians STILL feel stagnant – almost like they’re not making any progress.

So today, let’s solve both problems at the same time, so you can start getting more accomplished and start building up some serious momentum. If you want more guidance and time management tips, I have a time management and productivity guide that you can download for free. Click here to get your free copy.

The Problem with Trying to Do Everything

What if I told you that you were wasting a lot of time and effort doing things that may not have as big an effect on the growth of your career as you thought?

Let me explain. The DIY revolution has created this mindset that indie musicians need to do everything and that they need to do it all themselves.

The there are so many musicians out there competing for attention that you feel like we have to be on every single social media platform out there if you even want to be noticed at all.

Not to mention, the diminishing and fragmenting revenue streams. Today, there are more revenue streams out there than ever before. BUT, the small payouts from things like streaming services can make it feel like you need to have your hand in just about every revenue bucket just to make a decent living.

Now here’s the big flaw – if you’re trying to split your limited time between everything, you probably don’t have the time to dedicate to each to do them really well. And as a result, you’re taking a lot of small steps in different directions.

There are only so many hours in the day and time management is about using them wisely – focusing on the essentials, the big movers that will really make a difference in your career.

Let’s take a look at an example.

It’s totally normal to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Soundcloud to promote your music and connect with your fans. But can you realistically fully understand each platform? Will you know the best ways to engage? The best times to post? All the while pushing out unique content and actively engaging with fans on all platforms? Probably not. All social media platforms require a unique approach if you want to be truly successful.

It’s the same for revenue streams. If you really want to be successful licensing your music, you can’t treat it like a passive income stream. You need to be actively improving your songs, co-writing, networking in the licensing industry, sending personalized emails, and doing research to find the productions your music would fit best.

I hope you’re starting to see just how important focus is. If you try to do everything you just can’t give everything enough attention to make your efforts really successful. In short, you’ll be doing a lot of things half way, never actually putting in enough time to reach your goals.

The Focused Approach

So how do you get passed this perpetual overwhelmed feeling and also start seeing real, meaningful progress in your music career?

It may seem counter intuitive, but the key is to do less – do less but better. If you really want to be successful, it’s not about doing a million different things and hoping it will work out. It’s about knowing where you want to go and taking calculated steps to get there. And saying no to everything else.

Understand Your Goals

So how do you simplify? The first step is to really understand your goals in music. What is the one thing you really want to accomplish with your music? What do you want to spend your days doing?

If you really want to spend most of the year gigging and touring regionally and nationally, why waste your time pursuing sync licenses?

Instead, focus! Make connections in the live industry, develop your setlist, improve the way you set up your merch table, and promote your shows. Maybe you could start doing streamed concerts or house concerts and think up some really cool merch. As you can see, all these tasks really compliment and work with the gigging goal.

As a rule of thumb, every time you’re presented with a new opportunity, ask yourself, “Is this related to my goals in music? Will this help me get closer to my goals?” If the answer is no, it may not be worth your valuable time.

Cut Back

The next thing I’d recommend is doing a time analysis. For the next two or three weeks, write down everything you do each day and how much time you spend on each task. This might seem a little tedious but it can really help you get a bird’s-eye view of just how much time things take.

And finally, it’s time to start cutting things out! What tasks aren’t taking you closer to your goals? What tasks aren’t getting the results you want?

You may find that you’re pouring a ton of time into trying to grow your following on Twitter. And maybe, despite your efforts, Twitter just isn’t catching on for you in terms of engagement compared to your other channels. Maybe you’re just using it because a lot of other musicians do. In this case, it may be best to put Twitter on the back burner and focus on making your other social channels even more awesome. Reallocate your time to a more productive task.

As another example, you might see that posting videos to YouTube doesn’t really align with the goals you set for your career. Despite what you may hear, doing YouTube successfully is a huge undertaking that goes way beyond just posting videos every now and then.

On the flip side, it can be a great career path for musicians who want to release cover videos, music videos, gear reviews, and tour and studio vlogs, and channel monetization and partnerships can become a viable revenue stream if you get enough views and subscribers. YouTube can also tie in well with a Patreon, and many successful YouTube artists have incorporated Patreon into their income strategy to great effect.

 


Time management and staying focused on your goals is going to be an ongoing effort. As your career grows you’ll find you need to reassess how you’re spending your time to make the most of your present opportunities. To help you stay on track, you can also download my free time management guide: The Musician’s Guide to Getting More Done, and revisit it as often as you need to.

If you want more tips, I’d also recommend checking out the book Essentialism.

Why Your Band Doesn’t Need To Move To Brooklyn To Make It Big

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Patrick McGuire. Patrick is a writer, composer, and experienced touring musician based in Philadelphia.]

 

There are countless examples in film, TV and music of young, ambitious people moving to dense urban areas like New York or Hollywood and becoming big pop stars or famous actors. Patti Smith’s incredible story of meeting artist Robert Mapplethorpe and becoming a music icon in 1970’s New York portrayed in her incredible memoir Just Kids features this idea, albeit with more nuance, meaning and creativity than most stories.

If you’re a band stuck somewhere like the midwest, it might seem like moving to a place like Brooklyn, home of seemingly countless amounts of bands who’ve either “made it” or are in the process of “making it,” is the only way to achieve notoriety, but you’re probably wrong.

The Rent

By far, the largest and most obvious challenge of picking up and moving to a place like Brooklyn is the ungodly amount of money you’ll need to generate every month to simply have a place to sleep and store your stuff. Let’s check some numbers. If your band hails from a place like, let’s say Cedar Rapids, Iowa, you’ll pay around $700 a month for a 1-bedroom apartment. Being a serious band in the middle of Iowa has its challenges, but the cost of living is not one of them. For the same apartment in Brooklyn, you’ll be paying about $2,600 a month on average.

In Cedar Rapids, you and your bandmates could all have part time jobs, play music six nights a week and have money to spare for things like putting out albums and touring. Unless you or one of your bandmates has a ton of money, you’ll all need to work long hours at multiple jobs to simply be able to live and breathe in a place like Brooklyn. All that non-music related work doesn’t leave too much time for music. Sure, you can tell everyone on Facebook that you live in Brooklyn, but your band probably won’t have time to do things like write songs and play shows.

The Competition

In music scenes like Brooklyn, Austin and L.A., young bands trying to make a name for themselves are a dime a dozen, even with the insane challenges of being based in a dense urban area. Rather than moving to one of these scenes, your band might be better off putting your energy towards touring as much as possible. The segments of the music industry who might actually have the power to do something meaningful for your band take notice of bands who are consistently on the road perfecting their craft, not bands who move to big cities, burn out and stop playing music.

If you look at your band like a business, what you’re producing is songs, live performances and records. You should make strategic choices as a group that allows you to make music as possible. Maybe your band has outgrown your hometown and needs to do something else to accommodate its growth and ambitions. That’s completely understandable, but putting yourself in an all-or-nothing situation like picking up and moving to a big expensive place is a risky option that has the potential to sink your project.

Staying home and touring more is way less sexy than a dramatic move to Brooklyn, but it’s probably smarter. This way you’ll be able to maintain the momentum and relationships you’ve formed at home while introducing your music to new people across the country. And even if you come from a small city like our example of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, your hometown provides tons of resources and support that you’re always going to need as a band.

Another option is to move to a location based near where you want to be musically active that doesn’t come with a $2,600 monthly price tag for rent. If you love what’s happening in the Brooklyn music scene, maybe moving to a cheaper suburb close by is the better choice. Sure, New Brunswick, New Jersey isn’t as ‘cool’ as Brooklyn, but average rent is about $1k cheaper there and it’s located a quick drive or train ride away. If your band is in it for the long haul, you’ll have to make smart compromises for the sake of your goals.

Decide What “Making It” Means

For some bands, success is purely measured in dollar amounts, play counts and views. For others, the very act of writing music and sharing it with people is more than enough of an incentive to keep going. But no matter what your goals are with music, it’s important to sit down with your bandmates and have a discussion about what it is you’re hoping to get out of making music with each other.

Getting on the same page about your goals might inspire your band to make some drastic changes like quitting your jobs and moving across the country or a boring one like scheduling one more practice every week. But if your goals involve writing tons of music and playing it for fans night after night, picking up and moving to Brooklyn probably isn’t the best way to go about doing it.

New Music Friday: September 15, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow The Billion Dollar Club – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


Being So Normal
Peach Pit

Alternative, Pop


Extended Plea
Toulhous

R&B/Soul


To Whom It May Concern
Ray Prim

Singer/Songwriter, Pop


Era
Mike Dawes

Folk, Instrumental


Better Me
Montgomery Gentry

Country


Player No. 1
Me Nd Adam

Alternative, Pop


Easy To Love
Marc Broussard

Folk, R&B/Soul


Denim XXL
Cypress Spring

Country


Victoria & Abdul (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Thomas Newman

Soundtrack


Stripper For a Week
Jenny Tolman

Country


Heaven
Ziggy Alberts

Singer/Songwriter, Folk


Untraveled Roads
Thousand Foot Krutch

Rock, Christian/Gospel


Shepherd
John Tibbs

Christian/Gospel, Singer/Songwriter


Perfume
Annella

Jazz, Electronic


Paralyzed
Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes

Alternative, Pop


The Vietnam War (Original Score)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Soundtrack


Rebel In The Rye (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Bear McCreary

Soundtrack, Instrumental


Take Five: A Tribute to Dave Brubeck
Chris Sidwell

Jazz, Instrumental


The Real Thing Don’t Change
Porcelan

R&B/Soul


Exit
CupcaKKE

Hip Hop/Rap, Dance


Take A Flight (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Marty

Hip Hop/Rap, R&B


Magazine
Bugus

Hip Hop/Rap


Tell Me Tell Me
courtship.

Alternative, Pop


My Life III
SoMo

R&B/Soul, Pop