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

How To Book A Gig Yourself…and Be Invited Back

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the Director of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.]

No matter what anyone tells you, we have yet to figure out a digital musical experience that can equal the fan connections a band can conjure through their live show. There is something in our DNA that is profoundly impacted by live music. Maybe it’s the shared experience with those in attendance or the nostalgia a concert can create for a certain time in our lives.

Or maybe it’s something more primal; the process of syncing our natural rhythm to live drum and bass as it pulse through our bones. Either way, performing is still undoubtedly the best way to create loyal fans and combat the current “musical-flavor-of-the-week” culture we live in.

Still, developing a live following is no walk in the park. You’re going to need to dedicate hours-upon-hours of time to tightening your set and tirelessly promoting your shows. It’ll get tedious, and success won’t happen overnight, but if you work hard you’ll eventually graduate from dingy bars and VFWs to better rooms. On top of that, I can honestly say nothing can match the indescribable feeling you’ll get from performing in front of a room full of people and, if you’re lucky, the dedicated following you’ll gain from gigging out.

Here are some tips on how to book that first gig, and how to get invited back!

1. Be Professional In Your Pitch

Yes, the promoter knows that you’re self-booking. They still want the comfort of knowing you will take the night seriously. Keep in mind that they’ve probably gotten a few hundred other “booking inquiries” that week. Ask yourself what’s going to make them offer you a slot on one of their nights over those other bands? Some ways to be professional include:

  • A succinct, clear subject line (i.e: Booking Inquiry – The Beatles October Date @ MSG?).
  • Be informative in the body of the email. You should include a description of your music, where you’re from and any performance history. It is also necessary to include a link to where the talent buyer can listen to your music and check out your socials.
  • Don’t have typos!
  • Follow up approximately 3-5 days after reaching out if you don’t hear back. Also don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. Sometimes that’s the best way to cut through the clutter of acts hitting up a promoter.

2. Stay In Touch with The Promoter Ahead Of Your Show

Nothing makes promoters more nervous than booking a band and not hearing from them again until they show up at the venue night of. Give the promoter updates on what you’re doing to get people to come see your band. Also share any promotional assets such as Facebook events or flyers with the promoter as well. This way they can take comfort in the fact you’re promoting and maybe even help get the word out as well.

3. Promote On Socials and Ask Your Friends

Actually promote, don’t just show up! Be active on both yours and the band’s social media accounts. Also don’t discount the value of hanging flyers (particularly in the venue) and calling/texting your friends. Sometimes those IRL invites are more memorable than a Facebook invite.

4. Help Book The Bill

This isn’t as important as a lot of the other points on this list but it’s definitely a plus. Promoters are usually booking a bunch of dates at once. If you can book the rest of the band’s on your bill it takes the work off of the promoter’s plate and gives a better chance of the bill being cohesive.

5. Bring Your A-Game

Put in the work before the show to have a great performance. At the end of the day that’s what’s going to ensure people want to see you again and get your band invited back to play on better bills.

6. Communicate With The Promoter Night Of

Introduce yourself to the promoter when you get there and thank him/her for having you. Thank him/her again at the end of the night and let them know you’ll reach out about subsequent dates.

7. Follow Up After You Performance

Give it a couple of days after the show and then email the promoter. Thank him/her again for having you and then see what upcoming dates he/she has available. If you can get in this routine with a few different promoters, you can put a nice little circuit together for yourself.

8. Don’t Overbook

Space out your dates in any given market! If you play too much in the same area, you’re going to most likely divide your draw. Obviously when you first start playing, do as many low profile gigs as possible to find yourself as a performer, but once you’ve achieved a level of confidence in yourself that you care about draw, try not to play your own market more than once per month.

Promoters will not be happy if they find out you’re playing next door in a week. Neither will your friends and fans be as inclined to come out and support if you’re ALWAYS playing out.


Keep these eight things in mind and you’ll be well on your way to building your live career!

Wednesday Video Diversion: September 13, 2017

Summer’s creeping into fall, but we all know on a Wednesday afternoon, it doesn’t really make a difference what season it is. That’s why we’re back with another round-up of TuneCore Artist music videos to divert your attention from work/school/responsibilities/life in general (just don’t walk into traffic watching them, please). A fun fact for you about this day in history back in 1991: Geffen Records threw a party to celebrate the launch of Nirvana’s new single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – an affair that was likely enjoyed by all, except for all three members of Nirvana, who were removed from said launch party for hurling food at everyone/each other!

 

Yung Kash, “Get Lit”


Connor Evans, “No Stress”


Les Twins, “Pull Up”


2 Cool Bran, “I Can”


Chase $tacks, “Back At It”


Mookie Mardi Gra, “Young N*ggas”


Chad Focus, “Get To The Money (feat. Troyse, Cito G & Flames)”


Kase 1 Hunnid, “I Love My Dawgs (feat. Y.D.)”


GHXSTMUSIC, “Ready”


Katie Costello, “Hearts on Fire”