#TCVideoFridays – August 31st 2012

Today is #TCVideoFridays at TuneCore, and as usual, we’re celebrating with some great videos from awesome TuneCore Artists.

But first, a quick reminder! TuneCore can distribute your videos to iTunes. For more info, click here or contact video@tunecore.com.

Shel, “Freckles”

Matt Stillwell, “Ignition”

Jets Overhead, “Boredom and Joy”

Gypsy & The Cat, “Jona Vark”

Joel Piper, “My Little Earthquake 2.0”

Jason McCann (ConcordantMind), “Saving Emily”

Rawsrvnt, “The Almighty (feat. St. Matthew)”

Novillos Musical, “La Llamada”

E-S-P, “Wonder Wonder (dublab VisionVersion)”

Star Anna and The Laughing Dogs, “Alone In This Together”

DIY Comedy Musicians: The Midnight Beast

The Midnight Beast, a comedy music trio from London, is taking social media by storm. Since their YouTube parody of Ke$ha’s popular “Tik Tok” went viral in 2009, the group’s YouTube subscribers and video views continue to rise quickly. Read on as The Midnight Beast (Stefan Abingdon, Dru Wakely and Ashley Horne) discuss their self-titled comedy series airing now on E4, their thoughts on being  a DIY band, and their advice for other independent artists.

Without using “conventional” genre words, describe your sound.
Dirty electro pop fused with lyrical silliness I guess.

Since your parody of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” went viral in 2009, you’ve generated an incredible YouTube following, with over 300,000 subscribers and over 51 million video views.  To what do you attribute the success of the growth of this social channel?
I definitely think that all social networks are changing the way artists interact with  fans and it’s really helping gain exposure for newcomers. For us, YouTube in particular at first was vital to our growth. It’s funny because we didn’t really plan the Tik Tok parody to go so viral but with the power of the interweb it just got passed around so quickly. I think if YouTube didn’t exist we would definitely wouldn’t have had the same amount of exposure.

Congrats on your self-titled comedy series for E4!  How did the show come about? Were you approached? Did you pitch the idea?
Thanks! Well it was actually our agents/managers Rachel and Cathy Mason who first put the idea to us quite early on. They knew some of the good folks over at channel 4 so we got to have some meetings and start talking, which was awesome. Then a bit later down the line we met Warp Films too, which is where the journey of our show started.

How does your music fit into the show?
So we have 2-3 music videos in each episode of the show and they each kick in at different points, kinda taking the viewers by surprise. We definitely wanted the videos to just jump straight out of a scene and kick in so they kinda help compliment a particular scene that you just watched.

How does your writing process work? Do all band members contribute?
Writing the songs happens in numerous different ways. We certainly all get involved but usually Stefan will take the main reigns as the songwriter. He’ll sometimes come up with the skeleton of the song and Ash and I will jump on to help funny it up, or sometimes Stef and I will work on a beat musically together and then we’ll all hook up and write to it. It’s a pretty exciting process as sometimes one of us will even just come up with a subject matter, like ‘Strategy Wanking!’

Do you ever incorporate ad-libbing or improv into your music?
Our stuff tends to be quite structured when it comes to writing and recording music. Perhaps with more of the rappy/hiphoppy styled tracks we tend to do a few takes ad-libbing under the main vocals but that’s as far its goes improv-wise. For live shows we also tend to keep it quite structured, but we’ll at least leave room or map out in rehearsals where one of us can go on tangent.

You’ve got a big tour coming up in October.  Do you incorporate non-musical elements into your live shows?
I think we pride ourselves on making the live shows very upbeat and full of energy for fans. We have a very responsive fan base so we like to keep them jumping around, and as each tour has grown, we’ve incorporated new musical elements and visuals. I think it’s harder for us to dip the show to a point of no music, but, with that being said, we do like to take a “quiet” minute in between songs to say hi to each city.

You seem like a very hands-on band; you release music from your own record label, and you’ve written and produced music from your bedrooms. Would you recommend this DIY-type style to other artists?
Definitely! We would never come out and say that this is the best and only way people should do it, but we have found it best suits us. I think it’s so nice to not have to fit any kind of label moulds and work to a particular structure like some artists do. Acts like that usually have to depend on certain chart positions for singles and albums, and it’s just nice not to worry about all that. We’ve always said if we got in the charts then awesome but that’s not our aim at all.

What advice would you give other independent artists?
I think just to stay strong with it and persevere. Know what you want and what you want to do and don’t let people change who your are or what your band/act is. Definitely don’t feel you have to fit a mould!

What can fans look forward to next? Another season of your show?
Another season? Who knows! Things are definitely in the pipeline and you can certainly expect some more videos coming at you! Right now though we’re just working on getting ready for our October tour ‘I Kicked A Tour In The Face Tour,’ and also putting the album out.

Download Music from The Midnight Beast on iTunes

View The Midnight Beast on YouTube

Visit themidnightbeast.com

TuneCore Artists Featured In Digital Stores – August 2012

The summer may be coming to an end but TuneCore’s still celebrating with artist features in the top digital stores. Check ’em out below!

K Michelle – iTunes U.S. R&B/Soul 8/7

Emerging Voices – iTunes U.S. Christian & Gospel 8/7

Colt Ford – iTunes Music Homepage 8/7

The Classic Crime – Spotify 8/14

Chrishan – iTunes Music Homepage 8/22

 Circa Survive – iTunes Newsletter 8/28

Jackopierce – iTunes U.S. Singer/Songwriter Page 2/28

Check out our Pinterest page for the full roundup of TuneCore Artists featured in August, and click to follow us!

#TCVideoFridays – August 23rd 2012


#TCVideoFridays today on TuneCore!  Check out a few awesome videos from some talented TuneCore Arists.

But first, a quick reminder! TuneCore can distribute your videos to iTunes.  The Maine, Chichi Peralta, Paulini, Hunter Parrish, and Krissy Krissy all have videos on sale through TuneCore. For more info, click here or contact video@tunecore.com.

 The Maine – Like We Did

Krissy Krissy – Dream

Hunter Parrish – Sitting at Home

Paulini – Ping Pong with My Heart (feat. Wally Green)

Chichi Peralta – La Pastillita

And now the videos!

Ray Lavender – We Love

Seltzer – Ideas de Marzo

Trip Ghetaway- Awesome

Saints Alight – Dice, Heart, or Bust

Redneck Social Club – Naked Wasted

It Lies Within – Home is Where the Heart is (album out September 4)

Hasheem Amin – The Microphone (feat. Sean C)

Amanda Palmer, Independent Musician

TuneCore has a number of amazing independent success stories—The Civil Wars’ two 2012 Grammy Awards, Alex Day’s “Forever Yours” hit #4 on the UK pop charts, Colt Ford’s Declaration of Independence achieved the #1 Country Record in the America,  J. Dash’s “Wop (Official Version)” is a certified Gold Record,…and the list goes on. Insight from these artists is something we want to offer to the TuneCore Community.

On September 11, Amanda Palmer—AFP to fans and friends—will release Theatre is Evil with TuneCore providing digital distribution. If you don’t know Amanda Palmer, you should because the successes of her career should serve as inspiration for many DIY performers. After a number of releases with her previous band The Dresden Dolls, as well as solo releases, Amanda chose a life without a record label. This decision seems to have only energized her efforts and popularity. Amanda is open with her fans, unflagging in her pursuits, and creative at her core. In response to our questions, Amanda discusses her approach to social media, suggestions for building a fan base, thoughts on her Kickstarter campaign, and offers both advice and calls to action for pursuing the life you want.

Was a career as a musician your personal goal?
Yes. I wanted to be a rock star from the time I was twelve. I gave myself no other option.

Was signing to a label one the goals of Dresden Dolls?
No. Signing to a label was never a goal in itself. But making music and not spending all of our time on the phone and on email was. I was managing the band and our label in the early days, and trying to do that on top of touring in a van was impossible. I just couldn’t handle all the work. So signing with a label was – mostly – a way to relieve that pressure.

 I have seen your quote “Nothing happens by accident” regarding your success. As your initial efforts were pre-twitter, Facebook, etc.. massive social networking, what would you recommend to young artists as keys to building your fan base outside of social networking?
Networking in PERSON. PLAYING SHOWS. HANGING OUT. Seriously: there’s nothing more depressing than thinking that a whole new crop of musicians are missing this point. The internet should be the tool, not the end point, for connection. Part of the reason I’m so close with my fans is that I always took the extra time to hang out after shows to talk, sign, gab, hug, listen, learn and connect after shows, even if it meant going to bed at 3 am instead of midnight when we had to wake up at 9 am to drive. You just DO IT. And you act like a person, not a diva. If the venue kicks you out, you all go outside. You don’t expect anybody to help you. You just GO. You talk to everyone who wants to talk to you, you spend your extra energy connecting with the fans, not drinking with the crew. After years and years, you start to understand that when you make that actual connection with people, you have a real relationship instead of a fairweather one.

Were there aspects of being on a label that were important your success?
Absolutely. Roadrunner really helped us achieve a presence in Europe and Australia. Had it not been for them, I may have never gotten over there with such ease. For that, I’m very grateful.

Famously, you raised over a million dollars from your fans, do you think the Dresden Dolls would have pursued being on a label if Kickstarter had existed when you were starting?”
Well, it was still possible to burn CDs and be independent back when we signed. The question would have been: WHO’S GOING TO DO ALL THIS WORK? Even if you have a successful Kickstarter, SOMEONE has to do all the office work, the fulfillment, the troubleshooting, the dealing with problems. So I’m not sure about that. Kickstarter isn’t a way to get known, it’s a marketplace. And back then, we would have seen a massive outpouring of support from our local fan base on the eastern seaboard, but we would’ve spent a huge amount of our time dealing with the logistics of keeping the business running. And I think this is a big problem for many musicians nowadays: HOW DO I GET ALL THIS SHIT DONE? It’s very, very hard without help. And you have that moment, sitting in your apartment surrounded by boxes of misprinted CDs that your fans were expecting in the mail two months ago, with an email inbox filled with 1,264 logistical questions and problems, and you shake your fist at the sky screaming “ALL I WANTED WAS TO PLAY GUITAR!!!!!” Finding the balance is…difficult.

You are in the process of releasing, distributing,  and promoting your upcoming release Theatre is Evil as an independent artist, what other members of your team have you assembled? And what are their roles to let your focus on your efforts?
My team is fantastic: I have a full-time personal assistant, Superkate, who helps me clean out and organize my moster email inbox, since I tend to get about 100 emails a day and when I’m traveling and touring, it’s impossible to keep up. My management at Girlie Action deal with the big broad strokes and connect all the publicists, agents, lawyers and general how-to of my day to day existence. They also helped me build, plan and time the release of the Kickstarter, and they keep me on task when it comes to messaging the fans with less personal information like tour dates. They’re also essentially functioning as my record label, since I’m effectively running my own little label with the release of this album. They help me partner up with distribution, they align campaigns and release dates, they literally work on the packaging and all the merchandise with me. They’re indispensable.

Online engagement with fans is a mantra from marketing sites. You do it as well as anyone. What do you find works and helps connect with existing fans, and create new ones?
Honestly…I think the biggest thing I do it I don’t think about it much. I just do it because I like it and I genuinely want to talk to the fans all day via twitter. I love to share. I love to blog. I love to connect, and I love involving everybody in the crazy circus. So I’m not very strategic about that. If I listened to advice from “marketing sites” that said “do this with your twitter, do that, don’t post more than x times a day, blah blah blah” I’d be lost. I do exactly what I want, and sometimes I post over 100 tweets in a day because a topic heats up. And people unfollow, and I just look at that as the cost of doing WHAT I WANT. And I think it’s that general attitude – that I’m using these tools however I want, and to have FUN, not because I’m trying to be clever about it – that keeps people with me.

(Photo Shervin Lainez)

Do you ever feel there is too much honesty or taboo subjects to discuss with your fans? Social is 24-7, do you turn it off sometimes?
I do. There are things I just wont’ discuss at all…no family or relationship drama allowed, no shit-talking other people or musicians, no work gossip. I definitely have my lines.

Are there any new apps, sites, or services that you recommend?
There’s an app for the Oblique Strategies cards for the iPhone now. I’m ecstatic.

In, June, the NY Times quoted your last album had sold 36,000 copies. Do you think this an accurate or valuable statistic anymore with streaming, single song downloads, etc…?
I think it’s probably “sold” four or five times that, at least, if you want to talk about people HAVING the record on their computers and listening to it. I STILL encourage people to avoid buying that one in shops. I’ve given my fans BLANKET permission to download anything.

What else is planned to promote Theatre is Evil? Touring? 
Oh, hell yes. We’ll be going on a tour that will last about a year, or more. The show is going to be an extravaganza…I’d recommend it. We’re going to be trying shit on stage nobody has ever tried before.

What other guidance can you provide to young cabaret punks, metal-heads, DJs, singer-songwriters, etc.. who are trying to succeed with their music?
I think the most important thing is this: why are you doing this? To be a star? To be famous? Or to connect with  people? If you keep asking yourself this question over and over, it’ll help.

It’ll also help when you’re playing in front of practically nobody, like, just the girlfriends of the shitty band you’re opening up for are watching….and you’re wondering what the hell the point of your life is.

If you really, really want to be a musician, chances are you probably won’t be rich. You won’t be famous. If you want it anyway, if you’re willing to just MAKE A LIVING, then you’re on the right track. And while you may never be celebrated and huge, you might stand a better chance of being happy, and as acting as a conduit for happiness for other people. This is the best thing about being an artist or musician. And that’s better than almost any other job out there.

Amanda Palmer Official Site 

Amanda Palmer Facebook 

Amanda Palmer Twitter

Rdio increases catalog to over 18 million songs; adds TuneCore and other new partners

Rdio (www.rdio.com), the digital music service started by the creators of Skype, today announced two landmark music deals with CD Baby and TuneCore, the largest aggregators of independent music, bringing Rdio’s catalog to over 18 million songs.

“We are excited to partner with TuneCore and CD Baby, two of the best distribution tools out there for independent artists,” said Drew Larner, CEO of Rdio. “Independent music is a vital part of Rdio’s catalog. We’re glad to support hundreds of thousands of self-released artists by connecting their work to new music fans from all over the world.”

CD Baby and TuneCore join a range of independent artist aggregators in working with Rdio including ONErpm, BFM Digital, Zimbalam, AWAL and Ditto, making it easier than ever for artists to get their music onto the service.

“This alliance is a wonderful fit given the two companies’ focus on connecting musicians with fans and encouraging the exploration of the next great artistic expression,” said Julian Groeger, Vice President, Marketing at TuneCore. “Rdio, with its strong focus on the social elements of music sharing and discovery, accessible via the web, mobile devices and even offline, is yet another exciting venue for our artists to reach new fans and promote their music globally.”

“I am thrilled to see CD Baby team up with Rdio to make our artists’ music accessible to their dedicated and growing subscriber-base,” said Brian Felsen, president of CD Baby. “Their commitment to offering a cutting-edge service that skillfully blends social media and recommendation with an ad-free, subscription-based model and elegant interface has been refreshing to see. Our artists have consistently asked for Rdio to be added to our partner network, and we’re confident this partnership will generate a great combination of exposure and revenue to support our independent musicians.”

With Rdio, fans are constantly discovering new music through friends, people with similar musical tastes and even the artists themselves. Artists can share what they are listening to in real-time, bringing a deeper level of engagement to fans and tapping into Rdio’s socially powered discovery features to promote themselves, their music and the music they love.

For more information or to sign up for Rdio, visit www.rdio.com.

About Rdio

Rdio is the groundbreaking digital music service that is reinventing the way people discover, listen to, and share music. With on-demand access to over 18 million songs, Rdio connects people with music and makes it easy to search for and instantly play any song, album, artist or playlist without ever hearing a single ad. Discover what friends, people with similar tastes, recording artists and more are listening to in real-time and share across Twitter and Facebook. Build a digital music collection that’s available everywhere – on the web, in-home or in-car, on tablets or mobile phones, and even offline.

Launched in August 2010, Rdio is headquartered in San Francisco and was founded by Janus Friis, one of the creators of Skype. Currently available in the US, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Great Britain, France, Sweden and Finland, Rdio is funded by Atomico, Janus Friis through his investment entities, Skype and Mangrove Capital Partners. For more information and to sign up, visit www.rdio.com.