Music Producer & Songwriter Drehz Talks Publishing Success

TuneCore’s Music Publishing team works with a diverse community of songwriters, helping them collect the worldwide royalties generated by their compositions.  Today we’re shining a spotlight on one of the talented songwriters in our community, independent music producer Drehz, whose instrumental arrangements have been used on shows like Dancing with the Stars and Dance Moms.  We caught up with Drehz to learn about his journey as a songwriter and find out what results he’s seen since signing up with TuneCore Music Publishing…

How were you collecting and managing your songwriter royalties before becoming a TuneCore music publishing administration client?

Before becoming a TuneCore client I wasn’t able to collect my royalties as an independent producer.  TuneCore is working on my behalf to collect thousands of dollars in royalties I would have not seen if I was trying to figure it out on my own.

Why did you decide to get a publishing deal with TuneCore?

I decided to go with TuneCore from a referral of another independent musician/friend.

You’re a versatile producer, especially known for your work in hip hop and dance music.  Have you noticed any trends in genre popularity?

I have definitely seen a trend in the style of music I’ve produced.  I’ve had many requests from around the globe, starting in the U.S., then Canada, and now my compositions are recognized in over 60 countries worldwide.

Can you talk about your journey as a songwriter?  Were there particular challenges you faced early on in your career (or some you still face today)?

There have and will always be challenges in writing.  That’s what makes the journey fun.  To stay progressive, you have to look for new ideas, new experiences, and work hard.  Having a team is always a blessing, and collaboration is key.

I travel a lot and work through mobile with other writers and producers.  Advancements in technology have only benefited us by making it easier to share ideas across the globe.

What has been the most lucrative publishing revenue stream for you? 

The most lucrative publishing revenue stream has been from synching my music with television networks, and also through digital streaming.

How did TuneCore Publishing play a role in helping negotiate sync licensing opportunities that came your way?

TuneCore has helped negotiate sync licenses for my music placements on television.  When I’ve gotten outside requests for TV features, the TuneCore Publishing team has handled the negotiations and paperwork and they’ve secured fair fees for the use of my music.

Is there a sense of loyalty with shows or productions that use your music?  Do you notice a snowballing in placements from this kind of publicity?

Yes,  a lot of my requests worldwide have been due to people hearing my music on television, or finding it through social media.

Have any of the royalties you’ve received come from a source that surprised you?

I’ve received royalties in over 60 countries, some of which I’ve never heard of before.  I’m happy to be able to make such an impact with my music.

What do you think is the biggest opportunity for songwriters related to music publishing?

The biggest opportunity for songwriters is the exposure they will get.

How do you see the role of the songwriter shifting as the music industry continues to evolve?

As the music industry continues to evolve, I see songwriters being able to create more opportunities themselves.  With the help of companies like TuneCore, songwriters now have the knowledge and resources to learn the business.  Songwriters are able to spend more time on the creative side and do what they do best—write—while trusting a publishing administrator to handle the rest.

#TCVideoFridays: June 27th, 2014

Let’s kick off the weekend with a round-up of videos for #TCVideoFridays!

The Nearly Deads, “I Said”

Rob Kelly, “Jack The Ripper”

Wolves As Friends, ” Slip Away”

Blackfoot Circle,  “Scarlett”

Coffee or not, “Take Me Home”

Jen Miller, “Forget Your Face”

Matt Fishel, “Football Song”

Jessica Campbell, “Doors”

Tyler Read, “Baby’s Got a Temper”

The Matt Bartlett Band, “Rise”


Get Book Smart: 7 Tips for Booking Better Shows

By Stephen Babcock

You learned to play an instrument, wrote some songs, and now you’re ready to share those songs with the world.  So, how do you take the next step and book a show?  I hope this post can serve as a guide to help artists just getting started, as well as those who may have some previous experience, but need a little extra advice to land that great gig.

1. Knowledge is power.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but be sure that the venue you’re contacting is right for you.  If you’re a death metal band, your local café may not be the best place to play.  If you’re a soft singer-songwriter, the biker bar down the street may not take kindly to you.  There is nothing booking agents hate more than when musicians who aren’t the right fit for their clubs contact them about a show.  It wastes their time and your email goes right into the trash.

That leads me to my second tip…

2. Know how the venue wants to be contacted.

Most places do email booking because it’s easier to manage and better for the environment.  That said, some venues still may ask you to mail in physical CDs or demos because that’s what they prefer.  Occasionally, some venues may even ask that you actually come in and audition.  This seems like it would be a hassle for both you and the venue (and believe me, IT IS), but there is no better way to experience an act than to see a test run of it live.  Whatever the venue’s preference, be sure to be prepared and give them what they need.

Since most venues do email booking through a couple of in-house booking agents, be sure to send emails with videos and audio clips of your best stuff.  I find that a mix of both video and audio clips really helps the booker see what you’re capable of, and it also makes your email more interesting to view.  Include social media figures as well—this can indicate how big your draw will be on show day.  Those Facebook likes and Twitter followers do matter in the world of booking.

3. Get good at waiting.

Now…we wait.  This can be tough for a lot of artists because they don’t understand how many emails a booker gets.  A small club in any major city can get thousands of messages each day, all from artists vying for their attention.  Be patient and don’t jump down the venue’s throat for a show.  If they don’t respond in 2-3 weeks, send a follow-up email.  If they don’t respond to the follow-up email, it might be time to think about playing another venue.

4. Don’t wait until the last minute.

If you’re traveling around and have never toured before, not every venue will want to have you.  They expect a draw, and if you’re new in town as a young band, your draw may not be all that great.  Be sure to PLAN AHEAD when booking a tour.  I always say plan at least 4-6 months out for a small tour (half a month to a month of shows, local areas, etc.) or up to a year in advance for larger tours (months of touring, cross-country, etc.).  Knowing what options you have will make your life a great deal easier when you’re setting up travel plans according to what you have booked.  Keep track of all the venues you have agreed to play at and make sure you get there on time and ready to rock.

5. With booking comes promotion.

Whether you’re touring or just playing a show down the street, you need to promote.  Not only does this make you feel great (no one wants to play to an empty room), but it also makes the booker want to book you again.  If you can bring in fans, the venue makes money.  If the venue makes money, everyone leaves happy.  Be sure to use your social media channels to connect with family, friends, and fans in every way you know how to make your show an “event.”

6. Don’t overbook yourself.

No one will come to the show you worked so hard to get if you have another show tomorrow, a show two days from tomorrow, and another a week away.  If you play most of your gigs in one area or city, space them out so people will feel like each show is something special and unique.  If you’re a new artist, playing as many gigs as you can is important.  Just be sure to spread out your shows over different dates and cities to maximize your audience draw.

Finally, and most importantly…

7. Be respectful of the venue, during and after the show.

Now I understand not all bookers are great, and not all venues are wonderful to play at, but kindness goes a long way.  Be sure to thank everyone from the booker to the bar staff.  The people who work there are the eyes and ears of the venue. If you treat them right, they will likely pass that on to the booker.  Treat them poorly, and I can guarantee you won’t be coming back to play anytime soon.

I hope these tips, tricks, and ideas help you on your way to becoming a booking guru, but as always, there is plenty of room for improvement.  Please feel free to leave comments below and let us know your strategies and plans when it comes to booking gigs!

Born and raised in New Hartford, New York and now residing in New York City Stephen Babcock began playing guitar at the age of 15 after hearing John Mayer’s “Room For Squares.” Since then, he has continued to craft his skills as a singer-songwriter, recording and performing a catalog of original music, including two EPs and one full-length LP.  After releasing Dreams, Schemes, and Childhood Memories in May 2011 and Lost in July 2013, Stephen went on a touring frenzy. He stormed up and down the east coast of the US as well as the United Kingdom, hitting coffee shops, small theaters, and numerous singer-songwriter festivals. With dates ranging from Athens, GA to London UK, his sound grew and explored new heights while on the road.

Stephen’s new EP, Wishful Thinking, was written and recorded upon returning home from touring and was released in May 2014. The EP weaves southern charm with full band grooves to create Stephen’s most layered and complete sound to date. Drawing comparisons to artists like Brett Dennen and Matt Nathanson, Stephen’s robust performance and life experience come together to achieve a live show unparalleled in today’s pop music landscape.

Check out his music here:

Twitter: @StephenBMusic
Instagram: @StephenBMusic

New Store Alert: Spinlet, Africa’s Top Digital Music Service


Great news!  We just added a new store for distribution, the second new store this month.  This one’s called Spinlet, and it happens to be the leading digital music service in Africa.

The African music market just keeps on growing.  In fact, Africa’s one of the fastest growing mobile device markets in the world, and TuneCore Artists are seeing significant revenue growth in this region, with over $230,000 earned.

3 Reasons Why You Should Add Your Music to Spinlet:

1. Be part of Africa’s growing music market. According to the IFPI Digital Music Report 2014, Africa is a music market on the verge of exploding.

2. Get connected with fans on the hunt for new music. Spinlet has 850,000+ subscribers, and they’re looking for music from artists like you.

3. Spinlet is all about promoting artists.  They promote their catalog worldwide and feature new music that can easily be shared on social channels.

Sound good? Send your releases to Spinlet today.

New Music Tuesday: June 24, 2014

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?


These Days…
Hip Hop/Rap


Life as a Dog
K. Flay


Wolves At The Gate




Elizabeth Lyons


Invisible Tonight
The Nearly Deads


Hearing Voices


Sour Fruit
Poppy Brothers


Sings the Moon
John Mark Nelson


Stranger Than Fiction
Matt Palmer


17 (Radio Edit)
Alex Late


Beneath the Moon
Camille Harris

EDM Duo Adventure Club Talks Canada’s Indie Music Scene & More

The independent music scene in Canada is alive and well.  Over 80 TuneCore Artists took the stage last week at NXNE in Toronto.  With Canada in the spotlight, we caught up with Montreal-based electronic dance music duo, Adventure Club.  Composed of Christian Srigley and Leighton James, Adventure Club has worked hard to grow their career independently, and we chatted with them about what they’ve accomplished, where they’re headed, and what they’ve learned along the way…

What does being independent mean to you?

As a group we really like to maintain control of our creative process. While it’s nice to get friendly input from labels, we certainly don’t want to be tied down or  have to change our ideas based on what an executive thinks is best.  Being independent also allows us to communicate with our fans as we please—without having to pitch them an idea we’re not fully behind.

You recently played at Coachella – congrats!  Have you done anything in particular to keep momentum going since the show?

Coachella was one of our number 1 goals when starting the Adventure Club project.  To finally see it culminate was surreal.  We got to close out the Sahara tent both weekends in front of fans who actually knew words to our songs—definitely one of our biggest achievements thus far.  To be honest, we kind of went into hermit mode after that, taking the time to write more music.  It’s nice to give the fans a chance to forget you a little bit before coming back out with music.  It’s kind of like “oh yeah, now I remember why I love these guys,” as opposed to constantly trying to be in everyone’s faces.

We’re not about releasing music as much as possible.  We take pride in and put a lot of emotional energy into the music we make.  We have to be satisfied to the best of our abilities before releasing a new song, even if that means taking 4-8 months before a new single comes out.

How would you describe the indie scene in Canada?

The indie scene in Canada is massive.  Every province has a distinct culture, which leads to a wide array of sounds and musical experimentation.  Montreal alone (our hometown) had 5 acts plays at Coachella this year: Arcade Fire, Chromeo, Tiga, Duck Sauce (A-Trak) and us, all of whom started in a very indie setting.  City and Colour (from Ontario) also played—huge inspiration for us—and they definitely were part of a grassroots indie movement when the project begun.  It’s a very supportive and diverse scene.

How has your sound changed over time?

When we first started, we wanted to be as aggressive as possible, wanted it to be just full of dirty bass.  Over time our musical preferences changed and we started to experiment with more liquidy, “beautiful landscape” type music.  While most of our popular songs resemble dubstep with regards to the half time rhythm, they aren’t as aggressive as many people would expect.

Lately, we’ve been experimenting with a lot of different kinds of genres. Our musical tastes change quite frequently and we’re trying to pull from a lot of different places.  Our song “Wonder (feat. The Kite String Tangle)” is an example of this.

Why did you decide to partner with TuneCore?

At first we thought giving away music was how it was supposed to be.  A friend of ours from Big Gigantic told us about TuneCore.  We decided to give the fans an option, they could download our music for free or go to iTunes  (and the numerous other stores TuneCore distributes to) and purchase songs.  What we found was: 1) Our fan base grew because there were people who only use music stores to find and download music; 2) We had many many fans who were willing to support us.

Do you use the trend reports and sales reports in your account to learn from and grow your brand?

The reports in TuneCore are incredibly helpful.  Analyzing which songs and which stores perform best is crucial.  We know what to promote more, and where.

What tips would you give to other indie artists looking to grow their careers?

Artists who can form a community with their fans often succeed. Online this means staying up to date on social media platforms. Offline it means connecting with fans as much as possible.  We stay after shows for as long as we can to meet fans.

Complimenting this, artists and managers alike must realize that marketing does play a crucial role in building a successful brand. Staying on top of new trends and marketing techniques to get your music in front of as many eyes as possible is necessary.  Our manager helps us a lot in that regard.  You could have the best music in the world, but if people can’t find or easily access it, it might be difficult to make a living off of it (which is totally cool too).

TuneCore helped us tremendously by making it incredibly simple to get our music on major online music stores.  Our fans helped the songs skyrocket in the charts, which led to a plethora of new people finding and sharing our music.  Making money from the downloads was never the goal—we wanted to put ourselves in front of people whose main source of getting music was through online stores.  We had no idea just how viral that could be as well.

What are some of the challenges you faced early on, and what (or who) helped you get past those?

When we started, the internet wasn’t as saturated as it is now with new music, producers and publications.  Getting your name recognized isn’t as easy as just sending your music to a blog and hoping it will catch fire.  We put a lot of time into building relationships with our fans and with blogs.  One meaningful and lasting connection can make  all the difference.  We were initially successful mainly due to a lot of word of mouth from loyal fans, which led to constant touring.  It’s been a snow ball effect ever since.

So what can fans look forward to next?

Currently, we’re locked away making new music.  Expect it within 2-3 months.  We’re also working on our new live show and getting everything ready to announce our tour.