Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Event Recap: TuneCore Live at Bardot 2/25

Last Wednesday, TuneCore, CraveOnline, Swisher Sweets & Mirrored Media partnered to bring Bardot in Hollywood to capacity before any artists even hit the stage! The second installment of our TuneCore Live event series was a massive success thanks to our TuneCore Artist line-up of Dear Boy, Waterbed, and Knower, with an awesome DJ set by HOLYCHILD.

From CraveOnline:

Waterbed’s frenetic performance delivered infectious melodies bouncing atop booming drums, bubbling synthesizers and delicious noise -a psychedelic wonderland of sonic adventure. Dear Boy delivered a bittersweet alt-rock set, building on the strength of their latest single “Hesitation Waltz”.

Meanwhile, attendees had little luck resisting the dance-mandate dynamic of Knower’s glitch beats in a wash of live visual graphics, a high-energy blast buoyed by their debut album Let Go, which topped iTunes’ Top 20 most downloaded electronic albums of 2013.

Our TuneCore Live series is just one more example of how we aim to offer our artists opportunities to perform, network and carry on their musical journeys with support from their loving distributor. Since we’ll be returning to Bardot each month with an exciting new line-up, we again encourage any and all L.A.-area TuneCore Artists to join us. Our West Coast team is at every event, ready to chat, rub elbows and of course answer questions – we’re not shy!

So stay tuned to our TuneCore Live event page, our Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram to stay up to speed with what we’ll be doing each month – and if you were able to join us last Wednesday, look for yourself in the awesome photos provided to us by Mirrored Media!

Getting Social Series: Astronautalis Talks Channeling Creativity on Social

Welcome to the latest installment of our “Getting Social” Series, wherein we showcase TuneCore Artists and music marketing pros who offer insight on social strategy for independents. Because after all, there’s more to social media than sharing tour dates and funny pictures!

Today we’re sharing an interview with indie MC Astronautalis (AKA Andy Bothwell). Hailing from Minneapolis, Astronautalis has been releasing albums since 2003, blending hip hop with elements of indie rock and electronic music, (among other genres). His songwriting is a force to be reckoned with – no obscure subject is off limits, and few MCs possess the topic bank and flow to make things your high school history teacher forgot about captivate an audience.  Astronautalis has built his fan base in sync with the progression of social media in mainstream culture, and was named a top Instagram follow by Pigeons and Planes. We discuss his interest in photography, using social to promote new releases and more below:

You recently released The Very Unfortunate Affairs of Mary & Earl – tell us about this ‘historical fiction’ album and how your fans have been reacting to it.

Astronautalis: Technically, it is a re-release of a very old EP I made for a vinyl only release on a small label in Germany several years ago. It was my first foray into working “historical-fiction” into rap music, and based on the rather star-crossed love affair between Mary Queen of Scots and James Hepburn, the Fourth Earl of Bothwell, Scotland.   Hepburn is actually a VERY distant relative, and the story, (which involves murder, kidnapping, black magic, and more), has always been a point of great fascination for me. The process of writing creatively from history was such a thrill for me on this project, it became a bit of a hallmark for my next two full-length records.

Has the amount of time you dedicate to social media changed as your fan base has grown?

Yes, several times, actually. Initially, back in the MySpace era, I used social media to book tours, talk to the few fans I had, and lay the meager little foundation that I would later build my career upon. MySpace messages made things a lot more long form then they are now in the world of Twitter and communicating through the comments section. Back then, I wrote back EVERYONE who wrote me, in a true and full response. Even with my small fan base, it became quite the undertaking, and as things expanded, I found that I didn’t have the time to write so extensively to fans.

Twitter couldn’t have come along at a better time. It was quite the revolution to be able to communicate with anyone and everyone, but within the inherent limitations of the format it became less like letter writing, and more like text messaging, and thusly, more manageable. Lately, I find myself focusing less on Twitter, and even less on Facebook still. They are still both important tools for my business, but I get little reward from them personally. And while I am still engaging with fans on both sites, and using both as business tools, the only social media I engage in with any great passion is Instagram. I, personally, find it much more rewarding to scroll through an endless stream of beautiful photos, as opposed to people being outraged over Beyonce’s Grammy snub, you know?

Do you feel your fan base is one that is very plugged in?

Certainly! Isn’t everyone of a certain age, or younger? I think people are so plugged in at this point, they do not have an understanding of what it means to be NOT plugged in, you know? When the revolution in the Ukraine started last year, it was insane to be able to not just talk directly to people who were on the ground in Kiev, but people who knew my music? Everything about that is so bizarre to me. The reach of all things in the modern age, even weirdo rap music, is nothing short of mind blowing.

What do you like (and/or dislike?) about the process of building excitement and dropping a new release on social?

The things I dislike about the process are really only the things I dislike about social media in general, and the level of laziness it fosters in people at times. People using social media to ask questions that could be solved with a short Google search, and what not. (Which is pretty much the main annoyance faced by any artist who is really connected and involved with their social media).

Aside from sometimes feeling like a butler, pretty much every other aspect of releasing and promoting through social media is fantastic! Working on a record is arduous and exhausting work; totally mentally and emotionally draining. You spend the better part of the entire process second-guessing everything from your lyrics to your album art, to your choice to start rapping when you were 12. When the album comes out, your social media is the thing that builds you back up. It is like having every person, from every show you are about to play, all in one room at once, cheering you on; and you would have to be a total asshole to not love and appreciate that support/ego stroking.

Between Facebook and Twitter, you boast over 69K followers/fans – which of these two comes most into play during a touring stretch?

Facebook has become all about business for me at this point. I use it to post the brass tacks about shows and tours and releases, especially on and around said tours and releases. Twitter really gets the most use in my life once I hit the road, partially because it becomes a great way to interact with folks before, during, and after shows. Also there is A LOT of time to kill on those van rides, and once you have run out of podcasts and you can’t play Mario Kart anymore, Twitter is always there for you with some excellent diversion.

Similarly, how do you feel you interact with your fans differently in general when it comes to those two channels?

As I said above, Facebook is become so about business and promotion, with little personal flair, that most of the fan interaction has turned that way as well. Even though it is host to my largest number of followers, I found pretty early on that people don’t like it when you use the Facebook page like Twitter. They get annoyed if you post a lot through the Facebook page. So, I try to keep it short, sweet, and down to business. As a result, much of the folks writing me on Facebook keep to that tone as well, (i.e. asking for show/tour details). On Twitter is where the interaction becomes much more personal, and I’ll find myself discussing everything from sports, to rap, to Target’s line of “50 Shades of Grey” sex toys. Facebook is where you go for stuff about “Astronautalis”. Twitter is where you go to talk to Andy, if that makes sense?

You were named one of the top 25 indie artists to follow on Instagram – and for a good reason. Has photography/visual art always been an interest of yours?

My mother was a photographer and a photography teacher, so I grew up in a dark room. And while I have always owned cameras, and taken photos, for me, it was always a hobby. Honestly, till Instagram.

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Where/when do you find yourself getting inspired to share photos most often? Or do you feel it’s more of a random happening?

One of the reasons I have latched onto Instagram was the creativity it fosters IN me. While it is a great creative outlet, and a nice distraction from music for me, the thing I enjoy the most is having an endless stream of great photos to look through all day. Seeing the world though all of those people’s eyes has pushed me to see photos everywhere and made me think more like a photographer. While the most popular photos I post are certainly the ones taken on tour in exotic locales, showing things most people have never seen, some of my favorites are the ones I take just strolling through my neighborhood in Minneapolis.

What tips do you have for an independent artist who’s trying to tighten their Instagram game up?

I think it starts with what is in your feed. If you just follow your friends posting pictures of themselves at parties, or shots of food they eat, chances are that is what your feed will end up looking like as well. Think of Instagram differently then other social media. Use Twitter and Facebook for socializing, but use Instagram for inspiration. If you follow great photographers, you’ll start thinking more like a photographer, just by osmosis. But, take it from me, when you start unfollowing your friends because their pictures suck…you better think of a nice way to explain it to them. People take this stuff SERIOUS!

Your career has really progressed almost parallel to that of social media’s presence in mainstream culture. Do you feel this gave you a leg up in terms of how you engage fans now?

I think so. For myself, and a lot of artists who adopted social media early, we were already sharp on a lot of the ins and outs, while most of the big guys and major label artists were still scrambling to figure out what the hell a tweet was, you know? Social media is not the real world: there is a whole different set of social morals to live by online, and a lot of which are still being written. I think the early adopters have proven to be more nimble in adapting to change, and more innovative when it came to making change in how this relatively new set of tools can be used.

What newer opportunities do you see for independents in hip hop when it comes to marketing their music online?

Rap music is going through a really exciting stratification right now. Rap has replaced rock as the language of pop music, and as you see rap coming out of all these strange places and faces, it is producing an infinite amount of sub-genres within the framework of “rap”. From a creative standpoint, I think this is astoundingly exciting. Thankfully, we live in a technological environment that allows artists to use the pinpoint marketing power of social media to find fans for their version of rap, no matter what obscure sub-genre of a sub-genre they occupy. And as the technology grows and improves, our power in that realm will only grow and improve as well. It is in exciting time for democratization of the business of art.

What’s in store for Astronautalis in 2015?

Well, I finished a new record (shopping that to labels now). I am re-releasing my entire back catalogue of rarities (about 8 EPs or so?) in the coming weeks. I have been working on a performance art piece with some British artists at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Starting on a couple of rad musical side projects. Sketching some ground plans for a top-secret non-musical project this summer. Touring a bunch in the states and Europe. And hopefully riding the hell out of my motorcycles as soon as the snow thaws…if not sooner.

TuneCore Live Artist Breakdown: WATERBED, Knower, & Dear Boy

If you’re a reader of the TuneCore Blog, you already know that the kick-off of our TuneCore Live Series was a huge success! The bands tore up the stage, the DJs kept people moving, and we packed the joint with fans. Now, one month later, we’re gearing up for the second installment of TuneCore Live. We’ll be back at the Bardot in L.A. this Wednesday, February 25th at 8pm. The event is free,  brought to you with the help of sponsors CraveOnline, Swisher Sweets, Mirrored Media, and Ultimate Ears!

This month, we’ve enlisted TuneCore Artists WATERBED, Knower, and Dear Boy, with a special guest DJ set by HOLYCHILD. We’re psyched to be giving our artists an opportunity on the ground and we encourage any L.A.-based TuneCore Artist to come and hang out! Our L.A. staff will be hosting the event and this is the perfect time to come rub elbows, ask questions, give us feedback, and support a few of your fellow TuneCore Artists!

Speaking of which, scroll down to learn more about the artists in the line-up, hear some tunes, and see how TuneCore has been part of the journey so far:

KNOWER 2015 1 pic17
Formed in 2010, KNOWER are a LA electronic-funk-pop duo fusing hot pop vocals with high energy glitch-beats. Set to a futuristic backdrop of live visual graphics, Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi’s performance is an addictive sonic firework display. Quincy Jones described KNOWER as, “Very, very, very talented young people. I’m just thrilled to see them PUTTING MUSIC BACK TO WHERE IT BELONGS!! With PASSION!”“[Being independent] means we can do whatever we want. Nobody is our boss. TuneCore is the greatest. Fast, affordable, easy-to-use way to get our music to the right digital stores and radio stations and stuff.” – KNOWER

 

DearBoy_OfficialHesitation
Dear Boy plays bitter-sweet alternative rock with roots in both post-punk and 90‘s British guitar pop. Propelled by the single “Oh So Quiet,” Dear Boy built a devoted live following, headlining local venues such as the Troubadour and The Bootleg Theater, along with performances at SXSW 2014 in Austin, TX and a national tour supporting Kitten.“TuneCore has been absolutely essential for us. Since we’re a new band, it’s empowering to be able to set our own release dates and connect our audience with our jams whenever we damn well please. You’re getting content straight from us… We write the music, we record the music and then it’s yours. Farm to f**king table.” – Dear Boy

 

waterbed
WATERBED is composed of  Tarzana, CA couple Paternostro and Chad Montermini. Meeting in Boston in 2010 and forming under their original moniker, Musvles, they were signed to Warner Music Group. However, Waterbed were at odds with their label over creative control, and eventually got prematurely dropped. “You can do it their way and let the labels tell you what to do and pump those steroids, but we’re doing it our own way, eating healthy and just working out every day,” explained Montermini.“All WATERBED music starts in our minds and goes directly from our hands to our fans. We create the music that we love, and share it directly with the world. TuneCore makes it possible for us to spread our music through all of the big digital outlets – reaching fans from all around, and getting paid.”
– 
WATERBED

Mighty High Coup Visits Our Brooklyn Office

When TuneCore Artists come into our offices, it’s not just enjoyable because we get to step away from our work momentarily and ask questions (and occasionally eat pizza) – it reminds us all why we’re doing what we’re doing on behalf of our artists. To hear more about what an artist is working on, learning about their backgrounds, understanding about what they’re going through during their musical journeys – all of these things help us get a better feel for how TuneCore plays a role in our artists’ careers.

Today, Atlanta-based party hip hop trio Mighty High Coup came through our Brooklyn office to hang out, talk about what they’ve been getting into, answer a few questions from curious TuneCore staffers, and perform an impromptu a cappella style song.

Mighty High Coup – consisting of Mr. SOS, Ricky Raw, and A-Bomb – got together through performing and partying in Atlanta’s hip hop scene and have been distributing music through TuneCore since their debut, To The Moon in 2010. After that release, their track “808” received the remix treatment from legendary dubstep producer Bassnectar – which as Mighty High Coup shared with us today opened up doors into the EDM/house music/rave world. The trio now benefits from being involved in both worlds – EDM & hip hop – as they begin to intersect more and more. While Mighty High Coup’s fan base becomes more diverse as it grows, one thing their supporters share is their appetite for a good time!

Be sure to get more familiar with Mighty High Coup on Twitter & FacebookSpotify and iTunes, and check out our photos from their visit below:

 

TuneCore Live: Interviews with Olivver the Kid & Hudson [VIDEO]

As you may recall, at the end of January, we kicked off our monthly event series, TuneCore Live at the Bardot in Hollywood. With the help of sponsors Swisher, CraveOnline, MirroredMedia and Ultimate Ears, we packed the room with fans and artists alike to enjoy a night of networking and live music. It was the perfect launch to what will be an exciting series of shows, with sets by Hudson, Olivver the Kid and Nightmare Boy (plus DJ sets from LA’s KonstantSurprises & Tron Stamos)!

During the event, our lovely sponsor CraveOnline sat down with Oliver the Kidd, Nightmare Boy and the members of Hudson to chat. Even if it’s hip hop or gospel music you play, as an independent artist, these interviews can truly serve as inspiration. We were thrilled to hear some of the artists speak highly of their relationship with TuneCore. Olivver the Kid, after parting ways with The Neighbourhood, was faced with having to get his music out on his own. After asking around and hearing about TuneCore, “I put it up and now it’s on Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, iTunes – the whole rigamarole.  I wouldn’t have known how to do that, and they kind of make it pretty easy – it’s like a one-stop shop.”

Said Hudson’s frontman David, “TuneCore has been a very easy, very convenient way to distribute our music and show the world what we have. Because we have the people at TuneCore we can keep our creativity and do what we like, and they’ll get it out to any and every part of the world. Cuts out a lot of the middleman and makes it a lot easier for independent artists like ourselves to do what we do.”

Thanks, guys! We’re thrilled to be able to give independent artists the opportunity to come together, share the stage, and interact with us – because after all, they’re the reason we do all of this! So dive in and enjoy – and if you’re LA-based, remember: we’ll be back at the Bardot on February 25th with a whole new line-up of TuneCore Artists – come hang out! Stay tuned for more info.

Hudson:

Olivver the Kid:

Nightmare Boy

TuneCore’s 2015 GRAMMY Nominated Artists

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony takes place this Sunday, February 8th in Los Angeles. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a music vet, the GRAMMYs have long been a way for us to celebrate the year in popular music – from crowning achievements for new artists to honoring legends of the industry, complete with eye popping performances and emotional acceptance speeches.

TuneCore is proud to help independent artists of all genres get their music out to the world and contribute the advancement of their musical journeys. We’re always moved and amazed to witness our artists take their career to the level, and this year at the GRAMMYs will be no exception! TuneCore is happy to boast that SIX of our Artists have been nominated for GRAMMYs – proof that distributing through TuneCore can be the first step towards big, big things!

Learn a little bit more about these artists and use them as inspiration to drive your musical journey forward…

Antonique Smith

Antonique Smith is a multi-talented artist who’s song “Hold Up Wait A Minute (Woo Woo)” is nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Getting her start in the spotlight in the Broadway production of RENT, Antonique portrayed Faith Evans in the Biggie biopic “Notorious”, and has starred in numerous other films & TV shows. 2015 looks like it’ll be a big year for Smith!

Yosvany Terry
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Yosvany Terry is a Cuban-born saxophonist/jazz composer who’s album New Throned King is nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album. Being credited by the New York Times as helping “redefine Latin jazz as a complex new idiom”, Terry is also a lecturer at Princeton University, a faculty member at New York City’s New School University and the Harlem School of the Arts, and serves as a resident instructor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University.

ILoveMakonnen
2014 has been a big year for Atlanta-based hip hop artist ILoveMakonnen: after releasing his ILoveMakonnen EP, he garnered attention from Miley Cyrus and his track “Club Goin’ Up On a Tuesday” received the remix treatment from superstar Drake; he was featured in publications like XXL and Vice; and he signed with Drake’s label OVO Sound! ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday (feat. Drake)” is nominated for Best Rap Song.

William McDowell
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William McDowell is an Orlando-based Christian/gospel artist who’s Withholding Nothing is nominated for Best Gospel Album. He’s the lead pastor at the Deeper Fellowship Church in his hometown, but he doesn’t just keep it local: McDowell has taken his brand of worship leadership and songwriting to churches, festivals and conferences in over 30 countries and shows no sign of stopping!

The Pop Ups
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Brooklyn duo The Pop Ups make fun, inventive children’s music and their latest album, Appetite For Construction, is nominated for Best Children’s Album. Regularly performing around New York City using props, hand-painted sets and puppets, The Pop Ups also take their show on the road. In 2014 the duo made their TV debut on Sprout Network’s “The Sunny Side Up Show” and were featured on NPR’s popular “All Things Considered” program.

Alexandre Desplat
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French film composer Alexandre Desplat is a 6-time Oscar nominee and 4-time GRAMMY Nominee. His score for Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. Desplat’s other score credits include “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Ghost Writer”, “Twilight – New Moon”, and “The Kings Speech”.