New Music Friday: April 20, 2018

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 Music Made Me – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


Sham Pain
Five Finger Death Punch

Heavy Metal, Rock


Kaepernick
King Green
Hip Hop/Rap


The Prescription
B-Real
Hip Hop/Rap


Love Is Cold
Animal Waves
Rock, Alternative


Black Mamba
Ghastly
Dance, Electronic


Arguments
DDG
Pop, R&B/Soul


Gate 13
Del the Funky Homosapien & Amp Live
Hip Hop/Rap


Uber Driver
Faren Rachels
Country, Pop


Mind Eraser
CRUISR
Alternative, Pop


Thorough
Moxie Knox
R&B/Soul


CBS
Rockie Fresh
Hip Hop/Rap


THROWDOWN: Greatest Hits
Moonshine Bandits
Country

4 Tips For Saving Money on Studio Time

[Editors Note: This article was written by Hugh McIntyre.]

 

Writing great music takes a long time, but recording it is what can really hurt a band, as it can require every dollar a group has to their name. Recording a song or an album in a bedroom is a possibility for some acts, but it doesn’t work for every artist out there, and recording studios are still needed for many groups trying to put great tunes out into the world. Completing a full-length record can be a massive expense, and it’s one that’s nearly impossible to avoid, so how is a band to limit the cost as much as possible?

Here are a few tips that might help you (and in some cases, your bandmates) lower the sky-high price of recording an album, if only a little.

1. Make Sure The Songs Are Ready!

When you listen to superstar musicians talking about the work they’re doing on a new album, they often say they’re “in the studio,” and they use that phrase when it comes to developing ideas, writing songs, practicing, and so on. They always seem to be in the studio, and while that’s the goal for many artists who want to create as much music as they can, it can get very expensive if someone else isn’t footing the bill.

Most of those artists either have enough money to live in a recording studio if they like, actually do live in a recording studio (if they have one in their own home), or their record labels are willing to pay for a seemingly unlimited amount of time in a pricey locale where many hits have been crafted. It sounds wonderful, and in some ways it is, but if you’re a new act, you shouldn’t set foot in a recording studio until you have everything ready to go.

By the time you’re in the studio, you should know what you want to walk away with, both from you and your bandmates, and also from the producer. That person might have some suggestions, and you should be willing to discuss them with him or her, but don’t go into the room without a vision.

If you don’t want to tack on too many extra hours onto your probably already sizable bill (a few hours you weren’t counting on is an inevitability when it comes to making an album), try to be as set as you can before you even book your studio time.

2. Rehearse

What’s the best way to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be before you and your fellow musicians begin recording? Rehearse! Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse some more! While it can certainly get boring after a while, rehearsing your tunes is something you’re going to need to do a lot as a working musician, so suck it up and keep practicing until it’s perfect!

These rehearsals you and your band go through before you record your album aren’t just a great way to save some cash when it comes to your bill with the studio, they’re what you will need to do no matter what.

After the album is done, you’ll be touring it, won’t you?

Gearing up for a full trek will require you to master your own songs so you can put on the best show possible, so think of your constant rehearsals as not just a way to keep some money in your bank accounts, but also as an investment in your future touring.

3. Make Sure The Producer Knows What They’re Doing

This is a bit trickier than simply being prepared for your time in the studio, but you should do your best to find out if the person who will be working the software and the machines on the other side of the glass actually knows what they are doing.

If the producer employed by the studio (which is typically how it works for those musical acts just getting started, as they don’t often recruit their own producers) isn’t any good, you may need to pay for more time, or possibly even book other sessions at different locations later on, which can cost you a pretty penny.

See if you can find a list of bands that have recorded their full-lengths at that studio (which the company might have available, or which you may have to do some digging to compile) and give them a play. Are they good? Is the quality what you had in mind? If you can consistently hear issues in the recording, someone didn’t do something right along the way, and you might want to look for another option.

Also, once you find some bands that have recorded at the studio you’re thinking about, feel free to reach out to some of them, especially those that are smaller, and ask about their experience. If you come across several bad recommendations in regards to the studio or the producer, stay away from one, or possibly both.

4. Strike A Deal

If you just need to record one song, you likely won’t be able to lower the advertised price per hour on studio time, but if you and your bandmates are going to be booking many hours in order to lay down every instrument, vocals, and add some extra time to make sure everything is perfect with the producer, the company is looking at a lot of money, and they might be willing to work with you to save a few dollars.

Politely ask whoever is in charge about getting a discount if you book a certain number of hours.

You never know what you can get until you put the question out there, and many owners of these types of establishments are willing to grant upstart bands a slightly better rate if they know you’ll be returning for more. It might not save you a ton, but every little bit helps!

Wednesday Video Diversion: April 18, 2018

Another Wednesday is upon us, so TuneCore is here to showcase some of the talented members of our artist community by way of their awesome music videos. It provides  the perfect distraction for a long, boring Wednesday afternoon. Fun fact this Wednesday, April 18: back in 1985 on this day, Wham! (yes, this Wham!) were the first ‘Western pop act’ to get their album released in China. We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? Even indie artists not named George Michael can use TuneCore to get their music up and streaming in China quickly and easily!

 


Cort Carpenter, “What Were We Drinking”


Kendra Kay,”I Take My Country”


Hudson Moore, “Just Wanna Love You”


Timothy Bloom, “Burden’s Song (feat. Maurice Brown & Fredric Yonnet)”


Myles Erlick, “Midnight”


Jeffrey Foucault, “Hurricane Lamp”


Zoewithdaflow, “Juice (feat. #DirtyGang)”


Danny K, “Lavash”


HelloNegro, “Together Forever”


CupcakKe, “Spoiled Milk Titties”

Creating an Album Release Checklist

[Editors Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo.]

 

If you’re reading this, odds are you’ve either just released a new album, or have plans to in the coming weeks or months to do so. So first off, congratulations! Getting to a place where you’re ready to bring your latest project into the world is something to celebrate!

But if you’re feeling a little lost in how to prepare for the exciting day, we’ve got your back. Below we’ve compiled a list of steps to prepare you for your album release—what materials you’ll need, how early you’ll want to start planning and pitching, and how to use social media to market that release.

Give yourself plenty of time

When you hire a publicist for a PR campaign around an album, they’ll need an eight-week lead time to promote the album and set up a few single premieres in those months leading up to the release. So if you’re looking at hiring someone be sure to get in touch at least three months prior to your release, and if you’re going the DIY route, make sure you allow yourself at least those same eight-weeks to properly work promotion on the album.

This is a crucial time in which you’ll be sending the album to prospective reviewers and interviewers so make sure you give it the time it deserves. Each artist will be different, but I’d set aside at least 5-10 hours per week to work on planning and promotion.

Once the album is out it will be significantly more difficult to gain any press traction around it, so using this time wisely is a definite must-have for a successful album release.

Make sure your EPK is up to date

No skimping with old photos, outdated bio, or photos with previous members in them. Your EPK should be up to date and easy to dive into. Make sure you include at least three hi-res band photos (preferably done by a professional who can guide you in what looks good and what doesn’t, and get some personality into those shots), and a professionally written bio.

If your EPK is electronic (such as on your website) you can also include links to your social media and a stream of your most recent release.

Ramp up your social media strategy

Most artists hate the idea that social media plays an important role in becoming an established career musician, but the reality is that it does, so if you want to be noticed you must have an active and engaging social media presence.

Make sure you’re using this as an opportunity to connect with fans and build your brand, rather than making it one really long sales pitch. If you get stuck, check out the 70-20-10 rule. It’s a lifesaver for your social media.

Get prepared to pitch

If you’re hiring a publicist, this next part won’t apply to you, but if you’re DIY-ing it, you’ll need to begin to prepare to pitch your album for reviews, interviews, and other features. This means compiling a list of target blogs (and remembering to keep it realistic—small blogs can be your best asset), working on your pitch (keep it short and to the point, including links to your music, socials, and EPK), not being afraid to follow up, and then, when you do land a feature, being extremely responsive and remembering to share the article when it goes live and tag the outlet that featured it. That last one is extremely important!

Plan your release show—and make it special

Odds are you’re already planning a release show to celebrate the big day, but are you making it distinctive enough from all your other shows? Your album is a special occasion, so the show should feel like something out of the ordinary, something fans are going to remember, something to treat them. Meaning, it shouldn’t just be you playing some new songs in the same old set.

Think about ways that you can help it to stand out. Can you offer fans an exclusive set of merch as part of the ticket price? If the release is around a holiday or carries a significant theme throughout, can you make it a themed show? Get creative and think outside the box, and you’ll create an experience your fans won’t soon forget.

Make sure you have a strategy moving forward

So far, we’ve talked primarily about the lead up to the release, which is an incredibly important time in the life of an album. But once the album drops, that’s no time to stop the promotion. While your window of opportunity for press might decrease at that point, there’s still a lot of opportunity to connect with fans through social media.

Think about how you can continue to keep the momentum going months after the album has dropped. For instance, if you’re thinking of releasing a music video, dropping it after the album is out is a great way to drum up new interest on an aging product (for both fans and press alike).

Or consider making a series of graphics with your lyrics on them that can be shared around on socials and remind fans of why they love a certain song so much (bonus: this is highly shareable, which will really increase your engagement). Or do monthly live online concerts taking cover requests from fans and sneaking in a few of the new songs.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a plan in place, because once the album is out, the work isn’t over. There’s still so much that can be done, and so many ways to leave your mark.


Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Substream, New Noise, and more. She’s also the owner of music blog Infectious Magazine.

More Tips For Pitching To Spotify Playlist Curators

[Editors Note: This article was written by Chelsea G. Ira – a regular TuneCore Blog contributor – and it was originally published on The New Artist Model’s blog.]

 

“How to get your music on Spotify playlists?”

That’s the hot question in the mind of just about every indie musician on the planet. And with good reason – there are plenty of inspiring stories of musicians who got one song on a crazy-popular playlist and can now pay all their bills with their Spotify checks.

On Spotify, you make a fraction of a cent each time your song is streamed. If you’re just getting a few streams a day from your fans, those payouts can be seriously underwhelming. But if your song gets thrown on a top Spotify playlist with thousands of daily listeners, those cents can really add up.

So today we’re going to show you how it’s done, walk you through how the Spotify playlist system is set up, and give you some ideas that could make your songs more appealing to those mysterious Spotify playlist curators.

This is Not a Hack

I want to get this out of the way right up front – there’s no way to game the system here. There is no Spotify playlist submission form that you can fill out and instantly get placed on one of the best playlists. It’s going to take a lot of hard work on your part to build up your Spotify plays, listenership, and credibility.

And it’s probably going to take some time. Just like other platforms, Spotify has an algorithm that rewards artists who spend a lot of time on and put a lot of energy into the platform.

On top of that, the quality needs to be there. If you want your songs to stand next to some of the world’s best tracks on playlists with millions of followers, your song needs to sound the part. Make sure you’re A/Bing your songs to ensure you’re hitting the production quality.

How the Spotify Playlist System Works

On Spotify, not all playlists are created equal. The most popular Spotify playlists are extremely competitive and usually owned and curated by either Spotify or a major label. Other playlists are owned by companies or indie labels, and some by individuals like you and me. In most cases, you’re going to have to work you way up the ladder, so let’s go through the pyramid one by one.

Spotify Playlists

At the top of the pyramid are the Spotify-curated playlists. Some of these playlists (like Coffee Break, undercurrents, and Global Funk) are smaller and more niche with tens of thousands of followers. While the top Spotify playlists like Rap Caviar, Are & Be, and Today’s Top Hits have upwards of a million followers.

A lot of times, the songs that make it to big Spotify playlists have been tested on the smaller ones. They primarily look at Spotify data like plays, skips, and finishes to decide how well a song is performing. If your song performs well you have a greater chance of getting on playlists and staying on playlists for longer.

It’s also important to note that some Spotify playlists are curated by Spotify playlist curators, while others like Fresh Finds use an algorithm to populate the songs based on each user’s particular tastes.

Major Label-Curated Playlists

Next we have the playlists that are actually owned by the major labels. Filtr is owned by Sony, Topsify by Warner, and Digster by Universal. These playlists get a decent amount of real estate on the Spotify browse page and are often used to plug label artists in order to get some plays and hopefully land a spot on a Spotify playlist.

Individual-Curated Playlists

And finally we have playlists that are curated by independent Spotify playlist curators. I’m grouping these all in the same category but there’s a pretty big range here. Some playlists are owned by indie labels, big radio stations, and big-time music bloggers, while others might be owned and curated by Joe next door.

How to Get Your Music on Spotify Playlists

Getting your songs on Spotify playlists is going to be a game of working your way up the ladder we just talked about. There’s a lot you can do here, so let’s go through some ideas one by one.

1. Sign up for Spotify for Artists

Creating a Spotify for Artists account will instantly get you verified, which can only help boost your credibility. Plus, you’ll get access to all kinds of cool features like analytics and notifications when your music is added to playlists. Keep track of this data as much as you can and try to notice trends. What causes you to get more streams? What causes you to get more followers?

2. Direct Fans to Spotify to Get Some Activity Going

The easiest thing you can do is to promote your music on Spotify and encouraging your fans to follow you and listen to your songs on the platform so you can boost Spotify plays.

Remember, many Spotify playlists look at data like plays, finishes, skips, and listen duration, and many individual playlist curators will want to use tracks that are already getting some love, so anything you can do to get some social proof behind your songs can only help you in the long run.

Share links to your Spotify page on social media, include a link on your website, and maybe send out an email here and there encouraging fans to follow you.

That being said, the more active you can be on Spotify in terms of releasing new music, the easier it will be to get fans excited about following you. Maybe opt to release a new single every month or so to keep the buzz up.

3. Create Your Own Spotify Playlists to Promote Your Music

Next, you should start creating your own Spotify playlists to promote your music. Again, this just gives you another reason to share Spotify links out to your fans.

Try curating playlists based off mood or activity and include tracks from bands and musicians you’re really digging right now (and sprinkle a few of your songs in there as well). Don’t go overboard with plugging your own songs here. You want these playlists to feel authentic.

Another cool idea is to collaborate with a bunch of musicians on a playlist. Come up with a cool idea or a theme, add in some of your songs, throw in other songs, and play the part of a radio DJ. Then, get everyone to share the playlist to their respective fanbases. When you collaborate like this, you’re exposing your playlist (and your songs) to a bigger audience, which means more fans and more plays.

4. Pitch Your Songs to Independent Spotify Playlist Owners

Before you start pitching, you need to figure out what playlists you’re going to target. Do some searches with keywords that fit your genre and musical style and start compiling some of the best fits into a spreadsheet. Include the playlist name, a link, the follower count, the owner, and any contact info you can find.

It isn’t too difficult to get in touch with Spotify playlist curators since most link up their accounts to Facebook. The key is to approach them with the intention of forming a relationship. Many playlist owners will get tons of generic emails and messages each day from hopeful artists looking to make it big on Spotify.

The better approach is to connect with them, compliment their playlist, maybe suggest a song or two (not your own) that you think would fit, and pitch your music only after you get an authentic dialog going. Remember, they are people too with their own agendas, so treat them with respect.

You’ll be more successful with this strategy if you start small and work your way up the ladder. Someone with a playlist with a few thousand listeners will be much more open to your pitch than someone who has hundreds of thousands of followers. Once you get a successful track record you can start moving up.

Keep in mind too that playlist owners are always looking out for fresh new tracks to include. Chances are, if you start getting some placements on playlists, you may very well get included in others.

5. Support Playlists that Include Your Songs

When your song gets placed on a playlist, do everything you can to support that playlist and ride the wave.

Share out a link to social media telling fans how awesome the playlist is and how happy you are to be included. Especially when you’re dealing with independent Spotify playlist curators, giving back is a surefire way to form a good, long-term relationship.

6. Get Featured on Blogs

A lot of music bloggers have their own Spotify playlists, and getting a good review or two can potentially get you a spot on their playlists.

How to Ride the Wave

So you’re getting a decent amount of streams and getting some success on Spotify, now what?

Let me make this clear right now – getting tens of thousands of plays on Spotify does not necessarily equate to getting more fans. There are plenty of artists who have gone viral on Spotify – who make a decent living from Spotify revenue – but can’t even fill their local venue.

Spotify is NOT in the business of helping artists grow their fanbase. They’re in the business of getting people to listen on their platform and pay for the Premium service. I know it’s harsh, but it’s true.

That means it’s up to you to ride the wave of any success you may get on Spotify and do everything you can to turn those listeners into fans and supporters.

Make sure you have social media platforms set up, a website, and an email list at the very least. These are places you can direct Spotify followers and listeners to connect and start building that artist-fan relationship.

New Music Friday: April 13, 2018

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 Music Made Me – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


H8iz4Suckerz Part 1
DJ Cashflow
Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul


10 Million Dollar Net Worth
KoBoogie
Hip Hop/Rap


Burdens Song
Timothy Bloom
Blues, R&B/Soul


Tired Of Basic
LoveCollide

Christian/Gospel, Pop


Make You Happy
Betablock3r
Alternative, Pop


Blood Type
Cautious Clay

R&B/Soul, Alternative


Everywhere I Go
Sleeping At Last
Singer/Songwriter, Alternative


Water Me Down
Alec King
Pop, Hip Hop/Rap


Reveries
Bones & Bridges
Pop, Alternative


Blow You Away (Doug Weier Remix)
Manafest
Electronic, Pop


Get Away With It
CJ Solar
Country


Coney Island
Hooka Hey
Alternative


Lost Files
Nytrix
Dance


Midnight
Myles Erlick
Pop