New Music Friday: January 12, 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!


Eventually
Hypothetical

Alternative


Do I Look Like I’m In Love?
The Prids

Alternative, Rock


Spotlight
Marshmello & Lil Peep

Alternative, Pop


Soulfro
Mannywellz

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap


Summer In November
SiR

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap


The Leezy Way 2
Leezy

Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul


Feelin’ Left Out
The Undercover Dream Lovers

Alternative, Electronic


CandyLand
Diverse Character

Hip Hop/Rap, Pop


Fully Alive
Forerunner Music

Christian/Gospel


Take My Hand
Johnny Balik

Pop, Electronic


Be Here Now
preme__xy

Hip Hop/Rap


Juliet & Caesar
Cautious Clay

R&B/Soul, Alternative


Naughty Whine
Olanrewaju & Neyoski

Pop

5 Ways To Leverage Press

[Editors Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinski.]

 

You spent months reaching out to bloggers, podcasters, and music tastemakers to convince them to review your music and/or interview you. You sent out links to your music. You submitted your press release/bio/EPK. You got people on board. You prepped for the interviews (preferably the right way). The pieces were published. The links were shared…

…and crickets.

Sound familiar?

All too often musicians put in so much effort to get press, only to see it move the needle very little, if at all.

It’s not because the reviews were poorly written, but because many musicians fail to leverage the press they receive in the right way.

There are so many tips and tricks out there to get the attention of coveted blogs and magazines, but what happens once you’ve gotten their attention? How to do maintain the attention of their readers?

Below are five different ways you can leverage press, whether it’s a printed interview, a podcast, a music review, a video on YouTube, or something that hasn’t yet been invented by the time this article is published, you can build off of these tips to get the most milage out of the months of effort you put into being noticed.

1. Write a newsletter to your fans about the experience.

All too often an interview comes out and fans open up an email from an artist that says “New interview in ABC Magazine CLICK HERE TO READ!” with a link to the article, and that’s it. The problem with that is that you’ve given them no context.

Give them a reason to care and click on the link.

Were you nervous? Did something funny happen during the interview? Did you open up and share something you’ve never said aloud before? Write a brief explanation about your first-hand experience and then provide the link to the article. Your fans will want to know how the story ends!

2. Create a short video introduction to the piece.

Your YouTube channel doesn’t have to only be cover songs or lyric videos. You can leave a short video message to your fans telling them about how much you love ABC Magazine and how honored you were to be featured. Then, using a link card overlay on your video, invite them to check out your latest piece of press. This will add content to your channel, bring more eyes to your other videos, and add to your subscriber list (just be sure to tell them to subscribe at the end of the video and in your caption).

Second, doing a short video on how much you love ABC Magazine and sharing it with others not only converts well (as video often does), but it shows love back to the writer and company who just covered your song/band.

It’s a unique way to say thank you, beyond simply sharing a link about yourself. Relationship building for the win.

3. Share a ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ photo with the link.

Posts that get engagement are the posts that readers are able to immediately relate to, and not everyone can relate to having their music reviewed or being a guest on an awesome podcast.

Especially if the press is audio only, adding a photo to the post that shows you (and any other band members) having fun, or even better, exhibiting some sort of feeling or message that is discussed in the piece, catches peoples attention and allows them to connect with your message on a deeper level, rather than simply seeing a link to a podcast you want them to hear and share.

Add a caption that explains a topic that was discussed and then inviting them to hear the rest by clicking the link goes a lot further than simply saying, “Listen now!”

4. Write a review of the blog/podcast that featured you.

Much like the video message, this shows other outlets that you care about shining a light on those who have shone a light on you.

Creating a list of your Top 5 favorite reviews they’ve done (while including yours on that list), whether as a newsletter or simply a longer Facebook post, opens your fans’ eyes up to other artists they may not have known and may also introduce them to a writer or podcast host they weren’t familiar with until now. Posting content that provides greater value is key.

5. Reach out to the next tier of blogs/podcasts.

Much like life in general, everything has its season. A few months ago you may not have been ready for a feature in XYZ Music News. But now, ABC Magazine has interviewed you and brought more eyes to your message and music. That may be what XYZ Music News was waiting for before they decided to jump on board.

When you have a glowing review or stellar interview with one outlet, do your homework and determine the next stepping stone. Don’t jump from a small write up in a local paper to the cover of Rolling Stone – be strategic. Look at bands you admire and start to examine how their press exposure grew and follow suit.

Reach out to outlets that may have turned you down in the past and reintroduce yourself, acknowledging that some time has passed and you have recently enjoyed some positive press that you’d like them to be aware of in consideration for a future review.

No matter what, always think about these two things:

  • The bigger message. What larger message was your recent press about that others can relate to? Create multiple posts off of that one message.
  • Your funnel for bringing on new fans. Be strategic in how you involve your other channels, as well as your email list, when getting the word out about your latest press. We call this your funnel – using once piece of content to drive fans to other channels to take further action.

Lastly, don’t forget to update your EPK or press page on your website with the most current coverage. Your hard work doesn’t end once you’ve landed the review. Make it worth your effort by seeing it all the way through.


Suzanne Paulinksi is an artist consultant with over 10 years in the music industry and owner of The Rock/Star Advocate

Wednesday Video Diversion: January 10, 2018

Happy Hump Day! On this day in random 2008 music history, rock legends Radiohead climbed to the top of the U.S. charts with their (in this editor’s opinion) phenomenal release, In Rainbows. Not only did they decide to focus on their instruments again, this album changed the way bands (and eventually other creators) looked at releasing content to their fans: the band offered it online for a ‘Name Your Price’ model. Cheers to innovation! Now, here’s another line up of awesome TuneCore Artist music videos:

Mannywellz, “Making of ‘Wrong Place’ (BTS)”


Prids, “Do I Look Like I’m In Love?”


Stephen, “Crossfire”


Ezra Collective, “Enter The Jungle”


Goldyard, “MXE (feat. Young Lyxx & Jarren Benton)”


Lolo Zouaï, “High Highs to Low Lows”


Forever In Your Mind, “Smooth”


Porcelan, “Real Thing Don’t Change”

So You Want a “Record Deal”? How To Legally Ensure An Artist Can Even Sign One

[Editors Note: This was written by Justin M. Jacobson, Esq.]

 

While most musicians dream of getting signed to a major “record deal,” the days where a record label executive attends a show and signs an artist based on their performance are long gone. These days, that only occurs in the movies or on television. Instead, today’s music industry has shifted toward a greater reliance on an artist’s social media impressions, presence, and following. It also focuses on the talent’s music streaming platform numbers and other factors unrelated to the actual quality of the music and instead focused on the artist’s perceived marketing and commercial value.

In recent years, major recording deals were signed by individuals who had generated their own independent marketing “buzz,” including those who started their own pop culture reference, such as “Cash Me Outside” as well as those who created their own independent success. In contrast, there are also artists who flourish independently without any major label or distributor assistance. This is a rare situation and typically only arises when an artist ensures that all their potential streams of income are properly maintained and established, such as Chance The Rapper.

Whether an artist obtains notoriety through creating their own pop culture phenomenon or by independently developing the artist’s following to a level that they can achieve stardom on their own, any musician who is interested in being able to actually “sign” with a recording company must first ensure that their music business infrastructure is in order.

This is particularly important as most artists believe that they are ready to sign a deal; however, in reality, the artist may not even own all the rights to the material that they think that they do. This means that the musician generally would not even have the rights that the deal requires them to possess in order for an agreement to be properly executed by the artist.

It seems counter-intuitive to presume that a label or other third-party music distributor would knowingly entertain, let alone enter into an arrangement that could potentially expose them to liability. Therefore, it is prudent that prior to entering into any agreement with a third party, especially a record label or other music distributor, the musician ensures that they have all the rights to the material that the artist thinks and purports that they have.

This means that prior to soliciting, submitting or otherwise searching for a music publishing, recording or distribution deal, the musician should ensure that their own music business infrastructure is in proper order. This could include the formation of business entity, such as a corporation or limited liability company (L.L.C.). The uses and potential benefits of such an entity are described further here.

It is also prudent for a musician to ensure that the performer name that they choose is protected and clear. While this may seem straight-forward, many musicians fail to search and properly protect the basis of their entire musical career, their artist name. Generally, a trademark protects a particular trade name, including a musician’s performer or band name.

It is ideal to ensure that a name is clear prior to attempting to enter into an agreement with a third-party utilizing this potentially infringing name. This misstep could expose the musician to potential liability from the contracting party if another party with stronger rights attempts to enforce them against the label. A more in-depth examination of trademarks as they relate to the music business is available here.

Additionally, an artist should ensure that they personally own or that the business entity that they formed and are an owner of, actually possesses the full rights to the finished music that the artist intends to release and license. A prudent course of action is that anything that the artist did not create themselves should be assigned or otherwise licensed to the entertainer. This applies to any third-party contributions to the finished music and is typically effectuated by the entering of some sort of rights assignment, license and/or “work for hire” agreement.

In short, the agreement would license or otherwise assign the entire interest and copyrights that a third-party has in the particular work to the other contracting party. This could apply to any producers, vocalists, songwriters, engineers, or mixers who contribute material to a finished song and recording.

This same concept also applies to any photographers, videographers, web designer, logo designer, marketing or other promotional material designers who contributes toward a finished creative work, including a song, video, photograph, logo, album cover, web site or other imagery. A more in-depth look at the benefits of copyright protection for a finished work is available here.

An artist should also be aware of the terms of any agreement or document that they sign. This includes if an artist enters into a production or other “demo” agreement with a third-party, such as a producer or recording studio owner. In many of these situations, the agreement provides the producer or studio owner with the exclusive rights to the material created and may only provide the artist with a license to utilize the recording or even less than that. Since an artist presumes that they own the rights to the music they create, it is essential to ensure that the documentation signed by the artist provides for this.

Finally, ensuring that an artist has proper professionals around them can be the difference between success and failure. The right professionals, including a personal manager, a booking agent, a business manager and an attorney, can open many doors; while, the wrong professionals can severely hamper an artist’s ability to succeed and prosper. Therefore, it is prudent to understand what a professional, such as a personal manager, can provide to an artist. A detailed look at talent managers is available here.

Once a musician ensures that they have all the rights that the deal requires, the artist may be ready to begin “shopping” for a music distributor. There are many variables that relate to any artist’s marketability and potential for success, all of which are outside the scope of this article. Ultimately, an artist should be aware that while they may believe that they are ready to “sign a deal;” if they haven’t signed deals and ensured that they have the proper rights to the material they want to shop, then they can’t even sign a contract that they may be presented with.

This article is not intended as legal or business advice, as an attorney or other professional specializing in the field should be consulted.


Justin M. Jacobson is an entertainment and media attorney for The Jacobson Firm, P.C. in New York City. He also runs Label 55 and teaches music business at the Institute of Audio Research. 

Personality Dynamics: Why Communication and Respect Are Vital For The Health of Your Band

[Editors Note: This article was written by Patrick McGuire.]

 

Many serious bands happily sacrifice money, relationships and careers in the hopes that they’ll find an audience for their music. But while focusing on the musical parts of being in a band is important, the way the musicians who form a band respect and communicate with each other is just as vital for acts that hope to create, record and perform music over the long-term.

Bands break up for all sorts of reasons. Some musicians throw everything they have into music for a few years only to give it all up when they can’t find the success they’d hoped for, but others upend otherwise perfectly good projects because they simply can’t work with the other musicians in their band anymore. It’s become routine for bands with massive talent and untapped potential to call it quits because they fail to focus their efforts on communication and mutual respect.

What Bands Do and Don’t Do Well

When musicians set out to create new projects, they probably think about making music and not much else, and this makes sense. If the purpose of a band is to create music, it should exclusively focus on writing, recording and performing, right?

Bands obviously need to spend time developing their identity as musicians, but alongside non-musical relationship skills like communication, openness and respect. Musicians in newer bands with plenty of enthusiasm and energy tend to be great at writing lots of songs and playing shows, but they’re notoriously bad at making goals, being open about feelings and speaking up when they feel unheard or disrespected.

Blame it on the male-driven culture behind so many bands out there or the fact that making serious music requires musicians to frequently enter vulnerable territories they’re not usually comfortable in, but most bands are simply not great at being open with how they feel about things, and this is a big problem.

All Relationships Take Work. Why Would Your Band Be Any Different?

Whether you realize it or not, a band is a relationship unlike any other. Falling somewhere between a friendship, marriage and creative business partnership, the personality dynamic behind every band is completely unique. But like all other relationships, it takes effort and sacrifice to keep a band healthy and together.

The work that makes the other relationships in your life possible is similar to the work you’ll need to do to keep your band healthy and on track. Some bands, most famously Metallica, even go as far as to get professional counseling for their issues. Your band might not need therapy, but you will have to learn to speak openly and respectfully to each other if you want to stay together.

Opening the Lines of Communication

It can be awkward and unnatural for some musicians to open up and talk about their needs and feelings, but for bands to be successful, they have to be able to really talk and listen to each other. Communication in band settings is so vital because making music with other people is complicated on every level and there’s often so much at stake.

Bands routinely deal with everything from complicated finances and contracts to spending months together touring crammed together in a small van or car. Sure, at band practice once a week you’ll be able to stay quiet and let some things you’re not happy with slide, but when you’re on tour for two months promoting an album you’ve just put a couple thousand of your own dollars into, it might be a little harder to hold your tongue. Opening up the lines of communication now will keep you from saying things you might regret later.

Respect, Openness and Empathy

Musicians in successful bands find ways to respect and empathize with each other, even when it’s not easy to. Under ideal conditions, it doesn’t take a lot of work for some like-minded musicians to be kind and patient with one another, but like in any other relationship, people show their true colors in the face of real challenges.

Who you are when the van breaks down or when your band blows the show? It’s more important for that person to be kind, open and respectful to your other bandmates than the person you are when things are going swimmingly. Easier said than done, of course, but the effort here is the important thing.

Taking Stock of the Health of Your Band

It can be uncomfortable to address underlying issues in your band, but ignoring them will only make things worse. Setting aside time after rehearsals is a good way to make time for getting things off your chest, making plans and opening up a dialogue about what your band is doing and where you want to go.

Rather than waiting for disasters to appear and become unmanageable, getting in the habit of creating opportunities for respectful dialogue now will help your band stay together and make music for years to come.


Patrick McGuire is a writer, composer, and experienced touring musician based in Philadelphia.

New Music Friday: January 5, 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!


Over
SUMR CAMP

Dance, Electronic


Volume 10
Jae Tips

Hip Hop/Rap, R&B/Soul


Rise
Temple Agents

Rock, Alternative


Portraits
Tim Myers

Pop, Singer/Songwriter


Ephorize
CupcaKKe

Hip Hop/Rap


Emily Brooke
Emily Brooke

Country


Wake Up Call
SoMo

R&B/Soul, Pop


You Without Me
Dryspell

Alternative, Rock


Live Life
Carter Winter

Country


Aliens From Da  Sun
Wala Why

Hip Hop/Rap, Dance


Welcome To Our World
Got My Own Sound & Wes Watkins

Jazz, R&B/Soul


Even Me
Darlene McCoy

Christian/Gospel, R&B/Soul