Wednesday Video Diversion: February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day, music lovers and makers! It may be that boring old middle-of-the-week mark, but at least this time around we know that love truly is in the air. Speaking of such love, it was on this holiday in 1994 that the BELOVED Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was released by indie rockers Pavement! An iconic album for the genre by a band that independent artists still nod to for inspiration today, we’re happy to celebrate go-getters who were making music outside the box – because that’s what he help our artists do! Now, enjoy this week’s round-up of TuneCore Artist music videos.

 


James Quick, “Oceanside”


MESSER, “Make This Life”


Pop Evil, “Waking Lions”


LIEZA, “Don’t Make Me Dance”


Vundabar, “Acetone”


Kelsy Karter, “Out Of Drugs”


Bishop Nehru, “Midnight Reflecting”


Jessie Clement, “Heartbreak Hero”


Katie Herzig, “Walk Through Walls”


Dancing On Tables, “OH”

How Streaming Platforms Are Changing Music Promotion and Discovery

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

As music streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music continue to transform and revitalize the music industry, artists are just beginning to fully comprehend the seemingly limitless potential of new music discovery and promotion technology in 2018’s musical landscape. Songwriters and musicians continue to struggle to financially cope in a world with that’s almost completely shifted to streaming music over owning it seemingly overnight, but a slew of new analytic and discovery features delivered by streaming platforms could be the silver lining artists have been waiting for.

Spotify, who has yet to make a profit as a company, isn’t able to pay compensate an artist much money when one of their songs gets streamed through their platform, but they are able to help in other ways. Through tools like their Discover Weekly playlist, Spotify has made significant investments in helping new music find an audience. A thoughtful mixture of human curation and algorithm genius is helping new and unknown artists connect and resonate with fans in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Will 100,000 plays on a big streaming platform earn a band enough money to pay all of their bills? No, but that sort of exposure might give a new artist enough attention to find opportunities that can.

The music industry’s newfound collective acceptance of music streaming is one of the driving factors behind what many are calling music’s big comeback, but new opportunities for exposure and promotion ushered in by streaming platforms and playlist culture deserves a good amount of the credit.

Last summer, an article published by The Guardian profiled a Venezuelan singer named Danny Ocean, an artist whose career was launched by Spotify. In a matter of months, the Latin star went from being completely unknown to having a smash hit with over 261 million plays through Spotify alone. Spotify’s technology was able to detect interest in Ocean’s single after its release, so it added the song to a few of its popular playlists and the rest is history. 

Songwriter Ron Pope has a similar rags to riches story. The Georgia native apparently earned over $250k from streaming alone in 2014 without significant radioplay and help from a label. The incredible breakout success stories of these artists is one that would be simply unthinkable just a decade ago.

With big music streaming players increasingly lending a hand to small artists, the music promotion sector the music industry may need to rethink their strategy.

In addition to helping to launch undiscovered new musical talent in a perpetual quest to satiate the music-addicted masses, streaming platforms are now able to give artists analytic insights and helpful information about their listeners that they used to have to pay good money for. For example, a college or alternative radio campaign usually runs bands anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000. The main purpose of these campaigns is to physically submit an artist’s music for possible airplay, but a huge benefit they deliver are detailed insights into which stations have started playing the music, where they’re located and how often they’re playing it. Streaming platforms are now offering up this and other helpful information to artists for absolutely free.

Radio continues to be a major source for music discovery, but with the trend of many influential stations curating playlists replicating the material they play over the air, the free analytic information artists can get from major streaming platforms can help them gain powerful insights about their unique audiences. With these free resources, artists can track the success of their individual songs, book tours based around countries and cities their music is being played in the most and can even see information as detailed as what gender their listeners are.

Shortly after the birth of social media, platforms like Myspace and then later Facebook were the ones mostly responsible for hosting the party as far as where audiences went to listen to an artist’s music, learn about them from their bio and find out about their shows. But in 2018, the party is swiftly moving over to streaming platforms.

In addition to helping artists connect with and learn about listeners, major streaming platforms now provide customizable profile features like pictures, concert listings and even merchandise store options. Essentially, big streaming companies are now helping artists condense and leverage their virtual presences in ways that non-musical social media platforms have never been able to do. Just a couple of years ago, most people used Facebook pages to learn about and keep up with bands, but now fans can do all that directly from the sources they discover and consume music.  

But while some musicians and writers are rejoicing over the new features and benefits streaming platforms are offering artists, others continue to feel the strain of diminishing record sales and fear the possibility that the artform of the album will be replaced by playlists. While no one can predict the future, the music industry’s sweeping irreversible transformation is a certainty, and those who learn to adapt will fare better than those who dig their heels in and wish for a pre-streaming era to return.


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

Tips For Developing Your Artist or Band “Story”

[Editors Note: The following is an installment in our monthly series of a partnership between TuneCore and students at Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont University. In an attempt to offer new insight and educational content for independent artists, we’re excited to give these music industry professionals of the future a journalistic platform.]

 

WWOD? (What Would Oprah Do?)

Oprah’s strength is listening to people’s stories. So what is your story as an artist? Ask yourself questions that tell the story of your life. Answer those questions in less than 30 seconds, drawing out the most important, impactful, and life-changing moments. How did you grow up? How did your childhood impact you? When did you start making music? Why do you make music? Does your music tell your story?

After asking yourself these questions, think of where you would like to take your music. What is your goal as a musician? What are the biggest challenges that you currently face? Try to understand why these challenges are so pressing to you as a person and figure out how they influence your artistry. The changes you make will help you further understand why you make the decisions you make, and hopefully they will push you to establish your values and what you believe is morally correct. In the long run, this development of your ‘story’ will help you stand out. Going even further, ask yourself: what makes you unique? If you’re stuck at a crossroad, to whom do you look to guide you? What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?

Once you figure out your story, use it to augment your brand and improve your image! In the words of Oprah, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Use those things that you view as weaknesses to improve your image. Weakness and vulnerability make you relatable as an artist and gives your fans something to connect with.

As long as we’re mentioning celebrities, think about Taylor Swift. One thing many associate with Swift are her breakup songs. You’d better believe that her label and management know that breakups are relatable. Maybe breakups aren’t your thing, but be yourself and use your story to be relatable.

Content, Content, Content

One of the most important things you can do as an artist to boost your career is create and share social media content. You want to develop a diverse content marketing plan for all social media channels you choose to use. The content you post should follow the “80/20 Rule”: 80% entertainment or engaging, and 20% promotional. Make sure the content is interesting to your followers. Integrating pictures and videos and even time lapse effects can be very eye-catching.

Be sure to post frequently and consistently. Have your content prepared two weeks in advance and schedule your posts accordingly. This will become a lifesaver when you begin touring or are otherwise too busy.

Staying active on social media channels is essential in keeping fans engaged and informed on what’s going on in your life and in your music. These platforms are tools for artists to convey details not only about their music and careers, but also their personal lives. 

Editors note: Be sure to check out our “Social Media For Musicians: A Beginners Guide” PDF!

Here are a few quick tips to make the most of your social media:

  1. Focus on the four major platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Learn these inside and out. Try to make your profile on each site resemble the professional touch of the artists you look up to, but with your own unique twist.
  2. Think about when you visit social media most often. Now, try to make sure you are posting during these high-traffic times! Frequently engage with other artists, celebrities you like, and anyone with similar interests. Consider creating a “post schedule” to make sure you are delivering quality content on a consistent basis. In the world of social media, more is more.
  3. Don’t spam! The last thing your followers want is a human advertisement. It is advised that you strike a balance between music promotion and friendly engagement. Ensure your followers know about your releases, but make them feel like genuine friends, not just fans. Follow back regularly and always say thank you when someone gives you a shout-out. These strategies will definitely increase the chances of your followers reposting your music and attending your shows.
  4. Sites like Twitter and Facebook have incredible integration with Spotify and other outlets; make sure you take full advantage of this. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to hear your music.
  5. #DontForgetTheHashtags. These will add you to different pages exposing you to different audiences with similar interests.

Let’s get to posting!

“Drop a Single…Like It’s Hot.”

In the fast pace world we live in today, music consumers constantly want the newest release. This is in part why the music community is moving away from releasing an album every year or two and towards dropping a single every couple months. Having an extended amount of time in between your music releases allows your fans to have time to grow tired and possibly lose interest.

Instead of building hype up for an album and letting it die out by the time you are ready to release your next project, keep your momentum going by having something new to promote by the time your audience starts to get ready to move on to the next thing.

Apart from the benefit of keeping your buzz alive, releasing one song at a time is typically easier on an artist financially, especially if you are doing so independently. It’s almost as if you were paying for your album with an installment plan; only having to pay for one of the songs every couple of months. Don’t forget, with every release you should utilize every marketing tool you have. Tease your single by posting a short clip on your social media accounts.

When your song is released, make sure you have posted it on all platforms: Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, etc. There are an endless number of streaming or music purchasing sites now, and if you want to make sure your music is heard by as many people as possible, put them everywhere.

Come out of your artist cave and make friends.

Making yourself a household name does not happen overnight. It takes personality, strategy, and connections. Local radio stations can be your goldmine because they tend to host lots of events that you could attend, which could be used as networking opportunities. Getting to know people in the industry is crucial. From the outside, the music industry looks like a huge industry but realistically, everyone knows someone. People like to know that they are acknowledged and it makes you stand out.

Regardless of the outcome, networking is always a step in the right direction. You will never lose anything from putting yourself out there. Having business cards, CDs, pins, stickers, etc. with you to give to industry folks you come across could take you a long way, as you’re giving them something to keep and bring with them.

A major plus to face-to-face meeting is being able to showcase your charisma. Potential fans want to know that you have a personality and are a good person to support. Industry professionals want to know you are in this because you want to be. All of this is so simple yet so overlooked, so start when the opportunities first arise.

New Music Friday: February 9, 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!


Never Gonna Change (feat. FABOLOUS)
URSULA

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap


Water
Sister Hazel

Country


Nowhere To Run
Gangstagrass

Country, Hip Hop/Rap


Eurus
The Oh Hellos

Alternative, Folk


Way You Are
Jeff LeBlanc

Singer/Songwriter, Pop


Let’s Just Dance
Ships Have Sailed

Pop, Alternative


You’re Not Missing Me
Chelsea Cutler

Pop


Tu Aura Brilla Más: Nada Surf Let Go 15 Aniversario
Various Artists

Rock


Overdose
grandson

Alternative, Rock


Clone Of The Universe
Fu Manchu

Rock


The Cloverfield Paradox (Music From the Motion Picture)
Bear McCreary

Soundtrack, Instrumental


Taneesha in Wonderfunk
HelloNegro
New Age, Electronic

Building a Home Studio On a Budget

[Editors Note: This article and infographic were compiled by Jonathan Biran of Catz Audio, an online pro audio magazine. Readers can head over to our “Complete Home Studio Guide” for more resources on getting theirs set up!]

 

The field of audio engineering can be intimidating. The countless shiny buttons, the myriad of knobs and meters, the guy behind the mixing desk that knows more than anyone else in the room…describing this as ”intimidating” may be an understatement. Walking into the realm of audio for the first time is wondrous and frightening.

Regardless of how capable you are, audio engineering will challenge you – TuneCore was right in advising to “take a breath.” There’s much to consider when entering the audio field.

We at CatzAudio curated a little infographic that addresses the common barriers-to-entry of audio. It covers the nitty-gritty details of what you must have to get started. We think you’ll find that it’s actually easy to build a solid recording rig!

The infographic covers common questions asked about needed hardware and software. Questions like “what headphones should I buy?” and “what microphone is best?” are all discussed. Hopefully, your search for the best entry-level recording gear can end here.

Here is what we cover:

– What you need in a recording interface.

– A list of DAWs you can start with.

– What to look for in a microphone.

– The most bang for your buck when it comes to headphones and monitors.

– Necessary accessories needed to record a killer track.

We are lucky to live in a digital age. It’s never been easier to jump into the recording field. Instead of spending thousands of dollars tracking in a studio, you can carry a fully functional studio in your backpack for a mere fraction of the price!

building a home studio on a budget infographic
c/o CatzAudio.com

 

Wednesday Video Diversion: February 7, 2018

It’s another dreary, winter Wednesday afternoon over here at TuneCore HQ in Brooklyn. If you find yourself falling asleep midday, consider taking a listen to the incredibly influential rock/proto-punk third release from The Stooges, Raw Power! Why would one suggest such a random title (aside from it being a stellar album)? Because on this day in 1973, Iggy and the guys released it to the world. So there – a little random music trivia that also offers a pick me up. Or, you could dive into each and every one of these TuneCore Artist music videos:

 


Jinkx Monsoon, “Cartoons and Vodka”


DNSTJ, “Keinen Sinn”


Caitlin Canty, “Get Up”


James Quick, “Oceanside”


Alex G, “Too Far”


Daniel Ellsworth + the Great Lakes, “Catapult”


Zoe Sky Jordan, “Powerlines”


The Undercover Dream Lovers, “Rewind”


Lowland Hum, “Vedauwoo”


Sy Ari Da Kid, “Same Energy”