Get Out of the Garage with Converse, Guitar Center & TuneCore

Hey Indie Rockers!

Submit your music to Guitar Center and Converse’s “Get Out of the Garage” Contest for a chance to win a slew of awesome prizes (including free worldwide digital distribution from TuneCore)!

GOOTG Launch

Here’s how it works:

Submit a recorded live performance or music video here. Once you submit, get your fans to watch and share your channel through social media—views and shares help boost you up in the contest rank. Five finalists will be hand-picked to perform live at Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn where one winner will be chosen.

Click here for more details about how judging works.

And now to the good stuff, the prize package…

The grand prize winner will get:

  • A 3 Song EP produced by Dev Hynes at Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn, NY.
  • $25,000 Cash
  • Live performance at The FADER FORT Presented by Converse in Austin
  • New gear from top music instrument brands – Fender, Shure, Martin, Ernie Ball, Evans, Pro-Mark, Dunlop, Gretsch, Zildjian, Vox
  • Free worldwide digital distribution from TuneCore
  • Feature on an AT: GC Podcast with Nic Harcourt.

Ready to enter your music and start spreading the word? Start here.

Good luck!

4 Ways To Get A Better Recording

By George Howard
(Follow George on Twitter)

Paul Kolderie is one of the best and most successful producer/engineers in the business. He’s worked with everyone from The Pixies to Radiohead. He’s run and owned studios and labels.  Most importantly, even while achieving tremendous success, he’s never stopped working with young, developing artists.

In this video chat, I pick Paul’s brain to discover some key takeaways for artists who are attempting to make great recordings in the post-studio world.

1. Analog around a Digital Center

Remember, people are not digital, and voices are not digital. And so, what you do on the front-end makes all the difference. Everyone has the same basic digital set up and the same basic plug ins.  The key to distinguishing yourself is through analog elements that feed into the digital center.  This means spending as much as you can afford on a things like good quality microphones and good quality speakers.

2. Two Microphones

With the right two mics, you can accomplish just about anything.

Get one microphone that is the best you can possibly afford, and use it for a variety of things. If you want to set yourself apart, and be better than everybody else’s ProTools system, you must have ONE killer mic instead of five OK mics.

For your other mic, make sure you have a great workhorse. For Paul, this is the Shure 57.  It’s a mic that can accomplish virtually anything in terms of recording things like drums or electric guitars.

3. Make sure your instruments have great intonation.

It’s crucial that your instrument have good intonation. Almost any instrument can be set up in the best way possible in order to be in tune, and it’s imperative you do so.  This does not mean that the instrument has to be expensive, but rather that you must ensure that it’s set up right.  There’s no plug in to fix the intonation of a guitar or bass.  These instruments—the bass in particular—are the foundations of the tonal stack, and therefore must have solid intonation.

4. Be cognizant of your workflow.

Don’t change every variable of the recording process.  For instance, don’t change the guitar, the amp, the pre-amp, and the mic every time you need a guitar sound.  Instead, get a great guitar amp sound, and have that be your constant—don’t change it; instead, change the guitars that you input into that fixed sound.

Related to this, just because ProTools allows you to do hundreds of takes, be careful to listen, and not just create a pile of gratuitous takes.  Doing so results in people not thinking about the music itself.  Remember to take a listen and not look at the screen.

As we learn from Paul, like so much throughout the music business today, the key is to marry your digital and non-digital wolds. Just as I encourage you to Straddle your online (digital) and offline (non-digital) worlds with respect to things like promotion, as we see from this video, you must think that way in terms of recording as well.

[Editor’s note: Use these tips to make a great recording and sell your music online.]


George Howard is the Executive Vice President of Wolfgang’s Vault. Wolfgang’s Vault is the parent company of Concert Vault, Paste Magazine, and Daytrotter. Mr. Howard is an Associate Professor of Management at Berklee College of Music

Gadgets We Like: GoChords Makes Writing Songs Easy With Its Web-Based Tool & App

GoChords was founded on the belief that you shouldn’t need to be able to read music in order to write it. This free tool, available as both a web-program and an app (for the iPhone, iPad, and Android) makes it easy for musicians of any level to compose music for whatever instrument they choose. All you need to know how to do is “drag-and-drop” chord symbols on top of the lyrics you’ve typed in. GoChords is stocked with a huge library of chord shapes, but if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you have the option of creating custom chord shapes.

Once you’re happy with your creation, you’ll probably want to share it with your friends. GoChords lets you email your song sheet to friends, and also gives you the option of creating groups in which you can show off your chords.

Learn more about GoChords

Sign up for the web-based tool

Download the free iPad app from iTunes

Gadgets We Like: MadPad App Creates Music From A Coffee Shop

Smule, the creators of social music apps like Magic Piano and Glee Karaoke have developed an app that lets you create a whole song from your bicycle, a can of soda, a book, or any other object or sound. MadPad, compatible on the iPhone ($0.99), iPad ($2.99), and iPod can turn any sight or sound into an instrument.

Don’t believe it? Watch music being made from a coffee shop.  Or from a 1991 Honda.

When you record all of the sounds separately, you record them as video clips, which become an interactive video soundboard with which to create a song. You just tap your finger on the different clips, so that the result is your own beat.  After creating a song out of a car or coffee shop, you’re probably going to want to share that with your friends. With one click you can share your creation on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or through email.

If you’d rather ease into the app, you can play around with the free interactive video sets that Madpad comes with, like some from YouTube’s Mystery Guitar Man.

So head to your garage, or grab a book from the bookshelf, and make some music!

Download MadPad for the iPhone

Download MadPad for the iPad

Visit the MadPad site

Gadgets We Like: Voice Band App Lets You Make Music Using Just Your Voice

The Voice Band app from WaveMachine Labs lets you create songs complete with varying instruments, while using only your voice. Sound pretty cool?  It is.  You can use your voice to record up to 10 different instruments (guitars, bass, sax, synths, drums, and mic) separately with the app’s built-in recorder.  All you need to do is select the instrument you’re recording, and then sing into the app’s recorder, thereby setting the pitch and beat for that instrument.  When put together, the instrumental recordings create a full song.

The voice monitor makes it easy to hear yourself while recording so your pitch can stay on track, and the  built-in metronome keeps you in tempo.  There’s also an adjustable scale and effects like distortion, reverb, and delay.  The look of the app itself is clean and playful, making it clear that a lot of work went into its design.

As soon as your song is ear-worthy, you can email the composition to friends from within the app. If you’re at all confused about how to use the app, you can refer to the WaveMachine Labs website which has several video demos.  So how much does this app cost?  Two dollars.  I’d say that’s cheaper than buying 10 instruments…

**Voice Band is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. **

Download Voice Band from iTunes

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