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  1. Take the Time to Appreciate What You Have by Travis Bixby

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    The best advice I can give for any artist wanting to pursue a career independently is to take the time to appreciate what they have. I know that I am not where I want to be when it comes to being the best artist I can be, but I thank God every day that I am not where I used to be. I write and record songs for enjoyment out of the comfort of my home office. Sometimes I think we as artists forget why we do the things we do.

    I could sit around wondering if I’ll ever be famous, or I can make the most out of what I have. I have my gear, I have a place to live, I have a computer to type these words to other artists looking to make it in the industry. I know I am not the most famous artist on the planet, and (at this moment) that is fine with me. If I never make it further than my bedroom office, or writing songs at least I can say I enjoyed it and made the most of it. I am a bi-polar songwriter, who has a past. I did drugs and tried to run away from my life. I am not here to have a pity party anymore. I am here to enjoy myself and make the most out of the life that God has given me. So, like I said. The best advice I can give to independent artists is to make the most of their time here on this earth. Have a wonderful day.

    :http://www.independentrockstar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/On-The-Inside-Looking-Out.mp3|titles=On
  2. Finding Opportunities to License Your Music by Jason Howe

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    My tip has to do with finding TV shows that are likely to want to license your music. Music licensing is a key interest of mine, so I created a website about that too.

    One of the ways that an artist can find opportunities is by looking for TV shows that use music that is similar to their own style of music. But how do you find those shows? You can watch a lot of TV, listen for the music that is similar to yours and hopefully interest the Music Supervisor. I did a quick check and CBS currently has 32 shows listed. In prime time alone.

    Multiply that by the number of channels out there (I’ll let you count them up) and there are hundreds and hundreds of shows out there. Who has time to listen and watch that much TV? No one, that’s who.

    In comes Tunefind.com, a website dedicated to finding music from TV and movies. I think the main point of it is to help people find that song they just heard on CSI: Miami or whatever. Cool idea actually. However, when I saw it, a whole other way of using the website occurred to me.

    What you do is search for well-known (and sometimes not so well-known) artists/bands in the same genre as you or your band. You now have an instant list of TV shows that have used music similar to yours, some of which you hadn’t thought of before. Let’s look at an example.

    Let’s say you play bluesy, garage rock similar to The Black Keys (I’ll go easy on myself since I know they are licensed a lot). At tunefind.com , find The Black Keys by clicking the Artists link at the top of the page and selecting “T” (tricky!). Click on The Black Keys and you find a number of shows and movies that have used their songs. I’m looking for TV shows that have used their music multiple times (my thought is that the show has use for that type of music frequently and it wasn’t a one-time situation that probably won’t be repeated). So glancing through the list I notice that Sons Of Anarchy keeps popping up as well as One Tree Hill, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY. Cool.

    Also cool is that these shows are still on the air, which means they still need music.

    So I click on the Sons of Anarchy link and start listening to all the other music they’ve been using to get a stronger sense of the type of music they use. The nice thing about the site is that you can listen to sound clips of the songs right there too, and there’s usually a short description of the scene it was used in. This is important.

    Then what I do is go to the shows page on IMDB.com, click on the full cast and crew and scroll down until I find out who the Music Supervisors are for the show. If I can find out their contact information or start following them on Twitter, I can contact them saying you have a song that you think would work very well for a scene where Character A is in such and such situation (remember the importance of the scene description earlier?). Don’t doubt that you at least be listened to and considered.

    For more info on our band, check out www.brotherhowe.net

    :http://www.independentrockstar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/04-Undone-The-Sweater-Song.mp3|titles=Undone
  3. Helpful Resources for Independent Artists by Ally Burnett

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    This post was written by Ally Burnett – AllyBurnett.com

    Being an independent artist can sometimes be a bit hard to handle,
    especially if you’re without a manager or mentor to guide you.
    There’s a lot to learn. No matter how much you’d rather just be an
    artist and never touch the business side of things, sometimes being
    involved in the business of it is unavoidable. Here are some of the
    things that have benefited me over the years and some resources that I
    think should every indie artist should know about.

    IndependentRockstar.com

    OBVIOUSLY!

    Tunecore

    So you hit the studio, recorded some hot tracks, got them mixed and
    mastered and now you’re ready to sell them online. While there are a
    number of services that will help you do this, Tunecore is simple,
    inexpensive, easy to use and you get to keep all of your royalties.
    Not only that, but they’ve got some of the best customer service
    I’ve ever experienced. On top of getting 100% of your royalties, you
    also keep the rights to your music. An account with the site is FREE.
    As far as the cost of distributing your music? It’s $9.99 for a
    single and $49.99 per album. You can even choose what stores to
    deliver your music to; everything from iTunes U.S., Canada, etc to
    other stores like Amazon, Rhapsody and more. Tunecore makes it really
    easy to keep track of your sales by offering weekly trending reports
    as well as monthly sales reports. They also offer three different
    payment options: direct deposit, check and paypal. If you want to
    distribute your music efficiently, choose Tunecore!

    ASCAP/BMI/SESAC

    If you ever plan on doing anything with your music, you’re going to
    need a PRO (performing rights organization). I chose ASCAP because it
    came highly recommended by industry friends and I’ve been happy with
    my membership. ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and
    Publishers, is responsible for making sure that I get paid whenever my
    music is on TV, radio, etc. ASCAP is also pretty set on protecting
    musicians and their rights. As far as PROs go, ASCAP has the most
    artist friendly terms. Register your songs, manage titles and keep
    track of cue sheets and royalties with Member Access. If you’re
    shooting for getting your music out there on TV and radio, make sure
    you’re signed up with a PRO beforehand so you can get paid for
    performances.

    While you may think the $35 application fee is a bit steep compared to
    BMI’s free registration, keep in mind that ASCAP has much more
    artist friendly terms. But hey, you’ve got free will so decide for
    yourself.

    http://www.ascap.com/join/
    www.bmi.com
    www.sesac.com

    Facebook Ads

    Want to get more traffic to that fan/artist page of yours on Facebook?
    Run an ad. Facebook Ads makes it really easy to reach out to new
    people and gain new fans. You can even choose who you’d like to
    target your ad to. Think your band sounds like it belongs on Fueled By
    Ramen’s roster? When creating your ad, you have the option to type
    in a bunch of FBR bands and Facebook will target your ad to people who
    “like” those bands. The best part of advertising with Facebook?
    YOU get to set the price. Decide how much you want spend daily ($1.00
    minimum), let your ad run and see results. Facebook Ads are actually
    kind of revolutionary if you consider how much it costs to advertise
    elsewhere (magazines and major websites charge thousands of dollars),
    and how much you can tailor your ads to your needs. Remember, you’re
    running your own small business so promote it.

    Purevolume

    Now that Myspace is pretty much done and over with, I’m noticing
    that Purevolume is getting its mojo back. When I was a teen, I used to
    rely on Purevolume to help me find new and great music to listen to.
    The site is awesome for listeners and artists alike. Getting a pro
    artist account is well worth the $69.99 a year. Let’s say you put up
    a new single and it gets so many hits it lands you on the Top Songs or
    Top Downloads list. The good people running the website pay very close
    attention to things and often give homepage placements to people
    topping their charts or artists that catch their attention. Being an
    artist with a pro account means you can get that homepage placement,
    it also means that you can purchase front page placement to promote
    whatever you’ve got going on with your music. New song? New video?
    Exclusive stream or download? Promote it with a placement and watch
    the traffic increase in large numbers. Pro account or not, Purevolume
    is probably one of the best sites to stream music from. A lot of
    artists also offer site exclusives, which makes it great for fans too.

    www.purevolume.com

    Copyright.gov

    PROTECT YOUR MUSIC. It costs $35 to file for a copyright and you can
    do it all online at www.copyright.gov. This is one really important
    thing that so many independent artists overlook. You wouldn’t go
    skydiving without a parachute, would you? Don’t “put your music
    out there” without taking the steps to protect it first. On the off
    chance that you ever find yourself in a copyright dispute, you’ll be
    happy you did.

    I hope that these tips and resources can be helpful to those that are
    struggling to grasp how all of this stuff works. Take a deep breath
    and relax, you’ll get the hang of it!

    www.purevolume.com/allyburnett

  4. What is Crowdfunding? by Rob Lawrence

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    This is a guest post from Rob Lawrence of Agenda Red

    In the old days, even Beethoven had to source funds to compose and play.  He wrote pieces for patrons, including Prince Lichnowsky, where he depended generosity in exchange for private performances and copies of his work.

    “Crowdfunding is Beethoven with Social Media” – Brian Meece, Rockethub

    It’s the latest buzzword yet it’s an old idea. The idea behind ‘crowdfunding’ or ‘fan-funding’ is that an artist or band pitch a concept, such as the release of an album, to potential investors, usually fans, who then fund the work in return for a signed CD, an intimate gig or some other creative product, event and the sense of being part of an artistic piece of work.

    Many [fans] want to contribute to their artist’s art yet do not know how.  Crowdfunding is perhaps the how.

    Patronage on a micro scale

    Things have moved swiftly forward since Beethoven and the launch of sites such as www.sellaband.com

    Beethoven didn’t have twitter or blogging contests to help him develop great projects.

    The concept, in a business sense, is not a new one. Entrepreneurs gain investors and capital by creating a business plan. If the plan is seen worthy and well researched it has a greater chance of support and, therefore, manifestation.

    If the total required is raised, the project is executed.

    Some crowd funding sites allow you to pitch for a certain amount of money in a certain period of time, say 30 or 60 days.  An example in the UK being www.wefund.co.uk. If the target investment is met during the specified time, the money is withdrawn from the investors and the project goes ahead.  If the target is not met, no money is taken.

    The Crowdfunding Manifesto

    Brian Meece of RocketHub shares advice and tips on this podcast giving an insight to how to create and execute a successful crowd funding project highlight:

    • The three pillars of creating a successful crowdfunding project
    • The key things you need to consider when pitching a project
    • What the most popular ‘price points’ are for fans/investors

    Brian shares inspiring examples including a New York singer/songwriter who grew support through her love for food and an artist who gained a chunky one-off investment by offering surfing lessons.

    Act carefully

    It is important to consider, when embarking on any plan that requires asking others for their cash, that your credibility is at stake.  You must deliver on your promises.

    Having a mind-set to over-deliver may be in your favor.

    Fan or crowd funding is not something any artist should rush into without careful planning so research is critical.

    • check out the links above
    • think about what may delight or surprise your fans
    • consider the network you already have

    You may also want to hunt down and connect with those that have already successfully completed a crowd funded campaign.

    Fans

    There are 1.3 billion people with regular internet access in this world.  If you can attract 1% of 1% of 1% of them – that’s ten thousand fans.

    Whilst many artists seek to find a greater number of new fans, it’s important not to lose focus on the ones you’ve already got.

    Crowdfunding can be about using the depth of your existing fanbase as well as the width which means you can get creative and sell premium work to just a few people.

    Have you executed a successful crowdfunding project? What do you think about the concept?

    Share in the comments section below.

    Related links:

  5. Ten Important Tips For Aspiring Professional Musicians! by Gregg Wright

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    Guitarist Gregg Wright

    TEN IMPORTANT TIPS For Aspiring Professional Musicians! by Gregg Wright

    I’ve had the blessing of a 30 year career making a living doing what I love most . . . creating and playing music. It’s carried me to every corner of the earth. I’ve worked with some of the most fascinating and amazingly talented people on this planet, too numerous to name. This is not by chance. I work very hard at being the very best “professional” musician I can be. If you want a career playing music, here are ten “must know” tips to help you achieve and maintain that goal:

    1. Practice Makes Perfect: There is no substitute for hard work and getting to know your instrument inside out. Hit the “woodshed.” You want to be able to play easily and smoothly, whatever an artist or producer asks of you.

    2. Always Be On Time: This is one of the most important marks of a true professional. Music is a business and runs like any other business or profession. Time is money! Too many musicians think because they’re talented, they can show up whenever they want. Big mistake!!! I remember when I worked with Michael Jackson. He was a real stickler for being on time. If you showed up late, you simply disappeared and your services were no longer required. What a shame if you lost a great gig like that because you couldn’t be on time!

    3. Be Well Prepared: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen excellent players show up to a session or rehearsal completely unprepared for the day’s work. If someone gives me a tape or CD of material to learn, by God when you see me again, I will know that material better than you, inside out!

    4. Have Good Gear: Invest in yourself! Have the very best gear, whether its guitars, amps, effects, etc. Be sure it’s always in reliable working order. A good musician can make crap gear sound great. Imagine what that same musician can do with “great” gear. Good gear can be an expensive, but worthwhile investment. Nothing can replace a great sound!

    5. Be Nice: Why do so many people have the misguided notion that being difficult or unpleasant makes you a better artist? Being a jerk doesn’t make you “edgy” . . . it just makes you a jerk! Trust me; nobody wants to work with a jerk!

    6. Communications: There was a time when musicians waited for gigs by the phone. This is clearly no longer the case. I’m talking especially to you older players! Today’s working musician needs to have his or her communications universe in complete working order. A laptop, business cards, cell phone, web presence, social media, etc. If you don’t have these tools at your disposal, many of which are free you are completely out of the loop. You literally don’t exist!

    7. Have Reliable Wheels: Very hard to be successful if you cannot get from point A to point B on time, with all your gear, ready to rock.

    8. Get A Passport: Kind of hard to do those international festivals without a passport. Proper documentation for everything is paramount. Get it done!

    9. Show up Sober: Save the party favors for after the gig or session. Nobody wants to pay their hard earned money to watch you stagger around the stage and miss notes because you have double vision and can’t see your instrument clearly!

    10. Be Realistic: In many ways, this is the hardest, because there are so many falsehoods and false notions in show business. My personal philosophy for keeping it real is simple; the world was perfectly fine before I was here and will be perfectly fine after I’m here. It doesn’t need me, you or anyone else. It’s up to each of us to contribute something positive and uplifting while we are here. The world owes us nothing! The true mission of the musician is to uplift, heal and bring people together. Humble yourself! Serve the music and your audience faithfully, and wonderful things will happen.

    *This article originally appeared in American Blues Blog www.americanbluesblog.com

    Written and updated by Gregg Wright
    ©2011 Left Hook Music

    Photo by Salva 1745

    To learn more about me visit www.greggwright.com

     

  6. ThrillCall

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    The following is a guest post from Svetlana of ThrillCall.com.  She’s offering free accounts to IR readers.  Check it out and let us know what you think! – Scott

    Artists! Promote your live shows!!! Thrillcall makes it easy as 1-2-3

    Thrillcall is a cool live show data company. They build web-services products with independent artists in mind.  Their latest live show promotional tool is called The Thrillcall Nucleus, and just as you presume Nucleus is a web-based hub for event and ticket promotion across all your social profiles. This tool automatically creates Facebook Events for you, lets you easily manage groups of social networks (if you happen to be promoting other musicians) and many, many other useful things. The top three benefits can be boiled down to:

    1. It cuts your event-to-social-network posting time down to 1/3

    2. It promotes your event info to an additional ~1M users on the Thrillcall Network

    3. It’s totally FREE for you, fellow indie artists!

    Thrillcall – is the most comprehensive live show and ticket listing on the web, make sure you participate in the fastest growing online community for live music fans!

    Please contact Nucleus@thrillcall.com to get your Thrillcall Nucleus account today.

     

  7. The Power of Music

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    This post was written by Hunter Wade

    Is music a responsibility? Specifically, as a musician do I have an obligation to honor the power of communication that music is?

    I studied music therapy in college and we were taught a lot of things about the physiological effects of music. This article isn’t about showing or proving those effects.. I mean, if you are playing music there’s a good chance that you have felt connected, linked in, rooted in an energy beyond anything experienced in the ‘normal’ world and thus I don’t need to provide much evidence.. I’ve personally experienced altered states of consciousness from both playing and listening to music, that’s enough for me.

    So if music can do this for us, don’t you imagine it has a power to affect everyone in this way?

    A song is a structured form in which each participant gets to bring forth their own creative expression inside of a context that unites all participants in a single meaning.

    Whether we are doing so deliberately or not, we are uniting a lot of people in a meaning every time we play a song. We are infusing them with an energy and sending them off programmed with that emotion.. We are handing out drugs.. literally aligning people with an idea.
    Do we get to play an ignorance card here, or do we want to be held accountable to ourselves for what we are communicating? Maybe it’s accountability to the eternal idea of music.. I mean, what are we in our skin if not music, vibrations, rhythms, energy infused with meaning..
    Now, for those of you who answered yes to the above, WHAT do you think we could do with music that would have a lasting positive affect in the world?

    Many already are doing their best to share stories that shed light on the human experience. Composers are evoking emotions that have been dormant since we were kids. Bands are showing us the synergistic effects of creative teamwork..

    What if we come together and state an intention to use music deliberately to encourage empowered thinking?.. empowered behavior?.. And I speak here of authentic empowerment, which is a self awareness and confidence that encourages individuals to bring their best self forward in every moment.

    I’m curious how it may look. Do you think it’s already happening? Do you even think it’s possible? If not, what else do you suggest? Because I live in a really awesome world, and I feel like it’s in pain.. And I think music is the cure.

    Maybe our Youtube videos could start going antibiotic. =)

    I look forward to your thoughts and ideas because EVERYTHING, including this author here writing, the reader reading, and the very writing being read, started out as a thought.

    Peace to the Single Cell!

    This post was written by Hunter Wade

  8. 5 Important Considerations To Make Before Entering The Studio

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    Jon Ostrow (@miccontrol) is the cofounder of MicControl, a music blogging community that bridges the gap between musicians and music bloggers.

    Although there is less money being made from recorded music than in the last few decades, there is still a demand and probably will be for quite some time. As an emerging musician, it is up to you to take advantage of every opportunity possible to increase your revenue, supply value to your fans and get one step closer to making music a sustainable career.

    But before you enter the studio, there are quite a few considerations that you should make to help you remove some of the overwhelming and time wasting components of the process, and should help you to maximize the potential of the opportunity. The following are just a few of these considerations:

    1) Designate ONE Person To Make The Final Decisions

    Egos always have and always will play a big part in being in a band. While there is nothing wrong in taking a democratic approach to running a band, the recording session is not the time and place for this. You’ve only got so much time, and you don’t want to waste half of it in a bickering session. Give one person the responsibility to make the final say, and stick to it.

    2) Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations

    Both time and money are the main issues here. In any situation, you will only have so much time and money, and neither will get you as far as you think. So you need to plan accordingly so that your final product is as close to what you had originally intended as possible.

    Realistically, you won’t keep to whatever schedule you set in place for the recording sessions. But you would be amazed at how quickly 2 hours can slide by when you just can’t quite nail a harmony, or tempo change. In other words, you may not keep the to schedule, but it gives you a sense of progress and a frame of reference to work against. Going in without one is just foolish.

    A good idea is to avoid overbooking a recording session. If you think you have enough time for 10 songs, cut it down and actually work with 5. This will afford you the leniency needed to perfect each track as opposed to rushing just to make sure you fit all 10 tracks in.

    3) Master Your Material

    Make sure you are not just comfortable with your material but you have it down, through and through. This means knowing your own parts separately from the song as a whole. The reason for this is that in many situations, even if the band is primarily a live band that feeds off of the chemistry between band members, you may still need to record tracks individually. If this is the case, you don’t want to be caught off guard not knowing your own songs front to back.

    It is also important to make sure that the song forms are ‘recording ready’, meaning you have gone through and worked out all arrangements. Word to the wise, even if you are a improve focused back, remove or cut down the extended jam or solo sections from the songs – listening to a 15 minute scorcher is great live, but is a bit daunting on a studio recording.

    4) Make Sure You Have The Right Direction

    In terms of branding and marketing, your finished product should truly represent you and your band, and your sound. If you have a selection of 15 songs to work with, pick the 8 – 10 that best represent the overall sound of the band. Imagine you were giving someone an elevator pitch of your music, and use that pitch to decide which songs best showcase the image and sound you want to be known for.

    It could also be a good idea to examine your existing fan base – both in a live setting as well as a recorded setting, and see which songs best resonate with them.

    5) Use The Recording Process As An Opportunity To Create An Experience For Your Fans

    Social Media is all about fan engagement and communication. It is about creating an experience for your fans. With so much information and music being consumed as such an incredible rate through Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and all of the others, fans are becoming more dependent on staying in touch with you at all time. Satisfy you fans by taking advantage of these social media outlets, and giving your fans the personal experience they now crave, by giving them an inside look into the recording process. Here are a few easy ways to make this happen are:

    • Youtube Video Series
    • Daily Blog Series
    • Photo Journal using Instagram App for iPhone
    • Tweet Using A Dedicated Hashtag to Allow Fans To Follow Along w/ Recording Specific Tweets
    • UStream Sessions While Recording Is Happening

    What Would You Recommend?

    Everyone has a different experience in the studio and there are tons of good ways to make the most of the situation. What would you recommend that others consider before entering the recording studio?

    - John Ostro