Success Or Death

segway-death-meme-generator-i-have-come-for-your-soul-7467e8“Success or Death” should be your new mantra.

Without dreams we are nothing.

We might as well be dead.

I will tell you this: Please DO NOT think that your success is defined in the music business by how much money you make. If that is your goal, then I politely suggest you quit now, or wrap you head around this: Please DO measure your success by how much music you make.

Make great music. Make music that makes you happy. Make music that gets you out of bed every morning. Make music that is an escape from the responsibilities of everyday life.

Do this and consider yourself a success!

What are you doing right now?

What steps are you taking to reach your goals and make your dreams a reality right now?

How will you define your own success right now?

Dropify Facebook Like For A Download Tool Now With SoundCloud Previews

Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business (Excerpt)

Dropify has long been a great way to trade downloads for Facebook likes. As you can see above, we use it to trade Facebook likes for the excerpted version of our book. They have now upped their audio tools and will allow you to let listeners listen to a SoundCloud stream of your song before they decide if they want to download your song. This makes this tool all the more powerful for those looking to increase downloads. Check out their blog to learn more.

Tap Into The Brazilian Market

br-lgflagSimply based upon economics and demographics, Brazil is set to explode like no other country on the globe.  With a population of 196 million and the 6th largest world economy, Brazil will see an added economic injection within the next 4 four years.  In 2014 Brazil takes the grand stage as host of the FIFA World Cup.   In 2016, over 10,000 athletes from 193 countries will grace Brazilian soil during Olympics.  These two events alone are estimated to boost Brazilian tourism beyond 165 million visitors within 3 years and generate unprecedented economic impact on tourism, not to mention added media attention.  Here’s what you need to know to capture the Brazilian market. HERE

How Can We Help – 7/12/13

Wanna get your DIY music promotions questions answered and promote your music?

Do you have questions about promoting your music or building a fanbase? Leave it in the comments and we promise to get back to you or even write a post featuring you that answers your question. If we think your question would benefit our readers we’ll post a YouTube video of your song on top of a post that answers your question. No matter what, you will get an answer this week as long as you leave an email address (so we can let you know when we answer your question) and a YouTube URL for your video.

All we ask in return is that if we answer your question, please help us spread the word about our book, Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business.

5 Things Rock Groups Can Learn From Dance Groups

1. Releases More Singles, Fewer Albums - Listen, I know all your favorite bands put out LPs that are your favorite things on earth, but before you can become everyone’s favorite band, you need to find your sound and get people talking, so people enjoy it and hear about it. Every time you release a song, you give fans, blogs and your friends a reason to talk about the new thing you are doing. This helps you get more fans and important people paying attention to you. If you watch the musicians who get blogged about on The Hype Machine, most of them are pumping out a new track every 30-60 days. Stay in the new cycle and you’ll be talk about all the time as well.

2. Don’t Rush Into Releasing A Record – Like I said, all of your favorite bands put out LPs and you love them, but you may not be ready for this. Finding your sound and building up a following before pounding the world over the head with a LP can really help you to grow enough as a group to be ready to make such a large statement. Take the dance group, Classixx who are receiving boatloads of praise for their debut album. They’ve pumped out tracks regularly for years and slowly found a sound that suited them for a full length. They waited and now that they made a great, cohesive record the whole scene is talking about them. This doesn’t happen when you rush out a jumbled record that is all over the place. Take your time and release some singles or EPs and find yourself.

3. Make Your Live Shows Exciting With A Visual Element – Nearly every dance act–big or small–projects videos or power point presentations behind their live set. Many attribute to this dance acts being not much to look at, seeing as pushing buttons a laptop isn’t the most exciting thing anyone’s seen. But is strumming a guitar that much more exciting, when everyone has seen it 0983209382 times before? The fact is, one of the reasons dance acts pack in so many people these days, is they give fans the choice to move to the music or watch casually and still be entertained. Doing this can not only intensify your live sets but make those inclined to go for a drink during your set to stick around and become a fan.

4. Doing A New Spin On A Song Is Basically A Remix - We all know tons of dance acts get a ton of exposure from doing remixes. Tons of rock groups also get tons of exposure from doing covers. But why not combine the two? Get stems that artists provide of their song and put your own slant on it, using your sound and some elements of the original. Remix stems are everywhere today, use them to do something new and interesting with a song instead of the overdone dubstep version.

5. SoundCloud Groups Are The Best Place For Musicians To Socialise On The Internet – When it comes to finding writers, DJs and like-minded people in the dance scene there is no better place than SoundCloud groups. But rock bands just don’t seem to embrace this as much as they should. Start your own or joining those that are starting up. Now is the time to make great connections get exposure for your scene in these groups.


Blasko Answers Your Questions

Dear Readers, We have another post from Blasko, who you might know from his role as manager for Black Veil Brides, helping market Zakk Wylde or playing bass for Ozzy Osbourne. In this one he answers some FAQs and calls for you to write him with your own. I hope you enjoy it – Jesse


~ I do on occasion receive industry insider questions from some of you. Here are a few that I will do my best to answer:

1. How is an artist/band selected to be on your roster? What do you look for in an artist/band?

Typically I look for bands that are hard working. Ones that have already built some buzz on their own by taking their careers into their own hands. What I do NOT look for are bands looking to get to the “next level” without putting in the initial work themselves.

2. What do you consider to be a “successful” artist/band?

Success is arbitrary. I always say to young bands- Define success by how much music you make, not by how much money you make. Ensure that your music has integrity.

3. What exactly is your firm’s job for/to the band? (Tour booking, Legal representation, etc..?)

To simplify, the manager is the CEO of your band business. All managers take on different responsibilities depending on the needs of the artist.

4. You most likely have a dividend of the earnings, how is that acquired? (album sales, tour?)

The manager is paid by a negotiated percentage fee of the artists income. This number can vary. A typical percentage is 15% of the gross income.

5. Is any of those earnings owed if the band does not make it?(break up, no crowds?)

15% of 0 is $0.00.

6. How is the marketing done, through YOU? The band? Do you hire a marketing firm?

As labels lean more towards sourcing out this component, in my opinion I feel that aspect of an artist’s career should be handled by the management.

7. Does your firm ONLY answer to labels, or do you take on indie artists/bands as well?

We are living in a new age. Artists are reinventing the wheel as we speak. None of us will succeed if we keep a narrow focus. This is a new era for the music business and the possibilities are limitless.

8. What steps are taken to BOOST your artists’/band’s repetoire and sales?(details are a plus here)

There is no magic answer here… if only it was that easy. Every artist requires different attention to detail. Square pegs do not fit in round holes without some kind of modification.

9. Have bands been recommended to you that you have taken on? If so, how does one recommend them to you?

Yes. All of my clients have been referred to me. I am grateful to have made those connections. I try to repay those favors when I can.

Hit me up:

Yes, You Now Need To Make Instagram Trailers For Your Music Video


As you’ve probably noticed, Instagram now allows you to post videos–which means you can now see adorable photos of your friends cats, food, dogs and babies. But as a musician this also means you can preview your new video for your fans on Instagram by editing together a trailer and posting it to the service. Yesterday, Todd’s band Sensual Harassment premiered their awesome new video (which you can see above) and did just that on Instagram. It’s a smart way to get more views for your latest video, so be sure to take advantage of it.


Bands: Enter The Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands


Dear Musformation readers who are in rock bands,
This year I am one of the four judges for the final round of the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands which is a competition to open for Jane’s Addiction, Alice in Chains, Circa Survive and Coheed & Cambria. If you are chosen for the opening gig, you then go on to have the possibility to win much bigger prizes. Check out the information below and best of luck. 

Unsigned bands can enter to win a chance to play live on the Zippo Encore Festival Stage powered by Ernie Ball at Uproar in their market this August and September. Finalists will compete for the grand prize, which includes a coveted spot on the 2014 Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival, the opportunity to record an EP with legendary producer Jay Baumgardner at NRG Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA, a record deal, $10,000 worth of music gear, national radio exposure on hardDriveRadio, and other prizes.

The judges for the 2013 Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands include: Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains), Duff McKagan (Walking Papers/founding member of Guns N’ Roses & Velvet Revolver), legendary producer/mixer Jay Baumgardner, and music industry jack-of-all-trades Jesse Cannon (author of Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business).

2012 Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands winner Chuck Shaffer Picture Show will perform on the entire Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival. The Richmond, Virginia band recorded their new EP Temporary Fix (released June 25 on iTunes) with legendary rock producer Jay Baumgardner at NRG Studios in North Hollywood as part of their grand prize package.

To enter the Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands, bands must complete a short informational profile and upload at least one MP3 to the Battle Of The Bands website ( Entrants should use the Band Promotional Toolkit provided in their profile after logging in to promote their entry on the web and drive fans to vote. Fans can also register to become an official contest judge.

The top 100 Buzz Rated bands in each participating tour market will be judged by a panel of industry professionals and Uproar artists. This panel will choose the winner for each local U.S. tour market. Winners for each local market will be announced two weeks before that tour date. The winner in each city will perform in the opening slot on the Zippo Encore Festival Stage powered by Ernie Ball at the 2013 Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival. Each tour market’s winning band will be eligible to compete for the grand prize. One band will be chosen by the panel of judges to win the Grand Prize package from the Rockstar Energy UproarFestival and Ernie Ball Music Man.

The grand prize package for the 2013 Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands winner includes:

  • A coveted spot to play live on the entire 2014 Rockstar Energy UPROAR Festival
  • Record an EP with legendary producer/mixer Jay Baumgardner at world famous NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA
  • A record deal
  • $10,000 worth of music gear
  • Professional photo shoot with rock photographer Lisa Johnson
  • Exclusive editorial feature in Revolver Magazine
  • Feature on
  • National radio exposure on hardDriveRadio (syndicated to 110 stations in the U.S.)
  • One year supply of Ernie Ball Strings
  • One year supply of Rockstar Energy Drink

Blasko Presents: The Music Biz Quiz


Dear Readers,

This is the first post of a regular feature from smart music marketing mind Blasko, who you might know from his role as manager for Black Veil Brides, helping market Zakk Wylde or playing bass for Ozzy Osbourne. I hope you enjoy it – Jesse

Are you cut out for a career in the music biz? Honestly answer the following questions and find out…

1. Do you love writing, recording and performing music? YES / NO
2. Do you hate your day job? YES / NO
3. Are you willing to make sacrifices and take risks? YES / NO
4. Can you live on $10 a day? YES / NO
5. Do you think most bands suck? YES / NO
6. Are you typically a lucky person? YES / NO
7. Do you know what social networking is? YES / NO
8. Do you like to travel? YES / NO
9. In your opinion, are you great at what you do? YES / NO
10. Do you acknowledge that statistically you have little to no chance being a successful musician? YES / NO

If you answered:

YES on all 10 – Congrats! You will probably do well in the music biz.

YES on 5 or more – Not a total loss. Try and improve your answers to YES if you are truly serious.

YES on #6 – Well, anything’s possible. I would say good luck, but I guess you won’t need it.

Interview With Director Rob Soucy (Alkaline Trio, Defeater, Man Overboard)

Rob Soucy has been making great looking videos for years. One look at the playlist we’ve assembled above you can see he has a great grasp on making a good narrative for cheap, while keeping with the feeling of each band and song he works with. After reading the interview below you will see he has put a lot of thought into this process and has a ton of wisdom you can learn from for your own videos. Read on and check out more of his work here.

So how did you get into making music videos?

I grew up in Massachusetts and was active in playing in punk and hardcore bands when I was a teenager. I always knew I wanted to work in the film industry or play in a band, so I figured music videos was a good way to get involved because it took a certain level of understanding of both mediums. At 16, I dropped out of school to tour in bands full-time. I met some new friends in LA that were in the film industry and thought… “Holy shit, these guys are getting paid to play with cameras and sit around craft service tables on movie sets. Why can’t I do that?” I always wanted to make movies, so fuck it. I moved to LA and started PA’ing and learned the craft of film making. I literally have done every shit job there is to do on a film set, from getting coffee’s for some weird producer to holding Paris Hilton’s dog while she orders a latte. I’m fortunate to be a bit older than some of the new wave of younger filmmakers today because it was more of an exclusive right of passage 8 – 10 years ago to be granted permission to learn filmmaking. You had to pay your due’s in the trenches of assisting before you even touched a camera. With the turn in DSLR technology over the last 5 years, I just feel it has become way more saturated and common to be involved in the film/video world. As I progressed with my directing career of the years, a lot of my friends who stayed in music we’re on a parallel rise with their bands, so when it came time to make a music video – I was their guy. It’s something that honestly just fell into place organically.

What are some of your favorite videos made by others?

I’m a fan of the classics. I’m a 90′s kid so a huge portion of my mornings getting ready before school were watching music videos while eating cereal. Every weekend sleepovers with your friends you had MTV after hours on late night and you would hit the record store and buy any tape you saw with a video featured on MTV Buzzworthy. I really enjoy the early Hype Williams stuff. All the work he did with Busta Rhymes was a perfect video every time, especially “Put your hands…” A bigger influence is all the early Spike Jonze stuff. This dude knew what the fuck was up. I loved all his work with Weezer like “Buddy Holly” or “Say it Aint So.” In recent years, my favorite music video could be Spirtulized “Soul on Fire.” In my opinion its one of the greatest videos made in the last decade. The cinematography, story telling and performance in my opinion cant be matched by most of the rock videos out now. I take a lot of influence from it.

What are some characteristics of videos that you personally enjoy?

Personally I enjoy the short form story telling aspect. It’s fun to let a story unfold through over a 3 minute period. It’s like making a short film. I like the challenge of approaching a new project, and having to work within the boundaries of a songs context, a band’s visions, a label’s budget and ridiculous deadline and the TV’s censors. It forces you to constantly find creative ways to convey your story. It can be a bit of a headache at times, but it only makes me a better filmmaker and understanding that I take enjoy from it. I also enjoy closely working with the artist. When you’re working with someone you completely vibe with, and feed off each other it shows in the final piece. I love collaborating and what is truly special about the process of filmmaking is that it’s the ultimate form of collaboration. There is a specific person for every detail of what goes on the screen. The make up, the wardrobe, the image itself, the color of the image, the performance of the actor, the direction of the piece and the set or location in which the piece takes place. And yah know what? Every single person for the job, has their own personal vision and way of doing things, so as the director it takes constant clear communication from me to work together in order to achieve the final vision in harmony.

When a band comes to you to do a video and you want to work with them what happens next? Do you generally come up with an idea or do they?

When a band or label approaches me about a video it’s always different. The label or band approach me with the song and lyrics and request I submit a treatment and then we bounce ideas off each other until everyone feels comfortable and then we green light the video to get made. We then hire a producer and dive into pre-production. But typically how it works is the video commissioner from a record label will reach out with a song and their budget. Then I submit a treatment along with 10 other directors or so and the band goes with the treatment they find most fitting for the song. Sometimes you’re given some direction in how to theme the video but 75% of the videos I direct personally are my own ideas. To be honest, it seems the younger the band the more direction and vision they need from me. The older the band the more they know what they want and how they want to be shown to the world. Whatever the approach is, my number one goal for every music video I do is NOT to just make a cool video, but to make a video that is the visual representation of the song and the band. One of my favorite music video directors (awesome film director as well) Joseph Kahn said once… “If you’re first thought after watching a music video is ‘holy crap! that VIDEO was awesome!’ The director didn’t do his job. It’s about the whole experience of the SONG and ARTIST being awesome.” That always stuck out to me because I couldn’t agree more.

You use a lot of dark imagery in your videos, yet they still remain clear and crisp? What goes into that is it all technical measurements or have you don’t a lot of experimentation to get there?

There are a few different factors that go into this. Primarily, my work tends to live in the shadows. What I mean by that, is I have always been drawn to more high contrast and minimal lighting set ups which it give it a dark or shadowy feel. I’m a huge fan of using available and practical lighting. I like my pieces to have a feel of neorealism. I want them to be real, but a bit polished with a sense of cinematic flare. Seeing that a lot of the subject content my work tend to derived from ominous or “dark” story lines, it’s usually fitting. There is a lot of technical factors that go into it. Understanding light and how it works and how to work with it and manipulate light is the most important part. Its taken years of failing and trying again, and I’m still experimenting every day!

You’re videos consistently have a narrative in them aside from a band just performing like many video these days. What do you do to make this narrative clear since it can be hard to convey a message without dialogue?

Simplicity. I try to keep things very simple in order to not confuse my audience. I try to look at the root of the story I’m going to tell and take a basic narrative approach. Music videos are an amazing storytelling tool because without the use of dialogue, you cant explain or say a damn thing to your audience. I know in a lot of film schools, some of the first projects you are asked to complete is explaining a story without the use of dialogue or sound. I look at music videos as the same tool. I’m fortunate to have a career where I constantly get to experiment with new ways in storytelling. It’s perfect preparation for transitioning into feature film directing which I am in the process of doing now.

If you were on a budget what is some bare minimum equipment you can get away with making a good video with?

Well every job calls for a different gear set up. As a director, I am hell-bent on being in tune with every creative detail of the piece. I try to focus more on the creative and hire a Director of Photography and Gaffer to handle all equipment headaches and woe’s. When I am doing a low-budget gig and it calls for just me I usually resort to a Canon DSLR camera package. With the boom in DSLR filmmaking, there are endless options for creating sensational images with no money. For lighting I enjoy a few Kino Diva Flo Lights or some L.E.D. Lite Panels for the real low-budget stuff. I mean I have lit music videos with construction work lights before. They are shooting feature films on iPhones for chistsakes. Its amazing the looks you can get with no money today. It just takes a matter of what works for you in your budget for what you need.

What are the pieces of equipment you use that give a lot of value for very little money?

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge gear head. My time goes into focusing on the creative side of my pieces. But a piece of gear that REALLY catches my eye these days are products such as the Kessler Pocket Slider. There was a time in the film world where you had a dolly grip, and 3 other grips leveling out a JR Fisher dolly and endless amounts of tracks to get a dolly shot. Now a days for a few hundred bucks you can do it by yourself and carry it anywhere in the world. May I also say this… There’s an old saying in show business… “It’s all just smoke and mirrors.” I can’t tell you how much of that statement is actually fact. In all seriousness… A fog machine from Party World, for $30 bucks you have transformed the atmosphere of your set.

Anything you’d like to say before we finish?

I have a new photography book coming out this month called Seeing Red. It’s a collection of photos and stories from my life abroad living in China through the better half of 2012. If you’re interested in my work, please pick it up from my website.

Stay creative, thanks for your time and always use your head when you’re buying a hat!