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The awesome podcast Sound Opinions took on a great subject this week, the weird instruments that get put in rock songs. They take a really great look at the history and context in which some off instruments work in rock songs. A great way to get some cool ideas for your next track and an awesome listen. Check it!

Spotify Now Has Purchasing Power

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spotify.jpgMuch of the speculation about whether Spotify really is the second-coming of digital-download-Christ come from the fact that people wonder how artists will get paid from the service. It looks like those details just got a little more clear. You will now be able to buy music from the artists on Spotify! This is great news in figuring out this part of the puzzle, but the question I would have is, why would anyone ever want to buy music again when you have a tool as great as this at your disposal?
Have you heard the news? Michael Jackson's new LP will buck iTunes and go with Amazon for digital distribution and only allow a full album download. With that said, rumor is that iTunes is considering it's strong stance on individual song sales, meaning this could finally be the release that leverages artists power to deliver their albums in the way they want.

What will be even more interesting is if the lack of single sales will encourage more piracy. It has long been hypothesized that this would drive even more people to piracy who are not willing to pay a high price for only one song they are interested in. My personal take is that I when I know I would never buy an LP from an artist I knew I only wanted a single song from.  I would find another means (YouTube and yes illegal downloading). It is no doubt that with services like Spotify on the rise, this method is going to be met with much animosity as music listeners get even more used to getting anything they want.
Get Fresh has up another fantastic article that show you 5 services you can use to earn money from the road. If you have a Netbook there is no reason you can't pick up some extra cash on the road. While you won't be raking in the bills and hiring a butler when you get back, these methods can all help so that you aren't a starving anorexic case. Check it!
TechDirt has an article up today that shames Pandora for supporting The Performance Rights Act since it will tax radio and what it claims will bail out the RIAA. After reading this article I feel there is a big miss going on from TD's side.

Pandora seems to be a service made by people who support musicians and their community. Not some corporate monolith who thinks only of profit. They host concerts, interview bands and give back to the music community in many ways through their fantastic blogs. While the PRA may have some questionable methods (it is legislation out D.C. in 2009 what do you really expect?), in the end it will put money in performers pockets. This is important legislation for musicians and will help redistribute wealth to it's proper place - away from corporate suits and back to content creators. Missing that fact is a convenient way to demonize Pandora, but neglects the fact that many of us support this act because it is a first step in legislating a change where performers get a fare share, not just songwriters, enabling our music community to grow. Why wouldn't a music company want such a thing?
recorstorrre.jpgWe all know that one of the things that gives the major labels power over indie and unsigned acts is their stranglehold on retail power. Their power to essentially bribe stores into a more prominent display has long given them a sales advantage the rest of us don't have. The fact that 90% of the releases they put out are guaranteed to be in nearly every retail outlet in the country gives an advantage over the majority of most releases.

This has long been one of the things that holds a small artist back since no matter how hard you try, if you are unknown it can be nearly impossible to convince the vast majority of retailers to take on your record. Even when your sales are promising on a small label, it can be hard to get a distributor that services all the major retail outlets in the US. The fact is, in order to sell the amount of records of the big acts, you need to be able to be in front of buyers cash clenched hands.
The LA Times has up an article that is no shock to anyone who has worked in recording for the last half a decade. Half of LA's commercial studios have been replaced by project studios. Unlike, global warming this prospect has just about no deniers (I am really asking for this threads comment section to go to hell). to see some of the details of the changing recording studio business head over to the LA Times.
Just last week, we thought that the masses would never get to crack the sky and get an iTunesLP of their own. Then, Apple said that we too would be able to get our own special iTunesLP. In no time launched to show you how to make iTunesLPs and even gives downloadable file examples and templates. While some we're declaring the death of this format it looks like this site could breathe life into a format, that in the right hands could turn into a valuable tool.

MOG Goes Into The Streaming Music Service Game

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This morning it was announced that MOG, a music news aggregator service, will add a $5 a month streaming music and radio service that the majors and some other large indies have signed on to. Over on TechCrunch they are giving some high doubts that the service will be able to deliver since the service boasts a price tag. We will see if this successful site can weather the expectations.
baby-furniture-021.jpg Here's a statistic that will knock you on your ass. There is one state (a rather unlikely one) that's racked up more Grammy Awards than any other; but if you combined the amount of Grammys won and the amount of Grammy nominees, it's suggested they tally up more than the next 25 states combined. Who is it? California? No. New York? No. Ummmm Tennessee? No. M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I........correct.

Read how this simple statistic could shift how musicians approach Music Globalization......HERE

moby-wait-for-me-cover.jpgAfter releasing his new acclaimed album "Wait For Me", Moby (through his own label) has done something smart by palling on releasing a deluxe version with some bonus material. The second disc of Moby's new deluxe album is called an "ambient" version of the album - all reinterpretations of the original songs by Moby himself. This would be great idea for putting out the alternate versions of your songs that you probably already have. So many times bands have trouble deciding which version of a song is best (think of Wilco's two totally different takes of "Outta Mind" from Being There). That way you no longer feel torn that people aren't going to hear the sweet remix you did or dance version of the new single. It's also another great incentive for people to buy your record - you've already recorded the songs, so why not let people hear them!  But don't feel limited to a full length, even an additional EP of alternate versions could be reason enough to release it with your regular album.  

Thoughts On Artists Trading Mailing Lists

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Every one in a while my email box brings me something that I don't know how I feel about. I will notice an email that I do not give out to anyone, on a new bands mailing list who I never gave it to. With some thought, I realize I did give it to a friend of theirs, another group on their label or management or someone of some other relation to the artist. It then dawns on me that my sacred email address has been passed around without my permission. On the one hand, I don't really care since I may like this related band, and on the other this is something that is very frowned upon and not smart for any artist who wants to keep their fans trust or gain a new fans trust.

I am always up for the growing of mailing lists and hearing about artists I have never heard about. I decided that I do not mind if an artist adds me to their mailing list from another one that I joined under a few conditions:

  • It is not cloaked as something different. I want to see in the subject or the top of the body why I am receiving this email and perhaps an endorsement of the artist who I initially gave the email address to.
  • The mail should not be opt-out. I think you should get one chance to win me over by introducing me to your email list but if I do not click to opt-in, I do not stay on it.
I am sure that as more and more people see that email is the future of staying in touch with their fans and learn from Myspace's death, we will see this practice become increasingly popular. I am curious what other people's thoughts on the subject are? Let us know!
_40874468_piratecds.jpgYesterday, we discussed the idea of getting Mom And Pop record stores to give away CD samplers of your music with big name artists to help promote your music. After I wrote the article I had a few other ideas on the subject I wanted to share:

  1. If it is a small record store they may be willing to give your CD to music fans they see buying any similar artist to yours. This can be a way for the store to give their customers more of a reason to return.
  2. If you are a touring band with a date coming up in a town outside of yours, you can call and try to get the local record stores to take on this promotion. This could help your expected turn out increase if you are able to persuade the store owner.

Not a month goes past without seeing the short sighted failures of what ASCAP and their sometimes partner in foolishness BMI, are going through to make a buck these days. While no one can blame the two for going after radio stations to try to make their artists more money - seeing as it is the very purpose of what their organization is supposed to do for their artists - they may have picked a more opportune time to start pulling out the crowbar and knocking on radio stations doors to get a royalty increase.

Right now, we are in the middle of a congressional debate on The Performance Rights Act, which would give royalties to not just songwriters but performers. Seeing as the majority of songwriters are also performers this would do a great service to their artists - whose interests they are supposed to be supporting - by increasing the money they are getting paid. Instead, while a debate rages on that is already stacked against The PRA, the bright minds at ASCAP and BMI decided to strengthen big radio's argument against the act that states they already pay out so much money that legislation would cripple radio's business model. Instead of waiting for the legislation to go through the congressional body, the greed of these foolish companies has yet again conquered the best interests of their clients. If you are a member of ASCAP or BMI and agree with my stance on this issue, please email your rep and tell them to lobotomize their strategists and get a clue.
contract.jpgDigital Music News has a sobering article up today on the realities of you place in music licensing. In the article they give a great perspective that if you plan on trying to negotiate a higher rate for your licensing agreement, odds are they are just going to find someone else. The licensing world is a buyers market to put it politely, with dramatically more songs than potential placements. A great read for anyone interested in a subject we have explored a couple of times.
The slow moving music press is going crazy on the prospect that Apple would exclude Indie labels from iTunes LP's. Turns out Apple is planning on correcting this and says that the format will soon be available to everyone. From Music Week:

"An iTunes spokesman says the fee is fiction. "There is no production fee charged by Apple," he says. "We're releasing the open specs for iTunes LP soon, allowing both major and indie labels to create their own."
Great news for us all!

We save you the trouble of going to a million websites and just tell you what garbage is worth skimming over.

rapidsharelogo.jpgTechWorld has up a interesting article about how much of the new priacy they are seeing is on sites like Megaupload, RapidShare, etc. Considering these sites have much less of a legal argument does this make their day numbered. Go check out a great take on the situation.
cd-pile-200-062708.jpgA decade ago when I was still playing and bands and not spending my time in a windowless studio all day, we would often get the word out about our band with comp and sampler CDs. Pressing a small run of a 3 song sampler this would often benefit us immensely, if we could get it out to the right ears. Before the day of Myspace this was all reasonably effective marketing, but now these ideas are basically considered dead. While I am one of those people who wish the CD would die as fast as possible, there is still a way you can take advantage of small runs of CD samplers and with some hustle and smarts, use them to help your music get heard.
Are you dying to get on to Spotify? Well, Creative Deconstruction (who we told you about on a previous #FollowFriday), a blog you should already be reading regularly is giving away 20 invites at the small price of following them on Facebook or via email. Head over there read some of their fantastic posts and enter to win.
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It is no secret that online radio is one of the best ways to promote your music. With services like Pandora, Last.FM, Jango, Blip.FM and other services not only can you get your music before the ears of listeners who like the type of music you make, but you can also get paid for your plays as you begin to dominate the online radio airwaves.

It all comes down to this. As you come down to entering the studio and then recording your songs you are now tasked with one of the most difficult balancing acts ever known to man (ok... well maybe to musicians). We have written countless articles on how to avoid many of the pitfalls many musicians fall into when they go to capture their material. Read on and make something great for us all to hear.

With everyday, as the gatekeepers die and the major labels lose power it becomes more and more about just having a great song. This being the case you better start brushing up on your skills! We have assembled a lot of advice and tools for you to use to write better songs on the other side of this link.

When trying to break your music out of your circle of friends and out to the whole world, you are inevitably going to have to take on the hat of doing some publicity for your own music. As you begin to take on this large task there is numerous bits of advice that you may have overlooked on how to do this effectively. We have assembled numerous articles on how to take over the world of music and get it out there.

Now that you actually have songs recorded you need to get them out to the world to be heard. With every day that passes more and more amazing tools become available for artists to do this without the help of a label. We keep an up to date guide of everything you could ever want to know about what you should do in order to make the right choice on how to get your music out to the world.

Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Tumblr, YouTube all become more and more important everyday (well maybe not Myspace, but contrary to much chatter it is still important to know the most up to date ways to make Myspace feed your other pages). We keep musicians up to date with the most current ways to use all of these social networks to promote your music. If you are not reading our guides to social networks you are missing out on the crucial knowledge of how to promote your music with the most up to date techniques.

What separates the winners and losers is how well you handle playing live and then getting your show on the road. Playing live and touring may seem easy but there are countless pitfalls that one can encounted over time. We show you all the new tricks of the trade as well as wise advice that has been passed down over the years.

Managing a group of people and keeping everyone on the same page and motivated is one of the biggest make or break factors of any sucessful group. There are many emerging tools that can make this easier and we sort through them, all the while dispensing valuable advice on how to deal with your members with minimal chaos.

Getting covered by blogs is fast becoming one of the things that everyone wants to figure out. Sadly, there is not a lot of information out there on how to do just this. We have quite a few articles with the techniques we use to get the bands we work with on to some of the top blogs out there.