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A recent study showed that most people believe renters insurance costs up to 15 times what it really does. This is no shock since 2 out 3 people who rent don't have insurance on their belongings. You don't need to be one of them. For a couple of hundred dollars a year you can make sure that any of the numerous things that keep you up at night worrying will not happen to your equipment and dreams. Obviously, insurance rates vary from city to city and how much equipment you own, but I find many bands I know are shocked at how cheap it is to add $10 ($2 a person) a month to each band in a practice space's rent and find that they now are covered for any of the horrible things that can go wrong there. If you practice in a members home it would be smart to get everyone to contribute to this fund as well which will also insure the rest of the home. Don't skip on a easy and cheap way to make sure you have the means to accomplish your dreams.

Do you have some spare time? Perhaps your friends do and you are taking our advice and having a get-together to get some band work done? We all know your fans want some lower priced merch and one way to achieve this is by doing the screen printing yourself. This not only saves you money, but it enables you to sell your merch at a lower price and still make a good profit. Above, is a great video that will teach you how to do it yourself. Remember, the more merch you sell, the more walking advertisements you have in the world, so keep it cheap and recognizable. 

There's a great quote that was brought to the rock world via the genius movie 24 Hour Party People:

"It's my belief that history is a wheel. "Inconsistency is my very essence" -says the wheel- "Rise up on my spokes if you like, but don't complain when you are cast back down into the depths. Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it is also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away"
With that said Jay-Z seems to get this and as per many of his assaults on the current state of hip-hop he recently answered MTV's question about why he attended a Grizzly Bear concert in Williamsburg Brooklyn this weekend. What he said was a great insight about how genres play off each other and the ebb and flow of how music moves back and forth through eras where each genre pushes forward and makes challenging music and then descends into medicrity to be replaced by another genre.

"They're an incredible band," he said. "The thing I want to say to everyone -- I hope this happens because it will push rap, it will push hip-hop to go even further -- what the indie-rock movement is doing right now is very inspiring. It felt like us in the beginning. These concerts, they're not on the radio, no one hears about them, and there's 12,000 people in attendance. And the music that they're making and the connection they're making to people is really inspiring. So, I hope that they have a run where they push hip-hop back a little bit, so it will force hip-hop to fight to make better music, because it can happen, because that's what rap did to rock."
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This is from my Facebook news feed today. I see this or something like it about once or twice a week. I know that a lot of studies come out saying people want to buy music and that teens don't all steal music but my Facebook feed would be a great argument against these studies. For those of you not in the know the record being shared is not out yet, and I have seen this one go across Facebook 4 times this week. Anyone who has read Frank Luntz's Words That Work knows that polling and studies can be quite skewed easily and I challenge all of you to take a real look on the ground if you you still believe in the very obsolete theory that file sharing is not 75%+ of the way music is spread today.
We have spent a lot of the past 6 months telling you how Twitter should be done. With all that said, we know that there is more than one way to skin a cat or in this case, tell the Internet what you ate for lunch. Kevin Breuner of CD Baby has written a great article on how to use Twitter that has a lot of advice we have never thought of and some stuff that we have said to do differently. Even though we have a difference of opinion on some of this stuff, Kevin makes great points and he very well may be right on a lot of this stuff (it isn't science). Head over to his blog and see what he has to say and get another intelligent perspective on how to use Twitter.
Are you looking for people to work with musically or in things like album design? MyMusicCircle is a new site that hopes to be a directory for talents and gigs across the music industry. Seeing as we are a scattered industry that thrives off the referrals of others this can become a great resource. Check it out and get yourself listed.
dropcard.pngWith more and more people losing interest in CDs and only wanting to download their music, it seems that download cards are becoming one of the only solutions that will get people to buy their music at shows. While Dropcards have been around for quite a while, with each day that music fans get converted to digital downloads they become all the more relevant. When bands are out on tour they need a way to get gas in the van today, not when they get paid from iTunes in a week. Download cards are cheap way to get money into the money box fast and get people to pay for your music on impulse while they are still high from the rush of your live show. It is also easy for fans to download your record after a show from their easy to use interface. One of the things I like about Dropcards in particular is the ability to put custom artwork on their card which fans can then hang up on their wall giving your band free advertising. Get them today for people like me who do not want another CD taking up space in their apartment. 

New Music Strategies has up some great interviews from the streets that talk about the new music model and what many people think is going to happen to the new music industry. These videos by a group called Broken Records look to be pretty awesome with some great content. Head over to New Music Strategies for the full deal.
1037ud2.jpgOver the years we have seen some very, very lame publicity stunts to get artists in front of the public eye. Last night, Gawker posted an item that Warner Brothers will now be placing artists on California State Lottery Tickets. This barftastic news is another one of those ideas where you have to wonder if this is really the best use of time and limited resources that go on in the major label bubble fantasy world these days. I think not.
Last week we linked you to a great article by Ariel Hyatt where she interviewed Deirdre Breakenridge about many obsolete PR techniques and some of the new ways people are breaking through to get exposure. Today, they are back for even more. Read up so you don't fall behind.

Pandora One Desktop App Goes 2.0

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Pandora has announced a major upgrade to it's desktop app. If you are a fan of this service you are bound to enjoy these new features:

  • You can now view your song history. Just click on the album art to reveal arrows to navigate through the last hour of your playlist. Thumb up (or down) or buy any song that played in the last hour.
  • We've added a progress bar. Want to know how much is left to play of the current track? Just click the album art to reveal the time elapsed and remaining for the current track.
  • Windows users can hover over the system tray icon to see the name of the currently playing artist and song.
  • The app remembers where you placed it on your desktop and how loud you like your music. The next time you start it, it's right where you left it.
  • Song transitions have been sped up so you don't need to wait long for a thumbs down to get rid of the current song.

Last night I got an instant message from a friend with a link. In this link I found the soundboard you have above this writing. In the past few years we have all grown to love the fun of soundboards and most of them are funny at first and get old fast. This one was different playing it was fun and it didn't get old immediately and I found myself liking the instrumental track sounds, so I went and listened to the song and sure enough the marketing plan worked since they just made a fan out of me. There is about 1,000 posters for Mr. Guetta's record around my apt., but none of them made me feel compelled to listen to this record, but this soundboard definitely did. I call that a great marketing technique. Try it and have some fun. 
luggage_300.jpg International tours are a mandatory second language not only for weathered bands who have earned their stripes, but also for upstarters that are looking for an extra boost.With the global market, one of the quickest ways to separate your band from the rat race is to generate an international fan base. Having an international fan base potentially means a larger market pool, which ultimately leads to increased album sales.However, first things first, to generate a fane base and sell albums overseas you must first tour. Touring abroad is no joke and a far cry from hoping on a plane to backpack Europe.  Learn the ropes at: Music Globalization.  

Last week for our FollowFriday pick we suggested Derek Sivers. One of the reasons we suggested him is he continually brings amazing content from outside the music industry into it. This week was no exception when he linked Elizabeth Gilbert's awesome speech on creativity. If you value your originality or struggle to get a more unique voice I highly suggest you watch the above speech. In his blog he explains the real beauty of this speech and writes a piece that gives a added bonus to a great speech. Check it out.
BandCentral has put up a great article that shows some of the full potential they offer to artists by starting a blog. In their current blog post they discuss how to manage your fans. A great read for anyone who is curious about any of the emerging band management services.
Last time, we explained that having your music remixed by other artists can be a powerful promotional tool. We suggested putting it up on torrent sites and and told you how to get the part you will need for an effective remix. This time we will give you a few other ideas on how to seed your remix, and how to get the word out about it.
Modern life is awesome! Thanks to the kindness of others and the open source movement there is free software that does an amazing job of nearly any task you could want to do. In this new series we will point out many of the amazing software options available to you for free that help level the playing field so that anyone with a good idea can get it out. For other installments go here.

At some point in your career in music you are going to need to do some graphics work. Whether it is album or flyer design you are probably going to need to get a little technical with it. If you don't feel like lining Adobe's pockets just to make a logo for your next music project there is Inkspace. Inkspace is a open source alternative to Illustrator and can be had for free right here.
Everyone in the music industry loves a good Terry McBride interview. Thankfully the awesome website Crazed Hits does tons of interviews with industry figures and they have served you up just what you were looking for. Listen now.
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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.