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Cat Records.jpgNote: This article is best enjoyed if you have read this one first for the back story on this theory.

In the past we discussed the idea of just recording a song or two to go viral. Instead of going this route you have decided you are going to make either a EP or an LP. But how many songs should you record? Good question! After the jump we will discuss some ideas and considerations. 
pay_me_what_you_owe_me_trucker_hat-p148269104075967983uhx7_400.jpgAccording to a high level executive, the record industry will seek to put their grubby little hands in the pocket of the Pirate Bay sale.  If you recall, the Swedish software company Global Gaming Factory recently bought the Pirate Bay for $7.8 million and vowed to try and obtain content legally (ahem, yeah right).  Since a Swedish court awarded the music industry 3.6 million in damages  April, the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) now wants to sack the new owners with the debt and intend to come calling for their cash.  Perhaps they would settle for some free music/movies instead?  Somebody better hire a lawyer and fast.  More on the full story here
Yesterday, we told you all about TopSpin and how everyone in the music industry thinks they are the future of bands doing amazing things in this business. We also told you about how Myspace is dying which means it may be a good idea to get your website up to snuff. A part of the thing that makes TopSpin very awesome for bands is their amazing stats and analytical tools. These tools can show you which cities your fans are in, which websites are driving traffic to your websites, how many people are coming to website and buying things, looking at your videos and much more.

There is good news for you! While TopSpin has some really amazing tools for this information, there is a way you can get to a lot of the relevant info that we listed above. Google Analytics is a piece of software that can tell you all of the information I listed above. This information can give you concrete information on what marketing is working for your band and many other things like these.

  • Which ads your band has taken out are working to drive traffic to your site.
  • Which cities people are buying your music in so you can properly route your tours.
  • What parts of your site people are taking advantage of so you can build upon them. You can see if people are watching videos as opposed to looking at pictures etc.
  • How many people are coming to your site and buying your music.
  • Where people are coming from to get to your site. Is Twitter working to get you traffic? Is a certain record review working to get you lots of sales? You can use all of this info to decide how to keep marketing your music. 
You can install Google Analytics on your website or even your Tumblr blog. It is as simple as pasting in a piece of code to all of your pages. To make things easy we have an amazing tutorial from Smashing Magazine on a lot of what you should know about Google Analytics. Read up on it and in the future we will show you how to use all of this information and apply it to your band!
NME is reporting that Coldplay are the first band to cross the one million mark in digital downloads. In what will follow with many more Coldplay are now in the record books. Go to NME for the whole story.

Revive Your Tour Van's Air Conditioner

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If you are cruising around in your tour van with a dilapidated AC system you are probably painfully aware of the fact that it is really hot out. Previously we told you how to get your practice space cool and now we have a tip on how to get your working, but not-quite-cool AC to be nice and cold again. Wiki-how has a great tutorial here (via LifeHacker).

Everyday it becomes more important for you to be an awesome cameraman for all your YouTube uploads. Whether it is making YouTubes of your live shows, tutorials, webisodes, tours of your studio, whatever you want to have a nice high quality shot before you broadcast it to the Internetz. LifeHacker has the deal on making an awesome $10 DIY Steadicam mod so you can get a smooth picture like the one above. Pretty awesome!
gnrconcert.jpgIt's getting exciting and crazy around here. Here are three stories you should check out that we find interesting and strange.

This article is not meant to be read unless you have read our article entitled The Difference Between Networking, Being Social And A Total Douchebag.

It's a sad reality for a lot of people. As comfortable as it is to stay inside and hang with your significant other all the time, if you say your goal in life is to get signed - this is doing you no good. I say this as someone who knows it and has become a bit of a shut in (this blog may have a bit to do with that), but the reality is that while you may sometimes cling to the stories of the band that was anti-social and stayed home and wrote songs - those are few and far between. It usually helps to have at least one band member to go out and be an ambassador for your band. After the jump we will discuss how to do this painlessly for all of you socially awkward musician types.
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Ut Oh! We warned you this was going to happen, but we are shocked at how fast! If you still sign into Myspace like me, you are probably seeing what I am - less bulletins, fewer status updates from your fat friends talking about what they ate, and really outdated pictures of your friends. Sadly, there is two pieces of data to back it up. From ReadWriteWeb:

"Bill Tancer, Hitwise GM of Global Research recently wrote about MySpace's departure as a top traffic generator for entertainment and music sites. Says Tancer, "MySpace was the most significant contributor of traffic to entertainment - multimedia sites providing over 35% of traffic to the category...that percentage now hovers below 10%."
I conducted an experiment of my own while in a daze of insomnia I scrolled through Myspace many of my studio's recent friends. Particularly the bands that have been friending the studio, taking a quick listen to a lot of the ones with more than 1,000 plays to see if any of them are worth writing to about recording. I was dismayed to see about 50% of them haven't signed into Myspace in about 2 weeks!!! That's bad and not very 2006. So what are you supposed to do?

  1. Despite All The News Your MySpace Music Page Is Still Important - Google searches still land there, but make sure you are driving your fans to your other pages.
  2. Use Ping.FM to update your Myspace statuses for everyone who still uses it and to show people who land there browsing around the web what you are up to.
  3. Tired Of Checking Your Myspace, Leave An Away Message
  4. Get a mailing list collector from ReverbNation or FanBridge and embed it into your profile
  5. Make sure links to your Twitter, Facebook and website are all over your site. Remember get people to follow you other places where they will be getting updates.
diamonds dick.jpgI grew up on punk rock. The last thing you would do in the scene I grew up in is network. In fact to this day if someone talks to me about networking I throw up in my mouth. When people network we often hear what they are really saying aka "what can you do for me?" When someone is a total douche-bag and is blatantly trying to use me to help their band using empty compliments and ego inflation, I instantly turn on them. This is what I like to call being a douchebag. Networking just feels slimy and business like - some I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine type stuff. In punk rock we knew we needed to be social and work together to get our movement stronger (and look where it got us). We were social and genuine in helping each other, we worked to get each others backs scratched without a sliminess or expectation. After the jump we will go over how you can apply this and learn how to not be a networker or a total douche-bag and instead be a real person while getting your band further.
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TopSpin is one of the most exciting things about the new music industry. Between being praised by Trent Reznor as the example of how artists should be approaching their music today and working with some of the most  awesome releases today they got time to make a website that explains what they do as opposed to just a blog.

They describe themselves as a technology driven platform for direct-to-fan marketing, management and distribution. What does that amount to in English?

  • Probably the best designed embeddable widget in the business. With the ability to play songs, videos, and buy music in a fast and easy format. Bands like one of our favorite no triumphs of not having a label victory, Metric put this widget on their websites front page Myspace, etc. Even you can put it on your site if your just a enthusiastic fan like me.
  • The ability to see data about where your fans are and how they behave. When you are independent you are able to hold on to this data and hold on to it for your whole career rather than having to try to get it from the fourth person who was in charge of your bands marketing while you were signed to a label.
  • Help in delegating physical sales and physical distribution.
  • Getting a little quote happy from their site: We help you catalog and sell your content in the highest quality formats (lossless audio and HD video, if you'd like), including any digital products you'd like to offer (we've had artists include images, PDFs, screen savers, Flash movies, and more in their packages). You can also sell physical merchandise - you've probably seen artists sell t-shirts, tote bags, signed posters, phone calls and in-person meetings via Topspin over the past year. The Topspin platform makes it simple for you to combine digital and physical goods together into unique packages and price points to appeal to a broad range of fans. This is far beyond the $0.99 download in terms of value to you, the artist, as well as to your fans; the options are limited only by your creativity.
  • A whole lot more! TopSpin is unfortunately choosey about who they can work with but this doesn't mean you can't learn from their awesome ideas and bring it into what you are doing. Study this site, they are the future!
As our readers know I am at war with Chris Anderson's brain (or lack there of). I found a great article from Bill Gurley that has a great synopsis of the debate and some added insight for anyone who wants to read what some great thinkers are saying about it as opposed to me making Blingee's and insulting this clown. Get informed.
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For those of you not familiar with Judge they were one of the seminal hardcore bands out of the NYHC movement. As a huge fan of this stuff growing up I never cared much for Judge but my friends would always argue that their record Bringin' It Down was one of the greatest records of all time. However before they could make what many kids wearing hoodies in mosh pits consider to be one of the best records ever made the band recorded Chung King Can Suck It. A record named after the studio they recorded it in after they were unahppy. This record was a scrapped version of the Bringin' It Down that after the band listened back they decided was not up to par. According to an amazing story in Decibel magazine this month, their label Revelation Records had already placed ads and done pre-orders for the record as well as mastered and pressed the record. This resulted in them pressing a limited edition run which became Chung King before they re-recorded the record. It is now one of the most sought after pieces of vinyl in the hard core record collecting circle, but most who have heard it regard it as a poorly executed version of what it would later be recorded as. After the jump we will discuss a few great lessons you can learn from this story.
ropeadope_logo.jpgWhen a record label displays actual integrity by being faithful in offering fans quality music from real artists year after, people take notice.  Rope A Dope Records is celebrating 10 years of fantastic music and an incredibly manicured brand image.  Medieski Martin and Wood, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Charlie Hunter, North Mississippi All-stars and DJ Logic are just a few of the seminal artists who have released records on the Philadelphia-based label.  We recently sat down with founder Andy Hurwitz to dive deep into subject like the future of record labels, how to make actual money and starting off in the music industry. 
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Yahoo News has an interesting article today that has an interesting tidbit:

"The labels have made it very clear to me that they want to manage the CD down ... because they fear it is cannibalizing potential digital sales," he says. "The labels see it as a declining business and will no longer invest in it" beyond the big-box merchants.

But Tuchman says labels should view the CD as a different business from digital downloads, and one that targets a different demographic. If the labels look at it from that perspective, and cut prices and invest in other music merchandisers, then the CD can be incremental business for them, he says.

"Christmas depends on how much real estate we have left," Tuchman says. "We don't see much of a change in pricing from the label side ... so we think music will continue to fade. By Christmas merchants will have a much smaller music section, so I am not bullish."

Interesting news that could lead to evening the playing field for indie artists even more by denying the major labels the access to better distribution. Get those download cards ready!

hubstv.pngYesterday we received one of those emails we love to get - a website that is looking to help out unsigned bands. That website was Hubs.TV, a create your own music channel of videos type site. Users can program their own channels. You can comment, create channels, and do many other cool things with the site. We suggest checking it out for yourself. If you want to get your video on the site simply login and use the contact button.
gnrconcert.jpgBillboard The Journal Of Dead Music Ideas has printed an article on how Paramore thank Jesus they got a 360 deal and how these things are just the norm, cutting edge and you better get used to them. Wow guys! Way to get a bunch of kids not old enough to be able to legally drink to talk about how much better their band is for signing away rights they never would have signed away before. Neglecting the facts that most 360 deals are like a game of russian roulette for a band with 5 bullets loaded in the shaft when it comes to which bands they actually work for and make profitable. But, we will just ignore that and celebrate another idea that tries to keep the major labels in their houses in the Hamptons. Good job guys, keep up that award winning journalism! Oh yeah, they want you to pay to read the rest of the propaganda, keep it classy!

Do What's Important Not What's Easy

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One of the things that can really kick start whatever you want to do with your musical life is to learn how to distribute your time. As the gatekeepers disapear getting far in the music business becomes more and more about how much work you can get done for your band. Though that isn't necessarily the case, what is really important is getting the important work done, not just some work.

It is very easy to sit at home chat on AIM with your friends while making a million Myspace friends. It is easy to go to practice and just rehearse your songs and not write a new one. If you really want your band to go somewhere one of the cheesiest business like things you need to do is identify what work is important to get done not what is easy and fun. After the jump I will show you how I sort my to do list to make sure I get what is important done.

Martin Atkins, author of Tour Smart, is an endless wellspring of creative ideas and is constantly pointing in the direction of the future.  In this discussion he talks about following your creative force and going with your instinct.  In addition, he makes a great point that it's not just about being good at your instrument, it's about the difficulties of being in a band and taking the pressure as well.  As usual, right on point.    
504x_portac.pngIt's getting hot out finally (well at least in Brooklyn), we couldn't be more happy about it too. Except when we walk into a band's cramped not the least bit air-conditioned practice space. Thankfully we are here to help as always. Here are a few tips on how to keep your band practice cool so you want to actually stay in there and and practice.
  1. How To Buy An Air Conditioner - If you got the money at least spend it wisely. Read this article and you will know what's up! Check Craigslist if you are are poor.
  2. If You Already Have One Change The Filter - If you think your air conditioning gets worse every year it is probably your poor skills at changing the filter.
  3. Get Free Air conditioning With A DIY Heat Exchanger - A bit crazy but it may work for you.
  4. Save Money And Stay Cooler with a Whole-House Fan - A awesome idea, but may be hell on your sound proofing,
  5. Hang A Damp Towel to Cool a Hot House - This is one idea that I had a roommate swear by and I think I only believed it worked, when I was so hot that I nearly passed out. You can give it a try. There is also 23 other ways to beat the heat here.
  6. Build A DIY Portable Air Conditioner - A little crazy but you may be crafty.
  7. Remember to keep the air moving. Ceiling fans are really easy to install (even I have done it)! Having fans moving air especially industrial strength ones really make a difference.
Ouch! The kids on Absolute Punk are losing their minds and destroying recent Fearless Record's signing Breathe Carolina for something that isn't even their fault. It appears their album cover artist borrowed heavily full on stole their album design from another artist. Despite this not being the bands fault the kids are crucifying them. This is another reason that it helps to go with an established professional for your album design.
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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.