MailChimp, one of the most popular email services out there, shared some really cool data about how to get your email newsletters read. If you want your emails read you should send them on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. As well, people are most likely to read and respond to emails between 2 PM and 5PM, when most people are probably at their desks. So use your mail provider’s scheduler to send your important blasts at these hours. Read more here.
Pop-punk and mainstream success. 5 Seconds Of Summer or something else?
- AltPress: Why 5SOS are more important to pop-punk than you think
- AbsolutePunk: 5SOS Won’t Mainstream-ify Pop-Punk…But Someone Will
- Is 5 Seconds Of Summer just blink-182?
- Joe Strummer on punk and “Pander Rock.”
- Lefsetz on One Direction. “They’ve only had one hit.”
- 20 years ago: The Problem With Music, by Steve Albini.
- 360 deals.
- Rise Records’ Unlikely, Exponential Success.
- Run For Cover on YouTube: Tuesdays With Tay, Small Talk, Record Selection.
- Soundcloud analytics and touring.
- Hardware now, streaming later.
- What if for wearables, not headphones?
- Beats is a brand.
- Beats by Dr. Cannon.
- What’s Slint?
- Bad Timing Records: Take 10% off your order of Valencia, Mansions, Acceptance, or whatever other record of your choosing until May 31st with the code “OTR10.”
Sadly, like everything else in life, everything doesn’t always goes as planned when making a record. Throughout my years as a record producer, mixer and mastering engineer I have been the person who is called to save the day when things go wrong with a recording. Unfortunately, many times when I get this call, the solution the management and act has determined is the cause of the problem isn’t always the one that will save this record from being an unlistenable mess.
In order to know what to do when a record goes wrong often takes years of experience and an acute understanding of the process of making records. Thankfully, there are a few common mishaps that can easily point you in the direction to go, to make sure you properly rescue your record.
Beats Music (beatsmusic.com), formerly MOG, is a streaming service similar to Rdio and Spotify. Launching in early 2014, the new kid on the block packs the power of having some of the biggest names in the business behind it, including Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, Trent Reznor and visual genius Rob Sheridan. While this is impressive, Beats carries a nearly identical catalog to Spotify and Rdio, but does offer an amazing graphical interface along with some other fun features.
Promoting Your Music On Beats - You can use TuneCore, CD Baby, Distrokid and ReverbNation to aggregate your music to Beats. Once it’s there, Beats takes care of the rest. The big difference between Beats and the rest is they pride themselves on their curated playlists. Having your music on the service allows you to be added to these playlists and have fans share them with their friends.
You can also make playlists and link them all across the Internet. This is as easy making a playlist and then clicking the chain link button or Tweeting and Facebook sharing it from the page you’re on. You can make a playlist of your discography, your local scene or even your friend’s music and link the page on your website or on your social networks. Like Rdio and Spotify, you can also link to any album by clicking the above-mentioned buttons. Use Beats to promote your record on your site and give fans a free way to listen to your music on the service.
Selling Merch On Beats Music – Using TopSpin’s ArtistLink you can setup merch to be sold on Beats Music (setting it up allows you to do the same on Spotify as well). This means when fans see your page and enjoy your music you can easily like them to your merch store to sell to them.
The first episode of my new podcast I do with my good friend Zack Zarrillo of Property of Zack is now available. We discuss music, the music business, tech and a bunch of other fun stuff. You can find it on all of the various formats which are linked below as well as a summary of this episode.
How do bands act when they’re blowing up or getting hype?
- How do those in the music industry act when they smell potential?
- The Hotelier on the by-product of Home, Like NoPlace There Is.
Who Deserves Credit for Making Emo Cool Again?
- Scott Heisel v the world’s Twitter thread.
- The Wire’s excellent column on the aftermath.
- Pop-punk’s Credibility Problem, a roundtable with Ian Cohen and The Greatest Generation Tour.
Beats Music’s shift in strategy. Is it too late? Probably not.
- Beats is cool. Is Ellen? Subscriber count in the low six figures.
- Cough up 30%. Beats’ iOS in-app purchase strategy change.
- Rdio is getting better quality playback.
- Ian Rogers versus free.
Hypocrisy got its quota filled with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
- Do you feel like a man when you’re an asshole to photographers?
- Creative Commons. Worth a read.
- Is “Face Down” just a song from Tell All Your Friends? I miss 2003 (I was 12 – ZZ).
Bands mentioned: The Hotelier, Man Overboard, Modern Baseball, Transit
Apps mentioned: Beats, Rdio, Spotify
Recommendations: (I Think) I’m Leaving by Better Off, Flies In All Directions by Weatherbox, Crooks In Paradise by Crooks, Only Lovers Left Alive, and Jodorwosky’s Dune.
- Get More Fans: A 700 page, extensive guide with the resources and methods to promote your band. Detailing everything you need to know to get people to listen to your music and the art around it. Now with 20 more pages including a bonus chapter on the daily habits you can do to get fans for your music.
This article comes from Jesse’s streaming video course DIY Mastering available through CreativeLive.
Sequencing your record is an important part of crafting a great final product, yet many musicians use flawed logic.
Concepts Over Content - Sequencing your record can be an unexpected trouble in the process of finishing your album. One of the biggest mistakes young musicians make is coming in with a list of what the song order should be without ever having listened to that order. In this day and age of DAWs and iTunes playlists, there is no reason to ever do this. Before coming into the studio, experiment at home with iTunes, Garageband or your own DAW and you may discover a much different perspective than the order you thought the songs should go in. This usually brings good results. The way the moods of different songs blend together is hard for many musicians to conceptualize. Instead, use your ears and your emotions. Listen back to how they blend together and you’ll make much better decisions.
From Best To Worst - If you’re an unknown musician, it’s usually smart to make the first song on your record one that blows everyone away. But this isn’t always the right path. Countless musicians decide that they should sequence their record from the best song to their least favorite. While there are exceptions, this idea will fail more often than it will work. What most listeners are looking for in a record is an emotion and when you scatter the emotional movements of a record in a random way, it can be very disruptive to the flow of the album. Having your record’s ballads come on tracks 2 and 9 can give the listener an emotional roller coaster. While every record requires a new approach to its emotional sequencing, be sure that you don’t have a party rocking song segue right into the ballad just because they go in sequence of your favorite to least favorite. Think about the emotional experience a listener will have and you’ll have a record that listeners enjoy much more.
Sequence On Beat - Determining the space between your songs on your record is one of those subtle details that can make a big difference in the flow of your record. One of the subtle tricks that can make a record work a little better is to sequence your record so that each song comes in on beat. Making a song come in based on the tempo of the previous song can provide a natural flow. This can be especially important on recordings with rigid tempos, like many dance records.
This article comes from content in Jesse’s streaming video class Fundamentals of Mixing Rock & EDM available through CreativeLive.
One of the most common reasons people are unconfident in their opinions on how to judge a mix or master if they don’t know how to listen properly. They trust the people they work with cause they don’t trust their own ears or get confused by what to listen for. If you follow these simple steps you can easily reference and know how to listen properly to your music and make good judgements.
- Familiar – When you listen to your mixes or masters, don’t go to your friend’s Dad’s system that he paid $10,000 for. You want to listen on the systems you listen to music on everyday. It doesn’t matter if this is your laptop, car, earbuds, studio monitors or all of the above. You want to listen on the systems you listen to music on every single day. This is why it’s important to not trust your mixer or mastering engineers speakers as much as your own. You know when a song sounds good or bad on your speakers and you need to trust that intuition and relationship you have built with these speakers. As well, odds are most people will listen on these speakers than the expensive studio monitors your mixer uses.
- References – Put on a playlist of 3-5 songs you have listened to a lot and that are similar to the type of music you make into iTunes (if you use iTunes make sure you turn off “SoundCheck” in the preferences) or your phone’s media player. Next, load your mixes into the same media player, otherwise this comparison won’t work. As long as you have heard them a bunch on this system and they are close to what you do, they will work well. Don’t go crazy trying to find songs exactly like your own, just relax and listen to them. Put them on at a volume you like to listen to music at.
- Volume Match – Most of the time, your mix won’t be as loud as the songs you compare it to. Because of this we want you to get a VU Meter from the App Store on your smart phone. Once you have it, set the reading to “average” and take note of what volume you are listening to your reference mixes at. 82db is a great place to aim for, but you can also set the volume to an average listening level, that feels good to you.
- Compare – After you have listened to 3-5 of your references, relaxed and taken note of how they sound, it’s now time to put on your mix. Use the VU meter and turn up your mix to the volume of the other songs you are listening to to properly evaluate it. As you feel different opinions about the songs, jot them down and feel free to go back and forth between your references and mixes. This will get you a confident result. Now trust yourself enough to tell your engineer what you heard.
- Evaluating A Master’s Loudness – If you want to make sure your master is as loud as another release, you should not turn up the volume when your master comes on. Make sure it plays at the same volume as your reference. If it isn’t loud enough or too loud, have a conversation with your mastering engineer. It isn’t always to make your master as loud as what you reference, make sure you work with your mastering engineer on finding an appropriate volume that brings out the best of your song.
Loud records get a bad name these days and how loud you’ll want to make your own particular record is a huge creative decision. Unfortunately, many musicians don’t know how to properly make this crucial judgment call.
Standards - Every musician is going to have a different sound they’re going for. Get together a few records that you like the sound of and would like to draw comparisons to. It’s also smart to find records your producer has done so you can use them for reference. Once you have assembled these records, you have to do a proper comparison of them against your recordings.
MP3 Woes - If you’re going to be comparing MP3s to your master, make sure you have good rips of your reference material. Low bitrate MP3s or webrips do not provide accurate references. You can click to get info in iTunes to see the bit rates for these MP3s and see if they’re up to par. You also need to go into iTunes preferences and make sure SoundCheck is not on in the playback panel.
Evaluating - All of these records need to come from the same source. If you’re going to listen to your master from iTunes, you then need to listen to your references through iTunes as well. If you’re going to listen to your master from a CD, then you need to listen to your references from CDs as well. You then need to put your music on at a reasonable volume. If you have a smartphone, download a decibel meter (iOS and Android both have them) and turn up the volume of your stereo until you hit an average of 82db (for scientific reasons this is an ideal listening volume, for further reading look up “The Fletcher-Munson Curve”). If you don’t have one, turn your stereo up to a volume that you could talk loudly over the top of. Once this volume is set, don’t touch the volume knob again until the whole process is over.
Once the volume is set, put on your reference material and then put on your song (in that order). Keep doing this and take notes on what you hear. Listen back and forth for a while and make honest judgments about whether your record is as loud as the records in your reference material. In the end you should have a clear perspective on where your record stands in this process.
A few days back I was looking at Distrokid‘s website and had noticed they now had a few new sites they would aggregate to in beta and figured I would pass along the word since I think they offer a great service. For those who don’t know, Distrokid is an affordable aggregation service that allows you to pay a yearly fee to keep your music online, as well as upload as music as you would like each year. This is ideal for anyone who wants to put out a lot of music each year and have it on all the most popular services. They allow you to keep 100% of your royalties and say they will get you in stores faster than the competition. The stores they aggregate to are:
- Google Play
$20 a year to upload unlimited music.