"Getting your music featured in a TV show, movie or even a video game can not only help your music reach the ears of new fans, but also generate a substantial amount of cash, so it's well worth looking into sync licensing.
Before we get into the HOW, let me very quickly explain WHAT music sync licensing is and WHY you need to strongly consider licensing your music for synchronization. If you already know you want to license your music and why - feel free to skip ahead!
Music sync licensing is basically placing one of your songs in a YouTube video, on a TV show, in a film or in a video game. In exchange, you get paid a synchronization fee upfront and, depending on where and how often the track is played in public, on TV, for example, you also get paid royalties.
There are other ways you can license your music - you could license a composition to a performing artist for example, but, for the purposes of this post, let’s keep it simple. We’ll focus on licensing music for film and TV.
1- It can be more financially rewarding than any other revenue stream available to indie musicians
2- You can do it from the comfort of your own home
3- It won’t negatively affect your day job or family life since you can easily work on it on your own time
Now the money doesn’t have to be the be all and end all...
Having a track featured on a popular TV show can also blow up your plays on streaming platforms and become a great promotional tool. On top of that, I’ve mentioned it before but it’s well worth repeating…. sync licensing your music also allows you to work from home, at your own pace, without any huge financial outlay to get started.
So now that I’ve made my point about why it makes sense to invest some time in licensing your music, let me give you the 3 main strategies that are available to you.
1- Get a publisher that will find, negotiate and sign licensing opportunities for you.
2- Place your catalogue in music libraries and benefit from the traffic these platforms get.
3- Build relationships yourself, bypass publishers and libraries to license your music directly to customers.
As with everything, there are good points and bad points to each of these 3 options.
Good points: The publisher takes care of all the boring admin stuff and leverages their relationships.
Bad points: High-end publishing deals (those that will help you advance your music licensing careers) are sometimes exclusive. That means that if the deal doesn’t work out for you (and it can definitely happen), you’re stuck.
How to mitigate the risks? Make sure you don’t sign a lifetime exclusivity deal. Keep the agreement period reasonable. Negotiate an advance that makes sense for you. That means it should be big enough that you’re not in trouble if you don’t get a single deal from the publisher.
Good points: Once you’ve set up your tracks in music libraries (under non-exclusive deals, you can upload your catalogue in multiple libraries), the income you get from these platforms is passive. There’s no extra work.
Bad points: There are so many music libraries of varying quality that it’s difficult to know where to start and easy to suffer from information overload and analysis paralysis and do nothing.
How to get started? Take it slow but take action. For example, you could aim to submit 3 tracks to 3 libraries every week. You don’t have to start big and have a huge catalogue of tracks ready. Slow and steady is a good way to go.
How to avoid mistakes? You can’t avoid “mistakes”. You will absolutely waste time on some libraries that go out of business 3 months after you’ve been accepted. That’s ok. It’s part of the game. Just make sure you stick to non-exclusive libraries or very short-term exclusive deals (say 1 year). This will ensure your career doesn’t stall because of so-called “mistakes”.
How do you know which libraries to send music? You don’t! A library that does a good job for me won’t necessarily be a good fit for you. To some extent, you’ll need to spray and pray when you’re first starting out.
Pro tip: You can check a library’s monthly traffic for free using tools like SEMrush or Serpstat. This is helpful to evaluate big music libraries. Keep in mind, however, that small boutique libraries may generate very little traffic and still have great relationships in the industry. They may be more hands-on and available to discuss your music as well.
When first getting started with music licensing, a combination of options 2 and 3 is ideal.
First of all, you’d need as much time researching publishers as you’d need research music libraries, might as well stay in control of your catalogue then!
Secondly, publishers usually won’t want to sign you until you’ve proven you’re financially viable. Publishers who want to sign you before you’ve had any success are not always good news…. Whatever their sales pitch, it’s more likely that they’re taking a punt on your music and trying to beef up their roster to look more impressive and professional. That doesn’t mean they can’t work for you. It just means that there’s no guarantee that they can make you any money and signing your catalogue over to them on an exclusive basis is probably not a great idea.
If you’re a more experienced and seasoned musician who has seen it all in the music industry, then that’s a different story! You can probably smell a nasty scam from far away. In that case, if you find a publisher that seems like the right fit for you, it could be a great deal that saves you a lot of time and effort.
With that in mind, let’s get back to options 2 and 3…
Here’s why I encourage all indie musicians who are getting started in the music licensing business to approach non-exclusive music libraries and start building their own relationships.
First, researching and submitting to music libraries is a great way to discover the world of music licensing, to understand what kind of music is being used on TV and film, what a license agreement looks like, how you get paid and all that super important information that you’ll need to know if you’re going to start making decent money.
Second, going direct-to-customer is like a real-life MBA that costs you nothing! Researching and talking to potential customers gives you immediate feedback, good or bad. If nobody wants to license your music, it can mean 3 things: the production quality is not up to standards (poor quality product), you’re pitching to the wrong person (wrong market), you’re not pitching the right way (bad communication).
Pro tip: The problem is rarely the music itself. You can find licensing opportunities in any genre if you have a good product(ion), take the time to do your market research and work on your communication.
Most people have noticed that video is often the most effective way to both spread your message AND create engagement with an audience. People watch more and more video all the time. In fact, here are 5 quick facts:
#1. 80% of 18-49 year olds watch YouTube.
#2. We watch over 1 Billion hours of YouTube content everyday.
#3. Facebook videos are viewed 8 Billion times per day.
#4. 4X as many consumers say they prefer to see a video about a product than read about it.
#5. By 2020 analysts predict 80% of consumer internet traffic will be video.
So, with all that in mind, we all need to be considering video content. The big question becomes what kind of video to make? What will actually help you stand out from the millions of other videos being created every week? We can help with that.
I divide most business video content into four levels:
Don’t hire us for this. Don’t hire anyone for this. These updates should feel as organic as possible and connect viewers directly with your staff. These work really well on Facebook and Instagram, quick, slice of life things that don’t require a ton of production. Keep them short and engaging!
Example: A weekly update of industry updates.
Purpose: Keeps your followers engaged. Most views will come through the audience you’ve already built.
We have all seen these, someone on the screen telling us about a product or service.
It’s a straight pitch and can be effective when strategically deployed. If you want people to believe in your product, it’s well worth ensuring you put some production quality into a promo video like this. These videos should make you look like a pro and a leader in the industry.
Example: A video explaining the new tooth whitening options your dental office offers.
Purpose: These video can be effective in getting the word out. Most views will come through curious researchers and paid campaigns.
This is honestly where the great stuff starts for most people. If you can create something that has an emotional impact on viewers you are going to get way more pay off per viewer. Whether you make them laugh, cry, or shout with joy, they will remember your ad and hopefully pass it along to some friends.
Example: A humorous scripted scene about how your product saved the world from certain doom.
Purpose: These video reflect your personality and help people connect to your product or company. Most views will come through shares and digital engagement (a well targeted ad spend can certainly start the momentum).
This is the future of marketing. Every day people are inoculated a little more against advertising, especially Level 2 advertising. We have trained our brains to watch for the “skip ad” button (unless we are truly engaged) and even on TV, advertisers are constantly fighting a losing battle against PVRs and ad free streaming services. However, there is another way:
When you sponsor content that has it’s own artistic and/or entertainment merit, people will not be trying to skip or ignore the content. They will be seeking it out!
Not only will they be seeking out the video content with your name on it, it will actually improve their brand loyalty significantly more than you pitching features at them. We know brand-differentiation is often negligible, and many people don’t trust ads anyways. However, your saavy customers understand that short films, music videos, web-series and other quality content take money. Be the person who brings them something they love and you will be rewarded.
Example: A touching short film about a little girl and her dog, brought to the world by your pet store.
Purpose: These videos build your reputation, they place you at the middle of the conversation, and they have the potential to spread well beyond what a traditional ad can. They can bring in new audiences as your collaborators and their fans are share the content (as well as you of course), you even have a shot at generating some really positive press.
Let us help.
If you are interested in learning more about any of the above, or need any sort of video project completed, give us a call or e-mail anytime.
One of the major goals of any entrepreneur or an aspiring businessman is to build a sustainable business. But what exactly is a sustainable business? In the present context, business sustainability refers to the overall business model and the decisions taken in the realm of financial and social aspects. Building a sustainable business is all about building a business with a long-term perspective in mind. Building businesses and ventures that offer short-term monetary benefits are relatively easy and require less thought and efforts into action. At the same time, sustainable business models have a very high capability to make money when compared to the non-sustainable ones.
Before we get into the part whether music streaming businesses are sustainable or not, let us briefly know the story of music streaming services. Much before these music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Prime Music were in the picture, the CD records and their sales were the only way people got to listen to their music of choice on demand.
The advent of music streaming began with Napster. Napster made use of peer-to-peer exchange method for sharing music files and streaming them. This new method sent ripples of shockwaves all across the record companies and artists. With this peer-to-peer sharing system, people started sharing music illegally without paying for the music they listen. After two years, Napster lost the legal battle to the record companies and artists for copyright violation. The end of Napster’s era and the beginning of Pandora Radio almost happened simultaneously. Launched in 2004, Pandora radio started off as a music streaming service which had automated music recommendation and internet radio services. Though it started initially as a paid service, it then became free and made its revenues through advertisements. As of today, it is a free music streaming service.
After Napster and Pandora Radio, the entry of Spotify in 2011 followed by Apple Music in 2015 happened. As of now, these both services have been the most successful music streaming services ever. From a culture where people were used to buying things and owning them, they have slowly evolved to purchasing their access to them but not owning them. Initially, people owned music CDs; now they’re purchasing their access to these music tracks.
Another important development in the field of streaming services, in general, was the rise to prominence of YouTube. YouTube has rapidly grown and established itself as one of the most used streaming service ever. Though YouTube primarily is a video streaming service, people use it equally for audio streaming as well. Despite the fact that YouTube doesn’t help you in discovering new music and keeps showing the same songs you’ve listened to, many people use YouTube for music streaming. A recent study said that YouTube has more music streaming than all the other platforms combined.
Now, when it comes to the sustainability of the music streaming services, two things are to be understood. One, if they are purely streaming music and are charging based on the advertisements, and are not connected to any product (like a phone, for example, iPhones and Apple Music), then they are not sustainable, and there is little to no chance for those services to make it big. Two, if the streaming services produce unique content alongside streaming other artists music, then they can be sustainable. The main issue with music streaming services is the fact that the amount of money made by the artists is lesser when compared to the CD and record sales. At the same time, YouTube also underpays the musicians when compared to music streaming services. Therefore, in this perspective, music streaming services have the edge over YouTube.
However, for these streaming services to succeed, they mustn’t purely depend on the music by other artists. By building programs, shows and creating content of their own, they can capture a user community and keep them in a loop. Like how Netflix produces its originals, these music streaming services also need to produce their own original content. Doing so will lead to sustainability in the long run. A music streaming service that goes by the name of Saavn creates its own podcasts and exclusive interviews that are aired every week through its audio streaming app. Apart from that, this company also has two services. One is the regular method of streaming music and listening to advertisements in between. Two, buying their premium service and going ad-free. Also, by having a large group of people subscribing to your services is essential. Retaining the users that come to a particular music streaming service also plays an important role in the success and sustainability.
Business models like these have the capability to sustain. Without a unique selling point and differentiating their services, music streaming cannot become a sustainable business. Creating original and unique content while offering competitive pricing plans alongside a top-notch UX and UI will make music streaming sustainable. By following the footsteps of successful streaming services and understanding their USP, one can build sustainable music streaming business. On the whole, music streaming business can be sustainable, only if built in the right way.
Musicians often focus on making it onto curated playlists, whether that’s Spotify’s own weekly compilations like New Music Mondays or alternative playlists built by independent users. However, if your aim is to gain more streams, getting on algorithmic playlists like Discover Weekly and Release Radar can be much more effective.
Spotify UK’s director of artists and management is on record saying that Release Radar alone generates more streams than any of Spotify’s self-curated playlists. But why? And how can artists start to take advantage of this and get on Spotify playlists like these?
Before we delve into Release Radar and Discover Weekly individually, here are a couple of pieces of advice that apply to getting on both of these algorithm-based playlists:
RELEASE NEW MUSIC REGULARLY
It stands to reason that the more music you release, the more chances you have when it comes to landing on Spotify users’ Discover Weekly or Release Radar playlists. However, quality is more important than quantity, so if your output is high, make sure the standard of each release is high too.
MAINTAIN ALL ON-GOING PROMOTIONAL EFFORTS
Focussing completely on Spotify is an all-too-common mistake. If you become fixated on Spotify playlists, you’ll miss out on other promotional opportunities, including live shows, social media ads and email marketing for musicians, which all have their specific benefits and can positively affect your performance on Spotify in their own way.
It’s also important to understand how Release Radar and Discover Weekly work. Then we can explore how to get your music featured.
Each Spotify user receives their own unique Discover Weekly playlist every Monday morning. This playlist is based entirely on that specific user's music tastes, and is not put together by Spotify’s editorial staff, but instead by a clever algorithm which analyses individual listening habits and spits out similar songs that a certain user may not have heard before.
So how can you increase the chances of your music being included in a potential fan's Discover Weekly?
GET ADDED TO OTHER PLAYLISTS
Spotify bases it’s Discover Weekly selections heavily around other playlists across the platform. That’s doesn’t just mean playlists with a million followers. It uses data across every playlist to determine tastes, artists similarities and what other listeners might enjoy, whether that’s a playlist with thousands of daily listeners, a user’s private playlist, or a public list with just a few followers. They all count.
This quote comes directly from a Spotify exec and offers a simple explanation of how Discover Weekly is compiled:
"We look at what you've been listening to. And what are the songs playing around these songs that you've been jamming on, but that we know you haven’t heard yet on Spotify."
"Let's say you've been playing a song by The Killers and a song by Bruce Springsteen a lot. Algorithms look for how those songs are played and ordered in other Spotify users' playlists. If it turns out that, when people play those songs together in their playlists, there’s another song sandwiched between them that someone has never heard before, that song will show up in your Discover Weekly."
MAKE GREAT MUSIC & BUILD ENGAGEMENT
Let’s get this one out of the way. If your music sucks, you’ll have high skip-rates and low listener engagement/retention and you won’t get picked up by Discover Weekly.
On the other hand, it's not all about how many streams you have. Generally a track with at least 20,000 streams has a good chance of making the cut, but more important metrics from the Spotify algorithm’s point of view include the proportion of your tracks that are listened to all the way through, how many people save it, add it to their own playlists and share it on socials etc. This kind of engagement is key.
Although Release Radar is still based on an algorithm, it’s a little less complex when it comes to understanding how and why music is included. Just like Discover Weekly, every weekly Release Radar playlist is unique to each user. But rather than bringing up artists the user has yet to discover, it provides up to two hours’ worth of new releases from the artists they already follow or listen to regularly. Here's how to land on this playlist.
GET FANS TO FOLLOW YOU ON SPOTIFY
Your music will generally only appear on the Release Radar playlists of the people who follow your artist profile, so if you want to make sure they know about your latest track, ask them to follow you, rather than simply passively listening to your music on Spotify.
Once you build up a good following, every time you release new music those fans will be notified via this playlist.
DRIVE LISTENERS TO SPOTIFY
If you’ve just released a new track, make sure to heavily incorporate Spotify into your promotional efforts. For example, post links to your music on Spotify to social media and ask any blogs that feature your tracks to embed them from Spotify. The more fans landing on your Spotify songs from “off-platform”, the better.
Spotify’s algorithm-based playlists like Release Radar and Discover Weekley don’t just generate millions of streams for artists – they generate BILLIONS. Music fans tend to check these playlists first when searching for fresh music based on their specific tastes, or for a new track from their favourite artists - so don’t underestimate their promotional power!
Have you had success with any of these tips? Or do you have your own advice for fellow musicians? Let us know in the comments below."
"In a world of ALTERNATIVE FACTS, we should remember that alternative versions of our songs are very important to have.
If you are trying to license your music then you really need to think about alternative versions. Especially, instrumental versions of your songs. This recently came up with my band, in fact. We were contacted about one of our songs for a possible placement in a movie trailer. The only problem was that they needed an instrumental version. This is something I knew we needed, and it was sitting on my “to do” list. To be honest, this was on that list for a few years now. Anyway, I asked for a possible extension in order to get the instrumental version mixed. Like so many opportunities in music licensing, the deal needed to happen ASAP.
Not having the alternative version just cost me and my band the possibility of having a song in a movie trailer.
More importantly, it just cost us the potential to make some serious money.
This was the case with my band. We did not think about this when we budgeted for the album. When we ran out of money, the album was done. Now, years later we had to ask the studio to find our original tracks and mix us an instrumental version. Luckily, the studio still had the tracks and could make that happen. This task would have been very easy to do when all the other mixing was being done, and maybe could have been less expensive if we bundled it into the original studio work. The moral of the story is to get this done while you are doing the original tracks.
How about a live version of your songs? Maybe an acoustic version would be cool? Have another artist that you like, cover your song. Be creative."
"Not many musicians return from a tour in better shape than when they left. There’s nothing wrong with putting on a few pounds over a two or three week tour, but if you’re looking to have the energy to tour full time, diligent self-care is the secret. Here are some of my strategies to not completely ravage your body while on the road.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have a relatively balanced diet on tour without spending more than $10/day on food! In fact, on some of my most frugal tours I’ve averaged as low as $4/day. So how do you get the most calories for your dollar while traveling?
You eat raw vegetables and canned food. Drink cold, low-sodium canned soup. Pour the liquid out on the street so there’s less salt. Buy cans of tuna and beans. Apples, peanut butter, and trail mix without chocolate. Raw sweet potatoes. If you use a knife as both your can opener and your spoon, you won’t have to carry utensils around, at the expense of people judging your personal hygiene. Most shows provide free meals, so dinner is usually covered. Stay away from gas station food, it’s more expensive and unhealthy. Shoot for grocery stores. Load up on produce. Don’t overeat or binge drink too often.
At every gas station, walk around the gas pump like a crazy person while filling up your car, then do pushups to failure. People will come up to you and talk about how they do pushups in their free time, too. I don’t know why. This has happened to me five or six times. Just smile and nod. Go on a run every time you have access to a shower. Consider a $20/month nationwide Planet Fitness membership, but decide you’d rather just use free guest passes at random gyms across the country because they’re nicer anyway. Put yourself through a lot of pain to stay fit; you’ll thank yourself later.
Try to workout for at least an hour a day. Remember, you’re trying to fight hours of being glued to your steering wheel and nightly beer comps at your gigs.
Excessive sitting can do a number on your physical health. It’s important to break up long drives with short walks. It’s not always feasible to get the recommended five minutes per hour of standing up and moving around, but that’s a good bar to shoot for. If you have the time, stop for gas or a restroom every two hours and get some steps in.
If you want to tour full time without dying young, you’ll find more success in establishing routines than pushing yourself through sporadic, strenuous workouts. It’s much more effective to put yourself in an environment that induces exercise than mustering up unrealistic amounts of willpower each day to get your workout in. Only keep healthy food in the car. Make rules for yourself that require you to workout to earn your coffee or shower. Cut yourself just enough slack and give yourself cheat days every couple weeks so you don’t lose your mind.
While you’re taking care of your body, try to sing properly. I’ve had too many nights where I couldn’t talk after shows because my vocal technique was awful. As soon as you can, invest in private lessons if you need them!
Staying in shape will not only help your peace of mind, but might even add some pounds back to your tip jar; remember, you’re being paid to entertain strangers and capture their attention under stage lights every night. Looking good and feeling energetic will only help the cause. Stay strong and try to be 1% healthier each day."
Let’s face facts: Being an actor is the best job in the world! Sure, there are challenges to the job, but even with all the hard work, auditions, late nights and early mornings on set, the classes, the memorization and even all the rejection, acting is the most fun you can have without getting arrested. And for it to be a job where you get paid money is more than any sane person should ask for!
The great news is that acting is getting easier than it has ever been — or at least looking for acting work is. For instance check out NYCasting’s audition opportunities – and self-submit today! There’s no better place to putting yourself in front of the widest range of casting directors and producers who are looking for actors today!
One other new innovation almost all of these acting opportunities have in common is that you will need to self-tape at least once in order to be considered. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re on point when it comes to your on-camera auditions, especially when you’re self-taping. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re giving them the best you’ve got every time you audition on camera!
Whether you’re self-taping or preparing to go in for an on-camera audition, it’s vital you take some time to play director as well as actor. That means taking the time to really study yourself and what you look like on camera. One of the biggest mistakes actors make when it comes to self-taping is they’re often unprepared for the technical aspects of it. Every self-tape opportunity that comes along they act like it’s the first time they’ve ever heard of such a thing. They go into panic mode and flail around getting a rushed self-tape piece done and sent off.
And then they cross their fingers and hope for a phone call that’s never going to come.
Much like we do with the actual acting part, it’s a good idea to rehearse. At the very least take the time to look over other self-tape auditions you’ve done. Study what you look like on camera and work on any quirks you might be throwing out there – which you will often be unaware of! Bobbing your head in time to words you emphasize in your lines, blinking too much, or darting your eyes around are all very common tics – and they’re all very distracting.
As mortifying as it can be, you really need to watch yourself a lot in order to even know what you look like on camera. And then you need to watch yourself even more as you go about correcting it. The camera picks up on and vastly magnifies these tics – and we all have them! Don’t stress about them, nor should you feel as if you have to stay perfectly still. You want to aim for natural, of course. But as they say, knowing is half the battle, and that applies to knowing what you look like on camera.
No, really. It’s hard to overemphasize how important it is to really know not only your lines, but what lies beneath them, the true depth of what your character is trying to achieve. We all are aware of this, of course. But the fact remains we also have all at one time or another rushed it when it comes to thinking we’re truly off-book. This ties in with the first note above when it comes to self-taping: the tendency is to rush and record a self-tape before we’re really ready to give it our best.
And granted, there is almost always a time factor when it comes to sending in a self-tape audition. But sending in a piece before you’ve got it down solid is less than useless – you might not think CDs remember you out of the thousands of actors they see, but if you send in a few sloppy, under-prepared self-tapes you might find the offers to record new ones drying up.
So make sure you’re giving them your best! Here’s another place where we can use our training in and understanding of the importance of rehearsal to our advantage. That is to say, the more often you turn around self-tape pieces the better you’re going to get at it, and the faster you’ll get at memorizing and going deep on the material too. Recording a monologue or two to self-evaluate can’t hurt either as you work on getting better. After all, it should only take one to two minutes to knock out a monologue! The main thing to keep in mind is to recognize in yourself when you are truly ready to hit record on a self-audition, and to make sure you’ve got those lines internalized and that you’re fully embodying the character.
The thing about rehearsing is that it is possible to over rehearse. Perhaps the biggest challenge in the actor’s life is learning to recognize that fine line and understanding how not to cross it. Knowing the words and the objectives they impart to your character is just that: it doesn’t imply that you’re going to say the words the same way every time, or use the same tactics to try to achieve those objectives.
It’s vital to be nimble mentally and emotionally, to be figuratively light on your feet when it comes to on-camera and self-tape auditions.
Think of the difference between a boxer and a wrestler: a wrestler is plodding, solid, low to the ground – he is the unmovable object.
A boxer, on the other hand dances around his opponent, he bobs and weaves and is constantly in motion as he seeks an opening for attack. The opponent, and the objective – which is beating him – doesn’t change. But the boxer’s approach to beating him is constantly in flux, in motion, and changing in the blink of an eye. Be like the boxer: be ready to adapt and to attack the objective from an endless variety of angles.
That is, don’t act. Dovetailing with the note above, the way to really stand out on camera and especially in a self-tape audition is to show you’re fully engaged and of a piece with the scene you are playing. Yes, you are going into a character. But the more that character seems like a real person, the better the response is going to be. A big obstacle for less-experienced actors when it comes to self-taping and really any kind of on-camera auditions is managing to put aside the nerves and awareness of the camera. Again, practice is your friend here: the more time you can spend in front of the camera whether it be in self-taping monologues, performing scenes with your friends, creating your own work for YouTube or actually working on set, the more you’ll be able to forget about the camera and just be.
Another valuable tool is to always remember the moment before and the moment after. If you’re going to be reading a scene for a self-tape with an off-camera reader, take a few minutes to just converse with your reader in character before you start to record. Where were these people just before the scene? What were they doing or what might they have been talking about before getting to “the heat of the meat” in the real scene? You’ll be amazed at how much more genuine and sharp your reads will be if you take just a little extra time to do this!
"Do you want to make a good impression on your fans and for other people in the music industry? Do you want to stand out above the many people who are claiming to do music these days? If so, there are plenty of ways to make this happen. Although a lot of people seem to be in a band or having a 'booming' rapping career, there are sure signs that people who really know the music world can spot in a truly dedicated indie musician. A lot of people can put "I Make MUSIC" on their social media profile, but there are far fewer people who actually fit the profile of an artist. Below are a few ways to boost your brand and show people that you're the real deal.
Have an official website that gives listeners all they need to know about you and your musical journey. Preferably with a .com name, having a sleek and updated website that features your music and background is a major way to show that you are serious about your music career. A lot of artists haven't taken the time to make a website because they feel like too much time and money has to be invested, but it isn't as bad as it seems! Maintaining a website with a few pages can cost as low as $5 a month with web hosting sites like Wix.com and Weebly.com[and Bandzoogle].
Do shows often and keep your dates posted on your music profiles. Nothing shows a band or artist to be more dedicated to their craft than a list of upcoming shows posted. A lot of people these days claim to do music but have never performed live. Let people know how you roll! Add a few videos from your previous live shows to your website and social media profile pages to rack up even more cool points.
Enhance your bio with reviews and achievements to give people a feel for how effective your music and career has been thus far. Get people excited about hearing your work before they press play by telling them about how well-received your music has been in past contests, shows, magazines, blogs and the like. Artists who send music submissions with a biography that lists many achievements are sure to stand out more than submissions with a simple bio explaining where you're from and what you plan to do.
Register your music with the Copyright office and Performance Rights Organizations like ASCAP and BMI to show that you are prepared to take your songs to the top like a professional. Companies like radio stations and music licensing libraries that place indie music in TV/Film are strict about only dealing with music that has been properly registered in order for artists to receive payment without hassle or confusion.
Use high-quality photos and videos to add appeal to your music brand and social media presence. The first form of representation as a musician online, before someone even gets to the play button, will be your image. Be sure the images on your profiles are up to date and of good quality. If you are just starting out and unable to provide a high-quality photo of yourself, a great alternative is to add a high-quality graphic or cover photo that fits your image as a musician. No one will need to know that you haven’t had your photoshoot yet!
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"As an aspiring artist, you probably understand the significance of self-promotion. Creating a following involves allowing the world to familiarize itself with you and your music as a joint entity. So, in attempts to do this, you’ve created your Facebook page, released your first single, and perhaps even created a video to go with it. The final step in your self-promotion efforts, however, should be none other than creating an EP. For those new to the industry terminology, an EP refers to an “extended play record”, a compilation of 4-6 original songs from an artist that is typically released prior to a full-length album. Having an EP is great for giving people a taste of your musical sound and style. Think of it as your curriculum vitae, a summary of your most impressive and promising work.
EPs are an especially great solution for rising musicians on a budget. After all, recording a professional sounding EP requires high-caliber equipment often only found at studios. Therefore, if you need to book a studio to get this done, at least this way you pay for less studio time than a full-length album. In addition to this, EPs allow you to test out new music styles or sounds. So, if you’re really looking to test out your idea of hybrid classical and jazz fusion music but aren’t sure if it’ll fly, this is the best way to do it.
The limited length of EPs also give you a great opportunity to really assess your overall quality of work. Since they serve as an insight to potential singles also, they allow you to begin cherry-picking which songs best represent your vision and sound as an artist. And, if you’re worried that your classical/jazz fusion hybrid doesn’t sound the way you want it to, use the EP as a way to gain constructive feedback about your sound. Whether you send it to friends, studio heads, or just post in on social media, it’s an excellent way of determining whether you’re headed in the right direction.
Okay, so, you’ve recorded your EP and you like the way it sounds. Now, what is it good for? As we mentioned, EPs are promotional material at their core, but there are more specific uses for your now-finished product:
Music’s ever-changing format has also changed the way we define EPs. Extended play records, in conjunction with long-playing records (LPs), were originally used to describe vinyl records. LP’s typically referred to full albums, while EPs referred more to extensions of singles. They typically consisted of bonus material, such as remixes or demos of the single, but did not necessarily contain much varying content. While vinyl records have recently risen to popularity once again, streaming is music’s main contemporary format. With this change in format, the meaning of EPs is also changing.
Nowadays, artists are more likely to use EPs to release material between albums. Where EPs previously served as an intro tool whose material was later featured on the artist’s full-length album, modern-day EPs actually often serve to introduce entirely new content. They are also used for songs that didn’t make the cut on the full-length album, serving almost as a B-side.
Now that you’re all filled in on the nature of EPs, remember that your EP doesn’t need to be a bestseller. It’s just your introduction to the world. Share it on social media, pass it along to friends, or even take a chance and mail it to Capitol Records. Self-made musicians are the majority, and even the best started somewhere."