Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Myths About Achieving Musical Greatness

Published / by mimin

Achieving musical greatness becomes impossible when you follow the (false) conventional wisdom that many musicians believe in. Avoid these 3 common myths to get on the right path towards becoming a great musician:

Myth #1. You Must Be Talented To Become A Great Musician

False: musical greatness is simply a byproduct of mastering musical skills and integrating them together. People who have natural talent were not born talented. They figured out on their own how to master the right skills to become good musicians.

Not having “natural talent” doesn’t mean it’s impossible to become great. Fact is, many of the greatest musicians began with no talent whatsoever. Everyone has the potential to learn the correct musical skills for achieving greatness by working with an excellent teacher.

Myth #2. Musical Greatness Is The Same As Originality

Greatness is simply the ability to express what you want to express accurately and effortlessly. Your expression does not have to be original. For example, a virtuoso pianist who only plays Classical music composed by other musicians. You can also be original without really expressing yourself (if you lack the skills needed to do so).

What matters most is that you have a strong desire to express something and are willing to learn how to clearly express it through music. Once both of these things are in place, you have everything you need to become great.

Myth #3. To Be Musically Great You Must Play Many Styles Well

You can express yourself very well in one style (that you love). Most of the greatest musicians in the world were specialists in a single style (or closely related styles). For example, two great musicians Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen never strayed too far from their respective genres. Musical greatness is about acquiring skills needed to express the sounds you hear in your head and mastering them. Don’t believe the false claim that you can only become great if you already have a lot of natural talent. This myth is destructive because it keeps you from even attempting to become better

Instead of making it a goal to become great in several musical styles, work together with an experienced teacher to learn things that help you become a better musician in ANY style. For example: music theory, aural skills, songwriting or live performance.

By avoiding these three myths you remove obstacles in the way of becoming a great musician.

How To Make Demo for Your Music Industry

Published / by mimin

As a band or as a solo artist, eventually you have to start thinking about making a demo CD for A&R reps, producers, production companies, and record labels to help market, fund, and traffic your music.

Getting someone in the music industry to take the time to listen to your demo is not an easy task. Most demos are tossed in the garbage before they are even opened and if they are listened to, even if you only put three songs on the CD, most people in the music industry won’t even bother listening to the whole thing. Don’t take it personally; it’s the music industry.

But if you do have something special and you are ready to put together a demo CD in the attempt to get the attention of the music industry, there are some things you need to know to be successful in this venture.

Put Together a Couple of Great Tracks

First, you have to take some time and decide which songs are your best songs that will grab the attention of someone who might want to invest some time in you. Three to five songs are all you really need.

Special Track Structure for a Demo

To improve your chances of having more than one song listened to you should set your demo CD up like this: take 30 seconds of each song and put those clips as your first three to five tracks. Next, create another three to five tracks of the same songs at their original lengths and put them at the end of the CD. This will help when someone important listens to the CD, they will hear just a little preview of each song and they can quickly move on to the next one. When and if they do hear something they like they can go forward to the track that contains the whole length of the song for more.

Important: Make sure that you label the CD cases with the information that tells the person who will be listening to the CD that the track structure is set up in this special way to avoid confusions.

Also, make sure that all artist names or the band’s name are on the CD insert or cover along with each member of the band and their responsibilities.

Press Kit

The ideal of a press kit is to essentially tell whoever picks up your CD to listen to it, who you and or your band are, what your accomplishments are, where you have performed, and any proof of a local, Internet, national and international fan base that you have acquired throughout time under the bands or artist name.

You may also want to have some live performances recorded at a venue you frequent or in the studio where you record. Yes, it would make more of an impact to have a live performance at a venue, but you can still do some really cool stuff in a studio with a camera.

In this press kit you also want to include a bio – make sure to include what ambitions and intent you yourself or your band has along with any other info that can help you or your band standout.

Make Contact

Take some time and network with people who are involved in the music industry – ask questions and make connections. The idea here is to find places you can send your demo CD to that are worth your while. My first demo CD I sent out, I made the mistake of sending it out to every place that was or maybe wasn’t excepting demos, and to this day I wonder just how many demos I sent out that never made it out of the package before finding its way to the trash can. I’m going to assume out of probably 150 demos I sent out, only about 2 percent of them made it into a CD player, that’s a lot of wasted time.

The best way to avoid wasting your time sending out demos to places or to people who won’t listen to it is to make your music solicited. Sounds tough right? It’s not, a lot of bigger record companies do not accept non-solicited music, but all you have to do is talk to someone and get them to agree to listen to your music, and then you can send it to the address of which they give you and label it “Attention: corresponding name” and now you’re solicited. This will help you and the company or person you send it to. A three-minute phone call will give you an exact address to send your demo to so it won’t end up in the wrong hands and then tossed in the garbage.

Get Some Representation

Let’s say you have exhausted all of your connections and the Internet is a well ran dry of possibilities. You can always look to hire professionals to help you get your music in the hands of the right people. Yes, it can be expensive, yes it can seem like they’re doing nothing more than what you can do, but the difference is that they probably have connections that you would never be able to get your hands on, that’s their job. The question you have to ask yourself or your band is “will it be worth the money?”

There will be a risk, let’s face it, no one wants to think that they aren’t good enough and no one should have to. But in this case, if you or your band still needs more practice and more experience, you should wait on spending the money on professional help until you and or your band can utilize it in the most efficient way.

You have to look at like this, if you are paying someone to help you and they know that you’re not ready for this type of move yet, that person you are paying will not tell you because they want your money. Even worse, they will not give you or your band the time and the effort you are paying for, basically, because it won’t be in their best interest for their career to promote your music to other professionals when they know it’s not ready to be promoted.

But if you feel you are ready and you have an awesome press kit, bio and demo, and you’re ready for the big boys but your connection just aren’t powerful enough to get your music noticed, this could be money well spent.

Keep in Touch

Let’s say you have made some contacts and you have some people who are willing to give your music a listen. There is nothing wrong with a follow-up phone call. Let’s say you sent your music and the person or company has received it but has not taken the time to listen to it yet. This phone call could light the fire under someone to open the CD and give it some time, especially if you come off as someone who might just call ever week until someone does listen to it. You may also help yourself by calling if someone has listened to the CD and is on the fence about it. A phone call could show them the ambition that they want to see from an artist, and that might sway them in the right direction about what they want to do about the situation in general.

A Couple Last Things You Can Do

This is not a must, but it will help you look more professional: Get your music copyrighted. This won’t only make you look more professional but will also protect your music when you’re sending it out to different places.

You can also help yourself and your band by using art work in the form of a label or a symbol that can be associated with the band or you as an artist. Again, this is not a must, but anything that can help market your name is just one more thing to add to your press kit and can help your chances of success.

One last thing that should be noted is that this is a process, making it big overnight will be like hitting the lotto. So unless you’re feeling that lucky, get ready for the long hall.

Tips To Get License Your Music

Published / by mimin

Music is a big part of civilization. Centuries had passed but music survived and even grew to greater heights every single decade. As a matter of fact, the demand of music has been rising very steadily in the past 10 years and it will continue that way in the foreseeable future. It comes along with the big amount of revenue the music industry is currently getting year after year. It is an unstoppable force as people always look up for the next great artist around the corner, thus continuing the cycle and the relevance of music. The demand of music content is at an all time high. The global music revenue since the turn of the century has been steady. The currency is measured in billions.

As the technology grew, music got more technical, complex and in demand. Others take credit for using music they don’t own. Nowadays, independent musicians are well aware of protecting their work for legal purposes. Through music licensing, you can be ensured of your asset/work being protected legally.

What is music licensing? Music licensing is the licensed used for copyrighted music. This allows the owner of the music to maintain the copyright of their original work. It also ensures the owner of the musical work to be compensated if their music is being used by others. The music licensing companies has limited rights to use the work without separate agreements. In music licensing, you could get your work licensed in the form of music, composition and songwriting.

During the music licensing process, there are terms that would be discussed by the groups involved. If you are an independent musician, you would be the licensor. You are the one responsible of the music created, thus you are the copyright owner of the licensed work. A licensee would be the music licensing company as they would be the one who will distribute your work to other industries. They will also collect the royalty fees as distribute them back to you if your music is included in live performances, TV shows, ads, campaigns, video games, etc.

There are also two kinds of contracts in music licensing, namely exclusive contract and non-exclusive contract. Exclusive contract means having your work licensed exclusively to a single music licensing company. Only a single company has the authority to distribute and market your work. If you signed an exclusive contract to your song or album, you cannot use the same music contents and get it signed by other music licensing companies. The agreement is exclusive and confidential to the licensor and the licensee.

Non-exclusive contract allows a second party to distribute your work and it doesn’t prohibit the licensor to sell their music to other music licensing companies or licensees. An independent musician can sign a non-exclusive contract to multiple companies using the same music content. Non-exclusive contracts are generally used to prevent an individual from being locked into a restrictive contract before their work gains popularity. This type of contract is designed to protect music artists from being taken advantage of in the early stages of their respective careers while on the process of getting their music out to larger audiences.

There are also cases which involves direct payment for used music content. This is called Sync Fees. Sync fee is a license granted by a holder of a copyrighted music to allow a licensee to synchronize music with visual media such as ads, films, TV shows, movie trailers, video games, etc. For example, a video producer is in dire need of music content for a certain project and is in a limited time of finding one.

In these cases, the artist and the music licensing company will be contacted directly for the possible use of the original work and negotiate the upfront payment involved. Sync fees can range from a few dollars to a couple of hundred dollars or up to thousands. The payment usually depends on how big and established a company is. If it is a well known company, there is a probability that the sync fee will spike up in value.

We need to understand that businesses nowadays are paying premium for music at an all time high. The influx and revenue generated on different industries are worth billions of dollars and the music artists who got their music licensed will get a big share of that money. The content of music is very important. Every single company need visual and audio content. You can’t do ads, shows and movies without having any music content.

Music licensing brings compensation for assets used. This is called royalty fees. A royalty fee is the payment collected by one party from another for the ongoing use of a copyrighted asset. You can get compensated if your work is featured on live public performances. For every live use of your music, you get compensated as you own the copyright of your work.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has collected over $941 million dollars in licensing fees and distributed $827.7 million dollars in royalties to its members back in 2014. BMI on the other hand, collected more than $1.013 billion dollars in license fees and distributed over $877 million dollars in royalties to its members during the year 2015.

Music licensing is the modern way of earning through music. In the past few years, the physical sales had gone down. Streaming music has taken over because it’s more convenient and practical with the help of the World Wide Web. With the rise of streaming sales, the figures that could be collected as royalty fees could spike up in the years coming. In fact, as stated in an Australian financial review website, streaming generated $2.5 billion dollars in US music sales last year, overtaking digital downloads as the industry’s biggest source of music revenue. As stated in the picture below, the global streaming of music is projected to reach greater heights in terms of revenue in the upcoming years.

The internet contributed greatly for the rise of music licensing and streaming. 20 years ago, the distribution of music hasn’t been exactly this big. Television shows and filmmakers are the top two industries that need music content. Today, there are more and more TV shows, films, commercials, movies, ads and tons of video games that need music content. It is safe to say that the internet opened the public eye about the opportunities involved behind it.

One of the most visited sites on earth is YouTube. People use, duplicate, rework, copy, revise and perform music from different artists around the world. It also has an influx of ads which contains music content. To track all these data, YouTube has a Content ID System. If your music is licensed, you can contact this site and they will take a look at their data and see if your work is being used by other parties. As the licensor, you have the authority to take actions such as mute the audio which matches your music, block a whole video from being viewed, track the video’s viewership statistics or monetize the video by running ads against it. Every country has different rules about it. But YouTube runs a lot of ads and monetizing work from this site is very probable.

If you are an independent musician, you must improve and instill professionalism in your craft to get your chances up of being signed by a music licensing company. With billions of dollars of revenue involved today, you want at least a slice of the pie. Monetizing your passion is never easy but taking the necessary steps to make it work is a must to reach success.

Guide To Make Money With Music

Published / by mimin

Generating income or monetizing work poses a big challenge for musicians anywhere. In this technology driven world, selling music becomes harder and harder each year. The competition is not the only thing that’s stiff, but the music evolution and audience are much harder to please. There are more genres, more artists and other complex ways of selling stuff. You always need to be ahead of the curb and you must be knowledgeable of today’s way of making money off from music.

The old ways of marketing music such as playing gigs and demos can’t be relied on heavily nowadays. You could still earn through this method but face it, earning this way will never be enough to compensate your monthly needs and it is physically draining too, touring from city to city each day.

There are multiple ways to earn money with music. Well tackle each one and differentiate what’s best suited for you and your band.

Live Shows – Truth be told, this method can still bring in a good payday if you can sell tickets or attract a good number of crowd to attend your gig. It’s not the most reliable option but it could suffice for some. One of the good things though is the spread of word and referrals which could land you another show in the near future.

Cover Gigs – For some musicians, doing a cover gig is draining and it doesn’t really help you in promoting your band. That may be true, but the need for cover gigs around the country is still high. This method could still bring in a good amount of money if you get hired by the right people. The audience and event will vary from a children’s party, bars, restaurants, corporate meetings, weddings, etc. The problem is, for most independent musicians, you can never really choose your audience when you do cover gigs.

CD Sales and Demos – If you’re going to play gigs or a live show, be sure to have a demo at hand. There are still audiences that would buy them in person and it’s a good way to earn a little extra income. Don’t rely on this method heavily though as the physical sales are declining steadily in the past few years.

Music Lessons – This could be a very good extra income for musicians. Although music sessions only run a couple times a week, earning a little extra income would be a big help to you. You can teach people on how to play multiple instruments and create a friendly bond with your students. It also allows you to hone your craft as well.

There’s no doubt that the ways stated above could earn you extras. However, there are a few more methods on how to make money in music and these are more money generating if done accordingly. You need to understand that the music industry in constantly evolving together with today’s technology. While the physical sales and direct marketing are still in play today, there’s no denying that the audience who are listening and buying are opting for the convenient way, which means buying music from the comforts of their home or anywhere they may be at.

Music Licensing – This would truly enhance your chances of getting a big payday and you could even get a recurring payment if you license your music. Music licensing is the licensed use of copyrighted music. If you are an owner of a copyrighted music, you are ensured of compensation if your music is used by others. The fees also vary differently and can be negotiated. With more TV shows, commercials, films, movies and games today, the need for licensed music is at an all time high. Different industries need music content to their businesses.

YouTube – There’s no denying that this is the site to go to listen and watch all the tracks or news you’ve missed out for the past week or so. Businesses, movies, games and a lot more are campaigning through this site today. Did you know that you could get paid if it is proven that other people are using your music content for their own advertisements? YouTube has a content ID system which tracks duplicate music content and videos through their database. But before all that, you need to get your music licensed first.

Streaming – Music streaming is a big hit today. With the inevitable fall or the physical and digital sales for the past few years, streaming has gained a significant rise and will continue to do so in the next decade as people opt for this method. The worldwide streaming revenue is on the rise, outperforming digital sales and physical sales altogether. Streaming doesn’t require the downloaded files of music or videos so it doesn’t consume any space for your computers or smart phones. It is overly convenient for people nowadays as they could listen to any track from anywhere and anytime. If you got your music licensed, explore the possibilities of streaming as this is the way to go not only for today but for the future as well.