Music News

5 Steps to Getting Your Music Licensed | Step 4

Now that you have created a web presence, you need to get into the public eye. Promoting your website and your music starts with good press. Find someone who will write a professional press release for you and your music. The press release should exemplify the unique qualities of your band and music. Focus should be on the sound and style of the music to draw in readers. To draw attention to the music, draw ties to influences and similar artists. Just keep it short. About 300 words is all the attention a reader will give a press release, so get to the point.

Be smart about it and provide contact info and links back to your website. Possibly set up a show that the press release directs readers to attend. Break into the music scene with some gusto. Maybe throw a house party and play in your backyard or garage. Get a keg and invite folks over. People may not be familiar with your music, so it's a good idea to turn the event into a party.

5 Steps to Getting Your Music Licensed | Step 2

Now that you have chosen the best song to market, you need to prepare it for presentation. This next step is definitely the most important, it's time to record your music. The "sound" of your music will be the foundation of your marketing campaign. So this is where you need to slow down and evaluate the best option for moving forward. You need to invest and believe in your music, so you need a quality recording with a producer that shares your vision. Cutting corners on recording your music will hinder the success of your efforts and only wind up costing you more money in the long run.

The main focus is to get a high quality recording to exemplify the ingenuity of your musical abilities. To achieve this, you need to make sure that you're recording is done right the first time. Saving a few bucks on a unprofessional recording will only add to the cost that you'll wind up investing when you go to a professional studio and get a higher quality recording. If you want to be the best at what you do, then you need to work with professionals who can give you top quality production. Project / budget studios are great for demos and hashing out ideas, but when it comes to making the final recording, you need to invest in quality. You will only get one chance to make an impression, so there is no time to waste on mediocre sound.

When you spend all your time trying to get licensed, the music has to be spectacular. If the recording is sub-par, it will reflect poorly on the content of your music. A good engineer / producer will have the skills and knowledge to ensure your music pops! Choose a studio with a proven track record and an engineer that has serious interest in your music. A good engineer will encourage you and support you along the way. Getting guidance from someone who has experience in the industry is a wise choice. This will help you avoid common pit-falls an maximize the efficiency of your production time.

Stay tuned for step 3. We'll cover the advantages of preparation and time management.

5 steps to getting your music licensed | Step 1

You want the world to hear your music. Thus, you need to get it licensed in a movie or TV show that reaches a large audience. This is the best way to get recognition and propel your music career into a full-time job with a stable income. Over the next five days I'm going to give you some insight into how you can go about getting your music licensed.

Step one: picking the right song to market to record labels and producers. It's good to have an arsenal of songs to choose from, but you need to focus on pushing one song. How do you choose the right song to market? Easy, ask your friends, family, and fans which song is their favorite. This simple poll will give you all the insight you need to make the choice. You can post a survey through email or your website and use the data to narrow down your most popular song.

It's crucial to let your fans make the choice because this is a sample pool of the potential listers that will hear your music. This is something that a marketing rep looks for when choosing music to license. Music in a movie or a TV show can be pivotal in the success of the production and popularity in the public eye. If the music is popular on its own, then it already has established success. This is a big deal to producers.

Once you have made the choice, it is important to make sure the song is ready for submitting to licensing opportunities. We'll cover this in the next posting. Please leave any questions or comments below.

Choosing the right audio engineer

Not all audio engineers are the same. Some specialize in a particular field of audio production. Others focus their skills on a certain genre of music. Choosing the right engineer is a very important part of your album. The right engineer will produce your music and essentially become a member of the band. Without the right engineer, your recordings will fall on deaf ears.

How do you choose the right engineer?
Start by talking to a few different engineers. You can tell a whole lot about a person just by having a simple conversation. Talk about your music and the vision you have for the finished recordings. Talk about things that interest you and find out if you share any common interests. You don't have to be good friends with the engineer, but you should at least get along. You will be spending many hours in the studio with the engineer and you need to make sure that you will be productive. So before you spend hours on end with an engineer working on your music, make sure you can see eye to eye on the vision of the project.

A good way to gauge an engineer's potential is to listen to some of their past recordings and projects. Any professional engineer will have a few examples of their work out on the internet. If you like what you hear, then you will be happy with what the engineer can do for your music. The engineer doesn't necessarily need to be an expert in the genre of music you prefer. Some of the best albums have come from an engineer that specializes in a completely different genre of music. Sometimes a fresh set of ears on the project is the key to success.

3 ways to avoid ending your music career

Getting excited about your music is a great feeling. Everyday I work with musicians that are motivated and driven to compose and create new music. I see first hand the creative process that goes into the labor intensive tasks of developing ideas into new songs. Many musicians start sending out info on social media while they are still amidst the recoding session in the studio. Some leak videos and audio recordings of the music before the recording session is complete. Though you may be excited and eager to share your excitement with the world, you have to stay focused and maintain a professional attitude. No one will take you seriously unless you have some element of intrigue.

When you prematurely release media and info your image and reputation becomes amateur. My years working with CMJ, Live 105, and Shine On Studio have given me ample opportunity to work with some of the most accomplished and successful musicians in the music industry. Let me share a few ways you can avoid ending your music career.

1. The element of intrigue
It is a good idea to engage your fans and followers on social media, but don't over-saturate your feed with mundane info. If you tell everyone everything you do, then there is no mystery about you. When this happens, people loose interest in what you're doing. Then when you finally have something special to share, it gets over-looked and has no impact on the world. Cut back on talking about yourself and sharing every moment of your life. If you must engage the social media, talk and comment about what other people are doing.

2. Rough drafts are not public
When you leave the studio with rough draft mixes, take them home and review them. That is the purpose of a rough draft! These mixes should not be posted on your website or social media. When you release unfinished work, your reputation and image are permanently scarred. Listeners don't care that you label the track "rough mix" or that you will be making changes to the mix later. They just absorb what they hear and immediately decide if they will follow or forget you...forever. You should always strive to put your best work forward and impress the world with your musical talent. First impressions are vital to success in the overcrowded modern music industry. Wait for the final mix to be finished and then release all of the tracks at one time for the best impression you can make on the music community.

3. Keep you personal & professional lives separate
As an entertainer, you must constantly entertain. Sharing your personal life with the public does not bode well for your professional career. The moment that the public does not view you as a unique individual in the entertainment industry is the moment when you lose all credibility. You must stay focused and keep all your public interactions on a high level of professionalism. Separate your social media and keep your personal life private for your friends and family. The public likes entertaining distractions, so be their entertainment with your music.

These few guidelines can lead to the foundation of a successful or unsuccessful music career. It takes a great deal of effort to maintain a professional music career. Think about what you do before you actually do it. Ask your friends and family for feedback before you present yourself to the world. Hire a producer that you respect or that has a good reputation. Hire a manager or a publicist to maintain your public image. These are things that professional musicians do and they are successful. You get out of it what you put into it, so be aware of what you're putting in.

Tips for performing live gigs

I've been out to see some local music this past month and wanted to make a few comments on stage presence and what to do when you're on stage. The first thing to remember is that you are the one on stage, so you provide the entertainment. All eyes in the room are on you, so be the artist and give the audience something to watch. The last show I went to see had two bands performing. The first band was impressive. The music had motion and a creative element that was engaging. The musicians were very emotional and it was obvious that they loved their music. The singer was dancing and really putting on a show. Bravo!

The second band started their set and all the musicians were standing still and starring down at their instruments. The singer started the set by saying, "This is a new song, so we may mess it up. Really hope you like it." These are horrible things to say when you're on stage in front of a crowd. It sounds like you don't rehearse and you're insecure about your own music. What do you care if anyone likes the music or not? Will you stop playing a song just because someone says they don't like the song? I certainly hope not. Everyone has a different taste in music, so some will like your tunes and some will not. That should have no relevance on how you compose and perform your music.

The attitude you have on stage transfers onto the crowd. If you're timid and nervous, the crowd will be shy about listening to you perform. When you show emotion and feel the music when you're on stage, it energizes the crowd and they open up to your music. Music is passionate by nature, so release the emotions that inspired you to compose the music and put on a good show for the audience. Please, rehearse your live performance! Don't just meet in your everyday clothes and robotically practice your songs, pretend you're on stage every now and then. Maybe set up a camera and video yourselves so you can see what you look like to the crowd. The stage performance is just as important as the music. Please, for the love of sanity, mute your amp while you tune your guitar. There is nothing that will kill a buzz faster than a lame guitarist plucking random strings to tune a guitar. You never hear a big time guitarist on stage tuning their guitar, so neither should you!

It's OK to talk to the crowd and get them amped up, but keep it short. Unless you're a natural stand up comedian, the longer you talk, the faster the crowd looses interest in your performance. Save the chit chat for after the show. If you need some guidance, just look up some videos on the web of your favorite bands performing live. Take notes on what they do well and how they keep the audience entertained and engaged in the performance. A good live show will propel your music career and news will spread of how impressive your live show can be. That's how you draw a crowd to your shows. Stop asking all your friends to come to each of your shows. You need to reach people you don't personally know.

Black Lion Audio Signature 002 Mod

There are certain things that contribute to a great recording. The first is the interface that you're using. You can go and spend some $$$ on a HD converter and get great results. However, there is an alternative for great sound at a more affordable price. Black Lion Audio ( is a company based in Chicago and they have some modifications that rival some of the big expensive converters. For under $2,000 you can get the BLA Signature Mod on your 002 or 003 rack. We currently have one that is used as our mobile rig and it holds up quite well. Many of the live recording that Shine On has been hired to record have been tracked with our modified 002r.

The Signature Mod will improve your converters, clock, and mic pres. These are huge improvements over the Digidesign stock interface. They also beef up the headphone amp to provide a more accurate monitoring option. The A/B recordings we did with the interface are jaw-dropping. There really is no comparison between the recordings. The mod improved the attack of transients and the depth of the EQ range. Drums have more punch, guitars roar and scream with more intensity, bass is bigger and richer in the low end, and vocals just rip through the mix to sit right in the pocket. These improvements are well worth the investment. You'll save time in the studio and your mixes will have a brilliance that just cannot be matched at this price point. If you'd like to get more info or experience with the interface, sign up for one of our Pro Tools lessons and an engineer will show you the ins and outs of this impressive upgrade to your studio.

Making a Hit Record | The Music

Everyone is trying to figure out the recipe for composing music that will appeal to the listeners of the world. Today so many believe that you have to be flashy and jiggle your money maker on YouTube to make it to the top. That may work, but it could just as easily backfire and permanently halt your music career. So let's take a more productive route to the top of the charts by composing music that is emotional and has a unique sound. Original music is always embraced by more listeners than the copycat sounds of past musicians.

For starters, keep the lyrics slow and broad. The more you can dial in a larger audience, the more your popularity will grow. By this, I'm suggesting that you sing about things that affect all humans on one level or another. Songs about human emotions are usually the one that most listeners can associate with on a more personal level. If you can express an emotion through your music that resonates with an emotion that the listener regularly feels, this will establish a connection on a deeper level. Lyrics alone are usually not enough to make this connection, the music has to carry just as much emotion to make the bond solidify.

Now you don't need to compose a symphonic masterpiece to capture emotion in your music. In fact, I'd suggest you keep the music more sparse and focus on making the sounds very dynamic and rhythmic. Space between notes and sounds can be deeply emotional. When the groove has moments to breathe, it creates a more dramatic sense to the music. Now not every song you write has to be slow and sparse, but finding a common thread to weave through all your songs will help listeners find appreciation in your music as a whole instead of just the one hit song.

I'm always happy to listen to your music and give you my feedback. My opinion is just that, my opinion. I'm not the one to make the ultimate decision on what is a hit record, I'm just one person in a huge sea of music lovers. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to love your music. Make music that sings to your own soul. That's the first step on the road to making a hit record.

Making a Hit Record | The Band

Being in a band isn't always easy. There are many commitments and everyone has to work together to make the music cohesive. Everyone needs to have the enthusiasm of the music or the listeners will hear the lack of emotion. Let me offer a few tips to help your band fuse together and start composing that hit record that will be heard around the world.

Find a time that is convenient for everyone to get together and jam. Now there may have to be some sacrifice and some rescheduling. Take turns being the one that has to rearrange the schedule to get everyone in the same place at same time.

Record all your jam sessions. When a good idea or groove comes up, make a note of it and review. This is a great way to develop songs and mold them into hits.

Take turns bringing drinks and snacks to the jam sessions. If everyone pitches in, the band will grow and be productive. Every now and then have a BBQ party and just chill with your band mates. Take time to do other things together and get to know one another on a more personal level.

These are just the first few steps to take on your way to making a hit record.

Mixing | The loudness war

The loudness war is finally coming to an end. Many of the studio clients are asking me to determine the overall level of the mixes. This gives me the ability to mix more dynamic range into the audio instead of smashing the audio to squeeze as much volume as possible out of the tracks. This makes me so happy to hear quality music being produced at the studio.

Mixes that are smashed and hyper-compressed are lifeless and have no soul. The industry is flooded with this garbage and now we have a generation that will have to live with some form of hearing loss. I'm not sure what record execs were trying to achieve. They didn't sell any albums this year. Only Taylor Swift went Platinum and her album is not hyper-compressed. Go figure.

No Platinum Albums in 2014 has an article out talking about the fact that no albums went Platinum in 2014. Now could this be because there wasn't any outstanding music in 2014? I highly doubt it. With albums from the Black Keys, Beck, & Jack White hitting the store shelves this year, the odds are in favor of music being available to go platinum. The new Taylor Swift album just hit shelves and is trying to make a big push for the holiday season, but it might be too late to save a bleak year in music sales.

Just in general, CD sales have steadily declined since the era of MP3 players. Buying a CD is not translating to the younger generations. They have no interest in collecting CDs when they can just easily download and share music digitally. Companies like Rhapsody are single handedly killing the music industry CD sales. For only $10 per month, listeners can have access to almost all the music in the world. Then they can rip the music and share it with their friends that don't have a Rhapsody account. Digital media has changed how people listen to music and the listeners will no longer pay high prices for CDs ever again...if they ever do buy CDs again.

When I go to local shows, I buy a CD from the bands for a few reasons. First, I want to support local musicians and independent music. This is where the focus of the music industry should be. If we don't support the local music scene, then we won't have any new music. Second, I like collecting unique and rare band albums. Some of these bands will only be around for a short while before the music industry gobbles them up and forces them to find another way to earn a living. So I like that my CD collection is comprised o music the most of my friends have never heard. In addition to all the great music that is recorded a the studio, I have a collection of songs that no one else on this earth has heard.

Now I'm not encouraging readers to go out and buy CDs to help stimulate the market or help main stream musicians reach platinum status. I am encouraging readers to buy CDs from indie bands and help stimulate the local music scene. Be supportive of local musicians that write and perform original music. This is the essence of music that connects us spiritually to one another and to the universe. So get off your couch once in a while and go out to see a live show. Cheer on a band you've never heard before. Support music so it can go on inspiring us and future generations.

A client has posted the 'No Platinum Albums' article link on his FB page: