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Why You Need to Treat Your Music as a Business

You don't have to wear the monkey suit, but you get the point...

If you want to succeed in today’s music industry, you need to treat your music as a business. There’s no two ways about it; If you aren’t willing to put in the work to promote and market your music, you may as well give up now. In order to be successful, you need to do what works. And what works right now is getting off your butt and putting the work in to the right places.

In this article we will be looking at the business of music, and why you need to learn this side of things if you want to do well in your music career. Whether you do independent music or you’re signed to a record label, you need to learn what it is that makes people successful, other then their vocals.

Knowledge is power, so read on and see how much of this you can apply to your independent music career today.

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Why You Need To Learn The Music Business

So, why do you need to treat music as a business? Simple, because without you carrying out proven marketing and promotion methods for your songs, people won’t even know you exist. And the people who are aware of you, may not take to you as well due to ineffective or inconsistent branding.

Learning the music business involves learning how you promote yourself, how to build connections within the industry, learning various selling tactics, learning how to get gigs, planning out all the steps you need to achieve your goals, and much more. As someone who makes independent music, you haven’t got someone who will do all these things for you. You in effect have to do all the jobs a record label team does on your own.

Why you obviously won’t be able to get the same mass reach as a wealthy record label, it is possible for you to get out there using the right music business strategies.

The bottom line is this: If you learn what business practices work in the music industry and put them into practice, you will greatly increase your chances of doing well with your music. I tell no word of a lie.

Do You Treat Music As A Business?

Ok, so enough about the general advice for everyone who does independent music. Right now, I want you to look at how your music career is going. Ask yourself:

  • Are you simply recording songs and putting them out for free, or are you sticking to a set release and revenue generating plan?
  • Are you doing gigs as and when they come up, or are you actively seeking out new shows to do?
  • Are you sitting at home all day ‘promoting’ your music on social networking websites, or are you working on getting your music mass broadcasted on radio and TV?

If you answered yes to any of the first options, you are not taking your music as a business as much as you could be.

You need to ask yourself how far you want to take your music. If you are simply making music for the fun of it, then carry on doing what you’re doing. It’s a hobby for you, so only make music as and when you want. If however your aim is to make a career from your music, then you need to start re-evaluating how you handle things.

Top 5 Recording Studio Tips

(via independentmusicadvice.com)

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10 Ways to Fight the Musician’s Discouragement

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Each artist has “these days” when he feels relentless creative impotence. I’m pretty sure you know that feeling when you sit down behind your instrument in order to create new piece of music, but you find… total emptiness in your head. That’s fine. These days, after some time actually results in the vibrant and creative ideas!

Here are some tips on how to get up from the music pit:

1. Listen to good music and get inspired

Dug out old LPs from your basement. Listen to a dusty tapes, vinyl records. It’s a good “Back to the Future” moment re-discovering music you used to listen many years ago. Just feel the energy that you experienced in youth. I remember those days like the mist. Just to get back from school and turn on the Led Zeppelin album on full volume.
Listen to the music in the car, your room, headphones – doesn’t matter. I’m sure this will trigger lots of memories in you.

Here is some great Indie Music

2. Detune your instrument

Just try to change the tuning of your guitar completely and start to play on it. Tune your drumset like a jazz set. Change the way your approach to making music, reduce restrictions. It may contribute to inventing new and interesting musical theme.

3. Change your sound

Play around with the gadgets – we’re surrounded by toys that can make a violin with a guitar and the violin with the trombone. I am not suggesting here that you should buy a MIDI converter. What I’m suggesting is having fun with discovering new things around your sound. Bored with your ampifier’s current sound? Mess up with the knobs and see what happen. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a role model and inspire somebody?
The same goes for drummers – try to rearrange the instruments in your kit and start playing differently. Maybe it is time to taste the open-handed play?

4. Play-along to your unfamiliar genre

You play bass in death metal band? How about playing solo in the funky song? Or maybe you’re a jazzman on a daily basis, and would like to try to play hip-hop? Horizons are still wide! The Web is full of play-along tracks, you just have to know where to find them. Get involved and get to work

5. Listen to your old records

Sometimes it’s good to look back and go back with the memories to your past achievements. Find your tape (ok, let’s say it’s CD ) you recorded four years ago. Listen to it. Watch a video of your first concert, or listen to archival interview with your band. When you analyze the past successes you achieved, you’ll want more!

6. Design your new album

Certainly you have in mind the idea of your new masterpiece, which will raise the world. Run the sort of brain storm and create a whole album in your head. Synchronize your thoughts with reality.
– Place the alleged playlist
– Think about the cover design
– Plan time for inventing, complementing and recording tracks
– Think of the name of the new album
– …and so on Visualize! It always helps.

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7. Take a jam session

…and show me what you can! Play with some other people. It’s different experience from each and every rehearsal with the same guys. Maybe you’ll play with musicians much better technically, much richer in the concert experience than yourself. Don’t be discouraged and play. That would certainly broaden your horizons and teach you something new.

8. Give yourself a rest of the music

Sometimes the solution is relaxing. Every day we’re attacked by the chaos of sound. Turn off the computer, leave the gear for some time and take a walk to a nearby park. Give your ears a rest. Gain new strength.

9. Replace your instrument

Flip out of your immortal Fender with your friend’s guitar. Discover the power latent in your riffs, playing them on different instruments. Let go of the reins of fantasies! Have you ever wondered how your heavy guitar solo would sound on banjo or ukulele? If you are a drummer – try to focus for a week on ethnic instruments like bongos, congas, djembe or darabouka. It’s fun!

10. Tweak your instrument

Maybe you are bored of the color of your drums or guitar body? Try to paint your instrument, or remove the veneer. Paint the timber with lacquer, replace the strings / drumheads / electronics and so on. Your instrument is your voice, but it’s good when it also looks nice…

(via themusictips.com)


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Tips for Music Production

The music production tips you’ll discover below contain a mix of practical and psychological suggestions to help you advance your music production.

1. The Producer, Not The Gear, Makes The Music

A producer who doesn’t know what he’s doing cannot produce golden sound, even with the best gear on the planet. Give a great producer even just decent gear and he’ll still manage to produce quality results.

The point? New gear won’t make you better. Work on your super-ninja production skillz first! Learn how to use the gear you have, learn and use different mic techniques, study the basics of acoustics, computer recording and mixing. Apply this knowledge and refine it as you go along.

2. Crapola In, Crapola Out

You’ve probably heard of the fix-it-in-the-mix mentality by now and you also know you should avoid that line from ever entering your mind. Heaping on the effects or compressing the living life out of a track during the mixing stage won’t give you the fat sound you lust after.

A low-level recorded or weak signal will be much closer to your noise-floor. Adding compression to this weak signal during mixing will pull up the noise along with the signal.

The same goes for out-of-time-or-out-of-rhythm instrumentalists. Headache to fix in the mix.

The point? Always aim to get the best possible signal down while recording. Don’t settle for less-than-great takes unless you’re absolutely pressured to do so.

3. Monkey See, Monkey Do

You learn the most valuable things by watching and talking to other producers. Advancement by osmosis!

Manuals and text-books are good maps, though they don’t always show you the actual territory. This is where seeing producers at work can pay huge dividends for your own music production progress.

Luckily, you can now also watch producers, even some of the pros, on YouTube and other video sites. Music production forums also give you the opportunity to connect with other producers.

The point? Connect with other producers and talk craft. This is always where you’ll get the best music production tips. Watch how others do it and learn faster. Easy.

4. S.O.S (Save Obsessively Silly!)

Computer music production is great, no doubt. Computers and software however like to sometimes crash.

It sucks to get a mix just right, crash and then realize the last half-hour of your work has vanished into the abyss where all non-saved work dwells.

The point? Develop the save often habit into a compulsion. You may find yourself hitting the save shortcut (Ctrl+S) even while browsing the web! That’s fine. At least your work will be captured.

5. Close Your Eyes To Open Your Ears

The visual sense takes priority with most of us which means that while your eyes are open the ears are pushed to second place.

The visual aspect of computer-based DAWs makes music production much more of a visual activity, often at the expense of good sound.

The point? Close your eyes to make your ears into the top priority sense. Trust your ears when hunting for a good sound. If it sounds good to you, it probably is good.

6. Record Dry, Add Effects Later

This one’s simple: You can add all the effects you want in post-production. Removing effects is much harder.

The point? Keep your recordings clean on the way in and the mixing stage will offer many more possibilities for creative work.

7. Order Is Freedom

As an artist you may draw inspiration from chaotic environments. This changes the moment you put on your producer cap.

Tidiness, whether it be in your studio, your computer file-system or your DAW session, will allow you to be creative.

The point? Keep things tidy so you won’t get overwhelmed or bogged-down with technical issues or searching for files when you want to be creative or productive.

8. Inspiration Comes While You Work

Pros sit their behinds down every day and work. This is what makes them pro. They don’t sit around waiting for inspiration to strike.

What you focus on grows. So, when you focus on music production the inspiration will arise in that area. Ideas will flow and things will happen.

The point? Work your craft daily and the Muse will visit you often. Waiting for inspiration is a fool’s game.

9. Give Me a Break!

Your ears and brain need a little R&R or they cross over a threshold where they start to shut out incoming signals. No, I’ve not scientifically verified this. I’m sure the papers must be out there in some academic journal. 😉

The point? Take regular breaks every 15 to 20 minutes to avoid brain-fry and cloth-ears, especially when mixing. This will save your ears, give you more perspective and boost your output. I swearz!

10. The Many Paths To The Grail

A great final mix is all that matters to a good music producer. It’s what you work towards at every step of the music production process. How you get to the holy grail is up to you.

The point? Rules are for robots. You’ll develop your own techniques and work-flow. Use what you have to produce an excellent track and it won’t matter how you did it. What matters is only what it sounds like when you press play.

11. The Hump Turns Into A Snowball

You’ll reach stages where you’ll feel stuck and like you’re making no progress. You’ll see other producers make it look easy and doubt your own ability to ever do it well.

This is natural. Most producers go through this process. The ones who make it are the ones who ignore their doubts and fears and push on.

The point? Persist. You will reach a point where you can produce like a pro. The hump you’re pushing up against will reach a peak and start to go down, causing a snowball of good results. Keep growing, pay your dues and soon you’ll be the one who makes it look easy.

(Credit: Renegade Producer)

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