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Some “Outside the Box” Music Marketing Ideas

Get Heard

Here are 10 music marketing ideas from the Music 3.0 Internet Music guidebook. It’s easier to sell your music if you add extra value to it, so it helps to think outside the box when it comes to distributing your music. Thanks to Bruce Houghton of the great music blog Hypebot for numbers 7 through 10.

1) Develop a package – This could mean anything from a CD and a vinyl album, to a digital download and album with all alternative mixes, to a boxed set of CD’s or anything in-between (Trent Reznor’Ghosts I-IV is a great example). The idea is to go beyond just the typical CD and digital offerings.

2) Sequential numbering – Numbering a physical product (for example; “#5 of 1000”) gives it the feeling of exclusivity. The product becomes a special edition and a must-have for the true fan.

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3) Tie it to merchandise – Offer a physical product that contains the code for a free download of your album. Mos Def was so successful with the T-shirt release of The Ecstatic that Billboard magazine even began counting it as a music release on their charts. Other artists have sold their music via codes on such items as golf balls, bandanas and even canned food!

4) Release a “double-sided” digital single – Rhino Record’s digital releases celebrating 60 years of the 45 RPM single set a fine example for this format. For between $1.49 and $1.99, Rhino provided the original hit song, its B side (the flip side of the vinyl record) and the original artwork. You can do the same by providing two songs for price of one – an A and a B side.

5) Release on an old alternative format – We’ve seen some artists (The Decemberists Hazards of Love come to mind) release a vinyl-only physical product to great success. Cheap Trick did it on the old 8-track format from the 60’s, and some bands have even recently released on cassette tape. Releasing on a older format can be good as a publicity tool (as long as everyone else isn’t doing it) and who knows, maybe you can start a trend?

6) Release on a new alternative format – A new alternative format that’s getting some traction is flash memory, or the common USB memory stick. Once again, Trent Reznor met with great viral success by planting unmarked memory sticks in bathrooms at Nine Inch Nail’s concerts, and Sony even released the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’Thriller on the format. Everybody uses these things so you’re bound to get at least a look, which you can’t always say about other formats.

7) Three Sides – Offer a song in an early studio version, the final mix, and then captured live.

8 ) Radical Mixes – Offer two or three very different mixes of the same song, perhaps even done by the fans.

9) Two Sides of (Your City) – Two different bands each contribute a track to a series chronicling your local scene.

10) “Artist X” Introduces _____ – Add a track by your favorite new artist/band along with one of yours. This is similar to a gig trade-out with another band that many bands use as a way to play in new venues. The idea is that the band you feature will also feature you on their release as well.

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(via music3point0.blogspot.com)

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How To Mic A Guitar Amp In The Recording Studio

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There are several methods that are used a lot in miking guitar amps in the recording studio. Each yields a different sound, so find the one that’s appropriate for your music. Use these suggestions as starting points, then adjust the mic a bit until you get the tone you’re seeking.

1) Place a dynamic mic pointed at the center of the amp’s speaker cone, up against the grillecloth. If the cab has more than one speaker, find the speaker that sounds the best and point the mic at it. This placement is good for a driving, punchy sound. Some engineers dislike pointing the mic at the center of the cone, and prefer to point it about a third of the way toward the rim of the speaker.

2) Point the mic at or near the center of the speaker cone, a short distance away. Some of the room ambience will be mixed in with the amp tone. Experiment with various distances; try between ten inches and two feet. If you’re using a cardioid mic, moving the mic away from the cab will decrease the bass response.

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3) Place a condenser mic at about a 45 degree angle from the front of the speaker cabinet, about 8 to 12 inches away. Set the mic to a cardioid pattern. Usually the mic is placed directly in front of the speaker, but it can be higher. This placement is good for clean guitars when you want lots of highs and mids.

4) Try miking at various distances from the amp, from three feet to the length of the room. Large diaphragm condenser mics are good for this, because they pick up more low end. If your condenser can switch to omni-directional, and if you’re recording in a rectangular or square room, place the amp one or two feet from a wall, and put the mic in the center of the room. As you’d expect, you’ll get a lot of room ambience this way. You might also pick up some sounds from the environment, such as cars and dogs.

5) If you have two mics and an open-back amp, mic both the front and back of the amp. You can either use two dynamics, two condensers, or one dynamic and one condenser. If you use a condenser, set it to cardioid. Distance each mic about eight inches from the cabinet. Place one of the mics slightly to the left, and the other slightly to the right. Experiment until you get a sound you like.

6) Another two-mic technique: place a dynamic mic close to the speaker to pick up the dry guitar sound. To add room ambience, place a condenser (in a cardioid pattern) about ten feet from the front of the amp and about six feet high, pointed toward the middle of the speaker cabinet.

7) If the cab has two speakers, use a dynamic mic on one speaker and a condenser mic (set to cardioid) on the other. A large diaphragm dynamic is best, because it can pick up more bass than a small diaphragm dynamic. The condenser is for the highs. Place each mic as close to each speaker as possible, in order to get a dry sound which emphasizes the differences between highs and lows. However, you could wind up with phase cancellation; if the volume is quieter when both channels are panned center, reverse the phase of one of the mics. Often, when two mics are used, one is panned hard left, the other hard right.

8 ) Put the amp in different rooms. A concrete room will have a longer reverb time than a carpeted room. One of our techs likes to place the guitar amp face down on the floor in a concrete laundry room, hanging the mic above the back of the amp near the ceiling. Have fun, and keep experimenting.

Musician’s Friend carries many recording mics, including these, which are especially recommended for miking guitar amps:

    • Large diaphragm dynamic: Sennheiser MD421; Electro-Voice RE20
    • Condenser: Rode NT1 CAD Equitek E350
    • Large diaphragm condenser: AKG 414

(via community.musiciansfriend.com)

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If You Are Serious About Recording, You Need to Learn How to Ride the Bus

See how happy they all are? You'll be too once you learn how to use busing...

You’ll have seen all those buss channels on your mixer or DAW, over there to the right – like normal channels, but you can send and group all sorts of signals together. But are you really getting the most out of this part of the mixdown process? Read on, as we take a look at some tips for using busses to help your sounds…

The most common use of a buss, especially in a modern DAW, is for FX sends. Put a reverb or delay on it, and use a send from your channel to that buss. This is a useful alternative to putting a reverb on your individual channels; as it offers you a lot more control. You can adjust the effect volume by changing the buss fader, rather than going into your plugin and fooling around with the wet/dry balance. You can even put effects on the effect – for instance, if you wanted to high-pass your reverb to avoid it sounding muddy, or put some stereo widening on it; this is easy to do on a buss channel, as it will only touch the effects. If you tried it on the original channel you’d alter your whole signal.

Using effect sends like this also enables you to put the exact same effect on several channels – useful for giving a coherent sound where everything sounds like it’s coming from the same place.

(Learn how to master your own songs.)

So, FX sends are definitely useful. But what about taking the whole output of your channel and bussing that? Well, just doing that with one channel won’t be very interesting. But you can use this function to group things together, and that can be a powerful tool for enhancing your workflow. If you group all your drum tracks together in this way, then when you’re trying to find the right balance for your mixdown, you can easily pull all your drums down by 2dB without having to individually adjust 20 or more channels. Similarly, if you feel your drums need more treble, you can do this at the group stage without having to add an EQ plug to every channel. This saves both time, and CPU power!

Once you’ve grouped your sounds together you can even – and this is where the modern DAW really comes into its own – send things to other busses. If you’re not careful this can be a great recipe for confusion, but on the other hand can enable you to quickly and simply add effects to many sounds at once. Parallel compression is a classic example; we had an article on this some months back, so this isn’t the place for a detailed explanation, but try an FX send to another buss, compress it heavily, and then mix it in quietly behind the original signal. You can try the same with distortion, valve emulation, and plenty more.

One useful psychological trick with busses is to help you look at your sounds afresh. When you have effects and plugins on your standard channels, you can get to thinking that because you have addressed a problem, it’s solved. For instance, you might have used EQ to take some of the weight out of a guitar part, but not gone far enough. But you thought you’d sorted it. If you work at the buss stage (or, even better, bounce down stems from your busses and start a new mixdown with just 6 – 10 audio channels) you won’t become distracted by the fact that you already EQ’d the guitar part, because you’re not looking at the plugins you’ve already added. You’ll be able to hear more clearly what needs to be done, and take action accordingly. Busses also enable you to get a bit more clever with sidechaining. A simple example might be if you wanted a pad to sidechain off both the kick and snare; you could send these two channels to a buss, which has no output. Then compress the pad off this buss. Or (and we’re getting complex here) a useful technique for de-essing can be to send your vocal to a buss, and bandpass it savagely around the frequency you want to reduce; so you’re left with nothing but the offending sounds. Then turn the output of that buss off, and you can simply sidechain your main vocal off this.

(Famous Musician Quotes)

As you can see, busses can be a hugely useful tool in mixing efficiently and getting a good coherent sound out of your mixdown – even helping you look at the whole mix a little more holistically. But they can also be a very quick route to a complex and and confusing channel structure, so remember to keep things as simple and straightforward as you can manage! So, if you’re ready, put on your thinking cap and get routing. It might just make the difference you needed to your mixdown…

(via Primeloops.com)

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