Prescreen Your Future Fans with Twitter

Prescreen Your Future Fans with Twitter

Two months ago, I began implementing Ariel Hyatt and Carla Lynne Hall’s strategy to increase my Twitter following, as laid out in their book Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter. The basic idea is to follow potential fans in the hope that they will follow back. I discovered that the more selective I am in choosing who…

A Mastering Engineer’s Guide to Final Mixdown

A Mastering Engineer’s Guide to Final Mixdown

“Garbage in, garbage out” is a common saying among mastering engineers. The quality of the source material limits the quality of the final product. Most of my clients have no problem following my simple preparation instructions, but they stop there. They figure once each mix sounds as good as they can get it, they’re done….

10 Ways to Trade a Song for an Email Address

10 Ways to Trade a Song for an Email Address

I measure my success as a recording artist by the growth of my mailing list. The best way to get someone to subscribe is to offer something in return, and a great song is a powerful incentive. Here are ten techniques to negotiate that delicate exchange: 1. The classic squeeze page. You’ve probably stumbled onto…

An Argument Against Fan Funding

An Argument Against Fan Funding

Let’s be honest. You don’t need the money. Anyone can make a record for next to nothing these days. Almost any other hobby is more expensive: photography, mountain biking, even video gaming. When a teenager singing into a webcam gets exponentially more views on YouTube than your latest “professional” video, the answer isn’t more money….

What Artists Should Know About SoundOut

What Artists Should Know About SoundOut

UPDATE: SoundOut, which fared poorly in this review and my more recent comparison shootout here, closed up shop and is now only available through TuneCore’s Fan Review. ReverbNation acquired Audiokite in November of 2016, and improved upon it with their new Crowd Review product, which I review here. For now, that’s the only game in town. You…

4 Steps to Film and TV Placement

4 Steps to Film and TV Placement

I’m often asked how to get music into film and TV. I owe my small degree of success to a music supervisor from Bunim-Murray who found me on thesixtyone and placed several of my songs in MTV shows (more info on my latest and largest placement here). For a more helpful answer, I turned to my…

The Individual Edition CD

The Individual Edition CD

This month I released my 8th full-length album, slated to be my last physical release. I might have gone the digital-only route this time if I hadn’t won free CD manufacturing from Disc Makers through the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. The fact that it was a physical release allowed me to take pre-orders, which provided…

The Death of the Bridge

The Death of the Bridge

Many of my all-time favorite songs are “growers” – album tracks that don’t really grab you the first few spins, but eventually dig their hooks in and don’t let go. Few artists these days have the luxury of writing growers, because listeners aren’t willing to invest that kind of time. Unless the artist is proven…

The Case for Online-Only Promotion

I promote to establish and nurture a genuine relationship with my fans. I measure my success by the number of subscribers to my mailing list. Notice I said mailing list, not Twitter followers or MySpace “friends.” I’m talking about the people who grant me permission through a double opt-in process to email them directly on…

Money Can’t Buy You Love

Money Can’t Buy You Love

If I had $5,000 to spend on music promotion, I certainly wouldn’t waste it on any of the following: Ads. It’s easy to get “dazzled by the numbers” when given the opportunity to reach thousands of people. We think, “If only 1% of those people bought the album, I’d double my investment!” Don’t let the…

12 Years With Taxi

12 Years With Taxi

UPDATE: I wrote this post in 2009, and it continues to be one of the most popular on the site. I’m quickly approaching 12 years without Taxi! From what I can tell, the service hasn’t significantly changed, and my advice still holds. But don’t just take my word for it! You’ll notice there are a…

Spectral Management

Spectral Management

A few months ago, I announced I was cutting back on blogging to record a new Color Theory album. Instead, I was hired to mix three others (Exhibition by Die Brücke, The Deadliest Fairy Tales by Rain Rain, and a yet-to-be-named album for 907Britt). Since I’ve been living and breathing mixing since June, I thought…

The Electronic Copyright Office

The Electronic Copyright Office

I’m a big fan of the whole “paperless society” thing, as my Kindle will attest to. Going electronic saves time, money, and resources – unless you’re dealing with the US government. Every few years I register a new album with the United States Copyright Office, and every time I wonder if I’m supposed to submit…

8 Reasons to Release a Follow-Up EP

8 Reasons to Release a Follow-Up EP

You’ve just released the album of your life. The songs are honed to perfection, the production is top notch, and you found your true voice as an artist. How can you possibly top it with your next release? I suggest you don’t even try. Instead, follow it up with leftovers. You may call them outtakes,…

What Artists Should Know About Last.fm

On the surface, Last.fm and Pandora seem redundant. Both recommend new music based on your current favorites, and allow you to influence their suggestions by approving or disapproving of each song as it plays. But while Pandora suggests songs based on their underlying musical characteristics, Last.fm relies on guilt by association. The formula is right…

It’s No Longer Cool to Be on a Label

It’s No Longer Cool to Be on a Label

When I put out my first CD in 1994, you had to be signed to be taken seriously. So I created my own label, 11th Records. I even went so far as to sign another band to my roster. Loosely translated, I sold a friend’s CDs on my web site. My letters went out on…

Keep Your Mixes Consistent by Using a Reference

Keep Your Mixes Consistent by Using a Reference

Like most of you, I work a “day job” to pay the bills. I run my own CD mastering business by the name of Resonance Mastering. Unlike other mastering houses, I don’t believe in “corrective mastering.” If I hear a problem with a mix, I’ll ask the client to go back and fix it! Many…

Nielsen SoundScan and BDS

Nielsen SoundScan and BDS

We’ve all heard of the Nielsen Ratings, which are used to measure television watching habits. Most people are familiar with Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales. But few know of Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, which tracks song plays on radio, television and the internet using a patented digital pattern recognition technology. Performing rights organization SESAC…

How to Submit Your CD Info to Gracenote

How to Submit Your CD Info to Gracenote

Ever wonder how your computer knows the song titles when you insert an audio CD? The answer is more complicated than you might think. Ideally, that information would be written onto the disc itself, but the creators of the CD format weren’t so forward-thinking. CD-Text, a later development, does just that, but few players can…

Selling Your Music on CD Baby and Amazon

Selling Your Music on CD Baby and Amazon

Today I added my new album to CD Baby and Amazon, which puts my music pretty much everywhere it needs to be. I’ll discuss each of them in turn. I’ve known Derek Sivers, the creator of CD Baby, for a dozen years now. I’ve always admired his outlook, creativity, and work ethic. Back when I…

Welcome to Passive Promotion

Welcome to Passive Promotion

Over the past fifteen years of promoting my music, I’ve developed some strong opinions about what works and what doesn’t. As I promote my new seventh album over the coming months, I will argue that new web sites and technologies like Pandora, iTunes Genius, and Last.fm will have a larger impact on my success or…

That's all, folks!

That's all, folks!