My Spotify For Artists Journey Part 1 by Young Coconut

Hey guys, I’m Young Coconut I have been writing and recording my own music for about 20 years now, and just recently I have joined the Spotify For Artists community, just this past week.  Whoo-hoo!  Good for me!  Right?

I just wanted to share my journey in signing up for Spotify For Artists and what I think about the platform so far. 

It’s funny, I guess, to be talking about Spotify right now in May 2018 when the Spotify platform has been around for years (since 2008 apparently), and everyone is already so familiar with it, streaming all the time like fiends, vibing to sick tunes all day every day. 

But Spotify For Artists is a different beast than regular Spotify, and that’s what I’m going to get into right now.

Anti-Streamer

First off, I may as well talk about why I never bothered with Spotify until now, since I’ve had my actual Spotify account for less than a month, and my Spotify For Artists account was only verified a few days ago. 

Personally, I’ve never liked streaming services, despite them making a lot of sense in many ways to most people, who presumably walk down the street playing their favourite tunes from some purchased pre-made playlist. 

I myself am very possessive of my own personal music collection, and I need to have ultimate control over it, perhaps due to my OCD, or I’m just an old-fashioned control freak like that. 

Be that as it may, I’ve had that music collection of mine for almost 20 years now with my 100’s of albums and discographies that I’ve painstakingly assembled, and they’re mine mine MINE. 

It has all been moved to various external hard drives, and it has grown a lot over the years, and shrunk too matter of fact, as I’ve disposed of some of the music I no longer care for, or music that I never cared for but was on there anyway. 

Here’s a picture of my two old drives which hold most of that music. <tear>

Wait, whoops, that’s my two twin Tascams. 

What can I say?  Some people like to show pictures of their ugly babies, I like to share pictures of my relatively ancient LaCie drive, and that other drive that you can’t see because it’s underneath my Tascam interface, which is next to my other Tascam Eric gave me. 

Not a great pic – sorry, blame Apple! 

Anyway, that LaCie drive with its lovely orange glowing light has all my music stuff on it, that I’ve saved over the years, including my music I’ve made myself, plus all my personal collections of favourite obscure bands, high school poetry, nudes, etc., which I refuse to get rid. 

You think I’m getting rid of all my albums I’ve literally committed crimes for just so I can pay someone to stream it?  No dice, Satchmo!

Streaming has always bothered me in that way, because it means I don’t have ultimate control over it, as I said, and which I apparently need to sleep at night. 

It’s the same reason when I watch contemporary Youtube ads of people doing fun things, I just see black, empty holes where peoples heads are and the sound of cars crashing and an eagle crying. 

Nothing or no one I can relate to, as hard as they (the advertisers) try to make me relate to it.  

Heyyyyy. 

I know Spotify has been used by lots of people over the past five years, and it has been all the rage, but I never wanted anything to do with it. 

To me it went along with smart phones as a type of technology that I found to be somewhat obnoxious, although it is simply trying to provide me with convenience for my busy lifestyle, apparently. 

Have you looked at people lately?  These people are “busy”?  Come on.

Spotify For Artists

My experience with Spotify For Artists started about a month ago when my friend Kenny showed me this course that this guy was offering called Spotify Profits Course offered by Smart Music Business

See, as a musician, and someone who writes and records their own songs, I’ve always considered music to be a hobby in the sense that it pays very little, and takes up a lot of time and energy. 

It’s like frisbee.  You throw it, you catch it.  Call it a passion, call it what you will, no one’s paying you to do that. 

I have a lot of musician friends, who still do the grind and play bars and go on tours, and release albums to minimal fanfare. 

Lately, I’ve gotten tired of all that, as I’ve been doing it for what seems like ever, and I just figured making a living off of music in that regard (making, selling indie music) was nigh impossible.  

But, after watching a few videos from Spotify Profits, I started to ponder this a little more.  Was this guy on to something? 

I’ve been duped before, but I’ve also been lead to the promised land before, which is where I now reside, petting lambs and drinking hibiscus tea while watching the clouds slowly drift by. 

One thing that the course talks about is that streaming is the new way for musicians to make money, with lucrative financial rewards if you could figure out streaming services like Spotify.

Being the marketer I am, I was at least interested in this concept, since I have music I’ve slaved over, late at night, for no apparent reason at all, and I still would like more people to hear it, and buy it in some way, if possible. 

I still have boxes of old CD’s from old bands that are probably never going to sell for a number of reasons, which of course is annoying but it’s just too depressing to toss 100’s of brand new CD’s in the garbage, especially since they’re still shrink wrapped and I actually like some of the music on those albums…like this one. 

Aww, little buddy!

Yim Tin Tam - Come Fly With Me

But anyway, pushing that image of destroying my old CD’s aside for a moment just because they’re effectively useless despite being pristinely new, I figured I’d give Spotify For Artists a shot, since that’s what this guy was suggesting I use to get somewhere in this whole streaming thing.

This is, of course, where the complications began, from the get-go.  Now, either I’m just too behind the times to catch up to why Spotify is actually easy to use, or perhaps Spotify is just NOT easy to use, but overall I found this process very not easy to execute. 

That being, joining the Spotify For Artists community.  It literally took me a month to join.  Why, God, why? 

I’m sure there are many, many people who would say that I’m just just out of touch, but, dammit, I work online for a living, and deal with online issues every day that are mind-numbing and skull-crushing, so you might think I’d know at least enough to sign up for this program in less than a month. 

Here’s a pic of me at my computer though.

In any case, hear me out, if you will.  When I was watching these Spotify Profits videos, of course the guy logs in as himself and as a verified Spotify For Artists artist. 

That’s square one, and it’s from there where you begin your journey to getting millions of screaming fans to listen to you.  The problem is, I wasn’t signed up with Spotify For Artists. 

I wasn’t even signed up for Spotify.  So, I go onto Spotify and look at the deals. 

“Premium”, I figured, would allow me to sign up for this Spotify For Artists program, since I couldn’t seem to do much without paying for something. 

This might be where my stupidity comes in, because I think you can get a free Spotify account and then use it for stuff, but I signed up anyway, and then looked to see about the Spotify For Artists account, but at that point it was too late – I realized that Spotify and Spotify For Artists are not related and you don’t need a Spotify account to get on Spotify For Artists. 

Great…now I have a Spotify account that I didn’t really want in the first place. 

But at the same time, I didn’t know what you needed to do to get a Spotify For Artists account since when you go to that page, it asks you to hook your account up to …your account, so I was like, what account?  My Spotify account?  No, not THAT account.  Your other account, dumbass.  

That’s phase one of when I realized that I needed to actually get my stuff on Spotify, which I hadn’t done.  My problem was that I was approaching Spotify as the listener, not the artist. 

So I started to pursue that goal of being an artist ON Spotify, which meant choosing a company – namely Tunecore in this case – to distribute my music to Spotify, via their services. 

You can’t just upload anything to Spotify, of course.  Tunecore, or CD Baby, or whatever services that does such things has to do that for you, and THEN you can claim your Spotify For Artists account.  Ok, then. 

So I go join Tunecore, and that’s when I realized that I was going to have to spend some money, because Tunecore wasn’t going to schlep my music over to Spotify and the other 20 music streaming platforms for nothing. 

It was going to cost me about $30 USD to do that.  Something like that, anyway.  So I then began uploading an album of mine to Tunecore.  

This wasn’t too tough, the uploading, but I had to make sure that all the files were WAV, which makes sense, because streaming services don’t want to offer up lower quality audio formats to people – ie. crap. 

There was a bit of fussing to do with the size of the album art, and how clear the image on the album art actually is, but they seemed to accept my offerings. 

I purchased the deal that allowed me to share the album with a bunch of different platforms, including Spotify, which was my initial aim.  At that point, I was sitting there waiting for the album to be sent off to these platforms, when I realized that that wasn’t happening. 

A day or so later, I noticed something was missing, so I contacted Tunecore, who told me I had to buy some additional $10 thing that would allow the online distribution to take place. 

All I’d bought was the license, not the actual thing that sent the album off to all the platforms.  So, once I did that, the album was in limbo for a while while it zipped over the internet lines to the various platforms to be received by those organizations.

Days Pass

After about 5 days, I was notified in my Tunecore account that my album was live, and it could be found on Spotify.  Obviously, I rushed over to see it and then realized something else that I somehow missed, which was that although I’d paid for Spotify, I didn’t actually HAVE Spotify, as in, the application.  

It was easy enough to download, but I didn’t do it on my phone because I hate my phone, and would prefer to use it less.  Therefore, I got the laptop version of Spotify and began looking at that.  

Alright, great!  So now I’m actually ON Spotify, the app, as a listener with an account that worked.  This looked like what the Spotify Profits guy was using – the app, except he was an Artist. 

I started to play around on the app, since I did have that Premium account I sort of convinced myself I needed.  

Of course, this Spotify app was simply registered to me, Dave, not Young Coconut, my Artist name.  Hmmm…so, I had purchased Spotify under my actual name, and so now the app is under my name.  Makes sense, right? 

Meanwhile, I had purchased a license as Young Coconut and then the ability to send my material with that license over to Spotify to be featured on Spotify, so that anyone could find it (even though I couldn’t yet find it), as Young Coconut.  Great! 

Now I was both a listener and and an Artist who could be found (theoretically, at some point) on Spotify.  Is this not called progress?  Except what was I to do next?

Becoming Myself

young coconut

Clearly, the next thing to do would be to “claim” my artist account, since that’s what some guy on Youtube said to do.  So I go to do that, and…nothing happened. 

Why?  Because, although I was able to now see myself on Spotify as Young Coconut, I wasn’t able to log into anything as Young Coconut, because I had no Spotify For Artists Account. 

When you go to that menu in Spotify for Artists, it says something like, “Ok, find your account to claim it”, so I tried to do that, and basically it either didn’t know who I (Young Coconut) was, or it found some other band that had the same name as me. 

Because, when I went to my album that was on Spotify, although it was there under my name, that account wasn’t yet verified and so you can’t claim your artist account with an unverified account, which is the type of account you will have if you join Spotify For Artists to begin with. 

So, I couldn’t do anything.  Shock!  Horror!  I was stunned.  

This is when I emailed Spotify artist support to see if they could help, mentioning that I didn’t know what to do to verify my artist account when in order to do that, I needed what seemed to be a verified artist account. 

They got back to me a week later…

They seem like nice folks, but that’s when they started to talk about Twitter and Instagram, both of which I have no personal artist page on either of those platforms. 

So I started sending them to what I do have, which is THIS WEBSITE, and some other accounts like Facebook, Soundcloud.  

Guess what?  My Facebook page didn’t do it for them, so they suggested I point them to a personal website, since this website is clearly not me. 

They wanted my email displayed on the site too, which I went ahead and did, even though I don’t really want my personal email on the site, which is what I had to do, although it didn’t work.

So what DID I do?  I went ahead and made a whole new website, under my name, to prove that YES, I AM YOUNG COCONUT.

Of course, I hadn’t planned to do this nor did I really feel like it but I really wanted to claim my Spotify For Artists account and this seemed to be my last resort. 

Luckily, they were cool with that and allowed me to verify the account, FINALLY.  So now I’m verified.  Yay! 

On the downside, I had forgotten that my first website ever was called youngcoconutmusic and so it was the account name on my current account on my current hosting where all my shit is. 

And I had to delete that account in order to re-install wordpress, which almost had me deleting everything I’ve ever made, but I digress. 

Not so relevant to this story, except to say that this whole situation was causing major disturbances in the psychic field for me as I spent hours contending with this lame problem that came out of nowhere. 

The poor hosting people, they’ve logged so much time with me now.  But dammit, Spotify finally verified me so we’re all good.

There was only one small problem.  The other band that was apparently named the same as me is also in my Spotify For Artists account, so we’ve merged into a sort of siamese twin version of Young Coconut. 

I can see their stats, and their albums and track listings, as if I am them.  I can’t edit their albums, because that is on the distribution side of things, but currently I am posing as them and myself, which was never my intention. 

So now at some point I probably should contact those guys and say “Hey guys, I control the name, and I can see your stats as well.”  But I feel like if I tell Spotify artist support about it, they may just un-verify me, so I won’t do that just yet.  I’ll just keep an eye on things.

Now, back over on my Spotify application, I notice that the Spotify Profits course seems to teach a lot about making playlists and such, except for the fact that my Spotify account was under my real name, and so it wasn’t really linked to my artist account in any way. 

Therefore, if I make a playlist, it’ll just say that I did it, not Young Coconut, perhaps defeating the purpose of making playlists at all for the purpose mentioned in the course (make $$). 

So I had to contact artist support again, and submit even more proof of my account, which prompted them to change the name on my app to Young Coconut, and hence solving all of my problems up until this point. 

Because now I can make playlists as Young Coconut, and I can also log into my Spotify For Artists as Young Coconut.  It only took me an entire month to do it, but now I’m good to go!

I think that’s probably a good a point as any to cut this blog off, because I feel like I have reached a plateau, and now it is time to begin the next climb, with whatever challenges that presents in the world of being a Spotify Artist. 

Surely it will involve following the previously mentioned Spotify Profits course, watching Youtube “how to’s” on Spotify, and avoiding getting myself into trouble on the platform. 

Sometimes you find trouble, and sometimes it finds you, so we’ll see what happens first.  I don’t really know if my brain is just wired wrong, or this process for signing up to Spotify Profits is unnecessarily complicated. 

I’d like to speak with other Spotify artists to hear their stories, as I’m not ruling out that I have some kind of brain tumour and can’t understand simple things like this. 

I would also like to add that this article is not to say that Spotify the app is bad, or that the Spotify For Artists service is less than stellar.  I just haven’t had a chance to use them, but I shall, and report back to whoever might be listening in PART 2. 

Ciao!

Can You Make A Living Making Music For Audiojungle? – Diva Production Music Interview

When it comes to creating and selling royalty-free music online, I must admit that, until recently, I was only vaguely aware of the concept.  But, as a musician and someone who is always trying to explore new potential money-making ideas, there comes a time where such ideas enter your awareness and you ponder them.  Sometimes even act on them.  

Such was the case when I came across Diva Production Music, a Youtube channel that talks in depth about this very topic of making a sustainable business out of producing sought-after royalty-free music for the corporate world. 

Back to him in a moment, as he is the subject of today’s article and interview.  First a bit of context, if I may.

So, everyone who is of working age knows something of the “corporate world”, like it or not.  As a musician, for a long time, just those two words together equated to “sellout”, and made me cringe slightly.  Same with my friends, too – we all hated the idea of the corporate world, and wanted to avoid it at all costs.  To be honest, for me personally, that has equated to making music independently and seeing no income for my efforts for the past 20 years.  I also taught music, because, as they say, those can’t do, teach.  A reductive definition to be sure, but somewhat true, I’ll admit.

But here we are in 2018, and, lets face it – everyone needs to make a living.  Also, the music business has changed tremendously in the past 20 years.  If you don’t know that, you must have been living under a rock.  

Then

Starting with the onset of the internet in about ’95, and then on P2P and file-sharing platforms like Napster and Limewire at the turn of the century, the control was forcibly taken away from those who run the music business, and “given back” to the people.  File “sharing” AKA theft (Lars was right all along) was in vogue and has been ever since. 

The big music labels had to watch as everyone started simply taking everything that they had previously put a pricetag on, for free.  This of course went for movies, games, and everything else that could be turned into a file, and the entertainment industry tried their best to stop it.  And continually failed.  

Now

Fast forward almost two decades.  Independent musicians are now simultaneously more empowered to enter the world of entrepreneurship on their own terms, while at the same time far less attached to the idea of becoming a famous rock star one day.  This, I think, is not only because the “rock star” model was always somewhat of a lie, but also because there are many more options for starting actual legitimate online businesses open to individuals now that the age of the internet is beginning to mature slightly.  

This is essentially where people like Daniel Carrizalez (AKA Diva Production Music) comes in to the story.  Daniel is a musician, and has spent years honing his craft, composing songs and using all the gear he has at his disposal.  There came a point where he had to make a choice between using his skills as a musician to earn a living online, or earning his living in some other way (ie. a “real” job in an office or factory, perhaps).  The “rock star” notion was not something he was interested in, since it really is just a dream that comes true only once in a blue moon.  It is not a viable career choice to a man with a wife, an 8-yr old daughter and a new baby.  So he began taking his music making abilities more “seriously”, if you will, in that he wanted to make music, but also he needed to earn a living.  Emphasis on the word need.  Becoming aware of the new wave of internet marketing types, and jobs related to that field, Daniel began to explore his options.  

One site that stood out to him in his search for potential job opportunities was Audiojungle

Audiojungle is a sub section of the Envato Market, which is a much broader business that offers a multitude of services, one such being offering website themes and options to business owners.  The overarching concept of Envato, to my understanding, is to be able to hook up an online business person with whatever they need to help improve their own services.  

Audiojungle, specifically, is a service that offers music to anyone who needs music for a commercial, or product of any kind, but lacks the musical element.  On Audiojungle, the music is pre-made by professionals (such as Diva Production Music ), and sold to those who are willing to pay for the license so that they can make use of it.  Without the license, if a person were to use this music, it would be considered stealing.  With the purchase of a license (and there are various types), the buyer can now use the music they’ve purchased to use in their own project.

After watching some of Daniel’s content, I became more and more interested in the idea of using Audiojungle to make money with my music, and so I contacted him.  Luckily, he was willing to answer some of my burning questions on this matter.  So, here is our interview.  Enjoy!

Q: How long have you been making music?

A: I’ve been making music since I was a teenager, but composing and producing stock music only the last 4 years.

Q: What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

A: I enjoy all sorts of music, especially rock, alternative rock.

Q: What kind of music do you enjoy making?

A: I enjoying making a lot of acoustic guitar music and experiment with different elements. At the moment, I try to focus on making corporate music, the one that is required and is most popular for media projects.

Q: When did you become aware of Audiojungle?

A: In 2014, I did an extensive search on making and selling music online, and Audiojungle was one of the top marketplaces for that.

Q: Was it difficult to get started on Audiojungle?  What’s the basic process for doing that?

A: Yes, it was difficult. I had no idea what stock music was and even though I knew all about music composition and production, I’d never done commercial music before.

The basic process involves setting up and author’s account and uploading your track. The music that you are uploading should reflect your strengths and ability to create more, quickly and effortlessly.

Q: What type of music do you specialize in making for Audiojungle?

A: I specialize in inspirational and feel-good music, particularly in the genres of rock, pop, folk and/or corporate.

Q: What type of gear setup do you have to make the tracks you make?

A: I am running ProTools on a Macbook pro laptop, use different WAVES plugins for the production of the music, an Eleven Rack as an interface, a SansAmp as a base preamp and a microphone preamp to record acoustic guitars. I also have a midi keyboard and a selection of different guitars, both electric and acoustic.

Q: How big is Audiojungle, community wise?

A: The community of Audiojungle is quite big and growing very fast.

Q: Is it competitive at all?

A: Yes, it is but the key here is not to compete but to create the best product for each and every project.  I am a creator, NOT a competitor.

Q: Do you ever hear form Audiojungle for any reason or Envato for that matter?(ie. do you talk to a rep or is it hands off mostly)

A: There are no reps involved but if you need to contact support, there is a system available. But each author is on their own, and it is up to you to decide on your presentation and marketing of your music.

Q: How much of your work for Audiojungle is inspiration, how much is work work?

A: Inspiration comes after I start working on a new project. I believe that work is a good thing and inspiration comes from working on your craft. Inspiration, like motivation, will always let you down. One that creates cannot wait for inspiration to arrive; you find it only through working!

Q: What are their basic standards for whether a track is suitable for their platform?

A: Over the years, the bar has been raised higher and higher, both in composition and production. That means that the tracks uploaded and accepted back in 2010 most likely, will not be accepted now. The review process is very thorough nowadays and an author must continue to improve and polish their skills. The final result should be broadcast quality, like the music you hear on a TV commercial or YouTube ad.

Q: Who reviews the tracks submitted and how long does that process take?

A: There is a group of reviewers in Audiojungle and the review time varies depending on the number of submissions. It can be anything from 7 days to 15 days for a song to be approved and up or sale.

Q: Who uses Audiojungle from the customer side, as far as your experience tells you?

A: Costumers are video-makers, film-makers, advertising companies and of course, YouTubers!

Q: What’s the price range of songs on Audiojungle?

A: A song can be sold based on the length of the music, starting from $12-15 to $19 for a standard license. The price will directly depend on the license purchased, for example, ie. broadcast license or film license.

Q: Does anyone try to pirate Audiojungle tracks that you know of?

A: Yes. I have personally heard and informed Audiojungle on tracks being used with the watermark.

Q: What kind of musicians do you think would be good authors on Audiojungle?

A: A good author on Audiojungle is any musician with the right mindset to be at the service of others, in this case, the other media makers and content creators.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: In order to become a successful stock music composer, we must be aware of the market’s needs, without comparing ourselves to other composers.


And…that about wraps things up here today!  To learn more about Daniel and Diva Production Music, visit his Youtube channel here, and don’t forget to subscribe!

Talking Custom Royalty-Free Songs Production with Snail Music

In this day and age, being a working musician requires you to be aware of several new business models which can bring potential success, many of which involve the online world.  One of those avenues that business-savvy musicians are looking at is producing royalty-free music in various styles and made available through online distributors, connecting talented musicians and their libraries of diverse music with the exact right audience who needs them.  
 
This so happens to be the specialty of a company / website called Snail Music, who do exactly this.  Their service offers high quality tracks at affordable rates that span across a variety of genres, and can all be purchased through the popular website, Audiojungle, which is part of Envato.  Various audio licences are available to cover all your legal bases.
As luck would have it, I had a chance to grill Snail Music in the persons of their co-founders Pablo and Fernando about their dynamic music business and how it functions. 
 
I think that in this rapidly changing world, musicians are sometimes the type of people who aren’t necessarily clued in to the full range of business possibilities open to them, as they are more focused on the creative side of things.  And so, I think it’s valuable to touch base with fellow musicians who are actively developing these skills themselves.
 
Without further delay, here is my interview with Snail Music!
 

Q: What is the concept behind Snail Music?
 
A: We started Snail Music as a way to create music and be paid for it without the hassle of becoming a band. We just wanted a business that was an expression of our creativity. So nowadays we produce royalty-free songs that we later sell on some online marketplaces, like Audiojungle
 
Q: Can you tell me how long Snail Music has been around and how it came to be?
 
A: We’ve been around for 2 years now. It all started when my partner and amazing musician, Fernando, registered on Audiojungle and started to upload music there. Despite being an amazing guitarist and singer, he never produced a song before with the computer, so he had to learn everything from scratch. 
 
After some weeks on it, he told me (Pablo) if I wanted to join, so I said yes on the spot! At that time I was working as a general manager for an SEO agency, but my entrepreneurial side was always stronger than any fancy job. I started to build the Snail Music webpage and, through my previous SEO knowledge, getting traffic: customers and referrals and three or four months later I quit my job to become a full-time co-founder.
 
Q: Do you have a typical type of customer that comes to you the most for music?
 
A: Yes, they’re mostly online freelancers in the media industry or little-medium companies that need background music for their corporate videos or advertising.
 
Q: Do you do custom orders?  ie. following directions to get a certain effect
 
A: We did it for a while, but not now. We believe almost anything that you can need in terms of royalty-free music is already available on Audiojungle and, from an economical point of view, its much more profitable to release a track and sell licenses to whoever is interested than only to one single client.
 
Q: Is it possible for two different people who don’t know each other to end up using the same song from you?
 
A Yes, it is, although the Internet is so big nowadays in terms of data that is almost impossible to listen to the same song twice randomly from different videos or ads.
 
Q: What license do you recommend to clients the most and why?
 
A: Usually what most people need is the ‘Standard’ license, which is also the cheaper ($19) but covers all uses on the Internet. The other ones are well suited for other end products (apps, audiobooks…) or broadcast (tv, radio…)
 
Q: How has the rise of mobile affected your business?
 
A: It’s always good for us because mobile means that more people are connected and browsing the Internet for more hours so, therefore, the economics are moving there: youtube ads, Facebook advertising, Instagram… all they are what was before just tv or radio ads. And all of them need background music.
 
Q: Do you create literally any kind of music people ask for?
 
A: What we do is create our music depending on the ‘best sellers’ on Audiojungle. The best royalty-free music authors are competing there for a spot and, when a song is selling a lot of licenses, it means that a lot of people are liking it. 
 
Q: What’s the most popular “genre” you make for people?  
 
A: Always the ‘corporate’ genre. You can listen to some examples of it here. In the end, companies are the ones who are spending more money on advertising, of course, and they demand a type of song that is mostly a combination of some moods: happy, uplifting and inspirational. Why? Because that’s what they want to transmit to their clients with their product or service.
 
Q: How busy are you guys?
 
A: Hahaha that’s a good one! We’re pretty busy. Me, for example, I have another business to run, dedicated to the cryptocurrency industry. So if I’m not with one I’m with the other, but it’s also true that we have our own schedules and we try always to automate everything. Creating any business from scratch is difficult and very time-consuming but if you do it right you can later enjoy the economic rewards, manage your time and don’t have more bosses than your clients.
 
Q: Do any of your artists make their own music and is it available anywhere?
 
A: Nowadays we’re dedicating all of our time to royalty-free music, because that’s a full-time job, so everything is in our portfolio. The non-royalty-free music is not on the Internet as we liked to play live but not recording anything.
 
Q: Do many people ask for music that has vocals in it, or are you dealing with predominantly instrumentals?
 
A: Mostly instrumentals, because you see, people who need a background song for their video or advertising already have a voice explaining something, so they do not want another background voice, only instrumentals that don’t bother but also add a nice mood.
 
Q:  What upcoming plans does Snail Music have in store?
 
A: We’re humble, so our plan right now is just continuing doing what we’re doing and working every week without stopping, improving the business little by little with new music and nice SEO & Youtube work. There’s always things to do when you run a business, so it’s impossible to be bored, haha. We’re already very very grateful of being able to make a living from what we love and to enjoy the present moment.

 
Hey everybody, thanks for checking out the interview!  If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and we or the Snail Music folks will get back to you in due course.  If you want to contact them directly, email: hi@snailarts.com

Napster – P2P’s Sacrificial Lamb

Napster was a pioneer in peer-to-peer file sharing services. The service specialized in sharing audio files, especially music files encoded in the still-popular MP3 format.  

The service allowed its users to easily exchange songs through a decentralized file sharing system – the first of its kind, really – which changed the way everyone got their music.  What seemed like an amazing breakthrough in accessibility to all music eventually led the music industry to lay charges of massive copyright infringement against it. Napster then had to cease operations.

The original Napster service ran between June 1999 and July 2001. Although the service was closed by court order, it opened the way for many other peer-to-peer programs: Gnutella, Freenet, Kazaa, LimeWire, Scour, Grokster, Madster, eDonkey2000, and many others. Many of these services were based on the Napster model and implemented the same decentralized peer-to-peer architecture, which has made them similarly despised over the years by those who believe the Napster model is nothing more than a platform for piracy.  The battle rages on…

History of Napster

The idea for what Napster would do (share files in a decentralized system quickly and easily) was the brainchild of creator Shawn Fanning, a computer programmer from Brockton, Massachusetts who came up with the basic code for Napster when he was 18 in a broom closet in his uncle’s office.

It all began when Shawn Fanning, nicknamed <napster> on a hacker chat forum because of his nappy hair (I guess before she shaved his head), had a room mate at Northeastern University in Boston who was having trouble downloading his favourite music from the internet.  Even though Shawn disliked his roommates taste in music, it gave him an idea.  Hmm…

The internet itself had only been in available to the public for a few years by this point, and was still in the “dial up” era, where connections to the internet were quite slow still. 

Some people, like Shawn Fanning and his buddy Sean Parker, had met through early internet forums, and bonded over this new social connection the internet provided.  This way of connecting to people was still a novelty at this time, and Shawn and Sean were like cyber penpals.  Today, people meet in this way all the time and it’s the norm.  Back then, it was rather unusual to make friends in such a way.

Thanks to Shawn’s roommate’s issue with downloading music, Shawn figured he could make file sharing easier, and set about creating Napster by roughing out some code which would constitute the basic gist of what Napster was meant to do. 

After a while, Shawn, his brother John Fanning, and Sean Parker decided to turn Napster into a start-up business and take some serious action on the idea.  Tech start-ups were just starting to become a thing back in those days, and Napster was just another kooky tech start up.

Before Napster, services such as Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Hotline Communications, and Usenet facilitated file distributions over the web, so the idea of sharing files was not entirely unprecedented.  But Napster was subtly different from these communities in a few different ways, even though the code still needed work. 

Shawn then handed the code over to some more expert coder dudes, like Jordan Ritter, who became the chief server architect for Napster, and that’s when the real fun began, because Jordan was able to take Shawn’s idea and make it actually work, even without Shawn showing him the source code which he presumably wanted to keep to himself.  

Downloading in Dorms

Once the Napster system actually worked, Shawn was quick to share his creation with the students at his university, who took it for what it was – a way to get free stuff!  With its friendly interface and growing base of users, Napster began to catch on quickly and soon thousands of kids were using the service.  The MP3 was the new file format which made the sharing of music files super easy, and soon MP3’s were being shared en masse.  

MTV, the gossip hounds of the music biz, were there to interview students about this new “fad” that was starting to catch on.  What was this whole “Napster” thing all about, anyway?  LOL.

The service was an interesting combination of centralized / non-centralized system models.  For instance, Napster had their servers which contained their growing user base, but the servers didn’t hold any songs.  The users downloaded the Napster application to their computer and they became the servers, while Napster just facilitated the interaction of those users.  Hence, once music companies started freaking out, it was hard for them to know who to sue – the users themselves, or Napster.  Well, they of course started with Napster and tried to nail the users later.

It’s A Small World After All

While Napster was starting to catch on with users in colleges and universities, there was, around this time in the late 1990’s, a strong desire for people around the world to connect with each other, and Napster gave them an excuse to do that over sharing music with each other.  This made Napster practically the first successful social network, albeit for more introverted music-loving types of people.  It was no Facebook, and yet it sowed the seeds for such interactions to happen later.

It should also be mentioned that Napster as a company was basically a not-for-profit, in that it wasn’t designed to make money, and it didn’t – the entire time it was online – except for some T-shirt sales.

The MP3

As Napster was going viral (as we call it these days, but that slang didn’t exist then), people concurrently were making new ways to play and store music, so that users could take advantage of file formats like MP3.  MP3 players becoming a big thing, and soon enough, MP3 was the de facto file format for songs to be encoded in, so they could be played or stored on a computer lickety split. 

This was despite them being inferior audio-wise to most other forms of audio that had been created up until that point, such as the CD, tapes, and, of course, vinyl records.  Audiophiles to this day do not prefer the MP3, due to it’s overly compressed nature and loss of audio quality in order to shrink down the file size to be more easily shareable.  Regular people who aren’t listening closely for audio quality still don’t mind MP3’s, and they are still hugely popular today.

Making History

One thing that should be pointed out is that Napster was making available for the first time ever, all of the music that was in a digital form from all of human history.  Never before had this been done, and for free.  It was a moment in time that some saw as a great moment, since it was tapping into everyone’s collective vaults of digital music and exposing them to the world.

As part of this, Napster made it so that if you wanted to share in the fun, you needed to download the application, and so expose yourself and your hard drive to all the other users, who were connected through the application as well.   This seemed rather risky, but since Napster made it seem like you were just joining their fun little community, users didn’t really think much about the risks involved.

Even Shawn Fanning’s friends had their doubts that people would want to share the contents of their hard drive with total strangers, but, as it turned out, music lovers said “OK” to this possible breach of privacy for the chance to search through others’ music libraries. 

As a user of the software, you simply “asked” Napster if the file was out there (ie. typed in a song you wanted to get), and Napster would quickly and easily point you to someone who had the file, if anyone in the network did.  Usually someone did, but their connection might be slower or faster depending on their computer set-up.  From there, if that person was online, you could then download the file from them right then and there, and then you had it as a file on your computer.  Kind of like trading baseball cards, except with songs, and online… and somewhat anonymously… and ignoring all copyright laws. 😉

The Age Of File Sharing Innocence

As the service caught on more and more, the ease of finding and downloading music files quickly made Napster very popular among basically everyone who tried it.  Some liked the service because it allowed them to find copies of songs difficult to obtain otherwise, such as old songs, unpublished recordings and amateur recordings made at concerts.  

Others felt justified in downloading digital copies of recordings they had already purchased in other formats such as albums or cassettes.  Still others used the service to protest record companies forcing them to buy a full album when they only wanted one or two songs of an album.

Finally, many Napster users simply appreciated the opportunity to exchange or download music for free.  Some called it a revolution.  Some called it piracy.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t stopping once it started. 

Free-for-all

Napster quickly created problems for institutions, like colleges and universities.  The high-speed networks in universities and high schools had by this point become overcrowded with file sharers, with Napster hogging up 60% of the traffic to these networks.  Little work was getting done, as people were becoming addicted to the service and downloading all they could in a manic free-for-all.

As a result, many colleges blocked the service because of the congestion it caused on their network, before they even worried about their potential complicity in a potential copyright infringement on their network.

At its peak, Napster service had about 80 million registered users.  The music industry was starting to get wise to the service, and objections were getting louder by the day.  Meanwhile, Shawn was getting his moment in the spotlight as an influencer and game changer.  And it’s not like he wasn’t that – he really was.  He was a kid that had a great idea and made it a reality, and changed the world.  

The ease of downloading individual songs with Napster and subsequent services is often cited as the cause of the end of the era of albums in popular music, which, to be honest, never really “recovered” after Napster.  Like it or not, everyone was forced to look at music differently after that.

Mac Version

Initially, the service was available only on Windows. In 2000, Black Hole Media wrote a Napster client for Macintosh called Macster. Macster was later bought by Napster and named the official customer under the name Mac Napster (Napster for the Mac).  At this point, the Macster name has been dropped.

Even prior to Napster’s acquisition of Macster, the Macintosh community had a variety of Napster customers, developed independently by various groups. Most notable were the client open source MacStar, released by Squirrel Software in early 2000 and Rapster published by Overcaster Family in Brazil.

The release of MacStar’s source code has paved the way for Napster customers across all computing platforms, giving users ad-free music distribution tools.

The Real Problem

The argument for Napster being innocuous and innocent (ie. fun) seemed to stem from a certain naivety on the part of its creators.  The desire to “share” media of all kinds and make it “universal” to anyone who had the Napster software seems like a nice idea, in the same way you might loan an album to a friend.  There seems to be no harm in sharing music between “friends” or “peers”, as this was a peer-to-peer system, with the little smiling Napster guy being the facilitator of all of this innocent “sharing”. 

The problem with the whole concept seemed to come from file duplication, not so much the sharing itself.  Since sharing MP3’s was essentially copying them, which has always been illegal in most forms of both print media and digital media, this posed a problem because it took the idea of demand away from the artists who created that media in the first place.  And so, even though Lars managed to piss off Metallica fans and everyone else by calling them thieves, he did have a point in some way. 

In 2001, Dave Grohl was on the Dennis Miller show and had a decent retort to the Lars argument of millionaire rock stars being pissed at their fans for stealing their hard work from under their noses.  Should music be free to everyone, or a privilege to those who could afford it? 

Clearly, one could argue either way that Napster was good or bad, but, of course, when it comes down to the matter of pure capitalism, the big music companies weren’t about to take this file sharing bullshit any longer, and they eventually did bring the hammer down on the whole situation, and the Napster software was eventually forcibly taken down in 2001, after several years of legal proceedings in the United States for infringement of copyright law.

What happened?  Just to recap, from the outset, the role of Napster in the transfer of music and service efficiency had raised the ire of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which very quickly, on the 7th December 1999, filed the first lawsuit against the popular file-sharing service.

This initial lawsuit aimed at snuffing out Napster ASAP, but only offered it free publicity instead – at first. The media coverage of the lawsuit has inflated Napster’s customer base by millions of new users.  But that didn’t stop various entities from taking the revolutionary idea of making music free for everyone that Shawn initially thought of, and basically beating the shit out of it legally.  As mentioned earlier with Lars of Metallica, certain artists absolutely HATED Napster (Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and many many more), and sided with the music industry in an effort to destroy Napster.

The plaintiffs alleged that Napster facilitated copyright infringement, and filed an application for a preliminary injunction to stop the exchange of musical selections immediately.

Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California  granted the preliminary injunction on the basis that the plaintiffs demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of success.  It did take years to grind Napster down, with the help of a memo written by Napster co-founder Sean Parker who mentioned the word “piracy”, basically giving everyone enough evidence in that one word or sentence to assume that Napster was never about anything but theft.

Napster Goes Offline

Napster was forced to shut things down in July 2001, but even after they did that, it wasn’t dead yet because people had Napster appendages running off site that kept the system going even without the main hub being active.  Eventually though, those were stamped out too.

Napster then filed for bankrupcy in June of 2002, they had to raise 100 million dollars to essentially pay people off, including Dr. Dre and Metallica (two of the more vocal and powerful opponents of Napster), including investors and so forth.  In the documentary Downloaded, they said it was about 500 million that needed to be raised and then just as quickly the funds were absorbed back into the industry, as Napster was on its way out the door. 

It was shortly after that that new file sharing systems like Limewire, Gnutella, and eDonkey came about, effectively replacing Napster and being even harder for the music industry to eradicate.

After Napster ended, the co-founders went their separate ways, entering into new enterprises and continuing to explore the potential of the online world. 

Shawn Fanning, for his part, did what he could to try and restore some of the rights that Napster had “taken away” from artists, by creating an “independent copyright database” called Snocap.  The idea here was to give artists a chance to register their work, and then whatever wasn’t registered was then considered “free”.  Unfortunately, this business didn’t take off, due in part to iTunes beginning its ascent at this time. 

From there, Shawn created Rupture, a gaming company, which he then sold off to EA for 30 million dollars. 

Co-founder Sean Parker went on to create Plaxo, which never reached its full potential, and then got involved with Facebook, where his career really took off.

The Changing Music Industry (2002-2010)

In this interim after the death of Napster, many things happened.  For one, music fans started to resent the music industry for killing off Napster, and refused to support them.  Record sales dropped and dropped and dropped, so that by 2010, the record industry as it was 10 years prior was no longer existed. 

As many predicted, the offspring of Napster in the form of various decentralized peer-to-peer networks rose up, taking the place of Napster and being even more virulent and impossible to shut down.  The music business actually took the time to sue the pants off of regular people for illegal downloading using these new services, further instilling a sense of resentment to the big record companies. 

A culture war had begun, and even though the creators of Napster were forced to pay their debts (both real and imagined) and move on, there was no stopping what had begun. 

As people became more tech savvy, the dinosaurs of the industry who wanted to keep the old model of the music business happening were being laid to waste by a new population of creative thinkers thanks to what Napster started.  This battle continues on to this day, with websites like the Pirate Bay being shut down by authorities and re-spawning not longer after. 

Big companies still try to sue people, and file sharing networks get more sophisticated all the time.  Free music and other media (movies, etc) is still very much available, although you may be punished if you download it.

Napster Today

After all of that, you’d think Napster would be dead and gone.  But nope.  Today, in 2018, Napster has 3 different headquarters in different parts of the world (Seattle, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo), and operates 100% legally, with a number of patents under its belt.  Here is their motto on their about page as it stands right now:

“Napster’s leading streaming music services give members ad-free access to millions of songs. Whether they’re listening on their phone, at home, at work, or in the car, Napster goes where they go. Our expert team of editors create a curated music experience that’s easy for members worldwide to gather and enjoy new original content including videos, playlists, reviews, and radio stations — anytime and anywhere.”

This is quite the change from their early days of distributing pirated music, but it is also a 180 degree turn from the user base they once had, who were morally, let us say, flexible.

https://us.napster.com/

Downloaded Documentary

In 2012, a documentary made by director Alex Winter  was released to much acclaim, and gave an in depth look at the cultural shockwaves that resulted from the Shawn Fanning’s original creation.  I highly recommend anyone interested in learning more about file sharing, music, culture, or human rights check it out, as it is brilliant and will give you a whole new understanding of our changing world.

Rent it on Amazon (or torrent it, you sleazy pirate you)

Here’s an interview with Alex Winter about the documentary.  Worth a watch!

Here’s some guy in 2016 trying to use the old Napster client.  Somewhat entertaining if you’re a computer geek!

Well thanks for reading.  Bye! – YC

Interview with JK Phil Osé of Fauxtown on the Music Biz and More!

Hey, YC here.  Today I sat down with JK Phil Osé, one of Fauxtown Record’s many talented musical artists, to talk about a number of things, starting with what got him into music in the first place, then moving into DIY recording of albums, and then moving on to a discussion the nature of the music business as it stands here in 2018. 

Because I know Phil personally, from our dual membership in both Try Hardz and Childebeast (not to mention McBain’s World), we accidentally break down the 4th wall so to speak (at first I play the part of the ignorant journalist – so much for that guise), and go into the inner workings of our own mysterious and colourful record label – Fauxtown Records, and how we can ever improve it beyond some of the fascism that exists out there today in order to reach the “free market” and continue to please our fans moving forward.  We also discuss musical accessibility, losing and regaining hope, and finding our niche.

You know folks, running an indie record label isn’t easy work, and it takes the cooperation of everyone involved in such a relatively small venture (compared to the big labels that are still operating out there) to do their part and keep the dream alive.  But what is that dream, at this point?  Is it making a living off your music, bringing fame and glory to our artists, or just sharing music with whoever will listen and appreciate it?  In any case, enjoy this interview with J.K. Phil Osé as we cover a variety of topics.

YC: Hey Phil, how’s your day going thus far?

JK: Hello Dave I’m pretty good.

YC: you’ve been busy making music for a while now.  when did it all start?

JK: It started when I was 17

YC: Take us back will ya?  What happened?

JK: Well…in regard to my shit?

YC: in regard to getting into music.. what sparked your interest and what kind of music were you interested in?

JK: Oh..yea it was a need to find some expression. I borrowed my sisters keyboard for a few months and started writing boring SOft experimental.  I was interested in punk as a youth, then hip hop and began to get into abstract music per-say into my twenties.

YC: So initially it was just a means of expression. What was going on at the time in your life that you needed to express via music?

JK: I’d say some familial troubles and personal addictions. And the complications that come from the traumas. Of both.

YC: So you say keys was your first instrument you kinda picked up?

JK: When I was 6 I learnt the C major scale, and some songs to go with it, then 8-9 years later I began experimenting with keyboards. In the interim was playing minimal bass guitar until I was 18. A little piano, a little bass, then at 18 a lot of guitar, bass and minimal piano/key boards.

YC: Did you have recording in mind, or performing, or both, or neither?

JK: I began recording right away. I never had a specific genre in mind and still don’t I play to the feeling of my hands. I simply express melodies, lyrics, and rhythms.

<interjection> – some music

YC: what’s your fav instrument at the moment to play?

JK: I enjoy the Classical guitar the most.

YC: nice…with regards to recording, what do you see the point of that being for you? obviously it is a form of expression, but beyond that, why do you do it?

JK: I see recording as a way of documenting my ideas to listen back refine, and share them with myself and anyone interested in listening.

YC: that sounds reasonable enough 🙂 how interested in the technical aspects of recording at you?  i mean, you do your recordings yourself quite often, so i’d assume at least somewhat interested… 😀

JK: I care but I don’t have the financial ease of spending tens of thousands of dollars on full LP’s… so as I get older the less I’ve cared about sound quality and begun to accept what I can produce. Which isn’t anything over the top.

YC: ya, gear is a costly thing that’s for certain…that said, what are you recording with now?

JK: I’m recording with a Rode microphone, an apogee one, and occasionally a friend who is quite talented at sounds engineering.

YC: oh ya who’s that?  is it Brennan Galley?  The Fiercemule himself??

JK: Yes Brennan Galley.

YC: now that guy has some serious gear for recording and knows how to wield it

JK: Yes, but I don’t rely on him.  I record on my own in much lower fidelity to continue getting ideas out there.

YC: a true indie artist to the end

JK: Maybe too independent.

YC: ya but you’re right you can’t rely too much on any one person

JK: You can only rely on yourself.

YC: Indeed brethren

JK: Everyone else is a helping hand whom you are also to them.

YC: it’s the nature of teamwork i guess…people helping each other makes the world go round…plus, recording and playing everything yourself all the time isn’t always fun in the long run.. it’s good to get out there, at least in front of a crowd or something…as opposed to just you on your couch or whatever

JK: I find my couch the most comfortable place to play.

YC: no denying that…certain furniture will facilitate a certain creative mood at times

JK: I’ve thought of Bringing my couch to shows.  Just so I can play in comfort.

YC: a novel idea if ever there was one…as an indie artist, what do you think of the whole marketing of yourself to reach fans?  do you believe in luck, or hard work?

JK: I believe in hard work. I believe the marketing aspect of it can be deceptive but necessary to reach enough people. I think people generally don’t want to accept new and progressive ideas because it means promoting it within their social circles which can be dangerous. I believe music needs to be attached to a culture for it to blossom. Maybe a marketing tactic would be to create a culture somewhere somehow.  But Yea that’s the hardest of work.

YC: would you be happy if your music was listened to by some new people who you don’t know, but you didn’t really get paid for it? or is the goal to make a wage off it selling the music?

JK: Good question. I’d say I wouldn’t care if no one else was making money of my ideas. If no one was then it would be cool but it’s inevitable if enough people would hear the music an artist would make money in some way. Off* Is it about money…money is an important aspect of life. I don’t want to compromise the artistry to attain money but I would prefer if people supported the ideas in a financial way. Then I could be more productive musically and artistically.

YC: are you aware of the idea of the “big rock n roll swindle”?

JK: No sir.

YC: its the idea from like the 70’s / 80’s /90’s where some big record label would pay a band a million bucks, and then that band would just like spend it all and run away or something. 

JK: No I didn’t hear about that.

YC: it’s sort of dates back to when major labels would hear about these hyped up bands and try to wine and dine them, and get them to sign their lives away in some crazy million dollar contract…which the bands, not being business people, would sign, with the fantasy of just spending all of “the man” ‘s money…it’s a fairly outdated model now, considering how it is nowadays…typically now it’s like.. you do it all yourself, and figure out every aspect of your business, and if it doesn’t work, it’s your fault…no one’s going to “invest” in you to sell records per se

JK: Yea I don’t think labels and bands believe to thoroughly in the CD anymore. It’s all about being on Spotify and good play and taking percentages. But YouTube is a great way to make money directly. Google Play*

YC: i think so long as you understand how the whole structure works, then that’s fine and good…but say with Youtube, there’s a lot of invisible rules and hidden politics going on that holds some people back and they may not understand why.

JK: Yea I’m not sure how it works on the fascist political side but fuck those who live in that way.  I wouldn’t hold back a shitty country music singer who sang terrible lyrics and generic chords just because I didn’t like their music.

YC: It’s about individual expression…well that and finding your fanbase…but the problem is that certain platforms aren’t going to help you find that fanbase.. they really have no obligation to though…

JK: The fan base must be created. How can you find something that doesn’t exist until you show them your stuff.

YC: the fan base i think does exist to an extent

JK: It will exist when they see you.

YC: like with your generic country artist, there are generic country fans..and they need to connect and then all is well

JK: True to the extent that you play within a genre.  If you are doing something all encompassing then I think that fanbase needs to be created.

YC: i believe that it’s like the law of attraction…certain people, if they heard you, would like you

but ya they have to hear you…and until they hear you, they are unaware of you basically

JK: Solid Perspective.

<interjection> – some music

YC: so that’s where the corporations come in.. they are the gatekeepers to whether anyone will become aware of you…unless you become your own gatekeeper…but then it’s all on you…people complain when youtube changes things up.. but there’s no one saying you need to be on youtube anyway…same with any of them

JK: Yea I don’t know how to promote my music unless it’s through some interconnected network.

YC: the alternative is just to try to get gigs and talk to real people one on one….but i’ve never really gotten much out of that method myself

JK: Yea that method requires a managerial aspect which I haven’t proven to possess although I am looking to become…The thing about the manager tho was that the manager was an unbiased source of approval to labels.  So it depends who you as an independent artist are trying to talk to. If you are an independent artist on an independent label then you have to talk to the corporation yourself.

YC: usually artists and corporate types don’t really have very good chemistry…hence the manager is the middle man for that

JK: But in my case I am a FauxTown Music Label  Administrator, and part owner.  So I or whoever is running our label because they are few have to get off there arses and start using their brains. So I’m staring to make music videos.

YC: yeah.. i’ve heard a stat that it’s 20% material, 80% marketing in basically any business…which is kinda scary…because as far as material goes, Fauxtown has plenty of that…but i guess too, it’s about knowing what the specific goal is…because we are a label.. so talking to other labels is like.. we don’t really need to…a lot of artists are shopping themselves around FOR a label.. we run the label…but as far as how much clout we have, that is rather a mystery

JK: I think the material isn’t as accessible as it can be.  It can be readily accessible to people through different channels. Channels that need to be in place to be visible to people. Like the live show it’s a channel.

YC: ya it’s about knowing those channels and being good at them…because like i’ve said before, i think it’s kinda pointless to put someone in charge of a channel that they aren’t really into

JK: Yes well that’s the goal. Learn how to channel beyond composition.

YC:and that’s the trick for us too…is that most artists we know are really only good at specific things and beyond that they…don’t show interest in those other things

JK: That’s the hard work that needs to be put in.

YC: yes but at the same time, give someone a job they like and they’ll do it all the time…give someone a job they hate and they won’t do it ever…you can tell them that it’s needed all you like…they won’t really do it

JK: Yes and if they don’t like doing anything but music then that’s all they can do.

YC: right and that’s also great…but if say we step into a more managerial role, then it’s good for us to know that…because you’re not going to get that person who only likes being at home making music to tour..or go to events…or meet anyone

JK: It is but the hard work which makes a label tick.. the finding of timely opportunities by working to find them and pounce needs to be done.

YC: well not to tout the virtues of the free market but that’s why i love the free market…and why also the free market is scary…because it’s all there for you.. just go do it…get what you want

JK: Yes I think I have an idea that’s under developed but possible.

YC: personally i don’t see any difference between us and anyone else in terms of how much we care about music…whether they are famous or not…we can do what they do if we know what we’re doing…and also identifying goals and such…accounting is part of the problem…because musicians suck at it

JK: Like you said…and so is cooperation in some ways because ideally cooperation is easy between the people in our group, but in practice it’s a little more difficult.  The material is there but the complimentary material needs to be there too (music videos etc) live shows online. Then when the channel is produced it will flow like electricity.

YC: we have one thing that’s kind of going against us…which is that everyone we know has been working on stuff for so long now…that what you’re saying isn’t resonating.. people treat it like they’ve failed already and it’s over so saying “hey, NOW let’s do this” is hard for people

JK: Then if they’ve given up it’s up to us.  And we will revive their hopes when we make this happen.

YC: ya people gotta see it to believe it…no one has completely given up.. except those who have

JK: Yes we believe in them even tho they’ve moved on.

YC: well i do agree with you though.. if we can just get all the cylinders firing, we’ll be in good shape…but what i’ve learned is that we need people operating on different fronts.. like say Twitter

JK: They all say they can’t substitute work for playing shows unless the shows pay. So money does really matter.

YC: i used to dislike Twitter, but now i like it but also i have no time to Tweet all day on our behalf…that said, the Fauxtown twitter is back and it’s in better shape than it was.

JK: Which is good news.

<interjection> – some music

YC: it’s stuff like this that needs attention but you and me can’t do everything bro…we can do a lot, but not everything

JK: I’ll need the Twitter account info.

YC: i’ll give it to ya and you can see what’s going on over there…i actually had my VA curate it for a bit and she helped get it looking less lame

JK: We have to do everything we can. And that is asking for everyone’s help which means we will be doing basically everything on the business end.

YC: i think it also gets a bit confusing with money and such…people want to promote their albums their way…and so now with that plugin i’ve got it can link to whatever download you want which is nice…it takes time to find the right software sometimes because there’s a ton of stuff that doesn’t do what you want it to do…but you had a good call on the website by mentioning the mobile thing…it’s way better now i think…so basically more presentable and i don’t feel so bad about showing it to people

JK: That’s good.

YC: so this interview has turned into us talking about our mission.. how did it happen?

JK: Lol you can cut it off when it was a q and a

YC: nah, i kinda like the impromptu nature of it to be honest…unless you don’t like that

JK: I don’t mind. It broke the third wall tho Which was you asking me questions as an interested journalist. Which became we are working for the same people which is us. Lol

YC: lol.. people love that stuff dont’ they…the point is, this is just another channel for us…like the podcast and everything else….i look at it like we put some time into it here and there, and eventually our little interviews can become something…but at first, it’s just us trying and failing and trying again

JK: We can also take the convo sheet and act out the interview.

YC: lol that’s like breaking the 4th wall

JK: Lol I think that’s how most interview go.

YC: how many walls do we need to break?

JK: They pre plan it and then go on camera.

YC: yeah that’s true.. there’s a lot of that now

JK: Their answers are always too perfect to be thought of that fast.

YC: well so long as i can post it like this as well, i don’t care…i’m just into the text form interview right now

JK: Yea.  The channels have to be planned. I’m going to work on how to do this.

YC: nice man keep me posted…i guess we can call it here…

JK: Okay take care.

YC: alrighty seeya !

Interview with Sarah Jane Curran of The Violet Stones

Today I spoke with Sarah Jane Curran, an alternative rocker and lead singer for the band The Violet Stones out of Sydney, Australia.  I came across her music recently on Youtube (where she goes by Sarah Jane Music) and was impressed at all of the material on there, from original songs she’s written herself and with her band, as well as vlogs, live cuts, and a ton of cool covers of everyone’s favourite grunge rock classics (including weird B-sides and deep cuts).

Not only is Sarah a talented songwriter, but she can sing and pull off a number of different styles.  Her channel is gaining momentum as I guess people like me stumble across her looking up old and new grunge style rock and metal, and her following grows as her band The Violet Stones do more gigs across Australia.  A new album is also in the works.  Here is our conversation which touches on a number of topics from this to that (and even *that*).  Hope you dig it!

YC: Hey Sarah, how’s it going tonight?

SJM: It’s going pretty good thanks!

YC: Cool cool.  So how’s the Australian music scene these days?

SJM: I don’t really have anything to compare it to honestly but I’ve just started playing around the scene last year and I think it is struggling a bit (mostly around the Sydney area). Although with bigger artists, I think it’s pretty good but it’s harder for smaller acts to get a following around here.

YC: Who’s big there now that everyone loves from the rock world…ermm.. Jet?

SJM: haha I don’t really hear about them tbh. But there’s this one band in particular called Tired Lion and they’re probably one of my favourite bands at the moment but they’re from Perth & I watched them gain more and more people at their shows every time they come back and they have a pretty decent following in every state I think.

SJM: Other bands that are big are bands like Violent Soho & Dune Rats. I guess that’s the sort of genre that is dominating the ‘alternative’ music scene at the moment. (Heavily influenced by grunge).

YC:  Silverchair are done right? They’re like classic rock now i guess.. but they’re like a year younger than me so I remember when they came out I was like who are these little geeks?  That was the second wave of grunge… post Cobain

SJM: haha the early Silverchair albums are probably a huge influence of Australian ‘grunge’. I’ve seen soooo many bands trying to be them

YC: And meanwhile they just wanted to be Helmet

SJM: If they were still around I’m sure they’d be one of the biggest bands here

YC: I think they were always slightly misunderstood in that they were more like Helmet than Nirvana but people just saw them as a mini Nirvana in the 90s

SJM: Yeah I never thought they sounded too similar to Nirvana but that’s what they’re sort of known for (for being the Australian Nirvana). My dad calls them ‘Nirvana in Pajamas’ hahahha

YC: awww.. cute.  they’re a solid band.. I heard Daniel’s solo album and i thought it was half decent, even though it was like not rock at all as i recall.  First few albums were pretty ass kicking.  So your band.. is playing shows and such?

SJM: I actually saw Daniel Johns live! Yeah we are playing shows, and actually in the middle of recording our first album

YC: Daniel has a killer voice and rocks some mean riffs…anyway…How’s that going? I’m listening to Sheets of Denial.. pretty good for a demo…

SJM: It’s going pretty good, we’re getting our name out slowly amongst the Sydney scene. Thanks!

YC: I mean it sounds like not really a demo…how did you record that one?

SJM: We practice with an electric drum kit and plug our guitars straight into a console and it comes out into headphones that we all wear (so basically we can practice without making a lot of noise). And that demo was actually made I think the night we made the song, cause we record the songs so that we remember what we did ?

YC: Yeah. i can relate.. it’s easy to forget stuff…so wait that song has electronic drums?  nahh

SJM: yeah it was recorded on an electric kit haha

YC: so what made you want to learn like 8 million covers?

SJM: hahah I guess in my early teens when I was just getting into Nirvana I decided to learn a lot of the songs cause you know, being able to play your favourite songs is pretty cool. So I did that and my friends and family were encouraging me to post them on youtube and I eventually did and people actually wanted more! I still post them because I guess it forces me to still learn songs even if I don’t feel like it and I guess it’s good for me to listen and try out new things with the covers

YC: lol yeah that makes sense…i mean having people pay attention helps motivation

SJM: yeah definitely hahah

YC: i’ve learned a lot of covers, but i can’t seem to get up the motivation to post them on my channel…i just post originals that no one listens to ? but you probably are aware that youtube’s algorithm kind of craves the stuff you’re doing.. ie. covers of famous songs…that’s how i came across you i think.. i was randomly looking up people covering Alice in Chains songs…

SJM: hahah yeah it really sucks how no one really cares that much about originals unless you’re already known for something else. Yeah, I guess thats part of the reason I do them still.  Cause of course I don’t wanna always wanna do covers, I much rather play my own songs

YC: i’m in a band with a guy that actually despises doing covers. like, i’d be game to be in a covers band if it was cool covers.  but he’s got a real hate for covers bands. cause it pushes original bands out of venues. he has a point i think

SJM: Yeah and theres a real market for cover bands over here.

YC: but people want covers…it pays the bar’s bills and shit

SJM: Yeah guess so, but it sucks. It’s really a hard market to break through in with your original music

YC: but your channel seems to be doing really well from what i can tell

SJM: Doing better than I ever expected like I had no idea what I did right

YC: well i do internet marketing for a living, so i know what i think you’re doing right

SJM: what did I do right then? hahah

YC: well…for one, youtube likes consistency. so you keep doing the same thing in the same format and that’s something youtube likes .. or like, the robots that control youtube. most people are unbelievably retarded and inconsistent

SJM: hahah yeah i knew that consistency was important, thats why I try upload once a week

YC: google / youtube likes to see a really consistent thing happening.. same look, same room, person, blah blah

SJM: ah cool thats good to know

YC: like if you’re too scatterbrained, and everything looks crazily different, youtube will be like “sorry bro”…it’s just like a theme, and also you’re not pissing off the family friendly part of the algorithm…and you’re a girl

SJM: True

YC: so the millions of freaks out there like girls as a rule…i’m not trying to say anything sexist lol but i mean.. it’s not my fault the world is sexist ? there’s probably some marketing thing where people trust girls more or something

SJM: No I know what you mean and I totally agree like I think people can’t get over the fact that a girl is singing and playing guitar on a System of a Down song. I think like 80% of my audience are dudes as well. think thats what my youtube stats say

YC: yeah.. it makes sense. well the other thing is musicians are notorious for not understanding marketing. it’s just not part of their mentality. so for instance the fact you can even interpret youtube stats .. or even know they exist. people in bands could give a fuck about that shit and when they do look at it, they don’t know what the fuck to make of it, and musicians from older generations are double screwed cause they just don’t get technology as it is today

SJM: hahah I think I’m very on top of things and very organized. Like I keep my band in order and I used to be the only one posted anything to our facebook page (they’ve started contributing more recently). my dads one of those people who doesn’t understand how to advertise or anything. 

YC: yeah my band has a FB page but even i hate using it

 

SJM: it gets tiring but Facebooks been pretty good for my band. but I don’t think it does much for my youtube channel besides advertising and such

YC: i think it’s cool you have a really well rounded social media thing going on.. even on your youtube, you have the vlogs too, originals, covers, live shit

YC: it’s basically a sign that you and your band have your shit together

SJM: hahah I guess so

YC: so who are your biggest influences? i guess you’re big into Nirvana

SJM: yeah well I don’t really listen to them much now, but they’re basically my roots

YC: you’re covering b-sides and whatnot.. so not like.. average fan of Nevermind type thing. i notice with Nirvana you kind of sing the stuff he screams

SJM: um yeah. It’s because I can’t scream at the moment. I really want to though

YC: well you have the kind of voice that might get wrecked if you scream your lungs out

SJM: yeah I have tried and every time I do it, my throat hurts and thats not suppose to happen. But I got really into Korn recently..And other bands System of a down, Incubus, Hole, Foo Fighters, Tired Lion.

 

 

YC: how do you go about learning a korn song?

SJM: well its way more difficult since the guitarist use a 7 string so I basically find the tabs and have to transpose it into a way I can play it in standard

YC: yeah i was thinkin.. this isn’t standard. Who are some of your favourite players? like.. did you learn Korn because you’re obsessed with Fieldy? Fieldy crush?

SJM: haha nope I have a young Jonathon Davis crush. nah but I really love their songs and melodies and how its still heavy

YC: ah i see.. yeah chicks dig Jonathon

YC: I see your Cranberries cover got some traction eh

SJM: It did only after Dolores death though

YC: right.. yeah. who’s your fav guitar player at the moment?

SJM: I don’t really have favourite guitar players to be honest. I focus more on people’s ability to write songs and melodies

 

YC: yeah i feel ya on that.. it’s more about songs. so to tie it back to your album for a sec, when’s it gonna be done?

SJM: the bands album?

YC: yeah..

SJM: Should be done by the end of the year. We’re doing it diy so it doesnt really have a deadline or anything

YC: is there kind of a goal you have with this album? ie make it the heaviest fucking album of all time

SJM: We just want to get our stuff out there and have something to give to people when they ask us if we have an album or EP. Like we get asked after gigs often if we have anything released and we have to say no

YC: man.. you have nothing? for someone who records so much shit and does so much youtube, you should at least have something…….

SJM: That’s what we’re doing now hahah I guess because we didn’t know how we were gonna go about it like we’re broke and so we needed to find a cheaper option to record and we found it eventually. and we have demos and stuff out, enough to keep people somewhat interested

YC: so what do you give people? a USB? with demos? or nothing

SJM: Nah we don’t give them anything, they can just check out stuff online if they really wanted to

YC: hm well then!  one more question – what are you recording stuff with ie. software?

SJM: We’re using Sonar X1. Basically my dads helping us out a lot with this and we’re just using what he has. We recorded the drums in a church and we had to set up everything from scratch and that was very interesting haha

YC: So you’re tracking things one by one, not doing live off the floor. that’s cool though, sounds like fun

SJM: nah we don’t have the set up for that and yeah it’s kinda good not having a deadline but also we just want it done. we kinda just want this album out of the way so we can start our next one because we like the new songs a lot more. just gotta do guitars, vocals and the mixing/mastering.

YC: Awesome.  well it was cool to talk to ya.  thanks for taking the time

SJM: yeah dude, thanks for the chat!

Talking Beats and Business with Daniel Hartnett of The Corporatethief Beats

Hey guys, YC here. Today was a good day.  I got up, fed my cat, had some coffee and sloppy joe’s for breakfast, and then conducted an interview with beat-maker and online marketer Daniel Hartnett, the man behind The Corporatethief Beats. 

I came across Daniel while doing research on how to better use Twitter to promote my music, as he has some stuff about that over on his Youtube channel.  In this interview, I grill Daniel about his background in music, why he enjoys producing sick beats for a living, and how he ties it all together with online marketing.  It was educational to say the least.  Enjoy our chat!

YC: Hey Daniel, where’d you come up with the name of your business, The Corporatethief Beats? Sounds a bit anti-establishment…

DH: I wouldn’t say it’s the best name or most brandable name if I am honest. At the time it was just some weird name I called my Youtube channel hahaha.

I don’t it’s a good idea to put the word “thief” in your title when your business is in music online sales. But I had built up my channel up with the alias I just continued on.  The one good thing about it is that it’s unique. I see tons of beatmakers with the same name. This can be a nightmare for branding and the consumer experience. I have views and opinions about the political world, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now. I did adapt to the theme of the Corporate American culture with my branding for The Corporatethief Beats. You can see it in my logo and the titles of my tracks. In 2015 I did title an instrumental mixtape after the Wall Street movie where Gordon Gekko says “Greed I$ Good”. So I do like to play with themes and social media gimmicks.

YC: What’s your job title, would you say?

DH:
 I am qualified in music production and sound engineering from The Academy of Sound Dublin. Since 2008 music production has pulled me into online marketing too. I have had to become a jack of all trades to make this online machine work right. During my music production studies, I also studied Digital Marketing at Dublin Business SchoolI dabble in a lot of things online not just music. I podcast, vlog and have some other niche sites that are unrelated to music too. But for my music production side of my business, I use titles like Beat Maker, Sound Engineer, Digital Marketer.

YC: When did you start making beats?

DH:
 I have been playing music in bands since I was 13 years old. Also, my parents really pushed me with playing instruments. Which I am super grateful for now. I played the guitar and wrote a lot of simple acoustic songs in college. I wasn’t really into hip-hop then. I listened to a lot of grunge music like Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and Nirvana etc. One of my friends noticed that I was trying my best to record my songs with Audacity. He gave me a loan of his laptop which had FL Studio on it. Then he gave me the gist of how to make hip hop beats using this software.

I was hooked and I really started to get into hip-hop music. He told me to take an introductory music production course, so I signed up to Galway Technical Institute. This was my first taste of music production and working in a studio. It was here where I obtained skills for using Apple’s Logic Digital Audio Workstation. Not that there was anything wrong with Fl Studio, I just prefer LogicIn 2010 / 2011 I set up my own website www.thecorporatethiefbeats.com. It was around this time I moved to Dublin and attended the Academy of Sound which I studied there for 4 years. Academy of Sound gave me the necessary skills in ProToolsAlong with the process of how to work with bands in the studio.  During that time in Dublin, I worked as a runner and as a sound tech for the theatre company called Tobar Na Run.

YC: What gear did you have when you started your career and why did you have said gear, ie. birthday present when you were 12?

DH: I don’t have a complicated set up. I like everything simple. Too much stuff just confuses me and hinders my workflow.

    • Audio Interface : Apogee Duet {Simple High Quality Sound and Portable}
      iMac: Bought it in 2008 never had any problems.
    • KRK RP8 G3 active studio monitors: Good quality monitors never had any problems.
    • M-Audio Keystation Midi Keyboard. I don’t need an expensive midi synth as most my sounds are controlled by VSTI’s.
    • Native Instruments Machine. Amazing tool, you can literally create beats without an interface. The sound libraries with this tool are worth the money alone. There is a bit of a learning curve with this piece of kit. I haven’t used this tool to it’s full potential yet.
    • Logic Pro X: This is my main production tool. I use a lot of the stock synths and just tweek them to what I want.
    • Sylenth1 VSTI  I have the sylenth1 synth which is my main go too synth. I am just used to it. Along with the fact that I built up a library of sounds and templates over the years.
    • Native Instruments Komplete 9. This is all I need I use. There a lot of the synths with this tool. I rely heavily on patches and bend them to my sound or layer them with other sounds.  
    • Microphones Shure Beta 57a / Shure Beta 58a : Must haves for any musician or sound engineer.

I understand how they work like the ESX or the ES2 from years of making beats. Most of the time I just saved my own templates.

YC: I assume you’re into hip hop, from all indications.  Who are your all time fav hip hop artists?  

DH: It’s hard to answer this question. Even though I love the raps and lyrics from the classic rappers like Biggie 2Pac and Jay Z. Their raps just don’t resonate with me enough to build a thorough connection to. With rap artists like Nas, Kanye West, Drake, Kid CuDi, Lupe Fiasco, Travis Scott, J Cole, Chance The Rapper, Logic, Kendrick Lamar, Bryson Tiller, I can feel a better connection to the material because of they are more or less the same age as my generation. I have different artists for different days. Some hip-hop artists I like, but don’t understand the lyrical content I just like the way that they rap like T.I. Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Jeezy, Jadakiss, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz Cameron, Wiz Khalifa, Chamillionaire.

YC: Any new favs you’d recommend, like say some underground lesser known shit?

DH: Not really sure if these are considered underground. Artists like Hopsin, Kid Ink, Action Bronson, Atmosphere, Charles Hamilton.  

YC: What’s your favourite kind of beat?

DH: This is just too hard to answer hahah 🙂 I like complexity hidden in simplicity. Hahaha. I am a big fan of the music producer Danjahandz. He is Timbaland’s right-hand man. Listening to his beats, parts of them sound so simple. But it’s the way Danja places all these parts together. Along with his knack for using vocals as an effect within the song, to act as countermelody against the singers vocal is just sheer GENIUS!…A good example of Danja’s best work is seen on Gimme More by Britney Spears.

Also…Hello Good Morning by Diddy

And Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake.

For hip-hop music producers like Kanye West, Just Blaze,  Boi 1da, Travis Scott, Noah Shabbib, T-Minus, Kane Beats, Franks Duke, Dr Dre, anything they touch turns to pure gold.  I like dark seedy beats with some light of melody. I’m not really a boom bap kind an of a beat maker. Some modern beats that I like include The Language by Drake (produced by Boi 1da).

Also…Bad Ass by Kid Ink (produced by Devin Cruise)…

Ni**as In Paris by Jay-Z and Kanye West (produced by Hit-Boy, Kanye West, Mike Dean)

Rich as F*ck by Lil Wayne / 2 Chainz (Produced by T-Minus)

Lord Knows by Drake / Rick Ross (Produced by Just Blaze)

YC: Do you like to recreate beats much?

DH: I don’t really do remixes or samples beats anymore, as they are really hard to promote online. Most online sites will just remove them once you upload them. I made a remix of a Lady Gaga’s song “Love Game” a while back and nearly lost my Youtube Channel in the process. Along with a sample hip-hop beat I created using Supertramp’s “Logical Song” caused the same issue which made it even worse. I do some request work from time to time and I will use samples for the artist. But I don’t actively promote sample-based beats anymore. I do take inspiration from the controversial ”Type Beat” method that you might see on Youtube. This is only a gimmick to get in front of the right buyers on Youtube. Most of the time my beats are an amalgamation of various type beats that I gained inspiration from at that given moment.  

YC: How long does it take to make one of your beats?

DH: That’s hard to say if I have a good workflow maybe a couple of hours and come back a day later and do the mix. I don’t usually mix and create on the same day.

YC: How much does it cost for a beat?

DH: Lease rights varies between $20 – $97 depending on the type of lease license. Exclusive Rights varies based on the popularity of the lease. Exclusive rights range from $350 – $2000

YC: 
Who buys your rap beats, typically?

DH:
 Great question. It’s surprisingly a lot of the time its companies using the music for background jingles on videos, radio shows, podcast and Youtubers. I have also got a couple of loyal beat buyers that purchase on a regular basis with custom work.

YC: Any cool songs online featuring one off your beats we can check out?

DH: Here’s some…

Kid Berg – White Boy Dope

Ty Brasel – Hope Dealer

YC: Do you ever sample live drums?

DH: Only at college we experimented a lot creating weird sounds.

YC:
 Are you a hi fi or low fi kinda guy?  ie. do you like smooth slick sounding shit or dirty grimy glitchy sounding shit?

DH:
 A bit of both. Really.

YC:
 At what point does beat making and internet marketing intersect for you?

DH: I set out a marketing plan for creating content for the release of the music and try to use my content to promote the music. Rather than using the music itself as a marketing tool. Examples include beat snippets on Instagram or beat making videos are good tools to promote the music without having to give it away for free.

YC: When did you start becoming an internet marketer?

DH: Around 2010 / 2011 is when I started my site. I knew that I had skills that could be used for other parts of the internet. I learned from music marketing expert not rely just on music sales. That I should use my skills to provide other services too. This is great advice that I still apply my goals too.

YC: Who inspired you to do that?

DH: My brother and I are obsessed with internet marketing. It’s given us freedom. But I think I just continued to try new things. Some of the old stuff tends to stop working so you need to adapt. Pat Flynn’s website Smart Passive Income was the first site that I stuck with when it comes to learning about online marketing.

YC: How much do you hate normal 9-5 shit?

DH:
 I will be the first to put my hand up and say that I am tied to my computer. But I make time for friends and family. I am not a crazy clubbing person, I am happiest when I have something positive to create. My other sites also take up some my time but I like having a diverse amount of things to do. Even though I like making beats I would go crazy if it was the only thing I did.

YC: What other instruments do you know how to play?

DH: Guitar, Piano {Not so great}

YC:
 What’s your sickest track, according to yourself?

DH:
 Good question. I really like my pop / rnb tracks kind of show my music production range.

YC: Did you study music, and if so, where?

DH:
 Galway Technical Institute is where I started with my music production. I went to the Academy of Sound after that and spent 4 years. It was here where I qualified with a higher Diploma in music production and sound engineering. Guitar and Piano are just by ear. I did receive some formal training when I was younger during primary school.

YC:
 What were the best skills you got out of Academy of Sound Dublin?

DH: I got to test very expensive gear. Tools like destressors, compressors, manley massive passive, DBX compressor, neve compressors. I also worked with the SSL Nucleus. I also love the sound of working with tape. I really heard the difference with reel to reel. I can hear how rounder and thicker my beats sound after going from the SSL to the tape machine back in the box.

YC: Did you have any other dream jobs?  ie. claims adjuster, preacher, airline pilot.

DH:
 Musician in a band. Hahah

YC:
 What sites of yours should people be checking out?

DH:

Getchorus.com – How To Write Hip Hop Lyrics and Learn How To Rap Website.

The Corporatethief Beats – Buy Hip Hop Beats.

My Blog Here – Learn Music Marketing

Free Email Marketing For Musicians Course

YC: So you seem to have a handle on the Twitter platform, as you offer a course on this, right?

DH:
 Yes. I just find Twitter is an easy starting platform for young musicians. Facebook does have an amazing advertising platform. But I feel that with Twitter it’s much easier to strike a conversation with strangers compared to Facebook which seems a little too personal for some people. With the Twitter course, I found that Twitter does come with a lot of grunt work which can become tedious over time. Over a couple of years, I found a couple of hacks that can really help the average musician. This will help them automate some simple process that doesn’t need to be repeated daily. They can get the course here.

How To Promote Your Music On Twitter

YC: What are you trying to basically get through to people with your course?

DH: Just to be clear. This is not a get rich quick digital marketing course. This not a how to make money on Twitter course either.Twitter comes with a whole lot of grunt work, which can become tedious over time. I found tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. But even these tools became a chore of their own. I needed to find a way of promoting my evergreen content and adding new content more efficiently without having to be on Twitter or Hootsuite 24/7.

YC: Do you think that the majority of musicians are realistic business people?

DH:
 I firmly believe that musicians have many skills to offer people. But they don’t see the value they have right in front of them. They focus on immaterial things like views, likes, and follower counts. If they could just see how valuable some of the skills they have most musicians would be much better off.

YC:
 Do you think that Twitter is the best platform for promoting music and why?

DH: It’s not perfect. Facebook is just a pay to play game. It’s as simple as that. I can strike up conversations with strangers all day on Twitter and nobody thinks it’s weird or creepy. If I do the same thing on Facebook it comes across as kind of sad for some reason. I think people have a personal touch with their Facebook pages. With Twitter, this can be an easy starting point with little resources other than time.   

Gracenote – Providing Entertainment Metadata

Gracenote is a company that provides music, video, and sports metadata, as well as automatic content recognition technology (ACR) to entertainment companies and developers of consumer electronics across the globe. In total, Gracenote operates five businesses. These are music, video, sports, automotive, and video personalization.

Gracenote logoHistory of Gracenote

Gracenote was originally started by Ti Kan and Steve Scherf in 1993.  Here they are featured in Wired in 2005.

Back then they called the company Compact Disc Data Base (CDDB) and their main focus was a technology they devised that was able to read the Table of Contents (TOC) encoded at the beginning of every CD. Therefore, their original database received (and continues to receive today) voluntary data give to them from users of the technology.

Sony acquired Gracenote in 2008 for $260 million, and sold it to Tribune Media in 2014 for $170 million. Later that year Tribune Media and Gracenote merged into one, under the same name of Gracenote. Gracenote has since purchased a couple of other data-providing companies to widen their database, such as Los-Angeles based company Baseline and Australia based company HWW.

Early in 2017, Tribune Media sold Gracenote to Nielsen for $540 million. Gracenote is now owned by Nielsen. They are headquartered in Emeryville, California. The company employs more than 1800 workers in over 25 offices located around the globe.

Music

The company provides many services. Let’s start with music. Gracenote has three main music products. The first product, MusicID, is one of their best-known products. It is a music recognition product that can identify CD and digital tracks and provide album and artist metadata.

MusicID

Visit: http://www.gracenote.com/music/music-recognition/

The second product, Music Data, provides information about genre, mood, date of release and place of release for tens of millions of songs. (That’s a lot of songs!)

Visit: http://www.gracenote.com/music/global-music-data/

The third product is Music Discovery which can make personalized playlists and song recommendations. Under the umbrella of “music”, Gracenote has also provided song lyrics, which have since been sold to the website LyricFind in 2013.  

Visit: http://www.gracenote.com/music/music-discovery/

Automatic Content Recognition

If you’ve ever been listening to the radio while driving in the car, and the little screen on the console displays what song is playing, that is Gracenote’s Automatic Content Recognition at work. I always used to wonder how the car knew what song was playing; it baffled me. In fact, Gracenote’s music recognition technology compares music to a worldwide database which allows it to recognize and identify music. This ACR technology can then be installed in cars to identify music from AM/FM radio, CDs, and other sources. It can also be integrated into media players and home stereos.

car radio

Gracenote also released Gracenote Dynamic EQ, an audio technology designed to modify car audio systems automatically, so that the optimal equalizer settings are chosen for each song depending on its genre, mood and age.

Video

Gracenote’s video technology, called On Entertainment, provides information on TV shows, episodes, movie casts and crews, and channel line-ups. They offer channel line-ups for channels broadcasting in around 85 different countries.

Visit: http://www.gracenote.com/on-entertainment-tv-listings-product-pagevideo/

Sports

Sports scores, play-by-play data, team and athlete data…all of these are provided by Gracenote. Their product Podium also tracks results for the Olympic games that goes all the way back to the first Olympics in 1896.

olympics logo

Gracenote’s Customers

Gracenote offers its online services to many companies, including Spotify, Google Music, Amazon MP3, Winamp, and others. They offer their automotive products to companies including Bose, Sony, Alpine and Panasonic. Media Go, iTunes and Sonic Stage use Gracenote’s track identification technology.  

itunes logo

Conclusion

In our digital world, Gracenote plays a huge role in facilitating the entertainment that is provided to us, even though we may not realize it.   

What Is Bespoke Music? – Interview with The Merry Jaynz’ Songsmith Tom Smith

Tom Smith – bespoke musician and member of the Merry Jaynz swamp rock band
TS: I add more tracks, it takes more time, so the price goes up. For a full band arrangement (electric guitars, bass, drums, multiple vocal tracks, etc) I’d start at $500.
TS: Patreon is a platform that lets an artists fans pledge on an ongoing basis (usually monthly), and in return the artist gives them a much more in-depth behind the scenes perspectives and a deeper more personal relationship.

TS: The last custom bit of work i did for free was a cover song.
YC: very cool man i’m on that page with you…so the day job is what then?
TS: True!
TS: for sure
YC: take it easy.. this bird’s gotta fly!
Watch their video for “Walk Outside”

How to Properly Promote a Local Show or Event

Promoting local shows can be simple, but is not often done right. For the most part, it can be split into two categories: paid promotion, and free promotion.

To have a well balanced show you’ll want to try a bit of both. I’ve compiled a list of five of the easiest promotion methods.

Doing each of these things shouldn’t take more than an hour, and if you can’t invest that much time in your event, you need to ask yourself if you should really be organizing this in the first place.

1. Free Promotion: Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat- whatever you use, use it to promote your show. Don’t shove it down people’s throats, but share your work with people you think might actually be interested.

Create event pages, posters, etc. that can be shared on social media- and don’t underestimate the power of a brief message!

A simple “this is going on, and I’d love to see you there” is enough to, at the very least, consider attending your event.

Be careful not to invite people to events if you don’t think they would be interested though, as this might scare them off from future events, or even future conversations with you.

liv gains live on montreal

2. Paid Promotion: Printed Flyers &/Or Posters

Posters, flyers, etc. are great ways to share an event with people you don’t know personally. You’re going to want to have the whole who, what, where, when, and why!

Maybe a photo of what will be going on to catch people’s eye! Ensure that the posters/flyers are easy to read and are straightforward.

Sharing the event with strangers is a great way to find people who are really interested in the event you are hosting, because they don’t know you personally, and won’t be showing up simply to support a friend, but rather because of a genuine interest in the event.

These are the people who you will really want at your event, because they will actually be excited about being there, and will be much more enthusiastic about being there.

Have you ever been to an event in which you could tell that no one wanted to be there? How about talking to a retail employee who just hates their job? It shows, and it sucks!

Hosting an event like this will almost guarantee a 0% attendance for future events.

To ensure that you’re not wasting money putting flyers/posters up, figure out your target audience and where you might find them.

For example, if your event is music based, drop flyers and/or posters off at music venues, cd/record shops, instrument shops, etc. – but be sure to check in with the owners!

music for mental health 2017
Image from The Bridge Facebook page

Don’t forget to leave some flyers and posters at the venue you’re hosting the event at -and check that they actually hang the poster up for people to see!

If the event is at a bar or restaurant, leaving a few flyers on the tables and along the bar is a great way to inform people of the event!

If it fits in your budget, local coffee shops, laundromats, schools (if your event is 19+/age of majority, target universities, rather than elementary/secondary schools), public transportation stations (bus station, train station, etc.) grocery stores, and anywhere high traffic will also help to get the word out to more people.

3. Free Promotion: Online Classifieds

Kijiji, and Craigslist are among some of the best free online classifieds ads websites. These are great places to post about events, because it only takes a minute and is totally free.

Try posting in a few different categories (that suit the theme of your event) to reach more people.

small-ads-hilite4. Paid Promotion: Online/Print ads

For larger events, spending just $1 a day for a short period to run an ad on Facebook, or spending a bit of money for an ad in your local newspaper can help to boost interest, and in turn, boost profit.

Spend a little to make a lot. Again, you need to know how to target your audience.

Resources will be different for different areas, but there are different websites available for most areas that catalogue events and help to promote them.

Checking for local ‘activity guides’ is another great route. I receive one in the mail each spring: a small booklet filled with different coupons, deals, and events happening in the area.

Be sure to keep an eye out for things like this, especially if your event is family friendly.

red light temple tour

5. Free Promotion: Word of Mouth

This is probably the easiest and most effective way of getting the word out about an event. Tell all your friends. All of them. And your family, and tell them to tell their friends and family!

People like fun stuff so (after ensuring that your event is actually going to be fun) invite people! Tell them exactly what will be happening, and be sure to let them know that you would appreciate the support if they showed up.

Go to different events around your area, and tell people about your upcoming event. No one will want to go to your event if you never show up for any of them, so get out and chat with people!!

6. Free Promotion: Inform Local News Teams

To have your event published in the paper doesn’t need to cost you money. Simply contacting local news teams, and letting them know about your event might land it a spot in the paper.

In my home town, we have a paper called SNAP’D Cambridge, there are different versions of this paper all over Canada and a few States.

This paper in particular is an excellent resource for events organizers, because they love to promote local events, and take photos at events, so if you have a SNAP’D in your town be sure to invite them, or whichever your local newspaper is!

Be sure to take lots of photos at your events (and try to catch people having fun) to help promote future events!

If people who may have missed the event get to see what a success it was, they will be more inclined to go to the next event!

Thank everyone who attended, and let them know if you have any other events coming up in the future!

liv gains ontario musician

https://open.spotify.com/album/1ccn5njCoBKCnaiWJHcp7i