Roller Coaster Music Industry

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Hi all. It’s me, Jilli. It’s now time for another episode of life and times of a publicist. I wish I had the time to write every day but duty calls. So, here’s the latest to dish out to all my indie artists. This article might be a bit random but I promise it will touch on some key elements.

iHeart Radio filed for bankruptcy. So did it’s rival, Cumulus. Between the two of them, that’s 1295 FM radio stations. Now what? Spotify is going public in April. What does that mean? Pandora is personalizing playlists just like Spotify. Perfect timing, right? But yet, vinyl records and CD sales have collectively surpassed digital downloads in 2017. Huh?? Sounds like a roller coaster for the music industry, doesn’t it?

So what does this mean for you, the indie artist? Well, it means that you are not guaranteed anything out there. And you really need to do your research on what all that means. Especially if you want to be in this business. I mean, if these music giants are falling apart at the seems, it sometimes diminishes any hope for an artist to get their songs on the radio. But like I’ve mentioned before, focusing on radio should not be your main focus.

The music industry is forever changing. There are plenty of avenues to get your music heard. I believe that many artists just tend to think that getting on the radio is the only thing, when in fact, it isn’t. Try your best to gain an organic following by performing at different places, letting people know when you are performing again, and getting THEIR information, like an email address, so you can put your potential fans on your list. This way, you can always send an email for your future gigs. Some online music platforms allow you to have a fan list on there where people voluntarily submit their email, however, when you’re performing, make sure you have a way to capture this data as well, in person.

I’ve always toted the indie artist scene as an eclectic group of individuals who really support each other. For many, it’s about the music. At least, that is how most of the indies start out. There is love, support, compassion, and plenty of advice and networking going around.  There’s lots of local gigs and venues to perform at, and if you look closely enough, some of them will even pay you to be there, if you can bring people to that venue.

Artists, don’t dismiss online radio shows. Many of these online radio stations have a strong following and love to support indie artists. Find some good ones and submit your music. Make sure it’s what they are looking for in terms of style/genre. By the way, if you know some great online radio stations, I would love to help promote them on our site.

Also, don’t forget that merchandise. If you don’t have a little something to give away, make sure you at least have your business cards with verifiable contact information. It looks really unprofessional to have numbers or email addresses crossed off your cards so make sure it’s current.

I believe that will be all for now, artists. The office is busy and we are bustling with busy work. Until next time. – Jilli.

p.s. Check out this great article on FORBES for an Artist Step by Step Guide To Making Money and Impact in Music.

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Can’t Take The Criticism? Grow a Thick Skin

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Hi. It’s Jilli. This week has only just started and it feels like the longest week ever. As I was walking Puppy through the neighborhood, I was listening to a song from a potential client who emailed me his demo.  Now, as a critic, I do give my full ear to the music. I happen to have enjoyed many submissions and some, not so much. However, the criticism is always constructive, and not negative in nature, with careful consideration to help the artist grow and not feel berated in any way.

I hit play and started listening. As the music filled my ears, I tried my best to be completely objective. However, his song was without real structure or without a memorable hook.  There was nothing that stood out about his song that would prompt me to call him back with any excitement. However, there was one thing that he did have and if used properly, would get him very far: Potential.

Some artists feel that when they hear the word potential, it’s a nice way of saying, “No, thanks, we’ll pass.” But in my opinion, potential is a good thing. You want to have potential in your music or in your abilities as a songwriter, musician, or recording artist. Without potential, what else do you have?

I gave the song a listen for a second time and nearly a third before I had decided what I was going to respond to him. When I returned from my walk, I let Puppy loose, grabbed my coffee, sat down in front of my computer, and proceeded to respond to him. My response, loosely worded here, was basically stating that his song had potential, but it wasn’t exactly what the radio stations and music directors are looking for in terms of airplay or licensing. However, that did not mean it was over. It just meant that he needed to either re-work the song to give it more of a definition, or consider something different. I also encouraged him to seek out other opinions from music industry professionals, and the like, to see what their reactions might be- as my opinion is just that- an opinion. And by God it isn’t the only one.

Well, imagine my surprise when he retorted almost immediately that I was wrong and didn’t know anything about music. He was irate that I didn’t get what he was trying to do and he went on and on about all the different instruments he had used in his music and how he was doing something different and he was sorry that I didn’t see that. I re-read my initial response to him, and quite frankly, I could have been awfully mean to begin with, but I wasn’t. So, I took a couple more sips of my coffee, and then decided to respond with the following: “If you’re going to be in this industry, you must grow a thick skin.” There was no response after that.

Artists, you know when someone is being mean and you know when someone is being nice. You can tell in their tone, mannerisms, and response. However, you should be able to differentiate between criticism and constructive criticism. When you send your music out to be reviewed, it’s like you threw your heart out to the world for everybody to see. Trust me, I get it. But if you want to share your music with the world, then you must understand that it will not be pleasing to everyone’s ears, that not everybody will like it straight away, and that some people will tell you in a mean way to not quit your day job. But the ones who do take the time to listen, and provide feedback at length, these are the people that you need to listen to, thank, and get pointers from. Seek like minded people who will not just say yes or no, but provide constructive insight about your project.

So now that I have had my, um, how do you say, “arse” chewed out, I expect that I will not hear from this artist again. But, that doesn’t mean that he won’t hear more from me or other people in this industry like me…and chances are, they will not be as constructive as I was. All I have to say is, if you’re going to get in the ocean, you better learn how to swim. -Jilli

 

 

24 Hours A Day To Follow Your Dreams

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24 hours a day. That’s a lot of time when you think about it. In a time span of 24 hours, one can do so much. And when you are having fun, or when you are busy filling up those hours with productive things, time flies, doesn’t it?

Many artists say they just don’t have time for things. Don’t have time to promote, don’t have time to network, don’t have time to push their music. Well that’s just not true. While you can be busy with your day job, families, obligations, you can spare 15-20 minutes a day doing something for you and your brand.

One of my clients came in last week simply exhausted from all the running around they were doing. When we sat down to talk, he said he had just come back from the copy center and was getting his business cards done on his lunch break. He then showed me a mapping of all the laundromats and local eateries that he intended to pass through on his way back to work, riding his bike of course, and place his flyers on the community boards regarding his next gig. I smiled at him. I love the smell of fresh ambition. It is truly admirable, and it shows the true desires of an independent artist believing in their work well enough to make these sacrifices.

Another potential client came in to my office later on in the day asking me for resources and managers and publicists who they could connect with. I asked him one question. “What does your portfolio look like?” He seemed puzzled. I asked again. “What are you offering? What is your brand?” He said, “well, I rap.” I said, “ok, so do you and hundreds of thousands of others.” He replied, “well, I thought you were a publicist and could connect me with people who want to invest in my music.” I placed my pen down on my desk and looked at him straight in his eyes. “Young man,” I said, “would you go into a store and buy the first thing that you saw without knowing anything about it or how it would benefit you?” He said, “no.” I said, “Exactly. Now, let me paint a picture for you. You are a brand. How are you getting on the shelf in the first place? What are you ingredients? Who are your backers? What does your product look like, feel like, sound like? Who are your consumers? Where are you having your product sold?” He couldn’t answer any of the questions and after a long pause, he said to me, “well, maybe I am in the wrong place.” To which I responded, “well, you’re not in the wrong place, you just are not in a position to start negotiations for a brand that you haven’t developed yet.” He felt insulted and stood up and said, “thank you very much”, and walked out.

Artists, this isn’t a game. No one is waiting to throw their money at you and invest in something that hasn’t been developed. You need to come to the table with formidable, tangible things. A solid repertoire, something to give, to offer, so that you are not coming to the market as a no frills brand.

For you, the independent artist, this is what I would advise:

  1. Register your domain name for your future website if you don’t already have one
  2. Establish your accounts with a PRO (Performing Rights Organization)
  3. Solidify your copyrights on your music
  4. Register and encode all of your music that is set for radio play
  5. Have decent promo and merchandising available for meetings, seminars, music conferences and networking events
  6. Have a one sheet already made for these meetings. If you don’t have a one sheet or don’t know how to make one, email me so I can help you 
  7. Is your music radio ready? If not, it needs to be
  8. Come prepared to speak highly of your brand but not so highly that it’s a turn off
  9. Presentation is key in all aspects from language used, attitude, mannerisms, appearance, etc. No one is saying you can’t be you, but there is a time and a place for everything. Know who your audience is
  10. Know who your audience is and what demographics you are catering to. This is your fan base. Without them, you have no product to sell

Last week was a pretty interesting week, nevertheless. As I walked my dog early this morning, I passed by a laundromat and decided to take a quick peek. Sure enough, inside on the community board, was a flyer for my client’s next gig. I smiled to myself and walked out, placed his music on my iPod, and continued on my walk with a little extra pep in my step.

I will always be in the indie artist’s corner, but when you do the leg work and show your constant determination, I put on my imaginary pompoms and cheer a little extra for you. There’s 24 hours in a day. What are you going to do with it? – Jilli

 

 

Music Supervisors Sound Off on Getting Your Music into Film/TV

Hi guys, it’s Jilli. Let me preface this by stating that this is not my content. This comes from ASCAP and the original content can be found here: Getting Your Music Into Film/TV.

You wanted to know how to engage with a Music Supervisor, someone who can help you to get your music licensed for films, commercials, etc. Well, read on below and thank ASCAP for providing this great info.

1. Gabe Hilfer Music Supervisor (Black Swan, The Drop, Fury, Sleeping with Other People)

“When submitting music by an unknown act, I find it helpful when people put some bands that they may be compared to. Even though every artist is unique, I am more likely to check something out if I am a big fan of one of the bands they are similar to. Always put as much contact information into the metadata of the songs as possible. Often times we download music, but won’t get a chance to listen to it for weeks or sometimes months. If we love it and it works for a spot we are trying to fill, we need to know how to get in touch with you!”

2. Sean Fernald Music Supervisor (Maggie, Wishmaster, Forever Strong, Rage)

“Get to know the music supervisor. Make an effort. Cold calls never get noticed. It’s important to develop a friendly relationship with the supervisor. Get out and meet them at industry mixers, conferences, panels, movie premieres and screenings. Make sure your music is unique and make yourself real. Like the fox says in The Little Prince, “But if you tame me, then we shall need each other.”

3. Amanda Thomas Music Supervisor at Format Entertainment

“Make sure there are builds and changes in the music; a song should feel like it goes somewhere, even if only the instrumental is used. Always have instrumental versions and stems at the ready (and send them fast if requested!)”

4. Madonna Wade Reed Music Supervisor (American Crime, Reign)

“Make sure your music is appropriate for the project. Speak to friends who do have representation with reputable third party agencies. It’s smart for the artist, it’s smart for the supervisor. Songwriters are entering into legally binding agreements with strangers, so they need to protect themselves. It protects both parties.”

5. Jason Kramer Music Supervisor at Elias Arts, DJ at 89.9 KCRW, Instructor at UCLA

“I look at it a little bit differently. I want music that is familiar to the masses. If you want to get your music into a commercial, you should really consider pushing yourself out there as an artist. You need to have an audience when you pitch to a brand. We have to find stuff that already has a ‘like’ for other people.”

6. Vanessa Jorge Perry Music Supervisor (Aspect Radio, Apollo, Final Destination, Kung Fu Panda 2, Monte Carlo, Spy Kids)

“Make sure your music is awesome…sound quality and all! If you’re finding it hard getting your music placed maybe find a third party company or music library that can rep your music.”

7. Cybele Pettus Senior Music Supervisor at Electronic Arts

“Keep it short. Pick one song to send me first and make it your best. It should be new, preferably yet-to-be-released. Take the time to know our company. Familiarize yourself with the kind of music [we use] and how. Include a short (short!) blurb in the body of the e-mail about the artist (country of origin, label affiliation, tour plans, etc). Bottom line: if you make it simple and specific, you make it easier for us to recognize your masterpiece.”

8. Mathieu Schreyer Music Department (Chef, Hotel Noir), DJ at 89.9 KCRW

“Always try to place to songs you love first and foremost. Always seek advice from more experienced supervisors if you can.”

9. John Houlihan Music Supervisor, President of Guild of Music Supervisors

“Don’t lead with songs that are centered on specific names or specific year references. Specific city names in a lyric can sometimes limit the licensing potential. It is great to have these songs in your personal catalog, but the media licensing community needs songs that say ‘I love you,’ not songs that say ‘I love you Betty.’ The specificity of names and places can limit our ability to apply the song in a wide variety of scenes. Even if a character is coincidentally named Betty, any use would likely be too ‘on the nose’ to ever put in a scene.”

For more information, visit the Guild of Music Supervisors online.

Who Do You Trust?

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So you haven’t got a manager, no personal resource that you know in the industry, nobody to ask the questions you need the answers to. Where do you go then and who do you trust to give you the right answers? The answer is…………. no one.

Artists, whether independent or major, must all do their own research. You should never for one second leave your career or brand at the hands of someone else. You are the one who should know everything, or mostly everything, because we can’t all know everything, as there is much to learn, but my point is, you should be the one to know mostly everything about your career and how to achieve the goals you have.

Since I began writing this blog with the interests of the independent artist in mind, I have offered plenty of advice and resources all to help you in your dreams of becoming successful. Always remember that no one on this earth, nor in this industry, can guarantee you success. You must network and you must position and promote your brand and much as you possibly can.

Still, there are some questions that need a physical response, guidance of some sort, and the kind of people that come to mind are notable music directors, radio station program managers, music supervisors, and the like. But how can you connect with these people?

As mentioned in an earlier blog, a Music Conference is a great way to connect with them. Also, utilize LinkedIn*, a professional network for working professionals. You can connect with industry professionals on there and start building a rapport, enough for you to get to a place where you can send them an inbox and talk to them about their career first. Don’t just inbox them right away after they’ve accepted your request. Give them time. Do your research on them, see what they are doing and where they are doing it and who they are doing it with. Look at their list of achievements or accolades, businesses that they are affiliated with. Remember, it’s all about networking.

If you are one of those artists that bombard an industry professional right away, trust me, you will be dismissed immediately, just like all the thousands of others. Take your time. In the meantime, continue to build your network and continue on in your research. Many of these professionals belong to forums and groups. Join them, and see how you can learn and grow in your business from advice and tidbits that you might find on there.

A friend of mine actually told me about an app called Meet Up*. I am in no way affiliated with them, but I did find a plethora of musicians and songwriters who literally meet up at different locations to vibe, chat, connect, collaborate, and learn.  There are organizers who are constantly posting different events and things and all you have to do is show up. Again, the key here is networking. This will be the rubber band to catapult your goals into existence.

If you have any ideas, questions, or just want to chat about the music business, you can respond on here or send me an email to thecoordinatedpublicist@gmail.com.

Have a good day, all and remember, the key to your growth as a brand is YOU. – Jilli

*  I am not affiliated with LinkedIn or Meetup by any means and they have not paid me to place them in my blog. I wish they did though because that could be a nice source of extra income.

 

 

Great Music But Where Are The Fans?

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Hi. It’s Jilli. I think by now you all know it’s me, but I kind of like the ring of saying that. Any who, the music. Let’s talk about that. You have a great song or album, but outside of your car or immediate circle, who is listening? What is your approach, exactly, to get the music heard?

Many artists feel like if they advertise their music on social media that that is enough. They share their music links and from what I have seen on my own personal news feed, it gets overlooked. Unless of course you are already established, then it get shared a ton, but when you’re an indie artist, not so much.

In addition, when sharing your music amongst your peers and “friends”, you must remember that they are not always going to support you. That’s the harsh reality of it all, really. I always advise my clientele that they need to reach outside the box. Get yourself a fan page, officially, if Facebook is your medium, and target certain demographics that would be your audience. It is important for you to know who your audience is so that you can cater to them. A country singer is not going to advertise blindly to a heavy metal group of fans, that is not their audience, and they would be wasting their targeting dollars on the wrong fan base.

Social Media, while widely popular, isn’t the only way to get your music heard. Some people still believe in “Gorilla Tactics” which is printing out flyers and information about their music and putting them up anywhere they can. This can work, sometimes, but you must be careful about non-soliciting type stores or areas. But you can always ask if you can place a flyer on a community board or advertising board. No harm in that.

Other ways to get the music heard? Song Licensing. I have spoken about this in previous articles but just think about it for a moment. If you submitted for an opportunity and by chance it fell upon the right ears, and got selected for licensing, then more people would hear it. Radio should not be your only goal. Music Licensing can prove to be a very lucrative move for your career, placing your song in the ears of thousands of listeners whether by commercial, movie, or other opportunity. Point is, don’t focus on just one avenue for your music to be heard.

Are you performing anywhere? If yes, where? If not, why not? You are just starting out. I respect you all for where you want to go and how hard you are trying to get there, but let’s be honest. Unless you are coming out of your bedroom as Madonna or Elton John, you cannot expect to be paid like them. You need to perform at open mic nights, look around your local bars and lounges, clubs, etc. There are many advertisements for local talent to come and perform. This is how you gain a local fan base. And when you do perform, make sure you have a way for people to keep in touch with you and your music. Business cards, postcards, merchandise such as pre-loaded USB drives or CDs, download cards, anything really, as long as it keeps your name in their mouth, and I say that in the most polite way. And when you do perform at these venues, be respectful and engaging so that you can be invited back for future performances.

Music Conferences are also an incredible way to gain exposure, meet with like minded people in the industry, perhaps perform some of your songs, and gain connections. Networking is key in this business so use your Google and look up Music Conferences in your local area. They exist, trust me. And if you needed to drive a bit to get there, or pay a bit to get in there, it will be worth it.

In the end, there are always going to be multiple platforms for your music to be heard. But you need to do the legwork and make it happen. So many of these artists believe that a record label will come calling or that they will become “instafamous” from their Instagram accounts. I wish that could be case for many of you, but, um, it’s not. To put it lightly, it takes investment on your part to have others invest in you and that my friends, is the plain truth.

Love you all and always in your corner. – Jilli

 

 

Music For Dummies

It’s Jilli. I’ve been on hiatus for a bit handling personal things, such is life. But I am back in the swing of things and wanted to provide some updates for you all in case you were needing some updates from lil’ ol’ me.

From my time off social media, I have still had clientele and can only share with you my interactions with them and their experiences in this lovely world we call the Music Industry. Some recent issues that have presented themselves were: producers that did not get their credits on songs, artists that did not copyright, register, and encode their music, and artists who do not have any music videos or content to connect with their potential fans on.

So let’s address one thing at a time, shall we?

One- If you worked with a producer on a song, do your paperwork. Friend or no friend, you must both cover yourselves so that there will be no issue. Many artists make the mistake of either not crediting the producer, not sharing royalties with the producer, or just negating that they even worked with the producer at all. Remember that without them, your song would not have been. So, work out all the things you need to work out BEFORE submitting your song for radio airplay or placement. Work out percentages and rights and all that nitty gritty stuff before you even move forward with your collaborated project, because that is what it is, a collaborated project. Some distribution sites will allow you to register a song without crediting the person who created the music, yet still, many others will not allow you to move forward without that information listed. So, do the right thing. Give credit where credit is due. This will allow you to have a good rapport with your producer and allow them to continue to work with you on future projects.

Two– You’ve got a hot song. It’s being well received by your peers and friends of your peers. Ok, now what? Did you copyright it? Register it with a PRO (Performing Rights Organization)? Did you get it encoded? If you didn’t do any of those things, you, my good friend, are behind the 8 Ball. Registering your song on BMI or ASCAP or any other PRO is free. Get an account. I listed it on my RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS page. Copyright your material, that link is on there, too. In addition, in order to be tracked for radio play, you need to encode your songs. Sign up for an account on Nielsen BDS. Get that crackin’ so you can track your tracks.

Three– A client of mine is a manager for an artist. He has zero content on YouTube. He has a great song, no visuals. He cannot get booked anywhere because promoters and booking agencies do not see any content of him performing his song or any visuals to match his brand. Hello? Videos are important. They are the “new demo”. People want to see something, so give them something to see. Investing in yourself is important because if you don’t, no one else will. Save your money to produce a quality video for your song. Then, do what you have to do to promote it. Hey, once you have that video, send it over here so we can help you promote it, too.

There will be more content being delivered soon. I do apologize for the long delay. Have a good one for now. – Jilli

 

 

10 Steps To Success for Independent Artists

It’s Jilli. In doing some research today, I found this great article on The Hub that I just had to share with you all. It says everything that needs to be said so if you are an Indie Artist, please read and really take the time to understand it all.

Step #1

Realize that no one is waiting for your music. If people are going to become fans of your music, you must approach the promoting of your live shows and the promotion of your CD releases with the same planning and professionalism as the artists whom you admire have promoted their music. Marketing music has changed radically in the age of the Internet and social media. That technology has the potential to take your music to the world. But knowing that it is up to you to let the world know about your music, is an important first step to take as a responsible independent musician.

Step #2

Avoid telling people in the music business that your music is “good”. It is a much overused and weak word. A&R reps, music directors at radio stations, the music press, and buyers at distributors and stores presume you think your music is “good,” because you put it out to begin with! When they listen to it, they will decide if it is the kind of “good” music that they feel can get behind and be proud of supporting from their position of power in the music industry. And let’s face it, it is the public who will ultimately decide if your music is “good” by buying it or not. That’s not to say you shouldn’t talk up your music. But, use your words; shape an elevator pitch that accurately reflects what you and your music are about.

Step #3

Use the Internet and all its tools to your advantage. Besides having your own domain name and website where you promote releases and shows, you’ll probably want a presence on the main social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But don’t over-commit your time. If you spend all day working on social media, what happens to your music? It’s better to skip some social media rather than do a poor or infrequent job of staying in touch with your fan base. And of course, you’ll want to make access to your music easy through YouTube, SoundCloud, iTunes Store, CD Baby and the like. Last, but definitely not least, build and use an email list to stay connected with your fans. Permission-based marketing using emails to your fan base is a proven winner—these are folks who said they wanted to stay in touch!

Step #4

Thank people who help you. You might be surprised how often music reviewers, DJs at college radio stations, and club bookers don’t get thanked by artists. So, make their day by sending a card, a small thank-you gift, or simply by giving them a shout out on the tray card of your next CD. Some artists tend to feel they are owed something because of their talent. Guess what… they aren’t. Being grateful and thankful are essential qualities for success. Cultivate them and watch the doors open.

Step #5

Play gigs outside of the usual clubs that cater to your genre of music. Branch out a bit, consider gigs at schools, fairs, festivals and perhaps parks in the summertime. So many artists think that the only valid venues to play are the clubs. Look around, start noticing where you see performers playing music, and ask yourself if that venue isn’t a valid one for you. Give your fans more than one place to see you perform while finding new followers. And at every gig, be sure there is an email signup sheet. Did I mention staying in touch with fans via emails is golden?

Step #6

Listen to other kinds of music beyond your own particular genre. There is much to be learned from other styles. All music offers a vast reservoir of new melodies and rhythms to experiment with, and to incorporate into your unique sound. If the future of music promises anything, it is the ongoing mix of old and new styles coming together in profoundly new ways.

Step #7

Remember that the record labels don’t know what they are looking for, but with any luck, they will recognize it when they hear it. Work on developing your own signature sound rather than trying to shape something to please A&R people or future fans. Strive to find your own true identity through your music. And don’t feel like that once you’ve established a musical identity that it needs to be set in stone. Great artists such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young have continually reinvented their personas and music throughout their careers.

Step #8

Create great graphics. How many logos do you have in your brain right now that are recognizable symbols for legendary bands? You want to build the same kind of “brand awareness” for your music by creating a memorable logo and graphics. Make sure the logo is legible/identifiable in a wide range of sizes and that you use it everywhere your name appears: posters, flyers, press releases, letters, business cards, stationery, websites, and CD covers.

Step #9

Stop making the same foolish mistakes over and over. Insanity has been described as repeating the same habit continually while expecting a different result. As a musician you may find yourself not wanting to rehearse, yet frustrated that your musical abilities never progress. Or, as a songwriter, you may get upset when you keep backing yourself into a corner with an awkward rhyme scheme, yet find yourself continuing to use it. All of us at times get trapped in creative dead-ends, but the way out is not through repeating the same moves that got us there in the first place. Challenge yourself to find new inspirations, and develop at least one new creative technique a month.

Step #10

Don’t ever stop making music. One sure way to gain some level of success as a musician is simply to not stop being one. There is no one timetable or path to success. Most artists termed “overnight successes” are in reality years in the making. If you find yourself approaching the creative act of making music as a chore, what is the point in that? Some of the most successful musicians out there are people who simply never stopped making their own music, performing it regularly, and finding a comfortable way to go about doing the business of their music. They could not not make music. Are you that passionate? Would a part of you die without your being able to make your music? If so, just keep doing it, the rest will follow.

I wish I could take credit for this article but I simply cannot. It was so well written and said everything that needed to be said. Thank you to my friend Christopher Knab at The Hub for putting all this information together so simply. – Jilli

A Dedication To Prince

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These past few days have been very difficult to deal with once the news of Prince’s death came about. I can’t even begin to recount how devastated our office was, just completely in shock and also,  it allowed me personally, to put so many things in perspective.

Prince was and forever will be an icon, a symbol, an incredibly gifted man whose contributions to the world of music will never cease, nor be forgotten. His ability to play over 20 instruments, to construct songs, to perform at high velocity, to engage with his audience, even to create music for others to sing and perform, I mean, truly, his works can never go un-noticed.

There has been plenty of speculation, talks of conspiracy, talks of things that I never want to talk about because I believe so much in the music that I try not to focus on the negativity surrounding it. Be that as it may, I cannot help but wonder myself, why him, why now? To me, it seems that he was not yet done with this world yet, and that he still had plenty of things to do and accomplish. This is the general feeling when either someone close to us passes unexpectedly, or when someone passes who is very young. In either case, the loss is felt and hurts very much.

While I didn’t know him personally, I do know that what he intended to do with his music and new album was the same as he had always done with albums past: inspire people, help people to find themselves, give people hope, help people through things, find love, whatever it is that evoked the listener to feel, his plan was just that.And he will succeed in doing that. Whether he is here or not, his music will live on.

Prince, it seems like a nightmare to know that you are gone. It seems like a really bad dream. I have to believe though, that somewhere, in another form, another existence, you are still doing what you were manifested to do, whether on this earth, this lifetime, or another. You were destined to create music that touched lives all over the world. And while I listen to the mainstream songs on repeat, I know, that your full albums are the diary to your life, the testimony to the music that was in your heart to create. May you rest forever eternally in peace.– Jilli

 

Stage Performance, Do You Have It?

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I have had the honor of seeing a lot of new indie artists perform in these past couple of months. Various shows from coffee houses, to clubs, to lounges, to parks, to festivals, you name it. One thing I can tell you is what I noticed about some of the performers. They have a lot of great music that can easily be gravitated to, but their stage performance is a bit lacking.

If you have ever gone to a concert for Bruno Mars, Usher, Brittney Spears, RihannaRUN DMC, Kendrick Lamar, or Michael Jackson, just to name a few, you will notice that it’s not just the music that grabs people’s attention. It’s their stage performance, it’s how they interact with the audience. People want to be entertained, this is why they bought tickets to see you, or paid the entry fee to come in to see you. So, give them a show that they will be talking about for years to come.

When you perform or rehearse, don’t be afraid to take pointers from people who are in your camp. The stage is your platform, so utilize every inch. Don’t just stay in one spot, unless of course there are extenuating circumstances, or sitting/standing in one spot is part of your act. Work the stage. Ladies, if you have heels, make sure they are comfortable enough for you to walk across and dance in. Gents, make sure your pants are in a position not to fall to the ground because you gyrated just a bit too much!

Ask for feedback. Hold a private concert or showing for your closest family and friends and people in your industry. Provide survey cards based on a scale of 1-10 with various questions pertaining to your act. Some things you can ask are:

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, please rate the following about this artist:

  • Stage Presence 1-10 _
  • Vocal Quality 1-10 _
  • Overall performance 1-10 _
  • Audience Interaction 1-10 _
  • Artist Brand and Marketability 1-10 _
  • Favorite Song from the set _________________

These can be done anonymously and it will allow for people to give real feedback instead of just saying, “Oh you were so good”. Yes, all artists want to be told that, but, you’re missing out on some useful information that can help to take you to that next level.

Always remember that not everyone will like your music, that’s because we all have different tastes. Not everyone will like the song that is your personal favorite, and that’s because it means something to you, not to them. Just remember that these people came to see something, and that they want to be engaged by your performance, by your entire artistry. This is your job as part of your brand to deliver what you say you will: quality music by a quality musician/band with great after effects (like purchasing your music, merchandise, becoming a real fan, etc).

On another note, I happened to see on video some performances this weekend on my timeline. It makes me quite happy to see artists doing what they love on stage. So artists, I have a small token of advice for you. No matter the size of the audience, always give it your best as if it was a packed, sold out concert at Madison Square Garden. Let your music shine through you and let you shine through your music. – Jilli