Archive for the ‘indie musician’ Category

will crowd funding work for me?

September 25, 2012

Terre Roche (formerly of The Roches) wrote an article in the New York Times describing her experience with Kickstarter, and then with Indiegogo. She and her band Afro-Jersey, failed to meet their goal. I guess we can’t all be Amanda Palmer.

She comments on the changing role of the independent musician, noting that her job seemed to consist of sending thousands of emails, checking for contributions and responding to friends/fans who sent money to the Kickstarter campaign and to a “wave of e-mails with sad tales of illnesses, lost jobs and stock-market horror stories.” Songwriting and rehearsing are on the back burner now.

a “wave of e-mails with sad tales of illnesses, lost jobs and stock-market horror stories”

She ends the article with this:

In a recent interview, Woody Allen revealed the astonishing fact that he has never sent or received an e-mail. It occurred to me that there are only two types of people alive today who have the luxury of indulging themselves in this manner: the very, very wealthy and the homeless. In the age of “Occupy” divisiveness, it’s nice to see a common ground between those two groups.

Read her article, called The New Busking here.

You can find a related story, featuring the crowd funding experiences of several artists, including The Physics, Amanda Palmer and Terre Roche on NPR. Listen here.


July 19, 2011

Pitchfork Music Festival.

The day Steve Jobs dissed Derek Sivers

November 12, 2010
Steve Jobs announces iTunes in 2003

Steve Jobs announces iTunes in 2003

I have to share this amazing story. In his recent post, Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, recounts how 2003 was a huge turning point for independent artists.

Read it here.


In May 2003, Apple invited me to their headquarters to discuss getting CD Baby’s catalog into the iTunes Music Store.

iTunes had just launched two weeks before, with only some music from the major labels. Many of us in the music biz were not sure this idea was going to work.
Especially those who had seen companies like eMusic do this exact same model for years without big success.

I flew to Cupertino thinking I’d be meeting with one of their marketing or tech people. When I arrived, I found out that about a hundred people from small record labels and distributors had also been invited.

We all went into a little presentation room, not knowing what to expect.

Then out comes Steve Jobs. Whoa! Wow.

He was in full persuasive presentation mode. Trying to convince all of us to give Apple our entire catalog of music. Talking about iTunes success so far, and all the reasons we should work with them.

He really made a point of saying, “We want the iTunes Music Store to have every piece of music ever recorded. Even if it’s discontinued or not selling much, we want it all.”

This was huge to me, because until 2003, independent musicians were always denied access to the big outlets. For Apple to sell all music, not just artists who had signed their rights away to a corporation, this was amazing!

Read the rest here.

Countdown to your album + 11 ways to increase sales

September 15, 2010

This summer Electronic Musician magazine published an article titled 10 Things you should do before you put out your next release, subtitled Countdown to Your Album. The same list also appeared recently in Echo, the newsletter from Disc Makers.

Turns out these are 10 extremely important steps and they’re all fairly easy to do. For example, step 9 tells you to get an ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) for each of the tracks. It also tells you how and why in one short paragraph. I told you it was easy. If you don’t know what an ISRC is, read the article to find out. Step 2 tells you how to make track names and artist names automatically come up in music players (including iTunes and other computer-based music players).

If you use CD Baby to sell your CDs and mp3s online (and who doesn’t?), you’ll want to know the 11 ways to increase sales on CD Baby. Again, this is not brain surgery, but it helps to have a checklist.

Just doing these 21 things (you’re probably already doing at least some of them) is a painless (and relatively easy) way to advance your music career.

Accept credit cards offline

May 26, 2010

Until today, I thought I had found the best solution for indie musicians who want to accept credit card payments for CDs and merch at shows: CD Baby.

CD Baby has a sweet deal, way better than any merchant account you get from a bank. And my band, Soulpajamas, has been using CD Baby’s credit card solution for years. It works and it’s a fair deal. Check it out for yourself.

But today I read about a slick new player in the market, called Square. It’s also geared toward small businesses that can’t afford minimum monthly fees.

With Square, you get a tiny card reader that plugs directly into any device with an audio input jack (like your iPhone). No monthly or hidden fees, no contract or merchant account required. The buyer signs on the touch screen of your smart phone. Receipts can be emailed to the customer.

Don’t get me wrong, Soulpajamas is still selling our CDs and downloads online using CD Baby. They offer great services for independent recording artists and we have no plans to leave. But for credit card payments at gigs (and anywhere else we sell CDs in person) we’re now testing Square.

Why isn’t every indie musician doing this?

Government grants for singer/songwriters

May 19, 2010

Government grants for singer/songwriters

Does that headline sound like a scam or what? It’s for real and it’s all good news for singers, songwriters, performers and other artists.

Last night I attended a workshop sponsored by the Songwriters Association of Washington (so I knew it was completely legit from the get-go). The workshop title was “Taken for Granted: Uncovering Grant Opportunities for Songwriters in the DC Metro Area”

Maureen Andary described how she was able to get several grants from the DC government and explained it all in detail. She had even researched the surrounding counties and municipalities (Montgomery and Prince Georges in Maryland, Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria in Virginia) so she was able to speak about them all and help audience members with their location-specific questions.

The biggest surprise to me is that there actually IS grant money available even to singer/songwriters and bands. If you are an organization or partner with one, there are other grants available (in bigger amounts).

She explained that even though the grant world may be a strange new planet for (non-classical) musicians, it’s not that difficult to apply and not that difficult to win a grant. Further, the grant officer was very helpful to her in the process, so you’re not on your own.

I’m looking forward to implementing some of her advice and I’ll report back with my experiences. Wish me luck.