By Mary Wilson of Future of Music Coalition.
You might think a two-time Grammy-nominee more than once named America’s Best DJ by DJ Times would be immune to label pressures. But as DJ and producer Kaskade explained in a series of tweets last month, that’s not the case. The frequent festival headliner (real name: Ryan Raddon) announced he is “in between labels,” leaving behind former label/publisher/mangement company Ultra Music (part owned by major label Sony):
So often we are met with laundry lists a mile long of what to do when embarking out on a new career move. Everyone has opinions, recommendations, and people they swear by, but what may prove to be most valuable are the warning signs you may not have seen otherwise. Choosing your manager may prove to be the most important decision of your entire career -- now would be a good time to do your homework.
Funk Volume may be best known for being Hopsin's label, but it's got a full roster of indie artists who are pursuing the dream of making it on their own terms. I spoke with Funk Volume CEO and co-founder Damien Ritter yesterday about the role social media has played in their success. He shared not only what's working for them but what can work for those getting started. In particular, he says there's no special sauce. You've just got to put the work in and build that direct relationship with fans.
Making music a lucrative career is a lifelong battle for many musicians. While there are many new obstacles such as digital downloading, piracy, etc that can work against any rising musician, there are also ample opportunities to work new tools to your advantage. Crowdfunding is a major resource these days - but knowing how to approach and execute your efforts can make all the difference in the world.
There is no doubt music sales have changed enormously since the changeover to digital downloads. Being able to buy individual songs at the touch of a button has seriously limited the scale of full album sales. While this can be hugely successful for some musicians with hit singles, failing to consistently sell records can be the downfall of any artist's career.
Publishing is a controversial topic of conversation these days - but if done correctly, it can be a lucritive gig. If you're committed to getting a placement for your music and willing to think outside the box, commercial tracks may be the break you've been waiting for.
[SPONSORED POST] - It doesn't matter how accomplished your music is; if you don't promote it, it simply won't get the recognition it deserves. Starting out in the music industry requires know-how, experience and a network of contacts, which you're unlikely to have if you're an amateur recording artist. However, by tapping into the wealth of expertise available at Ditto Music, you can take those first, tentative steps to success.
Getting your music played on the radio
We should all be looking for ways to better ourselves on a regular basis. Personally and professionally proactive communication, strategic planning, and strong execution can go a long way... but often times its difficult to take that hard look in the mirror.
Sometimes the hardest part about starting your career is knowing where to start. It's easy to get into the mentality of not being good enough to play with the big boys, but the truth is, everyone starts somewhere. One of the greatest ways to up your game is to learn from those around you. Chelsea Ira brings us a few of her own strategies you can begin learning today on MusicThinkTank.com
Suzanne Vega is an industry lifer who experienced the age of major labels before the suits took over and then got dropped after they did. But she went on to start her own label to self-release her albums and remains committed to a long-term career. This week Vega released "Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles" and she took the time out to give a rich interview about her career and business for a website that didn't even bother to link out to her site or her new album.
Chuck D is the official Record Store Day Ambassador for 2014 and he's an excellent choice. Following the "great Jack White," Chuck D states: "With the masses, neck bent into their smartphones, let all of us music lovers GPS our way into a reality that is the Record Store." Record Store Day takes place the third Saturday of April. This year it's April 19th. See you there!
In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to Maggie Vail, who is the co-executive director of CASH Music, a nonprofit group that is building both open source tools and an educational curriculum for artists. Previously, she spent 17 years at the indie label Kill Rock Stars. She talks with us about how to make sure indie artists are paid for their creative works.
Beats Music and Merlin yesterday announced a licensing agreement that includes a commitment on Beats part to pay all rights holders equal royalty rates. With Merlin cosigning Beats announcement, talk and action are matching up at a time when much is in flux. Now more than ever indie musicians need honest dealings with streaming music services. Since such services represent a growing revenue stream and source of discovery, this news is important for indies not only in dealing with Beats Music but in encouraging other services to follow suit.
This weekend Lyor Cohen revealed more about 300 at Midem where he gave a keynote interview with Tom Silverman. The primary new information seemed to be the Twitter deal for 300 that will help Twitter learn how to organize music data and give 300 an opportunity to take a highly granular look at musicians and music fans. At least part of the concept is to develop an approach to A&R that could conceivably indentify emerging artists at an early stage based on who's doing the tweeting.
Independent music took home 50 % of the awards at last nights 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, the highest percentage of wins since indie label trade group A2IM began tracking the awards in 2006. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won in four categories, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album, for their independently released album, The Heist. Accepting one of his Grammys, Macklemore said, "we made it independently and appreciate all the support."