The game is ever changing for independent artists entering the new music business. It's important that you understand your role as well as the roles of others in order to break into this world successfully and professionally. Matthew Meyers gives us a look from the inside the step by step process of indie artist development on MusicThinkTank.com
Though you can't quite call it a comeback, indie record stores in the States are making news with events like Back To Black Friday. But the biggest news draws on England's love of vinyl with the opening of Rough Trade NYC adding to two London locations. The Guardian has an interactive digital presence in one of Rough Trade NYC's shipping containers. London will also host the first 3d record printing shop and the citiy's Independent Label Market manifests in LA later this month.
NoiseTrade is one of the quietest of the music tech startups that I consider top of the class. But now that they're planning to add a section for writers, called NoiseTrade Books, they're making a bit more noise. I spoke this week with co-founder Brannon McAllister about how NoiseTrade has been doing and why it's still a great tool for artists seeking to raise their profile. And I include some thoughts of my own on why giving away music for free can sometimes be a smart thing to do.
Back in April Clif Johnston launched the iOS Music Community to connect musicians and app developers focused on making music with the iPad, iPhone and/or iPod. Now he's taking things a step further by rebranding as Apptronica, launching a new site and adding both a netlabel, to release iOS recordings, and a digital magazine that should be on the iTunes newsstand any day now. So far it seems to be a rather small endeavor but it's an excellent example of creating a community to raise the profile of a unique musical niche.
Indie global rights agency Merlin has announced the results of the biennial election for its 15 seat board. Beggars Group founder Martin Mills who will continue as Merlin chairman. Erik Gilbert (Essential Music & Marketing USA) and Ashley Whitfield (Evolution Music Hong Kong) join the board for the first time.
Full Board Lineup
Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ has a music industry BA but the career-related offerings are fairly limited. One way students, faculty and recent alumni are improving the situation is by creating student groups that focus on real world music projects. I spoke yesterday with the co-founders of MU group The Music Alliance. They've joined with a closely related group, Blue Hawk Records, to create an umbrella organization called the Blue Hawk Music Group. Together they're a great example of students using school resources to take charge of their own education.
Last year indie rapper Kosha Dillz began a series of columns here at Hypebot giving his view from the frontlines of how to make it as an indie artist. Since then he's written a total of 16 columns sharing his unique approach to always finding a way to move forward. His tenacity is impressive and the challenges he faces are summed up, in some respects, by the title of his new album, "Awkward In a Good Way." I've gathered together info about the album and a complete list of Kosha Dillz' columns to date.
CASH Music is a music tech nonprofit known for its free open source and hosted tools designed with DIY musicians and indie labels in mind. This year they're adding events to the mix with CASH Music Summits and hack/build/make workshops. Their initial events went well and they not only have their next summit in Los Angeles on November 16 but they've also launched a crowdfunding campaign to support future summits. Designed to encourage dialogue between attendees, small unrecorded group discussions are an important feature of CASH Music's approach to such gatherings.
Some aspects of running an indie record label weren't changed by the web. Everybody used to work really hard and had to adjust to changing realities that were often quite harsh. But these days there's more of a sense that everything's up for grabs and that there is no one right way forward. I've been checking out a number of interviews with indie label heads of varying size labels, mostly dj-centered and electronic music, to get a feeling for how the folks whose music seems most adaptable to current times are adapting.
Nashville's Thirty Tigers is not a record label though they provide many of the services of one and may help release as many as 45 records this year. Creating a strong niche by providing label services for a percentage of sales without assuming rights, Thirty Tigers is successfully working with both established artists and new Americana acts. Recently co-founder and president David Macias shared some details of how they work with artists such as Jason Isbell, Kathy Mattea and The Avett Brothers.
Toad the Wet Sprocket is putting out their first album in 16 years and they did it with Kickstarter's help reaching fans who supported their request for $50,000 by pledging over $264,000. Luscious Jackson are back together and putting out two albums, one for kids, inspired partly by the "whole new world" presented by PledgeMusic where they reached their initial goal in 2 days. Just as we've seen with YouTube stars, the artists who don't fit or don't want to fit older models are creating a new terrain of success built on their relationship to their fans.
Merlin is pulling member tracks from German streaming service Simfy. The massive independent music licensor took action after new management at Simfy failed to report royalties over the summer months. Most money due has now been received, but a series of contentious exchanges with Simfy led Merlin chief Charles Caldas to pull the plug six months prior to their deal expiring.
Do you have great music and want to score a record deal? Or have you always wondered how artists got through to big labels and ended up getting signed?
In this post I will teach you my foolproof method for scoring a record label deal.
Some big news for vinyl lovers is coming from PledgeMusic. But there seems to be a bit of a delay so I've gathered up everything I can about the upcoming launch of PledgeMusic Recordings Vinyl Vault. PledgeMusic has helped bring a lot of vinyl into the world already but their Vinyl Vault project is said to be focused on "albums previously unreleased on Vinyl and Vinyl re-issues from some of our favourite bands." The initiative includes an element similar to fan funding in that a certain number of pledges will be required before manufacturing a release.
Yo La Tengo is a band that, for many, symbolizes indie rock as both a genre and a worldview. DJ Jesse Jarnow's even written a book on the band in relation to indie rock. Earlier this week singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan appeared at Ohio University where he discussed such topics as how Yo La Tengo has maintained their credibility over the years even as they created music for commercials by major corporate entities.