5 Things Songwriters Need to Know About the Consent Decree

**Guest post written by Brian Penick as featured on the SOUNDSTR Blog.

 

"What is the Consent Decree, and why are people talking (and so upset!) about it?...For songwriters, one of the least discussed (yet most important topics) is music licensing. But major changes to the consent decree – the federal agreement that governs how ASCAP and BMI operate – is bringing this topic to the surface. The truth is, these changes could be the biggest in the music industry in 75 years and greatly impact your career."

Hashtags 101: How to Use Them & Why They Matter

**Guest post written by Joy Ike, creator of Grassrootsy.com and Independent Musician, as featured on Grassrootsy.com.

 

"What’s the deal with hashtags? Some of us have never hated the pound (#) sign more than we do right this minute. Some of us love it! Still others of us have no clue what it means or how it’s used in the world of social media. Well today we are going to explore the hashtag. Think of this as Hashtag 101!"

If You Aren’t Using Facebook Video You Will Miss Out

**Guest post written by Andrew Jones of Checkered Owl Media.

 

"I’ve been meaning to write a blog for a while about how CRITICAL video is becoming to Facebook, but this week I read 3 important pieces of news confirming that Facebook is going full focus on video, so it’s time to actually get this out. I’ll keep it fairly tight, but, if it’s going to get TLDR (Too Long; Didn't Read) for you let’s make this super clear, if you want to be successful at social media moving forward Facebook video better be a part of your plans..."

What's Your Story?

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"I have always said that the best way to break up a band is to make a record. I’ve seen it a hundred times. A bunch of guys have a rock and roll dream. The band gets all excited and starts diligently writing songs. They save up some money...Then, they do the recording. Then, they put together the artwork. Then, they plan the release party. Then……. About two weeks or so after the release party the phone calls start coming in. The band is depressed. At this point they ask the question that whole empires have risen and fallen on: Now what?"

5 Reasons Why Vinyl Is Definitely Better

**Guest post written by Jessica Kane, a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Classic.

 

"The modern musical industry may be almost entirely digital, but this does not mean that streaming songs or downloading audio files is the best way to listen to music. Though they are not the main method of experiencing music anymore, vinyl album sales actually continue to grow, and modern vinyl sales levels have not been this high since 1988. Audiophiles might insist that vinyl is better because it sounds nicer, but there are also several other reasons why it is the superior format..."

How to Open For Nationally Touring Artists

**Guest post written by Joy Ike, creator of Grassrootsy.com and Independent Musician, as featured on Grassrootsy.com.

 

"Nailing big opportunities is one of the major things that kickstarts the career of an independent artist. Sometimes it’s having a video go viral. Other times it’s falling under the good graces of someone who knows someone. But sometimes it’s getting to open for a national touring act and getting your name out to a larger audience of new listeners...here are 7 excellent tips for making it happen."

4 Tips For DIY Drum Recording

**Guest Post by Mahea Lee of Soundfly.

 

"For many musicians, the idea of recording a demo can seem a bit daunting, especially when taking a do-it-yourself approach. Fortunately for those of us who need a bit of guidance, Black Lodge Recording’s Vishal Nayak has helped the Soundfly team create a brand new course, full of tips for efficient, effective, and stress-free demo production."

The Tyranny of the Primal Ear

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"Over the past few months, I have written several entries about diversification in the music business. You have to be able to do it all to keep your calendar full. Write, play, record, teach, etc, etc…… it takes a wide array of skills to fill your calendar these days. But here is the rub: Once the calendar is full, that’s when the real soul searching begins. Ironically, the real gold is in being a samurai at something. That’s how you get to the next level. A master of one, not a master of none."

How To Make A Music Video On A Tiny Budget

**Guest post written by Ari Herstand. It originally appeared on Ari's Take.

 

"I just released a music video. It cost me exactly $0 to make and it looks pretty darn awesome if I do say so myself. Well, I can say so because I didn't make it. I kind of had nothing to do with it - other than writing and recording the song of course (and showing up and shooting the thing). So how did this happen?"

What I Got Paid in 2015

**Guest Post by Max Garcia Conover, modern folk singer-songwriter out of Portland, ME.

 

"i just did the taxes for my first year as a full-time independent songwriter and i wanted to share some details about the business side of the work i’m doing...so here’s me...taking some pride in humble, honest, hard-won earnings:"

Why social media is DEAD for music marketing (and why email works)

**Guest Post by Paul Loeb, founder and CEO of No Ego Records and DropTrack. Originally featured on The DIY Musician.

 

"It’s hard to believe it’s been over 12 years since the launch of Facebook. Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. That’s good news for marketers, musicians, and entrepreneurs. You have this incredible platform to reach every one of those followers you painstakingly cultivated. Or do you?"

TuneCore Asks Songwriters To Sign Up For Spotify Settlement Without Disclosing Terms

**Guest Post by David Lowery, frontman from Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven. Originally featured in The Trichordist.

 

"If you are a Tunecore songwriter, you recently got an email asking you to sign up for the NMPA/Harry Fox Agency/Spotify settlement. Songwriters are directed to [a] Survey Monkey form. This is it. No details. Nothing. Nada. In particular, there is no mention of the possible statutory damages that songwriters are waiving by opting in to this..."

Here are some tips and tricks I learned while touring the country (DIY) as a singer-songwriter/duo

**Guest Post by Ezekiel Morphis, San Diego based Americana/Folk Singer-Songwriter.

 

"If you just started playing music last week, this article will aid you further down the road as long as you stay committed and work on your music first. If you are like me — two EPs completed, well practiced, working on an album, playing for a handful of years, don’t mind smelling like beer and shame for days on end and still want to know how to tour DIY — then this is the article for you."

The Road to Joy

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"Many years ago I remember standing on the side of the stage talking with a crew member of The Marshall Tucker Band...We were in the middle of our first tour as a major label act and I was chatting with him about our experiences on the road...After a while, the roadie pointed up at the sound check that was taking place onstage and in his thick Southern accent he said, “These guys are just happy to still be playing.” Things had certainly changed for these guys over the years, but they were still at it. Why?"

How to Make a Living Playing Music - Part 2

**Guest Post written by Danny Barnes as featured on DannyBarnes.com.

 

"I hear so much complaining about this subject, I just wanted to lay my practical experience on you. free... Assuming... you are financially workable and you have the music where you want it and you are surely called into the art, here goes, in no particular order..."

How to Make a Living Playing Music - Part 1

**Guest Post written by Danny Barnes as featured on DannyBarnes.com.

 

"I hear so much complaining about this subject, I just wanted to lay my practical experience on you. free... Assuming... you are financially workable and you have the music where you want it and you are surely called into the art, here goes, in no particular order..."

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Band Merch Online

**Guest Post written by Jon Ostrow, Director of Sales at Bandsintown, Founder of MicControl, lover of all things music, a raging Phish head, and a coffee addict. Also featured on Bandzoogle.com.

 

"Bandzoogle members have now crossed $20 Million in direct-to-fan sales through their websites (commission-free!). This comprehensive guide will show you how to set up an online merch store for your own band, and give you some ideas for the different types of merch you can sell to your fans."

What We're Learning About The Music Industry

**Guest post written by Carlos A. Machado of Mystery Loves Company.

 

"With almost 200 shows and multiple music conferences in the past two years, Maddy and I have learned a ton about the current music industry. For those wanting a career as singer-songwriters, here are a two things we think are worth keeping in mind..."

What I Learned About Music Licensing After Dedicating A Month To It

**Guest post written by Matt Bacon, originally featured on IndependentMusicPromotions.com.

 

"I’ve spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks learning about music licensing for a friend I’m helping on a project...It’s been a pretty interesting experience for a variety of reasons – but mostly because before the beginning of the month I didn’t really know what music licensing was. Since then I have learned quite a bit, spent countless hours pouring over articles and have gotten to explore what it means to engage in this potentially highly lucrative segment of the music industry."

I Got a Major Label Meeting and Nothing Happened

**Guest post written by Gaetano, a NYC based Singer, Songwriter, Producer, and Guitarist, as featured in his blog and on Digital Music News.

 

"At this point, we all know someone trying to “make it” in the music business. Thanks to the world of technology we live in, the industry has easily become over-saturated with thousands, if not millions, of aspiring singers, producers, songwriters, musicians, DJs, etc. Anyone with a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection can simply fill out their social media bio and give themselves whatever title they wish to be called. With too much supply and not enough demand, it’s no wonder that so many are getting discouraged while in pursuit of their dreams..."

Calendar Worship and the Jack of All Trades

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"Pretty much for all of the 1990s, I played with one band. One band. That was it...Ours was a pretty typical scenario for a band around that time. The object of worship was the CD. Or even a few cassettes and vinyl. Those little circles of information were your lifeblood….. and your salvation...Cut to 2016. Things have definitely changed. Quite a bit. CDs barely sell on an independent level. Vinyl has some appeal, but I would think on the ground floor it would be a break even proposition at best. There are download sales, but as we all know if you want the music for free it ain’t too hard to find...Musicians no longer worship that little round piece of plastic. Their new object of worship is square. And much bigger. It’s called a calendar."

5 Ways to Impress Venue Bookers and Get More Gigs

**Guest Post written by Dave Cool of Bandzoogle.com.

 

"I spent three years as program director for two venues here in my home city of Montreal, overseeing 500 shows during that time. Here are 5 ways that you can impress venue bookers and give yourself the best chance to get more gigs..."

How to Release a Single and Sell More Music More Often

**Guest post written by Corey Koehler, an indie singer-songwriter from Minnesota, as featured in his blog MusicGoat.com.

 

"For the past 30-40 years musicians have been releasing albums. Many times the time between those albums was a year or more. Many bands and musicians these days still model their own release schedules after this same one. This is a mistake. These days you should be learning how to release a single and doing it often. Here's why..."

10 Tricks of the Trade

**Guest post written by Sylvana Joyce, NYC based indie artist, originally featured in her blog Scenipedia.

 

"Let's face it. I'm not Lady GooGoo and I'm not rolling in the deep, deep cavern of Scrooge McDucklike's money vault. But I am a small indie band who has built an intimate fan base from the ground up - enough of a fanbase that I was able to raise $2000 in less than 24 hours to fund my debut album. So let's say I have something to say on the subject of oh, being a successful indie band...here are the 10 things I think are important to making sure you're on the right track as a band and to make sure you have a long and prosperous career where you continue to grow and shoot for greatness..."

5 Music Industry Schemes That Still Exploit Artists

**Guest post written by Gaetano, a NYC based Singer, Songwriter, Producer, and Guitarist, as featured in his blog and on Digital Music News.

 

"If you’re one of the millions (yes millions) of independent artists/producers out there trying to make something of yourself, you’re going to love what I’m about to tell you. If you’re one of the shady opportunists still trying to “hustle” your way into a quick buck, you’re going to hate me. I must be totally unapologetic about this. I don’t care either."