Latest Indie News

  • MTT Weekly Recap: How Do We Benefit From Streaming?

    Oct 22

  • Sean Parker On Spotify, The New Music Business & Why Most Bands Should Never Sign With A Label

    Oct 22

    image from rww.readwriteweb.netdna-cdn.comWe usually post the latest episode of This Week In Music on Saturday morning, but since they're taking a week off, we're re-posting this great video with Sean Paker, billionaire venture capitalist, founder of Facebook and Napster and Spotify investor. Parker talks about the future of the music industry: "I'm not actually sure why you would sign with a record label".  On Spotify, Parker says its "an attempt to finish what I started at Napster".  WATCH THE VIDEO:

        Most of the music discussion happens from 9-18 minutes, then the discussion turns to what's wrong with Facebook and the glut of information.

  • WATCH: Band Shoots Impressive iPhone 4S Video

    Oct 24

    image from hothardware.comNeed to create a steady stream of inexpensive but great looking videos to keep your YouTube Channel (complete with new Merch Store) cranking? The new iPhone 4S may be the answer. Apple has upgraded to a 1080p HD video camera with an f/2.4 lens and improved sensor to capture more light, and added video stabilization to steady shaky shots. Indie band The Turnback took full advantage of the new features at a Webster Hall show to shoot what they says is the "first official iPhone 4S music video".  The results are impressive.

    According to the band:

    On October 14th, 2011 we received 2 brand new iPhone 4S smart phones. On Sunday October 16th we shot the video at the famous NYC nightclub Webster Hall. Over the next several days, with little sleep and lots of coffee, the final video was finished.

    This video was shot entirely using those 2 iPhone 4S’s and was edited on Final Cut Pro.

    Watch:

  • What You Need BEFORE Leaving the Rehearsal Studio

    Oct 24

    In a word: AWESOMENESS.


    As an indie I go to a lot of local shows.  I want to find and network with other bands, make friendships, and help support my scene.  Some bands are great, some are good, and others are…’eh’.


    The really great bands are firing on all cylinders.  Great live show, great recordings, great merch table.  The other bands always seem to be lacking in certain areas. 


    If the live show is THE most important thing for a band, then I think there are certain aspects, certain ‘Standards of Excellence’ that a band MUST achieve before stepping outside the rehearsal room.  We just cannot afford to suck anymore, at all, no compromises.  That doesn’t mean that you need to be perfect: to play a million notes a second, or whatever.  Not perfection, just a commitment to excellence.


    Here are a few Standards of Excellence I feel every band should consider the bare minimum before starting to gig regularly, if they expect to get results that is:


    1.    Tightness – the band must be tight tight tight.  This falls mainly, I believe, on the drummer.  There can be no wavering of the timing.  Think ‘human metronome’, even if your music is very relaxed and you are playing behind the beat a lot.  Once the tempo is set, you MUST NOT WAVER!  The only fix, I believe, is to practice with a metronome 80% of the time, and 20% off.  Of course, ALL the musicians must know their parts.  My personal standard is that each member of the band must be able to play the entire tune, correctly, alone, without a recording or a metronome, from memory.  You cannot fail if you have it down like that.


    2.    Pitch – Point blank, if you are singing, you must NOT be pitchy.  If you are, then figure out why and fix it.  You don’t have to be a musician to know when you hear something out of tune.  Believe me, the audience knows, and no matter how much they love you, their ears and their brain are saying, ‘PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!’.  If it means you need to get yourself some vocal lessons and/or in-ear monitors, DO IT!  Backup singers as well.  Guitarists, there is NO EXCUSE to be out of tune.  Tuners are cheap cheap cheap, compared to losing all that merch sales because you were playing out of tune.  Make sure your bending is accurate, that your vibrato is controlled (and please, SLOW DOWN YOUR VIBRATO), and don’t press the strings too hard and make them go out of tune.  If your instrument won’t stay in tune, get a new one (not a used one, a new one from a bonafide music store).  Change your strings often, at least before each gig.  Yes, I know they cost money, but you will lose money just because you couldn’t spend $5 on a good set of strings.  Drummers, PLEASE TUNE YOUR DRUMS…yes, we notice when your drums are not tuned.


    3.    Image – The first thing people know about your band is your name, and perhaps a photo of your band.  These two aspects speak volumes about you before they ever hear your music, online or live.  This is branding stuff.  You are always communicating a message to your audience, live or digital.  You must use that to your advantage and form an image that helps people get interested in you and your music.  Some bands keep names when they should change them.  They are not serving the band because they are not communicating what the band intends.  Change them to speak a message, to entice people to want to listen to your music.  And, of course, there’s your image.  I’ve seen SO MANY bands hop on stage in street clothes or work clothes, not putting any effort into it.  ‘Let the music speak for itself’ is not what the pros do.  They pick their clothes carefully to form an image that says something about who they are and what sort of music they play.   Be willing to make whatever changes necessary to form a congruent image of your band, speaking your message to your current and future fans, about who you are, and what sort of music they can expect to hear from you, live and digital.


    4.    Performance – If you are just going to play tunes, then don’t gig.  Put a CD player on the stage, press play, and there you go.  Your live performance must not be a bunch of deadish, stone faced, statues on the stage.  Live performance is a VISUAL and AUDITORY experience.  Work on it!  Please!!  Not talking choreography, but move around, and INTERACT with people.  Create moments.  And don’t just play a set of songs and then walk off the stage, do something fun and interesting, something you can’t get from listening to your CD.  You should  know exactly how much time you have on stage, and you must use that stage time wisely.  You should not be trying to cram in as many songs as possible, play less songs and create more moments instead.  I’ve seen bands that ask the engineer “how much more time do we have?  Do we have time for a song or two more?”   That is not pro.  A Pro band will never do this because they’ve known for months exactly how much time they will have, and will rehearse a show, from beginning to end, for that time amount.  Everything will be planned out, including that extemporaneous jam with the guest guitarist from another band.  At this point, I will defer to the master Tom Jackson because all this is really his material.  Buy his DVDs and live them as gospel.  


    5.    Merchandise – Your merch table should NOT be a piece of cardboard written on with a price list with stuff strewn about.  It should be enticing, visually, so that people come and hang out there awhile.  Mob mentality is that if something is going on and a group begins to gather, then more will come by.  If some start buying and ask for autographs, then others will do the same.  Your merch booth is your storefront and should not just be “the place you sell stuff”, but a meeting place off stage, the place where you hang out to meet and talk to people and get photos.   Get a table cloth at the bare minimum; put some action on the table, lights, etc.  One band I saw recently had a fold out Plexiglas case with their merch in it, like a department store, with light rope around it, and a computer screen with their web page, e-mail sign up form, and a video running in a loop.  EVERYBODY was talking about how cool it looked and drew a lot of people to it.  Only problem was, there was NOBODY WORKING THE BOOTH!!!  They set up this awesome thing, and I actually had to pull the singer over as he was walking by to buy a CD from him.


    6.    Professionalism – Don’t be a ‘rock-star’, please.  Nobody has time for it.  This is your gig, you are responsible for doing all the prep work and marketing to get people to the show.  DO NOT BE ON TIME…BE EARLY.  Be respectful of everybody at the gig.  Do not break your merch booth down until the last attendee has left.  Give before you receive.  Help people out, they are all trying to make this their living too.  The more you are professional and desire first to help others achieve their goals, the more ready they will be at wanting to help you out.  Go to other bands’ shows and support them.  Help out the new guys and get them an opening slot on your bill.  More doors will open to you just by showing up and seeking to serve first before taking.  And, be personal with people in the biz.  Not everyone wants to think music all the time, they really want cool friends to work with.  Be a good friend and it will be returned to you.

    7. Recordings - This is one area that you cannot afford to compromise.  Listen, if you can produce a great recording, a recording that is broadcast quality, ready for readion, in your basement….God bless you!  But if you can’t, if it doesn’t measure up, then DO NOT REALEASE IT TO THE WORLD.  I’ve heard some awesome bands live, and gotten their CD, listening on the way home…and it SUCKED big time.  Am I going to go back to see them live….eh, thinking about it, but probably not.  Am I going to tell all my friends about this new band…eh, probably not.  Yes, getting a pro level recording is expensive, so the lure is to buy your own gear and DIY.  Well…you have to then ask yourself, ‘do I want to be an artist or a producer?’  If you can do both and be good at it, again, more power to you.  But don’t fool yourself.  One of the primary means of marketing for any band, signed or unsigned, is word-of-mouth recommendations.  That means file sharing.  You actually don’t want, you NEED to have people like you so much that they rip your CD and share all the files with their friends.  There is no better marketing than this.  If your recordings suck, they will most likely NOT pass it on to their friends, and if they do their friends will probably not like it and not forward it on to their friends.  Again, I know it’s expensive, but realize that if you want to make money, you have to spend money.  You need to invest serious cash if you expect to make serious cash.  A friend of mine, once he got a producer and bit the bullet, actually got his music on Billboards Jazz charts.  NO JOKE!  Like…the next CD, radio spins (which also cost a lot of money for a radio promoter).  No compromises, your recordings must be HOT or your fans will turn cold.

    I know some of this material might be old hat to some, but the fact that many bands fail on these points tells me that we all might need a refresher.  I pray that you sell a million CDs and go full time soon.

    Marq-Paul LaRose is an instrumental rock guitarist out of Baltimore, MD.  Currently in pre-producting on his first solo CD currently entitled “Ride of Your Life” with Nashville produer Eric Copeland.  www.marq-paul.com

  • MTT Weekly Recap: How Do We Benefit From Streaming?

    Oct 22

  • REWIND: The New Music Industry's Week In Review

    Oct 22

    HypebotFaviconYouTube launched Band Merch stores for channel partners. Topspin produced a video of how their service works in the store. Merlin cut a global YouTube deal for hundreds of top indie labels.

    MORE:

  • Sean Parker On Spotify, The New Music Business & Why Most Bands Should Never Sign With A Label

    Oct 22

    image from rww.readwriteweb.netdna-cdn.comWe usually post the latest episode of This Week In Music on Saturday morning, but since they're taking a week off, we're re-posting this great video with Sean Paker, billionaire venture capitalist, founder of Facebook and Napster and Spotify investor. Parker talks about the future of the music industry: "I'm not actually sure why you would sign with a record label".  On Spotify, Parker says its "an attempt to finish what I started at Napster".  WATCH THE VIDEO:

        Most of the music discussion happens from 9-18 minutes, then the discussion turns to what's wrong with Facebook and the glut of information.

  • Topspin: How To Make Money Selling On YouTube [VIDEO]

    Oct 21

    image from www.hypebot.comThis week  YouTube launched Merch Store, a new feature for YouTube partner channels that offers direct to fan sales of merchandise, downloads, concert tickets and more. Google confirm to us that more partners will be added later, but for now it's just four: Songkick for concerts, iTunes and Amazon for downloads and Topspin for merchandise plus direct to fan ticketing and downloads. To show off the new integration they've created a HOW-TO: Set up your YouTube Merch Store video:

     

  • WHRH 006 | Getting Your Band to the Next Level …The Reality

    Oct 22

    Work Hard. Rock Harder.In this episode, Blasko and I discuss the realities of “getting your band to the next level” and the realities of getting a manager for your band.

    Show notes:

    Subscribe to Work Hard, Rock Harder on iTunesIf you like this podcast, we’d love it if you could give us a rating on iTunes. Click here to rate!

     

  • Who Are The Most Valuable Digital Consumers? [Three Powerful Infographics]

    Oct 21

    image from www.google.comSocial, local and mobile are the buzzwords driving most conversation about online opportunities. For music, at the end of the day there is only one common denominator: the fan. Understanding who fans/consumers are and how they are influenced by social, mobile and local experiences is essential to targeted marketing. So while these three infographics by Nielsen and NM Incite look at digital consumerism beyond just music, take a few minutes to envision where your fans fit within this powerful set of data.

    Where do your fans capture information?

    What do they do with it? 

    How can should you re-target your efforts?

    click on images to enlargeimage from blog.nielsen.com
    image from blog.nielsen.com
    image from blog.nielsen.com