Latest Indie News

  • Turntable.fm Founder Says VC Bias Against Music Startups Is Changing [VIDEO]

    Dec 14

    image from www.google.comIn  a new episode of Chris Dixon’s Founder Stories, he interviews Turntable.fm’s, Billy Chasen who talks about how most of his investors backed the company's shift from Stickybits to Turntable, with the exception of one investor who wasn’t a fan of the music space.  Both Chasen and Dixon believe that attitude is finally changing and share why.

  • NEWS BRIEF: Merlin Says Rara "Arrogant", Best Buy Slides, Juke Expands, INgrooves Upgrades & More

    Dec 14

    HypebotFavicon"Absurdly arrogant and short sighted.." is how Merlin chief Charles Caldas described the launch of Rara, a music streaming service that debuted yesterday without most indie labels in 16 countries including the US and UK.   

    • A new earnings report from Best Buy showed another quarter of falling revenue and profits. The  market responded pushing the stock down 16% on Tuesday.
    • 24-7 Entertainment's Juke subscription music service has expanded from Germany to Austria.

    MORE:

    • INgrooves has launched major upgrades to the user interface, upload tools and reporting features of its ONE Digital music distribution and asset management platform.
    • Help Create A Global Manifesto for the Independent Music Industry. (A2IM)
    • Madonna signs with Interscope. (NY Post)
    • CNet's Greg Sandoval makes online music predictions for 2012.
    • RIAA Boss Tries To Defend SOPA & PIPA To The NY Times. (Techdirt)

  • This Week's iTunes Top 10 Songs & Albums

    Dec 14

    image from www.google.comFor the week ending Dec. 12, 2011

    Top 10 Songs
    1. "We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris)," Rihanna
    2. "We Are Young (Glee Cast Version)," Glee Cast
    3. "Sexy and I Know It," LMFAO
    4. "It Will Rain," Bruno Mars
    5. "Good Feeling," Flo Rida

    MORE:

    6. "The One That Got Away," Katy Perry
    7. "Nias in Paris," Kanye West, JAY Z
    8. "Red Solo Cup," Toby Keith
    9. "5 O'Clock (feat. Lily Allen & Wiz Khalifa)," T-Pain
    10. "Someone Like You," ADELE

    Top 10 Albums
    1. "El Camino," The Black Keys
    2. "Christmas," Michael Buble
    3. "Lioness: Hidden Treasures," Amy Winehouse
    4. "21," ADELE
    5. "Take Care," Drake
    6. "Undun," The Roots
    7. "Hats Off to the Bull," Chevelle
    8. "The Path of Totality," Korn
    9. "rEVOLVEr," T-Pain
    10. "Glee: The Music, Vol. 7," Glee Cast

  • Little Know D.I.Y. Artist Linda Chorney Networks Her Way To Grammy Nomination

    Dec 14

    Linda-chorney-jukeboxThough the Skrillex path to getting 5 Grammy nominations seems powered by building a huge, enthusiastic fanbase and making the underground accessible to the masses, Linda Chorney's path is quite different. This relatively unknown 52 year old singer/songwriter received a Grammy nomination in Americana with almost indiscernible record sales and mostly limited YouTube views. How did she do it? She networked on GRAMMY365.

    Linda Chorney has a modest social footprint with just over 2000 fans on Facebook and only one video on YouTube that made it past 10,000 views.

    Yet Chorney's latest DIY effort, "Emotional Jukebox," has received a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album in contention with Ry Cooder, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm and Lucinda Williams who are all quite famous. Though my money's on Levon Helm's "Ramble At The Ryman", in part because it has such a great backstory, Chorney's approach to getting a nomination is also a pretty good tale.

    Linda Chorney joined the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences via GRAMMY365 as a voting member in early 2010. She submitted her album, Emotional Jukebox, for preliminary consideration in the Americana category. Then she and her husband, Scott Fadynich, who assists with her business, contacted around 6,000 Grammy voters via GRAMMY365's networking tools. 2,000 accepted her as a contact.

    Apparently enough of them liked her music or just decided to cut her a break that she got nominated for Best Americana Album against major established stars, all with prior Grammy victories!

    Though this approach was well within the guidelines for NARAS members, it must not be widely or successfully exploited cause it certainly caught the Americana establishment by surprise:

    "Nobody in our field -- managers, booking agents, radio promoters -- knows who … this chick is."

    "I'd never heard of her before. Nobody I talked to about it had ever heard of her before. … I don't really know what's going on."

    Linda Chorney plays the part of the upstart quite well:

    "I am Occupying the Grammys -- I am the 99%...I'm the middle-class that got a friggin' shot, and I got in there. And the irony of hearing that people are upset that the little nobody who hasn't sold a thousand copies of her little album managed to get in there -- somebody's upset about that? Really? You want to just take it all, and not share the wealth? It's so unbelievable."

    With final Grammy voting coming up December 23, Chorney says she's "gonna do what I did on the first round." You go, girl!

    Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

  • Louis CK Goes Direct To Fan, Nets $200,000 In 3 Days - A Look Inside

    Dec 14

    image from www.google.comLouis CK is about as hot as a comedian can get right now. Taking a page from the direct to fan playbook that's been used by many indie musicians since Nine Inch Nails proved its potential, he decided to eliminate all middle men, record a love concert and sell it from his own web site for $5. The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. Three days laters he'd netted $200,000Here's a look inside the project:

    "This was a premium video production, shot with six cameras over two performances at the Beacon Theater, which is a high-priced elite Manhattan venue. I directed this video myself and the production of the video cost around $170,000. (This was largely paid for by the tickets bought by the audiences at both shows)...

    "The development of the website, which needed to be a very robust, reliable and carefully constructed website, was around $32,000..."

    "The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website"

    "As of Today (12/13), we've sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58)."

    ""This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video."

    "I also got an education... I learned that money can be a lot of things. It can be something that is hoarded, fought over, protected, stolen and withheld. Or it can be like an energy, fueled by the desire, will, creative interest, need to laugh, of large groups of people. And it can be shuffled and pushed around and pooled together to fuel a common interest, jokes about garbage, penises and parenthood."

    More @ LouisCK

  • Pitchfork’s Worst Album Covers Staff List

    Dec 14

    Most year-end lists honor good art, like the best albums and songs of the year. Then there are year-end lists that make light of art that went terribly awry, like Pitchfork’s annual worst album covers list. Check out our favorite two selections below, and be sure to head over to Pitchfork to see the 18 other gems included.

    -Aidan

    (Pitchfork) The Worst Album Covers of 2011

    The Chap – We Are The Best
    Indie Ambassador Pitchfork Album Covers

    I have never heard the music of Chap, but a chihuahua-human monstrosity wearing a chain-link chastity belt probably won’t convince me to start.


    Steven Tyler – (It) Feels So Good
    Indie Ambassador Pitchfork Album Covers

    Is this confirmation that American Idol has had a horrendous and irreversible impact on the Aerosmith frontman’s career? No wonder he “fell” in the bathroom.


    See the rest on Pitchfork! 

  • Booking a Gig – Why Not Do it Yourself?

    Dec 14

    Today’s post comes from UK-based artist, Andy Mort. He goes by the moniker, Atlum Schema and has written a few articles for Grassrootsy in the past, including reader favorite, “Pay What You Want? Does That Really Work?“. Today he spells (really spells out) a step by step plan on how to book a show from start to finish.  If you’re especially new to the music scene and playing out, this post is for you.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    I have read a few posts on various blogs that make this point and I am not going to say anything new.  But what I will say is that I completely know the feeling – that it is a daunting prospect and one which often feels difficult to find a starting point with.  As a concept, on the surface, it doesn’t feel like an easy thing to do, but I’m going to talk you through how I did it so that you can see it’s not so bad.  Honestly, if I can do it, then anyone can.

    I toured the UK a couple of years ago, playing shows that I had self- booked and self- promoted, with local bands chipping in with necessary support.  Two or three of these shows are up there as the best gigs I have ever played. I really want to urge you, if you feel disheartened by some of your live experiences, to get out there and book your own concerts.  It is really quite easy and makes for a great night for all involved.  Here are some suggestions based on what has worked for me.


    1. FIND AND TALK TO OTHER BANDS
    You are most probably on social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), and maybe even a follower of local blogs.  This is all you need to make contact and start meaningful relationships with bands local to where you want to perform.

    Find artists of similar style and ethic to yours and start chatting.  Don’t jump straight in with talk of doing a gig.  Just spend time getting to know them and test the water to see if they might be the sort of people you’d like to work with.  When you are ready, float the idea of setting up a show with no real firm details pinned down.

    Gauge the response.  If they seem really keen then they probably are.  If they respond half-heartedly (ex: ‘yeah OK’) sort of attitude then in all likeliness they are probably not going to be that enthusiastic about promoting the show, and you need everyone to pitch in to make it work.  Even if they seem to have a large local following that is no substitute for them genuinely buying into the vision for the night that you are proposing. For more on this, check out: SO WHAT DID I DO WRONG?


    2. RESEARCH SUITABLE VENUES AND BOOK ONE.
    You have an idea of whom you want to play with; mow you need to find a venue.  In your communications with the other artists it is worth exploring the following:   Have they played anywhere great?  Do they know if you can hire it out?  How much for? Etc.  If you are a solo artist or are planning on putting on a fairly low key show then think about doing the sound yourself.  If you ask around you should be able to cobble together a decent PA system, or failing that, hire one for a small fee.

    I never paid more than £50 for the hire of a room on my tour either, and carted a decent PA with me so that there was no extra cost. Often you can find pubs and clubs with rooms that they will give you for free since you would bring business to an otherwise vacant space. You can also be creative.  Don’t just think in terms of traditional venues – why not ask a café, or a shop etc whether they’d be interesting in hosting something.  Be consistent with your ‘brand’.  See COFFEESHOP OR CLUB? PROS AND CONS OF ‘NIGHTLIFE’ BOOKING


    3. FINALIZE THE DATE AND OTHER ACTS
    You have been in touch with the venue; they are on board, now book a date.  Once you’ve done this, tell the bands and get them to confirm. Make sure that they are totally on board and be clear that if there is a chance they will pull out then they should do so at this point.  You generally don’t want more than 3 acts on the bill (including yourself), although if it is more low-key, with easy switch-overs (ie. acoustic singer-songwriters) then you can probably stretch to 4.  But this will inevitably make the night more stressful and the importance of sticking to timing Is paramount.


    4. PUBLICISE IT AND WORK OUT YOUR TICKETING PROCEDURE
    How are you going to sell tickets?  I like to give the other bands a few tickets to try and sell in advance because it means the audience is encouraged to commit to the night.  If they have bought a ticket already they are less likely to turn around and say they are too tired or busy to come on the actual day.  Make tickets available at the door as well.

    In my experience, giving the band a share of the tickets they sell is also a good incentive.  For example, I have said in the past, tickets are £4 or £5 if you want to make an extra £1 for yourself.  You can also do this with fans who are willing to help out, and this has proved successful too. Offer people a free ticket if they sell 5, as well as any extra they make on top of the £4.  Most people have a few friends they can drag along, especially with that added incentive. But do what feels right for you.

    Print posters and send them to the venue.  Put them up in other appropriate places, and it goes without saying that you should do all the usual online promotion.  If you hand out flyers at gigs, print a few for any local shows between now and the date of the gig.

    Another good , little promotional tool is the CD.  Produce a hundred CDs with a sample track from each of the bands. Print the details of the show on them and get the venue/any local record stores/music shops etc to put them on the counter for customers to take for free.  This sparks interest both in the gig itself and in the bands more generally as, even if they don’t come to the show, the listener will be exposed to your music and names.  This has worked well in my experience.


    5. MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS DONE, TURN UP, AND PLAY A GREAT SHOW
    Make sure all the last details are covered.  Who will sit at the door? Make sure the PA is sorted. Organise kit-share, sound-check times and any other final arrangements.  Try not to do everything yourself; delegate to a team.  People like to feel important and each person will do their own small job much better than you can if you are trying to get a million other things done as well.

    On the night of the show, try to have as little to do as possible so that you can concentrate on playing a great show and keeping everyone happy. Work to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.


    6. AND BREATHE. EVALUATE.

    Congratulate everyone involved, including yourself.  Thank the other bands and those who showed up.  Keep in touch with them and see if it is something you should do again.  Well done.

    If you have a similar experience or other advice that has worked well then post it here.  Offer any questions and we will try our best to answer them.

    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Andy Mort is a UK-based indie-pop artist who goes by the moniker Atlum Schema. You can read his previous posts by clicking hereYou can find him at www.atlumschema.com or through his twitter handle @atlumschema.

     

     

  • 3 Signs Your Band Is Getting Scammed

    Dec 14

    IndexA “Nigerian prince” emails you to get some personal information from you including your bank account information....this is a pretty well-known Internet scam. Scams happen all the time and Matt Voyno writes about 3 signs that your band may be getting scammed.

    “If the company really believes in your music they wouldn’t ask for this because they know that they’ll be making money from your music.”

    Read on at Music Think Tank and be sure to watch out for anything that sounds fishy.

  • How Musicians Use Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Dec 14

    image from www.google.comBandPage creators RootMusic tracked the Top 250 Musicians on Facebook, looking for best practices and strategies that make them successful on the platform. "The important points to takeaway from this is that there is a huge active audience of music fans on Facebook," concludes RootMusic, "and a large part of your success comes down to how to properly engage those fans. How Musicians Use Facebook:

    image from rootmusic.files.wordpress.comclick on image to enlarge

    Read the full study here. Stay tuned for an analysis of the data by Hisham Dahud.

  • Booking a Gig – Why Not Do it Yourself

    Dec 14

    Today’s post comes from UK-based artist, Andy Mort. He goes by the moniker, Atlum Schema. and has written a few articles for Grassrootsy in the past, including reader favorite, “Pay What You Want? Does That Really Work?“. Today he spells (really spells out) a step by step plan on how to book a show from start to finish.  If you’re especially new to the music scene and playing out, this post is for you.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    I have read a few posts on various blogs that make this point and I am not going to say anything new.  But what I will say is that I completely know the feeling – that it is a daunting prospect and one which often feels difficult to find a starting point with.  As a concept, on the surface, it doesn’t feel like an easy thing to do, but I’m going to talk you through how I did it so that you can see it’s not so bad.  Honestly, if I can do it, then anyone can.
    I toured the UK a couple of years ago, playing shows that I had self- booked and self- promoted, with local bands chipping in with necessary support.  Two or three of these shows are up there as the best gigs I have ever played. I really want to urge you, if you feel disheartened by some of your live experiences, to get out there and book your own concerts.  It is really quite easy and makes for a great night for all involved.  Here are some suggestions based on what has worked for me.
    1. FIND AND TALK TO OTHER BANDS
    You are most probably on social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), and maybe even a follower of local blogs.  This is all you need to make contact and start meaningful relationships with bands local to where you want to perform.
    Find artists of similar style and ethic to yours and start chatting.  Don’t jump straight in with talk of doing a gig.  Just spend time getting to know them and test the water to see if they might be the sort of people you’d like to work with.  When you are ready, float the idea of setting up a show with no real firm details pinned down.
    Gauge the response.  If they seem really keen then they probably are.  If they respond half-heartedly (ex: ‘yeah OK’) sort of attitude then in all likeliness they are probably not going to be that enthusiastic about promoting the show, and you need everyone to pitch in to make it work.  Even if they seem to have a large local following that is no substitute for them genuinely buying into the vision for the night that you are proposing. For more on this, check out: “SO WHAT DID I DO WRONG?”
    2. RESEARCH SUITABLE VENUES AND BOOK ONE. 
    You have an idea of whom you want to play with; mow you need to find a venue.  In your communications with the other artists it is worth exploring the following:   Have they played anywhere great?  Do they know if you can hire it out?  How much for? Etc.  If you are a solo artist or are planning on putting on a fairly low key show then think about doing the sound yourself.  If you ask around you should be able to cobble together a decent PA system, or failing that, hire one for a small fee.
    I never paid more than £50 for the hire of a room on my tour either, and carted a decent PA with me so that there was no extra cost. Often you can find pubs and clubs with rooms that they will give you for free since you would bring business to an otherwise vacant space. You can also be creative.  Don’t just think in terms of traditional venues – why not ask a café, or a shop etc whether they’d be interesting in hosting something.  Be consistent with your ‘brand’.  See “OFFEESHOP OR CLUB? PROS AND CONS OF “NIGHTLIFE” BOOKING
    3. FINALIZE THE DATE AND OTHER ACTS
    You have been in touch with the venue; they are on board, now book a date.  Once you’ve done this, tell the bands and get them to confirm. Make sure that they are totally on board and be clear that if there is a chance they will pull out then they should do so at this point.  You generally don’t want more than 3 acts on the bill (including yourself), although if it is more low-key, with easy switch-overs (ie. acoustic singer-songwriters) then you can probably stretch to 4.  But this will inevitably make the night more stressful and the importance of sticking to timing Is paramount.
    4. PUBLICISE IT AND WORK OUT YOUR TICKETING PROCEDURE 
    How are you going to sell tickets?  I like to give the other bands a few tickets to try and sell in advance because it means the audience is encouraged to commit to the night.  If they have bought a ticket already they are less likely to turn around and say they are too tired or busy to come on the actual day.  Make tickets available at the door as well.
    In my experience, giving the band a share of the tickets they sell is also a good incentive.  For example, I have said in the past, tickets are £4 or £5 if you want to make an extra £1 for yourself.  You can also do this with fans who are willing to help out, and this has proved successful too. Offer people a free ticket if they sell 5, as well as any extra they make on top of the £4.  Most people have a few friends they can drag along, especially with that added incentive. But do what feels right for you.
    Print posters and send them to the venue.  Put them up in other appropriate places, and it goes without saying that you should do all the usual online promotion.  If you hand out flyers at gigs, print a few for any local shows between now and the date of the gig.
    Another good little promotional tool is the CD.  Produce a hundred CDs with a sample track from each of the bands. Print the details of the show on them and get the venue/any local record stores/music shops etc to put them on the counter for customers to take for free.  This sparks interest both in the gig itself and in the bands more generally as, even if they don’t come to the show, the listener will be exposed to your music and names.  This has worked well in my experience.
    5. MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS DONE, TURN UP, AND PLAY A GREAT SHOW
    Make sure all the last details are covered.  Who will sit at the door? Make sure the PA is sorted. Organise kit-share, sound-check times and any other final arrangements.  Try not to do everything yourself;  delegate to a team.  People like to feel important and each person will do their own small job much better than you can if you are trying to get a million other things done as well.
    On the night of the show, try to have as little to do as possible so that you can concentrate on playing a great show and keeping everyone happy. Work to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.
    6. AND BREATHE. EVALUATE.
    Congratulate everyone involved, including yourself.  Thank the other bands and those who showed up.  Keep in touch with them and see if it is something you should do again.  Well done.
    If you have a similar experience or other advice that has worked well then post it here.  Offer any questions and we will try our best to answer them.
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Andy Mort is a UK-based indie-pop artist who goes by the moniker Atlum Schema. You can read his previous posts by clicking hereYou can find him at www.atlumschema.com or through his twitter handle @atlumschema.