ManageMental Episode 93: Is Your Album Release Ready?

Hypebot article "Checklist To Decide If Your Album Is Release Ready" by Angela Mastrogiacomo of Muddy Paw PR & The Symphonic Blog.

So you’ve just recorded an incredible new EP or album and you’re dying to get it out into the world. After all, this is your latest masterpiece—your best work to date—and your fans are going to love it! Plus, you’ve been promising them something new for a while and it’s time to deliver on that promise.

Before you go releasing an album on a whim, make sure you are release ready so you get the maximum impact and exposure for the album. Ask yourself, do you have the following?

1. Enough Time
2. A Gameplan
3. Hi-Res Press Photos
4. A Professionally Written Bio
5. Active Social Media
6. Grit

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ManageMental Episode 92: How To Crush Your Next Release

In this week's episode, Blasko & Mike discuss the Hypebot article "3 Reasons Your Last Music Release Failed" by Suz Paulinski of The Rock/Star Advocate & Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR.

Reason # 1 You Took Your Time Writing & Recording But Then You Felt a Sense of URGENCY to Release (So You Did Without Really Preparing!)

Reason # 2 You Hired A Music Publicist or A Radio Promoter and They Didn’t Get The Results You Expected

Reason # 3 You Put Off Learning How to Release Your Music Properly Because You Thought that “Great Music Will Always Find it’s Way and “The Cream Always Rises To The Top”

ManageMental Episode 91: Likeness Rights, Trademarks & Partnerships

This week Mike is joined by special guest Ryan J. Downey. Ryan is the founder of Superhero Artist Management, representing Demon Hunter, Killer Be Killed, Throwdown, and Zeuss (whose producer credits include Rob Zombie, Queensrÿche, Hatebreed). He is a longtime journalist who has contributed to MTV News, Billboard, the Hollywood Reporter, and other outlets. Downey hosts Speak N’ Destroy, a podcast about all things Metallica, and No-Prize from God, which features conversations with creative people about belief, unbelief, and everything between.

You can find Ryan on Twitter @ryandowney and Instagram @superherohq.

Original article "ACE FREHLEY Would Only Participate In KISS's Final Tour If He Could 'Take Back' His 'Make-Up, Costume And Character'" on Blabbermouth.net.

"Don’t give up your face! Ace Frehley has said he will only return to KISS if he is able to take back his makeup, costume, and character. How does someone end up without the rights to their own likeness? We dive in to the complicated histories of some legendary hard rock and punk acts to stress the importance of protecting your beautiful mug.”

ManageMental Episode 90: 5 Steps to Success for New Artists

Hypebot article "5 Key Priorities for New Artists" from The TuneCore Blog.

1. YOU HAVE TO BUILD A TEAM

If you have decided to pursue a career as an artist, you must know that you cannot do it alone. Having a strong team with experience and connections can be the key to furthering your career. These people will represent you and guide you through the tumultuous early days as an artist, as well as through the many challenges you will face on the road to success and beyond. This team can include, (but is not limited to), a personal manager, business manager, booking agent, attorney, publicist, publisher, tour manager, and producer.

As your career continues to grow, the more of these positions will need to be filled. For many, the most effective starting point for building a team is with a personal manager. A personal manager can be integral to an artist’s career. The key is to find a manager who also has time and energy to dedicate to your career. (A seasoned manager will know the ins and outs of the industry and will help you navigate different obstacles.)

While beginning with a personal manager is beneficial, it is by no means the only route to building your team. You can start by filling any of the positions mentioned. For example, a live show is integral to building an audience for a lot of artists, so it may be that a good booking agent could be first on the list.

2. CRAFT

As an artist, you have to practice your musical craft like a professional athlete practices their sport. Even the best practice; only the best practice the small stuff. There are two main categories of your craft: musical/technical ability and live performance.

An important part of artistry is creating a distinguished sound. When practicing, you should find a common theme in your songs and develop a unique style. Practice is the most important part of developing your musical and writing abilities.

Additionally, taking lessons, playing with other artists, learning music theory, and listening to music enhances your craft. Extend your musical palette to find new material that will influence you and inspire you as you make your own music. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. There is no shame in taking lessons because a teacher can drastically speed up your progress. Practice takes time and dedication; the benefits will not arrive overnight, but they will come.

The second aspect of craft is live performance. Performing live is a requirement in entertainment, so having the tightest band on stage will give you an edge. Your set should be built around your audience. From song choice to stories between songs, every decision should have a purpose. You need to develop the presence you create on stage and the image you project to the audience. You should be genuine, but remember that you are putting on a show. There is no better way to develop your live set than to start playing shows. More on that next!

3. BUILDING A GREAT LIVE SHOW

When it comes to establishing a position within the industry as a new artist, putting together a great live show is crucial. Live shows contribute to an artist’s income, and also give them the opportunity to potentially develop their fanbase early on.

In putting on a great live show, it is important for new artists to be on time. When starting out, it is essential that the artist establishes a good reputation among promoters, venue owners, and potential fans. If an artist is constantly running late, people will be less likely to be willing to work with them in the future.

An artist’s genre will influence the direction of the live show. With pop artists, the audience will typically expect more production, such as lights and dancers, to accompany the singer. On the other hand, a singer/songwriter is typically judged purely on their instrumental and vocal talent, with little or no bells and whistles in the production department.

No matter the genre, live shows cannot happen without fans. To heighten an artist’s performance, they should focus on stage presence and fan interaction. It is important to keep fans interested and engaged so that they will come back to the show next time you’re in town.

4. MEDIA

Record labels are not signing artists anymore – they are signing audiences. The first step a new artist can take to attract record labels is to build and establish a digital presence.

A firmly established social media presence, as an example, can strengthen an artist’s credibility and help accumulate a fan base across channels. Social media platforms have become a crucial part of an artist’s marketability to potential labels. A strong fan base lessens the risk of investment, because a label will have to put in as much time and money into an artist to get them to the next level in their career.

Having a social media presence comes with more benefits than just a potential record deal. An artist can also attract the attention of potential managers or booking agents for gigs. Social media channels also function as safes zones for unsigned artists to soft release new singles, tracks, videos, etc. This allows the artist to interact with and receive constructive criticism from fans without the cost of publishing new materials through formal retail outlets. Fans want to have access to their favorite artist as much as possible, and they want to feel like they know them in real life. Social media is a powerful tool to facilitate a fan/artist relationship that can grow an artist’s audience and further their career.

5. BRANDING

The fifth priority for a new artist is branding. Once you have put time and effort into your craft, building your team, establishing a digital presence, and getting comfortable on stage, your personal brand should fall right into place. Your brand is what separates you from every other artist in your genre.

For example, take up-and-coming artist Lainey Wilson (ed. note: also a TuneCore Artist!). She has a thick country accent and sings about whiskey; however, she dresses like a hippie with flare jeans, retro glasses, and printed shirts. She sounds like any other country singer, but her appearance helps to set her apart from other country artists.

When creating your brand, it is important to balance staying true to yourself with representing a personal style/image that correlates with the genre of music you play. There is a range of style and image norms within the different genres. Sometimes, breaking or bending those norms can be a good thing in order to stand out, but stark violations of them runs the risk of alienating a large portion of the intended audience.

Branding is one of the most compelling parts of the music industry because it can be changed and manipulated in different ways. In order for a brand to further an artist’s career, it has to be distinct. Although it may seem simple, it can take years of hard work and patience to change people’s perceptions. Branding is about the little details that build up over time to create something marketable and unique. Many opportunities for corporate sponsorships are available to an artist with a distinct brand and a positive public image. 

ManageMental Episode 89: 5 Hot Digital Marketing Tips

Original Article: "Five trends for digital music marketing in 2018" by Music Ally.

There are three pillars for music marketing in 2018: what you do with social media; what you do with digital service providers (DSPs, principally streaming services); and what you do with your own platforms – mailing lists, most obviously, and direct-to-fan sales be it on your own site or something like Bandcamp.

But what are the trends around those three pillars? That’s something we think about a lot at Music Ally, particularly for our fortnightly Sandbox music-marketing reports, and that has influenced the programming for our upcoming Sandbox Summit conference in London. Here are five trends we’d pick out:

1. Shifting responsibilities between managers and labels.
2. YouTube throwing its weight behind artist marketing.
3. Labels are bringing advertising in-house.
4. Augmented Reality offers playful potential for artists.
5. Flexibility is everything in the modern music-marketing campaign.

ManageMental Episode 88: Blasko and Mike Answer Your Questions

This week we answer some questions from you, our loyal listeners. This is gonna be killer, so let’s get mental!

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It might benefit from an episode going over who the players are in a local show (the promoter, the venue, etc.) what they do, and what the best practices are.

Keep it Mental,
Robbie

——

I’m writing you because I heard the part about physical promotion in your recent Manage Mental podcast episode, and how you guys asked for feedback from a younger crowd on their opinions. I’m only 21 so I’ve only dealt in the age of digital promotion, however I see some serious benefits with physical promotion. These benefits aren’t necessarily for growing a larger fan base, but rather a stronger fan base. When it comes to getting the word out, digital seems to be the only way people really hear about things, but I think physical components are a key way to make fans feel more involved than they can on a digital platform, even with simple things like printing a handful of posters for a gig and giving them out for $1 or free at the show. One thing I’ve consistently seen with show flyers like that is that when they are available, they go fast and everyone who gets one tends to remember the gig better and feel more like they were a part of it personally. You guys also mentioned handwritten notes to go along with merch orders, I think that is a super easy and free thing to do to create a much more personal relationship between you and your fans. Those fans will be special and will be repeat customers at your shows and online stores, and help you out with gas money to get on tour to expand that fan base. If you do this consistently everyone will remember your band as a genuine group of guys and talk about you more. That’s just my thoughts based on my limited experience. 

Cheers,
Jamie

——

With regard to physical promotion tactics, I co-created a physical flyer concept with a team about a year and a half ago and it has yielded killer results for us. What we do is come up with a theme and title for a show and then organize a photo shoot just for the flyer. Thus far we have integrated band members into the shoots as well as models. We have utilized local cos players to collaborate which has expanded our reach into their scene as well. 

I have a route of coffee houses, tattoo shops, clothing boutiques, vape shops, etc. that all display physical flyers for us. We, of course do boosted posts digitally and share from everyone's socials. I try to get some behind the scenes footage of every photo shoot and then blog about it as well as post on my personal and business pages. 

Thanks again, you guys rock!
Julia

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Something that I know I would find very helpful as I’m sure other listeners would as well would be if you and Mike could dive into some of the tools available online to maximize the impact of social media marketing. I’ve been studying metrics on the website Next Big Sound and I was wondering if there any other resources similar to, or better than this that you guys can recommend so that bands such as my own are working smarter and not harder. 

All the best,
Scott Kelly

ManageMental Episode 87: How To Get Discovered in the Digital Age

Original Article: "5 Ways to Help Your Music Get Discovered in the New Digital Age" by Jeremy Young on Soundfly's Flypaper Blog.

Spotify’s algorithmic innovation still may not be very good at that quirky randomness and personal subjectivity of peer-to-peer music discovery but what it definitely does have is the ability to help listeners “discover en masse.” And if you’re an artist, you’ve got a better shot at reaching ripe global audiences now than ever before. So here’s some advice about what you can do as an artist to up your discoverability.

1) The community aspect is still important for listeners.

When you release new music, try to make sure all the relevant information gets sent to Discogs and AllMusic. But also, use your various communication channels (social media, email newsletters, your website, press releases) to actively promote those connections and build links between these projects wherever possible.

2) Platforms dictate differing listener behaviors. Use this to your advantage.

Normally, your music appears on almost all of these platforms anyway, so this only really applies to when you upload certain music to certain platforms, as a marketing and promoting strategy

Consider uploading to Bandcamp before Spotify and Apple Music, because it incentivizes people to buy.

On SoundCloud, tracks are very much isolated from album releases — they’re regarded as singles, or B-sides, or works-in-progress. Use this to build a relationship with your audience, and incentivize following you, so as to get these exclusives before anyone else.

Spotify is great for building a wide audience, showcasing public-facing play statistics, and leveraging the similarities of your sound to artists much bigger than you so you can chase opportunities.

3) It pays to hustle.

Why wouldn’t you send your newest release out to everyone on your press list?!

You really never know, it could be the right moment, right place, right music, and all it takes is one journalist to explode your band. It pays to send your music out to everyone that might write about it.

4) Never stop playing shows.

One of the best ways to reach new audiences is, still today, to get up in front of an audience and show them your best stuff. Pitch yourself as support for bigger bands touring through your city, or put together a bill of artists that you’re excited about. You might not get every opportunity you propose to venues or promoters, but just keep at it. Play live as much as you can and people will start discovering you organically.

5) Tag tag taggity tag everything.

Every tag, every blog post header, image caption, and very piece of oft-repeated text you generate on the internet, contributes to the building of an increasingly accurate picture of your musical project.

ManageMental Episode 86: How To Avoid These 10 Common Mistakes

Article: "10 Music Mistakes The Turn Fans Off" by Cari Cole: https://www.caricole.com/10-music-mistakes-turn-fans-off/

This list is not for everyone. It’s for you if you are ready to pull out all the stops and get serious about your career. It’s for you if you like to hear what no one else has the guts to tell you. This advice, which is my professional opinion comprised after 30 years of coaching thousands of independent artists, celebrities and Grammy-winning artists from my voice studio in New York City, is for the express purpose of helping you become a great artist (musician + songwriter) so you can get ahead and make a dent out there. It’s not for the faint of heart. Keep in mind that this is a list to work on accomplishing –  it’s not important to have all of this aced ~ consider it 10 lessons to work on.

1. You post your demos publicly.
 
2. You only have one or two or three songs up.
 
3. You think that marketing is what makes people convert into fans.
 
4. You did your vocals in one day.
 
5. Your record is better than your show.
 
6. You wrote your bio yourself.
 
 7. You’ve got tons of views on Youtube but few comments and even worse, numbers on social media that don’t warrant those views.
 
8. You don’t have a website – only Reverbnation.
 
9. Your website is a FIREHOSE.
 
10. Too much text, not enough images. 

ManageMental Episode 85: How Much Does It Cost To Tour In 2018?

This week while Blasko is out, Mike is joined by Nick "Biggie" Grimaldi of Good Fight Management. Check out Biggie's roster here.

Follow Biggie on Twitter/Instagram: @biggiexxx.

Mike and Biggie discuss the Hypebot article "How Much Does It Cost To Tour In 2018?" by Royalty Exchange.

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Touring is where the money is at in today’s music business.

But it’s also where most of the expenses lie as well.

Creating a realistic tour budget can help your time on the road be successful, but it’s far from a guarantee that you’ll end up turning a profit. The band Pomplamoose famously lost almost $12,000 on the month-long tour they wrote about in 2014
 
From transportation, to gear, to routing, to accommodations, to paying third parties… having a good idea how much touring costs is essential for musicians who hope to make their time out on the road worth their while.

Don’t let your tour turn into a money pit. Smart budgeting, and planning expenses ahead of time, can make the difference between a meaningful payday or a career-ending debacle. 

ManageMental Episode 84: How To Get An Internship In The Music Business Without A Single Contact

This week while Blasko is out, Mike is joined by Emily White, author and host of the Interning 101 book and podcast.

Mike: “I’ve been enamored with Emily White since we met as panelists at The Yellow Phone Music Conference in 2014. She has continued to inspire me with her passion and consistent record of achievement. As a CEO of a boutique music company, we mentor and work with interns every day and have always wanted to provide them with a valuable learning experience. That has been made all the better once we began following the advice of Emily White’s Interning 101 book. Emily’s charismatic personality combined with her extensive industry knowledge makes her a natural to be a podcast host.”

The Interning 101 Podcast takes listeners through the journey of how to successfully navigate and succeed in one’s field of choice. Episodes include interviews with Warped Tour Founder and USC Professor Kevin Lyman, Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls, Scarlet Sails, Violent Femmes, NIN), as well as Emily’s current business partners who began as interns a decade ago. The show also interviews current interns to experience the reality of the interning landscape in 2018 as well as Downtown Music Publishing Head of People Lisa Hauptman, Composer Matthew Wang (Netflix, Hans Zimmer Productions), and USA Swimming’s Jake Grosser.

The Jabberjaw team is also producing Interning 101 “mini-episodes” in which White will delve into specific topics from Interning 101 the book to educate the audience on modern business best practices, and more, in detail. Adds White, “It’s important that we keep the interview episodes focused on our awesome guests. But I want to ensure that the audience is getting educated on the crucial tenets of the Interning 101 book and for those that want to dive deeper, these episodes are perfect to learn how to succeed in modern business and beyond.

Mike and Emily discuss the article "How To Get An Internship In The Music Business Without A Single Contact" by Ariel Hyatt of CyberPR. Follow her on Twitter @cyberpr.

ManageMental Episode 83: Is The Album Dead?

Hypebot article "Proof the Album is Almost Dead" by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

Listener Joe writes: "I know you guys have touched upon releasing music in 2018, specifically the relevance of the album versus EPs or even singles. I wondered if you guys could dig into this a bit more. As an independent metal artist who is getting ready to release new music in 2019, we've had several discussions in our camp about the appropriate way to do this, which has clearly changed since our last release. The metal and hard rock audience does seem to hold dear its albums and it doesn't seem to me that this will ever completely go away. However, considering how most people are consuming music now, it almost seems like a waste to release an album in which several songs will immediately get lost in space upon release. Currently, we're thinking of releasing an EP, in which we first release each song individually every few weeks before the official release. We know that having CDs, vinyl, and a full EP/album digital release still holds value for part of our demographic and we feel we need to have this available. I'd be interested to hear your take on what you would recommend for a smaller metal artist and on where you think this is headed in the next 5 years or so. 

Thank you so much! Your show holds immense value for me, my band, and other developing artists! I spread the word of your show to other buddy developing artists whenever I get the chance.

Thank you, thank you
Joe"

Now if you think that anyone in the recorded music industry is lamenting this fact, you’re wrong. The business is in what many consider to be a boom period with double digit growth, and it’s all coming from streaming. In case you haven’t noticed, streaming is all about the song and not the album.

Will the album go away as a result? No, it’s still a way to compile a set of songs together that can be useful to the artist and label, plus there are some people that still buy CDs or vinyl. But you’re going to see less emphasis on it in the future, with songs being released as they’re finished instead of waiting for the whole lot to be completed for the album.

And this is actually healthy for the industry. Get the songs out fast, give each one maximum exposure instead of being diluted in an album package, and promote them on their merits, just like back in the 50s.

ManageMental Episode 82: Do You Need a Booking Agent?

This week we talk about booking agents. This is gonna be killer, so let’s get mental!

Listener Nick writes:

"What’s up Blasko,

Big fan of the podcast and what you do. My band is currently in a situation that I haven’t heard you and Mike talk about yet.

I’m in a band that has been signed for about 4 years. We’ve put out an EP and a full length, done several national tours with bigger acts, as well as many smaller tours across the states.

Recently, we had to fire our booking agent because, for lack of a better term...he completely ghosted us. No letter of resignation, no emails, nothing. He just stopped answering our manager’s calls and emails one day. We’ve tried to think of any reason why he could have left, but in all honesty we are totally confused.

SO, given that we aren’t the type to wait around for things to happen, we got back on the DIY booking grind. In return, we’ve been able to book ourselves at better venues and get better deals for the band than when we had an agent - leaving me to ponder why we should even look for another agent in the first place.

My questions are as follows:

1.) What are the pros of even having a booking agent in an age where young bands can get it all done themselves?

2.) if it is decided that we should seek out a new agent, what are some things we should look for? Connects? Passion for the band? 

3.) How can we know that our agent is pulling their weight and kicking ass for the band?

Thanks. Keep it mental.
-Nick"

ManageMental Episode 81: How to Get Featured on Music Blogs

Hypebot article "How To Get a Blog Premiere For Your Next Release" by Jeanette Kats of Symphonic Distribution's Symphonic Blog.

Press coverage is pretty important in the digital age, and it’s all about connections. But where do you start? Sure, you can send out cold e-mails to writers and editors who may never open them, but there are a few tips and tricks to help you get noticed in a sea of demos.

1. Create a spreadsheet and organize your options

There is an endless number of blogs out there on the web, but it will be a waste of time to reach out to sites that don’t cover your style of music. Do some research and find blogs that fit your sound. From there, find the contact emails for writers and editors, recent articles to mention and submission requirements. You can even team up with other artists in your field to tag-team a database.

2. Get all of your release information together

You’ll want to put together a list of what editors and writers will want to know. Make sure to include the release date, a hi-res version of the artwork, a press release or release bio, an artist bio and a link to the song. Many blogs prefer not to download music, so make sure to use a streaming link, such as DropBox or SoundCloud. From here, you can adjust your emails to fit each blog.

3. Make sure your socials are on point

If a blog writer heads to your SoundCloud or website and it’s a hot mess, then chances are they’ll be turned off by your emal. Make sure your socials are looking great and are easy to locate. Include your social media platforms in the email or in your signature.

4. Reach out and make it personal

Once you have all of your contacts organized and your information in order, start reaching out. Make sure to reach out as early as possible (2 weeks pre-release is usually a good time-frame), and keep it personal. Mention some similar artists they’ve featured, a well-written article that you enjoyed, or any mutual connections you may have. From there, include all relevant information for your track and send away!

5. Don’t be afraid to follow-up

Blogs get hundreds (or thousands) of emails a day. It’s standard for them to skip over some of them. Don’t be afraid to follow up! Many times, it takes a couple emails for someone to actually notice you. If they don’t respond after the second time, there’s a good chance they might not be interested.