Like Peas In A Podcast

If TiVo and radio had a baby, and if the iPod was the surrogate mother, the baby would probably look something like a podcast.

Podcasts, a combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcast”, are the next form of broadcast media.  They consist of audio, video, or text files, and are released in episodes, sometimes in weekly segments.  Podcasts can be downloaded and are typically listened to on portable media players, like the iPod.

I only recently began getting into podcasting, but now that I have, and try and stay on the look-out for anything that might catch my interest (although unrelated to music and therefore this blog, I’d recommend Comedy Bang Bang!).

Many podcasts I find are aimed at music and musicians, and  some will actually bring artists on the show to talk about themselves, their music, or just life in general.  Others will discuss music and analyze songs A short list of such podcasts include:

  • The Home Recording Show – a great podcast for aspiring musicians; includes all you need to know about home recording
  • Shortwave – weekly interviews with musicians on their music, including live acoustic performances
  • DIY Musician Podcast – a podcast meant to educate musicians on the changing world of music in the digital technology age; also includes some interview sessions with people in the music industry
  • Open Source Musician Podcast – a how-to guide for musicians on using open source software for furthering your career

Podcasting is an excellent fit for music and musicians (like two peas in a podcast, ha-ha).  Podcasts have the intimacy of radio with the video capabilities of TV, all downloadable at your own convenience.  So when artists are discussing their music and playing their songs, its like a front-row seat to your own personal private concert.  Almost like they’re whispering right in your ear.

Not quite like the dude in the Drowning Pool video, but you get the idea.

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Selling Music Online: TuneCore Gets You In

Ten to twenty years ago, in the days of yore, music used to be sold on round, shiny circles called CDs.  Before that, they were sold on records, and before that, if you wanted to buy music to play at your leisure, you had to buy the orchestra that played it.

That’s not quite going to fit on my shelf where my boombox was.

Nowadays, the music medium is, of course, digital.  Music is sold and bought online; the physical manifestation of music has moved from CDs to iPods and other mp3 players.  Thus, some of the biggest players in music sales are online music stores such as the stores featured on sites/programs like iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Rhapsody, iHeart Radio, and others, and getting your music on them is crucial.

And this is where we introduce a company called TuneCore.

TuneCore is a site that helps you put your music into online music stores like the ones listed above.  They are, essentially, the alternative to having to sign an actual record deal just to sell your music online.  And the beauty of TuneCore?  You get to keep your royalties.

Artists that use TuneCore to sell their music keep 100% of the royalties they make and only have to pay a one-time fee to sell through TuneCore.  I have never used the TuneCore, and am thus not completely familiar with their pricing, but from what I gather, there seems to be a single price to join and then a one-time fee of 99 cents per song per store you’d like to sell in.  People seem to really like the site, saying that its a good deal, but like I said, I’m not definite about how the prices work since I haven’t used it myself.

Regardless, using TuneCore also lets you circumvent the usual process of getting music online which involves building your account and finding the royalties that you should be earning.

While TuneCore is not the only site that offers these sorts of services, it is a popular one, so there’s something to be said about that.  Getting your music into online music stores is necessary to be a serious musician, and TuneCore is a program definitely worth looking into.

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Music Goes Hollywood

Ever wondered how musicians make money?

Believe it or not, famous musicians are often rich musicians.  They write and play their music, but that’s not what makes them their millions.  So how do these musicians get all of their moolah?

“Rolling in the Deep” should have been “Rolling in the Cash” for what Adele is worth now.

One excellent method comes in the form of three words. Actually, four, I guess.

Movie and TV licensing.

Every movie and TV needs music.  They need lots of different songs from all different genres to set the mood for each and every little scene.  On average, a typical movie will feature anywhere from 10 to 15 songs, sometimes less, sometimes much more.  And every TV show needs a theme song, plus usually an additional song per episode.  So there’s definitely an available market.

Movies and TV have been trying to become more trendy, and this means using catchy music as background music or even in the plot.  The first rock and roll song to be used in a movie soundtrack was Rock Around the Clock in the 1955 movie, “Blackboard Jungle”, and since then, producers haven’t looked back.

How much can artists make? Rolling Stone Magazine’s website estimates somewhere in the $250,000-$600,000 range.  That’s a nice wad of cash in your pocket if you can get your music sold.

TV and movie licensing is especially good for small-time independent bands who are trying to get known.  According to Mile King on his blog, its a fantastic time for independent artists to break out on the music scene, because  TV and movie producers are constantly looking for new indie music right now.  This is because 1) its often cheaper to license and 2) producers like to be trendsetters and want to be known as band breakers.  In fact, King quotes Alicen Schneider saying that 75% of the music NBC uses currently is independent music.

Movies and TV licensing is just another way musicians have inserted themselves and their music into other media.  Its an excellent opportunity for artists; if, that is, you can get a producer to listen to it.

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Lady Zuckerberg? Mark Gaga?

In the past five or so years, Lady Gaga has blown up faster than a balloon on steroids.  In such a short time, she’s put out countless award winning singles (actually, maybe not countless; I believe there were 13), been featured in TV shows and movies, and become a role model for millions of fans world-wide.

Parents, this is who your child aspires to be like.

Parents, this is your child’s role model.

But Lady Gaga has transcended the traditional roles of a pop star.  As previously stated, she has become more of a role model than a celebrity, remaining active in multiple causes, including her Born This Way Foundation for youth empowerment and her continued support of the LGBT community.  But other than a role model, she has stepped in the world of social media with her site, LittleMonsters, the first social media site for fans of a specific artist.

LittleMonsters is a unique social media site in that it focuses on a couple of specific interests, mostly related to Gaga and the values she promotes.  The themes that run consistently throughout the site are mainly issues of self-esteem and being proud of who you are (AKA Gaga’s song/album/tour/foundation/et cetera, Born This Way), mostly as it relates to our youth nowadays.

The main page of the site is organized very similarly to Pinterest.  It consists of pictures posted by users as well as comments by other users.  Another page, entitled “Discuss,” is a page for, you guessed it, discussion.  Users can start threads of issues that are going on in their lives, and others can enter the thread and offer their support/advice.  This is a unique feature not typically found in social media sites: a forum specifically dedicated to group therapy.  People in the forum are typically supportive, considering the crowd drawn in by the site is pretty homogeneous.

LittleMonsters allows for fan-to-fan interaction, as well as discussion on social and personal issues.  The site’s perfect for any Gaga fan looking to meet other like-minded people.  Unfortunately, its fit for a very specific crowd and so it seems that many people may become disinterested with it if they are not huge Gaga followers, but I applaud Lady Gaga nonetheless for creating a site that cultivates people who share her values, and develops a real bond between them.

Mark Zuckerberg, however, remains unimpressed.

Mark Zuckerberg, however, remains unimpressed.

Note: not the actual Mark Zuckerberg.

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Wowza! Musician Apps!

Somewhere around the beginning of the summer, I was watching TV (I believe it was Tosh.0 on Comedy Central, but that’s irrelevant) when an interesting commercial came on.  The commercial was for the latest Angry Birds game to come out.  But, not having the latest iWhatever at the time, that wasn’t what made me remember it.  What did was that it was a version unofficially dubbed Green Day Angry Birds.

Image

The fact that it was Green Day, being one of my favorite bands, really caught my eye.  But not just that; also, the concept of a band having their own game intrigued me.  So I did a little hunting.

So, in all honesty, after I did some fact checking, Green Day Angry Birds is not its own app; it is a level pack in the Facebook game Angry Birds Friends.  But the idea of musician’s with apps still interested me, so I continued hunting for apps, and here are some of the things I came up with:

  • Rolling Stone’s Beatles Album-by-Album Guide: a comprehensive guide to all 13 Beatles albums with behind-the-scenes facts and figures on the songs and the band
  • Ladies and Gentlemen ….. the Rolling Stones: features the concert film by the same name as well as photos and bonus footage
  • Justin Bieber’s got too many apps named after him to count.
  • The Who Games: trivia questions on all things Who
  • Lady Gaga My BFF!: and I quote, “Lady Gaga is NOW YOUR BFF!!” Edit Lady Gaga into pictures with yourself, or dress yourself up in Gaga’s outrageous styles.
  • Lil Wayne Photo Booth: And if you’re not a big fan of Lady Gaga, this app is the same idea with Lil Wayne.  Now you can pose with everyone’s favorite role model.
  • And then there’s countless apps for keeping up to date with the news on your favorite artists, including Maroon 5, Adele, Nicki Minaj, and plenty of others.

While most of these apps are in no way officially associated with the artists themselves, I find it fascinating the way the popularity of today’s musicians adapts to modern technology.

Plus I found some new good apps.

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PS: take a look at the video in the right-hand side bar that I posted for this week’s music discovery, its Sleep by one of UMD’s up-and-coming bands, The Sea Life!

Myspace, the Music Space

Myspace seems to have become a thing of the past.  Facebook has completely overtaken and decimated it in the past five or so years.  Just the mention of your Myspace account nowadays is sure to get you ridiculed by your friends.

There, there, MySpace...

There, there, MySpace….

But as much as MySpace might be next to useless nowadays when it comes to socializing, there’s still something MySpace has been doing right that has not fully made its way to Facebook.  You guessed it… I’m talking about music.

Music? Whaaaat??

Yeah, believe it or not, we talk about music on this blog.

MySpace’s music section has been, on the whole, very successful.  While it lost the social race with Facebook and every other social media site online a loooong time ago, MySpace Music is responsible for the upbringing of many very popular current musicians.  Ten years ago, no one knew the names Sean Kingston, Taylor Swift, Boys Like Girls, Tila Tequila (is she really a musician?), Soulja Boy, Lily Allen, Colbie Caillat, and others, but thanks to MySpace viewers, they’ve each gotten their fair share of the limelight.

MySpace’s music page even has abilities such as suggestions for similar music, playlists, archives, and Top-whatever lists for all your music listening needs, making it a pretty comprehensive music listening site.

MySpace’s success with music even led to the creation of their own music label, MySpace Records.  MySpace Records was created to give the artists on MySpace the chance to actually get their music published on an actual label.  MySpace Records has had artists like Christina Milian and Carly Rae Jepsen on their tab, so it’s no small time project.

So MySpace lives on (okay, barely, but lives nonetheless), at least in music.

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Youtube: This Generation’s MTV?

Every generation has their own music, and with it, their own ways of using it.  Towards the beginning of the 19th century, there was radio.  In 1969, the rockers and hippies of the day had Woodstock.  Music Televison, or MTV, began running in 1981.  And the 2000’s?  The digital age?  Arguably, we have Youtube.

Youtube, easily the most popular and widely used video-sharing site out there, is used by over 800 million different users monthly.  It has a huge library of videos from people from all over the globe, ranging from homemade videos to professionally made videos.  No matter who you are, if you’ve got a video, or you’re just looking for a vast and willing audience, Youtube is the place to go.

Which brings me to a few interesting statistics:

  • According to a CNN Tech report, 64% of teens in a survey said they used Youtube to listen to music, while 56% said they used radio, 53% said they used iTunes, and 50% said they used CDs.
  • New artists and music is being discovering on Youtube every day.  The site has been used to spark the careers of many artists, including Cody Simpson, Esmee Denters, and of course, the one and only Justin Bieber.  Speaking of which…
  • Currently, as listed on Youtube’s charts, Youtube’s most watched video of all time is Justin Bieber’s Baby featuring Ludacris, followed by 5 other music videos.

I know I wasn’t the only one who watched it. There are at least 778,430,431 of you out there.

Consequently, music videos have been on the rise.  For a while, after MTV started becoming somewhat less popular, people began losing interest in music videos.  But more recently, music videos have begun gaining popularity.  All of a sudden, people have started once again asking each other, “did you see so-and-so’s new music video?”  I’ve heard some people credit Lady Gaga for revitalizing the music video industry.  And while she certainly helped it progress, I couldn’t truly attribute it solely to her.  In my opinion, the music video industry was restored with thanks to artists properly taking advantage of Youtube.

Any artist who wants to make it in today’s day and age need look no farther than Youtube, a basic staple of any Internet browser toolbar. Unless that place is a professional production studio: that doesn’t hurt either to make your crummy singing talents seem like the next pop hit (cough, cough, Rebecca Black).

All the best,

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