INTERVIEW: Fanburst Seeks To Offer Independent Artists More Streaming Options

While it’s known among our artist community that getting your music in stores and streaming platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play has never been easier. But of course there are other platforms that don’t require typical digital distribution, such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp, allowing artists to host and share their music either for free for a named-price.

Beyond making their music available to the bases of dedicated fans using these platforms, another benefit has traditionally been space for those artists who are putting music out weekly or even daily. But as some of these platforms are gearing towards a paid or subscription model, the amount of space per account an artist has becomes limited, which either requires them to remove content to make room or simply not put new content out there.

Enter Fanburst – a new streaming service offered free to musicians and fans of all genres. Similar to other streaming platforms, Fanburst allows artists to set up their profiles with information about themselves, links and photos.

Founded and developed by Jeremy Yudkin and Chris Miller, Fanburst offers artists the opportunity to upload and host an unlimited amount of releases, from albums to singles – all the special price of 100% free. Since launching in beta last year, the two founders have been working with artists to garner feedback and figure out how they can better serve creators and fans alike.

As with services like Soundcloud, we’ve never been shy about encouraging artists to take advantage of ALL their options when it comes to getting their music into the world. Discovery is a challenge, so why not cast a wide net? If you’re covering fans who love to use Soundcloud, it’s equally important to cover fans who prefer Apple Music or Spotify – and vice versa. Fanburst is another platform to reach fans, and that should please any independent artist

We had the chance to chat with them in a quick interview below about launching Fanburst and what they hope to achieve with this exciting new platform.

Tell us a little bit about your backgrounds and how you got together to start building Fanburst.

Jeremy: Chris [Miller, co-founder] was one of my customers in a previous venture, and we were spending a lot of time talking about music and the future for artists. At some point, we decided we should build something together. We wanted to take both of our skill sets, as well as our shared passion for music, to start solving problems that we saw for emerging and established artists.

What kind of input were you getting from indie artists during the development of Fanburst?

Artists just want to be heard. Really, it’s so hard to get discovered, but it’s not impossible. Indie artists have to just get their music out into every marketplace, streaming service, and digital platform there is. If an indie artist writes an amazing tune and it takes off on Fanburst, it will still have carry over onto other platforms.

Also, artists are creating a lot of music and they need a way to share and publish it. The finished ones, the drafts, and just ideas – we didn’t want any artist not to share something. We built Fanburst so every artists at any point could upload their music.

Similarly, what kind of feedback have you received since launching? How have you been engaging with artists to improve and adjust?

The feedback has been awesome – especially from new and developing artists. We’re helping artists get their first few fans, and it snowballs from there. More fans here helps to drive word of mouth, and then artists have the opportunity to grow.

What advice do you have for young up-and-coming artists when it comes to delivering their content online?

Get your music everywhere – get on TuneCore, they make it easy. But also get your music anywhere TuneCore doesn’t distribute. Also: be early adopters on platforms – you can get lucky and become the big fish in a small pond and dominate.

Also, keep writing and working on your art. It compounds and improves, just like any other skill, so just get better every day, bit by bit.

How do you envision Fanburst living aside big name players like Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer?

Hopefully we develop a unique, independent community where artists can catch some new fans. We think music is going to be a lot bigger than it currently is, and it likely will play out with a lot of platforms and lots of different fan experiences where artists can take advantage of.

We hope the artists using Fanburst are also using the other services, because we think its a net win when artists are growing everywhere.

What can you leave us with in terms of the exciting future ahead of Fanburst?

We think we’re planning on rolling out a bunch of interesting features that will help artists grow their fans, grow across other platforms, and drive revenue. For now, making sure the platform is simple and easy – that’s our focus.

How To Make Your Vocal Tracks POP

[Editors Note: This blog was written by our friends at Soundfly – learn more about their online course series and how you can get a discount at the bottom of this article!]

These days, producing your own demos essentially means the same thing as making a fully produced record of your song. It’s expected that your demo will sound full, warm, and professional, and your vocal performance has to POP to grab the interest of potential labels, bandmates, booking agents, or whomever you might be trying to impress.

If you choose to sing on your own tracks, or work with a vocalist in a band, and don’t know how to make them pop like your favorite records, it can be tough to know where to start. Soundfly’s new online course series, Faders Up I: Modern Mix Techniques and Faders Up II: Advanced Mix Techniques, is taught by today’s top sound engineers, who will help you get the professional sound you’re looking for in just six weeks. (Scroll to the bottom of this article for a special discount code!)

The next session starts on February 6, 2018, but for now, here are a few tried-and-true methods for getting your vocal tracks to sit confidently in your productions.

VOCAL POP TIP 1: NO MATTER THE MIC YOU USE, USE EQ

If you’re just starting to record and process your own vocals for the first time, you might not have a $15,000 vintage Neumann microphone at the ready. Perhaps you’re working with a stage mic like an SM58, or a USB mic like the Yeti from Blue Microphones. But even if you’ve saved up to rent something nice, your voice and the mic can’t do all the work.

Equalization (EQ) is an incredibly powerful tool, and often a necessary one to really make your vocal track pop. Here are a few common moves I make frequently when processing vocals:

1. High-pass filter. Sometimes also called a low-cut filter, this gets all the muddy background noise out of your vocal.

Plosives from sounds like Ps and Bs can send an exorbitant amount of air into the microphone and cause a low-end rumble below 100 Hz. Sometimes noise from the power in a building can create a buzz around 50 or 60 Hz.

You can fix a lot of this problem by cutting out the low end! Try a high pass around 100–150 Hz.

Generally, you can get away with a slightly higher cut for female vocalists, whereas you don’t want to kill a male vocalist’s lowest notes. Be sure to listen for the lowest note in your song and make sure you’re not totally gutting it!

2. High boost for “air.” A common characteristic of high-quality microphones is a boost in the 6–10 kHz range. This adds a pleasant “airiness” to a vocal that really grabs the ear and adds clarity.

If your mic doesn’t achieve this for you, or you want to over-emphasize this effect, consider giving your vocal a small bell-curve boost around 6 kHz.

3. Cut the “honk.” Sometimes your vocal might pop out a little more than desirable, somewhere in the 2–5 kHz range. This is the area most responsible for achieving intelligibility of the human voice, but sometimes we end up with moments of too much intelligibility.

If you take an EQ scalpel to the offending frequency area and carve this area precisely, you make room to boost the whole vocal and help it stand out even more. (Note: This is an effect perhaps best achieved using a multi-band compressor to isolate the frequency range, so if you have something like that available to you, use it!)


VOCAL POP TIP 2: LEVEL OUT YOUR VOCAL WITH COMPRESSION

In the realm of pop and electronic music production, I cannot think of a single time I didn’t use at least a little bit of compression on every vocal track in my mixes.

Compression, even in the most acoustic of settings, is involved in some degree of processing the vocal at one or several stages.

Let’s assume for now that you’re not working with a hardware compressor in between your mic and your interface — so you’re probably compressing after you’ve recorded. Here are a few notes for getting the most out of your compressor.

1. Before you compress, automate! Automation is a severely underused and often underappreciated ally in making vocals and instruments pop in a production. If there’s an obvious offending peak in volume in your vocal track, try to even it out before you stick a compressor on and try to get it to do the work for you.

Note that if you do this, you might want to “bounce in place” your automated track. Otherwise, your channel strip’s compressor will affect the volume before the automation, which defeats the whole purpose.

2. Less is more. Compression is a good way to give your vocal take consistency and add a nice, warm color to it. However, it’s very easy to go overboard with it, when the time comes.

It can be tempting to work with the built-in presets of a compressor, but frequently those will squash your vocal way more than what you’d actually want. That said, though, Logic’s initial settings are actually a pretty good starting point:

  1. A small or medium ratio, something like 2:1 or 3:1
  2. A quick (but not instant) attack time, around 10–15 ms
  3. A moderate release time, around 50–60 ms

After that, it’s about adjusting the threshold until you achieve the desired gain reduction. Start subtle, and try to keep things at or below 6 dB of gain reduction. Any more than that, and your track might start to sound flat and lifeless.

3. Double it up! Parallel compression is the technique of sending your vocal track to a second location (via a send or bus), and compressing only the duplicated signal, usually in an extreme way.

You can gain a lot of presence and “body” by compressing a vocal signal really hard, but it’ll dull the top end and make it feel lifeless and overtly aggressive. Instead, if you compress a copy of the signal really heavily, and mix only a little bit in, you get some of the body and presence without killing your vocal performance.

The settings for the parallel compressor can be pretty extreme. Keeping everything else the same, raise your ratio to somewhere between 10:1 and 20:1, and then lower your threshold until you achieve gain reduction in the 15–20 dB range.

That’s a punishing crush, but mixed in tastefully, it can add a lot of pop to the vocal!

VOCAL POP TIP 3: SPACE IS THE PLACE

These days, the use of reverb on vocal tracks is on a bit of a downward trend overall. Dry vocals are great for the intimate and/or aggressive sound of rap tracks and alternative rock, but might not work for bigger pop productions or folk numbers. Here’s a reliable way to create a larger-than-life space for your vocal.

1. Set the scene with sends. Set up two separate sends for your vocal. One will go to a mono, plate-style reverb that gives the vocal some general resonance, and helps the vocal sit into a space with the other instrument(s) in the track. The other will be a large and wide hall verb to give your vocal bravado and gravitas.

2. Make it tight. Your first vocal reverb, the plate verb, is more musical in function. It’s about creating sheen and a coherence with the band or production than about defining a “space” that the vocal is in.

Some good starter settings for a plate reverb are a decay time around 1–2 seconds, with a short predelay, around 30–50 ms.

Be sure to filter out some of the low end “mud” from your reverbs! You don’t want the reverberated signal muddying up your lead vocal sound. A high-pass filter in the 200 Hz range is a good place to start. Follow that up with a low shelf that reduces the low end below 600 Hz or so, by as much as necessary to clean things up.

Some reverbs, like the UAD EMT 140 pictured above, will have built-in filters and shelves for exactly these purposes, but you can achieve these same results with a simple EQ plugin or two.

3. Make it huge. Your vocal wasn’t recorded in a void, and you probably don’t want to depict it in a void, either. A great way to make your vocal sound larger than life is to create a larger-than-life space for it to resonate in! A wide hall reverb is a great space to illustrate this.

A good setting for this is somewhere between 3–8 seconds of decay time (we’re talking Grand Canyon-sized space), but obviously size your space to taste. Also, make sure that you give the reverb some predelay, on the order of 60–100 ms. Your vocal doesn’t leave the mouth and instantly hit the other side of a canyon!

Since these reflections are much farther away, you’ll want to take some high end out of the signal. Again, many reverbs will have some built-in shelving options available, but you can always take away more through EQ, if need be.

Just remember that, like with much of this processing, less is more. Always be sure to listen to your spacial effects in headphones as well as speakers, to make sure you’re truly hearing the space you’re creating, and not just the sound of the room you’re in.

VOCAL POP TIP 4: DOUBLE IT UP

When it comes to getting a “full” and “big” vocal sound, nothing quite gets the job done like simply laying down a second take and mixing it in, also known as doubling. In modern pop production, it’s not uncommon for a chorus part to have two, three, four, five, or more doubles of the main vocal part, just to thicken up the sound.

For a new vocalist, replicating an exact performance as closely as possible can seem daunting, if not impossible. However, some of the quirks and intricacies of each individual take, stacked together, can make a lead vocal that much more interesting, and can smooth out any individual mistakes or variations.

If you’re up for the challenge (and I highly recommend you give it a try!), here are a few suggestions for configuring doublings in a way that builds up your lead vocal into a fuller sound.

  1. The classic double. Take your lead and sing it twice. Run both vocals straight up the middle, in mono, or try just barely widening them by 5–10%, one in each direction.
  2. The wide triple. Record your lead three times. Pick a favorite and stick that in the middle. Pan the other two hard left and hard right, respectively, and turn those doublings down in the mix.
  3. The whisper triple. Similar to the wide triple, but the second and third takes are the lead performance “whispered” and mixed low in both ears. Great for achieving an ASMR effect, if that’s what you’re going for. This can also be used in conjunction with the wide triple.
  4. The unbound quartet (or quintet, etc.). Record four or more leads, and space them out evenly across the stereo spectrum.
  5. The crunchy chorus. Record three or more “loose” doubles, each with a slightly different timbral approach, and pan them all within 5–10% of center. This is great for creating a chorus or church choir effect.

These are just a few of the techniques with which I’ve found success. Bring layered harmonies into the fold, and you can really go crazy with stacking up a huge vocal sound!

Beware of the pitfalls

If you do choose to record and produce real doubles, there are a few pitfalls to be aware of to get the tightest, fullest sound.

1. Watch out for hard consonants. Sounds at the end of words with a lot of high end, like Ts and Ks, can sound really messy if they aren’t perfectly tight. While it’s possible to manipulate just the very end of a sound to perfectly align with the main lead, it’s often better to have only the lead take care of these sounds. The same thing goes for the front of sounds, including breaths.

When recording the doubles, try to get softer end consonants, or edit them out altogether in your DAW.

2. Don’t be afraid to cut things out. It’s easy to think that merely doubling the entire lead is the right idea, and that’s that. If you’re really digging the full sound you get from your two or more solid leads, voiced fully together, great! But also consider:

  1. High- and/or low-passing your double(s)
  2. Putting your double(s) through a 100% reverb, and mixing to taste
  3. Hard-compressing your doubles only, to emulate parallel compression
  4. Only keeping the doubles on lyrics or moments of great importance
  5. Cut out all the extra noise and empty content of the audio waveforms, when the double isn’t singing

Get creative with your doublings, and only take what you want from them!

3. Less is more. Once again, it’s important to recognize whether you’re adding something to the mix because it’s important, or because you just think it should sound better if you do. Be honest with yourself — are there too many doubles? Do you need a double at all, or is it just muddying up your track?


Lastly, if you’re less comfortable with recreating a perfect lead vocal performance, here are a few tips and techniques for approximating a lead vocal doubling effect.

  1. The chorus effect. This kind of effect will double your vocal track inside a plugin, giving it a slight pitch shift and/or modulation over time, and also mess very slightly with the timing of the original and the doubling. There are lots of different options for a plugin like this, such as Soundtoys’ Microshift plugin.
  2. Slap it. Use a slapback delay to create a quick and quickly decaying doubling effect. Your delay time should be extremely short, on the order of 10–30 ms (with a tiny bit of predelay to separate it from the lead), with a low feedback to avoid a ringing, modulated type of sound.
  3. Fake it. You can also create a chorus plugin type effect manually. Just copy your lead, use a pitch shifting tool to alter it up or down by somewhere around 5 cents, and slightly delay the timing of the double. Pan to taste. You can only get away with a couple of these, at most!

The world of vocal production is vast, and opinions vary widely between producers, genres, and generations about what a “correct” vocal production technique looks like. The truth is that whatever sounds good to you will probably sound good to someone else, but you won’t know until you try. So get experimenting, and make some music!


Gain more control over your next mix. Preview Soundfly’s Faders Up course series, Modern Mix Techniques and Advanced Mix Techniques, for free today! Both courses are taught by today’s leading sound engineers, and come with six weeks of personal mentorship and mix feedback from an expert who works in the field.

You’ll gain hands-on experience with modern mixing techniques such as EQ, compression, level and pan setting, digital signal processing, FX sends, and more. If you’d like to reserve a spot in the next session, use the promo code TUNECORE at checkout to get 25% off (that’s $125!).

5 Ways To Leverage Press

[Editors Note: This article was written by Suzanne Paulinski.]

 

You spent months reaching out to bloggers, podcasters, and music tastemakers to convince them to review your music and/or interview you. You sent out links to your music. You submitted your press release/bio/EPK. You got people on board. You prepped for the interviews (preferably the right way). The pieces were published. The links were shared…

…and crickets.

Sound familiar?

All too often musicians put in so much effort to get press, only to see it move the needle very little, if at all.

It’s not because the reviews were poorly written, but because many musicians fail to leverage the press they receive in the right way.

There are so many tips and tricks out there to get the attention of coveted blogs and magazines, but what happens once you’ve gotten their attention? How to do maintain the attention of their readers?

Below are five different ways you can leverage press, whether it’s a printed interview, a podcast, a music review, a video on YouTube, or something that hasn’t yet been invented by the time this article is published, you can build off of these tips to get the most milage out of the months of effort you put into being noticed.

1. Write a newsletter to your fans about the experience.

All too often an interview comes out and fans open up an email from an artist that says “New interview in ABC Magazine CLICK HERE TO READ!” with a link to the article, and that’s it. The problem with that is that you’ve given them no context.

Give them a reason to care and click on the link.

Were you nervous? Did something funny happen during the interview? Did you open up and share something you’ve never said aloud before? Write a brief explanation about your first-hand experience and then provide the link to the article. Your fans will want to know how the story ends!

2. Create a short video introduction to the piece.

Your YouTube channel doesn’t have to only be cover songs or lyric videos. You can leave a short video message to your fans telling them about how much you love ABC Magazine and how honored you were to be featured. Then, using a link card overlay on your video, invite them to check out your latest piece of press. This will add content to your channel, bring more eyes to your other videos, and add to your subscriber list (just be sure to tell them to subscribe at the end of the video and in your caption).

Second, doing a short video on how much you love ABC Magazine and sharing it with others not only converts well (as video often does), but it shows love back to the writer and company who just covered your song/band.

It’s a unique way to say thank you, beyond simply sharing a link about yourself. Relationship building for the win.

3. Share a ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ photo with the link.

Posts that get engagement are the posts that readers are able to immediately relate to, and not everyone can relate to having their music reviewed or being a guest on an awesome podcast.

Especially if the press is audio only, adding a photo to the post that shows you (and any other band members) having fun, or even better, exhibiting some sort of feeling or message that is discussed in the piece, catches peoples attention and allows them to connect with your message on a deeper level, rather than simply seeing a link to a podcast you want them to hear and share.

Add a caption that explains a topic that was discussed and then inviting them to hear the rest by clicking the link goes a lot further than simply saying, “Listen now!”

4. Write a review of the blog/podcast that featured you.

Much like the video message, this shows other outlets that you care about shining a light on those who have shone a light on you.

Creating a list of your Top 5 favorite reviews they’ve done (while including yours on that list), whether as a newsletter or simply a longer Facebook post, opens your fans’ eyes up to other artists they may not have known and may also introduce them to a writer or podcast host they weren’t familiar with until now. Posting content that provides greater value is key.

5. Reach out to the next tier of blogs/podcasts.

Much like life in general, everything has its season. A few months ago you may not have been ready for a feature in XYZ Music News. But now, ABC Magazine has interviewed you and brought more eyes to your message and music. That may be what XYZ Music News was waiting for before they decided to jump on board.

When you have a glowing review or stellar interview with one outlet, do your homework and determine the next stepping stone. Don’t jump from a small write up in a local paper to the cover of Rolling Stone – be strategic. Look at bands you admire and start to examine how their press exposure grew and follow suit.

Reach out to outlets that may have turned you down in the past and reintroduce yourself, acknowledging that some time has passed and you have recently enjoyed some positive press that you’d like them to be aware of in consideration for a future review.

No matter what, always think about these two things:

  • The bigger message. What larger message was your recent press about that others can relate to? Create multiple posts off of that one message.
  • Your funnel for bringing on new fans. Be strategic in how you involve your other channels, as well as your email list, when getting the word out about your latest press. We call this your funnel – using once piece of content to drive fans to other channels to take further action.

Lastly, don’t forget to update your EPK or press page on your website with the most current coverage. Your hard work doesn’t end once you’ve landed the review. Make it worth your effort by seeing it all the way through.


Suzanne Paulinksi is an artist consultant with over 10 years in the music industry and owner of The Rock/Star Advocate

Personality Dynamics: Why Communication and Respect Are Vital For The Health of Your Band

[Editors Note: This article was written by Patrick McGuire.]

 

Many serious bands happily sacrifice money, relationships and careers in the hopes that they’ll find an audience for their music. But while focusing on the musical parts of being in a band is important, the way the musicians who form a band respect and communicate with each other is just as vital for acts that hope to create, record and perform music over the long-term.

Bands break up for all sorts of reasons. Some musicians throw everything they have into music for a few years only to give it all up when they can’t find the success they’d hoped for, but others upend otherwise perfectly good projects because they simply can’t work with the other musicians in their band anymore. It’s become routine for bands with massive talent and untapped potential to call it quits because they fail to focus their efforts on communication and mutual respect.

What Bands Do and Don’t Do Well

When musicians set out to create new projects, they probably think about making music and not much else, and this makes sense. If the purpose of a band is to create music, it should exclusively focus on writing, recording and performing, right?

Bands obviously need to spend time developing their identity as musicians, but alongside non-musical relationship skills like communication, openness and respect. Musicians in newer bands with plenty of enthusiasm and energy tend to be great at writing lots of songs and playing shows, but they’re notoriously bad at making goals, being open about feelings and speaking up when they feel unheard or disrespected.

Blame it on the male-driven culture behind so many bands out there or the fact that making serious music requires musicians to frequently enter vulnerable territories they’re not usually comfortable in, but most bands are simply not great at being open with how they feel about things, and this is a big problem.

All Relationships Take Work. Why Would Your Band Be Any Different?

Whether you realize it or not, a band is a relationship unlike any other. Falling somewhere between a friendship, marriage and creative business partnership, the personality dynamic behind every band is completely unique. But like all other relationships, it takes effort and sacrifice to keep a band healthy and together.

The work that makes the other relationships in your life possible is similar to the work you’ll need to do to keep your band healthy and on track. Some bands, most famously Metallica, even go as far as to get professional counseling for their issues. Your band might not need therapy, but you will have to learn to speak openly and respectfully to each other if you want to stay together.

Opening the Lines of Communication

It can be awkward and unnatural for some musicians to open up and talk about their needs and feelings, but for bands to be successful, they have to be able to really talk and listen to each other. Communication in band settings is so vital because making music with other people is complicated on every level and there’s often so much at stake.

Bands routinely deal with everything from complicated finances and contracts to spending months together touring crammed together in a small van or car. Sure, at band practice once a week you’ll be able to stay quiet and let some things you’re not happy with slide, but when you’re on tour for two months promoting an album you’ve just put a couple thousand of your own dollars into, it might be a little harder to hold your tongue. Opening up the lines of communication now will keep you from saying things you might regret later.

Respect, Openness and Empathy

Musicians in successful bands find ways to respect and empathize with each other, even when it’s not easy to. Under ideal conditions, it doesn’t take a lot of work for some like-minded musicians to be kind and patient with one another, but like in any other relationship, people show their true colors in the face of real challenges.

Who you are when the van breaks down or when your band blows the show? It’s more important for that person to be kind, open and respectful to your other bandmates than the person you are when things are going swimmingly. Easier said than done, of course, but the effort here is the important thing.

Taking Stock of the Health of Your Band

It can be uncomfortable to address underlying issues in your band, but ignoring them will only make things worse. Setting aside time after rehearsals is a good way to make time for getting things off your chest, making plans and opening up a dialogue about what your band is doing and where you want to go.

Rather than waiting for disasters to appear and become unmanageable, getting in the habit of creating opportunities for respectful dialogue now will help your band stay together and make music for years to come.


Patrick McGuire is a writer, composer, and experienced touring musician based in Philadelphia.

A Look Back at TuneCore in 2017

Where did this year go?! It feels like just last week we were cheering about all the accolades and big moments that made up TuneCore’s big 2016, but here we are entering into a new year once again.

One thing that never seems to change is the ability of all the artists that make up the TuneCore community to shine. We’re thrilled to have spent another year helping artists take control of their journeys, build their fan bases and collect 100% of their sales revenue.

Along the way, TuneCore made its presence known at events and conferences around the world – connecting with artists to advance the mission of helping them get heard and get paid. It’s always exciting to see the artists who use our platform for distribution gain traction and show the world why it pays to be independent. So join us in taking a look back at 2017.

GRAMMY Nominations


TuneCore artists, songwriters and arrangers are making some serious waves in the GRAMMY nomination pool this year. Check out some of the awesome noms received by independent artists from the TuneCore community and join us in congratulating them:

SZABest New Artist, Best Rap/Sung Performance, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Performance

Sylvan EssoBest Dance/Electronic Album

Julian Lage & Chris EldridgeBest Contemporary Instrumental Album

August Burns Red  – Best Metal Performance

K. FlayBest Rock Song

Raul MidónBest Jazz Vocal Album

Miguel ZenónBest Latin Jazz Album

Tina CampbellBest Gospel Performance/Song

The Walls GroupBest Gospel Performance/Song

CeCe WinansBest Gospel Performance/Song, Best Gospel Album

Marvin SappBest Gospel Album

Alex CubaBest Latin Pop Album

Los Amigos InvisiblesBest Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative album

Aida CuevasBest Regional Mexican Music Album

Blind Boys of AlabamaBest American Roots Performance

The Infamous StringdustersBest Bluegrass Album

Lisa LoebBest Children’s Album

 

TuneCore at SXSW, A3C & Midem 2017


As we have been in the past, TuneCore was in attendance at some of the music industry’s most important events and conferences this year. It’s always incredibly meaningful for us to connect directly with artists, labels, and managers to talk strategy and success – and of course where TuneCore fits into that conversation for them.

At SXSW, our team held down the Artist Gifting Lounge for four days where we were able to hold one-on-one consulting sessions, introduce our artist services and distribution options to newcomers, and shoot the breeze with artists during one of the busiest events of the year. At night, that same team was out on the streets attending TuneCore Artists’ sets and showcases all over Austin.

In other rooms of the Austin Conference Center, TuneCore’s Director of Entertainment Relations Chris Mooney chaired the Transforming Online Popularity to Offline Success” panel. Additionally, Director of Artist Entertainment Relations Amy Lombardi could be found running the “Creating For a Cause: Music For Action & Awareness” panel.

 

Across the pond, TuneCore’s VP of International Marie-Anne Robert was invited to speak at a distribution-focused panel during Midem 2017. Being able to chime in during one of the largest publishing conferences in the industry is always a massive honor, and Marie-Anne advised artists on the importance of making sense of the data from streaming services and how it can help influence business decisions.

Later in the year, members of the TuneCore team hightailed it down south to Atlanta for one of the biggest and increasingly important events for independent hip hop: A3C Fest 2017.

With so many independent artists popping their heads in and out of the Loudermilk Conference Center in downtown Atlanta, TuneCore took advantage of this opportunity by hosting “Music Made Me Industry Talks” that included a combination of hip hop artists, producers and music industry professionals. Topics included distribution, beatmaking, business planning and radio promotion.

International Highlights


TuneCore’s International team was busier than ever in 2017. Brand managers across Europe were busy meeting with and informing artists about the benefits of using TuneCore during our first-ever “TuneCore Indie Tour” – stopping off in the UK (Manchester, Birmingham, and Nottingham), France (Marseille, Nantes, Lyon, Paris, Lille and Annecy), Germany (Hamburg, Dusseldorf, and Dortmund), Austria (Vienna) and Romania (Bucharest).

 

Aside from connecting with artists on these tour dates, TuneCore also established new partnerships with like-minded, artist-friendly European startups like the CapiTalent, Arezzo Wave Love Festival, Music on Stage, Les Etoiles du Parisien, NME, Focus Wales, Liverpool Sound City, SPH Bandcontest and the Reeperbahn Festival. Partnerships like these have allowed us not only just reach more international artists and labels, but also helped create more exclusive opportunities for them to take advantage of.

 

Music Made Me: The TuneCore Podcast


By promoting articles written by experts active in the music industry today, we like to think the TuneCore Blog is a strong resource for independent artists seeking information that can help them further advance their careers. Education is a key component of getting ahead in this game, and in the summer of 2017 we branched out into a new medium by rolling out “Music Made Me: The TuneCore Podcast”!

Each episode is hosted or curated by a member of TuneCore’s team and features conversations with artists, managers, publicists, music supervisors and more – all with the goal of getting the right kind of information into the hands of those who need it most.

Haven’t had a listen yet? Be sure to catch up on this year’s episodes and subscribe to keep up with all the exciting upcoming episodes we’ll be sharing in 2018 and beyond.

#2018Goals


Finally, we’d like to say congratulations to all of our TuneCore Artists on their successes. We appreciate you working with us for digital distribution, and we’re excited to find new ways to support the independent community.

In fact, we’d love to know what you’ve got planned for 2018. Let us know by sharing your #2018Goals with @TuneCore on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

Thanks, Happy New Year, and see you in 2018!

3 Reasons “Staying Busy” Could Be Hurting Your Music Career

[Editors Note: This was written by Suzanne Paulinski and it originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.]

 

It’s quite common to hear, “I’ve been so busy, I need a vacation!” or, “Things are so busy around here, I suppose I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” The music industry is one of the last industries to embrace the self-care movement. Corporate titans like Arianna Huffington and Mark Cuban, along with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, have begun speaking up loudly about the importance of prioritizing time outside of work and working smarter, not harder.

All too often, musicians work ’round the clock in an attempt to prove to others how much they “want it.” However, the “24/7 grind” is nothing more than people staying busy, regardless of how much work is actually getting done. After all, when you’re on your second all-nighter, how much is truly getting accomplished?

There are endless reasons it doesn’t pay to be busy and why it’s so important to slow down in order to get where you’re going. In fact, I recently pointed out three reasons you should slow down and regularly reflect on your music career. But, in an effort to save you even more time, below are the three most important reasons it literally doesn’t pay to be busy.

1. Filling up your day depletes your energy

Okay, this sounds pretty common sense. If you’re busy from sunrise to sunset, your energy will be pretty low, but it’s important to realize how much depleting your energy truly costs you.

According to a study on sleep deprivation, 17-19 hours without sleep is the equivalent to working with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .05. That leaves, at most, seven hours for sleep. At best, most of us are running around on four-to-five hours of sleep. That’s closer to operating on a BAC level of .08, which is legal intoxication.

How often have you sent an email to a venue with your templated material still in it (i.e. “Dear [venue]”), sent the wrong material to the wrong person, missed a deadline, or ran late to a soundcheck? Ignoring your body’s need for sleep is not helping your career, it’s hurting it.

2. You’re ignoring your priorities

When you have less time to do work, your priorities will magically appear. When you give yourself more time to work, your instinct is to put more on your plate. That leads to “busy work,” which hardly ever leads to anything productive.

For instance, if you give yourself only 20 minutes to send out emails to venues to book a show, you’re not going to spam every venue on the list, you’re going to make those emails count, right? You’ll be more likely to contact the venues that are relevant to you and your music.

If you tell yourself you’re not going to sleep until you’ve emailed every venue on the list, you’re not only depleting your energy, but you’re sending out emails to an entire set of venues that are most likely irrelevant to your cause. You’re so focused on being busy, however, that that fact never enters into the equation.

3. You’re making poor decisions

Being busy leads to being stressed, especially when all of that busy work doesn’t lead to any real, tangible results. The harder we work and the less we have to show for it, the more stressed we become.

When you operate under stress, you become more reactive than proactive. When it comes to committing to shows, coordinating recording sessions, planning social media, or sending out important emails, high levels of stress can cause you to react to whatever is going on in the moment, rather than look at how a particular decision is affecting your larger, long-term plan.

Slowing down feels wrong. I get it. If people see you turning in early rather than burning the midnight oil, how will they know how badly you want it? But consider this: How will other people’s thoughts of you get you where you’re going? Thoughts don’t get us anywhere, actions do.

Slow down and focus on work that matters, work that will get you where you want to be. If someone tries to shame you for getting a full eight hours of sleep when they only got three, simply say, “Yeah, thanks, I feel ready to take on the day!” And then take on that day like your career depends on it.