When it comes to creating and performing, musicians often take a perfectionist approach to their work. From the second we pick up our instruments, we’re taught that there’s the right way of doing things and endless possibilities for getting things wrong. This all or nothing philosophy can bleed into the ways we measure value, success, and contentment in our careers. This can cause damage to our creativity and ourselves. It’s natural to hate errors like placing a capo on the wrong fret during a live set or forgetting the lyrics during recording. But I’d argue there are much bigger mistakes musicians should be worrying about.
We often associate the idea of being stretched too thin with boring day jobs and parenting. Yet, it’s absolutely something that can do damage to our music careers. An immense amount of work needs to happen to lead a thriving music career. If that work gets in the way of your happiness, it’s not sustainable. Most of us need close relationships and emotional stability to feel healthy and productive. An unhealthy music career can threaten our well being if we’re not careful. To stave off burnout, you must realize that a sustainable, thriving music career has to be balanced with other important parts of your life. In the same way that short breaks help long-distance runners achieve their goals, taking time to focus on the non-musical parts of your life will be a big help when it comes to maintaining your creative focus and energy.
Why are so many musicians saddled with debt? We can give some credit to the fact that fans pay far less to enjoy music than they used to. However, there are other factors at work that we should pay attention to. There’s no getting around the truth that music pays many serious musicians very little. This means it takes a huge financial investment to tour and buy instruments. When our musical pursuits aren’t financially sustainable, we hurt both personal lives and our ability to create and perform. You might want to sacrifice everything for a new record or international tour. But what happens if you don’t make money? Yes, we need big dreams and tenacity to thrive in music. Yet, we also need to work in ways that allow us to make music over the long-term.
This is an issue that plagues countless musicians. Whether it’s imitating another artist’s work or feeling afraid to try anything new or risky, giving in to safety and predictability is one of the worst things you can do in music. If you have a lot riding on your career or are in constant fear of failure, your creative process could suffer from a lack of imagination and curiosity. Getting back to the fun and freedom making music initially gave you is the best way to combat creative stagnation. Let go of the expectations of success and productivity for a while. Focus on having fun and expressing yourself in a genuine way.
With constant reminders of how well our music is performing digitally, it can be hard not to focus more on being superficially successful than creatively fulfilled. However, giving more energy and attention to the numbers behind your music than your songwriting routine and career goals is a bad situation to be in. It’s natural to want your music to be heard. Indicators like streaming counts can show us we’re on the right track. But, like everything else in your career, you’ll need to find a balance between checking in on the performance of your music from time to time and focusing on what’s most important in your career.
Mistakes are inevitable in music, whether they are on stage or elsewhere in our careers. How we recognize them and move forward is what matters most. If you want music to be your career and livelihood or even just a regular fixture in your life, being able to cope with shortcomings and self-induced problems is essential. To do this, we need patience, resilience, and a plan for our music.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.
By Cheryl B. Engelhardt April 27, 2020
There is nothing like working from home. I’ve done it for over a decade. It requires discipline, a routine, and getting out of my pajamas (most of the time).
Working from home provides me so much freedom and peace as I create my days however I want. Of course, there is the stress of having to generate every single penny, connection, and gig on your own. But for me, the benefits far outweigh the stressors.
But working from home when the rest of the world is too? It’s a different beast.
It’s tempting to fall into the Netflix binging zone, knowing that most people are also just… waiting.
Here’s what I think: I think the majority of the world is going to get bored really soon, and that they are going to turn to art. Not just movies, but books, music, podcasts, and visual arts.
Creative people have a huge opportunity to serve. To come out on top. To shift the habits of how we work at our careers.
To successfully move forward, I suggest a structure like the one laid out in this article. I also suggest a community. I host an online mastermind for musicians, open to anyone. Normally it’s monthly, but for now, we will meet every weekday.
We succeed only if we can create structures that support us in moving forward and not lie in wait like the rest of the world.
Here is the guide I use during holidays and down times to keep myself moving and to bring some things that get pushed to the back burner to front-of-mind. I like to keep weekends free for complete relaxation, reading, and movies. If I know that a weekend of nothing is in my future, it’s much easier to move through these five days and truly Crank with a capital C.
Clearing can mean a lot of things. It can mean ditching a toxic relationship to make room for a healthy one. It can mean clearing off your desk of old papers. It can mean emptying your inbox, doing laundry, or making space on your phone for new photos.
Essentially, clearing is the process of removing something to make room for something else. (Note that day 2 is “Create” – we cannot create something new if there is no room for it.)
Think about your physical space and your digital space as places to start clearing. Here are a few ideas to get going. *Pro Tip: Schedule two blocks of 2 hours in your day to tackle the two biggest tasks that have been looming. Don’t try to do them all! You’ll always have next Monday!*
Get dolled up. Make some videos. Finish that song that you’ve been dying to finish. The first week you do this, just create the stuff that’s been on your mind. Finish that pet portrait you started. Write the poem that creeped into your head.
The second week you do this, start to be mindful of the milestones you’d like to reach in your career and create content that will support those goals. For example, if you want to increase your Spotify followers, consider creating a Spotify audio ad.
Here are just a few other ideas for content you could create:
This one is simple: collect contacts and collect knowledge. Essentially, use today as research.
Research the emails of people you may want to pitch the future. Use this spread sheet, hosted in Airtable (it’s like excel on pretty steroids) to start getting organized with contacts for venues, licensing agents, blogs, press, playlists and more.
How many online courses or books have you purchased to improve a skill, whether email marketing, playing the guitar, or running Instagram ads? If you have, go dig up your username and login info and finish that program.
If you haven’t recently taken on learning something new for yourself, now is the perfect time to invest in yourself and gain a skill that can increase your bottom line! (I strongly suggest becoming a master at your email list – growing it, connecting with subscribers, and monetizing it. If your’e doing email correctly, you’ll know: you’l be making $1-2 per subscriber per month. Not you? Then check out this free training on how to master your email list. If you’re already great at email marketing, learn how to powerfully pitch anything to anyone and get a yes! Try this quick course: inthekey.co/perfectpitch)
Today is simple- we ask for the things!
Send your pitches to the people you researched yesterday. Implementing the pitching course (inthekey.co/pitch) will have you ready to rock and roll those pitches.
You can also send an email to your fan list- let them know how they can support you. Be clear and make sure they have all the information they need to support you. (Asking them to stream your music on spotify? Give them a direct link and share a screen shot of what they need to click to follow you!)
Additionally during the Campaign day, you can create some ads through Facebook or found.ee (my favorite non-facebook ad platform) as well as show.co to promote your music, social sites, or any products you have. If you used the Create day to make some videos for your ads, you’ll be all set.
(I loved my friend Ari Herstand’s program on ads for Spotify and Instagram growth: www.inthekey.co/iggrowth. He walks you through how to make videos that convert on instagram stories.)
It’s definitely important to connect with people throughout the week, but let’s be really intentional about this today.
Reach out, personally, to your superfans, past clients, people who continue to hire you, and of course, friends and family.
I like to do this on Friday so that I can have the weekend to rejuvenate and reboot without worrying about who I need to call or shift my energy for.
You can also be thinking about scheduling your social media posts that you created or collected for next week. I like to schedule out my posts on buffer.com. All week long, I save links to great articles and cool content, and come Friday, I schedule one post a day to my social sites for the next 7 days.
This is the time for self care. For dropping the ball. For catching up so you can start Monday again.
I hope this helps create some structure for your weeks in social distancing times. And maybe in times when you just want to Crank, with a capital C.
Special thanks to co-author, Josh Viner for his contribution to this article.
The constructs of our daily reality and how we consume entertainment have undergone a significant change due to the pandemic. With more downtime and consistent access to WiFi, consumers have gravitated towards visual forms of entertainment such as video streaming, gaming, social media, and live streaming, while audio consumption has fluctuated. The pandemic has forced the music industry to get creative, making it essential for artists to integrate new forms of media into their routine as a way of keeping and growing an engaged audience. In the long run, this may just be exactly what the industry needs to keep and grow consumer attention.
This article will examine how the pandemic altered consumer consumption habits between March 2020 to May 2020. We will examine how music streaming has been impacted and how artists and their teams are utilizing collaboration, live streaming, video streaming, social media and gaming to not only support COVID-19 relief efforts but to connect with their online audience.
Music StreamingMost Popular In: Hollywood & Entertainment
In March, when the pandemic began to significantly impact the United States, streaming declined for three consecutive weeks in a row. First by 2%, then by 8.8%, followed by 3.2%. Such a decrease is rarely seen. The closest comparison is an annual dip by no more than 1%, the week following the Christmas holidays. However, the week ending April 2nd saw a 2% increase in streaming within the United States and we continued to see an incline. According to Spotify’s Q1 2020 report, overall daily active users and consumption have remained in line with their forecasts, although, Italy and Spain, markets hardest hit by the pandemic, saw notable declines. With such fluctuation in audio consumption, artists and their teams continue to leverage new forms of media as a way of reaching their audience.
It is possible for streaming platforms to support and enable this, by providing more granular, non-identifiable consumer data, in order to amplify their online efforts through targeted online marketing. As of May 15, 2020, Spotify is now offering more ways for members of an artist’s team to access an artist’s analytics through a mobile app, now available on iOS and Android, as well as a Manage Team function. As the pandemic fuels online collaboration between artists, a helpful analytical feature that would refine an artists marketing strategy would be to see similar artists by country. Currently, Spotify offers similar artist data globally. This information can only be utilized so many times as a ‘interest’ in a Facebook, Instagram or Google advertising campaign. Diving down on similar artists by country would allow better local targeting and increase return on investment in marketing for artist teams.
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Throughout the month of March, the number of users engaging in live streaming surged across platforms like Twitch, Instagram, and YouTube. Viewership on video sharing platform Twitch, specifically their Music and Performance Arts Category, rose by 524%, from an average of 92,000 viewers to 574,000 viewers. Electronic and House artist, Diplo, launched a live streaming series on Twitch called Corona World Tour. While an artist-centric platform, Bandsintown launched its own Twitch channel promoting a livestream from DJ Black Coffee, which saw 84,500 unique viewers. As of March 25th, Bandsintown launched a virtual festival called Music Marathon on their live Twitch Channel.
From recording artists like John Legend to James Bay, artists have used live streaming as a method to connect directly with fans. Tory Lanez’s infamous Instagram livestream in mid-April, called “Quarantine Radio,”saw record numbers peaking at 350K viewers. From mid-to-late March, there was a reported 70% increase in Instagram Live video streaming in the United Stated, compared to February. Alongside Instagram Live, YouTube Live is another platform that has amplified artist’s efforts to connecting instantaneously with fans. Dua Lipa complemented the release of her new album, Future Nostalgia, by playing and commenting on each song live on YouTube Live, while indie artist, Clairo, premiered new songs on a YouTube livestream.
Collaboration between artists and media organizations have exploded since the pandemic, to not only galvanize efforts to support those impacted by COVID-19, but also to connect those feeling isolated. The star-studded virtual online concert “One World: Together at Home” by Global Citizen and the World Health Organization drew nearly 21 million viewers across networks and raised $12.7 million for health care workers and COVID-19 relief efforts. Performances aired on ABC, CBS, ABC, The CW, BBC, and streamed on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu Plus, Instagram, Twitter, Yahoo, as well as major digital music platforms. Audiences also had the option to tune in and listen on iHeart radio. Other examples of individual collaborations that occurred throughout March leading up to “One World: Together At Home” included Elton John’s combined effort with iHeart Radio to host a living room concert. That concert attracted 8.7 million viewers across multiple networks and raised $10 million relief efforts. Additionally, in early March, Charli XCX partnered with the LGBTQ dating app Grindr to host a live DJ session on the app’s Instagram page.
While collaboration between the music and gaming industry is not new, the scale of and attention gained from fans through collaboration has accelerated. The internationally-recognized video game, Minecraft, which carries with it a dedicated audience, hosted a number of virtual concerts, including a DJ festival called “Second Aether” and “Nether Meant.” Popular multiplayer game, Fortnite, introduced an in-game Travis Scott concert, featuring a Travis Scott avatar soaring over players while the viewer teleported around the venue while seeing psychedelic graphics. The event saw 12.3 million players participate.
Overall, during the early weeks of the pandemic, gaming increased by 22% in the U.S. and 20% in the U.K, as reported by MIDiA Research. AT&T reported that gaming-related traffic increased by 50% in April compared to pre-lockdown levels. Viewership on live streaming platform Twitch was up 10% in the third week of March, while YouTube Gaming viewership increased 15% during the same time period. More recently, Twitch has seen its average of concurrent viewers nearly double from about 1.3 million in January to 2.5 million in April. Additionally, Facebook has recently entered the industry with Facebook Gaming, a new app designed for creating and watching live gameplay. Beyond the gaming industry, video streaming and social media have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.
In the US, TV streaming increased by 85% in the first three weeks of March, while YouTube video streams rose by 1.3%. This rise in YouTube streams occured in the same week that audio streams decreased by 8.8%. Overall, video streams are up 27.1% year-over-year and have outperformed audio in percentage growth for eight of the 13 weeks this year. The trend has continued since March. Video streaming is now responsible for 58% of all internet traffic, with YouTube’s share of all traffic rising from under 9% in 2019 to 16% in 2020. A similar increase in usage has occurred with social media apps.
Between March 14th and 24th, Facebook’s apps including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook, saw a 40% increase in usage from 18–34 year olds in the U.S. Facebook revealed that all three of its apps have grown by 70% in Italy since the crisis started. In comparison to local social media platforms in other countries, China’s local social media apps saw usage climb by 58%. Overall, social networking sites now account for 11% of global internet traffic, having displaced general web browsing by 8%.
Additionally, TikTok saw an astounding 18% week-over-week increase in downloads in the U.S. from March 16th to the 22nd. In fact, the short video platform saw a 5% global increase in downloads from March 1st to the 23rd, compared to February 1st to the 23rd. TikTok has continued its surge, as it was the second-most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide in April, after Zoom. TikTok has shown that a younger generation actively wants to use music to express themselves and take part in the making of hit songs and artists.
Moving forward, consumers are expected generally to have more leisure time and to have access to faster networks. How will consumers’ consumption of entertainment evolve when 5G enables seamless video streaming during commutes, while remote employment and online retail becomes the new normal? Rather than sitting on their laurels the industry has continued to demonstrate strength in its creative imagination, facilitating the ability to connect with audiences and make a positive global impact. The challenge now becomes, how can we further support and elevate creatives and their teams in doing so?
On Wunna, Gunna’s next album, he would like to introduce listeners to Wunna. The new name is simultaneously an acronym that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue (“Wealthy Unapologetic Nigga Naturally Authentic”) and an alter-ego based on his astrological sign. On the album cover, Gunna’s new half is a Pixar-ready spaceman, suspended in an astrological chart with blonde dreadlocks and dazed eyes. As Wunna stares at the viewer, he’s both unsettling and funny, a stoned cartoon that knows something that we don’t.
A second moniker isn’t exactly new in rap. Eminem has Slim Shady. T.I. needed Tip. One could start a Wu-Tang-sized group with the amount of personalities Future’s created. Over the phone, what seems to distinguish Wunna from Gunna is that the latter has had time to relax. Somewhere in Atlanta, Gunna has been self-distancing like the rest of the world. After years spent climbing out of his stylistic forebear Young Thug’s shadow, he’s become a tireless touring artist and a one-man streaming machine in his own right. Your festival lineup or club night needs an infusion of drip? You know who to call. When a rap album needs a feature, Gunna is usually your guy (if not, the man he taught how to rap will also do). In 2020 alone, Gunna’s assisted Lil Uzi Vert, Megan Thee Stallion, Nav, and Camila Cabello with his woozy, lackadaisical delivery.
What Gunna wants more than anything from his new album — and, by extension, his fans — is simple: “I hope they understand that I’m a be here for a while,” Gunna shares. “So get used to me.”
How’s your time been during this pandemic?
I actually got a chance to get some things at home together. So I really got useful with the time, made the time useful.
How is Atlanta? Are things starting to get back to the normal? I heard the mall is open.
I’m taking it serious. Extremely serious, so I haven’t been stepping out. I haven’t been at no mall. I’ve still been on quarantine time. I know it ain’t as safe as it seems. I don’t think it’s back to normal yet, if you ask me.
What’s been the best thing you’ve watched during quarantine?
I was watching Netflix. I watched Ozark, [The] Blacklist. I never really had the chance to sit down and really watch a movie. It’s been a while. I’ve been enjoying that, too.
One of your favorite past times seems to be shopping. Now that places like Neiman Marcus are going bankrupt, stores are closed. How do you shop? Where do you shop?
Honestly, there’s nowhere to go so I don’t shop. Half of the time I can just go in the closet and grab something new, but it’s nowhere to go. The only time I really go to the mall is when I know I got an event coming up. If there’s nothing coming up I’m not going to do too much shopping. So this time from all the shopping I done did, I got new clothes that I never even got the chance to wear. So I’m still wearing new clothes.
I’ve noticed on Instagram, you’re still getting fits off every day. You’re getting up with a full wardrobe. Why is that so important when the whole world is wearing the same stuff every day, wearing pajamas in the house?
That’s just me. Even when I was a kid I used to get dressed, two, three times a day. I don’t know why. Ask my mom. But it’s something I used to do all the time. So now I just gotta. When you see me you know I’m going to have it on. That’s my life’s M.O. I love the clothes. I love to look good. I think that’s why I just wake up and just do it every day anyway.
Has the absence of touring and club appearance impacted your business?
A lot, because I’m a touring artist. I’m really booked up. I got shows. It’s really a difference for me. I’m chilling. I ain’t been home in two years. This long at a standstill? There ain’t no emotion in your business, [but] I’m that type of boss where I still pay my employees. We getting through it.
Have you been trying to offset that with handing in more features?
I done did so many features, they still clearing them. So at the end of the day I got features that they still owe me. By the time this probably over, I’ll still have a few features they still got to pay me. In other words, I can live off features for now.
When did you start working on the new album?
It had to have been the end of last year. I flew to Jamaica and I recorded out there for like three weeks. That’s basically where I came up with the whole WUNNA title [and] the majority of the songs that’s on the album out there.
What was Jamaica like?
It was fun. It was a vibe. I had my friends out there. I had a few women out there. I had fun. I wasn’t worried about shows or nothing. It was that time I took out for myself and my family.
What about the Jamaica trip inspired the title for the album?
Me being so relaxed and enjoying myself and having fun, I felt like I was the other side of me. The whole title of Wunna came because I’m a Gemini. You know how they say a Gemini is two people, I felt like I was my second person. The second person’s name just so happened to be Wunna.
How hectic was your life before you went to Jamaica, before the pandemic? I’m assuming you were constantly touring and recording.
I was working really hard. I was focused. I was doing more shows than anything, though. It wasn’t locked in to where I knew what I wanted to do. I just had the songs. I’m always in the studio, whether I’m in town or out of town. So I had songs. I didn’t really know how I wanted to deliver them, because I got so many titles. I got Drip Season 4. I’m in the process of making that. Drip or Drown 3, I didn’t know if I wanted to release those, be focused on them, or do something different. I ended up doing something different. That was my choice.
What inspired you to lead off with “Skybox” first?
I liked that song. I did that song in Jamaica. My DJ so happened to make that beat and now he’s a super producer of mine. He’s just making beats for me now, been locking in. I felt it was a special moment for both of us. I wanted to release that look also so he could get a look too, so people can get familiar with his sound and our sound together.
What was the most difficult part of making the album?
The hardest thing of making the album was just releasing it and finding the best time and making sure all my lines were together to release. That’s one of the main things you have to do as an artist, watch the timing and try to strategize everything out.
One of the standout songs is “Dollaz On My Mind,” which features Young Thug. At this point, what makes a song right for both of you to get on it?
I can get on any song he do and he can get on any song I do, because we can just relate to each other from being around each other so much we can do songs together. But if he was to play a beat, he might not have the same flow that I might come up with on the same song. We can still come together and make that song a hit.
Last year, it was teased that you, Baby, Future, and Young Thug may release Super Slimey 2. Is that still a possibility?
What’s your plan moving forward once everything starts get back to normal?
Yeah, I’m going on tour. I might go overseas and come back through the U.S. and by the time I’ll be dropping another album. That’s the plan for now.
Musicians and the entire music industry are scrambling to understand the wild wild west of live streaming. As each finds their own path forward, it’s important that they include all of the key players that drive live music.
From day one of this pandemic, I, like many artist managers out there, have been working almost nonstop to navigate around the changes and uncertainty that lie ahead for our artists. The roller coaster ride that has been the last few months was stressful, to say the least. And while all this uncertainty leads to stress, anxiety, and maybe even depression, our job is to push through to find solutions not only for our artists but also for ourselves.
On the one hand, it can feel almost like doomsday. On the other, I think we can agree that we’re lucky in that our access to technology, and most importantly, to the fans, is unprecedented within our industry. I’m a firm believer that the music industry is resilient. It’ll change and morph and evolve. We’re seeing it happen as we speak. Numerous artists are resorting to live streaming and connecting with fans on platforms they’ve never used before (e.g. Twitch, TikTok, StageIt, NoonChorus, etc.). Some artists, like my client, Fox Stevenson, have seen growth in streaming due to an increase in engagement online.
Even though we’re finding ways for artists to keep moving forward and maintain their careers, the live industry is left behind. We’re seeing reputable venues shutting down (Great Scott in Boston for example). The main revenue stream for our agency partners has all but diminished.
The other day one of my client’s agents emailed me asking my thoughts on how agents can play a role in the live streaming world. It was a great question and something that we all need to really talk about.
An agent’s main role is to work with promoters, venues, and festivals to book gigs. For their work, they receive a commission based on the artist’s pay. So if the only shows that are happening are live streams, what does that mean for them? If an artist can put on their own live stream concert, where can an agent or even a promoter fit into this equation?
Absolutely. Fox Stevenson streams regularly on Twitch and receives direct contributions from fans. (The highest single donation he received was $3,000 USD from a fan!). Another client, TORRES, streamed live on Instagram and promoted her PayPal, Venmo, and Patreon accounts.
Fans are spending money on their favorite artists. They’re buying merch, subscribing to Patreon, and tuning into these streams.
We’re also seeing artists doing ticketed live streams. NoonChorus, for example, makes contributing to artists seamless. Not only can you buy a ticket, but links to the artist’s PayPal, Venmo, and any additional links are right on the streaming page.
Live streaming is an opportunity to not only create a revenue stream, but to offer: VIP ticket packages to a limited number of fans where they can request songs or ask questions, limited edition merch, listening parties, and more.
The fact of the matter is that live streaming, whether it’s a house show or Q&A with fans, is one of the best ways artists can stay engaged with their fanbase.
I never considered myself a fan of Twenty One Pilots. Then I saw them at SXSW in 2012 and my mind was blown. I decided to see them again that week, and saw them 3 more times in NYC. Live concerts have always been a great way to gain new fans. Perform at a festival to an audience of thousands of people who have never seen you play. Open for a band that has listeners you want to reach. Join a friend at a local venue to see an artist you’ve never heard of before. Now you’re a fan.
Concerts have this innate way of creating a special fan experience and is easily one of the best ways to convert someone into a fan.
I’m curious to know what other artist teams are seeing, but it seems that for most streamed shows, artists are reaching audiences that are already following them.
The Internet is oversaturated with almost every single artist doing a live stream. There’s a lot of competition. Some artists are limited as far as sound quality is concerned when it comes to a live stream. Moreover, unless you live together, bands are separated due to social distancing and are unable to perform together.
Fortunately, there are ways artists can make new fans right now. You can “open” for another artist and then stick around the chatroom to engage with the fans as you watch the “headliner” performer. You can do a live Q&A with each other or with a different member of your band where fans can also take part in the conversation. An artist can also make a surprise appearance on someone else’s stream, which is always a great way to get fans excited and curious.
Beyond these ideas, in order for artists to reach new listeners, we need to come together and collaborate not just within the industry, but also beyond.
That being said, I’ve put together some ideas that agents can start exploring in order to find revenue streams not only for their artists, but for themselves. While it’s easy to cut out the middle person by artists organizing live streams themselves, it should not deter an agent from seeking out other opportunities that will otherwise be missed by artist teams. That is essentially what they bring to the table when helping book live shows.
Trivecta recently performed for an event called Dreamworld, that reached 5mil+ viewers over 3 days. The fundraising event raised $45k for charity. Trivecta alone reached 7k+ people with his performance.
Although this was an unpaid event, the potential for him to reach an audience beyond his current following is invaluable. Since the pandemic, he’s participated in 3 virtual festivals. These performances plus his efforts to engage with fans have resulted in a steady growth of new fans across his social media platforms.
We’ll continue to see more and more virtual festivals curated by large and small entities as the summer progresses.
This is something I haven’t seen as often as I’d expect, especially considering how festivals are turning to online streaming and seeing success with it.
I could see a brand taking more of a promoter approach in a lot of ways. Whether a brand or a promoter, I’d like to see what else they can bring to the table in terms of ensuring it’s a high quality stream. We’re mostly seeing people in their homes, but I think what we’re lacking is a makeshift stage with good lighting or some other efforts in terms of production. Or even adding visual effects in the background and multiple camera angles.
TORRES recently did a live stream on NoonChorus and with the help of her girlfriend and videographer friend, was able to create some DIY stage designs (mood lighting with candles and black lights) as well as costume changes. The result was a unique streaming experience that the fans enjoyed.
On a different level, we’re seeing charities and organizations hold events by curating a list of artists to perform. We’re also seeing entities such as Amazon Music partnering with artists to curate events and broadcast them on the company’s Twitch.
I’d love to see smaller companies, those with niche markets and a strong online presence, to consider partnering with musicians whether to put on their own version of an online event or to help promote their products by offering affiliate links or discounts that financially incentivizes artists. Not only does the company tap into these artists’ fan bases, but the artists are also exposed to an audience beyond their current fans.
First, why should an artist give up any of their ticket sales when they can cut the middle person out of the equation and self-promote?
It comes down to what new fans promoters or outside opportunities can bring to the table (whether that’s partnering with a venue or a brand that can expand exposure).
How do we connect this with the agency world in a way that all parties benefit? And how do we connect with promoters to maximize reach & sales in specific markets? (This was one of the questions I received in speaking to a client’s agent.)
When working on a local level, it makes sense to work with a promoter/venue if there’s an upcoming date with the artist on the books or if you know there will be one eventually (suffice it to say, who knows when live shows are making a comeback). That way you can use the live stream to also promote the concert.
If you’re working with multiple promoters to push one ticketed live stream, use affiliate links or promo codes to track sales. That way, an artist can justify giving a split of the profits with the promoter. And the artist can take advantage of the resources the promoter brings to the table.
With all these ideas in mind (and I’m sure there are plenty more this article doesn’t cover), an agent will have to evolve their role more to continue adding value to an artist’s career.
Agents can use these various ideas, mold them how they see will fit into an artist’s overall strategy, and find opportunities beyond what the artist or their team can bring to the table. They can actively seek out brand partnerships. They can help leverage their relationship with promoters to maximize exposure and sales for ticketed events.
Regardless, agencies and the live industry are vital facets to the music world. Let’s find ways to make sure they aren’t left behind.
If you record music at home, you’re used to dealing with a less than perfect recording space. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create incredible music.
In this article, I’m going to show you three mic hacks that’ll improve your recordings and make your home studio sound better than ever!
If you’ve recorded vocals before, you know how important it is to use a pop filter. They keep large gusts of air from smacking the mic capsule and creating loud bassy booms or shrill S sounds.
But what happens if your pop filter isn’t cutting it? Or maybe you don’t have one? (Don’t worry, I won’t judge).
Here’s another technique you can use to help avoid plosives and sibilance. Simply tilt your mic back a bit. It doesn’t have to be much either. Experiment with different angles until you land on the perfect spot.
When you tilt your mic back from a vocalist, the air travels across the mic capsule instead of directly into it. This will cut down on those harsh sounds and result in a much more professional vocal recording.
Unlike professional recording studios, home studios have to battle with a ton of sounds from windows facing outside, computer noises, household noises, air conditioning, the list goes on!
It can seem like an impossible task to avoid all of these sounds, but your microphone can help!
If you’re using a cardioid microphone, your mic has a bit of a blind spot, or in this case, a deaf spot.
The backside of a cardioid microphone picks up almost no sound. You can use this to your advantage! Point the back of your mic at the offending sound.
Your mic will naturally ignore most of what’s behind it, resulting in a much cleaner recording with fewer chances of noise ruining the take.
Pay attention to the sounds you want to avoid and experiment with your mics to find the best set up to avoid unwanted noises.
The difference can be huge!
This last tip can be used for any sound source but works best on instruments and percussion.
Rooms with square corners (90 degrees) create a lot of issues. Bass frequencies build up in them, oftentimes skewing the sound.
This can wreck the sound of your instrument or throw off the balance of your mix. With that said, you can use it to your advantage.
Sometimes you’ll mic up an instrument and no matter what mic position you choose or how many adjustments you make, it just sounds thin and lifeless.
If this happens to you, try moving the instrument to the corner of your room!
The bass that builds up in the corner of your room can add depth and warmth.
I can remember a time when I needed to record a violin. No matter what I did, it sounded so shrill and weak.
When I moved the player into the corner, the violin suddenly sounded full and warm.
This tip won’t work for everything but is a great tool to keep in the back of your head when you need it.
Next time you run into problems with your recording, try fixing it with your mic placement.
Home recording comes with its fair share of challenges, but leveraging what you have and making the most of it is one of the most rewarding and fun parts of creating music at home.