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Test Your Songwriting Skills: RPM Challenge

January 28, 2010

I love this idea. The RPM Challenge is a simple one: Record an Album in 28 days because you can. It really speaks to the availability of good quality affordable recording equipment and to the ubiquity of music in our culture.

An album can take some artists years to create. But this world typically won’t wait that long. If you have a dedicated fan base then they may wait, but there is a lot of other music out there. You may be lost if you’re not consistently making music or staying engaged via social media.

A new album that has some added context behind it (with the 28 days time limit) would be awesome for your fans, but it’s also good for you. It challenges your creativity, your commitment, and your songwriting chops.

Great art doesn’t always start from the most comfortable places. Sometimes we need someone to light a fire under our ass to start moving. 28 days will get your ass moving. So sign up to the RPM Challenge and test your songwriting skills. I think I will too.


Take Control of Your Music
Voyno

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Band Email List Basics: Please Don’t Send Me Dink Pills

January 23, 2010

Band basics: Instruments, recordings, shows, and an email list.. you have a list going right??

In the NRP book we write about the importance of email lists. They will be your life blood for years to come. How many MySpace friends emails do you have? How about Facebook fans emails? Twitter? I thought so. You’ve got to be converting those fans into EMAIL fans. When you have a fans email you have a direct contact and don’t have to go through a middle man like Fbook.

BUT when you finally do get an email list going, and you’re sending your updates be sure to put your fans email in the BCC field. Otherwise if you simply enter the emails into the regular field you are literally sharing their email with ALL of your users. That is a huge privacy gaff. I realize that we are living in a time when emails are given out loosley but I get enough spam for dink pills. I don’t need anymore (they don’t work, right?). So when you are ready to send an update to fans make sure you use the BCC field and keep everyone happy.


Take Control of Your Music
Voyno

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Working All Your Music Muscles

January 18, 2010

Winter is a period of hibernation. We stay inside from the cold and write and record music. But as the freakishly warm weather outside my house tells me, spring is on its way. For bands that means changing your focus and working more than just your songwriting muscles.

Being an artist in our connected world demands that we have a knowledge of so many things. From promotion, to musical gear, to html code, to art direction. All of those things need to be used to keep the ball rolling. There’s a wealth of knowledge on the net (we have some nuggets of gold as well) but as always it’s up to you to use that knowledge and keep all your music muscles working.


Take Control of Your Music
Voyno

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Post Tour Reach Around

January 13, 2010

So you’re back from a tour and it was a great success. You made new friends and fans and shared your music with the world. Great, now what?

Well on one of your days recuperating I’d suggest sending some thank you emails to those who’ve helped you out. Thank that friend that made room for you at her place. Send out an email to the club where you had a milky set. Send an update to new fans that have joined the mailing list. This is the post tour reach around. It’s the last move to tip the scales in your favor if you ever want to do it all again. So reach around and start connecting with your new found friends. It gets easier every time.


Take Control of Your Music
Voyno

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Make the Worst Music Possible

January 10, 2010

Have you ever been paralyzed by possibility and expectation, and the potential for failure?

For me, when I do anything in the public forum, that cold wind of failure rolls through my bones. Failure is the worst…That’s what teachers, priests, and culture have told me. Nobody wants failure’s red pen on school assignments let alone their life or art.

But yet how are you supposed to learn if you’re afraid of failure? Failure and mistakes are the WAY we learn. Mistakes in everything; in music, in touring, in shoes. Mistakes are how you get better.

So that brings us to our title for today (a bastardization of a theater quote); Make the Worst Music Possible. For me it’s liberating in the sense that anything you do will be better than the worst music possible. You know you’re not going to please everyone so might as well please your self. And it allows you to drop the notion that there is a right way or a wrong way to do art. Create the music you truly feel and failure seems not too important.


Take Control of Your Music
Voyno

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4 Not So Obvious Tour Tips

January 9, 2010

Touring is always an interesting affair. The shows, the fans, the pay, the food, the buzzing in the car, the buzzing in your ear, all can wear on you. So to help keep you sane give these a go:

  1. Seize the shower: When a shower is available, you best take it. If you are crashing on couches and floors a shower can become a scarce thing. Driving hours from gig to gig may make personal hygiene fall behind on the ol’ priority list. It’s okay, you are a touring independent musician, it’s expected. But when it’s offered, get yourself cleaned up and seize that shower.
  2. Plug your ears: Sleep, oh precious sleep, on the road it can be hard to come by. Or when it does occur, it’ll be in strange bursts that leave you dazed. So to help with your mental stability pack more than a few spare ear plugs. Drown out the world, get some sleep and feel better.
  3. Unplug your butt: When you are trapped in a vehicle for 7 hours, staying on a healthy digestive schedule can be difficult. Constantly eating take out food can cause things to back up. So do yourself a favour and bring along a cooler with fruits and other healthy snacks. Stay away from the sugars and the salts as they will make you feel and smell like a dog.
  4. Field trips to the library: Day off you say? Sure you could hit a mall, go guitar shopping, or drive around and check out the new city, but if you’re really strapped for cash I’d suggest a trip to the library. Typically it’s a calming place where everyone can get away from each other, quiet down, and spend very little money.

Those 4 things will definitely help, but as all of us know there is always more to learn about touring. In the New Rockstar Philosophy Book we get into more specifics. You should check it out. I hope everyone’s booking for the spring thaw. It’s going to be a good year for shows. DIYgigs.com is adding new venues daily. Add yours and good karma will come to you.


Take Control of Your Music
Voyno

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Your 2010 Music Goals

January 4, 2010

Since it’s the new year, why not talk about music goals for the year?

I thought this post could be a spot where people could comment their goals for the year as a starting point for their actions going forward.   I think people expressing themselves publicly may get themselves to act more instead of just wishing. I could be totally wrong, but nonetheless, it may inspire others.

Since I’m asking you to let out your goals,  it’s only fair that I put out my music goals. That’s right, I’m a closet singer-songwriter who is just inching his way out into the world.  I’d like to see myself record at least 3 3ps this year, put out at least 12-20 YouTube/Videos, and play at least 5 shows (hey, I’m inching my way out, so give a brother a break) by December 30, 2010.

Besides my own personal music goals, I want to see DIYgigs.com become a really great resource for bands by the end of 2010. I want to see 100’s if not thousands of venues across the world be listed and rated. I want to see bands email us saying that DIYgigs.com helped them book their tour.  I want to have real impact on the lives of artists trying to make a go of things on their own.