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“Record Label Advances – Is it Free Money?”

Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock the Dream

A big part of the allure of signing a record deal is getting an advance (aka, the money).  There is much to consider before taking a check from a label, however.  Understanding how the advance works and the terms of your deal will help you make the right decision.  

A common misconception about record deals is that the artist gets paid just for the deal.  The payment the artist receives is only an “advance”, and has to be made back for the label.  The label is making an investment in you and your brand, and is expecting a return.  Your advance might be between $50,000- $350,000 (sometimes much more or much less), but the label will also put much more money into your recording, production, and promotion.  

The advance you get is simply a living wage while you work on producing music, plus performing and promoting it.  One thing to consider is the size of the label.  While a major label has the resources for a large budget, a small label may be limited.  A larger advance in this case could mean a smaller marketing and promotion budget, so consider how this will impact your goals.  A larger advance does not always mean a better deal.

Keep in mind that this “advance” is just that, a credit that you have to pay back.  Regardless of what percentage of revenue you are entitled to in the deal, all of your royalties will be taken by the label until their investment is repaid. This means you have to make back the entire advance, as well as recording costs and other expenses specified in the deal. You can end up personally liable for these costs if your music does not generate enough income, and likely be dropped from the label. It’s a good idea to consult an entertainment lawyer, so you understand what you are signing.  

If your “break even” point is far out of reach, you might not see any more money from your music for years to come, if ever. When considering an advance make sure you’re ready for the commitment you are entering, and that it will take you further in the direction of your goals instead of halting you. 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Signing a Record Deal - SmileCelebs




Source; Weibe, David Andrew. “How Much Advance Do Record Labels Give, And How Much Should You Try and Get. ” Music Industry How To, https://www.musicindustryhowto.com/how-much-advance-do-record-labels-give-and-how-much-should-you-try-and-get/

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Virtual Live Concert Tomorrow!

August 1st brings another Virtual Live Concert from Rock the Dream! Featured artists are Onella, Mitchel Madak, Sarah Shipley, Corry Michaels, and Nojac, and our MC is Kam Cinnamon. Tune in at 5pm PTD/ 8pm EDT on instagram and vote for your favorite performer! 

While in person concerts are on hold, you can still enjoy live music from home. And you can help support us and our artists with a donation. Join us @rockthedreamnonprofit on instagram, see you there!

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Step Up your Instagram Live Performances

Written By Diane Martin, Rock the Dream

Instagram Live has been popular since it came out four years ago, but now with in-person concerts on hold it is more valuable than ever. Instagram offers features that make it the perfect platform for your live performances. 

You can see your viewer count and their likes and feedback while broadcasting. Comments can be turned off if they’re distracting, but are a great way to engage and interact with fans. We’ve been forced to keep our entertainment virtual for now, so take advantage of live streaming for your fans! 

Use these tips to make your live stream top notch;

  1. Plan ahead. Before you start a live stream, make sure you have a plan for the entire time.  If it’s a performance, write out your set list, practice, and time it (You can go live for up to an hour).  You may want to be more interactive with fans like with a Q&A, but have something else to talk about or get some questions beforehand, so that you don’t end up sitting in silence with no questions!
  2. Promote.  After you plan your actual performance, plan when you’ll go live. Starting on a whim could be hit or miss depending how many of your followers are online. Post on your story or page, and on other social media, at least a few hours before, so your fans will know when to find you.
  3. Background. Even though it’s a pretty informal way to put on a show, make sure it still looks clean and professional.  Plan your backdrop and outfit to fit the vibe of your performance. Your messy bedroom as a background won’t scream professional artist to your fans! Also, set up any equipment and a place to set your phone before starting, so you’re not fumbling around on camera.  
  4. Lighting. Adequate lighting makes a huge difference. If your room lighting isn’t up to par, it might be worth it to invest in some more professional lighting, like a small ring light.  Amazon has some affordable options starting around $30.   
  5. Review.  You can save your live streams to your camera roll. Take advantage of this and watch back any live concerts that you do to see where you can improve for next time.  The comments won’t save, so try to read feedback between songs or at the end, or tell fans they can DM you after.  

You don’t have to make your fans wait until the pandemic is over to see you perform, go live for them now!

Virtual concert fills the void left by live music festivals ...
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The Do’s & Don’ts of Networking with Industry Professionals

By Kerry Oliver, CEO Rock the Dream

Every credible source advises to “network” with industry professionals as the sure fire way of getting ahead. “It’s WHO you know” that determines your level of success in the music world. Great advice, but two questions come to mind: One, how do I meet these mover n’ shakers; and, two, what is the right protocol in approaching them.

To seek out how you meet these important people, first you must determine what you wish to achieve. Do you want to be signed by a major label or just license your music? Or, do you want to work as a booking agent or tour manager? There are many facets to the industry, so it’s important to narrow down your focus of who you NEED to meet. 

For example and because we are Rock the Dream, let’s use “signing to a record label” as your goal. For this, the most practical path is to build relationships with Major Label A&R Consultants. These are the people who can connect you to the right labels. Watch industry news pieces for when they are speaking at an event, go up and introduce yourself, be prepared with an intelligent question. Other routes are to ask other artists you know who have representation for their rep’s contact info; also, check the industry social media news on up-and-coming artists you are now hearing about, because they normally have A&R and that is why you are hearing about them.

Of course, you can go through the traditional information sources who can give you all the names of those who you can approach, but knowing someone who knows someone is your best bet to open a door. There are many of these sources out there selling various lists of names.

Treat opportunities to meet industry professionals tied to your eventual goal as gold. Take advantage of every opportunity, no matter the cost, because it will cost you a lot more in the long run by not jumping on it. These opportunities are very rare.

At Rock the Dream, we are fortunate to work with Loren Israel who is a multi-platinum producer as well as an impactful A&R Consultant. His resume includes Jimmy Eat World, Coldplay, Sugarcult, Less Than Jake, Plain White T’s, Neon Trees, and many more. His current band, The Unlikely Candidates, recently had the #1 hit song on the Alternative Charts.

This leads us to Question #2 — protocol.  Here’s a quick story that will explain it all.  One of our interns wanted to train as an A&R person. She had an opportunity to attend one of Loren’s Workshops that we hosted for free. She chose not to attend, and then emailed him directly without our permission. She asked him to train her for free. To add insult to injury, she also stated that she needed these private sessions with him, because she didn’t have time to attend his workshop. I’m sure you can spot several problems here already.

Don’t be this person! You are not the VIP’s most important item on his/her agenda. In fact, your first thought in approaching them, should be “what’s in it for them?”  It never works to rush in with a “Hi, my name is, will you do this for me?” Take the time to build a relationship with the person, try to assist them with whatever they allow you to do — for free. Show them your value, first!

Don’t sing your accolades, they don’t care. You’re wasting their time. You are asking them for help, they did not seek you out. SHOW them what you’re worth. 

Random communication with different A&R consultants or any industry professional may possibly work, but most often is not an efficient use of your time. “Find someone who knows someone.”

Collage of Record Labels

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TROLL OR MARKETING GENIUS?

Written by Angelica Herrera, Rock the Dream

Do you feel like you’re constantly promoting your music on social media and not getting much traction? You’re not alone. Lil Nas X, in an interview, said “I’d post a funny meme and get 2,000 retweets. Then I’d post a song and get 10.” So, he quit sharing links to his music and started posting funny memes he could pair with his lyrics. Because of the memes, his Twitter account grew quickly to 30,000 followers.

In December 2018, he posted a video of a dancing cowboy with his song “Old Town Road” and the rest is history. Not only did the video go viral, it also climbed to the top of the Billboard charts and had several remixes with famous musicians who wanted to jump onto the hit.

Another artist who had one of the most underrated marketing strategies, was Soulja Boy with his song “Crank That” in 2007. He was unknown and had no connections to promote his music. So, he would listen to the radio and take note of the most popular songs across a variety of genres. Then, he would upload his song to LimeWire, title it with whatever song was popular at the time, for example “Umbrella” by Rihanna, and when the user downloaded it and liked it, they would google the lyrics to find out who the unexpected artist was. This is how Soulja got his debut song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the young age of 16.

Pair a catchy song with a unique marketing ploy, and any up-and-coming artist can create an opportunity to go viral. These artists were clever enough to know who their target audience was, where to find them and what content to put out to attract their attention. If you follow the formula, you too can have a successful marketing strategy for your next single.

SOURCES:

“Hip Hop History: Soulja Boy Trolls Limewire.” WIUX, wiux.org/read/hip-hop-history-soulja-boy-trolls-limewire/#:~:text=Although%20you%20may%20remember%20him. Accessed 17 July 2020.

“The Marketing Genius of Lil Nas X.” Marketingexamples.Com, marketingexamples.com/viral/lil-nas-x. Accessed 15 July 2020.

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Your Song Went Viral, What’s Next?

Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock the Dream

The best thing that can happen to an artist who hopes to top charts and make it big is that one of their songs goes viral.  In the era of social media, this has become more common and a goal attained by a number of artists, even with small followings.  Whether on the new sensation, Tik Tok, which has propelled many songs into the spotlight, or some other way, what you do after a song or video goes viral is crucial to your career.  

A lot of people think that getting your “15 minutes” of fame is all that it takes to show the world who you are and launch into stardom.  This is not always the case, though, as many of these viral stars fade out of the limelight nearly as fast as they arrived. It takes effort to turn this into an opportunity to capture long term fans.  

You want to keep your song on people’s radars for as long as you can, since you know your viral stint won’t last forever.  The more time it’s trending, though, the more listeners it will reach.  Make sure to promote anything big related to the song on your social medias, like a well known artist posting a cover or comment, or if you get added to a major playlist. Ask friends to do the same, and be grateful to everyone who helps promote it.  

If the song doesn’t already have a video, you should start working on one right away.  Try to release it while it’s still a recent memory, and this might give the song a whole new life in the spotlight, or even make it a bigger hit.  And, don’t slack on the quality either, put in time and effort since you know you have a big audience right now.  

Many videos, whether the official one or ones responding to it, have a dance or theme that contributes to them going viral. This is something to consider, because if this isn’t why the song went viral, you may have the opportunity to turn it into a challenge or trend.  Be creative and try to start one that you think can catch on, or turn to collaborators who might help blow up the song even more.  

In your “15 minutes” you’ll have more success reaching out to other big creators or artists who might want to collaborate or help you promote.  Maybe you won’t get a response, but this could be a chance to gain allies and friends in the industry.  

Some songs that go viral are an artist’s first release, but this is rare.  You probably already have other music out or created.  You, of course, want the viral song to keep being successful, but you really want to promote yourself as an artist while you have this new audience.  

One artist who went viral and has kept up the success afterward is Doja Cat.  This was highly due to the fact that she had a strong catalog of music, to which she directed new fans.  You should actively promote your other music and make it accessible to fans of your viral song.  If you don’t have much other music, start working on new releases as soon as you can.

Having a viral song will help your career in many ways, but it probably won’t make you a ton of money like you may think.  Streams alone don’t produce much revenue for an artist, even big ones.  That’s why you should promote your whole brand during this time.  This includes merch and live shows or tours.  If you don’t already have these in the works, start planning them as soon as you can.  Although, don’t rush to make something that doesn’t represent you well, as that can have the opposite effect on continuing your success.  

Finally, you may be thinking about how to turn this virality into a record deal.  You should first add the song to your press kit or EPK.  Know your stats about the song, so you’re ready to discuss it if the right people come your way.  But don’t use this song as your only selling point. You want people to believe in you as an artist, not a one hit wonder.  

Enjoy your success, but don’t think that’s the end of the hard work, because it’s only just beginning!

Doja Cat "Mooo!" Official Lyrics & Meaning | Verified - YouTube

Source; Fitzgerald, Kiana. “What It’s Like for an Artist to Go Viral- and Move Past It” Complex, 7 Jan. 2019, https://www.complex.com/music/2019/01/what-its-like-to-go-viral-move-past-it

 

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Turning Your Song into the Next Hit on TIK TOK

Written by Jessie Cheng, Rock The Dream

Stuck at home with your creative musical juices? With over 800 million active users, Tik Tok is undoubtedly one of the best platforms to take advantage of when promoting your music. While we may still be social distancing right now, your music can powerfully connect people all over the world! Read on, and you will be steps away from making your song a hit on Tik Tok. 

Which song should you promote? Choose a memorable song, one with catchy and easily learnable lyrics and beats. Tik Tok users love lip syncing and dancing to snappy songs, so ensure that your song is suitable. If your lyrics can be matched with simple and fun dance moves, even better! Users are looking for entertaining, lively, and exciting music to jam out to. The trendier and friendlier your music is, the more likely you are to experience success on Tik Tok! 

Tik Tok users also create thousands of hashtags for all kinds of videos. When promoting your music, make sure to include related hashtags that already have a substantial following, such as #music, #foryoupage, #fyp, and #challenge. Because the Tik Tok community is worldwide, users love sharing videos where they lip sync and dance to popularly shared songs. By including hashtags, your music will spread quickly through Tik Tok! 

Also consider creating your own memorable hashtag related to your song. For example, the successful promotion of “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X is heavily attributed to the hashtag “#yeehaw,” which resulted in thousands of videos with over 67 million plays. Your’s can be next!

Most importantly, have fun and be consistent! Think about ways to make your video more quirky, such as by adding unique filters or including hilarious outfits and props. When promoting your music, it is important to frequently interact with other Tik Tok users. Comment and like other posts, share new videos, take on Tik Tok challenges yourself, and believe that you are fully capable of promoting your music. Be confident that your music is powerful and can connect millions of people––keep it up! 

Source: “Get Your Music to Go Viral Using TikTok: How Musicians Can Use TikTok.” Burstimo, 15 June 2019, burstimo.com/promote-your-music-on-tik-tok/. 

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Music Videos Aren’t Going Anywhere!

Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock The Dream

As streaming continues to take over the music industry, it might seem like even music videos are becoming obsolete.  Many things in the industry have begun to fade over time, like physical albums, long release build ups, and even albums themselves. It may seem like videos could be next, but don’t write them off just yet.

Videos are still a huge part of music from both an artistic and business standpoint.  Youtube is still the largest music streaming platform in the world, and only second to google of all search engines.  And you can’t have music on youtube without a video! You can always upload a title screen or single picture as the visual of the entire video, but this can be a missed opportunity for creativity.  

In terms of your art, a video is an opportunity to further convey your vision and message to your audience.  No matter how simple or thought out the video is, it can enhance whatever mood you are going for and make fans feel even more connected to your music.  A video will also bring more attention to you and your song.  It’s another way to draw in fans and keep their interest to listen to an entire song, and maybe look for more after.

Some videos even end up becoming more popular than the song itself.  You can probably think of at least a few dances from music videos that became huge trends, even if you don’t remember the song, (think Gangnam Style, and more than one Drake video), or some really notable videos, like Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball. 

An example of a video success story is Mike Cover’ video of “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish on youtube.  He made a simple but well made video for this cover, which was noticed by a popular Tik Tok promoter. The video blew up and became his most viewed video, claiming 119k views and counting.  The cover probably wouldn’t have found the same success posted elsewhere.

Even the biggest artists don’t make videos for every song they release, and it’s not necessary for you either.  Not every video needs to be super complex or high budget too, just intentional and relevant to the project. If you can, try to make a video for at least one, if not a few songs as you release new projects throughout your career.  It can also be a way to keep promoting a song if it was already released on an album or single recently.  

Spotify and other platforms are even starting to add more video elements to their services.  Just log onto one, or youtube, to see that the music video is still very much alive!

Source; Medium. 4 Feb. 2016, medium.com/@pulsefilms/ why-music-videos-are-still-so-important-views-from-inside-the-industry-ebaa7d4758d2.

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Virtual Songwriting Workshop!

Rock the Dream is sponsoring select artists to participate in a Virtual Songwriting Workshop with multi-platinum producer and A&R Consultant, Loren Israel.

Loren, who worked as an A&R for Capitol Records for over 15 years, is well known for discovering and developing the Plain White T’s, Neon Trees, Jimmy Eat World and most recently, Unlikely Candidates.

The workshop will take place on Sunday, June 28th at 12pm PDT via Zoom. The participating artists will receive one free month in the Rock the Dream mentoring program.

To register or for more info, email contact@rockthedream.org.

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Do You Have What Booking Agents Are Looking For?

Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock The Dream

As many musicians find out early in their career, talent isn’t everything. Your music has to be high quality, but what will set you apart is hard work. This is also what will impress booking agents. As an artist you have to market and advocate for yourself, but at some point you will want the help of an agent to really evolve your career.

A booking agent will do exactly what’s in the name, manage your bookings. They will also work to get you fair compensation, set up tours, manage budgets for entire shows and tours, as well as arranging more press coverage to grow your fan base.  Though this is something you can do yourself, an agent will have the connections to get you gigs that you wouldn’t be able to on your own.

Before you’re ready for a booking agent, you should be regularly playing live and filling venues.  You also should have a good amount of experience playing live, as an agent will definitely be able to tell the difference. Once you feel you are at the point where a booking agent can help boost your career, there are a few things to help you stand out. 

One of the biggest things is professional and active social media accounts, as well as a website. This means having active accounts on multiple platforms, quality photos and promotional posts, and of course, a solid following.  This is one of the first points of contact a lot of fans and agents will have with you, so make sure it represents you well.  You should also link your artist website to your accounts, so people can quickly connect to your music and live show schedule. 

Something else to put together before looking for booking agents is a digital press kit, or DPK. This is your music resume, and brings together your artist bio, music releases, tour dates, music videos, social media and contact info.  Most booking agents find DPK’s on sites like Sonicbids, reverberation, etc. annoying because the format is not a quick and easy to follow. It’s best to hire a graphic artist to design a “One-Sheet” with all your information, and then create an online version on wix or your artist website, which essentially mimics the one-sheet design, but with videos.

Actually finding a booking agent is like most other things in the industry; through connections. Agents often find artists through managers, promoters, publicists, venue owners, and even other artists or producers. Occasionally, they will find artists through a popular song on a certain playlist or a popular chart. You also have the option of reaching out to booking agents yourself.  Remember to keep it professional and start with an email with links to your music and inviting them to a live performance. Or, try calling their office, but be very weary of cold calling an agent directly.  Do not brag about your music or yourself, they’ve heard it all before. Let your music and/or your numbers do the talking.

If you are ready for a booking agent, or once you work up to that point, make sure to put your brand together as professionally as possible, and then start your search for a booking agent. You get just one chance to make a first impression!

Source Articles;

https://artists.spotify.com/blog/booking-agents-how-to-get-%27em-and-why

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Announcing the Winner of our “It’s QuaranTIME” Contest

Written by Angelica Herrera, Rock the Dream

We want to send a huge thank you to everyone who submitted a 30-second video and helped make it a success!

The contest served as a fun way to raise money for the charity as Rock the Dream and the entire music industry has been significantly devastated by Covid-19 and the stay-at-home mandates implemented throughout the country.

All of the video submissions were funny and incredibly creative, and we want to give a special congratulations to Emerson Jones, the winner of the $50 Target Gift Card in our “It’s QuaranTIME Contest! His video submission (see below) received 39% of the votes, the most of any entrant, and has been awarded the gift card!

Exercise Ouch by Emerson Jones

Click here to see all of the video submissions.

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Artist Seeking Quality Manager

Written by Kerry Oliver, CEO of Rock The Dream

Every artist would love to have a competent manager. Someone to do all the work of booking, licensing, distribution, publicity, branding, merchandising, all of it!  Unfortunately, these quality managers are not available to the average up-and-coming artists, unless you have a whole lot of money to pay them. So, most settle for mom, dad or the girlfriend.

How do you attract the viable managers if you’re a regular struggling artist? One way, is to be superior to everyone else — in reality, not just your mind. Managers love securing artists with strong potential. Networking is the easier path, but you still have to be superior. No manager worth their salt, will take on a client who cannot make them money.

Managers normally draw a varying percentage of the artist’s income; this is how they make most of their money. Make sure they earn it! Beware the wannabe managers or worse the scammer managers who prey on artists who show a little success. Their tell is that they over-praise your ability in order to “sell” you on their services.

Now that you know what they are looking for, what are you looking for? Competent managers have knowledge and skills. They have connections with industry movers n’ shakers within the booking arena, as well as the promotional, A&R and distribution world. They must also be the ultimate artist development expert, as this is usually what needs the most attention with new talent.

One of the first criteria is that they are honest. They must tell you the truth, not sugar-coat issues that will hold you back. Whether it be about obstacles, opportunities, or their ability or yours. A manager must have excellent follow-through skills, communication abilities, and be a goal-setter. Throw in a dash of patience, marketing, legal and accounting knowledge and you’re almost there. My best advice, learn all of the operational skills to become a successful artist, then find a more qualified professional to replace you. If you don’t know the job description, then how can you find the person you are looking for.

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Stuck At Home? You Can Still Make New Fans!

Written by Jessie Cheng, Rock The Dream

While we may all be stuck at home right now, our creative possibilities are still limitless! As an artist, you can still take advantage of a plethora of ideas to make and connect with new fans. Keep reading, and you will be one step closer towards creating successful fan relationships!

  • People love surprises! Are you in the works of writing new music? Give people a tease of your new craftsmanship, either by sharing a special video message through social media or even a short demo of new music. Promising listeners awesome new releases will surely capture more people’s attention and lingering curiosity.
  • Go live on social media! Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are popular platforms to build strong connections with new fans. Be authentic and create a comfortable atmosphere, so fans feel invited into the creative musical process. Update them with what you have been doing, and interact with them by responding to questions or comments.
  • Share your favorite playlist through social media, and include some of your own songs within the playlist! This is a brilliant way to actively engage fans or anyone who may stumble across your social media. If people share similar musical tastes or hear your music for the first time, you will be on the right track towards making new fans!
  • Through YouTube, create collaboration videos with other artists, especially those with a large follower base. Be confident and show off your power vocals, and always ask listeners to check out your music afterwards!
  • If possible, plan merchandise giveaways or virtual contests! For example, if current followers post a photo of them listening to your newest music with a specific hashtag you created, you can choose a few winners to receive free T-shirts! This is a great way to engage existing fans and to expand your fan base.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your action steps. As long as you keep working diligently and creatively, remember that no physical boundary can stop you from becoming a better and more established artist!

Source: https://diymusician.cdbaby.com/music-promotion/promoting-music-online/

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Spotify To The Band Rescue!

Written by Hannah Lopez, Contributor.

Bands and Artists are normally short on cash, but now more than ever musicians are suffering financially with the loss of performances, touring and merch sales. Good news! In collaboration with Cash App, Paypal and GoFundMe artists can now create a fundraising button on their Spotify page.

First, if you don’t have one already, create a Spotify Artist account, then log in. There will be a blue tab at the top that declares you can now add a fundraising link to your profile. A list of options will appear: Cash App, GoFundMe, PayPal or you can donate your money to a Music Relief charity. You must already have an account at the option you choose.

Ensure the link you choose is correct by pulling it up in a different tab, click the “next” button and confirm it is correct. A page will appear informing you that your fundraising link has been received.

Check the exact steps using this CD Baby DIY Musician Link: https://diymusician.cdbaby.com/music-news/spotify-announces-artist-fundraising-pick/?utm_source=en&utm_medium=email&utm_content=banner&utm_campaign=diy_en_all_043020

Also, this “how to” video is extremely helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh4SVfmgY6M  

Then promote, promote, promote! The more people driven to your Spotify page to either donate or listen to your music, the more popular you will become and potentially the more money you will raise . . . That is, IF your music is marketable. But, that’s another story.

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Start Texting Your Fans

Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock The Dream

Every artists’ success comes down to the same thing: the fanbase.  That’s why the relationship between artists and fans is crucial, especially for those who are up and coming.  In our streaming and social media ruled world, fans are bombarded by new music and artists all the time.  It’s important for artists, then, to be creative in how they reach and respond to their fans. 

One way for artists to have personal interactions with fans is by texting them.  This goes against the typical rules of “fame”, but all kinds of artists have been successfully texting with fans through special services, like the startup “Community”.   This service, among others, allows for celebrities or rising artists to have a separate number (not their personal cell), to give to their fanbase to send updates or reply directly to messages. 

The amount of personal interaction depends on the artist, and sometimes the only responses are automatic replies.  Many artists though, like P. Diddy, reach out to loyal fans, send personalized responses, and even invite them to parties. Other artists who text with fans include the likes of Paul McCartney and Marshmello, along with a number of other celebrities. 

For huge stars, texting is mostly a way to say thank you and give back to their existing fans. It’s also a great way for emerging artists to grow and solidify their fanbase. Fans are more likely to be loyal, show up to more shows, and spread the name of an artist who personally reaches out to thank them and takes their feedback. 

On the other side, artists can send out messages to promote shows and merch, announce new music, have a giveaway, or anything else that will promote them.

A service like this is more useful now than ever for artists since most concerts and festivals are cancelled for the near future.  With most of the country and world in lockdown, it’s the perfect time to work on your craft, and also your brand. Fans, too, probably have more time and attention to give to music. Sending your fans a reminder of all that you’ve been working on will help you long after quarantine is over.

Source: Lorenz, Taylor. “Forget DMs. Celebrities Want You to Text Them.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Oct. 2019, http://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/style/celebrity-phone-numbers.html.

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Add Your Song Lyrics To Instagram Stories

Written by Jessie Cheng, Rock The Dream

We can add lyrics to Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” and Katy Perry’s “Roar” to our Instagram stories, but do you know that you can also add your own song lyrics? Yes, you can! Read through, and you’ll be on track towards adding your own song lyrics to your next IG story.

Using your mobile device, download Musixmatch, a free application that allows lyrics to be paired with music. After setting up your account, follow these three important steps:

First, get verified as an artist! There are many ways to receive verification, but the easiest way is to fill out this link here. This link is provided by CD Baby, a digital music distributor, which has partnered with Musixmatch so that you can receive fast artist verification!

Next, add the lyrics for your songs into your Musixmatch account by pressing the “Add Lyrics” button. Make sure to adhere to all Musixmatch guidelines when transcribing lyrics, such as adding lyrical content only, transcribing all lyrics (including repeated ones), placing secondary lyrics into parentheses, etc.

When formatting lyrics, it’s important to break them up into individual lines. This way, your followers will have an easier time reading through your lyrics when they reach your IG story. Musixmatch recommends against copying and pasting lyrics from other websites, since this may cause formatting issues. Here are a few other tips: separate sections to your song with double breaks, capitalize the first letter to every song line, and insert all numbers as words.

You’re almost finished, so hang in there! Now, you have arrived at the final and best part, which is syncing your lyrics with your music. Search for your song on Musixmatch, ensuring that the lyrics you previously entered appear with your song. Make sure to connect the application with either your Spotify, Amazon Music, or Apple Music account, and then press “Sync Lyrics.”

Your song will start playing, so make sure that all your lyrics are in sync with the song. After reaching the end, all you need to do now is wait for your Instagram to update, which may take some time. So open your IG story frequently and be patient!

Congratulations, you did it! Now, you don’t have to add Taylor Swift’s “ME!” to your story anymore. Add your OWN lyrics that demonstrate your unique tastes and creative musical styles!

Lyrics On Instagram Stories

Source: CD Baby, DIY Musician, Chris Robley, May 5, 2020. Source: CD Baby, DIY Musician, Chris Robley, May 5, 2020. https://diymusician.cdbaby.com/music-promotion/get-lyrics-on-instagram-stories/?fbclid=IwAR1LEJL6h67P8vFt_loi70MOZ3Zgjn0UrwYUTiWSHmAcwEnHThUMg01_3a4 

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What Major Labels Look For When Signing An Artist

Written by Kerry Oliver, CEO of Dream A Dream Records

Dream A Dream Records has showcased hundreds of bands and artists over the years. Their common belief is that their music is good . . . or good enough to be signed by a major label. Then, when we ask for their live show attendance and social media numbers, it tells a whole different story.

If artists are not drawing at least 500 fans at every show; if their social media numbers are a couple of thousands instead of 100,000+ across their media platforms, then they should be asking themselves, why and make the improvements, not excuses. Mentors work well for this elevating endeavor.

Labels look at numbers — why? Because it gauges the success level of the artist through their appeal and marketability. Fans love their artists to dress professionally, perform at a highly entertaining level, and most importantly, their songs are memorable. If an artist is achieving these levels, then their marketability points are normally visible to the A&R consultants who find the talent to present to the major and indie labels.

Another aspect that labels hold most dear, is the personality of the artists. Are they humble? Are they confident? Are they easy to work with? Are they hardworking?  These traits are most often more important than the musical talent itself. You can buy songs, dress up a band, teach them to perform; BUT, you cannot teach them to be likable.

There are thousands of artists with amazing talent, amazing songs. There are so few that are likable and humble. Labels want artists they like.

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High School Tour During Quarantine Madness!

By Kerry Oliver, Rock The Dream

Traveling hundreds of miles through Michigan, Indiana and Ohio in just five days, Inconsistent Me marks the end to another FUN High School Tour with a twist. Getting to each state, right before the school systems closed was pure luck, until Michigan where he missed the last closure by 24 hours.

“We crossed our fingers that the tour wouldn’t be cancelled, and he made it through all but one . . . that’s a win!” stated Angelica Herrera, Rock the Dream Concert Coordinator.

Since he launched his solo career on his first tour back in April 2019, he has accomplished three tours in over five states and 14 schools, performing in front of hundreds of new fans.

Due to the virus outbreak and the question of when and how schools will re-open, his next Rock the Campus tour is delayed to the Spring of 2021 with plans to squeeze in at least four tour routes through December.

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Managing Mental Health During Covid-19

Written by Hannah Lopez, Rock The Dream

Being a musician during the chaos of Coronavirus can be difficult. It is hard to stay motivated to produce new music when your energy may be focused elsewhere, like calming your anxiety.  

I have compiled some suggestions on how to keep productive and use this time as an opportunity to focus on your music career.

First and foremost, focus on your Mental Health. Go outside for a jog or walk. Renew your hobbies or find new ones. Stay engaged in the music culture through your favorite podcasts, virtual live concerts, and fun events.

Instead of focusing on the news of a changing world, try to become more ‘you’. Staying at home can be daunting, but you can make it engaging, so take time to focus on your mental health. I started meditating and it helps me to stay centered. Writing your music or playing your instrument can have the same effect. Take this time to hone your craft!

Your feelings are valid. It’s okay if you are scared and nervous about the future. How you react to it is what matters. If you are worried, make time to worry; no seriously! Set aside time each day to establish worry time. This can be 10 to 20 minutes to focus on your anxiety, and then turn it into energy to  productively move forward.

Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, and eating properly, so you’re prepared for the day — 8 hours of sleep a night. Many musicians say they pass the time by working out. This will definitely keep you in shape when festivals and concerts re-open, but don’t forget to practice your sets and write new music.

Social media can be really destructive to your mental health, unplug . . . restrict your fan interactions to just 2 hours per day on your various platforms. Find positive ways to promote your music or new video. Look for new networking opportunities within the music industry. Make sure you are staying visually engaged with close friends and family on Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or whatever you choose.

For me, helping others always makes me happy. One charity that you can donate to, and will directly help us all during this quarantine time, is the Coronavirus Global Relief at unicef.com.

 I recommend taking this time to focus on your mental health, make sure that you are doing okay first, then move forward with your music.

Source Article:  https://healthmatters.nyp.org/a-road-map-to-finding-calm-amid-coronavirus-anxiety

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CORONA TIMES CALL FOR FUN CORONA MEASURES: IT’S QUARANTIME!

Written by Grayce Moran, Rock The Dream

Need a break from your schoolwork? Are the kids driving you crazy? Are you looking for ideas to pass the time in lockdown?

Here’s your chance to show us the crazy, wacky, creative ways that you’ve found to keep yourself entertained during this Corona season…and maybe win a prize!

Starting April 10th, “It’s QuaranTIME!” contest is going live. We want to see your videos (up to 30-seconds) showing us how you are keeping sane while stuck inside.

As an organization that relies on events, fundraisers, and concerts for income, we at Rock the Dream have taken a major hit. “Its QuaranTIME!” is a fun way to get the community involved, while helping to keep our charity afloat.

Once you submit your video, tell all your friends and family to vote! The video with the most votes will win a $50 Target gift card. That’s a lot of toilet paper!

We are asking for a $2 donation fee per video submission. Submit videos to contest@rockthedream.org. To review the contest rules, view the submitted videos and vote, go to www.rockthedreamblog.org/quarantime-contest.  The winning video will be chosen and announced on May 1st.

Bring smiles during this uncertain time and submit your video! All proceeds benefit the nonprofit 501(c)(3) Rock the Dream, who is applying the funds to keep their staff employed, and its doors open to support struggling bands and artists to achieve their dreams.

For more information or if you have any questions, email  contest@rockthedream.org.

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Music and the Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the music industry. From halting album releases and cancelling tours to decimating gigs for musicians, sound techs and thousands of others who rely on income from concerts and public gatherings. Those who live and work in the music industry professionally, have been significantly affected.

Rock The Dream, like many others, is one of the small businesses that have had to decrease our staff’s hours dramatically and let some go, which has affected our ability to fulfill our mission to help these struggling musicians and bands, who have suffered a huge blow economically.

Would you join us in making a difference? We’re raising money to care for our staff and their families, and to ensure we can continue to help artists pursue their dreams in the music industry. Any donation will make an impact! Because we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit, all donations are tax deductible.

The link to RTD’s Small Business Relief GoFund Me is here:

shorturl.at/rDSTW

We thank you in advance for your generosity!

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Easy Actions to Increase Spotify Traction

By Grayce Moran.

In a world where CD’s and iTunes libraries are a thing of the past, artists often struggle to make money from their music releases. Streaming is the newest and most popular way to listen to music, making mechanical royalties an important portion of an artist’s income.

Spotify is the largest and most well-known streaming subscription service, and an artist’s best chance at reaching an audience and making some money in the process. One way to gain traction on this platform is utilizing CD Baby.

The first step to success on Spotify is to get verified. Normally, this process would take a few days to complete; however, if you are registered through CD Baby, this is instantaneous. Make all of your artist information available to your audience – bio, concert calendar, press photos, etc.

Be sure to plan ahead. This is the most important factor to take away from this article. To effectively promote your music, you will need to plan at least 3-4 weeks ahead of your release date.

Sign your music up for distribution and Show.co (free for CD Baby clients). This will allow you to run Pre-save & Follow Campaigns, giving your current fans first access to your music. All you need is your single’s UPC, a good press photo and a catchy hook or reward.

Seven days before your release, submit your song to Spotify’s editorial team. Include your current pre-save and follow plans, your advertising budget, and any other campaigns you are using to promote your content. This will guarantee that your song is placed on your follower’s Release and Radar playlists.

Finally, invest in your music and make sure you have an advertising budget. Running ads is your best tool to reach a new audience. Don’t rush. Plan ahead. Put in the effort and you will see your Spotify numbers begin to rise.

Source: Robley, Chris. “How to Promote Your next Song on Spotify.” DIY Musician Blog, CD Baby, 2 Mar. 2020

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Rock The Quad Charity Concert

The 6th Annual Rock The Quad Charity Concert will be held on Saturday, April 4th from 5:00pm to 10:00pm at Tempe Marketplace in Tempe, AZ. Enjoy this free concert, featuring Vynyl from Denver, CO and from Arizona, Rosahlee, Just Tommy, Maybe By Fall and Toxic Hearts. Net proceeds benefit Rock the Dream.

UPDATE MARCH 25, 2020: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this concert has been cancelled.

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Showcase for an A&R Rep – Are You Ready?

Many artists dream of the day when they will be signed to a record label, especially a major label. What do they need to make this happen? First, talent and hard work; connections never hurt; and a showcase before an A&R consultant.

If you’re at this level, then the Arizona Booking and A&R Showcase is a viable opportunity to push your career forward. In April 2020, we will be hosting this event featuring Loren Israel, A&R consultant to major labels, including Sony Music and Capitol Records, to name a few. As in any showcase, participating artists will perform, hopeful that they have the “stuff” that Loren is looking for. Also present for this showcase will be a booking agent who will review performances and book those artists they prefer for local PAID gigs.

Whether the answer is yes or no, Loren will be offering constructive advice on how to improve and raise talent to the level needed for a record label signing. He is also a multi-platinum producer for such bands as Plain White T’s, Jimmy Eat World and Neon Trees. In addition, he has represented Cold Play, Less Than Jake and most recently The Unlikely Candidates who are #1 on the Adult Alternative Chart. There is a $150 registration fee with all net proceeds donated to Rock the Dream.

If interested in registering for this Booking and A&R Showcase, email contact@rockthedream.org. There are 10 spots available.

UPDATE MARCH 20, 2020: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Rock the Dream has postponed this event until further notice.

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Artist Mentorship For Everyone!

If you are an artist and need help navigating through the music industry, help is here. The biggest need that most struggling bands and artists agree is — it takes a TEAM!

Rock The Dream has launched a Mentorship Program. Every artist who enrolls will receive one free month to experience the benefits of this lesson plan. This process will help prepare them with the professional tools, knowledge, networking connections and skills necessary to jump from local to regional, and then national touring level.

After the free month, the cost is $50 per month, which directly funds the nonprofit organizations. No contracts, so you can leave at any time.

If you are interested in participating in the Mentorship Program with one free month to see if this is right for you, email contact@rockthedream.org for more information or to enroll.