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.

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.

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/

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.

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.

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 

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.

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.

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

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.