Category: Collaboration

Wireless Ghost Pedal Creates Wah Effect Without Physical Pedal ~ Video

 

ghost pedal

Students from Purdue University’s School of Mechanical Engineering recently developed the Ghost Pedal, a wireless device that uses sensors attached to the guitar player’s foot to create a wah effect—minus the physical pedal.

“Because Ghost Pedal is wireless and does not have a physical pedal, guitar players can activate and use their wah distortion effect anywhere on stage at any time,” said Robbie Hoye, part of the the Ghost Pedal team at the university in West Lafayette, Indiana, talking to the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch. “They also have the ability to deactivate the effect whenever they choose.”

Once the Ghost Pedal is turned on, the user enters a 10-second mode during which the variable resistor calibrates the ability to flex the foot from the floor. After calibration mode, the guitarist enters freeplay mode.

“During freeplay, the user actively manipulates the wah level by changing their foot’s angle from the floor,” Hoye said. “The calibration mode adapts itself to modify the resistance sensor to each user and their foot flexibility at the touch of a button. Ghost Pedal and traditional wah pedals use the same motion to activate the wah effect; the guitarist doesn’t have to learn a new motion.”

For more on this story, give Google a try. For some reason, there’s not much out there.

BY  Damian Fanelli September 1, 2015
Courtessy of GuitarPlayer.com

How To Get Songs Placed On TV And In Movies

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By Ari Herstand

Last weekend at the ASCAP Music Expo at the Loews Hollywood Hotel I attended the Music Supervisor panel containing 5 music supervisors who actively place music in film and television.

Over the course of my career, I’ve had about 30 TV placements (20 in the last year from my new record). I’ve gotten songs placed on high profile shows that are known for their music, like One Tree Hill and shows you’ve never heard of, where music is very much “background,” like Friendzone. And everything in between.

And I’ve also been 1 week away from having a song on So You Think You Can Dance. Contracts were signed. The only problem was, the contestant who was going to dance to my song got bumped. Balls.

There is no one way to get music placed on TV (or in film). In addition to how I’ve gone about it, I’ve spoken with many of my musician friends who make livings on song placements about this.

Music Supervisor

According to the Guild of Music Supervisors, the definition/role of a music supervisor is defined as:

“A qualified professional who oversees all music related aspects of film, television, advertising, video games and any other existing or emerging visual media platforms as required.”

Music supervisors are the actual people who take the cues from the producers and director when the “picture is locked” and underscore the picture with songs. The composer underscores the picture with original, scored compositions written specifically for that scene.

Sometimes (most of the time) music supervisors use the instrumental version and most of the time it’s just a small snippet of the song (however, now I have to brag a bit, One Tree Hill used all 3:43 of my song – words and music. But that’s very rare).

On the ASCAP panel sat Rebecca Rienks, who currently places music for E! (you know those promo montage spots that always seem to have Ryan Seacrest looking… Seacresty); Holly Hung, who primarily places music in film trailers; Jeff Gray just finished a feature film; Lindsay Wolfington (who placed me in One Tree Hill), mostly works on TV shows; and the moderator, Jason Kramer, is a music supervisor at Elias Arts, a music production company that specializes in original music composition and sound design for TV, films and commercials. Kramer is also a host on Los Angeles’ KCRW.

musicsupervisorpanel

They rapped for just over an hour about what types of music they look for, day to day challenges (mainly dealing with producers who say stuff like “can you make this more purple?”) and showed us some of the spots they’ve placed music in.

“As long as it fits and tonally hits everything that it needs to hit, it doesn’t matter if it’s an indie band, somebody not signed, somebody just dropped, if it works it works.” – Holly Hung, Music Supervisor

Hung told a story about working on a trailer for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  She said they had a Coldplay song as temp music and she spent 3 weeks looking for a replacement for it. She scoured iTunes and found a band who had just gotten dropped by their label and the singer was currently working at Starbucks. She used the song and the band got $80,000 for the placement.

Getting Music To The Music Supervisors

As you can imagine, music supervisors get inundated with emails from people wanting their music placed. Be it musicians, licensing companies, publishing companies, managers or just fans of the supe (that’s short for music supervisor – and yes they have fans), supes can get overwhelmed and are very picky about HOW they will take submissions.

DO NOT ATTACH MP3s

There’s no correct way to get music placed, but there are a few incorrect ways. All supes on the panel said do not attach mp3s to an email. It clutters up their inbox and will go directly to the trash (and your email will probably get blocked).

How To Get Your Email Opened

Hung said to put who you sound like in the subject line. Like “Sounds like Coldplay.” Keep the body short and to the point and only send the songs that make sense for the project that supe is working on. So, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Do not send your tear-jerker ballad to Rienks who needs upbeat, fun, exciting music for her E! spots.

How To Get Your Song Listened To

In the email, include links to where the song can be quickly listened to (without having to be downloaded) where there is ALSO an option to download it if they want to use it. Also, directly below the song, include a link to the instrumental.

Wolfington mentioned that she loves Box.com. Box.com (unlike Dropbox) will open a window with a player and it has a download link in the upper right hand corner. Very convenient.

Do not include links to ALL of your music. Send the best 1-3 songs that will work for that supe’s current project.

If the supe wants more of your music, she’ll ask.

In the email, it may help to list a couple distinctive adjectives below each song or key lyrics. Like:

“Cold Water”
epic, explosion at end,
key lyrics: “I will find the artist inside me”
full wav: link to box.com
instrumental wav: link to box.com

And yes, always upload .wavs. Not mp3s. If the supe wants to experiment with your song in the spot, she isn’t going to want to have to REEDIT in the wav once she realizes it’s a low-quality mp3.

Licensing Companies

If you don’t have a publishing company, there are companies out there who solely pitch music to music supervisors. Unlike publishing companies, they do not own any part of your song. Similarly, though, they will not go hunt down your mechanical royalties around the world for you (like publishing companies will).

Some will take a back-end percentage of your performance royalties (like from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN), and others won’t. Some will work with you non-exclusively and others (the more established ones) will require you to work exclusively with them.

Typically licensing companies will take about 30-50% of the total sync fee and 30-50% of the back-end performance royalties.

Getting Paid

All network TV shows have a budget for music. Most higher profile cable TV shows have a budget for music. Most reality shows have a very tiny budget for music and will not pay you for the placement unless they have to.

Network TV shows will typically pay $3,000+ (depending on the spot and your level of clout). Cable TV shows will typically pay $750+ and reality shows on cable mostly pay indie artists nothing. Movies, trailers and commercials typically pay the most: $20,000+.

But these are very loose numbers. I’ve heard of major label artists getting $30,000 for a cable show and indie bands making $80,000 for a trailer.

Before you breakout the pitchforks for the reality TV show producers, you won’t NOT get paid EVER for these spots, you just won’t get paid up front. Meaning, many of these shows will ask you for the rights to place your music for free, knowing that you’ll make back-end songwriter/publisher performance royalties from your PRO (Performing Rights Organization – ASCAP, BMI, etc). If you get a bunch of these kinds of placements, they can really add up. It just takes about 9-18 months to see that check, though. These shows also (to compensate for their lack of payment) do a decent job of maximizing the band’s exposure. Most shows have an entire music section on their websites that list all music from each episode with links to iTunes and Spotify and to the bands’ websites. The Real World also puts the name of the song and the artist on the screen while the song is playing.

So, it’s not completely free. It can be pretty decent exposure.

And hey, if you don’t want to let them use your song for free, there is no one forcing you to.

Also worth noting, you don’t make any performance royalties when the movies are shown in theaters. There’s no legitimate reason why. It’s one of those messed up parts of the music business.

Pay To Submit Companies

There are companies like MusicXray.com, Sonicbids.com and Taxi.com who charge you to submit to music supervisors (oh you also have pay to become a member) for consideration. Taxi.com openly admits that only 6% of their artists get some kind of deal (who knows how many paid submissions they already submitted). But one of the music supervisors on the panel (I’ll withhold who) when asked about these companies, said, “it’s bad business.”

I’ve never actually heard of anyone getting a placement through these services. If you have PLEASE post it in the comments.

You have to see it from the supe’s perspective. They want music from people they trust, like licensing companies, publishing companies and musicians who they have a relationship with. Not some service that pushes out music where the only barrier for entry is a fee.

How To Get In The Door

Now that you know HOW to submit, how do you know WHO to submit to? Well, simple, do your research. The first handful of placements I got were from watching TV shows, noting the kind of music they used, looking at who the music supervisor was (they’re always listed in the ending credits – or on IMDB), Googling a bit to find their email, and cold emailing. Actually, I tweeted Lindsay Wolfington my song for One Tree Hill.

They’re all mostly on Twitter too.

Above all DO NOT SPAM them. This is a quick way to get blacklisted and blocked. Be polite and respectful. Make sure your emails are short and to the point.

If you don’t get a response don’t think they’re not interested. Wolfington mentioned that she puts all of these emails in a folder and when she’s looking for music, she sifts through the folder. So make sure your links don’t expire.

If you want to find a licensing company, there are a ton out there. Google around for a bit. Ask your friends who have gotten placements who they use. Check the credits of films to see who the song is “Courtesy of” – if it’s not a label, it’s most likely the licensing or publishing company.

I get asked all the time who are some good licensing companies out there, and the fact is, I don’t know all of them. I don’t know most of them. I’ve worked with a handful of them and have a few now who pitch me (non-exclusively), but it’s pointless for me to share this information because then the few licensing companies I know would get flooded by your emails. Do your research and find the company that’s the best fit for you.

Getting songs placed on TV shows and in movies is a highly sought after part of the music industry. Some musicians make their entire income off of it. Many companies do exclusively this. Like any avenue in the music industry, if you want to do well, you must put in the time necessary to master it. You can’t blast out 50 emails to 50 music supervisors and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It takes years of building up relationships, networking and trial and error. And again, DO NOT send out music that is not right for the show (or underdeveloped). That gives a bad name to all self-pitching artists. Every time a supe gets an email from an artist with shitty music or music that is completely different from what she places, she is less likely to open another email in the future. Don’t hurt your fellow independent musicians. Be respectful and be professional.

 

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of Ari’s Take.

5 Lyrical Clichés That Can Ruin a Song

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Mac DeMarco’s “Salad Days” uses a cliché theme in a fresh way. (Photo by Coley Brown)

How do we define cheesy? What separates a lyrical motif from a cringe-worthy cliché? And is there any way that these songwriting taboos can actually work in your favor?

The answer to the latter question is simpler than defining the errors. If you’re aware of the tropes you’re tripping over, the work can be understood as satire, irony, or camp. Another option: pair familiar lyrical lines with an otherwise unconventional song. None of those suggestions are foolproof, and it’s not a guarantee that your use of cheesy or cliché wording will make your music unlistenable. Figuring out what works in any particular situation, as always, is ultimately up to you.

Here are some of the most commonly relied-upon songwriting clichés, and why they’re mistakes – plus instances in which they were successful.

Read more: 5 Lyrical Clichés That Can Ruin a Song

5 Exercises That Will Make You A Better Songwriter

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There is a false assumption about songwriting that some magical moment of inspiration will suddenly strike a person sitting in a room with a guitar, causing them to give birth to a small piece of artistic brilliance and until that happens, it’s not worth picking up a pen and a piece of paper.

It’s true that inspiration can come from a variety of places, but the hard reality is that just like playing an instrument, great songwriters become great by practicing.  It’s especially important to remember that early results are almost never that promising. It’s okay to write a crappy song. The key is figuring out what about the song wasn’t so great and what needs to be done to improve it.

In the meantime, there are exercises you can do on a daily and weekly basis that will strengthen your writing muscle and make you a better songwriter. Some of these are tried and true techniques, some are a little bit outside of the box. Some of them may work wonders for you, some may not. Every writer learns to find what processes work best for them.

Learn, Play, and Diagram Your Favorite Songs

Influences are a big part of every songwriter’s individual sound. The hard part is figuring out how to absorb your favorite writers and let their influence seep into your own creative process without copying them outright. Learning to play and perform a song that someone else wrote is one way to learn from the inside out what it feels like to sing from that writer’s perspective. The reality is, you will never be able to perform it the same way they do, so take liberty in interpreting their song with your own voice. Memorize the lyrics, practice and learn it as if you were preparing to perform it. Really let it sink in.

Freestyle Write and Record It

Freestyle, stream of consciousness writing is deceptively simple. Training your mind to spit out new ideas without stopping is a discipline in and of itself. Whether your playing guitar, DJing in Ableton, singing and playing piano or whatever medium you prefer to write in, freestyle writing can not only be a discovery tool for new ideas, but can also reveal crutches and patterns that you lean on too often. Make sure and record yourself and listen back, you might be surprised as to what you hear.

Write With Someone Else

It’s always a good idea to try out writing with another writer, whether or not they are more or less experienced that you are. There are always methods you could pick up, but more than anything writing with someone else forces you to put ideas to paper. Writing alone can often include distractions, but when you have a set aside time in front of someone else there is more of a sense of urgency to create something. Don’t expect every co-writing session to be fruitful, remember that a lot of these are exercises to make you better . You might not end up with a great song at the end, but the process can teach you a lot.

Point/Counterpoint Excercise

A complicated song with multiple sections and a fully developed theme can often be a daunting task to jump right into. An award winning prolific writer told me about this exercise. Write a series of verse/chorus combinations and think about each of them like a point/counterpoint. Identify one idea and flesh it out. Follow it up with a second idea that counterpoints that idea – melodically, lyrically, rhythmically, however you see fit. Once you’re done and this two part creation is complete, start over and do it again. Some of these ideas might even turn into actual songs, but you can’t expect them all to be great ideas. Again, it’s all about the exercise.

Set Aside Dedicated Time

I read once that Nick Cave approaches songwriting like a desk job – he commits himself to writing from 9 AM to 5 PM, five days a week, with a lunch break in the middle. This can seem a bit stuffy to artists who typically consider the musicians lifestyle of sleeping until noon and getting that flash of inspiration at midnight to be the more inspired approach. The reality is that a surprising number of creative people work within a fixed schedule. Set aside time just for writing and take it seriously.

by Zach Varnell

8 Easy Ways To Make Band Practice Way More Productive

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This article originally appeared on Sonicbids

As we get older, there are more and more responsibilities that get in the way of practicing. For most adults, the 10-hour days spent glued to your instrument are long gone. I’ve encountered the same issue and have thus tried to really streamline my practice. In doing so, I’ve found (or have been shown) some really great methods to maximize efficiency in the practice room.

Note that many of these tips will be twice as effective if you’re also working with a private instructor. If you can’t afford it, there are many organizations that offer scholarships to those who want a tutor. I highly recommend trying to find a way to get lessons.

1. Go into it with an actual plan

No matter what the subject is, having a plan of action is the key to efficient progress and productivity. Practicing an instrument is no different.

Keep a record of what the weak areas of your playing are. (If you’re unsure about where you’re weak, see my second point.) Your primary focus should be on addressing these weak areas until they’re no longer weaker. That’s improvement, right? But take it a step beyond that. If you know what you need to work on, keep a list of the songs and exercises that are going to help you the most, and make a detailed plan every day about what specifically you’ll be doing.

As far as your practicing goes, try to have both long-term and short-term plans. First, set your ultimate goals. Where do you want to be a year from now? Five years? From there, you can make weekly or monthly goals that will serve as stepping stones to reach your primary goal. Then, set daily goals to help you reach those weekly/monthly goals. Even if you aren’t able to do as much as is on your plan, as long as you’re taking steps towards your goals every day, you’ll reach them.

2. Record yourself

The microphone tells no lies. Recording your practice is essential, as it allows you to see and hear any weak spots in your playing loud and clear. It’s especially essential if you aren’t studying with and getting feedback from a private teacher, as this will basically let you see yourself from an outside perspective.

Recording yourself is also a wonderful way to keep track of your progress. I tend to record the things that I’m working on once a week, so that I can see the progress I’ve made over the week and adjust my goals for the following week. After a while, you’ll have long log of practice time, and going back to listen to old recordings can be very inspiring, as you’ll get to see just how far you’ve come.

While audio is great, video is even better. If you have a webcam on your computer, this whole process can be quite easy. Taking video will allow you to hear and see any issues with your technique. Try it out!

3. Keep a consistent time frame

Consistency is the key to lasting progress. It’s much more effective to practice 30 minutes every day rather than 2 hours every other day. This consistency will not only allow you to retain information better, but will also keep your technique from dropping below its full potential.

Again, I can’t stress enough that consistency is the key. Let me run you through a few scenarios: First, say you have 30 minutes to practice during the week, but two hours on the weekends. Even if that’s the case, stick to 30 minutes. Rapidly increasing your practice time, especially by that large of an amount at once, will put a ton of stress on your body and could lead to performance injury. Your mind also won’t be used to focusing for that long, and you’ll probably have trouble keeping up that high focus for very much of that time period.

Second, let’s imagine that you’re sticking to 30 minutes a day, every day. However, on Tuesday, you only end up practicing 15 minutes, and decide to add that onto Wednesday’s practice. But then, you miss practice altogether on Wednesday, and decide to add that time onto Thursday for a total of 75 minutes. Practicing this way is a straight path to performance injury, and I absolutely advocate against it. Life happens, and if you have to miss a day of practice, then you have to miss a day. Oh well. But if you find yourself consistently missing practice days, you may have a daily goal that’s too ambitious, and you might need to reduce your daily practice time to better suit your schedule.

4. Warm up

If you aren’t warming up, you’re missing out. Many players reach a point where they choose to forgo warming up. However, just like even professional athletes take time to stretch, it’s essential that you give you hands a stretch prior to heavy activity.

If you don’t typically warm up before you practice, try it out for a week. Even something as simple as running a couple of scales to a metronome will do the trick. I assure you that will be playing better, simply because your hands have woken up.

5. Use a mirror

This is one of the easiest ways to be your own private teacher. A mirror is instant visual feedback and will allow you to check on your practice posture and see any glaring issues in your technique. If you don’t have the means to take video recordings of yourself or aren’t recording yourself every day, then practicing in front of a mirror will do the job.

It doesn’t necessarily need to be a mirror, as long as it shows you a reflection. I’ve used large, reflective screens and webcams in a pinch. Give it a shot, and see if you notice any technical issues in your posture or playing.

6. Apply concepts to songs

If you aren’t applying concepts to real world scenarios, you aren’t going to be able to retain or use the information. As soon as you have that new scale, chord voicing, or lead lick in your fingers, pick a song and start using it. Sometimes when I learn a new chord, I’ll try to play an entire song using only variations on the shape I’m working on. Or I’ll work with a backing track to practice exercises, or improvisation using the scale that I just learned.

This is also a great way to learn new songs. Once you know a song well enough, try to pick something new to apply concepts to. This will allow you to get to know the song at a pretty deep level, and once you do, you can move onto more tunes.

Rehearsals are great places to try out new concepts (unless you’re involved in an important/big budget production where mistakes could cost you your job), as you’ll be able to see if you know them well enough to apply them on the fly. If the rehearsal is casual enough, you can also ask your bandmates for feedback regarding your new technique. They may even want to learn it from you!

7. Practice mentally in between sessions

In addition to my regular practice routine, I’ve recently started practicing through visualization as well. I often find myself with idle moments during the day when waiting for the bus or friends or sitting between classes. I’ve been taking this time to mentally run through new songs or run over new concepts in my mind. (It may sound crazy, but its been scientifically proven that mental practice is actually extremely effective, and really does make you better!) This is also a good time to run through music theory concepts; reciting the circle of fifths or spelling chords in your head is a great way to check your comprehension. You have to have a pretty vivid imagination to make this work, but I encourage you to give it a try!

8. Slow (way) down

If you take nothing else from this article, this is the big point I want to drive home: slow down! It’s far more difficult to play slowly than it is to play fast, and practicing things slowly will really drive in the information and muscle memory, thus allowing you to play quickly, but also accurately. Did I just tell you to practice slowly if you want to play fast? You bet I did.

Establish your “perfect tempo.” This is the speed at which you can play what you’re working on cleanly without mistakes. If you can’t do so, then you’re going too fast. The more you play slowly, the better your time feel will get, and the more precision you’ll develop. And it’s precision, rather than speed, that will typically get you hired.

by Sonicbids

Dylan Welsh is a freelance musician and music journalist, based in Seattle, WA. He currently plays in multiple Seattle bands, interns at Mirror Sound Studio, and writes for the Sonicbids blog. Visit his website for more information.

Five things we learnt watching Empire of the Sun’s live return

 Image for Five things we learnt watching Empire of the Sun's live return 

It was an important couple of shows for the duo – by their own account, the live show is a vital part of the new Empire story. “It’s mainly a similar story to what we set out writing the record about,” frontman Luke Steele dead-panned to inthemix. “My head piece creates dreams of the world and animals are born. They get stolen by the King of Shadows and there is corruption so we have to set out on journey to regain my head piece to restore sanity to the world.” With that, inthemix set out to catch Empire’s grand return and, just as we did at Kraftwerk, learned a few things on the way…


1. Nick Littlemore is hard to pin down

When the lights dimmed, the smoke machine kicked into gear and the music started to swell, Luke Steele was lifted onto stage on a rising podium, fist raised in salute and headdress on. Nick Littlemore, however, was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he was off writing new Pnau material. He could have been busy scoring Cirque de Soleil with Elton John. Maybe he was just at home on the couch, watching his bandmate do it for the both of them on the Vivid live stream. We can’t tell you where one half of Empire of the Sun was, but we can be sure that he wasn’t at the Opera House.

It’s not the first time Littlemore’s been conspicuously absent, either. “It was kind of heartbreaking at first, I was like…you’re not going to come on the road?,” Steele told Pedestrian about his bandmate’s absence from the Parklife ’09 tour. “But we’re in the same band! Then he just said to me, “when there’s real money on the table give me a call”. And I was like “I don’t know real money you’re talking about, if a million dollars for five shows isn’t real money, then I don’t know what is”. So I was like, okay, I’ll go tour it.”


2. Back-up dancers and costume changes aren’t just for pop stars

How many costume changes does it take to put on an Empire of the Sun live show? About 10, apparently. Throughout the 70-minute set, Luke Steele and his small army of very flexible back-up dancers proved they’ve mastered the art of slipping backstage for the blink-and-you’ll- miss-it costume change. Luke swapped headdress and cloak a couple of times before winding up in a gold lamé number for the big encore, while the dancers worked through a string of skin-tight bodysuits adorned, variously, by fluoro pink guitars, red tutus around the neck, mounds of white fluff on their shoulders and other feats of design I can’t adequately describe. Step aside, Katy Perry.


3. People like the new stuff

Second album Ice on the Dune might not be out yet, but that didn’t stop the crowd enjoying it just as much as that platinum-selling debut album (even if sing-a-longs weren’t on the cards). We Are The People and Walking on a Dream were obvious standouts, but the biggest moment of the night was reserved for the encore of new single Alive. So if the Opera House audience is any gauge, Ice on the Dune is going to fare alright.


4. Just because it’s a seated event, doesn’t mean people are going to sit down

It was bad news for lazy types who were looking forward to sitting down for the show (yes, that’d be me) because midway through the third song, Luke Steele commanded everyone to stand up. Unfortunately the Opera House isn’t really made for dancing, instead permitting only an awkward shuffle in the metre square you’ve been allocated. But that didn’t bother the crowd, who by and large seemed to relish the chance to throw in the odd fist pump.

Besides, sit down and the rows of bodies in front of you will block the theatrics happening on stage – which, really, is as integral to the show as the songs. “It’s pretty much as important as the music,” Steele told inthemix before the show. “It’s like the colour of the skin of the music or the blood or the hair. It’s all encapsulated. Like Chad Atkins said “people hear with their eyes”. That’s the quote I always use.” So there you go.


5. The days of smashing a guitar on stage aren’t over

Dance music audiences aren’t often treated to the unpredictable on stage element live music has. Sure, there was that time Skream unplugged his mixer and handed it to someone in the crowd (“I was clearly smashed,” he later admitted) but for the most part, DJs are usually pretty well behaved on stage. So when Luke Steele ended the show by smashing his guitar on stage with no shortage of force, it was hard not to enjoy the spectacle. Was it all a bit over the top? Sure, but that’s Empire.

Photos by Dan Boud.

10 Ways To Make Money With Your Music That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

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1) Crowdfunding

Kickstarter has lead the way with nearly $120 million going to successful music projects. IndieGoGo is a close second and, unlike Kickstarter, allows creators to keep the money even if a project is unsuccessful (if the creator chose “flexible funding”). The most successful music crowd funding project is of course Amanda Palmer’s project which raised $1.2 million for her album. But there have been over 18,000 successful Kickstarter music projects (mostly funding albums) ranging from $1,000 to $1.2 million. Crowdfunding has been a great way for indie artists to bankroll their albums and tours without a label or investor.

And the newest of the crowdfunding bunch is Patreon. I call it Crowdfunding 2.0. Creators on Patreon ask their fans for continued financial support (patronage). Most patrons pledge $1-5 per piece of content released (music video, song, blog post, podcast, whatever) But some have pledged upwards of $1,000 PER PIECE OF CONTENT, because they can afford it and they really love the artist. Patreon launched in 2013 and is now paying out over $1 million per month to creators. This model embraces the new philosophy of asking your fans for support, not forcing them to buy. Because album sales are in a free fall, this is the next best solution for independent musicians with a highly engaged audience.

2) PledgeMusic

Some people lump PledgeMusic in with Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. I don’t. PledgeMusic is different. It has changed the way the modern album campaign works. The pre-order on PledgeMusic is much more than just an advanced purchase of the album. Running a PledgeMusic campaign invites the fans into the entire album making process from start to finish. Some bands literally live stream from the studio to their backers. Many large bands who don’t need the money still run PledgeMusic campaigns (without the crowdfunding element) because it increases fan engagement and opening week sales. Artists like 311, Ben Folds Five, Imogen Heap, Howie Day, Korn (with the backwards R) and Lucinda Williams have all run campaigns. Many actually charted on Billboard in the opening week (all pre-order PledgeMusic sales are reported to Soundscan for chart placement).

3) Self Managed Digital Download Stores

BandCamp has been the most successful artist-managed music store (no labels allowed) and currently pays out over $3 million a month to independent artists. Their “name your price” model has personally allowed one of my fans to pay me $200 for my new album and another fan paid $20 for a single. BandCamp is moving to a Patreon-esque subscription service in 2015. CD Baby, Loudr and Tuneport also offer self-managed download stores that have become increasingly popular amongst the indie music community.

4) BandPage Experiences

BandPage started as a Facebook app to allow bands to post music to their Pages. It has evolved into a musician-fan experience haven. Artists offer “experiences” like meet and greets, soundcheck access, pre-show ping pong challenges, pre-show guitar lessons, green room hangs and anything else you can think of. These experiences have brought in additional income for bands on tour above the standard ticket/merch income.

5) YouTube Ad Revenue and Sponsorships

Companies like Audiam, INDMusic, Fullscreen, Maker Studios, ONErpm, AdRev, Believe and Rumblefish collect YouTube ad revenue for artists and labels. Multi Channel Networks like Fullscreen and Maker also act as agents for their creators and negotiate high paying sponsorships for their videos and YouTube channels.

6) Online concerts

StageIt and Concert Window are leading the way in the online concert world. Most shows are “pay what you want” and encourage tipping. I’ve played a few StageIt shows and have averaged about $5 a head for a “pay what you want” concert (from tipping and tickets). Not bad for playing songs from my living room.

7) Gig Masters

This is like an online event planning company. I’ve never tried it out, but I have a few friends who get booked for weddings and corporate parties all the time through the site. Customers leave reviews of the artists and the artists’ ranking rises the more positive reviews they receive. Gig Masters costs $200-400 for the annual membership, but one booking will typically pay for that.

8) SoundBetter & AirGigs

Mixing and mastering engineers, producers, instrumentalists, singers, and full demo production studios get hired through these sites by artists for their recordings. Live in a remote village in Tanzania and want your epic 127 track production mixed by a Grammy winning mixing engineer? Done! Well, if you can pay their rate of course. This has been a great way for freelance artists with home studios to get extra work – especially if they aren’t plugged into an active music town.

SoundBetter just implemented a search by location feature so if you want to find recording studios or live sound engineers in your town, you can find them here as well.

9) YouTube tips

This is a new feature just rolled out this year by YouTube (to compete with Patreon). It’s not available to all YouTube users yet (you have to apply), but it’s a great way for fans to pay artists directly through YouTube – without having to leave the site.

10) Licensing Companies

Traditionally, licensing departments were a division within publishing companies. But with more and more demand for independent music on TV shows, commercials, movies and trailers, licensing companies have been popping up every day to connect indie artists with music supervisors. Some of the biggest have been doing it for 5-10 years now and have built up pretty solid relationships. Music supervisors love discovering new music to place in their projects, however, with so much music out there they typically only accept music from sources they trust: labels, publishers, artists who they have build relationships with, and now licensing companies. In addition to these more traditional licensing companies that pitch music directly to music supervisors with big budgets, many companies like, Triple Scoop Music, The Music Bed and Audiosocket, clear music with the artists in advance and put the songs up on their site for a set fee to be used, non-exclusively, by photographers and indie film makers. Passive income baby!

+How To Get Songs Placed On TV and In Movies

For all the doom and gloom discussions within the music industry right now, hopefully these 10 avenues shed some light onto how you can diversify your income stream and make a solid living as a musician.

Photo is by Earl McGehee from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License

Article by

Ari Herstand
 
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take.

 

100+ Awesome Free Online Resources For Music Producers

100+ Awesome Free Resources for Music Producers!

Over the years, I’ve bookmarked hundreds of free online resources which can be incredibly useful if you’re away from your main music workstation. Things like online BPM counters, tuners, virtual instruments and web based music sequencers can be life savers when you’re making music or recording audio outside of your studio.

All of these free goodies are compiled here, in a huge list which is meant to be updated and improved with your help. I’ve also added some of my favorite tutorials, music theory guides and various other tools which can be helpful for music producers and artists. Feel free to submit your own favorite freebies in the comments section below!

If you prefer making music with free software which you can install on your computer, take a look at our huge lists of freeware VST/AU plugins and free VST host applications. We also cover free samples and loops in our daily updated news section. Enjoy!

Music Tools

Online Instruments

Free web based musical instruments.

Patatap | A free jamming and beat making tool.

Theremin | A free touch friendly synthesizer which works great as a dub siren.

WAVE-PD1 | Another touch friendly virtual instrument.

Tibersynth | Make totally weird noises and swooshes with your mouse.

Websynths | Powerful VA synthesizer with a built-in preset manager.

WebModular | Play a modular synthesizer in your web browser.

TrueGrid | A complex modular synthesizer with patch saving and audio export.

Tanguy | Virtual analogue synthesizer capable of processing external audio.

Patchwork | An awesome experimental modular synthesizer. Build your synth from scratch.

Acid Machine Beta | A pair of TB-303 bass modules and one TR-909 drum machine.

AngryOctopus | A collection of web-based virtual instruments (requires Java).

PatternSketch | Cool grid based sequencer with several kits and export functionality.

Tonematrix | A simple tone matrix from the makers of Audiotool.

Otomata | Another matrix sequencer for jamming and inspiration.

PulseBoy | Free Game Boy style tracker.

Seaquence | A totally weird generative music sequencer.

SiON FM Synthesizer WF-1 | Neat FM synthesizer with a mouse controlled filter.

WebSID | Browser based Commodore 64 style synthesizer.

MiniGoog | A Minimoog Google Doodle in celebration of Robert Moog’s 78th birthday.

Sample-stitch | Re-create iconic hip hop tunes with your computer keyboard.

Musical Keyboard | A really simple online piano keyboard.

Click here for our huge directory of freeware VST/AU plugins.

 

Online Drum Machines

WebAudio Drum Machine | Online drum sequencer with several kits and effects.

HTML5 Drum Machine | Create classic drum machine loops and export the results to WAV.

FL 909 | Free Roland TR-909 emulation.

808 | A simple Roland TR-808 kit for online jamming.

Sequence | Free drum pattern generator with over 100 free drum samples.

Monkey Machine | A simple free drum machine from the creator of MauSynth.

Qwerty Beats | Online drum machine with a freaky mouse controlled synth.

JS-909 | Web based drum machine (requires QuickTime).

Drum Kit | You, your computer keyboard and 26 weird samples.

Sound Generators

Bfxr | Creates 8-bit sound effects which you can download in WAV format.

Text to Speech | Convert any text to speech and download the result as an MP3 file.

Online Tone Generator | A handy test tone generator.

Sweep Sine Tone | Sweep tone generator for testing your monitors and room acoustics.

Noisli | A wonderful background noise generator to help you relax and focus.

Defonic | Another free noise generator to help you relax.

Online DAWs

Audiotool | A modular online music studio with a set of virtual synthesizers and effects.

AudioSauna | Free online workstation for making music on the go.

Soundation Studio | Online sequencer with audio and MIDI processing.

TwistedWave Online | A free online audio editor for editing mono audio files.

Free DAWs

Studio One Free | Free edition of Studio One, no VST support.

Podium Free | VST plugin support, limited to a single CPU core.

>> Click here for our round-up of freeware VST host applications.

>> Click here for our in-depth list of downloadable free audio editing software.

Online Collaboration

Splice | Online platform for music creation and sharing.

Indaba Music | Free online music collaboration platform.

Ohm Studio | The first free online collaboration platform for musicians.

Blend | Collaborate online and create remixes (powered by Dropbox).

Kompoz | Collaborate with musicians from around the world.

Livegit | A free online collaborative DAW.

JAM with Chrome | Jam with your friends in Google Chrome.

Plink | A fun way to pass time and make music with total strangers. 🙂

Ear Training

EQ Your Ears | Identify specific frequencies with this online tool.

EQ Match | Simple graphic EQ trainer.

Note Ear Training | Identify notes by ear.

Pitchimprover | Absolute pitch training.

The Music Intervals Tutor | Recognize music intervals by ear.

EarTeach | Various ear training utilities.

Blind Listening Tests | Various tools to test your ears.

Other Tools

Interactive circle of fifths!

Autochord | Chord progression generator based on key and playing style.

Interactive Circle of Fifths | An easy to use online circle of fifths.

Interactive Frequency Chart | Interactive frequency chart with an ear sensitivity graph.

Metronome Online | Free online metronome and tone generator.

Tap for BPM | A free tap tempo tool to calculate BPM.

Music Calculator | Convert BPM values, calculate transpose ratios, etc.

Tunerr | Free tuner tool which uses the microphone input on your computer.

Online Guitar Tuner | A simple online guitar tuner from Fender.

Pedalboard.js | Process the line-in of your sound card with four guitar FX pedals.

Guitar Tab Creator | An online guitar tab making tool.

Noteflight | A powerful music notation platform which runs in the browser.

Blank Sheet Music | Create and print blank sheet music for free.

Free Sounds

Free Samples

99Sounds | Free sound design label offering free sound effects and instrument samples.

Freesound Project | Download thousands of royalty free sounds.

Loopmasters | Offering a royalty free pack with 500 MB worth of sounds to subscribers.

Prime Loops | Get 500 MB worth of free audio loops and samples on their freebies page.

A Sound Effect | Over 2 GB of free sound effects and field recordings in a single download.

NHF Sample Pack 002 | Over 3 GB of royalty free sounds crafted by Neurohop Forum members.

Converse Sample Library | A huge collection of stems and one shot samples, completely royalty-free.

Goldbaby | Legendary collection of free drum machine samples.

AfroDJMac | Over 100 free instrument racks for Ableton Live.

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra | Free orchestral sample library.

NASA Audio Collection | Tons of sounds from NASA space missions. Also available on SoundCloud.

Acoustic Drum Samples | Our huge archive of free acoustic drum sample packs.

Free Patches

Rekkerd | A huge archive of free patches for virtual instruments.

KVR Audio | Database of patches and sound banks submitted by KVR Audio members.

AudioBombs | A fresh archive of free synth patches and sound banks.

BigTick Zen | Manage and launch all your synth patches from a single plugin.

>> Click here for our list of freeware virtual synthesizers in VSTi plugin format.

Tutorials

Music Production

Introduction To Music Production | Free music production course by Berklee College of Music.

How To Make Electronic Music | An epic intro to electronic music production.

EQ Masterclass | In-depth series of EQ tutorial videos by ADSR.

Thinking inside the Box | Great beginner’s guide to EQ.

Compression 101 | Great beginner’s guide to compression.

Compress to impress | Compression tutorial for the electronic musician.

Kim Lajoie Blog Dump | PDF archive of Kim Lajoie’s music production tips.

3 Mixing Secrets From The Legendary Andy Wallace | A reminder to keep it simple.

Synthesis

How to Make a Noise | A legendary free eBook guide to synthesizer programming.

Synthesis Fundamentals | Free tutorials for absolute beginners by the Bob Moog Foundation.

Synth Student | Beginner’s guide to subtractive synthesis.

Synthesis types | Understand different types of sound synthesis.

How To Bass | A series of tutorials for creating heavy bass sounds (by SeamlessR).

Syntorial | Software for learning synthesis. First 22 lessons are free.

Music Theory

Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People | A lighthearted intro to music theory.

Ravenspiral Guide to Music Theory | One of the finest free music theory books (here’s the PDF).

Music Theory: The TL;DR Version | Music theory guide for EDM producers with short attention spans.

Music Theory for Songwriters | A comprehensive guide to music theory for songwriters.

Open Yale Courses | A useful collection of free music video courses by Yale University.

10 Chord Progression Tips | Interesting chord progression tips from a jazz musician.

Music Theory Cheat Sheet | A handy TXT file cheat sheet for music theory.

More Goodies

Making Music | Free chapters from Ableton’s epic book for musicians and music producers.

A Club Track’s Frequency Map | A cool print friendly frequency chart by FutureMusic.

EQ tips Cheat Sheet | EQ cheat sheet available for download in PDF format.

RealTraps | A guide to testing room acoustics with free software.

D/A and A/D Digital Show and Tell | Explains various digital audio myths.

Artist Toolbox

Streaming Platforms

SoundCloud | The most popular online platform for uploading and sharing your music.

Bandcamp | Build your artist profile and share your music with your fans.

sfx.io | The Imgur of audio, a quick way to upload and share your music.

Online Marketplaces

AudioJungle | The largest online marketplace to sell your music.

iStock | Sell royalty free stock music and recordings.

Pond5 | Another online marketplace for selling royalty free music.

Synthmob | A marketplace for synth presets, audio loops and samples.

Sampleism | Sell your samples and other sound design work.

Backup & Productivity

Wavestack | Backup your recording sessions and share them with collaborators.

Dropbox | A great free solution for backing up your files online.

Hive | Upload and share your music and other materials.

Evernote | Take notes of all your projects and ideas in one place.

Trello | A great tool for managing your projects and collaborations.

Google Keep | Use this online note saving tool to keep track of your ideas and tasks.

Toggl | Time tracking utility to help you stay focused and measure your productivity.

Pocket | Easily save online resources (such as this article) for offline reading.

Graphic Tools

Artwork Creator | Create your album artwork for free.

CD Cover | Make a simple CD cover with your printer and a bit of paper.

Hipster Logo Generator | A free logo generator. Also works for simple album art and covers.

Squarespace Logo | Another simple logo generator.

Facebook Cover Collection Freebie | Nice looking PSD templates for Facebook cover images.

Pixlr | Great free online image editor similar to Photoshop.

Canva | Incredibly cool free graphics editor to make covers and promo images.

Video Tools

Sonic Candle | Completely free tool to generate an HD music video with a spectrum display.

Audio Visualizer Creator 2.0v | Free music visualizer generator (requires Adobe After Effects).

Blender | Free alternative for After Effects. Loads of tutorials available on YouTube.

Website Tools

WordPress.com | A powerful free blogging and blog hosting platform.

Strikingly | Build a beautiful looking free portfolio or artist website in minutes.

FourFour | Free website platform made specifically for musicians.

Flavors.me | Make a free artist website with links to your social media profiles.

MailChimp | Build a free mailing list for up to 2000 subscribers.

SharedCount | Monitor the social media stats of your releases or artist profiles.

 

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Welcome My Friends – To The Show That Never Ends !

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You have arrived at the web location for Larger Than Life Entertainment. We are dedicated to getting you the best entertainment for your event.  Contact us for a quote and booking availability for 2016 and 2017. We specialize in all types of Entertainment, Live, DJ, Special Events such as Trivia Nights, Vinyl DJ Shows, Bands, Duo’s, Comedy Nights, and many other entertainment events. We also post and recommend information directed towards the performers and crew, and interested viewers of the Music and Film Industry. Check back often as we post and update on a regular basis with helpful, useful information that will definitely keep you up to date in the entertainment field. Thanking you in advance for your viewership and please post or reply to an article if you would like more information or you have something to say to us or our readers.