Category: Musician

Pleasure Chemistry: How Our Brains Process Music

 

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Why does music bring us pleasure? Well, the simple answer is that it changes our brain chemistry… literally. Music triggers the parts of our brain associated with reward, motivation, and emotion, which causes the feelings of pleasure that we get when we put our headphones on.

So even though we can’t necessarily pinpoint exactly what it is about music that excites us, we know it happens. We are lucky enough to have the opportunities to see our favorite groups and listen to them at home, at work, or on-the-go. For the longest time, music has been an important part of everyday life, and defines decades and generations.

And yet, all along, our brains are behind it all.

Robert J. Zatorre, Professor of Neuroscience at McGill University, and Valorie N. Salimpoor, a Postdoctoral Neuroscientist at Rotman Research Institute, have been researching the relationship between our brains and music. If you’ve ever felt a rush hearing the climax of a song or the sudden shift in cadence in another, you aren’t alone. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released, which usually occurs in response to positive stimuli like food or sex. According to neuroscientists, however, dopamine is released right before that favorite part too. In a study of brain function and music, scientists found that the more neural activity and dopamine released, the more money the listener was willing to spend to purchase said music.

But the relationship between our brains and music doesn’t stop there. The auditory cortex actually allows us to recall music and experience it again, even if it’s not playing. For musicians, the auditory cortex just might be the most important part. The ability to create music and re-arrange music in our heads starts there as well. We can even pick out wrong notes and incorrect changes in sound.

All of this brain function leads to music being an important part of our lives. Whether you’re listening to your favorite record at home or watching a live show, music undoubtedly changes the way we feel. So next time you hear a song and feel a sudden pulse, remember that your brain is feeling it too.

And it will make you want to listen more.

by Drew Evans  Source: NY Times 

 

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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10 Reasons Why Playing Guitar Is Good For Your Mind & Body

playinggtrHave you ever wondered why guitarists seem so laid back and loose on stage? Some shredders even appear to be immortal, like the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards. Maybe they just have access to really good doctors, but here’s another potential explanation: The axe might be as powerful as anything inside the medicine cabinet. Strapping on a Fender could boost your brainpower, sex life, six-pack, and more:

1. Feel Serious Pleasure
Simply plugging in your guitar, playing it, and listening to the music you’re creating can make you feel good—orgasmically so. According to a neuroscientific study from McGill University, hearing music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the same chemical that’s released during sex.

2. Wave Away Stress
Whether it’s your boss or bills that give you anguish, grabbing your guitar can help zap stress. A dual study from the Mind-Body Wellness Center and Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems found that stress can be reduced on a genomic level by playing an instrument. Rocking out actually reverses your body’s response system to pressure.

3. Send Pain Packing
Forget popping pills: If you live with chronic pain, reach for a pick. According to a study from the University of Utah’s Pain Research Center, listening to music—and in this case, your own sweet licks—can take your mind off, and thereby reduce, pain.

4. Sharpen Your Mind

Did Einstein secretly shred? A new Scottish study says if you play the guitar—or any musical instrument, for that matter—you’re more likely to have sharper brain function, which can help guard against mental decline in the future. Open a songbook and study up.
5. Toughen Your Ticker
Rockers have killer chops—and cardiovascular systems: Researchers from the Netherlands found that patients who practiced music for more than 100 minutes a day showed a significant drop in blood pressure and a lower heart rate than those who didn’t. Three of the test subjects? Guitarists.

6. Seduce Total Strangers
Can’t wail yet? Don’t worry. Just carrying a guitar case can seriously boost the odds of women wanting you—even if they’re total strangers, finds recent research in Psychology of Music. How come? Studies show women associate musical ability with intelligence, commitment, hard work, and physical prowess—and ladies associate all those qualities with your ability to earn money, the researchers say.

7. Woo More Women
More proof you don’t need actual skills to score chicks: Israeli researchers recently sent friendship requests from a good-looking guy to 100 attractive, single women. In half the requests, the guy was holding a guitar. In the other half, he wasn’t. Only 5 of 50 women accepted a friendship request from the guitar-less guy, while the man with the axe scored 14 attractive new “friends,” according to the study. The reason: Musical ability is linked to manliness.

8. Strike It Rich
You might not make it in the music biz, but your guitar could still help you earn the big bucks: Researchers from Michigan State University found that musicians who picked up an instrument at an early age and continued nurturing their craft throughout adulthood had a better chance of launching successful invention—logging patents, building businesses, and publishing pieces.

9. Build More Brainpower

Stuck at work without your six-string? You’re still giving your brain a workout: According to a Cambridge University study, musicians continue being creative even when they’re not playing their instruments. Researchers found that performers visualize music in terms of its shape, and then process that as a form of practice. Most don’t see it as such, but it’s a highly creative way of learning.

10. Record Yourself, Reward Yourself

Oftentimes, guitarists will record their sessions or demo songs; that way, they can go back and practice them. But bring your recordings to the gym and you might see a physical benefit: Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences found that music doesn’t just make for solid background noise while working out—it actually made exercising less exhausting for study participants.
Original story by Will Levith at menshealth.com  

 

Why do older guitars sound better?

Shayne Jacopian for redOrbit.com

Whether or not you’re a guitarist, you’ve probably at least once found yourself wondering why a musician who’s freakin’ loaded would play a beat-up old guitar that’s falling apart when they could easily afford 100 new ones.

We’re looking at you, Willie Nelson.

Aside from aesthetics (some people think beat-up stuff looks cool) and familiarity—every guitar is different, and players grow attached to them almost like family members—there’s another reason: instruments sound better as the wood they’re made from ages.

Well, technically, just “different”, but just about any guitarist you ask will say it’s “better”.

What happens when wood ages?

According to luthier (instrument builder) Alan Carruth, wood consists mainly of cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose, and all wood gradually loses hemicellulose—a soluble polysaccharide—to evaporation over a long period of time.

As this happens, the wood loses some weight, but remains just as stiff, allowing it to continue to support the weight of strings. With less mass to have to vibrate, the guitar’s woods vibrate more freely, making the instrument louder and allowing previously dampened frequencies to resonate.

The crystallization of sap inside the wood over time also contributes to the wood’s stiffness.

Likewise, lignin degrades as spruce (the wood most commonly used for a guitar’s top) is exposed to sunlight. Most notably, this results in a usually white wood taking on a yellow or orange hue that tends to be considered more aesthetically pleasing. Of course, degradation of lignin means a change in the wood’s physical structure as well, meaning that it contributes to the sonic side effects of aging.

Can this be done artificially?

While guitar manufacturers have long been selling guitars with aging toners to make their instruments look like they’ve seen more years than they really have, these only affect a guitar’s aesthetics. More recently, however, manufacturers have begun to treat woods with a process called torrefaction.

Wood destined to be used in guitar building is usually kiln-dried to a moisture level of about 6-10%. Usually, that is all that’s done, but torrefied wood is subsequently “cooked” at even higher temperatures in an oxygen-controlled environment until the wood’s moisture level reaches zero percent. Then, it’s removed from the kiln and brought back up to 3-6% humidity.

All of this makes for a lighter, stiffer, more resonant piece of lumber, with a bit of a darkened, amber hue—the rapid heating of the wood and evaporation of moisture causes the sap to crystalize and hemicellulose to degrade more quickly.

Whether accomplished artificially or naturally, the aging of wood affects the sound of an instrument, and most musicians hear it as a good effect.

Just don’t expect this guitar to improve with age.

Credit: Thinkstock

14 Things DJing Changes About You Forever

Being a DJ is awesome, but boy can it change you! You suddenly find yourself behaving in certain ways, almost involuntarily, and doing things that many “normal” people think are crazy. I’m not talking about going deaf, developing a drug habit and hanging out with people half your age (these are all things you can definitely control, if you want/need to), but more about the subtle behavioral changes that kind of sneak up on you, until they’re totally ingrained in who you are! Like…

14

 

  1. You can never go to a nightclub and have fun – Oh, no. Even if you can get over the secret jealousy of wanting to be DJing, you’re hyper-critical of everything, from the DJs to the sound system to the way the door is being run… the lot. The more you DJ out, the more this one creeps up on you, until going out simply becomes research/checking out the competition. You, in short, become a not very fun person to go out with
  2. You spot instantly when a CD loops in a bar, café etc… You feel you are generally the only person who notices background music anyway, and so naturally, you’re the only one who gets upset when you hear a CD play on loop. It’s especially annoying in nice restaurants, where you can’t help yourself thinking: “Why did they pay so much attention to everything apart from the music?” Saying this out loud, though, usually gets you a kick under the table from your other half for being so miserable
  3. You can spot instantly when a speaker is distorting, even at 50 yards! – Picture this: You’re on a lovely beach with friends or partner, sun shining, cold drink, and in the distance, a little beach shack plays top 40 radio… through a distorted old speaker. Can you relax? No chance. That little plastic speaker becomes the bane of your life until you are finally out of earshot. Even the crap they’re playing becomes secondary to the quality!
  4. You can no longer count past four – Crazy but true, you find yourself counting any rhythm anywhere or just an imaginary rhythm in your head, and naturally, you go “one, two, three, four” round and round. (At least you’re not a microphone roadie with a rock band, they get stuck at “one-two! one – TWO!”)
  5. You can’t hear a song that you know played in full, without hearing “your” transitions – “Why isn’t song X coming in?” you think, until you remember that this isn’t actually your mix but just one of “your” songs being played somewhere else. Related: Not liking the speed a song is being played at, because you play it at a different speed…
  6. You hear mistakes when everyone else thinks the DJ is awesome – Smart DJs learn not to point out train wrecks and other DJing errors to their friends, who – we learn – are not afflicted like us and generally happy to dance through even appalling errors. Related: Spotting mixes that aren’t in key
  7. You get annoyed when TV commercials brutally edit songs – …and what really annoys you is that they are not respecting the underlying song structure (see point 4 – see, you can’t help it! You’re subconsciously counting those beats and bars in fours…)
  8. When someone asks you “what’s your favorite music?” you reply “for what purpose?” – Being unable to separate what you like from what you think any given dance floor might like is bad, but it’s hard to stop this developing from the necessary skill of simply separating the two things in your head
  9. Instantly spotting when your windscreen wipers, indicator lights or even a loud clock are in time with the music you’re playing – This one really does feel close to madness sometimes (for me anyway), spotting a beat match between car hardware and car stereoRelated: Beat matching your strides to the songs on your headphones when our running
  10. You can’t help yourself frantically trying to remember snippets of song lyrics in order to Google them later – …normally when Shazam fails to recognize a new song you know you’ve got to have…
  11. You are utterly unable to keep yourself away from DJ booths – Mainly this is to see the equipment the DJ is using, hopefully it isn’t to make requests, although I am personally fond of just shaking the DJ’s hand on the way out if I’ve enjoyed his or her music… after all, we all know how much that means, don’t we?
  12. Having the sudden urge to go and adjust the sound when another DJ is playing – Right, I’ve actually done this (in fact, it was the pitch). Some dude was playing 80s mega-mixes at +8 and he slipped off to the toilet, so I marched up and set it all to the right speed… only to slink away like a coward when I saw him returning! True story 🙂
  13. You turn anything with a volume fader into DJ equipment – …and so get irrationally annoyed at any kind of audio gear that has electronic up/down volume controls instead of a knob you can use to cut the music in and out quickly with!
  14. You are the only person who spots the odd song from the 90s at a “so-called” 80s night – I mean, we can all hopefully understand why no normal, sane person would care about this… but it’s wrong, isn’t it?

Finally…

Seriously, I do hope you can still go out and have fun at least sometimes, and that you can see how us DJs maybe can be just a little annoying to everyone else, at least every now and then! I wanted to end with a true story from our friends over at Tuff Covers. One of that gang went to a pre-natal appointment and when the nurse scanned their tiny unborn baby, and its little heartbeat echoed through the examination room… I quote: “I knew the BPM of the baby’s heartbeat before the machine even worked it out”!

There really is no hope for some people… 🙂

3 Innovative Revenue Streams for Musicians

revenue streams for musicians

This article originally appeared on Sonicbids

With album sales nowhere near what they used to be (unless your name is Taylor Swift, who probably doesn’t frequent indie artist advice columns), and streaming not yet a truly viable source of income for musicians, a lot of artists are looking for new ways to distribute their work that will both reach their fans and result in some remuneration.

Three such methods that are gaining in popularity are the new fan-funding site Patreon, the concept of artist-run subscriptions, and going old school with special cassette releases. What all three of these methods of distribution have in common is that they give fans something exclusive, and they create a unique connection between the artist and the fan. Here’s what else you need to know about distro’s newest stars.

1. Patreon

Do you use Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or PledgeMusic but hate having to constantly launch new campaigns, and re-ask all your fans for support? Patreon has found a way to streamline the process.

Patreon was created by Jack Conte, who is one half of the musical duo Pomplamoose, when he noticed his YouTube views weren’t doing as much for his bottom line as he’d hoped. Rather than a one-time campaign, Patreon is a platform where fans contribute a set amount per project. For example, a fan can decide to pledge $1 per song for an artist, and that artist will get $1 every time he or she creates a song.

According to Patreon’s Head of Marketing and Special Projects, Erica Costello, this cuts out quite a few, oftentimes unnecessary, people. “Literal middlemen have come between artists and their supporters for way too long,” she explains. “Artists and supporters belong together!”

revenue streams for musiciansA few big names have been using Patreon, including the queen of crowdfunding Amanda Palmer and Ryan Leslie. That said, Costello notes artists of that notoriety aren’t necessarily who Patreon is focused on. “We’re super stoked to host Amanda Palmer and Ryan [Leslie],” she says, “but we take pride in serving the creative middle class. Patreon is the primary source of income for so many singer-songwriters who were struggling to pay rent and eat food, even though millions of people watched and loved their creations on ad-based platforms like YouTube.”

Patreon, at its essence, is a modern day, more advanced version of a fan club. Pentatonix, the a cappella supergroup known for their tight relationship with their fans, uses the service, and according to the group’s Scott Hoying, “A fan club is a perfect title for it. There’s more of a sense of a community, though, because it’s all digital.”

Ari Herstand, who’s a musician but uses Patreon to support his music business blog, adds, “Fans crave a closer engagement and exclusive content from their favorite artists.” He notes Patreon “gives fans a [nearly] direct line to support their favorite independent artists more than just paying for a download, which has turned into a cold, detached, digital transaction, quite different from the feeling fans would get visiting a record store and buying their favorite artist’s record.”

With constant access to your fans’ bank accounts, however, how does an artist make sure that their relationship with their fans stays a happy one? According to Hoying, “Putting out good content and staying interactive with the patrons will keep all parties happy.” Herstand seconds this, saying, “If the artist continues to show their fans that they actually care about them, and continues to be authentic and honest, the fans will stay loyal.”

2. Artist-run subscriptions

Magazines have been published for hundreds of years, and for hundreds of years people have subscribed to the magazines which featured topics in which they were interested. Some indie musicians are looking to use that ideology as a way to sell their music.

Coole High, a hip-hop and smooth jazz artist, remembers first hearing about the artist subscription concept in 2009, when he met Tim Sweeney, who ran a music strategy conference in LA. “He had this brilliant idea of independent artists having their own subscription models to sell their music, merch, etc.” The comparison made at the time was Netflix versus Blockbuster.

In 2009, however, the tech wasn’t quite there yet to make it happen. Now it is, which is why Coole High recently launched a way for fans to subscribe to his work for $20 a year. That subscription includes his extensive back catalog, any new releases that come out in the next year, discounts on tickets and merch, and subscription exclusives in the form of videos and concert streams.

Dance pop artist HoneyChrome has also launched a subscription format, noting “it’s like the fan pays the artist to be an artist, not pay the record label to manufacture one release.”

They key to making this form of distribution work, according to Coole High, is in the connection an artist has with his or her fans. “It’s really about creating a new and more intimate but effective way to connect with the people who really appreciate what you do, who you are, and what you’re about.” He adds, “A lot of my fans can’t make it from France to see me do a gig in NYC, so now with the subscription they’d have access to live streaming of select concerts or performances from virtually any location I can access WiFi.”

Both Coole High and HoneyChrome also love the fact that this form of distribution discards the traditional way of how artists release albums. With a subscription format, much like how Beyonce and Drake have dropped albums out of the blue, artists can release music whenever they want to. “Typical album/EP/single release schedules are fading,” HoneyChrome explains. “Artists like myself are creating more and more music faster than ever, and we want it to be heard. This answers our call.”

alternative revenue streams for musicians

3. Cassette tapes

Yes, you read that right. There are artists and labels going back in time and releasing albums via cassette tape. Some artists are doing cassette-only exclusives, while indie labels like Burger Records boast a giant catalog of cassette releases. (And when we say “giant,” we mean it. Their site features over 200 albums available on cassette.)

Most music fans aren’t about to add a tape deck to their lives, but many still have them in their cars and others have older boomboxes that have the ability to play tapes. You’re definitely targeting a very specific audience with a release on cassette, but when done correctly, it can reap some pretty impressive rewards.

For his most recent tour, Stones Throw Records artist Homeboy Sandman had a tour-exclusive cassette release, meaning the only way to get it was to buy it at one of his tour dates. “Everybody’s hyped over it,” he says of the cassette release, which he credits Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf for coming up with. “I sell it more than any other piece of merch. More than vinyl, hats, or CDs.

Homeboy Sandman feels that the exclusive nature of the release, which makes the album a collectible, is partly what inspires so many people to purchase it. “Nobody’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll just get it online, so I don’t have to carry it home.’”

From an artist’s standpoint, he notes that the cassette tape is a format that is more challenging to rip and put online, so a cassette release will likely have to be bought if someone wants to hear it.

The positive reaction he’s received from his first cassette release has Homeboy Sandman thinking of future uses for the format. As he says, “If I had some of my actual albums available on cassette, it seems like they would sell, too.”

Which one of these burgeoning forms of distribution is right for you? We don’t know, but we can give you three words of advice regarding this: know your audience. If you have an older crowd that grew up in the ’80s and ’90s and is prone to long car trips, a cassette release may be right up their alley. If your fans have fervently supported every one of your releases, perhaps you may want to try one of the subscription ideas.

There are a lot of ways to get your music out there, and as HoneyChrome notes, they all have the same ultimate goal. “I think we are just trying to get back to making everyone happy, fans and artists.”

Adam Bernard is a music industry veteran who has been working in media since 2000. If you live in the NYC area, you’ve probably seen him at a show. He prefers his venues intimate, his whiskey on the rocks, and his baseball played without the DH. Follow him at @adamsworldblog.

10 Good Reasons to Be Picky About Your Guitar Pick

Giutar pick
You Rock Pick

The guitar pick might seem like the lowliest piece of gear in a six-stringer’s ensemble, but the truth is it’s a mighty device that needs to be reckoned with. Any player who’s never explored the sizes, materials, sound-producing qualities and other subtleties of the plectrum should consider becoming pickier about picks.

The history of the pick dates back at least to the Egyptian empire. Drawings of instruments being played with quills and other early picks appear on walls of the pyramids. Turtle shell, bone, ivory and stone were all used for pick construction early in the plectrum’s development.

Today the materials employed for pick making are much more varied – and far less dangerous for reptiles, elephants and whales. And they all have an impact on sound and playability.

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when picking the right pick.

1. Size Matters
The typical guitar pick is slightly more than an inch-and-a-quarter long and an inch-and-a-quarter wide, but they run as small as the size of a fingertip and as large as more than two inches across. Les Paul used the latter, in a triangle shape, for the last decades of his career. The big picks were easier for his arthritic fingers to grasp. Jazz players often prefer smaller picks, which promote string contact with the fingers. That creates a warmer more muted tone. Most rock, country and blues players go for the standard-sized pick, which is large enough to grip solidly and avoid accidental finger contact with the strings, and can be turned or palmed easily to grind the strings or to allow a quick switch to finger-picking.

2. Material Issues
Today, picks are typically made of plastic: nylon, polyethylene, celluloid and other varieties. Derek Bailey, the late great British improviser, made his own picks out of dental material used for making crowns and caps. Picks are also made in bronze and steel. In general, the harder the pick material, the brighter and more biting the tone produced. A problem with metal picks, with the exception of fingerpicks, is that they tend to chew up the surface of pick guards, guitar tops and fretboards.

3. Skinny or Wide
Generally speaking, thin picks are great for strumming acoustic guitars while thicker picks, usually identified as medium gauge and heavy or extra heavy, are appropriate for electric instruments. Using a thin pick to play with a super distorted sound can turn tone to mud, but thin picks can accent the ringing individual notes of chords on acoustic guitars.

4. Durability
Thinner picks tend to rip and tear more often, and wear out faster. A bout of power strumming can wear the tip off a thin pick mid-song, which subsequently interferes with picking accuracy, tone and attack. So be sure to get a gauge that’s going to be right for your playing style.

5. Stylin’
The kind of music you play is also a factor. Heavy sound? Heavy pick. Black-metal guitarists are more likely to have super thick picks of 1.5 millimeters or greater between their thumbs and forefingers. Those are perfect, also, for digging into the kind of heavy-gauge strings that respond best to low tuning. Jazz players who play flatwound strings often prefer heavy picks, too.

6. Numerology
Often, music stores have a display that offers picks according to size. Here’s a list of standard measurements for different gauges: thin picks typically are .44 millimeters or thinner; mediums range from .45 to .69 millimeters; heavy picks go from .85 to 1.20 or bigger; and extra heavies tag in at 1.5 millimeters or greater.

7. Branding
Here’s something most working players don’t consider when selecting picks – they offer a cheap way of self-promotion. Plenty of pick makers will put your own or your band’s logo, name, contact info, website, etc. on their products and most often for less than you’d pay for picks at the local guitar shop. Fans seek them as collectibles and they’re a cool visual calling card.

8. Oddball Shapes
Manufacturers have tried all kinds of frills in pick design, from shark-tooth-like cutaways to tips of different materials to holes for supposedly easier grip. Don’t be distracted by these oddballs. Ultimately, they offer no advantage over the conventional V-shape.

9. Grip
It may seem obvious, but harder, less flexible picks are typically difficult to grasp and keep in place. Hard nylon has a tendency to slip more often than softer plastics, and thicker picks are more difficult to control than medium models. The trade-off is finding the pick that stays between your fingers best and gets to the core of the tone you’re looking to crank out of your amp. Some picks have a special high-friction coating to aid grip. Others offer a flexible middle that allows improved grip plus a means to vary attack by applying different degrees of finger pressure.

10. Technique
How you use a pick also affects your choice of plectrum. Downstrokes employed by the likes of Metallica are best done with thick picks. Circular picking requires a more flexible pick. Ditto with alternate picking and sweep arpeggios.

 

By Ted Drozdowski, gibson.com

David Gilmour Concert Dates

David Gilmour Tour 2015 Europe

David Gilmour 2015 Tour and Album Officially Announced

It is with great pleasure we announce that David Gilmour’s 2015 European tour dates have been officially announced!

The new David Gilmour solo album 2015 will also be released in September, so plenty to look forward to. It is yet untitled.

Although we have to wait all the way until September 2015, he will be performing at 6 venues across Croatia, Italy, France, Germany and the UK.

It is not known at this stage whether or not there will be any further dates announced – it says on David Gilmour’s blog that there are no other planned concerts, the site is currently down though.

Tickets go on sale at 10am on 6th March 2015 – David Gilmour’s birthday of course! See more about ordering tickets below and look at UK tickets here.

David Gilmour Album 2015!

David Gilmour’s yet untitled 2015 album will be released in September 2015 to coincide with his tour which will be much to the pleasure of fans the world over. Don’t miss out on news regarding David Gilmour’s new album 2015 and tour in 2015. Make sure you get our free email newsletter, or follow us on Social Media via Facebook or Twitter.

Ordering Tickets

You can order tickets from David Gilmour’s tour page for links and details and get UK tickets from Ticketmaster.

The Venues

David Gilmour has said in interviews that he does not want the inconvenience of a massive stadium tour and the thought of anything on the scale of the old Pink Floyd sends him in to a cold shiver. It sure must be stressful putting on such huge concerts and could potentially take some of the enjoyment away – tell that to Roger Waters though with his massive Wall tour!

David will be playing at 6 separate venues across Europe – for the dates announced so far on the European Leg – and are all smaller intimate venues compared to some of the massive places out there. The venues for the David Gilmour 2015 tour are absolutely beautiful except for two! This makes for a much more intimate concert and can greatly increase the pleasure of the audience because you are not sat half a mile away up in the top of the stands! Saying that, there will be a lot of demand for tickets so get in there quick on March 6th which is, of course, David Gilmour’s birthday!

Concert Database Exploration…

Here are the links to the concerts, click on them to explore where else he has played in those cities/countries and whether he has played that venue before. For example, David Gilmour has only ever played concert dates at the Royal Albert Hall (three times in May 2006 on his On An Island Tour) and has never played at any of the other venues announced so far!

September 2015

2015-09-12 – David Gilmour – Arena Pula – Pula – Croatia (Tickets)
2015-09-14 – David Gilmour – Verona Arena – Verona – Italy (Tickets)
2015-09-15 – David Gilmour – TEATRO LE MULINA – Florence – Italy (Tickets)
2015-09-17 – David Gilmour – Theatre Antique – Orange – France (Tickets)
2015-09-19 – David Gilmour – Konig Pilsner Arena – Oberhausen – Germany (Tickets)
2015-09-23 – David Gilmour – Royal Albert Hall – London – England (Tickets)
2015-09-24 – David Gilmour – Royal Albert Hall – London – England (Tickets)
2015-09-25 – David Gilmour – Royal Albert Hall – London – England (Tickets)

October 2015

2015-10-02 – David Gilmour – Royal Albert Hall – London – England (Tickets)
2015-10-03 – David Gilmour – Royal Albert Hall – London – England (Tickets)

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.