Sunday, July 31, 2011

Getting The Most Out Of Your Band Website

If you're an experienced music promoter, you know how powerful a strong web presence can be. For those that aren't experienced at promoting, there are certain elements every band website must have in order to get the most out of every visit. Read on to find out how each of these elements can impact your web presence:

Home Page: This is your main page. You don't want to waste this prime real estate by placing mundane or non interesting items on it. The goal with your home page is to draw the viewer deeper into some of your other pages. This can be done by putting some interesting "hooks" in an attention getting way such as "Party of the century coming your way! Check out our calendar for more information on this event you cannot miss!" You can also place small news clips from your page dedicated to news about your band. Of course, on the news page, you would draw the reader to your event schedule or page where you want them to buy your music. You will also want to place booking information here. Don't just put down an email address and call it good. You need all your information since each viewer is comfortable contacting you in a different way. If you're concerned about your address, get a post office box.

Event Schedule: This should be an organized and updated list of all your shows. Stick to a list format rather than a calendar since you will want to put small "hooks" under each event that allows the reader to think the event is going to be worth attending. Don't forget the location, address, and cover charge.

Band Info: You will want to put a short history of your band and a bio of each one of the members on this page including attractive photos. You can also place testimonials and achievements on this page. Your viewers want to know you've been involved with some surprisingly big shows and have shared the stage with some possibly well known artists. There are also "hooks" you can place here as well, for instance if your guitarist is very good at a certain style of riff, you may want to reference a song download that features that member doing something exceedingly well.

Samples: This page, which could be integrated into your home page, needs to have some or all of your work. You will also need to provide the user a way of downloading each song so you can maximize music sales.

There are also several other pages you could consider adding such as an online store to buy music and merchandise, a contact page for those who just want to inquire about your work or booking, and a photo gallery. As far as band art and other items go, you can integrate this throughout your entire site. Another very important element is having a band blog. This should be updated a minimum of every week to keep readers coming back to your site for entertainment value.

For more helpful tips on the music industry and music knowledge, visit You can also visit for additional resources for artists.

Jason Cook, Phoenix Park Productions - Music Promotion, Management, and Booking

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Mobile Marketing Can Level the Playing Field in the Music Industry

Some people who dare to dream or aspire to be great balk when I present the idea of Mobile Marketing to them. My question is why? Why wouldn't someone want a more rounded approach to marketing themselves? The idea is to get your name out there to as many people as possible. I like to use the term, covering all your bases. In this case it would be utilizing all the media tools available for you to use. If you are not using all of them to some degree, you are missing out on building a larger and more adoring fan base.

One question that I often get asked is, Why would I want to pay for a service like Text Marketing when Facebook and Twitter are free? You can't beat free advertising right? Well, Mobile Marketing is not designed to compete with Facebook and Twitter. It is a tool to be used in addition to them. It's a tool to be integrated into a complete marketing program designed to maximize your exposure to the greatest amount of people possible. That's how you become a star. That's how you make sure people are talking about you. Once they're talking about you and thinking about you, your goal is to make sure they never stop!

Let me add that contrary to what many believe, not everyone is crazy, active, or savvy about Facebook or Twitter. You have to literally reach out to the others. Market and build your empire and they will come.

Text Message marketing is not just for the big record labels, or the big time artist management teams. Text marketing is not expensive to the aspiring artist either. All major superstars incorporate Mobile Marketing, Twitter, and Facebook. Some additional examples of marketing tools are Radio advertising, Print ads like in Newspapers, or magazines, even Flyers and I'm telling you, all the superstars are using each of these marketing and advertising tools more or less in an overall approach to keep their names fresh on the minds of their fans. I'm telling you, it is wise to incorporate some form of each tool into an overall marketing campaign.

Personalities like Rihanna, and Beyonce use it. Many rock bands use text marketing with great success too. The main point I want to make here are that each of these artists use an overall marketing approach and you can do it to. Of course they do it on another level but remember, a snowball doesn't automatically start out large when it begins to roll. It becomes bigger and bigger as it's moving along and as you grow in popularity, you will also be advancing to another level as you're moving along. Got it?

For some eye popping statistics on Mobile Marketing and ideas on how Mobile Marketing can be integrated into a complete Marketing campaign visit my blog

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Finding the Beauty of Music Where You Are!

I recently went on vacation to Northern Saskatchewan and was mildly surprise at the amount of talent that was all around me. There were musician every where and I wasn't even looking. Most of us always think that Musicians reside only in the "Big Cities". I found out that was not true.

First, I went to a Tuesday night Jam where every one got a shot at singing, playing, or doing what ever. When I walked I was expected to see the typical set up. You know a sign up sheet and a bunch of musicians sitting around for the one time shot at fame. I was really wrong. And I mean, I was wrong! There were a bunch of seniors sitting at the tables and a bunch of seniors on stage. There was 2 Accordion players, 2 guitar players, Fiddle/Banjo player, Bass/Sax player and no one under 60. No way was I going up there!

So I took a sit and listened. What I heard was incredible. They were playing songs from every era you could think and from many genres too. But the most amazing thing was every one was up and dancing. They dance to almost every song. I started questioning my prejudices against their ability and whether I wanted to be up there. They called up a young lady who wanted to sing, so I used this as my chance to "Sneak" up on stage and join them.

The Bass player (Erma) a lady of 89, who told on me and the leader had me perform a couple of song. To my surprise the players where incredible. The guy next to me, Bob the fiddle player and Erma's Husband, was 91. After I play my first song the audience was incredible. Loud and warmer than any audience I have seen in a while. The Audience was there to hear MUSIC! It did not matter where it came from, when it was recorded, and who recorded it. They were there for one reason and one reason only - MUSIC! It was so refreshing. I know that these situations are rare but the point is that I found it in the most unlikely place. At a resort in North Saskatchewan, Canada. And the story Continues!

Two nights after I went to a Marina to see a local artist perform. That is right I said a MARINA, where you keep boats and get fishing licenses. Again, I was blown away. I even got a warm welcome from a couple of musicians that were at the Jam the night before. two of the most unlikely place to find music and I found it! The following night there were three people performing on the Lake by the break water with Amplifier and all. Talk about a hard gig. Who would have thought that I would walk out onto the break water and there in front of me is a raft, actually 2 canoes with a sheet of plywood connecting the two, would be there with 3 performers on the plywood performing.

I guess the point of this article is that where ever you find people, you will find Music! Look for music in the unconventional places. Coffee shops, Marinas, Resorts, On canoes on the Lake, almost any where! All you have to do it LOOK! So Find the Beauty of Music where you are.

Emo LeBlanc is a Country Music Artist who has performed all over the USA and Canada. Emo LeBlanc has been in business for 10+ years. Emo LeBlanc is based out of Nashville and lives elsewhere. Emo LeBlanc has performed all over the USA, Canada, Spain, and France. (731) 327-4EMO (4366)

Emo LeBlanc is a proud member of the following:

FNO, CMA, ACM, SOCAN, AMIA, and CCMA with Excellent Standings in All!

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Using Bass Traps to Improve Sound Quality in Small Churches

When it comes to optimizing the sound quality of a small church, using bass traps can make sure that low frequency sounds are dampened. As such, audio quality will be clear and crisp and every word will be heard, as exaggerated bass frequencies will not get in the way.

These acoustic treatments work by absorbing bass sounds that usually settle in the corners of the room. Instead of being reflected back into the room and disrupting higher frequencies, these traps convert this sound energy into heat through friction.

By using these in small churches or other places of worship, you can be confident that even the people sitting in the last row will be able to hear the preacher's voice.

The Ideal Place for Bass Traps

Where you place these traps is crucial in optimizing the sound in the room. Since low frequencies are considered as the longest and lowest in the sound spectrum, you have to make sure that they don't linger too long in the area. Placing a bass trap in every corner of the room will help. By doing this, you are allowing high frequency sounds - which are shorter in the spectrum - to have enough space to be heard.

Besides positioning, one other factor you have to consider when getting bass traps is thickness. This will define each trap's ability to absorb sound. Clearly, the thicker the product is, the more it absorbs. Some establishments use only one kind, while others mix and match their installations.

Frankly, applying different treatments in the room is better than just sticking to one kind of thickness; this way, the low frequencies are not completely eliminated. As much as possible, sound quality should always be balanced; both high and low frequency sounds should have enough time to be heard well. This is what makes pitch-perfect, crisp, and clear sound quality.

In a small church, the location has to have the right amount of bass traps so that every word spoken can be heard as clearly as the message being preached. In addition, when music is played, people should be able to listen, or sing along comfortably without being distracted by stray sounds bouncing off the walls.

Instead of church goers hearing unnecessary, lingering bass sounds, let the traps do that for you. With these, every person in the room will be able to experience the fellowship of your church without being plagued by poor sound quality.

Resource Box

Acoustimac LLC is a Tampa, FL-based company that specializes in the production of acoustic treatment products such as acoustic panels, acoustic baffles, and bass traps. The company caters to many different sound-sensitive establishments such as recording studios, theaters, and churches. For more details on available products, color options, and prices, call 1-888-827-1266 or visit

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An Unsigned Bands Guide to Touring

A popular dream for an up and coming band is touring. Whilst often perceived as something only 'big' bands do, It's regularly achieved by those without a big following and can be great way of meeting new musicians and promoting your band.

Touring is all about planning, it often takes months to plan even just a week long tour as there are so any variables you have to consider. Below is an average day during a band's tour.

(Please note; 90% of unsigned band tours DO NOT involve: Paid tour managers, roadies, booking agent or hotels)

10am - Waking up (often hung-over)on a sofa or floor in a sleeping bag (assuming you remembered to bring it!)

12pm - Getting your things together to leave for the next gig. Allowing time for vehicle breakdown and food/toilet stops.

4pm - Arriving in the town/city you're playing - busking/handing out flyers for the nights gig.

6pm - Arrive at the venue, hopefully without too many problems. Load in gear and sound check. Find food for dinner and await stage time.

12am - finish gig, load gear back in and travel to where you're staying.

When planning the tour, negotiate with the promoters on how much you're getting paid and if possible somewhere to stay and some food. There's no harm in asking, maybe the promoter will say yes! Getting a space on someone's floor for the night is invaluable. You definitely don't want to be spending money on hotel costs if you've only got ?50 between 4 people. A lot of touring relies on peoples generosity, take what you can get.

Budgeting on tour is very important. Realistically with food and travel costs for 4 band members on tour you're going to be spending a minimum of ?50 a day. This includes cost for fuel, food and drink. Expect to be paying out extra for new guitar/bass strings, drum sticks and guitar leads too.

Having merchandise to sell on tour is a must. Whether it be your first full length album, or just a 4 song EP it's something you can sell/give away to the public and promotes your band. You can also have t-shirts/badges/stickers/hats/wrist bands, the opportunities are limitless.

Don't forget the reason why you're touring. You're promoting your band in the city you're playing, you want everyone who likes your band in one city to come again the next time you play there. Always value your fans, give them free stickers/badges and extra bonus tracks on the CDs. People will appreciate it more and you can guarantee lots of bands won't be doing it!

If you can, arrange contracts between the promoters at each gig. This will ensure they will keep to their side of the bargain and they can't turn around at the end of the night and insist they never said they would pay you. The musicians union have basic contract templates you can download from their website. It's simple, and another way of reducing the problems you may face on tour.

You'll find there's a lot of spare time in between gigs, if you've got spare hours to kill in a city - go busking. I can't stress enough how useful and lucrative it can be on tour. It also gives you the opportunity to plug your upcoming gig.

Whilst it may sound like a nightmare, it's incredibly enjoyable and once you've got the 'tour' bug. You'll be hooked!

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Songwriter's Due

Before the age of super digital technology, in fact, well before radio and gramophones were in any form of general use, a music publisher and song writer's main source of income came from the sale of print or sheet music sales. Not surprising when you consider the piano was still the main source of home and pub entertainment, right up to the thirties when the family wireless set took over with five million license holders.

Song plugging was a lot different in the nineteenth century. Prior to World War Two, publishers employed "song pluggers" who travelled round music halls peddling their songs to the great performers of the day.

This was the only way the public could get to know about a new song. The more it was performed on stage, the greater the sale of sheet music. The name of a great artist appearing on the sheet music cover, i.e. "as performed by Marie Lloyd" or "Gertrude Lawrence" gave both credibility and a huge boost to the sales figures.

Sixty years ago sheet music was still the most important source of royalty income. In fact, in order to protect the sale of sheet music, a record wasn't allowed to be broadcast until six months after its release!

To understand performing rights and royalties we need to go back a short way into history. Prior to the formation of ASCAP in the USA (1918) and the Performing Right Society Ltd in the UK (in 1914), the licensing, monitoring and collection of performing fees were all but non-existent. Sadly, in those days most composers and lyricists were unaware of the scores of music and concert halls performing their songs much less have seen any income.

Stories of a few songwriters being paid a few coins by a vocalist or concert promoter to perform his or her song were not unheard of, but these were rare exceptions.

At the same time there was no shortage of unscrupulous characters eager to exploit performing right laws. In the UK, one of the most notorious characters - Harry Wall, set up his own "Copyright and Performing Right Protection Office" in 1875. He operated by acquiring obscure works generally thought to have gone out of copyright. Then he travelled the length and breadth of the country in search of infringers.

The fact that many establishments where these songs were performed were often charity concerts or penny readings made little difference to Wall, who promptly issued damage claims at ?2.00 (about $3.50) a time. Many of these were made against unpaid performers and amateurs. The claims were coupled with a threat of court action against the proprietor, singer and accompanist for infringement of performing rights.

Finally, in 1888, Wall and others who practiced these methods of extortion were put out of business when another Act was passed abolishing the minimum penalty of ?2.00 for unauthorized performance.

Interestingly, the French performing society - SACEM (Societe des Auteurs, Compositeurs, et Editeurs de Musique), were active in Britain before PRS. This, however, was mainly to protect the interests of French composers' rights. An English branch of SACEM was announced by Alfred Moul in 1903 though to what extent British writers benefited is unclear.

In 1908 Britain contemplated a new copyright Act to replace the ambiguous existing laws (Acts of 1882 and 1888) and to some extent keep pace with its international obligations. And so came the 1911 Copyright Act. This was the first Act which actually "tied up loose ends" as it were, in copyright law, not just the right to print but also to define more fully performing rights.

In 1914 the Performing Right Society Ltd was formed in the UK - their first general meeting taking place at 32 Shaftesbury Avenue, London. Over a period of many years PRS set about negotiating, quite successfully, a whole range of licenses. These now enable various establishments to play music in public, in return for a royalty payment. Payments are graded according to how and where the music is performed. Places under licence include concert and dance halls, discos, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, bingo halls, theatres, cinemas, cafes, restaurants, hotels, motels, clubs, public houses, town halls, village halls, offices, shops, factories, skating rinks, fairgrounds, football grounds, exhibitions, stadiums, swimming pools, coaches and buses, ships, railway trains and aircraft, parks and promenades are all places where licenses are issued.

Today, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC (in the USA), PRS in the UK and their overseas affiliates issue licenses to cover performances of music on television and radio broadcasts. Every so often licenses are re-negotiated and updated to meet the constant changes, particularly in technology - internet, satellite TV, cell phones, and so forth.

Initially, however, licensing was far from simple to implement. None more so than in the fields of radio broadcasting and later, television. In the early days of radio, negotiations were extremely tough going. To compound matters, music publishers not wishing to antagonize broadcasters, (whose songs they were already broadcasting frequently, boosted sheet music sales), came down strongly against PRS. Some actually terminated their membership only to rejoin years later.

The 1956 and 1988 Copyright Patents and Designs Acts did much to improve the rights of composers, lyricists and artists alike though, I suspect, certain parts of the last Act are already becoming outdated through rapid advancements in digital computer technology.

(Dennis R. Sinnott)

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Tales of a Tea Boy: The Reality Behind Today's Recording Industry

When you first walk into Lighthouse Studio you are greeted warmly to long corridor adorned with platinum, RIAA-issued records, surely spoils of a long and arduous crusade within the infamous music industry. These records hang proudly showcased like a professor's long sought after doctorate or a soldier's Purple Heart. Record after record praises the same name in a polished chrome luster: Ray Alexander. Yet as you continue your trek down into the control room, it becomes apparent that the best of these trophies are kept inside the control room itself. What Ray values most is not the formal display of industry recognition but rather the sentimental memories encased in an autographed Rolling Stones poster, an old backstage pass, or even greater, a single photograph of a far younger and more youthful Ray Alexander standing in a crowded hallway next to none other than John Lennon himself. I am sure that every morning Ray sits down he takes a very brief second to look up at these frozen memories and remember how far he has come.

Having said that, my short stay with Ray Alexander and Lighthouse Studio has led me to the conclusion that these achievements are not easily won and that it takes a certain type of person to be able to build such a prominent empire out of nothing. Ray has the privilege of having a much sought after job, whose industry faces extinction each and everyday by the Great Equalizer that is the Internet. The role of the music producer has been romanticized in today's popular culture much like the role of the "rock star" has been. We associate this role with an image of a quiet genius teetering over a console of knobs and faders, green and red LEDs, turning something this way, sliding something that way, listening to some divinely-inspired muse trying to get "that sound." You hear about the remarkable and innovative ideas of George Martin, The Beatles' producer, and think of what fun it would be to have such a creative intensive job. I learned my very first day that everything I had come to believe was a fantasy. I suspect that if Ray were to actually spend 4 hours experimenting with a harmonium sound, he would be out of a job the next day. Not only that, but Ray already knows how to get that sound. That is essentially what people are paying him for.

The incredible rise in affordability of recording technology these days makes it possible for almost anybody to run the same software a professional recording facility uses on their Macbook Pro at home. I've witnessed quite a few clients come in with sessions that they had recorded themselves at home and brought in to be touched upon at the studio. While the studio does have a fully acoustically treated room, an impressively expensive collection of vintage microphones and amplifiers, the main asset that the studio has to offer is Ray's experience. What separates Ray from the clients is that he knows exactly what combination of microphone, preamp, compressor, and software plug-in to use for any given situation. This is something that makes his job so extraordinarily unique. This is what makes the recording industry one of the hardest industries to get into.

To get into any other typical career, there almost always exists some linear path of a university education involved. I realize that this is not the case for audio engineering and it never will be. The first reason being that recording technology is changing by the day and a curriculum teaching a version of Pro Tools 7 will become obsolete in Pro Tools 8. Sure, the theories will always remain, but there's always a gap between theory and practice. Secondly, a recent graduate of such a program will find it incredibly difficult to find a job in an already scarce job market. Logically, as a musician, are you going to want a person who just graduated with no experience under their belt or a seasoned veteran who produced several of your favorite records producing yours? Experience is the lubrication necessary to maintain a smooth-flowing session. With a profession so heavily dependent on technology, the ability to problem solve is extremely crucial in those common situations when a microphone fails to pick up any sound. It takes about thirty seconds for a client to become uncomfortably impatient (they are, after all, most often paying by the hour). While the inexperienced engineer stands there, fumbling to replace the microphone and then the microphone cable, Ray heroically strides in, takes control, and in a matter of seconds troubleshoots the problem down to an incorrect patching of the signal flow. He mutters to me under his breath,

"You see, a $15,000 education and they can't even teach basic troubleshooting."

I realized then that the best way into the industry was through that of the Tea Boy. All great recording engineers, much like The Beatles' Geoff Emerick, started off in the same place as I was-getting tea. In my case, this meant getting coffee-and a lot of it. The more I hung around, the more my responsibilities grew. First I was getting coffee, then I was running to the bank, next I was wrapping up cables. Before I knew it, I was beginning to set up microphones, scrambling to make note that a Royer 121 ribbon microphone sounds great through a Vox cabinet speaker and a hollow-body Gretsch guitar. On one occasion, I even had the opportunity to man the large center console but declined out of sheer intimidation. The biggest thing that a school cannot teach an engineer is the most important asset, one that has created considerable reluctance in me to continue in the field, and that is how to deal with clients

One of the many joys that I experienced was the diversity of clients that came through the studio. I rarely ever met the same person twice. While Ray's particular expertise tends to be in Rock and R&B musicians, he caters to anybody he can get; for example, he had clients ranging from spoken word artists to children's music to hip hop and even a 3 piece jazz ensemble. I took great pleasure in being exposed to so many different styles and the changes that were required for each situation. However, there is a very fine art in dealing with people, an art that I haven't necessarily mastered. For the most part, clients usually come into the studio with an idea, a loose framework of goals and expectations, and work with Ray to achieve them. And then you have the small percentage of high maintenance clients who view themselves as artists over anything else. These people are particularly hard to deal with and require you to remain humble. You forget very easily that you are dealing with another person's art, a very personal, creative expression of their self. No matter what the situation is you are required to remain as humble and objective as possible and reserve absolutely all judgments. I find that this is the most difficult thing to do. Another great myth of the record producer is that, through the grace of twisting a knob, they can make anything sound good. It then becomes a very awkward situation when a client comes in assuming that. You can only go into a session with a great sense of hope that the performer will be skillful enough to meet up to their expectations. The most troublesome situation is this: a singer comes in and is flat on every note. They then ask you, "was that a good take?" There's only so many times you can suggest to them to try another take before you realize that they could sing the same line a thousand times and never get it. The singer blames the engineer and the engineer blames the singer and in the end there's nothing either of them can do.

The worst thing I have seen that is increasingly common today is that assumption vocalists bring in that "we can just Autotune it later." Because technology now allows us to take a bad singer and digitally tune each and every note to be in key, the performance of some musicians is decreasing. In the very early beginnings of recording technology, the role of the engineer was simply to put a microphone in a room and capture a performance. It was up to the musician to nail an entire song in one take. This seems absurd today. In the 60's came the technology to overdub separate tracks to form a composite track and thus revolutionized how records were made. Jimi Hendrix could play both rhythm and lead guitar on his records and The Beatles could sing over an entire orchestra. A newfound freedom was created. However, with this freedom for the musician came a new responsibility for the engineers who had to actually then mix these tracks together to create one continuous piece of music. As the technology has increased, the role of the engineer has too and the role of the musician has decreased in the process. I've witnessed firsthand the grueling and monotonous job it takes for an engineer to sit and go through a poorly-recorded vocal track, note by note and adjust each and every line to correct the pitch. In extreme cases, if a track is so drastically out of key, pitch correction produces an effect that makes the singer sound robotic and artificial. Contemporary hip-hop commonly uses this effect intentionally.

When these unpleasant confrontations arise, it is good to be able to pause for a moment and look up at a picture of your younger self standing awkwardly next to John Lennon and remind yourself why it is you are doing what you're doing. At first glance, you might think of Ray Alexander to be a very lucky individual to have succeeded in this extraordinarily difficult industry. However, it comes at a significant price. There were many times where I would come in the morning to find Ray already at his desk, telling me, "I just left this place 5 hours ago." He's been known on occasion to even spend the night. The only time he gets to see any new movies is if somebody brings it on DVD to watch while they are recording. The sacrifice to running your own successful recording studio is that you don't get a single day off. While there are several other engineers employed at the studio, Ray must obsessively oversee everything. Being away from the studio at all seems to create even more anxiety for him. If an engineer fails to patch the signal flow correctly or doesn't know how to deal with a high maintenance client, he's going to potentially lose money. He will always remain forever cursed by the sacrifice of spending time with his family or the anxiety of being away from the studio. This is all just a day in the life of the modern record producer. The romanticized version tends to leave out all of this inner conflict in replace for a glamorized achievement of having a platinum record. It takes a lot more than sheer hard work and determination to get this far. At the end of my short stay behind the curtain, I am left with only one question-is it worth it?

Mark Anthony Cianfrani - Philadelphia, PA
SEO Specialist | Web Copywriter

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