Hang Out With Musicians Who Are Better Than You

Yes, there are musicians who are better than you, I don’t care who you are.

musicians
photo via Daily Beast

Mariah Carey would probably say there are better singers than her.

Jimi Hendrix probably thought there were better guitarists than him.

John Bonham surely respected other drummers and tried to learn from them.

So can you. And so can I.

For the past year or so, I’ve been making music with friends who are way better than me at their instruments. They make me want to get better.

And that’s what I need — a drive to become a better musician.

I don’t want to be complacent. It’s easy to get too comfortable with my skill level.

It’s like the gap that Ira Glass talks about — the gap between where we are and where we want to be. And how that gap makes us get better.

“It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions,” Glass says. “…It’s going to take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

So for your own good, hang out with musicians who are better than you.


If you’re looking to keep your creative gene working, check out Austin Kleon’s little book Steal Like An Artist. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve read it like a dozen times.

Facebook’s Algorithm Is Why Musicians Need An Email List

Facebook recently changed its algorithm. Again.

This means Facebook will prioritize content from your friends, family, and groups and show you less content from businesses trying to sell you something.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

First, this is no surprise. Facebook had already changed your newsfeed from chronological to this-is-really-what-you-should-see content.

Second, I’m sure we’ll see much more of this in the future. And not just from Facebook.

Since the social media giant bought Instagram, the photo-sharing app has slowly been mimicking Facebook’s algorithm. And even though Twitter is still chronological, they’ve started showing people an “In case you missed it” section.

And third, we DIY musicians shouldn’t be deterred by this. Things change. You have to adapt. Life moves on.

Here’s the thing: you’re business model as a musician should not rely on the way a social media platform operates. Your model should be able to flow with the times.

If and when Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter evolve their algorithms and as social media platforms come and go, you should be investing in one constant: email.

Email isn’t going anywhere. And email providers are not changing your inbox so you see the “more important” emails rather than allowing you to see them as they come in.

People use email for business and life, in general, to get things done, not for entertainment.

So email providers know there would be an outcry if they changed anything. They know people would jump ship and go to another email service.

This is why you should have an email list as a musician.

When I post something on Facebook, only a fraction of my followers actually see the post. But with email, I know everyone on everyone on my email list will at least see that I emailed them.

Plus, getting someone’s email address is a very special thing, meaning they’re probably more interested in your music than the average Facebook follower.

In the hierarchy or personal info people give out, it goes like this:

4. A like on social media

3. Email address

2. Phone number

1. Social security number

Obviously, I would never ask for someone’s SSN and probably never their phone number.

The point is, email is a big step into a person’s life from being connected on social media. Your email subscribers care more about your music and your success.

I use MailChimp, but you can look around for others, like FanBridge or Constant Contact.

Whatever the case, if you’re an indie musician, you should be investing time in growing your email list. 


Stay motivated, manage your time, and move toward your picture of success — grab the One-Thing-A-Day chart for FREE…

3 Big Things Happening In The Music Industry In 2018

As DIY musicians, it’s important you and I keep up with what’s going on in the industry. 

iTunes

So as we welcome the new year, here are three important things happening in the music industry in 2018.

iTunes Is Removing Digital Music Downloads

As of 2016, iTunes started phasing out digital music downloads. And the plan is to finalize the whole process by 2019.

According to Digital Music News, there will be a “complete termination by 2019, shortly after the 2018 Christmas season.” And this is happening “as music downloads continue to collapse.”

If you didn’t know by now, you should — streaming is the new way of doing things. So if you’ve released music, you should get it to places like Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, and Amazon.

You can use this guide to get you started: How To Sell Your Music Online (A Guide For Beginners).

Things Will Get Better For Songwriters

In a landmark deal, the songwriting industry and music streaming companies partnered to cut a deal with the federal government, reports The Tennessean.

Without getting too much into the legal jargon, here’s what the new deal means: streaming companies will now be able to easily license songs, while songwriters and publishers should see an increase in their own digital rates.

Here’s a little more detail on what the deal will lead to:

  • “Songwriters and publishers could be identified more accurately and paid more promptly,” thanks to a soon-to-be mechanical digital rights organization run by music publishers and funded by streaming companies
  • Boosted royalty rates for songwriters, thanks to rate courts being able to look at sound recording royalty rates as a factor when they set rates for songwriters and publishers
  • More boosted royalty rates for songwriters, thanks to us being able to present as evidence for more royalties the sync licensing deals (our music in TV/film) we get.
  • ASCAP and BMI can take their rate-setting disputes to any of the federal judges for the Southern District of New York, instead of being assigned to one federal judge

The DIY Music Train Will Keep Chugging — Hop On

Now is one of the best times to be a DIY musician.

Anyone can record music in their bedroom and make it sound professional (check out the Audio Recording category for more on that). It’s so easy and affordable to distribute your music worldwide.

There are plenty of ways to make money as a musician, sometimes without even leaving home. And tools for musicians abound, like CD Baby, Patreon, and LANDR.

If you’ve been on the fence about pursuing music as your passion, as your source of income, now is the best time to jump off that fence on the right side.

5 Tools To Help Boost Your DIY Music Career

DIY musicians will tell you, it ain’t easy making a living through music, but it is possible.

Boost Your DIY Music Career

So anything you can do to boost your DIY music career is a step in the right direction.

With that in mind, here are five simple tools you can use to do just that.

Music distributors

boost your DIY music career

If you want more people to hear your music, you need to go where the people are.

Not everyone listens to music on the same platform. Some people like Spotify, others like Apple Music, and even others like Pandora.

That’s why music distributors are really helpful — they’ll send your music to almost every website that streams and/or sells music.

To get involved with a distributor, you can check out my guide for selling your music online.

Evernote

boost your DIY music career

Evernote is how I do my songwriting now. It lets me organize notes, attach voice memos to my lyrics, and allows me access on the app or desktop.

You can create tags to easily find a song you’re working on. And you can easily share notes, like if you’re writing a song with someone.

I’m pretty much addicted to it. Check it out here.

LANDR

boost your DIY music career

LANDR is an automated mastering service. I now use it for every song I need to master.

They use the same technology that Spotify or Apple Music uses to recommend other songs and artists to you. Somehow, they’re able to identify the sonic properties of a song and then master it based on that.

And you know if I’m using it, it’s affordable. You can either pay under $10 for a master WAV file or set up a monthly subscription for about $25 a month.

If you produce and record music, you should check out LANDR.

Upwork

Upwork

I use Upwork, a website that connects freelancers with clients, to find a lot of music writing jobs, but I also get jingle projects, songwriting jobs, and pretty much any music-related work.

It’s the key to me being able to work from home.

I highly recommend you look at the jobs on there.

A PA System

Let’s admit it — nobody likes dealing with a sound system. Not even the sound guy.

But having a nice PA system is an investment that can make your gigs so much easier. No more praying that the venue will have a half-decent sound system. No more annoying your one friend with a PA system.

I have to admit — I don’t own one. But I want one. And this Rockville PA system looks like a good one for under $300.

So give these tools a shot and let me know what you think!


Stay motivated, manage your time, and move toward your picture of success — grab the One-Thing-A-Day chart for FREE…