Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Every artist needs a video!

Well, you know I love clever - check this site out - c-l-e-v-e-r.

I'm going to be using it a-l-o-t!


But Caroline, I don't get the picture?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ways for musicians to give to charity.

Here at Rave On we're all about giving back, in fact, we feel it's a responsibility that we have to our community, be it local or global. For that reason most of our artists are hooked up in some way to one charity or another, through cd sales or live events etc.

For Haiti specifically, we have artists who have donated tracks to Paste Magazine's Campaign (see last post below), some who are donating partial proceeds for merch sales and some who are raising money at gigs - and today I received this email from CD Baby -

"Starting on Monday, January 25th and continuing for two weeks, we will donate $1 of our cut from every CD sale through our website, and $1 from every download sale over $8.99 on our site, to the American Red Cross and to Mercy Corps, a Portland-based relief organization with a large presence in Haiti. "

So here are two great ways to give and you don't have to do much, but let people know that maybe now is a really good time to buy your CD and/or point people to Paste where they can get some downloads of great music in exchange for their donation.

We all have a responsibility to take care of each other out there - and you don't have to be U2 to help out with your music - just use your voice.

I know it must seem like someone always wants something, And I understand compassion fatigue, but these are super easy ways to help out and be involved.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Artists For Haitian Relief

Hi everyone - many of our artists have donated a track to Paste Magazine's Haiti Campaign, please click on the link to give and get!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Put a little jump in your Monday!

Lots going on at Rave On ~ will write a proper update this week - but for now - watch this, and watch it through, you don't want to miss grandma dancing - it will warm your January heart.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Derek Sivers, Hugh MacLeod Music Marketing Blog Project - The Final Installment

If you are just tuning in, I am posting up the last part my blog checking out Hugh MacLeod's little book: "Ignore Everyone". Please check back two posts ago and start at the beginning if you like!

Chapter 19:
I know this is a weak way to start this next section, but I need to sit down with this chapter again. Hugh talks here about 'the watercooler gang' and I need to revisit this idea before I can translate it into the world of music - so more soon!
OK after some discussion, this chapter was about a guy who got comfortable in his situation to point where he needed to be there and he lost his drive and became dependent on that situation, further, he

didn't take the initiative to do what he wanted to do and became bitter and despondent in long run - in the music business, or in any arena, it's about not trying your own road- and selling yourself short..this was the main theme, but this chapter was FULL....also - think ahead, don't living on past glory etc etc.

I had a hard time with this chapter because in my experience the 'water cooler' gang was a little different...but I see now....

Chapter 20:
In Chapter 20, Hugh talks about 'singing in your own voice'. This is so important for emerging artists to know. You don't need to be or look 'perfect' to get your soul music out. You will ALWAYS, but always have an audience if you are honest and true to yourself. I have had lost of artists come in and try to sound like so and so and whomever is hot on the charts, but it doesn't fly.

Why would you want to be a copy of someone else anyway?

Chapter 21:
Chapter 21 is important for the emerging artist as well. Hugh talks about the pros an cons on being in something for the wrong reasons.

This is an interesting topic. He states, when you're young it's cool to experiment....I translate this to - have a band and get girls. Hugh says, BUT if you are in it for the wrong reasons, it won't/can't last.

Ok so here I have to stop and say hmmmm....seems to me there are a lot of bands out there that most likely got into the music business for the real or imagined perks, and some of those bands probably made it and some of those people are probably even still happy....sooo...hmm...

If was directly this blog specifically at emerging talent I would say, try hard to get into music for the right reasons, that being that you have that creative talent or musical urge inside of you that needs to come out.

Hugh says," You can wing it while you're young, but it's not until your youth is over that the devil starts seeking his due. And it's not pretty.".

So maybe true for most, but a few have slipped by his grasp ..so far, it can't be denied. Maybe not the way to do it in my book, but there you go.

Chapter 22:
This chapter is about 'selling out' - BEFORE you get your foot in the door. Hugh talks about watering down your product and trying to make it fit for a specific audience before you have any audience at all. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at least very thin soup.

Advice here - be yourself and your audience will come to you, I promise.

Chapter 23:
This chapter is two sentences long, but speaks volumes. Basically it boils down to even fewer words - 'less talk, more action'.
People don't really care about all your big talk, let's see the finished product!

Derek wrote about this as well I believe - there was a study done that pointed to the notion that people who talk a lot about their project, are less likely to follow through - so head down and to work!

Chapter 24:
In chapter 24, Hugh repeats a theme - you either do it, or complain a lot about why it never will/can work for you. Read the advice at the end of the last chapter!

Chapter 25:
This is an important chapter, where Hugh defines 'writer's block' and suggests what to do about it.

Again, I see so many people pushing themselves and basically making themselves miserable during these dry times. I hear a lot of: 'I'm no good, so and so can write a song a day!' etc etc etc...

Hugh believes: "Writers block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you should feel the need to say something.".

Why force it? The flower will rise up out of the soil in it's time. In the meantime, enjoy your life.

He also speaks in this chapter about the ease of being creative, literally. Of course drawing on business cards is easy - you have an idea, you whip a card out of your pocket. Not so easy with a guitar or piano - but practically speaking you can carry a small recorder with you, or I've even called my own answering machine and and left myself song ideas. It all works, most importantly, be prepared, you don't want to miss those moments and you never know when they'll hit.

Chapter 26:
Here Hugh talks about your 'true voice'. It is the same thing I mentioned earlier 'soul music'. Once you find it, and it can take a while, you're golden. Don't judge it, let it happen and if you're finding it hard to get to, work with a good producer. A good producer can often hear what's in you and help draw it out.

A good producer, yep. And I'm not just saying that.

Chapter 27:
Again in 27 we revisit 'soul music'. Short and sweet Hugh says 'write form the heart' be it for an audience of one on one million.

Point here, I know lots of people who write 'formula' for radio, or write in a specific style for specific artists - but for the here and now, write and play your own thing - soul music.

Chapter 28:
In chapter 28 there is repetition of a theme again, but instead of money it is about approval. "The best way to get it, is not to need it".

He tells a story about sitting with an editor who is opening 'please publish me' mail from whiney people. guess this is another case of head down, hard work. And: 'if you're good, we'll see you'. So don't 'go a'beggin'. That's a good line to draw.

Chapter 29:
Here Hugh talks about 'power' and being 'ready'. This chapter made me laugh, and again, for the musician, it is the same theme as the last chapter - get out, show that you are ready by 'doing', not wanting, not talking, but by doing and proving - playing those gigs and singing your heart out.

Hugh says in the end: " Taking power means not /needing anything form anyone to be the best.".

And states that power is never given, it's taken, an when you are confident in your product, you have all the power.

I think here also, power can also be 'assumed' in the form of ego, especially if you have a good product - there are holes in this armor though and you can see them of you look closely enough.

Chapter 30:
IN chapter 30, Hugh talks briefly about cliches and the 'true way ' to make it as an artist. He uses examples of famous painters, some never famous until after death and some who 'sold out' early on.

In the music business you can sell out, it's about where YOU decide to draw your line.
You can take off your clothes, get wasted, copy someone else's radio hits or you can stick to your own thing and see what happens.

The choice seems easy to me, but in reality there is no 'true' way the world works.
And as Hugh states, "The hard part lies somewhere in the middle that is - being human".

Chapter 31:
This chapter can be summed up nicely by Hugh's cartoon here: "I no longer have feelings. I had them once but then I go scared of being poor.".

He talks about how, if you have the 'creative urge' it will never go away, ' so get use to it'. But honestly, I have never come across anyone complaining that they had the music inside of them.

Chapter 32:
I suspect Hugh MacLeod is a rather thrifty human being. Here he talks about living moderately, even though he no longer has to.

This is a lesson for everyone, not just creative types or musicians - although maybe we're a little more use to being poor. Less is more and people are slowly coming around to the idea that you don't need 'stuff' to be happy.

Be thrifty always and a recession won't effect restrict your movement quite as much.

Chapter 33:
This chapter again is a life lesson for anyone. Hugh talks about changing lifestyles as you get older, and adapting. He writes this quote, which I think is brilliant because, when you work in a nightclub, pub or bar, you see it a lot: "A lot of people in business say they have 20 years experience, where in fact, all they really have is a year's experience repeated 20 times.".

Basically, you don't have to be out all night partying if you don't want to. Go with the flow, as Hugh says, and do your own thing.

Maybe this chapter is good for the 'older' musicians, that have aches and pains and earlier bed times. Just know it's ok, you're not missing out, there is a next chapter, so enjoy the ride.

Chapter 34:
This is another 'money' chapter called 'Being Poor Sucks', and here Hugh talks about the choice between being 'creative' and 'making money'. In the end he states, there is no between those, rather, "The best thing in this world is to be an effective human being".

Specifically for the musician, it's back to 'soul music'. Are you getting tired of me saying that yet? Are you starting to see the same theme running around in here? That's because it's the cornerstone of the artist's life.

Chapter 35:
Here hugh talks about jobs and hobbies and turning hobbies into jobs - I have to think a little more about this one and how it relates - more soon -

Chapter 36:
This was a cool chapter where Hugh talked about Neil Young and his fan's reactions to his new style of music, when he made one of his earlier changes.

He talks particularly about embracing the lean years because they will be fond memories for you, back when nobody wanted a piece of you and you didn't have to answer to 'the fan'.

I don't know how this relates today - fans and artists are actually very versatile and maybe fans do come and go, but if you remain true to yourself, you will always have them.

But again, back to his point - enjoy your experience, whatever it is, right now.

Chapter 37:
Hugh blogs, I blog, we all blog. In chapter 37 Hugh talks about the importance of getting yourself out there into the world through social media, and that if you do and have a good product, are diligent, the money will follow. Hugh himself here is a good example. And so is one of my favorite Twits "@shitmydadsays", look him up. Not too long ago, Justin started tweeting the stuff his dad would say - in only a few months he has a tv and book deal. Presto. Of course it doesn't always happen that fast!

Of course it is the same in the music world today - you have to make use of all the social media out there, or at least as many as you can handle. Get your music and yourself as an artist out there. And as always, in any arena, be professional, be mindful of what you say and always but always put your best foot forward.

Chapter 39:
Here Hugh says paternally: "The size of the endeavor doesn't matter as much as how meaningful it becomes to you.". He talks about 'scale' and the 'ride' and the adventure of life.

Anyone who has stepped on stage for the first time and belted out an original, has had an adventure.

He says, that even though you may have a life of adventure, it will always be the small things that bring you home, that make the journey memorable; "Birth, sickness, death, falling in love...".

Good advice form someone who knows, so maybe on your musical adventure, keep close to the mundane too, keep that old T-shirt around, the one without the sequins, it could save your life.

Chapters 39&40:
In summary, Hugh talks about never knowing how, when or where success(or failure) will come from.

For the musician this is true now, more than ever before, with so many opportunities creating themselves everyday, the sky is the limit. Just make sure you have your 'soul music' with you, it's the best product there is, and as Hugh states: "Work hard. Keep at it. Live simply and quietly. Remain humble. Stay positive. Create your own luck. Be nice. Be polite.",

I could not agree more.

Ok that's it, now I know I have used a lot of quotes here and given you the run down of this cunning little book, chapter by chapter, but it really is worth owning, you will want to read it again and again AND it's full of Hugh's art!

And if you are a Rave On artist, come on by, it's here on the bookshelf!

Thanks for the opportunity Derek!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Derek Siver's Blog Project - Music Marketing Part II

If you have been following along, here is the next part of the blog project. If you have not been following, read the last post, first~

Chapter 9:
I LOVE this chapter, Hugh talks about people who can only be part of a team. "..corporations/ awash with nonautonomous thinkers." Love it.

Basically speaking, creativity almost always wins, and it is the one way you can make it in the music industry today. For example, look at clever viral videos on Youtube. Anything goes, and the more clever it is the better. Google 'United Breaks Guitars' for a great example.

My favorite sentence in this book so far is, " If you don't see yourself as particularly creative, that is not reality, that's a self imposed limitation.". I read emerging and/or young artists talking themselves down on blogs and twitter all the time, singing the same old 'I'll never make it' song. Well maybe that statement is a self fulfilling prophecy. Try not to let negative words and thoughts prohibit your growth.

Chapter 10:
IN chapter 10, Hugh states the obvious, that everyone has a Mount Everest to climb.

For the musician maybe it is a little different only in that there are Everests specific to being a musician or performing artist; from stage fright to getting that first 'soul song' out there. Advice? Get climbing. Easy peasy.

Chapter 11:
AH such an important chapter! Hugh discuses the fact that 'props' don't make the artist. We have this discussion in the studio time and again (mainly because we have to keep reminding ourselves!).

You don't need expensive gear, a vintage guitar or a new computer.

We get to hear so many examples of this, and you would not believe some of the stories out there about how, where, when and with what some really amazing and groundbreaking recordings were made. Google Rick Fines and check out his album 'Solar Powered'. All made in his cabin with a 50$ pre. No kidding.

It's the talent behind the gear, first and always, so ask yourself: "Do I really need this?".

Chapter 12:
IN chapter 12 hugh talks about all the other people just off of the bus, walking into the big city wanting to 'make it', and the five year prediction. Again, only creativity wins the day - for music and in everything - " All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one."

Chapter 13:
In Chapter 13, Hugh talks about the pain of trying, sacrifice and failing. He talks about accepting the pain and trying not to have high expectations, that way, if/when you succeed, it's all a bonus.

I would translate this chapter to mean, live in the moment. I always get hung up on expectation and it takes away from the experience. I think for the emerging artist particularly this is good and solid advice, you will make mistakes, you will fail, but as they say 'Sing like nobody's listening' and climb your Everest. Very Zen.

Chapter 14:
I need to read this one again. Hugh tells a story from his childhood in Scotland, about working at what you love, or something about fireplaces - I need to re-read. I think he means you can use your talent to make money, but you don't have to sell your soul music - hmm, so you can play in a cover band for income, but use your wicked guitar talent in the studio to create your own music? Thoughts?

Chapter 15:
Chapter 15 could have been written specifically for the musician. Hugh talks briefly about booze and drugs and the idea that many people have that it's the way to go, to be, but as we all know, it's not. You won't come out on the other side with a killer song from the experience. You may not come out the other side at all, and if you do, it will most probably be with nothing more than a cirrhotic liver and really bad breath.

Chapter 16:
OK, I have to start this bit with a direct quote that sums it all up, read this because these are facts: " The more you need the money, the more people will tell you what to do. The less control you will have. The more bullshit you will have to swallow. The less joy it will bring.".

There are people out there folks that know you are hungry, and who know you will do very nearly anything to get what you want. Make sure you have a line. I have artists who won't sell sex, who won't sing covers, who won't change songs to make them the 'perfect radio fit' etc etc..

Advice here is get out a ruler and make a line and don't cross it. 'What crap will you take, and what crap won't you take'. Go, do it right now, it may be the most important thing you do.

Chapter 17:
IN chapter 17 Hugh talks about progress, change, old ways/new ways and trust. He says ' Stop worrying about technology and start worrying about people who trust you/(they will) feed you and pay your kids' college."

Hugh says of the old ways, " (the) stability model no longer offers that much stability", and it is true, there are record deals still available for the lucky few, but even that is shaky ground.

There are a few different ways this chapter relates to the music industry, but I will take it down to the basic component you need to think about as a musician - The Fan.

In the music business today, there is no longer a middleman and you speak directly to the fan. So those are the people you trust to pay your bills and feed your kids.

Read Kevin Kelly's article on '1000 True Fans', it will point you in the right direction.

Chapter 18:
Here Hugh talks about being passionate vs being complacent. For musicians this is an easy one, as we're, for the most part, a passionate breed. In fact, sitting here thinking, I have never met a working musician or original artist who wasn't passionate. Perhaps complacency does not exist for us? (Don't mistake fatigue for being complacent!).
Hmm, comments?

On that note, I'll stop and get this posted up. I think Derek wanted this done by the 13, and I still have 20 chapters to go! Dear flu, please leave me alone this week, I promise you can come back next week and drip all over everything....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Derek Sivers music marketing blogging project~

OK, so I’m going to take over my own blog for a bit, and participate in a Derek Sivers project. It will be on his blog soon as well - so stay tuned to sivers.org.

Derek Sivers sent me this book, well, me and 16 other people. We’re to read this book on marketing, and blog about it, from a working musician’s viewpoint. So for the next little bit, I’ll be focusing here, on translating this book for you, the (hard) working musician, into terms and scenarios that work for us in the music world today.

The book he sent me was Hugh MacLeod’s little book ‘Ignore Everybody’. I was thrilled to receive this one in particular, because I have been a faithful follower of Hugh and his scribbles (gapingvoid.com) for a very long time, and so was hoping this would one day find it’s way to me.

So here we go –

Chapter 1:
I AM not really sure how to blog this, but I thought I would be very thorough and let you know what Hugh has to say, and then will talk a bit about how it translates.

To start off, Hugh says: ‘When you have a good or great idea, the people closest to you will often react negatively’.

This is true in any arena, people won’t want you to change. Change is uncomfortable, and in the music industry, I guess there is a real possibility that you and your life may change if you ever let ‘fame’ get into your head. But also true in any venue, just hang tough, keep on track and just remember if YOU feel your song/music/marketing idea is great, then hang on to that feeling and remember that those who are most negative are reacting that way because they are anticipating a change in your situation. This could be a good measurement tool!

Ah and a note as well - there are a lot of people out there that you may be working with who are perhaps not having/or did not have the success in music that you may be experiencing or getting close to, and they may be bitter about it - these people may(and do) often react negatively as well - so though they are not your family - they are close enough to you to warrant a mention in this part of chapter 1!

Chapter 2:
IN chapter 2, Hugh talks about sovereignty over your work. He talks about having your own idea, making it work, and hoping it will attract whatever you need it to attract (fans, label interest, management, agent, MONEY). He tells about how he discovered his ‘niche’ (drawing on the backs on business cards!) and how fine it felt when he found it.

This is easily transferable to any singer/songwriter, who knows the feeling of writing a really good song that just comes straight from your soul. These songs are often the best and will attract an audience.

Maybe this is a good thing to remember, to try and always make music from inside of you, from that soul place. Making music is about making peace inside of yourself, it is self soothing, and I believe that is one of it’s main purposes, and when the music comes from that place, people can’t help but listen to it’s purity – no matter the genre.

Chapter 3:
IN chapter 3, Hugh talks about ‘putting in the hours’. This is the same in any arena, but again may be more relevant to the music industry today, where the artist does need to be more of an active participant in the process. We all know about ‘the golden age’ of the record deal, and that the possibility of a record deal these days, is slim. In fact, even if you do get yourself a record deal, it is probably because you have been out there, have talent, and have successfully marketed yourself so well that you get noticed. This is in fact the advice of the labels – ‘if you’re good we’ll see you’.

Hugh ads a note here too – to pace yourself as well, go slowly and carefully and build yourself a strong foundation. In the end you may not end up with what you wanted at the start, but wherever you are, you will be stable on that foundation.

Case in point, a musician who has spent years touring, doing ok but never really ‘making it big’, but doing it well, carefully doing his bookings and all the scut work, finds that he enjoys more the tour booking and management side of the coin; he now has so many good contacts and so much knowledge that the work just comes to him.

Chapter 4:
IN chapter 4 Hugh talks about ‘the loneliness’ of having a good idea. He describes the bandwagon jumpers and those who ‘want to be on a winning team’ no matter what that team is.

Magnify this times a million and you will have a good idea of the music business today (and throughout recent history). People will always want to be your friend, know you, say they know you and want a piece of the action. Sadly the music business is full of people like this as well. Be careful whom you confide in, work with and give your money to – always!

Trust comes with time, so be wary and be safe.

Chapter 5:
IN chapter 5, Hugh says the magic words: “If your business plan depends on suddenly being discovered by some big shot, your plan will probably fail”. He talks about how, by the time he was ‘discovered’, he didn’t need to be.

These are difficult words to hear, and hard words to say to a burgeoning artist. And again I have to reiterate what I mentioned earlier, a label will only look at you if you have already got yourself out there, and better yet, are an ‘earner’. Musical artists are a dime a dozen these days, and as my friend Producer Tony Marriott says, “Anybody with a computer is a producer”.

Hugh goes on to talk about how ‘publishers’ (in the book world) are ‘middlemen’ – see earlier post about bandwagon wannabees (ooh, is that mean?) Does an artist need a ‘publisher’? I don’t know the answer to that one. It has been my experience that people in a lot of instances want to deal with the artist themselves – no doubt to maybe get a better deal – but at least this way the artist is in charge. Good I guess, if you are savvy – better get savvy.

Chapter 6:
IN chapter 6, Hugh talks about being responsible for your own experience – to live life inside out not outside in. This relates to the artist in loads of ways: fame= power= ego=power=fame etc etc etc. The lesson here, may be same as is in chapter 2: ‘soul music’ – no matter what, make your music from the inside out, live from the inside out.

Chapter 7:
“Don’t fear your crayons!”. In 7, Hugh talks about the potential to be creative. That we all have it and that we should continue to our creative voice in spite of our evil grown up ways.

Well, this one is easy – in the music world, we don’t seem to have those ‘evil grown up ways’ – enough said.

Chapter 8:
Another hard truth in chapter 8 – don’t give up your day job. Hugh talks about reality – having to eat, pay bills…and as a musician and artist in today’s world, because you will most likely have to support your career on your own, you may indeed have to keep that day job, sleepy as you will be!

Remember that saying about ‘loving what you do, no matter what it is, because then it will never feel like work’? Well, get to loving waiting those tables or teaching that class of grade 5s. It does work. And just think, you’ll be collecting real life stories – then, at the weekend, you can rock out with your cool, real life inspired songs.

OK – taking a break to read a bit more -

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

The new year - a new start?

I've been having interesting conversations with people this week, and this new year's more than ever, people are making up their minds to make some pretty significant changes in their lives.

Whether they are putting more focus on their careers, breaking old ties or dropping negative things out of their lives, it's all good. Every little bit helps us keep moving forward.

Here are a few bits of inspiration to help keep up the good work, and remember, even with all good intentions, there will still be hard times ~but that's what makes the sunny days shine!



For more upates on the studio and our work, please have a look around the new website - raveonstudio.com ~

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year from Rave On Studio!

I was trying to think of something clever, thoughtful and out of the ordinary to say here, for our New Year's message, but I couldn't.

So instead I'll post up this picture of our little world, because it really is small and fragile, and put out the wish that we can treat it (be a thoughtful tenant) and each other (be a good friend) with kindness in the year to come.

You get out, what you put in, so make it brilliant.