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Shopify is one of the most popular and powerful tools for building an eCommerce site. So, why can’t musicians use it to set up their online stores?
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I chat with Tommy Stalknecht of Single Music. Their platform integrates with Shopify and offers relevant analytics to help you grow your music career.
- 00:34 – What is Single Music?
- 01:54 – What makes Shopify great for musicians?
- 03:21 – The challenge of cobbling together different technology to build your online store
- 04:37 – Focusing on your creative vision
- 06:03 – Can Single Music be used by independent artists?
- 07:44 – Independent artists are more agile
- 08:47 – The evolution of technology
- 09:45 – Crowdfunding with Single Music
- 13:10 – Single Music allows you to see exactly who bought your music
- 16:17 – Single Music reports to Nielsen SoundScan and why that’s important
- 18:29 – Wait, you can still sell CDs as a musician?
- 20:06 – What is the story behind Single Music?
- 23:30 – What sort of freelancing work were you engaging in?
- 26:16 – Any other thoughts on Single Music?
- 28:07 – Bundling and packaging your music products
- 29:33 – What is the greatest challenge you’ve overcome as an entrepreneur?
- 30:30 – Gaining trust with musicians
- 31:33 – What’s the biggest victory you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur
- 32:23 – Sharing your vision and collaboration
- 34:29 – Are there any books or other resources that have helped you on your journey?
- 36:26 – Concluding thoughts
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They were admired and worshipped, not afraid of taking risks and, of course, ahead of their time. They left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of people all over the world. Their success stories became the stuff of legend and were made into multiple movies. They were an inspiration for famous writers who dedicated voluminous manuscripts to them (in fact, the essay you’re writing now may well be about one of them).
They are the 6 women who changed the world of music.
1. Maria Callas
Maria Callas rose from humble beginnings to become the greatest opera singer of the 20th century. After she passed away in 1977, Pierre-Jean Remy, a Parisian opera critic, noted in his diary, “After Callas, opera will never be the same.”
Lord Harwood, a London-based musical critic, described her as “the greatest performer of our time.” Even opponents of Callas were forced to recognize her genius and the significant impact she made on the world of opera. One of them was Rudolph Bing, General Manager of the New York Metropolitan Opera, who Callas constantly clashed with over the course of her professional career. After her death, he wrote, “We will not see anything like her anymore.”
Maria Callas was both revered and hated but her professional skills left no one indifferent. She influenced the world of opera like no other person in the twentieth century. Callas owed her success to hard work, high moral qualities, and constant strive for perfection. It was her childhood dreams and the crises she went through that hardened her character and turned her into an overachiever.
And she remained one for the rest of her life…
2. Billie Holiday
No matter how hard she tried, Billie Holiday could never climb to the very top of DownBeat, Melody Maker, and Metronome charts. For the general public, she’d always remained the second or third best. She kept being pushed aside by Ella Fitzgerald, Helen O’Connell, Sarah Vaughan, and Joe Stafford who’d always had the support of popular bands. They were also more vocally gifted, and thus enjoyed far greater popularity than Billie.
With jazz critics, things were a little different. In all their articles, they emphasized Billie Holiday’s charm, her perfect sense of style and, of course, her unique voice. When it came to the charts, something incomprehensible began to happen. Holiday never made it to the top of the reviewers poll published by the DownBeat magazine in 1953. Almost all critics gave their votes to Ella Fitzgerald.
Billie Holiday was called the Queen of Jazz and Blues. Her unique voice helped her turn simple songs into genuine masterpieces. She did not try to imitate other jazz vocalists because it was simply impossible. She was never fully understood and sought solace in drugs. Billy was only 44 when she passed away of a heroin overdose.
Even though it happened four decades ago, her fans continue to listen to her songs and her albums keep selling to this day.
3. Nina Simone
Being a singer, pianist, composer, and arranger, Nina Simone experimented with different music styles, including jazz, soul, pop, gospel music, and blues.
Born in North Carolina, she went to New York’s prestigious Juilliard School of Music. Her pianist career started in 1953 when she began to perform at nightclubs in Atlantic City. To prevent her religious mother from finding out about her nighttime exploits, she adopted the pseudonym Nina Simone (in homage of her favorite French actress Simone Signoret).
By the end of the 1950s, she had already recorded 10 albums. In the early ’60s, she came up with a collection of Duke Ellington compositions, as well as blues ballads from Broadway musicals. Simon performed at concerts not only as a singer with a surprisingly rich and flexible voice but also as a pianist, dancer, and actress.
In 1965, Nina Simone released her most successful album, I Put a Spell on You, which included three all-time hits: “I Put a Spell on You” (by Jay Hawkins), “Feeling Good” and “Ne Me Quitte Pas”.
Nina Simon was personally acquainted with Martin Luther King. After his murder, she recorded “Mississippi Goddam” in which she poured out her personal feeling of outrage. It was followed by “Pirate Jenny”, and an adaptation of Jacques Brel’s song “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, both of which assumed classic status.
4. Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald’s whole life is a testimony to the fact that any person with enough persistence can make it big, even if the odds are against them. The cult singer managed to conquer audiences worldwide with her musical genius, which she was fortunate to be born with. However, without due persistence, her fate could have been completely different.
Ever since she was a kid, Ella had been passionate about many things, including dancing, music, and sports. However, it was singing that helped her become the greatest jazz legend of the 20th century.
The turning point in her life came when she met Charlie Linton, a lead singer for the Chick Webb band, at the Harlem’s Apollo Theater. The band’s leader – Chick Webb – signed her up by paying her a fee from his own funds. It didn’t take long for Ella to become a star. She then recorded her albums with Teddy Wilson, Ink Spots, and Benny Goodman.
5. Patti Smith
Patti Smith, a famous American singer, and songwriter, is often called the godmother of punk rock. She earned the title after releasing Horses in 1975. It played a huge role in the development of the punk genre. Her song “Because the Night”, which she wrote with Bruce Springsteen, was a big hit with international audiences. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Pati Smith’s latest album Banga was released in 2012 and instantly got an unholy thrashing from critics.
Smith is a very active and prominent member of the US Green Party. She is the author of many anti-war songs and a critic of any hostilities.
Patti Smith remains a punk-style icon for many contemporary musicians, many of whom drew their inspiration from her first album Horses.
She painstakingly nurtured her image by changing her name, hair color, face, and even figure. Thus, Louise Ciccone became Madonna whose scandalous repertoire focused heavily on female sensuality and sinfulness.
Her raven-black hair turned glitzy gold (just like that of Marilyn Monroe), while her far-from-perfect figure (which led some people to believe she was a bit overweight) became almost model-like (thanks to a gruelling diet, daily workouts, and jogging).
She arrived in New York when she was 23. Many believed (and still do) that she was too old to begin a career in showbiz. Perhaps, for some that was true, but not for Madonna. After all, her life’s motto is: Each success must be consolidated, otherwise your competitors will “eat you up”. And it seems like she’s truly lived up to it – at least, no one has managed to do it to her yet.
If you Google, “How to start writing a song?” you will get about 3 million results in 0.56 seconds. There are a lot of options to choose from, but you know what? There is a high likelihood most of those options will not be helpful.
There are some songwriting exercises that will always work. These include writing as few lyrics as possible or writing from experience.
But, the tips we have provided are special. They put your ideas first. They open up your time for to focus, experiment, and come up with spectacular songs.
Songwriting is a deep and personal process. It involves diving into yourself to pull out a masterpiece. These tips will also teach you how to get better at poetry or find samples on WriteMyEssayForMe.co.uk. Here are eleven useful songwriting tips to get your songs on track.
1. Start with Research to Generate New Audiences
Research is crucial when it comes to writing an enjoyable and meaningful song. The proper research will also allow you to better connect with your listener. Write about something you know, care about, or have observed and then uncover those little details that will bring your subject to life.
For example, if cases of poverty in India move you, read up on the facts of the country before you write. After conducting research, you will be in a better position to compose a meaningful song.
2. Open Your Mind and Refine Your Craft
Open your mind as you go about your day-to-day activities. Keep your eyes open for anything that grabs your attention. These include:
- Your responses to individuals or situations
- Anything interesting you observe on TV
- A sudden encounter with a friend that makes you think about life
All these are materials can help you refine your craft.
3. Understand Your Listeners
Understanding your listeners is among the most important music writing tips. Understating your listeners’ behavior will give you direction. It will also help you know what kind of songs to include in the playlist. As a beginner:
- Note down what genres or artists trigger the most engagement.
- Determine which time your audience visit your music the most. If it is in the morning hours, a playlist filled with happy songs is ideal. If it is after work hours, include relaxing/calm music in the playlist.
- Use a music data service to unveil the demographics of your fan bases. Such services will help you identify what to focus to efforts on.
Not all your songs should be about Gucci bags and shoes! Cognizance and drifting into a daydream can be good for songwriting. Sometimes you can even jot down a real dream if possible. All these serve as excellent materials for your songs.
Lyrics should come first before you start composing your song. The instrumentation, song arrangement, and vocal lines follow suit. If you want bright, dynamic songs, the instrumentation must match the lyrics. So, always start with the lyrics.
6. Do Not Rewrite
Some individuals might be tempted rewrite existing lyrics. Rewriting is comparable to Mills and Boon writing. If you want to rewrite, you can call upon an Essay Kitchen. A credible writing service has writers who know the production value that goes into a song. They also know what sells. If you rewrite, you might either get contempt or get sued. It is advisable to come up with original pieces to avoid such instances.
7. Line by Line
If you are not a natural rhymer or wordsmith, you can develop your songwriting by:
- Finding your subject
- Writing down the important points in lines
- Transforming those points into the lyrics of your songs
To rhyme words at the end of a line, run through the alphabet and find relevant words that match. This is a bit tedious, but it will help your songs turn out more melodious.
8. Who to Write For Others
Are you interested in writing for others? Or do you want to be a singer-songwriter? Writing for others is a professional pursuit. You can advertise yourself as a songwriter using a LinkedIn profile writing service. But, if you are confident in both your musical talent and songwriting prowess, you are the best person to deliver your songs.
9. Put Yourself Out There
If you are a skilled musician but have not showcased your material, do not fret. There are many places where you can showcase your music. You can visit friendly venues such as open mic nights where you can get up on stage and present your music.
Individuals who go to open mic events will most likely be in the same position as you. As such, they understand the pressure that comes with being a new and upcoming musician. There is no competition in such crowds.
10. Make Your Style Special
If your style works for you, who cares! If you only want to use two instruments or make your album acapella, go for it. Trust in the uniqueness of your music. Do not shy away from writing about subjects that drive listeners out of their comfort zones.
11. Trust Yourself
A lot of famous musicians were not amazing when they first started performing. But, they believed in their performances. The audiences listening and watching loved the authenticity of their performances. Trusting yourself is essential. Remember, you will not always hit the mark on the first try.
So, there you have it. With these 11 tips, you should have a stronger idea on how to compose a song. These tips will help you write poetic and meaningful lyrics, with melody and authenticity. Go ahead and start writing your song. You will love the results you get after following our tips.
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Science has us convinced that we should keep our goals to ourselves. But does this work?
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I explain why sharing your goals with others is crucial to reaching them.
- 00:34 – Science says you shouldn’t share your goals with anyone
- 01:10 – The “trying” problem
- 02:29 – Action
- 02:50 – Getting into conversation
- 03:44 – Think And Grow Rich?
- 04:54 – Failure and the mistake advantage
- 05:20 – Why share your goals with others?
- 05:44 – The secret to sharing
- 06:19 – Episode summary
Today I wanted to share about the importance of sharing your goals with others.
Now, science is saying you shouldn’t share your goals with anyone. But why?
Because when you share your goals and receive early praise, you get a false sense of completion. You can even enter a state where you feel as though the goal has already been accomplished, even if it hasn’t been.
When I first heard that, I thought it made sense.
But based on the training I’ve received in the last year or so, I couldn’t disagree more. I think it’s ridiculous.
I think it might even be a deliberate attempt to disempower and deceive people who are genuinely trying to accomplish something worthwhile.
But you may say, “science is science, D.A. – it’s irrefutable.”
Then tell me this:
If we were to say for a moment that The Secret and Law of Attraction indeed work, then it’s also true that you attract what you are.
What do you attract when you’re trying to reach your goals? Think about it for a second. You attract more trying. So, you get stuck in a cycle of trying, trying, trying.
We have a serious problem with trying in the music industry. Have you ever noticed that?
I can think of many examples, but the one that comes immediately to mind is Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit single, “Call Me Maybe”.
There’s a line in the chorus that goes:
“And all the other boys try to chase me”.
Are the boys trying to chase you? Or are they in fact chasing you? There’s a difference.
The only instance in which they might be trying to chase you is if they’re disabled or hindered by an obstacle. So, they’re chasing you unsuccessfully. Of course, that doesn’t sound as good in a lyrical context.
Now, I happen to think “Call Me Maybe” is a catchy song with a good hook but that’s beside the point.
The point is that we should consider eliminating the word, “try” from our vocabulary when it comes to goals.
You’re welcome to try new things, whether it’s food, a new hobby or a new routine. But that’s not what we’re talking about.
Again, if we were to assume that the Law of Attraction works, wouldn’t a state of completion be the ideal state to be in? Wouldn’t you attract completion from a state of completion?
But there’s more to this, because I don’t think what people are missing is an emotional state or a vibration. You don’t need to get your thoughts and feelings in order to achieve your goals. You don’t need to meditate for hours to get what you want.
What’s still missing from the equation is action. On this point I think virtually everyone would agree.
If you don’t do something, you won’t get anything.
But of all the things you could be doing, is there anything truly as important as getting into conversation?
Think about all that you can achieve through conversation:
- You can set up partnerships.
- You can persuade investors.
- You can talk to collaborators about starting new projects.
- You can get a date.
- You can sell your significant other on the idea of marriage.
- You can ask for publicity and media coverage.
- You can sell your latest release.
- You can book shows.
- You can land an opening slot on another band’s tour.
- And more.
So, most if not everything you want is on the other side of a conversation.
And, if we were to take it for granted that what happens in our minds isn’t real, we can detach from this notion that sharing will somehow undermine our attempt to reach our goals.
It could be argued, then, that sharing is the critical element bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be. A lot of people miss that.
I have immense respect and reverence for Napoleon Hill’s work and his book, Think And Grow Rich. It’s made a difference for a lot of people.
Many have speculated on what hidden secret Hill was referring to in the introduction of his book. Some people even claim to have the answer.
If I had to take my own stab at it, however, I would say that the secret is turning your thoughts into material, physical form.
What do I mean by that?
See, thoughts don’t exist. I don’t have access to your thoughts or anyone else’s. I only have access to my own. But even with access to my own thoughts, I can’t find my thoughts, your thoughts or anyone else’s anywhere in the physical realm. I can’t use my senses to identify them.
If we want our thoughts to become real, we need to turn them into a to-do list, a conversation, an email, a blog post, a podcast episode, a video, a book or otherwise.
So, despite its impact, Think And Grow Rich isn’t quite right. It’s Act And Grow Rich. It’s through action we discover what works and what doesn’t. When something doesn’t work, sometimes it’s just a matter of making a little tweak. And, sometimes we’re way off base and need to rethink our entire approach.
But trust me when I say I’ve tried a lot of things that didn’t work, and 80% of the time, I still fail. Most of what I do doesn’t work.
If I take it for granted that I’m not special and that I will make just as many mistakes as the average person, then all things being equal, it’s better that I make more mistakes. If I make more mistakes, I have a better chance at success. Even with all the failures, there’s bound to be some successes.
But you may still be wondering why you’d want to share your goals with others.
It’s quite simple – because you can benefit from what others have to share with you.
They may see things you don’t currently see about your goals and offer feedback. They may have accomplished something similar and could tell you what kind of effort it’s going to take. Plus, people know people. The people you share with may be able to connect you with others who can help you reach your goals quicker.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “I’ve done this type of sharing before, and it didn’t get me anywhere.”
Never forget that how you share makes a difference.
When you’re sharing about something that matters to you, the key point is to leave people touched, moved and inspired. How do you know when that has happened? When you feel touched, moved and inspired.
From that context, you will find that people are more open and willing to help, because it allows them step into your world and see things from your perspective.
If they don’t know why your goals are important to you, that question is going to remain a mystery for them. Even if they can’t verbalize it, there will be something missing for them.
So, do we fail to reach our goals because we share them with others? No, I think it’s the complete opposite. Most of the time, we fail to reach our goals because we don’t share them with anyone.
Thanks for joining me for part one of this podcast episode.
In part two, I’ll be sharing some of my goals with you. Maybe you can help me reach them.
Until then, jam on.
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Multiple Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift said:
Music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment.
The ever-evolving music industry is extremely competitive. That makes it pivotal for would-be artists to make themselves stand out from the competition.
While performing regular gigs and occasionally having a newspaper or magazine do a write-up about you was enough a decade ago, you will have to work a lot harder to get heard today.
With more than 56% of the world’s population having internet access, having an online presence is more important than ever before.
Even if you have never thought about sharing your music online and creating website or social media accounts for yourself, a few simple guidelines will help you make your entrance into the world wide web significantly easier.
Although building a prolific online presence for yourself may seem rather overwhelming, it is important to understand that it is achievable. If you are aiming to instantly garner an online following akin to that of Ed Sheeran or Beyoncé, however, you are going to be terribly disappointed.
The first thing you need to do to establish this presence is to set realistic goals for yourself. These goals can include anything from having a certain number of Instagram or YouTube followers to having a renowned blog write about you.
There are no right and wrong goals when it comes to building an online presence. Simply do what you believe is going to benefit your music the most in the long-run.
Develop Your Central Hub
As tempting as it may be to establish your entire online presence all at once, it simply isn’t possible. Decide where you are going to place your focus first, whether it is a website for your music, a social media presence, or online streaming.
While you will undoubtedly expand your presence, it is essential to first make sure your hub (or online headquarters if that is easier to imagine) has a good foundation.
Maximize your hub’s potential by developing a user-friendly interface and adding only high-quality, engaging content that will appeal to both your current fan base as well as music lovers in general.
Yes, Content is Key
To have an online following you can be proud of, you need to pique the interest of prospective fans. One sure-fire way to do this is to post relevant, interesting content in creative ways.
The internet has become extremely cluttered with a plethora of media, which is why it is so important to only post content with substance.
There are a number of artists and bands ranging from Ariana Grande to Maroon 5 that knows the importance of good content that appeals to their fans. Not only do they keep their online content current and of a good quality, but they make sure that all the online platforms they make use of sport a universal feel to them.
Choose Your Platforms Carefully
When establishing an online presence, it is important to choose the platforms you are going to share your music and post content on, carefully.
Once you have decided on your platforms, you need to figure out how you are going to grow your fan base. If you have shared your music on YouTube, for example, you would want your videos to rank high in the internal search results.
SEO optimization can make an enormous difference to how many subscribers and video views you get on platforms such as YouTube and Spotify and is definitely an area you would want to place some focus on.
Remember that not everyone will be willing to pay for your music if they have never heard it before, so consider uploading a few songs for free, public spaces as well as pay-to-stream or download sites.
It is pointless to share your music online if you have no one that wants to listen to it. But this does not mean you have to spam everyone relentlessly with your music and other content.
Learn to get social without being spammy. Conduct a bit of research into what other artists are doing and use their strategies as a basis when creating your own.
Become more vocal in the music community, sharing other artist’s news and leaving considerate comments. Engage with your fans as well by answering questions and thanking them for their support.
Being a musician is hard work. Thankfully there are numerous things you can do, such as establishing an online presence for yourself, that will make your life a lot easier.