My Productivity Tool Stack for 2024

My Productivity Tool Stack for 2024

Last year, I embraced simplicity in my productivity tool stack, opting for minimalism and efficiency.

But we’re living in increasingly complex times, and complicated work requires a sophisticated array of tools to manage.

Here I will share the expansive set of tools that empower me to do what I do.

Audio

I primarily leverage these tools for podcasting.

Auphonic

For speedy audio sweetening. Auphonic uses adaptive leveling, filtering, loudness normalization, noise reduction, and automatic cutting techniques to make you sound amazing.

I don’t know why more creators don’t know about this and aren’t using this. Do us all a favor and sweeten up your podcast or video’s audio using Auphonic.

Rode Procaster

My favorite dynamic broadcast mic. Perfect for podcasting, great for music production too (but you’ve got to remember to crank that gain up!).

You can get yours here (it’s great):

Waveform Free

Waveform is one of the best music production software applications in existence. The workflow matches up with how my brain works.

I use it for podcast editing and music production.

Computers

I may need to replace these machines soon (especially the Mac), but for the time being, they are my mainstays.

ASUS ZenBook UX462DA

My ASUS ZenBook

The screen cracked and the webcam doesn’t work anymore. The fan is dying a horrible, loud, vibratory death. It has become more prone to overheating. And speaking of which, I’m not sure the built-in microphone works anymore either.

But for now, it’s the best laptop I’ve got.

Get a new ASUS:

Apple MacBook Pro

The 2015 Apple MacBook Pro has seen better days. Like the ASUS, it has a cracked screen, but the situation is far worse (see for yourself).

My 2015 MacBook Pro

I mainly keep it around for video conferences, seeing as how the webcam on my ASUS doesn’t work anymore.

If you’re looking to get rid of an old MacBook that’s in better condition, drop me a line.

Get a new MacBook Pro:

HP2011x 20-inch LED Backlit LCD Monitor

Having a second monitor is a good thing. Though not thoroughly practical, I haul this baby with me wherever I go. Fortunately, it’s quite lightweight.

eBooks

I am producing more PDFs than ever, and it helps to have the right tools for the job.

Designrr

I bought it on a pandemic special in 2020 and haven’t regretted the purchase. Designrr is a great tool for creating attractive, interactive eBooks without having to hire a designer.

Typeset

Typeset was created to handle the speedy creation of presentations. But so far as I’m concerned, that is not even what it does best.

For creating beautiful eBooks and PDFs quickly and easily, it is practically unmatched. It would be nice to see more fonts though.

File Storage & Organization

I am essentially using the same tools I’ve used for ages.

Amazon S3

I store my podcast files and course content inside Amazon S3. It’s cheap, it’s quick, and it’s (almost) easy.

Dropbox

Every book I’m writing gets backed up in Dropbox. When working with assistants, I generally create shared Dropbox folders too.

Google Drive

More than mere storage. I have a personal Google Workspace account, so I’m also using Gmail and Google Calendar.

I create my LifeSheets, tracking sheets, and a myriad of other documents and presentations inside Google Drive.

Some of my collaborative projects also use Google Drive for file management.

Graphics

The occasional graphical work (blog headers and the like) is par for the course in my profession.

Adobe Photoshop

I can do what I need to do in Photoshop, and if I can’t, I hire a designer!

Music Production

I could go super in-depth here, talking about all my guitars, amps, and accessories. I’ll save that for another time.

Here I’ll look at the audio interface I use.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

My audio interface. It allows me to connect microphones and instruments to my computer. I use it for podcasting as well.

Get the latest Scarlett:

Note-taking

I am constantly writing things down, and I am using both paper-based and electronic solutions.

iPad & Apple Pencil

Besides note-taking, I also read my Kindles on my iPad (same devices from 2019), though if I’m out and about I sometimes read on my iPhone too.

I’ve thought of making videos with the iPad and Apple Pencil. This hasn’t happened yet.

Should you require your own Apple productivity utensils:

Notebook

White paper, blue pen. This is where my mind lives.

I log my income, draw graphs, strategize events, capture song ideas, scribble to-dos, and more.

The wealthy make a mess of handwritten notes. The average type everything into a computer.

If you want to use what I’m using:

Project Management

I am now using a mix of paper- and digital-based solutions to manage all the moving pieces of my projects.

Calendar Pad

I’m bringing the calendar pad back! It is a little impractical for travel, but I can’t deny the benefits of physically writing down all my commitments, as well as my income.

If you want the same thing I’m using:

ClickUp

ClickUp is an all-in-one online productivity tool for individuals and teams. And it’s getting better all the time.

Yellow Legal Pad

For daily to-do lists. This is unlikely to change.

Social Media

I’ve got quite the tool stack going for social media, though I do hope to pare this down.

Buffer

For scheduling posts on Instagram and TikTok.

Descript

I use Descript for my podcast and video transcripts as well as for creating audiograms I share on social media.

Creator Studio

For scheduling posts on Facebook and Instagram.

OnlyWire

For spreading posts across 20 social networks, especially new YouTube videos.

Video

Here’s how I capture and edit my videos.

iPhone

I capture most of my videos using my iPhone.

Loom

The ideal solution for screen recording.

Microsoft Clipchamp

A reasonably good video editor. For now, the free version does the trick. I don’t wish to get so good at video editing that I can’t hand it off to someone else, so this works for me.

Web Hosting

I use the following solutions for my websites.

KLEQ

KLEQ is the best solution for creating websites, campaigns, sales funnels, courses, and membership sites.

Find my review here: KLEQ Review – Funnel Builder, Online Courses, Membership Site Solution

SiteGround

My WordPress sites are all hosted on SiteGround. It’s the same host I recommend to friends.

WordPress

We could go super in-depth here and talk about all the plugins I’m using. But that seems excessive.

Here I will simply talk about the tools that I feel increase my performance.

Elegant Themes

I still love Divi Theme and use it on most new sites I launch. It makes creating custom WordPress designs a walk in the park.

Check out what Elegant Themes has to offer.

Writing

In case you haven’t noticed, writing is a key part of my daily activities. I use these tools to make my processes efficient.

ChatGPT

I don’t get AI to generate content for me. I generate content myself and then ask AI to tweak and improve.

I never do this for blog posts, however, and I’ve stopped doing it for emails as well.

The content that I produce in this manner is paywalled, and it’s still double- and triple-checked before it goes live.

I will sometimes have ChatGPT create tweets, outlines, taglines, and headlines for me, which helps with ideation.

Grammarly

I honestly never thought I would use Grammarly, but one of the teams I was working with last year uses it, so it ended up sticking in my ecosystem too.

I don’t like all its suggestions, but many are helpful.

Microsoft Word

If you’ve ever wondered where most of my words are stored, including my books, it’s inside Microsoft Word. This seems unlikely to change.

Final Thoughts

Ready to make a mess in 2024? I know I am!

I hope this guide helps unlock your most productive year yet. Let me know how it goes.

Music Industry News for April 3, 2023

It’s #MusicMonday, and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to get caught up with industry news!

Here’s what caught my attention this week (it’s not all rosy!).

▶️ YouTube Shorts Nearly Doubling an Artist’s Total Reach

YouTube Shorts Nearly Doubling an Artist’s Total Reach

As Hypebot shares:

  • Artists who uploaded YouTube Shorts in January saw over 50% of their new channel subscribers come from Shorts.
  • Fan-created YouTube Shorts boosted the average artist’s unique views by over 80%.

We’ve been experimenting with YouTube Shorts for eight days on the Music Entrepreneur HQ channel, which has resulted in over 4,100 views and five subscribers so far. That’s not a lot of subscribers (basically two per Short), but it has proven the fastest path to growth on YouTube for us in recent months.

The views have been wildly inconsistent though, with one Short gaining just two views, and another garnering over 1,700 views.

For the time being, you can bet that we’re going to continue pumping out shorts for our channels, as well as those of our clients. We encourage you to give them a go too!

▶️ Talks Concerning TikTok Ban Escalate in the U.S.

Talks Concerning TikTok Ban Escalate in the U.S.

Governing bodies could not be more contradictory, hypocritical, and tone deaf if they tried (not like that’s anything new). Recent cries of TikTok ban send a clear message of “we don’t like China,” all the while trying to encourage diversity and inclusion across the world. If you can’t gather that creating a world where everyone is accepted is not their end game, by now, then I’m not sure I can help you.

To be fair, I have been warning of the potential banning of TikTok since January. If you don’t have a backup plan, now would be the time to start digging your well before you die of an unquenchable thirst. I’ve always advised setting up a WordPress site on SiteGround, but barring that, at least check out the new ByteDance app, Lemon8.

Also see:

▶️ Twitter Algorithm Uncovered

Twitter Algorithm Uncovered

The media has been hounding this, and the not so ulterior motive appears to be taking cheap shots at Elon Musk.

I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in understanding how the algorithm works. Especially since some of the tactics that were working for me just weeks ago no longer appear to be working.

My friend sent me this tweet thread via Akash Gupta, and I think it’s the most useful thing on the topic. You’re welcome.

▶️ Winamp Resurrects, Launches Winamp for Creators

Generation Z probably won’t have heard of Winamp at all, but it really whipped the llama’s ass…

I remember them fondly for their skinnable music player, which was one of the best at the time. Once iTunes came out, they sort of became a moot point, the way MySpace became moot when Facebook exploded in popularity.

As with many services that have come before it, Winamp for Creators promises to create an ecosystem that rewards musicians fairly for their work, and restore balance to the Force… I mean, the music business.

Vagueness aside, it’s effectively a platform empowering you with the ability to set up your own fan club (Fanzone) and monetize your fans. I’m sure it differs from Fangage or Patreon somehow, but I’m not clear on how.

With Winamp for Creators, you can also access copyright management and distribution services. They are currently adding NFT and licensing services as well.

Also see:

▶️ Reap the Rewards of an Ownership Mindset in Your Music Career & Achieve Elevated Results

288 – Reap the Rewards of an Ownership Mindset in Your Music Career & Achieve Elevated Results

In case you missed it, in the latest episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I shared a foundational mindset concept – why taking responsibility for your music career and the results you create will propel your growth like little else.

▶️ The Productivity, Performance & Profits Breakthroughs Program Begins This Tuesday

Productivity, Performance & Profits Breakthroughs

The Productivity, Performance & Profits Breakthroughs Facebook group was set up to support the launch of my first premium book, the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.

My first live stream is slated for tomorrow, around 6:20 PM PST. If you haven’t joined the group yet, but are committed to having a breakthrough in productivity, what are you waiting for? Get in while you still can!

▶️ Best of David Andrew Wiebe

David Andrew Wiebe

I blog daily on my personal blog. Here are my favorite posts from the past week:

Final Thoughts

And that’s what jumped out at us this week, but if there’s anything else you think we should have covered, leave a comment below and let us know!

Top 5 Social Networks to Watch in 2023

Top 5 Social Networks to Watch in 2023

Trainwrecks and triumphs. Turnarounds and tragedies. Trickery and tribulation.

2023 is upon us, and a looming uncertainty is moderated with measured excitement.

In the social media space, it could go either way – upheaval, or just more of the same. But I’m honestly counting on the former, if nothing else, for a bit of entertainment, and let’s face it – the validation dopamine hit the kids are so irreversibly hooked on (if there is upheaval, some of my predictions will be proven right).

For good or for ill, the following social networks are the ones to watch in 2023.

LinkedIn

My coach has been saying for years that LinkedIn is a killer platform for sharing video content, mainly because no one else is posting anything that interesting. Like moths to a flame, on LinkedIn, users are drawn to things that are even the slightest bit more interesting than corporate speak and head hunting.

Content marketing speaker, strategist, and entrepreneur Joe Pulizzi is very bullish on LinkedIn, so it seems like, years later, people are finally catching up to where my coach has been for ages.

Blogger / vlogger / digital nomad Tom Kuegler has also been on about the value of LinkedIn for a while, though all signs seem to point to the idea that his confidence in Medium has been restored and he will probably remain a Medium guy for 2023. Then again, he has been known to change his mind ever so often…

Twitter

Well, if nothing else, Twitter should be fun to watch.

It’s funny how they keep rolling out new features and then do an about face when initiatives don’t pan out…

Revue, for example, seemed like a brilliant acquisition on their part, but now they’re shutting her down (I’m so glad I didn’t go further down that track)…

And I don’t know what the hell they’re trying to do with Twitter Blue. Operation money suck, I think, but it seems like they could be offering something of greater value. Some users, I bet, would pay for the ability to edit their tweets.

Anyway, what’s going to happen to Twitter now that it’s in better hands and those hands have already said they’re not going to prioritize Twitter over Tesla? I think that’s what everyone wants to know.

I don’t have a morbid fascination with Elon Musk as a lot of people in this space seem to, but I am at least slightly leaning towards his ownership being a good thing rather than a bad thing.

There’s a very good chance I will continue to use Twitter heavily throughout 2023.

Discord

If there’s one social network that seems to be doing everything right and will probably continue to experience significant growth in 2023, it’s Discord.

With the Clubhouse hangover wearing off, if you’re still over there listening to NFT “experts” saying “we don’t know how this Web3 thing is going to pan out, but it will be an exciting thing to watch” like it was 2020 again, it’s really time to find something better to do… and move yourself over to Discord, okay?

Spotify is poised to overtake audio content in a significant way, but you know who else could mount a sizable attack? Discord.

TikTok

TikTok will be interesting to watch. Not in a positive sense, but rather in an “oh my god, see that trainwreck, look at that trainwreck, oh my god” kind of way.

I mentioned this in an earlier post too, but if you have no idea what I’m talking about, refer to episode 354 of This Old Marketing. TikTok is being banned in the U.S.

Yes, I recognize I’m kind of the bad guy in relaying this less than lovely news, but as they say, “give away all your money to the messenger.” Wait, that wasn’t it…? 🤔

My prediction, if you remember, though, was that either some party would establish TikTok North America, separate from the original, or some competitor would rise to create a rival app.

So, don’t come crying back to me saying you weren’t warned. Your short video addiction cycle may be broken this year, but likely only temporarily.

(And, hey, you’ve still got Instagram and YouTube Shorts…)

Facebook

As with TikTok, Facebook isn’t interesting because of the amazing changes that are coming (honestly haven’t heard of any), but rather because the backlash has been significant throughout the pandemic, and the disdain is still palpable.

It seems people aren’t thrilled about “Meta,” or their new direction, and it’s looking like they may be course correcting in short order.

I can’t say I care too much, because Facebook hasn’t made it into the two or three networks I’ll be focusing on in 2023, but I think they’ve made their own bed and now they get to lay in it.

Final Thoughts

If I can suggest something. It’s all fine and dandy to build on rented land, but we live in unpredictable times. You just never know when your favorite platform could take a nosedive into an abyss never to return (just one of many possible negative outcomes).

If you’re tired of the compromise. If you can see the foolishness in single source dependency. Make 2023 the year you set up your own home on the web. SiteGround is the perfect place to start. Let me know the moment you get your first WordPress site erected. It’s way easier than you might think!

My 2023 Music Industry Predictions

My 2023 Music Industry Predictions

The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a great deal of uncertainty. Live performance and touring ground to a halt, leading many artists to consider throwing in the towel on their careers. If I had made any predictions for the music industry in 2020, I probably would have been wrong about most, because I could not have seen widespread lockdowns coming.

2023 is already shaping up to be an exciting year, though, and there has truly never been a better time to be an artist. But my predictions aren’t all positive. Here’s what I’m predicting for the music industry in 2023.

Doomsayers Will Scream Louder Than Ever

I covered this in yesterday’s article. Sad but true – this is nothing more than a marketing ploy to get you to empty your wallet.

Fear not – there will always be opportunities in the music industry. If someone like me can play over 300 shows in western Canada, be featured on The Antidote and CCM Magazine, and become an award-winning composer, imagine what someone who doesn’t spend the bulk of their day writing articles could do with their music.

This would be an excellent year to get your house in order, but don’t worry about the roller-coaster rises and dips that inevitably play out every single year. Focus instead on growing and bettering yourself, your craft, your fan base, and your brand.

Spotify Will Make Strides in Overtaking the Audio Space

Spotify is working hard to become the go-to destination for everything audio, be it music, podcasts, audiobooks, or otherwise (maybe even live streamed audio). And they are well positioned to do it.

I don’t think 2023 will be the year they completely overtake Apple and Amazon (if this happens at all). But I do think Spotify will be making some strides this year and will be broadening their stable of offerings.

It Will be a Rocky Year for TikTok

Most people in the business are making rosy predictions about TikTok, but truthfully, TikTok has a hard year ahead of them. Take for example this CBC News headline from last month:

U.S. lawmakers introduce bill to ban TikTok

Now, I don’t think TikTok is necessarily going anywhere. The more likely outcome for the year is that some company will purchase the rights to create TikTok North America or develop an entirely new substitute that isn’t China run. But we should not expect TikTok to remain in its current form for long.

Still, if you have yet to set up your own home on the web, you are in a position of compromise. Either create a SiteGround account, Bandzoogle account, or get some expert coaching around building your own artist website TODAY.

Web3 Adoption Will Continue to be Slow & Confusing

Just because we’re in 2023 does not make the confusing and difficult any less confusing and difficult than it was before.

Now, you and I know that Web3 isn’t all that bad, but the majority are not savvy to the extent we assume they are.

I have been sharing a great deal about Web3 based social networks and my ongoing experimentation for a couple of years now. But anything that isn’t push-button fast is at risk of alienating larger adoption, and Web3 just isn’t where it needs to be for it to be mass consumption ready.

Even all the “experts” just keeping saying, “oh, we don’t know – it will be exciting to watch and see what happens.” Thanks, expert. Pretty sure I could have figured that out myself.

I would still encourage artists familiarize themselves with the new ecosystem, though, because it is our future.

Live Music Will Recover & Grow Steadily

You might think this is a safe bet, but out of all the predictions I’ve made, this is the one I feel iffiest about.

COVID-19 set a precedent that the entire world can be locked down in a matter of weeks should there be any new public health safety concerns that drop in our lap.

Assuming there are no worldwide meltdowns, though, live music should continue to recover and grow. Artists and audiences alike will begin to feel more comfortable hosting and going to events.

Final Thoughts

Every year, enthusiastic predictions are made about A.I., virtual and augmented reality, and other emerging technologies. And the reality is, one year is a very short span of time. We’ll probably see some fresh developments in these areas, but not to the extent many think. It will be gradual at best.

I do think 2023 will be a year for great progress though!

What are your music industry predictions for 2023? Which trends only serve to annoy you? Do you think I’m out of my gourd with my predictions?

220 – What to do with Your Music in 2021 Part 2

220 – What to do with Your Music in 2021 Part 2

Tools aren’t everything when it comes to growing your music career. But if you aren’t aware of the opportunities available, you are almost certainly missing out.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, we look at what more you can do with your music in 2021.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:29 – Tools to use to promote and share your music in 2021
  • 00:48 – Web hosting: SiteGround
  • 01:17 – Sharing: Songwhip
  • 01:47 – Social network: Drooble
  • 02:28 – Live streaming: StreamYard
  • 02:50 – Influencer marketing: TribeFluence
  • 03:22 – Audience insights: SparkToro
  • 04:11 – Multimedia distribution: Repurpose
  • 04:42 – Old standbys
  • 05:05 – Episode summary

Transcription:

Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.

And we’re ready to pick up where we left off with part 1 of this series on what to do with your music in 2021.

In part 1, I covered some high-level mindset and strategic things, and in this episode, I focus on tools. And I can almost guarantee there are some you haven’t even heard of and will appreciate big time.

So, let’s dive right in.

1. SiteGround

In the last episode, I talked about setting up your WordPress site but didn’t even mention where to go to do that.

My top recommendation is SiteGround. Their hosting is affordable and easy to use, their customer support is great, and sites on their servers load fast.

So, if this is the direction you’d like to go in, head on over to davidandrewwiebe.com/SiteGround. We are an affiliate of SiteGround, and if you purchase anything through our link, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

2. Songwhip

You can share your music, or you can share your music with Songwhip. I’d recommend getting acquainted with Songwhip.

Using this free app, you can easily create music links to every platform, be it Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon, or otherwise.

This comes in especially handy when you don’t know which platforms your fans like to use, or when you want to make sure the recipient can find your music on all platforms.

Check out Songwhip at Songwhip.com. Learn it. Use it. Benefit from it.

3. Drooble

Drooble is a social network that’s been developed specifically with musicians in mind.

Let’s face it – now that we’re stuck inside, it’s never been more crucial to get connected and to collaborate, so it would be worth signing up for this reason alone.

But Drooble has also got some amazing features in the form of song reviews, EPKs, radio broadcast, and more. I’ve checked out some of these tools, and they’re great.

Even if you’ve already got an EPK or electronic press kit, who cares? Set up another one with Drooble and A/B test it alongside your other EPK.

If you’d like to learn more about Drooble, you can have a listen to episode 82 of the podcast with Melina Krumova.

4. StreamYard

There are many tools you can use to stream your live shows or Q&A sessions. My favorite is StreamYard.

With StreamYard, you can stream to Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Periscope, and Twitch all at once. It costs a bit of money if you want to stream to more than one profile, but it’s super easy to use.

Create maximum coverage for your live streams with StreamYard.

5. TribeFluence

You are the CEO of your music business. And it’s important to recognize you don’t need to build your audience from scratch. Chances are, someone already has built your audience for you. All you’ve got to do is work your way in or buy your way in.

You are the CEO of your music business. And it’s important to recognize you don’t need to build your audience from scratch. Share on X

TribeFluence gives you easy access to social media influencers at a nominal rate. If you’ve got a message to share, and you want to get it seen by more people, you can easily buy your way in using TribeFluence.

If you’d like to learn more, you can listen to episode 113 of the podcast with Johnny Vieira.

6. SparkToro

I often suggest – and have even helped – multiple musicians find their audience online. This was typically done with a mix of tools like Alexa, SimilarWeb, Facebook Insights, and others. And these are still great tools to use.

But a recent discovery that I rather like is SparkToro. With SparkToro, you can learn more about your audience based on what they frequently talk about, what words they use in their social media profile, who they follow on social media, what websites they visit, or what hashtags they use.

Basically, if you’re ever lost, and only have a couple of data points on your audience, you could easily find out more about them using SparkToro. You could also use it to further flesh out your audience profile.

When it comes to target audiences, the more you know about them, the better, so check out SparkToro. They let you do a few searches for free.

7. Repurpose

If you’ve got video or podcast content you’d like to slice up and repurpose, you probably won’t find a better tool for the job than Repurpose.

I like to use it to turn podcast content into videos or video clips. But there’s so much more you can do with videos, since you can turn videos into clips, audio content, and more.

If you’d like, you can support us through our affiliate link at davidandrewwiebe.com/Repurpose.

8. More Tools

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others can still work if you’re using them the right way. If you’re just going there to post and creep on others, good luck. But if you’re going there to actively engage an audience, create discussions, and collect more data points on your target audience, you’re going to see results.

Anyway, if anything else comes up tool wise, I will be sure to mention it later in this series. But that’s what I’ve got for now.

Episode Summary

Here’s today’s episode summary:

  • SiteGround is the perfect place to start a new website. It’s affordable, fast, and easy to use.
  • Songwhip is perfect for creating music links that allow users to listen to your music on their favorite platform.
  • Drooble is a social network for musicians with added functionality that makes it especially appealing.
  • StreamYard is basically the best streaming service available, and it allows you to stream across all the popular social networks and streaming sites.
  • TribeFluence is a great tool for spreading your messages through influencers for a nominal fee.
  • SparkToro allows you to learn more about your audience with ease.
  • With Repurpose, you can take your multimedia content, create clips with it, and even syndicate and distribute it across popular social media.
  • Old standbys can still work. Just make sure you’re being disciplined and intentional with your use.

Conclusion

If you’re ready to find even more tools that will help you take your music beyond in 2021, head on over to davidandrewwiebe.com/Join to download your free guide and join the email list. As a subscriber, you get access to even more bonuses. So, head on over to davidandrewwiebe.com/Join and grab your free, value-adding guide now.

This has been episode 220 of The New Music Industry Podcast. I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.