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Happy New Year! Our top blogs of 2009

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Our first year has been great so far despite the economic times we live in, we’ve been working with a total of 9 fantastic artists!

Here are some of our top blog posts of 2009 in order posted:

Tips from a successful DIY indie musician…

Music and the Mobile Phone

Automatically posting your blog feeds to Facebook etc.

How many ‘active’ fans do you have?

The new music business model – Connect With Fans!

Is Music for free really a good idea?

The 10 Commandments of Music 2.0

A brave new era of music self release…

How to get people to come to shows

DIY takes more time than many think

Thank you to all the artists we work with, you have made this a great year, helping us take the music business into the future!
In return, we hope expanding your career to new heights has made this a great year for you as well.

We’ve got some fantastic new things planned for our artists in 2010, and were looking forward to a great year!
Happy new year to all of you, all the best for the year ahead.

Director Jarome Matthew, and the Pro Soul Alliance Team

DIY takes more time than many think

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Imogen HeapBuilding a successful career in music on your own terms and with your own two hands is a difficult task – the business side and the art of self promotion, may rain on the “rockstar” parade.

Your reaction may be – is it all worth it?

Another successful example of the wonders of social media and the marketing genius behind a talented DIY (Do It Yourself) artist, describes Imogen Heap as she tweeted us through the 2 years leading up to the release of Ellipse. Yes, she has a major record label, and when she began promoting Ellipse she already had a committed fan base – a host of films and TV shows featuring her music.  But with Ellipse Heap has expanded her reach exponentially thanks to her determination.  She refinanced her house to fund recording, and with over 1 million twitter followers, she communicates constantly with her fans. ” I’ve been tweeting about making my new album, Ellipse (out 24th Aug). Now… I guess I’ll be tweeting about how it gets from my studio to your ears.”

Using Twitter to allow her fans a glimpse into the world of a “rockstar” with a few lines of text en route to a Berlin airport, or while preparing for a video shoot –  responding fans RT or reply, just as friends would, and as the relationship grows – so grows the fan base and eventually trickle through revenue.

So, is it all worth it – considering the artist/fan relationship is the “expected” in today’s music marketplace and that relationship also takes a lot of time and energy to maintain – and with every successful relationship, takes time to nurture?  Being ‘all about the music’  is being about your career, and there are many other responsibilities vying for your attention.  Depending how deeply you feel your passion, and what sacrifices you’re willing to surrender in order to manifest a dream into reality – is the hard work, commitment and dedication really worth it – time will tell.  Join as many music networking sites as you possibly can, and build your Twitter profile, and may be the most important in your arsenal of social media tools.

And if you need a hand, don’t forget – There is professional help, that’s what we’re here for!

Emerging artists use new tools for success

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The growing number of social-networking sites aimed at bringing aspiring musicians and loyal music fans together,  gives way to greater control of an artist’s career, while entertaining music lovers everywhere.

Encouraging the emerging artist to connect with fans, and promoting music is the purpose of sites such as Ourstage.com . Among its many partners,  Ourstage has joined with MTV for the Emerging Artist Program.  Sonicbids.com brings the artist and promoter together, and is a place where any band from any genre anywhere in the world, can come to find and connect with any type of music promoter, licensor or broadcaster — easily, effectively, and quickly.

As technology advances at such a rapid pace, so goes the advancement of innovative ways to meet the challenges of music promotion and the business of making music.  Unlike the new frontiers of days ago big band Radio, and major labels, this new wave of Music Business done better sets out community guidelines that its independent members must agree to:

“We like to think we’re in this together, meaning we provide the platform to showcase your talent, but we need artists’ help too.  Keep your profile updated, keep uploading into our channels, make friends, recruit fans—help us help you.”
Ourstage Community Values

When the “help them to help you” gets overwhelming, there are professionals like Pro Soul Alliance to assist artists while allowing them to keep in control of their career.

Improving vocal performance….

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Pro Soul and Jarome Matthew in the studio

Founder of Pro Soul Alliance, Jarome Matthew,  just posted this on his own blog, a must read for any performer and artist.

An important part of my role as a music producer is to get the best possible performance from artists in the studio both technically and emotionally.

I find I often fall short in this area though because unless they are professionals who have done large live performances for many years, most vocalists are often unable to deliver to their full potential. This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t give great performances, it just means they could have done even better.

This is usually because the vocalist is not in optimal physical shape. Your health and physical fitness level has a huge impact on your vocal performances in the studio, and of course live. Sure, how comfortable you are with letting go and giving your all emotionally in the studio is also very important.  But to get a great performance, you really need to have a lot of power to deliver strong, clean vocal phrases. Without this power and energy, your performances will sound weak and shaky, quivering, particularly on the ends of longer words or sustained melodies and this drastically reduces the quality and impact of the performance.

Studio tools and tricks can rarely correct these problems effectively, so that’s why it’s so important for singers to keep in top physical shape if they want to give the best performance they’re capable of live and in the studio. Eat healthy food that gives you lots of energy, and adopt a regular cardio exercise routine at least 4 times a week.

Another recommendation, in addition to warming up properly before a performance and singing regularly in a choir, is opera training, or a great vocal coach such as Brennan Barrett, to help you get as much power as you can without exerting yourself more than you have to, and to assisting with effective breathing techniques that will give you better phrasing and power in the right places.

A producer can only do so much, and in my case, I can work a lot of miracles to make you sound great no matter what, but ultimately, I can only use the best you give me! Make sure that really is your best, as you never know who will hear your finished performance, or how far it will spread.

The New “Press Kit”

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

The “Press Kit”, which typically includes a demo, photos, printed reviews, the artist or band’s biography, etc., is now available electronically, and artists are using the electronic press kit (EPK) and artist profile to replace the traditional method. Either in digital or online format, an EPK is available to anyone at all times, and is a far more cost effective way to present your music. Tim Sweeney, one of the music industry’s most sought after experts and consultants, says: ” Get rid of your Press Kit. Finally focus on creating an Artist Profile that will best represent you to radio, retail, press, clubs and online.”

According to Ariel Hyatt’s Music Think Tank article, The ugly man behind the curtain in music publicity…the cost of submitting a traditional Press Kit equals this: 500 Press Kits in the Mail = $2,500, a publicist’s 3 month retainer = $9,000, Extra expenses = $1500, a whopping total = $13,000. The article is written to expose music publicity’s “dirty little secret”, the resale of promo CDs distributed to music journalists on the promo list. The unethical practice revealed in this article, adds to the already growing mistrust in the old way of doing music business. “40,000 CDs come out every year and that means hundreds of thousands of CDs will be mailed out for review consideration.” According to LAweekly.com: finding anybody in the music business to actually talk about this vast and ever-fluctuating underground economy is tough….. Ask a publicist what he does with unwanted promos and there’s usually an awkward pause, as though you’d just asked after his porno collection. Few are willing to go on the record regarding their income stream for fear of being blacklisted…..“Everybody sells them, let’s be realistic,” says one prominent L.A. music publicist.

The ever more acceptable DIY music career allows artists greater control, and spares the monetary and emotional expense of using a traditional music publicist. Tim Sweeney also offers this piece of advice: “Throw away your press kit and one sheet that “supposed” publicists and radio promotion people think is right (but only signifies you as a non-priority that people can ignore) and create an Artist Profile. One that talks about who you are as an artist and what your music is about.

Press Releases – an important part of publicity campaigns

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Using a well-written press release and highly targeted campaign to announce your music-associated event, such as a CD release, an upcoming tour, or a charity concert, can get you more publicity than thousands of advertising dollars ever will – if, done correctly.

A press release (or news release) is used to bring an artist or business “free” publicity. A press release is a simple, to the point release that provides news to reporters, editors, and other media people. The publication of your press release will be free. Writing a good press release is a valuable skill. Preparation involves three key points – When, How and Who (to send it to).

The key focus of your press release is that it needs to be “newsworthy”, after all, a press release is supposed to be news. A writer, or editor has a responsibility to inform their readers. A well written and interesting article is far more likely to make print than one that’s sloppy, and shouts “advertising”.

Typically a press release is distributed to mainstream or national media outlets that receive every industry specific announcement known to man. The idea of submitting your press release to a national publication early in your career may result in it being ignored. Tim Sweeney, the music industry’s most highly sought after expert and consultant in the fields of artist development, recommends specifically targeting the daily music publications in your target markets. There are several music newswire services that offer press release distribution, and for a small fee will distribute your press release to some of the top music websites.

Not to be confused with your Artist Profile or Press Kit, a press release is a quick shot of publicity, used only to announce an upcoming event or CD release to your fans. A good press release will help build your online visibility, attract new fans, and boost your music career. Check our next post for more about Press Kit’s and Artist Profiles.