Creating Vs Releasing Art

I want to promote a paradigm shift. I want to help you create something that is fulfilling. Sometimes we get so focused on writing something that we think others will like that all we’re doing is focused on our next release. And during all of this we’re not even having fun when we write music! I mean, I could be wrong here, but isn’t the point of doing this because we LOVE doing it? AM I WRONG, THOUGH?!

Let’s do a quick check and find what our reason is for what we’re doing. We can do this in all aspects of our life. For example, it can be with work or working out. It can be in a relationship that we’re fighting to keep alive. We have to ask ourselves, what is our why? ūüôā

???

Let me assure you of something. Instagram likes do not reflect listens, and listens do not reflect success or movement forward.

“But Dean, what about‚Ķ”

NO! You’re wrong! Haha, we need to change how we make music! It’s not working, it never has worked.

Here’s the truth. Most of us musicians will not break through and have the same level of influence that your favorite artist has. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find fulfillment or inspire someone else to create. It doesn’t mean you’re not affecting your community (and in my not so humble opinion, thereby affecting the world).

Take a long at your catalog right quick. Do you have anything in there that you are super proud of? Do you have a song that you love the production on as well as the writing? Maybe not! Maybe the reason you feel anxious and unsure of what you’re doing in life is because you haven’t actually done that much of what you love to do.

AND THAT’S OKAY!

We are all working so hard for more likes and listens, but you can literally pay for that.

Just let that sink in real quick.

It sounds dirty, but who gives a shit if it is? If all you’re going for is a number, than why the hell not pay for it? Are you really writing, recording and playing for a number next to your song on Spotify? It’s okay if you are, just understand that the NUMBER is your personal motivation.

Think about this, are you listening to music right now? Are you really processing what you’re listening to? What is the value of a like or a spin? When you see something on Instagram, do you stop and think to yourself, “Wow! This is incredible!” Or are you just mindlessly thumbing through photos and quickly tap what stops you for 5 seconds? Are you always consciously picking your music?

If you, as a musician, are autopiloting like this, how do you expect anyone who is NOT a musician to feel that way about you?

This is you in life. It’s pretty impressive, actually.

So if it seems, at least for the most part, to be an unconscious scroll or listen, why do we put so much importance into that number?

  • Earnestly ask yourself these question. What does one like or listen represent to you? If you’re playing at home, say your answer out loud. Don’t say it out loud if you’re at a coffee shop. Just do more than think, “hmm?” actually have an answer here.
  • Does one like mean more than another?Meaning if the girl you have a crush on or John Mayer’s bassist likes your post. Does it mean more than if your friend from high school likes your post?
WHAT!? I don’t like him… you like him!
  • If it is different, why is it different? Please explain how it is to yourself?
  • Is there a number in your head that you have to get to before it means something to you? There isn’t a wrong answer here.
  • Are you basing that number off someone else? Damn?!?! I’m hitting it hard this post! Y’all suck, and I’m not letting it happen no more. Haha, obviously I’m kidding. I have a number in my head, and I might just be the most guilty one here.

If your answer is, “I only need to affect one person.” That’s very noble, and you’re better than me, and if you’ve created music that can be heard, then you’ve already done your job!

So sweet

If you want to be famous, then look no further than this post I made a few months ago on the odds of that happening.

Spoilers, it’s not looking good.

You want to affect as many people as you can in your community?? Well, now we’re talking, baby! We have control over that, and there are tips and tricks to help sell that, and they’re all over the internet!

Let me tell you something you already know. To make it to the next level, you have to actually be on a level. You don’t just come from nothing. Labels want you to have a fanbase before they touch you with a 75-foot pool noddle.

Now that you’ve established what those numbers mean to you.

One of the most iconic roles and very little screen time. But when you think of this movie, it’s hard not to think of him first, EVEN with all the nudity throughout the film!

Do you even love what you’re doing? Are you doing it because you don’t want to quit on a childhood dream? Here is how you gauge if you are.

Think about your favorite part of the process. Not your favorite memory. Your favorite part of the process. Is it writing? Recording and production? Performing? Promoting? Hanging out with friends? Is it that feeling after the show? Is it the idea of being an artist, or the attention that you get with music?

That last one is not a bad thing and can be part of every answer up there. But if that’s your FAVORITE part of it, I mean there are a lot of different ways you can make that happen that aren’t so stressful.

If you don’t fit in any of those categories, that’s okay too! Seriously, it’s okay! It’s okay to ask yourself why you are doing something. If you don’t love it, or even kind of enjoy it, you can still do it, but not put so much weight into it!

Pudding and Socialists

If you list a top five favorite things to do for working and you get into the top 5 things you want to do, and you hit number two or five! Then you did better than 95% of the population!

Don’t have ANY idea of what else to do? That’s okay! All that means is you should go out and try some new things!

If you love creating and/or performing, let’s be active in changing how we do things!

I’m really trying to get into this mindset of not rushing to get the next song out and instead rushing into the studio because I LOVE THAT PART OF IT. I love creating! I also love performing, but creating is where it’s at for me right now! I think about it almost all day, and even if I don’t make money doing it, I will do it till I die (or hate doing it).

You won’t be missing out if you DON’T dedicate 100% of your time to it. You’re missing out if you DO dedicate 100% of your time to it. Life is HUGE! You can love doing so many different things! Art grows for experiencing as much of it as you can!

I can’t speak to any more managers.

There are a lot ways to make money playing music. Ask yourself if hanging on to that goal; to do it no matter what it looks like, no matter what you’re playing, or creating‚Ķ ask yourself if that’s really what you want? Do you want to be playing in a Chuck E. Cheese tribute band? (Ok, maybe a little extra there) Are you okay being a number two, or five in the band? Are you okay learning as much as you possibly can to make yourself the best canidate for the situtation?

Sure sometimes you have to make concessions, but you should know you enjoy that part of what you’re doing! You don’t have to give it up, you’re just changing your focus on what you’re thinking about/doing all the time. There’s not an ounce of shame or guilt in that!

If you feel like you’re just rushing to get something out because you haven’t released something lately, you need to change the way you think! If you focus on creating what you want to write, you’re going to be so much happier.

Well… it was almost a song.

Maybe not as many people listen to your music as you hoped, it’ll be okay! It’ll be okay because you did it for you, and that is under your control.

I promise you it’s okay to not have a sure answer right now. But if you’re not doing something with this stuff “every day” – or even often, then do you really want to put all your eggs in this basket? Maybe you can create/play music as a side gig and do that forth favorite thing that you love to do as a moneymaker! Even doing this, you can make some GREAT art!

Just for the love of God, stop putting so much pressure on yourself, and HAVE FUN doing what you LOVE!

No really, I like doing this! I LOVE IT! WHY DO YOU ASK?!

I love you! I know that sounds cheesy, but this stuff can be stressful. I can’t imagine a world without you in it! I don’t want to! We all need to be able to unload that stress and feel like we are being validated and heard, and I want you to know that if you need someone, I WANT TO BE THAT PERSON! If you don’t want to talk with me, reach out to a family member, a friend, OR EVEN A PROFESSIONAL! Please, please reach out for help! I did, and it changed my life for the better. I’m not white-knuckling life anymore. I’m so happy we get to share this world! I love you! I will write again soon!


The artist of the week is Neutral Waves! Love these guys (I am a little bias because I sing for them!)

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Submithub – How to get your music out to a new audience

Hello, my friends!

I want to tell you about something that my good friend Garrett Bowers, enlightened me on. It’s a great tool called¬†Submithub.¬†

No not that hub… you pervert. For a blog on that hub, check follow this link…

Submithub connects you with playlist, music blogs, and influencers around the world. They have two different ways they accept submissions. The free version has about a 6% acceptance rate, and it takes longer. The premium version charges you about a dollar per submission (with bigger names being no more than 3$). The premium has around a 13% acceptance rate average, they have to listen to AND respond to your submission (or you get your money back). 

I know what you’re thinking,

Dean, that’s a really freaking low acceptance rate. That is true, but here is something to take into consideration.

Most of us are probably only using social media to promote our song. Which everyone tells you should work, but it’s not working for you. Why is that? Because IT’S NOT TRUE!

If you’re Taylor Swift, you can announce on just Instagram that you have a song dropping, and that will do you just fine. Let’s take a look at how many followers she has…¬†

And carry the four… Let’s see that means I’m short by… 137 million.¬†

Also kinda rubs me wrong that she’s not following anyone. Eh, such a douche.

Okay, maybe she’s a bad example. You’re looking towards the other bands in your area that have 10k streams on their latest single. How does that happen? I’m not going to say Submithub! Because they have ideas and strategies that work and you know what you should do… ASK THEM! If they blow you off, screw them! Sometimes it’s just that it works! We can accept that answer! Nod your head, yes, please.¬†

I don’t have all the answers, but I will tell you that Submithub has worked for me. I have done it a few times, and I’ve learned a couple things.

Here we go
  1. Give them a month to chew on your finished song BEFORE it comes out. That really raises your chances.
  2. Depending on WHO you submit to, you’re chances go WAY up. Spend extra time researching who you’re sending your music to and get the most out of your money.¬†
  3. It pays to pay for it. If you’re not putting money into marketing your song. That’s okay, just don’t expect to get the numbers that a song that WAS MARKETED will get.
  4. If at first, you don’t succeed, write 99 more songs. I have a friend that had worked with bands that were big when I was growing up (Smashing Pumpkins, Trapt… I want to say Yellowcard?) Anyways, he works for Pixar now and says that the people that make it write 100 songs. That out of that 100, it’s usually that one song you didn’t think would connect with people that “breaks through,” and I know that’s an annoying answer. Just remind yourself that YOU LOVE DOING THIS.

One thing that I LOVE about Submithub is that it connects you with people that actually like the type of music you play. That doesn’t mean it’s a lock, but it does raise your chances significantly! 

Lots of Jim on this post.

The website can seem daunting at first, but it’s pretty easy to use via desktop/laptop. 

Drop that song via MP3 and give some background information (you can also use a link here to a song if it’s already uploaded online). Take time to write out something thoughtful and go through all the of the genre options. I personally HATE genre labels, but this is where we have to play the game. You can filter from there to find out what will be the best fit for you. Do some research to see what this person has already posted, see how many followers they have, see HOW THEY POST IT, then shoot for the stars and hit as many as you feel comfortable. 

Rule of thumb. You’re gonna shoot about 1 out of 10 here with some research on those blogs/influencers/playlists. If you’ve done better than that, you’re on to something special! That’s a normal statistic, so don’t think you’re the exception and that you’ll pull EVERY SINGLE ONE. It won’t happen. You have to pay to give your song a chance! It’s worth it, my friends!

Kevin’s biggest role yet, he’s acting as your song. WHAT RANGE!?!

Here is the link to Submithub.com 

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, and I will be happy to answer any questions you have! Happy hunting! 

And as always, PLEASE like, share and subscribe to this blog! Every single one helps!

Here’s my Spotify Pick of the WEEK!

Precision Practice

Are you having a hard time hitting a phrase of notes in a song? I have a quick solution to your tiny problem!

Macgruber always misses
  • Our first step is establishing and working out which notes we need to hit, what techniques are used to get the sound we want.
  • Our second step is finding out what tempo they’re playing the song, you’d be surprised how often you’re playing the song at the wrong tempo.
Just imagine if Jack had bad tempo here! Damn!

Now that we’ve worked through that duh stuff. We need to practice that phrase alone for a dedicated amount of time, let’s say fifteen minutes (I know you have at least fifteen minutes today). Don’t worry about the rest of this song. Just focus on that phrase. Sit with a metronome and put in the work. This is where you will actually improve. YOU MUST PUT IN THE TIME!

Insert Steve Miller song here

Let’s say you’re having a hard time switching to a specific chord.
I like to run this drill if that’s the case. Take your hand and form the chord with your fret hand, then touch your leg with your fretting hand. It’ll look something like this.

I really want to drive this home. You need to use a metronome when you practice. This will keep you straight when you’re practicing. If you’re not able to keep up with the metronome at beats per minute (bpm) the song requires, slow it down 10 bpm. After you’ve mastered that bump, the bpm up 5 till you have that. Repeat that until you’re 10 OVER the speed the song requires! This will ensure your subconscious that you have mastered the part! (Sneaky, huh?) If you absolutely HATE using one, use a drum machine. But the metronome is the best, it won’t let you hide what you need to improve.

  • If you’re already up around 200 bpm, you can start over with 8th notes, triplets and 16th notes. I am notoriously bad at 16th notes. This drill has really helped me to improve my stamina and timing. It’s hands down the best drill for strumming/picking technique.
What the hell kind of song is this?!

If Having trouble with a full solo?
Break it into chunks that you can understand. 99% of music follows a set of rules. Once you understand that the solo you’re playing is in a G Mixolydian scale, you can switch over to start practicing that. Does the word Mixolydian scare you? It shouldn’t! You don’t have to understand everything about the concept to be able to use it well.

What people sound like when they talk about music theory

Understand that these things take time dedicated to that specific part.
Sure, sometimes you can pick something up, and it just works right off that bat. But more often than not, you have to spend time working on the part. Don’t be discouraged! It’s part of life, and it’s what makes it rewarding.

Respect your craft and put in the time. Most of the time, it’ll only take 20 minutes of dedicated practice to get something solid. If it’s a complicated part, sure it’ll take a couple hours. But that’s really not that long if you think about how many hours you have in your life, or just spend bingeing Nextflix! I believe in you!

Cancele culture has gotten the best of me AGAIN!

As a sign of good faith, here’s America’s sweetheart flipping you off

F*** you! It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood!

Stage banter: How to win your audience over between songs

In the war of affection, battles are won in-between the songs sung. 

Shit just got real.

With that setlist you’ve crafted, you’re making them gasp! “Holy shit! Did you hear that?!” or something like, “I’ve never heard that covered that way!” Or the best would be, “Who wrote that song?” and you respond, “Well, I did! Thank you for asking!” Let me tell you, the easiest way to lose someone 

A quick example of someone crushing it

Banter is a skill that must be developed; it creates the moment that captures a person and changes them from a listener to a fan.  

I haven’t met a person better at this than my friend, Jacob Morris. I would guess that at some point, he wasn’t as good as he is now. Natural talent only gets you set on your path, you have to develop it to become great at something, and this is worth being great at. So how do we get better?¬†

I’ll plug Jacob’s music at the bottom of the post!

  • Tell concise, funny, interesting stories.

Work on making these strong facts and stories. Maybe you’re like me and you don’t like repeating yourself. But it’s okay to tell the same stories! Just like how it’s okay to play the same song to different audiences. Some key points to talk and embellish would be something like

  • Where was the first time you heard the song you’re about to play?
  • What do you love about the song?
  • What’s a funny lyric in the song?
  • If you don’t have anything attached to the song, why are you playing it?

If you tell a story and people respond well to it, keep that story! If they don’t give two shits, edit that story! For reference, a story should never go more than around 45 seconds long. Seriously, unless that’s part of your act or you are SLAYING, don’t go on for too long. Talk when tuning your instrument

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. But it should be worked on and mastered! Silence is okay. Seriously, it’s okay for there to be some dead air in-between songs. Being able to talk fluently while tuning is the icing on your cake, baby. It is a subliminal action that leads others to believe that you were made for this. Plus, it keeps in control.

  • People like being talked to (for the most part)

You will quickly learn when someone does not like being pointed out. Most of the time, this will not be the case. Be smart about it. More often than not, pointing out someone and playing with the crowd brings them closer to you (duh) and gets you better tips! Come back to these people in between songs. If you feel confident in taking requests, ask them what they want to hear! Most of the time, you can get away with only play a verse and a chorus of a requested song, ask them their name, use the mic to tell everyone this song is for “Jim. with the cool boots.” People eat that shit up! 

  • Play to your strengths

You have the microphone, you’re in charge! If you are naturally good at noticing a cool article of clothing someone is wearing (that’s a real quality), then play to that. I mean, within reason, of course. Don’t go overboard. If you’re really good at telling stories, then strongly integrate that into your act. If you’re good at improvising, do that! Ask yourself what you do well, then when you print your set, make a point to allocate time to these attributes you have, they will feel like home base and keep you grounded. It’s not only a good idea, but it’s also encouraged to write down, “Say something to the audience.” You can reuse the material you’ve said at other shows. Keep them engaged, damn it! 

There’s no love like self love!
  • Learn from your mistakes

Do you know what the difference is between stand-up comics and a musician is? They tell jokes, you play music. That’s about it… ok, obviously that’s not the only thing, but I’m driving home a point here. Both required you to make up a set amount of material. They hone their set and have to cut jokes (or for you, songs/stories) that don’t work.¬†

Don’t be like Gob
  • Pay attention to names when they’re given to you.

What do you have to do to remember someone’s name? Well, shit, do that! I usually associate them with someone from my childhood. The name of an actor or an old neighbor almost always works. If you don’t know anyone with that name, ask them how they spell it, then spell it back to them. That usually works for me! You can’t do that into a microphone, and you don’t want to take more than 15 seconds on one name. If you can’t remember it, don’t bring them up again! Haha, don’t risk it. If you can write down a name without it being too blatantly obvious, then do it. If you’re playing with multiple musicians, have one of them write down their name when you ask for it! Hey, that’s a cool idea, huh?!

Yeah, tell ’em B
  • Plug yourself.

I don’t know why this seems like such a hard thing to do. But you should be saying your name and where people can find you once every 3 or 4 songs. Does that seem like a lot? Just think back to when you asked for someone’s name, remember how hard it is to remember it when you only hear it once!? Well, others feel the same way! Always have your name listed someone near you, and if you have a social media tag or a plug on a streaming service, even better! 

Plug it in, plug it in
  • Don’t come off as an asshole.

Don’t be too smarmy or too self-deprecating. Let people decide if they like you. You really don’t have to tell people how great you are or how much you messed up. They have eyes and ears, they already know. Just be yourself, baby! Everyone will love you, and if they don’t. Well, f*** ’em. 

Great, can you act a little less like a person acting terribly though?
  • Remember how boring it can be to talk to a stranger who doesn’t know how to edit down their story. It’s the worst. I mean literally, it’s 
  1. Hearing a story about someone that isn’t you 
  2. Cancer 
  3. The holocaust 
  4. Cardi B’s Last album

Sorry to jump on the bash Cardi train. It was an easy laugh. 

Lastly, I want you to think about the physical space you’re taking up on the stage. Are you tucked in a corner? Can you move without knocking something over? Feeling a little claustrophobic? Well, that’s hurting your act! I’ve played plenty of tiny stages, and I know it’s not always an option, but if you’re trapped, you should¬†always¬†ask to spread out just a little! Seriously, you not being able to move is a “no duh” concept, but one that most of us just suck up. Well, NO MORE! You’re a performer damn it! I want you to read this and fully understand any physical discomfort you’re feeling is coming through in your music, and the way you talk to others. Be proactive and make a move so you can give the show what it deserves!¬†

How to get press in the DIY era

I really loved reading this article! I think they make a lot of great points. The biggest being… waiting on someone will not get you what you want.

I really want to repeat what they say, but you know… actually make it fun to read (that is kind of important).

Four score and twenty-six seconds ago…

The first thing this marvelous blog pointed out is that you can be the one to create the press release! I know?! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before! Send it early. Touch the points you want them to elaborate on. Make their job as easy as posting what you’ve written. Be meticulous, comb the press release for mistakes. 

“You should ideally prepare and send your press release three months before your release.” – Richie Valentine

Well said Richie Rich! If you’ve ever thought, “Why isn’t this going well for me?” It’s probably because you gave the press your pitch a week before it’s release. You fool.

Lots of time, lots of detail. If you enjoy the read, others will as well. 

If you don’t write well, pay someone else to write for you. You have options, kids.

Yes, but only because you’re so handsome.

Polish up that EPK! You want that looking new and fresh and to compliment that press release! I’ve preached about EPK’s for a while now. If you’re confused about what that is (electronic press kit) or how to create one. Follow this link to my post on how to create a dope ass EPK.

Haha, it’s funny; my post is really just breaking down what their post said. 

There are PLENTY of places you can pitch your press. Think outside your circles into international waters, baby! If you don’t know what your local press looks like, it’s time to figure that out. It’s as easy as searching Google or Instagram. They’re not trying to hide from you, you just have to look through all the garbage out there.

Develop a strong short pitch and an even better long pitch. It should last 20 seconds, you can feel like a robot but sound like a kid. Why should someone listen to your music? If you don’t know why or can’t explain it, that’s okay! Seriously, it’s okay. Take the time to learn how to explain it. Write it out, pitch it to friends, see if it sticks! 

Hi, I play music. Listen. Maybe?

Tapping into the press will make your career! It’s hard to break through, but remember it comes down to relationships. If you have a good healthy relationship with someone in the press, you have an in. Just like any other relationship, it has to be nourished. 

No one is going to give this to you. Let’s make it happen. Start today, email, DM, PHONE CALLS!!! Yes! That’s still a thing, and almost always yields the best results. Whatever it takes!

Having trouble marketing on social media, try this trick!

Social media seems to be the only way most of us are marketing. All of us seem to be under the assumption that Hollywood was right, and just because we are talented (and the protagonist of our story), we will put out music and the world we do one of these.

Or this
Maybe this?
Or even THIS!
Well, let’s not get too silly.

That’s not how the world works, though! 

Did you know that only around 10% – 20% of your followers actually see your posts? Check out this well-written article from “Causely.”

If you frustrated that you’re not getting more interaction, this is why!

So how do we get to that other 90%? Well, you have to pay, of course! Duh. But all of this can get super expensive, super fast. We are on a budget, working the barista wage to make our creative ends meet. But for $365 a year, you’ll be able to reach most of the people following you. 

Gosh, now I’m just part of the machine.

Haha, that sentence makes it seem like such a racket. But I have to remember, setting up these accounts is free and social media is HANDS DOWN the best way to reach people in 2020, although texting and email list should be utilized as well. As obnoxious as they can be, they work.

Should you promote every single post you create?

No. But through this simple trick, you can spend your money wisely. 

This idea came directly from the CEO of Disc Makers. It’s a brilliant idea, and everyone should be doing it! The full video is linked here.

Here’s the formula, over three days post three different photos, or videos, or flyers and see which one gets the most traction. Then promote the most liked post for a dollar a day! It’s easy, your fans have chosen it for you! 

Ok, hmmm… Yes… Ok.

Take note of which posts attract the most likes. Was it a video? Start making more of those. If it’s a picture of your face with very little text, start cranking out material like that! Part of your job as an artist is to work on marketing, this is what a PR team would do for you! 

Mix it up with each post

On each post, make it unique in the wording to see which sticks with everyone the most.

Be specific with your call to action

Make sure you’re directing your followers towards something. Maybe it’s your website, or a to like your profile, or you’re sending them to your song (or product) Be specific with your direction and what you want them to do.

who is your audience?

You can set a specific demographic to push towards. There are a lot of benefits to doing this. Right off the top of my head, if you were touring a new area, you could promote in that area to your typical demographic. Maybe that would be Men around the age of 18-24? Idk?! Whatever you think works for you. 

If you choose automatic, the algorithm targets people like your followers, the followers of your followers. It’s usually the easy (and right) choice, most of the time you should choose this!

You’ll want to fight this, but don’t!

You can put more than a dollar a day, but at first, I wouldn’t do more than that! Right now, we’re just trying to figure what our fans like! Later on, we should be putting more into what we’re posting.

Remember the 50-50 rule. Whatever money you put into creating something, you should be putting that much into marketing. I know that sounds expensive, but it takes money to make money, yo!

But Tom, you already have so much.

In summary, if you’re not paying for your fans to see it, they do not see it. I know that sucks, but that’s where we are now! Keep smacking it out of the park, keep posting and finding ways to reach people, make real connections, and I promise you that people will notice, and you’ll see growth! 

WWDD – What would Debbie do?

Also remember, the bigger a fan you are of others, the more fans you will gain. It’s the golden rule of local music.

How to get on a Spotify playlist (according to Spotify)

You have heard 1,000,003 times that you need to get on a playlist for Spotify! And there are literally thousands of columns on how to get your songs on a playlist, getting 1,000,003 plays. 

The number of the day is 1,000,003.

Sure, you see that your buddy has thousands of spins, and somehow they got on a playlist, and you’re wondering how the hell they do it!? Deserving or not, there are ways to get on the playlist, and it comes down to the same thing that always does, a little extra preparation and a lot of luck. 

…and maybe a little extra on the side.

Spotify makes a massive deal about promoting that they do not take pay to play songs. Meaning if somebody comes up to you and says, “Pay me, and I’ll get you on a Spotify playlist.” They are lying to you. 

Let me clarify, they might be able to get you on a playlist with a lot of listeners, but it’s not a Spotify playlist.

Although nothing is guaranteed, the best way that you can get your song on a playlist is to give them the music well before it is released. I’m talking weeks to a month. I know this is really hard because when I get the music, I want to drop it as quick as possible. But I’ve written a song that reminds me that I have to pre-release the song… Ahem, it goes something like this. 

“I’m over-eager and a piece of shit! I got a wait for it to come through.”

  1. You have to tag the right way.
An example of the wrong way to tag

Typically when you tag something, you want to hit it with just about everything you got! We’re gunning for the best search engine optimization! But when it comes to Spotify, we have to be calculated with our tagging. 

An example – I have put my music under the tag of “pop” because I’m not quite sure that I would be considered indie rock (or because “pop” is the most consumed genre of music, so I should be where all the people are, right?). But, I’m not pop, and I will never be on a playlist where my song is played right after the newest Lady Gaga song.¬†

Damn, that would be cool, though.

Who did it better? Vote in the comments!

You have to be extremely thorough with the tag! Spotify gets thousands of songs submitted every day. It’s like when you interview for a job, if you show up to a job interview five minutes late, you’re not gonna get the job. I don’t care how great you are. Make sure you give the tag that the song deserves! If you’re a hip-hop artist and you drop a moody indie alt track, you list it as an indie alt track!

I’m fed up too Jerry.

Let me go on record saying I hate the word indie. It’s a bull shit umbrella that covers WAY too much ground. Just remember that you’ll have to be thorough passed the point of just saying “indie.” It’s worth the time it takes to find out what everyone else would call your music.¬†

If you need help, follow this link!

There are more playlists available than you think.

There is a Christmas playlist, we have a Saint Patricks Day playlist. A Netflix and chill playlist (really? How can you watch a movie and listen to music at the same time?) playlist for studying, working out, dancing, birthday’s anniversaries… you name it, it’s out there. You don’t have to just aim for the “Indie rock Genre” page. You’ve got options!

2. Getting the music to them early. 

The earlier you get your Music to Spotify as a pre-release, the better your chances are! Nothing is guaranteed, but your chances really go up if your pre-release is about a month in advance (past that it doesn’t matter). Remember this my child, 1 month in advance.

3. Success is in the details.

You know all those boxes that have filled out? How did you get this song? Where did the inspiration come from? What language is it in? These are the things that we normally speed passed. Well, we can’t do that anymore. You have to pay attention and write something beautiful about this! It doesn’t have to be prepared as long, but it has to be good! Win them over with these boxes.

All I’ve done is fill out the “what language is this song in”

A couple weeks after the song has been released, it really lowers the chance of getting onto a playlist. I’m not saying it will never get our playlist, but your chances have dramatically decreased. Just another reason to give it extra time to get to the ear of the people that curate these playlists.

4. Make your own playlists (and get your fans to do the same)

The more personal playlists your song is on, the better for you.

Seriously, for some reason, the Spotify algorithm really digs when the song is on a lot of person playlists! I mean, it really loves it! This means we should be putting our songs in the playlists we make for other occasions! Ask your fan base to do the same! You should have one of these for the other local bands in the area (don’t be a dick). Urge everyone you know to make a playlist with your song on the playlist in the first couple weeks of release! Get it hot off the press!¬†

I’ve always found her so attractive.

There is one more thing you can do (and you’re probably already doing it).

5. Sharing is caring! 

It’s pretty basic, but you gotta make sure that you’re sure the shit out of your song for the pre-release and as soon as it drops (duh). Share, share, share! Remember the golden rule, playlist others so they will playlist you.  

I honestly didn’t know this stuff till recently, and it’s pretty cool to learn something like that. Guys, life is pretty cool.

Not sure how to submit a song? Log into your artist profile on Spotify and have a song re

From the Spotify website! If you don’t see where that is, it’s because you don’t have a song about to drop! Remember, you have to give yourself some extra time! More time with pre-release, the better.

Hang in there! It’s a long road, some people will get lucky the first time and you might feel angry or jealous. Remember that music works better as a community! If a band from your area gets a lot of attention, that’s only helps you in the long run!

If the song you submit doesn’t get selected, don’t worry! Just keep cranking out your songs and your chances go up!

Lastly!

There are many other places you can submit your music to be heard by playlist curators! If you’re interested, check out this wonderful website Garrett Bowers from Juniper Ridge showed me.

It’s called Submit Hub. There are alot of huge playlist out there to get invovled with. Submit Hub has a pay for tokens policy, you can also submit for free! These will not get you on a Spotify verified playlist, but it can still get you in front of a lot of people.

Here’s a link to that

Take a big breath in – No, you don’t have to write a quarantine album.

As luck would have it, we have nothing but free time for the foreseeable future! What does that mean for you? Time to get going on that new album? Maybe really dig in a sharpen those chops? 

If you’re like me, especially when it comes to art, I am terrible at doing things when people tell me to do those things. Why do I have such a hard time writing and creating when I have nothing but time to do it?

I’m a hamster on the wheel of life!
  1. I’m not experiencing life – Therefore, I can not write. For most of us, storytelling comes with the moments we experience in life. We exaggerate facts and numbers until the story is worth telling.
  2. The anxiety of time – “This is the best time to write, guys!” Maybe you’ve heard this, all I hear is – Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock – I can’t think of a single thing to write about. And every day I don’t pick up a guitar feels like I’ve blown it, which makes me not want to pick up a pen and start writing. Or worse than that, just stop to think about the thousands of songs called “quarantine” that will be coming out after everything is over. 

The end is here, and it’s so damn boring. It’s like how the radio was post 9/11. Were there some good songs that came out of that tragedy? Yes! But there were also so many songs that were terrible and had no personality to them. I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure. Toby Keith wouldn’t be a household name.

I mean, he’s not really anymore anyways. 

This hat is practical – No one ever

My point is maybe you’ve been crushing it lately, and perhaps you’ve done nothing but 100% the new God of War game (in this case, both are admirable). This is just a friendly reminder that similar to how the world is right now, it will change, and it will come to you, and you stressing out right now is not helping that change. If anything, it’s slowing it down, and we don’t want that! 

So we all know now that it’s okay that we’re not the most prolific we’ve ever been during this lockdown. But that drive is still nipping at the hem of our pants, and you still want to write. Let’s brainstorm some ideas to get that love going.

Write a shitty line – it doesn’t have to be life-changing poetry. You can never utter the words aloud. We can bury this thing! But nothing sparks good ideas like a lot of bad ideas! You just need to get the engine warmed up. 

Why doeth the earth sit so quaintly from the sun?

Listen to Song exploder – I’ve preached this before, I will do it again if you’re a songwriter/producer you have to listen to this amazing podcast! Please, for the love of God, check it out. It’s changed the game for me!

Read Books/Listen to new music – The idea here is to kindle the flame. Most of the time, attractive people have hot parents! That’s nature, baby! The principle rings true here as well! Consume great, new works of art, and you become inspired to write something great! 

If you’re looking for a book to help write lyrics. Check out a great book recommended to me by Jacob Morris (my friend and one of my favorite performers to watch)! This book has even been cited to help John Mayer write lyrics! Dang son! The Book is called “Writing Better Lyrics” and I’ll place a link right here!

Collaboration – Send some lyric ideas to your buddies! Let them send you some music, get inspired, and have someone else hold you accountable for creating and getting back into the flow!

These things are tried and true and almost always get me back into the swing of things. But sometimes it is not enough, and I just have to remind myself. It’s okay to be lazy for a season. Sometimes the love just isn’t there, and that’s just a fact of life. No matter how much you want it, you can’t fake it. 

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I hope you’re doing well! If you need someone to talk to, drop a line in the comments and lets talk! I might not know you, but I love you! That’s a fact! Everything that’s going on now, it will pass. I look forward to the day we can hug again (haha).

In the name of collaboration

When I started writing music, I wrote really ambitious (and really shitty) songs with a co-writer (and my cousin, Spencer Jones, who would usually clean off the shit from the tune, the man is a genuine talent and deserves to be heard). I grew up with collaboration, but I quickly found that just because I could write well with Spencer, didn’t mean I was a great collaborator with everyone. We all have different styles, and that should be celebrated. Hell, that’s what makes collaboration a useful tool in our songwriter utility belt. 

I’m going to write a post on collaboration, and I’m not going to mention Lennon and McCartney once! 

… Starting now – Ten bucks his breath smelled like fish and chips.

What are some of the things that would make an excellent collaborator? Let’s get all of the Duh stuff out of the way.

Be open to change 

Listen

Be honest 

Take your pride out of the equation 

  • Just because it’s yours, doesn’t mean it’s right, and just because they don’t like your idea doesn’t mean they don’t love you or won’t love the next idea that you have.¬†

If it’s not working with someone, STOP COLLABORATING WITH THAT PERSON¬†

You can (and should) have multiple collaborative efforts going on at the same time.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way. Here are the meat and potatoes of the post.¬†

Make a habit of saying, “Yeah, let’s try it”– Even if you don’t see it at the time. You’re going to feel worried/annoyed/afraid that it’s not what you want. But there are countless stories of people letting go of the reins and getting something WAY BETTER than they had imagined! 

Remember that you’re not going to feel good about a new idea at first¬†– Resist that knee-jerk reaction to say “no” and remember that’s your ego talking to you. Most ideas deserve the effort to follow the road and seeing where they lead. Which actually leads me to my next point.

Not so fast, Luke.

Learn the difference between what sounds like a bad idea, and what you do not understand yet  I genuinely believe that every time someone gives you a new idea, you will probably not like it at first because it’s foreign to the origin of the concept. Learn to push past that initial feeling of “this sucks” and discover if the idea really isn’t worth pursuing. This is a skill that takes time to develop! It is one that should be mastered!

Some people that aren’t musicians are amazing collaborators – My good friend Danien comes to mind here. He was not a musician (well, not in the traditional sense). He was also one of my favorite collaborations. This type of partnership is perfect because you’re thinking outside the normal parameters that a musician would typically operate. Why not break a rhyme scheme here? Why can’t you go out of key on this chord? It’s not a lack of information that makes them fun to work with. It’s that they uninhibited by the rules that we’ve given ourselves that make them so useful! 

This is the man who worked with Leonard Cohen and wrote Hallelujah

Collaboration can be so much fun, and sure, it can be frustrating as well, but it almost always brings you something better than what you could do alone. You’re going to find people you like to work with. You’re going to find people that make you want to quit the game (please don’t). I would venture to say that everyone has someone they can work well with! Just think about this, if someone can work with Morrissey and make the incredible band¬†The Smiths, objectively Morrissey’s best work, then you can stand to work with a few different people and see what you can come up with together!¬†

The feeling seems to be mutual.