I remember once writing down this crazy dream: “To hear one of my tracks on national radio”. When it actually happened, I learnt something so invaluable which has lived with me every day since.
Are you sitting comfortably..? As artists we have to let go and let the world decide.
Let me explain… Imagine you had given me a list of every DJ from every national radio station, and asked me “Put these DJs in order – with the most likely to play your music at the top.” Well, the first DJ to support my music was, you guessed it, at the very bottom of that list.
One of the key principles I teach my coaching clients is we can try to predict who will love our music, but ultimately we just have to put it out there and let the world decide. Sometimes through our beliefs we can be the ones who get in the way of letting our music work its magic in the world.
Now here’s the kicker… of all the tracks on the album, which did legendary DJ Bob Harris of the UK’s largest station (BBC Radio 2) play? The most radio unfriendly (in my ears) from the album!
Bob taught me that as artists we can try to second-guess who will love our work, but letting go of what we believe and just putting it out there means the world can decide. As artists we then get the joy of unwrapping each surprise like the best ever Christmas present.
What surprises have you had with your music? Add a comment below and join the discussion.
P.S. If you’re looking to make a full-time living in music, join me online in my next coaching group for artists and bands. Reserve your place here.
To breakthrough into the music industry, it is essential to have a professional online image. Even with the popularity of Facebook, your web site is still the most crucial connection you can have with your current and future fan-base. One of the most common questions I am asked is “How do I get a professional music web site set up quickly and easily?”
Before I became a recording artist and label owner, I managed a Web design team of 50 people in the world’s largest Internet company. I saw how you can spend thousands on building a web site, but there is a much simpler way at a fraction of the cost.
Six Steps to Creating a Web Site for under $100
STEP 1: BUY A DOMAIN NAME Register your domain name. I recommend BlueHost as they offer a free domain when you take a hosting package with them (see Step 2). If your artist or band name is taken, consider adding “music” to the end of it (e.g. riversmusic.com). It’s tried and tested by many artists and most importantly you become easy to find on Google. Also consider “.music” domains although these will be more expensive to buy. Remember to budget for the annual renewal cost each year for your domain name but it’s less than under $10 / £10 per year, so a valuable investment for next to nothing.
Register an account with a web hosting company. In a previous life, I ran a division of 70 people who created web sites and set up servers. I’ve tried pretty much all of them over the last twenty years and my hosting company of choice is BlueHost. Good value, reliable, great support and amazing tools.
If the idea setting up software makes you run a mile, you’re better off using WIX. They offer over 40 music templates and it is really quick to get started. A lot of my clients use WIX and love it.
(B) FLEXIBLE ROUTE – WORDPRESS
I love WordPress as anyone can use it and it does not require any real technical knowledge to get going (creating web pages is like writing in a word processor). WordPress is called a “CMS” which stands for Content Management System.
Install WordPress in your Bluehost account. WordPress is by far the easiest way to set up and managed a web site (and blog), without having to rely on a designer or best friend. In your Bluehost control panel, use the “one-click” install – it really is that simple. As you get more adventurous, you can grow your WordPress site by adding Plug-ins which bolt-on to your web site. There are thousands of them, many of which are free. For the musicians, you could added anything form a music and video players to gig listings database, mailing list tools, a media gallery, and even a comprehensive music and merchandise store to make money directly form your web site.
STEP 4:BUY YOUR MUSIC THEME
If you go with WordPress, you’ll need to also choose a “music theme”. A theme is a web site template designed for WordPress which gives you a ready-made website-in-a-box. In many case you just add you logo, add your own text and your ready to launch. You can completely customise the site – including font and colour schemes, but you can have a basic web site up and running in an afternoon.
I recommend choosing a professionally designed Music WordPress theme at ThemeForest (type in “music” in the search box to discover over 650 themes!). What I like about ThemeForest is the support – you get to ask the creator of the site template questions and most are very supporticve and helpful. I’ve used a ton of theme for my music web site and have been really impressed.
You can get free WordPress themes, but I have found it pays to get a professional template. It enhances your brand and you do get what you pay for. The one-off cost for a good theme is typically between $30 and $60. Most music themes have built-in audio players, gig calendars, photo galleries, soundcloud plug-ins, social media integration (facebook, twitter etc), biography and discography page templates – all of which can be turned on or off depending on your needs. Some even have a built-in shop to sell your downloads and merchandise (with 100% of sales going to you). They also look amazing, using the latest web code.
IMPORTANT: MAKE IT MOBILE FRIENDLY It blew me away when I leant that more people now access the internet on a mobile device than a computer. Make sure you buy a music theme that is “Responsive”. This means that it can be viewed on any screen from an iPhone / Android right up to a huge monitor. Don’t underestimate the importance of this… Google are now penalizing web sites that are not “mobile friendly” which means your site will slip down the Google ranks. Fall off page one on Google, and it’s almost as if you don’t exist! (I’ll cover more about search engines in future post).
STEP 5:ADD MUSIC THEME
Add your purchased music theme. (In WordPress, go to Appearance / Themes / Add New / Upload Theme)
STEP 6:CUSTOMISE YOUR SITE
Add your own text, images, links and logo (if you don’t have one, I recommend 99Designs – it’s amazing. You get multiple professional designers all creating a logo based on your vision. You then pick and only pay for your favourite).
You are now ready to unleash your web site to the world!
Music Theme: $0 to 40 (one-off cost)
TOTAL COST: $57 to 97
Good luck! When you have your web site up and running, post a link to it on my Facebook page to celebrate it’s launch.
Do you have any other music web site tips? Join the conversation below.
Here’s a crazy thought that always amazes the artists and musicians I coach. Have you ever considered that, as you create your songs, you will listen to them more times than your number one fan?
This creates two phenomenons. Today I’ll focus on the first – “Ear Blindness” (look out for the second in a later article).
Have you ever written a document, proofread it three times and then someone points out a typo in the first line? Don’t you hate that! There is a reason it happens (for anyone interested in psychology it is due to something called “Generalisation”).
The same thing happens to us all in music. You become so intimate with each track you create, knowing every inner detail, that you can never listen to it the same way someone who will hear it for the first time. It’s crazy to think, but as artists we can never truly judge our song’s first impression as we have never experienced it ourselves.
What amazes me even more is that aspiring artists spend many years learning their craft, hundreds of hours writing, recording and producing their track, and then fifty meters before the finish line of the marathon, they put it out to the world without getting professional feedback. I hear it time and time again in many of the 30+ demos I received each week at my record label, TRL Music.
I don’t want this to happen to you. That’s why I’ve launched my new Professional Song Feedback service. Send me your track, no matter what stage of the process it is, and you’ll get a personal and detailed response (an audio recording in MP3) within 7 days.
Want to know if you’ve got a truly catchy hook to hit the charts?
Want an honest opinion on the levels on your track?
Are the vocals too loud?
Are the lyrics impactful enough?
Could the intro be stronger? Is it too long?
Does the quality of your sound really cut it?
Is the arrangement working?
Whatever stage your track is at, I will let you know how you can make it even better, even stronger.
Depending on your objectives with the track, I’ll give you the feedback you really need. Think of me as the executive producer you can check-in with.
BREAKING NEWS: YouTube have just announced the launch of their new music subscription service “YouTube Music Key”.
I predict this will shake up the music industry the same way iTunes and Spotify have done. Just days after Taylor Swift pulled her catalogue from Spotify, YouTube have launched their premium music subscriptions service, with what call “the Netflix for Music”. As an artist, label and publisher, I have watched how my YouTube royalties over the past year have increased, taking over Spotify and even catching up with iTunes. Why do I think YouTube’s new service this will be huge? Here are 5 reasons:
1) FIRST STOP FOR MUSIC: If you are like will.i.am (“YouTube is the future”) and me, the first place we go to for music is YouTube. Even when I am working I sometimes have a YouTube playlist in the background. With new artists, I often like to see them. You get an instant feel for WHO they are, not only what they sound like.
2) YOU DON’T NEED A MUSIC VIDEO: Don’t have the budget for an expensive music video? Lyric videos and even just placeholder images can still get millions of views.
3) FANBASE: The artist and labels can build a fanbase on YouTube. Unlike Spotify, Grooveshark and others, as artists and bands we can build a fanbase on YouTube with subscribers. It’s as essential as Facebook and Twitter for any musician today.
4) LIFELONG ROYALTIES: There is a big debate about whether streaming services will ever earn an artist as much money as selling a CD. When you project the lifetime earnings from one of your fans listening to your music, versus the “one-time” income you get from selling a CD, perspectives can change. Over a lifetime, I’m starting to believe that streaming income will higher.
5) INVESTED: We are all invested in YouTube. We already have videos uploaded and will start earning new royalties from today. That’s great news when most artists just want to spend time writing and touring, and not spending their life uploading content to yet another new service.
What are your thoughts in YouTube Music Key? Do you believe it is good or bad for artists? Join in the discussion below.
Want to take your music career to the next level? Join Ignite Teams today.
Here’s more on the announcement from YouTube themselves:
You didn’t just watch “All About That Bass” 200+ million times on YouTube. You watched Meghan Trainor perform it live for the first time ever and later with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots. You used the song in tens of thousands of your videos, like covering it with an upright bass. Your views helped put the song at the top of theBillboard Hot 100 for weeks. And that’s all just for one song.
You’ve watched, shared, remixed, invented, parodied and whatevered your favorite songs, making YouTube the ultimate place for artists and fans to connect. To celebrate all that music and unlock new ways to enjoy, we’re making it easier to find new music on YouTube and rock out to old favorites. Plus, we’re starting the launch of a new subscription service that lets you watch and listen to music without ads, in the background or offline.
A new home just for music
Starting today, you’ll see a new home just for music on your YouTube app for Android, iOS and on YouTube.com that shows your favorite music videos, recommended music playlists based on what you’re into and playlists of trending music across YouTube. You can find a playlist to perfectly fit your mood, whether that’s a morning motivators playlist or Boyce Avenue YouTube Mix. Check out the newest songs from channels you subscribe to, like FKA twigs or Childish Gambino. Or quickly find the songs you’ve played over and over and over again.
Full albums in high quality audio that are easy on your bandwidth
If a song exists in this world, you can probably find it on YouTube. But until today you couldn’t easily find and play full albums. In the coming days, you’ll be able to see an artist’s discography on YouTube, and play a full album with both their official music videos and high-quality songs our music partners added to YouTube.
Introducing YouTube Music Key beta
You’ve asked us for ways to listen to music without ads, to keep playing music videos even if you lock the screen or start using another app, and to play music even if you’re not connected to the Internet. That’s why today we’re introducing YouTube Music Key beta, a monthly subscription service starting with the promotional price of $7.99/month (discounted from $9.99/month) that will give you all that—ads-free music, background play and offline viewing. It will also include a subscription to Google Play Music, with 30+ million songs, expert-curated playlists, and in the coming days, the ability to watch many YouTube official music videos right from the app.
Thanks to your music videos, remixes, covers, and more, you’ve made YouTube the biggest music service on the planet. To turn YouTube into your perfect music service, we’re launching YouTube Music Key as a beta with our biggest music fans first, and then we’ll bring YouTube Music Key to the whole world together. So, if you see an invite in your app or email, try it out for six months for free.
For those of you who caught the US smash TV show The Blacklist which aired after The Voice yesterday, you will have seen Amber Skye. For those in the know, Amber is an amazing Recording Artist who I have been coaching for over a year and she continues to prove that you can be brilliant in two passions – music and acting. Why dream small and limit yourself? Amber is inspiring a generation with what she is creating and it is an honour to be working with her. Check out below a sneak preview of Amber’s latest track Rivers:
If you were Calvin Harris, how would you spend $66m? It’s a dilemma he doesn’t have time to consider as he is too busy packing 7,000 capacity White-House-sized nightclubs in Las Vegas for a reported $300,000 per set. As the top electronic producer in the world, he might be earning $10,000 per fist pump behind the decks, but his rise, together with his fellow EDM (Electronic Dance Music) artists, is showing no sign of slowing. The current EDM Revolution is being touted as the new Rock n’ Roll and no doubt many traditionalists are waiting for the collapse. Not only is the revolution here to stay however, it’s only just getting started.
Harris tops the latest Forbes ‘Electronic Cash Kings’ rich list with an annual $66m fortune, up 50% from the previous year and surpassing the likes of Rhianna, Jay Z and all of One Direction. To put this achievement into even greater perspective, he topped Tiger Woods, Simon Cowell, Ronaldo, Messi and matched Beatles legend Paul McCartney. The rest of the list is made up of other multi-millionaires including David Guetta ($30m), Avicii ($28m), Tiesto ($28m) with Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Zedd, Kaskade, Skrillex, Deadmau5, Hardwell, Armin van Buuren and Steve Angello sharing $153m.
So what makes the EDM Revolution so special? There are three factors which make up what I call the ‘MEA Effect‘: Mainstream – Euphoria – Accessibility.
Mainstream EDM is a marriage made in heaven with mainstream pop. Calvin Harris reflects back to a moment in pop history in 2011 when a combination of major artists including Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas and David Guetta were all hitting the top of the charts with EDM-heavy tracks. Whilst Europe has been partying for decades, the US – a sleeping giant in the EDM world – suddenly woke up. Collaborations with EDM Producers and the biggest names in pop became commonplace. Calvin Harris alone has worked with Rhianna, Ellie Goulding and Florence. Dance music took over the charts Stateside and Pop EDM was born, becoming the mainstream sound listened to on the school run and office commute. Pop EDM’s success is largely a result of fusing the genius of hit song writing with hook-laden electronic soundtracks.
Euphoria It’s no co-incidence that North America has turned to EDM at a time when economic crisis hit the continent and the world. To pull yourself out of a depression, there is no better cure than to party. The uptempo four-to-the-floor beat of EDM delivers every time. Whilst other genres can be therapy for angst, if there is a musical anthem for life, it is the soaring synth hooks, trance stabs and the rollercoaster ride of the risers and drops. Tony Robbins enthuses that changing your state is one of the secrets to a successful life and EDM music does that in seconds. Combine this shared experience and positive energy in a huge crowd and you get a high for life more powerful than any artificial substance.
Accessibility As a ten-year old, the closest I could get to a synth or drum machine was our high-street electronics store. It was a short-lived experience as the staff were unappreciative of my unique electronica fusion on the Casio keyboards and would kick me out every week. Today, in this new Electronic Era, kids are growing up with a music-making device in the palm of their hand. Unlike guitars and drums – the core tools of Rock n’ Roll – kids spend their school bus journeys and recess in composing heaven. The “book torch” has been replaced by the after-hours glowing duvet as they create beats on their iPhones or Android devices. Phenomenally powerful free apps like Caustic or miniature versions of professional software such as FL Studio Mobile give the next generation of artists the musical equivalent of a Harry Potter wand to unleash their musical creativity.
Beyond apps we see even greater accessibility. FL Studio, used by superstar artists such as Avicii and Afrojack gets downloaded an astonishing ten million times per year. To further join the dots, my anecdotal research shows music stores in North America are reporting sales of electronic dance music equipment far outstripping traditional instruments.
With artists ranging from Garrix teenagers to the Guettas approaching their 50’s, an EDM career also doesn’t have the short shelf-life of the latest boy-band or X Factor firework. The next generation of EDM superstars are starting younger and are busy refining their art form. Visually I imagine that if Sauron were a DJ, the Lord of the Spins is currently putting together a new musical army like none ever witnessed.
An EDM Revolution? Just watch the MEA Effect over the next five to ten years and you’ll realise it has only just begun.
One of the most common music dreams people tell me is “To make enough money to do music full-time”.
For me this is a brilliant dream to aim for but too wooly. I’ll explain why later.
Firstly, this is a really important statement to make. If you could achieve this goal it becomes a stepping stone to larger dreams such as:
– Playing your favourite venue
– Collaborating with (rather than looking up to) your favourite artists
– Doing a world tour
– Topping the charts
There is just one thing missing with the money question…
The magic figure.
Part of my coaching is working with people to define a specific figure they want to achieve. Suddenly it’s like you have lassoed that dream in the sky and bought it down to earth. Most musicians fail to create specific goals that can be measured. Once you know that magic figure, we work to define how to break it down further. Suddenly the dream seems a lot clearer and a whole lot more obtainable and achievable. In fact, usually in just one hour I have taken someone from an intangible wooly goal to having a plan to put into action right away.
So what is your magic figure?
Discover, Define and Deliver you music dream with Ignite Teams. Click here to reserve your place today.
If you are interested in getting one-to-one coaching on your music dreams, set up a free 20 minute session with me to see how it can change your life.
Imagine the scene. You are sitting watching the winners of the World Cup about to lift the trophy and suddenly your track starts booming out of every speaker in the stadium and simultaneously across billions of TV sets around the world.
Calvin Harris might have reached the height of success as the world’s top dance artist but he’ll be telling his grandchildren about the moment his track ‘Summer’ became the soundtrack to the German team lifting the World Cup.
As a recording artist and Dream Coach working with the music superstars of tomorrow, these are exactly the kinds of dreams I encourage writing down as goals. Yes, everyone would love a No.1 chart hit, a handful of Grammies and sell a million albums, but when you dig deeper you can find some very specific and experiential moments which when visualised will really help ignite your dream in music.
As musicians and artists, our songs are like our children. We spend time making them the best they can be and one day they leave home to start their world travels, making friends with unlikely contacts and sending home postcards of their latest adventures.
Ten years after releasing music for the first time as Urban Myth Club, I still get a buzz when friends send me texts like “Sitting in Starbucks in Sydney and they are playing your track!” Recently just as the World Cup was starting, a friend in Brazil emailed me whilst watching a dramatic scene on the nation’s most popular show with our song “Coming Home” as the soundtrack.
One exercise I love to do when coaching clients is my five-step “Music Immersion Visualization” (MIV) process. Firstly I ask them to deeply visualize where they would like to hear their track being played, and then find an image which represents that vision. Thirdly I ask them to put this image on their studio wall and start writing a track for that audience, fully immersing themselves in what it would feel like to hear the track being played there. Does the music suit the venue? What are the audience doing? Dancing, chilling-out, crowd-surfing? As the final step I ask them to declare their dream by posting their image on my Music Life Coach Facebook page (facebook.com/musiclifecoach). Studies have shown that by declaring your dream to others increases your probability of success by 65%.
One of my dreams was to play Glastonbury – the world’s largest festival. The turning point in my career was when I sat down and visualised the crowd as I imagined looking out from the stage and then wrote a track for them. In the past I would sit in my studio hoping that creativity would come, but the moment I started visualise the audience and imagined the experience, everything changed. I stepped up my writing and the Glastonbury dream became a reality a year later as my second ever gig.
So what are your music dreams? Which event, venue or festival would you love to hear your music played at? Your brain does not know the difference between a real or imagined experience and one day, like Calvin Harris, you too could turn that indescribable euphoric experience into a reality.
Mark Desvaux (www.musiclifecoach.com) is one of the world’s leading Music Life Coaches. As a recording artist he has had chart success with Urban Myth Club (@urbanmythclub), played Glastonbury three times and has signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell. Through his 1-2-1 and group coaching (Ignite Teams) he helps people define and live out their music dreams (@musiclifecoach).