A blog about songwriting and about the songwriter Luigi Cappel

Archive for the ‘news media’ Category

Songs about the depression

When i was a tiny tot there was a song on a record that my parents used to play, the group was Peter, Paul and Mary and the song was Buddy Can You Spare a Dime. I used to sing it and thought it was about a guy down on his luck. Sort of like the old Blues standard, rejuvinated in recent years by Eric Clapton, Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out.

Here’s a great version by Tom Waitts

I really liked the lyrics, “Don’t you remember, you called me Al? Iit was Al all the time, don’t you remember, I was your pal? Buddy can you spare a dime.” Now that I know those lyrics were written by Yip Harburg in 1931, it makes more sense.

We’re in the Money came out just after the depression, but I never paid much attention to the lyrics. I just thought it was a happy song from a stage musical. “We never read a headlne about breadlines today. And when we see the landlord, we look that guy right in the eye.” Written by Songwriters Hall of Famer,  Al Dubin and Harry Warren’s catchy tune in 1933, ring a little more poignant. Especially when we read in our newspapers that middle class people are now starting to line up for food parcels at Foodbanks around the country.

It’s funny how we are out doing our Christmas shopping and not yet realising what’s going on. IK had a look at Big Boys Toys,  my favourite expo today and  the show seems to be a good 25% smaller than previous years and there appears to be more tyre kicking than buying from the reduced crowd.

Then there were the  blues, but I won’t go into that. I want to know about the songs of the 21st century. There bwill be lots of stories in the papers and on the streets. Today’s blues will probably be Rap and Hip Hop, but the concepts will be the same.

I can’t text you babe

My account’s been cut, I’m flat on my ass, no money for gas, I thought I was fine, can’t even afforfd to rhyme.

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Take lots of photos of you and your band

You never know when a photo will be useful. It might be photos for your tracks, an album cover, photos for your bio or web page.

Many web sites where you post your music, like MySpace for example, let you post photos with your tracks and so many people use the one photo for all tracks, which is boring. Boring reduces interest value.

If it’s a photo for your Press Kit or EPK, I recommend that unless you have a great photo, get a portrait photo done by a professional photographer. It could be the classic head and shoulders, or you doing something. You should at least have one clasic shot because it says you are mature and professional and you treat your music career as your business.

Shots for Facebook like this one, which my daughter took of me playing in Montego BayLuigi Cappel performing in Montego Bay

Luigi Cappel performing in Montego Bay

in Jamaica are fun shots, but not good enough quality for professional use.

If you are going to use shots in relation to a song or for an Album cover, make sure they are relevant, if it’s a song about a beach, like my song Muriwai Beach, then show a photo of Muriwai Beach. When I record my album Greenhouse, I have a photo of me holding a very large chunk of ice in my hand at Franz Joseph Glacier. The glacier is melting away with global warming and fits nicely with the title song which is also called Greenhouse. You can hear it at Music Forte.

If you don’t have a performance video, then video slide shows are a great way to add your songs to sites like Youtube. This one was done for me by my friend Noel of Powershows. In this case he supplied the images from his photo library.

There are lots of plug ins for websites like Photo Bucket which I use on my MySpace page. It lets you have some fun and easily put up a slide show. Photos add interest to your web page, especially a slide show, which attracts attention. It also helps people connect with you and feel like they know you a little. It makes them want to come back, or leave a comment, its about developing a relationship.

Even if you don’t need them now, take them anyway, you will find good uses for them. Take a camera to your gig and even if you don’t have anyone you know there, someone will take it for you.

Do you know who your fans are? Part One

There is a market for every kind of music and it is important to know who your market is, whether as a songwriter or performer. You need to know who they are so you can plan your approach as to how to target them.

What is their age group, are they tweens, teenagers, young adults, old rockers? Are they mostly male or female? What is their lifestyle? Are they still at home with their parents or starting their own families, or have their families already flown the coop?

What artists do they listen to? One of the important things on many sites where you can upload your music is who do you sound like, who influenced you. These tags are there for people to find music similar to the artists they like. Make sure you are genuine because if you are like the artists they listen to, you will build up your fan base more quickly.

How do they buy music? Do they buy on the net? at iTunes? Do they buy CD’s in mainstream music stores? In Department Stores? In specialist stores like Marbecks or Real Groovy?

How often do they buy music? Do they buy music themselves or do othes buy it for them as gifts?

How do they discover music they like? Do they hear it on the radio? iTunes? Podcasts? Do they find them by reading reviews in magazines, online, from video’s, recommended by magazines?

Where would they go to listen to music? An art gallery? pub? Concert Hall? Cafe?

Where do they buy their clothes? Often the music playing in certain shops might influence them. If there is a cafe that people go to who like your music, give the cafe a copy of your CD and ask them to play it for you.

Have a think about who your fans are or could be and given the ideas above, how could you influence the situation so that people who like your music can find you. There will be more on this in the next few days.

Knowing who your fans are can help in many ways. It should influence what you write, the style, the lyrics (are they accessible to your demographic), how you market your music, where you sell your music and much more.

There is a target for every kind of music form Christian Death Metal to jazz fusion and opera. Obviously the place and way to target eac genre will be very different. Understanding these things means that instead of taking a scatergun approach, you can aim straight for your target market, winning more fans to buy your music, attend your gigs and tell their friends about you.

By the way, I’d really like this blog to be interactive. You don’t have to agree with me. I would love to make this a discussion, not just me rambling on………………………………….

Music Critics and getting the media to your gig

The media has power, they are mavens and have huge control over what people listen to and what they think they should like. Many artists, like politician, don’t like critics at all, they don’t like what they write, but in the end I think the addage that any media is good media, applies much of the time.

They say I see it is that if the media writes about you, they are giving you attention and hopefuly someone will dig deeper, look for you on MySpace, or go to one of your gigs. If they make the effort, then reward them with recognition themselves. Show an interest in them.

When I first started chasing the media, it was to get attention for my sport at the time which was landyachting. We had a team going to Nevada for the America’s Cup of Landyachting and our sport was not great for spectators because our courses were often very long, as in 30 or more km. We needed sponsorship and both to attract sponsors and to get them coverage, we had to get the media to write stories and show us on TV etc. The main way I achieved that (and we won the cup) was by ringing the media and asking for their help and advice. I got it, they got stories and we got coverage.

So how do you get the media to your gig? First try and find media that might be interested in your genre, the best place to start is to listen to them on radio or read their stories. When you find people that you think would like your offerings, send them a CD. It could be demo’s or a commercial production. Send them your bio and invite them to your gig. It’s worth ringing them first to tell them what you are sending them, including the invitation and ask them for the best way to get it to them. That sets up a personal relationship so it isn’t just an impersonal envelope that looks like something you have sent to everyone.

Ask them to come and introduce themselves to you if they do turn up at the gig and make some time to talk to them. It wouldn’t hurt to make a fuss of them and build them up and the gig either, maybe in the middle of a set, shout out a welcome to them and get the audience to give them a friendly clap. The media is a networking environment and I have no doubt that they will appreciate the recognition.

Having recognised them, spoken with them at the gig, understood what they like, dislike or didn’t understand, you will be developing a realtionship with them and it is much more likely that they will give you a good review. After all, you are friends now, right?

Remember that people write about a particular topic because they like and are interested in it. If they are a music critic (and I use that term loosely, but if they are writing about a gig, they are offering their personal critique) they are doing it because they like music. If they come to your gig, it is because they want to be entertained and to like your offering, it’s outside of their work hours, i.e. they are gving up their personal space. They probably also want to be seen in the right places and are looking for other artists or interesting people. If you rewadr them for their effort, they will probably do the same for you and you may end up with a long term ally that can help you up those little steps to local stardom.

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