A blog about songwriting and about the songwriter Luigi Cappel

Archive for the ‘podcasting’ Category

Music Education on the Net

This morning there was a feature in the Business Herald about Gordon Dryden, which I haven’t finished reading. Gordon is one of New Zealand’s prominent experts on education and I have a few of his excellent books in my library. The story was obviously related to the launch of his new book, The Learning Web, which I  will have to add to my collection.

A major concept of the story is that in the future , no later than 2014, 25% of high school courses will be available on the net. The timing was interesting because I already learn a lot about the music industry on the net, from blogs, web sites and especially through 2 of my favourite podcasts, being The Musicians Cooler and Music Business Radio.

I actually made a personal commitment yesterday while listening to an interview with Chuck Wills and Monty Powell on the Music Business Radio podcast Episode 79, which I strongly recommend anyone interested in breaking into the country music industry as a performer or songwriter should listen to. You can find it here. Monty was full of great information and about his experiences, songwriting and the importance of Nashville as one of the last big music cities that is still thriving and full of professionals today.

Monty’s work appears on over 50 million records and listening to him critiqueing people’s work, there is no doubt that he knows his craft intimately. For the up and coming songwriters he had lots of encouragement, stating that songwriting is a craft which can be taught and honed.

I live in Auckland, New Zealand and have a family and a day job and my commitment to them means that if I ever get to Nashville it will be for a week or 2, not to stay, which I should have done years ago, but now I want to go back to the net and education.

A year or so ago I had the good fortune to attend a weekend course with Pat Pattison, of the Berklee School of Music and I learned lots and got huge value from the course as well as the networking with other local musicians. Networking is something that Monty also emphasised as crucial to your success as many if not most careers have been forged through who you know.

From an educational perspective, I know people who went to Berklee, like Taura Eruera. But he and many others do offer excellent training on the Internet for those who can’t take a few years out to go and learn in the university or head to Nashville to soak information and experience from those who are willing to share.

The web is full of online courses for songwriting, so all I have to do now is decide where to start at a level that my budget can afford.

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About Songness and music upload sites

I’m always interested in checking out new sites where you can post your music and when I heard about Songness, I think from The Musicians Cooler podcast, I thought I’d sign up. Just a quick digresson. Dave Jackson over at the Musician’s Cooler has some awesome podcasts and if you have an iPod or other way of listening to MP3’s are strongly recommend you subscribe. He has great guests and excellent information if you are tryin to grow your business. He also has an excellent eBook which I have purchased myself called Get Your Band out of the Basement and Keep Them out of the Asylum and if you are putting a band together or wanting to keep it together, this is a great investment. I got the Audiobook version which I listened to in the car.

I posted my new song onto Songness called Watch Me Daddy a couple of weeks ago, so far not a single listen. On the Homepage it says that each song will be rated by up to 200 registered fans. You get an audience report for free and loads more. 

The concept sounds really good, (the concept doesn’t sound at all, but I guess this shows that even subconsciously I’m an auditory person) but I suspect that it is still at the prototype stage, so hopefully things will happen. There are still sections of the site that have word fillers, you know the latin words that developers use to show where the words are going to go. 

One of the key things if you want to post music on these kinds of site, is to listen and comment to others. Generally, just like MySpace, the more you contribute, the more you get back. The challenge is where to spend your energy. An example on MySpace is Em-J Taylor, who writes on her page that she spent 2 years promoting herself on the web. With over half a million plays, you would have to think she has been reasonably successful.

I have music on lots of sites and will share some information about them in future blogs. You never know where an opportunity will come from and each site tends to have it’s loyal followers.

One thing that I did recently was to create a spreadsheet so that I can see all the sites that I have music on, what songs or videos I have on each site and when I last visited. That way I can monitor what I’m doing and also check out the number of listens so that I can see the effectiveness of the work.

One thing I am big on is sincerity. There are companies who will send out ‘friend requests’ representing that they are you and helping you build a huge ‘fan base’. I am against this and like Em-J, I do my own friend requests and when someone invites me to be their ‘friend’ I will listen to their tracks and leave a comment. I would rather have 500 fans who would come to my gigs than a million who really don’t know who I am and don’t care. They are just numbers. 

Listens do count, if they are real. It’s possible to create false listens, but again, what’s the point, are you trying to look good under false pretences or are you trying to build a fan base so you can go on tour and have people come who already know who you are and like your music. 

Just a comment here, these are my opinions and you may believe otherwise. That’s great and you are welcome to argue your case here by leaving your own comments. There is no absolute right in this industry.

I’ve had a few people send me ‘friend requests’ at MySpace after reading my blog and I welcome that. Please do come and listen to me on MySpace, or maybe even give Songness a try. You can find me there, only one song at this stage, because I didn’t want to put any more effort in at this stage untilI see if it is justified.

So that’s me for now, bookmark or RSS this page and come back some time:)

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………………………………….

On communication and Sunday Sundown

Just a quick blog today with a little message. I woke up this morning feeling like crap, I was barking like a seal, had a blocked nose and it was cold. I have a suspected broken bone (from playing hacky tennis) in my hand (scaphoid in case you are interested) and got up for a shave and shower and put my hand back into its splint.

It has been very cold in New Zealand the last few weeks with roads around the country closed with snow and ice and it was about 3 degrees in the house overnight, guess we were lucky.

Anyway, I hate winter and I become a bear. I write music, but I don’t gig very often. I hate playing in venues where the doors open and let the cold in every 5 minutes as smokers go out for some frsh air. Why is the stage always so close to the door? Don’t they know that it makes it harder to entertain?

So here’s the thing, I got up this morning and stuck my iPod into the Dock and listened to a couple of podcasts. The first was from Radio Free Amsterdam, some awesome blues whch got me moving and gave me the energy to clean the shower and other bathroom furniture and then I got into Sunday Sundown, a podcast which I listen to in English, but originally found when I was looking for some Dutch language podcasts to keep my mind thinking in 2 languages so that when I want to, I can call my friends and relatives in the Netherlands (I get that for free on my new Orcon account) and because being multilingual is good for the brain.

Anyway Sunday Sundown is an awesome podcast from the studio of Maurice Zondag (which is of course Dutch for Sunday). I don’t know how Maurice find the time to find all those great songs and artists, but anyway if you want an easy listen show with great music, check him out. I strongly recommend it.

Something else I strongly recommend is that you put your songs on the PodSafe Music Network and make them available to podcasters, because you never know when one of them might play it. I mentioned a couple of my new songs to Maurice in an email telling how much I enjoy his show and he sent me a Tweet (Twitter message saying that he was going to play my song I Tilted on his next show tomorrow. Hey if you are on Twitter you can follow me at Twitter and send me a message.

One of the great things with podcasters is that in most cases they record their shows because they enjoy doing it and because they are passionate about their music or whatever their interest is. This means that they are also likely to be gerat people to get to know if you share a common interest, especially when it comes to your songs which you are of course also passionate about giving that you wrote them and they are a piece of yourself.

So, if you, like me, listen to lots of podcasts, ad if you (I told you I have a cold lol), like me, often think to yourself, I should contact that podcaster and tell him how much you like his/her show (actually other than Mur Lafferty, Heidi Miller and Liz Barry, I haven’t heard many women podcasters). Stop waiting until you get a Round Tuit. This world is about people communicating with people and if that in’t what music is about, why do you write songs?

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