The Digest: Volume 5

The Digest is a weekly feature of the Sketchbook blog that provides an annotated listing of links to relevant articles about events, trends, people, and things that have a direct impact on us as musicians. If you find The Digest useful, or if you want to suggest improvements, please let me know. Also, if you have content you’d like to see included, please send a message via Twitter or Facebook and let me know that as well. And share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.

Elliott Carter, Modernist Composer, Dies At 103, by Tom Huizenga on NPR Music.

Carter’s music, write Huizenga, was championed by many of the world’s great orchestras and conductors. Not limited to classical music, the composer also penned songs, opera and chamber music, the latter earning him Pulitzer Prizes for his string quartets in 1960 and 1973.

What’s the Real Cost of Signing a Major Record Deal? on Music Clout.

Willing to exchange a bigger cut of your future royalties for getting your music “out there”? You’d be surprised how many new artists are willing to sign a Faustian contract with a major label for just that reason. It’s not that the majors are to be avoided, but keep in mind that most new artists make absolutely no money from royalties until they’ve recouped their promo budget.

Johnny Cash Box Set Honors the Man In Black, by Steve Jones on USA Today.

Just in time for holiday giving – a new, 63 CD box set of Johnny Cash’s recordings. Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection will set you back $230, but it includes 35 albums on CD for the first time and original LP artwork.

How I Made $13,544 In A Month (on Kickstarter), by Ari Herstand on TuneCore Blog.

Kickstarter? Oh, sure, everyone’s heard of that. Sign up, launch your campaign, and make tons of money Amanda Palmer style – right? Not exactly. That’s the theory, but as Ari Herstand explains, it’s much more involved if you want to do it right and have a successful campaign. Don’t neglect the video or do a bad one, and do keep your fans engaged on social media before, during, and after the drive. Most importantly, remember that careful planning pays off. This one’s a must read.

Improving Your Live Show, by Rick Goetz on Musician Coaching.

Rick’s interview with Amy Wolter reveals some pretty easy things we can do to make our live shows better and more engaging. First, says Wolter, don’t feel like your songs need to sound exactly like the record. After you get into that mindset, you need to plan what you’re going to do during the show after you’ve rehearsed the songs.

Forbes Names Top Six Grossing Dead Musicians, by Bruce Houghton on Hypebot.

Here’s a hint as to number 1: his initials are MJ. The King is probably annoyed at that.

Get Your Music Used in Film, TV, & Ads, by George Howard on TuneCore Blog.

The video goes into greater detail, but highlights include getting to know music supervisors. Visit universities where budding filmmakers are getting started and offer a free score. Also, create something to show & post it to YouTube. Work at getting a buzz going around it. Then find out who the players are.

Musicians, 77 Percent of Your Fans Prefer Email Marketing, by Chris Robley on DIY Musician Blog.

Not only does e-mail beat all comers as the preferred channel for getting marketing messages, it also drives more consumer purchasing than any other channel. This finding by ExactTarget suggests that you start sending out those old-fashioned emails if you want more album sales and folks at your shows.

Start Your Teaching Business in 30 Days, by Greg Arney on Musicians Wages.

Ever wonder what it would be like to teach music lessons from your home? Maybe you want to do it but don’t know how to set up a studio. Fear not – Greg Arney outlines a 30-day, comprehensive blueprint on getting up and running as a private music instructor. From deciding where and how much, to writing your policy, to setting up a website, just about every detail you’ll need to address is covered.

Marketing for Musicians: Sell What You Love, by Marcome on Marcome Blog & News.

Canadian new age artist Marcome wears many hats: composer, keyboardist, vocalist, arranger, recording engineer, and producer. And when she’s not doing that, she’s busy marketing her albums. In this article Marcome pauses to share some  things that have helped her get the word out about her music, such as creating great music, developing a mailing list, selling the music, and not giving up.

How Much Will You Pay For Music in 2013 (Infographic)? on D Wave.

There are over 500 music services on the internet and over 600 million people worldwide using those services. Still, the amount you’ll likely pay to hear music from your favorite artist may surprise you.

How To Establish Yourself as a Jerk in the Indie Music Scene, by Normandie Wilson on Music Clout.

Being a complete jerk isn’t a skill one picks up automatically after attaining the national spotlight. No, these skills are learned and practiced on the hard climb up. We’ve all known bands that run way over their time limit on a twin or triple bill, and we’ve probably seen a few who have disrespected the audience at one time or another. Here’s what not to do if you want to keep playing in the sandbox.


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