The Digest, Volume 7

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 share the love by passing The Digest on via email or social media.

MusiCares Offers Relief for Musicians Victimized by Hurricane Sandy, by Katie Reilly, Intern Like a Rockstar.

MusicCares, an organization benefiting musicians since 1989, works year round to provide “a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need.” Recently they announced a new fund aimed at helping musicians who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The fund provides the for basics, such as clothing and shelter, and for musical instrument and recording equipment replacement. Katie’s post has links for assistance application and for fund donations.

Lars Ulrich: Meet The New Boss, Worse Than The Old Boss, The Trichordist.

Charlie Rose featured guests Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Chuck D from Public Enemy in 2000 to discuss Napster, the internet and the future of the music industry. Chuck D saw a bright, sunny future for music sales. Lars saw the darker side of the then fledgling medium, one in which millions of artists, musicians, photographers, authors, writers and other creators would have their living illegally appropriated by internet robber barons.

New MySpace Too Good to be True? by Jennifer Van Grove, The Washington Post.

Designed for artists and their fans, the new MySpace, is not a redesign. It’s a new product with a new purpose and a design meant to evoke emotion. MySpace wants to draw people away from a “boring internet” and into relationships with creatives and the content they produce.

Unpaid DIY Music “Competitive Advantage” For New MySpace, by Bruce Houghton, Hypebot.

Over five million artists, most of them unsigned, have uploaded 27 million songs to the social media site, accounting for half of the music played there. MySpace hopes to use this advantage to help them offset a projected revenue shortfall, or in other words, balance the books on the backs of the unsigned artists. Predictably, MySpace doesn’t see it that way, suggesting instead that they’re helping “artists … foster … unique relationships with their fans.”

Music Career Killers: Sure Ways to Ruin Your Chances For Success, by The DIY Musician.

Feel like you don’t have time to work on your music because you’re spending all your time marketing it? That’s an excellent way to ruin the career you’re trying so hard to start. Boring your fans and taking crap gigs on the offhand chance that they’ll yield one more fan are career killers, too.

Why Piracy Isn’t the Music Industry’s Biggest Threat, by Mike Doughty, Immutable/Inscrutable.

“Dear music industry,” writes musician Mike Doughty, “there are some amazing middle-aged artists. There’s loads of genuinely NEW artists who are in their 40s, and they would be loved by people with money to spend. Oh, PS, you guys really, really need money right now.” He goes on to suggest some great ways to widen one’s audience with older listeners who really want to go to the shows.

Pianos Aren’t a Center of Attention Anymore, by William Loeffler, TribLive.

It’s a pity the pro-life movement doesn’t extend to pianos. The Great Recession and associated economic downturn forced cuts in music education programs nationwide, thus cutting into sales of new pianos. Add to that the surge of interest in less expensive digital pianos, and it’s no surprise that some older acoustics find their way into landfills. Fortunately, there’s pianoadoption.com.

How to Help Protect Your Health as a Musician, by Barry Gardner, Musician Wages.

Whether you’re on tour or in the studio, your life as a musician definitely comes with physical stresses that can affect your health. Gardner offers a few suggestions that can help keep you healthy and in front of the crowds.

Doing a Holiday CD? Know Who Owns the Copyright, by Music Clout.

It’s tough to go wrong with a CD of Christmas tunes. They only have a limited, seasonal appeal, but once everyone’s in the mood for decking the halls, they’ll be in demand. Most classics are in the public domain, but you’ll want to do your homework to make sure you’re not stepping on some toes.

Why You Should Think Twice Before Saying Yes to a Gig, by Geraldine Boyer-Cussac, The Successful Musician.

It may be difficult for a lot of musicians to turn down a gig, especially those who are just starting out and need the exposure. Yet Dr. Boyer-Cussac reviews four situations when you should just say no, the main one being if you don’t know exactly how much you’ll get paid.

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