The Digest, Volume 8

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.

Advice, by Bob Lefsetz on The Lefsetz Letter.

Bob Lefsetz, music business attorney and all-around music biz guru, publishes a great newsletter, and I urge all who are even remotely interested in music as a career to subscribe to it. “Advice” contains pearls of wisdom like focus on your fans, engage them on social media, post your shows on YouTube, and form good relationships. You’ll find no career shortcuts here, because there are none.

Songwriters’ Groups Speak Out on Internet Radio Bill, on

A joint letter to Congress from performing rights organizations ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and the NSAI claims the Internet Radio Fairness Act (the “Pandora Bill”) will harm songwriters by legitimizing the “gross inequities that have developed … as a result of opposing rate setting systems applied to the amounts paid to songwriters, composers and publishers versus those paid to record labels and recording artists.”

The Upside of Music Piracy, on Live Unsigned Blog.

If you can’t beat ’em, should you join ’em? Perhaps, according to some bands who have made new fans out of people who first heard their music from a burned CD or a bit torrent site. You can embrace Neil Young’s “new radio” and get more fans to your shows who will buy more merchandise. Is it more important to lose sales or gain fans?

Get Your Band Noticed On Music Blogs, by Clyde Smith on Hypebot.

Most bands only think about Twitter or Facebook when they hear the words “social media.” But music blogs are also excellent ways to cultivate new fans and retain the ones you’ve won over. Clyde Smith gives a few suggestions regarding how to connect with music bloggers and get them to write about you.

Planning the Perfect CD Release Gig, on Live Unsigned Blog.

The release party needs to be as good as the CD, and it should certainly reflect the time and energy you put into your creation. Consider booking a venue that will sell out – pictures taken there will look better than those of a dozen people standing around in a hall that will hold 300. Work the social media, and send out press releases in time. Read on for more great suggestions.

Tunecore, Artists Release CD; Hurricane Sandy Victims Benefit, on Tunecore.

After the Storm includes tracks by Andrew Belle, jackopierce, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Parlotones and Rosie Thomas, as well as submissions from bands in Ireland, Russia, and Germany. One hundred percent of the album’s net proceeds will benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

An Interview With Classical Pianist Nick van Bloss, by Melanie Spanswick on Classical Mel’s Piano and Music Education Blog.

Pianist and music educator Melanie Spanswick recently interviewed British concert pianist Nick van Bloss. In recent years van Bloss has come out of retirement from the concert stage, and he has released recordings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Keyboard Concertos on Nimbus Records.

Musician Business Cards, by David J. Hahn on Musician Wages.

Success in the music business hinges on the quality of one’s contacts, and a business card is a great way to start that relationship. Serving as inexpensive, pocket-size billboards, business cards announce who you are, what you do, and how someone can get in touch with you. You know what should go on one, but Hahn goes one better with some stunning examples.

Ten Reasons Why Your Facebook Fans Hate You, by Chris Robley on DIY Musician Blog.

Hint: it ain’t because of a lack of Facebook users. Odds are your content isn’t reaching out and grabbing anyone. Or you may be live tweeting your life with updates every 20 seconds with stuff folks just don’t want to know. Or you’re too negative. Or you’re doing any of the other annoying things on Robley’s list. Stop it. Just stop it. Now.

Home Recording Studio Success, by David Cutler on The Savvy Musician Blog.

There are many benefits to a good home studio, guest blogger Barry Gardner writes. It’s cheaper than studio time (if you know what you’re doing), you have the flexibility to try things you’d never have time for otherwise, and you pick up some new skills along the way. The article is a good introduction to recording for those who are considering the investment, and it addresses key considerations for equipping a studio.


Photo credits: Treble Clef –; Captain Jack Sparrow –; Hurricane Sandy damage –; home studio – Robert W. Oliver


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