Archive | Practical RSS for this section

12 Quick Tips to get More out of Soundcloud

While many of us virtually live on Soundcloud, I’ve recently realized through several conversations that a number of people don’t necessarily use it that often unless they are posing a track/mix, or sent there for a download. Personally I thing it’s a very valuable tool to become proficient with. If you take a little time to learn the ins and outs (and make use of it briefly every day or so) you can find an increasing wealth of fresh tracks as well as drive traffic to your own music. This list is by no means exhaustive (email subscribe to Sound Movement for more updates in the future), but it gives a few ideas to get more out of the service, especially if you don’t already frequent it. Here we go:

  1. It may seem obvious, but follow more people to have them show up on your dashboard (the main wall that tracks and comments show up on). You may find it useful to follow the artists that artists you enjoy are following (ie: look at who you follow, follows.)
  2. Search for, and start following relevant groups (ie: search “jungle“), to have their tracks show up on your dashboard. I will sometimes indiscriminately follow a number of groups or artists, then later unfollow those that post unsuitable tracks.
  3. Use “advanced search options“. After you use the search bar in the top right corner of the dashboard, click the “Show advanced search options” and if you like, specify things like genre, tempo, or that “Tracks should be downloadable“…
  4. Search for remixes. Popular new track just drop? Chances are it’s been remixed. Use the advanced option to hunt for edits and bootlegs. (Take this tip with a grain of salt – you will sift through 90% garbage, especially with pop-ier remixes, but may just find a gem hidden among the trash.)
  5. If you regularly play larger gigs with headliners, add your SongKick URL for gig postings that automatically add themselves to your page.
  6. Upgrade your membership and it will allow you to send tracks to more groups you are a part of (easy way to share your music with thousands instantly!!!) Thx to Grasp the Erro on this one.
  7. If you’re going to buy a premium account, use coupons from here and save a couple bucks (%25 off is nothing to sneeze at)
  8. Make checking your dashboard a habit. Seriously. Just take 5 minutes everyday after work or whatever, click on “Incoming Tracks” on your dashboard, and scroll through what’s fresh until you see yesterday’s tracks..
  9. Show some character. Go to Settings > Advanced Profile and in “description”, post a short bio (no one reads more then a paragraph), write something silly or leave an email for bookings. Be sure to add your website and Facebook page, etc. here too.
  10. Comment & favorite more. While I actively discourage you from directly asking other artists to listen to your tracks in their comments, this does not mean that you shouldn’t comment at all. If you like a track, leave a comment or click “add to favorites”. While it is by no means guaranteed that they will check your tracks in return, they are many time more likely to notice you if you do leave a tasteful comment. And you can go back and check your favorites later to see about releases and perhaps download links if you like.
  11. Return the love. If someone leaves a great comment on your track, reply with a thanks.
  12. Just Listen. Bottom right hand of the player? There’s a little icon shaped like a cartoon speech bubble. Click it to turn off comments to be able to scroll through faster and easier on popular tracks. Thx to Outsider on this one.
  13. Oh, and make sure your tracks are properly tagged 😉

Boom! Let us know if any of these work for you, or if you have a tip you’d like to share! Thanks for the comments and reposts.

Advertisements

How Can Transparency Work For You?

To what extent do you feel that you are being transparent, open, sharing your needs and wants with your community?

In this Ted Talk covering rogue wave theory, phase alignments, and collaborations given at TedXVictoria, local venue owner, festival producer, and multimedia enthusiast Jason Guille had much to share in a small amount of time.

One of his points that really stood out for me regarded the importance and value of transparency.

During the talk, Jason presents a chart with data he collected from active community leaders, and goes on to show a direct correlation between awareness of needs and action taken to meet those needs. Watch the video below to get a much clearer idea.

So.. What are you trying to accomplish?

Share it actively with your friends, family, other musicians, members of your community, everyone. Think: how are people supposed to support your outcomes if they don’t know about them?

(Or even better..  also find out what others are trying to do, and help them achieve that. This will increase your own success by a magnitude of 10X, guaranteed.)

Watch the talk here:

What do you think? Leave your thoughts or experiences below:

Value Proposition

value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer of value that will be experienced. – wikipedia

This week I came across a post on http://yakezie.com entitled “What Makes Your Website Different?”. The point applies to musicians as well. We live in a world that is growing increasingly connected, and we are up against more and more competition. To be effective building a strong audience, you need to define who exactly it is that you’re trying to get your message to (as a musician this may mean a particular genre or a particular audience) and what exactly makes you worth listening to over the next guy?

The following is a 0-5 rating system borrowed from Marketing Experiments that is in reference to websites, but also directly applies to your music website. Take a moment and think of your website / Soundcloud / Bandcamp, etc. (you have one right?):

0 – No real value proposition (a full-price retail product that can be bought anywhere).
1 – Limited value to a small market. There is extensive competition and/or few barriers to entry.
2 – Substantial value to a medium-sized market. There is limited competition and/or significant barriers to entry.
3 – A product or service with strong product differentiation, but little competitive protection.
4 – A unique product or service that is highly valuable to a large market, and strong competitive protection and/or extensive barriers to entry. This may take the form of a registered patent or limited access to product components.
5 – A unique product or service that is highly valuable to a large market, and exclusive or near-exclusive control of essential product components. This may also include a registered patent.

Take an quick but honest look at your music website and consider:

  • What value are you offering to your audience?
  • Is your music or performance actually different (unique), and can you communicate that clearly?
  • Do you know who it is that you are trying to reach (“market”)?
  • How would you rate your website?

When Do You Do Your Best Work?

When do you do your best work?

Is it in the evening, first thing in the morning with coffee,  after work, 4 in the morning (I know a self employed designer that works like this) or during a full moon? I think it’s important to reflect upon. Save yourself time & get more done.

At a Red Bull info session, I asked Flying Lotus what time of day he wrote his music, and he replied with “in the morning”. Who knew? I believe it had something to do with demands of his living situation, but regardless I thought it was interesting. I would bet that isn’t when most of us do our writing.

Although I am not saying it is the best time for you, I have heard from business success experts such as Tony Schwartz that it is best to do your highest priority tasks earliest in the day. This is apparently because you have the most will power at the start of your day, and it depletes as the day progresses. Makes sense to me, and I certainly find this true with non-music tasks. Weather this applies to music would be interesting to study as well.

Historically, I’ve found that personally I tend to do my best work (in the case of first starting a track) on a Friday night. Ill stay up late until I’m burned out on the thing (for the time being), sleep (refresh my ears), then work on it on and off throughout Saturday and Sunday, then leave it alone for a week. This gives a bit of objectivity on the mixdown and programming. After that time I’ll make necessary tweaks and go play it on a bunch of different systems and in a club, then make final tweaks. This is by no means a perfect process, but it just seems to be how I’ve written most of my music. Sometimes I’ll write with my bud Atma and we’ll start in the morning, then go till around dinner. That works well for collaborations between us.

Most of us have schedules, and thus try to fit in as much music time as our lives allow, so any time is valuable time. But if you do have time available – consider experimenting with when you write or practice performing and investigate the results.

I’ve written previously about some ideas on how to overcome writers block, but I think this is the flip side of the coin. Of course, everyone is different, and may even perform differently day to day, but I think it pays off to find when you are most productive.

  • Be conscious and pay attention to when you work best
  • Consider experimenting with alternate times throughout the day
  • Leave a comment! What works for you?

What are YOU going to do this year?

It’s the start of the new year.

Take a second and think, look or listen back to where you were with your music 365 days ago.

How far have you come? What did you accomplish over the last year?

Well it’s a new start, and you have that experience and knowledge to piggyback on.

Now, grab a piece of paper and take 10 minutes to yourself.

Brainstorm and write down all the things you would like to do and accomplish this year.

Be realistic but ambitious.

What are you going to do?

Now go tell some people that are close to you, and one day at a time, go do it.

 

 

The Best Way to Learn

“If you want to learn something, read about it.
If you want to understand something, write about it.
If you want to master something, teach it.”
~Yogi Bhajan

I usually aim to have the week’s article up on Wednesday, but yesterday I was doing recording for an online video tutorial website in the works. It’s not my project, but I helped contribute on sections covering DJ gear, cueing tracks and beatmatching. It was definitely challenging at moments but was certainly worthwhile and fun too. The experience got me thinking about how we learn by teaching.

The best test of whether or not you really understand a concept is trying to teach it to someone else. Teaching calls for complete understanding of the concept. – Richard Rusczyk

If you want to see where holes are in your knowledge or skills, show someone else how to do something step by step, or explain a concept bit by bit. If there’s somewhere that you aren’t really clear on, you’ll find out really quickly. Then, take the time to figure it out and learn your craft even better.

Look up Edgar Dale’s “Cone of Experience” and you’ll find that people retain less if they just read text, and people retain the most if they are teaching others, or having direct experience with that which they are trying to learn.

Teaching forces you to break down the components parts of a process. When a DJ has been playing for 10 years he doesn’t have to think about beatmatching, but if you ask him to explain it, it’s not as easy. We may get to the point where don’t have to think about performing a task anymore, but there will likely still be places where we can improve or learn whole new skills.

Also, when you are learning something new yourself, share it immediately with other people while you are learning it. This way you’ll you’ll learn them more solidly and quickly then if you kept it to yourself. Show someone how to use Ableton. Teach a younger friend how to beatmatch. You don’t have to be a pro to share. It’s probably more likely that you’ll become better through the process. Teach someone. You’ll learn it better yourself.

  • Who could you share some knowledge or skills with? (good karma too)
  • What could you show or explain to someone else?
  • Go do it.

A Quality Artist Page in Minutes

Having a home page for an artist is a necessity. You need to have somewhere you can send fans and potential fans to get a vibe for what you’re about, and have access to your music. It’s almost 2012 and I think only a percentage of producers and performers have this nailed. I was hoping tumblr would fill this need, but I find it more useful for updates and photos and perhaps not ideal as a hub for all your info. Facebook pages have become bland, uninteresting, and are not particularly customizable. Myspace is dead. If you still have an account delete it now. If you’re good with html or CSS etc., then you can build your own page with code, but not everyone knows tech, and I assume most artists would rather be making music then testing scripts. Enter flavors.me.

Not too long ago while browsing Twitter, I’d come across sub|division’s Eames’ page flavors.me/kevinehman that he has linked in his bio. His page is pretty bare bones, but gives a quick idea about what he’s up to, his personal style, and most importantly – links your to his vital pages easily and cleanly. You may be thinking “Ugh, another thing to sign up for”, or “I don’t need any more social networking, thank you”, but there’s no real maintenance required and it really only takes a few minutes to get something looking good. It’s such a quick and easy process there’s really no reason not to set one up.

“Flavors allows you to create a gorgeous website in minutes, bringing together social media updates, photos, videos and more into a unified web presence.”

Part of the beauty of flavors.me is that there is the option to load feeds from particular social media streams automatically (Facebook / Soundcloud / Twitter feeds, and so many more). This means that when you click on my Twitter button, my feed pops up right on the page! Same goes for even lesser known or used sites such as last.fm or Vimeo. You can have a feed load automatically when someone arrives. This integration seems smooth and uninterruptive.

A few notes:

  • Minor HTML is available, such as bold, italics and linking for your bio
  • You can upload your own background (and change where the text layout is accordingly)
  • There is no advertising or pop-ups. Your site is clean and without unnecessary tabs, bars, or other crap
  • In addition to social media streams, you can add any RSS feed as well
  • $20 a year gives access to advanced features, but they are not at all necessarily for a functional and eye-pleasing page
  • The upgrade allows for a custom URL, such as “www.rhythmicon.com” I believe (assuming your address is available)
  • You can also be sneaky and purchase a domain name yourself (often for less than $10 a year) and then route it to your flavors page.

Have a quick look at one I set up today:

flavours.me/rhythmicon

Note: There are other sites that provide similar services such as about.me. I was actually going to write about it first before I came across flavors.  After using both, I found about.me be a bit faster to set up and more intuitive, but flavours.me certainly has more options and is highly customizable (though also blocks advanced features until you pay for an upgrade). It took me about 3 minutes to set up with about.me and about an hour with flavours.me get everything right (although you can do one with less time). You could try both for free though and see what works for you 🙂

Watch a quick 2 min video on it and go set one up!

If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or would like help setting up a page: leave a comment below. Heck post your own 🙂