Many musicians dedicate large amounts of time and money to recording their music, but very few capitalize on the music they produce. It has never been easier for a musician to release their music globally across multiple platforms and start to generate revenue from the music they produce.
The choice of digital services to sell your music on is vast. Some services take a big commission but market their websites heavily, while others take a small commission and leave the marketing to the artists that use them.
If you are a new artist, the marketing spend for the platform you use to sell your music is not important. What is important is the amount of commission you receive. Selling your music on iTunes might sound impressive. But, how impressive is it when you receive a low commission for your music?
One platform that established with musicians in mind is Bandcamp.
Bandcamp Takes a Small Commission
Created with artists in mind, Bandcamp is free and easy to add your music to, and the commission is one of the lowest at just 15%. There are also some cool features that help you market your music. In my opinion, this is the best service available for new artists, though not without its challenges.
Avoid high PayPal fees on Bandcamp
You need to set up your Bandcamp and PayPal payments as micro-payments. Don't sell your music as a complete album, but rather, sell each track individually. But, give the customer the option to buy the individual tracks as a full album. Make sure your account is set to micro-payments, and you will pay just 5%, not 30%.
Give Away Free Music on Bandcamp
The coolest feature on Bandcamp is the ability to give away free music. This is a great way to introduce new people to your music. When you give songs away on Bandcamp, you are rewarded with the e-mail address of the person who accepts your free download. This is a great way of building a fan base and a mailing list.
A personal e-mail address is the greatest marketing gift you can receive. That e-mail address is a constant point of contact and the gateway to the owner's social media accounts. Artists that use Bandcamp effectively give away free music and build big lists of people for when they have music for sale.
Bandcamp is Just a Shop
Bandcamp is retail space; it is a giant digital music store. Your music will be there with thousands of other artists and albums. It is up to you to market your music. Give away free tracks, link your Bandcamp page to every social media account you have, have your Bandcamp page as the signature on every forum you post on. The more your name and page are in the public eye, the more traffic you will generate. If anybody wants to buy your music, send them to the place where you receive the highest commission.
Bandcamp is a very good service and the perfect starting point if you are looking to sell your music. As with anything, you need to promote your music through social media and music streaming services such as SoundCloud.
With low commission and no upfront costs, Bandcamp is the perfect way to start selling your music online. Music fans do spend a great deal of time looking for new music on this website and are happy to buy music from Bandcamp, knowing the vast majority of the money is going to the artists and not a corporation.
The music of the east and of the global south is taught very little in the west – and more's the pity, for beautiful musical traditions, instruments, and playing techniques are found everywhere in the world. Whether you're interested in the music of Ghana or India, Japan or Ecuador, studying non-western music can broaden the horizons of any musician and deepen their appreciation for this universal art. Here are five reasons to study non-western music.
Studying non-western music can help the musician discover commonalities across ethnic and regional traditions – from instruments to rhythms to vocal styles. Musicians who study global music will deepen their understanding of how different musical traditions from around the world relate to and even influence each other.
Learning About New Instruments
As you listen to music traditions from around the world, you'll hear a lot of new-to-you instrumentation – and that in turn may spark your interest in studying new instruments. You might hear Chinese traditional music and be inspired to study the pipa, or Middle Eastern music and want to learn the oud or the sitar. Learning about instruments unfamiliar to you can be a great boon professionally as well.
Connecting Global Traditions
Globalism has connected the entire world, and where people go, they bring their traditions with them. You may listen to West African music and hear an echo of Middle Eastern folk, or to Ecuadorean music and hear a lilt of Castilian Spanish classical. Music is one of the many ways in which people of all walks of life connect, and it's not at all uncommon to hear the influence of one global music tradition on another.
Discovering New Favorites
Even if you've never been to Puerto Rico, you may discover that you really love salsa, or that you are moved by the strains of traditional Japanese koto playing even if you have never set foot in Japan. Music as a universal art is capable of moving people to great joy and passion – and studying global traditions may introduce you to music traditions that truly move you.
Broadening Career Prospects
From a purely practical standpoint, studying non-western music and instrumentation can certainly boost a musician's career. It opens up opportunities to perform and compose for these traditions, even if you're not of the background that the tradition comes from. It can also help to broaden and enhance your own work by experimenting with diversity of sound, helping you to more fully realize your musical vision.
Whether for personal enjoyment or professional fulfillment, studying non-western music can be life-changing, and can serve as every musician's personal auditory adventure around the world.
Email marketing is hands-down one of the most effective tools for turning audience members into buying customers. Music is no exception – a band is also a brand, and email marketing can help you develop that brand while delivering higher earnings from your music. Here are just a few benefits of email marketing for bands.
Email marketing is very often cheap or even free – MailChimp, for example, offers a superbly flexible pricing plan ranging from zero for total beginners all the way up to two hundred per month for highly successful companies or outfits. Some music sites also offer free email marketing tools for those who sign up as a fan and opt in to your mailing list.
It's Targeted Marketing
Because email marketing almost always involves opting in on the part of the recipient, you're guaranteed that whoever opts in wants to see whatever you're putting out. With non-targeted marketing, you'll be reaching part of your audience but not necessarily all of them, and it can be harder to build dedicated audiences; but using targeted marketing in tandem with non-targeted can help to build a more loyal audience, generate sales, and encourage greater sharing of your music.
All email marketing platforms will track how many emails you send out, and either a percentage or explicit number of how many people have actually opened your email. While looking at these measurements can be discouraging (a lot of people will delete those kinds of emails without even looking at them), over time, if you're consistent and effective with your marketing efforts, you'll start to see that number increase – letting you know that your audience is engaged and interested.
It Keeps Your Fans Updated
Your fans want to know what you're up to and when they can expect new albums or tour dates. Email marketing is one of the best ways to accomplish this, especially if you have a lot of fans – not everyone will see Facebook or Twitter posts, but a well-named and organized email will update a huge part of your audience at once on when they can expect to see you live or when your next album will drop. Email marketing contributes to album pre-orders and direct sales, either online or at shows.
These are just a few of the reasons your band or act should be using email marketing as part of your marketing platform. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of turning an audience into income – so no matter what platform you choose, consistently reaching out to your fans will result in greater financial success for your band for years to come.
Very often, doing a general music degree can open lots of doors career-wise. But sometimes, specializing a degree in music can help to not only demonstrate to potential employers where your real passion lies, but may even be required for specific jobs in the music industry. Here are five specializations for music degrees.
A specialization in composition is often a necessity for some of the higher-paid jobs in composing, like film and game scoring. This specialization requires strong music theory skills, intensive piano study, and a high theory class in either composition or orchestration. Composition can also be an excellent specialization for musicians who want to write music for performers and entertainers.
The music theory specialization is not to be confused with the composition specialization, though oftentimes the requirements are similar. A specialization in music theory is excellent for musicians who might want to pursue a purely academic route in music, such as teaching or textbook planning and writing. Sometimes, a specialization in music theory can lead to some of the same jobs as a composition specialization might, though this is not always the case.
The performance specialization is more complex than many musicians realize – this spec requires extensive classes in not only applied music, but master classes, recital organization and participation, and, for singers, classes in diction and language. In addition to the standard music degree studies in music theory, music history, and aural skills, the musician who chooses a performance specialization will find opportunities to perform in everything from operas to global music recitals.
If your idea of a wonderful career is teaching music to children or adolescents, music education is the specialization for you. Advanced degrees in music education can also lead to university or college teaching, as well as opportunities to plan and lead master classes in your instrument of specialization. In addition to classes, music education majors must be prepared to spend at least one semester of practicum teaching alongside a certified teacher in a public or private school setting.
Liturgical music is a newly emerging specialization aimed at those who wish to become cantors or choirmasters at churches, synagogues, and mosques. Often, this is a highly demanding specialization that requires not only the standard music degree curriculum, but classes in world religions, languages, and specialty classes in particular forms of sacred music.
Regardless of where your passion lies, one of these music degree specializations – among others you may come across – can open up your path into some of the best-paid jobs in the music industry.
If you think classical music is boring, think again. Neo and avant-garde classical music is coming around in a big way, blending Romantic-era emotionality with modern pop sensibility. If you love the sound of classical instrumentation but aren't looking to be lulled to sleep with chamber music, here are five unique neo-classical acts for you to check out.
A classically trained cellist, Zoe Keating is among the most well-known neo-classical performers of the twenty-first century. In what she lovingly refers to as her “cello cave,” Zoe writes and records beautiful, sweeping, and often stimulating melodies with layer upon layer of harmony. Zoe's husband died of cancer in 2015, and in addition to her career in music, she has become a tireless advocate for cancer patients and their families. Born in Canada, the San Francisco-based musician tours regularly and is currently at work on a new album.
An old-school gothic act as well as a neo-classical one, Rasputina is best described as a cellorock band that utilizes cello and percussion to create a wholly unique and diverse array of music. They've toured with Marilyn Manson, Cheap Trick, The Goo Goo Dolls, and many others. Rasputina is unique in that they incorporate both visuals and sound that represent and reflect women in history that were important but overlooked, as well as cultures often ignored by the west. Immensely popular among classical music lovers, their most recent EP's presale has sold out.
Founded by violist and violinist Laura Welch, this avant-garde classical music act incorporates elements of Romantic-era classical music, metal, and grunge. Her haunting music frequently explores deeply personal topics, like mental illness, as well as subjects of global concern, like antifascism and socialism. Laura is presently at work on Blood Moon's debut album, and plays shows routinely in New York's Capital Region.
Based in Germany, Qntal combines world classical musical sound with post-gothic electronica. Qntal represents one of the longest-standing neo-classical acts around, having been founded in 1991. With vocals in multiple languages and a seamless blending of multiple genres of music, Qntal's heavily medieval vibe is comfortably modified by modern music sensibilities. They have appeared at some of the world's largest music festivals, include Wave Gotik Treffen and M'era Luna.
Faun is a German medieval music act that focuses centrally on Pagan and Neo-Pagan themes in their music. They tour routinely throughout Germany, and bring together beautiful vocals and unique instrumentation – such as the hurdy-gurdy and the nyckelharpa – to create a mystical and yet driven neo-classical sound. Faun has become a great favorite in the worldwide Pagan community, as well as lovers of early and medieval music. Putting a new twist on an ancient tradition, Faun was founded in 1998, and recently completed a support tour for their most recent album, Midgard.
Each of these five acts has innovated on historic classical style in a unique way – so if you're looking for a brilliant classical sound that won't make you feel as though you need a nap, all of them are well worth your listen.
When you're looking for an audio producer to record and mix your next album, the choices can be overwhelming if you haven't worked with the same producer for years on end. But if you're in the market for a producer, there are a few traits that you should be looking for. Here are five things to look for in an audio producer.
No matter what their studio setup looks like, professionalism is a key quality in a good audio producer. They should make you feel welcome in their studio, ask you lots of questions about what you're producing, and work carefully with you to choose appropriate equipment and recording techniques to best capture your vision. Overall, the producer should work with you to create a positive and communicative rapport.
Time is money, and that is especially true of the music industry. You should expect your audio producer to be on time for each and every session you have scheduled with them, barring emergencies or other unexpected circumstances. If your audio producer is consistently late – or simply doesn't turn up to a session – it's time to look for someone else.
Even if an audio producer has a particular specialty when it comes to genre or style, a good audio producer should be able to adapt to any style, equipment set, or number of instruments in an act or band. The producer should work with you to ensure the best in-studio setup for your particular musical style, whether you're a solo act or a ten-piece band. They should also be able to adjust on the fly during recording sessions, especially if something goes wrong.
Before definitively choosing to work with a particular audio producer, ask around or look online for positive reviews from other musicians who have worked with them. If there are more positive reviews than negative ones, you've almost certainly landed on a keeper – but if most of what you hear is mediocre or is even downright awful, keep looking.
Creativity is a vital quality in an audio producer, particularly when it comes to problem-solving. Audio producers are part of the creative process of creating an album, and should be adept at coming up with creative ways to bring out your best sound in each and every session. Whether it's suggesting alternative instrument techniques or the use of a different piece of equipment, creativity – thinking outside the box – is a must.
Looking for each of these five qualities in your audio producer will help you decide on a professional that will work well with you and the rest of your act – and can help you build a years-long professional.
Acoustic guitars need to sound alive in the mix! The acoustic guitar will need to either cut through another more dominant sound in the mix, such as electric guitars and drums, or the acoustic guitar will need to sound clean enough to dominate the track on its own.
Acoustic guitars sound fantastic, but they are one of the hardest instruments to record. The secret behind getting the most from an acoustic guitar lies is the microphone used. If the acoustic guitar is a regular feature in your music, it is well worth investing in a good quality microphone.
Great Acoustic Guitar Microphones For under $200
Costing a little under $200, the Shure SM94 is almost perfect in every way. This microphone is specifically used for string instruments, cymbals, and woodwind instruments. This is a condenser microphone with low-frequency roll off.
This is a very sensitive microphone with a low and wide frequency response, meaning it will pick up all of the subtleties an acoustic guitar has to offer. The microphone offers a very clean sound and will give your guitar new life. These microphones are small, making it feel unobtrusive while playing.
Unless you have deep pockets, it is important to buy studio microphones that can perform a number of tasks. The Sennheiser e906 is one of those microphones. The Sennheiser e906 is a guitar microphone that is primarily used for guitar cabs, but the e906 comes with a switchable sound character feature.
This means you have a choice of three settings: dark, moderate and bright. If you switch the Sennheiser e906 to bright and have a play with your microphone positioning, you will discover a bright and vibrant acoustic guitar sound. This microphone also sounds incredible when guitars are played through an amp.
The SM57 has been around forever. They are a fantastic microphone for acoustic guitars, drums, and just about everything. With a price of under $100, they are also budget-friendly.
The SM57 has a much brighter and warmer sound than the SM58. The SM57 has a much wider frequency response, giving it a much brighter sound. If the SM58 is the ultimate all-rounder for live performance, the SM57 is the ultimate all-rounder for the studio.
This microphone gives acoustic guitars life and soul. The SM57 is also great for vocals, amplified guitars and snare drums. If you are on a budget and need a good quality studio microphone, then the SM57 is a perfect choice.
If you are a singer-songwriter looking for a microphone that will give a bright, crisp acoustic guitar sound, but also be able to give rich vocal performance then he MXL 770 is a good place to start.
The MXL 770 costs under $100 and delivers excellent quality and value. The MXL 770 is primarily a vocal microphone, but it offers excellent performance on string instruments. Thanks to its built-in pre-amp it offers a very wide dynamic range with an excellent bass roll off and a very upfront high-end response. This microphone will make your acoustic guitars and vocals sound rich and full. If you are a singer-songwriter on a budget, this is an excellent choice.
Positioning The Microphone
As with all microphone techniques, there is an element of trial and error involved. A positioning technique called "The Vanilla Position" is widely used by studio engineers worldwide. This involves positioning the microphone pointing where the neck meets the body of the guitar.
The distance the microphone is from the guitar depends on how heavy the acoustic is being played. You can also alter the distance depending on how dominant you would like the guitar to sound in the mix.
Even with a degree in music, obtaining work with precisely the role you want can be hard. However, with a properly-chosen minor along with your music degree, you can dramatically increase your chances of doing something within the music industry that still fits your interests and professional goals. Here are five lucrative minors for music majors.
A minor in psychology opens up several opportunities both academically and professionally. A music major who minors in psychology may work as an activities director for children or the elderly, work in arts management or marketing, and later may apply for master's degree programs in music therapy. Many music majors with psych minors wind up in music therapy, which is one of the best-paying professions for musicians to date (and as a field, is growing significantly beyond most other music-focused professions).
A music degree with a marketing minor can help the degree holder obtain work in the fields of arts management and marketing, much like a psychology minor can. Music majors who complete minors in marketing may find themselves managing bands, serving as social media and digital marketing coordinators for record companies, music shops and music schools, and a host of other jobs where the arts and advertisement meet. Marketing can be an extremely lucrative field, making a marketing minor one of the best for money-minded music majors.
A minor in history may not seem the most immediate choice for income potential, but a music degree holder with a minor in history may find work opportunities in a variety of fields from archival preservation to museum curation. Music majors with history minors may also serve in academic capacities, from research to instruction in music history – and those who wish to teach may go on to complete advanced degrees in music history, which – due to its uncommonality – can result in well-paid work in the music history arena.
Business and Entrepreneurship
For music majors intent on being their own boss, a business minor grants a fantastic opportunity to not only be hired at independent music shops and companies, but the expertise to found their own music-focused business later on. A minor in entrepreneurship is particularly helpful to the musician who wants to spend their working years self-employed – and can help their companies to be more successful later on.
For music majors that love technology, a computer science minor can lead them to professional opportunities creating music-related apps, writing music-based software, or helping to troubleshoot and maintain technological resources in every environment from recording studios to application design companies. Computer science and music might seem at odds with one another at first glance, but as the link between music and technology grows increasingly stronger, computer science presents many lucrative opportunities to the music major.
No matter where your interests lie, one of these minors can help you shape a career in music that reflects your passion – and keeps your bank account happy.
If you're just starting out with a woodwind instrument, you already know there's a lot to remember. Between good posture and proper embouchure, some woodwinds are among the most challenging instruments to master on a technical level. But a few tips can help you along the way, and make learning the instrument a lot easier. Here are ten tips for beginning woodwind players.
Take Your Time
If you're picking up a woodwind for the first time, the most important thing to remember is to take your time. Don't rush through your scales or any beginning repertoire you're assigned – take the time to familiarize yourself with how the instrument feels in your hands, how your breath feels moving through it, and how each individual note feels. Play everything largo or andante starting out – it will help you gain that familiarity and help you play more accurately.
Scales, Scales, Scales
Even if you don't work on repertoire every day, take a little bit of time each day to run scales in various keys. In particular, make it a point to run the scales of each key your repertoire represents – it will help to acquaint you intimately with the individual feel of each key signature and help you to play notes more accurately. Scales will also help you perfect your fingering technique and embouchure, so you can play repertoire more effectively.
Many beginning woodwind players are tempted to tense up their muscles, particularly around the neck and shoulders, when they play. While your posture should be straight and erect to promote better breathing, your neck and shoulders should be relatively relaxed. If you keep this area tense while you play, it will interfere with your breathing and, after awhile, make you sore – making it harder to focus on playing accurately and beautifully. Standing while you play rather than sitting may help if you tend to focus tension in your neck and shoulder area – just mind you don't wind up tensing your lower back, too!
Anticipate Your Breath
Every instrument has a different “resistance” - essentially, the time it takes for the breath to produce the sound. Don't wait until you're out of breath to start sounding the next note, and play close attention to how long it takes between you blowing into your instrument and it making a sound. Some woodwinds are very breath-intensive – such as the oboe or the clarinet – and anticipating your breath will help you to sustain a clear, dynamically stable sound every time.
Remember Bare Lips
Rule number one: no lipstick, no lip gloss, no lip balm, no nothing! If you're about to play, don't put anything on your lips, as lip products can interfere with your embouchure, ruin your reed or mouthpiece, and can just plain feel messy and gross on your instrument. If you suffer from chapped lips, utilize a moisturizing lip scrub (especially during the winter) and make sure you're hydrating regularly. Vitamin E may also help to alleviate chapped lips. You can put lip balm or another skin protectant on when you go to bed at night – but never, ever put anything on your lips when you'll be playing your instrument.
Whether you play tin whistle or recordari, these tips will help you master your instrument – and lessen the stress of learning a new and complex instrument.
For the non-affluent musician, producing music while still sticking to the budget can be a tremendous challenge. From the cost of instrument maintenance to lessons, it all adds up – and for the first few years, a lot of musicians will spend more than they make. But don't despair – there are lots of ways to produce music without spending too much of your hard-earned bank. Here are five ways to produce music on a budget.
For your recording and audio production needs, consider using freeware programs. Garageband, Rosegarden, Giada, and Acid Pro Express are all great examples of platforms that you can use for in-home audio production. Some companies also offer free trials of their pro-grade software, so keep a sharp eye out for these. If you really want to use a big-name platform, pick up a somewhat older version of one of the audio production giants – like ProTools and Logic – for a much sweeter price.
Whether you're looking for mics or a new guitar, browse online for sales of used instruments, garage and yard sales, and the refurbished sections of your local music shops. Most used instruments, especially those sold by music shops, are in excellent quality condition and can be spruced up with a decent cleaning or a new set of strings. Be wary, however, of purchasing instruments that have simply sat around a closet or basement for years at a time – they might do in a pinch or for a short period of time, but don't spend serious cash on an instrument that hasn't been decently maintained, and never purchase a used instrument you haven't personally looked at.
One way to get equipment or instruments is to ask around. Make a Facebook post, ask your neighbors, or mass email your friends and ask if they might have what you're looking for or if they know someone who might. This is a great way to get a good price on what you're looking for – and sometimes your friends might just be looking to pass on something useful for free to a person who can get use out of it!
Keep It Minimal
If you have a small budget, make a list of the things you really need to have in order to produce music. Keep a separate list of niceties if you want, to purchase when you can – but keep your setup simple until you can afford to buy more bells and whistles. A lot of musicians make the mistake of spending a lot of their budget money on the frills rather than the workhorses of their endeavor, so start with the essentials and work your way up.
Instrumentalists might consider student-grade instruments. Student-grade offers decent tone and quality in most instruments, and many music shops offer excellent prices on them in comparison with the semi-pro or pro-grade instruments. Some student-grade models are good enough to qualify as semi-pro in and of themselves, so don't hesitate to try out a few if you're not ready to plunk down large sums of money.
No matter what kind of music you produce, there's always a way to get what you need on the cheap – so you can start sharing your musical wonders with the world.
Long gone are the days where bands absolutely have to invest in pro photography to create gorgeous press images. While it's no bad thing to hire a professional photographer to shoot your photos, you can still take killer photos with a good smartphone and a bit of background knowledge. Here are several ways you can take great band photos with your smartphone.
Make Sure to Have a Good Onboard Camera
No two smartphones are created alike, so if you're intent on using your smartphone to take semi-professional quality photos, make sure your onboard camera is decent to good. If you're in the market for an upgrade or even a totally new smartphone, experiment with different models to test the difference between cameras, and choose the phone with the best camera that fits into your budget.
Almost all smartphones have both front and rear-facing cameras now, but making sure that you have both is an added bonus – because it's always a good idea to take selfies with your fans at shows, onstage or off!
Invest in a Tripod
For still shots of your band, regardless of locale, invest in a tripod. Tripods can be adjusted to a variety of heights depending on what angle you want, and removes the need to hold your phone while you're shooting. A lot of tripods feature smartphone slots now as well for just this purpose, so browse around online or in photography shops to find a tripod that fits your phone (or has an adjustable smartphone slot).
Choose Your Locale Carefully
Wherever you shoot, make sure that the locale fits the image of the band and the mood you're working to convey. If you shoot indoors, make sure the room you're shooting in is tidy and well-organized (many a good shot has been nearly ruined by the presence of too much clutter) and is adaptable to your purpose. Additionally, make sure that you either have ample natural light, whether direct or filtered via trees or clouds, or that the indoor setting you choose can be suitably lit to create great photos. Too much light can cause photos to be overexposed, though, so be prepared to adjust accordingly.
Even if you're not a pro photographer, you can still use a smartphone to capture beautiful images of your band – for press, for CD covers, for posters, and anything else you might need. So get your band together, grab your smartphones, and start snapping – you'll be surprised at what you can create.
The recording of live drums in the home studio environment has become increasingly rare. Most artists who record at home choose a drum machine or a sequenced drum track.
There is something special about a drum kit that's recorded live. A live kit can make songs that are recorded in a home studio sound like songs that have been recorded in a professional studio. Live drums give songs life and power. A well-recorded drum kit will give songs a certain power and feel that can not be replicated with a drum machine.
If you are lucky and you have the time, budget and space to record a drum kit, you will need microphones. Selecting the correct microphones is the most important part of the process. The correct microphones positioned correctly can make a home recording sound like it has come out of a professional studio.
The Kick Drum
This is one of the hardest parts of the drum kit to record. It is very easy for a kick drum to sound dull and muffled. The positioning of a kick drum microphone is all about trial and error.
Whatever your budget, one of the best kick drum microphones is the AKG D112. You can buy them for under $200. This is a large diaphragmic microphone built with the kick drum in mind. The AKG D112 has a reputation for being the best kick drum microphone ever made. This is why you will find the AKG D112 in nearly every recording studio in the world. They also sound great with Bass guitars.
The snare drum can be a nightmare when it comes to positioning microphones. You want your snare to sound bright, with no ring and as little interference as possible from the rest of the kit.
You want your microphone to sit close and at an angle to the snare. In a Professional studio, an engineer will often spend most of the first day positioning microphones on a drum kit. The drum kit is all about trying and trying again. It can take a long time, but when you get it right, they sound amazing.
One of the best snare drum microphones is the Shure SM57. This microphone is an industry standard for the snare drum. It also sounds great on acoustic guitars, electric guitars and high hats. In my opinion, this is one of the best all-around microphones you can have in a home recording studio. Another great thing about the Shure SM58 is its price, at under $100. They are perfect for the home studio.
Great sounding high hats are crisp and clean. If you are on a budget, consider overdubbing and using the same Shure SM57 you used on your snare drum. If your budget is bigger and you want the full live kit experience, the Shure SM94 is an excellent choice.
I have recommended the Shure SM94 for use with acoustic guitars. This microphone has a low and wide frequency response, making it perfect for high hats. It is a little expensive, costing just under $200. If this is beyond your budget, you need to look for a good quality condenser microphone, similar to the AKG C214. The best thing about the AKG C214 is, you can use the same microphone for guitars and vocals.
You can do so much with overhead microphones on drum kits. You can create a great ambient sounding kit through the selection of just two microphones and some good positioning. The Shure SM57 is a good pick as this will give you the best all-around sound. It is a good idea to start with the overhead track as your start point, and build the rest of the mix from here.
Every so often, a musical act comes along that makes us prick up our ears and exclaim, “Wait, what?!” But weirdness – whether musical or visual – has helped propel many a highly creative artist to success and renown. From pop to industrial, here are five weird bands you should check out.
Founded by vocalist and rapper MC Ride, the Death Grips are about as bizarre as you can get in terms of both musical style and stage performance. The group is known for a highly experimental hip hop style combined with industrial and electronic influences, and their stage performances feature everything from drumming in handcuffs to destroying instruments. If you're looking for a uniquely bizarre musical experience, the Death Grips are not to be missed.
A truly original glampunk band, Zolar X was well-known for nearly convincing people that they were truly from outer space. They wore silver vinyl onstage for performances – along with alien-head masks – and, wonder of wonders, talked to one another utilizing a unique “alien” language that they had constructed. Though these alien enthusiasts disappeared from the scene in the early eighties, their style has yet to be fairly imitated.
Captured! By Robots
Jay Vance or JBOT, the founder of Captured! By Robots, built an entire army of instrument-playing robots powered by air compression. A mixture of musical comedy and performance art, Captured! By Robots has released five studio albums to date in the style of thrash metal and ska influences. Currently, JBOT is at work on a sixth release.
Picture a band of classic garage rockers – wearing monk robes and with heads shaved in the classic monastic style – and you'll have the Monks, a rock band that utilized unique instrumentation and stream-of-consciousness style vocals. A group of friends stationed together in Germany in the 60s, the Monks went on to become one of the most talked about groups on the rock scene.
A curiously adorable hardcore band, the Teddybears were a direct response to the cliched death metal scene of Sweden in the nineties. The Teddybears performed extensively, and made their name by remixing a huge range of songs in varying genres and styles in a vociferous and unusual fashion – all while wearing teddy bear masks.
If the fringe element and the truly bizarre is your thing, make sure to check out all five of these skilled – but incredibly weird – bands, and prepare to either giggle in amusement or furrow your brow in confusion (maybe even both!).
When mixing music, it is important to have the cleanest and most natural sound possible. There are many tricks employed by professional sound engineers to get the perfect mix. If you speak to any sound engineer, they will all say the same thing.
Good quality near-field monitors are essential.
A lot of professionals are a huge fan of the Yamaha NS10 monitor speakers. For decades they were the industry standard. They are now considered old, though they still work great, and you can find a pair on eBay for $800.
A pair of good quality studio monitors does not have to cost the earth. There are some excellent, well-balanced monitors available for under $300.
They are the grandchild of the NS10s. The HS7s even looks like the NS10s, featuring those iconic white cones. For a pair of entry-level studio monitors, the Yamaha HS7s are an excellent choice. With a price tag of only $250, you can not go wrong. Yamaha has been a market leader in monitors for years, and The HS7s are no exception.
They come with low and high trim, allowing you to adjust these monitors for the acoustics of your room. They have a flat response and have been calibrated to reduce any vibration, allowing for a clean, natural and robust sound. Making them a solid set of monitors suitable for mixing all types of music.
The iconic white cone woofers are 6.7" with a 1" dome tweeter. Both have been mounted in the same way as the more expensive professional monitors in the Yamaha series. This is an excellent choice for entry-level studio monitors, as they bring you professional grade solutions at a price that is affordable to home studio engineers.
JBL LSR 308
The JBL Three Series has produced some impressive monitors in recent years. These are a more powerful monitor than the Yamaha HS7. The JBL LSR 308s comes with a powerful 8" woofer and bi-amplification, giving them a fine bass response. That supports a clean and crisp middle to top range frequency response.
They feature the "image control waveguide" that is found on the more expensive monitors in the JBL Three Series. This allows for a wider field of sound and a larger central sweet spot, making these monitors ideal for larger rooms, where you can use the increased power from the bi-amplification. To let these speakers ring out. I think this is a great set of monitors for mixing driving rock tracks.
They also feature HF and LF trim, allowing for adjustments to match the acoustics of your studio space. This is a more powerful monitor, but remember, power isn't everything. It all depends on the size of your studio space and the music you are mixing.
Focal Alpha 50
Focal have been producing high-end studio monitors with an equally high price tag for many years. There are thousands of recording studios worldwide that swear by the Focal brand when it comes to monitors. The Alpha 50s go a long way in proving the Focal reputation. This is a solid set of monitors suitable for all types of music, from delicate acoustics to bass-driven beats.
The Alpha 50's work slightly differently to the other monitors mentioned. They don't work with a focal point or sweet spot. Instead, the sound is evenly distributed over a wider area. This allows you to take a step back from your mix and hear the bigger picture. In an ideal world, you would have a set of Alpha 50s and a set of near field monitors in a home studio. It is always good to hear some space and get some perspective when mixing.
Industrial music is one of many modern offshoots of the gothic school of music. From industrial rock to hardcore, this powerful genre of music is heard often in goth clubs from Fort Lauderdale to Berlin, and can sometimes even be heard on your local radio station. Well-known for thunderous beats and aggressive lyrics, the industrial genre has blossomed in the twenty-first century, giving birth to a wide range of new and skillful merchants of its sound. Here are five industrial acts you should know.
Founded by Jairus Khan and based in Toronto, Ad-ver-sary is an industrial act that combines the hard rhythms of industrial and aggrotech with the smooth and sonorous melodies of darkwave music. Khan has toured with a number of notable industrial acts, including Terrorfakt, and has played at several industrial festivals, including Kinetik, one of the most famous worldwide. Ad-ver-sary reached further acclaim when Khan openly criticized the use of misogynist and racist imagery by other industrial acts as a way to promote their music, and has continued to call for these trends to end.
Based in Albany, New York, Doomsday Virus was founded by vocalist Ndru Virus and is one of the region's best-known industrial rock bands. Although the lineup has changed over the years since its creation in the nineties, Ndru and guitarist and backup vocalist Rahb have returned to performing and production after a several-years-long hiatus. Their most recent album, “Mutually Abusive,” was released in 2016 to incredibly positive reception among both fans and music publications. The band combines driven industrial percussion with hard rock and equally aggressive vocals.
Suicide Commando's heavy sound has influenced modern industrial in a big way – and they are among the most requested bands in goth and industrial clubs around the world. Founded in 1986 by Johan van Roy, Suicide Commando combines hard industrial beats with a variety of synths and artificial and organic vocals. The act has played at numerous industrial and gothic music festivals around the world, including Kinetik and Wave Gotik Treffen.
A classic industrial band, Germany's Feindflug is a must-listen for anyone a fan of industrial and aggrotech. Feindflug exhibits true stompworthy style with harsh synth and vocal sound, riveting beats, and exploration of sociopolitical themes, particularly with regard to military history. An entirely instrumental act, Feindflug's only vocals are sampled from film and recorded speeches, especially military-themed ones. Though Feindflug's demonstration of political and military themes in their music has occasionally earned them enmity, they have continued to insist that their music is meant to inform on the issues it discusses – not to support violence or prejudice.
Founded in 2001, one of industrial's youngest children has nevertheless made an impact on the German and global industrial scene. Centhron combines classic industrial with EBM, harsh scream-style lyrics, and darkwave, and explores the themes of sex, violence, and global politics. Their latest release, Allvater, is slated for release before the end of the year.
If you're looking for something to get you out of your seat (and maybe onto a dancefloor), each of these five bands boasts danceworthy sound, thought-provoking lyrics, and adrenaline-boosting beats.
If you're just getting started in a career in the performing arts, the number of things to do can seem incredibly overwhelming. From marketing to getting booked, the emerging artist always has a great deal to do. But breaking down the most important areas to tackle first can take a lot of the stress off. Here are five tips for emerging artists.
Focus On Your Debut
Before you get to anything else – marketing, shows, anything – you want to complete your first album. You can't market your music if there's nothing to market, and you can't play shows unless you have an opening slot's worth of material. So if you're just starting out, focus all your energies on making a great debut album – and don't touch anything else until it's finished.
Establish Social Media Channels
Once you've got your debut wrapped up, establish your social media channels. Make sure you have a presence on all the major platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and definitely establish base camps on music-based platforms like SoundCloud, LastFM, Bandcamp, and ReverbNation. If you have a budget for it, invest in a social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to save yourself loads of time.
Submit to Radio Stations
Now that you have music to distribute, start sending out to local radio stations. Don't discount college radio, either – lots of people listen to college radio stations, and they'll play almost anything that's decent and anything that's good. Just run a quick Google search for radio stations in your local area, make a list, and start submitting – most stations have an online option for submitting digital files, so you won't have to drive or mail discs over like in the old days!
Network, Network, Network
Don't stop at telling your family and friends what you're doing. Find other bands and promoters in the area that work in the same or similar genres as you do, and make it a point to connect with them. Going to club nights or local music festivals are great places to network, and if you bring business cards and download codes with you, you'll get the word out much more quickly.
Go to Shows
Going to shows falls in line with networking – it's one of your best opportunities to meet other working artists and bands. If you haven't started playing out yet, this is also a great chance to discuss organizing shows with other bands that do similar work to yours. Sometimes you can meet other professionals in the music industry too, including promoters, talent scouts, and magazine reps.
Working as a musician is a time-intensive job – in and out of the studio and stage arena. If you're just getting into the industry, these five tips will help you prioritize what needs to be done to get your music heard by the people who want to hear it – and lower your stress levels so you can focus on creating more music.
Being a music student is a challenge for a lot of reasons – not least of which is finding comprehensive resources to help you advance your theoretical skills (or your music library). If you're a music student – or a pro musician looking to improve your chops – here are five great resources to explore.
Teoria.com is a fantastic resource for classical musicians to advance their music theory and meta skills. It offers up tutorials, exercises, articles and more for any and all musicians who want either a refresher course or brand-new exposure. It's free, but you can donate to support its maintenance if you love it.
Children's Music Workshop
Don't let the name fool you. Children's Music Workshop isn't just for kids – it's chock-full of highly comprehensive exercises and tutorials on everything from intervals training to sight singing and ear training drills. The best part? You can test yourself on almost every skill to see how you're measuring up, and you can choose how many questions per drill or exercise you want to do.
IMSLP is hands-down the biggest free resource for sheet music. This incredible database has been called the classical musician's best friend, and that's a great way to describe it – you can download hundreds upon thousands of different pieces in the public domain, from operas and art songs to oratorios and string concertos. No matter what instrument you play, IMSLP will have lots of great repertoire for you to download and study – or to assign to your students if you teach.
This one is pretty straightforward – Musician's Health concerns itself with the holistic health of all musicians, and contains articles and advice on health issues from vocal nodes to carpal tunnel in piano players. Whether you need advice on nutrition, preventing injury or treating a current malady, Musician's Health is the place to go.
“What Makes a Great...?” Series on YouTube
This amazing series just for singers discusses great singers of the past and present, their achievements, and their challenges. Featuring singers like Diana Damrau and Placido Domingo, this beautifully produced video series will offer both student and professional singers historical insight and inspiration into their craft.
Whether you're tackling your first jury or are years past your master's degree, these resources will help you keep your musical chops up – as well as that of your current or future students.
Blogging is a simple and low-cost form of marketing – but not all musicians recognize the inherent value of having a blog for and about their act. Blogging can help to establish your band or act as a brand – and in addition, it gives you in-depth content to plug in to your social media channels. Here are five reasons you should maintain an active blog for your band.
Blogging is one of the easiest forms of marketing you can possibly engage in. Most blogging platforms are highly comprehensive and easy to use (Including your BandVista blog tool) and a good blog post can be cooked up in almost no time at all. With decent writing technique and some engaging images, a good blog post can be as satisfying to read as a good book or article.
The vast majority of blogging platforms offer free options, or extremely low-cost options, like the one included in your BandVista subscription. Because it essentially amounts to a free marketing resource, it's one of the marketing tools musicians should be most actively using, especially if they're on a budget.
It Creates Instantly Shareable Content
A lot of blogging platforms offer instant sharing tools to a variety of social media platforms once you've completed a post – so once you've written the post and tagged it accordingly, you can instantly share it to Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and any number of other social media platforms. Some blogging platforms even allow you to schedule the time and date it will post a link to the social media platforms you're using, making your band's non-targeted marketing more effective.
It Can Become a Learning Resource
If you're a professional musician, writing about your band's work and experience can translate into a living learning resource for other musicians, promoters, and other music industry professionals. It goes without saying that this takes a good deal of time; however, that time is an investment in your professional reputation and marketing efforts that can translate into increased opportunities over time, whether for performance, composition, or instruction.
It Increases Social Media Engagement
Because sharing blog posts is so incredibly easy, blogging regularly is a fantastic way to increase engagement on your band's website and social media platforms. Marketing research shows that increased social media engagement translates to increased sales and income later on – and subsequently maintaining a blog is a worthy investment of your time.
So why wait? Start or update your blog now when you login or create a new site with BandVista by using the buttons below.
Goth – that dark, romantic, and elegant tradition of music – is a many-faceted genre that found its roots centuries ago in the Romantic era of classical music. It has given birth to a great number of related genres, like synthpop, gothic industrial, and goth rock. Here, we'll take a chronological look at the birth and evolution of goth music.
The Romantic Era
The Romantic era of music was filled with emotionality, as well as beautiful melodies, extensive experimentation with instruments, and intense lyrical content. Hallmarked by the symphonies of Berlioz and the lieder of Schubert, the Romantic era laid the foundation for musical traits that would later be explored by gothic artists. The Romantic era of music did not officially conclude until the early twentieth century.
American and British Rock
Skipping forward sixty or seventy years, the melancholy and emotion of the Romantic era had been extensively explored through various mediums, including literature and art. In the sixties, gothic rock bands – including, technically, The Doors – had begun to emerge, and American and British rock gave birth to a number of post-punk and gothic acts, including some of the best-known acts of the genre like Bauhaus, Siouxie and the Banshees, and The Cure. As the eighties emerged, goth was a thriving genre that a number of musicians plugged into, including David Bowie and Joy Division. Although this “golden age” of gothic music was perceived to be relatively short-lived in comparison with other musical genres, goth continued to evolve.
The Synthpop Era
As the nineties boomed, a number of synthpop bands – bands that used almost entirely electronic means of producing music to produce dark, emotional, and even spooky sounds – emerged. Covenant, VNV Nation, The Cruxshadows, and many others became some of the best-known faces of the gothic music movement, and in addition to some of their predecessors, these bands are still performing and producing into the twenty-first century. Synthpop became a dance floor standard in goth clubs around the world, with its driven beats and sonorous melodies creating an energetic – if sometimes sorrowful – mood.
Twenty-First Century Goth
As goth has continued to evolve, synthpop, industrial, darkwave, gothic industrial and even post-goth renewal has made the rounds, with different subscenes under the gothic umbrella creating a uniqe cultural exchange that few other genres of music have given birth to. In modern gothic clubs around the world, one can hear everything from the original parents of goth, like Siouxsie, to modern industrial and aggrotech bands like Centhron or darkwave standards like Blutengel and Assemblage 23. The goth movement has also influenced other genres lyrically and musically, like symphonic metal (Nightwish, Epica) and hellbilly rock (Rob Zombie).
The goth movement, rather than dying out, has continued to evolve and expand into a wide body of music that we can hear today – whether in the clubs or even on the radio. Even if Bela Lugosi is dead, goth definitely isn't – and its influence will be felt for a long time yet.
From the Americas to the Far East, there are thousands of amazing music schools and conservatories at which musicians can study and develop their craft – and connect with alumni the world over to hone their craft following graduation. Here, we'll look at five of the best music schools around the world.
The Sibelius Academy is Finland's only musical conservatory, but is considered one of the best schools of music in Scandinavia and Europe at large. With a rigorous entrance examination procedure, SA's applicants compete fiercely for study places – but in return, they receive high-quality training, ample opportunities to perform and compose in the local and national community, and are connected to a global network of alumni for career development later on. SA recently began charging tuition fees to non-Finns, but scholarships are available to those who demonstrate financial need. Several famous stars have studied at SA, including the cellists of Apocalyptica and singer Tarja Turunen.
Tokyo College of Music
One of the east's most celebrated conservatories, the Tokyo College of Music is world-renowned for intensive and high-quality instruction. Students additionally benefit from frequent master classes, international relationships with other schools and instructors, and opportunities to travel. The Tokyo College of Music Symphony Orchestra has toured internationally, and the college also hosts a high school for young musicians.
The Cairo Conservatoire is part of the Academy of Arts Egypt, and is not only the premier conservatory in Egypt, but one of the best on the African continent. Its inclusion in the Academy offers music students extensive opportunities to collaborate with artists of other disciplines, including dancers, filmmakers, and visual artists. A number of notable musicians have completed their education at the Conservatoire, including composer Khaled Shokry and oud and violin player Essam Rashad.
The Crane School of Music
The alma mater of famous opera singer Renee Fleming, the Crane School of Music is part of the State University of New York at Potsdam. An All-Steinway School, the Crane School of Music is internationally recognized as an American standard of excellence in music, and has turned out a number of highly accomplished performing artists and composers. Crane excels at community outreach as well, and runs a number of programs to make opera and classical music accessible to the public, including an opera education program for youth.
Conservatorio Nacional Superior de Musica
Established in 1924 with the support of the then-president of Argentina and his wife, a lauded soprano, the Conservatorio Nacional Superior de Musica was founded by Carlos Lopez Buchardo and a number of others. The conservatory began principally with instruction in music, composition, and recitation, and has since expanded its instruction into dance and theatre. Juan Maria Solare, noted pianist, conductor and composer, studied at the Conservatorio.
No matter where you are in the world, chances are a world-class school of music is just around the corner. Find one that works for you and continue to use those programs to grow your own, unique talent.