Monthly Archives: June 2016

How to Get Your Music Featured on Music Blogs

Finding quality promotion can be a daunting and sometimes overwhelming task for new artists who have only just begun to get a grasp on how to build their brand while remaining truthful to themselves and their music. Often artists are tempted to do anything they can to get their music heard by more people but most of the time, the practices they engage in end up having quite an undesired effect.

In today’s world of social media, artists have an almost innumerable amount of resources right at their finger tips for them to share their gifts and talents with the world. Popular sites like YouTube, SoundCloud, and Facebook, have all played major rolls in making aspiring artists into the next big thing in music. But how do you get people to find your music and actually click play once you’ve put your material out on these sites? One very good place to start is music blogs and websites that accept music for review.

This article will provide a few very important tips to keep in mind when looking to have your music reviewed on music blogs to create buzz around you and your brand.

Tip 1. Present Yourself Professionally.

Not many popular and established blogs appreciate receiving music from artists who don’t take the time to put together an organized submission package. If you’re looking to be taken seriously as an artist then you need to make sure you come off that way at all times when approaching blogs or promoters. In your emails or during any communication, you want to use proper grammar and spelling, especially in your own Press information.

Tip 2. Follow the Directions.

Often music sites that accept submissions from artists to have their music reviewed have provided detailed instructions on how you can go about it. Find and read through these guidelines carefully before submitting any materials to ensure that you don’t give them any reason to disregard your submission the minute they open your email.

Tip 3. Have Good Music.

Of course, if you want people to listen to your music, it needs to be good. Choose your blogs and promoters carefully. Consider the types of music they already favor and try to find those that consider the type of music you make to be in their prioritized list. For example, if you’re an R&B singer it would be wise to find blogs that not only accept, but prefer those types of submissions. This way you can be sure that this blog’s review will be beneficial to you because people who are already inclined to listen to music recommended by the blog, will be likely to press play for your tracks as well.

Tip 4. Be About Your Business.

It’s very easy for most artists to focus on the creative end of their craft but remember that what you’re doing, if you expect to make money with your talents, is in fact conducting business. You need to understand the variables at play on the business side of your music. Know how to market yourself and how to talk to people about your music. Create a brand that demands the attention of your prospective audience as well as those such as music blogs and promoters. It’s not enough to get people to hear your music, you need them to WANT to hear your music.

Tip 5. Beware Scammers.

Don’t throw caution to the wind when it comes to how you promote your brand. It’s not uncommon and in many cases, is to be expected that artists will be required to pay small fees for some promotional services. Some blogs charge submission fees and some don’t but keep in mind that most of the time, this decision is based on the blog’s desire to avoid being obligated to promote your material. Basically, those that don’t charge will retain the right to refuse your submission whereas those that do, will usually be glad to review your music as long as your submission meets their guidelines.

Tip 6. Beware Bots

One thing to watch out for is people who offer to submit your music to X amount of music blogs, radio stations, etc. for any fee larger than a few dollars. Often these types of promoters are not as well connected as they claim and are just out to make a quick $50+ off of your talent and naivete. Also, never take an offer that guarantees the impossible. For example, one million views on your video, ten thousand comments on your new song and for only $20! This is a scam, and though it may seem legit for the first few days, it will ultimately hurt you because the robots completing these tasks will not continue to visit your music as would a real person who actually enjoys your music.

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5 Tips for Beginning Your Music Career

  • Below are some tips to get your music off the ground if you are just starting out or maybe you’ve been failing to make any good progress, though your music is actually sounding pretty good.
  • Invest in Yourself
    Sure, you may say, I’m just starting out and I can get by with some buggy pirated software, but no matter what profession you are choosing, be it producer, singer rapper or whatever else, investing in yourself is a must. This self-investment may be purchasing LEGAL software if you’re a producer or even just buying good quality beats and mixing services if you are a rapper or vocalist. You’ll find that you may begin taking yourself even more seriously and working even harder as you will have a stake in what you’re doing.
  1. Seek Advice From Those Already in the Game
    Don’t try and re-invent the wheel or become an island and isolate yourself in your own little world. Get help and advice from more knowledgeable people that went through what you are going through now. Use the resources at your disposal to acquire this knowledge such as the Stereo Evolution blogs and forums. One problem newbies have is that they often think they can make it to the top all on their own…maybe they can…but very slowly. By seeking guidance from other people you can avoid the mistakes they did and they can point out where you’re going wrong with your music and help you fix up any problem areas.
  2. Read Your Instruction Manuals
    This tip probably applies more to the producers, but it can also apply to self-recording vocalists as you’ll want to know how to get the most out of your recording before sending it off to your producer. By reading your manuals, you may find that you may actually work faster in your DAW as you discover new methods of working and you may also learn new tips and tricks that will help you further your sound.
  3. Practice and Develop your Art
    Practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to just make a beat and stop halfway only to never return to it again. Or just write thousands of pages of lyrics that will never see the light of day. Even singing songs outside of your genre and comfort zone is a must to really developing your musical abilities. When starting out and you’re getting moderately good, one easy mistake to make is your loss for the need of practicing your craft as you’ll likely on make a beat or record a song when someone asks you to. However, this is the worst thing you can do as the more you work on your music the more you are likely to succeed. Never stop trying to discover new things in your music be they singing in different styles and tones or making dubstep beats though your focus is hip-hop. You’ll find that you’ll discover elements that you can then use in your own music that’ll make it sound original which then brings us to the final point of this series…
  4. Be Original
    Don’t try and be the next Timbaland. Why?…because Timbaland is already there. Why not instead blend in a little Timbaland with a little bit Swizz beats and your own swag to come up with your own sound!? Originality sells. Don’t be afraid to take your music new and unexplored avenues. Just be careful how far you take it from reality as you probably still want people to relate to it. No one wants to listen to a copycat artist. So make sure when you right your lyrics they resonate from within and give us a glimpse of you, or when you make your tracks producers, give us that little extra something else that’s just different and memorable – in a good way of course.
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9 Tips That Can Make Or Break Your Wedding Reception

Back in April of 2003, I had just finished setting up my DJ equipment for a wedding reception in a luxurious downtown Omaha hotel. Right on cue, the guests started to filter in, and I started the smooth jazz cocktail hour music. I headed over to the bar for a soda. As the bartender handed me the soft drink I ordered, he promptly said, “three dollars please.” Assuming he was joking, I walked away laughing as I thanked him. With a serious expression, he quickly informed me that he wasn’t kidding and that I’d better pay up on my newly acquired debt. It was then that I saw the sign on the bar. “Drinks $5.00 – Beer $4.00 – Soft Drinks $3.00.” Overhearing some of the guest conversations around the bar, I was apparently not the only one surprised by the drink charges.

When it comes time to offer tips and advice to my customers, I have to look back on my experiences as a Wedding DJ. In this article, we’ll cover some tips that are often overlooked or seen as no big deal by brides and grooms as they plan for their wedding receptions. These tips, however, WILL make the difference between happy guests and unhappy ones at your reception. In short, the following tips will increase the chances that your guests will stick around and have a great time at your reception.

I realize that many professionals offer a host of tips and suggestions in the wedding industry, and at times it’s hard to take it all in. Clearly, many things have to come together to ensure that everything on your wedding day is a success.

After talking and interviewing thousands of brides I noticed three distinct commonalities that most of them had when laying out their expectiations for their receptions. They wanted to:

  1. Keep the events moving smoothly.
  2. Keep the guests from leaving early.
  3. Keep guests dancing and having fun.

As a DJ, I’ve had the unique advantage of being the first one to arrive at and the last to leave from hundreds of wedding receptions. For that reason, I feel comfortable and confident as I offer the advice you are about to read.

All in all I have always felt that if you want to have a successful reception, one of the single most important things you can do is to consider thing from your guests’ point of view.

TIP 1 – Never charge guests for drinks

When it comes to weddings, brides and grooms are often restricted by the limitations of their budget. There are certainly some shortcuts you can take to save a little money. But be careful! One area I strongly advise you not to skimp on is the bar. Making invited guests pay for their drinks is not a good idea, and it will stifle the atmosphere. The fact of the matter is that guests just don’t like paying for drinks. Plus, a free bar is often all it takes to keep the guests who are on the fence from leaving early.

I do not for a minute encourage binge drinking or any kind of abuse. I have just learned that the guests will loosen up, dance and have a better time when the bar is free (or, in wedding terms, “hosted”). The bottom line is that if you want guests to stick around and feel appreciated, an open bar is a must.

TIP 2 – Don’t start the reception too early

In the summer of 2007, I was the DJ for a reception that started at 2:30 in the afternoon. The event was held at a country club that had large windows all around the reception room and overlooked a beautiful golf course. For the reception, the bride and groom expected to have lots of dancing up until the 8:30 end time.

By 4:00, the dinner, toast and cake-cutting were over, and it was time to get the dancing underway. With an upbeat attitude and a desire to rock the party, I started the dance music. Despite my best efforts, I could hardly get anyone to dance and the reception was over by 5:30. Aside from the lack of dancing the afternoon went well and although I received lots of compliments the groom expressed to me his disappointment that there was very little dancing.

After hearing about the groom’s disappointment, I felt I had somehow let him down. But in reality, the circumstances were just not conducive to much dancing.

It is very difficult to get people in the mood for dancing at 4:00 in the afternoon in a sun-filled venue. Drinks don’t flow like they normally would, and people will generally leave early knowing they still have most of their evening ahead of them.

A good time to start a reception is around 6:00 P.M. in the evening. Any earlier and you risk losing the feeling of a night out for your guests.

Better yet, if you are not planning a church ceremony, you may want to consider having your ceremony at the reception venue. You won’t have to worry about transportation, and you’ll have the luxury of timing the ceremony closer to the reception.

TIP 3 – Avoid long time gaps between ceremony and reception

I recently arrived to set up my DJ gear for a reception that was supposed to start at 6:00 P.M. When I arrived at 4:30 to start setting up, there were already 50 people in the room just sitting there in silence. For a moment, I thought I was late, but I came to find out that most of the people sitting around were out-of-town guests who had been there since 3:00. The wedding had been at 1:00 at a local church, and after the ceremony these out-of-town guest had nowhere else to go, so they headed over to the reception venue. By the time the reception officially started at 6:00, these guests had been sitting around for three hours. Most of these guests just ate dinner and left.

You must consider the time gap between the end of your ceremony and the start of your reception. Ideally, your guests should go right from the ceremony to the reception. The bigger the gap in between, the harder it is on your guests.

I realize that those who have the ceremony in their church can’t just pick the time that bests suits them and must work around normal church services. Many churches will want you to have a Saturday ceremony between noon and 2:00 p.m. That’s fine, but remember that following such a ceremony directly with the reception will mean that the reception will start too early in the day. In order to compensate, some couples get married early in the afternoon and postpone the reception until later in the evening.

My advice is to have the ceremony as late in the afternoon (or early evening) as possible and schedule the reception to follow immediately. If an early ceremony is your only option, make sure your out-of-town guests realize the reception will be later, and provide them with ideas to keep them busy in between the ceremony and reception.

Ideally, you should host your ceremony at the same location as your reception. Many facilities can provide a nice area for you to have your ceremony. If it’s possible, you should look into it.

TIP 4 – Venue Lighting

There is a venue in my town that has a very basic lighting system. The lights are either all on or all off. There is no option to dim any of the lights, so all the lights are usually left on. This makes it very difficult to get people in the mood for dancing. After all, no one wants to be in the spotlight, and bright lights over the dance floor can hinder the ambiance. This tip is very straightforward: to create an atmosphere for dancing, the lights must be dimmed.

TIP 5 – Don’t stand near the exit

Keep in mind that the exit is almost always in the same place as the entrance. Once you and all the guests have arrived, try to avoid standing anywhere near the exit. Standing by the exit at any time during the reception gives off the impression that you are there to say goodbye to guests who are leaving. Before you realize it, you will have (instead of a receiving line) a departure line. To keep your party alive and moving, avoid standing near the exit. You never want to communicate to the guests that it’s time to leave unless it is!

TIP 6 – Have a fun grand entrance

Part of having a fun, dance-filled evening is starting everything off with a bang. There is no better way to begin a reception with excitement than to make a grand entrance. This doesn’t only get you in the mood for the party; it also gets the momentum rolling and puts your guests in the spirit of having fun.

As you and your wedding party arrive at the reception, have your DJ or Emcee line you and the wedding party up to be announced as you enter the reception venue. Pick a fun song to be played while everyone’s names are announced. As a DJ, I always get the audience clapping along to the beat of the music as you all enter.

It is all about setting the tone for the evening, and there is no better way to do that than to have a thrilling and exciting grand entrance with your bridal party.

TIP 7 – Avoid offensive music

From time to time, I work for brides and grooms who insist that I play music that is littered with colorful innuendos and language. This musical pursuit for your reception is highly ill-advised. The fact is that you may not know everyone on your guest list as intimately as you may think. Why take the chance of offending someone with vulgar music? I have seen guests walk out of a reception because of loud or offensive music.

TIP 8 – Dismiss tables when having a buffet-style dinner

From behind my DJ table, as I looked at the two hundred guests standing in line for the buffet at a reception, I couldn’t help but think that these people could have been sitting at their tables, enjoying conversation. Instead, they were weaving in and out of tables, waiting in a long line for food. I jokingly compare this scenario to a herd of cattle lining up for the trough.

This situation leads to awkward feelings for the guests who are already seated with their food as well as for those standing in line right next to them as they sit and eat. I have seen this happen hundreds of times throughout my career, and it is always uncomfortable.

You can choose one of two solutions for this problem. First, you could have a plated meal (or sit-down dinner) in which the staff serves the food directly to the guests while they are seated. Second, if you are having a buffet-style meal, you can have the tables released for dinner. Ask your DJ, host couple, or catering staff to dismiss each table one or two at a time. Personally, I fell this should be done by your DJ if you have one, because otherwise there is not much for the DJ to do during dinner. While releasing tables, your DJ can discover where the “fun” tables are and solicit music requests. This will allow the guests to feel like a part of the upcoming events.

TIP 9 – Use round tables

I recently DJed for a reception at a local country club in which the layout of the tables felt like I was the announcer for bingo night at the local legion hall. The room was full of 8 foot tables, and there were 6 rows of the them in the room. Each row has 5 tables lined up end to end. Guests going to and from their seats had to weave down long aisles of people, and there were times when aisles were blocked.

As crazy as it sounds, the type of tables you provide for your wedding guests will affect the social aspect of the evening. With the exception of the head table, you will want to avoid the standard 6′ or 8′ tables for the guest seating. Long, 6′ or 8′ tables are reminiscent of a mess hall or a lunch room setting and will detract from any kind of elegance. Furthermore, long tables are not conducive to conversation.

My advice is to always choose round tables for guest seating. This setup puts all the guests on an equal playing field for socializing and mingling. It also eliminates the theatre-like seating, in which you have to feel guilty about getting up and moving through a crowded isle.

In addition, round tables make it easier for the bride and groom to circulate among the guests. Finally, they provide the guests with better viewpoints of everything that is going on throughout the evening, helping to keep them engaged.

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