|Royalty Free Music > Music News > Tools of the Trade for Success in the Music Industry – Advice from Derek Sivers of CDBaby
May 12th, 2008
Royalty Free Music from RoyaltyFreeMusic.com and Some Tools for Succeeding in the Music Industry.
For a while now we've been sharing you featured tips from CDBaby owner and music expert Derek Sivers, who talked to us about how you can start making music for a living. No matter which style or type of music you play and how your music is used - whether as background music, stock music or any other application - you need to make GOOD music that will be heard globally and will reach many different people. In fall of 2007, composer of royalty free music and stock music Mike Bielenberg spoke with Derek Sivers, the founder of the successful music Web site, CDBaby. They talked about a variety of useful tips that can help serious musicians make music and get paid for it. This will be the last installment in the series. (And before you read this article, get up-to-date on the tips so far in the royalty free music news archives).
There are a lot of professional artists and musicians behind the stock music in our royalty free music and background music catalogue, which is full of many different styles and musical textures. Most importantly, these artists are real, working musicians with collective experience that adds up to literally decades in the film, television and music industry. Our musicians really know their stuff and have all worked with award-winning musicians and performers (or are award winners themselves). The creatives behind our royalty free music have long-lasting, wide-ranging careers in multiple genres of background music, stock music and royalty free music and continue to compose and perform new and innovative works so they keep their talent fresh and stay aware of what is going on with others in the industry. This means that when you are buying royalty free music and background music to finish high-quality projects, you're really getting the best possible tracks around.
Did the title of this royalty free music news story get you thinking? Then you are probably interested in getting into the music industry yourself, or at the very least you know someone who has been trying for years without success. You might be frustrated ... or you might just be looking for ways to expand your career or reinvent yourself.
How much experience do you have making background music, stock music or any other type of music? Maybe you've been trying for months or years to get noticed. Sadly, the amount of time you've been trying and your experience level really has very little to do with "making it." You need to arm yourself with tools to jump start your career so you can stay in business doing what you love for many years to come.
No matter how much you have accomplished so far in music, there are probably tools you aren't using that could really get you over the next hurdle and keep you up-to-date with what is going on in the music industry - royalty free music, stock music, background music or otherwise!
Let's listen what our expert Derek Sivers of CDBaby has to say about some "tools and weapons" for really keeping your music fresh and getting you noticed so you can continually reinvent yourself and stay alive in the cut-throat music business.
"PROMO BOX ON YOUR DESKTOP
The self-promoting musician of the past needed to always have a presskit (with CD and photo) nearby and ready to send.
The modern self-promoting musician needs to keep a 'PROMO BOX' folder on the desktop of his/her computer.
It will take you just one hour to put together, and you'll be able to use it again and again and again:
MAKE A FOLDER ON YOUR DESKTOP CALLED 'PROMO BOX' (or something) AND PUT THESE THINGS INSIDE FOR QUICK EASY ACCESS.
1. At least one full-length MP3 file of a track from your CD encoded at the standard 128k bitrate. Give it a nice long name, without spaces, so that if anyone runs across it on the web they know who it is. (Example: RACHAEL_SAGE-sistersong.mp3 ) Preferably have 3-5 songs from your CD encoded here, ready to go.
2. An entertaining bio written four times, in four different lengths:
- Long, long version (over 3 paragraphs. 1-2 pages. exhaustive and rarely used);
- Medium long version (2 - 4 entertaining and important paragraphs. the top end of what people will sit and read on the web);
- Short version (1 killer paragraph);
- One-liner (1 killer sentence).
3. Quotes from reviews: One big text file with every review you've ever gotten, all typed out and credited - one text file with just the best short quotes from these reviews
4. Graphics, with a few different sizes of each:
- artist photos (studio shot, live shot, up close, far away);
- album cover graphic (big version, small version);
- your logo, if you have one.
If you do this, just once, then the job of uploading your information to another website will be painless. You'll just say, ‘da-da-da! All done!' and let your MP3s upload while you go make dinner.
KNOW THE IMPORTANT SKILLS
Like proper manners, or knowing how to drive, here are some things in the online world you just need to know:
1. EMAIL: Have a good signature file that tells who you are, how to find you, and entices people to click through to your web address. Do this all in 4 lines or less.
- How to make good subject headers. So when your Email is one of 500 in an 'IN' box, it will say exactly what is contained inside, from the other person's point of view. - How to quote someone's email message back to them ... or not.
- How to subscribe to, post messages to, and unsubscribe from to a mailing list.
- Manners. Spelling, punctuation, how to turn off your caps lock key, and not use 25 exclamation points in a row.
- How to communicate personality through these typewriter keys.
- Separate sentences into paragraphs. Reading a computer screen is different from reading a book. There's no paper to waste, so leave plenty of space.
2. DATABASE SKILLS: Know how to work your 'address book' program. How to find people, sort, print, add, remove, change, and do bigger find commands (how to find all guitarists in the 818 area code)
-Keep it nice and clean and updated. Keep street address separated from the city, state, zip, country. Don't be sloppy in these early stages.
- Assume you ARE going to get more popular and soon your little address book will need to sort thousands of people.
- If you get really fancy, track each contact you have with someone -- each call, email, visit. It comes in handy when someone from a year ago calls you up saying, 'It's George! Remember?'
3 . WEB SKILLS: Get comfortable uploading an Mp3 file. (Practice at mp3.com, iuma.com, rollingstone.com). Sort your bookmarks/favorites into categories/folders so you can find things later.
YOUR INTERACTIVE WEBSITE
Your website can be your best tool, if you make it communicate **WITH** your fans and potential fans, TWO-WAY.
Your website should get people involved, make them want to introduce themselves, ask questions, shout out.
YOUR WEBSITE SHOULD ...
#1 - Get their Email addresses! Interact! Make an easy fill-out form. (hint: try a fun question like 'who are you?' or 'do you know your own name?')
#2 - Encourage them to buy your CD, constantly. It's a great way to start a relationship.
#3 - Show what's unique about you - image, quirks, colors, moods.
#4 - Make the sound clips easy to get to, not buried under layers.
#5 - Answer the obvious questions: who are you, what do you look like, let me hear the music.
#6 - Acknowledge them! Have their pictures on your site. Answer their questions on your site. Show them they ARE a part of your life.
The best web-hosting company to host musicians' websites, and help you do the hard stuff is Hostbaby! http://www.hostbaby.com
The web has replaced college radio as THE way to turn people on to your music.
We're glad you could stay with us as we presented you with Derek Sivers' wise tips about really making it in the music industry during the past few months - whether you are choosing to create music for film and television such as royalty free music, background music or any type of stock music or simply want your music to be heard worldwide on the radio, online or in record stores and clubs. Remember to check our news archives to get all the tips from beginning to end so you can have a better chance of making your career really, really happen! As usual, remember to browse our extensive catalogue of royalty free music to suit your many project needs ... or just to give you inspiration as your own experience working in the music industry continues!