5 Ways to Increase your Productivity as a Songwriter

There are many ways to increase your productivity, not only as a songwriter, but with life in general. There are several Sites, Books and Blogs dedicated to this topic but here are just a few ideas to point you in the right direction if the clock seems to be against you.

Have a Sunday – The key to productivity is having a plan and sticking to it. One great way to make this happen is set aside 30 minutes each Sunday evening before you go to bed to write out what you’d like to accomplish the following week. If you don’t have a plan, you will usually go through the week with aimless ambition always scrambling to catch up on what you would like to get done.

5 things - Along those same lines, each night before you go to bed, take 10 minutes to review what you got done that day and write down the top 5 things you’d like to accomplish the next day. This will keep you focused on what’s most important.

Be specific - ‘Write one new song’ is too general for your mind to do anything with. When you draft your plan, give yourself something detailed to work towards. Example: Complete first verse and hook to new song about old girlfriend who broke my heart at a McDonald’s with a tune similar to ‘I’m a Lil Tea pot’. This gives your mind a direction even if you don’t stick to it completely in the writing phase.

Practice? Practice! – You can’t be a writer if you’re not writing. Make it a habit to write every day. Some ideas are to write a poem, write a short story, describe a photo, write out your feelings/viewpoints, write a love letter and the most obvious….write lyrics. Writing daily helps to develop your imagination as well as your skill with the way words flow naturally. The more you practice, the better and faster you’ll get, which will save you time in the long run.

Just DO it – Once you have a written plan, take action!! If the task at hand isn’t moving you closer to your goal, stop and re-evaluate. Either find a better way, or delegate it to someone else if possible.

Posted by Allison on 04/21/2009 | 27 comments

Store updated to use Micropayments accounts

Yesterday, PayPal made their Micropayments account open to everyone. It is great for small transactions, with fees of only $0.05 + 5%. A $0.99 download for example, would have 10 cents in fees, versus 32 cents with the standard PayPal account.

Unfortunately, PayPal has made things a bit difficult because you need to choose a standard account OR the Micropayments one. This doesn't work well if you sell MP3s and T-Shirts, because the checkout price will vary.

So, we've updated your store so that you can specify a Micropayments PayPal account. If the total value of the order is less than $12, it automatically will use this account and put more money in your pocket! This is optional; if you prefer to stick with one PayPal account, you don't have to do anything. You'll find this in the "store settings" tab of the Store or Album Download feature.

Posted by Chris on 04/17/2009 | 16 comments

Finding your musical niche with "sound alike" artists

I've read a lot of band bios saying that their music is totally unique and unlike any other artist. This actually does the band a disservice. Being able to relate your music to *something* that already exists can help you find your niche -- and fans as well.

The first step is decide who sound similar to. It can be one artist, or a mixture of many (i.e the emotional lyricism of X, with the pop sensibilities of Y). This may not be easy. If you’re not sure, ask your friends and family. Adding a blog post about this will encourage your fans to participate on your site.

Then, find blogs, forums, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter feeds for your ‘sound alike’ band/artist. Post thoughtful comments and link it back to your site or offer a free download. Never spam a blog post with only, “Check us out!!” or “New music here!” comments. Your posts will get ignored. The point is to add something of value to folks who are potential fans.

You can also find acts in other towns that use your "sound alike" band to describe themselves. Offer to trade gigs with them. If your styles are similar, it will be a lot easier to get their fanbase interested in your music.

If possible, go to your "sound alike" band/artists concerts and hand out download cards or small flyers stating that you are the next {so-n-so band/artist}. Make sure your promo items compliment the artist and don’t come off as trying to ‘steal’ fans from them. This may or may not be appropriate depending on your music style and the venue.

Finally, consider updating your bio and press kit to include this information. If you happen to get offline press, people can immediately get a sense of your style without being able to listen to your tracks.

Posted by Allison on 04/06/2009 | 30 comments

"Free" and the future of indie music

For the past few weeks, Hypebot (a great blog for musicians) has been soliciting feedback from industry people about the idea of giving music away free. He asked me to contribute to the thread. You can find my post here.

It is definitely a controversial topic. One thing is for sure, free music is not going away, so having a strategy to use "free" effectively should be something all musicians are thinking about.

Here are some links to insightful posts about "free" and the future of music.

What do you think? How does "free" fit into your band's strategy?

Posted by Chris on 04/02/2009 | 59 comments

Social network sharing added to blog and events

Under each blog post and on the event details page, you'll now find a "share" button that lets your fans post it to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or via email. This makes it a lot easier to spread the word. More social network functions are coming soon...
Posted by Chris on 04/01/2009 | 14 comments