Dave Cool

Musicians: 10 Reasons You Shouldn't Wish For Overnight Success

Brian Thompson, aka Thorny Bleeder, describes himself as a Rock n' Roll Brand Architect, Idea Development Engineer, Digital Strategist and Music Marketer. He co-hosts the Music Biz Weekly and Rock Star Branding podcasts, and curates the DIY Daily, a daily newsletter offering marketing advice, music industry news, social media tips & tools, tech, apps & gadgets, inspirational & motivational thoughts. In another thought-provoking guest post, Brian talks about the dangers of overnight success for musicians. Enjoy and leave your comments below!

10 Reasons You Shouldn't Wish For Overnight Success

1. You won't be mentally prepared to deal with all of the fame, fortune, and international attention. You will crash and burn. Remember what happened to Susan Boyle?

2. You won't be well-rehearsed or experienced enough and your performance won't be ready for overnight global attention. Remember what happened to Ashlee Simpson on Saturday Night Live?

3. Critics and fans will eat you alive for every little misstep you do, crushing your soul and spirit in the process. Whether it be a misconstrued comment to reporter, a silly tweet, a questionable photo, or even what you're eating or wearing… you will have a target firmly painted on your forehead for all to take aim at.

4. You will have a very short career. Overnight successes do not create life-long fans. They create flash-in-the-pan, one-hit wonders.

5. You will spend most of your money while being consumed in the excitement and frenzy of your new-found celebrity… only to find yourself broke when your fame suddenly dries up overnight.

6. Substance abuse and addiction is virtually imminent. Your handlers will push you beyond the brink of what your body is able to physically endure in order to squeeze every last dollar out of your celebrity before it fades away. You will be forced to medicate in order to deal with and maintain your frantic schedule.

7. You won't have the wisdom of past experiences to guide you through the confusing and often deceitful industry. You will be taken advantage of; personally, professionally and financially.

8. You won't be able to repeat the same level of success ever again. Having your life hit its peak overnight and then fade away as quickly as it appeared is a soul-crushing event and a recipe for severe mental depression, stress and anguish.

9. True success is all about the continuous journey of improvement and the satisfaction you get from enduring the tough times and accomplishing your dreams and visions through persistence and hard work. If you skip the process and the journey itself, your enjoyment will be short-lived, regardless of your riches.

10. Your values and ideals will be compromised. You will lose control of the very thing you believe in the most… your art. You will have to sign lengthy and confusing contracts with labels and agents and managers and publishers and promoters and attorneys… all of whom will steer your life and career in a direction which benefits their own needs, not yours.


You can read more blog posts by Brian Thompson on his website: www.thornybleeder.com

Follow Brian on Twitter: @thornybleeder

Posted by Dave Cool on 06/27/2012 | 11 comments
Dave Cool

Musician Website Quick Fix #9: Add a Digital Press Kit

When creating your website, you have to think about the different kinds of people that will be visiting it. These can be your current fans, potential new fans, as well as media and industry people.

For that latter group, they’re likely looking for different information than your fans are, and you have to be sure to make it easy for them to find it. This can best be done by adding a Digital Press Kit to your website.

Here are the essential elements to include in your digital press kit:

6 Essential Elements for your Digital Press Kit


1. Bio

First and foremost, have your most current bio available. It would also be a good idea to have a few different versions of your bio, like an elevator pitch, a short bio (1 paragraph), a medium bio (a few paragraphs) and a long bio (4+ paragraphs). This way you’ll have options for whatever needs the media or industry person might have.

2. Images

The next element to have in your digital press kit is a section with images available for download. Make sure some of these are hi-resolution images in case the media person or festival programmer needs to use the image for print. You should include a few different band photos, with vertical and horizontal options, as well as black & white versions. Be sure to also include the image for your most recent album cover as well.

3. Music

Of course, you’ll need to have your music available to listen to. You should also make a few tracks available to download and/or embed, and if a media person wants to have a copy of your full album or EP, place clear information on who they can contact to get a copy.

4. Video

Many blogs and online newspapers love to embed videos of the artists they’re covering to make the article more visual and engaging. Embed your best 2-3 videos in your digital press kit to make it easy to find a quality video that best represents your band.

5. Press Articles/Reviews

It wouldn’t be a press kit without some press, so post links to a few of your best reviews and interviews. Be sure to pull the best quote from each review and include it underneath the link, don’t assume that people will click on each article and read them in full.

6. Contact info

Even though you might have a “Contact” section on your website, include detailed contact info in your digital press kit to have everything in one place. You might also want to put a phone # where a media person can reach you if they need to speak to you in a hurry.

Where to place a Digital Press Kit on your Website

A digital press kit is an important element of your website, so create a “Press” or “Press Kit” section and include it as part of your main menu navigation. This will make it easy for bloggers, bookers and festival programmers to find the information that they’re looking for, and hopefully help you gain more exposure for your music and get more bookings for your band.


Previous Website Quick Fix posts:

Musician Website Quick Fix #8: Use a Contact Form
Musician Website Quick Fix #7: Add Social Links
Musician Website Quick Fix #6: Host Your Own Blog
Musician Website Quick Fix #5: Add a Mailing List Sign-Up
Musician Website Quick Fix #4: Make it easy to listen to your music
Musician Website Quick Fix #3: Focus on one Call-to-Action
Musician Website Quick Fix #2: Lose the Intro Page
Musician Website Quick Fix #1: Turn off auto-start music
Posted by Dave Cool on 06/25/2012 | 6 comments
Justin

Musician Website Love: Edmond Redd

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Edmond Redd
What: Music composer, classical piano player, and music lover.
Where: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Why his website rocks: Look at that beautiful, hand drawn header image and background! From the moment you arrive, you instantly get a feel for Edmond's music through his design, and from the great bio on his home page. The attention to detail in Edmond's design goes right down to the layout of each of his pages, which are clean, simple, and easy to read. The main focus of the site is Edmond's new album, and each page directs you there.
 
Check it out at http://edmondredd.com

Musician website love
Posted by Justin on 06/22/2012 | 1 comment
Dave Cool

Indie Artist Website Review: Animattronic [VIDEO]

This is the 2nd of 5 website reviews as part of the Hypebot & Bandzoogle Video Website Review Contest. This time, we review the website for Animattronic, an electronic musician, remix artist and loop producer from Calgary, Canada (and a Bandzoogle member!).

Below is the video review of his website: www.animattronic.ca

Animattronic’s website has a slick design and is well-organized, but we go over some of the ways he can improve his content to help drive more fans to his site.

We hope that Animattronic, and everyone who watches, finds the review helpful:



Stay tuned for more video website reviews from the contest in the upcoming weeks!
Posted by Dave Cool on 06/20/2012 | 3 comments
Dave Cool

How to Write a Hit Song


This blog post is a sample chapter from the new Berklee Music "Songwriting Handbook", which is free to download here.

Berklee Music's summer semester starts June 25th, and features several online classes on songwriting, music production, music business and more. 

In this guest post, Professor Jimmy Kachulis goes over the anatomy of writing a hit song. Enjoy!

How to Write a Hit Song

From the Online Course Songwriting: Writing Hit Songs

How do they do it? Why does a Beatles or a Michael Jackson song capture a listener’s attention the way they do? What is their secret, what’s the formula? If all of us songwriters had the answers to these questions, we would all be a lot richer.

While there’s no real “formula” to crafting a potential hit, there are methodologies to it. As anyone who has spent time listening to the radio can tell hit songs come in a few well- defined forms. This is no accident. These writers, producers and singers on the radio all know how to put together a song that will probably be a smash. So how do you think the pros do it? They listen to hits of the past and they use them as resources for their ideas. That’s one of the less well-kept secrets of pop songwriting. The way they make it their own is by using some of the skills I’ll mention below to make variations.

The structure of a song will determine what kind of effect it will have on the listener, whether it will be a hit or not. One of the most common and possibly the most effective forms of a hit to write is the verse/chorus. This song form goes hand in hand with the dynamics of the audience:
  • The audience usually listens to the story the verses are telling
  • And then the chorus will come around, summarizing the story as the audience sings along

Lyrically speaking, the chorus is going to summarize the main idea of the lyric and is going to be the emotional high point – the highest intensity section – of your song. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to include song title in there too. You want people to know what your song is called, right? Now how do you want the music to feel? Want something happy and upbeat? Make your chorus major key with a high tempo and maybe use eighth notes. Want something a bit funkier and maybe a bit more intimate? Slow the tempo down and use a mixolydian mode instead. 

(Figure 1: The seven standard types of choruses) 

Once the general feel of the chorus in place, we can start to think about emphasis. If you’re featuring your title in the chorus then the cadence is going to be your friend. By having the title “straddle” the cadence – starting at the beginning and then ending on the I chord – you’re guaranteed to have it planted in the listener’s head. Let’s not forget the melodic tools we still have at our disposal. Long notes will make any lyric, especially the title, far more dramatic. Ending on the downbeat, on the first beat of the measure, is a subtle but very common way to bring out the title too. What do “Message in a Bottle,” “No Woman No Cry” and “Born in the USA” all have in common? They were all massive hits and they all used these melodic tools I just mentioned. So how many ways can we use these tools? Well, there are seven standard types of choruses – choruses that state the title at one point or another. You can use all of the tools in different ways with each type of chorus. So you do the math.


So the chorus alone could have whole lessons written about it. But it’s not the only part of the songs. Any hit needs to be greater than the sum of its parts and the section that is going to make up most of those parts are the verses. As the verse is a supporting idea, many successful tracks will have verses that remain melodically, harmonically, and lyrically static. This ensures that your verses not pull the power away from other sections. For example, the same way that we use cadences to ramp up the chorus, we shouldn’t be using cadences in the verses. Instead, you could resolve to have your verses end on chords that aren’t the tonic.

I mentioned before that you’re going to be telling the story in the verses. If you want to build a conversational vibe in the verses, make use of short notes, a limited pitch range, and having the melody in the low to middle register. All of this doesn’t mean that the lyrics have to be boring. The audience is going to be listening during the verses. That means that the verses can make be the perfect time to bring in some complex, sophisticated melodic ideas.

But in the verse/chorus form we need two more sections to act as connective tissue for the verses and the chorus, the bridge and the prechorus. These sections function in similar ways: they connect and contrast with the material that comes before and after and they both build intensity into the next section.

Lyrically speaking, our bridge will contrast in content with the verse and the chorus. This can be as simple as changing the tense, by generalizing if the lyrics prior were specific, or by focusing on a new emotion. Musically speaking, you can make the bridge “move” with a different chord progression then the verses or chorus (and again, avoiding a cadence) or by having the bridge modulate away and back to the key of the song. Making the bridge a bar longer or shorter than the other sections is a great way of building tension.

The prechorus will also contrast with the chorus and verse melodically, harmonically, and formally. However, a prechorus will also break down the intensity at the beginning of the section only to ratchet it back up toward the end into the coming chorus. Slowing things down, lower notes and longer phrases will break the intensity down. To build the prechorus back up near the end, an ascending melodic shape and losing some of the space between the words will get the audience ready for the chorus.

Within a single type of song form, the verse/chorus, there are endless possibilities and countless variations to be made. But there are other forms and variations to explore. As you continue to hone your craft and create new material with some of the tools I’ve shared here, you might just come up with a smash hit or your own. When that happens would you mind crediting me as a co-writer?

Jimmy Kachulis is the author of Songwriting: Writing Hit Songs, Songwriting: Harmony, and Songwriting: Melody for Berkleemusic.com. Jimmy has helped thousands of songwriters develop and maximize their skills as a professor of songwriting and lyric writing at Berklee.





Download the full "Songwriting Handbook" from Berklee Music here.

For more information about Berklee Music's online courses, visit: www.berkleemusic.com

Posted by Dave Cool on 06/18/2012 | 13 comments
Melanie

Band Website Design Tip: Make a repeating background for any screen size

I have another design tip for you all today! Quite a few of you Bandzooglers have asked, “How can I get my website to fill the whole screen?” and in past posts we’ve talked about using a large background image that fades on the sides, or a seamless texture that repeats endlessly behind your content area. Here is another way to create a repeating background at the top of your page, which will make your site appear to fill the whole screen.

The trick is to create a background that repeats horizontally, while keeping your header image and content area within a set 960px wide space (which which fits perfectly on mobile devices with small screens). Here are a few examples, then we'll dive in.





You'll need a header image that is 960px wide and however tall you want (300px to 500px tall is a good guideline). Here is the Chinatown header on it's own, for you to see:




Open up your header image in a photo editing tool such as Photoshop or Pixlr.com. Then click Image > Canvas size from the menu at the top. From the pop-up, click the middle square, and then click in the top box to change the width field to 1280px. This will increase the overall width of your canvas (the background) while leaving the dimensions of your actual header image intact. You should see that it creates white space on the left and right side of your header image.



We'll start to make our background by filling in that space.  Use the Marquee selection tool to click and draw an area to the left of your header image.  Choose the color you'd like to use at the bottom left, and then the paint bucket, and click in the box you have drawn.  This fills in the color, and you can repeat it on the right side as well.



When you've done this, click Image > Canvas size again from the menu.  This time, click the square at the top middle as an anchor point for your canvas, and in the height box, increase your size by about 50px.  This will represent where your menu bar will go. You should see blank space appear under your header when you click OK. Next, you can use the marquee tool again to draw around that blank space. Then choose a color for your menu bar, and use your paint bucket tool again to fill in this space.



Finally, we're going to go back to the top menu one more time, and choose Image > Canvas size again.  We're making the content area color now, and you can set the anchor square in the top middle spot again, and add about 200px to the number in the height box, increasing your canvas once again. You should see a blank space below your entire image, which you can leave white, or fill in with a color as above.  To pull the background image out of this, we'll take the marquee tool once more, and draw a box straight down, making sure to get some of each color, and not overlapping the original header image.



Choose Image > Crop from the top menu, and then save your work to your computer. I'll call it 'background-image.jpg' so it is easy to locate.



The last step is to get it working on your website!  Log into your Custom Style editor in the Design and Options tab, and then choose the Header section.  Here you'll upload the original header image.  Then click the Page section, upload your 'background-image.jpg' stripe, and click on options to choose repeat: Horizontal.  This will make your stripe repeat across the screen forever length-wise, to fill any screen. To fill in around it, choose a color in this Page section to match the content area (grey in my example).



Next, click your menu section further down, and choose the same color you used for that block of space just below your header.  Finally, adjust the padding toggle in this menu area to match the height of your background image's menu area.

This should fill your page in perfectly - making even large screens seem fuller while making sure that the content will still be displaying on small screens.  These styles are modern, clean-looking and really lets the band showcase their content.  If you try out this idea, leave your website address in the comments below so I can check it out!


Posted by Melanie on 06/14/2012 | 1 comment
Dave Cool

Musician Website Quick Fix #8: Use a Contact Form

When musicians put contact information on their websites, most will include a hyperlinked email address. It seems like the easiest, most logical thing to do, but here are 3 reasons why you should use a contact form rather than an email address:

1. Email spam

Ah, email spam. We all get it, we’re all annoyed by it, but it can be a mystery where it comes from. Well, one surefire way to get spam is to include an email address on your website, and/or a “mailto” hyperlink. Spambots love to scan websites and retrieve those addresses, and one way to easily avoid this is by using a contact form. Your second best option is to create an image with your email address embedded into it (but no actual text, or link). But this forces your contact to type in your address in their mailing program or service.

2. Email programs create unwanted hassle

Another reason to use a contact form is that a lot of people use web-based email like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc., as their primary email. Unless they’ve set-up their computer properly, when they click on a hyperlinked email, it will likely open whatever email program is installed on their computer (Outlook, Windows Mail, Apple Mail, etc.). This isn’t necessarily how they want to send an email, so they’ll have to close the program, go back to your website, copy & paste the email, then open their webmail client of choice and paste it into a new email.

3. It’s quicker for everyone

With a contact form, people don’t even have to sign in to their web-based email to send you a message. They can simply enter their email address and type their message, which will go straight to the email address of your choosing.

Where to place a Contact Form on your website

It’s pretty simple where to place your contact form: on your “Contact” page. This is where people will look to get in touch with you, not on your Homepage, Music page, or Videos page.

A couple of exceptions to the rule would be if you placed a contact form that went to a booking email address through your “Shows” page, or through a specific “Book Me” page on your website.

Also, if you have a Store page with lots of items and purchase options, having a contact form specifically for questions regarding purchases on your website might not be a bad idea either.

OK, still want to include your email address on your site?

If you still really want to show your email address on your website, you have a few options so that so spam bots can’t catch it:

You can create an image of your email address:




But this isn’t practical for a few reasons: People can’t copy and paste the email address (so they’ll have to type it from memory), and they can’t click on it to send a message directly (if they do have their computer properly set-up to open their email program of choice).


Previous Website Quick Fix posts:

Musician Website Quick Fix #7: Add Social Links

Musician Website Quick Fix #6: Host Your Own Blog

Musician Website Quick Fix #5: Add a Mailing List Sign-Up

Musician Website Quick Fix #4: Make it easy to listen to your music

Musician Website Quick Fix #3: Focus on one Call-to-Action

Musician Website Quick Fix #2: Lose the Intro Page

Musician Website Quick Fix #1: Turn off auto-start music

Posted by Dave Cool on 06/11/2012 | 0 comments
Melanie

Musician Website Love - Mike Yates

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Mike Yates
What: Elementary school string teacher, high in demand cello and guitar player
Where: Ottawa, Ontario
Why his website rocks: As a teacher, cellist, singer, songwriter, and performer, Mike uses his site to combine the many different aspects of his career. His website background is a grungy yet elegant pattern that works well with his pursuit of playing cello in a rock band, and his clean black content area makes it easy for his fans to find his events listed right on his Home page. Mike also uses separate pages to sell CDs and offer downloads, to give fans lots of options to get his music.
 
Check it out at http://mikeyates.ca

Musician website love
Posted by Melanie on 06/08/2012 | 2 comments
Stacey

New website design options!

Checkout your Custom Style Editor today to find these great new sets of graphics in the image library:

This set of menu button backgrounds can be added from the 'menu buttons' tab.  For a cool variation try using one wood grain set as normal and a different set as rollover.

Bandzoogle custom style editor
 
The next set is for adding a background behind your menu buttons or menu text. You can find these in the 'menu buttons' tab of the custom style editor as well. You don't have to use the button backgrounds to use the menu button background. The wood grain option gives a nice homey feel to your menu and can be paired with a sturdy fuller font. The sleek muted color striped backgrounds work well for a softer look with a thin clean font style.
 
Bandzoogle menu backgrounds
 
The last set of library additions are these great new page backgrounds.You can find these backgrounds in the 'page' tab of the custom style editor. The cozy tweed works well for the more down home country artist, folk group or anyone trying to get that sit back and relax comfortable look for their website design. The new striped designs are fun, yet work nicely for the more professional look as well. Last but not least are the new elegant backgrounds. The damask patterns provide a bit of sophistication that works well for chamber musicians, choirs, or musicians focusing on wedding gigs.
Hope you enjoy these new additions....and stay tuned for more to come soon!

Posted by Stacey on 06/06/2012 | 6 comments
Dave Cool

Bandzoogle Takes Manhattan: Join us at the New Music Seminar June 17-20

Hello Bandzooglers!

We’re heading to the New Music Seminar in New York City which is taking place from June 17-20 at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street). We’ll have a table set up where we’ll be giving free website reviews for musicians attending the conference on June 18 & 19, and we’re also organizing 2 free workshops that anyone can attend:

Website Demolition Derby

In association with Folk Alliance International, we’ll be presenting another “Website Demolition Derby” on Monday June 18th from 6:00 - 7:30 PM at The Living Room (in Googie's Lounge): http://www.livingroomny.com/googies

Our panel of experts will do live reviews of audience members' websites and advise them on their online presence. As always, we have instructed them to be honest and ruthless. Confirmed panelists: David Dufresne (Bandzoogle), Dave Cool (Bandzoogle), Ariel Hyatt (Cyber PR), Emily White (Whitesmith Entertainment / Readymade Records), Benji Rogers (Pledge Music) and Corey Zaloom (FanBridge).

Online Strategy Workshop for Musicians

On Tuesday, June 19th from 6:00 - 7:30 PM we’ll be presenting an Online Strategy Workshop for Musicians (also in association with Folk Alliance International) at The Living Room (in Googie's Lounge): http://www.livingroomny.com/googies

This session will be an informal and informative roundtable and Q&A about the Big Bad Internet. Come have a drink, ask your questions. Confirmed panelists: David Dufresne (Bandzoogle), Dave Cool (Bandzoogle), Jason Loomis (Cyber PR), Emily White (Whitesmith Entertainment / Readymade Records), Benji Rogers (Pledge Music) and Ben Markowitz (FanBridge).

Want to attend the New Music Seminar Opening Night Party?


The New Music Seminar is having their opening night party on Sunday, June 17th 6:30 pm at Webster Hall, and we have a few extra guestlist spots available! You can come hang out with the Bandzoogle crew and schmooze with speakers and performers from the conference. So if you’re a Bandzoogle member in the New York City area and want to join us at the opening night party, email dcool[at]bandzoogle[dot]com by Thursday, June 7.

Get 20% Off Registration with our Promo Code

And if you’re thinking “hey, this conference sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun” and decide to attend, visit this link to register then use our discount code to save 20%: NMSNYBZ2374



ABOUT NEW MUSIC SEMINAR

The music business is growing again. This is great news for artists and creators of all kinds! A continuous stream of new opportunities and technologies makes it easier than ever for artists to get more exposure and make more money in new ways. The New Music Seminar is the meeting place for those who are creating the new music industry: YOU. Get in front of the top tier music industry professionals, meet companies that are actively supporting new music, and learn about digital solutions that help artists create, expose and monetize in new and innovative ways. Companies like IHeartRadio, Spotify, SoundExchange, Apple, Google/YouTube, Facebook, Microsoft, ReverbNation, Pandora, Sirius/XM, Topspin, Rhapsody and many more are changing the music landscape in radical new ways. The music business resurrection begins at the New Music Seminar. For information on this year's event, the speakers attending, registration and more, go to www.NewMusicSeminar.com.

Register now! You'll automatically be enrolled to win a Gibson Les Paul Studio Guitar!!

  • The NMS is the only internationally-recognized music event that offers such close proximity to the top echelon of new music industry leaders, structured to allow maximum time to directly connect, exchange ideas, and build relationships.
  • With laser-focused discussions and keynote presentations, the NMS exposes you to hundreds of new, innovative, money-making concepts in just 2 days.
  • No other event provides such valuable support materials: The New Music Business Guidebook is loaded with important information on maximizing your exposure and revenue and "do's and don'ts" from industry leaders, as well as lists of essential websites
  • The NMS speakers, the industry’s most successful label execs, A&R heads, managers, agents, songwriters, producers, and video makers will share their insight re the current state of the industry and what the future holds.
  • The SoundExchange Digital Broadcast Summit is the first-ever congregation of top digital music programmers. This is an unprecedented event, one that brings together broadcast partners from online and over-the-air for a revealing look at music exposure in 2012. From iHeartRadio to Pandora to Slacker, Amazon, Spotify, Mog, Rhapsody, Zune, and everyone in between; they will all be there.
  • Learn how artists, managers and labels are using emerging technology and delivery platforms to grow their business, and make money.

Hope to see many of you there!

Cheers.
Posted by Dave Cool on 06/05/2012 | 0 comments