Monday, June 19, 2006


As a "performing artist", you want to come accross to your audience and other music business professionals as being reliable, and professional in your work. To do this, it is important to maintain a business ATTITUDE throughout all your stage shows, and when communicating with venue owners and staff.

1. Where possible, issue written contracts or letters of agreement in advance. Check with your employer or agent the week before the show, to make sure no details have changed.

2. If you are booked to play at a venue that you've not been to before, try and visit on another band night before your gig. This will enable you to check access for the equipment; where the stage or playing area is located; where to position your mixing desk and speakers; whether your cables need to be flown over fire exits; what volume levels are tolerated, and what kinds of music the regulars enjoy most.

3. Always arrive at the venue in plenty of time to complete a full soundcheck BEFORE the public arrive.

4. Always carry spares of things like fuses, cables, backing tracks, strings, or any other small item that could mean the difference between doing the gig or not.

5. Always take along an extra long mains cable in case the nearest socket is broken.

6. Safety first! - Buy yourself a mains power polarity checker (such as a "Martindale" Ring main tester) and a set of circuit breakers for all your backline amps. No matter how badly your guitarist played tonight, he didn't deserve to die!

7. Always create a "set list" for every show. This can be taylored to the type of audience that you now know frequent this venue (See tip no. 2). If you have rehearsed well, you will know exactly how long your set will last. Don't go on stage late and overrun your contracted time. The venue owner's license will depend on all music ceasing at a certain time. You don't want to be the one who gets the venue closed down!

8. Play your set without long gaps between songs. Only communicate to the audience what REALLY needs to be said. A slick presentation and tight performance shows how well rehearsed you are, and keeps your audience on the dance floor.

9. Rehearse a polished entrance and exit. There is nothing more unprofessional than a bunch of musicians meandering onto a stage carrying the remains of a sandwich or pint, then spending several minutes chatting to each other, tuning up, playing along with the record on the disco, jamming, smoking, adjusting their clothing, answering a call on their mobile.... The list goes on! Believe me, I've seen it all

Wait for your performance to be announced, then march briskly onto the stage and launch straight into your first number. At the end of your performance, the reverse should be observed. Don't hang around trying to encourage the audience to shout for an encore. Leave the stage as quickly as possible and wait to hear whether the audience wants more.

10 .Never be seen on stage in the same clothes as you were wearing in the soundcheck, or whilst mingling with the crowd.

11. If you are hiring a PA system, take your own can of telephone cleaner/sanitizer. Rented microphones are rarely cleaned!

12. Rehearse in your own time, not in the soundcheck!

13. Practice, the show thoroughly, but always leave a "breathing space" of a few days between the last rehearsal and the gig. Over-familiarity can make you complacent.

14. Always be pleasant and business-like when dealing with staff at the venue. Especially with the person who is paying you! Don't automatically expect gratuities such as free food and drink. These are bonuses unless stipulated in your contract, where they then become part of your "fee".

15. Respect the venue's fixtures and fittings. Don't damage their furnature or wall coverings with your speakers and gaffa tape. Ask permission first! They will often be glad to fetch you some beer crates to stack your speakers on, rather than using their tables.

16. Don't get drunk, or high on illegal substances before, or during, the show.

17. Don't hang around the venue for longer than is necessary after the show.

18. Don't stop playing a number whenever a small problem occurs. Never re-start a number if someone in your band makes a mistake. You should be sufficiently well rehearsed for these mistakes to go unnoticed by your audience.

19. Don't play any louder than you absolutely need to. Not everyone in an average venue will be there to listen to you. Don't try to fill the whole venue with loud music. Just the area or dancefloor immediately in front of the stage will do! People will want to be able to hold a conversation in other areas, such as at the bar.

20. If you know you have a good mix and a member of the audience wants you to turn down. Pretend to turn a knob in order to please. The chances are, he just doesn't like that particular song. On the other hand, if the venue owner or bar staff tell you to turn down ... DO IT!! They know when it is too loud, after all, they are there every night!
Finally... Your bonus tip No. 21. If you have released CDs. Make sure they are on sale at every gig you do. Employ a friend, or one of your fans to set up a table with your merchandise. It is also a good excuse to get new people to sign up to your mailing list. After the show, you can even go out front and sign a few autographs!

The Succeed In the Music Biz Staff are radio, record marketing, promotion and new media experts. We have worked directly with national, local, indie and major label artist. Our mission is to show you how to succeed in today's music business. Log onto our website at Succeed In the Music Biz!

Find out more about our artist services and recording contracts at
Learn all the Internet marketing techniques that will help you be successful as a recording artist at
Learn how to acheive a residual income as an affiliate to support you whilst you are building your music business at

About the Author
Lynn Monk has experienced over 30 years in the music business as a musician, concert sound & lighting engineer, DJ and record producer; and is now the proprietor of Wobbly Music. An indie record company dedicated to supporting the "Mature Independent Artist". Lynn can be contacted at lynn at wobblymusic dot net

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Music Mastering Makes Records Sound Like Hits

Music mastering is an essential part of every hit record. Yet, few new (and even some "established") musicians have a good understanding of what mastering is and why they need it.

This often leads to many selecting the wrong mastering studio... and making many unnecessary mistakes in the recording and music mixing phases (which affects the mastering later on).

This is why below are the 5 most frequently asked questions about music mastering:

1. What exactly is music mastering?

Mastering is the final phase before your CDs, Vinyls, DVDs or MP3 files are produced. It's the last chance to get the sound right... and for errors to be fixed.

Mastering transforms your music from a "raw" sound into a professional, "radio-ready" sound. It gives your tracks punch, loudness, clarity, and completes your final vision.

2. Why is it so important and do I really need it?

All major labels have their artists' records mastered before they're released. But, often many independent artists/labels wonder if they should go-ahead and get it done.

The answer is a big YES! If you want to make the right impression, then at a minimum you need to get your demo professionally mastered.

Because just think about when your demo hits the A & R managers' desk, what's going to stand-out... the professionally mastered demos (yours) or the poor quality ones?

By having your music mastered, then you're going to increase your chances of getting signed and creating loyal fans.

Moreover, the single biggest advantage professional mastering offers are the "fresh" skilled and independent ears put to your music.

Because after working on your music for long hours in the studio, you often become too close to your work. And, as a result, your ears can't help but get used to mistakes.

Your ears begin to hear mistakes as normal. It´s the same effect as when you are living near a heavy-traffic street - after living their for a few weeks, you will not wake-up anymore at night because your ears get used to those sounds and blends them out.

With the mastering engineer's help, you make sure you don't have any major errors in your music and gain advice (from an experienced professional) in what needs to be done to help get the perfect sound!

3. How much should I pay?

Mastering studios charge a wide range of fees. You can pay anywhere from $5 a track or up to hundreds of dollars per hour for the most well-known engineers.

The reason there's such a large amount of fees is that there are many "budget studios" that have arisen online. These studios are often a single person who does all his or her work on the home computer.

Since these people usually don't have much experience, they often miss important problems and don't know what to look for (every track has its own unique problems). Additionally, they don't have tools a professional mastering studio offers to do it right.

This is compared to the more expensive engineers who have years of experience and know-how in creating a "hit" sound.

4. How important is the mastering equipment?

Professional mastering studios spend thousands of dollars on their equipment. The equipment gives them full flexibility in making a wide-range of adjustments.

However, when looking at the equipment a studio has, you should not focus too much on it. Instead, and more important, you want to look for an engineer who also has experience with it.

It takes years for an engineer to feel fully comfortable with all of the equipment and the adjustment it allows. This is especially true when learning how to adjust for different genres of music.

For example, the equipment is often used differently for Rock music than Classical.

5. Should I use an online or offline mastering studio?

Online mastering is a recent phenomenon. It has only been in the last few years that it has really begun to take off. In fact, some of the most famous and well-known engineers have now moved online.

Online mastering offers many advantages over offline studios. These include the speed at which you can transfer your music and communicate with the engineer. You aren't stuck with the time-limitations a booked session in a offline mastering studio has.

Additionally, you also don't have to deal with weeks of waiting to go back and forth with the engineer using "snail mail" or booking several times in the studio for revisions. You can also get access to the engineer anytime using email.

In an offline studio when working via snail mail, it may often be hard to get a hold of the engineer to share your ideas.

Moreover, an online mastering engineer has experience with more international music. In offline studios, the engineer often only works with a certain type of music that's popular in the area.

The Succeed In the Music Biz Staff are radio, record marketing, promotion and new media experts. We have worked directly with national, local, indie and major label artist. Our mission is to show you how to succeed in today's music business. Log onto our website at Succeed In the Music Biz!

About the Author

Musicians! Get the edge by giving your tracks the "Big label" sound with professional mastering! Get the full scoop on what mastering is, why you need it, and where to get it without getting ripped off by visiting: right now!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Getting a record deal can be easier with proper planning.

There are many experienced professionals in the music biz who will tell you that the music biz is all business. I agree. With any business, proper planning is the key to success in the music biz. This article describes some simple steps to plan your success.

Think of your career as a business. Have you assembled your business plan? How do you plan to market? What is your mission statement? Are you going to start your own record label to be distributed by a major, or are you going to use the full service resources of a major label? These are all important issues that you have to have in order to really succeed in the music biz. A music biz plan helps you resolve these issues well in advance.

A lot of recording artists enter the music biz with one big goal “to make it”. These artists see themselves on a big stage in front of thousands of screaming fans, but often that is as far as the planning goes. Artists rarely conduct the planning that it takes to succeed in the music biz.

I’ve yet to speak to an artist who has a business plan. In my experience if you don’t have a business plan, then you shouldn’t plan on being in business. A good business plan will cover your business and legal structure, your marketing model, financial projections, goals, benchmarks and finally what you’ll do after the your career is over.

I’ve met many recording artists who treat the music biz like a glorified hobby. They often don’t have business cards, a website or in many cases, a valid email address. Many more artists don’t have the marketing structure in place that will allow them to get the attention from fans or record labels. Remember that the music biz is all business. If you treat your music career as a hobby then you might as well just play your music for friends and family and be content with people pretending to take you seriously.

Getting attention and interest from record labels is easy if you are on the radar. Many Artist and Repertoire Representatives (A&R Reps) agree that if an artist is making it happen on for themselves (by selling a couple thousand CD’s locally or selling out a 2,000 seat venue) they will get on the major label radar. You can’t get on the radar of the record labels (or your fans) if you are flying by the seat of your pants and living on a prayer.

As a wise person once said “failing to plan is planning to fail”.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Music Business Past vs. Present

In the past, the music business was controlled by the major record labels. The record labels controlled everything in an artists career from start to finish. The record label would control and artist image, airplay, access to audits, likeness, royalty rate, success and everything in between while under the record label contract. When the artist career was over, the artist often didnt have anything to show for their hard work and creativity.

Back in the day, the record label would finance artists project up front in the form of an advance. The advance usually amounted to a loan which the artist had to repay. The record label would finance the recording, distribution and promotion of the artist project and then recoup the money after the project started selling. Although it seems fair on the surface, the record label would charge the artist for much more than what the record label provided. The record label would not only bill the artist for the things mentioned above, but they would deduct artist royalties for damaged goods, record club discounts and a wealth of other expenses. In addition the record label would take these deductions from the artists gross earnings.

Although the record label would allow an artist to audit the record companys books, many artists didnt conduct any audits. Artists were generally afraid of angering the record labels by asking the record labels to show the expenses and deductions in writing. This justifiable fear kept artists in their place under the record labels control.

Today with digital technology, the power is shifting into the hands of the artist

theres a new trend in the music business that has record labels sweating in the boardroom. This new trend is called Do It Yourself (D.I.Y.). With Digital Technology anyone can start a record label and have a personal studio on their computer. There are a number of free or (very inexpensive) studio recording software applications that allow an artist to record and distribute their own material without the help or control of any other record label.

An artist can easily promote and sell their CDs and MP3s online at thousands of internet sites. In addition there are many new web hosting services that allow an artist to have a website dedicated to promoting their and selling their music to the growing online community.

There are hundreds of artists making a living selling their music online. Think about it, if you sold 20,000 CDs online at $10, youd earn $200,000. If you sold 20,000 for a record label youd be in debt and youd face the risk of being dropped from the record label.

By recording, distributing, promoting and selling your music yourself, you control your destiny. Today an artist can control their expenses, track their deductions and not live in fear of any record company.

Today the power is in the artist hand of the artists.

The Succeed In the Music Biz Staff are radio, record marketing, promotion and new media experts. We have worked directly with national, local, indie and major label artist. Our mission is to show you how to succeed in today's music business. Log onto our website at Succeed In the Music Biz!