Showing posts with label reverbnation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reverbnation. Show all posts

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You're A Terrible Judge of Your Own Music

Alas, it is true. Murphy's Law will tell you (and I'm not exactly sure who Murphy is, unless he's Papa Murphy, in which case, I'm not real crazy about his pizzas, either) that whatever song you think is your absolute best, fans will absolutely HATE, or worse, will absolutely IGNORE.

How do I know? Well, that's where marketing shows its real value. By "marketing", I mean basically slapping up some songs on a promotion site, such as ReverbNation or Jango, or, if you're really, really bored and narcissistic, on your own radio station.

It's the ultimate conundrum, I guess.

For example, I'm sure that Mark Knopfler thought that this was the greatest Dire Straits song ever:

Watch Dire Straits(money for nothing) in Music | View More Free Videos Online at

Of course, that was before Canada got wind of the song, and determined that it was COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE FOR BROADCAST. (Really, Canada? And here I thought you all had that laissez faire attitude. You know, being French and all.) And strangely, "Money For Nothing" was released in 1985, so it only took a quarter of a century for Canada to determine the utter inappropriateness of the song. Well, they have a backlog.

So, Mark was downhearted. Well, actually, he was feeling pretty uphearted until approximately the year 2010.

Ironically, little did Mark know that the actual favorite Dire Straits song, as determined by the fans, was this:

Why, Mark asks? Well, it was because of this line:

"doo doo, da da DO do do doo doo".

Not scientific, I grant you, but what, after all, is scientific about music?

The moral of this story, if there is one, is, as an artist, please make sure that you include this line in every one of your songs:

Doo doo, da da DO do do doo doo

Then riches shall be yours. And you won't have to guess which song your fans will like best, because they will like them all!

Another fine public service from me, your Music Success Guru. And I don't even charge for this!


Saturday, March 26, 2011


With Red River's brand of music, we thought the most appropriate use of it would be in the area of music licensing; you know, TV, movies, commercials.

Face it, we're not in the mainstream of popular music (by "popular", I mean commercial radio).

What really got us started in this endeavor was a personal phone call from a guy with, I guess, a start-up licensing company, because I don't know why in the world else he would call us, unless he was trying to build a catalog.

That was probably five years ago. He told me that our music would work well in TV shows such as "Big Love", and others that I don't remember. So, we signed up. Haven't had one lick of luck with that company. Oh well. It didn't cost us anything. (Every now and then, I get emails from them, looking for something obscure, such as "authentic Russian folk songs". Really??)

With that bit of experience, I began to explore other licensing companies. Tried a few; got rejected by some. That's neither here nor there. Rejection doesn't even faze me anymore.

We have had one hit with Audiosparx. By "hit", I mean, we actually got a taker. It was for a student film. I was thrilled! Hell, to hear your song playing over the closing credits of a film ~ it's heady stuff!

And frankly, Audiosparx is one of the nicest, most personable companies to deal with. For their personal attention alone, I recommend them.

About a year ago, I started getting a bunch of emails from Hello Music. These places always LOVE you when they want you to sign up. Once you do, they kind of just shun you. They'll send you the occasional email that says (subliminally), "No way in hell are you going to qualify for these, but here are our latest opportunities. Good luck, loser."

Again, I'm not bothered by that. As long as someone doesn't spam me every day, I'm good.

Good old Reverb (I like to use the familial term for ReverbNation) asked us, and about five million other artists to submit our music for potential licensing opportunities. I got about 20 separate rejection emails out of that experience. No offense, but don't ask if you think our music sucks. Do a bit of homework first. Separate the chaff from the wheat.

There's this place called Music Dealers. I think I learned about them on one of those songwriter message boards. They have opportunities, such as "fun - upbeat". What does that mean? That's kind of generic. Or they want covers of famous songs. We don't do covers. What's the point, really? And we're not necessarily known for our "fun, upbeat" songs.

Our latest is Music Xray. I like their business model, although some of their opportunities, that cost $4.00 to submit to, are kind of lame. No offense. "Pay $4.00 to possibly get played on an internet radio station". Do you or anyone you know listen to internet radio stations? And frankly, I could do the research and submit to numerous internet radio stations for free, if I really wanted to invest the time. But what's the point, really? Bragging rights? That's kind of a pitiful thing to brag about.

And while we're on the whole subject of licensing, I don't know about you, but I see a lot of commercials that use stripped-down acoustic-based songs. I think, hey, we do that! Or can. I think those artists must be paying somebody to push their stuff, or else they're signed to major labels, and I just haven't ever heard of them. We're just as good, but maybe not "quirky" enough. Gotta work on that quirkiness.

So, in summation, by all means, give music licensing a try. But be forewarned. Your production had better be on par with what the big boys do, or it's a no-go; sorry.

But you never know; you might one day catch lightening in a bottle. It could happen.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I've been thinking a bit about promotion (or "marketing", as the snake oil salesmen prefer to call it).

As musicians and/or songwriters, everyone tells us that promotion is key. In fact, there are a WHOLE BUNCH of sites out there just begging us to believe that.

But do we ever stop to think about who we're marketing to, and why?

Here's the thing; I just like making music. In fact, I find that I like the process more than I like the finished product.

Thus, even though I created my own ReverbNation site for my acoustic songs, by no means does that mean that I'm looking to grab the brass ring, or any other cliche you can recite. I just wanted a place to keep all my songs in one handy spot. Not everyone with a music page is trying to promote themselves (but I guess most probably are).

The fact about ReverbNation, Soundclick (that old chestnut),, (okay, I made up those last two), etc., that none of those sites want you to figure out is, the only other people there are other artists.

Yet, all these sites are more than happy to try to get you to buy the "pro" package, or "pro" widget; pretty much the "pro" anything. Can't they make enough money from ads? And why in the world would I need a pro package? Will that get me discovered? ha ha

I've ranted about "fanning" before, but humor me: I keep getting all these stupid emails clogging up my in box, telling me that John or Estelle just became my fan. Yet, when I checked my stats on ReverbNation today, I've had only 26 song plays. Twenty-six song plays and 58 fans. It's amazing!

So, this morning, I posted this in my bio:


I haven't gotten an email since! Wow ~ I don't get it! ha ha

I consider it a rookie mistake to post one's music everywhere on the web, and to take seriously someone deciding to become your "fan". I'm not saying there aren't any true fans out there, but believe me, they're few and far between. As I said before, 99.99% of the people on these sites are other musicians, and they just want you to listen to their music.

If I could remember every place I've uploaded our music, I would go to those sites and cancel our membership, although I've noticed that some sites don't even give you that option.

Choose one or two sites to host your music, at the most. Then you'll still have a place to direct your friends to, if you want to share your music with them. Cuz honestly, it's only your friends that will listen, and even they might not really want to.

As the manager of our band, I've decided that I'm only going to promote something I really like. Face it, every artist does a lot of songs; not all of them are gems (just ask me!) I'm focusing on promoting the best of the best.

And by promoting, I mean, trying to get the best of the best to someone who might actually do something for us. (Never fear, since this is my personal blog, I'm going to continue to promote all our stuff here; that's what blogs are for!)

In a future post, I'll talk a bit about "opportunities"; the good, the bad, and the ripoffs.

And yes, I love fans ~ real ones!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Things I Learned (Or Was Told) in 2010

In keeping with my theme of reflection for the year 2010, here are some things I learned (or was told):

1. No one blogs anymore

Is that true? Or is it just true that no one reads blogs anymore? And did they ever?

I read some blogs. I read those whose authors are good writers, or those that say something I'm interested in, or those of people in whom I'm interested.

Frankly, I wish I had time to read more, but I just don't. I have to draw the line. I can't read everything that might or might not be interesting. We need a service we can subscribe to, one that emails us links to blogs that we, personally, would be interested in reading. Something that can be personalized to each individual. Business suggestion for someone out there! Free idea!

The funny thing is, I never went into this whole blogging biz with the thought that anyone would read mine. Nor was that my intention.

I've always written. Always. When I used to tear pages out of the typewriter (anyone remember those?), I certainly didn't expect anyone to read them. Why would I expect anyone to read my blog? I write this more as a diary than anything else. Even when I post the videos I've made, it's not for the purpose of marketing. It's to have a written record of things I've done. For me. I'm always shocked (shocked!) when I get comments (the ones that aren't spam, written in Chinese).

2. ReverbNation is a great way to waste a whole bunch of time.

Don't get me wrong; I like ReverbNation, for what it is. This isn't a knock on the site. We have a page there.

I don't see that it's done anything for us as a band, but then again, what has?

Awhile back, after FAWM, I set up my own page as a place to post my acoustic songs (Red River's is here). I guess I was bored one day. I started browsing for Americana artists, to hear some new unsigned music, and I became a fan of some.

Now suddenly, my whole email box is filled with "Bill Blessyourheart just became a fan of yours on ReverbNation".

Not to be cynical (ha ha), but I just don't think all those people are my fans. If you'd heard my sad, lame guitar/vocal renditions, you'd understand.

No, these people want fans of their own. That's understandable. It looks better on your page to have a lot of "fans". But I'm one who always not only "fans back", but I try to listen to at least one song from every artist and post a comment. It's getting too burdensome! I can't possibly keep up!

It's a game, and I'm thinking I might not want to play anymore. But thank you to the two people who posted really thought-provoking comments on one of my songs. I really do appreciate it.

3. I'm not a social networking kind of gal.

Facebook is fine. I usually check it out once a day, to see if anyone has posted anything interesting. But I just looked, and the last time I updated my status was on October 9! What am I supposed to say? "It's chilly today"?

Twitter is even worse. I feel like I should say "something", but I don't know what. So, I just gave up on it entirely.

I tried to join a songwriting site, but they don't like new people butting in. Those sites are like small dysfunctional families; they're close-knit, even in their sometimes hatred and disdain of one another. I posted a couple of times, but was either ignored or condescended to, so I just moved on.

Social networking is not for me.

4. I hate TV.

Here is what I watch on TV: one national news channel, two sitcoms that I really like, and American Masters and American Experience on PBS. That's it.

I watch the local weather. I can't abide by the rest of the local happy "news", which isn't news at all, but a coffee klache we're all invited to.

The other thing about TV that makes me hate it is the commercials. First of all, they're too damn loud (however, a bill was recently passed that will ban this! Best thing Congress did all year!)

Secondly, they make men look like morons. It's embarrassing. I like my husband; I think he's a good guy. I don't think he's a hapless loser. But apparently, all national advertisers think differently.

There was one commercial this year that I liked, and I would even replay it if it showed up on my DVR:

That's cute! Sorry, but it is.

5. I'm basically done buying CD's.

Unless the Eagles put out a new CD, or Mark Chesnutt, or Dwight Yoakam, I'm done.

I believe I bought two CD's in all of 2010. One was by George Strait, but that's really for collection purposes. I have all of George's CD's, and I'm not breaking the chain. This, even though George's song quality has diminished, as he's tried to stay "relevant", sadly.

The other was Marty Stuart's "Ghost Train". Good! Just GOOD. I don't need to say more. Buy it and find out.

I'll buy a single download here and there from Amazon, but I'm done. I've got enough music (good music) to last me the rest of my life. Until Nashville swings the pendulum back, they've lost me. Sorry to be blunt.

6. Words can hurt and they can soar.

There's a very, very nice man on, who comments positively on all of Red River's videos. He's just a nice man. I don't deceive myself that our songs and our videos are anything even remotely outstanding, but John Apice posts a nice, uplifting comment on every video I upload there. He knows how to lift the spirit, and I truly, truly appreciate it.

By the same token, one of Red River's videos on YouTube got a thumbs-down. Why would anyone take the time to do that? If you don't like it, click "stop" and move on. It seems mean. And that was one of the songs I thought was one of our best (well, there you go, thinking again).

It seems silly to even remember that tiny slight, but I do. Words (or little negative icons, in this case) can hurt.

7. Give me some new gadget, and I'll be your friend forever.

There were two things I wanted for Christmas: a Kindle and a USB turntable.

I wasn't real sure about the Kindle, because I love, love books. I like the feel of a book; I like going back to certain passages and re-reading them. I like the heft of a book. I like putting my bookmark in the crease at bedtime and reopening it to that spot the next day. I'm a book geek.

But everyone raved about the Kindle, and on the practical side, I don't have room for all my books anymore. I donated a bunch this fall, and only kept the ones I really can't bear to part with. So, a Kindle seemed like a good idea.

I think I like it. The jury is still out, but so far, so good. It does help that Keith Richards is a really good writer. Who knew? My first e-book, and I'm enjoying it.

The USB turntable is just another world all together. I, yes, posted about it a week ago, because I'm in love with it. I am replaying and converting all my old albums and singles - and I haven't heard some of them in more than 20 years. I even like just looking at it. I forgot what it was like to play records.

An added bonus to the whole turntable thing is, I now remember what really good music is like. Say what you will; if you hated country music in the 60's and early 70's, because it was too "corny", rock on. I like it. I like it a lot. And did you know, most of those songs didn't even have bridges? And most are under three minutes? Just like the Beatles songs. I think songwriters today are really over-thinking things.

So, it's not only a new cool gadget, but it's a (re)learning tool.

8. Anything I create is for me.

Songs, videos, what-have-you. I'm 55 years old. Even if the brass ring was dangling out there, I wouldn't have the dexterity to catch it.

I've got things to say musically, I've got some pretty pictures to put to music, I've got words. Lots of words. I like words. Always have. Words are magic to me.

Nobody has to like my music or my words or my pictures. I like 'em. That's enough.

So, eight things I learned (or was told) in 2010. Some of them were probably obvious, but I just didn't realize it before. Now I know.

Happy 2011. Great; now I have to get used to writing 2011.

But on we go! Maybe I'll learn nine or ten things in the coming year.