Archive for August, 2013

From a post by Dean Steinman

If you want to get your music out there more and are looking for new platforms to get heard then you gotta check out http://www.MyVirtualCoffeeHouse.com.. They have this great section for artists to upload their music right into the playlist part..
If you are a song writer, musician or indie artist and you are looking for that extra boost..why not check it out..its free and looks cool.

Check it out here…http://myvirtualcoffeehouse.com/fan-playlist/

My Virtual Coffeehouse…http://myvirtualcoffeehouse.com/

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Mr. Sergio Gonzales from Latin America is looking for material to air on a new Christian/Gospel radio station that will be launching soon.

Here is the post from Linkedin…

 

God bless you. I want to launch an online radio, where we will preach the Gospel in Latin America. Some friends from my church (Iglesia Bíblica Emmanuel:http://www.tiempocondiosesvidaviva.com/ ) have joint in this work. We will alternate music with reflections from some ministries. So far, we have “Tiempo con Dios” (http://www.tiempocondiosesvidaviva.com/ ) reflections. May God keep blessing you.

 

To learn more or send material please email Mr. Gonzales at…sergio@gobocorp.net

POSTED ON AUGUST 5, 2013 BY 

Decide How Serious You Are

Don’t just leave your job on a whim.  Make sure you’ve thought about it seriously. It’s gonna be hard for a long time and even though you have goals of where you want to be at the end of the year, expect delays, roadblocks, and challenges. Go into it confidently but be prepared to doubt yourself at times…and be prepared for others to doubt you. Your continued restlessness will either be what breaks you or what makes you.

Everything Costs Money

Everything costs money…especially if you want quality.  Make sure you have some (or alot) saved up. You’ll need money for promo, artwork, recording, equipment, gas, and so much more! It is absolutely necessary for you to have money saved up before you quit your job to pursue music. Music is a roller coaster and some months will be plentiful while others will be dry – very dry.

Be Careful Who You Do Business With

Don’t commit to a project at the tip of a hat. Be sure you like the people you are working with. Enter into every agreement cautiously and ask more questions than not. Don’t stick your name on something that you’ll regret months down the line.

Talk to People

Talk to other musicians. Take as many of them out to coffee as you can. Get an idea of what they’ve done. Learn from their mistakes, get their advice, and use their experience to make wise decisions about the next several years of your life. Talk to family and friends. Ask them for their support and encouragement. Eventually you’ll get to a point where their faith in you will make up for your lack of faith in yourself.  But ultimately you will need to find a way to believe in your art when nobody else does.

Have a Plan

Please! Have a plan! Whether it’s 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years…you must have a plan! Too many artists pursue their music aimlessly. No plans, no self-imposed deadlines, no drive. Believe me when I say that having release schedules, small achievable goals, and big dreams will be the continuing driving factor.  If you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t even step into the world of full-time  art.

 

 

 

By Kim Lawton

 

Christian recording artist TobyMac’s blend of rap, hip-hop, rock and soul raced up the charts last year and shattered many stereotypes along the way.

“Toby blows everybody’s perception of what Christian or gospel music is because Toby makes Jesus look cool,” Billboard Magazine’s Deborah Evans Price told the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.”

TobyMac’s album “Eye on It,” which was released last August, was the first Christian album since 1997 to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s all-genre chart, and only the third Christian album ever to do so.

“I definitely have my ear to the ground as far as sonically what is happening,” TobyMac said. “I’ve always been a pop artist, you know. I rap, I sing, I scream, whatever gets the point across.”

Many experts say thanks to artists like TobyMac, the contemporary Christian music industry is experiencing a revival, with strong sales, record-breaking tours, and new success in the mainstream charts.

For three consecutive weeks last fall, the Billboard 200 chart included Christian albums that debuted in the Top Ten. And that success is continuing in 2013. In mid-January, Christian artist Chris Tomlin’s new album “Burning Lights” opened at No. 1.

“It shows the power of the Christian music consumer,” said Price, who has covered Christian music for Billboard for almost 20 years.

“For people who tend to want to relegate Christian gospel music to the basement, when an act like Chris, or TobyMac comes in at No. 1, you have to give that music its due.”

According to the Nielsen Company, in 2012, nearly 23 million albums were sold in the Christian/gospel market, which also saw substantial increases in digital album sales.

“That niche market is bigger than other smaller genres, like jazz, classical, Latin,” said Price. “The (Christian) musicians are just interpreting a timeless message in the music that’s relevant today and that keeps younger listeners coming and widening the demographic.”

The Christian rock band Skillet just announced that its “Awake” album hit more than one million sales, making the group one of only three rock bands overall to certify platinum in 2012.

Another big seller is Christian rapper Lecrae, whose newest album “Gravity,” debuted last September at No. 3 on the Billboard chart. In his music and his publicity, Lecrae is outspoken about his Christian faith.

“I’d be crazy to not talk about the thing that’s most passionate to me and that is my faith,” Lecrae told “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.”

“It’s all that I am. It defines me.”

Lecrae says he grew up with few positive male influences and looked to hip-hop for guidance. He wanted nothing to do with his grandmother’s Christian faith.

“I really mocked it,” he said. “I remember one time ripping out Bible papers and using them to roll drugs up with.”

His life became a downward spiral of drugs and partying, but he says before he reached 20, he realized the emptiness of it all. Then a friend invited him to attend a Christian meeting and study the Bible, and he says to his shock, the classic Christian teaching about salvation struck a chord.

Now he raps not only about his religious beliefs, but about being a faithful husband and a responsible father, themes he acknowledges are not typical in hip-hop. Lecrae has found an audience in both the Christian and secular markets, something that appears to be happening more and more.

“The walls have come down considerably over the past few years when it comes to the divide between the Christian audience, the Christian market and mainstream consumers,” said Price. “When you have artists like Toby and Lecrae … that draws a wide audience, not just from the people in the church pews, but from the people hanging out at the mall.”

TobyMac says he’s pleased to see some of the barriers coming down.

“Jesus didn’t hang out in the church,” the artist said. “He hung out with the people, where they were. And that’s to me where Christian music should be.”

TobyMac first entered the music scene in the late 1980s as part of the groundbreaking Christian hip-hop group DC Talk. More than 20 years later, he says he’s moved away from direct preaching in his music and now tries to write more from his own life experiences.

“I do think that I have something really good. So when you have something really good you can’t help but want to share it with people,” he said. “I’m not trying to cram it down their throat. I’m not trying to proselytize. I’m just a guy that loves God with all my heart.”

TobyMac says for him, it’s not about cranking out hits and making money, but rather watching how the music touches people’s lives. For example, he’s heard from several people who say his recent song “Forgiveness” prompted them to reconcile with an estranged loved one.

“When things like that are happening, I think that’s way beyond me,” he said. “That’s why I have faith in God, because I know I can’t conjure up a lyric that would do that. But if God breathes something through me when I ask Him to, maybe some good could happen.”

Both TobyMac and Lecrae have been criticized by some in the Christian world for pushing the envelope too far. Lecrae in particular came under fire for collaborating with secular rappers who often use offensive lyrics in other venues.

“Sometimes I’m too churchy for the world, I’m too worldly for the church and so I exist in this weird dichotomy, this weird place, but there’s a lot of people like me and there’s a lot of people who resonate with that,” the rapper said.

Lecrae too sees a deeper purpose in what he does.

“My hope is that it will be more than music, that it would be a soundtrack of a movement that mobilizes people to see themselves for who they are, for what God created them to be, and, and to change the world,” he said.

~ by fatkidrecords on July 13, 2007.

 

Here’s a quick blurb to let you know that GodTube is a great new place for Christian artists (or any Christian, for that matter) to host their videos. It’s essentially just aYouTube for people who love Jesus. It’s very new, but it could serve as a great way to help market and promote your music to your target audience.

Uploading videos is a great way to bring in exposure and even merch sales for your band.Boochie Shepherd uploaded the new video for “Vertical” onto YouTube and it has received over 1,200 views in under a month.

www.godtube.com

Props to fellow blogger Brian Alexander for turning me on to this site.

 

Learn more at…fatkidrecords

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Since starting to work in music full time, Krissy and I have made many mistakes.  All of them, we’ll probably share with you over time.  But, we want to share one mistake that cost us thousands of dollars and lots of wasted time.  This mistake was made about 6 years ago, but we are still reminded of this mistake today every time we walk into our basement.  Want to take a guess what it is?

We decided to distribute a CD nationally much too early in the release of an album.

In 2006, Krissy and I recorded her third independent album called Downpour.  We were really excited about this recording.  We felt like we really recorded her best songs to date and created a new sound for her on the album – a little more edgy and current than her previous album, Thank Him.

So, after we finished recording the album, after we finished the photo shoot, after we finished packaging the album, it came time to decide how many of these CDs we were going to press.  At the same time, we were deciding which of the songs we were going to promote on Christian radio and who we were going to use to distribute our album.  We had lots of decisions to make.  (This was a mistake too because we should have decided all of our marketing and who our audience was way before we started recording or even writing, but that’s another post for another time)

We had received great response from many of our trusted friends in the music industry and Christian radio promoter about a song called “Outrageous Love” on the album.  So, we decided to press only 1000 CDs initially on the first print run to have for our live performances and giveaways.  Then, we would see how the single fared on radio and manufacture more should it “take off”.  Well, in Christian radio terms, it took off.  We were on our way to a Top 10 radio single with that song.

Our distributor recommended we get more CDs into the marketplace by buying into a national retail positioning and promotion campaign in Christian retail stores.  So, we spent $5000 in advertising money to buy prominent positioning in 2 national retail chains.  And, we also printed up an additional 2500 CDs with a special sticker promoting the song on the outside.  It was a gamble, but a poorly thought out one at best.

So, we got them into all the stores, via our distributor and we waited to see.  It was perfect timing, we thought.  The single was just peaking and the CDs were prominently positioned in about 350 stores across the country.

Then, we waited, hoped and prayed.

Every week or so we would visit our local Christian retail store here in town that carried the CDs and participated in our positioning program.  The first week, there were 30 CDs stacked neatly and positioned nicely on the shelf at almost eye level – great positioning!  I remember thinking that first week they were promoted: “WOW, 30 CDs sure fills up more space than I imagined in my head.”

The next week, we visited the store again.  Still 30 CDs stacked nice and neat.  We checked Soundscan (distributors can monitor national consumer sales in retail stores – and can break it down by region) after the first week of sales and we sold something like 3 CDs around the country.  Gulp!

The second week, we maybe sold another 4 units across the US.  Most of the sales, I remember, were in Western Michigan where Krissy’s family is.  And, it’s where we spent our greatest amount of time singing and touring.

Week 3 didn’t look much better.   As the weeks went on, our heads sunk lower and lower into the sand because we only showed Soundscan sales of maybe 50 units after the promotion had ended at retail.

After 3 months passed, the single had peaked and was now in recurrent at most of the Christian radio stations.  We had finished all of our radio interviews and promotions.  The distributor started receiving calls from the retailers asking to return the CDs.  So, we took all but about 250 CDs back at the end.  Then, 6 months later, we took back the rest and ended our distribution deal.

We had over 2500 CDs sitting in our garage for many years reminding us of our biggest music mistake. A year ago, I gave over a thousand CDs away to a non-profit ministry that sells CDs to coastal third world countries via medical cruise ships.

So, let’s tally up our stupid tax (our life tax for being stupid):

  • Printed 3500 CDs – Cost to manufacture and ship: $4500
  • Radio Promotion – $3000
  • Retail Advertising – $5000
  • Plus, hundreds of hours trying to promote and distribute our CD nationally.

It was more than just a $12,500 mistake!  Not only was it a waste of money, it was a waste of time.  I seriously feel the pain of our mistake every time I tell this story.

What should we have done?  Looking back, if we could give ourselves some coaching, I would have advised the following:

  1. Before making any big financial decisions, ask your team around you if this is a good idea.  Be honest with yourself and others.
  2. Start small.  Get your music on iTunes and any of the other online digital outlets selling music first.  Monitor the sales and see if printing a smaller print run (500 to start) is the next best step.
  3. Pick a distributor that protects you from buying into large national retail positioning promotions when you’re not ready.  A distributor is one of your important team members.  They should be for you.  The relationship should be win-win.  If they are, they’ll give you better advice and that will greatly reduce the chances of incurring stupid tax.
  4. 4. If you’re going to do a major national radio promotion, understand that, for an independent artist, radio helps open doors to touring opportunities more than it helps with music sales.  Major radio stations don’t play too many indies.  Stations, largely only play music from the major record labels or ones that are distributed by major record labels in Christian music.  Your best chance in Christian music is to promote to Inspirational radio formats or niche formats outside of the mainstream Christian radio stations in the US.  Network with those smaller/niche stations – build relationships, do interviews, visit them.
  5. Radio should not be your only marketing plan.  You should be playing live, recording videos and promoting them on YouTube, performing on local TV station programs, participate in benefit concerts, blogging, interacting with/growing your audience on social networks, giving your music away for promotional purposes, building your email list and countless other things to promote your music.  Any way that you can grow your fanbase, that’s what you should be doing in addition to any radio you do.
  6. Think regionally before you think nationally.  Grow your exposure and market penetration in your local 50 mile radius at radio, retail and live performances.  Play often, promote often, get product in stores regionally first.  I would advise going national if you have a credible team around you such as a reputable record label and booking on tours nationally.
  7. Try not to get too emotional and play the movie forward when making decisions.  Looking back, we were just too excited about the opportunity and didn’t consider the financial risks we are taking.

Any of these things would have helped us to make a better decision in the end.  We learned a great deal from the mistake, but wish we didn’t have to spend 5 figures to learn it.  We hope you don’t have to either.

Learn more at…The Music Coaches

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Guitar-Lesson

This week I received an email from a reader of our website that reflects really well the kind of sentiment we get all of the time.  She is a young singer/songwriter with a passion for God and a passion for music.  Here is a snippet of her email to us…

I feel like i am called to serve God and use the gifts he has given me in music and singing. This is scary because it involves such risk and faith! i want to be an artist who’s known for being real, honest and transparent about life and living and what it really means to seek godly living. I have 1000 questions I’m sure, but I suppose other than continuing to lead worship at my church, play small local shows, should I be working on making my own album and just trying to market it independently? I have an old EP that was really a rushed project that doesn’t truly showcase my voice or the true potential of my songs. What is the intelligent route here?  I am aware that I may never make much doing this but my heart screams to do this for God Full time and I am ready to do what it takes, but am In need of guidance. Whatever advice you have would be respected and treasured. – Eryn Crews

Thank you, Eryn, for being vulnerable enough with us to express how you really feel.  And, thank you for your question.  It is one we get most often from other readers.

So, I thought the best way to answer this common question, is with a post on the subject.

So, basically, how does one go about starting a music ministry career – one that will eventually be full time and fulfilling a calling in your life?  And secondly, what are the first steps?  Do I make an album?

My favorite part of this email is “My heart screams to do this for God full time and I’m ready to do whatever it takes.

I hear and feel your heart, Eryn.

OK, so, here is what I would say to you and anyone else in your position:

1. Know Your Calling, Purpose and Message

We have two free e-books that we offer to our readers.  You will get them when you sign up for our email list on the top right of our home page.  The first is ‘The 4 Pillars of Your Christian Music Success’.  I would highly recommend you read this and walk through the exercises.  This will help you to build the foundation you need in your career.  It will help make it sustainable.  It will fill you with energy.  You will discover your clear message and mission for why you do what you do.

2. Write Your Clear 3-6 Month Goals

The second free e-book comes about one week after you receive your first Pillars ebook via email.  This document will help you walk through how to set clear 3-6 month short term goals for your music ministry.  It’s a clear follow-up to the first ebook and worksheet you followed the previous week.  Take time to fully engage with your goals.  Discover what’s most important.  Decide what’s going to get done first, second, third and so on.  This will really help you in getting to your focus.  And, you will learn how to review these goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis so you always stay on track.

3. Marketing 101

Let me teach you some basics of marketing that are very important to keep in mind when you’re just getting started with an aim to do music ministry full time.

– Make sure you communicate your why.  Your why is your MMP (Music Ministry Purpose). Believe will follow what they believe in.

– It is better to give than to receive.  Give as much away as you can – extra music and your message.  Share what God has given you to say with the world.  The more you give, the more that will be given to you.

– Know your audience.  Know who you are speaking to.  This is important for you as you write and record your music.  And, as you begin to craft the message of your ministry.  This may become clearer after you actually start singing and performing your music out.

– Don’t work so hard to sell your music.  Make your content, your message, your music like a magnet.  Part of that comes with writing and singing great music.  You can test your music and message with your audience on a smaller scale.  It’s better to test your audience when you’re singing to family, friends and your church first before stepping outside of your church and making mistakes on a bigger scale.

– Your website is your home and funnel everything else to it.  Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube should all funnel to your website.  And, make sure your website is mobile-friendly.  You’d be surprised how many people are on the web using their iPhone, iPad or Smartphone.

– Think brand and image when just getting started.  Take some great head shots – outdoors in natural lighting – that’s the cheapest way to do this.  Have a local designer create some banners, headers, cover images for you.

4. Bloom Where You Are Planted (50 Mile Radius)

This is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you.  This will help save time and money as you grow in confidence. This strategy does 3 things for you.  First, it saves you travel time.  Second, it saves you (and the churches that book you) money.  And, third, it gives you the opportunity to develop your confidence in ministry.  It helps you to experiment with what you say and how you say it.  If you make a mistake in your marketing, you will only make it on a small scale.  And, it gives you the necessary foundation to help you to walk into who God is forming you to become in your music ministry.

Don’t move to Nashville.  Unless you are wanting to become a Christian, Country or Pop songwriter, I wouldn’t advise moving to Nashville.  And, that’s tough enough – becoming a songwriter in this town.  It’s better to bloom where God planted you.

If you feel you can’t reach enough people within a 50 mile radius, you could consider moving or broadening your radius to a 100 mile radius.  The key is to minimize your drive time and fuel traveling everywhere.

5. One Song At A Time

This is another time and money saver.  It’s overwhelming to take on a whole album of 10-12 songs.  It costs too much money to do it all at once – especially for someone just starting out.  Plus, it can take 3-6 months to completely record an entire album.  To me, this is time you could be spending marketing your message and your music.

It’s best to spend your time focusing on the message of one song at a time.  That song may have a particular message to offer to someone.  Why not focus on that song for a couple of weeks – promoting it.  Marketing it.  Engaging with your audience online and live on stage with it.

It does another thing for you.  If you record one song at a time, it gives you time to get a feeling for how your audience is responding to the song/recording.  They may give you valuable feedback with each new song you record.  Pay attention to your audience/fans.  They are your #1 asset in your career.

Also, if you focus on one song at a time, it gives you a chance to feel-out your producer’s strengths and weaknesses.  It also allows you to work with multiple producers over time.  When you’ve found a producer you like to work with, then go ahead and record more songs with them.

6. Go Digital First, Then Physical Later Print CDs 50-100 at a time (for live events)

Of course, you’re going to want to have some CDs made to sell at your live events.  People are still buying them – especially in the local church.  But you can be wise with this in the beginning.  When you’re just getting started, why would you want to print 1000 CDs.  Yes, it saves you money per CD to print 1000-2500-5000 at a time, but you’re weighing yourself down with unnecessary costs.  It’s better to print 120-500 at a time in the beginning.  There are numerous small print run duplicators who could do this for you.

It’s best to put your focus on releasing one song at a time online.  Again, you can easily do this with online applications for artists like Reverbnation or CDBaby.  Do this first.

Those are some initial answers to your questions, Eryn.  These are probably questions many of our readers have.  I hope and trust and believe that they’ve been helpful to you!

If you’d like to sign up for one-on-one consulting specific to your situation, please contact us.