ReverbNation CONNECT Success Story Update

Throughout the week, our ReverbNation CONNECT team keeps track of industry news and artist successes. We’ve got your weekly recap of the top stories you’ve missed, including reviews and premieres from The New York Times, THUMP Magazine, and Red Bull Music Academy, and more.


Singer-songwriter Max Jury

The Line of The Best Fit premiered singer/songwriter/pianist Max Jury’s new single, “Numb.” A Gospel-infused melancholic tale that the blog described as something that “could easily soundtrack the end credits of a boy-loses-girl coming of age flick, set somewhere in the upper midwest, perhaps.”

THUMP Magazine frequently looks to producer and ReverbNation Senior Curator Lauren Flax to weigh-in on the continuous relationship between musicians and their equipment in the series “Which Comes First in Contemporary Music Technology: The Musician or The Machine?”

The New York Times recently interviewed Mike Silver of CFCF, discussing both his GRAMMY®-nominated remix, the history of dance culture, what the Best Remixed category entails, and how remixing “Berlin by Overnight” posed some unusual challenges for him. The 58th Grammy Awards will take place Monday, February 15 at 8:00pm (EST) on CBS.

Ellie Herring shared some of her expert tips, advice,and insight on the art of crafting bass on Red Bull Music Academy’s series “Modern Approaches.”


Jaye Bartell

Pitchfork announced singer-songwriter Kevin Morby’s upcoming tour, which will feature ReverbNation CONNECT’s Jaye Bartell as the opening support on close to 20 dates across the US.

The Deli Magazine featured Brooklyn indie-rock band Silverbird’s upbeat art-rock sound in “NYC Bands on The Rise.” The band’s self-released album Pureland (released in late 2015) was well-received by the likes of Brooklyn Magazine, XS Noize, and Vice, who noted how the band “tackle[s] nearly every place the genre can go, never better illustrated in their new video for “Running.”

Following the release of Cinema’s contagiously feel-good single, “Move On” (which premiered on TMRW Magazine and was featured by Indie Shuffle), the band is being featured by Wonderland, who called Cinema “one of the most musically dynamic and distinct bands that 2016 has to offer.”

New York-based musician Kyle Forester debuted the first single (“Won’t Go Crazy”) from his self-titled album on Stereogum.

PureVolume debuted Midnight Mob’s single “Ghost,” an anthemic high-powered jam off their upcoming Honest Brutal Glorious EP.

EarBuddy premiered synth pop duo Outsides’ intoxicating new single “Lost With You,” and they’re saying it’s “going to occupy all the space in your heart.”
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6 Ways to Build Your Music Career with YouTube

We spoke to YouTube stars Maddie Wilson, Noah Guthrie, and Ali Brustofski about how they used YouTube to build their career. For this post, we've compiled their 6 most essential tips on how to build a devoted fanbase using one of the world's most popular websites.

Quality and consistency are the two most important factors

This was far and away the most popular piece of advice we heard. You have to establish a consistent schedule when posting content for your fans — the more they can come to expect a new video at a certain time each day or week, the more likely you are the draw them back in. And always keep upping the quality of your videos, whether through better equipment or higher production value.

If you’re posting covers, make sure they’re songs people want to hear

When choosing your next cover, make sure that you’re not spending time on something out-of-date or just flat-out wrong for your audience. And if the song doesn’t move you, don’t expect your performance of it to move your audience!

Build a buzz before posting any new material

Before you release a new video, make sure your fans know that it’s coming! Tease out short clips or drop hints for your fans in the days leading up to your release, and don’t forget to post about the video again after your first release it. You need to keep that song in your fans’ newsfeeds (and in their heads) for days.

Collaborate with artists similar to your size

Collaboration is one of the best ways we saw these artists growing their fanbase. By working on a song with another YouTuber, those artists were able to effectively double their fanbase and cross-promote each other. But don’t expect to be able to work with the highest-viewed artist when you’re first starting off. Try and find someone with a similar sized audience as you, and work up from there.

Find out what your audience wants to hear from time to time

While it’s important to select covers and perform originals that are true to your voice as an artist, it’s never a bad idea to get ideas from your fans. Ask them what their favorite song is, or what song they’d like to hear you cover next.

Make each song your own

Whether you’re restyling an entire song or just changing the tempo, make sure that any cover you perform is a version that represents you as an artist. And when you’re working on new original music, be true to your voice. Don’t push yourself into musical territories if they don’t feel natural for you.

Want to learn more about how Noah Guthrie, Maddie Wilson, and Ali Brustofksi got to where they are today? Check out our in-depth interviews with each of them below:

5 YouTube Tips For Musicians from GLEE’s Noah Guthrie
How Maddie Wilson Used YouTube To Build a Career in Music
6 YouTube Tips For Emerging Musicians from Ali Brustofski


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ReverbNation CONNECT Success Story Update

Throughout the week, our ReverbNation CONNECT team keeps track of industry news and artist successes. We’ve got your weekly recap of the top stories you’ve missed, including song and video premieres on Brooklyn Vegan, Yahoo! Music, and more.


Cleveland, OH’s Thaddeus Anna Greene

Brite Winter Festival — a winter artist showcase and community celebration of fire, arts, music, games, and snow in Cleveland, OH — featured ReverbNation CONNECT’s The Watch List band, Thaddeus Anna Greene in their “Artist Spotlight” feature.

TMRW Magazine premiered “Move On,” an infectious indie pop anthem by Birmingham five-piece band Cinema.

After Dark — an arts and music series presented by The Art Institute of Chicago and curated by ReverbNation — announced that ReverbNation CONNECT artists Ron Gallo and EchoDroides will perform on February 26.

The Deli’s Nashville Readers’ Poll Results are in, and Smooth Hound Smith snagged the number one spot for Artist of The Year. The rising Nashville

Nashville's Smooth Hound Smith

Nashville’s Smooth Hound Smith

Americana roots duo have been making a name for themselves with the release of their second album, Sweet Tennessee Honey, which landed them a feature on The Bluegrass Station for their single, “Forever Cold.”

Following the release of his beautifully haunting single, “You Can Now Let Go,” which received praise from The Joy of Violent Movement, The 405, and Under The Radar, Mark Roberts of We Are Temporary shared his latest single, “Who’s Going To Love Me Now?” on Yahoo Music.

Last week, Ron Gallo debuted the music video to his first single, “Young Lady, You’re Killing Me,” on Brooklyn Vegan. The song is a bluesy tale that received praise from the likes of The Deli Magazine, who described it as “a wooly-as-a-mammoth, jittery-as-a-jumping-bean little number.”

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5 Tips for Grabbing the Attention of Hip-Hop Bloggers

This post from hip-hop blogger and publicist Kayla Calloway will outline 5 simple and proven tips for getting the attention of hip-hop bloggers. These strategies are excerpted from the 2nd edition of Kayla's “The Essential Guide to Hip-Hop Publicity.”

When hip-hop artists reach out to media outlets, it’s pretty common for them to overthink things. And while a creative approach can make a lasting impression, you’re better off focusing on a professional and straightforward approach. In fact, former XXL Music Editor and hip-hop journalist Eric Diep says, “As far as hip-hop artists go, I’m old school. Just introduce yourself, hand me your tape, and keep it moving.” Taking a professional, persistent, and simple approach—letting your music speak for itself—is always the best practice, whether you’re online or in the real world.

So take note of these five tips — they are a great way to improve your response from bloggers and publicists in the hip-hop community.

1. Make It Easy On the Eyes

When sending emails to bloggers, skip the fancy fonts and different font sizes and avoid attachments of any sort. “Reading countless emails is hard enough on the eyes; nobody needs wacky fonts, different size text and several colors.  Set the size to the standard 12, the color to black, and the font to default (do not overthink things to try and get someone’s attention),” says Dj Z of

2. Use the Subject Line to Get Creative

The email subject line is an opportunity to get creative and descriptive. Keep it short, simple, and to the point. Create a call-to-action by letting the blogger or writer know exactly what you’re sending in the subject line, whether it’s new music or a video. Here are a few examples:

YGTUT releases unique visual for new anthem “Preacher’s Son”
Wordsmith drops new mixtape exclusively on ReverbNation

3. Get to Know the Blogger

LinkedIn is a great way to learn a little more about the writer you’re reaching out to. For example, former XXL Online Editor and freelance writer Jaeki Cho’s LinkedIn profile states that his interests are Urban Music, Advertising, Marketing, Philanthropy, Buddhism, Asian Culture, and Literature. These type of details help you develop and cultivate relationships with bloggers, editors, and writers and get to know their work and learn about their interests.

4. Reciprocate

Engage with bloggers by actual following their work because you want them to follow yours. Follow their social media accounts and check out their posts. Sharing, liking, and commenting are great ways to begin building a professional relationship with the writer online.

5. Keep Your Eyes Open

Everyone vies to get featured on the same hip-hop blogs, but there are so many hip-hop blogs out there! Do some research and you’ll see that there are tons of opportunities for getting your music and videos featured, including submitting your music videos to YouTube channels that focus on new and indie hip-hop music. Here are a few hip-hop blogs to check out and get you started:

The Daily Dose
Definition of Fresh

Here are a few YouTube channels to check out that review indie hip-hop:

Luke James
Diyhiphopmarketing (an archive of my tips for marketing & PR)

I hope you have found these tips helpful, and remember — gaining the attention of hip-hop bloggers requires planning. Stay the course and hope to read about you soon!

Kayla Calloway is the author of the “Essential Guide to Hip-Hop Publicity”,2.3.16 Kayla Calloway a hip-hop expert, and a former hip-hop publicist and blogger who has worked with hip-hop artists including Chinx, Warren G, Chrisette Michele, and countless indie and upcoming hip-hop artists. She has secured media placements in XXL, Hiphopdx, Allhiphop, Hiphop Weekly, SLAM and many more. Additionally, Kayla previously ran a successful hip-hop marketing and PR advice blog. Reach her on Twitter @kvcalloway


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ReverbNation’s Big Game Showdown

Support your team by voting for your favorite Collection, featuring music from the hometowns of the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. The more you listen and share, the more votes your team will receive — so make sure you spread the word to family and friends. Be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page on Sunday, February 7th, where we'll announce the winner!


Vote for your favorite team or collection by listening below
Share the collection = 10 votes / Play a song = 1 vote

Share Denver on Facebook                                                  Share Charlotte on Facebook
Share Denver on Twitter                                                       Share Charlotte on Twitter


Or you can vote for your favorite collection (or team) below:

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6 YouTube Tips For Emerging Musicians from Ali Brustofski

Learn how this YouTube star created a passionate audience using simple but effective techniques that any emerging artist can benefit from.

From a young age, Ali Brustofksi had a passion for music. She grew up watching her dad, a musical theater performer, and knew that she needed to be on a stage. After trying her hand at theater, she discovered that writing and sharing her own material was the path for her. She wanted to create her own voice, “instead of playing a character onstage.”

So when people like Justin Bieber and Esmee Denters began to break out on YouTube, she thought she’d try her hand at uploading a few cover songs of her own. Ali said she didn’t have a clear idea of how a successful YouTube channel was run at first, uploading “random choir videos and songs people weren’t searching for.”

She soon began fine-tuning her approach, realizing that using current hit songs that people were searching for was a great way to start getting her name out. She began pouring over iTunes, Billboard, and radio charts to find her next cover and plan her next post. Pretty soon, she had amassed a sizeable fanbase on YouTube, with more than 500,000 subscribers and 100 million total views to date.

Ali says that a successful YouTube presence is all about two things: quality and consistency. You should post as often as you can, but making sure to keep your videos high quality. It’s also helpful if you are posting covers of songs that you really love to sing: “People can totally see through it if you’re not into what you’re singing,” she says. 

But don’t neglect to promote and share your original work, either. For example, with Ali’s latest single (“When I Fall”), she gave her fans (affectionately dubbed Alinators) plenty of advance warning that a new song was coming. She builds a buzz before the song is released so that people are waiting for it to drop, rather than posting unannounced.

Like most successful YouTubers, Ali has also collaborated with several different artists through the site. “It’s a small community, so pretty much everyone knows each other at this point,” making it easier to find people to work with. If you’re looking to build your channel, find channels that are around the same size as yours, so that the collaboration will be mutually beneficial for both artists.


Above all, Ali knows that she has to stay connected with the Alinators who have helped her get where she is today. Without their support, she says, nothing would be possible. Ali often takes to her channel to ask what her fans want to here, which is a great way to establish a one-on-one connection with her audience. “YouTube gives you an amazing opportunity that a lot of mainstream acts don’t necessarily have, and I’m forever grateful for that.”

Key Takeaways

  • If you’re posting covers, make sure they’re songs people want to hear
  • Quality and consistency are the two most important factors when posting
  • Only post songs that you love singing
  • Build a buzz before posting any new original material
  • Collaborate with artists similar to your size
  • Find out what your audience wants to hear from time to time
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ReverbNation CONNECT Success Story Update

Throughout the week, our ReverbNation CONNECT team keeps track of industry news and artist successes. We’ve got your weekly recap of the top stories you’ve missed, including song and video premieres on Brooklyn Vegan, Paste Magazine, THUMP and more.

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Amerikan Bear, private session for Sofar Sounds

Norwegian artist Gundelach signed with one of the world’s leading talent and literary agencies, United Talent Agency.

San Diego-based psychedelic soul rockers Amerikan Bear performed a private session for Sofar Sounds — a global musical movement that invites artists to play intimate sessions.

Philadelphia rocker Ron Gallo of Toy Soldiers is preparing to release his latest solo album, Heavy Meta, but first he’s sharing the video to his first single, “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me,” on Brooklyn Vegan.

1441679739_Kylie145 (1)

Kylie Odette, premiere on PopWrapped, Past Magazine and the Music Ninja

18-year-old vocalist and pianist Kylie Odetta has a new EP, High Dreamer, due for release February 12, and she’s giving us a sneak peek at her three new singles. Last week, her lead single “Can’t Erase It” premiered on PopWrapped, followed by her second single “Sweet Innocence” on Paste Magazine. Today, Kylie shares her latest single, a gentle, lullaby-like song called “High Dreamers” on The Music Ninja.

Vice’s THUMP launched an exclusive premiere of Database’s newest EP, Another Love, a four-track joint project with New York’s pop-rock duo Savoir Adore.

Texas-born soul singer Latasha Lee premiered her latest single, “I Regret Nothing,” on Next2Shine and the accompanying video on Afropunk.

Los Angeles-based folk singer Matt Kivel debuted his forthcoming album, Janus, on Spin. You’ll get lost in his storytelling that hits on everything from relationships both old and new, heartbreak, and moments that have yet to come.

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How Maddie Wilson Used YouTube To Build a Career in Music

Learn how Maddie Wilson used YouTube to grow a loyal fanbase and check out some exclusive tips for getting the most out of YouTube.

A few years ago, Maddie Wilson saw YouTube becoming a destination for music lovers, and she needed to get in on the action. Recording covers of her favorite songs songs seemed like an easy way to break into the scene, so she started posting when she was about 13.

MWilsonBut it wasn’t until two years later that she started seriously using YouTube to build a career in music. She began posting more regularly and creating higher quality videos, shaping her own style with ease. And though she had plenty of original music for her fans, it was her covers that were getting the most attention.

“I think what makes me different is that I take a lot of Pop songs and make them a little more Country, adding my own style,” she explains. “There are a lot more Pop YouTubers than Country, so I think that really helps me stand out.”

Unlike the traditionally more competitive aspects of the music industry, YouTube’s community has a much more collaborative dynamic. Maddie says most of the YouTube creators she’s met have been really supportive. It’s almost like a family, with everyone willing to work with each other.

Maddie has collaborated with a ton of other successful YouTubers, including Lindsay Stirling, Madilyn Page, Bored Shorts TV, KFace TV, and others. She’s even worked across genres and countries, including making a version of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” with European rapper Black Prez.

I think that collaborations are a huge deal — they can make or break your YouTube career.

She also used this approach for the music video of her single, “Chelsey’s Boyfriend,” which features some of her closest YouTube friends.


If you look closely, you’ll see that my silver play button came! 100k subscribers y’all!! #thanksyoutube

A photo posted by Maddie Wilson (@maddiewilsonmusic) on

Over time, Maddie’s videos became more and more polished. She has taken care to improve both the video and audio quality wherever she could, as she knew this would help attract a bigger audience and the attention of brands. She still makes plenty of at-home acoustic cover videos, but she knows she has to vary up her approach to keep her audience coming back.

Her strategy has definitely paid off. A little more than a year ago, Maddie had her first 1-million-view video: her cover of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” Though it took almost a year to reach that point, the momentum the video created was powerful. Today, she’s reached the 100,000-subscriber mark and has seven videos with more than 500,000 views.



Here are 4 tips from Maddie as to how you can get the most out of YouTube, and please share any advice you might have in the comments!

1) Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate

Collaborating with other artists and YouTubers will expose you to a wider audience and can help grow your fan base. You can also learn a lot from other content creators and pick up some new ideas.
“YouTubers love doing collaborations because they help both artists. Artists have different fan bases, so its a great way to increase awareness and grow your fan base.”

2) Make the Song Your Own

Put your own spin on a popular song. Whether you’re restyling to fit a new genre, like Maddie, or you’re changing the tempo, create a version that represents you as an artist.
“I think what makes me different is that I take a lot of pop songs and make them a little more country, adding my own style.”

3) Have Well Made, Interesting Videos

After a couple years or posting YouTube covers, Maddie began posting more professional videos. Rather than just sitting in front of the camera, she began making actual music videos for her covers. Have fun and know what you’re audience wants to see.
“In ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together,’ I’m shoving ice-cream in my face. It was silly and fun and I think people liked that.”

4) Find a Unique Angle and Go With It

A lot of the most popular YouTubers live at the Pop end of the music spectrum. When Maddie first started out, she knew that adding her own Country spin on traditional Pop songs would grab the attention of fans, and she was right. So if you have something unique about your music — Do you play the ukelele? Are you doing Folk covers of Metal songs? — make sure you emphasize it! It’s important to have that initial niche that separates you from other artists. Use that to grab people’s attention and then you can start building an audience.
“I take a lot of Pop songs and make them a little more Country, adding my own style. There are a lot more Pop YouTubers than Country, so I think that really helps me stand out.”

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