Passing Through: Good Graeff Takes a Break from Touring & Offers Advice to Aspiring Musicians

In March, twin sisters Brooke and Brit Graeff of Good Graeff took time out of their crazy touring schedule to stop by our office in Durham, NC to hang out and play a short set for our Passing Through series.

Good grief, they were entertaining! We talked about everything from recording a music video overseas to funding their tour through a Kickstarter campaign. Afterwards, they graced us with the sweet sounds of their lively, upbeat folk music, Brit’s cello and the playful, yet painfully honest lyrics sung by Brooke.

SamPassing Through: Good Graeff Takes a Break from Touring & Offers Advice to Aspiring Musicians
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Everything You Need to Know About Using Kickstarter as an Independent Musician

Crowdfunding is nothing new in the music world (check out our previous post on 5 tips for crowdfunding success). Yet recently Kickstarter has become a standout as a popular fundraising platform for independent musicians.

ReverbNation artists Graham Colton, Jonny Gray, Long Gone Day and Good Graeff used Kickstarter to fund their own independent work, from albums to tours to making it to festivals. Read more about their experiences and important takeaways you can learn from as you plan your own Kickstarter campaign.

SamEverything You Need to Know About Using Kickstarter as an Independent Musician
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10 ways musicians make money without sacrificing creative freedom

This guest post is written by Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq., a former vocalist and songwriter and a solo practitioner with her own firm in New York, J.A. Williams Law – The Artist Empowerment Firm.

Due to collapsing album sales, piracy, and less money generated from digital downloads, artists are now faced with the question, “How do I make money with my music?” Well, if the sales aren’t cutting it and the only people at your shows are your family and a few high-school classmates, how will you really make a living with your art?

Show me the money!! How can musicians make money nowadays?

I’m sure you know licensing and live shows are great money generators for musicians, but what are some less common ways that artists are making money in the music industry today? I’ve spoken to musicians on this topic recently and here are 10 ways that artists are making good money, maintaining their creative freedom all while paying the rent:

  1. Hold live online shows

    Create an online streaming concert and charge your fans and followers to watch your live performance from the comfort of their home. Great way to increase your fan base and take full advantage of technology. Try the site Stageit.com. They allow you to perform a live streaming concert for a portion of your ticket sales and they even allow fans to tip you while you’re performing!

  2. Become a partner with YouTube

    Partnering with YouTube on your channel is a great way to generate revenue by allowing ads and placements.

  3. Music for web-shows

    The web-show movement is booming and many shows need songs for their introductions or throughout their episodes and they can’t pay the hefty licensing fees for mainstream music. This is also a way to expose your music to larger audience. Start by contacting some of your favorite web-shows via sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Ask them if they are looking for original music to add to upcoming episodes. Be sure to include web-links in your correspondence so they can easily access samples of your music.

  4. Compose for Off-Broadway shows

    Theatre productions need great composers for their music. This is an awesome revenue stream if you can snag a position on a new play — it’s less common but lucrative way to make money. These gigs are generally through the web of networking. I never recommend agents because they tend to only work with people that have BUZZ or through their own networks. But If you can connect with OTHER artists via networking…you’d be surprised how you can get a great gig. I know some musicians that have contacted theatre companies in their area to see what new projects they are developing and snagged jobs this way. If you don’t have a theatre in your area, tap into your web of artists. Sometimes musicians know other performing artists that need help with their plays and productions. Get creative!

  5. Become an affiliate

    Many companies that you love have affiliate programs. If you promote their products or services to your email lists and people purchase as a result, these companies will give a percentage of the proceeds to you. Don’t you love getting unexpected checks in the mail?  An example of  a great company with affiliate programs is Ariel Publicity. Visit the site for details on how to become an affiliate.

  6. Start your own publishing company

    Publishing your own music is great because if you enter into co-publishing agreements with larger companies not only will you get your writer’s share of royalties, you’ll also get ½ of publishing royalties. First step to starting your own company is to register the proper business entity within your state. For example, a Limited Liability Company or Corporation. Next, register your songs as a publisher with a performing rights society such as ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. These steps will put you in the driver’s seat as your own publisher. Get those royalties!

  7. Be a freelance sound engineer

    As a musician you have a great ear for sound so put it to good use. Companies, events, and less-experienced performers need someone to oversee the sound in their productions.

  8. Pre-sell your upcoming album

    Pre-selling your album gives you the money to produce a higher-quality product. Not only is this a great way to get cash flowing to your new project, this is also a way to generate excitement for your upcoming album with your fans! Free marketing AND money, where do I sign up?

  9. Rent your studio

    If you have home studio where you’re producing your own music, share the wealth!  Some artists need quality production of their music and they can’t afford the larger studios. This is a great way to help your fellow musicians and make money at the same time.

  10. Build your email list

    This is an age-old marketing tactic that you definitely want to incorporate into your life as an artist. You don’t want to have your fan base only connected to your social media. What if that method goes away? You’ve lost them and you have to start all over. Always have someone to market your next product or concert to by building your list. Add links to your music on iTunes or your new merch. Use ReverbNation’s mailing newsletters option to give you a professional and fun way to connect with your fans.

As an independent artist, I know that you would prefer to have all your money come from the screaming fans at your concerts or people clamoring to get your CD, but the reality is, you have to make ends meet until you finally reach your stride in your career. Take at least one of these ideas, apply it and then take that revenue and re-invest it into your career. Careful planning and monetizing every aspect of your art is the key to success in this industry. It’s time. Let’s do this!

Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq. can be reached at jo-na@jawilliamslaw.com and on Twitter. For a FREE copy of her guide “Blueprint: The Insider’s Guide to Empowering Your Career as an Artist and Ditching your 9-5 for Good” Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/iOqe1.

(Legal stuff: this article is for information purposes only. It does NOT replace the advice administered by a licensed attorney in YOUR state based on your specific situation. I know you wouldn’t assume I was your lawyer cause your mama “didn’t raise no fool.” But mine didn’t either, hence the disclaimer!)

Sam10 ways musicians make money without sacrificing creative freedom
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ReverbNation Singer/Songwriter Named New Music Seminar ‘Artists On The Verge!’

At only 22, it might seem unusual that Texas-based ReverbNation artist Maren Morris is already a veteran performer. But when you understand that she’s been onstage since she was 12, it begins to make sense. And just last week those years of writing, performing and recording payed off big time when Maren was named “Artist On The Verge” by the esteemed New Music Seminar (NMS).

The AOV contest first identified 100 talented artists — 63 of which were Reverbers (listen to their tracks here). The field was narrowed to three finalists — Black Cobain, NINJASONIK, and Maren Morris — who then performed at Santos Party House on Monday, June 18 to an enthusiastic crowd of NMS attendees and guests.

Reverb team members where there as well and got to watch all three stellar performances, plus tape a quick interview with Maren, who turned out to be super sweet, smart and talented! We’ll post the full interview in a few days, but meanwhile, watch the NMS AOV winner announcement below.  Wonder why it took her a few seconds to get on stage? She was wrapped up backstage, having a brief hello with Wyclef Jean!

“I really was so moved by all the people involved with NMS. Winning ‘Artist on the Verge’ is truly a remarkable and humbling experience for me and my music career,” said Maren. “I’m still in shock!”

“The best part of NMS is giving away the ‘Artist on the Verge’ award,” said Dave Lory, NMS Executive Director and Producer. “Maren is an incredible songwriter and vocalist and we hope the prize package gives her career a well-deserved boost.”

Just before the announcement, Maren sat down and played one of the beautiful guitars on display in the Gibson Lounge. Have a listen to her impromptu mini-concert from upstairs at NYC’s Webster Hall.

 

 

SamReverbNation Singer/Songwriter Named New Music Seminar ‘Artists On The Verge!’
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Listen: Winning Tracks from DJBooth + ReverbNation’s ‘The Flip’ Contest

Three months ago, ReverbNation teamed up with DJBooth for a contest that would give up-and-coming artists worldwide the chance to flip instrumentals from standout Reverb producer Shane Eli into fully formed, original work. DJ Booth received a great response, with approximately 1,500 submissions. After combing through all of those, they’ve selected the two winners, one artist and one producer/instrumentalist. Congrats to ‘Reverbers’ Kin4Life and Dave Lindley, who will be featured on DJBooth, be eligible to perform at BMI’s Next Fresh Thing showcase and receive a free, exclusive instrumental from Shane Eli!

Want to listen to the winning tracks? Click on the their pictures below and let them know what you think in the comments!

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Hip Hop duo Kin4Life

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Producer Dave Lindley

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Missed out on this opportunity? Don’t let that happen again. To keep up with all of the great opportunities we find for our artists, make sure to follow ReverbNation on Twitter, go to this page to check out the latest, or submit via ‘Opportunities’ in your Control Room!

SamListen: Winning Tracks from DJBooth + ReverbNation’s ‘The Flip’ Contest
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Interview with Daria Musk, the Queen of Google+ Hangouts

If you’ve heard of Google+ Hangouts, you’ve probably heard or seen Daria Musk. A Reverb artist since 2008, Daria pioneered the use of Google+ Hangouts for musicians when she hosted an 8-hour hangout concert last August (a month before will.i.am from Black Eyed Peas hosted his). On this impromptu interview in front of Kingdom Club in Austin, TX, Daria tells us about her SXSW experience and how the whole Google+ Hangouts experience happened in the first place. She also told us her favorite color.

Much like everything else that goes down at SXSW, I ran into Daria by total chance while walking on the busy streets of Austin. Her bubbly, outgoing and energetic personality made our connection that much better. I’m proud to say we became BFFs for a night.

Make sure to read our other blog posts on SXSW and watch the other cool videos on our YouTube channel!

SamInterview with Daria Musk, the Queen of Google+ Hangouts
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Meet The Revivalists — Winner of the 2012 Hang Loose Band Competition

A couple of weeks ago we let you know that the “2012 Hang Loose Band Competition,” presented by America’s premier beachfront music festival, The Hangout Music Fest, had picked the ten finalists and invited fans to vote. Well the masses have spoken and this year’s big winner is The Revivalists

The Revivalists

We’re sending our congrats out to the band and thought other Artists might enjoy hearing a little more about their success. So here’s a little background, a Q&A and link to their music so that you can take a listen.

Since forming in 2007, The Revivalists have earned their standing among the best original bands in New Orleans. The group’s blend of soulful, syncopated rock and earnest songwriting comes to life through a meticulously crafted ever-evolving live performance. In 2011 they were named Best Emerging Artist at Gambit Magazine’s Big Easy Awards. The band is proud to be included in New Orleans’ burgeoning independent, music scene.

Q. How did the band get together in the first place? 

A. Zack (guitar) and Andrew (drums) met at Tipitina’s Sunday Morning musician clinics. They had been jamming for a while when David (singer/guitar) moved into New Orleans in August ’07. David was out on his porch singing and playing guitar when Zack rolled by on his bike.  Zack stopped to enjoy the music. The two became fast friends and musical collaborators. The band had its first gig in October ’07. The other fellas were friends, jam mates, and class mates.

Q: What’s the best gig you ever played?

A: That’s a tough question. Everybody has a different favorite. It’s always great to play a huge festival stage, like when we played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for the first time two years ago, but sometimes there’s just more magic in a smoky little room in Jackson on a random Wednesday night.  I guess our shows are like children. We love them all equally, but for different reasons. Does that sound right?  None of us have kids.

Q: How did you learn about this opportunity? And what made you want to apply for it?

A: We learned about it from our ReverbNation email list and decided to apply. It’s a cool beach festival with a great lineup so we definitely wanted to play it.

Q: What was your reaction when you found out you were going to perform at Hangout?

A: We were on stage in San Francisco when our bass player got the news. He shouted, “Tommy just sold a half a million brake pads!” We all went a little nuts and then had a great set.

Q: Why do you think you stood out to the promoter?

A: Aside from our ROCKIN’ sound, we have a nice following in the Gulf Coast region. We’ve played The Hangout Venue. We love Orange Beach, Pensacola, and all the beach towns.

Q: How did you market the opportunity to your fans and get so many votes?

We made an event on Facebook and invited a lot of people, and it just kind of snowballed and took on a life of its own.  We’ve always been lucky to have such amazing friends and fans, and a lot of them really took it to heart.  We had people making their own Facebook events, or posting the link to vote with comments like “vote for The Revivalists or we’re not friends anymore.” We had aunts walking door to door around the neighborhood, friends forcing office mates into voting, famous bands, radio stations, and musicians tweeting and posting.  It was really humbling and gratifying to see so many people get behind us like that.

Q: What other advice would you give to other bands wanting to play festivals like Hangout Festival?

A: Just keep plugging away. Stay positive, stay productive, and stay busy. Work on yourself and all the other stuff will work itself out.

 

ShellyMeet The Revivalists — Winner of the 2012 Hang Loose Band Competition
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How One Band Got to SXSW Powered by Veggie Oil (Video)

When we met the bands at SXSW, we were curious to find out how they got to Austin. Some flew, some drove and some flew and drove (like the 4-piece band Mr. Bleat all the way from Medellin, Colombia). Others, like the rock band from Long Island, Blameshift, used a more unconventional method of transportation — a method that serves as an example for many on-a-budget touring bands out there: the super economical veggie oil bus. Watch the video for a tour on the bus and a small impromptu performance, then read what Blameshift members have to say about the life of a veggie oil bus owner.

We bought a Ford E350 Diesel Shuttle Bus off of Craigslist a few years ago. We found out that Diesel vehicles are capable of running on veggie oil, so we started looking into it. We ended up driving out to Salt Lake City on a tour and had the bus converted out there. We bought a 70 gallon tank which we house in the bus itself. We use a pump to transfer the used vegetable oil from the dumpsters behind restaurants to our tank. On a full tank we can drive 700 miles. It took us about 2 years of solid trial and error to perfect the art of veggie oil finding and filtering. It definitely is not easy, but with a lot of determination we now have it down to a science. It’s a great feeling for us as an independent band to be able to drive coast to coast on less than $100 and not participate in increased gas demands and rising prices. It really has allowed us the freedom to be able to tour full time which is our ultimate goal. We have logged over 100,000 miles in this bus… and counting.

Watch the full performance and other SXSW videos on our YouTube ReverbNation channel! Read our past blog posts on SXSW! More videos coming soon.

SamHow One Band Got to SXSW Powered by Veggie Oil (Video)
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