7 Useful Tips To “Earning” People’s Help

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides tips on how to earn people’s help in the music industry with his latest article from Hypebot!

7 Useful Tips To “Earning” People’s Help

Let’s face it, every young and developing artist could use some help with getting to that next level of their career – whether it’s getting a producer excited about recording your music at a discount price, or getting a well-connected consultant interested in recommending you for that audition. But to get people’s help, you must first earn their help. Remember these 7 useful tips.

1. Be Able to Show You’ve Got The Skills: If you want people to take you seriously and offer a helping hand, it pays to have some real talent. No one respects a wannabe, poser, or a dreamer.

2. Build Some Accomplishments: Everyone likes a doer! Whether getting first prize in a local battle of the bands, or attracting large crowds in local clubs, earn some stripes first. Show people that you’re not just looking for a shortcut to success. Instead, show them you can work for it.

3. Form Professional Relationships: People in positions of power are more likely to offer their help to those that they know, like, and respect. Thus, put yourself in situations where you can build important relationships. Perhaps an influential manager speaks at popular music business conferences where you can network and become engaged in an intellectual dialogue; a well-connected music supervisor teaches a university course that you can take and ace; or a savvy entrepreneur runs a PR firm where you can intern and kick total ass. Just don’t expect people you don’t know to respond to your unsolicited emails. Start building professional relationships now.

4. Don’t Flirt or Mislead: While on the general topic of networking and getting to know people, never resort to using your powers of flirtation with hopes of getting what you want (unless, of course, you are genuinely interested in having a romantic encounter). Sex sells, but if you push the tease too far, you could easily mislead people, cause yourself drama you won’t know how to handle, and gain nothing. So, always be a true professional! On the other hand, should a “person of power” make romantic gestures to you, let him or her know immediately that you are all about business first (unless, once again, you are interested romantically). Sure, doing this might lose that person’s attention and scare him or her off for good, but that’s probably for the better in the long run. To be sure, if it’s business you’re really interested in, then be businesslike at all times.

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Sound on Sound Review of Electronics Concepts, Labs, and Projects

Check out this awesome review of Electronics Concepts, Labs, and Projects from Sound on Sound, written by Hugh Robjohns!

This book provides a great introduction to audio electronics

Back when I first became interested in the world of audio, most people built much of their own equipment. Commercial recording equipment was quite rare back then, and what there was wasn’t affordable to hobbyists, so there was little option for most: we had to build our own mixers, compressors and other equipment.

Thankfully, the audio electronic technology of the day – valves, discrete transistors and, later, the early chip op amps – was relatively understandable and quite practical for home enthusiasts to embrace, and there were plenty of monthly electronics magazines back then providing countless DIY projects and guidance. In the ’70s and ’80s I built a great many guitar effects pedals, mic preamps, power amplifiers, compressors, spring reverbs, and even an entire stereo mixer. I also rebuilt a few tape recorders and guitar amps, as well as a valve-based electronic organ (the last of those tried to kill me several times!).

Today, there’s so much commercial studio equipment available at such extraordinarily low prices that only hardcore electronics enthusiasts entertain the idea of making things themselves, which I think is a great shame. Having some understanding and practical experience of electronics is a massive asset for anyone working with audio. Knowing your way around a soldering iron makes it easy to build and repair all manner of cables, saving a small fortune and solving non-standard connection issues with ease. A grasp of electronics allows basic equipment fault-finding and simple repairs, while building your own equipment (or modifying commercial products) can be hugely rewarding, and is an important skill for anyone seeking a career in the engineering side of the music industry.

If my arguments are whetting your appetite but you’re unsure where to start, then Alden Hackmann’s new book, Electronic Concepts, Labs and Projects (ISBN 9781480342439) could be just the inspiration you need. This is a book for absolute raw beginners, with no assumed prior knowledge or understanding, and it explains and illustrates the key theoretical concepts with very practical hands-on projects. To that end, the book’s introduction provides various lists of recommended tools and the components required for the many practical exercises, experiments and projects included in the book, all with Digi-Key (a well-known international supplier of electronics components) part code numbers to make it as easy as possible to get started.

To read the rest of the review, click here!


10 Effective Ways to Deal With Your Band’s Haters

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandescribes how to effectively deal with your band’s haters in his latest article from SonicBids!

10 Effective Ways to Deal With Your Band’s Haters

The internet has given rise to a whole new type of hater – one that hides behind phony usernames, blank profile images, and unwarranted jabs and comments. While most haters are fairly harmless, some of them can be seriously damaging to your band if they’re not handled correctly. Here are 10 damage control tips to quell that next unexpected hater on YouTube, Facebook, or your band’s website.

1. Ignore them

Pretend that Mr. or Ms. Hater simply doesn’t exist. Your real followers will likely give this joker a piece of their minds anyway and set the situation straight for you.

2. Be empathetic

Let your haters know that you understand not everyone is going to be your biggest fan, and that you appreciate him or her taking the time to leave a comment. Your attention to the matter and your kindness may be enough to defuse Mr. or Ms. Hater for good.

3. Offer to help

Let those haters know that if they want to get into the same line of business as you, and they feel that they have what it takes, you’d be open to hearing what they can do and offering some helpful advice. Remember that haters are usually just envious people who are in pain about their own shortcomings in their careers.

4. Take advantage

Without restating what Mr. or Ms. Hater said/wrote/posted, you might use the attention generated by the comment to respond with the exact opposite of what was said. You can remind people of all the great things you offer and all the great things you do for your fans.

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Improving your music marketing campaigns

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandetails how to improve your music marketing campaigns in his latest article from Echoes!

Improve your music marketing campaigns

There is a focused way and an unfocused way to execute music marketing campaigns. These 10 tips will help keep you focused and improve your music marketing.

Direct marketing is the process of bypassing intermediaries to communicate directly with fans, build awareness, and generate sales. Emailing tour dates, texting announcements about contests, and posting website links to your fund raisers are all direct marketing methods. Even phoning reminders about your show and mailing postcards about your record release are methods of direct marketing. But there’s so much more to direct marketing than just hitting “send.” Without careful planning, you may get zero results. To increase your return on your future music marketing campaigns, read these ten tips.

1. Test your offer

Before putting a direct marketing campaign into full swing and sending out 5,000 messages (emails, postcards, text messages), conduct research and get feedback on a small sample group. For instance, you might create three different headlines and test a different one on each of three similar groups of people (30 or more per group if possible). The headline that produces the highest response rate in the shortest amount of time should be the one you send to your larger list.

2. Use multiple direct marketing methods with optimum timing

Don’t just rely on one method of promotion, try to use two or three. This is known as multi-channel marketing. For instance, you might send out an email to your list two weeks before a show, send out postcards one week before the show, and call key fans two nights before the show. Since the recipients are hearing about your gig through a number of different sources, one after the other, you can optimize your results.

3. Provide several ways to respond

Include a number, address, email, URL, and “text to” number to provide a number of different ways by which your target customers can respond. People communicate differently. Providing various response mechanisms increases your chances for success.

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5 Easy-to-Avoid Mistakes That Are Keeping You From Becoming a Master Musician

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandescribes mistakes to avoid in the quest to become a master musician in his latest article from SonicBids!

5 Easy-to-Avoid Mistakes That Are Keeping You From Becoming a Master Musician

Master musicians are those who possess exceptional control, knowledge, and understanding of their craft. They wow audiences with every performance and bring packed houses to tears, they write and produce songs that become the soundtracks to fans’ lives, and they survive (and sometimes make fortunes) creating music for many decades. Does this sound like the level of success they you’d like to achieve – or get close to achieving? If yes, then be aware of these five easy-to-avoid mistakes that might be holding you back from your full potential.

1. Practicing your craft inconsistently

As Malcolm Gladwell eloquently states in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, anyone wanting to be a master at a craft must put in 10,000 hours of practice. While this is a no-brainer for most people, you’d be surprised at the number of musicians who don’t adhere to a regular practice schedule each day and treat rehearsals as if their life depended on them. I never missed a practice session, even if my family was on vacation or it was Christmas Day. In fact, I practiced consistently for over a decade, sometimes training up to 18 hours a day ’til my hands bled. For sure, consistency was one of the biggest reasons why I was able to get to a higher level of playing.

2. Not taking lessons

While there are many examples of musicians who excelled at their instruments without a teacher, there are countless more examples of musicians who never reached their full potential. A skilled music teacher can prevent young musicians from forming bad habits, train them to perform well in real-world situations, and so much more. Drummer Kenwood Dennard, who played with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sting, helped me to identify my musical strengths and excel at them. Kenwood even served as a mentor and inspired me to push forward when I was feeling low. Even better, he took me to jam sessions and introduced me to a variety of different pro musicians in New York City. While this was costly (around $75 per hour), most teachers (from local heroes to national pros) will agree to meeting with you monthly and/or to letting you attend group master classes where several other paying students help to minimize the overall costs. In any case, private instruction is priceless.

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Down the Rhodes Interview

Gerald McCauley is a fantastic musician. In this great Acting on Film interview with Del Weston and Mark Giardino, he talks about his new book, Down The Rhodes: The Fender Rhodes Story, music, famous players and his fight with leukemia. This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Interview. More at aoffest.com


Huffington Post Interview with Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick

Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick, two of the authors of The Pensado Papers, had a great discussion about their book with Mike Ragogna of Huffington Post. Read the rest of the interview here!

Mike Ragogna: When did all this Pensado/Trawick bromance begin?

Herb Trawick: Oh God, about twenty-five years ago in the lobby of a studio when we were both aspiring kids from the south. Dave was from Atlanta by way of Florida, I was from Kentucky by way of Montreal. We came to L.A. to make our bones and ended up in the same studio lobby accidentally. We connected there and I had a chance about a month later when somebody called me for a referral–I had just met this white guy who worked on James Brown and I thought that was pretty cool. I hadn’t heard a note, but I referred him and he went over and did a job on a hip hop record and absolutely killed it and has been hot for thirty years and we’ve been friends for that long.

Mike Ragogna: You’ve released a book, The Pensado Papers that we’ll talk about, but first, how did the television show come about?

HT: Because of our friendship, we’ve always kept in touch. I was his first manager, but he and I have been amongst a small group of best friends for a long time. We were talking career stuff at the time, he was being managed by Roc Nation and Jay-Z, this was about five years ago. We were re-examining our careers and where we were going to go, we’d been blessed these last three years. In the middle of that, Dave had a brain incident that put him down for a little bit. He had a miraculous recovery and since we were talking careers, I tried to come up with something he could deal with from home, and deal with these prodigious, outsized talents that he has. By fate one of our friends worked at a digital network and heard about this idea I had for him to just stay at home. They sent an email and said, “We’d like to do this as a show.” They were putting out online television from this little broadcast studio. We only did it because in Dave’s case he didn’t necessarily want to spend the money to capture the contents of the idea that I had for him to stay at home, so I said, “Well, let me cut a deal, we’ll go over here, this will last maybe three months and we’ll be able to cut some content and we’ll be able to get it started and everybody will be happy and you won’t have to write a check.” Three months is now five years, two hundred episodes, a hundred and eighty seven countries, a hundred and fifty school around the globe and it’s just turned into an amazing ride, an example of digital media and a huge platform that continues to grow every day. It’s the most amazing thing that either one of us have dealt with in our career.

Dave Pensado: And let me just add, there were several things that I found interesting from an insider/outsider perspective. One was that when Herb and I started we were just trying to be entertaining, but from the very beginning Herb was like, “Man, if I’m going to be involved it’s got to be good TV.” So we patterned the show originally after Charlie Rose. Every day Herb would give me broadcaster lessons, so I’ve grown to really enjoy the process of sitting in front of cameras and disseminating and sharing information. I want to give my partner full credit for insisting from the beginning that everything be done right. The business part was perfect, the financial elements were perfect, and first and foremost it was going to be quality television. I think that kind of helped separate us a little bit from the rest of the pack. We weren’t trying to make an interesting YouTube video, we were going for NBC. I know that sounds arrogant, and I’m not saying we’ve reached that yet, but that was probably the foundation upon which the show grew. Plus the fact that my friends and Herb’s friends in the industry really helped us out. All the top names in audio, engineers and producers and artists, just saw a value in it that early on I didn’t see. It really helped us get this thing to where it is today.