Now Available from Backbeat Books: AC/DC FAQ!

AC/DC FAQ spans AC/DC’s 40-year career, starting from the band’s inception in 1973. This book covers everything from their early days in Australia to their first tour of England and the United States. It also includes personal experiences, stories, conversations, and interviews by author Susan Masino, who has known the band since 1977.

Featuring 37 chapters, AC/DC FAQ chronicles the personal history of each of the band members, all their albums, tours, and various anecdotes. Rebounding from the tragic loss of their singer Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson and went on to record Back in Black, which is now one of the top five biggest-selling albums in music history. Taking a seven-year break after their album Stiff Upper Lip, the band came back in the fall of 2008 with a new album,Black Ice, and a tour that ran from 2008 through the summer of 2010. Once again breaking records, AC/DC saw the Black Ice Tour become the second-highest-grossing tour in history. True rockers from the very beginning, AC/DC will continue to be heralded as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.

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6 Types of Music Promotion You Might Be Overlooking

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandescribes types of music promotion you might be overlooking in his latest article from SonicBids!

6 Types of Music Promotion You Might Be Overlooking

You’ve probably been told a million times by now that internet marketing (i.e., social networking, posting videos, getting reviews on blogs) is one of the most convenient and low-cost methods of promotion today. But it’s also a highly competitive space, filled to the brim with artists fighting for even the tiniest sliver of attention. Therefore, if you want to actually get seen and heard, it’s wise to even out your promotional campaign with a blend of both offline and online strategies. Are you overlooking these six effective methods of marketing your music?

1. Personal selling

Personal selling is the process of getting eye-to-eye with target customers and influencing them to act. It’s used when you have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with fans or business contacts to communicate the benefits of your products and ultimately make sales. Setting up “meet and greets” with your fans at local retail stores to promote your album or inviting a music supervisor out to lunch to discuss possible placements can produce tremendous results, especially if you’re charming, witty, talented, and a good salesperson.

2. Direct marketing

Direct marketing is a system by which organizations bypass intermediaries and communicate directly with end users to generate sales. It’s used when you have a well-targeted database of names and your target audience responds well to one-on-one communications. Snail mail, texting, and even telemarketing are all methods of direct marketing. On the latter note, when is the last time you went through your database of fans and personally called people to remind them about an upcoming show? You probably haven’t, and neither have many other bands – and that’s precisely why this method can potentially work well for you.

3. Radio promotion

Radio promotion is the process of soliciting your music to radio stations to get airplay, build professional relationships, and make fans. It’s used when you have master quality recordings, want to form solid relationships with DJs who are well-connected in your geographic area, and want to be broadcasted to potentially thousands of people in one spin. While regular-rotation commercial radio stations are a tough nut to crack, more viable mediums include college radio, National Public Radio (NPR), satellite radio, and commercial specialty shows (i.e., “locals only” type shows that air late night on weekends on commercial stations). Not only will the DJs play your music, but they can also arrange interviews, invite you to perform live on-air, and even announce your local gigs, contests, and news updates.

Read the rest of the article here!

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Listen: Boze Hadleigh on Pop Culture Tonight with Patrick Phillips!!

Boze Hadleigh, author of An Actor Succeeds talks with Patrick Phillips of “Pop Culture Tonight” about his new book!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00122491An Actor Succeeds is a very special collection containing all the best trade secrets of the biggest and most successful film and theater professionals. Presented in an informative format, An Actor Succeeds is a useful yet entertaining how-to, tips-and-advice book comprising nearly 900 quotes mostly from actors but also directors, writers, casting directors, and more. The book is conveniently divided into five chapters: Acting, Auditioning, Connecting, Working, and Coping. Here’s a sampling of quotes from each section:

 

Acting

“Of course we all learn that acting is basically reacting. The least acting you ever have to do is in a close-up. The close-up may require an actor’s reaction, but a small, subtle one. Generally speaking, the less you ‘act’ in a close-up, the better.”    -Sir John Gielgud

Connecting

“Acting, especially in motion pictures, is very hierarchical, like a caste system. The stars are royalty, the other actors are serfs-okay, commoners… If you’re not a big shot, you gotta be careful not to push or intrude. You gotta watch what you say, how you say it, and, especially, when you say it.” -Bruce Dern

Working

“Acting in front of a camera or a live audience requires intense concentration, to shut out the real world and create the character’s reality. Focus is just as important for an actor as for a cinematographer.” -Keira Knightley

Coping

“Partly I got into show business to become rich and famous and thus show up anyone who’d treated me badly growing up. But doesn’t one evolve with maturity? My focus ultimately changed from negative to positive, as I found that I enjoyed the work, even the struggle, for its own sake.” -Michael Landon

How I Did It: Establishing a Playwrighting Career

Applause Theatre & Cinema Books has recently published How I Did It: Establishing a Playwriting Career, edited by Lawrence Harbison. The book features many interviews with successful playwrights, all conducted by Harbison.

Check out the Foreword of this new Applause book, written by Theresa Rebeck!

Foreword

How do playwrights get their start? Where does the idea of being a playwright even come from, and then how does one start?

Once someone starts writing, how does that person figure out how to get a raw new play from a complete nobody to a place where someone produces it? And then what happens? And then what?

In a series of interviews that are chock full of the kind of information that other playwrights want to hear, Larry Harbison poses these questions to some of America’s finest contemporary playwrights. In conversations that range from a discussion of what kind of temp work you were doing when you started out as a playwright to how you got your first agent, and from who gave you a hand up to the thrill or heartbreak of that first production, Harbison focuses on the mysterious moment when a playwright steps out of that chrysalis and starts to emerge.

The designation emerging playwright is so commonplace that no one is quite sure what it means. Intuitively, one might think it means a playwright who nobody’s ever heard of. Or, a playwright whose plays are pretty good, but who has never had a production.

Or, a playwright who’s had a couple of productions in smaller venues but is hoping to get into a bigger house. Or, a playwright who has had a couple of productions but has made no money at all at it and still harbors the fantasy that someday someone might actually pay him or her to do this. 

Or, a playwright who is teaching playwriting at a university but struggles to get his or her own work into production. 

Recently, I was told that emerging playwright doesn’t mean any of that. Apparently, some people think an emerging playwright is actually a playwright who has already emerged enough to get the attention of people who might agree that this emerged playwright could use some help emerging further. Which means, I guess, that we need another word for what happens before that. Aspiring? Depressed? Hopeful? Wannabe?

People seem very concerned about these designations. Right now, the ones in vogue are emerging playwright, midcareer playwright, and master playwright. Although I have a friend who had a couple of strong pops straight out of graduate school, and since then, not much. She calls herself a “submerged playwright.” Frankly she’s not the only one who worries about submerging; anything past “emerging” and before “master” is a little worrisome. Will you make it through “mid career” or will you fall away into teaching or raising children or (oh no!) television?

That is not our concern today. Today we are looking at the moment when some of our most compelling playwrights emerged. Their stories are simply told, with appropriate attention to detail, which Harbison nurses out of them with a shrewd eye. They are in fact the stories that every young playwright wants to know. How does that moment happen?

It’s hard to emerge. As I read these interviews, they reminded me of a little bird, pecking like hell to get out of its egg and get on with things. We are right to be obsessed with the question of emergence. I’m also struck by the way the word “emergence” glides so effortlessly into the word “emergency.” There is no question that climbing out of that shell is essential to life; you will suffocate in there if you don’t make it out. 

But there are ways to get out of that shell. Harbison and his pantheon of playwrights have information about that. 

Theresa Rebeck

September 20, 2014

HOW I DID IT F-COV FINAL

Happy birthday, Neil Sedaka!

Neil Sedaka, whose long list of chart-topping hits includes “Calendar Girl,” “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen,” and “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” turns 75 today.  In his book, Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear, Rich Podolsky describes the moment Don and his partner at Alson Records, Al Nevins, first met Neil.  The rest, you could say, is music history.

The chill of being rejected by Hill and Range still stung but Neil and Howie were desperate for a chance, and so they headed right down to Aldon Music. When they opened the door, they saw a closet-size office with boxes all over the floor and two desks pushed together in the middle of the room. Shoved against the wall was an upright piano. To Neil, Aldon looked to have been in business only a couple of days, and the office wasn’t ready yet for walk-ins.

“We’d like to see the publisher,” Neil asked a young guy with his sleeves rolled up. He was sweeping the floor.

The guy leaned on his broom. “We’re in conference. Come back in an hour.”

They agreed, and as they walked down the hallway Neil muttered to Howie, “I think the conference is, ‘How are we going to pay for this office.'”

Don put the broom in a small closet and rolled down his sleeves. “They should be back soon,” he told Al, and buttoned his cuffs. A little while later there was a knock at the door.

“It’s open,” Don called, and the two kids came inside.

Words rushed from the short one’s mouth as if he were a door-to-door salesman who might get the boot any second.

“I’m Neil Sedaka and this is Howard Greenfield. I study at Juilliard. We’ve been writing together for five years and have had several songs published and recorded.”

“Like what?” Al wanted to know.

“Well, we’ve sold several R & B songs to Atlantic for Clyde McPhatter, Laverne Baker, and the Clovers,” Neil replied.

“And just recently Dinah Washington came out with our song ‘Never Again,'” Howie added.

Al shot a look at Don that said, I find that hard to believe. “Really?” he asked. Don jumped in. They’d find out in a minute whether the boys had something to offer. He pointed to the upright in the corner. “Okay, let’s hear what you’ve got.”

Neil took his place behind the piano and positioned the chair so he was half sitting, half standing. It reminded Don of how Bobby [Darin] had played the first time they were at Natalie [Twersky]’s place.

Neil played a few songs, which Don thought were good. When the kid was a few bars into the next one, “Stupid Cupid,” the bell went off in Don’s head. Neil banged out the notes in a rousing rendition of a song Don instantly knew teenagers would love. And he knew just the person to record it. 

Stupid Cupid you’re a real mean guy,

I’d like to clip your wings so you can’t fly . . .

Hey, hey, set me free,

Stupid Cupid stop pickin’ on me.

Don looked at Al to see his reaction, but his parter did not look happy.

“Where’d you get those songs?” Al demanded.

“What do you mean?” Neil asked. He looked shocked as he turned to face the challenge. “We wrote them, that’s where. We’ve written over five hundred songs in the last three years. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler.”

“Excuse us for a moment,” Don said. He was totally blown away. Ertegun was a founder of Atlantic Records and Wexler was one of his partners.

While Neil and Howie waited by the piano, Don pulled Al aside. “Did you hear that song, Al?” Don whispered. That song’s a hit! This is exactly the kind of talent I knew was out there. Did you ever see such talent? I can’t believe nobody’s signed them.”

“Even if they did write those songs,” Nevins said, then paused and glanced over. “Just look at them. They look like pishers.”

“I don’t care what they look like,” Don whispered urgently. “We need to sign them.”

Al’s eyes narrowed for a moment. He was silent. “Okay,” he said at last, “but this is your deal, not mine.”

“Fine. This is what I told you I’d do for you. You won’t be sorry.”

They strolled back to the boys standing beside the piano.

“We think you’ve really got something,” Don said, “and we want to sign you to write exclusively for Aldon Music. We’ll give you each fifty dollars a week against future royalties. We’ll publish your songs and help get them placed.”

Howie was about to say something, but Neil put a hand on his friend’s arm and looked around at the boxes and the dust. Don could see the kid was skeptical.

“You get us a hit and then we’ll sign.”

“I’ll get you that hit,” Don promised. “Come back here in a couple of days. I want to introduce you to an old friend of mine. Her name is Connie Francis.”

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How to gig more without overexposing yourself

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandescribes how to perform more without overexposing yourself in his latest article from DiscMakers!

How to gig more without overexposing yourself

You should leave your fans wanting more, so if you want to perform live more than once a month, here are four strategies to fill up your performance schedule without saturating the market

To avoid overexposing your band in a market, you should limit your performances, perhaps performing once a month in your local territory and working hard to make each gig an explosive night to remember. The rule of thumb is quality before quantity, and leave your fans wanting more. However, if you desire to perform live more than just once every month, there are plenty of ways to fill up your performance schedule without saturating a popular market. Four basic strategies you should consider include:

  1. A club residency
  2. Alternate format performances
  3. Dual territory performances
  4. A tour

1. Club residency

In a club residency, a promoter will typically give an artist the opportunity to perform once a week or twice a month in his venue with the hope that the extra exposure will generate word-of-mouth promotion and build up local demand. This is an excellent opportunity to test material, work on arrangements and set orders, and gauge your songs’ impact on an audience — and it could be a situation where a promoter is forgiving of a partially empty club. But if you fail to promote effectively and fail to grow your crowd each week and keep up your end of the bargain, the club residency can quickly be terminated and relationship with the promoter forever damaged.

2. Alternate format performance

With an alternate format strategy, you perform two or three times monthly in a market, but you do it using non-competing formats of your music. For instance, an indie artist might play one club or territory with her full electric band the first week, and then do a more intimate acoustic solo performance in the same territory on the third week. This can be a pretty cool way to get fans to keep you at the top of their minds, and an excellent way of building a fan base by targeting different types of venues and catering to the people likely to frequent one type of club over another. However, you must monitor your audience and make sure your efforts are increasing attendance rather than creating competition between your own live performances.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

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Listen: Leonard Pierce on Pop Culture Tonight with Patrick Phillips!!

Leonard Pierce, author of If You Like the Sopranos… talks with Patrick Phillips of “Pop Culture Tonight” about the portrayal of villains and criminals in television! Listen to their discussion about the rise of the antagonist!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

IYLsopranosThe best-loved crime family in America is just part of a grand tradition of mob movies, gangster flicks, great television dramas, and a sensibility that is part Sicily and part New Jersey.

If You Like the Sopranos… is the first book that starts with Tony and the gang in their humble homes in the Garden State and explores the astonishing amount of great films, TV shows, and other pop-culture wonders that any fan of the Sopranos will love. From The Godfather andBonnie and Clyde to The Wire, to lesser-known noirs, Jimmy Cagney classics, contemporary HBO dramas, Martin Scorsese’s best work, and even the rock’n’roll that inspired the classicSopranos soundtrack, this is the one book that every fan needs if he or she ever has to go on the lam.