Bono’s Clever Use of Eyewear

There are some celebrities that you simply identify with sunglasses. They use glasses so often that they literally become part of their persona. Many people think of celebrities, such as James Dean, when they think about sunglasses and celebrities. But in modern times, there is one celebrity that you almost never see without sunglasses. U2…

There are some celebrities that you simply identify with sunglasses. They use glasses so often that they literally become part of their persona. Many people think of celebrities, such as James Dean, when they think about sunglasses and celebrities. But in modern times, there is one celebrity that you almost never see without sunglasses. U2 frontman Bono is always wearing them! In fact, many people might not even recognize Bono without his glasses. This is, of course, very unusual for one of the most instantly recognizable faces in the world. But somehow Bono has achieved this singularly unique feat!

Bono Has Made The Most Out His Sunglasses!

Just how inseparable has Bono and his sunglasses become? When Bono was photographed with Pope John Paul II, he gave the Pope a pair. In fact, the Pope asked them! Few celebrities have made better use out of eyewear than Bono, plain and simple.

A Cultural Icon

All of these facts highlight how sunglasses, including those with polarized lenses, have become part of our cultural lexicon. Certain types of eyewear are used to make various types of statements. In this way, eyewear has been used to instantly convey a great deal of meaning and even cultural history. It can do so in a way that people around the world understand. Bono has definitely contributed to this phenomenon.

The Right Lenses Matter a Great Deal

Recently, polarized glasses, such as those manufactured by Arnette, have become increasingly popular. Yet, many people are still confused regarding polarization, and you may yourself even asked, “What are polarized sunglasses?” These types of sunglass lenses block out a great deal of glare, which makes them absolutely perfect for a range of different activities. Whether it is driving or playing sports, having on a pair of polarized lenses will make a difference in cutting down glare. In fact, many athletes use these type of glasses to enhance their performance.

Lens Repair Should Be Your First Option

Having high-quality eyewear does not come cheaply, and this means that if your sunglasses get damaged, you should not just opt ​​to buy new ones. There are other options, for example, lens replacement. Opting to replace your lenses is the kind of move that will save you a great deal of money. So the next time that you scratch or damage your lenses, it is important that your first step is to think about lens repair instead of buying new eyeglasses outright.

I Know How To Bring Female Rappers Together

What is detrimental to the success of future female rappers is unity within the world of Hip-Hop / Rap music and entertainment between female rappers. A wider spectrum of female presence in Hip-Hop music and entertainment can be produced through education, membership association, and community support, however, this is one of the greatest challenges to…

What is detrimental to the success of future female rappers is unity within the world of Hip-Hop / Rap music and entertainment between female rappers. A wider spectrum of female presence in Hip-Hop music and entertainment can be produced through education, membership association, and community support, however, this is one of the greatest challenges to entertainment in the twenty-first century. There should exist an international organization geared towards the development and support of the people, agencies, organizations and corporations that plan, build, maintain, and improve our communities of female rappers. Working together, these groups contribute to a higher and sustainable quality of female music entertainment and life.

A wider spectrum of female presence in Hip-Hop music and entertainment through education, membership, and community support is detrimental, however, this is one of the greatest challenges to entertainment in the twenty-first century. There should have existed years ago and in the present day, an organization that is geared towards creating and international association of female rappers that will facilitate, develop and support the people, agencies, organizations and corporations that plan, build, maintain, and improve our communities of female rappers. If more organizations worked in unison, those unions would contribute to a higher and sustainable quality of female music entertainment and life. With support from more corporations on a wider scale, as opposed to the old one-female-at-a-time method, the organizations would be better able to allocate funding for scholarship opportunities to women and girls who are pursuing a degree or degrees in any accredited programs such as but not limited to: public speaking or relations, broadcast journalism, and mass communications.

I am very fortunate to hear and know about the few grassroots operations that are uniquely positioning them in an effort to create valuable connections and solutions or those serving our communities through leadership, education, music entertainment, and through public works. The types of organizations that can assist female rappers to make their dreams come true are actually opposite of the mainstream record labels. A good, viable organization should offer members an unparallel network for information, education, professional development, advocacy, and social interaction. They should also utilize the wide and varied expertise of an active and knowledgeable group of members and dedicated staff and be willing to develop and provide programs, products, and services for the benefit of the overall female presence in the Hip-Hop music and entertainment community . The kind of organization that could really benefit all female rappers should have a diverse group of directors so that the platform it thrives from will consist of members who embrace and demonstrate several core values ​​that will not be compromised. Among these are: diversity, inclusiveness, and partnership.

They should most definitely demonstrate a commitment to diversity, including background, education, training, experience, generation, and geography. A dedicated to serving the breadth of women and girls who are committed to establishing and sustaining positive, key roles in Hip-Hop / Rap music and entertainment as well as education and public works is vital. Female rappers need to know that there is an organization or even a corporation that is firmly committed to operating as a family of professionals and practitioners to serve the global emergence of the female presence into the Hip-Hop / Rap music and entertainment community.

The governance and leadership structures must ensure that all members have a voice and an opportunity to serve the association and profession. Partnership is critical to the mission of this association as its success is dependent upon the effective partnership of professional and practitioner, national and chapter, staff and volunteer, and other organizations with aligned missions. Together, female rappers and these organizations could all serve our communities through commitment to the field of standardized female music and entertainment. Based on this shared understanding of who, what, when, and why female rappers stand a part from one another you may now spread the word about how beneficial a serious association of sisterhood is to all female rappers worldwide. What are we waiting for?

How Fast Can I Get a Record Deal?

How FAST you get your record deal, often depends on the STEPS you've taken – and the TYPE of deal you're after. It's useful to know the PROS, CONS, and what you're in for. I signed my first major record deal as independent songwriter and producer in 2009 – a 4-year international producer's license -…

How FAST you get your record deal, often depends on the STEPS you've taken – and the TYPE of deal you're after. It's useful to know the PROS, CONS, and what you're in for.

I signed my first major record deal as independent songwriter and producer in 2009 – a 4-year international producer's license – only 7-DAYS after submitting my first demo.

BUT – it took me years of preparation BEFORE that, to get that result – and I had e specific objective in mind.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Boost your profile and credibility as an unsigned artist

Try out for smaller opportunities first – a single on a compilation CD, synchronization deals for a soundtrack, placement in film or advertising – or opening live for big acts. This way you'll have some evidence suggesting that you could succeed, to include on your bio when submitting demo's to major record companies, and broaden your possibilities.

2. Understand the difference between MAJOR and INDIE

A major record deal signing, might get you in the headlines, and on the world stage – but will be significantly harder to get – competition is tough at the top and requirements, very unforgiving – you'll have to be one of a select few , worldwide.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take in pursuit of such a deal, to get you within closer range, with a better shot at it. Make sure you understand the PROS and CONS though.

Major deals require exclusive rights to you as artist, for the company signing you – often signed for long terms like 4 or 5 years, or multiple albums. The rules and requirements can be very one-sided depending what you sign with, in favor of the company, and if you are not a top seller on the world charts, you're not likely to make much income from albums sales.

The record company sponsors their resources for such deal, and there before have the first right to your income, applying it as they deem fit – before paying you any royalties. It's not uncommon for artists to receive between 2% & 8% only of profit as a first-time newly signed artist – in exchange for fame and a fan club – meaning you'll have to resort to shows, for making your living. As you become more in demand, you might be able to negotiate better terms.

An Indie Deal on the other hand (Independent signing, with a lesser known record label or professional studio) can offer you better, shorter terms, sometimes with less risk (but not always) – and offer you more artistic freedom and expression – provided the label or studio is any good. Some of them require you to partially fund your own campaign though, for a greater share of the returns, but also more risk.

An Indie deal can be useful though in using that label or studio's contacts and track record, as a stepping stone for pursuing or negotiating your own Major deal later. Some Indie Labels are quite successful on their own though, and earn their artists enough money and publicity in certain select cases, that they never opt for a Major – but it all depends on your goals, preferences and wants as an artist.

3. Start from the END you want, and work your way backwards

A sure-fire, fail-proof way to get the attention of any Major OR Indie Label, is to start an artist campaign yourself, and slowly grow it to proportions where a label or record boss finally takes notice of you.

With the proliferation of easy tools available online to unsigned artists these days. If you can do this well, by always working on progressing your TALENT first, and then using low-cost or even free ways to build a fan club, following, records, singles for sale online, shows and even merchandise – you'll accumulate stats and a track record which may get the attention of A & R managers, scanning social media and the web for new undiscovered talent.

To have your own blog, YouTube video, and at least one single for sale – or even some songs uploaded to free websites like SoundCloud – you can build a community of fans worldwide, without having to spend any money, or waiting to have a Grammy -produced album.

It's the little things you do daily, 10-15-minutes every day, using these free tools, which will slowly help you accumulate some credentials worth noting. An unsigned artist with a YouTube video (even if not big-budget), some songs for download or sale, and a hundred fans or two – is much more likely to attract the record bosses' attention – and swing a decision in your favor.

Record companies are looking to sign, promote and sell a total act, for a profit. If you already have some trraction, having invested some of your own time and effort, it makes their work much easier – and a decision more logical.

4. Update your social media profiles, synchronize, and syndicate them to A & R platforms –

The ways of traditional music publishing are changing dramatically and permanently – social media has probably created more overnight stars in the last four years, than even some Major Record Companies in the last 40.

To not have a social media presence and following, is as good as career suicide today – you are simply losing out on too many opportunities to get noticed, connected, and even earn some good money in pursuit of, or to fund your own major break .

There are online platforms and communities today, most of them free to sign up to, which will put you in direct touch with record labels all over the world, expressing scouting for new unsigned talent there, or connecting you to millions of fans and music lovers , in some instances paid to listen to and rate your songs.

Accumulate enough plays, ratings and fans – and it becomes very hard for record labels to keep ignoring you, or tossing your demo in the bin. How long it takes, or how FAST you can get a Record Deal, is COMPLETELY up to YOU. Take matters into your own hands and do not WAIT for your big break – CREATE it instead.

Get started NOW – it's the small, daily, incremental steps – which will engineer your inevitable big break.

Five Ways for a Small Band to Get Noticed in the Music Industry

Five Ways for a Small Band to Get Noticed Television shows like The X Factor might have given us unrealistic expectations about what it takes to be famous. You may be tempted to assume that music career jobs are a well-defined four-step process. One, tell a sad story; two, belt out a couple of tunes;…

Five Ways for a Small Band to Get Noticed

Television shows like The X Factor might have given us unrealistic expectations about what it takes to be famous. You may be tempted to assume that music career jobs are a well-defined four-step process. One, tell a sad story; two, belt out a couple of tunes; three, receive the backing of Simon Cowell's millions; four, live happily ever after.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) it's not as easy or as mind-numbing as that. Starting up a band with your friends and playing a few shows is an integral part of growing up for a lot of people. Following the footsteps of your musical heroes out on stage is certainly a lot of fun. But a lot of people make a lot of mistakes when they try to take their band more seriously.

Remember, sustainable careers in music are some of the most difficult to find in the world so if you're going to have a success, you've got to do everything it takes. Here is a list of the five things every small band should do if they want to get noticed.

Play as Many Gigs as Is Humanly Possible

The gig is the small band's ultimate marketing tool. Playing gigs is your chance to showcase your talent and your songs, and the more gigs you play, the more chance you have of making a good impression.

Of course when we say play as many gigs as possible, we mean within the parameters of your genre. If you're starting up a technical death metal band, it's probably best not to book a slot at a local jazz club – you will not go down well. Use reliable promoters who'll put you on the bill with bands that are similar to you.

Do not be discouraged by slow progress either. Expect to play a couple of gigs where the only audience is a few of your friends and a drunken old man sipping cheap lager in the corner. It happens to all bands and it does not necessarily mean you're doing anything wrong.

Use Social Media

Social media has completely changed our ability to promote ourselves. Social media can be used as extremely effective free advertising. It gives you the space to showcase your songs and other promotional materials, publicize your gigs and interact with your growing fan base.

Take a page out of the book of Enter Shikari. Without ever signing to a record label, Enter Shikari did all of their early promotion through Myspace and self-released their very successful first album.

Social media is fast-paced and forever changing so always look out for new opportunities to get exposure for your band. Offering free downloads of your songs can be a great way to get new people listening to your music. We have a whole article on how artists and bands can use social media to their benefit here.

Do not Waste Money

This next one might sound counter-intuitive but sometimes, especially early on in your band's career, it can pay to be very frugal. There is a temptation for many bands to spend lots on recording at a top-notch studio or have a music video made.

For a start-up band there are very cheap ways of doing this sort of thing without much noticeable difference in quality. Recording at a great studio will make a big difference, but this is only worth doing when you have a finished product and you're sending out your music to people who really matter in the hope to get signed. When you're just showing yourself and building your following, home recordings and videos are a great way to go – get up as much content of yourself online as you can- and do not worry about trying to make it perfect. People just want content to watch and listen to and they also enjoy the journey; watching you improve as an artist.

Give your band the time to grow before you start pumping money into it. It can be very disheartening to find that you've spent a lot of money and not really seen any benefit from it. It's a much better idea to focus yourself on being a great band before you start trying to buy your popularity.

Broaden Your Horizons

You do not have to do the same things week-in, week-out. It's a much better idea to try out new things to broaden your appeal.

If acoustic versions of your songs work then consider playing some acoustic gigs. These are an ideal way to showcase your material in a different light, and could win you some fans who would otherwise never get the opportunity to see you.

Another option is the open-mic night. Open-mic nights will often see you mixed in with artists highly different to you but this just gives you the chance to play to a different type of crowd. Try to do things that other artists and bands are not doing to promote yourself, be yourself and let your band's true personality shine through. If you are a little bit weird, that's probably a good thing, let people see that! Look at what it is that your favorite bands have done to promote themselves and see if you can do what they've done better.

Support Other Local Bands

Probably the most important thing you can do as a small band (other than practicing constantly and writing amazing songs) is supporting other local bands like yours. If you're only interested in playing your music and signing autographs you are not going to make any friends.

When it comes to promotion, nothing beats word-of-mouth. Your aim should always be getting more people ready to say good things about your band. If you support other local artists then they are always more likely to support you as well and this can be invaluable tool.

The Rock Music Legend

The Rock Music era was responsible for many of the timeless songs that we all automatically know when we hear them on the radio today. Everything from the early pre-rock evolution like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, the real popularization of the genre with The Beatles and all the way through the 70s and 80's,…

The Rock Music era was responsible for many of the timeless songs that we all automatically know when we hear them on the radio today. Everything from the early pre-rock evolution like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, the real popularization of the genre with The Beatles and all the way through the 70s and 80's, the world famous rock groups made some of the greatest hits that the music industry ever saw. Even today, they are still “better” songs than most new music coming out. The musicians and artists of this era had something really special that is not usually evident in modern music. I believe it was a mindset that differs from that of today's artists. Back then, the industry was all about feeling, emotion, sending a poetic message, and essentially a lifestyle. Although some newer artists can relate to some of those aspects, overall, what drives the music industry is money and ratings in today's world.

If you were to poll a group of people, I can guarantee that all of them have some kind of rock music either on their mp3 players, or in their house somewhere. It is engrained into our lives and influences the way we live our lives. It is everywhere you go. Whether you're at a hockey game, listening to radio stations, at parties, or wherever else, it is dominant over all other types of music.

There was a point in time during the 90's when pop music like Britney Spears and The Backstreet Boys was extremely popular and may have slowly drowned out the influence of the Rock Genre on radio stations, but it was still there. Even with Eminem's debut of hardcore rap music and the birth of hiphop culture, Rock music was right there beside those other music genres still going strong.

In the electronic music era of the present, we are seeing the reintroduction of Rock music coming back into our lives more and more in the form of sampling. Artists are using small clips of older Rock music or musical phrasing within their own genres of music to create common ground with listeners, and just because it sounds cool! From the electronic dance music genre, to R & B, hiphop, and alternative types of new music coming out today, they all use sampling to relate to their audiences. Why is that? Could it be that Rock music has been around for such a long time, and is preferred by so many people that the only way to have the majority of people listened to your music is to add their “favorite flavor” to it to interest them?

It is a shame that more of the Indie Rock Artists who create music today are not recognized in the mainstream music industry. Some of them have some real potential. You can be guaranteed that one day, those bands will become popular again though. It is only a matter of time before Rock music is once again the biggest thing in the music industry. I believe that many other music genres come and go in their own period of time, but Rock Music, the very soul of music, will always be the choice of most people.

Coated Guitar Strings

Ever since Elixir launched coated guitar strings in the late 1990's, other manufacturers have been well behind the 8-ball when it comes to staking their own claim to a piece of this lucrative market. Major guitar string brands have still been launching their versions as recently as this year (Ernie Ball launched their 'Cobalt' covered…

Ever since Elixir launched coated guitar strings in the late 1990's, other manufacturers have been well behind the 8-ball when it comes to staking their own claim to a piece of this lucrative market. Major guitar string brands have still been launching their versions as recently as this year (Ernie Ball launched their 'Cobalt' covered range in January 2012) some 15 years after they first hit the market. With these strings retailing at close to twice the price of conventional uncoated strings, it's a profitable space, which is growing healthily every year.

When we talk of coated strings, we are referring to the final stage of the manufacturing process, which involves applying a thin polymer coating to each individual wound string. The application of this polymer coating achieves two main things: Firstly, it dramatically extends the string's life by protecting the string from corrosion caused by dirt, grime, sweat and general decay; Secondly, it changes (in some cases fairly drastically) the tone of the strings and therefore the overall sound of the guitar. Protecting the strings from corrosion can dramatically extend the life of the string, with most manufacturers claiming an extended lifespan of some 4-5 times. It's at this point that most guitarists consider the higher retail price to actually represent better value than their traditional counterparts, but that's only a good thing if they can deal with the different tone most covered strings produce ..

Whatever guitarists like the different tone that covered strings afford is a divisive issue. Plenty of people just do not like the increased middle and all round 'warmth' they get from coated strings, preferring the long sustain and bright sharpness they get from their traditional strings. Others, would probably still choose coated strings even if they offered no extended life benefits, purely because of that added warmth and rich tone which covered strings offer. Horses for courses, as they say. It should also be noted that changes in technology have asserted in vast reductions in the thinness of the coat which is applied to the newer coated strings (the thinner the coat the less significant any impact on tone) and the latest iterations offer 'microscopically thin' coatings which, it is claimed, sound identical to traditional strings. So that's all the benefit of the extended lifespan, with negligible impact on a guitar's tone.

Elixir are greatly regarded as the father of coated strings. Not only did they pioneer the product some 15 years ago but they manufacture coated strings exclusively. This has previously allowed for a level of specialization and innovation that other manufacturers just could not match – particularly those who manufacture a wide range of other products such as guitars, accessories and amplifiers. However, in just the last few years other major players have finally begun to launch their own covered lines onto the market – D'Addario with their EXP 'Extended Play' strings, Ernie Ball with their Cobalt range, DR Strings with their Dragon Skin coating and Martin Strings with their LifeSpan range. In some cases the technologies and innovation involved in manufacturing these new strings shows little in common with how the product was made just a decade ago, suggesting that Elixir may not have things their own way in the next few years, despite their huge 'first mover 'advantage.

This article was written by David French of String Center.

5 Secrets for Selling More Music Online

The music business is complicated and competitive enough for unsigned artists looking to get their big break. If you plan on making a decent or profitable living from selling your music online, these 5 industry secrets will bring you within closer range and give you a better chance at living your dreams – without chasing…

The music business is complicated and competitive enough for unsigned artists looking to get their big break.

If you plan on making a decent or profitable living from selling your music online, these 5 industry secrets will bring you within closer range and give you a better chance at living your dreams – without chasing your tail, wasting your money, selling your soul, or signing your rights away.

1. Traffic

Something you'll never have enough of, to convert into sales.

The problem, as an unknown, unsigned artist, is that nobody knows who you are, or where and how to find you.

There is NO DEMAND for you or your music yet. You simply do not exist to the market – no matter how good you might be, or what reviews you might get from a grateful of fans.

This is why so many new, unsigned artists are willing to sign all their rights and profits away to big record companies, in exchange for some headline exposure, publicity and fans.

There is an easier, quicker, more profitable and lasting way – if you do it right.

Instead of looking to promote and sell your original music, starting unknown and from scratch – which will take bottomless amounts of time, efforts and funding – try to apply for the rights, and tap into existing mass volumes of online demand and search engine traffic , for popular, existing cover songs by famous artists.

This may seem counter-intuitive – but it will help you establish a worldwide fan club, and lots of TRAFFIC to later convert into sales for your own original music – at no cost, and the click of a button. This is a formula MANY independent, unsigned artists use very successfully to propel them to future fame, or get signed by a major label.

2. Copyright

There are three types of rights you can apply for – to get permission for covering an existing hit song, legally, and earn some money from it to finance your dreams:

• Mechanical – permission to record or re-record the song
• Synchronization – permission to record and use it in a music video
• Performance – permission to broadcast or perform the song publicly or online

In all instances, it allows you to make MONEY from these songs, in return for a small percentage royalty payable to the copyright owner on sales – and no lawsuits to worry about.

It can cost anywhere between $ 15 – $ 30 per single, to apply for copyright clearance, and obtain permission to record, perform and sell these songs as “your own” (due rights, property and credit to the owner), and anywhere between 10% – 50% royalties on all sales, to the original owner.

Considering that most popular hit cover songs have ready-made backtracks available for anywhere between $ 2 – $ 20, depending on quality, availability, and where you shop – and that it only costs a further $ 10 – $ 20 per single to publish any single recording for sale online, worldwide with your own digital publishing and tracking code to monitor sales and earnings – all in all it is a bargain, when you consider that some of these songs have millions of searches on search engines per day.

If you go about it right, you can compete for some of that traffic and sales, if your performance is up to scratch – as good as or even better than the original artist's (in which case you will prosper).

Subsequently, many web-master tools now allow you to get back-end reports on moving averages of traffic for each relative song, their demand and search volumes by fans worldwide, from websites like Google and YouTube – meaning you can to a degree almost predict (or make an educated guess) which songs will give you the best chance of approaching respectable sales, with the least competition by other artists.

It means you can choose “profitable” cover songs to record and sell online – or at least give yourself the best chance to make a decent living, while in pursuit of your major deal, or financing your own original music publishing.

3. Publishing, tracking & Collection

The wonderful thing about going through the right, legal channels, applying for and attaining clearance on rights BEFORE you choose to record, publish and sell any cover song – is that you get a digital publishing code to embed and attach in each of your master recording .

This code is like a secret agent, a little digital “informant” or messenger – allowing you or your publisher to “track” and monitor that file anywhere, and from anywhere in the world.

You want to know when and where your song is being sold, broadcast or copied and uploaded somewhere else, at all times and anywhere in the world – so you do not lose out on any income, royalties or sales owed to you.

A digital publishing code makes this possible, and offers you peace of mind – knowing that you are maximizing the revenue for each song, and eliminating piracy as far possible.

4. Facebook

Once you have the rights cleared, registered, recorded the song, got your digital publishing code, and uploaded the single to music stores – you can now rest assured all boxes are ticked, to start cashing in on your social media circles.

Instead of only relying on your network of Facebook Friends – create an Artist or Musician Page, where people can Like your page, allowing you to exceed the maximum limit of friends, for public broadcast and following, of your activities as an artist.

Create an online store which plugs into your artist page, and enables a showcase of your songs with “Buy” feature directly embedded next to them.

Update, link and synchronize all of your social media accounts – and make your profiles on each as complete as possible. So many artists sign up for accounts, without keeping them fresh, or completing all their details.

You lose out on opportunities, sales, and getting noticed by record labels if you do not go the full nine yards.

Social media-enabled music websites like SoundCloud, Reverbnation and others, now directly interface with your Facebook Account through third part apps. Make USE of all of them – as they'll also connect you to a whole global community of fans, producers and record labels – even syndicate your music for paid opportunities in TV, Radio, Film, Online broadcast, Advertising, Contests, Reviews and much more – or connect you to millions of fans worldwide at the push of a button – some of them paid to listen to and rate your unsigned songs.

5. YouTube

By applying for public broadcast and performance, as well as synchronization rights for your chosen hit cover song – and getting your digital publishing code – you can now collect both broadcast and / or advertising revenue splits from YouTube through your publisher.

This means that when your music video uploads are monetised – you will get a small percentage share of the action every time someone finds, clicks on, and plays your video on YouTube, from the company paying them to have a banner ad placed next to your video.

Many start-out, unsigned artists earn a reasonable income this way – enough for contributing towards either covering the costs, or financing the pursuit of them own major record deals – not to mention the possibility of getting noticed by major record companies worldwide.

YouTube, especially the same search engine as Google, can also provide you with web-master tools to give you an idea of ​​search volumes for specific songs, and the keywords used by people worldwide.

It means you get to tap into vast search volumes, and pick and place your songs and music videos so you have the best chance of getting a sizeable return on your investment as an artist.

Many artists piggy back on the trends, by applying for rights and covering existing popular songs in demand, and then competitiveness for that traffic and sales delivered by these websites.

A decent cover music video does not need to cost you a fortune, and you can then use the traffic and fans generated on your channel, to start promoting and linking your own original music for sale – which might make it very hard for record companies to keep ignoring you.

The key is not to get it all PERFECT, but rather to just get STARTED.

These 5 points have given you everything you need, to start living your dreams.

It's the 10-15 minutes you spend every day – which will make the difference. Get started now.

6 Tips: Getting Your Demo Past a Record Company’s Trash Bin

Are you an unsigned artist, the next undiscovered million-dollar voice in the making – still looking for your big break? Tired of gigging for pennies, to save for expensive records? People liking your songs – ready to open their wallets for a copy of your Grammy-produced CD – yet you can not seem to find…

Are you an unsigned artist, the next undiscovered million-dollar voice in the making – still looking for your big break?

Tired of gigging for pennies, to save for expensive records? People liking your songs – ready to open their wallets for a copy of your Grammy-produced CD – yet you can not seem to find the contacts for that million-dollar record deal yet?

Do not despair – you might be closer than you think.

In 2009 – after 10-years, finally musttering enough courage to submit my first MP3 demo via e-mail, to the first 3 record companies I found online (in my geographic area) – and years of doing demo's for free, for friends and collections in my home studio – I finally got a glimpse behind the curtain, of what the music business buzz, was really all about.

I started writing and producing music part-time, as a hobby, without any formal training, every spare minute I had between working office jobs. So what follows, had me totally stunned.

A gut-wrenching 7-days later my e-mail was returned, a formal request for a meeting by the A & R manager of a major local record label. My song was an electronic pop / dance composition, written with lyrics, and recorded with a volunteer vocalist at the time – nowhere CLOSE to broadcast standard.

They were impressed by the POTENTIAL of my track, and had an opening on their annual dance compilation – Clubland, an international license, for local distribution deal – featuring singles from some of the then-best, current DJ's in the world – Tiësto, Laurent Wolf & many others.

Right place right time for me – they had spent almost R2-million (equivalent of around $ 125k) on marketing & distributing the CD locally – TV, Radio and Billboards – into major CD retail outlets – with a spot left on the CD due to urgent licensing deadlines.

They decided to turn to local talent, and there I was, right on time and on queue. They put their in-house producer on the project, taking my pre-produced project files done in my home studio, for final mixdown and mastering in their suite. Two weeks later, my name was on the track list, and thousands of copies available even in my local shopping mall, with ads airing on national TV and Radio.

Although it only sold close to 10,000 units that season – I was now “somebody” – with full song-writing and production credits, my name published inside and on the cover.

The royalties earned were peanuts in comparison with my new published credentials, future opportunities, and doors opening almost overnight for bigger, more exciting projects (including an independent production deal with a vocalist who toured and performed with Westlife).

I was really fortunate to be track-listed with some of the greatest names in the world (after 10-years of turning knobs and dials, part-time in my home studio) – A blind shot in the dark – and I got lucky – VERY lucky.

What's my point in sharing my story with you?

Simply this: If I could do it part-time, with no formal training, and no aid of all the mind-blowing online tools which has become available in recent years – you have a head-start on me, and there's no reason YOU can not accomplish what I did, in less than 10% of the time.

So here are some things I've learned since then, to give you a better chance, when sending YOUR demo's off to record labels:

1. Never send an MP3 by mail, or demo CD – unless it is asked specifically. You'll simply be wasting your time and money – which you'll never have enough of as an unsigned artist. Record execs are overwhelmed by the volume of demo's reaching their inbox and desk daily – some of them have their mail-boxes blocked for MP3 attachments, and in most cases you will not even KNOW it never reached them. CD's are expensive to produce and when you receive 10 or 20 a day – putting them inside a player, without skipping, just becomes hard work, when you have a whole list of superstars already making money for you.

2. Use SoundCloud to upload, host and present your demos – It's free, fast-loading, social media enabled – and any record exec's dream. Most A & R managers have listened to THOUSANDS of tracks – and whenever you want to hear and accept it or not – the reality is that they often listen to less than 10-seconds of your entire track, before deciding whether it's worth a closer look. SoundCloud allows them to keep their inbox and desktop clean – as they do not need to download any media before they can open, or listen to it. Instead, they can just stream, listen, and skip right inside their web browser – without any fuss, effort or data clutter.

3. It's about more than just your song – it's about the marketability of your act, your image, your performance. A professional photo shoot is a must, and a bio and portfolio helps. They want to sign and sell a package – not just the music (except it's REALLY mind-blowingly good). Before you submit any demos – ask yourself what you would like to see, as the owner of your own record label. Which artist would YOU want to sign, if you had to make the financial decisions? At the very least, get a website, or update your social media accounts to reflect as much about yourself, and why you are the logical choice for a major signing. A picture can be worth a thousand words – and record execs do not have much time or patience, to read self-important banters, so keep it to the point.

4. Build and showcase your following – An artist with some fans already, is worth MUCH more to a record label. It means they do not have to work so hard, or invest so much, to market and sell your music. Having lots of fans as an unsigned artist, shows the record label that you mean business, and are not just waiting around to be gifted a break. IT shows that you have drive, ambition, and are prepared to make your dreams true, with or without their help.

5. Submit ONLY one, at most two of your BEST songs – you do not get 10 shots at this kind of thing – in most cases, ONLY one. So make it count. The advantage of building your own fan club through social media – by giving some of your songs away for free – is that you can ASK your fans to RATE your songs, and so discover which are more likely to find an audience. If 10 or 20 people like ONE song, much more than any other – chances are you might find new fans out there, who feel the same. Save some money, and get that track recorded and produced for you, professionally – even if it costs a bit, that song might just create the attention you need when produced really well, to get your big break or signing.

6. Look for compilation deals – Do not wait, burn money or waste time by wanting to complete a full album before you start making submissions. There is NO guarantee the time you take to do 12 or 14 songs, will be recognized or rewarded with a deal. Singles outsell albums by close to 15-to-1 online, so why wait before you submit, for the chance of generating a financial return from some sales, which could fund the rest of your songs and records? Depending on your genre, look for opportunities to get one of your tracks on a compilation – or sell directly online. If you do it this way, your writing skills may also improve, as you'll be looking to make every single, a hit song, which is what fans and labels dream of.

What are you waiting for? Get started RIGHT AWAY. Copy these 6 Points and paste them somewhere on your desktop, so they'll be close at hand – and get in touch with me if you need any help – I try to answer as many e-mails personally as I can, so head on over to my website – good luck, and LIVE YOUR DREAM!

Home Recording Studio – Acoustic Sound Treatment

Obviously the most important aspect of a recording studio is recording your music. Although an equally important aspect is to record that music at a very high sonic quality. There are many tools in the audio engineers tool belt that assist in this but the space that the recording studio is in can assist or…

Obviously the most important aspect of a recording studio is recording your music. Although an equally important aspect is to record that music at a very high sonic quality. There are many tools in the audio engineers tool belt that assist in this but the space that the recording studio is in can assist or hinder this process even further.

The part of your house that you decide to put your studio in is super important. But will that space be conducive to audio recording? You need to consider what the space you're in will do the actual quality of the recording. There are two major “input transducers” that can be altered by the quality of the space that you're in; the microphone and your ear drums. Before you go buying a lot of gear and sound proofing foam and insulation, you have to consider two main things: where are you going to be setting up your DAW monitoring area and where are you going to be setting up your microphones?

You need to understand a few basic physco-acoustic principles before you can start searching for problem areas in your space.

Let's first consider a sine wave, aka sound wave, node. A node is a place in an air space where two or more sine waves of the same frequency occupy the same space and end up complaining each other out. A sine wave is a positive and negative energy and when the same frequencies live in the same space at opposite polarities they negate each other, otherwise known as phase cancellation. This is a bad place to set up an input transducer (your ears or a microphone) when the purpose is to produce a high quality recording. Nodes exist to some degree in all areas of space where there is sound reflections.

Flutter echos are another issue that are very common in home recording studios due to the nature of the space used. Flutter echos begin when a sine wave is bounced between to parallel surfaces over and over again until the energy of the sine wave is depleted. This of course will destroy a recording as the sound source will continue to repeat itself over the microphones diaphragm resulting in multiple copies of the original sound getting captured on the recording and creating many phase problems as well.

You need to take some time to listen for these issues before you begin putting up acoustic treatments and installing audio gear into your home studio.

To find flutter echos just simply walk around in your recording space clapping your hands. You'll notice the flutter as a very quick and rapid repeat of your hand clap. Once you find all the areas of your room that have this problem, put some tape on the floor so you can find this space again. 99% of the time it's going to exist between to parallel walls, sometimes from floor to ceiling as well.

Now you need to find the pesky little nodes in your studio. For this you'll need to play some music in the room. Highly recommended to play the music from the area you want your studio monitors to sit. Begin walking around the room listening to the music. You are trying to find areas of the room where the volume of the music is reduced as you move through the room. There is a good possibility that this area is in a node. Place a piece of tap on the floor. If you find yourself noticing this in the space where you are hoping to sit between your studio speakers, then you're going to have to move your speakers to another place in the room or add some acoustic treatment and hope it disappears.

Do not just run down to your local music store and purchase all the sound proof materials that they have. In fact, please do not confuse the terms sound proof with acoustic treatments. Sound proofing is measured in what's known as an NC rating, aka Noise Criteria. It's close to impossible to make something sound proof and extremely expensive to attempt it.

Now go grab a comforter, some thumb tacks, and maybe a friend to help you for the next step. Go stand on the tape or whatever you marked the floor with and start hanging the comforter on the walls that are parallel to each other in the exact space that you are in. You should immediately notice a decrease in flutter echoes. Repeat for all the flutter echos you found. If that comforter fixes the flutter, great! If you do not have an issue from floor to ceiling. In that case put down a rug or hang a comforter from the ceiling.

If you have success with this then now I recommend purchasing some acoustic treatments for you room. Profession acoustic treatments are much more effective than your comforter. However once you find the problem areas and prove that you can reduce them with a comforter, then you can have the confidence that purchasing treatments is justified.

Next you need to deal with 90 degree corners under the wall your recording desk will be in. 90 degree corners create bass traps and you need to keep that bottom end from building up in your room. A build up of bass frequencies in your mixing area will create a false perception of bottom end in your mix. Shove some Auralex bass trap treatments in this area or you can buy bass trap tubes. Even a long blanket along the bass of the floor and wall intersection behind your recording desk can help.

Now you can have confidence knowing that you've worked out the major issues in your home recording space and will set yourself up for a much better recording experience. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing a nice tight and punchy bass response in your mix and then taking it to the car or the club and have absolutely no bass in the recording at all.

Things to Consider Before You Start Producing Music

The types of music you desire to produce is a very needed step in setting up a spot you intend to produce music in. Take for example if you intend to produce a whole band recording you may need more area and more recording studio equipment such as microphones and additionally cables. You will also…

The types of music you desire to produce is a very needed step in setting up a spot you intend to produce music in. Take for example if you intend to produce a whole band recording you may need more area and more recording studio equipment such as microphones and additionally cables. You will also prefer extra inputs in your audio interface mainly because you will likely be recording extra stuff at the same time. This is not an undesirable situation depending on what you are planning to do. You are going to just be sure you plan ahead for this mainly because you would probably need to modify your finances. Like anything the more you will need of a certain thing the greater your finances should be.

For example in my studio I have very limited room mainly because I flipped the family den in my apartment building into a tiny recording and mixing spot. Additionally I'm not a huge producer of creating digital music, and love recording many people of every varieties of music, just not all at once. I am normally not large supporter of producing rap, suddenless I might do it if I found myself artistically curious, and also seriously believed in the musician.

In the area I had put together I imagined I am able to record singers of any variety, all sorts of guitars, for instance traditional, acoustic, and electric, electric bass and sometimes stand up bass, as well as various other type of over dub , in addition to back up vocalist.

I figured out that I would not want to be recording a complete music group in this particular space as due to space restrictions. I did not imagine or want to record an entire drum set being I dwell in an apartment house and I do not have the space that is required to complete such a task not to mention I would make a lot of people furious due to the loud noise a drum set produces.

In case that the project required real recorded drums I would choose to reserve studio time in a recording room someplace in Nashville where I live. After I was done in the studio I would bring the tracks back and mix all of them at my studio to save money.

In the event that I did not know how to record drums or any instrument for that matter I would intend to communicate with a few studios and locate a decent price in addition I would seek to be taught just as much as I could possibly mean that I would be able to do it next time. Either that or I would plan to intern at studio or help out with someone that does know how to gain further knowledge.

Now if sometimes the project required me to do electronic music and digitally generate almost everything it would be an unique strategy, mainly because I will probably not need to record everything if anything at all. if I planned to produce this style of music regularly I may need a more powerful desktop and I would want a midi keypad to assist write. I would then not have to worry about booking time to track anything, and I would not have to worry as much about what time I finished at.

Lastly in my space I plan to do more mixing then anything due to my space limitations. If I really liked the artist and it fit with in the constructs of my room I would not hesitate to record them, however it would not be my first priority.

Hopefully this gives a little better idea why it is important to figure out what type of music you will be producing as it will completely change the criteria for what you will need to do so.

Home Recording Studio

In today's day and age where technology is giving people the opportunity to do things they never dreamed of doing before, many people are being given tools to build things without knowing anything about how to use the tools. Music production is high on the list of new technologies that allow people to make music…

In today's day and age where technology is giving people the opportunity to do things they never dreamed of doing before, many people are being given tools to build things without knowing anything about how to use the tools. Music production is high on the list of new technologies that allow people to make music literally wherever they want. With iPhone apps literally giving people a studio in their hands, many music enthusiasts are investing in home recording studios without the knowledge of what to buy and how to use the studio equipment.

Let's first take a look at the idea of ​​a recording studio and how it can be made to live in the hustle and bustle of today's modern family.

A recording studio is a very controlled environment which is typically rated for sound isolation as well as optimized for multiple instruments recording at the same time. Most people will not be able to set up their homes to have multiple instruments recording at the same time effectively but it is possible to set it up for multiple instruments being recorded one at a time in a way that will allow for a high quality recording.

For this example let's assume we are going to be recording a typical pop band with drums, electric guitar, bass guitar, and singer. Although with the addition of soft synths and MIDI it's possible that you've never got to use an actual microphone in your home studio other than recording vocals.

The most difficult of these to record is the drum kit. It will require multiple microphones and a room in your house that you can alter with acoustic treatments. These acoustic treatments do not have to be anything more than blankets hung up in front of windows and pillows stuffed in corners to absorb sound. What you're trying to do here is keep the sound from bouncing all around the room and getting back onto the microphones that are set up to record the drum kit. In an ideal setting you've got a microphone for every drum on the kit as well as a stereo pair of microphones for the cymbals, or overheads. Each microphone on the drum kit should be a dynamic microphone which will allow close proximity placement without the worry of the microphone picking up to much sound from the other drums.

However the overhead microphones should ideally be condenser mics and are very good at picking up subtle details from the cymbals. Each microphone will need its own input to your recording interface which will either be USB or Firewire and that will of course feed the input to your computer. So for the drum kit you will need a mic for every drum, plus two mics for the overheads, a mic cable for each, a mic stand or mic clamp for each, and an interface that can handle multiple inputs, probably up to eight. In addition your interface will have to have phantom power to be able to power your condenser microphones that you'll be using for your overheads.

Electric guitars can be tricky in this type of setting because most high quality guitar amps sound better when played loud. However it's easy to resolve this issue in several ways. The first is to just simply empty out the bottom of your closet and shove your guitar amp in it. Microphone placement is important but just start with the microphone (a dynamic mic like a Shure SM57, Audix I6, or Sennheiser E609) pointed directly at the front of the amp and go from there. If you do not like the sound just move the microphone a little bit to the left or the right and do not point it straight at the speaker. Try turning the head of the mic a little at an angle and you'll notice right away that you'll get a different sound. The other way to negate the loud volume of an electric guitar is to run it directly without an amplifier using an amp modeling device. This is a very popular technique and can give you fantastic results without upsetting your neighbors. An amplifier modeling device such as a Vox Tonelab or a Line 6 HD500 has great sounds and you never have to use an amp. Guitar plugs into modeling pedal, pedal plugs into interface, interface plugs into computer. The only thing you'll hear is the guitar coming through your recording studio monitors.

In a home recording environment bass guitars are almost exclusively recorded through the use of a direct box. aka DI box. There are many to chose from and each will give the tonal qualities of your bass a different sound. I recommend and active DI with eq and other parameters so you can tweak the sound of the bass before it actually gets into the computer. It's very important to make the sound of your instrument sound as good as you can before you actually record it. Using a direct box is very similar to using a modeling amp like we talked about for an electric guitar. A direct box simply sends the bass straight to the recording medium without the use of an amp but does so in a way that retains the quality of the original audio signal.

Next is the most important element of any song, regardless of the genre; the vocals. It's very important that when recording the vocals you are in a very quite room. A converted closet can work great. Take everything out of the closet and put a blanket around the walls to keep the vocals from bouncing off the drywall and getting back onto the microphone. It's also very important to make sure that your air conditioner or heater is turned off during the recording as well. Believe it or not, that condenser microphone that you should be using to record your vocals can hear the air coming out of the vent even if you can not. That air noise will end up on your recording and extremely be one more issue you'll have to deal with during the next part of the process, the mixing. Another way to get a great vocal track at home is recording out in the living room or if you have a vaulted ceiling in the dining room that can work great too. Sometimes allowing the natural reverb of a room to be apart from the vocal recording can enhance the audio quality as well as the dynamics of the performance.

In this example you really just need to walk around the room singing out loud. Make sure you are listening very carefully as you walk around. At some point as you move through the room you'll hear what we call “a sweet spot”. This should be the place where you set up your microphone for the vocal take.

So now that you have a very basic understanding of how to effectively use your house as a recording studio, what type of equipment is really needed? Well there are some absolute essentials and then some “I wish I had's”.

Here is what you need in order to make all this happen.

A computer. I highly recommend a Mac but a PC will work just the same. Max it out with as much RAM as you can afford or as it can take.

An external hard drive. Recording to the internal drive of your computer will fragment the drive very quickly. Using an external drive is HIGHLY recommended.

A recording interface. Either USB or Firewire. An interface acts as a digital converter turning your analog audio signal into something the computer can understand. The more inputs and outputs your interface has, the more versatile your home recording studio will be.

Microphones – You're going to need both dynamic and condenser mics. If you outfit your drum kit with a drum mic pack from Shure, Audix, or Sennheiser you're sure to have everything you need. You can use the snare drum mic for your electric guitars and you can use the overhead mics from the mic package for acoustic guitars, hand drums, tambourines, or any other instrument. Then you're going to need at least one large diaphram microphone for your vocals.

Pop filter – this is to be used with your vocal mic to ensure that sibilance and bursts of air from the vocal performance does not get into your recording. It also protects your condenser mic from moisture which can damage the mic.

Direct Box – this is used for your bass guitar to get into your recording interface. It can also be used for keyboards. If you have keyboards make sure you have at least two direct boxes so you can record your keyboard in stereo.

Microphone stands – one for every drum mic you have room for

Headphones – You have to have headphones so the musician recording can hear the music that they are recording to. You can not play it through a loud speaker or the microphones will hear it and it will bleed over into your recording

Studio monitors – Traditional computer speakers or using speakers from your home entertainment system is not going to cut it. Critical listening speakers are absolutely required and do not skimp on this.

Recording Software – It's possible that the interface you purchase will not come with adequate recording software. It's important that you understand the in's and the out of the software you purchase. Some are better at different types of genres of music than others.

The last thing I'll talk about here is the use of what's called “soft synths”. A soft synth is a virtual instrument. Simply put virtual instruments are most commonly used by controlling them with a MIDI keyboard. MIDI is a digital protocol that allows an instrument to be played from a controller surface. A MIDI keyboard can trigger sounds in a software package that will allow the user to simulate the sound of a drum, guitar, bass, piano, horn, or any other instrument. Thus allowing the user to add elements to the music production that otherwise would be almost impossible in the home recording studio environment.

Hard Shell Cases For Your Delicate Musical Instruments

Musical instruments need careful transportation to make sure that they are always in good condition. One instrument that can be broken easily is the keyboard. Keyboard equipment is delicately crafted and you should store it securely in hard shell cases so that they last long. If you are setting out on a journey and are…

Musical instruments need careful transportation to make sure that they are always in good condition. One instrument that can be broken easily is the keyboard. Keyboard equipment is delicately crafted and you should store it securely in hard shell cases so that they last long.

If you are setting out on a journey and are taking your keyboard with you, you need to store it safely to decrease opportunities of damage. So, choosing the right keyboard flight cases becomes very important.

As your keyboard is large, it is more prone to damage than other musical instruments. But by procuring the right keyboard case, you are sure that it is in a good condition despite the hassles of traveling.

They design keyboard cases exclusively made for your keyboard, bearing in mind the make, style and size of the device. The cases have foam inside to give a cushioning layer for the keyboard and are available in a range of sizes to suit all kinds of keyboards.

The exact dimensions of the case make sure that the keyboard is rigidly in place since outside jerks and movements. The cases guarantee complete protection from physical impact when you place your keyboard inside the case. Although the cases are lightweight, they are durable and tough as well. So, it is best to use hard shell cases instead of regular ones.

The material used to build the case is tough and shock resistant. There are options for cases that are custom-made to suit your taste and keyboard dimensions. You can also design the interior of the case in any material of your choice. If you have customized your case in a way that sets it apart from other cases, you can save time while trying to find it among other luggage.

Birch wood is generally used for the inside of the case and they coat the outside of the case with aluminum. The metal coating is light but tough. Durability is the most important criterion when designing the case. The fastenings are strong and can not be broken easily.

Although keyboard cases can be expensive, it is worth investing in one to make sure that you can transport your musical instrument safely. Some models are reliably inexpensive, but the quality could be inferior. It will save you some stress to opt for hard shell cases because they have a reliable quality and endurance, even if it costs a little more.

Music Industry Collaboration – The Importance Of

Imagine collaborating on a musical project 150 years ago, a symphony regardless, communicating between London and Berlin. This is a fairly sizable distance by bullet train standards, let alone the most reliable form of long distance communication we have in our little daydream, courier on horseback. So, after six months of sending letters to simply…

Imagine collaborating on a musical project 150 years ago, a symphony regardless, communicating between London and Berlin. This is a fairly sizable distance by bullet train standards, let alone the most reliable form of long distance communication we have in our little daydream, courier on horseback. So, after six months of sending letters to simply work out how it would work and the style of the project it would be, undeterred by the difficulties you decide to give it a go. I reckon about six years later would mark the point where you got so bored that you gave up. Or secretly finished it yourself, washed your hands of further annoyance and trained the dog to attack the postman. Maybe it would have been fantastic, maybe.

Skip to the present

How long does it take to ask someone today if they want to make a track with you / sing on your album / release your EP on their label? Ten seconds? If they live on the other side of the world, maybe eleven. You may want to check time-zones though, waking the A & R Manager in the middle of the night when they've forgotten to turn off call forwarding might not get you on their Christmas card list. From this point of opening a line of communication you can start working together practically immediately. I once needed a drummer for a track that needed production completion within one week and a really cool guy in Berlin had a fantastically recorded drum track to me in three days after spending three days finding him. The only trouble in this case was the arrangement of the project which included (and is by no means the full list) notation having to be written to show the basic idea of ​​the drums, the rest of the track to be prepared to send to play along to, and Skype chats to determine how I wanted the track to 'feel'. Also, steps had to be taken to ensure proof of the track's ownership because, despite the guy was awesome, you never know when someone could try and steal your work. So even though the end result was great, and the process was smooth, I was left feeling that it could somehow all be easier and quicker.

What would have made this easier? First off, finding someone, anywhere, who could do what I needed. That in itself needed several websites to try and track someone down (believe it or not he turned up on Facebook!). Secondly I'd like a simple way of communicating both what I needed in terms of musical arrangement, and in how I wanted it to feel. Thirdly, I would like legal protection and easy administration & financing. If I had these things those six days could have been cut in half and saved me at least ten hours in organization time.

So, what can we conclude from the comparison between old, new, and what could have improved? We could surely say that even though the end result of a seven-year symphony might be pretty amazing, having modern communications would have made everyone's lives much, much easier. We could also say that while collaboration over distance is possible and reliably easy, it has the potential to be much better. It's believed that every generation thinks that live in an age of technological breakthrough, and in our I believe that we have the resources and the will to effectively use this technology to create more, easier, faster. What we need are the tools to allow us to do this, and now, we have.

Choosing a Microphone for Home Recording and a Home Studio

Choosing a microphone for any occasion can be a daunting task. There are many different types of microphones for many different applications. This is no different when it comes to choosing a microphone for home recording or a home studio. As a record producer, a lot of Artist and home recording enthusiast ask me all…

Choosing a microphone for any occasion can be a daunting task. There are many different types of microphones for many different applications. This is no different when it comes to choosing a microphone for home recording or a home studio.

As a record producer, a lot of Artist and home recording enthusiast ask me all the time “what kind of microphone should I get for home recording?” While there is no definitive all around perfect mic for all recording applications, there are some smart choices one can make when choosing a microphone for recording instruments and vocals.

The AKG 414 ranges from $ 500 to $ 1000 depending on the capsule options and how new it is. The AKG 414 is a condenser microphone and comes with selectable polar patterns which dictates the direction in which the mic receives sound. eg Cardioid receives sound in front of the Microphone. Bi-directional receives sound from the front and back, omnidirectional receives sound from all around the mic and hypercardioid is extremely focused in the front.

The new C414 XLS has all of these patterns and more. A total of 9 patterns can be selected from a switch on the back of the mic. The 414 also has selectable pads which attenuate the sound level coming into the microphone. Meaning, if you put the mic on something loud like a snare drum, or guitar amp, you can attenuate (turn down) the input to the microphone. This is helpful for guitar amps, drums, some horns and even some singers. This Mic is one of my favorites on female vocals, Acoustic guitars, electric Guitars, pianos and percussion. The 414 has a nice high frequency response and diversity making it one of my favorite home and pro user microphones.

My other choice of microphone for under $ 1000 is the Shure SM-7. This mic is a classic and only cost about $ 300 making it very affordable for home recording. The Sure SM-7 is a staple in Rock and Rap styles of music and is used most often for male vocals. You have heard this mic in action on a ton of recordings from Michael Jackson to John Mayer as well as on almost every radio station. The SM-7 is also used for voice narration and is a favorite of radio DJ's. The Shure SM-7 microphone has a low input level so you can turn up the mic pre amp volume. I use this mic over my $ 10,000 tub mic's quite often on Rock and rap vocals.

As a Music Producer , I get asked the microphone choice question all the time. Like most people recording at home, your budget is probably limited. With the AKG 414 and the Shure SM-7 you should be able to handle a large amount of recording applications and you are sure to get a lot of bang for your buck.

What Do Record Companies Look For When Signing New Artists?

So you're an unsigned artist, looking for your big break – with dreams of making a real living from your music, instead of scraping by? The next 5 tips can save you years, a fortune and major disappointment – Apply EACH STEP, precisely, in sequence, and you'll know you've done EVERYTHING you possibly could, to…

So you're an unsigned artist, looking for your big break – with dreams of making a real living from your music, instead of scraping by?

The next 5 tips can save you years, a fortune and major disappointment – Apply EACH STEP, precisely, in sequence, and you'll know you've done EVERYTHING you possibly could, to get discovered and signed, living your dream.

There are mainly 5 areas, or some variation of them, that most major record companies look at and consider, in finding their new rising stars.

1. Talent

Top record companies have spent fortunes building big studios, licensing, publishing, marketing and management teams, replication & distribution supply chains – they want ONE thing in exchange: BIG, FAST, SAFE RETURNS on their investment. This is both BAD AND GOOD news for you.

BAD if you're not really good YET, but GOOD if you understand their process, what they're looking for, and how to give it to them – starting from where you are right now.

So please, do not take this personal OR for granted. It will only save you the inevitable:

Regardless of your current talent and skill level – no matter how good YOU, OR YOUR FANS think you are – get yourself a professional STUDIO coach and trainer. One who understands how to transform excellent performance, into excellent-sounding demo records.

A great producer, just simply is not enough (even though that's hard for me to admit).

Most record execs – IF they get to hear your demo – will skip through your songs, listening to about 10-seconds total (if you're lucky), before deciding it worth a second listen – or not.

All your hear-earned money, and countless hours spent mixing and getting your demo sounding as perfect as possible, is often spent in under 10-seconds of an A & R manager's listening time. This is the person employed by the label to get them the best talent & return.

These execs are so overwhelmed and inundated with masses of demos on a daily basis. So make sure even ONE second of play-time on your song, is worth impressing them. Contrary to belief – go back to working on your TALENT instead of your RECORDINGS. ALWAYS be working on, and developing your talent first, no matter what level you are at.

Record execs have listened to THOUSANDS of demo's, and most of them listen PAST the production value – they're not going to be any more impressed with how much you spent recording your demo, than a print company might be with the design of your business card.

It's your vocal qualities, projection, diction, over-toning which will sell you or not – and only once you step into the studio can you start to appreciate that this is a specialist skill, quite different from live performance. Little things, can make or break you.

There are vocal trainers who specialize in recording artist development – helping you get each take perfect in studio sessions, to get you singing, and sounding like a star often in as little as 6-12 months, depending on their process, and your current level or grade.

How do you choose the right trainer? Ask for “before” and “after” recordings of some of his / her clients – and verify with them how long this took, and what results they got for it.

ALWAYS start with continually refining and perfecting your TALENT – even though it looks elementary. Without that, no other tricks or tips will get you any LASTING results. If you are in the right hands, whatever talent you have can be shaped and optimized to get you any of a variety of opportunities – if not a major deal, at least the chance to make a decent living off music in other areas like TV, Radio, Film or Advertising.

2. Product

Once your studio skills are up to broadcast standard – find a demo studio where you can record with the assistance of your coach. Do not spend thousands on trying to produce a hit record – but get value for money instead.

Cheaper and better recording technologies, allow unsigned artists to make killer records in their bedrooms these days. All you may need is a decent microphone, pre-amp, compressor, some software and a PC / MAC. If you do not have the time, skills or patience to do or learn this yourself – find a studio that will produce your demo's at a fixed cost – with money-back guarantee on quality. Listen to their portfolio of recordings and shop around.

Be careful of studios that charge per hour, unless you can really afford it. Always be sure how many hours may be required BEFORE you start. Do not go for the studio with the most impressive look or equipment at this stage, but LISTEN to the product instead. All those expensive-looking toys usually add a premium to the cost.

Start with one song only – and if the product sounds good – only then commit to more.

3. Placement

The next step is to find an online home for your recording – Why?

Most record execs periodically scan for talent online – and without you are there, you're not in the game. The days of physically submitting physical CD's and trying to impress with album art and design, are numbered. Rather spend that money, on building or enhancing your ONLINE presence. A website or blog at the very least – with professional photos, bio and information on gigs etc.

It's not just about your music – top record labels look for an ACT to sign and sell, at a profit. It's about your marketability, presentation. Make sure all your social media profiles are complete, up to date, and showing your best possible side as an artist.

If YOU were the owner of a successful record company – what would impress you about a newly discovered, unsigned artist? What would make YOU spend a million dollars on someone? Most music service websites are social media enabled, and synchronize with each other, some examples include:

• SoundCloud
• Reverbnation
• OurStage
• BandCamp

… and many more.

The added advantage, is that most of these make it easy for you to build a following, fan club, and even earn some money while you're at it – which could contribute to your next recordings, in pursuit of your major singing.

An unsigned artist, with an EXISTING fan club – whatever size – is worth twice to four times as much to a record label. It means they do not always have to commit all their resources, to making you successful – which can sometimes aid their decision to swing in your favor.

4. Promotion

Before submitting your demo – do some promotion yourself to build a fan club and some statistics you could qualify in an Electronic Press Kit, eg how many “Likes” or plays you have accrued through your own efforts. Even if only a couple of hundred – any record exec would be more comfortable in seeing that you already have an audience, before seriously considering your submission.

Start with your friends on Facebook – give one or two singles away for free and ask fans to RATE them – that way you'll know which one to submit when you DO get an opportunity.

Measure what you do – create an artist page on Facebook, and unlock the metrics by getting 30 likes or more – to see which campaigns or songs get you the best response.

Connect with smaller, local radio stations who may consider you for roster rotation. A bit of airplay – even from local stations looking to promote local talent, can do unexpected things for your profile, and might just create enough attention to get you that one contact to move on to bigger things.

Look out for compilation deals, instead of waiting to complete a full album, before you star submitting demos.

When submitting to major or even independent record labels – use a service like SoundCloud to upload and link your demo's – most A & R managers simply do not have the time to go through the entire stack of CD's on their desks – but all of them have to work on e-mail or social media at some stage during the day.

5. Transition

The 5th and final step is a NATURAL culination of doing the first four REALLY WELL – repeatedly, UNTIL you succeed.

When you focus on each individual step, one to four as best you can, the fifth is a full-drawn conclusion, and only a matter of time. So many artists mistakenly wait on their “big break”, imagining it as ONE major event that will turn their world upside down, when in reality, it is a series of small efforts, a progress of tiny steps, leading you to a tipping point and critical mass that APPEARS to the OUTSIDE world as one single “big break”.

The first four steps outline in DETAIL exactly what those tiny steps are, when, where and how to take them – without wasting your time, money and effort, or getting your hopes up only to be disappointed. When you do them repeatedly, on rotation, you are bound to succeed – but if you do not, you'll know you've done everything possible.

DO NOT GET IT PERFECT – Just get STARTED …