Photo: Marla Cohen
As we all are acutely aware, digital technology and the Internet are causing massive changes to the music business. The ability of individuals to post and download music files on the Web has had a huge impact. The business model of the major labels has been seriously eroded, and many of the related services that were once under the record companies'' control have been decentralized and democratized—most notably, distribution.
Having the ability to distribute your music via the Net is a wonderful thing, but it is also a double-edged sword. Like them or not, the major labels served a gate-keeping function that ensured a certain level of quality in the albums released and kept a limit on their number. Now that anyone can put out an album, the proverbial haystack has grown exponentially, and the ability to market oneself has become even more crucial. Not only do you now need to be a skilled musician and producer, you need to be able to have considerable marketing chops, especially of the Internet variety.
To help you with marketing yourself online, we''re debuting a new column called “D.I.Y. Musician.” Each month, Jason Feehan and Randy Chertkow—who are independent musicians themselves, and who are the authors of the book The Indie Band Survival Guide: The Complete Manual for the Do-It-Yourself Musician—will offer tips and advice for the self-promoting musician.
When asked to describe their experience, Feehan and Chertkow wrote the following: “Everything we write about is based on ideas and practices we have actually used with our own indie band, Beatnik Turtle, which has been together for 13 years and has released 18 albums. We''ve licensed our music to ABC Family/Disney for a commercial campaign, written a theme song to a TV show that was regularly broadcast to 26 million homes, licensed a music video to Spike TV/Viacom, created an entire album for a game company, and performed live multiple times at Chicago''s famous Second City. Also, we''ve written and recorded 365 songs and released one for each day of 2007 as a podcast from our website, TheSongOfTheDay.com. And we''ve done all of it without a music label.”
Their first column, which you''ll find on p. 42 of this issue, looks at opportunities for exposure through placing your music on podcasts (aka, “The New Radio”).
But as they say on late-night TV, “But wait, there''s more.” Also debuting this month is “Composer Spotlight,” which is written by EM''s own Sarah Benzuly. In this column, Sarah will be interviewing recording musicians who have been working on composing for film, TV, and games. She''ll be concentrating on how they''ve gotten the work and what gear they like to use. This month, she talks to Jason Moss of the music company Super Sonic Noise.
Starting in the June issue, we''ve got a lot more exciting changes coming in EM''s column lineup, so stay tuned.