Monthly Archives: September 2019

Do The Black Keys and Vinyl Records Signal the Renaissance of the Golden Age of Rock and Roll Music?

The fact that the Black Keys won three Grammys makes me so happy, because I love them to death. I really love the fact that they aren’t really young, teenyboppers; they are true musicians complete with sexy beards and tired sunken eyes.

I listen to a lot of old classic rock and blues and when I listen to The Black Keys I get the distinct feeling that a renaissance has occurred while we weren’t looking. I have spent my whole life angry at the way music has been ruined, ‘rock and roll is dead man!’, but The Black Keys give me some sort of hope. A couple of days after they won those Grammy’s I was reading an article in the paper about young people starting to buy vinyl records again, and my first response was a sarcastic yeah that hasn’t been going on for like years now or anything, good job catching that bit of breaking news.

But then I started thinking about why it was happening, and then the popularity of The Black keys and bands like them, which use old style riffs and classic blues elements, came into my mind, and I thought that surely all this nostalgia tells us something about the age we are living in. This is a moment in history where some people have finally realized that most of the things being produced are purely moneymaking exercises developed with formulas that are known to result in mass popularity. I have thought this my entire life, I have always lived with a sense of nostalgic desire for the golden age of rock and roll and the times before mass production and excessive consuming. THEN in the past couple of years the whole ‘hipster/indie’ thing happened and those views (which used to just be me thinking whatever I wanted to think) suddenly didn’t sound so crazy. The point is that liking and thinking alternative things suddenly stopped being weird and started being cool.

I have always wanted to start a movement in the music industry, which brought back classic rock, the golden age, unfortunately due to my lack of musical ability this hasn’t happened. But just looking at these Black keys posters alone, I think they may have already started the renaissance without me.

I still feel that maybe we are heading to a new age when we stop buying from the corporate giants and we stop listening to mass marketed, super produced boy bands and start looking for artistry and integrity. And although I know that One Direction is still the most popular thing on the planet and not everyone will change, I still think at least a far greater majority of us will and maybe that can lead to amazing developments in the world away from the evil corporate giants that have been controlling us since the 1980’s.

Now the problem with this, many people say, is that it makes it harder for people to be individual when the people that follow trends start coming into the indie trend and that they are ruining it for the real people. I think this is such crap, just do what you want to do and be whoever, we have far to much of a preoccupation with be ‘individual’ in our society that it has become an actual TREND. The funny part of it is that the fact that even indies cant be individual should be telling us that WE AREN’T INDIVIDUALS we are part of a world, a universe and a global community and we need to stop being angry at others for stealing our ‘individualness’ (not a word but whatever) and just fucking be.

How to Avoid Music Marketing Information Overload!

I want to give you a little mantra you can use in your music marketing that goes like this…

“I will spend 80% of my time producing amazing music, 15% music marketing and then 5% learning music marketing material.”

This is kind of like cutting off my nose to spite my face because I produce a lot of music marketing content myself, but if you spend your whole time eating up all the information it’s very hard to ever get around to actually producing any music of worth.

…and marketing crap music has a name…SPAM!

You need to think of all the online courses, guides and books like shiny objects that are pulling you in all different directions and stick with one method until you make it a success. But the fact remains that if you don’t actually make any music of worth you are not really a musician.

Have you ever been in music marketing information overload?

This morning I approached my computer with excitement after a long weekend away with the idea that I would pump out a bunch of blog posts and start work on my new ebook. But the plan seems to have gone all wonky…

I opened my Twitter client to see that my friend sent me a link to a great article about how to “sing like a rockstar”, and that led to another and then another.

So now I know the theory of killer vocal delivery but I’m no further on with my mission to give you guys the best music marketing info I can muster. 🙁

Note to self, never open Twitter in the morning, it’s a total bloody time suck!

There are a few things that I have learned over the years (but that I sometimes ignore) which have helped me be more productive in my music marketing and in music in general.

– There are only a very small number of things that really need your time. These include making music and marketing music, forget everything else or do it in short bursts of 25 minutes each day.

– Reading music marketing training does not count as work, you have to actually set a timer and start getting something done as well.

– Work in 50 minute bursts of focused activity with a short break in between. This will help you tap into your body’s natural rhythm.

– Don’t read your email until 4 O’clock and set a 30 minute timer for this task. Set your band email account to let people know that you are doing this to be more efficient and will get back to them as soon as you can.

– Give yourself monthly commitments. This can be anything from writing blog posts to calling at least 5 music contacts everyday.

What does an unproductive morning look like for a musician?

1. Read 20 articles on music marketing and music industry news.
2. Scanned Facebook and Twitter for 45 minutes and followed links at random.
3. Worked on the design of the music blog on an element that only the perfectionists would notice.
4. Spent 30 minutes in the music forums.

Now the thing is that none of that stuff is bad and you could be forgiven for thinking that you had gotten your hands very dirty in the music business and made a contribution. But unfortunately that is not the case because there was no focus and no planning.

Now let’s look at a morning to be proud of…

1. Spent a solid 50 minute period working on 2 new blog posts.
2. 10 minute recharge.
3. Spend another 50 minutes editing blog posts from the previous day and posting to the blog.
4. 30 minute recharge.
5. 50 minutes songwriting / recording a video for YouTube to bring traffic to the blog.
6. 10 minute recharge.
7. Added a couple of emails to the newsletter sequence that automatically goes out to the fans.
8. 30 minute recharge.
9. Called 10 venue managers and booked 2 gigs.
10. 10 minute recharge.
11. Spent 50 minutes answering email and learning new music marketing tactics in my focus area.

If you make a commitment like that everyday you will find that your work increases ten fold and then you can spend the rest of the day reading your email or learning new music marketing stuff if you like.

The problems can come when you use that early burst of energy in the morning to just consume material, and then when you get down to doing some actual work you totally forget what you were doing and have no focus.

It’s very hard to start producing great work half way through the day because your body has run out of will power and energy.

To be honest it’s all about focus and you really can achieve more in 4 hours than most people get done in a whole day, if you just shut off all that crap pulling you away from the task at hand.

But this article is sooo important

A lot of times you might even find that you are reading something that seems like it’s going to change your life, and you will tell yourself that you really are making progress with your music career if you just get the hang of the information.

Well…I will let you into a little secret.

You know enough right now to become a professional musician if you just use what you know and make progress each day. We all know what to do, because it’s not rocket science.

So when should you feed your brain?

Now if you have read up to this point you may be thinking that I’m suggesting that you never take the time to learn or plan and that you are always blindly just mashing away at your keyboard. This could not be further from the truth because the mind is kind of like a car, if you are going to run miles and miles you need the right amount of fuel at the right time.

As musicians and music marketeers we need to know what others are saying so that we can form an opinion and add new ideas to our songs and marketing plan.

Here is what I would suggest if you have a full time job:

Find 4 hours a day to work on your music marketing then think of it like this:

– Hour 1 – produce content be it music, blogs or videos.
– Hour 2 – use auto-posting sites like Ping FM, Onlywire, Social Oomph and Tube Mogul to push out your content fast.
– Hour 3 – Edit your new music and blog posts and get it ready for publishing tomorrow.
– Hour 4 – Refuel, use this time to check your email, read blog posts and make notes.

Have a rest…

Another important part of this is that you need to have time each day when you totally turn off from everything and just do something that does not take any brain power at all. Sometimes TV or video games can work. You will not feel guilty now because you will know that you have done great work that day!

I remember when I was making my first album I convinced myself that if I really wanted to make it work I should focus 22 hours a day for the period of the recording and put everything into making it the best thing we ever did. I would spend hours and hours a day just listening to the recordings like some kind of freaky Howard Hughes dude.

NOT GOOD!

But what I did not realize at the time was that a break can actually make things work better and give you more perspective. While on your break you are more likely to think of an amazing new guitar hook or a lyric that is going to resonate deeply with your fans.

If I had just taken a little step back I think I would have made a lot more progress and enjoyed things a lot more.

I now take regular breaks throughout the day and this keeps me focused on the task at hand and my energy levels stay high throughout the day, which is great.

Breaking News! The Holidays Are Coming and YOU Can Stay Healthy

Yes, we’ve all been there before – early January comes and we’re feeling sluggish, heavy, bloated, and perhaps a bit guilty. I’m on a mission to revolutionize how we take care of ourselves, all year long. But the best place and time to start is here and now.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the “Festive Season” rolls in quickly after. It can often seem a bit overwhelming, so many events geared around food, seeing family & friends, getting all the work done before you go off work or traveling. Or maybe it’s just tough to be at home with a chill in the air, comforting, warm food in the house, and to NOT overeat.

I’ve put together my 7 best tips on how to care for yourself during these next couple of months – through all of the celebrations and all of the invites. And I’d like to invite you to join me in self-care without deprivation. Yes, I mean it – no dieting, no self-punishment or torture. Let’s aim to get to January feeling great, feeling strong, and feeling nurtured.

7 Empowering Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

1) Be your own friend.

You, whether you fully accept it or not, are a human being, and you have amazing, wonderful qualities. Choosing unhealthy food choices (whether it’s foods that aren’t good for us, healthy foods in too large quantity, or both) is always a sign that you arenot valuing yourself in the way you deserve. Before you make these choices, just take a minute to think about how great you really are – think of your 3 best qualities, nice things you’ve done for someone else lately, and/or what your friends really love about you. And know that these good qualities – they are your truth.

2) Always acknowledge that you have a choice.

The diet industry doesn’t want us to believe that we are powerful enough to make our own choices. They make a heck of a lot of money on the premise that you’re not. Then they get to tell you what to do.

I’m telling you, YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE. You can choose to eat German chocolate cake all day long, you can get up early and go running, you can get drunk every night, or you can base every meal around fresh veggies. All of these have consequences. But know that the choice is YOURS and YOU ARE CHOOSING the results as well. Your friend who wants you to join her in one last piece of pie does not have the power to make you do so – you can say yes, you can say no. You can take the pie home if you want, for later. It’s you who makes the choice. And sometimes, of course, you will join her for that pie. Just make sure YOU choose to do so. It’s totally liberating when we realize that we do have the power of choice.

I don’t care if you say you want to feel great in the morning, and then you gorge yourself on 8 beefsteaks & a cheesecake, and feel sick. Well, really I do care, but it’s not my choice. It’s not something I’m going to do for you. It HAS to come from you. And you need to know you are making ALL of your own choices.

3) Keep drinking.

Water that is, in whatever form works best for you. Carry a water bottle with you if you like, or a thermos & drink herbal tea. Lemon & ginger tea is a great combo this time of year – detoxing, warming & soothing. If you stay hydrated, I promise you, your food cravings will be less – they may still be there, of course, but they will be less.

If you plan on drinking alcohol (and remember it’s your choice), then increase your water intake even more – perhaps have a pint glass of water for every one of booze. Whatever works to remind yourself to drink water. And, of course, remember that if you drink alcohol at all, your judgment will be compromised so you’ll be less aware of what you’re eating. I’m not saying don’t drink, just be conscious of what you’re choosing, so if drinking & losing control is an issue for you, then you can have a plan to be prepared for it.

4) Choose your own guidelines ahead of time.

If I’m going to a big party, event, or gathering where I know there’ll be great food served for hours at a time, I try to tune into myself and the situation before I go. How hungry am I now & how long do I have before I’ll need to eat? What foods am I craving today? Is it a holiday & I really want the foods associated with that day? It helps me to know how long I’ll have before I’m truly hungry, and to keep a mental guide with me in while I’m at the event.

What works best for me is to work out how long it will be before I’m hungry, then to hold off eating until then, and to consciously choose* what will feed me best in that moment. In doing so, I’m not depriving myself and I’m not overeating. I’m making choices, which will help me to satisfy myself and feel good later.

*I know it’s not always easy to consciously choose what you’re going to eat if you’re at a dinner party, but in these cases you can consciously choose to be present & relaxed, and to still choose how much of it you will eat. Just because someone serves you a huge plate of their food, it doesn’t mean you have to finish it.

5) Wherever you are, whatever you eat, eat it slowly.

This one’s quite straightforward. The more you chew your food, and the slower you eat it, the better you will digest it, and the less chance you will eat too much. How slow is slow enough? You can count your chews, if you like, but it’s not the most social of behaviours. Better off, just slow down, and try to be one of (if not the) last ones to finish. If you’re always the first one done, then this especially applies to you!

6) Celebrate & Have a Good Time.

You know you can celebrate by doing other things than eating! In fact, food should play only a small part in a good party. Good conversation, dancing, perhaps walks outside, helping to cook, serve or clean up, playing and making art with children, playing music/singing, offering to walk the dog, offering to get people drinks, helping to decorate or light the fire…the list could go on and on…there are always more ways to celebrate and there are always other things to be done at parties.

7) Make sure you get adequate self-care throughout the whole season, beginning now.

Start taking immune-building herbs today (if you are unfamiliar with this idea, ask a local herbalist or health-food shop). Cold & flu season, combined with overindulgence & stress is just a recipe for illness. Start building your immune system, get regular exercise throughout the winter months (maybe start a new exercise class in November or December, instead of in the New Year), and make sure to treat yourself (at least once a week, if possible) to things like warm baths, body massage or reflexology, healing sessions, quality time with close friends & loved ones. And keep laughing – it’s great for you.