Who are those people who go to see bands at “unsigned nights”? It is very rarely someone who happens to be passing by a venue and just pops in (especially if there is an admission fee). So who will be at your first few gigs?

  • Friends and family of your band members – Phone them, text them, invite them to events on your chosen social media platform and get them to the gigs. Promoters will expect you to bring at least a small crowd.
  • Those who have discovered the band online and feel they have a relationship with the band – This will happen more as your audience grows but if you are talking to your fans on Twitter and Facebook and your music is great this can happen earlier.
  • People at the gig to see another band on the same bill – These are the people you need to win over. Make sure your live act is amazing, rehearse your songs in order and make sure you practice under “gig conditions”.
  • Enthusiasts of the genre of music you play – If you are playing a genre specific night such as a punk night or a prog night you may well get fans of the genre turning up to listen. Playing with bands of a similar genre is often a useful way of getting people out of the house.
  • Musicians looking for a gig themselves – Often other musicians looking for gigs of their own will make up a significant part of your audience. If you help others and try to build a community amongst local musicians you have more chance of hearing about interesting opportunities that can benefit your band. The music industry is all about relationships, who you know. Start getting to know people from the start, don’t be afraid to talk to people.
  • Press/industry people or bloggers – It’s very unlikely they will be at your first gig unless there is a massive buzz about your band, but it is worth a try.

Eventually the crowd at your later gigs should start to include friends of friends and those who have discovered your band through social media and the press. Your audience grows one person at a time, slowly but surely. Building a fan base is not quick or easy but it can be done.


5 Tips to promote you music in SoundCloud



SoundCloud continues to be a terrific location for music promotion. Taking advantage of SoundCloud’s growing community of music lovers should be a strategic practice of all musicians, big and small. Sharing tracks, creating sets, and interacting with other users are all essential parts of good SoundCloud promotion. Add to that commenting, following and group joining, and SoundCloud becomes the online pulse of social music.

Looking at the current success of Skrillex and his presence on SoundCloud, you can’t help but get excited about the potential for music discovery that SoundCloud offers. To help gain the most out of SoundCloud and reach the widest audience possible, I’ve put together some tips and ideas that any musician can easily implement. I call them my5 Super-Social Easily-Implemented Just-Do-It-Already SoundCloud-Tips.

Tip 1Share

Sharing your SoundCloud tracks is very important. In today’s age of social networking this should not come as a surprise. In fact, this should be second nature by now. When you release a new track or a new set, always remember to share it on Facebook, send out some tweets, embed a HTML5 player on your site, post the music on Tumblr, share the track with SoundCloud users who are not following you already, and send some old-fashioned emails. SoundCloud even lets you connects various networks in their Settingsarea to assist in this process. Make sure you use it.

Tip 2Be Free

Everyone likes free stuff, including free SoundCloud downloads. Don’t be afraid to release tracks for free every so often. Many people have grown up not even paying for music anymore. And although that can be detrimental to the starving artist, letting a track go for free can have it benefits. Free downloads have a certain type of virality. When the right fans get their hands on them they can spread across the world at a much faster rate than paid tracks. Use free downloads to produce a larger fan base. With a larger fan base, you have a greater chance of selling more music.

Tip 3Join Groups

Joining groups that are befitting to your musical tastes is both fun and rewarding. When you decide to join a group or submit your tracks, remember to think outside the“dropbox.” Submitting tracks to groups that reflect your genre of music is important, but don’t forget about location based groups. Targeting SoundCloud groups in your city and state is one technique that many musicians neglect. These groups can help to build a grassroots type audience and provide many opportunities for future gigs. Join only the groups that make the most sense.

Tip 4Comment

If you’ve ever had someone comment on one of your tracks then you know the excitement that it generates. Provide that same type of excitement for others. Comment on the SoundCloud tracks of other users in a constructive and sincere way. By taking the time to applaud another artist and extend your support, you are also creating an opportunity to get yourself noticed. I know this may sound self-serving, but that’s because it is. We’re talking about SoundCloud promotion. Promoting your music is always self-serving. But this does not mean that you should make insincere comments. It does not mean ignore what’s happening within the track to blatantly write something about yourself. People most definitely notice when you comment on things. Make sure you’re using the right, constructive words.

Tip 5Follow

Do not hesitate to follow and/or follow back. This is perhaps the most obvious of all 5 Super-Social Easily-Implemented Just-Do-It-Already SoundCloud-Tips. Why? Because following is a recurring action. If another user sees you’re following them, guess what, it’s very likely that they’ll not only follow you back, but also check out your tracks. This leads to more exposure. Maybe they’ll happen to love your latest release, download it because you let it go for free, share it around their network, and bring you more fans. A scenario similar to this is not unrealistic.



How to increase Gig Attendance?

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If there is one thing that almost every musicians dreams of, it is of that first major tour. Its that feeling of playing night after night, in the best venues of all of the major cities around the world, and always to a sold out crowd. But before that will ever happen, you need to answer one major question: Do you have a plan? If not, you can be sure to kiss that dream goodbye. And if you do have a plan, is it good enough? Music is a business just as anything else, and as such it is your job to play entrepreneur and marketer. While it is your product or service you are trying to sell, it is also your job to expose your music to the public.

First we will take a look at forming a proper plan, followed by exploring different strategies for putting that plan into action. The following are 3 very important steps to ensuring that you have a proper plan in place before you even attempt to get that first gig: Continue reading

How to master a song in Ableton Live

Getting your tracks ready for playing to the public is something we all need to do from time to time. Liam O’Mullane shares his tips on making the best-sounding master possible in this Ableton Live tutorial 

 Love it or hate it, but in the world of club music it’s a necessity to give tracks a certain degree of loudness. For many, professional mastering isn’t an option as you may not be signed to a label yet, but if you want to get exposure, you still need to get your tracks to club and radio DJs for a possible lucky break. This month we’ll show you how to use specific mastering techniques on your mix buss to get a polished, loud track for promotional use.

You can also apply these to pre-mixed audio files, but working while the mix is still live can be an education in how your mix changes when mastered and how it can be shaped to work better with your mastering chain. But before any processing begins, let’s look at using reference material to help keep you on track.  Continue reading

How to promote your music? 5 important tips.

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1. Don’t Promote a Bad Track

I suggest getting feedback from respected people in the industry and other music enthusiasts before releasing. I personally have a promo list of 30 producers respected in the house community (it took me awhile to build these relationships). I respect their opinion and taste. If 60% of them like a track, it’s a green light to market and release the track. Why 60%? Think about it, 18 out of 30 respected taste makers from the industry liked the track. The odds of having 60% of my overall total fans liking the track and sharing it with their friends are high. My goal for each campaign is not to chase pennies and cents at the retail stores, but to grow my fanbase and share great music.

If you don’t have a network of tastemakers, I recommend checking out Soundout, it’s a great music feedback service that sends your track to other listeners, and you get feedback a few days later.

2. Market to Your Target Audience

I’ve seen a lot of producers who like to produce tracks in different genres and then market them to a totally wrong fanbase. Some people can’t tell Deep House from Tech House from Electro. Some people see it all as Techno. That’s fine if you are blanketing that fan base as your target market. But be clear what your target market is and what is the messages you want to communicate to them. For example, promoting your electro house track in a dubstep forum or your top 10 deep house beatport chart on an EDM Facebook group, is a bad idea. Don’t do this.

It’s not always easy to decide who you should market to. It took me some time to identify my target audience. Initially they were younger producers from South Africa, Germany and Sweden. Now I have expanded to the electronic music enthusiasts in DC, Baltimore and NYC (the U.S. has always been a late adopter for electronic dance music). My message is catered to them, and I’m closely interacting with them.

3. Don’t Believe the Hype

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in marketing is to get caught up in all the marketing noise made by other producers. When you’re inside the bubble and paying attention to every announcement of your nearest 3-4 producers/competitors, it’s easy to get despondent when they get their killer magazine review or are featured on every Beatport Top 10 and Traxsource Top 10. It’s okay to be competitive though. I noticed not a lot of producers are competitive with their music. I’m very competitive and I expect the same from other producers. If you’re not competitive, expect to live in a world of mediocrity.

Those of us that have been around the block tend to not get too worked up by any big announcements. They come and go. They’re mostly fleeting. Life goes on and you have tons of differentiation.

4. Your Competitors Feel the Same

One thing that upcoming producers often overlook is the impact of competitors’ marketing on their morale. Every day you read about all of the great gigs your competitors are racking up and their high profile remixes released left and right. You’re reading their press releases or blog posts. Inside your mind, everything is going to hell in a handbasket and you don’t know how you are ever going to make it.

That’s how it ALWAYS feels being an UPCOMING PRODUCER. You are still learning your craft, you don’t have enough gear, you don’t have access to great vocalists, your network of other producers to learn from is nonexistent, you have no fan base. That is EXACTLY how your competitors feel. And they’re listening to your tracks and thinking, “Shit, they have a good thing going on” or “Uh Oh, how did he get that gig?” Make sure you stay confident.

Producers who started 8-10 yrs ahead of you aren’t the competition, these are your mentors. Respect them and ask them for feedback, which the majority will offer if approached correctly.

5. Build Relationships

Many newbie producers make the mistake of thinking that they can simply approach a high profile producer to remix some of their work and gain recognition. It doesn’t work that way. High profile producers are constantly harangued by over-eager producers. Go slowly. Get to know them when you don’t need remixes. Same thing goes for club promoters or owners.

Follow them on Twitter. Respect their profession. Buy their music. Go to their shows. Ask if you can be on their promo list. Say hello to them at clubs or events. Understand how their job works. Understand that for every track they make, they need some support promoting it, and if you can’t help, you’re not likely to get inches. The more helpful you are over time, the more likely you are to get inches when you need them.

Building your fan base and support network is a marathon, not a sprint. Spread the love out. Your small wins will result in larger wins over time.

How to build a music production studio for under $1.000

So you know how to produce but you now want to get started in your own studio, on a fairly low budget. How do you do that? 

Michael Walsh’s home studio

One question we often get asked is, “How much do I need to spend to build a decent home studio?”This is a tricky question because for the audio enthusiasts amongst us, there is never enough sound or enough gear. Creating a home studio can be a wallet-draining hobby. But it can also be a streamlined affair if you know exactly what you want to get done.  All you really need is a MIDI controller of some sort (to play your keys and your beats) and a decent pair of headphones or speakers. If you want to record live sounds such as vocals or guitar, you’ll also need an audio interface and a microphone to get those sounds into the computer.

Speakers vs Studio Monitors

Do you need high-end studio speakers? Not necessarily. I remember visiting a producer friend once and noticed that he was mixing tracks (that were getting published on the regular) with a pair of $20 computer speakers. He could do this because he knew from experience how to EQ his sounds and master his track to rumble a club sound system, so he didn’t need to hear the bass on his home system to know what was happening to the sound. For those of us who don’t have that skill (yet), it is probably wise to invest in a set of speakers that will give you a good idea of what you are creating. This is where the term “studio monitor” comes into our conversation. Studio Monitors are speakers that are made to give an accurate, transparent representation of the sound you are making. Where a pair of home theater or bookshelf speakers may “color” the sound to make it sound more appealing to the ear, studio monitors are made to sound accurate and therefore very flat. At first they may not sound as exciting as your other speakers. This is because you are hearing an honest representation of the music. Continue reading