LAMA Guitar Instructor Bill Fowler has released his newest quick tip video, focusing on different triad inversions. Thanks for the great advice Bill!
To our readers — please leave a comment to let us know which video topics you’d like to see Bill and other LAMA instructors tackle in the future.
If you’ve ever seen the video for Guns n’ Roses classic song “Welcome To The Jungle” you know it kicks off with Axl Rose arriving by bus in Los Angeles from small-town Indiana. Axl wrote the song thinking “if someone wants to come to town and find something, here you can find whatever you want.” You know…opportunity, friends, a band…and of course an apartment! You don’t want to get off that bus and not have a nice roof over your head. So here are some tips for the musician — or anyone for that matter — who wants to find the right apartment in Los Angeles:
Ask Your School
Students should really check in with your new school to see if they have Housing Options on their website like LAMA does. If the school is not going to help you get acclimated to LA you might be suspicious about how helpful they will be with the rest of your education. This will always be the best place to check because they will know housing options that are closer to the school. Even if you aren’t here for school, using a college’s housing page can have some good advice for anybody moving here.
Use Social Media
You got your admission letter to LAMA and know you are going to need to start thinking about finding a place to live in LA. Get the word out to your “network”! Post on Facebook, send out a Tweet and ask your friends for advice. Let them know when you will be moving and seek advice from anyone looking for a roommate, or anybody who has any leads on a good place to live. LA is one of those cities with high turnover. People are moving in and out of places all the time. Even if you don’t think you have any friends in LA one of your friends might know people with just the right place for you.
Search Out Craigslist
Craigslist has become the go-to place online for classified ads, especially for finding an apartment or roommate. You can either pick Apts/Housing which is for your own apartment or rooms/shared which is to find a roommate. The shared rooms section always has more bang for your buck if you don’t mind sharing. If you budget $1200 a month for your own place , $1200 spent on a share will be infinitely bigger and more spacious – but you will have to share with another human being! As usual, heed the warnings from Craigslist which can be a hotbed of scams and fraud. Make sure to bring a friend anytime you visit an apartment or potential roommate and use your best judgement come decision time.
Join Westside Rentals
Westside Rentals has been around a long time — you can trust the service to provide you with suggestions for housing in LA. The catch is that you have to pay a fee (around $60) for access to their listings but it does away with the scams and fraud associated with Craiglist because everyone involved is verified by Westside Rentals. They also have many listings that never show up on Craigslist.
Let’s hope you are blasting “Welcome To The Jungle” in your new apartment and not in your earbuds as you stumble around the streets without a place to live! The key for housing is to relax and take your time. Don’t rush into anything that does not feel right. Also know that apartment dwellers have some of the best consumer rights out of any segment. If your apartment does anything short of what was advertised the law will always side with you. Good luck with your search!
Back in the dark ages (the 90s) of Indie music, your music didn’t come out- it escaped! You had to record in some sort of professional studio, buy tape (or ADAT, Google it!), pay a company to print up CDs or tapes, and then— well, it was actually quite hard. Aside from getting on MTV or Radio, there weren’t many avenues to get your music out there. There was no YouTube, iTunes, or Facebook, so unless you were Fugazi or Ani Difranco doing a total DIY style release and/or touring constantly, your printed up records usually stayed in storage. However, the future is now! Musicians have a worldwide indie AND mainstream music store where anybody can sell their music. Keep reading to find out how:
RECORD YOUR MUSIC
As you will see in the next step, anybody can put any legal recorded music up on iTunes for sale. In other words you could record air on a micro-cassette recorder, convert it to MP3, and have it for sale all across the world in days. I do not recommend this! Since the whole world has access to iTunes, you are going to want to record music that will distinguish yourself. If you have the money, try to record in a professional music studio. If you want to record it yourself, consider tracking in your home studio and then taking it to a professional engineer to mix it. Regardless of where you record it, invest a little bit of money for a professional mastering engineer. If you are unfamiliar with Mastering, it is essentially the last step of the recording process where a fresh set of ears tweaks all the audio levels so that it can sound good on the radio as well as coming out of your iPod.
CHOOSE YOUR ONLINE DISTRIBUTOR
What’s funny is that Apple’s original plan was that iTunes would not be available to anybody and would only feature “quality artists” (read about this here: http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/11/cd-baby-founder-recounts-a-tale-of-steve-jobs-itunes-and-broken-promises/). However, now iTunes is pretty much open to anybody and there are several digital music distributors that can facilitate this. The two biggest companies doing this are TuneCore and CD Baby:
TuneCore is the largest—it distributes artists as diverse as Nine Inch Nails and Ziggy Marley as well as many unsigned bands. TuneCore charges $9.99 per single and $49.99 per album. TuneCore takes none of the money from the sale of your music. For the iTunes U.S. store, you receive $0.70 per song sold individually and $7.00 per album with 11 or more songs sold in its entirety. Your music typically appears on iTunes within 72 hours. For more info visit: http://www.tunecore.com/
CD Baby has been around longer than iTunes and was one of the first companies to offer bands cheap CD printing and distribution via their website. Times have changed and CD Baby is now the second largest digital music distributor. CD Baby handles distribution for $9.95 per single and $39 per album. On their website, they boast, “We keep 9% of the net income paid to us by our partners and you keep the rest.” To learn more about CD Baby check out: http://www.cdbaby.com
FINALIZE YOUR MATERIALS
You have your mastered song files, and have signed up for either TuneCore or CD Baby, and then you are ready to go. Follow the instructions of your distributor on how they want the files uploaded. You will need to come up with song titles, album or single names, and most importantly digital album artwork. Make sure you take some extra care to have your artwork look good because it will be displayed on everybody’s iPods and iPhones and can often set the mood nicely for the music. The last step is usually payment and then you will have to continuously check iTunes to see when it appears.
Good luck out there, fellow musicians. Make sure you only put up music that you feel shows the best side of your ability. Don’t just throw up something just because you crafted some songs. Now the hard part begins, getting people to buy your music! Look forward to a future installment on how to promote your music on iTunes. In the meantime, get uploading!
So you convinced Coca-Cola to work with you on your next musical project. Now what do you do? Let’s start with a little congratulations; finding a budget to fund any musical project in general is extremely difficult. So pat yourself on the back. Now, lets focus on how to keep the brand happy, which will in-turn keep you happy. It’s a vicious game, but if played correctly, third party brand investing will save the music industry. At least that’s my opinion.
Before you do anything, make sure the brand partnership makes sense. If you’re a Disney artist, I wouldn’t recommend Coors Light as a sponsor. But that’s me. Then understand that brands are like labels, except brands have money and usually let you cut up the budgets. Yes. Money. Budget. Music. Control. Oh, now you’re listening?
Many artists make the mistake of thinking once the deal is signed, the hardest part is over. However, in order to make the most of a major branded sponsorship is to ignore the word “sponsorship” and replace it with “partnership”. This is key. Once you accept that you and your brand are “partners”, you will both see your musical endeavor grow exponentially.
After speaking at a Billboard seminar last October on brand partnerships from an artist standpoint, I realized that most artists like to remain on the outside of the deal. This is a huge mistake. Letting the manager or agent take the brunt of the deal will disconnect the brand from the artist. Let me say this as clearly as possible so you don’t make a very common mistake: As an artist, stay in direct contact with the brand product manager or agent directing the deal. Doing something as simple as keeping cc’d on emails between the brand and your manager will increase moral across the board, and will hopefully activate that first option deal in your contract for another year.
Your goal as an artist, assuming you like money, is to turn everyone at the brand into a fan of yours! Invested interest is priceless. Do everything required of your deal with the brand but also do a little extra with every project. Adding an extra tweet, shout-out, or Facebook post could turn your $10,000 deal into an $80,000 deal because everyone at the brand likes your hustle. Again, invested interest from a major brand can turn into a bigger budget.
Major brands are the only market where musicians can go for guaranteed budget dollars. Once you find a brand willing to invest in you, realize that you need to be ready to invest time back into them. Do more then expected and the budget will surprisingly open up.