Category Archives: Music

Why I Want To Do My Own Music Marketing

This past semester, I took my first two music classes at Duke in Electronic Music and Music Composition. Since then, I’ve been creating my own beats and with enough practice, I hope to become a full time musician.

But until then, I need a day job to pay my student loans; part of the reason why I want to pursue a career in marketing and sales. As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, I’ve got goals that I want to accomplish, and two of those goals are being an expert ad salesman and social media marketer.

I am passionate about both fields but of late I’ve begun to notice an ulterior motive for why I am pursuing a career in marketing.

Let’s say I were an aspiring musician growing up in the 90’s. I would have to send out demos and play at local clubs and bars for the chance of getting a record deal and becoming a star.

Sure, I could have good music, but that didn’t necessarily guarantee that I would make it big. What did guarantee stardom was the record labels and their marketing power.

They could get me on the radio, television, and print, and then I would be a star.

Record labels still can do this, but in today’s digital age, you and I can become sensations all on our own.

I read a post today on Social Media Today titled, “How Emerging Artists Use Social Media“, and it talks about 18 year old Travis McDaniel, a young musician and songwriter who is using social media to grow and build his fan base.

But the author cautions that it is not easy to build an audience; it takes a lot of effort.

I would agree. Just like it’s hard to build a dedicated following on Twitter, or get a lot of subscribers to your blog, creating a rabid fan base using the internet takes time, dedication, and effort.

Which is why I am pursuing a career in marketing.

You see, I could probably launch my music career now. Except that 1) I’m not that good yet, and 2) I’d much rather wait until I have marketing experience to do so.

By waiting until I have the requisite experience, I can ensure that I when I do launch my music career full-time, I’ll know what I’m doing and won’t have to pay anyone else.

By then I hope I’ll have built relationships with the blogs and other press, and I’ll have the marketing know-how and connections to plaster my name across the internet.

When I launch, I want to do it right, I want to do it professionally, and I want to do it myself. I could pay someone to do it for me, but where’s the fun in that?

The fun comes from working hard and seeing yourself succeed. At the end of the day, I want to be able to say that I’m responsible for my own success. #selfmade

@NewInfluential

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Tarik Adams – “Wake Up”

This song by Tarik Adams is the first song that an artist has personally asked me to feature on my blog. (This isn’t even a music blog yet!?!?) But I decided to do so anyway. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was actually pleasantly surprised.

Unlike a lot of independent artists, the music video is really well done and from that alone Tarik scored points in my book.

But the song wasn’t too shabby either. While not the most original concept for a song, I found that Tarik was able to make it work really well for him. The beat is catchy and Tarik’s song writing abilities make up for what he lacks in vocals.

Overall, a pretty good, well produced track.


First Music Post: Lupe Fiasco – “Words I Never Said” ft. Skylar Grey

So I’m not really sure what I want to do with this blog, or blogging in general. At some point, I plan on getting a domain, hosting; the whole shebang. But for some reason I can’t decide exactly what I want to blog about. Should I start my own music blog and concentrate on that? Or should I neglect my love of music and blog about topics like social media?

So many questions, so few answers.

But alas, here is my first music post on this blog:

 

Source: Hipandpop.com

 

Lupe Fiasco’s latest album is set to be released this March, but the whole process has been anything less than smooth. As recently as last year, Lupe and his label Atlantic were at odds over the content of the album. Apparently Lupe wanted to focus on political issues, but his label wanted something more mainstream. Although the issue was resolved, this song definitely has some deep, political rapping.

Over a bumping, synth laden beat, Lupe wastes no time getting waste deep into what he believes are the dirty secrets of America,

I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bulls#$*/just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets/how much money does it really take to really make a full clip/9-11, building seven, did they really pull it/”

If you think that’s a mouthful, wait until you listen to the rest of the song. Lupe also touches on topics like education, Fox News, and jihad.

But after listening to this, I have to say that I can’t wait till Lasers comes out. If Lupe is spitting political gems like this track, I want to hear them.


Why I Pirate Music

Source: Walyou.com

 

When I was a sophomore in college, literally all day every day I would download music. I had this recliner in my room facing the TV that was literally a foot from my bed, and I would curl up underneath the covers and just potato – it was the laziest setup ever.

I would lay down all day and do nothing. It was aw-esome, err, I mean aw-ful.

But one of the things I did do was download lots and lots of music. Like hundreds of songs a day sometimes. I remember when I first got into techno and electronic music. I’d been hanging out in a friend’s room, and after listening to artists like Fredde Le Grande and Bassnectar, I realized that I really enjoyed techno and electronic music.

What this started was a techno music downloading spree. I remember googling “Top 100 Techno” songs and downloading a whole torrent of songs. I then proceeded to sit down on my couch with my computer in my lap, went through all 100 songs and picked out which songs I loved, which songs I liked, and which songs I thought were meh.

The greatest thing to me at the time was not necessarily that I could listen to all this new music, but that I could do so for free.

You see, I was born in the tail end of the 80’s, which means I grew up using programs like Kazaa, Napster and Limewire to find new music.

So the concept of free when it comes to music has been ingrained in me for I don’t know, about 10 years.

It’s proving to be a hard habit to break. I could conceivably buy my own music. Even though I’m often a broke college student, I do have enough moola coming my way to spend a $.99 on a few tracks or $10 for an album.

But you see, that’s whats wrong with the whole debate around paying for music. The music industry still lives in an age where if you liked an artist, you went into a record store and bought a vinyl or a CD for $10 or more. Back then, record labels controlled everything, and the number of artists we listened to was limited.

Not so today. We now live in a digital age which has leveled the playing field for everything, including music. There are literally hundreds of thousands of artists that I could listen to, and often I don’t want to listen to and pay for a whole album.

And for someone like me, who is web and technologically savvy, and has a thirsty passion for new music, the notion that I have to pay $.99 for every song I wish to download is ludicrous. Even though I no longer download hundreds of songs a day, I would say that some weeks I do download over a 100 songs.

For others, this number may be much higher. Do record labels really expect a consumer like me to pay $100 dollars a week for new music? Let’s multiply that by 52 weeks, and now I’m looking at a hefty $5,200 spent on music alone. How many people do you know who spend that much on music alone? Probably not many.

I want to pay for music from the artists that I enjoy, which is why I’m excited about the UK music subscription service Spotify coming to the United States. If I could pay a monthly fee for access to unlimited music downloads, I would do so in a heartbeat.

But unfortunately record labels are still clinging to a dying business model, and will continue to stubbornly do so until a new company comes along and disrupts them. I hope that company is Spotify.

So until I either find a job that pays enough, or an exceptional subscription service comes out that allows me to purchase new music for a reasonable price, I will still be pirating a lot of the music I listen to.

What are your thoughts on pirating music? If you do pirate, is it because of the cost, is it out of habit, or is it because you hate the record labels and want to watch them burn? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Growing Up On The Web

My earliest memories of using the internet were back in elementary school, when we used Netscape in school.

As I got older, AOL became the huge company, and soon my friends and I were instant messaging each other and changing our aim status updates.

Then as a senior in high school, I created my a Facebook profile, which since then has documented the many photos, status updates, articles, thoughts, and memories throughout my four years of college.

Thinking back, I can see now that since I was about 9 years old, I have grown up on the web.

 

Yet today, at the age of 21, I have been more active online in a span of about 6 months than I have ever been at any point in my life all together – I blog, I tweet, I use Facebook and Linkedin.

Like most of the people my age, I have some youthful indiscretions. (Good thing my Facebook profile is private?)

When I first started blogging, I simply thought of it as a way to channel my personality onto a page, except that I didn’t fully understand that everything I put on the web, stayed on the web.

My first blog morphed into a music blog, and I began using some of the lingo of my peers and the music I listened to. To me, this was not a problem, but to my older brother – who pointed out that my expletive laden blog posts were showing up on Linkedin – it was.

I eventually unlinked my blog from my Linkedin profile, not because I was ashamed of what I was writing, but because I realized that my writing didn’t fit the medium. Imagine how it would look if I was at a business conference networking, and started using cuss words in my dialogue?

Then today I read an article on Social Media Today by Tracy Gold, titled “How Social Media Can Get You a Job“. Her last point was to “Google yourself”, and to preemptively combat any negative information about yourself.

For about 15 minutes, I went into panic mode, thinking about my blog with all the curses.

I had applied to maybe 3 or 4 jobs, and hadn’t heard any responses.

What if I wasn’t getting any responses because of what I wrote on my blog?

So I forced myself to do something I’ve always dreaded doing (go back and read what I wrote a few months ago).

As I was browsing through the posts, not only was I dismayed by the poor quality of writing (awful), but I could also see that I used the F-word about 20 or so times, as well as some other choice vocabulary.

I began thinking about what my parents, friends, potential employers, or even random visitors to my blog would think when they read my posts.

Would they just assume I spoke like this in real life?

 

After I finished reading my old posts, I calmed down however. For one, I could see that my later posts didn’t contain any profanity at all, which is good because the whole first page has no profanity, meaning you’d have to dig a little deeper to see them.

Second, why would I want to change or erase something I wrote, something that is a part of me, even if it is embarrassing?

CEO Eric Schmidt made headlines last year when he predicted that in the future, young adults will be able to change their identity to escape their youthful indiscretions. (Think of that Facebook picture of you hitting the bong.)

 

I’m not going to get too deep into what Schmidt said, but I don’t really agree with him.

I value those posts with the expletives as much, if not more, than the posts I write to help people with whatever they need.

Want to know why?

Because I took chances, pushed boundaries, made mistakes, and as a result, I learned valuable lessons that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Isn’t that part of growing up? Making mistakes? And then learning from them?

 

So if an employer is not going to hire me based off what he saw me write 6 months ago, when I was first blogging, then good; I probably don’t want to work for that employer anyways. If they can’t see what I’ve done since that initial phase (including this post), then they don’t deserve my skills, creativity, and experiences.

 

Have you made any mistakes on the web? What did you learn from them? Share them in the comments below.


You Too Can Be A Musician

I have a confession to make. When yesterday I wrote that I’ve always had the dream of working in the music industry, it was only partially true.

The real truth is that I’ve always wanted to become a producer/rapper, but I’ve never had the balls to actually try it.

I’ve never really free-styled, and the closest I’ve ever come to making my own music was being able to play the Clarinet up until I was 17.

I was hanging out with a good friend the other day when he bought a set of digital turn tables, plugged it into his Mac, and began mixing and scratching beats.

He said to me, “Wanna try?”

I scoffed at his suggestion, “Who me? I’d probably suck big time.”

“No, it’s really easy,” he responded. “Take it, I’ll show you how.”

And that’s how I realized that I really should start rapping and producing my own music.

You see, I’ve been reading this book called, “This is Your Brain on Music” by Daniel J. Levitin that is really quite interesting.

He talks about how our culture makes a distinction between a class of expert performers and the rest of us.

Here is a line from the book:

“A couple of generations ago, before television, many families would sit around and play music together for entertainment. Nowadays there is a great emphasis on technique and skill, and whether a musician is ‘good enough’ to play for others. Music making has become a somewhat reserved activity in our culture, and the rest of us listen.” (pg 7)

But I believe that this trend is slowly being bucked. With the rise of the web, many of the obstacles that prevented the “rest of us” from becoming musicians has been stripped away.

With the web, a musician can learn his craft through the many online manuals, buy equipment, (net)work with other musicians, showcase their skills, and hopefully build a following or get signed.

My goal is not necessarily to make it big; I just want to become a musician.

Somewhere down the line, say 30, I would love to be part of a band and do shows.

The other part, would be to actually write about and work in the business side of music.

So that is my big dream.

I hope that writing it down for everyone to see, pushes me to become it.