Changes to the monthly competitions

Hi and welcome back to Amazing OurStage. We want to let you know that there will be changes to the prizes we are offering. Every month will be different.
This month we are awarding prizes of $100 to winners of the competition finals. In the future there will be prizes to help your musical career. Check back to find out.

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Come back to see the improvements to OurStage over the next few months.

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Generation DIY: Send Your Team To The Streets!

The other week I was in Cambridge, MA grabbing a bite to eat with some friends when this young college girl stopped our group to ask us to preview some music on her iPod. After a 30 second listen, she asked our thoughts and inquired if  the band was one we’d personally enjoy. At the end of our conversation, she handed each of us a postcard with information on how to reach the band on the net as well as a plug for an upcoming show. This was quite possibly one of the best interactions I’ve had with someone promoting a band, especially someone doing it for free. Since I began the marketing campaign outline last week, I thought a talk about how to create and manage a street team was a likely next step. So let’s get some more work under our belt to help kick off this campaign stronger than ever.

For those of you who do not know, a street team is a collective group of dedicated people who work under a less structured setting to help promote a product or brand —in this case your band. Now, these teams aren’t the easiest to put together, especially if you’re not in a band that’s been around for a little bit and gathered a strong fan base. Usually, the street team will consist of close friends and fans from different areas—to ensure your efforts and promotional materials don’t go to waste. Continue reading ‘Generation DIY: Send Your Team To The Streets!’

Generation DIY: New Release? Big Show? Start The Campaign!

It’s a new season and that means only one thing: time to release new music, head out on tour, hit the festival scene and, of course, score your band more opportunities to spread your music. Just like a business needs marketing campaign initiatives, so do bands targeting various markets to hook their music to the end-user. As I have mentioned in the past, look at your band as a business and your music as your product—it’ll be the easiest way to separate yourself from the lovable musician looking to connect with your fans and the manager looking to push your band into the industry. Every summer there is an influx of new releases (usually in June – I know of at least a dozen CDs being released on June 22nd alone), as well as large festivals and tours. Since many of the music fanatics out there are in their 20’s and younger, summer break is the time to target these kids and get them out to your show. This week’s Generation DIY will touch upon how to create and run a PR campaign for your CD release, larger scale local shows or tours. Let the games begin!
Continue reading ‘Generation DIY: New Release? Big Show? Start The Campaign!’

Tour De Force: Document Your Tour

In the age of the Internet it has become almost too easy to let the whole world know what you are up to. Although most of the time this can be pretty annoying —no one really wants to hear a play-by-play of their neighbor’s trip to the grocery store— it presents a great opportunity for touring musicians. Updating your fans with videos, pictures and songs will keep them engaged and eager to buy concert tickets. Luckily there are tons of easy ways to share your life on the road with your fans.

Step One: Laptop

OK, this probably seems like a given, but it’s important to have a laptop that has some type of video and audio editing software. Although I’m sure 99.9% of all touring musicians have laptops with these capabilities, it’s still worth mentioning. Personally, I’m a huge fan of MacBooks (Pro or otherwise). They come equipped with iMovie and Garageband, and have a built-in webcam perfect for making a quick video update or (as I talk about below) streaming live shows.

Step Two: Tumblr.com

John Mayer with fans in Brooklyn

Any blog platform will do really, but I’m personally very partial to Tumblr. The format is really easy to use and it’s endorsed by John Mayer—what more do you need to know really? It’s a central place where you can write blogs, upload videos and songs, post links, funny conversations and quotes – basically anything you could ever want! Check out 30 Reasons Why You’ll Love Tumblr and you’ll be sold.

Step Three: Content

Flip Video Cam

Now that you’ve set up your Tumblr (or other blog) you need to generate some entertaining content. Anytime I follow a musician on tour, there are three major posts that catch my attention – video updates, songs and pictures. Let’s be honest, who reads anymore?! If you’re going out on tour for a month or so, weekly tour update videos are a great way to let your fans know your whereabouts and what you’ve been up to. The Flip video cam is a really useful tool for anyone making movies on the go, especially movies that may include live footage from one of your shows. Although the price can be a little steep, the video and audio quality is great and the camera itself is super easy to use. Just record some footage, plug it in with the built-in USB and you’re good to go!

The girls behind the "Spring Break Forever" Theme Song

In terms of songs, I am  a huge fan of tour theme songs. They’re funny and a great way to spread the word. Offer them up as a free download on your Tumblr and your fans will be buzzing. Also, if you get the opportunity to record one of your shows, posting the audio is a great way to let your fans know what they can expect from your live show. If you’re one of those “writing on the road” types, posting Garageband demos of brand-spanking new songs is another great way to generate interest, even if the song is a complete joke that you and your tour-mates wrote for fun.

Andrew Maury on tour with Ra Ra Riot

The key to taking entertaining pictures is people. You may think that the beautiful sunset or view from your van is awesome, and a few of those type of pictures are okay, but overall no one really cares. People want to see pictures of you and your tour-mates, the crazy bum sitting outside the venue or pictures of you and your fans.

Just populate your blog with these types of posts and I guarantee your fans will love you for it! Also, make sure you hook up your Twitter to your Tumblr so anytime you update your blog, an announcement will be sent to all your Twitter followers.

Step Four: Livestream

Livestreaming your show is another great way to build hype amongst your fans. It gives them an event to look forward to and gives them the opportunity to see you perform live if they can’t make it out to the show. Some great wWeb sites for this include Livestream.com, Justin.tv and UStream.tv. All you need is a web cam, a high speed Internet connection and a laptop. If the venue you’re playing has high speed Internet, streaming from the green room or backstage can also be a fun thing to do with fans. The  majority of these platforms have live chats where viewers of your livestream can interact with you, ask questions and give song requests. Hanson is a great example of a band that uses Livestream to it’s best —they have a player embedded onto their Web site that broadcasts select shows, posts update while driving from city to city and takes request for their upcoming performances.

Do you know any examples of bands that are GREAT at blogging from the road? Let us know in the comments!

Generation DIY: Twitter For The Scholars & Gentlemen

By now you’ve probably been using MySpace, Twitter and many various social networking sites, but how do you know if you’ve been using them correctly? There actually is a proper way of using these Web sites to maximize your growth potential and reach out to new audiences. Since MySpace is on it’s way of being completely irrelevant in terms of connecting with fans and simply an engine to find and listen to new music, I will be giving you an idea of how to properly “tweet” over the Twitter lines. For anything to do with the entertainment business, Twitter is by far the smartest tool created. You’re just a click away from getting (what seems like) direct text messages from Ben Affleck, the GEICO gecko and even Jesus (yep, he’s on it). Those of us in the music industry know it’s a great way to network, connect and stay in touch with people of different levels: fans, producers, record executives, musicians, tour managers etc. Now, let’s get down to business and get your Twitter account more active than Perez Hilton and Jeffree Star‘s combined.
Continue reading ‘Generation DIY: Twitter For The Scholars & Gentlemen’

Tour De Force: Vegans Take Flight

Eating well can be tough. Eating well while on tour can be even tougher. The convenience and relatively low cost of fast food and gas station hot dogs can be a dangerous combination. Along with the general urge to stay healthy, many musicians have specific dietary restrictions — vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, etc. Luckily there are a whole bunch of blogs out there dedicated to helping touring musicians maintain a healthy lifestyle and think outside the pizza box.

The first blog post with LOADS of great tips that I encountered was MusicianWages.com. David Hahn gives musicians 8 basic tips that can be easily executed and yield great results. The first tip is to read. “The next time I was at the book store I looked at the nutrition books. Cook books are useless if you are a touring musician, so I skipped those. In fact, most diet books — nearly across the board — are pretty useless to touring musicians… I found one book that really changed things for me – Eat This, Not That! by David Zinczenko.”

He also recommend giving up mayo and cheese since they add unnecessary calories that really aren’t worth the extra taste, no matter how delicious. Also, taking vitamins, eating smaller breakfasts, not eating after a gig and staying active are cited as relatively simple ways to reduce your caloric intake and avoid that touring freshman fifteen. One revelation I found particularly interesting in this post was the “Order a Burger” recommendation: “Do you know it’s better to order a burger at McDonald’s than to order a grilled chicken sandwich? There are 410 calories in a Quarter Pounder (no cheese), compared to 570 in the Grilled Chicken Club.” Click here to read the rest of the blog.

Continue Reading Tour De Force

Classifieds News: Services

OurStage Classifieds is a music-centric classifieds section designed to help music lovers, emerging artists and industry pros connect with one another on many levels. Think of it as your local classifieds section but on a music discovery site with over 4 million monthly visitors. The OurStage community lives and breathes musicwhat better place to fulfill all your music-related needs?

This week in Classifieds news, we’re focusing on the Services category. Services features 17 subcategories: Booking / College Booking, Consulting, Distributor, Engineer / Producer / Mixer, Graphic / Web Design, Legal, Lessons, Management, Manufacturing, Mastering, Merchandising, Photography, PR, Publiching, Radio / Video Promotion, Studios and  Wanted. It is important to note that, with the exception of the “Wanted” subcategory, the Services sub-categories are meant to host listings posted by industry professionals promoting their services. Artists looking for a specific service should post only in the Services: Wanted subcategory. Here are the details of each subcategory:

  • Booking/College Booking – A place for booking agents/booking companies to advertise their services.
  • Consulting – A place for music industry consulting services to advertise their services.
  • Distributor – A place for music distribution companies to advertise their services.
  • Engineer/Producer/Mixer – A place for engineers, producers and mixers to advertise their services.
  • Graphic/Web Design – A place for graphic designers and web designers to advertise their services.
  • Legal – A place for entertainment lawyers and other legal professionals who work within the music industry to advertise their services.
  • Lessons – A place for instructors of all instruments to advertise music lessons.
  • Management – A place for artist managers to advertise their services.
  • Manufacturing – A place for hard copy music manufacturers to advertise their services. If your company produces mostly merchandise for artists, the best fit for your listing is the Merchandising category.
  • Mastering – A place for companies or individuals who master recordings to advertise their services.
  • Merchandising - A place for companies or individuals who create merchandise for artists to advertise their services.
  • Photography – A place for photographers to advertise their services. If you are a photographer who is not interested in photographing artists or music-related events, this is not the best forum for your listing.
  • PR - A place for public relations firms to advertise their services.
  • Publishing - A place for music publishing firms to advertise their services.
  • Radio/Video Promotion – A place for Radio/Video promotion firms to advertise their services.
  • Studios – A place for recording studios to advertise their services.
  • Wanted – A place for artists and industry professionals to post about specific services they are seeking.

Click to Read Some Current Listings In The Services Category

Generation DIY: Get Your Music In The Pictures!

“Lights! Camera! Action!” Remember when we were younger and believed that those words were the biggest part of filming a movie, commercial, or TV series? Now that we’re older, we know there are many more factors involved in the production of such projects, especially when it comes to soundtracks. This week’s Generation DIY is all about music supervision and ways you can get your music into new films, commercials and TV episodes that are currently in production.

First things first, when it comes to getting your music placed it is important to have it mastered professionally. This is the big leagues we’re talking about. Music placement not only means a relatively generous payout but also equals worldwide promotion, so don’t give these music supervisors basement recordings. A minimal searchs for music supervisors yields many useful sites. One that I’ve referred to before is Music Supervisor Guide, which has listings for many hot TV shows as well as video games, movies and advertising (Note: you have to sign up and pay in order to use). If you do plan on paying for a Web site, then I’d suggest joining BMI, SESAC or ASCAP and license your music through these organizations.  Since they have good reputations behind them, you will be able to land some better opportunities, but again, this is the big league so make sure you are ready.


If you are looking to do it all on your own, as all of us DIYers do, then pick up some books on the subject and interview some music supervisors to get a better idea of what you need to do to make that connection. One contact I made through my travels was David Weiss and David Hnatiuk who wrote and published the book Music Supervision: The Complete Guide To Selecting Music For Movies, TV, Games & New Media. This is a great book to pick up to get a better understanding on how this industry works and what music supervisors are looking for. Be sure to check out their Web site to learn more about this great group.

Hopefully some of this information gets the wheels turning and pushes you in the right direction. As always, I want to hear your suggestions, comments, success stories and anything else that you would like to share.

This is YOUR year. Let’s make it count.

Festivus: Your Festival Survival Guide

Tuesday marks the beginning of June, and in my mind the official beginning of summer, so it’s time to start the ever-important preparations for festival season. We’ve been talking and talking about everything from ticket prices to scheduling conflicts, and now we’re getting down to the real deal. This is the stuff you really need to know when you’re up close and personal with thousands of fans, hundreds of your favorite bands, inclement weather and multiple days of….gasp…port-a-potties.

One of the most important things to anticipate when prepping for a festival is smart packing. Chances are, once you’re in, you’re not leaving. At least not for a couple of days. So lots of stuff needs to be packed into small spaces. Storage pods for the roof of your car are ideal. You can shove sleeping bags, tents, pillows, anything light (and preferably waterproof) can be stashed on top. Just make sure its not something you’re going to need during the drive or in the long wait to get into the campgrounds.

Picking and choosing what should stay and what should go can be overwhelming, so here’s a few key necessities. Trash bags, water (gallons, not bottles) wet wipes and anti-septic wipes should all be brought in bulk. Obviously, you’ll use trash bags to sit on, keep things dry and carry your trash away in.  And staying hydrated is one of the most important things to remember at a festival, especially if you’re boozing. While there’s generally great amounts of qualified EMT’s on site, being out of commission for a day from dehydration is a total bummer. Wet wipes and anti-septic wipes can take the sting off of severely neglected hygiene, but you’re going to need to check your pretenses at the door. This isn’t Vegas.

Click To Keep Reading Festival Survival Guide

Generation DIY: Web sites are so 1999…or are they?

Remember back in the day when people used to visit dot coms to get information on their favorite artists, sporting events, movie trailers and basically everything else? Well, since the social0-networking wave hit the digital shores, we’ve been brainwashed to rely on Web sites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and a boatload more to get all of our juicy news. Don’t let this fad fool you! Web sites are in fact still “cool” and still used by many artists, companies, sports teams, etc. It’s just a matter of making them look good enough to compete with those customized pages that all bands now have on Myspace. This week’s “Generation DIY” goes into some ideas of how to design, manage and promote your own dot com as well as available tools to help those who aren’t HTML and design savvy.
Let’s start off with the basics. Do you have the necessary skills and tools to build a Web site that people will actually enjoy visiting? If not then ask a friend, or seek out a designer/coder online through forums, The Musician’s Atlas (as I have once mentioned) or classifieds on OurStage. Don’t worry if you have the proper tools but not the skill set to make an intriguing Web site. If you have access to Dreamweaver, you can easily build a Web site using their built-in templates. You can even see the progress of your work using their preview options. There are also sites out there that have stripped-down tutorials on CSS, HTML, Java, etc. that can help get you on your way. Two highly-recommend sites are  W3Schools and HTMLDOG. Here you can view different pieces of HTML that you can implement into your site, as well as CSS tutorials to help the aesthetics. Remember: once you design and code your page, you’ll need to purchase some sort of URL (a dot com, a dot net, etc.) as well as host it on a site (godaddy, justhost, etc.). Both of these cost money and require monthly fees (yearly for the domain name).

Continue reading ‘Generation DIY: Web sites are so 1999…or are they?’

Generation DIY: Sponsorships For The Hip

So you’ve been making an impression on the local scene— perhaps even the tri-state area—but as all Generation DIYers do, you still want more! You have a CD, merchandise, a pretty full touring schedule but still lack that national recognition. What’s the next step? Well, this week’s “Generation DIY” ventures into sponsorships and how you can get behind a company to not only gain some national fame but also spread the word on your favorite brand. With that being said, let’s roll up our sleeves and get down to the nitty gritty.

First off, let’s define and make sure that we all know the difference between a sponsorship and an endorsement. Sponsor: a person who vouches or is responsible for a person or thing. Endorse: to approve or back openly. NOW, the difference between the two is that a company SPONSORS YOU and you ENDORSE their PRODUCT/BRAND. Remember, a company won’t endorse you—they sponsor you in order to sell more products through your fanbase.

As a fellow musician, I suggest the first thing each of you looking to endorse a product should do is find a brand that you personally love and can stand behind. A positive connection to a product will definitely show through when you spread the word whether you’re on stage, in a commercial ad  or networking online. So ask yourself, what brands do you use for strings, drum heads, sticks, guitar picks, etc. Once you can narrow down the equipment that you love using, and will continue to use throughout the years, then you can begin thinking about inquiring about a sponsorships. For instance, I use Fender for electric guitars and Takamine for acoustic, as well as Ernie Ball strings.  Since I have used these brands for many years, I can get behind these companies and suggest their products to fellow musicians who are in the market for something new. When a company considers sponsoring an artist, one question they always ask is , “Can the artist sell more units for us?” If the answer is “Yes” then you are well on your way.

Continue reading ‘Generation DIY: Sponsorships For The Hip’

 


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