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New Music Biz 101: Social Media Management

It’s important for every artist to have a good handle on their social media profiles since it is now the staple for connecting with fans and engaging their community. For a busy artist on the road, however, managing social media can become a difficult task. Hopping between blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn etc. just to get a message to  fans can be tedious and a waste of precious time. Luckily there are a few services out that help make these tasks more efficient. The two sites that we’ll focus on today are Ping.fm and Postling.com.

These two services are surprisingly similar and when it comes down to it, the biggest differences are a matter of preference. Here’s the gist of what they both offer: Each service provides a way to aggregate your social media sites. Go to one of the two sites, and you’ll be able to get your account up and running in within a few minutes. There is a simple method to connect your social media profiles to your aggregated account, the process is as painless as possible. Once connected, you simply write your status update, and select the places you’d like it posted. The message is then sent out across your networks!

Of course, there are a couple differences between these two platforms.

Ping.fm

  • Twice as many social media networks to post to than Postling
  • Ability to create custom groups of networks

Postling.com

  • Really simple interface
  • Targeted towards users with multiple businesses accounts

Take a test run on both of these services and see which one best suits your needs. Let us know which one you’ve chosen in the comments section, and tell us what you think!

Music Videos 101: Censorship?

One regular point of contention that music videos often encounter is the issue of censorship. Naturally, no artist, whether it be a musician or a video director, wants to have his or her work censored. Nowadays, the Internet offers a wide open platform for music videos to express basically anything they want—violence, nudity, drugs or graphic language—and there is very little resistance from most online programming outlets.

The same can’t be said for television and corporately-owned programming outlets. These locations are still bound by the rules of the FCC, and therefore can’t just program anything they want if it breaks those rules. The rules are even stricter as the companies get bigger and involve fun things like stock holders, advertisers, board members, etc.

Although many of these rules and regulations are of little interest or concern to artists, the fact remains is that they offer a notable amount of exposure and help for the video, and if the maximum exposure is to be achieved, these rules have to be obeyed. And it should be noted that these outlets will not make these edits for you. You will need to present them with a product that is ready to go.

With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you avoid raising any major red flags with these broadcast and corporate outlets:

Eminem and Rihanna's music video for "Love The Way You Lie" recently sparked controversy in regards to domestic violence

Sex – This is an obvious one, but aside from the regular culprits like breasts, butts and all, keep in mind even the suggestion of sexuality (bananas in the mouth, overtly sexual dancing) can be cause for alarm.

Drugs – Drugs are another big no-no. Censors don’t like drugs, the image of them, the suggestion of them. Nothing. Even cigarettes.

Violence – Although not as taboo as the previous two, it is something to be careful about. If it’s a bunch of metal dudes moshing in a pit, not at problem. But if there are guns involved at all, that’s no good. When it comes to violence, guns and blood are the major worries to censors.

Graphic Imagery – If anyone is pissing on a wall, or giving the middle finger, or vomiting on camera, you can be sure these will be a problem.

Language – It’s not just the visual, but it’s also the content of the lyrics. It’s common to have radio edits of songs, which is usually totally cool. All of the above items are things that can be a problem if alluded to in a lyrical sense. And if you do edit out swear words, make sure they are well edited.

Does all of this seem like they’re trying to take the fun out of music videos? It depends on whom you ask and what your goal is. All artists are free to make the videos they want to make, and they can do so knowing that there is still the potential for online exposure. But if broadcast television is your goal, you will need to play by their rules.

Judges Needed For The Intel Superstars Competition!

The Intel “Superstars” Competition is currently offering artists in the Latin, urban and singer-songwriter communities a shot at a superstar prize package. The Top 5 winners in each of the three Intel “Superstars” Competition Channels will be awarded personal computers based on Intel® Core™ Processor Technology and equipped with Cakewalk music software, a promising start for any DIY recording studio. The Top 20 “Superstars” hopefuls in each competition channel will also be automatically eligible for a $10,000 cash grand prize to be awarded in January 2011 by a panel of music industry experts. By judging in the Intel “Superstars” Competition you can help up-and-coming artists rise to the top of the heap and get a jump start on recording their music at home. Head to the Intel “Superstars” Competition now and weigh in on who you think deserves a place in the spotlight. For official rules and competition information click HERE.

Needle in the Haystack Follow Up: Mel

It’s been a great week of promotion with our designated Needle in the Haystack Mel! He has some new and exciting things going on including his new, soon-to-be released mix tape, PS Mel. In our interview with Mel, we asked him how his uncle has influenced his music. Mel came back with a simple and reasonable answer. “I grew up around the best, period. So, I only strive to be the best and won’t accept nothin’ less.” Check out the rest of the interview below in our follow up video!

New Kids On The Block: Willow Smith and Diggy Simmons

Move over Bieber…there’s a new batch of fresh-faced, super-kids coming for your crown, and they’re packing some serious street cred.

In addition to breakout internet stars like The Astronomical Kid (14-year-old Brooklynite Brian Bradley), two other youngsters are taking the music industry by storm: Willow Smith (the 9-year-old daughter of Will and Jada Smith) and Daniel “Diggy” Simmons (the 15-year-old son of Rev Run).  Though it’s hard to ignore the argument of nepotism with regard to Willow and Diggy’s meteoric rise to fame, there’s no question they are capitalizing on their genetic gifts and tenacious talent to launch their solo careers at an age when most kids are still thinking about a driver’s permit, or in Willow’s case, riding the big rides.

While young starlets are not a new trend—(think Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Selena Gomez) both Willow and Diggy have bypassed the typical Disney-tinged, tween idol approach and gone straight to the big leagues. Neither of their singles, Diggy’s “Oh Yeah” with labelmate Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell or Willow’s “Whip My Hair” scream “teeny bopper kid” pop. Instead, both hold court with the hottest hits on the pop charts, giving their older counterparts a run for their money (and likely an award or two).

Diggy signed with Atlantic Records in March of this year after his debut mixtape, The First Flight, hit his blog in December 2009, garnering critical acclaim most notably for freestyling over Nas’ track ”Made You Look.”

@diggy_simmons

He also inked a deal to rep AT&T in a national TV ad campaign, proving his star power is strong enough to hawk expensive PDA’s to adults rather than lunchboxes and notebooks to kids. Diggy’s latest mixtape, Airborne, released through Atlantic in September seems to serve as a tasty teaser while he continues working on his debut full length album.

But Diggy was well known to the American public before his recent success. The budding rapper, designer, blogger and entrepreneur first arrived in our living rooms at tender age of 10 when his family’s hit reality show, Run’s House, aired on MTV in 2005. It’s not a stretch to see the musical prodigy (progeny) exploring a career in music considering his dad is legendary DJ, Rev. Run of Run DMC and his uncle Russell, heads up Def Jam—though Diggy claims no help from his dad or uncle in getting the deal with Atlantic.  Diggy’s siblings including brother Jo Jo and older sisters, Angela and Vanes (from Rev. Run’s first marriage to Valerie Vaughn) also carved their own careers from the success of the show—launching, in Jo Jo’s case, a music career, while the sisters opted to start a shoe line, acting roles and star in their own MTV spin-off, Daddy’s Girls.

Willow Smith, on the other hand has been in the public eye seemingly from infancy, both as a style icon and as the daughter of  one of the most compelling couples in Hollywood. Willow began her acting career at age 8 alongside mom, Jada Pinkett-Smith in Madagascar 2 before showing off her musical talents with her simultaneously kid-friendly and adult smash single, “Whip My Hair.”  Shortly after the single was leaked online in September, Willow signed with Roc Nation where label President, Jay-Z compared her to a young Michael Jackson.  The single has been so successful legions of young fans (and adults too) began making their own videos to the addictive tune. Willow’s official video for the track, which was directed by Ray Kay (Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga) and debuted on BET earlier this week, features some serious moves, guest appearances and one messy paint fight.

Rumors of a duet between Diggy and Willow seem inevitable. For the moment, we’ll just have to enjoy their musical (and marketing) genius individually.

Willow Smith\’s \”Whip My Hair\”

By Cortney Wills

Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.

Punk On The Rocks: The FEST 9 Set To Rock Gainsville, FL This Halloween

Still looking for Halloween weekend plans? Look no further than The FEST. Now in it’s ninth year, this weekend long punk rock bender is set to put the “rock” in “Gainsville, Rock City” this October 29th, 30th and 31st.

Past FESTs witnessed mosh pit pizza, trashed hotel rooms and surprise band reunions. Who will be on hand for this year’s madness? With 15 venues and over 280 bands, I think a better question might be “Who WON’T be there?” This year’s line-up has something for everyone, whether you prefer straight up punk, hardcore, folk-punk or even metal:

Cobra Skulls, Defiance, Ohio, Franz Nicolay, High On Fire, Joey Cape, Junius, Kylesa, Laura Stevenson and The Cans, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, Municipal Waste, O Pioneers!, Planes Mistaken For Stars, Sainte Catherines, Smoke Or Fire, Strike Anywhere, Teenage Bottlerocket, Suicide Machines, The Menzingers, Tim Barry, Touche Amore, We Are The Union, A Wilhelm Scream, Bomb the Music Industry—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

FEST veterans The Flatliners will also be returning to the fray this year. Check out the band performing “Run Like Hell” at FEST 8 in the video below!

As if all that weren’t enough, there will be a flea market filled with booth for record labels, design companies, non-profits and more, along with an art show featuring artists who’ve worked with Less Than Jake, This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb, Blondie, Fake Problems and Blacklist Royals.

Will you be at The FEST? Who are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments!

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Gordon Pinsent reads excerpts from Justin Bieber memoir

Get your LOLs right here, folks. First up, a memoir written by a 16-year-old. Ha! And, it’s entitled “First Step 2 Forever.”  The laughs don’t end there. Here’s a video of the esteemed actor Gordon Pinsent doing a dramatic reading of Justin Bieber’s riveting tome. Enjoy—we did.

Alicia Keys gives birth to Egypt

Not the country! That would be sooo 3150 BC. Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz (born Kasseem Dean) welcomed a baby boy this week named Egypt Dauode Dean. May he grow up to become a very successful pharaoh.

The Bad

Glastonbury Festival shelved for 2012 due to toilet shortage

We wouldn’t wish more port-a-potties on anyone, but this does give us pause. England’s Glastonbury Festival has been canceled for 2012 due to the Olympics taking place in London that same year … and the ensuing toilet shortage. Athletes are such loo-sers.

Kanye’s album cover art banned? He wishes.

Kanye West is a legend in his own mind. But he may also be a victim in his own mind as well. The rapper griped on his Twitter page that Wal-mart had censored the cover art for his upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Tweeted the rapper: “So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they [sic] cover but I can’t have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings.” Oh the injustice! Is it too much to ask for a man to be left in peace with his armless polka dot monster? IS SOCIETY SO INTOLERANT—what’s that? Wal-mart didn’t censor the cover? Oh. Uh, never mind. As you were.

The Ugly

Cantankerous singer pegs bottle at Mumford and Sons

Mark E. Smith of the band The Falls was getting ready for his set at a Dublin music festival when a terrible caterwauling struck his ears. Next door, the hugely successful English folk band, Mumford and Sons, was warming up. “I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers,” Smith explains. So, understandably, he threw a bottle at them to encourage them to silence their plaintive yawping. The bottle fell short of its target and Mumford and Sons went on to sell one trillion records.

Miscellany

Q&A With The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem is a band forging a combination of rock, punk, blues and folk while staying true to the standard “Jersey rock” sound. The band’s second full-length album The ’59 Sound, put them on the mainstream map, garnering comparisons to Bruce Springsteen. The Boss himself has joined The Gaslight Anthem onstage a few times which lead to the band earning support spots on some of Springsteen’s shows, including direct support at the 2009 Hard Rock Calling Festival. While they’ve enjoyed a good deal of success both on and off the stage, they’re still staying true to their humble roots. This year, they released American Slang, continuing to mark the band’s road towards defining their own style of Jersey rock. OurStage got in touch with lead guitarist Alex Rosamilia and he shared his perspectives on the groups success and approaches in the studio.
OS: Your sound is an eclectic mix of rock, blues and punk. Can you pin point one or two early influences that you think really caused this?

AR: Personally, I would have to say that my earliest influences were bands like The Cure and The Smiths, and other bands of that sort.  When I first started playing guitar, I was obsessed with effects. Even now, my delay and reverb pedals are on constantly.

OS: The Gaslight Anthem has often been compared to Springsteen and he even jumped onstage with you guys a couple of times. What has the band taken away from working with “The Boss”?

AR: To be honest, I wouldn’t really consider it “working” with “the Boss.” Not to say that playing with Springsteen wasn’t one of the most amazing experiences of our lives; but when your onstage even when time slows down, it’s still only 3:09 of your life. I don’t know about you, but it is a bit hard to learn anything in 3:09…

OS: Having been to a bunch of GLA shows, it seems that the band always manages to create a “small-town” environment. How do you pull this off now that you’re headlining large venues?

AR: I think the motive’s still there. I don’t think that even though the places have gotten better that the emotion is any different.  We still treat the crowds the same.

OS: When you’re touring through all these amazing cities, where do you find yourselves after the shows?

AR: In all reality, after the show we’re usually traveling to the next one.  We’re not really a “party group”.  We leave all of that to “Donutz”.  Unfortunately, I can’t disclose his real name.

OS: The ’59 Sound was received with a lot of critical acclaim. Did this create pressure for you guys when writing/recording American Slang to create an equally successful follow-up?

AR: At first, but after a while we decided it was best if we made this record for us.  The same way we always did. After that, things started to run a bit smoother.

OS: The band has mentioned that American Slang deals with “personal things.” Is there any one song that speaks best to this concept?

AR: It’s really the whole album. There isn’t a part that I think is more than any other….

OS: It seems that the band’s sound has really evolved and finally solidified with this latest studio release. Is this where you think you’ll stay moving forward for future releases?

AR: We’ll always keep changing. There are very few bands who can write the same record twice.  It really helps a band, I think, to keep adapting.

GLA is currently in the thick of the fall tour.

10/21 -Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK

10/22 -Southampton Guildhall, Southampton, UK

10/23 -O2 Academy, Bristol, UK

10/24 -Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK

10/26 -E-Werk, Cologne, Germany

10/27 -Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany

10/28- KB, Malmo, Sweden

10/29 -Brewhouse, Goteborg, Sweden

10/31-Debaser Slussen, Stockholm, Sweden

11/2 -Tavastia, Helsinki, Finland

Want To Be Featured On MTV? Enter In The MTV Score SKINS Music Project Competition

The MTV “Score SKINS Music Competition” Competition kicks off today, October 21st, giving artists nationwide a chance to get their original music featured on the upcoming MTV teen drama SKINS. At the end of the month, the show’s music supervisors will select five artists from the music channel to be featured on an episode of SKINS, which will be broadcast to millions of viewers nationwide! The competition is open to submissions from artists in the rock, pop, urban, singer-songwriter, electronica, dance and instrumental genres until November 21st. Judging for the MTV “Score SKINS Music Project” Competition also begins today, so be sure to head to the channel today and decide which artists you think should make it to the top. For official rules and competition information click HERE.

Soul Searching: Sock on the Door Playlist

Welcome to our first Soul Searching special! Ever have one of those moments with that certain someone when you think to yourself, “I wish I had some jams to make this moment a bit more romantic,”? Well, OurStage has got you covered. We have some seriously talented artists ready to sing their hearts out and set the mood you need. Take a listen to the playlist below and let us know what you think. Got a better song to add to the list? Comment on the post below with a link to the song! To view the full playlist, click the musical note on the player.

 


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