Archive for enthusiast

Digital Downloads — Penn State Gets It!

Posted in Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by Chris Bracco

As I strolled ignorantly to my theater class this afternoon, completely forgetting that it had been canceled, I decided to pick up a copy of PSU’s newspaper, The Daily Collegian. And I am SO glad I did, because I came across a very refreshing article.

Digital Downloads: City Lights, other music stores wary of future

To be honest, usually most of the articles that come out of our newspaper aren’t the highest caliber. But the author of this article really surprised me with her knowledge of the music industry! It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me because until today I had yet to meet someone at PSU with as much interest in the music industry as me. If you get me rambling about the music industry up here in Happy Valley, I usually get incessant nodding or eyes rolling from listeners — frankly, it seems like they would rather do a kegstand. Not that there’s anything wrong with kegstands… 🙂 Oh, college.

Anyway, here’s what I took away from the article (with occasional comments by me). Hopefully it is useful to you guys as well:

Digital Downloads
In the first article, author Alexandra Fletcher points out that the impact of digital downloading has finally struck good ol’ Happy Valley (aka Penn State University for those of you who had no idea what that meant 3 seconds ago).

The only local brick-and-mortar music store in the downtown area, City Lights, is predicting it will go out of business by next year due to the rising popularity of digital downloads.

Knowledge Drop:

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There were 428.4 million albums sold nationwide in 2008, down from 500.5 million in 2007, according to Nielson Sound Scan. As for digital music, 844.2 million tracks sold in 2007, and in 2008 that increased to almost 1.1 billion…meanwhile, 65.8 percent of the 428.4 million albums sold in 2008, were purchased digitally, according to Nielson Sound Scan.

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I’m sure most people reading this are already aware of these trends. Clearly the value of an album has diminished. DRASTICALLY. Why, you ask?

Alexandra goes on to quote local Roustabout! concert series promoter Jesse Ruegg, who believes that album value has decreased due to the recording industry’s business strategies throughout the 80’s and 90’s:

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The art form of the album was abused as the industry ‘padded out’ an artist. The industry produced albums of 12 to 15 songs with mediocre songwriting, forcing consumers to pay ’18 bucks to find a few good tracks,’ Ruegg said.

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An upside to consumers purchasing/stealing music via digital downloading is the leveling of the playing field. Indie artists & labels can distribute their music & merchandise through the same digital mediums the pro’s use!

Chenjerai Kumanyika, a Penn State grad student in entertainment & media studies, and former member of hip-hop group The Spooks, had some very insightful things to say about this:

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This isn’t the first time the entertainment industry has had to change mediums. This is a time when listeners have more freedom to discern what’s good rather than have the music industry tell them what’s good…this is a time that has the potential to empower artists. Artists should try to use that power, and fans should recognize this as a time to choose.

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I concur, Chenjerai. I concur.

Anybody remember the transformation from sheet music to vinyl records? Well, if you’re reading blogs then you are probably a bit too young. But you get the point. Change has occurred before, the industries have endured, who’s to say we cannot endure again?

_chris

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Mobile Marketing for Musicians Becoming Critical!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by Chris Bracco

While sifting through some articles over at Music Think Tank, i came across a particularly interesting one about how musicians should begin some sort of marketing campaign within the mobile device realm (ie. text messaging, mobile internet, etc):

Going Mobile – The Future of Marketing For Musicians By Ariel Hyatt

I think this is an excellent option for bands to look into, considering that more and more people are using mobile devices that have access to the internet. Most of my friends have either Blackberries or iPhones (however I am still stuck in the stone age with an LG Venus — awful phone, in case you were wondering) that they use religiously, so why not direct tour dates, cd releases and promo offers to their mobile devices?

There is definitely potential there. 🙂

_chris

Music Think Tank — My new favorite site!!

Posted in Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2009 by Chris Bracco

So i was killing some time on the internet the other day, searching for articles & opinions about the future of the music industry. As i was clicking absentmindedly from site to site to site, i stumbled across this website that instantly caught my attention: Music Think Tank

This blog has a wealth of information on it & extremely insightful discussions about where the music industry is headed.

Most of the authors i had not heard of, but i actually stumbled upon some names of people i have recently come in contact with. I recently accepted an offer for an internship with Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR for this spring semester, and it turns out both my supervisor (Christina Duren) & company owner/founder (Ariel Hyatt) had both written several articles on this blog!

I was blown away by this weird coincidence.

But anyway, check out this site and leave some comments on the articles. If you have any questions, the authors usually do answer them right then and there. Its awesome.

_chris

Mastering Your Music: Why you need it, Where to get it, and how to make the most of it

Posted in Mastering with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2008 by Chris Bracco

While searching for some good articles on how to master music, I stumbled upon an interesting write-up about WHY mastering is such an important step in the recording process.

Mastering Your Music

NOTE: This article does not give instruction about the mastering process, it simply includes interesting quotes from mastering engineers, and overviews the importance of mastering audio for both CD’s and films.

I like the description they give of a typical mastering session:

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In almost every mastering session, the following actions are performed:

  • Optimizing average and peak volume levels for proper relative loudness
  • Signal processing – compression & EQ
  • Arranging tracks in final sequence
  • Timing of the space between tracks
  • Establish a sonic “field” for all tracks
  • Place track markers at head of all tracks
  • Remove unwanted noise like clicks, pops, hiss
  • Clean-up start and ending of each track (including fades)
  • Insert Master Track Log – the PQ codes required for replication

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This is a great read. It also gives links to many mastering studios in many different locations around the country. If you are thinking about mastering your music and unsure whether its worth the money, check out this article, it will most likely answer many of your questions.

-Chris

101 Band Promotion Ideas

Posted in Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2008 by Chris Bracco

I stumbled upon a great article for those of you interested in promoting a band. It really offers some great advice on how to get your band heard and appreciated by the public.

101 Band Promotion Ideas

I manage and play in 2 bands and have used many of these techniques successfully.

Here are the top 3 ideas that i believe can really boost a band’s recognition:

1. Join MySpace, add friends, leave comments, send messages!!!

   – Myspace is, hands down, the best way for an artist to get his/her music heard!!! So simple too! Just register, throw up some tracks, and add a zillion friends!! Send messages & leave comments asking people to commit a few minutes of their time to listen to your tracks and give feedback. People WILL do it, and you will see substantial results.

2. Put your myspace website link on EVERYTHING.

   – From t-shirts to stickers to demos to your friend’s arm, expose your myspace URL everywhere you can!! Best type of promotion, hands down.

3. Ask your local record/music shop to give away your free demo.

   – If you have a demo that you are trying to get heard, it is an excellent idea to give a bunch of copies to as many small, local music shops as you can. Ask the workers to hand them out for free as a “free gift” to complement whatever a customer has just bought. And make sure your Myspace link is on the demo somewhere!

These 3 marketing strategies will get your music heard and your band out there, and maybe even into the right hands.

_Chris

The Mighty Beard of Rick Rubin

Posted in Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2007 by Chris Bracco

Rick Rubin has recently been recruited as co-head of Columbia Records. Apparently Columbia does not enforce the dress code when it comes to musical geniuses, because Rubin looks pretty much like a homeless person. But don’t let his persona fool you – the man really is a genius. He has produced epic songs like “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” by The Beastie Boys, and “Walk This Way” By Run-DMC/Aerosmith.

Columbia is hoping that Rick will solve all of their problems, and then some. He’s got some big ideas, just take a look at this great article:

The Music Man

_chris

Getting a Handle on Compression

Posted in Newbies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2007 by Chris Bracco

For some reason, compression was just one of those things for me that I just could not grasp right away. Ratios, thresholds, limiters, maximizers, attack, release…..I didn’t want any part of it. I just figured that compression was something that HAD to be done on a track, and I would just select a preset I THOUGHT sounded nice, and that was that. Little did I know, I was being a total ignorant jerkass. And my music sounded like shit.

Found this article a while back, really helped me grasp the basic functions of a typical compressor:

http://d4dirtyrecords.com/myblog/how-to-use-a-compressor-tutorial-3.html

I really like the analogy that he uses:

A compressor is like a little man who sits there with a remote control for the volume. Every time he hears the sound is too loud he turns the volume down until it’s quieter and then he turns it back up.

your welcome. 🙂

_chris