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Does Your CD Cover $ell (Or Suck)?
Oh, I know the last part of the title (Suck) isn't a very pleasant description to apply to anyone's CD cover. But, in the interest of plain old honesty, and to face our demons head on, I wanted to (again) utilize a worst case scenario that we can only improve from.
And, having said that, think of the average (and not so average) recording artist's CD cover, and I'll bet you will agree that 9 out of 10 CD covers present the artist simply posing while staring straight into the camera.
And, the few artists who want to appear different, unique and diverse, simply either turn sideways, stare into deep space, or gaze downward or backward for their photo sessions.
If you happen to be among the aforementioned guilty, you should realize that by *not* becoming more proactive and aggressive with the visual aspect and design of your CD cover, you are shortchanging the potential of your release from the onset, and not giving it its best possible chance for maximum success.
I first began noticing this overall trend when CDs began replacing albums. And, I believe that the difference was due, in part, to the dramatic reduction in the cover size.
Consequently, I felt that both labels and artists, perhaps, decided (consciously or unconsciously) that the reduction in size did not allow enough room for visual creativity, which is not the case.
But, those are only two reasons. For, I also believe that, while they may be decent to great professional music producers, I have found that most recording artists whom I encounter are amateurs, at best, in respect to marketing their releases from a visual perspective.
And, it's not their fault, because 'visual' just doesn't happen to be the medium in which they work. However, this isn't to say that they can't learn to become much better at pre-selling their releases visually.
But, as an artist, perhaps, your argument is that your music is, primarily, based on the "sonic" aspect...that it will mainly be "heard" and not "seen."
This is, in part, true but also consider that, generally, before your music is HEARD, it is first SEEN (unless you are sending 'plain vanilla' promotion singles to radio or handing them out at will to friends, associates, etc.). And, here is how:
Due to added expense, most independent labels forego manufacturing 'singles' and, thus, usually send their complete retail releases out as promotion copies to the media. Hence, the radio music directors and program directors will SEE your release before they open your case to HEAR your music.
And, as the MD/PD takes your CD out of its package, does it, *POW!*, hit him with a bang visually, and immediately instill deeper interest *BEFORE* he hears your music?
Or does your, possibly, average to boring cover instill a blasť feeling that causes the MD/PD to presume that your music is, yet, another below average release, and is a further waste of his valuable time without giving it, at least, a listen?
The same thing applies to press music editors, reviewers and calendar editors as with radio personnel. Will the press personnel see a boring, posing cover and get that "Geez, here we go again" feeling, or will they assume that your lackadaisical cover will be accompanied by even more boring content, such as your bio, press release, fact sheet, etc.?
* Retail Consumers
While many potential retail consumers will, indeed, "hear" your music first (on radio or in nightclubs), there are also many more potential retail consumers who will not.
And, these particular consumers are the ones who either go to music retailers weekly for new releases and spend additional time browsing, or they may be consumers who are simply weekly browsers seeking the new, unique and creative 'next big thing'.
In either case, for the consumers who espy your CD in their favorite music retail stores...does your cover jump out at them visually, make an immediate impact, and cause them to do a 'double take'?
Does it then make them pick up a copy of your release, maintain their interest and force them to read your credits and song titles?
Subsequently, does it then drive them to a listening station for further review and, hopefully, purchasing it?
Or, will they simply look at, yet, another boring cover and go, "Eh," and replace it for your competitor's that is far more visually attractive, and your competitor's who may also have read this particular article, with one exception...he acted on this information while you did not? :-)
Now, get a copy of your CD and take a look at it...I mean take a *really* good look at it. Then, using the radio, press and consumer theoretical perspectives above, honestly ask yourself if your cover has visually maximized its full potential.
Does it readily subscribe to the old U. S. Army slogan, "Be all you can be?" Is it, truly, all that it can be? Is it the best possible cover that you could ever hope for with this release?
Or, do you realize for the first time that you have both shortchanged yourself and your release, and that your cover is probably causing you to lose some significant sales, as it could, indeed, be presented to both the media and consumers much better?
If you now harbor the slightest inkling of doubt, after having given your cover another look, it is also safe to assume that your cover may be a bit questionable to others and, particularly, media professionals as well.
So, let's say that you now realize that your cover is below par, and could be much better...that you can now admit that you truly did not give it your absolute best shot...that, in fact, your cover was an afterthought, at best. How do you get started on "conceptualizing" it from a visual standpoint?
Well, one way is to first consider your title...
If this is your debut release, can you make something unusually funny or witty out of your first or last name? Can either your first or last name present a double meaning, such as Byrd, Love, Green, Wolf, Young?
While those of us with such names are often ridiculed in our early school days, we have the advantage of our "weird" last names standing out and benefiting us in our professional careers. :-)
If your release has a subtitle, or this is your second or additional release, can you put a twist on its title?
The same goes for your songs. I'm betting that you have, at least, one song, regardless of your genre, that can be selected as the title and used as the basis for a very attractive cover and graphic depiction of your music.
For even more information and assistance on making your CD cover a $ales $uccess story, please visit the below link.
Kenny Love is president of MuBiz.com,a radio promotion and media publicity service that also provides business and career services to musicians. See the company's corresponding website at http://www.MuBiz.com.
Structure Of A Successful Music Website
Ideally each page of your website should serve a specific purpose. The main purpose of the sales page for your cd is to sell the cd. If have a page with Google Adsense, the main purpose is to generate money by to get people to click on the advertisement. If its not an important part of the process, don't load up the page with unnecessary things like animations or sounds. This will only distract visitors from achieving the task laid out for them, ie. buying your product.
Tips on Performing Your Music for Others
Have you ever dreamed of performing a piece you created for others. Imagining that they are captivated and held spellbound by the music? If you have, you know that it can be a long road from actually coming up with something, practicing it, and then giving it to an audience. In my own case, I had a good opportunity to perform. It was in a coffeehouse that already had a decent piano.
Play The Piano Like A Pro
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New Age Music - How Its Made
Different styles of music have different "sounds." We can all pretty much agree on that point. For example, Jazz uses seventh chords almost exclusively. This, and the kind of chord progressions used in Jazz gives it its unique flavor. But what about new age music? Does it have it's own special ingredients? Yes it does.
What Works Best in New Age Piano Improvisation
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Music Business Contacts: Music Business Registry connects artists, managers, publishers, producers &
"The difference between success and failure is information," notes Ritch Esra, and he should know. Along with his partner, Stephen Trumbull, Esra is a leading part of the number one most-reliable source of information on "who's who" and "who does what" in the music business. Best of all, they can tell you where everybody is located.
Rabbitt Productions - Up & Coming Atlanta Producer
When you think of music in Atlanta you generally think of Crunk Music but there is more to Atlanta's musical soundscape than that. Lots of young musicians in the A-Town venture off into different musical directions. One such musician/DJ/Producer is DeJuan Boyd, head of Rabbitt Productions.
Surf Waves With Jack Johnson
Lately I've been listening to some pretty cool music by some beach bum named Jack Johnson. The tunes he plays really touch a chord within me. They are just so honest and selfless, like stories being told by a wise old palm tree that has endured countless days of peaceful monotony, and yet have also experienced the rare tropical storm with gale force winds. I decided to have a look for his website, as I have come to know that humans have written about just about anything of interest on the Internet.
CD Clubs: How to Get the Best Deals Online
(1) The BMG Music Service offers the best deal you'll find -- 11 CDs for the price of shipping ($2.79 each) when you buy one CD at full club price, which is typically about $15 plus shipping. That works out to about $4 per CD. Its chief competitor, Columbia House, has an offer that works out to about $8 per CD.
Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes - When Improvising
Mistake #1 - Thinking about what you're going to play
How to Stop Thinking and Start Playing
Learning how to improvise is confusing for most. The sheer number of choices becomes a burden. Should I play this note? What chord next? Where do I go from here? All valid questions newbies (and oldbies) at improvisation sometimes ask themselves.
Improvisation and Musical Form
Do you ramble on endlessly with your improvisations? If so, good. This has its place in music making and in new age piano playing in particularly. Just listen to New Age pianist Michael Jones's music to hear an example of this kind of free-form improvisation.
Guitar Practicing or Guitar Playing?
Just because you're holding your guitar doesn't mean that you're playing it, and just because you're playing your guitar doesn't mean that you're practicing. There is a real difference and it needs to be acknowledged if you want to improve your level of playing skill. Some people say they have spent the entire day practicing their guitar when in reality, all they've done was sit in front of the TV all day eating cheesy poofs. The sad thing is that they really do believe it was practicing since they had their guitar on their lap next to their cheesy poofs all day. Most of us know someone who does this and we may even be guilty ourselves.
How Many Songs Are In Your Pocket?
The portable MP3 player continues to be the hot item for those who want music on the go. I was talking to a teen the other day wearing a wristwatch MP3 player she takes on her walks. She showed me how it stores & plays about 60 songs and does everything but tell time.
How to Make State-of-the-Art Video Singles Cheaply
When it comes to promoting their new music releases, I have found that most musicians only consider radio as the vehicle for exposing their music to the public.
Downloading MP3s Made Easy
The MP3 movement started out with a huge audience of music enthusiasts on the internet. The MP3 digital music format has had, and will continue to have, a huge impart on how people, gather, listen to and share music.
Improvising On The Piano: Jazz Musicians Do It -- Why Not Other Styles?
Why jazz piano improvisation?
Music licensing can be a very confusing subject. My intent with this article is to give you enough details on what music licensing is and what are your rights to use music in advertising and / or video productions. † A few months ago I was contacted by a company that was celebrating 20 years in business. They wanted to put together a radio commercial that highlighted their celebration. Their request was to use Kool and the Gangs song Celebration in their radio spot. I explained to them in order to do this they would have to obtain a licensing which would cost them quite a bit of money. This was not an option for them due to their limited budget and ultimately they told me that they "went another direction" with their advertising. † If I had agreed to use this song without obtaining a licensing I would have put both of our companies at risk. It was not worth the risk just to make a sale. Beware that there are unscrupulous production companies that will do this type of illegal activity so the best protection you have is knowledge. † The copyright law protects writers of music by giving them exclusive right to their music. Once a piece of music is under copyright protection it is illegal to use it without getting permission to the owner of the copyright. † There are actually two types of copyrights in the United States. One is the actual copyright which is denoted with the familiar C with a circle around it. This protection is for the actual melody, lyrics and arrangement of the music. The copyright is usually owned by the actual artist that wrote the piece or their publishing company. † The second form of copyright is the actual recording itself. This is denoted by a P with a circle around it. This protection covers the performance of the song caught on tape or digital media and released on CD or other media. Many times a record or production company will own this performance right. † If you want to use a song in a production, you need obtain a Master Use license from the owner of the copyright and a Synchronization license (often called a sync license) from the owner of the performance of the song. † The fees for synchronization licenses vary greatly. Low-end TV usage (music is playing from car radio in a scene) can cost up to $2,000. In a film, the fee may be as high as $10,000. A popular song is worth more, possibly $3,000 for TV and $25,000 for film. A song used as the theme song for a film might get $50,000 to $75,000. Commercials can get even more money. Fees for a popular song can range from $25,000 to $500,000 plus per year. The typical range for a well-known song is $75,000 to $200,000 for a one year national usage in the United States on television and radio. † I think you will agree with me that that is allot of money and usually way over budget for many video and radio productions. † † To get around these outrageous fees, music production companies sell buyout music. When you purchase a buyout CD you do not need to obtain a licensing to use the music. You can use the music hassle free and at a much lower cost. † Buyout music or royalty-free, as it applies to my products, means that for your one-time purchase price, you can legally use the music in your productions for life of ownership. All copyrights of the music remain with Zebra Music LLC. My jingle licensing agreement allows a protected area of 200 miles. By doing this no other companies in a local market will have the same jingle. † Many other production companies offer a similar buy out music licensing. I would advise you to read the licensing agreements with other production companies and ask questions if you have concerns. † Network broadcast and international broadcast of buyout production music is cleared through a performance organization (like BMI or ASCAP). †The revenue that these songs produce when they are aired is paid directly from broadcast station licensing, NOT from you as a producer. These performance organizations then in turn pay each artist based on the amount their song or songs were aired on the radio or TV. † I hope this article has cleared up any confusion or questions that you have had about copyright and music licensing.
The Case Against Traditional Piano Lessons
How would you like to spend 4 years in a University learning how to play other peoples music? If you think this is ridiculous, you're right! Because that's what thousands of piano music students do each day.
A Brief History of Fender Guitars
Perhaps no other guitar maker has touched the hearts of so many players and collectors as Fender. By producing excellent guitars at reasonable prices, Fender has been the instrument of choice for many guitarists throughout the world. Both the famous and not so famous have relied on Fender guitars to define their signature sounds.
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