Can’t Lose if You Don’t Play the Game

From Spotify’s editorial and algorithmic playlists:

“In some cases, commercial considerations may influence our recommendations.”

So how do you compete with payola? Don’t play the game.

Link to your own Bandcamp. Share your own playlists. Work with other artists to create compelling art that your fans will devour.

Right now Spotify is for the masses. Easy to consume. It’s a never ending buffet, and while your music is on the menu, you’ll never make enough to buy groceries for the week.

(h/t @cheriehu42)

Teens With Ring Lights

Since I saw this Tweet below I seriously went to sleep and woke up thinking about the phrase “while teens with ring lights are signed for millions.”

Via @DonnaMissal on Twitter

I want to believe, “hey, those people with the ring lights will fade just as quick as they showed up. They’re here one minute, gone the next!”

But that still does nothing to help the artist pay a director, or hell, pay the rent. A few more thousand Spotify streams aren’t going to help, either.


I just want artists to make money so we can all keep doing this.

Always Credit People

This is a great bit of advice from artist and illustrator Caroline Harrison:

People putting out music: please remember to credit the album artist on your Bandcamp page! I spent a while down a rabbit hole the other day trying to find an album artist for something that just came out and had to scroll through a bunch of Facebook posts.

Via Twitter

Credit the album artist, the designer, the photographer, the engineers, the producers – all of ’em! Not only is it just nice and proper, but it also helps with organic search!

Don’t make your fans or curious parties dig through months worth of social media posts to discover who made your album art – put that information right where you release your music!

“This has the added benefit of making your bandcamp page more likely to come up if someone googles the artist, so it’s really a no-brainer for musicians to do this,” Jock Sportello via Twitter.

People search band names and album titles and song titles – and all sorts of goodies come up! The same happens when you search for artist names, photographer names, guitar player names, producer names, and everyone else. This isn’t just some “growth hack” to get more eyeballs, it’s just the proper thing to do.

Credit everyone involved, the people who made a vital contribution to the work you’re putting out there into the world. The deserve it.

Good Writing (Sometimes) Wins

I love this quote from Seth Godin:

Good writing is cheaper than special effects. In movies, that’s obvious. It costs far less to make The Big Lebowski than a Marvel movie. But the metaphor applies to just about any sort of creative project.

In my line of work it’s about writing a good song, which is a lot easier said than done. And even then, no matter how good, it probably won’t have first-week numbers like ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water.’

You can also have the best team, the best marketing, the best “special effects,” and it may not matter one bit.

BLE​-​EP_Meat Beat Manifesto_Bo Bots

Random Bandcamp discovery while searching for some beats to zone out to while working. Dirty drum loop, shaky percussion, and lots of random samples that sing together like a choir. Love this.

‘Present Tense’ by FACS

“Wasn’t the spring time cruel,” asks ‘Strawberry Cough,’ the second song from FACS‘ new album ‘Present Tense.’ Cruel, indeed.

Vital by BIG|BRAVE

This came out in April of this year, but just discovering ‘Vital’ now, in May.

“We’ve always been vocal, but even more so now, because we feel very strongly about what we’re speaking about, and it’s also a way to a way to reach out to someone,” said vocalist / guitarist Robin Wattie.

Creating But Not Showing

Still plugging away at these, going down wherever roads the sounds take me.

Feeling creatively spent, at least in any sense of trying to do something daily at this point. I learned a lot over 70+ days of making and posting them, so that’s enough for me. I’m still making, still writing, just not on any sort of schedule. During these times of COVID (god dammit, over a year of this shit), I don’t need anything more in life to bring on more guilt.

If anything, the daily posting felt like “the hustle.” If you post consistent, the social media gods will shine on thee. If you post everyday, more people will see it. More people will know what you do. More people, more eyes, more, more, more.

Yeah, fuck all that.

If anything I’m finding more solace in not sharing everyday and working behind the scenes on shit that may (or may not) be released someday. Whatever.

Yeah, I’m tired.

Video by Alan Quirván from Pexels

Live Stream Thoughts

Working in music it’s hard to ignore the whole live streaming thing that a lot of bands are doing (and a lot of bands aren’t doing).

I’m thinking a lot about the smaller acts, the solo performers, the bedroom music makers, and how a lot of times it’s okay to not do a live stream performance. Like, there’s a lot that goes into live streams – the technology, audio issues, video quality, promotion – it’s a lot!

Remember – music videos are still awesome. You can take your time, plan your shots, get better audio / video, and then you have this music video you made, which can sit on Vimeo / YouTube / etc. for years to come.

And you don’t even need to make it about your music. I know, I know, but hear me out: you know all the cool video press you hope to get one day? On big name media outlets? Do that!

Is there a big holiday coming up? Take Halloween, for example. You could record a few clips of you talking about your favorite spooky movies, and release them every Friday in the month of October.

Those “gear talk” videos? Make your own! And make them your own! Drench them with your own style and wit and humor.

Make a video or two, or four, or 12. Get good at making them – nail the audio, the video, the aesthetic…. all that stuff you learn is a foundation, so when someday you really want to plan a live stream you’ll have the tech know-how and skills to make it great!