Using Your Platform to Educate Your Fans

Recently, I went to a show at a venue that I play often. At the end of the night, I was hanging around talking to people. One guy in particular was having a rough night. I knew him from previous shows I’d done there. Anyway, he opened to me and anyone who’d listen about a lot of stuff. It was very emotional.

Later on that night, He overdosed on some drugs and died. Literally, hours or les after our conversation. I’m really moved because tonight was his memorial service at that same venue. As I reflect on that situtation and upon our last conversation, I’m reminded of a similar situation that Bassnectar went through last year. A fan of his went to a show and then afterwards that fan died after OD’ing. Bassnectar then wrote a blog post about health and safety.

I think that is great. Bassnectar was able to seize a teachable moment and then use his blog to educate his fans. Once again, here’s the link to that.

http://www.bassnectar.net/2010/11/health-and-safety/

This is big because artists often see the world in a way that is unique to everyone else. That is why art is exists. In some ways, I think that art is just an expression or communication of ideas in a way that is not easily seen by most of the world. So artist’s job is to reveal things about the world that are hard to see. Also, the job of an artist is to share experiences that are not easily had in every day life.

The majority of people who read this blog are artists in some shape for form. Most are DJs; others are creative people who are interested in the creative lifestyle. I mentioned this in another post, but I think it’s important for all musicians (or creatives) to be blogging. After an incident like the Bassnectar one, he has a great opportunity to speak on a very fresh and relevant topic.

Again, I think we have a responsibility to use our platform to share what we know or believe. I think this responsibility is especially magnified for artists and musicians; especially DJs. I leave you with a quote from that same article I mentioned.

“It is also a good thing because as we make progress as a civilization and learn ways to positively tweak and improve the way life works, we can pass on that information to others, and gradually increase the quality of life for everyone.” – Bassnectar

Organized Distraction Collective Connects Creatives


This month, I am the “Creative Of The Month” over at ODCNashville.com! ODC stands for Organized Distraction Collective. It’s the brainchild of Reis O’Neill. Here’s a snippet from the website on what they’re about.

ODC (Organized Distraction Collective) is a members only collective of creative professionals in local to the greater Nashville area. A “Creative” is a person who creates anything using skill and talent. Once a creative hones his or her craft to the point of it becoming their career they are to be considered professional creatives. Most professional creatives strive to connect with the public directly. On the flip-side, the average person can not find the majority of independent contractors online and if they are able to be found they are grossly under-represented.

WE PERSONALLY STAND BEHIND EVERY MEMBER

ODCnashville.com is not only going to provide a free solution to having a professional presentation that is a perfect add-on to promote any and all web marketing currently available for each member (websites, social networks, etc.), It will introduce a lot of skilled people, form alliances, and create opportunity for each and every member.

After reading that, I figured it was a pretty cool idea. What could it hurt to sign up? As an artist trying to promote yourself, you need to be everywhere. Well, I’ve been really impressed since signing up. ODC has been great to me early on (including the “Creative Of The Month” mention). They’ve come out to support me at a show. They’ve also put me on their official launch party show which is tonight at French Quarter Cafe.

Check out odcnashville.com and if you’re a creative, definitely sign up. When you get there, look me up.

How To Get Your Music on Pandora and What To Do Next

Quiet entertainer pandora
One of the questions I’ve been asked the most is: How did I get my music on Pandora.com? Well, this is an easy question. Pandora has a wonderful FAQ section and the step-by-step process is spelled out nicely there. However, for the benefit of us all, I will walk you through everything I did, my thought process while doing it, and even what I am doing now that I have music on the site.

First off, it goes without saying. I’m a big fan of Pandora. Just about all the music I currently love is music that I discovered through either word of mouth or Pandora’s random selection. People like Blue Sky Black Death, Bonobo, and Free The Robots. So when I released the Machismo EP, I knew that I wanted it on Pandora. However (and in spite of the great instructions on their site), I hesitated. If you’re an artist, you might be hesitating too. I needed to do a lot of research. I felt like looking around and seeing if other indie artists were going this route. Thinking back, they obviously were or else where would all this great new music be coming from? Anyway, I kept stalling until I read a great blog post about Pandora over at genyrockstars.com. That’s a great post from Greg Rollett and long story short is a retelling of how to and why it’s great to be on Pandora. I recommend it for anyone who is wanting to do this. So anyway, it was a great kick in the pants and if I was going to be serious about my music, I needed to get on it. So, I got started.

I sent my Machismo EP in. I needed to have a barcode. At the time, i was struggling over whether to go with CDbaby or Tunecore to distribute the Machismo EP. I don’t know how it is now, but Tunecore was giving out barcodes with their subscription whereas CDbaby was charging extra fees. So I went with Tunecore for that reason alone. Also, you have to have your physical CD for sale on Amazon. You can easily set this up with Tunecore as i did with their on-demand store. You have to do this and you have to make sure it’s physical copy.

I uploaded two tracks to pandora.com ; filled out all the paperwork and sent that in along with a physical copy of the CD and then you wait. I took this time though to also fill out and get my stuff registered over at SoundExchange. Lots of paperwork, but you have to do all this stuff. Anyway, from the time I started this Pandora process until the time it showed up was about 6 months. Long time, eh? But hey, now it’s on there.

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Ok great! Well, how was anyone going to find my music? Well, if you’ve heard the Machismo EP, you know that I have two instrumental tracks and 6 tracks with emcees. Pandora had only analyzed one track (Machismo) into their system. This means that only that track would possibly show up in rotation. Also, it means that my similar artists would only be artists who had music similar to that one song. Well, it’s the curse of having a diverse little record. I emailed their support to see if they would do any more. They got back to me to say that it’s customary that only 1-5 songs would be analyzed. Well, I thought that was both good and bad. I was able to up the load to 3 analyzed tracks. You see in the pic above it’s the 3 tracks that it says “try tracks 2, 4, and 6.” Anyway, so I have made comments over at my profile and at my record about how anyone can download Machismo for free. And I can edit those comments later if i need to.


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So that’s cool. I noticed that they matched me up with artists like Dela & Panacea. Pretty cool, but I want people to catch my instrumental stuff too. Maybe the next record. One thing I also have done is create a Pandora station. I did this using Quiet Entertainer (again, that’s ME) as a seed. Also, I added some other artists that I like and other songs that I like as seeds. So anyone who listens to my custom Pandora station, will not only get a good mix of similar sounding artists according to Pandora but a great dose of stuff similar to what I’m listening to now and hopefully will have a keen ear to what my next record might sound like. Of course, you can hear the custom made Quiet Entertainer Pandora station here.


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That’s really about it. The joy of Pandora is that it picks music for you. I can’t really push my music on people; and I wouldn’t want to. I hope that it plays my stuff for people and that they enjoy it. I wish I could tell if people were finding me through Pandora. But I guess I have other things to worry about. Like working harder and creating more. Meanwhile, I hope this was helpful to artists and also to anyone else as more of an insight to another aspect of something I deal with as QE.

Two things: 1) If it was helpful, then I’d love it if you’d share or re-tweet this. 2) Are any of you getting your music on Pandora? & how are you promoting it?

Also: If you want to know how I figured this out, then take a look at the NME Blueprint. I went through this system and learned how to market my music like a champ.

Last 5 Bands I’m Really Into

Usually, I go through these spurts where I get really into an artist. Then I go and try to find everything I can of theirs and listen to it. I thought I’d let you know about my most recent 5 artists and bands with which I have done this. Here we go!


1. Pretty Lights – It’s really easy with Pretty Lights because his entire discography is online for free! I’d say it’s electronic music with hip-hop and dubstep tendencies. I think the guy performs live as a DJ and then has a drummer with him for shows. Again, his whole catalog is online at his website! That’s great!


2. Blue Sky Black Death – I found these guys while listening to my Pandora station. I love it. Listen to all those samples. All of those sounds. I think they are playing live instruments in there too! I can’t tell what is sampled and what is real-live. That’s what I’m talking about. Hard to find a lot of their stuff online. But I did see their myspace page.


3. Emancipator – I got lucky on this one. He was recently on tour and came here to Nashville. I didn’t have anything going on; I decided to check him out online first to decide if I wanted to go out. I was blown away! It’s such amazing music! He’s a DJ/producer. He also plays guitar. I saw him do it live. I don’t know if he plays any other instruments. Can’t wait to check it out again though! Listen to everything on his bandcamp page!


4. Pigeon John – I’ve been a Pigeon John fan for a long time. He’s got a pretty extensive discography and it would take a while to listen to everything he’s got. Also, he does a LOT of guest features on other people’s records. But anyway, he’s really unique and different in the world of hip-hop but really really GOOD. I lucked out and saw him live a year or so ago play in some art gallery. I’d love to see him play live in front of a lot of hip-hop fans in a bar or something; just to see how it would go!


5. This Will Destroy You – I found these guys on Pandora. At first, I didn’t really listen much to them. However, I was telling someone about Saxon Shore (another band I found on Pandora); and they started telling me about This Will Destroy You. I went back and gave them another listen. Wow! I like ambient post-rock a lot. So this was an easy fit for me.


Well? Who are you listening to these days? Let me know in the comments.

thinking about KNAPSACKHEROES!

KNAPSACKHEROES!

I’m in a strange, never-experienced-before predicament. I’ve spent some time promoting an upcoming show with some friends here in town, KNAPSACKHEROES! (Yeah, you’re supposed to type it with all Caps and an exclamation point at the end, but I’ll refrain from here on out.) They are a mix of new wave pop with rock and hip-hop. When I moved to Nashville, I first heard about them at a house party I went to. I met a couple of guys, one from this band, and the other from this other band. And they said that I would probably really be into Knapsackheroes because I like hip-hop and I like electronic music.

KNAPSACKHEROES live!

Well I never got to see them until about a year later. I was doing synth and samples for a band; we ended up opening for them. Immediately, I noticed that they had a really energetic live show. The girl I was dating at the time said that the drummer scared her by how he was playing. Well, that’s a good sign. Knapsackheroes was dangerous.

We did a couple of shows together over the years. I’ve gotten to know them a little bit and they’re a great group of guys. They are actually deep students of pop culture as a whole; and between the 5 of them, they have a wide variety of musical taste. Well, we like a lot of the same bands. So I’ve been excited to get to do another show with them on March 17th at Mercy Lounge along with Details Details (a Postal Service meets Owl City electro-pop artist) and Eyes Around (rock band from Alabama).

Vinyl Jones

On Monday, Vinyl Jones, the rapper in Knapsackheroes, had a stroke. He’s been in the hospital for the past couple of days. I don’t know all the specifics. I’m getting updated with the rest of the world on the Knapsackheroes facebook page. I don’t know if he’ll be okay for the upcoming show. I don’t care about a show. I just hope he’ll be alright and can recover. He’s got a loving family (complete with 8 kids) so I know he has some support. But please pray for him. Pray for his family. Pray for his band.

EDIT: He’s home from the hospital; doing physical therapy and the show will go on! Keep praying. But wow!

And check out the Knapsackheroes! EP

Knapsackheroes EP