Archive for the ‘Band Advice’ Category

So what is so wrong with the 360 deal?

So what is so wrong with the 360 deal?

For those that do not know what a 360 deal is, it is the current trend in record contracts. Labels try and claim they getting enough money from record sales (which many call B.S. on). So they now con the artists into giving up a large percentage of the tour and merch money as well. Many defend the record company saying that they have to make their money somewhere, but I ask why punish the artists? TechCrunch has some ideas on why the labels have no problem with this.

There is also something that I don’t think the industry has thought out. Artist development. For several decades at least artists have not made a penny on their cd’s. When the R.I.A.A. talks about protecting artists they really mean protecting the bottom line of the record companies. You know those big “advancements” bands brag about when they sign a contract? That and every penny the label spends on a band is a loan the band has to pay back. Without going into too many details (and having this article grow to a few thousand words), that loan is paid back by the band’s percentage. So if the band gets 10%, the label of course keeps 90%. The loan is paid back with the band’s 10% and they don’t see a penny until that loan is paid off. This normally takes decades at best. Most band’s never pay it off and then never get paid anything for their own music. The label takes 100% of the money a great majority of the time.

So how does the band get from town to town? How do they pay their rent and feed their family’s? Well, for just as many decades bands have survived from the money they make from touring and merch sales. You always wondered why Kiss has so much merch? Greed may be part of why it happens now, but I am willing to bet it was just Gene’s sense of survival in the lean years. So now that the labels are taking a chunk of that crucial survival money, bands will not have a chance to grow. Unless a band becomes a major hit overnight they won’t be able to survive those first few years. Most of your favorite bands toured for years with several albums behind them before they multi-platinum cd. They had a chance to fine tune their sound through a few years on the road. That won’t happen now because the 360 deal has killed off artist development.

So now bands will be more desperate to become a hit too early. This means more auto-tune, more pro-tools, and less true passion in our music. Music is going to get more sterilized, homogenized, and pasteurized so that there is nothing raw about it. Forget about meat and potatoes rock and roll, because the 360 deal is here and all personality will now be removed from all new artists.

In short, if your band signs a 360 deal you are part of the problem. You also suffer from something called Stockholm syndrome. You might want to get that checked.

How to annoy everyone with your press release

How to annoy everyone with your press release

Ok, so many of you know that I am the editor and founder of RockMyMonkey.com. 99% of the news is posted by myself. So I go through the press releases and try to make something out of them. Most of the time they are a total mess and need to be cleaned up. There are a few things that the press agents do that annoy me to no end. Here is the top ten list of things that piss me off about press releases.

10. Don’t send me some fancy looking html document as a press release.

Do you want to me to post a link or put your info into my site? Why do they do this? Sure it looks pretty, but I have to work like hell to try and copy that info into my CMS and not make it look like crap. Keep it simple stupid! Plain text emails rule and make my life more easy. If you are a pain in the ass I am less likey to post your info. I will also be less excited about your band because you put me in a bad mood with your unnecessary HTML email.

In short, keep in mind what you want me to do with this info. Make that task easy.

9. Enough about how great the band is…just tell people what they sounds like.

The more adjectives you use to describe how great your artist is, the more desperate and pathetic you come off as. Just today I had a press agent describe an artist as ridiculous. All I could think of was the Family Guy episode where they did a parody of Pee Wee Herman. Just cut to the chase and tell people what they sound like. I had someone say the artist was the range of Mariah Carey with the attitude of Billie Joe from Green Day” and the songwriting skills of Jack White from The White Stripes. I have no clue what the artist sounds like. From that it could be anything from emo, goth, industrial, traditional metal, folk, or pop punk. So by this time I’m just annoyed and don’t care about the artist at all and will do nothing to support them at all. Just cut the BS and tell people what the artist sounds like.

8. Don’t try and help me by doing the HTML code for me
My CMS does this automatically for one. Second, never once has the code sent to me been correct. You are a press agent, not an HTML code monkey. You suck at doing html because that is not your job. So stop trying. Just send plain text and let me change what I need to from there. Using fancy software to create your press releases doesn’t make them better. it makes them less efficient.

7. Don’t over do it with the links.
I get press releases with no clear end in sight. It is just endless links to iTunes, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, images, direct links to items on the labels store, direct links to songs on MySpace, and it just goes on and on. It’s so full of links it’s not clear what the actual message is that you are trying to get across. What if you just link to the band’s website and have them put all those links in? You ever think about that? Didn’t they teach you in school that you need to be short and to the point? Too many words and people don’t even read what you had me post. You waste my time, your time, and my readers time. If the website address is longer than 50 characters don’t put it in a press release!

6. For Immediate Release to start it and Three pounds to end it!
Ok, I know that is cheesy as hell and everyone does it, but it is called a standard. It let’s me know where the press release starts. Standards save everyone time. For those that don’t know what this is, it is how you start a press release. This goes at the very top. Don’t do any variations on this or you will look like a douchebag.

Do you know what a pound sign is? Put three of them where you want the end of the news piece to be. This saves everyone time and keeps me from posting information you don’t want out to the general public.

5. Pick a headline and stick with it!
Many of the press releases have 5 – 10 headlines to them. Pick the most important one and just use that. Now if I do get one headline it is either just the name of the band and the name of the cd or it’s this entire paragraph. If I’m lucky it’s just a really long run on sentence. I didn’t go to college and I know that is bad form! There is a balance between to much info and not enough. Have one point you want to get across and keep to it. Don’t loose focus by trying to sneak in something else. “Details on the new Bloody Eyeballs cd announced” is fine. You don’t need to add in the record company name, the bands they will be touring with, & the sponsor of the bassists colostomy bag. It’s just a headline. Not the entire article!

4. YOUR HEADLINE SHOULDN’T BE IN ALL CAPS YOU DOUCHEBAG!
Why do so many press agents send press releases with headlines in all caps? You force us to do things like automatically change all headlines to Title Case. Which of course makes a rare posting (acronyms for example) look kind of silly, but that it’s better than having a majority of them be unreadable. Most people on the internet have had their eyes trained to just skip over anything done in all caps. It’s hard on the eyes and is considered screaming on the internet. It is very bad form, but yet is done by some very high profile press agents in the music industry.

3. If you link to a YouTube video make sure we can embed it!
I have had press agents send the code to embed a YouTube video, but when you post the video as requested you find out the label has blocked it from being embedded. Remember that labels tell YouTube not to allow people to embed their videos because the last thing they want is for that video they spent thousands of dollars on to be seen by people. So before you send that YouTube embed code, make sure the label isn’t so retarded that they don’t allow videos to be embedded. Yes, labels are retarded. Accept that fact and you will survive.

2. Don’t tell me to hype someone else’s website!
Ok, to be honest I wouldn’t mind it if you want me to help promote an interview done on another website, but I now ignore press releases like this because press agents only pick a small handful of websites to do this with. Be fair and make sure everyone gets this treatment or most of us will just hit the delete button. Sure Blabbermouth is a news source everyone knows about and respects, but to send your press release with Blabbermouth as a source is just unprofessional. You send the press release so we can all be the source or why should we post it?

1. Remember that you can’t polish a turd.
If you try too hard you come off as fake. On the rare time I am forced to read the tripe that is most press releases, they are very lacking on actual info and full of forced “coolness”. Remember that nerd in high school that would try so hard to be cool that he came off as less cool than if he would have just shut the hell up? That is how most press releases sound. Stop trying to be cool, stop trying to be cute, and stop trying to show how cutting edge you are. You are not cool. You are a press agent and your job is to give info about the band. If the band is cool then your press release will be too. When you try too hard it actually makes people dismiss your band quicker. So stop trying to convince us that it will “rip our face off” and let the music do the talking!

Ok, I know I came off as pretty harsh here. Most of the press agents I deal with are pretty cool people. But they are in a dying industry that just doesn’t get it. There is a reason the industry is dying so quickly and what I wrote above might give you a few hints as to why. The industry doesn’t get it! I have had promos sent to me that came with the XCD rootkit. They did this on purpose even after Sony had to pay out for all those lawsuits! Another contact has to fight with her home office because they don’t do business with websites. As major print media outlets are dying, these people refuse to work with online publications! The music industry is killing itself with it’s own arrogance and stupidity. I’m just trying to help.

How The Watchmen can help you with your band

How The Watchmen can help you with your band

So I just watched The Watchmen last night. Overall I would say it was the best movie I had paid to see in a theater in a long time. There was however one thing that really got in the way of my enjoyment of this film. There is one thing that might keep me from buying the DVD of it when it comes out. There seemed to be an overload of blue Smurf penis!



Find more videos like this on The Spill.com Movie Community

It’s all about target audience. Now I know I have talked about target audience before, but I figured this controversy over the big blue Smurf penis was a great opportunity to not only bring it up again, but also maybe give people more perspective. So when you decide on a musical style, look, or artwork you have to keep your overall fanbase in mind. What if Gwar put out a cd with no talk of any sex, violence, drugs, or sacrilege? What if Manowar put out a cd about giving people hugs and smelling flowers? What if Nickleback didn’t water everything down to the point where it had no taste? Their fans would be not only disappointed, but they would be probably be pretty pissed off too.

The Watchmen did a smart thing when they didn’t hold back on the sex and violence. There is a major lack of comic book inspired movies for adults. Hollywood always softens thing up so they can get all ages in, then no one cares and they think they have proof that these kinds of movies don’t work. Because the movie is so harsh it is going to attract a very passionate group of fans that will be buying this movie over and over again for decades. However, it is going to cost them a few DVD sales because most guys don’t want to watch a big blue schlong for three hours. I don’t care if the original comic book had that or not. I’m pretty sure the people turned off by the big blue penis greatly out numbers the people that would be turned on by it.

Now of course some may say that you should always push the boundaries and bring things to levels they have never been before, but most bands can’t pull that off. The ones that can still only end up getting a few thousand fans at best. GG Allin never headlined any major club tours. Sure if your band is happy playing to half filled clubs with the capacity of 250 then go for it. This blog is not for you. This is for the bands that want to take it to the next level. Is it about getting your music out to as many people as possible? Then you need to balance the priorities. Stop and think if that soft sappy love ballad is something your fans would despise or love. For most of the bands that would be reading this, a love ballad would be career suicide. It would be like putting a big blue cock all over a movie that would have otherwise kicked more ass than 99% of the movies Hollywood releases now.

My little tribute to Rorschach:

In a band everyone has a job to do

In a band everyone has a job to do

No, I’m not talking about the bassist playing bass. Sure that is important, but your bass player needs to get up off his lazy butt and do a little more if he wants to play that bass for a job. There are many social networking tools I have featured in this blog. Way too many for one person to really use to there fullest extent. So if a band is really hungry they need to work together on this. You people are a small army and you need to look at this like a war. Don’t be the private that just sits back in the barracks eating up the rations. Have each band member can take on one or two social networking tasks. Then you can focus on it and push it to it’s limits. You can even make it an inner band competition. These social networks are ranked. Each user is ranked by either the site themselves or by an outside service that crawls the data. So which band member can climb the highest on the chart for the social networking site they took on. It will soon be very clear if the bassist is actually the laziest band member or if it’s that drummer.

Now most bands have that one band member that really knows their way around a computer and that band member always ends up being the one to take on all these promotional tools. Instead have that one band member be in charge of teaching all the other band members how to use these tools. This way the band as a whole can work together to take over the world. Each band member already has their specialty, so why not get the most out of that knowledge? These social networking tools like Twitter, Plurk, and FriendFeed are just waiting to be used to get your band’s music out to more people. So why not use them, abuse them, and suck them dry of their venture capitol while the money is still there. And of course make sure and add me to all of them. I tend to work really hard to give away cool stuff.

Sometimes I’m full of crap!

Sometimes I’m full of crap!

No, this isn’t some lame “You’ve been punked” garbage. I just want to make it clear that you should never take anyones advice on anything without question. This is the music industry we are talking about here people! If anything is “voodoo magic” it is the music industry. I have watched bands get millions on promotions spent on them and they still fail miserably. Remember the band RockStar Supernova? They had a prime time television show behind them on a major network. Other than the singer it was a super group. They still failed to embarrassing levels. Then you have some goofy song put out on some YouTube channel that gets millions of hits and kick starts a career for some no talent hack.

So is all this advice and trying to help bands in vain? Not at all. Just like with anything in life you have to take everything everyone is telling you with a huge grain of salt. If something sounds too good to be true ti probably is. Many bands think it would be great to win some Battle Of The Bands style reality show and be handed a major contract on a silver platter. However, stop and think for a second. How many bands have had long term careers after wining a reality show? Or even being on a reality show for that matter. Not one band that was on the Ozzfest Battle Of The Bands has amounted to anything. They all have either broke up or are unsigned. Once you do that kind of thing you loose all respect of the fans of that style. So all the “advice” your friends give you that this is a good idea is obviously wrong.

Now, most of my advice doesn’t sound like a get rich quick infomercial. At least I hope it doesn’t. My goal is to point out that making it will take a ton of work, a little money, a little luck, and some talent. I like to make it clear that this will not be easy. If it is easy you are doing it wrong! But just because what I am saying isn’t the easy path, doesn’t mean you should take everything I say as gospel either. If I say something in this blog that you are 100% sure is wrong, don’t listen to me. However, what I’d like even better is for you to tell me why you think I am full of crap in the comments. This way I can either clarify or learn from your knowledge. Then we can all figure out this magical voo doo that is the music industry.

Who’s Malcolm Gladwell and how can he help my band?

So this is sort of a follow up to yesterdays post. This is also going to be one of the very few “band advice” articles I will post that have nothing to do with tech. Instead I am going to talk about one of the biggest mistakes I have ever seen a band make. This is a mistake I have seen over and over again with no sign of slowing down. In fact this mistake gets more and more popular as time goes on it seems. This mistake is following trends. Want to know the worst time to jump on a trend? When it seems that style is unstoppable and has totally taken control over heavy music. That is when that trend is about to die and become next years “scarlet letter”.

Remember a few years back when Ozzfest had their Battle Of The Bands “reality show”? Some may not know this, but there was a little controversy that plagued the contest. Many say that is the reason the contest was not made into an annual part of the tour. The representative of the wining band was Ozzfest alumni! The contest was promoted as something to find new talent. Why do I mention this? Well, this guy has become the perfect example of why you shouldn’t just jump from trend to trend. Marc Serrano’s first band Unloco was a Korn & Coal Chamber style Nu-Metal band. Unloco played Ozzfest in 2003. They were playing a style that (at the time) looked like it was so big that it was never going to go away. Of course we all know this style suffered a backlash of hatred and disrespect shortly after. So Marc Serrano started a Metalcore band. That was the new style everyone was jumping on. His new band A Dozen Furies broke up about 6 months after they finished their tour with Ozzfest. From second rate Mallcore to third rate Metalcore. Marc Serrano spent so much time jumping from trend to trend that he never was able to get even halfway decent at any of them. This is why he failed!

Young musicians want to be Rockstars. They want to be “cool”. Their impatience is what guarantees they are neither. In 2005, Time named author Malcolm Gladwell as one of its 100 most influential people. In his latest book “Outliers” he mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule” many times. Basically saying that anybody can become and expert at anything if they put 10,000 hours into mastering it. How do you become a master at playing a specific style if you keep jumping from trend to trend? To make sure you can get your ten thousand hours in, pick a style you are passionate about and stick with it. However, if you are passionate about a style that is becoming (or already is) the next big trend, pick something else. By the time you master any new trend it will be too late. Pick something that has not been the hot trend in at least a couple decades. Either that or do something totally new and different. The best way to be the king of something is to be the only one doing it. If you master it after investing ten thousand hours you will be able to give it that extra something that only the greats have. You might be able to give it a fresh new spin that no one ever thought of. The trick however is to put in the time. So go buy a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, stop being impatient, and above all stop being lazy! Now get to work.

Top 50 Twitter users in Hard Rock & Metal!

CLICK HERE for the current version of this list

The hardest rocking music industry Twitter users & why you should follow them!

No, really. This list is outdated. CLICK HERE for the current version.

So when I set out to make this list my original goal was to rank the top 100 people in the heavy music industry. I wanted to list the people that were most likely to help a struggling metal or hard rock band. I recently saw some really lame list of several hundred so called rock bands and to be honest it pissed me off! The band’s on that list wouldn’t know rock if Lemmy from Motorhead kicked it up their backside with the end of his boot! Just like Digg is filed with nothing but a bunch of 3 piece suit band fanboys, Twitter was being made out to be the same thing. I knew there were some metal lovin’ geek out in Twitter land and they needed to be ranked. So I tried my best to find the top 100 of real rock and metal people on Twitter. The small problem was I couldn’t find 100. So for this list I rounded it down to the top 50, but in a few months I plan to try this again.

No, really. This list is outdated. CLICK HERE for the current version.

Please know that there are some that didn’t make the list because they hadn’t updated in about a year. Some very high profile metal industry companies that have left their Twitter accounts lay dead. This is also how I ranked this list. Does the person follow people back? Do they respond to fans or unsigned bands in a reasonable manner? Do they have the power to help unknown bands and will they? Don’t like it? Make your own list! Send me the link and I will send it out to everyone on my list.

No, really. This list is outdated. CLICK HERE for the current version.

If you have someone (including yourself) that should be on the list when I do make it the top 100, please send me the link on Twitter! I didn’t put myself on this list because you all probably already follow me. Plus I’m not sure I am as powerful as these people. Enjoy!

No, really. This list is outdated. CLICK HERE for the current version.

50. http://twitter.com/eveofdoom
Editor of Geeks of Doom, heavy metal-lovin’, headbanging, bass-playing, vegan chick

49. http://twitter.com/recsoftheflesh
An unknown band that is using technology to push themselves to the next level at all times.

48. http://twitter.com/plugola
PLUGOLA is a social music community & digital marketplace, for independent musicians AND their fans.

47. http://twitter.com/XTRMPromotions
He may not be too tech savvy, but he is learning and is the go to guy for “get in the van” tours for bands on a budget.

46. http://twitter.com/RocmanUSA
Video editor extraordinaire! May not be the cheapest, but he is one of the best.

45. http://twitter.com/Mick_Shrimpton
Claims to be the former drummer of Spinal Tap. Legit or not he has a very comedic way of looking at the music industry.

44. http://twitter.com/Stickam
Ever thought of streaming your concert live for the world to see? This contact can set you up with no charge at all!

43. http://twitter.com/unsect
The official band channel. They play Hard rock with electronic elements and ambient textures.

42. http://twitter.com/metalextremo
Online Metal fanzine from Brazil. Very passionate!

41. http://twitter.com/HeavyAsHell
Official Twitter account for the hardest rocking social news site on the net!

40. http://twitter.com/nicefishfilms
He does a podcast that combines music and tech as well as blogs about music industry news a lot.

39. http://twitter.com/FTWM
Feed the world with a song! Altruism is great PR.

38. http://twitter.com/gladhandermusic
Great band using tech to get the word out on their music.

37. http://twitter.com/decepticrat
Not sure he wants it out why he is important to metal, but he is very powerful in social news circles.

36. http://twitter.com/MusicGoat
Podcaster, blogger, and music fan…a great part of which is metal!

35. http://twitter.com/polymath22
His major passion is a site called Ning. He is a heavy music fan.

34. http://twitter.com/Mortalwind
Very well known in social news circles. If you can get him into your music he might use his power to help you.

33. http://twitter.com/DarkNemesis618
Programmer for both RockMyMonkey.com & HeavyAsHell.com

32. http://twitter.com/SilentJay74
One of the top users of Mixx.com and a total heavy music fan. Part of the social news podcast Social Blend. Total smartass!

31. http://twitter.com/cGt2099
Another key member of the Social Blend crew as well as a top user of Mixx.com

30. http://twitter.com/metalsucks
The number one metal loving Word Press blog.

29. http://twitter.com/aversionline
Webzine

28. http://twitter.com/robinjection
Robert Pasbani of Metal Injection fame.

27. http://twitter.com/Sleazegrinder
Sleaze Grinder webzine.

26. http://twitter.com/deathisgain713
Death Is Gain webzine

25. http://twitter.com/metaledgeblog
Although not the Metal Edge magazine in the U.S. that recently went under, this one still seems to be active. Not sure what country they are from though.

24. http://twitter.com/censoredmetal
A Metal Webzine/Blog

23. http://twitter.com/MetalMartyr
Webzine

22. http://twitter.com/apeshit
APESHIT is an extreme metal webzine.

21. http://twitter.com/ThrashHits
Webzine

20. http://twitter.com/HallOfMetal
webzine

19. http://twitter.com/metalinjection
Watch br00tal videos or upload your own. Get your fix!

18. http://twitter.com/rnrgeek
Live podcaster

17. http://twitter.com/chriscornell
Ex-singer for Soundgarden not too metal anymore, but still worth a mention.

16. http://twitter.com/bumblefoot
Guitarist for the current Guns And Roses

15. http://twitter.com/sebastianbach
Ex-lead singer of Skid Row. Current band are the same guy Rob Halford from Judas Priest uses on his solo stuff. Amazing stuff!

14. http://twitter.com/victoryrecords
It’s a record label. Look ‘em up!

13. http://twitter.com/dillingerescpln
The band Dillinger Escape Plan

12. http://twitter.com/Download2009
The legendary music festival. Line up is always the best Rock, heavy metal, & punk of that year.

11. http://twitter.com/vurnt22
Remember the band Living Color? They had a few pop rock singles, but most of their stuff is closer to the Bad Brains. Check ‘em out!

10. http://twitter.com/HeadbangersBlog
The blog version of Headbangers Ball

9. http://twitter.com/Revolvermag
One of the few metal magazines still in print.

8. http://twitter.com/kerrangmagazine
One of the longest running print metal magazines in the world.

7. http://twitter.com/EaracheRecords
If I have to explain who Earache Records are I’m gonna have to smack you upside your head!

6. http://twitter.com/digearache
Head guy at Earache Records

5. http://twitter.com/ChrisSteffen
Writer from Rolling Stone magazine. Writes about metal often for them.

4. http://twitter.com/thatmetalshow
Talk show on VH1 about metal

3. http://twitter.com/ianchriste
Author of the best metal encyclopedia Sounds Of The Beast, SiriusXM Satellite Radio dj, his band appears on the soundtrack to the cult film Gummo.

2. http://twitter.com/talkingmetal
One of the leading metal podcasts.

1. http://twitter.com/CotterCity
Not only does he run the most powerful ad network for metal websites, but he also started Blistering.com

No, really. This list is outdated. CLICK HERE for the current version.

Well there it is. What do you think? Please feel free to let the people on this list know about it, because it would look kind of strange if I sent 50 individual messages out myself. That would be bad etiquette. However, if everyone that reads this sends it to one person that would be a good thing. As always, if you need something sent out just let me know. Thanks.

This list has been moved, updated, and automated!

CLICK HERE for the current version!

Return top