#43 The Sentric Music Podcast October 2013

•October 17, 2013 • 1 Comment

(BTW – I definitely start by saying it’s September’s podcast, but you’re listening to the right one, I’m just an idiot)

October. The clocks go back an hour which means you can listen to this month’s episode a second time round FOR FREE! Featuring:

Coasts //
Orla Gartland //
Spring King //
M.O. //
Sunwolf //
Rokhsan //
The Second Hand Marching Band //
Barnaby //
Haze //
BriBry //
Sankofa //
Elissa Francheschi //

You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes as well you know.

#42 The Sentric Music Podcast September 2013

•September 18, 2013 • 2 Comments

Och! What’s that I hear in the distance? Is it the beautiful harmonious tones of the bagpipes playing Flower of Scotland? No – it’s September’s Sentric Music Podcast which has all gone a bit Scottish this month with half of the track listing being from our neighbours in the north. Including:

Mast //
To Kill A King //
Queen Of Hearts //
Middleman //
Jasmine Sage //
French Wives //
Lyican //
Human Pyramids //
This Silent Forest //
Young Liar //
The LaFontaines //
Paul Liddell //

You can subscribe to this on iTunes as well if you fancied. So very 2013.

#41 The Sentric Music Podcast August 2013

•August 13, 2013 • 4 Comments

Did you know the month of August is named after the Roman emperor ‘Gaius Octavius’ AKA ‘Augustus’ who was the founder of the Roman Empire & also a keen fan of new music podcasts? The things you can learn from Wikipedia these days, eh? Amazing stuff. If Gaius was still kocking about now no doubt he’d be tuning in to this month’s Sentric podcast which includes:

Prides //
Kowalski //
Mirror Signal //
The Coopers //
Stand Up Against Heart Crime //
I Divide //
Pariis Opera House //
The Barnum Meserve //
Dance a la Plage //
Alexander //
Skifonix //

You can also subscribe to this on iTunes over hither.

“Can you lend me a filter please, mate?” Getting under the noses of the good, the bad & the ugly of the music industry…

•July 31, 2013 • 2 Comments

By Pursehouse – follow me on Twitter.

You know when you read all these blogs and attend all these conferences and watch all these panels and listen to all these talks by all these people who you’d love to be able to get just ten minutes of their attention?

And they all sit there and go “Email me!” and you give them your CD afterwards and they promise they’ll listen to it, but you’re quietly confident they’ll probably just leave it in the footwell of the passenger seat of their car?

I was considering this the other day when I was chatting away to a singer at one of the many conferences you’ll find me knocking about at, who gave me a rather scrubby looking CDR which didn’t have any contact details on it, nor anything which would let me know what I was actually listening to once I put the CD into my computer. The perfectly lovely gentleman said to me; “I’ve given one of these to [MUSIC SUPERVISOR PERSON] over there as well, so hopefully she’ll give it a listen and use it on her show.

Looking at this train-wreck of a demo submission in my hand I knew that [MUSIC SUPERVISOR PERSON] wasn’t going to listen to this. In fact; I’d have been surprised if it even made it back into her office, or indeed, anywhere near a CD drive. I knew this, not because I regularly work with her, but because pretty much anyone given a CDR with [BAND NAME] and nothing else written on it, during a time when you’re also given fifteen to twenty other CDs which have actual useful information on them, is going to treat it with the same disregard.

But then I realised this; if I emailed her the following day simply saying “Hey, listen to this because I think it’d work really well on your show” and supplied her with a link to download or stream the song on the CD that she probably binned before even checking out of the hotel, then she would listen to it. And if she liked it she’d probably use it, because I’ve spent the last five years becoming a trustworthy source for her.

Basically I’m a filter.

So I started thinking about this (I mentioned it briefly in the ‘How To Land A Sync Deal’ blog I wrote a short while ago) and realised that pretty much anyone you want to get in touch with in the music industry who could aide your career in some way (be it a DJ, music supervisor, A&R scout, agent, promoter, journalist etc.) will have two different types of musical filter; personal & professional.

Personal Filters.

Everyone has these; they are the things, places, people, services etc. where you go to discover new music that you’re confident you’ll enjoy. They’re sources, which, over the years have come up with the goods time and time again.

They could include:

  • Certain friends (I put certain here, because I’m going to take a punt that if you’re reading this blog you may very well be ‘the certain friend’ in question for other people who haven’t as much of an inherent interest in music as you)
  • Radio Stations (I know a couple of people who swear by rather niche online radio stations where the playlists are pretty much akin to their own tastes)
  • Radio DJs (where you might not like the station as a whole, but you believe certain DJs within that station have good ears)
  • Podcasts (including my very own podcast, obviously)
  • Blogs (DrownedInSound, The405, Popjustice, The Line Of Best Fit, This Is Fake DIY, Pitchfork, Artrocker etc.)
  • Traditional press (NME, Q Magazine, Mojo, The Guardian etc.)
  • Certain journalists (again, they might write for a magazine you personally dislike, but have good taste themselves)
  • Absolute strangers you’ve befriended on SoundCloud, Twitter, MixCloud etc. (I’ve genuinely discovered some of my favourite ever music from sources such as this)

For me they include a number of the mediums mentioned above, plus a handful of people in the industry who I regularly swap tips/links with.

Professional filters

This is…

  • What a sync agent is to a music supervisor
  • What a plugger is to a DJ/radio station
  • What a PR person is to a blog/music magazine

It’s the people whose job it is to get their clients and their product (ergo you and your music) to the people who can make a difference. To those who can get it played on BBC 6Music, who can get it featured on the front page of DrownedInSound, who can get it used on the next iPhone advert etc.

It’s their job to build and maintain these relationships. A job which genuinely can be rather tricky as they’re up against hundreds, if not thousands, of others all trying to do the same thing. If they damage that relationship by pitching them something completely irrelevant or generally being rather unprofessional, then that contact is ruined which means they can no longer (or ‘should no longer’) charge clients as much as those who genuinely could get their product to the right people.

These ‘Professional filters’ are the ones that you as an artist can have an element of control over. You can do the research and find the right radio plugger for your genre of music, commit some spend and trust them to do their job. You could sign up to Sentric and trust muggins here writing this to push your music to sync agents around the world. You could, you could, you could etc.

With ‘Personal filters’ however, you have (in theory) very little control. These filters are organic and should result in the ‘tastemaker’ or ‘gatekeeper’ or whatever other poncy name you want to give them, coming to you and requesting your music.

So in summary: before you go and directly contact the ‘tastemaker’, consider an approach that would significantly increase your chances of getting the result you want, by going via a trusted source.

It might cost you a bit of cash, or a percentage, but it’s better than a swing and a miss, right?

Just a musing I had. Feel free to agree/disagree/troll me via the usual methods.

What I’m listening to this week: Shy Nature, The Preatures, Lee Broderick & Prides

What I’m reading this week: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Cheers,

Pursehouse.

#40 The Sentric Music Podcast July 2013

•July 17, 2013 • 2 Comments

This month Simon is joined by a flock of seagulls, no, not the 80′s Liverpudlian new wave pop sensations, but an actual flock of seagulls as he tries in a vain attempt to turn his flat from a slow cooker into a podcast recording studio. Including:

Eliza & The Bear
Lauren Aquilina
Shy Nature
Modeliste
Le Grind
Padraig Whelan
White Firs
Swimming Lessons
Evans The Death
AKS
Fickle Friends
Little People

You can also subscribe to this podcast via the voodoo of iTunes.

#39 The Sentric Music Podcast June 2013

•June 19, 2013 • 1 Comment

Tunes for June! June’s tunes. Tune in for June’s new tunes. However you want to phrase it the Sentric Music Podcast returns this month with a dozen new tracks by some of the best upcoming artists THE WORLD has to offer (it’s not just UK anymore, oh no). Including:

Hurricane Love
John Smith
Jaws
Gnarwolves
Nadine Corina
All We Are
Spring Offensive
Deafkid
The Luck
CenoB1te
Chad Male
The Bazaars

You can subscribe to this podcast via the magic that is iTunes as well if you wanted. Just search ‘Sentric’ and it’ll be there. You can rate it if you were feeling nice as well.

The Ten Things People In The Music Industry Want From Your Facebook page…

•May 29, 2013 • 7 Comments

By Pursehouse – Follow me on Twitter.

(FYI – I did a similar post back in November 2011, but this one is all shiny and new as of ‘summer’ 2013)

Regardless on what your personal views are on Zuckerburg’s creation; Facebook is quite simply the ‘go to’ place for me to have a gander at a band/artist I’ve been recommended by someone or something.

Thanks to this I’m on Facebook every bloody waking day of my life. So much so that my ‘Friends’ on there must think I’m borderline addicted at being in the loop with what they’re all doing; which mainly consists of making me feel fat and lazy (“Steve’s just completed a 83km run!”), jealous (“Andrea’s just checked into a hotel spa & resort you can’t even dream of affording!”) or desperately alone (“That lad who was fatter, lazier and poorer than you has just got engaged!”).

But away from reading a certain member of my extended family pour his heart out on his timeline and discussing things he really, really, really should be keeping indoors; I’m going from band to band listening to their music and trying to discover more about them along with the rest of the great unwashed of the music industry.

With this in mind, here are ten things you should be doing to appease the hoards of major label A&R people who are digitally queuing around the corner of the internet to hand you a cheque for several hundred thousand quid to make your wildest dreams come true (if your wildest dreams include being in debt for the vast majority of your life and having to mime along to your new single on ‘Lorraine’ on a Wednesday morning with a cracking hangover from the previous night’s shenanigans).

Oh, and you might as well go and ‘Like’ Sentric Music’s page shouldn’t you?

1. Get your URL nice and concise please

If, when written down in an email, you’re Facebook URL is the size of a small people carrier then you need to head over to www.facebook.com/username and sort it out.

Try, if you can, to have your username the same as it is on all other social networks therefore your fans know that all they need to do is add the same phrase at the end of each site in order to find you. Ergo; facebook.com/sentricmusic, twitter.com/sentricmusic, soundcloud.com/sentricmusic etc.

2. Let me be able to listen to your music please

I’d guess that around 1 in 6 Facebook pages for bands I go to don’t have any music on there available to stream. Baffling really. It’s not like you’re short of options these days…

Here at Sentric we use ‘Topdeejays’:

Have you ever listened to our podcast? You should. It's an attack on the senses. A sexy attack.

Have you ever listened to our podcast? You should. It’s an attack on the senses. A sexy attack.

Then there’s BandCamp (as modeled by John Smith)

BandCamp. Go listen to John's track 'Salty & Sweet'. It's ace.

Then there’s ReverbNation (as modeled by By The Rivers)

ReverbNation. Go listen to 'Don't Say You Love Me' by By The Rivers. It's lovely.

ReverbNation. Go listen to ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ by By The Rivers. It’s lovely.

Then there’s BandPage (as modeled by Tall Ships)

BandPage. Go listen to T=0 by Tall Ships. It's utterly epic.

BandPage. Go listen to T=0 by Tall Ships. It’s utterly epic.

3. Please don’t make me ‘Like’ you, that’s my decision thank you very much

Never, ever, never, ever, ever, never, ever, never make ANYONE EVER ‘Like’ your page in order to listen to your music. It is a terrible, abhorrent thing to do, akin to minor treason should be punishable by a fine of some sort. If you think of doing it, stop yourself, close your eyes and imagine your mum looking at you as a child saying; “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.” That should be enough of a deterrent.

The only thing which is acceptable is to allow people to listen to your music and then offer them a track as a free download if they ‘Like’ your page & give you an email address. I’ll let you do that.

4. Make it look nice please

Immediately bookmark this link: The ultimate social media image sizing cheat sheet. Bit handy that isn’t it?

Having your page ‘look nice’ is a lot more powerful than what you might realise; it looks professional and makes the user believe what they’re currently looking at/listening to is a polished article.

All those tab buttons are customisable and you can utilise your cover photo to promote your latest tour like Cattle & Cane have done here:

Look at those tab buttons! B(r)and ahoy.

Look at those tab buttons! B(r)and ahoy.

Or tell your fans about your upcoming LP like Canterbury have done here:

You should pre-order it as well y'know. 'You Are The One' is a brilliant song.

You should pre-order it as well y’know. ‘You Are The One’ is a brilliant song.

5. Let me know about your gigs please

I’ve listened to your music, decided it’s great and I’d love to know if you can do that middle eight with the harmonising three way guitar solo live as well as you do on record. Therefore let me know if you’re gigging in the near future so I can come take a picture of you do doing it and post it on Instagram.

There’s SongKick (as modeled by Antonio Lulić):

SongKick. Go listen to 'Hey, It's Okay' by Antonio Lulić. It's very good.

There’s BandsInTown (as modeled by The Chapman Family):

BandsInTown. Go listen to 'This One's For Love' by The Chapman Family. It's one of the best songs of the year. Honestly.

BandsInTown. Go listen to ‘This One’s For Love’ by The Chapman Family. It’s one of the best songs of the year. Honestly.

6. Use the ‘About’ section to tell me about yourself please

You obviously think your music isn’t too shabby (I hope) so therefore your biased hyperbole is no good to me.

Quotes from reputable sources such as traditional press or known music websites/fanzines are great. You don’t need to put full reviews up; just choice pull quotes which show that the right people are both hearing your music and, more importantly, enjoying it.

Also mention any significant radio airplay you’ve received in the past as that’s always a turn on to read. “Our single XXX was played by Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1 and Lauren Laverne on BBC 6Music as well as a number of regional BBC stations” etc.

Basically: Tastemakers respect tastemakers’ tastes. Tasty.

Also – Contact details of you and your team (management, PR, label, publisher, agent etc) if you have them are pretty handy here. As are links to wherever else I can find you online (Twitter, website, Instagram, SoundCloud etc).

7. Let me see what you look like please

Good up to date photos or a video will do nicely here. If I’m spending a day rooting through new music I’ll always watch a music video before streaming a song because a) in theory it should be one of your strongest songs or else why on earth would you go to the hassle of making a video for it? And b) I get to see what you look like and deep down we’re all voyeurs aren’t we? Aren’t we? We are. Thought so.

8. Please remember that your friends might not be your fans

Please remember that these are two different things; if your friends choose to ‘Like’ your music page then that’s their grave they’re digging which you can then dance upon with your spamming and whatnot. If they like you as a person, but for some inexplicable reason not the 8-bit-hardcore-glitch-hop you spend your weekends locked away in your bedroom creating then keep that off your personal page (to an extent of course, if you manage to land a number 1 album I’m sure they’d forgive you giving that a mention)

9. Be social please

If you’re talking about other people/bands/companies then be sure to ‘tag’ them in the post. Check out the picture below for a post we did on the Sentric page for May’s podcast; see how all the band names are in blue? That’s because they’re hyperlinked. This means…

  • The page tagged gets a notification that they’re being talked about which means they might ‘Share’ it to their followers
  • It allows your fans to click on the name to take them to the page mentioned so you’re spreading the love
  • To tag a page use the ‘@’ symbol and start typing the name of who you want to mention (like the Liverpool Sound City example in the below picture), be sure you ‘Like’ the page first as well
You can tag up to 10 pages per post y'know. Anymore and you might get POST traumatic stress disorder.

You can tag up to 10 pages per post y’know. Anymore and you might get POST traumatic stress disorder.

10. Only show the tabs that are relevant please

Mr James Cherry (who you should follow on Twitter) is the man behind the Sentric Music Facebook page and he had this bit of advice to contribute to the blog:

“Too many bands have a gigs tab with no gigs on it. Remember that the tabs are there to promote you, so don’t let them become dead ends and switch them up to reflect what you are currently working on.

In my opinion one of your tabs should always link to your music, whether this is your Soundcloud, Bandcamp or iTunes to provide something for your fans to hear.

The other two tabs could be anything you want; Gig Dates, Merch, Email Sign Up/Free Track, Competition Entry, Blog, Instagram, Twitter, Pledge Campaign, YouTube etc.

If one is out of date or not relevant then switch the focus elsewhere, promote your Instagram to boost your following, grab some emails with a free track giveaway, or push users directly to your website for your latest tour blog. Keep the content fresh and it will ensure fans will always return to check out what’s new.”

Wise words – he’s clearly learned a lot sat next to me.

So there you go! This covers the basics; you can use Facebook analytics and advertising to devastating effect if you know your way around it, but I don’t. So that’ll come at some point in the future.

If you agree/disagree then let me know by the usual channels. If you like this post why not go crazy by sharing it on your Facebook page and tagging us in the post like I talked about in point nine. Call it homework.

What I’m listening to this; John Grant, Young Rival & Circa Waves

What I’m reading this week; The Prisoner Of Heaven by Carlos Ruis Zafron

Pursehouse. 

 
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