Friday, November 16, 2012

Sposta Say

Sposta Say

Sometimes I don't always say the correct things. It is NEVER my intention to hurt anyone. I don't believe in holding things in. I've done that for the a good portion of my life. I'm done with that. But, sometimes I gotta ask "how should I say this." In the end you can only say what you feel. You can't control the reception. Trying to be respectful is all you can do.

You dig?

Thanks, yall.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Understanding Distribution

So I have this amazing song, did the publishing thing, and now what? What do you mean? You spread the word. I’ve hit on distribution from a marketing angle in my Musician and Entrepreneur article. This time let’s discuss the various places you want your music to appear.

Brick and Mortar Retail Stores

If you can find a record store still running you are amazing. Let me know where it is.  You can find coffee shops and other small businesses that may be willing to place a small order for your CDs.

When you have live shows you should be able to sell your merchandise. Check with the venue’s manager before you set up shop.

Most likely you will be distributing your music on the Internet. First, let us look at blogs.


Blogs are a great place to submit your music. Some writers will provide a short description of your band and link. Some may ask you for an interview. Others may only play the track. Regardless, give them a link to your website and your contact for booking. You never know who may be viewing the post. Having only your music means an interested person has to look up your website and people are busy these days. Hyperlinks are the way to go.

The great thing about blogs is they often have comments. You can check those written about your music to see what fans think. Some contributors give their websites. You can check out what they have and get a feel for your audience.

You want to link to any blogs that feature interviews with you on your own site.

Internet Radio and Podcasts

Internet radio is another way to go. A lot of people use their computers and mobile phones to listen to music. They can sit at the desk and discover new tunes. It’s also a way to reach audiences around the globe. Some Internet radio sites allow you to customize the type of music you wish to hear. Others let users upload the their favorite songs and create playlists they share with others. Anyone who likes your music can add it to his or her playlist.  Still others are similar to traditional radio in that they have a program director. The station’s website should have more information.

 Online Retail Stores

Your website is great for distributing your media if you want to get paid. Many website builders host stores for their clients.  You will need to set up accounts so that you may accept credit card payments. Paypal is great option. This is what many Google sites use.

You also need to make sure you have an effective method for fulfilling orders. Do you send them out or are they pressed, wrapped, and shipped from a second party? You will need to make sure your prices absorb your expenses. The idea is to make money. If you plan on selling a lot of albums, and you do, having someone else do the work for you could be more cost effective. Make sure you use a reputable company with great customer service. Unhappy customers may blame you.

Digital Downloads

The most cost effective way to deliver your music to adorning fans is via digital download. Some services will distribute your music to only their program. Others distribute your music to many media outlets. You need to consider the payout structure of each option before you decide who will handle your online presence. Think of the sites where you download your music. This is where you want to be.

Virtual Environments

There is a growing trend in virtual environments. Think of a video game that users from around the world log into to interact with other users. Some have rooms that feature different genres of music. Some have clubs. Users can make their avatars dance to your music. Many artists are using these sites not only to share their music but also give concerts and sell music. Participants purchase virtual money and buy things they like in these worlds. Check out Second Life and

Try to get your music into the hands of as many outlets as possible. The more visible you are the more fans you will garner. Use these outlets reports and comments to gauge the needs of your audience.

Which of these are you using to distribute your music? Are they working for you?


Music, Fans, And Mobile Application Part 1

So I’m reading this article in Mobile Marketer by Dan Lowden on retailers harnessing the power of mobile applications to reach loyal customers, and I think “if retailers can should not also artists?” Indeed, they should. There may already be mobile applications for musicians to reach their fans, or to gain fans, but in going through the top apps for iPhone I didn’t see any.  I don’t have an android. I do think such an application would prove not only helpful, but also profitable.

How could an artist integrate mobile marketing into their promotional campaigns? Facebook Connect makes this easy. You could create an app that allows users to sign in via Facebook. This takes away the step of them having to remember another password. Sometimes the idea of creating another account scares me away. It may have the same effect on your fans.

An application can also alert your fans when you are going to play in their area. It could help them find bands with similar sounds. You may worry about this, but the idea of cross promoting means you could share fans. Stop being greedy!

A band application will also help you decide which songs to include on your album when you finally release it for purchase. Interactivity is the key to an application succeeding. Considering allowing listeners to vote up their favorite songs or videos. You may find more people willing to listen to your music on their phones because they will have access to them in idle times, such as a bus commute or waiting in line at the DMV. Give them something to do and they will thank you for it.

The beauty of an application for musicians is that it is not limited to use with only one band. A label can include it’s entire roster and these artists can battle it out every week to see who is the favorite act. It is an intimate approach that seems lost in the internet. I believe I heard of a study that said people are never more than eight feet away from their mobile phones (I was in school; it’s been a while).  If that’s true go ahead and take advantage.

But how you may ask. You will need to decide if your application is native or a web-dependent application. I’ll go more in dept with the how-tos next article. As for now brainstorm on the type of application you want to create. 

If you have a mobile application that is working for you please tell me all about it. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


If you don't already know I write songs as well as blog posts. I have been enjoying my creativity a lot recently. I wanted to share some of my music with you.

I hope you enjoy. If you need a writer let me know.  Please, share some of your music with me.

Love ya,

Follow me
Sara Jo

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Copyright That: Intro Into Copyrighting

I remember when I first starting thinking I might want to be a songwriter beyond what I wrote for myself I started researching publishing. I had some knowledge about publishing because I grew up fascinated by the music industry. I used to read all “Thank Yous” in the CD jackets. I kept seeing ASCAP and wondered what it was. I learned if I want my money I have to have my publishing in order. So that is what I’m working on right now.

If you spend a lot of time crafting the perfect lyrics and recording your music professionally you most definitely do not want some random guy to take claim of your projects. Many try to prevent this using the poor man’s method. What that does not take into account is how you will get paid for your music. Even if no one else takes credit you are not getting credit for your music. This means no royalties.  Are you trying to work for free? I didn’t think so.

If you pay for studio time do not cut corners after the song is done. Get your publishing together. You will need to register as a songwriter with ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, collectively known as The PROs.  It is the job of The PROs to monitor your royalties and make sure you are paid. These royalties come from radio play, public performances, digital downloads, record sales, streaming, and movie and television licensing.

Another added benefit of joining one of The PROs is they have events which are great networking opportunities. If you are publishing your own music this is a great time to introduce others to your music.

But what if I’m not playing on the radio or television? You will still need to get your music copyrighted. Check out for more information on which forms you need.

If you wish to publish your music you will need to decide whether or not you want to publish under another publishing agency or if you will create your own publishing company. There are pros and cons to each one. Consider if you want the responsibility of find the artists yourself or if you want someone else to plug your songs for you. How does the thought of sharing your royalties sit with you?

Okay, so you have decided you want to start your own publishing company. You will need to come up with some wonderful names for your business, file some paperwork, and start plugging. For more information on all that is required see and Music Publisher Association Make sure you file with your local government as a business. Keep copies of all your paperwork in a safe place.  You will need them come tax time.

Make sure when creating your band’s business plan you factor in the funds you will need for fees.  Each agency has different rates and payment plans.  The amount of money you will spend on publishing is nothing compared to the loss you might feel if you don’t copyright the right way. 

If you are signed up with a PRO, which one is it and what made you decide on that one? What are your experiences?

Much love,

Friday, October 26, 2012

Intro: Working With Artists (Video)

This video is about what managers and other music professionals deal with when working with stubborn artists. If you have been guilty of being one of those stubborn artists you can turn over a new leaf and energize your pursuit to reach the top. Being great means working hard. If you want your manager to work hard for you you need to be willing to work hard for yourself.

Book Review: Bird By Bird By Anne Lamott

Do you ever feel like you were born to write. The words come out of you for a few days and then nothing. Or perhaps the words are stuck in your head. You need some encouragement. I am going to review a few books on writing that might help you.

Many books on writing are about character development, plot, three acts, and other technical stuff. If you are looking for a more personal approach to instruction check out Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. She speaks with passion and compassion. Even if you are seasoned writer you may find this book beneficial, but it is targeted toward those just beginning their journey.

This book covers finding inspiration, the importance of routine, being observant, getting an agent, handling rejection, writing the gusto, dealing with jealousy, and libel. It is easy to read. She doesn't write with the arrogance I have found in some books. Lamott admits her faults.

One chapter is about getting over thinking you need to be a perfectionist. Some writers put down words, read them, decide they are horrible, and give up the craft. Rarely anyone gets out the most brilliant, life changing writing with the first draft. She offers the encouragement writers need.

She speaks of her love for her father, a writer, and his battle with cancer. She tells of the time she had with her best friend, how she would not allow her to make excuses for not writing. Writing is not always to gain fame and fortune from publication. In fact, many published authors do not have fame or fortune. But, they continue to write.  They write everyday.

My favorite line from this book: “Write as if your parents are dead.”

Would I recommend this book to anyone considering a career in writing? Absolutely. It is a good book with a lot of heart. You may find yourself smiling after this book and not being so hard on yourself.

Have you read this book? What do you think of it? What books on writing would you recommend or advise me to stay away from?

Here is an interview with the best selling author.

Thanks for reading,


PS. She also has a book called Joe Jones, which was my Papa's name. Maybe I should read it. Have you?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

51 things I don't like.

51 Things I DON’T LIKE
There is a "That's the ____ I don't like" tag on youtube. I love these videos. Especially when I  agree.

1.     I’m talking to you on the phone and you talking to everyone else.
2.     You ask me a question and you start talking to someone else.
3.     I tell you I don’t eat salad and you like what if you do this… NO, I DON’T EAT SALAD.
4.     Same with tea.
5.     People use my stuff and don’t put anything back. UGGGGGGGGGH. I gotta be your maid?
6.     When my friend say one thing to me and another to another friend when they know good and well we all best friends. How you think we don’t speak.
7.     You giving  out the same platitudes about relationships and you jump from boy to boy.
8.     You call me saying you coming to get me and you don’t show up. I ain’t believing you till you in my face.
9.     You cooking then you start playing with your pet and go back to cooking? I wash my hands when I cook, when I go in the bathroom, before I eat, before I do my makeup, after I shower (yes), when I take out the trash, when pick stuff off the ground. I am always washing my hands.
10.  When people have never talked to you and assume they know you and furthermore assume you are stuck up and have the nerve to call you judgmental.  I’m the nicest person. I don’t talk much. That don’t mean I’m judging you. I ain’t thinking bout you. 

 You still reading? Thanks, love.

11. You wake up in the morning and the first thing out your mouth is something nasty about somebody. Can you be appreciative for your life?
12. People who ridicule other people’s religion.
13. People who assume you young, you don’t have aches and pains. “You don’t look sick.” What sick look like?
14. People who lick their fingers and then hand me the paper they just touched.
15.  I am here offering to help you and you telling everyone “I just don’t have anyone to help me. I’m all on my own.”
16. People who like to make fun of their family. I hate that. Especially women who make fun of their husbands. That makes me wanna kick em into traffic. What you marry him for if you knew he was like that? A wife is suppose to honor her husband.
17. Trifflin women complaining they can’t find a good man. So many men have told me they were about to approach a girl when she did some nastiness and he had to walk away. Act like you have some sense.
18. Females who always talking bout “I hate drama” and they causing it.
19. When you tell someone they got your order wrong and they get an attitude with you. I wasn’t rude with you, what’s your problem? I’m sure someone would love to take your job.
20. Folks who judge people based on how much money you make or what they think you make. I don’t mind being judged, but base it on my character after you’ve made an attempt to get to know me.

21.  People who want everyone to support their efforts but don’t support anyone else’s until they make it. Now you wanna be a part of the movement. Shaddup.
22. People who try to be slick nasty. You wanna be mean do it to my face and tell me exactly how you feel. Don’t act like I’m too dumb to know you’ve insulted me. I’m a smart cookie.
24. People who say she was asking for it when a woman has been raped because she was wearing revealing clothing.
25. Women who taunt men by smacking them all around knowing he can’t hit back. So when he hit you he’ll be wrong but I won’t sympathize with you cuz you don’t put your hands on anyone if you don’t want it back.
26. Parents who care more about what other folks think then how their children feel.
27. Parents who got time to spend with everyone else but not their own kids.
28. You cute but your child a hot mess.
29. You got money for toys but not nan book in the house. Kids can’t read.
30. Parents who ridicule their kids for being overweight from eating. You buy the groceries.
31. Parents who cuss their kids. Kill yoself.
32. People always putting all their sexual business out there then wanna get upset when folks got something to say. That’s the image you created for yourself. You wanna talk about how promiscuous you are be ready to be ridiculed. It happens. Is it right, maybe not, but you ain’t new to this.
33. People who think somebody always competing with them. Girls in particular especially when they like the same guy. That girl don’t even notice you.
34. “Oh she think she cute.” Is she suppose to think she ugly? Is she suppose to have low self-esteem. You don’t think you’re cute. That’s the issue.
35. People who gotta put other folk down to put themselves up.
36. Chipped nails for days on end.
37. You got thousand dollar bags but no college fund for the babies.
38. A stank attitude for no reason.
39. Always wanting to be paid for the little work you do but never wanting to pay others for their services which require a lot of work. (Talking to you musicians out there. My producer friends want you to stop begging.)
40. Employees sitting down on their cells but the restaurant is nasty.
41. I was with you all day and you barely noticed me but when I get home you wanna call or text.
42. You got money for party after party but not to invest in your career. Then you complain because you ain’t made it yet.
43. You can’t say thank you when I hold the door open for you? Kill yoself. This is basic stuff.  And then you gotta an attitude when I let it close on you.
44. Old people with no manners complaining bout young people. You set the example.
45. Drinking and driving like you the only life on the road.
46. You smoking near the entrance and then you blow smoke in my face.
47. ODed on cologne. When I start sneezing you look at me like I’m rude.
48. When I ask you for my money you borrowed you look at me like I’m wrong.
49. You make more money than me and you always asking “can I have this?’
50. You say “nobody’s perfect” as an excuse not to apologize when you know you are wrong. And then you wanna be automatically forgiven. When someone points out the error of your ways they judging. And yet you want everyone to apologize to you. 
51. When people yell throw the store like everyone wanna hear they conversation. And it's usually them cussing and being disrespectful. Leave the vulgar language for the house or club. Especially when old people are around. 

What don't you like?
I would love to know.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In My Own Words: Original Soul

Who is in your band? Right now I am a solo artist. However, I have done collaborations with a host of emcees, singers, poets, and producers.

How do you get along? I try to make every artist that I work with feel like they are at home when they are in my studio. The easier you are to work with in the studio, the better the harmony is. I haven’t always been the perfect person to work with because I have had to realize that every artist will not function the same way I would behind the mic and the controls. But as I’ve grown into a level of maturity, and in 20 years of making music, I’ve tried to develop a system that works well for me and that I think would work well for any artist I work with.

Where did you get your name? My stage name came from The Original Soul Stirrers, as I had some family members that sang with their group in the 60’s…the Sam Cooke era. The music will come from the heart and from a positive mind, so the name Original Soul is one that I feel is befitting for the type of music I want to share with the world.

How would you describe your sound? I do thought-provoking music. Music with a message. There is enough club music and watered-down music out there, and the people are tired of hearing the same old thing. My music is a blend of conscious hip-hop and neo-soul. It’s hip-hop like it should be, like we grew up on, that uses our voice instead of what the industry thinks people should hear.

Why did you get into music? I got into music to make a difference. People are tired of hearing the same old thing on the radio. I’ve always been one to be an advocate for change. It has to start from within. The youth needs to know that there is a life outside of the glamour world.

Who is your favorite independent/underground artist besides yourself? I like the artists that are creative and can make you think, artists that have solid production to back their words. There are so many great artists in DFW, almost too many to name. Many of them I have worked with personally.

What and who inspire your lyrics? I am inspired by artists like Common, The Roots, Conya Doss, Kanye West, because they dare to be different. They speak from the heart and push the envelope of greatness. And then I’m sure they were inspired by artists like The Last Poets, Earth Wind And Fire, the O’Jays, Minnie Ripperton, The Isley brothers, because of their showmanship on stage, and the content of their music.

What are your live performances like? (Example: Laid back, energetic) Picture a coffee house. Dim lit room. Cozy. Packed. Enough room to move in a small circle behind the mic. I’m usually gonna start with no music and spit acapella. Then dive in with some new material, and end with the single I’m pushing at the time. Now, this depends on the venue and the time limit I’m given. It varies by venue. But the concept is generally the same.

Who is the craziest person in the group?Well, when I do invite guests to perform with me, they will usually do their own thing so I kinda know what to expect. Cats like Black Supaman, Pestalance, they bring a different element with their sound, so they will typically be way different than I would on stage, where I’m more laid back and focused on every word coming across and completely understood.

What is a typical studio session like? Usually we try to build on what our next moves are, the music scene as a whole, and vibe off each other’s energy before we even record anything. Or we check out new beats and write something on the spot. If we record something, I’m recording and mixing at the same time, to help speed up the process, plus I’m listening for flaws and additional ideas. And since my studio is in my home, I want you to feel at home when you come to record.
What do you love most about the music scene these days? The music scene is…changing. The thing about it is, the scene will make you grow up quickly because it is not easy to master.

What do you dislike? What I dislike is the fact that Dallas is such a bandwagon city. You should not have to go outside of your own city to get recognition, when you should have sufficient amounts of people in town already supporting you. There is a great lack of support here. No showmanship. No pride in the craft. People are lazy and expect someone else to do the footwork for them. There are also too many ‘cliques’ and people playing favoritism.

What is your songwriting process like? I write a song, with the video in mind. Or, I also imagine certain songs I like, and what they would sound like if I was on the next verse.

Do you do other things besides music? Well, I have plans to start an artist mentoring program, which would teach people how to do music from start to finish; from writing a song to how to conduct themselves in a studio, to how to get shows. I also do professional mastering.

What kind of artists do you want to work with? I’m willing to work with any artist, as whatever message they are pushing has a divine purpose.

What are your fans like? It’s hard to find fans because my music is so different from the Dallas sound. It makes it hard for promoters to put me on shows because they don’t know exactly where to put me on a bill filled with club music.

Who has the most twitter love? Twitter is a work in progress. But I have more Twitter followers than Facebook fans. Go figure.

Who eats the most? LOL, next question.

Who is the worst driver? I trust whoever drives my car. Otherwise I’ll take the wheel and keep it. LOL

When you become millionaires, what fun things will you do with your money? Well, all I know is, becoming a millionaire means investment and becoming debt free before any enjoyment is possible. After that, it’s making sure my family has what they need and want.

What are your favorite websites? I frequent sites such as Reverb Nation and Jango because of the connection that I make with the fans. They are both also very easy sites to upload music and ideal for networking.

Who are the special fans you want to thank? I have several lifelong fans as well as new lifelong fans that really take time to listen to the music and not just say ‘It’s good’. There are also a few fans that have every single album I put out. And of course the fans overseas.

What do you want to accomplish with your music? My message is simple. Speak from the heart, and speak the truth. Be you. If you spend so much time imitating others and what works for others then you forget who YOU are. The people will know the real from the fake. Quick money is not long money. And I didn’t get in the biz to be a one-hit wonder. So I really hope the fans can appreciate a heartfelt message more than anything, and appreciate good music.

Any extra footage or comments? I have three videos currently on YouTube, two of which are on my website.

Where can your fans get your music? Visit Click on ‘Online Store’. All the current music is on sale there, as well as web links to all other online stores, including iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Amazon, and many more.

Where can music executives contact you? I can be reached via email at Or by phone at 214-236-7149.

Add press kit if desired.

Wanna reach me for your own "In My Own Words?" Check out me out at or email me. 


Sara Jo

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Does and Don'ts: Finding a Producer

Hi everyone. I wanted to come to you with a quick does and don't for finding a producer. If you are a producer or have any experiences please leave them in the comments.

Do look for a producer whose sound you enjoy.

Don’t approach a producer and beg for some free labor when he/she has no clue who you are.

Do look for someone who takes pride in his/her work.

Don’t work with anyone who doesn’t respect your sound.

Do have an idea of what sound you want before you begin.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

Do try new things.

Don’t sign any contracts you don’t understand.

Do look for someone who is known for telling it like it is.

Don’t work with someone you can’t get along with.

Do check your breath before breathing all on his/her microphone.

Don’t develop a reputation for being difficult.

Do have an understanding of payment before you record anything.

Thanks friends and happy recording,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Interview with Memphis Music Producer Parker Strafer

Tuesday June 26, 2012 12:58 AM
Parker Strafer

What are the responsibilities of a producer?

I Specialize in beat-making & pre-production. I meet with an artist and develop a concept, learn their vocal range, and write lyrics around their concept so they have a plan instead of coming in with a nice beat and good sounding song and hoping it works.

What training did you have to become a producer?

I was in an R&B group for a while after high-school & we started making our own beats because we could not afford to pay the others who were good at making beats. We started working with MAGIX software and grew from there. About eighty percent of my training was self-taught.

What are some of the characteristics an artist should look for in a producer?

You should find a sound you like. You should be able to hear yourself on their tracks or sing their lyrics. If you don’t feel it you won’t deliver the proper performance with it. You also need a producer who is patient. You need someone who will take time to develop a track to your liking. You also need someone who likes your sound. If they don’t believe in your sound it is a waste of time to pursue them. If you have that everything else will fall into place.

What is your particular style?

I can make anything for anybody. I’ve made tracks for every style that is popular. Third place would be R&B tracks. Second place would be the Club tracks. I am my best when I do Hip-Hop.

Do you have any interesting things do you do with an artist to get them ready for recording?

I like to have a good five to ten minute session to joke and talk so we can build up a comfort zone with people.

How do you critique an artist during the recording session?

I have something to go on before we record so I can help keep them in the correct direction. I don’t stop every time they make a mistake.

What are other challenges of being a producer?

As a beat maker broke people have the biggest dreams. They want a great session, extra arrangements, and the special treatment and do not want to pay money. Also, everyone thinks they are amazing songwriters.

What are the rewards of being a producer?

When you hear your song and the person has a talent, the chemistry is right, the song is great. When other people can see that the song is great. You get more confidence, you make better music, you get a high that pours back into your music. The validation that comes from those that owe you nothing and your words are warranted, that is the best thing ever.

What happens after you finish recording the song?

Either I mix or I send it out to get mixed and mastered. I complete additional paperwork.

How do you know when you have a hit record?

I know I have a hit record when people cuss me out, as in “DAMN!!! That's that ish!!!”

How do you get paid?

It depends on who the person is. If the person is in town I get cash. If they are out of town I get Paypal. Few people do not pay up front. I get producer points. I own 50% publishing rights.

How would a new comer go about finding artists to work with?

The easiest way I know of for an up and coming producer to approach artists and offer to work with them 50/50. Choose artists you think are good and you can work together.

Can you relate an interesting story of working with someone?

Pretty much every single time I go to someone's studio or a performance, I get ignored, because producers strive to be in the BG & apparently, I'm so good at it, that I almost miss business opportunities because of it. So, an interesting story would be EVERY time I've met someone, then they find out I'm the guy who made the tracks or wrote the song & their mood changes.

What style of music do you write?

I can do it all. My writing's not limited.

Do you write alone or collaborate with others?


What is your song writing process?

I have a concept in my head and I get to jamming. I start a beat and get the melody going with a few lines. Then I will export a loop of a melody. Then I make a beat around it.

How do you find artists to write for?

Mainly through word of mouth or I shop some music & it goes from there.

Does having an artist in mind before you write a song change your process?

This does not change it. Only if I’m making a song customized for an artist does things change. Other than that, if it feels right I do it.

What are the common topics found in your music?

Love and the situations that love brings about.

How do you get paid as a writer?

If it is a writing session where I write all the lyrics I get all the songwriting credit points.

What challenges do you face as a songwriter?

Having to break to people that  they can’t write songs. Everybody wants a song like someone else’s song. And I ask why? And when you force writer’s block on yourself.  The biggest challenge of all is demanding respect and money. They do not understand it is a skill, a gift from God, and that you should be paid what is due.

How does it feel to hear someone sing your songs?

Validation is great. It reassures you you are not wasting your time.

What do you do when the artist’s interpretation of the song does not match your vision?
You are not getting out the studio without the delivery matching my vision. My name is on it. Not going to crap all over my work. If it doesn’t match, shame on me.

What PRO are you with and why did you choose them over the others?

BMI, I would rather leave my royalties to those who are focused on getting royalties. Most of the people I associate are with BMI.

What is the hardest part of dealing with publishing?

When people ask for a percentage of money you don’t feel they’ve earned. Often you deal with people who don’t know much about publishing. Then you have to explain why you get paid for certain things and then you have to print things out to them.

A lot of the so-called “publishing companies” think money is supposed to show up magically. They don’t want to work for their percentage.

How do you shop your music around?

I used to be dumb enough that making the song and somebody would tell someone and then everyone would love my music. Now I talk to people who have connections in the industry. It can be word of mouth, just as long as it's the right mouth speaking the words.

What is your publishing name?

I use my real name.

Do you keep your lyrics in a special notebook?

No. My lyrics are just as scattered as the thoughts in my mind.

You can contact Parker at  @straferishere. 

 Have a great day,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Many of my friends are musicians. Some have their own studios. In my quest to learn more about the music industry I decided to ask one of them for an interview. Here  Ryan “Yay” Slorence discusses what it is like to be an engineer. 

What do you do?
I mix music giving it radio quality sound.

How long have you been an engineer?
3 years.

Where did you learn your craft?
Pro Media in Nashville TN.

What made you want become an engineer?
To further my craft as an artist, learning all aspects of music.

Oh, you are an artist? What genre?
Hip hop, rap, whatever you wanna call it. I do pop also.

Here is a video from his group Prettidope called "Unthinkable Freestyle." This shows the type of music he masters. 

Do you enjoy working as an engineer?
No, it is stressing.

What is stressful about being an engineer?
Sometimes when I listen to people’s music it is not good. At all. I’m talking about the sound quality.

Listening to people telling you what to do none stop. We are talked to any kind of way and shitted on and treated like robots.

What tools do you use?
Protools, Waves plug-ins, Digi 008, and various other plug-ins.

What can artists do to make your job less stressful?
Artists should take more care when recording their vocals.

What are some of the obstacles you face as engineer?
It all starts in recording. If it starts off bad it is difficult to fix it.

Step one: Record it well.

How would you suggest that?
For home recording invest in a good microphone. Neumann 87 is an industry standard.  Listen to the engineers work before you decide to pay him or her money.

What are the red flags you are working with an incompetent engineer?
If he or she cannot get the sound quality up to your standards you are working with a bad engineer. Fire him!

How long should a mix take?
Depending on the mix, it takes about a day or two per song.

How do you test the mix?
Listen to the mix in different systems. Check it out in your car, which is one of the best ways to listen. Also, try home stereo, computer.

Can you relate an experience you had as an engineer?

My First Paid Project

I was paid to do a whole mixtape. I spent weeks doing it. The pay was good. I worked hard. I enjoyed the money.

What I learned from this interview is musicians are particular people. Our demand for perfection creates headaches along the way. But, the beauty that results is worth the effort. Just make sure you pay your engineer well. If you have a qualified professional let him or her do what he or she does best and trust you will get good results. They appreciate feedback but no one likes a micro-manager. 

If you would like to appear on this blog please, email me here.


Sara Jo

Album Release Party

Let’s say you have a growing number of fans because you have been marketing like crazy. Now your album is done and you are ready to share it with the world. Do you just put it online and wait for the dollars to roll in? You could. But, why not have more fun? Put together an album release party. This is a great way of thanking your supporters and creating more press for yourself.

What to Provide

What should you have at your album release party? Besides the obvious, the band and DJ, you will need plenty of albums. Bring merchandise for your fans to purchase. Remember, this is to thank everyone, so remember to give away plenty of products. Autograph the CDs to add that special touch of gratitude.

You will also want to have catering there. The food does not need to be heavy. This should not be dinner, but a snack is preferable. According to your brand you will benefit from having beverages.

Of course fans will want to photograph with the band. Make sure to get a good photographer. Some will have their own cameras. Be sure to tell your fans about your website and inform them your pictures will go up soon. They will be interested and go to your site where they can find out more about what you are doing. This is also a wonderful marketing opportunity for those who have only been introduced to you.

Where to Host

When selecting a place to have your party first decide the mood you want to set. If you are going for an intimate occasion with your most loyal fans a friend’s home or a coffee shop may work well. You may decide you want a big stage and a little distance from the fans. If your album is highly conceptual you may want a theatre. Look for a place that fits your brand and the sound of your music.

Check out the places you spend time. Also, find your fans and see where their favorite places to go are. They may know of a spot that would love to host the party.  Of course, you should start this search early enough to set aside funds in case you need a security deposit. Wherever you go make sure to get a contract that clearly states what your money buys you. Some places will include catering and alcohol.

What to Perform

You clearly want to perform songs that are going to get your fans singing along. Make sure the songs are ones you are excited about. Ask those who have heard the album which are their favorites. Album release parties are supposed to be fun introductions so keep anything depressing out of the set, for now.

While you have your fans present interact with them. You may have industry professionals or press there. They will want to see how the crowd responds to you. You do not want people tweeting your party is boring. Accessibility is a must for artists today.


You will want to use the same marketing techniques you use to get your fans. As mentioned in the “Musician and Entrepreneur” article this includes blogs, emails, and other shows. Ask the business owners in your community if you can post flyers about your show. Make sure these stores fit your brand or are knowledgeable of your music. Take cds with you to give as a thank you. If you are uncomfortable giving all your music away pick your top three songs or offer a free download code on your website.


If you are asking anyone to help finance your party you must approach them with a win-win situation. People do not want to offer up their resources without something in return. This could mean your friends too. You do not always have to present cash. Sometimes a mention on your blog and pictures with the building name will appease business owners. If you do not have money offer your services as a musician for a party of theirs in exchange for whatever you need from them.

If you have friends and family helping out make sure not to take advantage of them.  Loved ones may be happy to assist you if you show your appreciation. This could mean free merchandize for them, free entrance, or free drinks. If they are paying definitely remember to send a thank you card.

Look for creative ways to fund and promote your album release party. Get a nice outfit, take photos, and turn up!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Know Your Audience

In my Masters program I had to create a business plan. Before you can do anything in business you must answer several questions well. (1) What is your brand? (2) Who is your target audience? (3) Is there a need for you in the market or are you creating a new one?

I’ve talked to you about the importance of knowing your brand. You must decide this before you make any decisions because all decisions must center around this. Your brand informs you on your audience. So let us direct our attention there.

The following are questions you can use to define your audience.

1.     What is the age of my fans?
2.     What do they do for a living?
3.     What do they do for recreation?
4.     Do they drink alcohol?
5.     Do they smoke?
6.     Are they religious?
7.     Where do they live?
8.     What brands do they buy?
9.     Did they graduate college?
10. How much money do they make?
11. Where do they vacation?
12. What do they wish they could have that they do not?
13. Are they emotional?
14. Are they responsible?
15.  Are they married or single?
16. Do they have children?
17. Where do they hang out?
18. What kind of cars do they drive?
19. What are their favorite websites?
20. What are their fears?
21. What are their fantasies?
22. Who is on their Ipods?
23. What are their favorite sports?
24. Do they have a healthy lifestyle.
25. What social networks do they use?
26. Do they play video games?
27. What designers do they wear?

Underground artists are great at studying their audiences. Companies higher market researches to find out what consumers want and do not want. They leave surveys under the door. You can do something similar on your website. Simply ask them to opt-in to a questionnaire. Make the questionnaire simple so as not to take too much time. Enthusiastic participants will leave comments. You can also leave simple polls on your site.

Of course everyone is not going to be the same but creating a profile of your target audience will allow you to find brands that have similar target audiences. These are companies you can approach for sponsorships and collaborations later. In the meantime use the information you gather to reach your audience. If you know where your crowd hangs out you can go there and talk to them. You will be able to give them samples of your music and receive hits on your websites. These hits will translate to faces in the crowd and more downloads. If you know their favorite websites you can interact with them online.

Take advantage of the opportunities you get to speak with fans. Use the feedback you get from those who purchase your records to make your sound stronger and solidify your image.  You can reward those who supply you information with something free like a download or access to an exclusive video.