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Songwriting 101: Why Originality Matters

If you’re a musician, you probably get asked whether you do original songs or covers. And as unassuming as that question sounds, it’s actually a hornet’s nest buzzing with speculation on your intent, ambition, and talent. Do you have your own thoughts? Do you have something engaging and identifiable to say? Or do you just echo the ideas of other writers? Are you an artist or a mimic? Originality — the quality of being new, fresh, innovative, or novel — is the difference between a piano player and a player piano. It is the distinction ...

10 Guitar Greats Who’ve Been Unduly Neglected

Guitar giants as Eddie Van Halen, Angus Young, Billy Gibbons and Pete Townshend possess outsized personalities that shine brightly when the spotlight is cast on them. At the other end of the spectrum, however, are superb players who’ve made their mark in a more understated fashion. The following players, several of whom passed away far before their time, deserve more public recognition than they've received thus far. Terry Kath was the backbone behind Chicago’s innovative jazz-rock style during...

How Speaker Cabinets Influence Your Guitar’s Sound

When it comes to defining the voice of your guitar, amp selection is absolutely crucial. Characteristics like tubes, gain, wattage, channel switching, reverb, tremolo, master volume and speaker construction typically dominate the conversation. But another absolutely essential factor is often overlooked: whether the back of the cabinet containing the speaker or speakers you use is open or closed. There’s a world of difference between the two, since cabinet construction defines the shape of the sound wave that reaches the ears of...

Celebrating the Rhythm Guitarist

When you go to a rock show, there are usually one or two people in a band that stand out the most. The singer of course gets a lot of attention, and tends to be the one that many casual fans associate with the band in question. The guitarist, or lead guitarist in a two-guitar band, is usually second in line. All the cool guitar solos and poses make him a focal point of the show. But what about the rhythm guitarist? Easily one of the most overlooked band members, he is often neglected simply because he's not at the front of the...

New Artist Spotlight: Florida Georgia Line

You don’t need to know that Tyler Hubbard comes from Monroe, Ga., or that his partner in Florida Georgia Line, Brian Kelley, comes from Ormond Beach, Fla. It’s the music that lets you know these two guys know how to kick it in the studio and onstage, Dixie style. Their debut album, Here’s to the Good Times,is a pastiche of prickling banjo, walloping backbeats and muscle guitar, run through a blender of Country, Southern rock and a hint of hip-hop. Hubbard and Kelley coast over these grooves with upbeat vocals...

Effects of Noise: Hearing Loss and Musicians

While loud noise can cause the collection of inaccurate data in experimentation, it can also lead to hearing loss in musicians. Even child musicians, aged eight to twelve, show signs of it, while most adult musicians suffer from it to some degree. The relationship between hearing loss and musicians is due to their constant exposure to loud noise. Prolonged exposure to sounds above 85dB, the range of many musical instruments, can cause gradual hearing loss. Moreover, modern music genres, such as rock and hip ...

Keep It Clean: 10 Ways to Unclutter Your Band Website

When doing website reviews, a common issue we come across are bands trying to put too much content and too many features on their websites. Because there are so many tools, features, and widgets available to musicians, some feel like they should use all of them. But when it comes to your website, simple really can be better. Long gone are the days of Geocities, blinking text, dancing babies and glitter (see if you don’t remember). The new trends are for slick, simple, and minimalist ...

Acoustic Treatment for the Small Studio

As high-quality audio gear becomes ever more affordable, software emulations nip at the heels of some of the most coveted audio hardware, and much of the basic knowledge of the audio field becomes widely disseminated through the web, professional studios still offer more than a few major benefits. The first among them is the skill and experience of their engineers. But not far behind is the quality of their rooms. There’s no easier place to make good mix choices than a well-tuned listening environment, and no ...

Making Money With Music Licensing – Part I: Copyrights and Revenue

Turn on the TV or radio, click on a website, or stroll through a mall and chances are you will hear music. If you’re a songwriter or composer, how do you secure placement for your own compositions or recordings to be played via these channels? Who chooses the indie songs behind the latest teen angst soap opera? While there is no magic formula, there is a process and a path for original songs to find their way into the thousands of available licensing opportunities. This series of three posts will provide an overview and understanding ...

Finally: PhotoBlab Is Instagram for Photos+Audio

Facebook paid a billion dollars for Instagram last April possibly because Instagram was only for mobile devices. As of this week, Facebook has put Instagram on the web, and now, we’ll find out whether Mark Zuckerberg’s big investment was worth it. However, Instagram is silent. Pictures might be worth a thousand words to some people, but for the most part, nobody can hear them. Enter PhotoBlab, from Thomas Kirk, the director of live video and visuals for the rock band Muse, who has never created an app before.

Why Music Won't Be Saved By Social Media

In a guest post for AT&T, Brian Solis drops a bomb: “Hostess baked over 400,000 likes on Facebook and yet the iconic American brand is now shut down.” Social media gurus/ninjas/mavens hail the power of social media to radically change a business. They write e-books, produce blog posts, and use their own networks to amplify that viewpoint. Let’s look at the bigger picture. I love social media, and I think it plays a role in any musician’s career. But that role has been grossly inflated. Social media doesn’t single-handedly...

10 Great ‘80s Rock Ballads for Valentine’s Day

Sure, ‘80s rock ballads can be hilarious and nonsensical at times. But there’s something to be said for a big-sounding, from-the-heart arena ballad with cheesy lyrics and grandiose guitars. In other words, there’s nothing quite like a ‘80s rock ballad to see you through Valentine’s Day, whether you’re alone or newly in love. Check out 10 Rock Ballads for Valentine’s Day below (in alphabetical order), and keep that loving feeling alive! Valentine’s Day brings out images of cherubs and angels, so Aerosmith’s “Angel” seems a good...

Blue Sky Riders Are Finally Home

In Blue Sky Riders, members Gary Burr, Kenny Loggins and Georgia Middleman draw from years of musical experience to create a sum greater than its parts. The result is a showcase of finely crafted songs and exceptional vocal harmonies called Finally Home, self-released on Jan. 29. “The sound of the band was a pleasant surprise for me,” said Loggins, whose high-profile career includes writing an imposing catalog of hits for multiple artists and his superstar duo Loggins & Messina. “I knew that Gary and I had a good ...
Nashville record producer Chuck Ainlay.

Secrets of Country Record Production

Many of today’s Country albums and singles share certain production sensibilities. Over the past 20 years or so, they’ve come to adapt numerous production techniques from other genres – particularly rock, pop and R&B – to the point that, if you strip away the vocal, fiddle and pedal steel, the remaining tracks sometimes don’t sound that “Country” at all. This may partially explain why more Country songs cross over to other charts than in the past. But how do you balance this success against the idea of “keeping...

Which Performance Rights Organization Is Right For You?

Since one of the unique things we do at Kim Copeland Productions, when working with writers and artists, is try to provide a bit of free advice – we often get asked about joining a performance rights organization. The three organizations here in the United States are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Broadcast Music Inc. and The Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, respectively). A performance rights organization primarily provides the collection of royalties...
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