Latest Articles


BandPage Helps Artists Sell ‘Experiences’ to Earn Money On The Side

BandPage began as an insanely popular tool that bands could use to connect with fans (and vice versa) on Facebook, but now, it’s also a standalone Thing Of Its Own. The latest version lets fans do something new: buy BandPage Experiences, which are one-of-a-kind experiences with their favorite musicians [ed. note: the kind you might see on Kickstarter) — online guitar and drum lessons, personal hangouts, VIP access, and more. The web and apps offer great promise for letting fans and artists talk to each other ...

Songwriting Tip: Striking the Right Chord

One kind of "creative rut" that songwriters can easily fall into is when the chorus section of all their songs starts to sound the same. Some songwriters get into the habit of using the same chord to begin the chorus of every song they write. In one of my courses, we look at some of the many chords you can use to start your chorus as well as some of the successful songs that have used them in the past. Contrary to popular belief, there's nothing wrong with starting the chorus to your song (or bridge in...

Everyone's A Critic - The Collaborative Art (part 5)

In my last article I talked about the importance of joining and participating in a songwriting group such as NSAI. I thought I would deal with receiving and giving constructive criticism in songwriting groups. Let's start with preparing to present your songs to group. First of all, what usually happens at a songwriting group meeting? A normal NSAI meeting the group will usually start with a songwriting lesson. You may hear a talk about lyric construction, writing a memorable melody, etc. Then it's time to listen to new ...

Coachella Brings Its ‘A’ Game To Indio

North America’s most anticipated and groundbreaking annual music event arrives right here in the Coachella Valley this weekend. The 14th Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival will be held April 12-14 and 19-21 at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, with the same lineup of stellar artists scheduled to perform both weekends. This year’s event offers up an eclectic mix of rock, Americana, punk, electronica, ska and urban artists set to showcase their sounds. Sure the days (and nights) can be long, and the...

Rock’s First All-Female Band: Fanny

Few bands are more worthy of a prime spot in the pantheon of rock and roll pioneers than Fanny is. As the first all-female rock group signed to a major label, Fanny blazed a hard-won trail at the dawn of the ‘70s, through which the likes of The Runaways, The Go-Go’s and The Bangles could follow. As is often the case with those who break barriers, Fanny garnered less commercial success than they deserved, but they were hailed by their peers. No less an authority than David Bowie once said, “They were ...

Tim McGraw Shifts Gears on Two Lanes of Freedom

For more than two decades , Tim McGraw has been one of the Country format’s most consistent hitmakers. Yet with his latest album, Two Lanes of Freedom, the veteran artist feels as though he’s just getting started. “After the past 20 years of doing this, it’s interesting when you really feel like you are a brand-new artist but you’re not,” said McGraw. “The best part about it is I feel the freshness and the attitude that you have when you cut your first record, but I’ve got a vast well of experience behind me.

How To Tap Rhythm and Lead Simultaneously

For a while there, two-handed tapping had quite the stigma about it. Although players like Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Genesis’ Steve Hackett had all experimented with prototypical forms of tapping in the ’60s and ’70s, Eddie Van Halen really developed the style into a phenomenon, starting with “Eruption” in 1978. And then the imitators came. Once guitarists figured out what Eddie was doing, tapping became another flash trick, like pinch harmonics and whammy bar wiggling, that could ...

The Gibson Firebird: Happy 50th!

It’s quite ironic that he wonderful Gibson “Firebird” Guitar is celebrating its 50th Birthday, especially since I just started doing my new “Slide Guitar Summit” album, and the first sessions were cutting a tune with none other than JOHNNY WINTER! Johnny has long been associated with the original “reverse” Firebird design, and he has used it extensively since his very early days. It is easily one of the coolest “new” guitar designs ever created after the initial days of the Les Paul. It’s very true that with the creation ...

7 Simple Tips to Help You Promote Your Music on Twitter

If you want to promote your music on Twitter, there’s enough good data out there to inform your social media promotion efforts and help you maximize the effectiveness of each and every tweet. First, schedule your tweets at peak hours to get them in front of the most eyes. Second, you want to write tweets that encourage action (retweeting, purchasing, replying, etc.)! We recently attended a webinar by the internet marketing experts at HubSpot called “The Science of Twitter.” It’s full of interesting Twitter stats and...

How To Show Your Pedals Who's Boss

At first the only real pedal that was available was the fuzz - usually a Gibson Maestro - because effects like reverb and tremolo were taken care of onboard the amp itself, or maybe as an outboard reverb unit. You plugged these reverb boxes in between your guitar and amp, but they weren't exactly pedal-like in their operation. Eventually, new effects started to show up on the market: treble boosters, compressors, Wah-wahs, overdrives, distortions. Octave, phaser, chorus, flanger, tremolo, pitch shifter, talk box, envelope filter,...

Secrets of Writing Publicity Bios

The publicity bio is one of the most important compositions that can be written about an artist. It’s the promotional centerpiece of every press kit. It’s a multifunctional, indispensable tool for steering fans, press and music industry VIPs to performances and/or recordings. So why, with so much on the line, are so many bios lackluster, boring and ineffective? Luckily, it doesn’t take much for artists, publicists, labels and bio writers to avoid catastrophe. A little common sense is all it takes to create a bio that ...
Click above to view photos from the concert

Eric Clapton at Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Eric Clapton is above judgment. How do you measure a guitar player who is widely recognized as the greatest of all time. Once even as “God”. Against himself. Upon first glance at a setlist that features seven cover songs and a slew of acoustic numbers, you may initially prepare yourself for one of Slowhand’s off nights. It turns out that you would have been sorely mistaken. After opening on his Martin acoustic with the touching Hello Old Friend and My Father’s Eyes, the 68 year-old legend broke out the Strat and...

Musicians, Is DIY Dead? (It’s Time to Work Together)

Artists united will never be defeated. For me, DIY is dead. Long live DIT! I have been writing, recording and releasing music for nearly 30 years as a DIY musician. Some of those years I have had limited success but most have been spent in relative obscurity. Like you, I’ve tried countless excellent DIY ideas, strategies and methods. Some worked, some didn’t. My wake-up call came five years ago. I arrived in Berlin looking to expand my musical horizons and dig deeper within my creative self. I kept meeting fellow...

A DIY Songwriting Workshop Idea

Are you a songwriter who needs to co-write, but don’t take the time to do it on a regular basis? Is there a group of songwriters in your community facing the same songwriting dilemma? Songfinishers, started in 2001 by the Charlotte, NC regional chapter of the NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), is a songwriting workshop idea that may be right for you and your community of writers to help build friendships, encourage one another, and co-write songs. Find a location with several rooms, perhaps...

Sound Exchange and How It Benefits You

Last month I detailed the performance rights organizations ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. This E-Tip, I want to talk about another royalty collection source that some of you may not even be aware of - Sound Exchange. Sound Exchange was created in 2000 as a division of Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA.) In 2003 they spun off as an independent and non-profit organization. At that time they were appointed by the US Library of Congress to collect and distribute digital performance royalties to featured recording...
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