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Twitter Readies Stand-Alone Music App

Twitter acquired the music discovery service We Are Hunted last year and is using its technology to build a standalone music app, CNET has learned. The app, to be called Twitter Music, could be released on iOS by the end of this month, according to a person familiar with the matter. Twitter Music suggests artists and songs to listen to based on a variety of signals, and is personalized based on which accounts a user follows on Twitter. Songs are streamed to the app via SoundCloud. Twitter Music, which is set to arrive...

Crowdfunding: The Act Of Asking

Amanda Palmer, an American musician, took the stage at a recent TED conference like a human statue. She stood on a plastic crate with a man’s hat upturned in front of it, held a length of tulle across her arms and a flower in one hand, and paused. Ms Palmer, who is an advocate of crowdfunding and communicating with her fans online, then delivered an electric talk about patronage in the internet age. The audience response was such that TED immediately (and nearly without precedent) edited and...

Chicago Blues Storms Into Southern California

Two of blues' giants were honored courtesy of an amazing tribute on Wednesday night (March 13, 2013). The late Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf were celebrated by living artists who have some of the strongest links with those legendary Chicago blues pioneers. With The Fabulous Thunderbirds anchoring the Blues At The Crossroads 2: Muddy & The Wolf performance staged at Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, the evening also featured harmonica great James Cotton, and guitarists Bob...

5 Things Your Band Needs to Consider About Branding

Check out five ways you can set your band apart from the rest with smart branding methods from Kyle Valentic, a Los Angeles-based graphic designer and the founder of, a design blog that highlights the innovative ways bands connect with their fans. 1) The Brand. Don’t be intimidated by the word “brand” or blow it off as corporate marketing-speak; branding is simply storytelling — which is something your band does every time it writes a song, so you already have some experience. Now it’s time...

5 Aspects Of The Old Music Industry Being Disrupted And Replaced By Social Media

In a widely noted Billboard interview, Amanda Palmer stated that "Twitter has replaced Google and [music] management." Nobody cared about the Google part but her claim of replacing music management certainly raised a few eyebrows. Of course, like many such claims, it wasn't totally true but it did provide an interesting example of the disruptive power of social media to replace expensive professional roles with cheap, good enough solutions. Claire BeDell, writing for Sprout Insights, doesn't break new...

Kim's Songwriters Toolbox: Find a mentor - Be a mentor

I recently read something about one of my mentors, whom I haven’t spoken to in over a decade. She is now the founder and CEO of a medical group that restores sight to children with visual disabilities, but when I knew her, she was a research professor at Vanderbilt University here in Nashville. I had just moved to town and needed a job to support my music habit. She was an fairly accomplished cello player and quit sympathetic to my musical goals. She allowed me to work a schedule that permitted time for...

Are You Ready to Work With a Music Publicist?

Whatever your instrument or genre, as an independent musician, I bet you’ve probably spent time gazing at the arts section of your local newspaper or favorite music magazine and wondered, “How can I get there?” While talent, hard work, business chops, persistence, and luck have a great deal to do with it, there’s another tool that can help — a good publicist. Basically, a publicist helps make people aware of your work, serving as your media advocate, cheerleader, advisor, and liaison. Publicists work to get their artist clients...

Why Don’t More Country Ballads Top the Charts?

While most Country Music singles are up-tempo, singles can be career-defining for new artists. So it was with “If I Die Young” (written by Kimberly Perry) for The Band Perry, “The House That Built Me” (Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin) for Miranda Lambert and “Need You Now” (Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott) for Lady Antebellum. So why do ballads generally have a harder time becoming hits than songs with more tempo? The Trouble with Tempo. “Many stations favor tempo in...

Suffering, Cancer and The Complexities of Life Lead Darlene Zschech To 'Revealing Jesus'

Her songs are sung weekly by a world choir with “Shout To The Lord” alone being sung by an estimated 30 million each week. And those songs and recordings have helped produce 16 Gold and Platinum albums. Her books have been translated into 19 languages. Her passion for mentoring worship leaders has fueled and inspired a new generation serving and leading around the world. Her heart for orphans and widows helped launch HOPE: Rwanda and Hope: Global now serving thousands of the world’s poorest...

Four Things Today's Bands Can Learn From David Bowie's Comeback

Music has come a long way since David Bowie’s legendary 1972 Top of the Pops appearance – the one where he flung his arm casually and camply around Mick Ronson, and proceeded to blast out one of the catchiest songs about a gay alien (Starman) you are ever likely to hear. Yes, things have changed alright. We have (nearly) abolished ‘physical’ music; we’ve shut down HMV; and we give away music for free not for people's listening pleasure but in order to make databases. Yet amidst all these sad developments, with...

Songwriting Tip: The Power Of Simplicity

As the boundaries of country music continue to expand, it’s easy to get so caught up in modulations and syncopated rhythms that we can forget the power that a strong, simple melody can have. In my songwriting classes I teach at, I try to make a point of giving one assignment to write something simple musically. SIMPLE ISN’T EASY. While a melody may be described as "simple" by someone, the writing of it is usually far from easy. It involves achieving a perfectly natural balance between repetition and change so that the...

Social Media for Musicians: 10 Musts for Social Music Marketing

The nuts-and-bolts of promoting your music with social media. It’s a busy life, being a DIY musician. Amidst all the booking, touring, songwriting, snapping Instagram photos, and hunting for mandolin strings at 11pm, it’s easy to forget the basics of social media marketing — or at least conveniently ignore them when your schedule is full. But as they say in the sports world, “It’s all about the fundamentals.” 1. Respond to every comment. Seems simple enough. Someone’s taken the time to engage with you; they deserve your attention... So here’s a checklist of social media musts every musician should live by:

Still Fab! The 10 Greatest Solo Albums By Former Beatles

Sure, The Beatles revolutionized music and created a body of work that will stand for centuries. That doesn’t mean, however, that the members of group didn’t go on to produce music that in some instances was just as timeless. Below are 10 solo albums made by Fab Four alumni that should be part of every record collection. Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon (1970). Few Beatles fans were prepared for the searing introspection John Lennon unleashed with his first solo album. Having recently undergone primal ...
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Concert Review: Umph Love for Montana

Music can be somewhat sparse from time to time in “The Last Best Place”, but when the good stuff arrives, folks come out of the woodworks. Umphrey’s McGee made their highly anticipated return to Montana to play back to back shows in Missoula and Bozeman on March 9th and 10th, and if history teaches us anything, it’s that these shows would not be ones to be missed. UM has thrown down some of their most high energy and highly regarded shows in Montana over the past three years, and this one would...

Three Chords and the Truth

Three chords and the truth. It's the title of a song and a phrase we hear all the time as the essence of country music. Country has always been about simplicity, directness of message, and memorable stories. That's still true and probably always will be. But just as “rock” music has become a huge umbrella encompassing more subgenres than you can count, country music has also evolved and multiplied into sub-genres. They may not have a name yet, since we still classify the differences in style more with particular artists...
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