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Today in Rock History

By localbandz, 2016-08-23
Today in Rock History

August 23rd, 1970.

A fan surreptitiously tapes a Velvet Underground set on an ordinary cassette recorder. It turns out to be Reed’s last night with the band and is later released as ‘Velvet Underground, Live at Max’s Kansas City.’

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Today In Rock History

By localbandz, 2016-05-03
Today In Rock History

May 5th, 2000.

Metallica delivers over 60,000 page of information to Napster's San Mateo, Calif., offices, listing more than 1.4 million copyright violations of 95 Metallica songs and recordings by 335,435 distinct users.

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Today In Rock History...

By localbandz, 2016-02-23
Today In Rock History...

February 23rd, 1979.

The first tour of the U.S. and Canada by Dire Straits opens at the Paradise Club in Boston. The Group logs 51 sold-out shows in 38 days.

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6 Qualities That All Successful Musicians Have

The music industry has always been competitive and cutthroat at heart, and these days, income is becoming harder and harder to find. Making a little money playing music on the side isn’t so hard, but in order to turn a passion into a career, you have to want it more than anything else. Though there is a ton of luck involved, many factors can be influenced to put you in a position to launch a musical career. However, it’s important not to have unrealistic standards about how things will be once you're able to quit your “day job.” Here are six qualities that successful musicians possess.

1. They have no other choice

Some professional musicians got where they are today due to the fact that they struggled to get other work, or just weren’t capable of doing anything else. When you have no Plan B to fall back on, Plan A will have to be what works out for you. In an interview I did with violinist Jenny Scheinman earlier this year, she described moving out of the house at age 16 and busking around Santa Cruz to make ends meet. Though this alone will not guarantee you a successful music career, it sure is a good motivator to get started.

The bottom line: Successful musicians are confident and adventurous enough to dive into their music careers headfirst.

2. They're willing to work hard and educate themselves

A professional musician must fill many hats these days. Often within a band, members will split the roles of manager , promoter and booking agent between the group. There are also many solo artists who take on all of these roles or more by themselves. Thus, it’s important to be able to educate yourself on the many different aspects of professional music-making, and to enjoy this process.

Of course, filling these roles results in a lot of work. John Roderick, who acts as the frontman, songwriter and manager for his band The Long Winters , once told me about the 18-20 hour days he would put in while in the process of releasing and promoting a new record. Of course, the payoff is that there is one less person to pay, and he is thus able to make a sustainable income.

The bottom line: If you think that going into music will be an escape from doing “real” work, think again.

3. They don’t mind living modestly

Depending on the path you take in the wide world of music, it’s possible that you may never have a stable income. Even if it is stable, it might take years or even decades before it's large enough for you to have certain luxuries. This doesn’t have to be a source of fear or anxiety as long as you know how to live within your means. Try to create some kind of stable cash flow in order to cover certain expenses such as gas, food or utilities. Teaching lessons or workshops is a great way to do this, if you feel comfortable educating others. That way, you can take a few things off your mind while doing your budgeting and focus more on making rent. In the end, it comes down to the question of living an easy life versus a fulfilling life.

The bottom line: It's okay to dream big, but if the only reason you want to be a musician is because you think it'll get you a large house with a yacht, you'll quickly get weeded out of this business.

4. They have a patient, persistent attitude

This might be the most important out of the entire list. A career does not appear overnight, and especially not one in the arts. Even artists such as Lorde , who seemed to appear in an instant and blow up the charts out of nowhere, had been planning and preparing for that time for years.

Of course, very few people have the good fortune to be signed and developed by Universal at the age of 13. Whatever your musical craft may be, as long as you are making steps to improve every day, you will eventually be one of the best out there . However, it could take years before you're capable of competing against other professional musicians. If you seek out new opportunities persistently, it’s completely possible to find the gig or job that sets you up into a more stable position, especially once more and more of your competition gives up and looks for other work.

The bottom line: Instead of becoming preoccupied with trying to get a "big break," the most successful musicians nowadays focus on growing their careers gradually .

5. They're willing to (and enjoy) working on their craft every day

No matter which aspect of music or the arts you're passionate about, it’s essential to practice your craft every day. By doing this, you will continue to improve while others stagnate, eventually being better than most others at what you do. In a first-year entrance speech that Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby ) gave to Berklee College of Music’s class of 2010, he recalled the old martial arts saying, "When you are not practicing, someone else is. When you meet them, they will win." In order to not only compete, but succeed in this hyper-competitive musical world, it’s absolutely vital to be on top of your game at all times, and be consistently raising the bar for yourself. And in order to make the most out of it, you have learn to really enjoy the process of improving and practicing as well.

The bottom line: If you don’t want to put in time to practice, you might be better suited as a hobbyist.

6. They're creative at generating income

One of the best things you can do when trying to stay afloat with your music is to find multiple streams of income. A great way to do this is by licensing out your music to be used in television shows, ads and movies. Even beyond that, taking on the management of a more established artist in your area or teaching private lessons/workshops can provide a “day job” alternative that will still grow you as an artist and a person, while also providing you with some really great networking opportunities.

Depending on your location or time of year, it may be very difficult to keep multiple income streams flowing your way. That’s where the creativity comes in. If there aren’t any opportunities to showcase your talent, you have to create the opportunities yourself. Activities such as busking, if done consistently and in a good location, can generate a good amount of money over time. Another alternative would be to try and find a restaurant that you think would sound great with live music, and go to them with the offer to perform weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly. It all adds up in the end, and sooner or later, a little bit of cash here and there can evolve into something spontaneous and beautiful.

The bottom line: Successful musicians don't wait for opportunities to come to them – they seek them out or create them themselves.


Dylan Welsh  is a freelance musician and music journalist, based in Seattle, WA. He currently plays in multiple Seattle bands, interns at Mirror Sound Studio, and writes for the Sonicbids blog. Visit  his website  for more information.

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What Is The First Thing I Should Do To Get Started as a Musician?

EVERY musicians wants to know what happens next, after they've written songs, practiced them until they're great, and then....what? They know vaguely where they want to go, but they aren't sure exactly how to get there.

The problem with the question is that there is no one size fits all answer. There are so many things that can shape how you should start taking your music from a private pursuit to the public domain, from your personal goals to your genre of music.

Perhaps the easiest thing to consider first - something to give yourself a little bit of a roadmap - is to decide if you envision an independent music career or if you see yourself settling into a major label world. An independent music career can include both DIY pursuits and working with music related businesses at the independent level. Which is right for you depends on a few different factors. First of all - your preference. Some musicians are fiercely independent. Some don't want to take on any work other than working on their music, and so at the very least have no interest taking any DIY approach. Genre also matters, particularly if you're interested in breaking into a major label dominated world like pop music. In other words, sometimes your brand of music will dictate how you need to approach your career.

If your genre doesn't make things clearer, consider the options by reading these articles:

Identifying your chosen industry path will help you do the most important thing - make a plan. In a nutshell, to make it to a major label, you'll need a manager and maybe even a lawyer who will shop your music to the labels on your behalf. If you're going the indie road, you may release your own music, or you may shop it to indie labels yourself or with the help of a manager.

So, as you can see, the step that comes before signing with a label usually involves attracting the attention of a manager, but how does one do that? Demos can help - and in fact, recordings may be the most important thing if you're an aspiring pop star, but the one thing that everyone can - should - MUST do is to play live. Live shows will give you exposure to the industry and to fans - and every show brings you one step closer to either winning over a manager or winning over enough fans to attract the attention of managers, labels, booking agents and others within the industry.

As you can see, there are a lot of intangibles involved in launching a music career, and often, there's no clear answer that is sure to work. I know, I know - it's frustrating - but trying to circumvent the process and pursue things you're not ready for - like a show you're not prepared to play - will actually do more harm than good. Instead, if you're looking for an absolute first step to take to get your music out to the people, decide on your goals. Then, make a plan. Then start playing live. Setting these wheels in motion will set everything else off - and you'll be able react to the unique opportunities they generate for you as an artist.



"... Lightnin' Hopkins taught us, "the rubber on a wheel is faster than the rubber on a heel" and Muddy Waters taught us "you don't have to be the best one; just be a good 'un" .. that just about says it all, always strive to be a good 'un..." - Billy F. Gibbons - Z.Z. Top

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