Archive for March 2010

The Launch Pad Has MOVED

March 11, 2010

The Launch Pad has moved and is now parked at it’s official home.

Go see!¬† And maybe sign yer’self up on the ol’ RSS ūüėČ


Twitter Doesn’t Kill Music Careers Musicians Do

March 9, 2010

I have been kind of floored the past couple of weeks.  There seems to be a ton of twitter-hate going on in the music world. 

But look – I¬†guess I shouldn’t be a¬†hypocrit here.¬† I really do¬†understand where some of you are coming from.¬† It took me close to 6 months to figure out the value of twitter and then another 2 or 3 months to figure out how to use it.

Before moving on I do need to say that I would never tell someone they are using a certain social media tool in a “wrong” manner.¬† But I will say this about twitter:

If you are not having any success with Twitter, then you may need to re-define your definition of “success” with that medium.

And keep in mind:¬† Success is individually defined.¬† When I open my Tweetdeck, here are my top¬†4 goals in order of importance.¬† If I have been “successful” at completing any of these during a session, I feel really good about it:

#1  Engage with people

#2  Pick up useful/educational info

#3  Share useful/educational info

#4  Promote my blog and music

[Technically #2 and #3 fall under “engaging” I guess…]

So how are you using Twitter?  Are you just blasting out information about your projects?  Are you only using it to promote yourself?

Twitter is just one big long conversation.  And it is REALLY important that you take that seriously.  Otherwise, you risk being the guy at the party blabbering about your band all night.

NO ONE WANTS TO TALK TO THAT GUY.  No one wants to help that guy out.

And look, you do not HAVE to be on Twitter.¬† I built a decently successful indie career with almost zero social media tools.¬† Well, Myspace…but hell, that really didn’t count.¬† It was basically just one big spam orgy.¬†

But I really do wish I DID have Twitter.  I have met some really cool people these past few months.  Formed some real relationships.  Yes real relationships.  I can actually call these people or meet up with them and feel like I already know them. 

The “faux followers” argument does not apply if you really take the time to engage.¬† Quality over quantity.

Yea, this is great for total no-label indie bands, but what about the bands on a label?  Why should they have to tweet?

I keep seeing this question.  Here is my answer:  If you are on a label and they are forcing you to tweet then they are doing you a HUGE FAVOR.


Let me see if I can break it out in a linear fashion

  1. Forcing you to tweet “forces” you to engage with your fans
  2. Engaging with your fans builds a stronger connection
  3. A stronger connection leads to unwavering support of your career
  4. Unwavering support of your career by your fans means you last longer and are no longer beholden to said label.  Remember, your fans are YOURS.  Not the labels.  If you have REAL fans, they go where ever  you go.

Engage is the keyword though. 

On a larger scale, Lady Gaga is a great example of someone who engages with the audience.  She tweets backstage at awards shows to thank her fans.  Shoots out tweets during shows and calls people from her cell in the audience to come up onstage. 

Pete Yorn¬†is another one I’ve noticed.¬† He does an excellent job of just being “one of the guys” on twitter.¬† He posts some useful info, links to things other than music, and every once in awhile he tweets about something going on with his career.¬†

This stuff isn’t fluff people.¬† It’s real.

The day of the “mysterious musician” is dead, I’m telling you.¬† We are jaded to that.¬† Sure some guys and gals will still be able to pull it off.¬† But that is the exception now, NOT THE RULE.


So to bring it back to my headline:¬† Twitter doesn’t kill music careers.¬† Musicians who use the medium to constantly promote and¬†wear out interest in their projects kill their careers.¬†

Instead – hop on¬†and retweet a few tweets that might help someone out.¬† Poll your audience and ask a question.¬† Answer a tweet from a “follower”.¬† After you’ve done all that THEN send out that promotional tweet.

Still not sold on Twitter?  I say give it a shot.  What do you have to lose?

Puppetmastering Reviews: Make ‘Em Say What You Want

March 2, 2010

I recently talked to¬†a friend of mine in a band called Yellow Light Maybe that just released a record in my hometown area of Columbus, OH.¬† Great local record in my opinion.¬† Most of the press was great, they had an amazing turnout at their cd release show¬†– but (sound the suspenseful climactic music) the typical “everything sucks” paper in town gave them a pretty crappy review.

I immediately started to think back to when this same publication ripped me to shreds.¬† Oh man, and did they…they did everything but come to my house and slap me in the face.

We got all up in arms about it too.¬† Called to talk to the editor, wrote a letter about how they are just “tearing down the scene by slamming local artists rather than leaving the story open ended to give it a chance¬†for people that may actually dig the record…” blah, blah, blah.

Pretty foolish of me, yes I know.¬† But I was pissed.¬† This was my first experience with not only a bad review, but a public flogging.¬† I didn’t really know how to handle it.

After a couple of weeks though, I calmed down and thought back to some advice a friend/early manager had told me:

“There is no such thing as a bad review.¬† You can always make them say what you want them to say…”

Holy crap!¬† In that case, this publication did say that my songwriting “Invoked the better days of Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner”

So guess what?  I only used THAT sentence. And with that I completely turned a sh*t ass horrible review into one that I was actually proud of.

And I didn’t cheat or make anything up.¬† It was true.¬† They said it.¬† I just left out the bad stuff and then slapped it on my press kit and website.

Get a bad review lately?

What was the good part about it?  There had to be something decent.

Ever see the movie reviews come across the screen and they are just one word? “Exciting…”¬† “Breathtaking…”

Those are the distribution houses or labels¬†puppetmastering the reviews.¬† You can do it too.¬† There isn’t a damn thing wrong with it.

Will people still see the bad review?¬† Yea, but who cares?¬† If you are really in this for the long haul like I always preach – one, two, or a handful of negative reviews aren’t going to hurt you.

You will still find your audience.

In the example above YLM¬†still had 400 people show up to the show and almost completely sold out their merch.¬† Friends and fans left comment after comment on their social sites about how great the show was.¬† Bad review?¬† Didn’t affect them one bit.

In fact, it helped them.¬† Made them stronger and more united.¬† Brought the¬†fans together and united them.¬† And not sure if they’ll use it or not – but I fished together this review from the original negative one:

“Yellow Light Maybe has the formula down…”

What are some ways you have been able to change around a review or two?

Yellow Light Maybe’s new disc More of the World is available at or on iTunes.