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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

NAMM BIM 2022: Recap

 

The second Believe in Music event preceding its genesis in 2021 came to a close and if you missed it, here are some of the highlights below. Don't forget: BIM is open to the public so download the app now, network with attendees, watch the presentations and performances, and don't miss it next year!

Monday, January 31, 2022

NAMM BIM 2022: Marketing and Networking

NAMM's Believe in Music event 

had another amazing line-up this year of Networking and Marketing professionals to help us succeed:

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Isotonik Studios: Euphony Sounds Live 11 Pack, Inspired Rave Stabs demonstrated by Liam O'Mullane

This Ableton Live Pack started out as a trip down memory lane. We wanted to explore what it was like to create rave stabs using old techniques and gear. 

Back in the 90s, we sampled chords from digital sound modules into many of the different samplers available at the time, like the infamous Roland W30, various Akai and Emu samplers, and the lesser-known Casio FZ1. 

When one-shot samples are mapped across the keyboard without any form of warping, the duration changes and, in turn, the pitch; for example, the sample's duration is shorter the higher up the key-range, thus higher in pitch. The duration is longer, lower down the key-range, therefore lower in pitch. As a result, a distinct character to the sound emerges when riffs are played within two octaves. 

Another popular technique in the 1990s was to tune the oscillators of analog synths to different intervals creating chords. These sounds were sampled as one-shots and mapped across a key-range. The same pitch characteristics were prevalent due to the change in duration, adding to the distinct sound and era. 

The pack has been put together by sampling chords created from tuned analog synth oscillators, stacked intervals from classic 90s digital sound modules and the the tonal character of the Roland W30 and Akai S3000. 

All samples are un-warped to retain the classic pitch nuances of the era. Each rack has been carefully put together exposing useful macros and taking advantage of macro variations giving a minimum of 4 variations per rack. Within this pack there are over 400 variations of stab sounds to keep you gurning to the early hours.

This Pack is built using the following five elements:

  1. Basic Stab Instrument Racks
  2. Layered Stab Racks
  3. Processed Stab Racks
  4. Stab Modules
  5. Rave Effect Racks

Get this pack HERE.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

NAMM BIM 2022: Artificial Intelligence

At NAMM's Believe in Music event, Paul Sitar (A3E) hosts Daniel Rowland (LANDR), Jack Joseph Puig (Waves), and Maya Ackerman (WaveAI) in a discussion about AI and the dueling rejection and acceptance of the technology among music makers. Quite often, the desire for creative human romanticism feels conflicted with the logical structure and production aspects of music creation when in fact both are needed and AI can assist in the process especial during mundane tasks. It also empowers the open minded with the impossible who can now create lyrics and song in languages and cultures they would never be able to touch. AI best comes into play at the beginning stages of writers block and musicians can impose their own data sets to truly make it theirs. It helps with problem solving, production techniques, and can save a lot of time as the logical frameworks of AI are allowed, pathing the way for human romanticism as it shines through to new sonic worlds. 

WaveAI creates LyricStudio and Alysia AI tools, for any eager creator, that will assist you in writing music.

NAMM BIM 2022: New Casio Keyboards

Casio is releasing 2 new keyboards: The CT-S1000V and CT-S500. Some of the unique features include: 

  • Built-in vocal synthesizer with performance capabilities in Japanese or English.
  • Strap capabilities to turn it into a key-tar.
  • Smartphone app syncing.

They can be pre-ordered now. 

Watch the videos: 


 

 DOVER, NJ, January 20, 2022Casio, the world’s leading provider of powerful and affordable musical instruments, today announced the Casiotone CT-S500 and its big brother, the CT-S1000V, the first vocal synthesizer that can literally turn any text — such as song lyrics — into a musical phrase and then “sing" it in full harmony based on any notes played on its keys.

For centuries, instruments have been designed with the human voice in mind — not necessarily to sound exactly like it, but to enunciate and express emotion like it. The violin, cello, and saxophone are all examples, as are modern vocoders and certain aspects of synthesizers. The CT-S1000V fulfills this creative dream by tapping into an activity almost everyone does every day: typing text. 

To get started, Casio has built 100 Lyric Tones (phrases inspired by familiar songs) into the CT-S1000V, which can be overwritten, and there’s space for 50 more brought in from the Lyric Creator app. The instrument supports both English and Japanese text. No keyboard instrument has ever before been able to speak and sing with this degree of ease and musicality. 

For customized lyrics, the player simply types in words using the companion Lyric Creator app for iOS® and Android® devices. These are then transmitted into the CT-S1000V via USB and played using any of its 22 Vocalist types, including talkboxes, processed choirs, robot voices, vocoders and whispered voices, all drawn from the history of synthetic vocals in pop music. Phrases can be played all at once, according to a set rhythm when keys are pressed, or one syllable at a time as new notes are played with or without legato. They can also be sequenced together to play complete songs. 

The CT-S1000V also offers all the features that make Casiotone synonymous with the fun of immediately playing music. Its AiX tone source offers 800 high-resolution sounds representing all categories of instruments, the keyboard may be split or layered to play multiple sounds at once, and 64-voice polyphony ensures players will never run out of notes. The accompaniment section puts a complete backup band under the player’s fingers, including 243 built-in rhythms, 50 user-programmable rhythms, simplified chord fingering modes (including CASIO Chord™) for easy playing, and auto-harmonies. Players can arrange songs on the fly by switching between various intro, normal, fill-in, variation, and ending sections. 

Casio was the first company to make sampling available to everyone, regardless of budget, with its SK-1 keyboard in 1985. The CT-S1000V continues this tradition with its ability to sample up to ten seconds of high-quality audio (or several three-second samples for creating drum kits) via its 1/8-inch stereo input. The CT-S1000V also gives you the flexibility of sampling wirelessly using the included WU-BT10 Bluetooth MIDI & audio adapter. It can sample up to ten seconds of CD-quality audio via its 1/8-inch stereo input or via the included WU-BT10 Bluetooth MIDI and audio adapter— or several sounds at up to three seconds each for building custom drum kits. 

For learning and songwriting, an onboard MIDI recorder can store up to five performances. With its capacity of six tracks and 40,000 notes per song, musicians can sketch out fully arranged compositions — and beginners can listen back to their own practice — without the need for a computer. Of course, the CT-S1000V can also connect to a computer or mobile device via USB-MIDI or Bluetooth, taking advantage of the entire world of MIDI and recording software as well as Casio’s own Casio Music Space iOS/Android app, which turns the process of learning music into an interactive and engaging video game. 

The 100 built-in, studio-quality DSP effects can add a polished shine to any sound, including lyrics. The effects include many amplifier and cabinet simulators, modulation effects, choruses, reverbs, delays, and much more. Each of the effects can be extensively customized, and can be modified on the fly using the CT-S1000V's three assignable knobs. 

For musicians who simply want all the CT-S1000V’s great instrument sounds, accompaniment features, sampling, MIDI recording, and effects without vocal synthesis, Casio is introducing the new CT-S500, which hits this sweet spot at an even more compelling price. Weighing just over 10 pounds and featuring the ability to run on six AA batteries, both keyboards are designed to make music on the go. 

As part of the release, Casio has unveiled an exclusive landing page taking consumers through the features which can be viewed HERE.


The CT- S1000V (MSRP: $679.99) and CT-S500 (MSRP: $499.99) are available at musical instrument retailers nationwide and at CasioMusicGear.com. To learn more about Casio’s full portfolio of electronic musical instruments, please visit www.CasioMusicGear.com.

Monday, March 29, 2021

NAMM BIM 2021: Marketing and Communication Tips

photo by Karya Schanilec

How do you increase Instagram Followers? 

Glenn Haworth of Haworth Guitars gave us his secrets:

  • Focus on your niche (only post about it. That's what people expect)
  • Get the right followers (people who are truly interested in your content)
  • Don't use "like for like" or apps that get you subscribers through coins
  • Have good content descriptions
  • Post frequently
  • Consistent photos
  • Engage with your followers & encourage them to engage with you
  • Find people of interest: 
    • Find relevant accounts via hashtags 
    • Leave a comment and follow them
    • Like their most recent posts
  • Have a competition
    • Have them follow you and tag 3 people to enter
    • Don't have more than 25% text on a post
  • Use Influencers
    • Ask them to make a post about you. This may cost something.
    • http://heepsy.com works well 
    • Screen for quality influencers by looking for a lot of engagement on their profile
  • Take the right photo on Instagram
    • Edit them
      • Put them in Lightroom or Snapeed
      • Consider using filters
    • Focus on the best parts
    • Don't cut the edges
    • Batch photos together
    • Have plenty of light
    • Stay consistent with photo styles
    • Take a lot of photos so you can pick the best
  • What to add in a post descrition
    • A call to action ie. "Tap the image for more"
    • Ask a question that brings engagement
    • Show a feature, quotes, or descriptive facts 
  • Use hashtags
    • Big and small in your niche 
    • Use popular hashtags to get attention
    • Create your own 
  • Have a good bio - You have 8 seconds to get their attention
    • Have a clear description of what you do
    • Have a call-to-action
    • Use story highlights
    • Create a cover for each story similar to making picture descriptions for a youtube video
  • Combine strategies ie. Ask an influencer to promote your giveaway competition

How do you get your music on streaming playlists?

Michael Raine - WC (Canadian Musician Magazine) - NWC (Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade & Professional Sound magazines) mentioned that curated playlists by algorithms or employees by big brands such as Spotify are nearly impossible. But, sometimes in-house brand curators will have a form you can fill out to let them know about your new release. It is best to try and find user-generated and influencer playlists and pitch your songs to them.

Kevin Beuner (Musician for Small Town Poets and CD Baby SVP of Marketing) suggests if you want to pitch songs to Spotify curators: 

  • Find all the user-made playlists that have your type of music by searching with keywords
  • Find artists that sound like you and see what playlists they are in
  • Locate the curator and connect
    • Take the Spotify playlist link and drop it in google, twitter, and facebook and search for that link to find their profile.
    • Follow them and listen to their playlists
    • Contact them and ask them to add you to their playlist and mention that you will share their playlist to your own fans as well
  • So you don't contact the same person twice, make a spreadsheet: name of curator, playlist link, date you contacted them, where you found them, how you found them, and if they contacted you

You can also hire a playlisting company: 

  • Playlist push
  • Digital Promotions Group
  • and many more! Do your research.

Playlist companies can't guarantee anything and if they do, be cautious! See what playlists they have access to and see if the database is quality and for your type of music on soundcloud, youtube, spotify, etc. Some will also turn down artists if they don't think they are ready. If you're already on playlists, they will put the fuel on the fire for you. If you're new, they will create spark to start it. 

Getting your songs on playlists is not about a financial return. It's showing everyone that you have momentum building in your favor to boost your profile for labels and agencies. 

There is also a downside: If people are skipping your song in Spotify to get to another song, it will drop its presence and your artist name in the algorithms. 

If Spotify detects user engagement through adding your song to playlists, going back to your song to play it again, or liking a song, then it increases your song's chances of moving up in the hierarchy. 

You can avoid scams by avoiding companies that contact you on social media and promising a number of plays. You can also get blacklisted by using these. 

New listeners might become fans but they might also just be more plays. 

If you want to read more about this in depth, check out Michael Raine's online magazine: https://indepth.canadianmusician.com/demystifying-streaming-playlists-how-do-you-get-on-them-does-it-matter/

Listen to the webinar: 



Tuning Your Website

Glenn Haworth from Haworth guitars shared some tips on interacting with your website visitors. Opt-in and Buy-now buttons and widgets are great tools for engaging quickly. Have an offer and clear message within 8 seconds. Share trust-signals such as grantees and show testimonials. Make sure your website works well on mobile devices and have engaging content. 

Managing an E-Mail List

Ayana Webb from The Musical Webb, The Digital Webb shared her email marketing tips. 

Don't use your contacts list in your email provider to send out messages / campaigns to your mailing list. You need an email marketing management service such as: 

  • Mailchimp: Free plan available up to 2,000 contacts
  • Constant Contact
  • Vertical Response
  • Aweber
  • Facebook's "Lookalike" 
 CRM (Customer Relations Management tools) that let you personalize your experience with your contacts (This is more advanced than an email marketing management service):
  • Hubspot  
  • Keap 
Use CRM for lead segmenting (scoring people by their interest. Send emails only to that group of people), automate tasks/to-do's. For example, send out an email after someone buys something, interacts with an email or reaches a score. Send automated email follow-ups. Also, if someone books time to speak with you, an automated reminder can be created and added to your tasks.

People will give you their email if you ask:

  • In Person at
    • Shows
    • Booths
    • Trade shows
  • On social media outlets
    • Facebook
      • Your page
      • Facebook groups
    • linked In
    • ...
  • On your store
    • When they first visit your website
    • After they make a purchase
  • By providing something in exchange for their email
    • Released music
    • Discounts 
    • Exclusive content
  • Through paid advertisements

More opens and clicks: list building and broadcasting: 

  • Have a catchy subject
  • Keep only quality subscribers
  • Segment your lists
  • Have balance between sales emails and content emails

What to include in campaigns (mix it up!): 

  • Limited-time specials
    • discounts
    • added bonuses
  • Reminder emails
    • for final days of a special
  • Solve a problem for them
  • Have one call-to-action each time such as a "buy" button

Go through your email list and delete inactive subscribers after 3-6 months.  

E-Commerce

Peter Malick gave an excellent talk on how to, "Build Your Million-Dollar E-commerce Marketing Stack on a Shoestring" Checkout his resources here from AI assistance to a guide on where to host your store: https://inboundav.com/namm2021/

SEO

Bill Sebald from Greenlane Search Marketing shared his expertise in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). He explained it is no longer about keywords or algorithms to reach the top of google. You still need to have a fast loading website which can be checked here: https://pagespeed.compare/

Popularity and how long people stay on your website is also still important. Be knowledgeable with your focus as you become an entity. You need to be the authority on what someone is searching for. It's also about investing time and money to beat your competitor. Unfortunately, winning on all the different facets of SEO, is not an even playing field anymore. Focus on what you what is most important to you with the right strategy in place. You win in SEO through the aggregate of every part of it that you build to reach there. 

Relationship

Lisa Cruze from Red Shoes at the Reverb booth shared the importations of building a community and trust which requires us to always be learning and understanding the cultures you are reaching so not to offend them and finding the best way to reach them. Listening is also a key to finding what they are looking for. 
 

Social Media

Dan Shinder of Social Media on Steroids and Drum Talk TV gave some wonderful tips on how social media should be so much more than just promoting. You need to be relevant to what your followers want to see and develop a connection. You can't please them all so mix it up a bit and videos are much better than pictures. 
 
Some great topics to post about include: 
  • Videos of Endorsing Artists
  • Celebrating birthdays of artists
  • How-To Videos
  • Recording Techinques
  • Live Situations
  • Behind the Scenes content 
Go live on Facebook, Instagram, etc. and answer questions and connect with them. 
Don't use generic hashtags like "#repost", "#drums", etc. Make them unique like, "#Fenderlessons", "#marshallsounds" and when people click on them, they can see your other posts. 

How often should we post? 3 times a day, 7 days a week. If you have a global audience, people are awake and asleep at different times. You will not get distribution if you don't have a constant steady flow. 

Post about your influences, show off your gear, techniques, throwbacks, stories of a first concert, favorite concert, most recent concert, furthest you drove for a concert, most you paid, least you paid, and then ask them to comment their answers below as well. 

TikTok


Asher Condit, a music producer from Kingship Recording Company gave some great tips for getting started on this rapidly growing mobile platform. 
  1. Helper > Hero. Be a helper rather than a hero. Videos that help someone or make them laugh and give them value are more successful than just showing that you're the best at something. 
  2. Create a niche with a common theme
  3. Re-watch rate and average watch time are most important for getting exposure
    1. Captivate them immediately
    2. Tell a story: beginning, middle, and end. Build tension. Create expectation. 
  4. End with a call to action: Ask a question for them to comment about, ask them to follow you or to love the video
  5. Be consistent
    1. Post 3-4 times a week

Release Strategies

Kevin Bruner, SVP of Marketing at CD Baby and musician of Small Town Poets, spoke to us about different strategies for releasing your music while having a primary focus of getting people to listen to your music rather than buy it.
  • The release cycle can be seen as a release season of when you have a whole series of parts instead of just an album:
    • Music production and creation
      •  
    • Release setup
      • promo setup: Spotify presave, apple music pread, release a single or 2
    • Official release
      • An album or EP
    • Follow up content
      • Support material for your music that was released
Here is more of an explanation: 
 
Release 1-2 singles: 
  • Select a future release date and work backwards
  • Ask fans to add it to a library and playlists
  • Release a lyric video / music video
  • Pitch it to playlists
  • Tell stories behind the song / album
    • slowly release behind the scenes video of the recording process in the studio
  • Make a content list
Full album release: 
  • Start releasing photos and video
  • Lyric video / music video
  • Release show in your local area
    • Invite local media to cover it
  • Stories behind the album
  • Facebook Live / YouTube Live premier
  • Twitter listening party

The follow-up material: 

  • Time to mine the data again
  • Live tracks
  • Sheet music / charts
  • Alternate studio versions
    • ie. acoustic version, rock mix, dreampop version... 
  • Lyric videos
  • Remixes
  • Experiment 
    • Release a Rarities package with demos, instrumental versions, and other content
Have everything in place and claim these accounts for all the services. For example: 
  • Spotify for artists
  • Apple music for artists
  • Amazon music for artists

Don't forget to constantly ask yourself: How can you encourage people to press play? 

NAMM BIM 2021: Zoom

 At NAMM's #believeinmusic week, Zoom features 2 key products:



H8

Zoom Q8 and Zoom Q2n-4k video recorders 

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