Ken, Author at PeekSound

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Helpful Articles
Many people want to get involved in the television or film industry. The good news is that there has never been a better time in history to have your music featured onscreen. The proliferation of equipment at affordable price points means that just about anyone can make films and shows. There are a few questions to ask if you want to have your work featured.

1. Will the film be seen at festivals?

When it comes to the number of films being made, the flip side of the coin is what will be done when they are completed. If the project never sees the light of day, then your music will not be featured.

2. Where will the film be shown?

Think about whether it matters to you if the film is seen on YouTube, is going to a festival circuit, or if there is a theatrical release date. Some films and shows stream only on services like Netflix. This still offers a good chance for people to hear your music, but it’s a good idea to find out the creator’s intentions. You’ll want to be able to point to something and say ‘yes, my music is in this film’ because it will help you with future gigs.

3. What is the remuneration?

The new indie scene tends to equal little or no pay. Most of the people working on films don’t make much money. When you first start out, you have to be willing to offer your music for little to nothing for exposure. However, don’t let this run your life. Everyone in the creative arts should be paid for what they do, so try to make sure you choose wisely when deciding on the projects you’re willing to do for free.

4. How can I connect with creators?

This largely depends on where you are based. One great resource is Facebook groups in places that are industry-heavy, such as New York, LA, or London. Filmmakers are often looking for composers or music for their projects. Hunt around until you find the most reliable groups in these areas, and you’ll find that people are always looking for music. Make sure that you have a website where samples of your music are readily accessible when the time comes.

5. Should I cold-contact directors?

Dozens of other composers will contact directors. Don’t let this deter you. Many creators find that their composers drop out or they are in need of music for something. They will often remember that you emailed them and get in touch. One of the surefire ways of getting their attention is to specify your interest in their projects. If you already know and appreciate a director’s work, you’re more likely to get a response. This is partly because everyone likes to work with people who are familiar with their past projects, and also because people who know their work are more likely to be offering appropriate music. Creators are often looking for the perfect music. Most people work for a long time before they find their way into big-budget television and film. Composing soundtracks is a particular talent that takes hard work and experience. If a director wants to use your original songs, this usually happens because they like your sound or a song you’ve written is perfect for their film or television show. Most directors of big-budget films and shows are inaccessible unless you have an agent, but you’d be surprised at how far networking at the indie level can get you. Your music will find its way into films, and with enough exposure online or in the festival circuit, you’ll build up an impressive portfolio that will open doors to the TV show or film of your dreams.
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Helpful Articles
In the internet age, it’s easier than ever for a musician to put themselves out there and share their art. However, there are many new artists trying to make names for themselves in a huge industry. There are common mistakes that many of them make that can hinder their chances of making it big. However, while such a low barrier of entry to becoming an artist means that everyone has a shot, this means that more than ever emerging artists need to avoid making mistakes that could prevent their success. To help emerging artists have the best shot possible, here are 5 of the most common mistakes they should avoid making in their early careers.

They Have the Wrong Motives

A common mistake emerging artists make is that they often have the wrong motive. New artists need to ask themselves, are they in it for the music? Or are they looking for fame? While it’s ok to be motivated by success, primary motivation should stem from a love of music and share your talent. Being passionate about music is the only way to ensure success. If you are more motivated by fame than your music, the quality of your work will suffer. If your primary motivation is not your love of music, you will falter early on in your music career.

Not Thinking About Their Name

When emerging as an artist it is important to take some time when coming up with a name for yourself or your group, as your name is the brand you will be trying to sell to the public. For instance, if you are a solo artist, do you want to be known by your birth name, or do you want to create a stage name for yourself? Choosing a distinct name can help to set you apart from others in the industry and make you more recognizable, particularly if you have a common name. If you are part of a group, it is particularly important that you take time to think of your name. You will want to come up with a group name that is unique and original, yet won’t be off-putting to audiences. In particular, you will want to avoid having obscenities in your group name, as this can limit your audience and make it difficult for people to safely search for your group on Google.

They’re Not Marketing Properly

It can be easy to digitally distribute your music using platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, and other digital music websites. It is also important not to forget to market your music. You should have a presence on various social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Music Blogs. These are marketing tools that you need to master and stay on top of as they will be your best way to reach new audiences. These platforms will bring in new followers and will expose new audiences to your music helping you to expand the reach of your music.

Spamming on Social Media

It is important to stay on top of social media accounts. It is also important that you do not overuse these platforms and inundate your followers with constant updates. Social media can be a useful tool. However, if you update each of your accounts ten times a day with similar updates, you will inundate readers and potentially turn off followers. Finding a balance is key when using social media. It is a balance many new artists have a hard time finding. Keep your updates frequent but original, and do not post an obscene number of times a day.

They’re Not Taking Advantage of YouTube

Perhaps the most important tool available to emerging artists is YouTube. While this may seem obvious, one cannot underestimate the power of YouTube and its role in creating new stars. YouTube truly is the new radio, allowing artists to reach audiences of hundreds of millions of people. This makes it important that you regularly update your Youtube with new material. Share these updates on your social media accounts to increase your exposure.
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Helpful Articles
Mixing and mastering are two terms you often hear as part of the music production business, but it’s not always obvious what the difference is to a novice. Like technical terms in any industry, it’s easy to assign your own definitions to these two terms, even if you’re way off base.

A Yummy Analogy

Imagine baking a cake and then frosting it. What did you do? Well, you mixed up the ingredients, put it in a pan, baked it, cooled it, then frosted it. If you took it to a party right then, people would eat it and enjoy it. It would be a just-fine dessert. Now imagine that after you baked it and it cooled, it went to a Cake Master sort of person who used fondant, multiple types of frosting and even props to turn it into a work of art. When you took that cake to the same party, people would ooh and ahh over it, but ultimately, they’d eat it and enjoy it. Now imagine that, instead of a cake, it’s your song. You take your various tracks, lay them on top of one another and spit out a version that people can listen to. Yes! You made a song! But now imagine there’s a Music Master who can take what you did and layer on some musical fondant and yummy frosting. They can turn it into a real treat for the ears. That’s the difference between mixing and mastering.

What is Mixing Really?

When you mix a song these days, you use editing software to closely examine each of your tracks, then you layer them or “mix” them into a full song. Usually, you examine each track by itself first. Do you need to make any edits? Did one of the backup singers cough at some point? Did your drummer suddenly play louder for 5 seconds then go back to his previous level? There is a lot to consider on just one track. The mixing part begins once you add in a second track, then a third. So, you take your drum track, your vocal tracks, and your various other instrument tracks, and you work with them until just the right amount of each is heard when played back all together. There is both an art and a science to it. Sometimes, you want the drums to suddenly feel louder for a section, or you want the lead vocals to sound more hushed. There are a lot of different things you can do with even basic audio editing software, minor tweaks and adjustments you can add, but your main goal is to hear all the right things at all the right times. Let’s now assume you are putting together an album of ten songs. You go through and mix each of them until you are happy with the results. At this point, you could distribute your songs if you wanted to. After all, a cake with basic frosting is still pretty yummy, but what if you want more? What if you really want a polish on it all? Many artists consider mixing good enough for something like a demo tape but turn to mastering when they’re ready to distribute and share with the world.

So What is Mastering Then?

Whereas mixing focuses on the elements of a particular song, mastering takes a larger view of the entire album. Mastering is considered an art. The difference between a painting of a bowl of fruit at the flea market and one that hangs in a museum. The average person can’t always tell you what’s different between the mixed and mastered version, but they can tell you the mastered version is better. So what happens in mastering? The very basics are that the levels across songs are managed in a pleasing way. Have you ever noticed how songs across a good album seem to rise and fall at just the right points? That’s mastering. That’s just the beginning though. Mastering also gets into adjusting reverb, compression, equalization, and a host of other elements, including doing some optimization to try to ensure a good listening experience across a wide range of devices.  The goal of mastering is to refine and enhance the story your album is telling. While some artists feel reasonably comfortable mixing their own music (others give this task to professionals too), most serious musicians believe using an experienced mastering professional is the only way to go. Working with such a professional doesn’t come cheaply, but it’s often the difference between good and wow. Between would-be fans listening once and playing it on a loop. That’s the very basic differences between mixing and mastering.
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Helpful Articles
Disruption is rapidly becoming the norm as advances in technology completely remake industry after industry. The music industry is no exception. Even though it has already undergone massive change over the past 20 years as CDs then MP3s then iPods pushed listeners to adopt newer (and not always better) technologies, streaming services have introduced a level of disruption far beyond a simple change in media or device type. Streaming services are changing the industry itself.

Setting the Stage

Like most industries, music is fueled by money. Where and how money is spent by listeners drives almost every aspect of the commercial music business. In its latest revenue statistics, the RIAA paints a clear picture that, in 2017, streaming services have emerged as the primary revenue drivers. In fact, streaming services accounted for a full 62% of revenue in the first half of 2017. Paid streaming services also dominated across all three of the streaming payment models, including ad-supported and digital radio. With this clear game-changing information in mind, let’s take a look at what this impressive impact means for the world of music.

Changing Definitions

No matter the media type, vinyl, tape, CD or even MP3, the definition of an “album” remained relatively constant for a very long time. Put X number of songs together, ideally have a theme of some sort, and sell them as a collection. In the world of streaming, it is far more likely that someone else is curating the content. Someone else is taking songs from multiple artists and placing them in a collection according to whatever criteria they set. Playlists on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have millions of followers. New songs added to one of these lists can generate levels of interest at speeds unheard of years ago. What constitutes a ‘song” has also changed. No longer are there radio-imposed time limits or chatty DJ-inspired intros. While there is still, generally speaking, some common sense guidelines around song length, there are also people willing to listen to much longer songs these days. Artists are no longer limited by traditional song guidelines.

Changing the Record Labels

Artists all over the world stood up and cheered when Chance the Rapper won the Grammy for best new artist recently. Guess who didn’t cheer? Traditional record labels. Chance the Rapper’s success flies in the face of an old and successful model. A model whereby you can’t make it big without a record label behind you. Although it was already clear that artists could achieve some amount of financial success with a streaming-only album, winning a Grammy for one sends a very different message: In this world of peer reviews and artist-driven content, maybe the entire record label concept isn’t necessary anymore? Because of this, the larger entertainment industry is pondering that thought now, including TV and film. As the ability to produce professional content at a local level gets easier and cheaper, we’re likely only at the very beginning of a monumental shift in how our entertainment reaches us. Of course, the labels aren’t taking this sitting down. They used to have experts that guided artists on how to get play time on the radio. Now they have experts who guide artists on how to get added to the right streaming playlists for their audience. For every Chance the Rapper, there are 10,000 unknowns who never make it big. It’s just like there was in the days of radio. What’s different now is that it’s possible to make it without a label, where once it was not.

Last Track

There are many other changes that streaming services are forcing in the music industry, from availability and price of equipment to the entire “manager” concept. But when you consider that streaming has changed the rules of the three most fundamental aspects of music – the song, the album, and the record label relationship – it’s clear that we’re in the midst of a renaissance unlike any other in our lifetimes.
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