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As an artist, one of your goals is to be able to place your music in front of mainstream media and newfound fans. You want to expose your talent, skills and music to as many listeners as possible. While having an influential manager with the right connections can help make that happen, the great news is you can share your music yourself by simply working on the skill of marketing yourself.


Is getting noticed in a space filled with other aspiring independent artists going to be difficult? Yet bet it will be! However, it’s not impossible. There are ways and means to get noticed. You have already proven yourself capable of being creative with your music, so why not implement the same with marketing yourself. It may seem daunting but with a little bit of effort and ingenuity, you’re certain to pull it off.


Here are several tips that you can use to get some attention for both you and your music:


1) Be relentless in making music


There are some musicians out there who believe that the first song they produce is immediately going to be their ticket to fame and fortune. In reality, though, that’s unlikely to happen. What’s more likely is that you’re going to have to put in a tremendous amount of work into your craft. This means consistently working on your music to create new songs to share with listeners.


Consider the songs that are currently at the top of the charts right now. They might stay there for a few weeks or a few months if they’re lucky but sooner than later, you’ll start to hear these songs less and less until they just simply fade away.


This is typical of the music industry, as it is fluid and is constantly changing. Listeners get bombarded with new songs every, which means you need to keep working as well so that you don’t get left behind.


2) Take every chance to perform


As mentioned above, being an independent music artist means you have to incessantly work on your craft. Yes, you need to constantly produce songs but at the same time, you also have to make sure you’re performing as often as possible. It’s a tricky balance. It’s exhausting even, but you have to ultimately keep at it to reap its many benefits. You see, every time you perform on stage, you enhance your stage presence, which means you’ll be more comfortable and eventually, confident with performing onstage.


Also, every time you take the stage, you’ll get the precious opportunity to establish and build your brand, bolster your social skills and expand your social network by meeting more musicians, producers, music journalists and other people who work in the industry. Performing often will help you become sharper, which can result in better performances. Besides, you never know who might be watching in the crowd. Your latest performance just may be the ticket that you’ve been waiting for.


3) Establish a solid fan base


When it comes to marketing yourself, you will soon find that to make a name for yourself in a space as crowded as the music industry, you will have to spend as much time promoting your brand as you do making songs. This is crucial in building a robust fan base.


One of the best ways to start building a strong following is by becoming social media savvy. Always take every chance to engage and interact with fans on various social media platforms. Who wouldn’t get excited by the chance to interact with their favorite artist, right?


In addition, you also have to entice listeners to follow your social media pages. And on your pages, you also have to make sure you’re churning interesting content to let your fans know you better. Regardless if you have a following of a hundred people or a million, you constantly have to publish engaging content on your social media pages. Once you build a strong fan base, others will follow and soon, you’ll see your music getting shared more frequently than ever before.


4) Forge a strong brand


A strong brand carries with it a lot of value in the music industry. Consider this situation: a record label is on the hunt for the next big thing and is basing its decision on the social media pages of two competing artists. The first artist has a logo that is symbolic of both their music and their journey. The pages that people see on their website feature clear, crisp images and they have a professionally written bio that links straight to their website. Most importantly, the messaging across all their social media pages are clear and consistent with what the artist and their music stand for.


Meanwhile, the second artist has different logos across their social media pages, the pictures are substandard and their bio reads like it was written by a fourth-grader.


Now, based on this information, which artist will most likely be given attention to by the record label? The answer may be obvious but all too often, a lot of independent music artists don’t fully grasp this concept, leaving them to wander in obscurity for most of their careers. And so, when it comes to establishing your brand, it is in your best interest to give some serious thought to how you come across to your fans and to the music industry in general.


5) Be mindful of your expenses


The rockstar lifestyle is what you may be aspiring for, but while you’re still working towards that, you might be better off being prudent with your expenses. That means spending your money like you’re running a business. Stay off buying things that you don’t need and focus your efforts on acquiring tools and services that can help you get your name and your brand out there more.


6) Get a professional photographer to take your pictures


While you may be all about your music, the fact remains that musicians are not judged solely on how they sound. With that in mind, you should seriously consider hiring the services of a professional photographer to take photos of your performances. You can then share these photos on your social media pages to further bolster your brand.

5 of The Biggest Mistakes Artists Make When Starting Out


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Are your efforts at becoming the next great music artist hitting more snags than you can afford? Is your inbox as empty and desolate as your motivation levels? If you answered yes, chances are you are either not promoting your music via the correct channels or just strumming your guitar alone in your room hoping a music mogul would pass by and be inspired by your creations.

The thing is, life will not hand you a Grammy on a silver platter. You have to hustle and make sure your intended audience can access and enjoy your music from several avenues. A music website is not the only way you can do this. Here are some ways you can promote your music quickly and efficiently:

  1. Ask Users to Subscribe to Your Email List

If your music website does not have a mailing list, then it’s doing nothing but stroking your ego. A form that asks visitors to provide their emails for each new musical composition can do wonders for your reputation. This is one of the best ways to improve your fan base and ensure they remain up to date about your music.

A well managed email list can also allow you to keep fans in the loop as to your performance schedules. Plus, you can also give them a small incentive to encourage more people to sign up. It would be best to offer something that a potential fan cannot find anywhere else such as first dibs on an unreleased song for example.

This is a good idea for you if you are just starting out and don’t have the budget for expensive incentives. It won’t cost you a cent to distribute and you can ensure subscribers get it easily via a download link. Include it in your welcome email so that they can enjoy the fruits of their subscription immediately.

Besides offering current info regarding your music, also send emails that contain links to your YouTube channel and social media profiles. These can captivate your audience further and make them familiar with your personal side as well. 

  1. Develop an Engaging Social Media Presence 

Speaking of social media, by developing and maintaining an engaging presence on social media channels you can increase your influence. Just make sure that your profile handles are easy to understand and consistent so that people and fans can recognize your content immediately. Some of the best ones that are ideal for music distribution and exposure include the following:

Drooble – This platform consists of a rapidly expanding community of independent music artists who are searching for ways to advance their career and connect with industry professionals. Some of the services it offers include Spotify promotion, YouTube channel growth, radio broadcasting and song reviews among others.

Twitter – Twitter offers music artists a platform to share their music with friends and fans throughout other social media websites. It’s called Twitterurm and it is the best way for people to learn about new artists.

  1. Take Advantage of Streaming Services 

In the past, large scale distribution was a priority and there were only two ways that music artists could make their music available to the masses – via radio or via a record deal. With the advent of streaming services, vinyl records and aired music became a thing of the past.

It has allowed music artists more control over distribution and ensure that the maximum number of people have the chance to listen to their music. In fact, there are so many streaming services online now that you can cherry pick options that suit your style, genre and career goals.

Some of them include Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music and even Amazon Music. 

  1. Make a Remix Pack

If you prefer to release remixes as electronic dance music, consider opting for remix packs. In other words, you can release an album that contains your single and other remixes from other artists. A number of large artists do this. It is their way of expanding their influence and giving other music artists a chance to gain exposure as well. 

Start by reaching out to other music producers once your creation is complete and ask them if they are willing to create a remix. Send over your single if they are because chances are that they will also distribute it on social media. That way, your songs can get the exposure you need to gain traction in the industry. 

  1. Spend Time Gigging 

Gigging will never go out of style and there are several reasons for that. It is a great way to increase exposure for your brand and monetize from your songs at the same time. It will also help you build a strong relationship with your audience. 

Some of the best gigs you should indulge in are those that are held in events that are hosting other music artists with similar genres. That way you will gain access to an audience that contain your fans and fans of your genre in general. This is exactly the kind of audience you want and need to propel your career to the next level! However, to increase your revenue, consider putting out your own independent gigs once you gain enough exposure. 

In Conclusion 

Your music distribution and talent exposure efforts will only bear fruit if you put in the legwork. The aforementioned tips will help you expand your reach not only to existing fans, but also people who like your genre of music. Today, the more personalized you can make your creations, the better your audience can resonate with you. Fans are more informed today than they have ever been. The good news is that you can capitalize on that awareness faster today as well. 

Sell your music and music videos on VEVO, TIDAL, Spotify and more on PEEKSOUND. Get unlimited music and video distribution for only $79.99/year per artist. 


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Whether you love listening to music or making it, chances are you know all about Apple Tunes. The Apple Tunes app allows users to stream music from their favorite artists on a single platform. If you fall in the latter category, you can hit the jackpot if you subscribe to the platform and share your music with fans who can appreciate it and share it. 

What is Apple Music?

Apple Music is an intuitive app from Apple that allows people to enjoy a range of musical genres in a single place. Besides a music streaming service, the app also includes an online radio called Beats 1 which is on 24/7.

This also includes a range of stations that cover rangers ranging from classical and rock to folk and country. All in all, it eliminates the middle man (aka coercive and expensive music labels) thus allowing artists such as yourself to connect with fans directly via videos and songs. 

How You Can Get Your Music on Apple Music 

To upload your music directly on Apple Music use the iTunes Connect Platform. However, in order to do so, you need to fulfill certain basic requirements first such as the following:

  • A US tax ID.
  • An internet connection that has an upload rate of at least 1MB/second or faster.
  • At least 20 albums in your catalogue. Don’t worry. Singles also count.
  • RAM space amounting to at least 512 MB.
  • ISRCs and UPCs for all of your tracks and albums. 

However, even if you meet these requirements, there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted. That’s because the platform gets countless at a time. You may even have to wait eight weeks for your application to be approved or rejected. 

iTunes Connect will send you an email when your application is approved, containing a link that will take you to your log in page. Once you get to the page you will need to sign contracts providing tax and banking information to the app.

To ensure your music is available across the globe, you will have to assign worldwide territory rights, but you can pick the locations by choosing specific territories. Additionally, if you are in the US, you also need to fill out a W-9 form. If you live outside the US, you have to fill out a W-8BEN/W-8BEN-E form. 

Keep in mind that you cannot upload music in any format of your choosing. Any that are encoded in AIFF, EAV or ALAC are transcoded via a temporary AAC 256 kbps file. Don’t worry, your original file will remain safe during this. Plus, also ensure that your music library on the platform is enabled. Otherwise, you may lose tracks between your cell phone, desktop, laptop and other smart devices. 

What You Get Out Of It

Apple Music allows artists from all genres to:

Make Money from Music

Once you upload your music, your fans do the rest. Every piece they stream generates money for you via Apple Music. This is determined through subscription charges that the brand collects. A portion of that is given to artists to encourage them to make and upload more music. It’s a win-win situation, to be honest.

On average, an artist gets paid $0.0056 per stream. However, the payment arrangements will depend on how you got your music on the platform. Currently, a three month membership costs $9.99 a month and the family version (which covers six family members) costs $14.99 a month. 

Get All of Your Fans in One Place 

Music labels have nothing on streaming services such as Apple Music. They don’t give music artists control over distribution and payday is far from transparent. Music streaming services such as Apple Music do away with the middle man thus allowing you to share demos, music videos and even remixes with your fans directly. 

Anyone who subscribes to the app and who buys or adds music from your library to their playlist follows you automatically. Instant fan base! With just a single post, you can reach your entire fan base immediately. Just make sure that you update iOS and iTunes regularly or the app may shut down. Download the Apple Music app on your smart phone so you can upload your latest masterpieces as and when needed. Inspiration can strike anywhere!

Plus, make sure you only post original material. Copyright infringements can get you banned permanently. It is the best way to bring your thriving music career to a painful halt that’s for sure. Yes, you can try out other streaming services, but do you really want to miss out on the massive potential fan base you can get via Apple Music?

Get Your Music on Apple Music via PEEKSOUNDS

Getting your music on Apple Music can be harder than it seems especially if you haven’t done it before. If you want to share your music with the world without worrying about revenue, we can help you boost your career and get noticed.

Sell your music on Apple Music via PEEKSOUNDS and get unlimited music and video distribution for a mere $79.99/year. We make music distribution easy and convenient so you can focus on your music. Plus, you get to keep 100% of everything you earn!

Get access to 150+ digital outlets and distribute your music all across the globe while making money from it. It really doesn’t get any better than this!

Have questions? Get in touch with us today or/and check out our detailed FAQ page for answers. 


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Enjoying the Realism of Flute VST Plugins


If you know anything about audio production in general and music production in particular then you will know that this industry has witnessed revolutionary changes. There was a time when the cost of music production was exorbitant and only affordable to the rich or record labels.

The reason for this was simply that the cost of owning and operating a recording studio ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars. As you can see from the history discussed here, expensive hardware gear had to be purchased, acoustic structures put in place and music instruments and other back lines purchased and installed.

The story today has radically changed and with a few thousand dollars, one can set up a simple studio from which they can produce professional level music and audio projects.

This has largely been because of the availability of practically any hardware equipment in software form. This means that instead of purchasing gear for tens of thousands of dollars, you can get a software version for just a few hundred dollars or less.

This brings us to the core of our focus in this article which is the VST platform, one of the platforms on which these software also known as plugins operate.


What is a VST Plugin?

The first question we should probably ask is; what is VST? We will begin by answering this first question.

VST is an acronym that stands for Virtual Studio Technology and is a platform that facilitates the virtual replication of traditional studio hardware and instrument functions by digitally processing these signals using software called plugins.

VST, which was developed by Steinberg, is simply one such platform which allows plugins built by different brands to be usable across different DAWs (Digital Work Stations) and operating systems that support VST.

You can find a more detailed explanation here:

How to Make the Right Choice

VST plugins can be created for practically anything today. We have virtual effect processors, microphones simulators, amp and cabinet simulators and of course virtual instruments.

Our focus in this article falls under this last group – virtual instruments.

These plugins eliminate the need for studios to have live musical instruments and the challenges that come with effectively recording them. While large studios that can afford it can still use these hardware and live approach, small studios can now compete at the highest level with top quality emulations of these.

In this case, a home or project studio does not have to get a professional flutist to be able to record a flute track. The biggest challenge that many used to have with these virtual instruments was the fact that they did not always sound realistic.

With improved sampling technology, the level of realism that can be achieved toady is nothing short of mind blowing.

To help you choose from a flute VST list that will ensure you get the best virtual representation of a flute sound and performance, we will look at some things to consider while making your choice.


Sample vs Emulation


This is easily the very first thing you should consider when choosing a virtual flute instrument. An emulation plugin will consist of a synthetic representation of the natural instrument’s sound achieved through precise programming expertise.

On the other hand, sampling will actually record the instrument extensively, capturing the varied nuances of its play along with different ambiance and microphone settings.

Most producers prefer the sampled versions because it is easier to achieve a high level of realism with them. They however come at some cost.




This is another thing you should consider. While discussion sampled versus synthesized virtual instruments, we mentioned that using the sampled versions come at a cost. Well, this does not just refer to cost in terms of purchasing price.

A VST flute plugin that consists of sampled sounds will have a much larger space requirement because the sample libraries are usually huge. The synthesized variations on the other hand will require far less space.

You should therefore make your choice with this in mind.

Expression Options


An instrument like the flute has a lot of expressions and effects that can be achieved while playing it naturally. This can be the result of microphone positioning or actual playing techniques.

Considering this still brings us back to the issue of choosing between a sampled sound and a synthesized one. The sampled sound will usually include as much expression types as possible – whether it is the result of microphone positioning or playing technique.

You need to understand that the more the expression options that are available to you, the easier it will be to achieve a very realistic flute performance in your production.


Ease of Use


Now, this is something that is very crucial in music production. While choosing plugins, you need something that can easily be incorporated into your existing setup.

This may be a USB keyboard with its expression pedals and other accessories. It may also simply be a midi controller from which your trigger your samples. Whatever your setup and DAW is, you need a plugin that will fit easily into it.

If you really want to get a very clear picture of what we’ve been discussing above, then you should read this article.



Music production has really grown in leaps and bounds. You are basically no longer restricted by budgets, space and inability to play some instruments. If you know exactly the sound you want, chances are that you can find a plugin you can use to achieve it.

In this article we focused on the flute and believe you have gotten some important information that will help you choose the right plugin for your next production.


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Believe it or not Pandora is a great music outlet that can provide artist with a very nice royalty income but a lot of artist don’t submit their music to this outlet. Artist forget that Pandora is still one of the most widely used free music streaming services with over 50 million listeners. So lets get to the brass tax, here are step by step instructions on how to get your music on Pandora.

1. Sign up for a membership at PEEKSOUND webite. We make the process go faster. Pandora is in our network of digital outlets so the approval process will happen faster.

2. Go here: Submit music to Pandora

3. Create an account

4. Once you create an account sign into your account

5. Enter your name, phone number, select “Artist” and hit the next button

6. Enter your music’s information, links and so on.

7. Make sure you copy the UPC code that we inboxed you in your dashboard and paste it you the UPC field. Also make sure you copy and paste your Apple Music/iTunes URL in the “Release Streaming Link” field

8. Click the next button and submit

It usually takes Pandora a few days to a week to approve your music so be patient.

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We at PEEKSOUND get questions asking us “how do I get my music into YouTube’s music & content ID system and collect my royalties?”.

Here are step by step instructions:


Upload Your Music or Music Video through PEEKSOUND

Use PEEKSOUND website to submit your tracks, music video, artwork, and release information quickly and easily.


We’ll Send Your Music to Youtube

We will release your music to the content ID system in addition to all the other stores like iTunes, Spotify, and everything in between.


Get Paid

Every time your track or music video gets streamed, you get paid 100% of your royalties.

Earn 100% of your royalties from your streams on YouTube.

With over 180 million active users per month and counting, YouTube is the most popular video streaming services in the world, you make it easier for fans to connect with you and your music.


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It’s not simple finding good music reviews currently, especially with the proliferation of blogs and social media where everyone who is anyone can pipe up with their two cents worth of knowledge about whatever they want to say about the latest Ting Tings B-side…however, you should not give up hope. There are still great music reviews out there, you just have to search a little harder to find them, among the ether of sub-standard sites and WebPages.

The finest thing to do is to rely on word of mouth recommendation from people who you trust and once you find a site that delivers top quality reviews, stick with it! Pick your genre and search the web for reviews in artists in that genre, then just spend a few hours comparing and contrasting the various writing styles until you find one that you like! Of course, if you find one that you like at once, then count your lucky stars and stick with that one…

Everybody likes diverse styles of music, but what the great thing is about the various sites that showcase music reviews is that you can be convinced to listen to new material by the power of the reviewer’s writing; you never know, you may find out a whole new style of music for you to explore and enjoy, just by reading a short, bright review!

So, go and test out all the sites that the World Wide Web has to offer and when you have found one that you like, don’t leave it, either keep retuning to it or sign up to its mailing list…have fun!

Those who write music reviews are nearly always music lovers, and they will repeatedly listen to a piece of music again and again to determine all the nuances and sensations the piece can offer. Depending on the music reviewer, their opinions might or not be objective.

Music reviewers are in the business of ranking music, and occasionally a music review will include a comparison of songs or albums to an artist’s preceding releases. A music review may include the writer’s opinion on whether or not the piece will be a hit or a flop, whether it is worth the asking price, and whether or not the artists ought to expect to have prolonged existence in the music business.

Often, the proficient music reviewer will specialize in reviewing music that is of a particular genre. For example, those with expertise in classical music will not usually waste much time listening to and reviewing hip-hop music. Nor would an expert in folk music be qualified to review a punk rock concert. However, some music reviewers are true music lovers with a deep level of sophistication and appreciation for all kinds of music. Those who truly understand that music is an artistic expression should be able to judge the music on its own merit, and form an objective opinion.

Sometimes a music reviewer will be necessary to give an unbiased opinion, even if the reviewer does not in person care for the piece. If the reviewer feels that there is some audience for the piece and it deserves a good review, the objective reviewer with experience and good sense can set aside his personal preferences and honor the piece with an honest review.  


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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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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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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.