matt baker / Blog

Today's Changing Landscape

Just got through reading an article: http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/electronic-and-hip-hop-better-suited-to-the-new-music-indust.html Should today's indie/alternative/rock acts take note of what's happening in the hip hop & electronic scenes? Three of the promotion ideas made sense immediately: Focusing more on singles and quicker studio releases throughout the year, utilizing guest artists from more established bands to perform on songs, and a doing a split EP with another band. All three seem to be great ways to improve your band's fan reach in today's digital market.

How many songs do I record?

Lately I have been meeting a lot of bands that want to do a 10 song record. That's great, I get that, having a full album with your original artwork is a good thing. But let me share with you my philosophy on choosing how many songs to record. I think first, a band should figure out their long term goals before selecting tracks for their record. 1) Your goal is to pitch to a label? I'd do three songs. Short, simple, good songs. Any more and you'll risk boring the A&R guys. Meaning - your record gets ignored, you don't get signed. 2) A growing band recording their second EP: For the growing band I recommend four to five songs depending on the strength of the fifth song. This provides the band an opportunity to mature as songwriters and in studio experience. And, five songs give the listener a great, AFFORDABLE representation of what your band is about. 3) For that ten song record artist - these are the ones that either A) record ten songs to complete an artistic statement or B) become your band's last album. I feel a young artist jumping into a 10 song record is bad idea. You're just not ready! Financially, it's like a young twenty-something running out and purchasing a $50k car to start their professional career. That is big hill to climb! Don't throw your band into debt it can't easily recover from; the goal of most professional bands is to make money, not put itself into a crippling financial position. Say it with me: Record, promote, SELL. Record, promote, SELL. Don't forget about the most important part of the chain, especially if this a career option. For the cost of a ten song record, your band could probably record two EPs. And with band members changing so quickly and your skills advancing from all the gigs, your band will sound different by the 2nd EP anyway. Hopefully you've found these thoughts useful for planning your next record and if your band has any further questions/comments on this journey, email me at recordyoursong@gmail.com. Til next time. Matt

Play it safe??? NO!!!

I've been listening to a lot of classic music lately Beatles, Stones, Jimmy Webb, etc. The thing I keep noticing is that the older artists "rocked out"! Songs were adventurous and intelligent. There was no need to serve the formula ( verse - chorus - verse 2 - chorus 2 - bridge - double chorus - outro) they just studied their instrument and ripped the melodies out left and right. And they allowed the song to take them wherever they dared to go. So, here's my thought: How many bands out there are playing it safe right now? Bands following the assumed pop formula for what? to make money? Get outta here. Notice I said "assumed pop formula" because the classic songs always served the melody or the idea - not a quick mindless formula. Go to iTunes, see how hard it is to find something great? There's lots of good, but very little great. Be creative. Be a true artist. Think outside the box. Finally, people may listen to what you have to say.