The Bitter Selway / Blog

My Top Music Site Picks of 2013

One thing that I've learned in the last 10 years in the music industry is that if you don't have a great online presence then you're not tapping into a huge part of both your networking and ultimately earning potential as an artist/songwriter.

I am currently active on about 100 different sites and have gone through some of the best ones and wanted to share with you what I believe to be some of the best ones. With that being said here are the top 3 networking sites in my opinion:

Best artist/songwriter sites (fan acquisition/opportunities/networking):

1. Reverb Nation-there's just no better site out there that constantly provides endless opportunities for artists as well as provide a huge network of other artists in all genres, booking agents, club owners and labels/publishers. I consider this the one stop site where an artist can pretty much do anything they are wanting to do.

2. The New My Space (fan acquisition/networking)-now hold your horses for a minute I know what you're thinking-the old Myspace basically became extinct so what good is the new one going to be? I can tell you honestly that the New Myspace is THE BEST way to pinpoint fans. I am blown away by the sites 'affinity' percentages where artists can see by % how a fan may like your music. Although it doesn't have near the outlets as Reverb Nation, we all know its about gaining new listeners and this site is very powerful for that.

3. Linked In (networking/opportunities) It took me a long time to realize the power in Linked In-I always thought it was a site for people in the corporate world but I have been amazed at the different music groups on the site and the ability to be able to submit and share tracks with other artists and for radio/publishing/label opportunities. I have personally had a lot of great things happen on this site. Besides making great contacts I've landed many great radio and licensing deals on the site.

Top 3 Licensing Sites

1. Tribe Of Noise-everything is free on this site and they provide world wide opportunities for every genre.

2. Sonic Bids-the tried and true, Sonic Bids always brings great opportunities to the table with the ability to mail EPKs to prospective labels and other opps and they keep their submitting prices low.

3. Music X Ray-these guys have gone above and beyond and have not only provided great opportunities for artists but have created online tip jars for artists, feedback from publishers and labels personally on every submission and song match analytics to find the best fit for songs for opportunities.

In the coming weeks I want to go through more of these sites. I have spent years finding the most effective ones and I want to save you some of the pitfalls I have come across. If you're not already on Twitter, Facebook band page and Soundcloud (the big 3) you need to have these in place. It's a never ending game when trying to get your music out there, but the more great platforms you have to share it through, the greater the exposure and hopefully the greater the success!! Til net time...

The Rising Fall

If there's one thing I have learned along this broken up, sometimes directionless and brutal road of the music business is that nothing comes easy. When I was 12 years old I remember getting my first rejection from a music publisher who I had approached to do some sheet music to some of my piano pieces.

As I went through my high school years I can recall going in for auditions and hearing how I didn't measure up and how hundreds of publishing companies turning my songs down.

Moving to Nashville was a whole different realm of rejection. In a town of such high standards I cannot even recall how many showcases I've played where I was criticized for my voice, publishers turning down what I thought to be strong songs and even writers refusing to write with me because I didn't have any credible success.

Music is a double edged sword; we all love it but what I've come to find is that it is a very individualized thing. Even if a person has a great song you're still going to deal with the individual tastes of the audience you're writing for-and it changes constantly.

I've realized I can't please everyone; and after over 20 years of pursing my career without making a living I've grown to just do what I love to do and not worry about what people think or feel about my music. Yes I've spent many nights getting 4 hours of sleep, doing free gigs and killing myself marketing and promoting my music. But I wouldn't change a thing-I am me-everything I have I've earned and I'm proud of the journey that I've been on and wouldn't retrace a step.

Anything To Everyone?

OK so here's my dilemma-I'm a songwriter who's got a huge collection of songs, 5 LPs, 2 side group EPs in indie rock and dance pop and a TON of energy to pursue this crazy jaded game called the music scene. The problem is after 13 years in Nashville with credible cuts with some big shows, some songs with up and coming artists, and producing some great acts, I could probably have paid my mortgage for one month with what I've made so far. So here's where it gets complicated-I moved here as a painfully white man pursuing Christian pop and I've ended up as a rapping dancepop artist (sort of). I've diversified to Indie rock, indie pop, country and many other styles just to see what it is that people latch onto. All to come to the conclusion that after all my research and recording that someone will probably just stream my music on Spotify and I'll be left with about enough money to get a Snickers bar at the end of the month. Well it was a good try. The Bitter Selway's EP just came out March 6th: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cold-as-numbers-ep/id616821327 and my other sidegroup World Kup just released their EP March 15th https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/world-kup-ep/id603726878 . Maybe I can upgrade to a dinner at Taco Bell by the end of the month!

Live on I Tunes With My Two Side Groups

In the beginning I thought it would be cool to diversify my sound and have a few side groups. Little did I know that it meant more networking, more websites, more music sites and a ton of other work that I never dreamed of! I finally feel a lot better knowing that both of our EPs are finished with The Bitter Selway (indie rock) and World Kup (dance/electronic) and we finally have a presence on I Tunes with both groups. A little note to all artists out there: don't start a side group unless you have a lot of extra time on your hands-it's about to kill me!!

The Bitter Selway (Shangri La-single)https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/shangri-la-single/id6171733060

The Bitter Selway EP Cold As Numbers https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cold-as-numbers-ep/id616821327


Tribe Of Noise Remix Contest Winner

We were blown away to get our song 'Bump' chosen to be in a worldwide remix contest in late 2012. Just the other day we got the 6 top remix winners for our song and we were absolutely blown away by the talent and production quality of these entrants-here is the best one that we both agreed on www.soundcloud.com/nathanbrumleysongwriter/bump-in-the-night-secret

I have definitely figured out that in this crazy game of music that it definitely takes a team to get music out to the world; you definitely can't do it alone. There is no way we would have been able to do anything like this on our own and we are honored to have been a part of this opportunity (but we still want to learn how in the world they did those songs!!)

Top 5 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight This Year

We all know how tough it is to make a living as a songwriter, musician or producer. I work part time as a songwriter, performer and producer but also have another day job as a fitness trainer and want to share some insights with you that I have gained in the past 16 years of personal training. These are my top 3 reasons why people don't lose weight for their January 1st resolution:

# 1 YOURE A HAMPSTER-yeah I know it's easy to hop on the treadmill and monotonously go the same speed while getting lost in a TV show or a good article but if you're doing cardio this way then chances are you aren't getting the most out of it.

Tabata cardio is the latest trend in getting great cardio workouts in a short time. Tabata consists of doing 6-8 20 second sprints or fast cardio followed by 10 seconds of recovery. After these 6-8 sets you can do a 2-3 minute recovery round of moderate pace cardio. Repeat this for 20-30 minutes. This technique will not only burn more calories, but you won't feel like a hamster in a wheel

#2 YOU'RE A WEEKEND WARRIOR: If there's one thing I've seen in the last 16 years of training is a LOT of people doing things the wrong way. Overtraining does not mean overachieving and burnout is an easy destination when you're a little TOO hungry for progress.

Bite off what you can chew (no not at the table). Some of the most successful clients I've trained over the years have been those that have worked with me 30 minutes per week a few times a week but the maintained that over several years. Exercise duration should never be your goal-however intensity within that time is everything. I would rather see someone do 3 sets to failure them 30 sets of just going through the motions.

So don't try to conquer Rome in a day-maybe in 6 months or a year. Don't kill yourself-even if you're doing just 30 minutes per day consistently you will probably outdo the hundreds of other people who will have given up by the end of January!

#3 YOU'RE MUSCLES ARE STARVING! : We all know that the obvious way to put on bodyfat is to over eat. But did you know that you can cause just as much damage by under eating? Think of your metabolism like a campfire-you wouldn't go and put 10 logs on a fire and expect it to burn strong all day. Instead you need to fuel it often to keep the flame going.

Unless you want to catabolism your lean muscle (which keeps you more metabolic and burning calories) NEVER skip meals if you can help it. I always recommend 3 meals and 2 snacks in between-one between breakfast and one between lunch. You will have more energy and, if kept up for a year, you can make some lasting changes on your metabolism.

(If you have any questions in regards to getting on a plan or have any nutrition or training questions please e-mail me @ nbrumley1976@gmail.com. I have been training for 16 years and have worked with the Tennessee Titans, country artist Wade Hayes and numerous radio and music business executives and would be happy to answer all your questions!!)

The Least I Can Do For The Least

I have always believed that a songwriter or artist should have a voice for something; a cause to stand for or a charity to uphold. Music can be so influential and can not only move people to melodies but can call people to action.

I have always had a passion for supporting the homeless. From the time I got out of high school I frequented local rescue missions sharing songs of hope and a message of better things ahead.

I have seen it become such a growing epidemic in my own town of Nashville that I have started handing out homeless backpacks equipped with food, basic toiletries, socks, and t shirts. I realize my supply is limited and I will only impact a portion of the homeless population, but it's a start and a blessing to those who receive them.

My purpose in writing this is to call others to action and help people realize that homelessness doesn't always stem from being an addict or having a mental disorder. Times are tough right now and many of these homeless folks are ordinary people who have come across difficult times.

Obviously we can't give to everybody that is homeless, but we all can do the best we can to help those around us whether it be volunteering in a rescue mission, handing out a homeless backpack during the colder months or helping out at a Room In The Inn at a local church. You will be blessed and you will feel incredibly good helping those less fortunate!

Debut video release

Cold As Numbers has been one of the most exciting albums to work on for me because it resonates with everything that I am and is the culmination of my life experiences working and growing up in the Rocky Mountains.

Cold As Numbers is a very dark and haunting indie rock EP that basically tells of the struggles that a man goes through trying to survive a winter in the Rocky Mountains after experiencing several tragedies that drive him to find himself. The severity of the climate and the terrain nearly take his life in the battle to find himself amidst loss.

When The Snow Breaks was the first video I decided to do because it was the most mainstream song on the project. The only thing is we lacked the snow!! Flying out to Colorado or Idaho and walking around in blizzards wasn't an option for us financially or practically so we settled for the fair weather of Tennesee.

We hope to get this project into the hands of indie blogs, magazines and radio on an indie budget and hope that people can connect with the outdoors through the pulse of the songs on this project. It has been a labor of love for me and I hope that people enjoy it the way that I have.


Strike Spare-ingly

I went bowling tonight with some friends and my kids ended up getting really stir crazy so I let them take my turn after the first round. The one (and only) time I got to bowl during our game I ended up getting a nice spare. Even though that was the only chance I had I went out well, like a champ; those watching around me had no idea if I was really good or just a lousy player who got lucky that one time-but that one chance I got I delivered and left no pins behind.

I started to think about this in terms of social media marketing and even went as far as to think of the relevance of having a facebook band page. You see before I had any cuts at all in TV and film, most of my friends, clients and coworkers thought my music was kind of a joke; something I did as a hobby in my spare time and nobody took it seriously. When I shared my first big cut with Warner Brothers with them heads started turning and clients who thought I was a hobby musician quickly asked for links and MP3s of my songs. One simple bit of information completely transformed their view of my music.

I see so many musicians today (and believe me I've been there too) who share such mediocre information and news on their major social media pages-and they do this too often!! Things like 'Check out my new song' or 'vote for me in this new contest' can only drive fans to the familiar tune of the Myspace days when people were inundated with music spammers that drove the site to its untimely death.

You see what most people don't realize (or maybe do realize and do it anyway) is that so many of the music networking sites are tied in to Twitter and Facebook to where no only is mediocre news shared on the main pages but are shared 2 and 3 times over on Twitter and Facebook-that's a big reach especially if it is insignificant! This has almost driven me to quit my facebook band page simply because I don't want to come across as a music spammer to my loyal fans because of things I've put on my 20 or 30 other music networking sites that are linked into Facebook.

So the bottom line is this: I could bowled the rest of that game and absolutely sucked! But I pulled out early and I looked like a hero with a great spare. If you got GREAT NEWS then share it-in fact share it multiple times on big social media platforms. But don't share mediocre, repetitive or downright insignificant information if its not going to move people. Shoot for a STRIKE and SPARE people the fluff!

Placement on The Young And The Restless

It is so strange how we go months and months or even a year without any progress and then in a month everything seems to come at once. December/January have been some great months for us!

After winning 1st in the USA Songwriting Competition for lyrics (with Sherri Gough and Bill DiLuigi), we had a great opportunity to do an interview with Tribe of Noise and then were just contacted about placement for 56 seconds in the show The Young And The Restless.

Now that doesn't mean we're going to be hooked on mid day soaps but it's at least reassuring that our music is being used somewhere.

In addition, our group seems to be getting a good response on Reverb Nation and Twitter as people are latching our Indie sound. Music is a tough road and I believe its as hard now as it ever has been, but we're just excited to see some glimmers of light on this long road!!