ARTISTS SPOTIFY SPOTLIGHT PLAYLIST by Ser Franklin
A good way to discover new artists….just click away and enjoy the music!!!
As an independent artist myself, i decided to compile a list of 10 steps (some mandatory, others optional) that new starting out artists should (or have to!) go through in order to increase their chances of success into day’s new buzzing independent music world.
Having released a full-fledged album on my own, I very much know first hand about the mistakes and struggles indies can sometimes go through, so this is my little effort to try to make other people’s experiences a little smoother.
Here is a number of steps new artists have to go through, and some links that have, at least in my case, proven useful at least to a certain extend, but with that being said, every case is completely different, so check them out, and take what could be good for you out of it, and ignore the rest.
1- REGISTER YOUR SONGS WITH A PRO
PRO stands for Performing Rights Organization, they collect money on behalf of rights owners, independent and with labels alike. Almost every country has its own PRO (or PROs). USA has BMI, ASCAP and SESAC, UK has PRS and PPL and so on. It is also important to register your songs with SOUND EXCHANGE, which monitors the usage of your songs should they get internet radio airplay.
2- CHOOSE A DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
Distribution companies are the ones that can get your music to digital (and sometimes physical) music stores, such as Spotify, iTunes, Tidal, Beatport, Shazam, Deezer, Google Play, Amazon Mp3 and Napster (aka Rhapsody) among others, collect the revenue on your behalf and pay the artist accordingly. Some of the most notable names are CDbaby, Tunecore, Symphonic Distribution, ONErpm, Ditto, ReverbNation, DistroKid and MondoTunes. Each one of them has its unique pros and cons, and set of skills, so research them well beforehand.
3- GET A WEBSITE
Having a website of your own is important, a place where your fans can go to check out about your new music, whereabouts, read your blog posts, buy your merchandise and so on. WordPress remains the best website builder on the market, and there are plenty of tutorials to help you build one, but if you don’t have the time nor the patience to sit and learn about webmaster related tools, you can opt for easier options, such as Wix, GoDaddy, Squarespace, Weebly, Bandzoogle or HostBaby (for CDbaby users), little to zero web design skills needed on these ones.
4- GET A PUBLISHING DEAL
Music publishing companies keep close track on the usage of the copyrighted music, they issue licenses for the use of a registered song and collect the royalties to be paid out to the owners. The main ones are the aforementioned TuneCore, SongTrust and CDbaby PRO (which is handled by SongTrust as well, but with a few differences in the model). Symphonic Distribution also lets you register your song to TuneCore publishing directly from their website.
5- CONTENT ID YOUR MUSIC
Youtube, though often seen as a video platform, still remains the biggest music streaming platform. Content ID is a digital fingerprint of your music, that can then be monetized with ads on Youtube should it be used in other people’s videos. Most distributors offer the service and collect the money on your behalf. As an extra, some distributors also deliver your music to Youtube Red as well, for some extra revenue. For people only interested in Youtube Content ID, or distributed by a company that lacks the service, they can submit their music to Audiam Label, which will handle their Youtube Content ID rights.
6- GET SOCIAL
Keep all of the social media accounts (mainly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) updated, with all the information and useful links of where to find your music at, should it be your own website, or you Bandcamp or Soundcloud page.Try to post pretty regularly, but without overposting or spamming, doing too much could backfire.
7- LICENSE YOUR MUSIC
Submit your music yo the many licensing companies that are on the internet and can pitch your music to advertising, movies, gaming, TV and more. A few useful names might be YouLicense, Soundreef, Rumblefish, SentricMusic, SoundLounge, BeatPick, NaxosLicensing, Ricall, Jamendo and PumpAudio.
8- SUBMIT TO RADIO
Submit your music to internet and FM radio. It is not an easy thing to do, but it’s worth a try. Just google “radio submission” within your genre and you’ll find plenty of internet radios, follow the submission guidelines and hope for the best. You can also buy play credits at radioairplay.com and get played within your genre, or/and directly approach radio broadcasters at live365.com, avoiding sounding spammy.
9- A FEW EXTRAS
You can submit your music to blogs at submithub.com, submit you music to musicxrays.com, upload your songs to amazingtunesuk.com (which is also for airplay consideration), songdew.com (a very popular music blog in Asia) and fanburst.com (a quickly growing music sharing website), share your links on appropriate music related treads on Reddit and Quora (be careful to not overshare or you will be banned quickly) and add your music pages to Stumbledupon.
10- FINAL ADVICE
Make the best music you possibly can, all the tools to make it spread are out there. Don’t let the initial difficulties bring you down or discourage you, and if a door closes, just go knock at the next one.
After such masterpieces titled “Goddes” and “The Altar”, Banks is back again with her stunning soft vocals to mesmerize us. You might probably find yourself tearing up listening to this song, which gives you such beautiful anxiety, of the ups and down that a relationship can bring, of the insecurities, the regrets, like the ones of someone choosing fame over love, and afterward having to face the fact that such choice has led them to lose the loved one.
I have personally been a big Banks fan ever since I’ve heard “Brain”, from her “Goddess” days, and i would also recommend to anyone who’s new with this great artist to start getting to know her from “Goddess” first (which has a closer sound to this track, therefore more approachable to new ears) and then move on to “The altar”, a more experimental project, but in no way less good nor interesting.
Listen to “Crowded places” by Banks below.
The one singer that Ella Fitzgerald used to call “the best singer of their generation”, singing jazz legend Sarah Vaughan is certainly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to vocal skills and interpretation. Sarah Vaughan’s rage was impressive, from almost man-like lows to very high falsettos, and a very distinctive vibrato. Her range of styles was just as remarkable, from tear jerker ballads of lost love such as “The thrill is gone”, all the way to up-tempo pop-ish numbers like “Broken hearted melody”, Sarah Vaughan could do it all, but her forte clearly (and rightfully) remains jazz, of course. After all, she’s still considered one of the jazz divas trinity of the 40’s/50’s, along with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, other two amazing singers, all with very distinctive and personal style. Sarah Vaughan is truly music royalty and a sometimes underrated diva.
In my opinion, just like for many others, Aretha Franklin is the greatest singer of all time. She has inspired countless other artists more than anyone else, from Whitney Houston to Mariah Carey, from Beyoncè to Christina Aguilera, her influence is all there. She can sing everything, from the slow poignant ballads to the most rhythm driven of uptempos, Aretha Franklin always delivers. Her incredible fierce vocal skills, her intuitively skilled piano playing, her stage presence, her attitude, everything screams DIVA, and a diva she is. I was personally always amazed by this incredible lady. Many say she is hard to handle, but i say “if i was her, i would be too”. She has contributed so much to the music industry, that if she wants to be capricious every once in a while, so be it. Aretha Franklin is music, she will always be the greatest one there ever was, the one and only “Queen of soul“! Halleluja
Simply my favorite jazz singer, and the one that made me fall in love with jazz music. I’ve always been in awe of her interpretative skills, of her perfect timing, of her poignant delivery. She didn’t have a huge vocal range, but with what she had, she could really work wonders. Billie Holiday had a very troubled lifestyle, and you could feel her pain pouring out of the lyrics she was tackling, almost in a poetic way, such as in “Good morning heartache”, but yet there was always that sparkle of hope and love that you could find looking hard enough, that we can find in “If the moon turns green”, at times also in a rare lighthearted way, such as in “Them there eyes”, Billie Holiday could take us through many journeys.
Blessed with a huge vocal range and a beautiful vocal tone, a cunning sense of lyricism in his writing skills, and a very unique and recognizable stage presence, Stevie Wonder is the perfect male vocalist in my opinion. He can sing about everything and anything, and it always sounds believable and genuine. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a funky uptempo such as the bouncy “You haven’t done nothing“, a slow tearjerker like “All in love is fair“, or a reggae-ish classic like “Master blaster“, his delivery is always on point. He can sing about unrequited love just as convincing as he can about social issues. Simply one of the best artists of the century. Listen below to my selections of favorites from Stevie Wonder’s catalogue.
The one and only “First lady of song”, Ella Fitzgerald is an institution. She is the reason why even the word “swing” was invented for, her angelic voice continues mesmerizing us with her perfect timing, impeccable diction, stunning vocal tone and impressive range. Ella Fitzgerald’s strength was arguably in her unmatched swinging and scatting skills, but she was equally capable to emote and move us in her many torch ballads, here represented by the timeless “Angel eyes” in this intimate piano accompaniment, or by the elegant “Lush life“. She also had a few rare intrusions in more “popular” sounds, just like in the sweet sounding “We three (my echo, my shadow and me)” or in her more aggressive version of “Sunshine of your love” by Cream, she takes through a journey like few other artists can.
Every now and then, on the music scene, happens to appear an artist so versatile that you can barely categorize in any specific music genre, because they happen to excel in each and any one of them. Well, the so called “High priestess of music” Nina Simone happens to be one of those rare artists, with her immediately distinguishable vocal timbre and excellent piano skills, she stood out from all the rest up to a point where she should be in a category all of her own. In the selection i’ve picked, i’ve tried to highlight all of her multifaceted, outstanding and diverse efforts Nina Simone has shared with us throughout her long and critically acclaimed career. From slow tearjerkers like the opening and closing numbers “The other woman” and “End of the line“, to jazzy uptempo numbers like “Love me or leave me“, to sexy world music inspired numbers such as “See-line woman“, all the way to straight up blues like “Do i move you?“, and everything in between, all that she touched was gold, and she sure did, and still does, move us to the core.