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New Music Biz 101: Facebook (Part 2)

In Facebook (Part 1) we discussed a few important tips to help expand your Facebook fan base. In this week’s blog, we’ll discuss strategies to help increase conversion rates to fandom on Facebook. Driving more traffic to your page can be difficult. You want to be sure that you’re able to capitalize upon your efforts.

One of the best ways to increase your conversion rates to fandom on Facebook is by creating a custom Facebook tab. To create a tab in Facebook, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of Facebook’s native coding language, FBML. We won’t go too deep into this today, but we’ll go over the basic features you should include on your page. That way, you’ll have the essentials when getting someone to help you create the page.

  1. Your page is all about the music. Be sure there is an easy way to listen to your music quickly. Whether it’s a link to a Web site where potential fans can stream a song, a YouTube video embedded on the page or, better yet, a system where someone can download a track in exchange for an email address, you need to have a way for fans to experience your art.
  2. Call to action. Make sure your landing page has a clear call to action to join”an arrow pointing to the Like button, a message at the bottom of the page, even an embedded video explaining why someone should join. Give fans a reason to connect with you!
  3. Visual representation. Show the viewer what you and your music is all about. Literally. Include pictures of you and your band showing off a bit of your personality, or create a look and feel to the page that goes along well with your style of music.
  4. Link up. Make sure you link to your other social media profiles and Web site. You want your fans to connect with you on as many levels as possible!
  5. Use analytics. Information about where your fans are coming from and where they’re going once they hit your landing page is really important. Here’s a great post about how to set up Google analytics on your Facebook landing page from SocialMediaExaminer.com

Be sure to make your page the default tab for new viewers. You can change this in the page settings on Facebook. Here are a few landing pages to take a look at that we think do a pretty good job incorporating some or all of the points above:

The Artist E-dubble’s Facebook Page

The Artist Unknown – The Universal Element’s” Facebook Page

Folkin' Around: Antje Duvekot

If you liked our folk artist pick Meg Hutchinson a few weeks ago, you’ll be excited to hear that our choice this week is Antje Duvekot. These two artists have unique careers and sounds, and they share a few things in common. Both are a strong songwriting presence in the greater Boston area (winning several individual songwriting contests/mentions). They are also prominent members of the Boston-based, songwriting all-star cast that makes up Winterbloom.

Duvekot’s music merges the folk and country aesthetic with indie and singer/songwriter vocals and lyrics. In fact, all the angst, poetry and longing in Duvekot’s lyrics easily accent the lofty melodies with which she sings them. When are you going to come for me, Lord? is the opening line of the chorus in her song Pearls. Juxtaposed with the somewhat dark lyrics that riddle the verses, this line is sung with an appropriately memorable tune. The request sung so many times in the song, seems to be answered by the end with catchy, satisfying progressions and smooth, natural accompaniment. Check it out:

With several songwriting and folk awards (including regional artist awards and the grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest) under her belt, Duvekot obviously has a talent for writing and the performance chops to go with it. And thanks to frequent performances on the festival circuit, domestically at the Mountain Stage festival and abroad at The Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland and the Tonder Festival in Denmark,  she’s shared the stage with acts like Patti Griffin, Lyle Lovett and the Indigo girls. Her song Merry Go Round was even featured on a 2008 Bank of America commercial which aired during the Super Bowl. Take a listen and get your dose of tasteful arrangements and thoughtful lyrics.

Needle in the Haystack Follow Up: Brightside Drive

To wrap up this week’s Needle in the Haystack, we’re bringing you an awesome interview with the band Brightside Drive. These up-and-coming stars have a lot going for them, so it will be exciting to see how they continue on with their promising career. Check out the video below as well as their free track What If? from Monday’s post.

This Week on Vibe.com

Check it! Every Friday on the OurStage Blog, we will be featuring exclusive content from the one-and-only VIBE.com. Stay tuned for weekly photos, music, news and reviews coming straight from the source that’s redefining hip hop.

UPDATE: Fantasia Leaving Hospital Soon, According To Manager Statement

As Fantasia Barrino recovers from her Monday night overdose of aspirin and sleep aids, her manager, Brian Dickens, has released a statement reporting on her condition.

Dickens’ statement says that the former American Idol winner, who’s recently found herself in the center of a love triangle with on-and-off boyfriend Antwaun Cook and his alleged wife, is in stable condition and will be released from the hospital soon. Continue reading on Vibe.com…

B.o.B: ‘Charles Hamilton Is Not Crazy’

At the moment, B.o.B is in the proverbial zone. The Georgia-born rapper, guitarist and producer has garnered immense global commercial success as his first two singles Nothin’ on You and Airplanes have dominated the Billboard pop charts and radio. The unlikely crossover star, whose debut album B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray has received critical acclaim, also scored a high profile television commercial spot with Adidas which features his new single Magic. Yet, as he takes in his breakout accomplishments, the state of his friend and past collaborator Charles Hamilton is heavy on B.o.B’s mind.

The troubled Hamilton, who was recently released from New York’s Long Beach Medical Center psych unit, has had a few rough years since getting publicly slapped by a girl on video and becoming a music blog pariah. But B.o.B says the eccentric pink headphone-wearing MC is not as off the ledge as he is being portrayed. Continue reading on Vibe.com…

‘Love The Way You Lie’ Director: ‘Megan [Fox] Was The Key’

Eminem and Rihanna shattered Youtube records last Thursday (Aug. 5)  for the most views in a 24-hour period with their visual ride for Love The Way You Lie, bringing in over 6.6 million hits on the first day of its release.

Directed by Joseph Kahn, who has worked with Marshall on three previous projects and crafted videos for the likes of Elton John, Janet Jackson, and U2, Love The Way You Lie also stars actors Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan. With the song’s real-life connection to both Em and RiRi, the video has sparked some debate over it’s depiction of domestic violence and casting of Hollywood eye-candy. However, Kahn says it was his idea to bring in the starring thespians. Continue reading on Vibe.com…

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Weezer chooses photo of Hurley as cover art for Hurley

In the ultimate show of fandom, Weezer has selected a photo of a smiling Jorge Garcia, who played the character of Hurley on Lost, as the album art for the band’s upcoming album, also titled Hurley. (Confused yet?) Garcia is rightfully stoked about getting the cover. This is really close to the top, for sure. One thing Garcia is less thrilled about is his ponytail in the shot, which looks like it’s starting to come loose or something. Look, Hurley, count your blessings. Some people can’t even grow ponytails (looking at you, John Locke).

Britney Spears to appear on Glee

Yup, it’s really happening. Ms. Spears is not only getting a whole episode dedicated to her music, she’s also getting an acting part. Squeal! Jazz hands! Theater kids!

The Bad

Idol winner Fantasia ODs

After scandal erupted over her affair with a married man and an alleged sex tape, American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino overdosed on aspirin and sleeping pills and was rushed to the hospital in Charlotte, NC. The singer was released two days later with no life-threatening injuries. Besides the shame, embarrassment and guilt, she’s fine now. Which leads us to the question”Has there ever been a happy ending involving a sex tape? (On second thought, don’t answer that.)

The Ugly

Bieber gets water-bottled

During a concert in Sacramento, California, an overly excited fan (or that fan’s jealy boyfriend) threw a water bottle at Justin Bieber that hit him right in the face. Luckily it was captured on video. Two questions: 1) Why are we just seeing this now and 2) Wouldn’t it be cool if someone made the footage into a sweet remix? Oh wait, they did. Check it out below.

Miscellany

Kanye West back to following nobody on Twitter
Erykah Badu goes blonde, gets ˜hawk
Lady Gaga stage dives into crowd at Lollapalooza
Julian Casablancas wants to write theme song for NY Mets
Arcade Fire debuts at Number 1 on Billboard
M.I.A. debuts extremely SFW video for XXXO
Broken Social Scene endorses fan slap video for All to All
Soundgarden release comeback single Black Rain
Alanis Morissette is pregnant

Bronze Radio Return Perform Side Stage On John Mayer's Battle Studies Tour

In June, OurStage partnered with John Mayer to sponsor the John Mayer Side Stage Warfare Competition, giving up-and-coming artists the opportunity to play side stage gigs on select dates of his Battle Studies Tour. Hartford natives Bronze Radio Return were selected by John Mayer and his team as winners of the Boston Channel and recently performed their set at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA. We sat down with the members of Bronze Radio Return prior to their performance to learn a little more about the band, their music, and their live show among other things.

Listening to their songs, it’s evident that the band does not easily fall into one genre of music. We asked the guys to fill us in on their  influences and how they define themselves. “We all come from pretty diverse musical backgrounds, describes lead singer Chris Henderson. We try to incorporate styles from blues, Americana and folk music all with kind of a modern indie rock type twist to things.” Henderson added, “A lot of us grew up listening to old records from our parents record collections. I grew up listening to a lot of blues music at home, and there’s something about the ambiance, the realness of a record that makes you feel like you’re a part of the recording…we’re attracted to that.”

Since several band members have  jazz backgrounds, the genre finds its way into their live performances. “We really like to open up the live shows, get a lot of energy in there, feed off the crowd and get people moving, explains bass player Bob Tanen. We try to make it an experience not just like your hearing the record, you’re seeing a full show.”

Through their performance on the Battle Studies Tour, the band hopes to attract new followers. “We actually play in Boston quite a bit, but it’s great to get out in front of a new crowd,” commented drummer Rob Griffith. So that’s what we’re really hoping for today is to get some of these Mayer fans to check us out and come up to Boston to see us play.” Tanen commented, “it’s allowing us to be in front of a bunch of different bands that we might not have been in contact with. We do play in Boston so its great for these people to come out and get a chance to see us in a different venue. If they like John Mayer and then they end up seeing us, and we’re somewhat musically associated, its not bad company. We’re trying to do our own thing and I think it will be a great chance for us to really see a lot of new fans and a lot of new faces.”

Bronze Radio Return, like many other up-and-coming bands, use online resources to promote their music and keep fans in the loop about upcoming shows. Lead guitarist Patrick Fetkowitz weighed in on the OurStage experience. “OurStage is really awesome because they provide an outlet for independent bands to put their music out there and let people hear it and let people discover something that they might not have heard through any other outlet. It really is an equal playing ground for all the bands, everyone is on the same level and everyone is trying to bring their music to the masses…so it’s a really awesome environment.”

The band is currently touring the east coast, and has plans to begin recording their new record in the fall.  “We are getting material ready for a new record that we’re cutting at the end of September. We recorded our last record in Nashville with a great young producer named Chad Copelin, and we’re going to work with him again at his home studios in Oklahoma.” You can check out their music and their OurStage profile here. You can also see a video of the band performing “It’s OK Now” live from their side-stage performance in Mansfield below.

Soul Searching: Jonas

While searching for soul, it was hard not to have Jonas and his band pop up on our radar. We’ve featured Jonas briefly in a blog last February, and it’s about time he gets another shout out. His soulful voice meets jazzy chords, and tight vocal harmonies perfectly. You’ll really start grooving when you hear the strings come in on the track below! He brings in that old school feel and has been known to compose his music in a typical impromptu Motown fashion.

Jonas resides in the UK and has assembled a band full of talent. Each member brings their own style and expertise to the recording. Because they arrange a lot of their music on the spot in the studio, it takes high caliber musicians to create the kind of music that’s created on this record. Jonas and his band has toured the USA, the UK as well as Africa. His most recent album WAITT was based on the concept of We Are In This Together. The band’s cohesiveness clearly follows this concept. Take a listen bellow and let us know what you think. As always, send in your recommendations for R&B and Soul artists to feature in the upcoming weeks!

Festivus: Mile High

Whether we like it or not, we’ve reached August and this year’s festival season is nearing the finish line. We’ve had some good times, like Jay Z tearing it up at Bonnaroo and chatting up HANSON at Bamboozle. No need to get sentimental too soon, though. Festival season still has a few tricks up its sleeve. This weekend marks the start of the Mile High Music Festival, a 2 day fest held in Commerce City, Colorado at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The festival announced earlier this year that instead of its usual mid-July slot, the fest would be pushed back to August 14th and 15th.

When you look at all the factors of a successful festival, moving Mile High was a smart move. The promotors at AEG referenced the hot weather of July as a reason for the reschedule. They also expressed a desire to postpone until after last weekend’s Lollapalooza in hopes of scoring some of the acts. Another interesting dynamic, the FMQB annual Triple A Conference takes place in Boulder August 11th-14th, so its possible some of the Mile High acts would play to the 2010 music summit, killing 2 birds with one stone.

Since AEG was also working with Rothbury, the cancellation of that festival opened up the talent pool for Mile High. Indeed, many big acts have packed themselves into the 2 day lineup. Both single and 2-day passes are still available, so check out Mile High’s Web site for more info.

Viewer Discretion Advised: La Blogotheque – The Take Away Shows

No doubt about it, the Internet provides hours upon hours of mind-numbing entertainment. And while I’ve personally never been one of those people who becomes absorbed in watching coordinated dance moves or dads getting hit in the junk by baseballs on YouTube, I have found an online obsession that is both stimulating and inspiring. La Blogotheque is a French blog/Web site that it pretty difficult to do any decent research on since Google isn’t much for translating. But music in universal and all you need to know is the URL to enjoy this somewhat spontaneous cataclysm of creativity.

Founder Chryde aspired to mix up the music-sharing world and enlisted Vincent Moon, an independent film maker from Paris who wanted to film music in a different way. Moon is best known for R.E.M.’s Supernatural Superserious Music Video, as well as his work with other mainstream artists such as Tom Jones. Moon went on to film musicians in Paris, and The Take Away Show was born in 2006. The Take Away Show, as I’m sure you’re probably wondering, is a unique single take recording of an artist or band performing two or three tracks in an improvisational setting.

To break it down, think The Kooks traveling through the streets of Paris while young fans collect in their wake performing “Oh La La” like modern pied pipers. Or Mumford & Sons singing “Awake My Soul” to a French woman hanging out her courtyard window as they translate the chorus to her native language. Footage is left raw, few edits are made and the camera shakes with Moon’s hand as he travels from face to face, reaching odd angles of the street or trees.

The organic footage, which views as something between a live performance and a finished music video, somehow retains a lovely and haunting sound. For their Take Away Show, Phoenix hijacks a tourist bus and then plays under a bridge at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower  The band brings forward a sort of raw charisma that is lost in their smoothed over and diluted sounding records.

Earlier I referred to The Take Away Shows as being “somewhat” spontaneous because in Chryde’s explanations of each show, he goes into detail about the stressful planning that actually goes into creating something so deliciously impromptu. While he writes each bio in French, its easy to see his creative skills expand past just film making. Take this excerpt from 2007’s Take Away Show with Arcade Fire.

“During those weeks, I had been in continual contact with Vincent Morisset, who runs the Neon Bible site. Win and Régine had been responsible for coordinating our Take Away Show. We had discussed dates and places, imagining the Madeleine at night, the knoll at the íŽle de la Cité, an old café, a roundabout behind the Olympia…We checked the weather every day and despaired about the cold front that was passing through Paris. We had surveyed the entire inhumane neighborhood from top to bottom, trying to anticipate the crowd, the willpower of the group, the cold and the fatigue. Then, suddenly, we had a plan. Win asked if there was a freight elevator. We found it, Win smiled, and The Take Away Show was no longer in our hands.

We knew that The Take Away Show with Arcade Fire wouldn’t be like the others. The project was made for them because they’re of a different kind, a different essence. We had spent the afternoon with them when suddenly we realized, in a flash: yes, this group is different.

We had been playing the role of outsider the entire day, like a foreign body that latches onto the daily grind of these magnificent musicians. We had to adapt, through astonishment and wonder, as the band took up their instruments and started to play. But Arcade Fire didn’t take us as outsiders. It all seemed to unfold naturally: we entered into their logic as they awaited us and eventually swallowed us up. It was now Win Butler’s Take Away Show, and we followed.”

In honor of Arcade Fire’s 3rd release The Suburbs last week, below you can watch their very own Take Away Show, in which they perform a thrilling rendition of “Neon Bible” in a freight elevator. Be sure to check out La Blogotheque’s Web site which houses over 100 different Take Away Shows from artists like Bon Iver, Black Lips, Yeasayer, The National, Sufjan Stevens, Xiu Xiu, Andrew Bird, The Shins, Caribou and more.

Tune Up: Line 6 Pod and Tone Port

We’ve all been to a live show and seen the massive wall of speaker cabinets and amplifiers behind the band. In many ways, this display is an indicator of notoriety for an act. However, the sound usually goes into the house mixing board and out the huge PA speakers anyway. So, if they’re just placing mic’s on these amps or taking the direct-out signal, do they really need the huge cabinets? Sure, many artists love the sound of their specific amplifier but, I’ve seen a few shows where the guitar players go up there amp-less. Now in order for YOU to get that amp-powered sound with the sweetest effects on the market, you’ll need some effects processors and probably an amp modeler.

Some of the best amp modeling technology out there (for both guitar and bass applications) is from Line 6. Most specifically their POD® guitar effects processor. If you play guitar, you’ve definitely heard about it. This portable effects processor can save a bunch of presets for ease of access and can be controlled by various foot petals, making it an ideal candidate for a live guitarist. Line 6, of course preloads many of their amps with the same technology they use in the PODs®. Our personal favorite application is the POD® technology as included in the software package that accompanies the Line 6 TonePort/POD Studioâ„¢series. These devices are USB connectible recording interfaces that come in a wide variety of input types and channels. First, we’ll review the TonePort®, and then we’ll give you some of my favorite guitar settings using the POD® effects and amp-modeling technology.

TonePort/POD Studioâ„¢:

This audio interface is one my choices for tracking guitars, bass and vocals in a home studio setting. The line offers the UX1, UX2 and UX8 interfaces, respectively featuring 1, 2 and 8 simultaneous recording inputs into your digital audio workstation (DAW). This guitar amp/effects sound legend broke onto the recording interface scene with huge success. We picked up a UX2 a few years ago as an interface to use for electronic compositions and song demo recording. However, it quickly became our go-to device for portable recording and professional-quality singer/songwriter tracks. UX2 has two 48v-enabled XLR inputs for stereo micing (or two separate mono mic’s), as well as two Hi-Z TRS inputs for recording direct in (one of which is even padded). It’s got the standard analog outs and even S/PDIF for a stereo digital output. Finally, it has a couple of amp meters that can be assigned to any audio ins or outs from the software the comes with the interface.

Even though many studios don’t use Line 6 recording devices, the actual recording technology in the POD Studio â„¢ is awesome (and becoming more and more popular every day). They also come with the POD Farm modeling/effects package. These are, of course, the awesome sounds that guitarists have come to enjoy in the POD® effects processor used for live settings. This way, you can run these effects through your DAW as a plug-in, and you are essentially given a very intuitive, computer screen control.

POD® Amp Modeling/Effects

This brings us to a discussion of the actual modules and effects you can achieve using the POD® technology. The POD® guitar effects processor designed for use in live settings has become somewhat of a standard for processing. Many pros use the sounds, and as mentioned, you can go onstage using the device directly with the PA. This is because the amp modeling simulates many of the tube and solid state amps made famous in the music industry. The technology goes much further, however. You can string together stomp boxes, amps, processors, rack units and expression pedals. With so many combination possibilities, you can really achieve any sound you want. The software and the POD® device come with a lot of presets as well, giving you the tools to sound specifically like some of the most famous guitar tracks out there.

Now, we promised to give you a couple great patching examples. Below, you’ll find accompanying screenshots using our slightly older version of the Gearbox software (which includes much of processing modules and accompanies the Toneport devices). Note: An updated POD Farm screenshot is shown above.

Clean/Full Delay:

For this effect, we start with their Mr. Clean preset and edit from there. This setup gives us a great, washy sound with complicated instances of delay. This is perfect for a U2-esque bed of delay-produced polyrhythms. We’ll provide you with the amp model we used as well as the virtual effects boxes. Here’s what it looks like:

Amp: 1987 Jazz Clean with matching 2×12 Cabinet

Modules: Gate (add a bit more decay), Volume, Delay (increase feedback and sync tempo with song), Reverb (add a bit more “dry” to the mix), Microphone Placement (40%, Condenser Mic), Comp and EQ (adjust to taste).

Full Distortion:

We’d like to also show you a great distortion tone that can be used for a full rock sound. For this one, we like to start with Line 6’s American Punk preset. The sound is gritty but full and well-rounded. It’s enough to turn any modern rock song into an epic arrangement. Here’s the screen shot:

Amp: 1968 Plexi Lead 100 with 1×15 1962 Thunder Cabinet

Module: Gate, Volume, Stomp (Classic Distortion with higher tone and higher drive), EQ (adjusted to taste) and Reverb (with only a tiny bit of wet in the wet/dry mix).

In closing, we hope we’ve given you some insight on the POD ®technology. We’ve only scratched the surface and given you a fraction of the things you can achieve with this modeling technology. Obviously, we recommend toying around with the presets and making your own. Feel free to use our examples as a springboard. POD ®technology is really the best of all worlds.