Eight reasons why your music might not be getting the attention you crave.
Among the many struggles facing musicians who’d like some measure of recognition and compensation for their work, the untold hours and years spent learning, practicing, introspecting about, and further honing the craft are kind of the easy part. Getting someone to give a crap beyond petty praise on social media is what’s really hard.
And while I can’t really offer a whole lot of help in terms of ideas for a bold, innovative, genius-level plan of attack, I can offer a few thoughts on what not to do from the perspective of someone who’s received hundreds of thousands of albums and press releases over the last 20 years.
It used to be that one of your best shots at scoring some kind of media action was by getting a physical CD and band bio into the right people’s hands. These days, social media, YouTube, etc. are crucial, of course, but it’s also much easier, faster, and cheaper to email a press contact a hook-y introduction with links to streaming music.
But both avenues have their pros and cons. If you’ve got a little money to spare, send something creatively unusual via snail mail—it’ll stand out a lot more than an email stranded in an Inbox Sea.
And by “creatively unusual,” I’m not talking ’70s DJ-bribing tactics like vials of cocaine or rolls of $100 bills. Artsy fliers or cards, quirky band-logo-emblazoned paraphernalia, or even just a thoughtful, personalized handwritten note testify to a level of care and effort beyond the norm. Something unique or witty can’t help but differentiate you—or at least garner a few extra seconds of eyeball time, by sheer dint of shaking up the monotony of someone’s hectic schedule. And don’t discount that: You never know what small bit of genius might get the ball rolling for some kind of attention.
What exactly qualifies as “witty,” “quirky,” or “creative”? If I told you it wouldn’t be witty etc., now, would it? What I can tell you, however, is what NOT to do when trying to get attention with your album, bio, and press pics. We’ll start with visuals, since that’s what eyes tend to flit to first.
- Train tracks. I feel like I shouldn’t even have to say this—it’s so ridiculous and pathetically cliché. I’m not sure when or why this started. A romanticized fascination with hobos? A Stand by Me fetish? The notion that viewers will be bowled over by how daring you must be to stand on those rusting iron rails across town that haven’t seen a choo choo in decades? Pretty much everyone I’ve ever known who works in media snickers and scoffs at these pics.
- Bare feet. Again, to me this is a no-brainer. It’s a proven fact that 99 percent of humans who aren’t foot models have clompers that look misshapen and gross to pretty much everyone else. But you’d be shocked how many press packets I’ve gotten where someone thought an entirely too prominent view of their crusty callouses and yellowing, weirdly misshapen toenails would show the world what a happy-go-lucky free spirit they are. Remember: Turn heads, not stomachs.
- Brick walls. Although slightly more forgivable than train tracks and infinitely more palatable than corns, band photos in front of a generic-looking red brick wall are just that—generic.
- Rig bragging. I know it seems like an obvious point of interest—especially if you’re a guitar nut trying to get the attention of a mag/website made by guitar nuts for guitar nuts. But guess what? We see all sorts of cool gear here, and yes, we love it. But we’ve also heard plenty of players use expensive gear to create music that sounds like Sunday afternoon at Guitar Center. There’s nothing wrong with having interesting gear, of course, but—at least for me—an album whose artwork features a guitarist surrounded by boutique or vintage instruments and amps is an ill omen. I immediately make the sign to ward off the Evil Eye. Why? It makes you look insecure and shallow—or like you’re auditioning for the guitar equivalent of MTV Cribs. It gives the impression you think fancy-schmancy gear equates to interesting music. It says you’re more into guitar as a talisman of validation than a tool to create art. Same goes for pedalboard shots.
Words and Such
- Rig bragging. No, there’s not an echo in here. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten where artists and publicists breathily, and with many adverbs and exclamation points, list how many pieces of vintage gear were used on the album. If the most interesting thing about your music—or even the second- or third-most-interesting thing—is your gear, something’s horribly wrong.
- “Bleeding Cowboys” font. I think this one speaks for itself.
- GoPro videos. This is kind of next-level thinking for those with rig-brag mentality. I’m here to tell you that a wobbly, perspective-distorted, dizzyingly gonzo video of ripping fretboard antics and unwanted close-ups of your unclipped nose hairs and the sweaty depths of your muscle-T caverns is simply alienating. Your music speaks for itself. Present it with confident, genuine simplicity, or in an artful way. GoPros are a garbage gimmick.
- Putting yourself on a pedestal. It’s one thing to try to stir interest with carefully selected references that hint at your particular stylistic mélange, but once you start comparing yourself to hallowed legends—or worse, claiming to outdo them—you’re destined for derision and deletion.
At the end of the day, of course, what matters most to us here at PG is whether new music moves us—because if it does, it’s going to move many of you, too. And certainly it’s possible for cool music to be accompanied by a written or visual faux pas. But you know what they say about first impressions. Why not improve your chances by taking a lesson or two from our pain?
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Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.