The New Rockstar Philosophy The New Rockstar Philosophy Book and Blog helping artists be empowered by the internet. Thu, 06 Apr 2017 16:27:08 +0000 en hourly 1 The Absolute Cheapest and Best Way To Get Your Music On Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora + more. Thu, 06 Apr 2017 16:26:45 +0000

In close conversations with my artist friends for the past six months I have been asking them “Have you heard of DistroKid?” Currently DistroKid is the absolute best way to get your music onto streaming services.


1. Cheapest

2. Easiest to use

3. Best place for splitting royalties

4. Cheapest place to put out LEGAL COVERS

5. New features like TEXTING YOUR FANS

Think of DistroKid as a better TuneCore and a leaner CDBaby. It’s about being prolific and getting your music out quickly. DistroKid has a crazy quick turnaround time. Your music is guaranteed to be up within two weeks but in many cases it can be up within 24 hours.

But where DistroKid truly shines is with their unlimited uploads.

With DistroKid you pay $20 a year and can put out as many tracks as you want. Correct, unlimited uploads to all the streaming services for $20. This is a game changer. Previously with TuneCore and CDBaby you not only had to pay to put up each release but you also had to pay a large yearly fee to keep your releases up. A band with a few albums, a couple of singles, and an EP can see their yearly fee add up quickly. With DistroKid there is only one fee for AAAAALLLL the music you have.

The DistroKid back end is simple and easy to use. Unlike a lot of the big digital distribution sites, DistroKid doesn’t have upsales and add-ons at every corner. Their plan is just to make the best digital distribution option for artists all over the world.

If you’re a professional musician you can choose to upgrade your membership to Musician Plus for $36/year which provides more granular analysis of your streaming numbers including geographic information, daily streaming breakdowns, custom label name, custom release date, iTunes pricing and 2 artists/band. There’s also an option to upgrade to Label for $80/year which has the ability to control up to 5 artists/bands.

I have been using DistroKid to distribute my music for the last 4 months and can say after using both CDBaby and Tunecore in previous years that DistroKid is by far the easies and the cheapest. For musicians with hundreds of other things going on these two facts are huge.

Finally DistroKid is continually innovating. Recently they announced Text-message marketing. DistroKid gives a how-to here but basically once you’ve collected your fans ph number when your track drops you can let all your fans know direct on their cell. That’s crazy powerful and DistroKid doesn’t limit this to a track. You can stay in contact for future news/releases.

So what are you waiting for?

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Song Stories Connect Mon, 20 Mar 2017 01:37:39 +0000

Everyone has a song that hit them at that perfect time. Encapsulating what they were going through, helping them understand their world. Kyle Bylin explores these issue with his new book Song Stories. A collection of essays on how music changed our lives.

Kyle is a long time friend of the New Rockstar Philosophy and we talked to him about his new book. More specifically about the process of writing and keeping a creative project like this going.

“We don’t talk enough about the importance of music in the business conversation. We discuss the significance of the artist and the evolution of technology, but we don’t explore the impact that music has on people’s lives… I decided that the focus on the technology product over the listener’s story no longer made sense to me, so I edited this book.” -Kyle Bylin

NRP: Why did you create a book, not a podcast or video series, etc?

KB: I spent several years thinking about the best way to capture this idea. It could’ve been a podcast or video series, among many other things. I didn’t want to create Song Stories one episode at time. I feared that someone else would see the potential of the idea and create their own version before I could hone my vision for the project. I worried that any music publication with a sizable audience could solicit stories from their readers more quickly than I could gather them from my friends. Ultimately, I created a book because it’s still the best way to collect and curate stories. I’m not committed to creating a new episode every few weeks for the next year.

NRP: What was the hardest part about making this book?

KB: I had to wear many hats throughout this project. One day, I’m a book editor and publisher. The next, I’m a marketing strategist and publicist. I didn’t always know how to juggle these roles. Most of the time, I had to teach myself the best practices in each role before I could finish a task that required a specific expertise or skill. And then, I had to do each task good enough and move into the next one. There were many times where I got stuck. But I had faith in my ability to figure things out. Almost nothing went as planned. I had to fail dozens of times and make countless mistakes in order to finally succeed.

NRP: How do you maintain enthusiasm for such a long term project?

KB: I loved the stories. Each time a new essay arrived gave me hope. It showed me that people had incredible stories to share. I’ve read each essay dozens of times. They still surprise and delight me every time. I couldn’t be more proud of what my book’s contributors helped me accomplish. I also refused to quit. I decided early on that I’d finish the book no matter what. It cost me more than time and money. I lost the ability to pursue new ideas. I couldn’t get inspired and decide that I wanted to work on another project. Any idea that didn’t directly apply to the book had to be written down or simply forgotten.

Some interesting thoughts about the creative process and the energy that it takes to follow through on a project. Even more kudos to Kyle for doing this all solo. A truly impressive feat! You can find Kyle’s book on Amazon. And read more about it here, and here and keep up with the evolving work here.

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Instant Inspiration: Learn How To Run A Successful Record Label With Merge Records Wed, 10 Aug 2016 23:45:59 +0000 merge

This short doc on the 25 years of Merge Records is basically a how to on running a successful label. Amazing. Watch the whole thing below.

TL;DR: Put out amaizng music that you love along side hard work, good people, and good luck!

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Why and How You Should Use Live Streaming To Build Your Audience Wed, 03 Aug 2016 16:08:55 +0000 shutterstock_242527963

I have been impressed by how culturally relevant live streaming has become. Facebook is doubling down on live streaming, YouTube, Twitter, and more are all pushing, or starting to push users to broadcast themselves more often.

So it’s safe to say that live streaming is not a fad. It’s a thing. A thing that will only grow. And the amazing thing is that with live streaming you can play gigs at home and broadcast it to the world. Talk about efficient. So with that we turn to look at a study our friends at Audiokite have recently completed. They’ve created live streaming play book for musicians. This is what they’ve found:

1) Music trumps all.

three of the top four rated broadcast activities all relate to playing music for both consumers and creators, with “original songs” as the favorite activity for both sides.

2) Let your personality shine through.

the best musician broadcasters are: consistent, flexible, comfortable with mobile, creative, interactive, personable, and above all else, authentic.

3) Be spontaneous…

Fans are excited by the “realness” of live streaming and musicians should take advantage of this unique aspect by responding and reacting to the audience’s vibe as appropriate.

4) …but have some general structure to your broadcasts.

To keep the audience engaged throughout a live stream, musicians should have a broad plan for each broadcast, while always leaving room for impromptu activities and interactions.

5) Audience interaction can be a fickle beast.

the vast majority of viewers do not intend to directly participate in broadcasts, and so these types of activities (audience interaction) are of less interest to them.

6) But participation comes in all shapes and sizes.

Around 70% of viewers on YouNow participate in broadcasts in some manner… recognize the need to treat fans individually based on their preferred methods of engaging.

7) Live streaming is the new backstage meet-and-greet.

nearly everyone loves being recognized by his or her favorite musician…Musicians should take every opportunity to personalize interactions with broadcast viewers.

8) Integrate calls-to-action.

A teen pop singer released his newest single on iTunes, he held a YouNow broadcast in which he prompted his fans to buy the track. tracked the purchases in real-time and gave live shout-outs to all those supporters. Musicians should look at ways to integrate community actions like this, whether it’s to increase YouNow channel subscribers, vote on their favorite song, or download a new track.

Find out more here.

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Be A Musician Vlogger Not Just A Musician Mon, 25 Jul 2016 15:37:36 +0000 tyler-oakley

Have you heard the news?

Views don’t matter on YouTube as much as watch time and channel subscriptions. [Link]

The more videos on YouTube the more potential for more views, the more points of interaction with your fans. So releasing an album with 1 or 2 videos every few years is probably a dumb idea if you’re looking to make money and make fans on YouTube.

So here is the solution. You now are a Musician Vlogger. Do a daily vlog. A daily music vlog.

Everyday you are putting up content. It doesn’t have to be slick. But it does have to connect. How do you find what connects? Well you try a bunch of stuff and see what you like, what your fans like, where the views are coming from.

Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  1. (HIT) Cover songs
  2. Songwriting demos
  3. Album reviews
  4. Music gear review
  5. Concert reviews
  6. Booze/Bud reviews
  7. Travel vlogs
  8. Drunk/High music history
  9. Tech reviews
  10. Interview your friends

If you’re totally new to the world of vlogging here are a few links to see some of the professionals. Casey Neistat, Tyler Oakley, Grace Helbig.

Here are some links for the tools you’ll need. But remember it’s not about being slick. Slickness may hold you back. So shed yourself of slickness in favour of real content. Show us yourself. Sing us your music. Connect with the world.

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Sorry, Most Artists Aren’t Entrepreneurs After All Fri, 15 Jul 2016 13:25:41 +0000 27605553714_9753f26012_b

In my internationally published, award winning book, The New Rockstar Philosophy, I write about how artists can make simple changes to become a sustainable business. I detail how to use the tools that the internet has provided to:

  • Create and cultivate your fanbase.
  • Use data to make informed decisions.
  • Make authentic connections to your authentic artistry.
  • Appeal to your niche, not pander to the mainstream.

Great thoughts and lucid insight if I may say so myself. It was written in the late 2000s, the days when there was still optimism in what the online world could provide independent artists. If only artists could begin to see that they are entrepreneurs, and shift their thinking, they would be able to create their future with the direct fan relationships of the internet.

But now in the global warming days of the mid-teens, I see that perhaps I was naive to believe that all artists could simply adopt the mind set of the modern entrepreneur. Some artists do have this talent for business. Usually there is one in a group, the leader, someone always looking to monetize their world. But most artists are not that, they are not entrepreneurs. Most artists are people who want to make some noise, make some art, not worry too much about the rest.

This is not a revelation by any means. But back in 2009 I thought that if artists were only made aware of how simple the tools are (social media, video, email) and given a rough road map to it (New Rockstar Philosophy) they would rise up and become this mass of middle class musicians. They would use the tools, build fans, and create sustainable careers making music.

While that is still possible today, it’s looking unlikely to happen on a mass scale. That is because most artists aren’t entrepreneurs. They need help to achieve their dreams. They need the music industry to connect the dots. They need managers, promoters, booking agents, publicists, marketers, graphic designers, labels, tour managers, book keepers, accountants, they need all of the industry. Record labels used to do this but as the industry suffered and labels shut down the idea that artists could do it all grew to messianic proportions.

Now we can say that we’ve tried that. It mostly doesn’t work. We need to revise our DIY vision as the industry has changed. We need to begin to develop the other side of the middle class music industry. We need to begin to embrace the team. We need to be developing the managers, agents, publicists, etc as much as we are developing artists if we want the money invested in artists to become anything more than a one-off.

This goes doubly for granting/funding agencies because currently many of the artists who receive funding are the ones who know how to “game” the system. They’re not the best artists, just ones who have a leader with the most informed writing style. This is a meritocracy based on the formatting of grant applications more so than on raw artistic skill.

And we need to develop and embrace the industry at all levels, not just for the biggest players. By developing the music industry on a small scale we can have artists focus on their artistry, and the industry focus on the business. This cooperative partnership is critical for artists to become sustainable.

Ironically artists still have the power. They are the ones that need to embrace the team idea first. They need to look at their contacts and friend groups and engage those who would fit well on the music industry side of things. This growth needs to start from the ground up in the early stages of the artist lifecycle to be truly successful. But until we shed the DIY mantra and embrace the team we will not have true sustainable growth and fulfill the promise of the internet in creating a mass of middle class musicians.

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Kickstarter And Indie Labels, A Natural Fit Mon, 20 Jun 2016 20:36:18 +0000 kickstarter

Kickstarter is going deep on music. Having one of the most recognized brands on the internet they have revolutionized the creator market. They’ve helped change the way music and musicians create not only their art but also the way fans experience artists.

So it’s great to see that recently Kickstarter has committed more resources and funds to expanding their music team. They’ve hired industry leader Molly Neuman to be the head of Music. She joins Kickstarter music veteran Hayley Rosenblum and the just announced tastemaker Brandon Stosuy from Pitchfork. That creates a deep level of talent at Kickstarter Music to help creators.

Also, in-case-you-missed-it they’ve recently acquired music subscription platform Drip. Drip was already working with fantastic artists and indie labels like Sub Pop and Stones Throw, but by coming into the Kickstarter fold, Drip will help answer the question of how artists can keep the conversation going after a project has been funded.

Some quick facts Kickstarter:

• 1.8 million people have backed a music project

• $172 million dollars have been pledged to musicians

• Average pledge is around $70

• 80% success rates with at least 10 or more backers

• 90% success rates with at least 25 backers

• Since Kickstarter launched over 23,000 successful music projects have been funded

This year at the A2IM Indie Week conference in New York City, Kickstarter held a workshop to show indie labels how they can work together in more deep and meaningful ways.

Basically it comes down to this. If you’re looking to do a creative project. To do something cool that has motivations beyond/in addition to the money. If you’re looking to build and engage an audience. To pursue something outside your wheelhouse, to test a new idea, product, concept. If you’re looking to create something special for your fans, then Kickstarter is for you.

MEOW THE JEWELS happened on Kickstarter

Run the Jewels took a amazing idea, to remix their latest album with cat sounds (the official animal of the internet) and let their fans decide if they should. They needed to raise $40k. They raised over $65K with all of the proceeds going to the families of Eric Garner and Mike Brown. A fantastic expression of art where Kickstarter provided the platform to make it happen and used their network to spread it to an even larger audience. But obviously it’s not just established artists who can knock a project out of the park. New York City busking talent, music documentaries, new technologies, and more, have all found audiences with Kickstarter.

It’s important to remember a few things about Kickstarter. First, yes, it is an all-or-nothing platform. If you don’t hit your goal, you get nothing. Although this can be a frightening proposition, that sense of urgency is key to get fans rallying around the project. It actually causes many projects to surpass their goal. The second thing to remember is that Kickstarter is so big that their own network pushes the dial. They have huge projects of all kinds that bring more people into the eco-system discovering new work and creating projects of their own. Finally it’s key to remember that Kickstarter is a Public Benefit Corporation that donates 5% of its annual profits, Kickstarter will never be sold to the Facebook’s and Apple’s of this world and will never go public. All of these things help make it an easy choice for creators.

Kickstarter is doubling down on supporting their music creators. It’s clear that they’re not trying to remove the labels, but become a resource and collaborator to build and strengthen the music community. The power of their network, their team, and strength of their company, helps connect an artist’s community and reduces the risks for labels. With all of these factors in play and a mission is to bring creative projects to life, it’s clear that labels looking to create something special should be working with Kickstarter.

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The Future of Social Media Belongs To Text Messaging Fri, 10 Jun 2016 20:31:00 +0000 Ryan-Leslie-large

If you’re an artist with two million fans on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but only get 2% engagement how useful are those tools? Wouldn’t it be better to have direct contact with your fans instead of third party go-betweens? Wouldn’t it be better to have a personal relationship with them, the kind of direct contact that you have with your friends? And wouldn’t that personal relationship be strengthened and enriched with an approach that you’re already pouring into social mediums?

Ryan Leslie

This was the scene set by Ryan Leslie and Bonin Bough at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival where they expanded on the idea of Personal Relationship Management. PRM, they believe, is the next evolution of the social network. But what’s new to this evolution of social is that the future of PRM belongs to texting.

Texting, that ability to bypass apps and emails and go straight to the source is where PRM will truly be useful for artists and brands alike. Bough was tipped to this exciting future by Leslie through a meeting at SXSW this past March. Introduced by Jesse Kirshbaum of Nue Agency, the three had a brunch that changed the way Bough thought about the future of social. Bough, who heads up media and ecommerce at Mondelez International (the biggest snack food company in the world) was immediately taken by the concept and it struck upon his own theories that texting will be huge. Bough claimed that “this will be bigger than social and we’re just at the start of it.”

Enter Superphone

PRM is a great theory but without the appropriate tool it’s not scaleable. That’s why Leslie built Superphone, a platform that allows PRM to thrive. With Superphone you give your phone number to your fans. They text you (calls are screened to only allow those who you know). An automated message replies back asking for your name and location. From there the amount of interaction is set by you. The contact info is simply the first layer, having a conversation worthwhile is the next and rather than putting effort into a third party platform, Superphone leaves it all to you.

Leslie spoke about not only using Superphone for engaging conversations but moving to monetize his contacts. Leslie uses it to look for photographers, videographers, even flight attendants if and when he needs them. All of these contacts are filtered through Superphone and in his experience he’s been able to make more money, connect with more fans, and expand his social network in a more meaningful and authentic way. With Superphone, Leslie’s phone number (646.887.6988) has become a way where he can send fans custom birthday messages, inform them when he’s in town performing, or connect about his new album. All things that were possible with traditional social media but all had engagement rates that were minuscule.

Investors Agree

It’s clear that fans and investors are listening to the PRM future. Recently Andreessen Horowitz, Betaworks and others poured in $1.5 million to help seed Superphone and in Japan messaging platform Line (560 million users) is about to go public with the years biggest IPO. But like all novel tech Bough believes that it will eventually be cannibalized by overzealous brands. But currently Superphone is on the cusp of a big change in our world and PRM will be able to help you sort through the noise and get to the most out of your social network.

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Sharpen Your Blues Rock Skills With These Superb Sites Thu, 05 May 2016 20:23:31 +0000  


Are you learning to play blues rock on your guitar today? You are lucky! There are lots of resources on the web that you can count on to make the learning process straightforward for you. However, this comes with a downside.

The numerous options make it difficult to know what is worth your time and what isn’t. Not to worry, we have done the legwork for you. Here are options you should start with.

Artist Works

ArtistWorks allows you to sign up for specific lessons for instructors based on the type of guitar and style you are looking to learn. It is one of the best options you can find as a person that learns better with one-on-one teaching. An interesting feature of the site is the video feedback from guitar legends. The interface and arrangement of the website is similar to the kinds of online portals such as that offering explanation about casinos online or review sites talking about newly released movies.

Jam Play

JamPlay has over 5,000 guitar lessons making it one of the most comprehensive guitar instruction services you can find on the web today. Apart from Blues Rock, you can equally find everything else from heavy metal to country. Most users recommend using the site so we are pretty certain you will be pleased as well. The site features an intuitive interface and you can search for specific lessons. You can also find your preferred instructors and communicate with them from the comfort of your home!

Justin Guitar

Justin Sandercoe runs Justin Guitar and made his name on YouTube. His main YouTube channel, JustinSandercoe has around half a million subscribers. The channel is dedicated towards teaching theory and technique. The other channel is JustinSanderCoesongs which you should follow if you are looking for how to play specific songs. His videos are properly arranged on his site too if you don’t want to scour through YouTube for them. This is not just another guy with a camera and a guitar on YouTube. The lessons are very good. Justin’s genuineness quickly shines through in his video lessons. His lessons are short and easily digestible.

Guitar Tricks

With over 11,000 video lessons, you should probably jump straight into this site if you are a newbie confused about where to begin. You will find lessons from expressed professionals across several genres. The site has some of the most organised lessons and most of the good things that can be said about other sites on this list are applicable here too.

One thing stands out though. The Core Learning System is something we appreciate and you will too. This is a structure that will guide you through fundamentals straight on to more intermediate concepts. The arrangement ensures you will be on your way to playing chords and basic solos in no time.

These are the top places you should be looking when it comes to enjoying top quality guitar lessons.

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How To Get An Honest Opinion On Your Music Fri, 08 Apr 2016 15:22:09 +0000 7845820200_48f264fce4_b

Your friends and family are great people. But they cannot be trusted when it comes to honest opinions about your music. They are coloring the truth, because they know and love you. They want to spare your feelings, even if that means you’ll release sub-par music.

So then how can you get a truthful opinion on your music?

For this we have AudioKite. AudioKite helps musicians create the best music possible through the power of research, fairness and transparency.  They use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, where tens of thousands of people carry out tasks in exchange for small sums of money.

  • AudioKite gives you detailed feedback on your music.
  • Puts time minimums on songs that force any listener to actually pay attention to what they are hearing, otherwise they don’t get paid.
  • Listeners who just phone in the reviews are dropped for being unreliable.
  • AudioKite provides specific, easy to understand categories for listeners to rate musicians and actionable feedback for you.

There listeners are not just random Eh-holes. They are people who like a lot of similar type of music to yours, in the age, socioeconomic bracket, and location in the world where your audience is.

I have personally tried AudioKite and can attest that it works. The feedback was detailed and gave me a lot to think about. For example, if you submitted a song it might come back saying the beat was great, but the guitar sounded out of tune. Or maybe that the vocals need a lot of work, but the lyrics are spot on. These criteria are measured on a scale of 1-10, one being lowest and ten highest. You are shown your score and the AudioKite average, so you can understand where on the spectrum of proficiency you stand.

Audio Kite is super affordable, the intro report is $19.99 and it’s perfect for people who are demoing songs, mixing, mastering, or ready to release a single but are unsure of which one is the winner.

The potential for AudioKite is huge for all musicians. To say I’m a fan would be an understatement. I’ve met and got to know the team at AudioKite and they are committed music fans who want to help the worlds musicians connect with their audiences. So next time if you want an honest opinion about your music give AudioKite a try.


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