Calling All Musicians!

Enter the Be Your Start Contest!

Braathe Enterprises is holding a contest for all kinds of musicians! Whether you sing, play an instrument, produce beats, play classical music or heavy metal, we want to hear from you! Submit 100-150 words explaining how this money would benefit you as a musician and what you would use it for for the chance to win one of three grand prizes! The deadline to submit is December 1st at 11:59pm.

First prize — $250

Second prize — $150

Third prize — $100

The link to submit is here

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Finding Your Creativity

Sometimes, it can be difficult to just sit down and decide you are going to write a song. Creativity doesn’t always come when you expect it or want it to. Today I will be sharing some tips from myself and from Robert Braathe, both of us songwriters, on how to find your creativity.

  1. Keep a notebook, or your phone notes app, on you at all times. “I find often what I put on paper is “harder” to revise so I’m getting back to writing in my phone.” -Robert Braathe
  2. Go people-watching. Sit down at a mall or park and watch passerby, and try to come up with stories of them in your head.
  3. If creativity strikes when you’re busy, take a minute to at least get the initial idea down, and you can flesh it out later. -Robert Braathe
  4. If you cannot think of something in your life you would like to write about, write about something happening in a friend’s life (if they’re okay with it and you don’t mention them by name, of course).
  5. “Car rides and walks are also places I find myself creative” -Robert Braathe
  6. Try writing a silly nonsense song to a melody, then go through and replace the words with actual phrases that fit.

Those were our tips! Let us know how you find your creativity, and let us know if you use any of our tips and they work for you.

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Collaboration at a Distance

While we are all trying not to catch a virus, yet also go about our lives, the question comes about, how do we collaborate with other musicians? How can we create a hit song without having our regular in-person jam sessions? The answer lies in the wonderful and expanding world of virtual music technology. I have compiled a list of some of the best music collaboration websites and apps:

  1. Soundtrap: This website, owned by Spotify, is a great place for musicians to collaborate. It is set up sort of like GarageBand, and it is very user-friendly. It also has video and voice call capabilities, so you can talk while you collaborate and record. It is free, but there are higher tiers you can pay for if you need more capabilities.
  2. Endlesss: This free app allows you to jam with others in real time. It is great for DJs, beatmakers, and producers.
  3. Soundstorming: This app allows you to upload your musical ideas and let other people around the world add their ideas to it. The app is free, and seems like a good way to find new people to collaborate with.
  4. Trackd: Like Soundstorming, anyone can collaborate on this global social network for free.
  5. BandLab: This cloud-based music app is free and allows creators to collaborate with each other. 
  6. Kompoz: This is a free website where musicians use whatever software they usually use (GarageBand, Pro Tools, Logic, etc.) and upload their music to the site for others to collaborate.

I have personally used Soundtrap, and I think it is brilliant and perfectly user-friendly. If you already know who you’re going to collaborate with, Soundtrap, Endlesss, or BandLab seem like the way to go. If you’re looking for new collaborators, check out Soundstorming, Trackd, or Kompoz. Let’s collaborate and listen!

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Facebook Live Alternatives

Now that Facebook has essentially given the middle finger to artists by not allowing musicians to livestream music on their platforms, Facebook Live and Instagram Live, it’s time to consider our options. Now, just what are our other options? I have done some research and have found the best free alternatives to Facebook Live (listed best-to-worst in terms of user-friendliness):

  1. Twitch (twitch.tv)
  2. YouTube Livestreaming (youtube.com)
  3. YouNow (younow.com)
  4. Vimeo Livestream (livestream.com)
  5. Periscope via Twitter (pscp.tv)

As a “Zillennial” who is generally familiar with up-and-coming tech, I would personally recommend using Twitch or YouTube, and sharing the links when you go live to all of your social media platforms. Some people suggest Twitch is on its way out in terms of popularity; however, I believe it is still the most user friendly. YouTube live streaming is a very close second. Both allow you to see comments in real time from fans. However you choose, happy streaming!

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To ReverbNation or Not to ReverbNation?

When it comes to social media sites, ReverbNation sounds like the perfect site for artists and bands. After all, their tagline is even “Artists First”. However, the site may not provide quite the boost in fans artists are hoping for.

ReverbNation seems like a great place if you are looking to make connections to other artists, producers, and venues. However, nearly all of those people you would want to contact are on LinkedIn, and many are probably not on ReverbNation. The site also seems like a good place to put your music, but since ReverbNation doesn’t seem to be as widely known as, say, Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, or the Google Play store, you might as well use those instead (ReverbNation does have the capability to help you get your music on those, though!).

So should artists and bands even use ReverbNation? The answer is yes…and also no. If you are trying to use it to reach new fans? Probably not. If you are using it to make music industry connections? Maybe. If you are just looking for a few tools to make your life as an artist easier? Yes. ReverbNation does have some very helpful tools for artists, such as  digital distribution help, widgets for your website, a gig finder, and electronic press kits. However, for fan outreach, look more towards sites with a lot of traffic where fans are likely to engage, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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The Perfect Demo

As time goes on it is becoming easier and easier to make a good demo for pitching. Now that doesn’t mean publishers are looking for demos ready for the radio, just something that shows off your song and your ability as a songwriter. A good demo should be clear, in time, on pitch and has potential to be turned into a hit.

Phone recordings are not the best idea because the publisher needs to hear each part of the recording with good balance. This means that the guitar/piano cannot out-shine the vocals. Using simple recording gear and overdubbing skills can help get the balance right so the publisher can easily judge your song.

You need to show effort with your song and have the song in time and on pitch. This helps the publisher see potential in the song with a recording that has been worked on and perfected. It doesn’t need to have a whole orchestra, but the instruments and vocals that are there need to be perfect. You can use a click track when recording to help stay on beat and do multiple takes and choose the best one.

If you show them an upbeat song recorded with just vocals and piano. That won’t work. The recording needs to match the song, helping the publisher imagine what that song could be when professionally recorded.

A good demo is the way to get noticed by publishers and by artists. There are recording studios out there that will help you get the perfect recording, but at home recording will work too. Make sure the demo shows off your song and shows what kind of songwriter you are.

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Hooks

Many catchy songs include hooks woven into them to catch the listener’s ear. The hook is the part of the song that helps the listener remember the song and want to hear it again. There is no wrong way to write a hook because there is no recipe for a hook. The only thing that qualifies a part of a song as a hook is that it is catchy and easily remembered.

A hook can be either a melody or lyric that catches the listener’s ear. It is often found in the chorus, but it doesn’t always have to be there. It can be a repeated line at the end of verses, a distinct sound or a melodic introduction. A good hook catches the ear of the listener and makes them want to hear it again.

You know you have a hook when people you share your song with want to hear it again or starts singing that part a week later. Hooks are found in most songs that are topping the charts, write a catchy one and your’s could too.

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Promoting Your Songs

The hard part of the music industry is the promotion of your music especially when you are doing it alone. There are many ways to promote your music especially with the technology of today.

Social media is a main way to promote music. To grow your platform, you will need to post multiple times a week. Common posts will attract more people to your page, but be careful and don’t post too frequently.

Ideas for posting is pictures of you working on music, clips of your music, clips/pictures of you performing and lyrics. Anything that will give the hint that there is more music or performances coming.

Starting a YouTube channel for your music is also important. Post videos of behind the scenes or acoustic versions to help get a bigger audience. Also make covers of popular songs that can show off your voice.

Streaming is the main way of making money with music, especially today. Try to get your music on as many platforms as possible and post the links on all of your social media. Another way of getting more people listening to your music is by getting your music on playlists.

Live performances is another way to get exposure to your music. Perform wherever you can, coffee shops, streets open mics, anywhere. Try to find new audiences that would enjoy your music.

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What you should bring to a co-writing session

  1. At a songwriting co-write session, you should be open. Co-writing is teamwork and you need to be prepared to take criticism and incorporate the other’s ideas.
  2. Be vulnerable. Songwriting is sometimes therapy for people and when co-writing you need to be vulnerable even thou it can be hard. Try to create a trusting and comfortable environment for the co-write.
  3. When going into a co-writing session you need to be prepared. Bring a book of song ideas and recordings of melodies to help kick start the session.
  4. In addition to being prepared, you need to know your co-writing partner. Know their strengths and weaknesses and listen to some of their music before the session.
  5. If you are writing with a certain artist in mind, know that artist. Listen to their previous songs and know their style, vocal range and genre.
  6. Figure out the royalty share before you write the song. In most cases it is 50/50, but in some negotiated cases, the percentages are different. Don’t be greedy, even thou you may feel you did more work, you wouldn’t have written the same song without them.
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Rhyming Lyrics

Rhyming is a very common and useful literary device in songwriting. It is a way to help your song flow and sound more connected. Rhyming is also useful for keeping your listeners interested in your song.

For songwriting, rhyming is useful for keeping you, as a songwriter, on your toes. It helps keep you creative by holding you in a literary trap to keep the pattern going. Rhyming helps songwriters come up with new and interesting ways to explain/say the same thing.

There are many different ways of rhyming not just the familiar sing, wing and way, say. Here are 10 different ways of rhyming!

  1. Assonant Rhyming: rhyming vowels, not consonants. (tip, limp and bowl, home)
  2. Consonant Rhyming: rhyming consonants, not vowels. (bell, ball)
  3. Eye Rhyming: Look, not sound. (move, love and food and good)
  4. Head Rhyming: Same consonant at the start of a word. (blue, blow)
  5. Light Rhyming: One rhyming syllable is stressed. (frog, dialog)
  6. Near Rhyming: The final consonants rhyme, but not the final vowels. (bent, rant)
  7. Rich Rhyming: The words sound the same but mean different things. (break, brake)
  8. Semi-rhyme Rhyming: there is an expat syllable on one word of the rhyme. (mend, ending)
  9. Syllabic Rhyming: The last syllable rhymes. (beaver, silver)
  10. Wrenched Rhyming: Rhymes a stressed with an unstressed syllable. (caring, wing and lady, bee)
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