They Already Did That – Diversifying Your Music from Trends and Cliches

Published on December 20th, 2016.
Article and Picture property of ReverbNation.

Unless the goal is to pay homage, it’s very hard for me to even appreciate an artist with no originality. Once I write off their creativity, their entire aesthetic starts to look like a cash crop. When I play shows with these bands, the smiles become fake and their performance becomes disingenuous. Even if they are genuine, I don’t find reason to listen to them more than once. They could be great musicians, but their album won’t touch my end-of-the-year lists.

Originality comes in diversity, I believe. And too often artists put themselves in a box – intentionally or not. But if you want your music to be remembered, you need it to be unique. Here are some tips that I’ve found help me escape the dull, boring blade of genericism.

Read the rest over on ReverbNation!



Originally published on December 12th, 2016.
Property of Soundfly.

I recently abandoned my email account and started an entirely new one because I was overwhelmed by the number of mailing lists I couldn’t seem to unsubscribe from, unsafe phishing emails, and spam. Starting over has helped me recognize which email marketing lists I missed being on and pinpoint which lists are working. Emails from bands like Direct Hit! and labels like Paper + Plastick Records always got through to me — I knew about upcoming releases and tour dates, and they rarely felt spammy. Since I play in several bands and have started to run a record label, myself, I’ve lately wondered if it was worth the time and effort to set up and start writing my own mailing list.

Naturally, I figured it was best to crowdsource the answer to this question, so I asked Vinnie Fiorello from Paper + Plastick, Tony Shrum from New Noise Magazine, and Nick Woods from Direct Hit! to give me some feedback. All three kindly obliged.

First, though, I want to look at some of the claims Oshinsky made in his article about email marketing and how I think it might relate (or not relate) to those of us involved in the music industry.

Read the rest over here!

Using your Non-Business College Degree in Business

Originally published on November 30th (USA)/December 1st (UK).
Article published on

I went to a private liberal arts college that, for all intents and purposes, required me to get multiple minors. While I majored in Business with a focus in Marketing, I also hold minors in Creative Writing and Psychology. Speaking from experience, Business – as a general study – leaves a lot of room for influence from other studies. Literature, Music, History, Science, Philosophy – all of these studies offer skills that matter and are useful in a business field. I would argue that it’s important, if not necessary, to be well rounded, though.

If you can analyze your job and your field from an outside perspective, you’ll have a better overall perception of each deal and decision you make. And “liberal arts” degrees will help provide the thinking skills to make high-level decisions in the business world. I thought we could go a bit more simple than that and cover some broad university studies and how they can help with business specifically. Here are some examples of how other fields of study can inform your business career positively.

Read the whole thing here!

Street Team Marketing: Here to Stay or Fading Away?

This article was published on November 29th, 2016.

The article is property of Brown Paper Tickets.

Growing up in independent music, I heard the word “street team” thrown around quite a bit. Fans signed up for a band or label’s street team and got a package of stickers, buttons, maybe some t-shirts and posters and informed friends and others about said musical entity. Street team members got into shows or VIP events for free and were continually sent free merchandise, and all they had to do is tell people about records and upcoming shows.

With the social media era however, street teams have mostly faded out … or so I thought.

Read the rest here!

How the Arts are Shaping Education

Originally published on November 22nd, 2016.
Article published on

I believe that ideally, a good teacher knows how to engage the right and left sides of their brain to present an idea accurately and entertainingly. After all, what else is a teacher than a purposed educator? The creative side and the book-smart side of one’s self must collaborate to properly inform students, so that they may care about what they’re learning as well as retain it. That said, I’ve noticed more and more artists becoming teachers.

Being involved with independent music myself, I can name a few off the top of my head: Alfred Brown IV from Dangers (Writing Professor at University of Southern California), Aaron Weiss from mewithoutYou (Education Professor at Temple University in Philadelphia), Greg Graffin from Bad Religion (Life Science Professor at UCLA), and Mike Armine from Rosetta (high school teacher of Psychology, Sociology, and American Government). That’s not where it stops though – painters, poets, actors, and filmmakers often enter education as a stable way to make money and teach people their crafts. Because of this, the arts are changing education as we know it for the better.

Read the rest over here at Broowaha!

7 Tips for Making Money On Tour

Originally published on November 18th, 2016.
Article edited and published by
Picture belongs to Young, Planetary.

If you’re starting to tour, that indicates you’ve played quite a few shows locally (or at least you should have). Typically this means you have opened for touring bands traveling through your hometown and hopefully you’ve made some friends and connections from doing so. Since you played with them and promoted their show in your hometown, often those bands will do the same as a favor to you. Make a point to try to get them onto your show when you hit their town.

Generally this is simply a matter of asking the promoters if your chosen band can play. Ideally they’ll say yes, but sometimes they won’t. Too many shows get bad locals booked because the promoters don’t care. Be proactive to see if you can have say in choosing some of the bands, and if the promoter is open to that, take advantage of the opportunity.

Read the rest at Pyragraph!


Three Ways the Internet Hates Your Band

Originally published on November 10th, 2016.
Article was published on

Even in an age where musicians and music fans have taken a LOT back (see: Bandcamp, and even how small ticket websites are destroying ticket monopolies), corporate giants still like to screw over bands and independent music as a whole for a quick buck. They don’t necessarily need to, but they do, and we’re forced to adapt. This list isn’t a “how to” list as much as it’s a “what’s already happening” list, but I do have a few suggestions along the way.

Read the rest over here!

Album Review: NOFX – “First Ditch Effort”

Article originally published on October 31st, 2016.
Property of Dying Scene. 

Of course musically NOFX is still NOFX. They still have their trademark mix of slop and pop and while some might worry that they’re “maturing”, don’t fear! The subject matter is more honest, but they’re still written like you would expect NOFX to write them. It’s still counter culture, still challenging, and still a punk rock album.

First Ditch Effort has some of the best songs NOFX have ever written, in my opinion. It’s notably catchy but also aggressive when it needs to be, keeping you on your toes most of the way through.

Read the whole thing over at Dying Scene!

Some Simple Suggestions About Inequality and Education


Originally published on November 1st, 2016.
Article is property of

Some families, believe it or not, don’t have home computers now days. Some have only one, but it isn’t enough for the whole family to use as much as they need. As fantastic as it is that children are taught at a young age how to type and use various programs in a school’s computer lab, computer mandatory work outside of class becomes a problem when students don’t have access to a computer.Again, not that education should be slowed down – but there needs to be more ways for students to use a computer if they don’t have one. Maybe schools should be striking deals with local libraries and the like for free computer use (some make you pay). If they have the budget, providing laptops for in class use may be ideal, which I’ve also seen done before. How late are the school libraries or computer labs open? Maybe try offering less computer work, and if not that, more time to get it done.

Read the rest here.

The Human Market

Originally published on November 1st, 2016.
This article originally appeared on defines marketing as “a form of communication between you and your customers with the goal of selling your product or service to them.” Often, when we think about marketing we focus on the “selling your product or service” part. However, our keyword should actually be “communication”, which not enough marketing firms focus on, though some are beginning to. We often base our marketing strategies purely on numbers – what percentage of people from this community like our type of product, how often A works and B fails, what sales reports say, etc. Don’t get me wrong, those things are very important. You should never completely discount statistics (always fact check!). However, the market is human – it’s made up of individuals with differences and changing thoughts, ideas, character traits, and interests. People cannot accurately be summed up in a few pages of numbers and percentage signs. Here’s some things to remember about this human market.

Read the rest!