Part two in my getting great guitar tones in MainStage talks about creating multi amp setups. Imagine if you could take the amplifier rigs of people like The Edge, Joe Bonamassa, Aerosmith, Joe Satriani, and reduce them down to a single laptop with a midi foot controller. You can. Watch and find out how.
Multi Amp Setup
This is scratching the surface of what this software is capable of doing. See me live and join the revolution in guitar tone by utilizing multi amp setups to achieve big sounds.
I’ve been on vacation and little bit under the weather for the past several weeks, aside from my appearance at the UMAs.
Dancin To DNCE
I’ve been helping my mom and sister with the building of a cool little vacation shack in the city of Torrey. It prides itself on being “The Middle of Nowhere”. Actually its right next door to a stunning national park called Capital Reef.
I shirked my musician responsibilities for a couple of weeks and donned my builder’s theory. I’m not a construction worker, but I played one for a couple of weeks. During the process I got to roll around in the dirt while playing with insulation and plywood. No. Really. I did roll in dirt in confined areas attempting to do stuff. Did it work? I think so.
Unfortunately, though I was wearing a breathing filter mask, I still took in a lot of dirt and probably some insulation as well. Shortly thereafter I came down with bronchitis. If there’s anything that sucks more for someone who sings for part of their living – its not being able to breath. Add to it the fact that you get to cough violently in the vain attempt of expelling whatever is filling your lungs with goo.
[sarcasm]Happy Happy Joy Joy[/sarcasm]
The end result actually is that we now have a really cool place to get away from civilization. Really get away from it. Real silence.
At night the stars are incredible. To the point where its extremely easy to see the arm of the Milky Way and a veritable plethora of stars, constellations, and pin dots in the black sky of night.
I’ve rambled… Back to DNCE.
A few days back, I was finally starting to feel better. Cough was abating. Nose not so stuffy. I hopped in the shower after putting on Apple Music (yes, I’m a music streamer). In the middle of the shower a song came on. It had me feeling so good that I literally started dancing in the shower. Before the song ended I stepped out of the shower as I wanted to know what I was listening to.
I dried my fingers and hit the home button on my iPad and it revealed that I was listening to Cake By The Ocean by DNCE.
I finished my shower, toweled off. Then tweeted about how I felt so good I was dancing to Cake By The Ocean by DNCE. Who’d a thunk. I looked up the twitter account for them. So new that it had very few followers. But people started RTing and Faving my tweet about the song and about DNCE.
As it turns out DNCE is a little project of one of the Jonas Brothers and another guitar player that I’m following on Instagram is playing for them. Go figure.
Its a weird title for a song. I wanna say its fitting they’re calling themselves DNCE, but it’s a bit to “hip” to be removing the ‘A’ from the title. Whatever. If a song can get me to dance in the shower – it doesn’t really happen – then they’re doing something right. Right?
Another Open Letter For Apple
Dear Apple & Taylor Swift,
A kind thank you goes out to Eddy Cue for taking swift action (pun intended), or rather reaction to the open letters from Taylor Swift and many other artists in regard to Apple about Apple Music and their non payment of royalties to artists during the trial phase of an account.
Here’s his three tweet response to Taylor Swift and Indie Musicians:
@cue: #AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period
@cue: We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple”
Eddy / Apple Music obviously felt more of a sting from Taylor Swift than they did from musicians like me. For that, I am happy to have Taylor speak up about something all musicians should be more vocal about.
Personally I don’t allow my music to be on services that pay no royalty at all. While I can understand why others aren’t happy with Spotify’s freemium model – I actually like it. I’m very interested in seeing how Apple Music can differentiate itself from the herd and build a product people want to use.
In referencing what I tweeted last night: Thank you Apple, Apple Music @cue and Taylor Swift for Thinking Different. I appreciate that a company can see the forrest for the trees and make good for the very art they’re attempting to build their platform with. If only all the other services did the same thing. I only support those that do. However the streaming landscape pans out, I will have my music on the services that properly compensate artists and people use and pay for. That you can count on.
Thank you for reading this, supporting my music and I hope see you in the streaming future!
Open Letter To Apple & Apple Music:
That’s right Apple Music, time to listen up from the trenches.
Do the right thing.
Dear Apple & Apple Music,
I’ve been using your products for a long time. I’ve enjoyed every computer, iPhone, and iPad that I have had in my possession. I’ve defended your business on many an occasion whether it be on price or about your software. In doing so, I’m quite sure that I have helped your business grow to the behemoth that it is now – the richest corporation in the world.
I have purchased and I still purchase your products to create the music I put into the world. I respect your business and it should be compensated appropriately – even when you purchase a company I had an endorsement with (Emagic) and you in-turn disband their endorsements. I still buy those products I use to create the music you need for your service.
I was excited when I helped CD Baby create the path for artists to be a part of iTunes. Which I saw as a way to level the playing field between those signed on major labels and those who opted to avoid them.
However, the recent news of your Apple Music streaming service has me befuddled.
How can the richest corporation that once heralded the arts and their creators, especially music, now drive a stake through our hearts? Seriously. Apple & Apple Music, asking those of us without major label deals to forego royalties for 3 months is OUTRAGEOUS. Its reprehensible. To put it mildly its thievery. The humor is Taylor Swift, an artist who could actually weather this type of “lull” in her income, has also stood up in solidarity about this injustice.
Mind you Apple & Apple Music, I’m a massive proponent for streaming. Its where music is going, I fully understand it and welcome it with open arms. But what I do not understand, is how you can place such a burden on the very people that create the content you need to make your streaming business actually work. At least Spotify pays on their “freemium” model, and pays quite well.
Apple, Apple Music, or more directly Tim Cook/Eddie Cue, unless you’re going to start giving me computers, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches for free 3 month trials and subsequent lower payment rates – I see no plausible reason why I, or any of my colleagues, should give you the labors of hard work to promote your business for free. That’s bad business. Its bad enough that you won’t allow non-signed artists to get promotion on the iTunes store [nor likely in Apple Music either]. Its bad enough that you won’t allow us to sign our own small labels directly with you (forcing us to use 3rd parties to distribute our catalogs to you at additional cost to us and introducing more middle men into the system). Treating us like 3rd world citizens despite the fact that non-signed music represents more than ⅔ of your catalog over the major labels is, what I call, classism at the expense of art.
This is what I [and I’m sure many of my fellow musicians who do believe in streaming] would ask of you: Think Different and Do The Right Thing Apple Music.
What is “Do The Right Thing Apple Music” you might ask?
Simple: Pay us our paltry royalty for every stream regardless of the 3 month trials you’re offering. Hell, right now you’re getting a discounted royalty rate as it is; as has been set by Congress. Paying us (writers, publishers, producers, artists) out of the billions in your hoard of cash reserves should not be a problem for you. While at the same time it will prove to your customers that you have a service worth paying for because our musical art is there and properly compensated.
So I ask you to Think Different, Apple Music… and do the RIGHT thing.
The age old dilemma for musicians going it alone without a record label often wonder how they can call attention to their music. Musicians working on surviving in today’s music business are attempting to figure out where things are going. The biggest issue is often what happens after they get the music written, recorded, and are ready to release.
If there is someone who had a more direct line on what did and didn’t work for musicians forging a path without a record label, I don’t know who it would be. The best source for such information is Derek Sivers. He created CD Baby. He helped to usher in the paradigm of the music industry with allow non-signed artists a platform for selling CDs away from their shows.
Derek ushered in another change when he gave CD Baby artists an avenue to get their music onto iTunes (albeit, he had a little coaxing from me as well). Which is still one of the better platforms to use for most non-signed artists to get their music onto iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.
Derek wrote a book called “How To Call Attention To Your Music” and put it up on his website sivers.org as a free publication for any interested musicians. I recently decided to take a look at it and realized this book is in PDF format. Great format for a wide range of portability. However, many of us are now using more modern devices like iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Kindle readers, eReaders, etc. Thus I took a few minutes out of my day today to convert the book into EPUB format. That way, everyone who is interested in Derek’s sage advice can now read it in iBooks, Kindle, Nook, etc. Like it was a real book that can be paged through on an electronic device.
As per Derek’s page for getting the book, I’m making it available for others to have as well. I would really appreciate it if you would sign up on my email list (http://hearjody.com) if you grab this copy of the book in EPUB format. Mostly because it’s a cool thing to do for someone that took the conversion step out of making it easy to read on your favorite eBook reader.
Now go forth and rise above!
p.s. – welcome to May!
State Of Music From 2013
It’s December 31st and of course that means we’re closing out 2013. I got a hair in my quiche to write out some thoughts on what happened musically for the industry and for myself. There’s a shift in the universe going on for the industry. I’m working on staying ahead of the curve and do what I can to make 2014 my breakout year from consumer obscurity.
A year ago I was making the finishing touches on a group of 18 songs that had been whittled down from 72 songs. I had people voting on the songs they liked most and pointing me in a new direction for the music I create. A definite change on how I’ve been approaching what music I release after I’ve created.
I ended up doing a song in February as a take on an internet meme. The meme that poked a little fun about Taylor Swift and the sheer number of guys she’s been through in the public forum of celebrity scrutiny. The end result was a quick song and a mashup of photos for a video to go with it (Maybe You’re The Problem). After pushing it to YouTube it actually went a bit viral – at least for me. It got a lot hate, it also got a lot of love.
Shortly thereafter I got into a situation where I was talked into attempting a crowd-funding drive to make a push to fund the new music that I had all demoed and picked. There was a month of refocusing my site and all my social media presence – much needed. Then came two months of time getting the whole thing setup. That included reading books about doing it right, shooting videos, getting levels and items sorted out. All of this was supposed to get a real nice run up with interviews and TV appearances.
Unfortunately I should have pulled the plug before it started. Early on, when I was dangled with the TV stuff, I also had a separate hookup for a very nice TV interview. I contacted the PR company and asked for answers to questions the reporter was peppering me with prior to getting the interview scheduled. The PR company dropped the ball and left me hanging on questions I couldn’t answer. Additionally they pushed the start date of the campaign and moved it more than 4 times over 3 weeks. I should have known right then and there it was gonna be a problem. But because it was a friend who I was dealing with at the PR firm, I decided I’d overlook that and plow ahead. BAD IDEA.
Needless to say, everything that could have gone wrong, did. Though I had other marketing consultant friends tell me that the execution of the videos, and such was as perfect as can be… It still failed due to a strong lack of follow through from the PR firm. I ended up spending a bunch of money with zero return. Additionally it wasted nearly 6 months of my life as I had to put so much time into it.
After floundering with the crowd-funding, I had to rethink how to get the music out in an efficient manner. I decided to take each song as a single and really focus each one. The first song I jumped on is Touch. In October I got Touch finally recorded thanks in large part to George Leger III. In November I got it all mixed and mastered. In December I shot the lyric videos for it. I got the video of the making of the song edited. Come January of 2014 I’m hoping to get the music video shot so that I can finally get this first single released and start a cycle of 12 new singles with videos released in 2014. That is the goal.
From a sales standpoint 2013 has seen a steady increase for me, but the real increase has been streaming. Not bad considering the fact I didn’t get to perform as many shows as I would have liked.
It’s no secret that I hold a bit of disdain for Pandora. They’re doing everything they can to fuck the very people that they have created their business around – the musicians. Asking the U.S. congress to reduce the royalty rates of a discounted rate they already had. Happiness is that congress didn’t fall for it. However Pandora recently won a lawsuit that could really fuck up the way musicians get paid for their hard work.
On the flip side, I actually really like Spotify, due to a change of mind and heart. Actually I like a lot of streaming services other than Pandora (i.e. X-Box, Deezer, iTunes Radio, Amazon Cloud, et al). The reason why? They’re all doing the right thing, paying for streams and getting the appropriate licenses to do so. Something the big P isn’t doing. The reason why I know quite a bit about the royalty streams is that I control almost all the music I’ve ever written.
The rest of the industry during this past year has been turned even further on it’s ear. First with a summer hit where the artist decided to proactively sue another before they got sued. Hello?!? Robin Thicke with Blurred Lines. Nothing like having interviews saying you were listening to a particular song in the studio before you created a song that sounds just like another song, then sue the original artist about it. That’s pretty fucked up.
Next comes the phoenix of Miley Cyrus. Talk about a brilliant remaking of a child star. While so many people got caught up in the hubbub of what she was doing, most completely missed the fact that it was heavily calculated. It was so obvious and fun to watch, like the MTV awards and Wrecking Ball. Less than a week ago it was still happening with the song Adore You.
If I back it up a little further, I can say that it was interesting to see David Bowie, Jay-Z, Paul McCartney, and even the most insane nut of the entire industry Kanye West, all release full CDs. What happened in each case was lots of hype in the run up, then about a month worth of a real sales spike and then the precipitous drop. What does this mean? Even the superstars can’t push an album for more than a month any more, not even when spouting inane crap from the mind of an oppressed schizophrenic (Kanye). Precisely why I’m switching to a string of singles. Wonder if the rest of the industry will figure it out in 2014. Even amongst my musician friends – they’re still thinking in terms of whole albums.
The surprise of the year has to go to Beyonce. How a superstar of her status could keep a whole album and set of videos under wraps like she did, is nothing short of spectacular. The release was equally as cool, but only something that could be gotten away with by a star. Unknown artists do this all the time and no one cares. It’s now been done and the cache is over. So over in fact, that retail outlets have refused to sell the physical disc. Big business can be so fucked up – so much so that music from 2013 needs apparently needed a jumpstart from a very large car battery that couldn’t be found.
Personally I’m really looking forward to 2014. I’m putting my mouth where my money is on being different, much like when I became the first non-signed artist on iTunes – thank you Derek Sivers & CD Baby. This time it’s releasing a string of singles with videos and no album/CD.
The first song (Touch) is really taking my friends, and those who have heard it, by surprise. This is a fantastic thing, especially when everyone is saying it’s something they never expected but that they really dig it. Mega plus!
Another event that I’m happy about is called MusicSlam. A 9 day music networking, education, and festival event. I’ve been working on it as an idea for several years. 2013 is where it starting coming to fruition. MusicSlam got it’s permits in mid November and within weeks we will be taking submissions to fill the 100 spots we have for performers.
See ya in 2014, in music, in video, in pictures, on the road, and at MusicSlam.
What a strange week it’s been. Finally got all the mixes back on the new single. Thanksgiving where we usually give thanks for what we’ve got. Black Friday and the multiple stories of people being their utmost rotten. Then the death of my grandmother and the death of Paul Walker. Craziness all around. Some real oddities in life, that’s for sure.
First off, I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday (if you’re stateside). I know I enjoyed mine. I didn’t do much of the cooking this time around, but I did make dinner rolls from scratch. Yes, I did end up using fresh ground wheat to make the flour. Tasty little morsels.
I’ve never been one to participate in the ritual of Black Friday. This year was no exception. What scares me about America is the utter nonsense that people display. Especially on the day after the day of Thanksgiving, or in the asinine example of places like WalMart where they’re now starting on Thanksgiving itself – sad. I hate seeing/hearing the stories about people trampling others, punching others, and being downright disrespectful to others all because they want to buy something. That’s insanity.
All the mixes are back on the new single. Currently having a small group of people vote on which mix they like best so I can send it off for mastering. So exciting. Absolutely psyched to be filming a video for it very soon.
As you’re about to find out, I’m having to postpone shooting the video for my new single Touch.
Black Friday takes a different meaning for me this year. My grandmother passed away. The last grandparent had a stroke earlier this year and she’s finally gone on to the next phase of what happens when you die. Due to her passing, I’m having to reschedule the shoot of the video for Touch.
Then last night I got word of Paul Walker’s passing. What a shame. He was a fun actor to watch. I certainly enjoyed a lot of his movies. Even got to be a part of Fast & Furious 5 for the preview and voting on the movie. What a tragedy that he had to go in a speeding car crashing into a tree. If the reports are accurate and the photos are correct, I would hope that he passed before the resulting fire.
Stay tuned for more good news coming soon. Till then, be well.
Last year I did a little experiment. For the month of October my goal was to watch a horror movie a day. I actually ended up watching a few more than that. Some were classics that I had seen before like Friday the 13th, Halloween, High Tension, Amityville, etc. Others were a bit more obscure and not really worth mentioning. Essentially my month of October in 2012 was a month of Horror Overload while working on music.
Fast forward 11 months to October 2013 and this time around I had a small inkling of wanting to do the same thing. I never put the plan into motion. I got so busy that I ended up not seeing a single horror flick at all. Halloween came and went with not so much as a whimper.
I’m guessing that I overdid it last year and this year paid the price. Actually the price was time in the recording studio knocking out vocals on a new tune that is coming soon. A tune that has absolutely nothing to do with horror. It’s called Touch. I’m very excited about it. So much so, that as I was leaving the studio each day I was smiling because it was coming together so nicely. It still is. The last of the vocal parts should be getting finished up this Sunday. After which I’ll spend a couple of days tweaking the mix and then finally sending it off to the master of mastering John Rodd.
All this is to say that I let the horror holiday come and go whilst I was busy working on material for the good people of earth. Come next year I hope to be putting more time into some horror adventures. Until then, get ready for a smokin’ catchy-ass song. Don’t let Jason get you before you get a chance to hear it and see it.
Video is coming soon!
One of the interesting things about the internet is having to be careful with how you approach your social media from a naming standpoint. As a musician I’m using my name as my brand. Thus when I sign up for a service, I make sure to grab my name. While my name isn’t wholly common, I do want to make sure I’m in control of it. Recently I’ve stepped up my diligence for getting all services on the same page so to speak with the vanity urls.
Vanity URLs On Social Media
Most social media platforms tend to allow for what are known as vanity URLs. That means you can choose the URL on their dot com space that leads back to your little portion of their service. For example on Twitter I have twitter.com/jodywhitesides which makes it easy for people who learn of my music to find me on twitter by using my name. Same goes for other sites as well. Some are kinda backwards, like Tumblr where the vanity URL is actually in front like this: jodywhitesides.tumblr.com.
Because of a new string of singles I’m going to be recording and shooting videos for, I wanted to ‘fix’ my YouTube vanity URL. Back in the day, for some reason that I no longer recall, I chose jwhitesides. Which made my YouTube URL youtube.com/jwhitesides. Not bad, but certainly doesn’t fall in line with being consistent on the brand. I am a YouTube partner, and I’m working on getting further into the YouTube system. However, the process of grabbing a vanity URL and having YouTube mask it was beyond silly. I went through the necessary steps to get it done, yet somehow it didn’t work. To rectify the situation I started a whole new channel as a new user under YouTube.com/jodywhitesides. My reasoning on it is – with the old channel, which I’ll keep, I’ll do goofy personal things. With the new channel it will be my official music channel with consistent branding. Of course I’m essentially starting from scratch with gaining subscribers, but as the French say “c’est la vie.”
Of course I’m focusing on the biggies, twitter, youtube and Facebook. In the last paragraph I mentioned the YouTube issue. The last bastion to getting all of this consistent was Facebook. When I first got on Facebook, they didn’t have anything but personal profiles. So when they offered vanity URLs, I snagged Facebook.com/jodywhitesides not knowing that in the future of FB they would offer Pages that were more band and career oriented over the personal page. When pages came along, I essentially stuck my head in the sand and kept my personal profile rather than switching the whole thing over to a page and starting a new personal page. Don’t ask me why, again I don’t remember and thinking about it, it probably had more to do with a lack of really using FB.
The big issue with Facebook is that they make nothing clear about how to do certain things on their site. I think they do this on purpose because they make their money on people being stupid and not being in control. It is what it is. I did figure out that you can change your vanity URL on any Facebook address – but only once! My thought process was, hey, I can change my person page to a new vanity URL and that should open up my /jodywhitesides URL so that I can then have the Page for my music grab it and be done with it. No need to ever change again.
So I created a new vanity URL for my private page. Something utterly useless from a social media standpoint and something I did on purpose as I’d rather not be adding people to the private page. Thanks Facebook for announcing that privacy is now no longer possible as of today. The switch in URL on the private page worked and I thought great, now I can go to the Page and make the switch there to – complete my trifecta.
Facebook was telling me that the /jodywhitesides URL was taken! WTF?!? Because if you tried going to Facebook.com/jodywhitesides it led to a URL not valid page. Meaning it was empty. My quest took another step where I attempted to submit the issue to their help center. What a gigantic waste of time that was. Multiple submittals resulted in nada, zip, zero. Could friends come to the rescue? I posted about my dilemma and bingo two friends of mine were friends with people who work at Facebook. Both contacted their respective friends in an attempt to get my issue to the appropriate channel to fix it. Person 1 from FB to step forward provided me with an email address to send my request to.
Off I went explaining the whole issue to this email address and cc’ing the guy on. Waited and unfortunately no response. I messaged him again and he said – I’m guessing they didn’t respond. Nope.
Person two originally came back to my other friend saying – I don’t work there anymore. Then out of the blue two days ago I get a message from my friend who got a message from person two saying. Got it, the issue should be fixed in 3 to 4 working days. I did a little internal victory dance. In less than 3 days, two actually, I got the vanity URL thing fixed with Facebook. Now I’m consistent across the board on all my social media.
My next goal is to get the silly verified thing at Facebook. Not sure how that happens yet, but alas – at least I have two friends that know somebody that could get me the info. Hell I’m verified at Twitter – would seem that alone would be enough for Facebook to say Ok cool you’re already verified on one social service, we should verify you too. I suppose I’ll be writing a post about that when it happens.
I’m happy with the current situation and it makes it hella easier in interviews to say I’m at blah blah service dot com /jodywhitesides. Bingo. Done. Move on.
As you may know, Apple made some announcements today about their iPhone product line. I’m betting that the iPhone 5 ends up being the shortest lived iPhone in Apple’s history. Well, maybe except for the 3 and the 3G. I’ve got my eye on the iPhone 5s with its awesome new tech specs. Beyond that, I’m excited to see what comes of Apple’s new service inside of iOS 7 called iTunes Radio.
Several months back I had gotten what are known as NOI’s. A notice of intent to get a compulsory license for my catalog. It’s been a steady stream of services getting into the streaming service. One such service caught my eye – Apple. I found an NOI in my inbox coming from Apple. That made me think, wow, they’re finally going to get into the streaming game. Long before it was actually announced via any rumor site. I felt like I had a little bit of an inside scoop. 🙂
What’s The Deal
As Apple puts it, it’s radio re-imagined. You’ll be able to pick your own station, much like you can with another service that starts with a P. I’m getting a feeling that it will be like a cross between the P service and another service called Spotify. The immediate differences is that you’ll get super quick purchasing direct from iTunes. It’s like the best of both worlds inside one service.
Other Cool Features
Besides your ability to start a Jody Whitesides station 😉 is the ability to use Siri to play a song and start a new station. Use your mouth to get at your music as fast as you can! There will be iTunes Radio exclusives. Hopefully in the not to distant future, I’ll be able to be a part of that with some of the new music I’m creating for you now. One of the other features that makes this cool for the end user is no ads to listen to with the music. I wonder how long that will last?
Looking forward to seeing all of this when it arrives on September 18th in just over a week. The music world takes on another change for the better for the consumer!