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!
Come in the studio with me as I work with George Leger III at his Utopia Parkway studio to record the final vocals on my upcoming new single “Touch”. Get a sneak peek of what it’s like in the studio and working with a good friend from Canada who helps create some awesome magic.
Find out who I got one of the guitars used on the song from. Figure out a particular guitar riff I play while waiting for George. Hint, it’s from an amazing guitarist out of Texas.
Enjoy the video:
Transcript of what I said in the video:
This is the really condensed version of how I became the first non-signed artist on iTunes.
Derek Sivers started a little company called CD Baby a bunch of years ago in order to help independent musicians sell their music on the web. I didn’t want him to sell my music when he first contacted me. So he actually hounded me for four months before I finally relented and started selling CDs on his website.
CD Baby was originally more of a Windows, Linux, kind of a platform and I’ve always been an Apple guy. Any time there was an issue with the website I would contact Derek and have him try to fix it, so that it would work for Apple customers.
Over the course of a few years Derek and I got to be really good friends. One day a few years ago I was driving down to the NAMM show in LA and Derek called me while I was driving in my car. He calls up and he says “Guess where I am?” And I throw out a couple of random answers and Derek is like “No. It’s not there. No, it’s not there.” And eventually he tells me that it’s Cupertino and he’s about to meet Steve Jobs at Apple.
So I’m like “Fuck You.” (laughter). Because I’ve always wanted to meet Steve and unfortunately as we now know, Steve is no longer around. And the reason he was up there is because Apple wanted to bring in the CD Baby catalog to the iTunes catalog. So that they could pump up their numbers and make them sound really big. Because everyone wanted to have a million tracks and nobody had it with all the major label songs.
A couple of months later Derek calls me up again and he says “Are you in front of your computer?” And I say “Yes I am.” I type in the URL that he gives me and low and behold it is a little special place on CD Baby to find out how you can fill out all of your information to send your music to iTunes. I filled out the information. I hit send and Derek calls me back and says “Congratulations. You are the very first person in the database going to iTunes!” And I’m like yeah. Actually I didn’t actually do that, but it felt like I needed to say that just now.
The next step was to wait around until the music actually got uploaded to iTunes. Unfortunately Apple was dragging their feet and Derek was having problems with a guy by the name of Moses Avalon, who was creating all kinds of trouble.
Couple of months later, Derek calls me up again and he says “I’m thinking I want to dump the whole digital distribution thing. Because all I ever wanted to do was sell CDs.” And I’m like, “Derek, you don’t want to do that dude. Digital distribution is the future.”
The decision was made to stick with the digital distribution. Derek decided that it would be a wise idea to return everybody’s money. In the end, what ended up happening was, Derek returned everybody’s money and people still got to go to iTunes through CD Baby. And I ended up being the very first person in the database to go to iTunes.
And that is how you are now able to get on iTunes. Thanks to a guy like me.