Behind The Beat | The Top Instrumental Hip Hop Sites













Check out the top instrumental Hip Hop sites on the web.


Play Music Festivals

If you’re an independent musicians thinking of playing music festivals, let be the first to tell you, you need to be at these events as often as possible. Why you ask, because music festivals are just down right cool. It’s one of the only places that brings together potentially thousands of people all with the same music interests and likes. There are currently over five hundred music festivals going on throughout the year, so finding on that appeals to your music taste should be no problem at all.If you’re new and just starting out with your music, I would recommend just attending the list of music festivalsas a guest the first year so you can get an idea of how they flow and the general overview of the festival itself. Try and pay attention to every detail possible, especially what’s going on backstage. Once you start taking notice to how things work, you’ll be really surprised by the amount of work that goes into putting the event together and making sure it goes off without a hitch. Just seeing this will make you appreciate the people that are working these events when you start you trying to play them yourself.Once you have an idea of how music festivals work, now the real work starts for those who have goals of playing at music festivals going on throughout the year. The first step would be create a document of all the music festivals going on that feature your style of music. You’ll need to learn all important information that you can about the festival, that includes the main contact person, their email and possible phone number. Once you have this info, you’re ready to begin.

To begin the process of reaching out to potential music festivals for performing interests, you’ll need to go back to your document and see how the festivals prefers to except submissions from music acts interested in performing. Once you’ve located the proper area to submit your music for consideration, you’ll need to submit your stuff and wait for a response. I know it sounds simple, but that’s really all there is to it. If you don’t hear back from the event coordinator by the end of the first month of your submission, now it’s OK to reach out with a personal email and ask did they receive your submission and have they considered using your band for their festival.

Radio Promo Insights

Radio play for an artist is an important medium to utilize in order to gain recognition, either nationally or locally. There are different types of radio formats, and they all can be useful in different ways.Commercial radio has been known as the dominant format in terms of popularity. Their format relies on garnering the biggest demographic in their area possible in order to be properly funded by advertisements and commercials during the programs. In order to gain popularity in their area, they exclusively play the most popular songs that fits in with their station’s specific genre of music. Following the payola scandal in the 1950’s, music is now programmed and scheduled by a central music director, which obtains permissions for all of the music that they play. DJ’s and On-Air Personalities have little control of what music is played, and have seen a reduced role in radio, which is now to label songs and various talk shows. Some radio stations have adapted late night programs that feature local artists in order to target the local music scene demographic. While this is true, commercial radio stations typically focus on playing the music that will gain them the biggest audience, thus music that is already popular.

Public radio is also another format. The main difference between commercial radio and public radio is that the government and donations fund public radio, while sponsors and advertisements provide sponsorship for commercial radio. This allows public radio to not only to program different content, but also not air commercials. Just about every major city in the United States has a public radio station, and they are known to better promote their city’s local music scene. This proves to be an easier way for local artists to get airplay, though typically through a smaller audience base. The great thing about local public radio stations is that they tend to throw a lot of quality events in their city, and are always seeking good talent to showcase.

Satellite radio is a more recent format, being just over 10 years old. This subscription-based format eliminates all commercials, and offers a variety of stations to the user based on genre, style or topic. Satellite radio offers many more options than traditional radio, and is able to play more content throughout the day. The great thing about satellite radio is that their content is not government regulated, as commercial radio’s is.  With this, you receive a much bigger variety of content. In terms of gaining recognition through satellite radio, it is usually up to the DJ or station director to choose the music, and doesn’t take submissions. There might be a few smaller stations that do, but for the most part their doors are closed.

Currently, the quickest growing radio market is Internet radio. Officially, it started back in the mid 90’s when a few local stations started streaming online, but started to become prominent in the recent decade with many Internet based radio stations starting. Their format of radio is slightly different than the others, as it is almost acts as a melting pot for other formats. Users can pick a genre or artist to base their radio station off of, and they will continue to hear new music based on their selection. They can also choose between having a subscription to the radio, and hearing commercials every so often to offset the cost of providing free music to listeners. Obviously, there is no official DJ running each station, so the programming is mostly based around the users choices. The biggest benefit for being an artist featured on this is the fact that it can be accessed nation wide, and the demographic possibilities for this is almost endless.

3 Tips On Becoming A Better Music Artist

The saying: beauty is all in the eyes of the beholder has many truth to it, the saying has even more truth to it when thinking about musical art. With so many different styles and genres of music available today, finding artists who are just what you’re looking for is easier than it has ever been. However, if you’re the artist, how do you know what you’re putting out is good enough for the people who find your type of work appealing to their senses.This article will give artists a few tips on how to become a better artists within the area they feel most comfortable in. Lets start with tip one. The first step you should do to ensure you become a better artist is to observe other works of arts that appeal to you and your sense and think deeply as to why you like that certain piece of art, after a while doing this, you’ll notice certain elements that are almost always found within works of art that grab your attention.

The next tip is also very simple, but require a little bit of team work to pull off. You’ll need to peers that have the same interests musically as you do and have them listen to your music art piece to give you some feedback and critics on what area could be better.

The last tip is actually the next natural step in the process of making your music art piece better. You’ll need to take the notes your peers gave you from there listening session and rework that sections of your art piece. Once you have the song reworked from the feedback of your peers, now all you have to do is repeat this process over and over until you feel you’re making strides forward on being an artists.

Getting to Know the New A&R

A&R has always been one of the most misunderstood aspects of the music industry.  Heck, a lot of people don’t even know what A&R stands for (Artist and Repertoire, taken from the days where an A&R reps job was to link songwriters up with a performing artist).  In the past, the most commonly known aspect of an A&R reps job was discovering unsigned talent and getting them a record deal, which was partially true.  Today, you don’t even have to leave your couch to discover new music, but musicians still salivate at the thought of getting their music discovered by an A&R rep.  Truth is there aren’t that many major record labels anymore, meaning less A&R departments, meaning an even less chance of being discovered by one of them.  It has been said by many in the industry that in the digital age, A&R is dead.  However, like most facets of the music business, the digital age has merely transformed it.  Now there is a new definition of how A&R works.

Back in “golden years”, A&R used to serve as the middleman between the artist and record label and work very closely with the artist.  They would discover a band, convince the record executives to sign them, find the band a record producer and studio, and help develop many aspects of the artists career such as style, promotion and marketing.  Today, thanks to the internet, most of that can be done by the artist themselves.  Today, recording hardware and software is cheap, accessible, and can be easily run by monkeys, marketing and promotion can be done through social media websites and digital distribution, and now every major player in the business wont even acknowledge you unless you already have some self-made clout.  So now, who is A&R for?  Record labels?  Artists?  Do A&R services even exist anymore?

The answer is yes.  Although there are a lot less of major labels, the power of an A&R rep is diminished, and the web has provided an easy way to discover music, these labels still have a few A&R reps that have new methods for discovering new artists, and are used to filter though the watered-down internet.  In the independent label world, old school A&R is still used, and actually still a very relevant way to scout new talent.  The best example of this is indie label XL Recordings discovery, development, and utmost support of Adele a few years ago.  She is still with XL, and very successful.  Other than that, the face of A&R has changed so much, most wouldn’t even recognize it anymore.  Many have been saying that music supervisors are the new A&R people.  Music supervisors are the ones whom, most of the time, are selecting music for film, tv, and video game projects (among other duties).  Some 90% of the music placed in these projects come from unsigned, independent artists, and many have been discovered and launched successful careers by this approach.

Others have said that another new form of A&R is websites and blogs.  The Artic Monkeys were the first band who’s career was greatly impacted by MySpace support, and Incredibly popular music blogs have a lot of pull and can serve as the new “gatekeepers”.  A blog like Brooklyn Vegan, one which is viewed by millions a month, can essentially make or break a new artist simply by featuring an artist on their homepage.  Other sites like Yahoo music helped launched Katy Perry and the Plain White T’s, and sites like YouTube offer an excellent platform for videos, and are debuted on a weekly basis. YouTube has also expressed that they are not just in it to just throw any old artist up, and hope for the best.  The label department of YouTube actively seeks out artists that they actually believe in.

Music publishers have also been thrown into this new A&R conversation as well.  Long before Coldplay was signed to Capitol Records, they were affiliated with BMG music publishing who provided funds for recording, and even shopped the band to labels.  Chrysalis music publishing also is building a reputation for really getting behind and pushing their artists into the spotlight.

Ultimately, the fan is the true A&R rep of today.  With all the options and avenues to discover music on our own (and 99% of the time it’s free), the fan is truly the sole “gatekeeper”.  Fact is, cream rises to the top.  Most every major player in the music industry will tell you the best advice they can give bands and artists is, “Just be good”, and the fans will let you know if you are.  Bottom line is, if you really do have great songs, there should be no excuse not to be discovered with all the amazing technologies today that allow you to get your music in the peoples’ hands cheaply, and all on your own.

Tips For Selling Merch

Selling merchandise is one of the best ways for generating income for your band, and as a matter of fact, it may be the only source of income that you as an artist can make that you can easily control.  If you are a touring act, selling merch is often times your livelihood, providing money for food, and gas to get to the next gig.  Following these easy tips will help you sell more items at your shows, and will help you get off the road-dog diet of gas station hot dogs and beef jerky. 

The most important thing when selling your band’s merchandise is the location of the merch booth/table and also having a trusted music contacts run the booth during the show.  Visibility is crucial at whatever venue you are playing.  Hopefully, if the venue has a designated area, it is in a well-lit and easily accessible area of the club.  Ideally, you want to be set near the door or near the stage.  If the venue doesn’t have a good spot, see if you can work with them, or come up with a creative idea to draw attention.  Make sure you always bring a few small lamps, in case the area needs more light.
Being organized and smart with the quantity of merchandise is also key.  Make sure you sure you count all your items with your trusted music contacts before and after the show.  Make sure you have adequate change, and keep the prices at well rounded numbers like $5 and/or $10.  Keep all t-shirts with t-shirts, all hats with the hats, etc.  Try to do your best to organize the items by size and by male/female apparel.  The last thing you want is your music contact to be fumbling around looking for a specific size of shirt, especially when the show is over, the venue is closing, and time is of the essence.  Be realistic about what you expect to sell.  If you are planning on doing a small tour of only 15-20 shows, there is no need to print 10,000 cds or t-shirts.  There would be nothing worse than having a garage full of 5,000 extra t-shirts that say “2006 US Tour Dates” on the back, so make sure not to over order.
Stay updated on current fashion trends.  Have your music contacts do research on popular designs or styles of clothing people are currently wearing.  When the booty-shorts craze was in, I noticed how smart it was to sell a product with your bands name in a spot where most people are looking anyway.  Mind as well capitalize the prime real estate!  Also, trends in hats change often, so make sure staying up to date on those especially.

Try to create as much buzz around your merch booth as possible.  It is always helpful if you can find a motivated friend that doesn’t play in the band to help out.  Think outside the box in order to draw more people over.  Hold raffles, give away small items for free like stickers, key chains etc.  Offer deals like buy a t-shirt, get a cd, etc.   Really try to push the limits on this one.  There is a lot you could get away with in a club, but just to be safe, double check with the venue before you try anything too outlandish.

Lastly, fans love items that are tour or album specific. Try selling a previously unreleased track from the album your promoting, and sell it exclusively at your live shows.  T-shirts with the name of the city and venue on the back are great because people love to prove they were actually there (but as mentioned don’t over order these).  It’s a bit tacky to sell your set list, but coupling your set list with a purchase is appealing to consumers.

A lot of these tips can be applied to selling merch online as well, just make sure your
music contacts are heavily promoting the fact that you sell online too.  The most important thing to remember with this is to be sure to punctual in sending out orders.  No one likes to wait, and if you don’t send the item promptly, you may lose a fan.

Here’s a great video the will guild you through selling merch