Tag Archives: Recording

Forget The Critic!!


Firstly, A Blessed & Joyous Christmas to Each & All!

Last We were Together (I’ve missed a few weeks) we suggested that since Every EntreMusician’s True Motive is to Compose His or Her Song completely from their Heart, Essence & Truth, then they Must  Adopt the Initiative to Forget The Hit!

Hit Songs Come and Go. Standards Transcend Generations. Smokey Robinson’s Great-Great Grandchildren should never be poor!

Today, we set forth a necessary secondary principal that urges you to abandon relying on The Critic to either Define You or Dictate to You What You Should or Must Sound Like to “Make It.”

While Garnering Great Reviews for Your Latest Project has its merits and You’d certainly want to see Favorable Appraisals of Your Work, You Don’t Want to Lean on the Analyst’s Voice or Pen to Guide You! I Learned This the Hard Way – Actually In Reverse – When SounDoctrine’s “INSPIRE” CD accumulated a ton of Wonderful Reviews, but little to no sales…and the total truth is, I had paid for None of Them! Somehow in trying to build upon the foundation we’d created with “ENDURANCE” while expanding our ‘commercial appeal’ I completely lost track of the Goal for the Glory.

I Certainly am NOT Hating on the many gracious Reviewers out there. I once was a Critic for a Jazz eMagazine and was blessed to be able to recommend a number of truly great Indie Artists. I did it out of the love for the music and was always respectful to follow any injurious comments I might’ve had with a note of encouragement. It came to the point where I would not review any material I felt I could not be kind toward, which began to denote bias on my part, so I quit. Many Reviewers share this struggle.

Your Purpose as an Artist Must be Grounded in Understanding that You Most Certainly Will collect Brutal Criticism from those who Don’t Know You, Understand You or are totally Unable to Envision Your Platform and it’s OK. Your Music is NOT for Them!

At the heart of the Christmas Story is a King, born in a filthy manger, who while going about Doing Good was for most of His Life was despised, hated and ultimately murdered by the critics of His day, brought forth through His Resurrection the Greatest Gift the world could ever receive; Eternal Life!

So Go For It!

Get My Free E Book at www.theentremusician.com and Join the Conversation brewing for 2018!

I’ve been in an Azymuth mood again, so while writing & posting this, I’ve been dropping all of their albums on the turntable!

Check Out their cover of Marvin’s “What’s Goin On”

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How Important Are You…?

Face It.

You’re Only As Important as You Think You Are.

You can Either Live By & Under the Expectations & Evaluations of Others – or – You Can CHOOSE to Create & Model Your Own Principles or Ideals.

You Can Either Agree to The “Usual” Pay Scale of the Masses or CHOOSE to Negotiate Your Fee.

It’s Up To You.

Your Self Importance is the Sum Total of Your Own Thoughts, Experiences & Esteem.

Your Self Importance is Directly Tied to Your Own Vision & Goals.

You are Either One Who Sees Him/Herself as Having Very Little to No Worth – or – Someone Who Envisions Endless Possibilities. You Either Settle or You Set Out.

It’s Up To You.

Although Present Options may be Limited, Important People are Always Creating Opportunities to Change that Present Situation and Improve Their Positioning.

EntreMusicians MUST Embrace the Realization that Our Art, Music & Creativity is IMPORTANT. We Must No Longer Accept or Agree to Selling Ourselves Short and/or Out!

It’s Time To Set A Price For Our Shows & Songs that Reflect Fair, Equitable Standards which Put Money in Our Own Pockets or Refuse to Participate on Their Platforms & Stages.

Important People Know How to Say “NO.”

How Important Are You?

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The Plan in Perspective

I have a friend named Joe (real name) who started a New Gym in Youngstown Ohio 18 Months Ago. Geographically, Joe’s Gym is about 2.8 miles away from that Other, Better Established, Open 24/7, Only $10 a Month Gym that Most Everyone Frequents. Joe’s Gym is only open from 5:30am to 9:00pm, has far less equipment & space and his Monthly Memberships begins at 5x more than that other place. Yet Joe has a startling slew of clients and continues to add Specialized Sessions & Trainers to his Growing Roster.

The Secret to Joe’s Success is Joe.His Gym Provides Intentionally Focused Workouts in an Exceptional Environment that Provides Optimum Results to its Members. Joe’s Gym is called The Train Station.

I often think of Joe as I talk to Musicians and Software Developers about this Unfolding Plan I’ve proposed. In case You are Unaware, I began a Post several weeks ago concerning EntreMusicians readdressing the Direct Sales & Digital Distribution of their Art. I continued to Add Thoughts & Emotions and will continue to discuss & work with EntreMusicians to formulate a workable plan. The Conversation is Growing!

In short, I Believe that ALL EntreMusicians must utilize their ability to Stream their Content Directly to Their Own Tribes on a Subscription Basis, without the need of a Billion Dollar Corporation paying them less than a penny per stream. The Technology is Available, but must be Personalized in a format best suited for both Artist & End User. 

Dr. Nelson Harrison, a very forward thinker and founder of The Pittsburgh Jazz Network has proposed an Alternative through Millennium Music Media which I am currently checking into and awaiting a callback from a known Artist Currently on their roster.

Joe’s Success in Starting  & Growing The Train Station is in His Initiative to Customize a Service & System the Larger Gyms simply cannot and markets his personal touch accordingly, without railing against them – and Word of Mouth is growing.

Every EntreMusician Must Go and Do Likewise. The Excuses are Over. Other Options Are Available. The Ultimate Option remains in Controlling & Distributing Our Own Songs on Our Individually Owned Platforms and Doing the Hard Work of Marketing Ourselves Appropriately. That’s The Truth of Being Independent Artists.

I wasn’t playing any music while blogging, but I’ve just finished practicing the drums to the “Dreamland” CD by YellowJackets. William Kennedy, ALWAYS WOW!! 

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The Opportunity in the Obstacle

Obstacles are a Regular Diet of Every EntreMusician’s Life. They are Unavoidable, often Unpredictable and always present hidden Opportunities. Along with the stress that comes with Each Obstacle are Moments to Choose whether to Freak Out, Give Up or Turn Bitter in the process, instead of Zeroing In on the Possible Benefits this Obstacle offers.
I Must Admit that I have done All of These. 

Call it Age, but lately I’ve forced myself to stop and answer the question “What Does This Mean?” right at the crest of every perceived Obstacle. Whether it’s Lack of Resources for a Certain Project to downright Opposition while Carrying out a Goal, if we can Quell our Emotions, have a Team pow wow, or do Personal Introspection to Ask Ourselves the Meaning Behind the Obstacle, we create a Clarity that Allows Us to Better Focus on Acheiving Our Accomplishments. 

In Fact, What I Am Learning Most about My Most Recent Obstacles is that they were more about ME than the Thing, Person or Situation that presented itself. If I Did Not Plan or Execute Properly, I Invited the Obstacle. If I Do Not Adequately State My Goals or Explain to My Team Expected Intentions & Results, I Should Expect Obstacles. 

But What if I Did Do All of the Above? What if My All of My Ducks are in the Provrbial Row? I Immediately Stop Asking ‘How’ this Happened and ask ‘Why’ Questions- which are More Personal and Less Technical. Obviously, a Personal Lesson is Attached and I Need to Open Eyes & Ears and Learn The Lesson.

I Have Not Been Able to Overcome Every Obstacle. Often, I’ve had to work Underneath, Beside & Through the Obstacle. But the Perspective I’ve gained from being “Up Close & Personal” with the Adversity has drawn out a greater degree of Creativity, Perseverance & Wisdom that I would not have gained otherwise. Additionally, Some Obstacles have brought Absolute & Generous Blessings to My Family & I – Opportunities I Would Have Never Walked Into had I just stood there and cursed the blasted thing! 

Many of Our Greatest Opportunities Are Disguised as Obstacles. This Thought does not Minimize the real pain each can bring us, but the Hurt doesn’t have to Harm if we look the Issue dead in the eye, analyze it for what it is and formulate an appropriated response, all the while gritting your teeth and buckling up for the interesting journey ahead.

I’ve been Very Intentional to not discuss specific experiences here, as there are More than Many and I’d be here till Next Thursday trying to explain a few! Like any other EM, I’ve Blundered & Blown It, but Because I Am an EM,     I Learn and I Move On…

Keep Your Head Up!

I wasn’t listening to any music while wrting this, but Jon Thomas & I just collaborated on a track called “Maranatha” that I’m gonna finish tweaking as soon as I post this!

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Monday Night I sat mesmerized with millions of Americans, paying homage to the genius of Stevie Wonder whose music has been the soundtrack of our lives for the past 40+ years. You don’t have to look deep into a SounDoctrine track to realize how personally my artistry has been influenced by his innervisions.

Although I got into the show about 20 minutes lates, right smack dab in the middle of Lady Gaga’s rousing performance of “I Wish,” I posed a question to myself concerning this man I’ve grown to love like a favorite uncle. If you were to dissect Steveland Morris into various components of his muse, what, for me, would be the most compelling?

Right off, he IS the total package. But which attribute wins me over first and foremost?

Is it his multidimensional musicianship?
His hypnotic voice?
His profound production and/or forward thinking technology applications coupled with his humanitarianism and completely selfless spirit?

As I pondered the many great voices from Jill Scott to Andrea Bocelli to the outstanding Tony Bennett to the myriad of musicians who adorned the platform, not least of all, musical director Greg Phillinganes, I wondered, what is this One Thing about Stevie that unites all of these exceptional stars?

I concluded: It’s All About The Songs

Always has been. Always Will Be. Always Should Be.

Musicianship, Showmanship, Vocal Talent, Production Skills, Arranging, Dance Routines, Million Dollar Light Shows and Superior Sound do play their parts, but each element must bow down – all the way down – to the raw emotions, contemplations and motivations prompted by a great song.

If Stevie were to somehow lose, or were not as proficient in any of the aforementioned talents, his songwriting has set him further apart from any of his contemporaries in the last four decades than anyone and his legacy will cast him as the Bach of the next few hundred years to come.

This is why we celebrate his genius.

This is why true EMs must make writing great songs a priority above all else…

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Releasing The NEW

On Friday, November 28th at 12:01AM, the New SounDoctrine Digital Single “After All,” written by our great friend Jim Couchenour hits the servers. “After All” features the fiery Michael Austin on sax, Frank Walton on keys, bassist Dylan Waters and Mike Donadio on guitar.

As we’ve been walking through the process of final edits and mix, I thought I’d share my personal process of releasing new music, since these steps are almost second nature by now. We’re trying a few different twists this time out, so I’d like to engage you in a dialogue to learn your methods and see what’s working for you as well.

Firstly, as stated, this is a Digital Release Only. We’ve done this once before with the remix of “Smallmouth Bass” (also written by Jim and featuring Bob Baldwin on keys and Keith McKelley on sax).

I’ve been using CD Baby as an aggregate for years. They haven’t changed much since Derek Sivers left the building, but I stiil miss him. Bottom Line is I’ve never had a problem with them and they keep things simple and reasonable. I have not yet seen the need to go ‘PRO’ with them, as I already have my own P.R.O.* affiliations intact and would rather they not take any interest in repping my publishing whatsoever. Some EMs may find that feature helpful, but at present, it’s not for me.

With “After All,” I also needed to check back in with the Copyright Office as we had previously released another version back in 2009 on Jim’s “Quiet Canvas II,” there was still a need to update the SR filing** – so I took care of business.

I keep a list of terrestrial & online stations and DJs & Music Reviewers whom I maintain relationship with and I began the process of sending them the track, along with a brief note of the release date, personnel, production, copyright notices, etc. I seek a reply as to when they would be able to add the tune to their playlists. Some came back immediately while others are forthcoming. As is usually the case, some contact info has changed, so I update accordingly.

My second phase is to email all secondary multimedia with whom I have never worked with or have no relationship. I make inroads by telling them who will be playing the single (now that I have that information) and ask if they would consider doing the same.

Next will be the E-Blast to Friends of SounDoctrine who have previously purchased or enjoyed our music online. We inform them that they can download the New Song on the Release Date (Only) for a Very Special Price, just because they have supported us in the past. The SounDoctrine website, powered by Bandzoogle allows us to make such offers. The Blast will also offer include a few free downloads and additional discounts on previous SD music.

I then construct and send a Press Release to all genre specific and select entertainment media, alerting the music community that the song is available. This would be a good time to mention that we have chosen NOT to send the song to Spotify. This not only intensifies the headline, but makes a more newsworthy story to certain editors who want to further the conversation. Lastly, since we have no immediate gigs scheduled to specifically promote “After All”, (another first, as we’ve usually had a “release party”), we will provide a link to a free download for our ‘new’ friends who purchase this single – again, at our website only.

As reviews come in, we’ll update our websites and create subsequent press releases featuring them, which drives further interest as we move the music out of the music community into the mainstream. During this phase we begin networking with old and new venues to plan a series of gigs with our new show.

SounDoctrine will be release a series of digital singles in this manner to lead up to the full project “Source” in Spring of 2015.

It would be great to hear from you! Share Your Strategies and all EntreMusicians Prosper and Grow!!

BW, I am listening to Dave Weckyl’s “Rhythm of the Soul” as I write this!


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