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Thread started 04/21/09 11:27am

mplsmusic

DO YOU HEAR ANY PRINCE INFLUENCE????

Hey everyone, I'm new to posting here but have been reading and listening to a lot of posts here for quite some time now. I'm from Mpls and have a band called "Soulacious" We just released our debut CD "Stange Love" and have been getting some great reviews! We are a bit old school funk/soul/pop/rock and a bit of hip-hop with a modern twist. Check us out at www.myspace.com/soulaciousmusic and let me know what you think!!! Being that we're from Mpls, I wonder if you hear in influences by Prince. I'm curious to hear what you think! Thanks for taking the time to check us out!
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Reply #1 posted 04/22/09 5:20am

SilentSkys

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I can hear the influence. Its good. Tho I hope that's not what your trying to do... cause you should be naturally inspired not deliberately trying to MAKE your self inspired by someone or something.. when you do that.. things will always have a blank feel to it.. because it is not full you.. ya kno? and not only might you notice but others will as well..
[Edited 4/22/09 5:21am]
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Reply #2 posted 04/22/09 1:35pm

mplsmusic

Hey...thanks for the reply. It was definitly not our intent. We just make music, however we were told that we remind people of Sly and the Family Stone, Mother's Finest, Prince...etc. I just thought perhaps because we are from Minneapolis some of the artists here really did have an influence on us. I love the fact that Prince can go from Funk, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop, and make them all sound sooooo good. But we nor I do not aspire to be like him or anyone else. We are Soulacious!!!
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Reply #3 posted 04/22/09 3:33pm

eaglebear4839

I don't really hear Prince in your music, outside of the "generic" Prince sound. You sound like you is what I'm tryin' to say.
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Reply #4 posted 04/23/09 12:25am

SilentSkys

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mplsmusic said:

Hey...thanks for the reply. It was definitly not our intent. We just make music, however we were told that we remind people of Sly and the Family Stone, Mother's Finest, Prince...etc. I just thought perhaps because we are from Minneapolis some of the artists here really did have an influence on us. I love the fact that Prince can go from Funk, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop, and make them all sound sooooo good. But we nor I do not aspire to be like him or anyone else. We are Soulacious!!!



^.^ that is good to hear. Its just the way you posted made me wonder hehe. I think you guys will do pretty well, Are you actually looking to get signed? Or is your debut your signed CD?.. I ask because some people do their own CDs from personal home brew studios. If you are lookin to get signed you should send out your cds to some labels. ^.^ I know Sony Music sometimes does contest type deals maybe you should look in to them as well.
[Edited 4/23/09 0:26am]
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Reply #5 posted 04/23/09 9:00am

mplsmusic

Yes, we are looking to be signed. Any contacts or ideas you could share would be great!!!! We got another great review in a Mpls paper today!!!! It won't let me copy and paste it, so please click the link and read. Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate it.

http://www.spokesman-reco...emSource=L
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Reply #6 posted 04/23/09 12:17pm

SilentSkys

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mplsmusic said:

Yes, we are looking to be signed. Any contacts or ideas you could share would be great!!!! We got another great review in a Mpls paper today!!!! It won't let me copy and paste it, so please click the link and read. Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate it.

http://www.spokesman-reco...emSource=L



Well like I said.. "sometimes" Lables will have contest type things.. I know this cause I had a REALLY deep interest in the music industry.. not only as a musical artist but as producer type as well.. "I wanted my own studio lolz" I found out about a contest ran by Sony Music Entertainment, my friend and I were going to enter but I decided I was a bit stage fright lol... anyway I found out that these contests are not unheard of. So keeping lookout on labels is a good thing... also I have some information about getting signed.

here is the first part of it.. and I know you already have a lot of this down btw..

The life of a professional musician has all the allure of a million dollars and a one-way ticket to being famous. Is it worth it? Heck, yes! But the only way to becoming a professional musician (and by "musician," we mean singers and bands, not professional flautists) is to land a record deal. Whether you're aiming for a mainstream or an indie share of the pie, you need that label to get heard.

Wait, but it's tough to get signed to a label, right? True. And while there are many changes happening in the music industry right now (especially on the technological side), there is still no better way to make money as a musician than by having an established record label market your music. So how do you sell your soul to the corporate devil? It's rather tricky, but we'll walk you through the steps. (And don't worry, it won't involve an evening with RIAA President Hilary Rosen, a bottle of tequila, and a Barry White album.)

One more quick note: this article is written under the assumption that you do not have a manager and that you are trying to get signed on your own. If you do have a manager, let the poor guy or gal do his/her job and you just stay out of the way.

1. HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB

A mechanic would never attempt to fix a car's engine without the right set of tools. Similarly, a band or artist who feels that they are ready to approach a record label in the interest of getting signed better be prepared. With literally thousands of unsigned bands looking for love, the competition is fierce. Here are some requirements:

1. You must have good music. This may seem pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how many bands never get signed and don't understand that this is the reason. We're not talking about "good" as in taste (which is great news for the Backstreet Boys). We mean "good" in the sense of talent and experience.

2. You must look "signable." No one will want to sign you unless you're going to make them money. As such, you and your band must be confident, experienced, dedicated, and have it together (in other words, you must look like you will bring in money). Unless you're the next Beatles, there are a thousand other bands like you - so make yourself stand out from the rest by being professional from the beginning.

3. You must have a professional-looking demo package. In the music industry, image and first impressions are the name of the game; for the unsigned band, your demo package is the first (and usually only) impression a record label will have of you and your music. As a result, it should be as attractive, informative, and to-the-point as possible. For a good tutorial on how to make an effective and attractive demo package (also referred to as a "press kit" when sending it to press or radio accounts) pick yourself up a copy of the book The Billboard Guide to Music Publicity by Jim Pettigrew, Jr.

What? You're too poor to buy a book? Oh yeah, we forgot - you're a musician. So while this isn't a complete explanation, here are the basics to making a good demo package:

* The package should have a cover letter, demo CD, band biography, band photograph, and press clippings. With all of these things, how do you make it attractive? We have three words for you: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Why? Because your demo package is likely at the bottom of a very large pile and after a few hours of going over them, an A&R rep (we'll get to them later) wants to spend no more than a few seconds deciding if your package should go in the trash or the "will-review-later" pile. By keeping it simple and elegant, the A&R rep should be able to get a good feeling of what your band is like in a few seconds.

* For the demo, use a CD instead of a cassette. With the ubiquitous nature of CD players these days - the higher sound quality, the lower price to manufacture versus cassettes, and the fact that sending a nicely packaged CD looks impressive - CDs are the best way to go.

* Keep the band biography to no more than one page, and if the reader can't figure out within the first few sentences who you are, what your band is up to, and why he/she should care, then you need to rewrite your biography.

* The standard band photograph is a black and white 8"x10". A smaller and/or color picture can be sent, but either way it should demonstrate your band's visual image. There is no need to spend a ton and a half of money on a professional photographer. As long as it looks good, no one cares. Poor college photography majors are great resources for saving money when looking for someone to take your band picture.
4. You have to understand that most record labels are only interested in your music in so far as whether or not they can sell it. Your band may very well be brilliant, but to the average record label, your CD is just another product. This does not mean that record labels are out to give you the raw end of the deal. More often than not, record executives have an honest and true love for music and passion for working with bands. However, by understanding that selling music is above all else a business, you can put yourself in a much better position to get signed. So we suggest that you read as much as possible about the music industry and how it works. This SYW is a great start.
I AM RAVER!
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Reply #7 posted 04/23/09 12:22pm

SilentSkys

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2. LOCATE POTENTIAL A&R REPS
Like tailoring a résumé to a specific job description
, you can greatly increase the impact that your demo package will have by knowing exactly who your audience is. The person that you should be most concerned with is the Artist & Repertoire Representative, also known as the A&R rep. It is the A&R rep's job to find new artists to sign and to develop their careers into a success story. Most bands get heard by A&R reps the same way you are trying to get heard - by sending them a good package. As a result, not only do you want the A&R rep to get your demo package, but also you want it to knock his/her socks off!

So what do A&R reps look for? Well, that varies widely between companies and depends largely on what they think is going to be the new trend in popular music. You already know about the talent, the "look," and the professional demo package, but what else can you do? Well, this is where it starts to get a little fuzzy. There is not a single record label out there that will sign a band solely on hearing a demo. So expect an interested A&R rep to want to see your band perform live. Also, it is around this point that the decision to sign or not sign a band becomes based on a gut feeling just as much as on the past band's previous record sales (if any) and size of their fan base. Does the music match where the label wants to go? Does the band have a good shot at becoming a success? These are important questions for A&R reps because their job security is highly dependent on whether they sign successful acts.

Now that you know who these A&R people are, where do you find them? Well, many would say under a large and slimy rock-but we like to think a little better of these fine people. Here are some options:

* First, try a contact directory like the CMJ Directory (published by the College Music Journal BUT YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP FIRST) CMJ Directory(published by the College Music Journal), The Musician's Atlas, or the Musicians' Guide To Touring and Promoting. These will give you a good list of record labels (and some other good contacts such as clubs, radio stations, and press outlets).

* Since you are playing in a band that has some level of local name recognition, it probably wouldn't hurt to ask local club owners, record store proprietors, music directors, or editors whether they know anyone at a good record label who might be interested in receiving your demo package. It can't hurt to try.

* Showcases. The question often comes up about whether or not showcases (e.g., South By Southwest (SXSW), North By Northeast (NXNE), CMJ, etc. are effective and appropriate ways to get your band noticed by record labels. The answer is a resounding yes! Given any chance for your band to get in the eye of the public - and the industry-types - you should go for it. Unfortunately, getting into these sorts of showcases can often be difficult for an unsigned band.
I AM RAVER!
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Reply #8 posted 04/23/09 12:23pm

SilentSkys

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3. GET AN A&R REP TO LISTEN TO YOU

Wouldn't it be nice if all you had to do was get an address, slap a label on the demo package with "Attention: A&R" and just wait for the offers to roll on in? Yes, Dorothy, it sure would be. But it's time to come back to planet Earth and realize that getting heard at all (much less by the right people) takes as much effort and planning as writing and performing songs. There are several steps that you should go through when attempting to have your band seriously considered by an A&R representative.

Once you have a list of record labels that you are interested in sending your demo package to, call each and every one of them PRIOR to mailing anything and verify that:

* They are accepting unsolicited demo submissions
* They are interested in your style of music
* You have the correct name/address to send the package attention to

Why go through all this trouble? Three reasons:

1. The worst mistake that you could make when sending out packages is to engage in "shotgun mailing." Essentially, this means that you're sending out unsolicited junk mail to a number of record labels that may have changed addresses, gone out of business, or may not be accepting packages because they are not looking to sign any new bands. Shotgun mailing is a waste of time and money for both you and the labels.

2. What do you think would have happened if Big Pun sent his demo to Epitaph Records? Probably not a whole lot. If your music doesn't "fit" what the label wants, then you won't get signed, no matter how talented you are.

3. There is no quicker way to get your demo package thrown into the garbage than to send it attention to a former A&R executive. So call. Sometimes, they will simply say you should address it to the A&R Department. That's fine, just do what they tell you to.

When calling the record label to verify all of this information, be on your best behavior. If the person on the other end of the phone says that they are not accepting unsolicited demos, do not get angry, scream, and say, "You'll be sorry when I'm a big rock star!" Simply thank them for their time and ask if it is all right to call again in a few months. Chances are they will be much more impressed by this than by a hissy fit. Also, make sure you mention your band's name at least once (and if it doesn't make you sound like a freak, several times).

So you've made the initial phone call and everything went smoothly. The record label is in fact accepting demo submissions and you have all the correct information. Now what? Wait. If you do not hear anything in 4-8 weeks, make a follow-up phone call. Ask for the person who you addressed the package to. If he or she is unavailable, or if you simply addressed the package to the A&R Department, speak with the secretary. Verify that they received your package, if they had a chance to review it, and their reactions. Now take a deep breath and brace yourself. If they 1) didn't like the demo, 2) blow you off, or 3) never got it, do not overreact. Thank them for their time, hang up the phone, and gripe to a friend. There are literally thousands of record labels in the United States alone; don't waste any more of your time on one that's not interested in your band. Does this mean you should never send them another package? No. After about 6 months to a year, if you have a new recording (or other significant change in your demo package) give the label another call. You never know; they may like your new stuff, or they may be trying to change their image.
I AM RAVER!
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Reply #9 posted 04/23/09 12:28pm

SilentSkys

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4. KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET AN OFFER

The long journey to the Promised Land is finally coming to an end: you've gotten an offer from a record label! You've done the research and they seem like an organization you would be happy to be a part of. Not so fast . . . once you get the offer, there are still several things you need to consider:

1. Get yourself a good entertainment lawyer. This cannot be stressed enough - he/she will be your best friend, confidant, and advisor through what is bound to be a complicated and arduous process. Entertainment lawyers tend to be very expensive, anywhere from $75 - $400 an hour, but they are worth every last penny of it. The terms of a record contract can vary widely, so rely on your lawyer to translate the legalese into English so you can fully understand what you are getting yourself into. You don't want to trap yourself into something you hate.

2. Make sure you have a good idea of what you want out of a record deal and where you would like to go with your career. There are many pitfalls for a band, particularly a new/small band, when signing a record deal. How many albums do you want to release on the label? How much money/royalties can you demand from the label? How large should your advance be? How does this affect future royalty payments? Who owns the copyrights to the songs? The list of debatable items could go on for a mile. Talk with your lawyer about all of the options and make an educated and informed decision. After all, this is your career.

3. Pick up a copy of This Business of Music. While about as entertaining to read as a chemistry textbook, it is an outstanding resource for learning the business and legal side of the music industry.

Even though the process of getting signed to a record deal can be difficult, the prospect of being able to make a living as a professional musician is often too good to pass up. While good looks and some catchy tunes probably wouldn't hurt, you now have a huge edge over all those morons who are sending out 10-page bios.

:p And always remember NEVER GIVE UP! There may be times were you want to. If this surely is your dream grab it by the leash!
I AM RAVER!
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Reply #10 posted 04/23/09 9:51pm

ernestsewell

That page is way too busy to even try and load.
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Reply #11 posted 04/26/09 8:19pm

mplsmusic

Thanks SilentSkys for that knowledge! Yes, some things we know, but there's some very helpful information there.
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Reply #12 posted 04/28/09 3:11am

SilentSkys

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mplsmusic said:

Thanks SilentSkys for that knowledge! Yes, some things we know, but there's some very helpful information there.



Your welcome ^.^ I figured you knew quite a bit.. but I thought perhaps there would be some things you had not thought of yet. Good luck on your Endeavors!^.^
I AM RAVER!
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