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Are You Prepared?

Are you Prepared… at a moments notice to promote your music and advance your career?

Hello there, this is Frankie, CEO and founder of StreetJelly. I had the privilege recently to listen to a number of original recordings submitted to us that we are passing along to a local indie radio station, WPVM The Voice, in Asheville, NC. We put the call out for submissions in an e-mail to StreetJelly artists last month. Literally within hours, we had tons of music to sift through. There is A LOT of talent on StreetJelly, and we received tons of great songs. But here is one overwhelming observation that became apparent. Not all, but many fired off an unprepared and somewhat unprofessional response.
Are you prepared?Now, I’m not here to point fingers or single anyone out, but I want to raise the notion how prepared one should be when any opportunity comes knocking for your career (music or otherwise). Anytime in life when someone, some business, or even some alien offers a helping hand – make the most of that situation without becoming a burden to every one offering the helping hand!

In our invitation for original music to pass along to the radio station, we had a few specific requests. The main request was to send us up to three songs. Yet, we received numerous responses that came in the form of: “here’s a bunch of my stuff on xyz.com website. Pick whatever you like.”

It’s already tons of work for the StreetJelly staff to gather all these songs, listen to them, and package them off as a favor to another entity. Any extra time and effort just slows the entire process for everyone and will likely lead to your songs not being included.

I believe as a musician capable of writing wonderful original material, you should be prepared to showcase, market, feature, sell, and/or distribute your content to any and all entities that can further your career.  Here are some pro-tips we’ve come up with:

  1. Have all your music ranked by you in order of importance and genre. If someone ask for your “3 best acoustic songs,” pick the three you already have ranked. If they ask for 7, or 10, or 13 – you have that list ready.
  2. NEVER ask someone else to pick and choose your music. At best, that’s an indirect way to try and get someone to listen to your entire catalog. But if whatever song the listener starts with does not match what they’re looking for, there is a good chance they will never listen to (or promote) any of your music.
  3. Have all your original music professionally recorded and mixed (can still be done by you if you have a quality home studio), ready in multiple file formats (.mp3, .wav, etc).  MP3’s are the easiest way to send through e-mail as they are reasonable in size. Many e-mail systems limit attachment sizes (typically above 10megs) and will reject or fail e-mails with huge files (this generally applies to WAV or raw digital files). And WAV files are more true to the original recording, for when audio quality is of utmost importance.
  4. Have the same music available online to download from one of the major cloud share vendors; such as Dropbox or OneDrive.
  5. DO NOT send someone to an obscure website that forces you to create a login account, fight through tons of ads and questionable creepy popups, just to get to your music. (Yes, that happened to us. Horrible experience.)
  6. DO NOT send someone to a streaming site like Spotify, SoundCloud, or your own website with a streaming plugin to get your music. These sites are specifically made to stream and generally have no feature to download a quality un-compressed version.
  7. DO NOT send someone to iTunes, Amazon, etc. to purchase your songs so they can then turn around and help you promote your music.  That’s just wrong.
  8. DO have your website, EPK, and online presence (Facebook fan page, etc.) ready to go at ALL TIMES. If any of these items are not ready – you are not ready to present yourself to the music industry. As soon as you ask someone to listen to your music, assume they will (or whomever they pass your music on to will) look you up on any and every website they can find. They will pass over your entry when it is incomplete.

I’m being a bit harsh, but I am nowhere near as tough as any music label or A&R will ever be. Lack of preparedness suggests that the musician does not take their music career seriously and may not be professional enough for the service or promotion it takes to launch a successful music career.

Are you an Anti-marketer?

Special guest blog about the “Drive-by” from StreetJelly blues musician: Clifton Printy

An interesting phenomenon occurs every few months or so. I call it “anti-marketing.” There are those who for some reason feel entitled to viewers coming to their shows. Some are atrocious hacks and some are superb artists, but almost all of them are completely without a following. They get on StreetJelly and play for a short while.

"Did you just pull a Drive-by?"

“Did you just pull a Drive-by?”

As a passerby, they wander through other shows gradually adopting the attitude wanting… no demanding… other musicians’ viewers. Then :bam! They announce in someone else’s show for those viewers to come to their show. It’s the infamous “Drive-by,” the biggest faux-pas you can make in online live streaming.

There are regulars on the site who have shared so much of their crowd.  Like Larry, Lana, Image and Family, Heading West, and Kelly_Mark who have honed their branding and created a crowd. Larry brought his following with him. He still frequents other shows and introduces many to the SJ family. He advertises his shows on Facebook and talks directly with his followers. Beside him being a professional musician, Larry constantly checks out new artists and encourages them. Heading West spent months supporting SJ members before ever doing a show. Lana sends out tagged Facebook posts to her followers and her fans every single show. She supports other shows and engages the audience directly from her show. Image and Family has supported everyone, worked to solve problems, created events for other artists, and sends random swag to individuals. Kelly_Mark has done a few shows and has supported hundreds.

The examples are endless and exactly what it takes to relate to a crowd in the modern age. We deliberately build connections with our followers. It helps them identify with us and conversely us with them. We connect and support one another. There will probably be viewers at any given show, as it is at most venues. But we must not forget this is a stage. Your viewership here depends on you, your sound, your ability to perform, how well you engage the audience, and how well you treat others.

The problem I see with the drive-by is not only for the musician getting his viewers barked at, but also for that person committing the blunder. It is very hard to discern the talent level or personal attitude of the individual. They may very well be a person of quality and integrity with a great show to offer. Because of this I think a lot of us are willing to overlook the intrusion into our time, and the disruption of our show’s flow. We try to encourage the other artist to the extent that we pseudo endorse the encouragement of that artist. Our fans also reciprocate the same. So that person then some how has become part of our “brand.” Basically, the people on SJ are so nice that the offender may not even know he has trampled on others.

Further; there are many performers in these virtual settings that feel entitled to a stage. It is important to consider that these shows and the attendance is not always about talent. Sometimes we are talking about long forged friendships and value systems. As an example, would a Christian band’s fan-base be likely to attend a death metal band show? Probably not. So why would an artist expect to solicit viewers from a completely different genre? Also, it does happen sometimes that a great performer sits empty on SJ while at the same time a so/so artist has a great draw. It’s just something we have to accept.

Having witnessed the huge heart of our regular StreetJelly crowd, I know how hard it is for people to discourage certain behaviors. There is, however, no benefit for you as an individual artist to allow this bad behavior, i.e. the drive-by. Go ahead and say, “It is really not polite to come to my show and tell people your are going to play in 10 minutes.”  My friends, it is not about attitude nor is it rude. Would you go to an amphitheater and ask the people to come to the parking lot for a show? Would it be polite to walk up to the stage at a local pub and ask people over the microphone to come next door in ten minutes? It is an unethical practice that steals from the moment of the performing musician, and puts the offender in an unfavorable light. The dreaded Drive-by is the opposite of marketing. It’s anti-marketing!

Building Profitable Entertainers

Special guest blog by StreetJelly musician Clifton Printy to help his fellow musicians.

Building Profitable Entertainers

Clifty and Jim

Clifty and Jim

So here’s the deal.

You know at StreetJelly we have been building a series about promoting yourself and succeeding as a musician. Guess what? It is hard work. A creative and diversified approach to generating income will help today’s musicians earn a living.

Your fans, in one form or another, are your customers. But! Don’t try to sell to them. The idea is to be their friend, be in their heart and minds. When they are ready to buy, they will buy. You are their trusted pal.

Did I call your fans customers? Why yes! And if you don’t see them that way, you might quit now and save yourself some time. Your Music is your Brand. If you plan on any monetary success from your fans, then they have to be viewed as customers.

So don’t abuse them like spamming their email with, “buy my this and that.” Remember, they will come to you when they are ready.

Mentally put your suit on. You are a business. This is the music business so get into your business brain. Start spit balling. What would you buy? Here’s a few off the cuff ideas.

A “Love eating lobster and listening to Slam” stickerSummer Red Riding Hood
“That’s my Kind of Music! Danny Campo” coffee cup.
The !clifty: Coffee cup
Summer Russell’s “Red Riding Hood Feet-Pajamas”
Lana’s “Christmas Bunny Hoodie”

So, ideally in a business you deliver a product and your customers pay you for it. For musicians, you are asking them to support your musical livelihood.

Are you making a plan?

Let’s start with some baby steps. Do you have customers? Maybe an email list of fans?
Try this to-do list…

  1. Start a newsletter.
    Goal, populate an email list and send out a bi-monthly newsletter to your fans.
  2. Set a fan base goal. Let’s call it 500 people for this.
  3. When you are at 500 people ask them what they want.
  4. Deliver it for a price.

So here is your assignment. Think up your own ideas. Share them with your friends by commenting below. Make a difference. And thank you for contributing to the livelihood of your fellow musicians, BTW.  ~Clifton Printy

How to get a 1000 Viewers

Special group-guest blog by StreetJelly musicians: Clifton Printy, Peter Bensen, Josh Cline, Image and Family.  They have a combined 28,900+ viewerships to their StreetJelly shows …and still growing.

How to get a Thousand Viewers?

Here’s a clue for you. If you want to set records for the most viewers in an online show, own the world record for the most tips, become an internet streaming pop icon, and maybe even have some fun while making a little scratch; here is all you need to do…

Don’t Suck!

So where do we start? At a show with no viewers, of course. We have all been there. No fun at all. So what should you do? Get viewers! Not too difficult really. What is your mom doing? How about your best friend? Where are you fans from the real world? Did you invite them? Are you using the twitter link? Did you post your show on Facebook? It doesn’t take much time to post a message telling your friends that you are performing.  Also, it may seem like such a small thing, but it’s amazing how much people respond to the personal touch. Send them a message to ask them out to your show.

1,000s of ViewersYou can get a little creative, too. How about posting, “live music no cover with free imaginary drinks,” on your favorite social venue. It works! Try it!

If you have the computer savvy, try using Photoshop, or other such programs, to create posters for your shows. You can post them on Facebook or any other social media type sites to help get your name out there. Print a couple off for your job, friends, and acquaintances. (editors note, i.e. Frankie – try BandPosters.com)

Next, Don’t Suck! No one wants to hear the beginning of Stairway to Heaven sixteen times only to listen to 4 bars of Smoke on the Water. One song well performed is worth more than 100  hours of garbage.

Are you interacting with your guests? Ask them if there is anything about your show they “don’t love” (answers could hurt, but you’ll get an answer).  Want to engage someone? Ask them about themselves.  Be gracious and friendly. Support other artists. Support other artist supporters. Try dedicating a song to your viewers, it’s a great way to show them that you appreciate their support.

It helps to acknowledge your viewers. They are “gold” to you. Try to mention EVERY visitors name. People LOVE hearing their name treated respectfully. Keep an eye on the comments, clappies, and tips. You’ll get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. Play what the audience says is good (another hard pill to swallow). Let them tell you if it’s good.

Be aware that every show is different. It’s all good. You can do a killer show with only 5 viewers or a horrible show with 20, and those five viewers will come back.  I’ve even found that mistakes I’ve made in a performance are not always caught by the audience. They can still be entertained by a less than perfect show.

The idea is to keep your nose to the wheel. When in doubt, PLAY!!! As it has been said, “If you build it, they will come”. StreetJelly beats performing on your sofa alone for your metronome. People will come and go, but your (total) viewers will accumulate!

Don’t just be a performer in an ivory tower. Watch other shows! Become an active part of the StreetJelly community. There are a lot of people participating in the StreetJelly “thing.” Making new friends, and showing an interest in other artists will foster a curiosity about you, in viewers of other shows. Also, glean from other shows. Nobody knows everything. There is more to know about performing. You can learn a lot from what other people do. Stand on the shoulders of the giants that have gone before you. And, if you can’t stand a show then I like to say, “take the chicken and spit out the bones.” Take the stuff that works and try it. It can be a big help.

“Not sucking” contains a few ingredients. It’s more than playing your instrument, and singing in key. Your overall image as a performer is huge. An engaging, friendly player/singer will do better in the long run at this racket than a pure virtuoso that has the personality of a cardboard box. That doesn’t mean that you need to be something you’re not. It means that consideration for your audience, and their desires will be rewarded in the long run.

The most important part of a successful show is to have fun. If you are enjoying yourself it will show and it will rub off on your audience.

Lastly friends, you are a visionary, so pony up. You have seen that the internet age is going to change the world. You have stated that eventually everyone will want to interact directly with their favorite artist. You know that this is the herald of a new age for performance of music. Time to pay for your entertainment. What? Oh yes we have to make this work from both ends. Why should someone believe that this is a legitimate venue and support you when you wouldn’t support it yourself? Where is the crowd? What are you?

Branding, the Key to Large Crowds and Fans

StreetJelly starts a new blog series on Marketing and Artist Promotion.

Stand Out from the Crowd

Stand Out from the Crowd

Whether you are fairly new to StreetJelly or part of a larger following of regular StreetJelly performers; you almost certainly notice the steadily increasing number of artists who draw a large audience. These musicians are the envy of most performers on StreetJelly. There is no magic trick behind attracting an audience of die-hard-fans. You can follow some simple steps that can lead to an increase in viewer numbers and even a cult of followers who will go above and beyond to tip, attend shows, and promote your music. It all boils down to Branding: the who – your name, the what – what you are all about, and the how – how you spread the word.

Who – the Artist Name  Don’t underestimate the power of your artist name. StreetJelly allows you to create a unique profile name (at least 5 characters) that becomes your own StreetJelly link. Think of it as your “stage name.” Choose a name that is pleasant and meaningful. It is tempting to choose something cool, but keep in mind that names which are associated with unpleasant events in life might deter people from going to your show. Pick something that defines you as a person or your music. It is perfectly fine to be inventive, but toilet references or violent phrases can be an automatic turn off to your shows.

Recommendations: keep it simple; choose a name that you are comfortable being addressed by; and when in doubt, use your actual name or family nickname.

What – Are you All About  What does that mean? It’s your personal identity. Your intent is to create a strong bond with your audience so they feel a deep connection to you. The key to a large loyal fan base is a personal and individual approach to communicating with your fans. It literally means conversing with them one on one. It is about exchanging interests and skills in everyday life. If you lend a helping hand to someone, often people will remember you and support your own agenda. We often call this “networking,” or the building of productive relationships.

StreetJelly is a great avenue for networking since you get to talk live to your fans. Think about what you say during your shows, how you want people to perceive you, and what you post later online in other social media communities. Talk to people, a lot of people, everyone you meet.

How – You Spread the Word  Many Streetjelly artists support each other and attend each other’s shows. This is wonderful, but it is important to attract your own personal audience. Maybe your friends or family, your coworkers, or neighbors enjoy live music. Let them know that you are performing on StreetJelly. Inform them about your upcoming shows and share your talent with as many people as possible. Soon your audience will grow and you will be one of the artists with the popular show. This will attract even more fans. Crowds attract crowds. Connect with this audience and make them watch you perform over and over.

Remember, do not spam a huge number of people on social media. Your posts will get lost in the sea of noise out there. But do individually invite people you know to your shows. And ask them to share your invitations. Rotate through different groups of people you know, too. It’s unpleasant to burden the same people all the time.

Branding is forming memories, opinions, representing ideals, and stirring emotions. You build loyal fans that associate your name and performance with a specific mixture of musical talent and personal charm. Building that deep bond takes time and commitment. But it’s simple. Get to know your fans, entertain them with your music, help them out when you can. Good luck out there!

Live Paying Gigs – Where The Fish Are

Live $$$$$ Gigs – Where The Fish Are, by Danny Campo

Special guest blog with great advice and marketing tips to find paying gigs.

Disclaimer: Please take the content of this blog for what I intended, and that is to help us maybe take a different approach to both the way we look for gigs but even more importantly “where” we look for gigs. If you have already adapted this plan obviously the content does not apply to you, but if this approach is news to you, it should help you get more “paying” gigs starting as soon as you want to start.

Danny Campo

Danny Campo

“Man, the live music scene is dead in my town, I just can’t seem to get a paying gig any where.” If I had a nickle for every time I have heard that over the years, well I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d have a crap load of nickles! What I do hear a lot of, “the venue owner wants me to come in and play for nothing until he deems me acceptable to his establishment and clientele, and maybe then we can negotiate my fee.” I like to tell them, OK that will work as long as I can bring my family in to dine and drink until we decide if we like your food, and then we’ll negotiate your menu pricing.

First and foremost, I thank the Good Lord every day for the number of “payed bookings” I get every year. They keep me buying my music toys and help me fund my charitable non-paying gigs and related expenses. Now with that said, I am no fool as I know that many of you SJ performers blow me out the water with your talent and skills. So why is it that I am booked while some of you are not? Well maybe some of you don’t want any live gigs and I respect that totally. But for the ones who would like to be playing more and getting paid for the gigs there must be another reason. I think that reason, as another good fisherman SJ performer Kenny Z would agree, is that I am simply fishing where the fish are. And of course by that I mean adapting to a different type of venue that is not usually associated with live music and its patrons, at least in our musician minds.

Now before you read down further please keep two very important words in mind when dealing with these alternative venues. The words are “adaptability” and “versatility” because very often these venues will ask and expect you to adapt your style and maybe be more versatile with your play-list to suit their clientele. So if you are a musician who says, “I will not play a certain genre of music.” Some of these gigs will not be for you. Of course personally, I offer right up front, No Rap and No Heavy Metal or Hard Rock. In my case I can just about see what they are thinking, maybe something like, “duh no kidding pops.” But these genres are usually not a big request with the clients you will find down below anyway.

In the next paragraph I am going to let you know what took me years of research, planning and cold sales calls to make the connections. In other words I am going to tell you where the fish are.

The Fish

Corporate Functions: From annual award dinners to all types of holiday parties. Everyone who has a sign on their door doing business is a potential client. From doctors and dentists to hardware stores, lawyers and banks. They will also help you get your foot in the door of venues who cater these events. FYI . . . I play all of the above including auto dealerships “Special Sales Events” and can even be found at some “Bank Branch’s Grand Openings” sitting on a stool playing some background jazz from time to time.

Often you can speak with your local restaurants and caterers to find out who is booking these type of events. You can then start the contact by doing a mailing inquiring about their corporate social events, let them know a little about what and where you play, where they can hear some of your music and an offer to meet with them to discuss any “special events” they may have in their plans. Sometimes I just knock on their doors and introduce myself to the receptionist and ask who plans their corporate functions, that simple.

Independent and Assisted Retirement Communities: These are not your granddad’s nursing homes, heck I play one where it costs the client a $150,000 upfront non-refundable fee just to get an apartment. So you can bet these clients are not satisfied with a movie in the VCR and some warm milk for Happy Hour. They expect good local lively entertainment, great food, and a 2nd-to-none selection of Wine and Spirits …and they get it. All of these establishments have a Social Director on staff along with a budget to hire live entertainment. I have also booked many private functions including birthday, anniversary and assorted social events held in private homes and other venues as a direct result of playing the retirement circuit.

Google them, then pay a visit to the Social Director to discuss what you have to offer and your fees. I am lucky enough to have been playing upwards of 75 of these upscale venues over the past 10 years. Nice easy fun one-hour gigs for wonderful music savvy audiences. Mostly late afternoons which leaves plenty of time to play elsewhere if I choose later in the evening or night. Another plus is that they like to book in increments of 6 months to one year in advance.

It may take a couple of years but once you get intrenched in the corporate scene in your area I can almost promise you will get as many of these gigs as you like, to the point of picking and choosing who and for what fee you want to perform.

If anyone would like to speak with me in depth as to my personal experiences with these venues just drop me a note on my Facebook page.

Now let’s play some music, one . . . two . . . three . . . etc!

PS: Now don’t get so many gigs that we won’t see you on StreetJelly anymore. Oh, I think that is in the contract anyway, just ask Merv! lol

Viewer Quick Graph

New Feature: Viewer Quick Graph

User Type: Musicians

How to Find: Click on main menu Down Arrow ∇, choose My Shows, click show Id link

We created the “Viewer Quick Graph” for musicians to get a better feel of how long viewers are watching their StreetJelly broadcasts. Unlike a concert where a patron would purchase a ticket to a show, broadcasting on StreetJelly is more like performing open mic in a cafe or busking on the street corner for coin.  People will come and go continuously during the performance for many different reasons.  But unlike in the real world, we now report to the musicians how long viewers were connected to their stream.
VQG Screenshot
The graph is not a reflection of one’s musical skills, but merely shows the flow of viewers in and out of a performance. The free-to-view nature of StreetJelly, and the internet in general, encourages visitors to pop in and check out as many musicians as possible. But at the same time, die hard fans will flock to a favorite musician and watch an entire show. The graph shows this relationship of time-spent-in-a-show.

We call it a “quick” graph because its the visual pattern of the graph, and not necessarily the values of each bar, that quickly gives the musician the visual cue of how long viewers stayed.  But first, let’s explain those bars. We divide the duration of your show into twelve time increments represented by each bar (the x-axis). For example: in a 1-hour show, the 1st bar represents 5 minutes, the 2nd bar 10 minutes, 3rd bar 15, and so on. For a 2-hour show, each bar then represents 10 minutes, 20, etc. Next, the height of each bar (the y-axis) shows how many people watched your show for that length of time. On the actual graph, hover over each bar with your mouse to see the data values.

VQG AxisThe less time people stay connected to your stream, they will be counted in bars on the left side. The longer time they stay, they will be collected in the right side bars. For example, all the bars stacked to the left means most everyone left after a short time, while all the bars stacked to the right mean most people stayed for the entire show.  But remember, the timer for a viewer starts counting whenever they arrive.  If a viewer arrives late at the end of a set, then their viewing time would naturally be a fraction of the total length of the show. That late viewer would be represented in the bars on the left.

Ok, now that we thoroughly confused everyone, let’s take a look at some sample graphs to put this all together:

Typical Graph
VQG TypicalMost shows will have a nice spread of viewers who stay for various lengths. But you will always have many viewers that pop in for a very short time, hence the large bar on left.

Short Stay Viewers
VQG Short StayWe call these the “busy body” viewers who can’t sit still. These people are bouncing around the site, checking out multiple shows, making dinner on the side, and not able to stay long.

Long Stay Viewers
VQG Long StayHere we see our favorite couch potatoes. Most people stuck around for much of the show. The musician has managed to capture and entertain their crowd for a nice long time.

No Graph Data
VQG No DataThis is a special case when either the show is less than 12 minutes long (remember we divide the bars up in 12 time increments); or you are looking at a show way back in time before we collected viewing time information (back in 2013).

The Viewer Quick Graph is a marketing tool for StreetJelly musicians. Use it to understand what your viewers are doing, how they respond to your performance, and how to improve fun for everyone. Got any performance tips about increasing viewership? Add them in the comments below…

Put Butts In Da Seats

Special guest blog by DannyC, South Louisiana, USA

Larger audiences . . . am I doing my share to “Put Butts In Da Seats?”

Rock CrowdI ask this question as while StreetJelly is no doubt a wonderful site for musicians and songwriters to showcase their talent the fact remains for ultimate success, for performers anyway, we as a group must do all we can to boost the “civilian members” of our audiences. This is of prime importance if indeed you truly want to get compensated i.e. tips from your performances.

For you “true” buskers out there, I’d be willing to bet when you stake out a setup location you are looking for the highest traffic and target music demographic audience you can reach. Well on SJ while we have a built in audience, they are like family, and while I love my “real” family as much as the next guy they are the last group I would ever expect to support my living, especially as a musician. With this said, if we want to grow our tips and audience size we simply must get more music fans to visit SJ.

As a group we can instantly start bringing in more audience members. Look, we all have email accounts, 99% of us have FB pages or websites. I urge you to take a little time, say once a month or so to do some blitz emails campaigns, FB sharing promotions and website links and yes “blatantly plug” your future performances. It’s numbers game guys, the more we “all” tell the story to our contacts and get them to tell it to their contacts the larger the “civilian” audiences will be. And every new music lover we drive to our performance will eventually check out other performers. In fact I encourage you to point out the diversity of music they can hear on SJ in your campaigns. I learned long ago you only gain by plugging other acts as you highlight yours.

Frankie and Martina have a wonderful website built with the musician and music lover in mind, and I like many of you are very thankful for the platform they have given us to showcase our music. But, IMHO, the time has come for “us” to do something to grow SJ. We as musicians just can’t sit back, plug in and expect for our popularity and tips to grow. We owe it to ourselves to do something with this platform they have afforded us to insure it does, as the saying goes the ball is in our courts.

Bottom-line . . . How often do we hear lines like, man we can’t get squat for a 3 hour gig in my town, and the next thing you learn is that very often some cat is playing a gig for “nadda” just so he/she can get “the exposure”. Well we can’t do much about that but we do have the ability and means to help build our SJ “civilian” audiences. My bet is that not only will your tips increase but the more local audience members you bring in the more audience members you will have supporting you in your live events around your town . . . therefore your number of live paid gigs should also increase.

DannyCFellow SJ family members please take this for what it is and no more, a personal opinion offered with the hope that if some of you agree you will get on board with trying to build civilian audiences. Either way, I thank you for your time to read it.

Now let’s count off the next tune 1 ana 2 ana 3 . . .

Best Regards,

Danny C.

Singer Songwriter Contest – Tips and Suggestions

Attention Artists! Submit your ORIGINAL song to the StreetJelly “Singer Songwriter Contest” for a chance at prizes, industry recognition, and the opportunity to present your song to publishers. Create a video of yourself performing your original song, and the StreetJelly community will vote on the winners.

Music Contest WinnerHello Ladies and Jellymen, Frankie here!  You all know we’re having the songwriter’s contest.  Let me tell you a little more how we’re handling the submissions, what the judges are looking for, and what to expect from viewer voting.

We have a panel of six judges.  They include musicians, music teachers, music industry experts, and …well, me!  The judges will be picking ten finalists.  The StreetJelly community will then get to vote for their favorite from the ten finalists.

The judges will all be using a form rating sheet to assign points to various categories.  We’ll use these scores to fairly and consistently rank the Top 10.  Here are the categories:

  • Structure – Segments, components, length, and arrangement.  (10 points)
  • Melody – Is it pleasing to the ear?  (10 points)
  • Dynamic – The use of musical rise, fall, sustain, staccato to bring the listener “somewhere.”  (10 points)
  • Lyrics – meaningful words that make you think.  (10 points)
  • The Hook – Is it stuck in your head later?  (10 points)
  • Rhythm and Rhyme Scheme – The groove, the phrasing, the poetics and the feel of the song.  (10 points)
  • Overall Likability – This is the subjective feeling for the judge.  How well do you like it.  (40 points)

So when you submit your original songs, or anytime you write a song, keep all this in mind.  But you already know this.  Let me make a suggestion about the videos.  It’s perfectly fine to submit us a video you already have on YouTube.  (Btw, we want your link to your YouTube channel so you get the benefit of all the new viewer counts.)  Feel free, however, to make a new video and talk a little before and / or after your performance about the song.  You will make a better impression about your song by explaining the lyrics, the story behind it, the day you wrote it, whatever.

This is a great tip not only for the contest, but anytime you upload an original song video to YouTube.  Unless you have the fan-base of The Bieb, chances are few people will find your video and watch it for its merit.  But some people will find and watch the video out of curiosity.  You have a short opportunity to make a lasting impression about your song.

We all like art more when we make a connection with an artist.  Think about it, how many times have you watched a DVD movie that was only average?  But after you watched all the behind-the-scene extras and actor interviews that come with the DVD; you somehow liked the movie more.  Same thing works with music.  We like songs better when we like the musician.  Even taking 10 or 15 seconds to introduce yourself and your song makes a favorable impression on the viewer (and judges).  Makes them feel welcomed.

Ok, you get the idea:  being personable will help in the judging round, AND it will really help in the voting round.  The viewers and fans on StreetJelly will vote most exclusively by likability.  I hate to say a lot of this sounds like marketing, but it is.  However, marketing is a big part in becoming a successful singer songwriter!  Best of luck to everyone entering the contest, we can’t wait to hear …and see, all your songs.