BeeFM – Indiescovered 2013

It’s true. Right now is one of the best times to be an indie artist!

Social media, accessibility to home recording equipment, and a variety of distribution means have allowed independent artists to achieve what was a pipe dream less than a decade ago. In fact, aside from distribution, there’s really isn’t much a record label can offer that an ambitious band with a little business savvy can’t accomplish on their own.

Indie artists are able to release the music they want, how they want to, without the interference of playing a numbers game with a label.

As you can imagine, this has resulted in an influx of new sounds, styles, genres, and artists that you’ve probably never even heard of. For those interested in music discovery, this can be incredibly exciting challenge to take on. For those who don’t even know where to start, this can be a daunting task.

ENTER: BeeFM – Indiescovered 2013

BeeFM has taken the liberty to provide a collection of some incredible talent from around the world whose genres range from rock, jazz, soul, folk, and even a hint of country. This compilation is truly an appetizer for your ears to feast upon.

When I initially started this review, I had intended on writing this review based purely upon listening to the audio. It was a valiant attempt; however, my interest peaked after listening to only a few of the artists and needed to know more. How had I not heard of these incredible musicians?

It was like a second birthday, or Christmas in September, or just plain badassery!

Click here to get all details about the BeeFM crowdfund campaign and BeeFM Indiescovered 2013 CD

Listeners are welcomed to Indiescovered 2013 with the synth-pop track “Rising Sun” by UK powerhouse Clockwork Orange. The groove is undeniable. Vocals are spot on. I was surprised to learn about the influences of this band. There are obvious influences from progressive and electronic music, but I had not idea that industrial would end up on their list. Impressive.

If punk rock is your more your flavor check out “declaration” by Shambolic. Another UK band, the hook in this track is infectious! The sound could best be described as the sex pistols with a more digestible edge. Go ahead, put on those Chuck Taylors, raise your middle finger to “the man”, and skank the night away (wait… does anyone still skank?).

“The Motion” by Nevergreen was a track that immediately grabbed my attention. Sara Pass’ vocals are high brow enough for jazz aficionados, but can rock out with the best of ’em. The syncopated rhythm of the chorus is accentuated by what the band is not playing. Proof that dynamics, not screaming nor distortion laden guitars, can make a song heavy.

Click here to get all details about the BeeFM crowdfund campaign and BeeFM Indiescovered 2013 CD

“Rain” by Mize and the Drive resonated with the Eddie Vedder and Roger Waters fan within me. Yes, I’m aware it’s an interesting combo, but hey, it works. The use of the saxophone was a great choice to add texture to the atmospheric sound. Kudos to these guys!

One challenge any compilation must tackle is the arrangement of songs. There must be a conscious effort to create peaks and valleys, drawing a listener in. The order of tracks can have a substantial effect on the overall listening experience. Indiescovered 2013 doesn’t disappoint; The Boondock Hippy brings a little twang to the mix with “I’ll Rest When I’m Dead”, it’s a nice counterpoint to the other genres. The male/female vocals were definitely refreshing to hear.

1… 2… 3… 4… Secret attack!

This track by JoeJoe Keys was another highlight for me. This jam does nothing but groove in the pocket. It’s funky fresh and I found myself singing the hook several hours after the song was over: secret attack… secret attack…

Experience indie music at its finest from cover to cover. Kick back and press play on your favorite media device. You’ve been warned though, you may have just found your new favorite indie artists.

Interested in purchasing the CD?

Support BeeFM’s Indiegogo campaign and quest for world domination: http://igg.me/at/beefm/x/713480

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Websites are hardly free… but necessary

Let’s face it, websites cost money.  While it’s much more convenient on your pocketbook to set up a Facebook page or Twitter account to promote your music, you need a website.  Why?  Nothing, NOTHING, makes a band look more amateur than solely relying on social networking page as their “band page”.

Though it’s not very common, what if some of your fan base doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter.  Anyone remember Myspace? How about PureVolume or Garageband?  That’s what I thought. For some of us it’s pure nostalgia, ah yes, the good ‘ol days.  For those of you with a blank stare or the look of a monkey doing a math problem, I could probably tell your age by simply asking this question.

I’m sure that you’re asking the million dollar question, what’s this going to cost me?  The short answer really is that it depends on how much legwork you, as an artist, want to put in.  In most cases, the more responsibility you are willing to take on as a musician directly relates to the cost savings on your wallet.

So where to start? There are tons of information on starting a relatively low cost website. I say “relatively” because there are costs with hosting and maintaining any custom URL… trust me, it’s well worth the money you will spend.

To begin, you will need two things to create a website:

  1. Domain name
  2. Web host

These are relatively easy to set up.  Many sites that offer hosting allow you to purchase your domain name through them.  At this point, it’s best to forego any extras they try to offer you.  You don’t really need the advertising credits, website builders, lasers, or free puppies. Just stick to the basics… a domain name, and a web host.

This is perhaps one of the best YouTube tutorials on setting up a basic WordPress-based website that I’ve found: http://youtu.be/8Jv47_VIBOQ.

Most likely, you’re going to want to go with the “Baby” package.  It’s $6.36/month ($76.32/year).  Additionally, Host Gator offers, “All plans guarantee you unlimited disk space and bandwidth, free site building tools and templates, and 24/7/365 award winning technical support”.  I have personally used this method to create a few websites.  It’s easy.  It’s efficient.  It saves tons of MONEY.  As noted in the YouTube video, the simple integration most likely saved you about $500-$2500 right out of the gate!

Now, before we go any further, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea – I love ReverbNation.  I have a personal and band account, widgets strewn about the web and I have used the analytic reports because I’m into geeky shit like that.  But use it for what it is; ReverbNation is a tool – nothing more, nothing less.

ReverbNation has a web hosting service that costs $17.95/month… that’s $215.40/year!!!  Depending on what you’re willing to spend and how much labor you want to skip out on this may be an option for you.  The benefit of using ReverbNation’s website builder is that your entire band profile is linked to the web page. All of your shows, photos, and artist information are synced seamlessly.  Not too shabby if you’ve got the disposable income to do so.  However, compared to the $76.32 Host Gator has to offer, I’m not so sure I’m willing to part with $139.08 that could be better spent on merchandise or gear.

I was also recently introduced to BlueHost, which could potentially save you even more money.  I understand that they are running a special right now for $4.95/month ($59.40/year), which is an outstanding price.  Additionally, you get a $100 credit for Google Adwords… big BONUS!  I have never used their services and, therefore, could not personally vouch for their services.  However, I have heard some really great things about this company that are worth looking into.

Perfect.  Now that you have a domain and host, what next?  If you’re still asking this question, you most likely didn’t watch the YouTube video, but that’s OK.  Maybe you’re at work, or you’re just reading this to determine whether I’m full of malarkey.

I would suggest integrating Word Press onto your website (if you’ve gone through Host Gator or BlueHost, you should be able to install this with one click).  If absolutely necessary, you can install Word Press manually, but this becomes more challenging.  I do not recommend doing this is you’re not familiar with mySQL or FTP uploading- You can really fu** up your website.

After Word Press is installed take a couple of minutes to familiarize yourself with the dashboard.  Posts in Word Press operates similarly to MS Word, there’s even a paste from Word option.  Additionally, you will need to understand how plugins work.  By itself there are many features that Word Press cannot do.  However, with the assistance of external extensions, or plugins, you are able to make your website absolutely stunning.  You can start add pages, create a static homepage (highly recommended), and last, but surely not least – Start adding content, content, and more content!

Make Your Band’s Site Sing

I wish I would have seen this blog sooner. After checking our some of the actual websites that are created with WordPress, I was floored! Not only do these sites look pro, they obviously have the SEO benefits of a blog… something that Google and other major search engines look for (though this may be overstated, as many WordPress users are already aware of this).

Anywhoo, I totally plan no using this for my next musical venture.
Rock on \m/

The WordPress.com Blog

Hey musicians! We just launched WordPress.com/music with two new features to help you rock the web: playlists and upcoming events.

We know that you need specific features to create a killer experience on your band’s site. You need a calendar so fans can keep track of your gigs, an easy way to embed your music, and lots of social media options to share the love. Oh, and all this on a tight budget? Check, 1-2-3.

WordPress.com has a symphony of tools you can use to keep fans in the loop and share music with them, the media, labels, and venues.

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