Saturday, October 25, 2008

Interview w/ New Media Pioneer: Jeff Skonieczny of Imagine Echoes Blog

New Media Pioneer: Jeff Skonieczny of Imagine Echoes Blog

Q: How long have you been blogging?

A: Ironically, I've been blogging for exactly three years today.

Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?

A: I believe a good song needs to display some form of true emotion. It's typically pretty easy to see when a band is truly pouring their heart and soul into what they are doing. Now the difference from a good song and a great song is, it needs to be fleshed out. It needs to be like a story, it needs a beginning, middle and end. The best songs are ones that have the ability to build up to a great climax, for instance songs like King Crimson's "Starless" and Pink Floyd's "Echoes". Lengthier songs seem to accomplish this with more ease, but plenty of shorter songs do this as well. But in the end, the most important characteristic of a song is for it to be true to itself, the band/artist must have a personal connection with what they're doing.

Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?

A: Pink Floyd would rank as my favorite band. They consistently threw new and creative things at their listeners and nearly every album turned out to be an amazing experience. Albums like "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wish You Were Here" are practically flawless. David Gilmour's guitar work is so iconic and soulful, every note seems to carry as much weight as the previous. The song writing from the band is absolutely unforgettable, they had the ability to take the listener on a journey which surpassed just listening to the music. They were one of the few bands that made progressive rock more accessible, and they certainly helped to propel the genre to new heights.

Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have affected you most?

A: Personally I haven't run into any problems with the law when it comes to broadcasting my blog. Although I must say, I try to avoid posting samples of music in fear of infringing on the law.

Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel that that is a true statement?

A: While I don't participate in social networking sites such as MySpace, I do believe it is a great thing for music. It allows for lesser known bands to get their music heard, and nothing is more important than that. On the other hand however, I can easily see how blogging has generated more album sales than MySpace. By creating hype around an album, people will take notice. Every band can have a MySpace, but not every band is lucky enough to have their music actually heard and critiqued. The most important thing for a band, other than their music, is to create some buzz, and to have people talking about their music, blogging is the ultimate source for just that.

To find more interviews and New Media tips for musicians please visit:

Friday, October 17, 2008

The New Facebook - A Musicians Guide

The New Facebook - A Musicians Guide
by Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR

Several months ago I wrote an article on my 6 favorite Facebook apps. Since then Facebook has relaunched with a new design and now as a musician you can create a band / musician page.

Here is an updated version that explain how to set up a page from scratch and my favorite apps for you!

Getting Started & Ariel's Top 6 Facebook Apps For Musicians

Facebook is here to stay. I know a lot of artists who are already overwhelmed with MySpace tend to feel daunted by the whole concept of introducing yet another social network into their lives. On September 4, 2008 Facebook launched "new" Facebook and the new interface is easier to use than before.

You won't believe how many people who you never saw around MySpace are on Facebook. All of a sudden you will be back in touch with your babysitter from grade school, a ton of old friends, and even the drummer from your first band. And, if you have been resisting because you think Facebook is just for kids in college, you are mistaken. The largest demographic on Facebook is over 25. It's the 4th most-trafficked website in the world and it's the number one photo sharing application. Read the full stats here:

With over 110 million active users it’s here to stay so my advice is DIVE in (if you haven't already).

Here is a quick rundown for newbies on how to create a page as a band / musician and my favorite apps for Musicians when pimping out your Facebook profile!


STEP ONE: Create a Band / Artist Profile
Go Here:

STEP TWO: click on the third button down, it will say: Artist, Band, or Public Figure

STEP THREE: Select Band or Musician After you select it, a pull down menu will pop up. Select band it if you are a band, or musician if you play solo or want to create a solo-page (you can create as many as you want so you can create one for you and one for your band).

STEP FOUR: Enter Your Name Name your page and select create page. You are now off to the races!

The rest is pretty self-explanatory & you will upload your photo for your main user icon, your bio, band members and photos and details.

STEP FIVE: Click Create Page Now you are live and ready to add Apps! What is an App? It's short for application and it is simply a cool additional tool that you can add to your page so that you can display features such as music, photos, and videos.

Facebook has a great page that explains how to help you with apps. FAQ's are here:

And the whole list of available apps is here:

Here are my top picks for musicians and links to where you can download the apps for your own profile.

1. Music By Reverb Nation
Play Your Tunes &ref=pd_r_c

Musicians and bands can post unlimited songs for streaming or download, add bios and band photos, sell your music and have your friends add your music and share with their friends (viral marketing for you!). This app also includes links to your homepage and you can add up to 30 of your songs (full-length) to your Facebook Musician Page. And the best part: great stats track song-play activity.

2. Vod:Pod
Display Your Videos

I am a big advocate in creating small casual videos to share with your fans. Videos are an excellent viral marketing tool. This app is the easiest way to show your videos and your favorite videos. This is a good place to display backstage moments, live shows and of course your music videos

3. zuPort
Show your Flickr photos

If you are a Flickr user zuPort automatically imports your public Flickr photostream so you can show off even more photos to your friends. zuPort: Flickr keeps your sets, collections, tags, comments and everything else linked so you only have to update only once.

4. Twitter
Tweet Away and Have It Synched!

This app allows you to update your status on Facebook straight from your mobile phone. So you can be on the road but your facebook page can be updated from your van! Pretty cool eh?

5. Facebook Mobile
Bring Facebook on the go

This app allows you to use Facebook on the go. With it, you can quickly to upload photos and notes from your camera phone straight to Facebook. You can also receive and reply to Facebook messages, pokes and Wall posts using text messages, or use your phone’s mobile browser.

6. iCast By iLike
Tell your fans your news

Send bulletins to fans with iCast, the best bulletins system on Facebook. You can send multimedia or mobile bulletins, or just plain blogs. Your bulletins will show not only to Facebook fans, but also via iLike across 10 different networks. They are the go to app for communicating your music to your fans.

7. iLike this Artist
Show off to your fans

Musicians, you can show off your fans on iLike on your artist page. This will add an "iLike this artist" button on your page, and will show your (larger) fan count across the entire iLike network.

Happy facebooking and please find me and join our group which features loads of free tips for musicians:

Sign up for our bi-weekly musicians tips newsletter Sound Advice here:

For music, pix, video, and more info, go here

Friday, October 10, 2008

Interview w/ New Media Pioneer: Steve Springall of Cybster TV

New Media Pioneer: Steve Springall of Cybster TV

CYBSTER TV is an Internet TV show presenting Independent artists and bands in a format similar to MTV, Rage and Video Hits. We are always on the lookout for great content and would like to invite the artists you represent to contribute their professionally produced music videos to be on the show.

Q: How long have you been broadcasting and doing the Cybster DJ video channel?

A: I discovered podcasting in mid 2005 and saw it as an opportunity to play music to more people than those in a venue. It also meant I could enjoy playing music that I liked without having to be booked for a real life event. CYBSTER TV began 2 years ago once I was able to source quality music videos from independent bands and artists.

Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?

A: To me the most important thing a song needs is a good melody and persistent beat. Without these things a song is merely a poem.

Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?

A: My all time favorite band is AC/DC. Other favorites include David Bowie, INXS, MC Hammer and Michael Jackson... (I taught him the Moonwalk... haha). So whilst I obviously enjoy Pop and hard rock, my favorites Genre is electronica... house and trance especially... it just connects with my soul.

Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have affected you most?

A: I have only been able to use material that I have express permission to use. I obtain this directly from the artists, or from networks such at the Podsafe Music Network, Ariel Cyber PR, PromoNET and GarageBand. Licencing in Australia is very strict and too expensive to use mainstream music in my shows. I don't mind anyway, it's a thrill to help independent artists get exposure around the world; we help each other.

Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel podcasts have the same power?

A: Definitely, most podcasts have a show notes page for each show with direct purchase links to the artists website or iTunes. It makes it real easy for those who enjoyed the song to get a copy quickly. I've used this myself plenty of times. I'm so lazy I like it when things are made easy for me. :)

To find more interviews and New Media tips for musicians please visit:

For music, pix, video, and more info, go here

Monday, October 6, 2008

Book Review: The Indie Band Survival Guide

Book Review: The Indie Band Survival Guide by Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR

A few weeks ago, I threw a book launch party for my friends, Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan to celebrate the launch of their new fabulous book, "The Indie Band Survival Guide," published by St. Martin's Griffin here in New York, and I was honored to be interviewed and prominently featured in the PR chapter. Weighing in at 329 pages, it is jam-packed full of incredible information.

"The Indie Band Survival Guide" is a book that all artists, independent or not, need to own.

Randy & Jason are founding members of the Chicago based independent band Beatnik Turtle, and this book started out as their blog where they chronicled their personal experience releasing a whopping 18 albums, touring, building a formidable following, and writing music for film and TV. This book was not motivated by money or a desire for fame. It came from the 12 years of experience as independent artists that they achieved directly by releasing albums, and as they learned along the way, they wrote it all down. As their lessons and experiences grew, so did their blog, and because of their blog a literary agent approached them, and they got a publishing deal.

It was very hard not to write a hundred page review of this bookÂ… Randy & Jason share exactly the same philosophies and opinions about the realities of the 'new' music business and their insights are striking and very important to understand to stay ahead during this wild west time of the music business.

When I started Ariel Publicity in 1996 there was ONE conversation that took place at all music festivals like SXSW and in my office and anywhere you went where there were musicians present. That conversation was: "How am I going to get signed?"

The first key point this book makes is: Back in the day when getting signed was the principal goal of all artists, the entire game was all about winning over just a few key record executives in the business. Today, the rules have completely changed and this is no longer true at all. It's now the sole responsibility of the artist to take on what an entire staff used to do, and there is a lot to take on.

This book begins by reminding artists that you don't have to do it all alone, and that technology is wonderful and helps empower artists, "but it's not the technology that will get your music listened to, booked, distributed, played, seen, and publicized." It's people. People make things happen for musicians...

Here are some highlights that struck me:

- Randy & Jason take you through the myths and realities of old-school music business versus the new music business, including how commercial radio works and why independent artists will have to spend between $20,000 and $100,000 to get commercial radio airplay

- Why signing to a major label makes no sense in this day and age

- Why networking is key and how it doesn't have to feel icky

- How to use your fans to help you network and get the word out about you

- People who have met you or seen you play live are likely to be in the minority of people who will listen to your music now that the Internet is the number one medium for music delivery

- The importance of a good website and why just having a MySpace page is a big mistake and how to plan it soup to nuts and how to make people return to your website over and over

- A complete guide to blogging and micro-blogging and the benefits

- The ins and outs of social networking

- How to create a CD, home studio versus pro studios, everything about CD manufacturing and merchandising with a complete bulleted list, which they provide so you don't even have to think. You just have to follow the list and get your CD released

- Copyright laws and trademark your rights to the songs and recording in a handy flow chart that breaks down every aspect, from sampling to who pays you to trademark

- Why multi-tasking is totally necessary for artists in this day and age and why having multiple income streams is what will make you money in the long run.

- The death of the big splash - The new approach for releasing albums is slow and steady wins the race

- How to get booked at clubs and house concerts, charity events, festivals, college gigs and weddings

- How to get your fans to help you get the word out

This book is an indispensable goldmine and a must-have for every independent musician's library. No matter what level you are at in your career, you need to own this fabulous book, The Indie Band Survival Guide.

Here is a free preview on their website:

Don't miss out on a chance to change your music career for $14.95 - buy this book today!

Amazon Link:

Check out photos from the release party on Flickr!

For music, pix, video, and more info, go here