Last Minute Merch

t-shirt-294078__180 So you’ve worked hard at mastering an instrument, writing a catalog of hit songs and are about to hit the road gigging all over the country. As you calculate the expenses you will incur touring, you begin to wonder how you could possibly make any money in the music business. Then you remember the article you read somewhere about artists making money from selling t-shirts and cds at their live shows.  Your tour begins in a week and you frantically call merch companies to see if you could get t-shirts printed and cds pressed in time to take with you. Sound stupid?

I’m surprised how often I run into artists who claim to be serious about a music career but wait till the last minute to think about the merch they will take on tour. Merch is one of the only money making areas left in the music business. Should it really be an afterthought? Artists who understand the importance of merch and treat it as such are the ones who create sustainable careers in the music business.

 

 

 

Recipe For A Hit Song

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The recipe for a hit song consist of two main ingredients, art and psychology. When art and psychology work in perfect harmony, the chances for the perfect storm increase. One without the other makes finding a hit next to impossible.

I regularly hear new music from artists, songwriters and producers who aspire to create hits. Most of the creators are quite familiar with the songs that reach the top of the charts. What puzzles me is the key ingredient so many miss about those songs. When writing/recording a song, they nail the art with an incredible hook but totally miss the psychology when placing the hook in the song. Lost in the art, many artists and producers take too long to get to the hook. Unfortunately, the listener wants the payoff immediately and therefore so do the gate keepers of radio.

I offer a little obvious free advice. To Score a Hit, Hook’em Quick!

 

 

Great New Wedding Song!

The Gray Havens Release Band Of Gold Video

Well, its June, and as usual, many folks are getting married or attending weddings. Nothing makes a wedding more special than a beautiful wedding song. While some lean to old favorites, millennials tend to look for something new and fresh. The Gray Havens have served up just the song for those millennials and hipsters at heart with their new song, “Band of Gold.”  The song was produced by Ben Shive (Colony House, Andrew Peterson, Rend Collective) and the video was filmed/directed by Evan Bourcier at Valo Visuals.  This new wedding story video from The Gray Havens is sure to stir some emotion and draw a tear or two from even the tough guys!

Noah Cleveland Releases New Lyric Video

My Savior Lives Lyric Video

Noah Cleveland released his new lyric video for “My Savior Lives” this week. The Easter themed song written by Cleveland and Tony Wood promises to become a favorite worship song for churches around the world. As listeners will see and hear, the song simply tells the story of the Gospel through a hauntingly beautiful melody.

Bono Wants Honest Christian Music

Honest Christian Music For Bono

Bono wants honest Christian music, according to an interview published by The Huffington Post this week. U2’s frontman stated in the Huffington Post interview that he finds “a lot of dishonesty” in modern Christian art. The article quoted Bono as saying  “Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism,” he continued. “And I’d love to see more of that — in art and in life and in music.”

Well, as you can imagine, Bono’s statements lit up the social networks with thoughts and reactions from the Christian music community. While some agreed with Bono, most think Bono is only hearing the music supported by Christian radio. There has been an ongoing conversation about Christian radio’s unwillingness to support great honest songs for quite a while. Honest music is absolutely being made, but Christian radio refuses to support it and instead chooses music that is safe, watered down and familiar. Some would even argue that Christian radio has become the A&R team for the Christian record labels as most labels won’t sign or release music that doesn’t fit in the safe box that Christian radio has created.

Christian radio has grown quite dependent on “radio testing” in order to decide whether or not to add new music. Unfortunately, the “radio testing” is viewed by many as a flawed process and is designed to favor familiarity. Of course listeners are going to rate familiar music higher than unfamiliar music while participating in the testing process. Those results scare Christian radio programmers into shying away from adding some of the more honest music. That doesn’t mean honest Christian music isn’t being made, it’s just not being exposed to the masses.

In an effort to expose Bono to some great honest Christian music, I created a Spotify playlist specifically for him. Bono – here is some honest Christian music for you to check out  “Honest Christian Music For Bono.”  I think you will see there is much more depth and honesty than is normally heard on radio.

I invite all to follow the playlist and send your suggestions of music we should add to  info@artistgardenentertainment.com

 

 

Seth Godin’s Favorite New Album

Seth Godin’s favorite new album is remarkable. An album that stands out amongst the plethora of new music being offered. Something with an independent spirit that raises the bar for future music offerings. Songs written with intelligent lyrics causing one to think and ponder. Unforgettable melodies that linger long after a single listen. An album that allowed the producer freedom to create outside the rules of the normal radio establishment. Seth Godin’s Favorite New Album is impossible to ignore. Its an epic experience that begs for a complete listen. His favorite new album is significant.

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The Gray Havens have recorded a new album, Ghost Of A King. The new album holds many of the traits Seth’s new favorite album would most likely hold. The Gray Havens have been intentional about making music that stands out among the rest. Scribing lyrics that attract those who enjoy reading and weaving them into infectious melodies that can’t be forgotten. The husband/wife duo have created something quite remarkable with their new album Ghost Of A King. The Gray Havens’ devoted tribe of music loving book readers will not be disappointed with this new collection of songs.

When significant albums comes down the pike, readers of this blog generally want to be in the know. You will want to experience The Gray Havens Ghost Of A King .

The Gray Havens Return With Ghost Of A King

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The Gray Havens Return With Ghost Of A King April 8

 

The Gray Havens finalNASHVILLE, Tenn.—Critically acclaimed Artist Garden Entertainment husband/wife duo The Gray Havens are set to bow their highly anticipated full-length sophomore set, Ghost of a King, April 8. Featuring 10 of the couple’s most personal and prolific songs to date, the project is currently available for pre-order on iTunes with two instant-grat tracks.

Exploring the overarching theme of longing, Ghost of a King was produced by Ben Shive (Colony House, Rend Collective), with “At Last, The King” produced by singer/songwriter Ryan Corn.

“The opener, ‘Ghost In The Valley,’ sets up the record as the fulfillment of the deepest longing one can have,” explains The Gray Havens’ David Radford. “The subsequent songs are sub-stories of different longings we have had or have currently, whether that be a longing to do something important with my life, or love my spouse well, or not be caught up in chasing money, or to spend eternity with my friends and family.”

Additional highlights of the album—which features Colony House’s Will Chapman on drums—include the title track, a Shakespearean-esque narrative chronicling new birth; “Take This Slowly,” a reflective reminder of the grace we are given each day; the buoyant, acoustic love song “Band Of Gold”; and the tender, yet epic piano-based closer “Go,” depicting a place where “golden shores with lights more radiant than the sun” await.

Picnic B&W “We tried to give ourselves permission on this project to reach outside our pop/folk roots when exploring the potential of any given song, which ended up being a ton of fun and made for a record we love,” Radford continues. “These songs are all new, just recently written, so they feel very current and representative of where we are in life.”

The Gray Havens are slated to showcase selections from Ghost of a King at various college campuses, conferences and other venues around the country this spring, including performances at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa; College of the Ozarks in Hollister, Missouri; and The Gospel Coalition’s National Women’s Conference in Indianapolis. Tomorrow, the duo will open for acclaimed folk/rockers The Oh Hellos at Pennsylvania’s Grove City College.

David—a Top 20 “American Idol” finalist from Season 5—and Licia Radford are The Gray Havens. Since the release of their 2013 debut EP, Where Eyes Don’t Go, and last year’s critically lauded full-length Fire And Stone, the duo has established a loyal following, known for their unique blend of narrative folk/pop encompassing fantasy story, lyric poetry and theology. They have performed alongside such artists as Andrew Peterson, Drew Holcomb, Jenny & Tyler, Sara Groves and Cindy Morgan, among others.

For further information, visit thegrayhavensmusic.com or turningpointpr.com.

Spotify Encounters Major Hurdle

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Spotify announced yesterday that they are encountering a major hurdle due to their digital music inventory running dangerously low. Industry analyst predict the digital provider could run out of music as early as this evening. Apparently, record listener traffic generated during spring break depleted inventory to a critical level. Spotify chairman and co-founder, Daniel Ek, stated they are willing to pay above the normal wholesale cost to any music companies willing to partner by overnighting digital inventory.

At press time, Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine was the only company who had addressed the issue by overnighting twenty million digital Taylor Swift songs to Spotify. Company insiders report that the pop superstar and Spotify had patched up differences and Swift was paid $2 for every song delivered netting the artist a quick $40 million. Universal Music Group is expected to be the first of the Big Four majors to send relief today. Warner Music Group, Sony Music and Artist Garden Entertainment are all expected to announce deals soon. Ironically, the April 1 deadline has fooled much of the industry into believing that the streaming music giant may be imploding.

 

Introducing The Album Trailer

New Music Marketing Ideas

Could an album trailer have similar impact on a music release as a movie trailer has on films? That is a marketing question I have been pondering over the last year.

I joined a meet-up group consisting of those who spend their time making films. The group includes, writers, directors, marketers, and actors. My desire is to glean marketing wisdom from the group in addition to finding film homes for some of the music we represent. While the music industry struggles with bringing the masses of the past and excitement to release week for new records, the film industry continues to deliver big box office numbers for release week of films. As I began to study the film industry, I noticed one thing that has remained constant since I can remember. The movie trailer is the key marketing tool for every single film. Where they place the trailers in the marketplace may vary, but they always use a trailer. The movie trailer builds excitement and anticipation for whats to come. Often times the trailer proves to be better than the movie. How many times have you seen a movie trailer and instantly made the decision to make plans see the movie during release week?

While working on marketing plans this year, I decided to try creating song and album trailers as a test. We hear from analytic experts how video content is king and people are more apt to click on a video than anything else marketers present so it seems like an obvious avenue to test. Of course, we don’t have the big film budgets, but video technology has advanced so rapidly that one can edit video fairly easily and cheap. The response to the the trailers has been quite nice compared to other ads we post. Its a bit early to determine how much of an impact the song and album trailers will have on street week, but they are definitely creating a buzz.

Below is a trailer we created for The Gray Havens upcoming April 8 release “Ghost of A King.” We decided to keep the trailer at 30 seconds to coincide with the public’s short attention span. Its a simple quick way to tease the viewer while leaving them the desire for more.

After you view it, leave your comments and how it stirred your interest for the release?

Hauntingly Glorious!

An Easter Song

This week, the world celebrates Easter. Some celebrate with chocolate bunnies and little yellow marshmallow chickens. Some celebrate with a nice new outfit. Some celebrate with family around a table full of wonderful food. Many pick this one day out of the year to attend church. For me, it’s a time to celebrate the most important event in the history of the world. God’s son Jesus was crucified on a cross but then overcame death and rose from his tomb. An event that makes it possible for us to live eternity in heaven with God. There is more to this life on earth!

Below is a video trailer for the beautiful song My Savior Lives written by Noah Cleveland and Tony Wood. I describe the song as Hauntingly Glorious and it feels me with incredible emotion every time I hear it.

The song is available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and most other digital outlets.