Keith Stancil on set filming Vespa scene for Holly Starr “Umbrella” music video.
After reading an Apple Insider article about Steven Soderbergh filming his latest film, Unsane, with an iPhone, the desire was planted in me to learn how to film a music video with an iPhone. Soderbergh, known for his Best Film Director Academy Award for Traffic, Erin Brockovich, the Oceans trilogy and other groundbreaking films thrives on unconventional filming methods. Like Soderbergh, I am an early adopter of technology but unlike Soderbergh, I had never filmed a scene outside of birthday parties and family vacations. My video experience drastically changed in the last couple months as I ventured into directing two music videos using my iPhone 8.
All great music videos begin with an incredible song, and I knew I had the perfect song for my experiment. Holly Starr’s “Umbrella” knocked me out from my first listen of her original songwriting demo. “Umbrella” was birthed from one of Starr’s first writing sessions with artist/producer/writer, Matthew Parker. Starr & Parker’s writing/recording relationship has sense blossomed into a string of beautiful fresh pop songs found on Starr’s latest album titled HUMAN.
The second thing most great music videos possess is a compelling story. The story hit me immediately but capturing the story would take some creativity. I wanted the story to represent two people falling in love for life beginning at childhood and moving through their senior years as a married couple. The element that would give my story uniqueness would be an umbrella serving as the central character of the story knitting the three stages of life together. My wife and I purchased a Totes® umbrella with loads of character a few years back at the Marks and Spencer store on the Oxford University campus in the UK. That umbrella, without a doubt, was the perfect umbrella for the starring role.
As I began crafting the story board for “Umbrella,” I simultaneously ran across the SMOVE MOBILE gimbal which served as a great tool for capturing the story. Amazingly, the $159 SMOVE MOBILE purchase gave me the ability to capture “jib type” shots I never dreamed possible with an iPhone. For $25, I then purchased a monopod stick from Walmart and a small Joby GorillaPod ™ from Best Buy for $25 to round out my video director tool box. Google searches for filming with an iPhone led me to FilmicPro , an app most iPhone video enthusiasts recommend. Excluding the iPhone 8 which I already own, my new video filming kit cost a total of $225. Not a bad price to set up as a music video director!
Can I ask you a personal question? What is your music streaming strategy? If you can’t answer that question with confidence that you are set up to maximize your music streaming income, then don’t expect to find success with your music in 2018 and beyond. The music streaming switch has flipped “ON” quickly making other music listening methods obsolete. Yes, a small segment of music consumers are still buying vinyl, cds and downloads but the mass music consumers (even your parents) are now streaming their music via Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Pandora. So, I ask the question again. What is your music streaming strategy?
Most artists put their music up on Spotify, Apple, Amazon and Pandora by simply checking the “deliver to” box on their Tunecore or CD Baby account. While checking the box is a great start, that is about as far as some get. Many artists wish their listens would increase but find themselves at a loss as to how to make that happen. It can be a quite frustrating after putting so much into creating great music.
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Husband/wife duo The Gray Havens just released a new Christmas song they recorded using an iPhone.
“City of David,” birthed as a surprise to the duo while working on their new studio album. David Radford explains “We really hadn’t planned on recording a Christmas song this year but inspiration kicked in one night and I started recording on my iPhone. When we showed the song to our producer, Ben Shive, he voted to keep the iPhone vocals, declaring them to be cool, so we did!”
The Gray Havens rush released “City of David” to digital outlets including Apple Music and Spotify and created a “making of” video, which can be viewed HERE.
In addition to the new Christmas song, The Gray Havens recently released “High Enough,” the first single from their forthcoming album scheduled to release in Spring 2018. The Gray Havens can be seen live on some of Andrew Peterson’s Behold The Lamb Tour dates including the sold out show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
For further information, visit thegrayhavensmusic.com or contact Artist Garden Entertainment.
We find ourselves in October. A month where many seek to experience a ghostly encounter. Consumerism appears to have reached an all-time high with the spooky themed month as homeowners compete to create the scariest yards utilizing giant blow-up pumpkins, grim reapers and the ever-so-popular ghosts. While many focus on evil ghostly encounters, The Gray Havens offer an alternative with their remix of a Holy Ghost encounter.
The Ghost of A King Remix offers a different take on The Gray Havens’ most “listened to” song on Spotify. Enlisting Matthew Parker to remix, the alternative version adds a driving beat in a reminiscent style of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham. While quite a departure from The Gray Havens’ folk pop past, the duo began exploring with more epic production on the Ghost of A King album in 2016. Both new and old fans will enjoy another opportunity to experience The Gray Havens’ musical epic story of a Holy Ghost encounter.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —On Friday, October 6, Artist Garden Entertainment released Ghost Of A King Live, the first live recording from husband/wife duo, The Gray Havens.
Last Fall, the folk-pop duo embarked on a unique tour performing the full-length Ghost of A King album on multiple college campuses throughout the midwest, south and northeast. The tour, which included additional band members, enlisted college string players to join The Gray Havens on stage at each stop. The thirteen song album documents the full album performance, along with three additional fan favorite songs, “Far Kingdom”, “Train Station” and “Silver.”
The Gray Havens’ David Radford states “Thanks to our producer Ben Shive, Ghost of A King, turned out a little more epic than our previous recordings. While Licia and I normally perform as a duo, we felt touring this record called for something different. After some crazy dreaming with our manager, we decided to try something big. The idea to involve student musicians at the universities, which we dubbed ‘the orchestra tour,’ turned out to be loads of fun. Desiring to capture the unique experience and offer something special for our fans, we set out to record along the way.”
Since the release of their 2013 debut EP, The Gray Havens have released two full-length albums and established a loyal following amongst college students and young adults through consistent touring. Known for their unique blend of narrative folk/pop encompassing fantasy story, lyric poetry and theology, Dave-an “American Idol” finalist from Season 5-and wife Licia Radford comprise The Gray Havens. The duo has performed alongside such artists as The Oh Hellos, Drew Holcomb, Andrew Peterson, Jenny & Tyler, among others.
For further information, visit thegrayhavensmusic.com or contact Artist Garden Entertainment.
This week proves to be a big week for both the iPhone X and Holly Starr! While the iPhone X stole headlines earlier in the week as Apple unveiled their new ground breaking Face Recognition technology and Super Retina Screen, Holly Starr closes the week with the release of her new album HUMAN!
With the architecture of producers Matthew Parker, David Thulin and Bryan Fowler, Holly Starr delivers a new modern EDM sound which is arguably her best pop offering to date. The lead single “Run The Race” has already logged 1 million + Spotify listens and topped Runners World Magazine’s Playlist.
HUMAN explores personal experiences that many listeners will relate to and Holly’s writing reveals great maturity in her songwriting. While I’m enjoying the entire record, my favorite tracks are “Human” and “Umbrella.”
CLICK HERE To Experience HUMAN!
We need love songs! I can’t think of a time more primed for love songs than now. And when I say “love songs,” I mean brotherly/sisterly love songs. The world appears to be a powder keg ready to explode at any minute. Music has incredibly powerful influence and now would be a great time for another “We Are The World” don’t you think? A song with lyrics straight down the middle with no slant to the left or right. Just the simple words “Love One Another.” So, the challenge is on! Maybe songs exist that I’m not aware of or maybe someone is writing one as I post this blog. If you know of current songs that fit the mold, please post a link in the comment section.
Liftr Playlists, creators of the successful Spotify playlist, THE VIBE, has transitioned into Loftr Playlists.
^Loftr Playlists, curators of POPSTER, FLOW, CHEMIX, CHRISTIAN CARDIO, CHILLAX, THE DEEP END and WORSHIP, has quickly become a preferred playlister among college students and young adults. ^Loftr founder, Keith Stancil, states “A loft is a gallery or upper level designed for a specific purpose. ^Loftr’s purpose is to curate playlists specifically for college students and young adults while introducing new music to a broader audience. With the plethora of Christian music playlists available, we make it our mission to create an elite selection of playlists set apart from the rest. Believers create some of the best music in the world and our curators are quite adept at finding that music often ignored by Christian radio and the major label/industry gate keepers. Our followers enjoy a mix of both Christian and mainstream music created by Believers”
Listeners who enjoy The Oh Hellos, Judah & The Lion, The Gray Havens, John Mark McMillan and Josh Garrels will certainly feel at home and enjoy discovering other similar artists with ^Loftr Playlists
Follow ^Loftr Playlists HERE.
Are you marketing your music on Spotify?
Some may answer that question with the obvious answer “why yes, my music is up on Spotify.” What if I told you there is a huge difference in “having your music up on Spotify” and “marketing your music on Spotify?”
According to RIAA stats, recorded music generated $2.5 Billion in the US last year with streaming representing 51% of US Recorded music market. Those numbers clearly show streaming is now driving recorded music income and other industry numbers show Spotify as the undeniable leader in subscriptions.
Spotify offers some great tools for artists and managers. If you haven’t visited Spotify for Artists, I suggest you go there immediately and sign up. Their fan insights data offers invaluable information regarding who is purchasing a particular artist’s music, where listeners are finding it, where listeners are located and what percentage of listeners save the music to their library. In addition to the data, Spotify gives artists two great marketing tools. 1) Artist Pick 2) Custom Playlist Covers. If you haven’t been using these tools, you are missing out on great marketing opportunities.
This space can be used to feature singles, new releases, playlists that an artist is wanting to draw attention to. One use I’ve found is to use the space to draw attention to a particular single or album that isn’t showing up as the artist’s most recent release. Whatever is featured in the Artist Pick lives at the top of the Artist Profile so use it to your advantage. John Mayer recently used this space brilliantly to promote his future 2nd new EP while his current EP was enjoying success. Both EPs were featured simultaneously at the top of his profile page.
Custom Playlist Covers
Artist can now upload custom covers for playlists they create. Why is this such an important tool? Imagine creating a playlist cover with messaging about forthcoming new releases, tours etc. and using the Artist Pick space to feature at the top of an artist profile. The Gray Havens recently created a “Join Our Kickstarter” cover to accompany a playlist containing fan favorites. In essence they are using their Spotify profile page to make visitors aware of their Kickstarter campaign.
I’d love to hear more ways artist, managers and labels are marketing on Spotify. Share your great ideas in our comments section!
Ever wonder what music Christian college students listen to? That’s a subject anyone working in Christian music should explore frequently because today’s college students are tomorrow’s adults. Listening habits of Christian college students are similar to those of non-Christian college kids in that they enjoy discovering new music. As students graduate from high school and transition into college, they look to engage with things which make them feel like they are maturing. No longer being shuttled around in mom’s mini-van listening to KLOVE, college students quickly determine that core CCM artists are uncool. They begin their search to replace Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Natalie Grant and Tobymac with artists who represent their newly refined taste in music. Many begin adding mainstream artists into their playlists as they no longer feel bound within the Christian subculture. As they step out into the world leaving the Christian bubble, some are overjoyed to discover mainstream artists who are vocal about their faith. They also find a new excitement in discovering Christian artists who don’t limit themselves to the KLOVE/FISH CCM radio formula. Who knew there was a world of music being created by artists who ignore the boundaries established in CCM music?
We were fortunate to begin working with a college favorite, The Gray Havens, a little over a year ago. Immediately, we noticed their listeners are quite different than those on the Christian radio chart. They long for deeper messages crafted with creativity and melodies that live well alongside mainstream music. The college students are super engaged with the artists they love and and are quite loyal once they become a fan. The Oh Hellos, Judah & The Lion, Josh Garrels and Colony House top the list of college favorites and serve as examples of mainstream artists who are vocal about their faith. Those artists are often found mixed in with John Mark McMillen, The Gray Havens and The Brilliance.
While examining streaming stats for college favorites, I’ve noticed a long, steady solid growth in fans as opposed to quick spikes one might see for CCM radio artists. A search for Christian college playlists on Spotify came up empty so we decided to create some playlists targeted at Christian college students. I’d like to invite you to check out the playlists we launched called THE VIBE.