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Cybergrass Education Series

Cover Art - The Image for the Music

Album CoversI've been buying 78s, 45s, cassettes, LPs, Open Reel and CD albums for nearly a half century. I've also purchased video in LaserDisc, Beta, VHS, DVD and BlueRay formats. Most of those purchases are still in my library. The genres span from heavy European rock to modern bluegrass and roots music. There is one thing that they all share in common, regardless of the media format, and that is they all have cover art. Big, little, wide or folded, cover art is the first thing people see when they purchase an album. Today, graphics tools and art add a whole new dimension to this creative aspect of the music.

Some Tips for Do-It-Yourself Promoters

Cybergrass LearningYour band has put together a new album and its ready for release. Many artists try and do some of their own promotion so they send out a press release on the new project in the hope that it will get enough coverage too jump start sales and get the project into the public's view. Some bands can do this and others seem to fall flat. I receive all kinds of band announcements every week and there is certainly a difference between those from artist management and those home-rolled.

Artist Promotion and the Email Spam Filters

No SpamToday, it is essential to have a SPAM filter for email. After many years of using the same email address that is associated with my business, probably 80% of what comes to the server is junk email. The other 20% is what I want to read. It used to be easy to filter the good from the bad. The good came from a business email address - not a freebie account from some other service. Everything after the @ sign indicated who the email was from and you could easily say to accept all email from businessname.com. Today a lot of new folks are trying to get into the biz using gmail, yahoo, hotmail or other anonymous email domains instead of a more professional domain name.

Self Produced Doesn't Always Cut It

Self ProducedI heard about a new album to be released privately. The talk leading up to it was pretty good and the band isn't new to the genre. I was expecting some great material. Sadly, the album just turned me off. It was almost painful to get through the dozen tracks on their latest release. The album certainly doesn't reflect what this group is capable of.

Online Music Education - The New Music Business

Cybergrass LearningLearning to play an instrument well has always been a challenge and in some communities, instructors and tutors are rare or even non-existant. The dawning of multi-media communications, files and tools has enabled a new industry to appear almost over night. During 2012, we saw the development of ArtistWorks and many that are emulating them. More and more musicians are adding instruction into their revenue stream. A year ago we wrote NAMM 2012: ArtistWorks Presents Next Generation of Music Lessons Online and that next generation has really taken off and is now branching out in many different directions.

Taping Yourself To Learn and Improve

Cybergrass LearningAlmost every artist or band has a box full of recordings of their performances. Many of these recordings are gathering dust and are really just a piece of history. There are some groups however, that critically listen to their recordings over and over again. Some artists even view videos of themselves. They aren't being vain, they're the learners trying to perfect their act and move forward. In the music world, there is always a way to be better.

How to Write a Friendly and Easy-to-Use Press Release

Cybergrass LearningIn part 4 of our Cybergrass Education Series, we address the concept of a "Press Release." You would think that all publicists and promoters know how to write a press release. After all, that is what they are paid to do. Many, in fact, do not. I would estimate that 40% of what I get cannot be used in the way I receive it. If you want my site to carry your news, make it easy to do so. I always have more input than I run and those items that don't run frequently have nothing to do with the content but rather how it was packaged or presented. I want to help you write better releases and that is the purpose of this 4th article in our Cybergrass Education Series for bluegrass artists and promoters.

Digital Color Management From Input to Output

Cybergrass LearningWith the ever growing popularity of the Internet and the World-Wide-Web, many people are now incorporating digital camera and scanned images into their web pages. They are also being widely used for album covers and other promotional material. This is an interesting area as no two monitors or viewing environments look the same. That is, the appearance of an image on one computer doesn't look the same on another computer. Being that this is the case, how does one know that their image looks correct? Many people just scan in an image and assume that everything is OK. This is usually not the case. In this third Cybergrass part of the Cybergrass Education Series, we address how to get close to accurate color management with your digital color devices.

Developing A Functional Electronic Press Kit

Cybergrass LearningThis is our second installment of our Cybergrass Education Series on tips for developing promotion packages for artists and those in bluegrass. As a performer, you know that you need a press kit. Every artist and band does -- its their primary marketing tool. Today, there is a myriad of ways to put a press kit together from SonicBids EPKs to fully custom website and/or DVD presentations complete with documents, stage plots, equipment requirements and even diet and beverage preferences. Yesterday's article on photography should be used with this article.

Taking Better Promotional Band and Artist Photographs

Cybergrass LearningThis is the first of 4 articles that I wrote over the years. This one is on what constitutes a decent or good promotional photo and can apply to general photography as well. One of the most important aspects of a bluegrass artist other than their music is their promotion. In virtually every case where a band is highlighted, there is an accompanying photograph of the artist or band. This is essential for recognition and also because listeners want to see who their listening to. So, how do you get that great photograph? Proper composition, lighting, color, and theme are all easily achieved by even the amateur photographer if they plan ahead. It is very easy to achieve professional results once you know what makes a bad picture. Rather than tell you how to take a great photograph, I'm going to discuss what to watch out for and what to avoid. Then, the creative element is all up to you.

Cybergrass Updates Education Series for Artist and Band Promotion

Cybergrass LearningIn the next few days, Cybergrass will be republishing our Cybergrass Education Series of Articles. There has been a lot of recent interest in "doing better and being better" which has resulted in many surveys being run, articles published by various organizations and the upcoming IBMA "World of Bluegrass" mentor sessions and more. Cybergrass ran the first of these Cybergrass Education Series articles between 1994-1996. A couple of the articles had updates in 1997 and 2004 and now there has been enough interest to bring the articles back with a fresh and more current perspective as it relates to the growth of digital media and the Internet. The earlier versions of these articles dealt with older technologies such as printed materials, film cameras and the like. I have now updated the articles to be more in line with today's newer technologies. While they were originally intended for bluegrass music artists and bands, they received a wide audience from others and some were republished for general music audiences.

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