Tag Archive for: soundcloud

Getting feedback on your music

This is a more a personal, editorial blog post about music feedback which I’ve been wanting to write for a while now. All year – mainly through our community we are building on Facebook – people have been posting their tracks to receive feedback and validation about their work. It can be intimidating to share something in the group and to have people comment on it. I can relate, as I don’t really share music publicly unless it’s been signed, or if I feel I have something strong to share. Soon I’ll share some details with you about group coaching, which I’ve been testing over the last month and will help people to receive more feedback. That said, one of the things that strikes me most is that many people feel a bit lost when seeking feedback or validation about their music.

In art, the need for validation is huge, and given the state of music nowadays, we have very few places to receive valuable feedback. People try and try to make music and can get lost in it, sometimes losing sight of their main motivation that drew them to making music in the first place.

If someone asked me, “where do you get feedback?”, I wouldn’t really have an easy answer. But in general, I can describe where many people find constructive feedback about their music.

From established artists

PRO: Other artists are probably the most reliable source for good feedback. If the artist finds the time to listen and you like what he/she does, then the returned feedback is pretty solid. The great thing is that if an artist likes it, then your music could end up in a DJ set, podcast or his collection. Other artists usually have nothing to gain from you except a possible friendship if they like you and your music, so the chances that they’re true to their word are good.

CON: Getting an artist’s full attention. Giving too much credibility to an artist can distract you from your initial path.

Difficulty level: Hard. Artists are often in demand, contacted by random people who try to charm them to ask something in return

Online magazines

PRO: If you make a podcast and an online magazine or blog would like to publish it, it can indeed be great validation that you’re on the right path. If you get reviews for an EP/LP, it also exposes you to many people who visit the site which brings attention, with hopefully some good words.

CON: Some of the bigger magazine give reviews if you bought advertisement with them. Often I see people who write reviews who aren’t musicians themselves, and get blown away by very simplistic music, while brushing off music that might be more complex. Sadly, I feel many writers have lost the credibility they once had as a result of their interest in money.

Difficulty level: Extremely difficult, and potentially biased. If you buy advertisement to a site, they usually will give you attention. Some people even buy “space” on a site to make sure they get reviews.


PRO: Touring is certainly the most validating experience if you play at the right places, in the right time slots, and see first-hand how people react to your music. It can be a very important insight into how to build your music in order to have better reactions on the dance floor. If you can play locally, you can also network with people which can help create a stronger following.

CON: The downfall is how much you have to put to make this happen, and how the work conditions when you tour can be harmful both mentally and physically. Getting local gigs is a bit less stressful and way less complicated.

Difficulty level: Medium or hard, depending of your networking skills.


PRO: For many, this seems to be the ultimate validation. Being signed by a label could mean that you’re officially part of the crew, that you. To see your name among artists you respect certainly brings some excitement and validation to your music.

CON: Is being part of the crew enough to validate your music? What if you made it there but your release is commercially a flop? Is releasing the validation or was the answer from the market the real response? These are all difficult questions.

Difficulty level: Very high. Many artists contact labels, and being noticed among the noise is difficult. Picking the right people is a complex process. Sometimes an artist fits on a label, but the technique doesn’t, or the direction of the proposed songs is not right. One of the most confusing thing is when a label decides to follow trends, which are ephemeral, or to release an artist because he/she is considered hot at the moment. That can compromise the credibility of the label and blur the validity that you initially got.

There were talks this year where people were saying that online vinyl shops giving multiple P&D to multiple, unknown artists, are slowly confusing and overflowing the market with music of debatable quality. Many people chase labels that sell because they know if they can get in the charts, they’ll get attention and bookings, certainly a good thing. But it doesn’t necessarily validate what you do. An amazing release in the hands of a label who doesn’t take the time to promote will not sell as well as it should.

But let’s face it, there are other ways to get validation about your music that are totally easy and might be just as productive as any of the classic ways:

  • Soundcloud: If you develop quality connections with people online, who you know comment on the music you love, they often provide you with meaningful comments. Personally, I have a tight circle of about 5 people I will send my music to right away to hear what they’ll say. I’m always more excited to hear from them than a potential label wanting to release me.
  • Local DJs: These are people who can test your music in context and show you what’s happening. You need to flex your social skills for this to work, but these people are extremely valuable.
  • Music fans: If you go out to events, you might meet some of those people who aren’t DJs but who know all the DJs and constantly post music on their Facebook page. These people are a gold mine for feedback. They won’t be technical but they’ll be telling you up front if they like your music or not. You always want them as supporters because they’ll be talking about you which is better than doing self-promotion.
  • Our Facebook group! I created a group of individuals who wish to improve their skills. You can join if you want 🙂

I hope this helps!

 SEE ALSO :  Is sampling wrong? 

Not getting booked for shows? Try this.

If there’s one thing that haunts all artists, it’s entering a phase where you’re not getting booked for shows, or not getting any attention in general. Perhaps you were enjoying a phase of being booked frequently that’s now coming to an end, or perhaps the music ecosystem is changing and you might be out of tune with what’s currently demand.

Not getting booked can actually be a good thing.

When I come into a period where bookings start slowing down (or requests to work with me), I think of this new phase as a sort of “hibernation”; it’s a time to focus on other things that are important for the next time I start getting booked again to re-create upward momentum. Getting booked regularly is sort of like a wave you can surf for a while, but it can end, and you should take a moment to question why the ecosystem isn’t supporting you anymore. Perhaps it needs to be re-energized, or perhaps it’s time to change waves.

Even if your wave fades out, you can still rebuild your momentum.

“Momentum is when you manage to get a certain amount of people to talk about something you created enough to generate a certain level of enthusiasm that reaches other people out of your circle of contacts, organically.”

For instance, you might publish a song on Soundcloud and have a certain number of people who comment, like, repost but you didn’t ask for it. You can view this as the beginning of a wave. The number one mistake people make that hurts their momentum is release a track out of the blue and expect people to listen to and engage with it without any additional preparation or planning; doing this will make you bitter and frustrated.

To remain humble and grounded, let me offer you a few rules I’ve applied throughout my musical life:

  1. You are in no way entitled to have people listening to and liking your music.
  2. It’s not because a track is published online that it will sell, get success, or get attention.
  3. You are work in progress. Your next one will be better.

Through the experience of running my label Archipel for years, as well as other projects, I noticed that what created momentum was the usually initiated through a few diverse actions. The more imaginative you are, the better the results will be. Some of these actions include:

  • Having a really cool picture of yourself online. Artwork is also cool.
  • Uploading a video to Youtube.
  • Sharing positive news regarding something that is not related to yourself.
  • Contributing to someone else’s success.
  • Hanging out with friends and sharing it on social media. Bonus points if you did something fun that people do want to hear about.

Some basic marketing rules also apply here. Apparently, if people see three things you’ve done, it will imprint an impression on their memory. Sharing something positive will leave a better impression. Another general rule is that people enjoy useful information. Helping others or being part of something always strikes a chord in people. Being selfless in most of your online posts vs self-promotion is a critical tone you want to hit on. If you’re constantly posting things that are egotistically and promoting “your brand”, no one will pay attention.

Let’s create a plan that uses all these points in a hypothetical scenario to promote a song you’re releasing. In this hypothetical situation, we will try to create momentum online to have people come and listen to the track. Our goal for this is to get more online followers, widen up your network, and hopefully get a bit of attention from labels and some DJs who might play it out.

Scenario: Release a track on Soundcloud; we’ll take two weeks to build up momentum but the more time you take, the better.

First, try to visualize a number of plays you’d like based on a model track you like. Find a producer you like who produces music similar to you and have roughly equal or a bit more followers than you do. The main mistake people make is to try to replicate plays of far more popular musicians. Let’s say your track has 140 plays, 3 reposts and 14 likes.

A relatively successful track is identified by the number of likes vs the number of plays. I would say that 10% ratio is very good already, but if you make it up to 15 pr 20%, then I’d say the track was a success. The trick to get your ratio in the right zone is to have interested people to listen. If you’re marketing to too many random people that aren’t your target listeners, you’ll end up with many plays, but few likes; this is why reposts are important.

Do not pay for followers and plays. It will make you look really, really unprofessional.

Now that you know all these details, let’s try to create momentum for the self-release:

  • Spend an hour a day on Soundcloud building up your network. People won’t follow out of nowhere. The need a reason to and usually they’re in the same boat as you: they want to connect with people who make music and also need attention. Find music you love, follow as many artists who share the same tastes as you and leave positive comments on their music if you like it. Repost music you really like, reply to comments people address to you. The more you’re present, engaged, active and cultivate good tastes, the more people you’ll attract online. People often feel staying on top of social media like this demanding, but remember that you only reap what you sow.
  • Clean up your social media accounts. For many artists, this is a chore they hate but it’s a necessary evil if you aspire to create momentum online. You need a specific look and feel; i.e having a solid picture of yourself, no posts that make you look unprofessional, etc. Keep it simple and solid, look at the profiles of other artists to get ideas or ask for help from a friend who’s good with social media.
  • Link your Twitter with Soundcloud using IFTT. This will make sure that when you post a new track or like one, a Tweet will be sent. This is a good way to make sure people are aware you are active.
  • Connect with groups on Facebook and connect with others. Contacting someone doesn’t mean sending a none sense message out of the blue saying “bro, check my Soundcloud”, but trying to befriend them. The best promotion is when others promote your music for you but to do that, you need their collaboration and support. That comes over time with social investment.
  • As the release date arrives, be socially active and focus on helping others. The more you focus on others, the better it will be when you need their support. No one has to help you, but it’s more likely they will feel like it if you show interest in what they do, too. This is what I was saying earlier, share other people’s music, or any related news to show interest and that you truly like in them.
  • Prepare a video on Youtube. There’s are multiple free resources out there to do this. Just make one. It can be a full version of the track or not. You can contact Youtubers that share a lot of music to see if they want to premiere it.
  • Have good artwork for your release done. You can check on Fiverr for some help or maybe ask a friend who’s willing.
  • Get the track mastered or checked.
  • Share it with DJs so they can play it in podcasts. Best case scenario, a podcast goes online premiering your track the day before or day it’s released. Perhaps you can delay the date if necessary to work with a podcast creator. If you feel like you can do a podcast yourself with a good series, that can help.

As the release date approaches, have some online presence about 3-4 times a day on different channels. You can post in groups (but not shamelessly about yourself!), share things, comment. Be active. When you want to release the track, you need to get it out in a huge blast.

It’s your time to shine, make it right! Cover all your channels and talk about your release, but stay as humble as possible. When you post it, don’t have a tone that gives the impression that you expect something from someone, but instead that you’re simply happy you finished the track and want to share it.

Releasing music during the beginning of the week at a moment when people can actually listen is a good strategy.

Post-mortem comes usually a week after. Look at your stats and see what worked and didn’t work.

I hope this helps!


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Are online communities replacing labels?

I’ve recently been wondering what will be the future for labels. Are streaming services replacing labels? Or are other communities? I’ve been running my label Archipel since 2004 and I’ve never really made money from it, if you discount using it as a business card for gigs and contacts. The money and time invested in Archipel have been very high, so it’s hard to say if it’s been good on for ROI. The further and faster the digital music world develops, it seems less and less obvious what roles labels will play for artists. Streaming platforms like Spotify give little to no importance to labels, and since basically anyone can start one, running one nowadays doesn’t have the same aura it once did.

In mid 2016, I offered free coaching to everyone who joined my mailing list, and while this turned out to be a success which I didn’t expect, I had to put it on hold until I could find someone who could help manage the work involved. In the meantime, I created a Facebook group for people I’d worked with to join so I could provide them with feedback and support. There are many Facebook and social media groups for producers out there and many have themes and rules. I’m part of a few that I enjoy; I’ve used them to learn tricks and something get informed of certain music related news. So, for me creating a group was an opportunity to give people a place to feel open to share what they’re working on, to get feedback, and provide words of encouragement to anyone else.

The great thing about this initiative was that people started to really participate and interact, even more than I thought they would. It was pretty amazing to see some people join forces and collaborate, and to see others help out by giving advice with regards to where to send music to get signed. This community has become autonomous; it’s doing what I was doing myself before, through email. I’ve been thrilled by it!

Somehow, when I was running my label, I was hoping to create that same sort of synergy, but for some reason it never came. My label manager and I posted regularly through Archipel, trying to come up with ideas, proposals, concepts…but it was pretty much always the same guys that were interested. That was cool, but it was also puzzling me to have such a huge line up of artists (Archipel has almost 200 people who collaborated through years!) but that only 5-6 people were really into it.

I fundamentally believe that most people want to join a specific label to be part of its community and get closer to the artists they’ve worked with.

Of course, the exposure and networking from a label also play an important role in an artist’s motivation to get signed, but the community is another major part of this motivation.

As it stands, I think these types of online groups like the one I’ve described could be as beneficial as a label because:

  • You have people active in the groups whom most likely the same goals, motivations and tastes.
  • It’s much easier to connect with DJs who can play your music.
  • People are open to communication and giving & receiving feedback.


Your music has an impact. A major issue with the current music business is that there’s a huge feeling of hopelessness in the air, which can drain out all the juice we have as artists and creators. Most artists have the energy to build projects or beautiful products, but will their work be something that will remain hidden away on the “bookshelves” of the internet because it doesn’t sell? Are all songs worth being turned into records? Is there that much of a demand to keep working so hard creating?

The ego plays tricks on us. One of the biggest is to believe that our music is worth more attention than it is, in reality. Many artists feel anxious and depressed because of this reality check. We want to share the music but the low hits are depressing us. That said, this major issue can be addressed by being in a community: one of any types of communities that are seemingly replacing labels.

Personally, after years of releasing countless albums and EPs, I’m now more excited to know if my five closest and most trusted friends like my newest song. I know for sure they will listen to it and provide feedback. I’ve decided to share my work with a selective number of people who can echo back the energy I put in it. I’m fed up of running after people and saying, in essence, “listen to my song bro! you’ll like it! leave me feedback!

Labels won’t be replaced as long as the music industry need representatives for the artists. Every artists dreams to be able to live off music full time but it is becoming clear that it’s not once central thing as a label who will make it happen.

This spammy approach does nothing at all for all parties involved. But sharing your music with five people who care is worth 1,500 who were more or less not into it. I really believe that approach as stopped me from crashing into obscure thoughts.

SEE ALSO :  The Changing Dos and Don’ts of Contacting Record Labels