Artists know what it takes to ideally get from point A to point B. There is always going to be trouble along the way. We need help because we are sad. Artists are also can be needy, but it’s a DIY world.

Distributor CD Baby, besides making getting music out easy, is ever-present with the help, consonant encouragement, and useful advice. All of these extras coalesce in it’s mostly-annual DIY Music Conference with Kevin and Chris, whom I once again did not get to meet.

I saw Chris in the dunnie at one point. (This is not the time, people.)

Events like this are carry-your-own-bag in that you get what you give (or attend). Attendance doesn’t cut it. **You have to know what you want in life and art. All the rules, work, and solutions continue to basically be the same, but the processes are forever evolving.

Maybe you know what to do, but do you know how to do it? This is where the conference is most helpful.

What follows is a bit of journal entry/ collection of links for what we took from the festival.

Standouts were the Austin Kleon keynote, product: Laylo, the hilarious lady from Amazon (wish I had a pic), Spotify info session, voice coach, and YouTube info session.

Austin Kelon’s book(S) is/are required reading for artists. It’s good to know you have company is the sometimes-awful process of creativity. Every artist needs to pin this diagram (he stole from Maureen McHugh) to their wall/ cornea –or make it yer lock screen.

via Austin Kleon

Laylo is the email list/ messaging product we’ve all been waiting for. Look forward to rebuilding our list. The cross platform integration and fan-facing no-hassle interface is great. Bonus points: VP Stephanie was hilarious.

Amazon has a lot training and info, and it seems very worth the time to dig into their Artist tools. Making it up a bit here, but if you are doing anything that appeals to bit of an older demo, this may be a good way into a world and audience that’s not totally overworked. The team seems pretty small and very helpful.

Also honorable mention to Mike Warner who is one of the good guys. Need to read his book again.

Reminder to self and everyone else: you need to read, digest, and own everything Spotify has to offer artists.

And You Tube’s new organized artist site is much improved and easy to understand. Everybody on earth uses YouTube daily, so time spent here is worth every minute you can give it. Like, maybe instead of over-planning your crappy tour …

IN CONCLUSION, old rules apply. It does not exist if it’s not on your calendar.


This box has been in my car for years.

You need something physical to sell at shows, to give to record stores, to impress your granny, or to prove to yourself (or your wife) that you are a real-live musician.

Coffee mug? Too nerdy.
Maybe a ‘pocket’ koozie? Please no.
Cassettes are a bit niche.

It’s really down to CD’s, even though plenty of folks have no CD player at home. Actually many folks have cars with no CD player. Worst of all, most folks have no phone w/ a CD player. Everybody streams. Everybody.

Maybe this is a phone that streams!?

Today’s question is: what’s the right thing to do? Do you load up your hands with something that’s going in s**t drawer #11, or do you do you ting and sell? And what are you selling?

This brings up nothing but more questions: What are you in it for? Legitimacy? Money? Job? Are you down with by-any-means-necessary? Are you pumping an old model?

Before you sell CD’s to fans you have to ask yourself: why would they want one? If that answer is no, is there then something that I have that’s of value to my current and future fans. And today, that seems like a tough question to answer. But the solution is poking it’s head out. Finally. (Especially in a current world where there are few-to-no live shows.)

What works and connects? The oldest of schools method: patronage.

People are giving to musicians with no expectation of anything physically in return. As a matter of fact they’ve already taken a partial share of whatever it is you do. If you have their attention you have them. All you have to do is show them the way. 1,000 people paying $1.50 a-month moves the needle. A lot.

The new-olde way seems like a lot more fun than the old way. I’m going to try some new-olde ways.

Stick with the blog to follow my journey.