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  • Saturday, December 16, 2017 4:16 PM | Mike Harrison (Administrator)

    As a music producer, I think one of my favorite and most valued skill sets that I have is my ability to mimic. You learn to hear a song or style, and 'copy' it in a way that helps you learn what it's made up of.

    When you're first starting out as a musician, obviously you want to establish your own style, and it's going to be important that you do so over the length of your songwriting experience. However, I will say that sometimes the best way to find your sound is to mimic others.

    This accomplishes multiple things...

    Firstly, you will quickly master sounds and styles that have already been tried and true. As you continue to do so, your arsenal of sounds and abilities will grow, making sure that you are never stuck in a block of sound design or style. You can accomplish this through mimicry - finding artists that you like and studying/executing their style in a way that is insightful and educational.

    Secondly, not only will you absorb information about artists, but also common denominators within the genre. You can only really accomplish this by spanning your studies across a spectrum of artists. This information becomes vital when an artist asks you to produce a 'trap' instrumental, and you need to know what elements typically go into a trap beat.

    And the last thing that I want to touch on, is this - many times, no matter how hard you try, it's VERY difficult to emulate an artists' style exactly. What this means is that you may find yourself setting out to mimic a song, and realize that you've created a completely different sound entirely.

    This is where the intent of mimicry simply becomes inspiration; it's healthy. I've found that in my experience, when I try to emulate styles of artists that I like, it almost always still sounds like my music. This is the peace of mind to the individuals who are worried about being unoriginal - don't be afraid to mimic! Chances are you will miss the exact mark and make something entirely yours anyway.

  • Tuesday, December 12, 2017 3:00 PM | Mike Harrison (Administrator)

    Lately in my personal life, I've caught wind of a handful of artists who have released their music on social media. Now, I don't want to give you the impression that there is no way to advertise your music on Facebook, but sometimes I believe it can do more harm than good.

    Let me start by saying that Facebook ads can work. I've spent a little bit of money on trying to get ads to take with the public and it hasn't been a complete failure, but I'll also say that I haven't seen groundbreaking results either. The bottom line is, I see more engagement on posts that were already doing well, but Facebook ads have never been a tool that make-or-break a post - only enhance the potential that there was to start.

    Personal Accounts

    You should never overly promote your music on a personal Facebook account. I've gotten multiple questions about this recently, and to be quite honest it just doesn't work unless you already have a very good standing with your friend-base as a musician. It's fine to post once or twice about your music life if you have good reciprocation from your friends list, but overdoing this can shoot you right in the foot.

    I've seen artists who post their new releases multiple times a day to their friends and family, spam-tag in posts, and try to encourage their general acquaintance-base to give them a chance, support their craft, and listen. I get why to some, this may seem like a good way to boost your initial visibility by having your friends and family support first, but there are some big issues with this method.

    The fundamental problem with this method is that you are targeting individuals who are not actively looking for new music. As a consumer, this catches me off-guard all the time - if you're not in the correct environment to accept this type of promoting, it can come off as spammy, automated, and just straight out annoying.

    It is SO important to be able to see the listeners perspective, and by promoting on your personal Facebook account, you are catching people while they are at work, sleeping, taking care of their kids, doing laundry, using the bathroom, having a fight with their ex, etc. It is just not an appropriate time or place to catch a person to listen to new music - the success rate is extremely low - in fact you may be doing more harm to your name than good. You may see some support from other musicians and people who support you already, but most of the people who see these posts and scrolling right by, or even worse, labeling you as somewhat of a social-media pest and unfollowing.

    It is extremely important to reach a person while they are in an environment where they are accepting of new music.

    So what can we do as musicians?

    First of all, make an artist page if you don't already have one.

    Not only does this look more appealing visually, but you get FREE analytics on Facebook for how your page is performing. Facebook isn't the greatest platform in the world for promoting anyways, but if you're going to do it, do it here. The analytics will give you a better idea of who to market and promote towards in the first place.

    The idea here is to reach people in a state of acceptance and discovery. There ARE demographics of individuals that are looking for new music all the time, it's just a matter of finding them. Use your best judgement and imagination, and post your music to places that you think will reciprocate to your projects positively. Reddit is a great place for this if you follow the rules of the /r/ and post appropriately. It's also a great idea to reach out to music blogs and playlists to get your music on those. Be sure to send professional and personal messages/emails to avoid looking like a spammer. And of course, be sure to get your music on major distributors, and have your music registered with a performance rights organization beforehand to collect play revenue accordingly. People browsing streaming sites are the EXACT demographic of people you want to find, as they are in the perfect place to hear new tunes. They are already listening.

    Every musician and band is different, and there isn't one good way to market your music that will work for everyone. But honestly it's about doing the research and the footwork, and executing in a professional and cordial way. No one likes spammers, and anyone who listens to your music on Facebook after your 50th share is most likely doing so out of pity, if anything. Let your Facebook friends live their lives - a better way to interact on Facebook to bring yourself visibility is to engage. Talk to people, ask them questions and answer theirs. Constantly seeing your name in the comments and News Feed (with thought-provoking content, not spamming your Soundcloud account) will give them a reason to check you out.

    Nothing should ever come easy if it's worth doing, so ditch the spam-shares on Facebook and rebuild your marketing/promotion strategy with some innovation, calculation, engagement, and thought.

  • Thursday, December 07, 2017 11:00 AM | Mike Harrison (Administrator)

    Hey producers and songwriters! As you all know, we've been undergoing a bunch of changes here on the website in an attempt to find the most convenient and efficient way to get content over to you guys. We've had a few bumps in the road from a technical standpoint but we're feeling great about the new layout and the plans that we have for 2018. I wanted to update you guys on some of the plans that we have set in place.

    - Livestreaming will be back! We took a break from this for various reasons. It was a little tricky to coordinate these on a weekly basis due to staffing, and it seemed we were getting more out of creating lessons than we were streaming. However, we want to reinforce the idea that we want to work on YOUR projects to make sense of the material to the memberbase. Livestreaming will be big in doing this, so we will be scheduling regular livestreams again based on member requests and project submissions.

    - Staff additions will also be another big part of 2018. We are bringing on a few fantastic musicians to help develop Torches Academy content! This is great because, as I always say, perspective is everything. As much as I can help the aspiring producers with what I know, getting perspectives from other musicians is still invaluable. Seeing a few new faces around here will be refreshing for you guys, I'm sure! Not only that, but they are beasts in their respective fields. We'll have staff to focus on songwriting, sound design, arrangement, music business, etc. in a much deeper context so you guys are never left wondering.

    - The new website is also a big change. This is our second hosting change, and while it is kind of a setback to have to restructure the layout of the program, it's only to make things better. We're excited to optimize a bunch of things within torchesacademy.com, and we have lots of plans to make it better.

    - While we used to charge $30/mo for a pro membership for lessons, reviews, and personal development, we are dropping that number to $14.99/mo. We think this will make the program more accessible and affordable to all ages.

    These are just a few of the big changes we're making next year! We also plan to schedule workshops with great industry professionals that will be free for members, release more sound packs, tons more lessons and templates, and even look at a certification program and academic curriculum. Stay posted for more updates!

  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:05 PM | Mike Harrison (Administrator)

    Hey all - Mike here! Over the past couple years, we've been experimenting with what the ideal ways are to get information over to the youth about modern music. In March, we had completely renovated our web properties in a way that we thought was going to be one of those ideal moves.

    Unfortunately, while on paper it sounded like a great idea and the site itself looked nice, the functionality and flexibility we wanted wasn't exactly all there. This is why you are noticing a difference in torchesacademy.com now - we have since re-revamped the website to implement certain things that we were missing.

    It's super important to us that we're able to get you anything and everything that you need as an aspiring musician, so our website and it's format is a very important aspect of that mission.

    This means that we have to reupload and reformat a lot of the existing lessons. You may see some things missing over the next couple of weeks, but I assure you they will be coming back better and stronger than ever!

    Thank you for your patience while we adjust!

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