SoundCloud has struck a deal with Sony Music!

SoundCloud has struck a deal with Sony Music, marking the last cobble on its road to full legitimacy and the launch of a paid subscription service, according to a report from The Verge this evening (Mar. 17). SoundCloud tells Billboard they won't comment on rumors, while Sony Music did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

Sony and SoundCloud have had an acrimonious year, with the label pulling and keeping its music off the service as SoundCloud struck deal after deal with major (and major) and indie alike. Onlookers can expect the company to move ahead quickly with plans that were likely dependent on securing Sony's signature on a contract that may include equity in the elegant streaming platform. 

It will have stiff competition once it leaves the safe space of free streaming hosting -- earlier this week, Billboard broke the news that Apple Music would be licensing and streaming "derivative works," most easily explained as DJ mixes and remixes. Playing host to this type of music is what SoundCloud does best, and the complex technological processes involved in fractional licensing -- as in, "10 percent of the song belongs to x, and 80 to y, and both would like to be paid please and thank you" -- is something it has been exploring feverishly. These works form the spine of what Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge called the “exciting new forms of music community engagement on SoundCloud" at the time his company struck a deal with the Berlin-based startup.

That work doesn't come cheap -- last month, financial documents revealed that SoundCloud had spent $63.8 million in 2014 and generated just $19.7 million in revenue. It's worth noting that this was in the early days of On SoundCloud, it's advertising-driven money-making strategy. But after many years of funding the company will be expected to monetize its shiny new holistic legitimacy sooner rather than later.

What are the experts saying?

Want to know what the experts are saying?
Want to know what the experts are saying? Take a look at our extensive article database and discover tips, techniques and much more you can use to advance your career.

Daniel Bosworth
Business Type: Producers
Address: P.O. Box 93964
Zip: 90093
City / State / Country: Los Angeles / California / United States
Phone: 818-766-3621
Notes: Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, The Boneshakers, Don Was, Seidah Garrett
Get Hip, Inc.
Business Type: Distribution
Address: Columbus & Preble Aves.
Zip: 15233
City / State / Country: Pittsburgh / Pennsylvania / United States
Phone: (412) 231-4766
Goldenrod Music
Business Type: Distribution
Address: 1310 Turner St.
Zip: 48906
City / State / Country: Lansing / Michigan / United States
Phone: (517) 484-1712
Gonzales Music
Business Type: Distribution
Address: P.O. Box 428
Zip: 70707
City / State / Country: Gonzales / Louisiana / United States
Phone: (225) 647-2133
Groove Distribution
Business Type: Distribution
Address: 346 N. Justine St., Ste. 202
Zip: 60607
City / State / Country: Chicago / Illinois / United States
Phone: (312) 997-2375
H.L. Distributors
Business Type: Distribution
Address: 6940 S.W. 12th St.
Zip: 33144
City / State / Country: Miami / Florida / United States
Phone: (800) 780-7712
Homegrown Distribution
Business Type: Distribution
Address: P.O. Box 340
Zip: 27302
City / State / Country: Mebane / North Carolina / United States
Phone: (919) 563-4923
Honkytonkin' Music Distribution
Business Type: Distribution
Address: 2334 County Road 2265
Zip: 75488
City / State / Country: Telephone / Texas / United States
Phone: (800) 664-3740
Inspired Corporation
Business Type: Distribution
Address: 103 Eisenhower Pkway.
Zip: 07068
City / State / Country: Roseland / New Jersey / United States
Phone: (973) 226-1234
Business Type: Distribution
Address: 539 Bryant St., Ste. 303
Zip: 94107
City / State / Country: San Francisco / California / United States
Phone: (415) 777-IODA

5 Golden Rules of Stage


5 Rules of the Stage.
As an independent band, we all play countless shows in small venues and DIY spots with local promoters and club owners.  Communication, Respect andNetworking are essential for getting the most out of every gig.
Gaining new fans, establishing relationships and executing an amazing show, that not only sounds but runs smoothly is your mission (should you choose to accept it).
When you get to the gig, prep for your performance, get on and off the stage, keep in mind these 5 Rules of the Stage and seize the opportunity you’ve been given. Remember we’re all in this together.

1. Survey & Prep.
When you first arrive at the gig, find your contact, establish the load in door,  equipment & merch areas. Sometimes, when the stage is big enough, back lining your guitar cabs can come in handy. Most of the time there’s a pre staging area where all the bands gear can congregate in order of each performance slot.

Once you’ve completed your load in, start putting together any guitar rigs and drum equipment that you can. Remember, the quicker you get on stage, the more time you’ll have for sound check and assembling your drums pre show can save you a ton of time.

Now introduce your group to the sound person(s), learn their name, be cool because he’s/she’s your everything once you hit that stage. Nothing worse than pissing the guy or gal off before the lights even go down. Remember, they’re the last line of defense between a great sounding show and a terrible one.
After you’ve loaded in, prepped as much as you can and met with front of house sound, settle into your merch area and start networking with your fellow bands.

2. Coordinate Stage Set Up.
It’s go time, the band before you plays the last note, sound guy flips his iPod on and you begin your stage loading. With all the preparation from Rule 1:Survey & Prep, you might even have time to help the band before you move things off the stage. Remember, they just played a blistering set, give ‘em a hand.

Now, try and work as a chain. Help your drummer on, after all he most likely will have quite a few pieces. Singers, help your guitar players. Guitars, have all your effects pedals together, maybe even on a board all wired up, get on that stage ready to go as fast as you can. (Note to drummers: set up all your stands, with cymbals prior to set change.)
Help the stage hands out with any mic placement, number of vocals, anything you can do to make the set up move as quickly as it can. Having a printed out stage plot can’t hurt either. Don’t forget, the Sound & Light engineers are working all night, every band, make their life a little easier, it ain’t just about you.

3. Get a Proper Soundcheck.
Granted, sometimes in the mad dash of getting on stage the time for a “proper” soundcheck isn’t always there and at times there are occasional show delays. However, if you have followed the first 2 Rules you should have plenty of time to get your stage sound where you need it to be.  Singers, command the stage. Make sure anyone that doesn’t have a mic to talk back to FOH (or if you’re privileged enough to have a monitor engineer) gets what they need. Communicate for them if you have to. Then play a few bars of a tune, get the feel for what it’s gonna actually be like and clearly relay your requests.

Sometimes it has to be done, but try your best to refrain from monitor adjustment requests after your performance has begun. The crowds hate it, unless of course you have a monitor engineer off stage that you can communicate to without the crowd knowing.
Bonus: Know your stage area names! (i.e. Stage Left: The area of the stage to the left of center stage when facing the audience.)

4. Engage, Execute, Entertain.
During your time on that stage, sometimes more, sometimes less, every second counts. Enjoy it! Bask in the feeling and reflect that energy back to the audience.  No matter how difficult it is, if there’s 1 or 1,000 people there, perform like it’s your last.  If you’re having the time of your life, so will the crowd. After all, everyone is there for some good ol’ fashion live entertainment. Treat it as such.

Frontmen / women, take note of all bands performing so you can give shout outs, and if your gonna do it, do it for everyone. Nothing looks worse than to call out just a couple while leaving the other bands out. Have some grasp on the show you’re a part of.
Now “Ham it up” as my mother used to say. You’re there to entertain!

5. Get the Hell off the stage!
You’re done, it’s over, you’ve finished your set. Now GET THE HELL OFF THE STAGE.  There is nothing worse and I mean nothing! than farting around on the stage once you’ve completed your set.  Drummers, don’t start tearing down your stands and slowly putting away your cymbals one by one. Guitarists, you don’t need to wind up all your precious cables while neatly placing them in your cases.NO! Just get your gear off of that stage, and do it NOW!
Remember, you’ve got another band anxiously waiting for there stage time and the clock is ticking away at their soundcheck window of opportunity. There’s PLENTY of time after you get off the stage to neatly teardown and put away your gear.

Well that wraps it up for these 5 rules of the stage. While there’s a ton more that goes into a show, by following these 5 simple rules, you can truly get the very most out of every gig you play, while being respectful to all the other musicians trying for a successful night as well. We’re ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, let’s act like it.

Wondering how to make it in the music industry? In this guest post, TakeLessons Teacher and music industry veteran Nick Gunn shares 15 tips musicians can’t afford to ignore… 

I’m not particularly famous (in most people’s eyes) and I’m certainly not financially wealthy (in Wall Street’s eyes); I’m just a guy who has pretty much done it all in the music business with some major successes, and some even larger major flops!

Just so we are all on the same page: I am a part of the approximate 98% of all music artists, music producers, and other music professionals who didn’t wake up one morning and put on their famous pants.

Yes, we exist! In fact, we are the majority. Sure, I can boast about my great track record in sales and the awesome albums I’ve produced, but the truth is I struggle like most music artists.

I’ve sold close to two million records but no one would recognize me, and the bulk of those royalties are all gone now. I also owned and ran a 75 artist roster label that died in the 2008 recession with the closing down of record retail.

Basically… I’m the perfect guy to write this article. I’m a music industry survivor and I’m still doing it!

Not only am I still doing it, but, shockingly, I’m still extremely optimistic and still finding new successes from what I have learned. So with pessimism aside, here are my top 15 tips on making it in today’s music business.


In this section, we’ll cover tips to help you get your head in the music game.

1. Be Optimistic at Every Turn

It’s the only true survival tool you have that you can control. If you start with undying optimism you will be more resistant against the neglect you may feel when first starting out.

Trust me, this will be tested!

Try not to take things personally, as the barrier to entry in the music business is set incredibly high.

There are approximately 80,000 albums released every year, of which Billboard and other associated charts report on a revolving Top 200. That’s 0.25% of the total releases each year that are moving and shaking enough to get on the radar.

Still feeling optimistic? Keep reading….

2. Observe Excellence and Be Excellent at Your Craft

This applies to everything you do!

It all starts with the music you listen to. Sometimes, society can train us to lower our expectations by convincing us mediocrity is acceptable. It is not. Excellence is at your fingertips, it simply needs to be understood and observed.

Study carefully from music teachers who are well versed in music theory and music appreciation. Study those who are successful in music and what they have done.

Listen to everything, no matter what the genre, and try to see the beauty in everything that is music, despite your personal preferences.

The foundation you lay now with your acceptance and understanding of these basic essentials will define who you will be in your own music career.

3. Be Careful Who You Take Advice From

People often tend to seek advice from those who have been unusually successful. It’s a natural human tendency to do so.

But remember, the best advice always comes from those who have failed and are painfully aware of their mistakes.

4. Form a Strong Professional Peer Group as Your Sounding Board

Family and friends are great but they are often too biased to give proper guidance and advice when it comes to your music.

Music professionals tend to give more constructive guidance and can set more realistic goals and expectations.

Remember: Grandma will most likely love everything you do, no matter what, so don’t take her advice too seriously!

5. Know That No One Simply Gets Up and Puts on Their Famous Pants

The road to success in the music business is never a straight one. By the time an artist breaks into mainstream consciousness there is always a story to tell about how and when it all happened.

Unfortunately, the bulk of your new fans will never experience this part of your journey. The illusion is, to the general public, that one day you woke up, wrote a song, and put on your famous pants.

Don’t let the long and winding path to your success get you down, it’s totally normal!

This section is all about the business of making music, and making sure you get paid.

6. Understand What the Top Revenue Streams are in the Music Business

Touring, Publishing, and Branding.

These top three revenue makers in the music industry encompass a wide range of sub-topics, but it’s important you understand how you can make money from these three main sources.

Touring: Touring and playing live is self explanatory. Festivals in particular are currently at an all time attendance high. It’s about getting the fans to your shows and having the promoters wanting you on stage.

Publishing: Writing and recording original music can ensure you own both your master rights and your performance/mechanical rights, giving you the ability to publish and control your own works.

Branding: Branding requires that your image and likeness – your logos, who you are and what you represent – are clear and aligned with similar products that aggrandize your musical mission.

I highly recommend reading This Business of Music, which is currently in it’s tenth edition, as a reference guide to your business future.

7. Incorporate Your Brand

At first you most likely will be pinching pennies at every turn, so be smart about your cash flow and your spending!

One way to do this is by incorporating so you can receive tax breaks and manage your cash flow and expenses properly. It can also protect you as an individual and be more effective in financial growth.

Honestly, it’s not that hard. Just go to and spend the $500 to start your own LLC, or whatever structure company you want.

8. Learn How to Produce Your Own Music

Let’s face it, the days of needing big recording studios is long gone.

I have constantly given this advice from the beginning and the result is always the same. Those who learn how to produce their own music have a much higher chance at success.

Not only does it make you well versed at your craft but it makes you highly authentic with your sound.

Yes, there is a learning curve. Sure, it’s gonna take some time and money.

But if you are serious and passionate about your music, this will be an amazing experience for you. Gear today is accessible and affordable and you can set up shop in your parents closet, if need be.

Make it work for you! Your recorded music is your calling card to your artistry, so start producing now.

9. Register Your Works

If you are writing and recording your own music then you need to have a clear understanding of what Performing Rights Societies are and how they collect money for you!

In the United States you primarily have ASCAP and BMI (which collect on the same thing, so only register for one) and also SoundExchange.

These societies monitor performances of your works (ie. when your song is played on the radio, TV, a film, etc) and pay you – the writer/composer and/or publisher/administrator – according to how you have these works registered with the society.

If you are the sole writer then you will receive the entire share of the writer’s revenue stream. If you are also the Administrator/Publisher (which you are if your works are original and you’re putting them out yourself) you’ll collect the entire share of publishing revenue stream, as well. So make sure you register as both a writer and a publisher!

Yes, this requires some investigation but it’s important you do the work – this is money while you sleep, people!

So, if you haven’t already, you should look up ASCAP, BMI, and SoundExchange. Registering is easy; it will seriously take you less then ten minutes.

10. Understand What a Copyright Is

Copyrighting is a process used to protect your works from theft. The United States Copyright Office offers a verified method that is used universally to acknowledge protected works.

However, in today’s age, time stamps on computers (that created the work) or using your originating publisher information, as well as sending self addressed, date stamped copies through the mail to yourself, can all suffice as proof of ownership.

Contrary to popular belief, deliberate music copyright infringement is quite rare. It often mistakenly occurs as we all emulate what we have heard over our lifetimes.

Also, choosing to flagrantly rip off music does nothing to benefit your career in the face of your peers.

11. Distribute Your Music Effectively

It used to be that having your music distributed was reserved for signed artists to large record labels. That is no longer the case!

There are many distributors, large and small, now operating in the music and media business.

Some are harder to establish relationships with, however companies such as CD Baby are now at your fingertips and offer emerging artists a way to get their music in stores such as iTunes, Amazon, Beatport, and many others.

Music streaming platforms are now an integral part of how people listen to your music, so be sure you are well represented at sites such as iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora for streaming services.

Also, make sure you are visible on apps such as Shazam, as it’s an extremely effective way for fans to locate your music without knowing your name or the song.

12. Have a Clear Focus on Social Media Platforms

This is a topic that rarely needs significant discussion, as everyone today is a social media pro. However, it’s important you separate personal social from business social, even though they may appear to be the same.

Make sure your social media platforms are engaging fans and representing your overall brand.

You don’t always have to post about your music. Make sure you are talking about related topics to the music industry, your favorite artists and things you love as an artist too!

Social media is a lot of work and can consume hours per day for most professional musicians. Try using tools that blast all social platforms at the same time or buffer posts throughout the day.

Having a great team player for your social media will soon become a top priority for you.

13. Create an Amazing Team

This takes time and can be in constant flux. However, you can’t do this all by yourself.

If you look carefully at the most successful music careers you will see that it’s the team that creates the success, not the individual or band alone. Labels, managers, booking agents, publicists and social media all go into making a well oiled team.

Recognize talent in others and hold them close to your chest. It’s about surrounding yourself with talented and highly motivated people that believe in you and bring resources to the table.

Granted, getting the attention of the right team players is a difficult task. However, Rome was not built in one day and staying the course is part of what makes you attractive to influential team players.

Now that you’re a success, keep on going! Use these tips to continue developing your career in music.

14. Stay The Course

There’s a saying I often use that relates to success in the music business: “If you play golf long enough in a lightning storm you will eventually get struck by lightning.”

This basically means that you must stay the course, not deviate, and have faith that eventually your hard work will pay off. This is the same for artists that have already received success.

Sooner or later, every artist must redefine their path moving forward. As in most business, every five years you should take inventory of where you are in your career and map out the next five years with your team.

15. Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds You

I am actually a perpetrator of this one.

Music artists, including myself when I was younger, can have a slightly egotistical view of their music and persona after they receive some success.

We often think that the success we are receiving is the result of “my music,” “my hard work,” “my talent,” etc and make unusual requests of labels and team players.

There is no positive outcome here. Being a diva never results in long term success, it simply results in having a bad reputation.



The music industry has changed. Digital distribution, music promotion and sharing platforms have caused a complete re-thinking of how music works—new ways to listen, new ways to create, new ways to share. Sure, there is still a mainstream. But the real changes are happening for independent music. Creators have more tools and freedom than ever. The rise of digital marketing has opened a giant door for independent artists.

Keeping the fires of success burning can be tough when it seems like things aren’t going anywhere. I’d get tired of being the stereotypical broke and struggling musician. I can't even count the number of times I've considered hanging up the mic for good in my 15 years as an independent musician.

But music has hands down given me my most cherished memories. The type of experiences you’ve probably had yourself. Nothing’s better than that feeling of accomplishment you get from sharing your work.

The tricky part is making that amazing feeling a sustainable full-time job. But it’s not as hard as you think. With a solid music marketing plan and some self-promotion tips you can have a sustainable music career.

This self-promotion guide will teach you the essentials of how to promote your music right. It’ll give you more time and freedom to focus on what really matters. Creating.

This 30 page ultimate playbook of self-promotion will teach you everything you need to know about promoting your project right. Period.

You’ll find out everything you need to know about:

Turning your music into a sustainable career Getting the exposure you need when you’re starting out How to sell music on your own

Turning hard work into real results (and how to work smarter, to reduce the amount of hard work you have to put in) Getting heard by tastemakers in the music industry the secrets of radio airplay, music publishing, digital distribution and music licensing Expanding your reach outside of your own community to a global level Booking bigger and bigger gigs - from dive bars to stadiums How to market yourself and your music in the right wayThe essentials of effective Internet marketing

Making music a career isn’t far fetched. But getting started on the right path is the most difficult part. That’s why we’ve taken the time to explain how to do it right. This step-by-step guide will allow you to turn your hobby and passion into a music career.


YouTube SEO Optimization Tips That Work Like Magic

YouTube SEO Optimization Tips That Work Like Magic

Brandon Gaille is one of the top business bloggers in the world, and below he explains how you can optimize your YouTube video's metadata in order to get the best possible score on search engines on the web:

"Before I amaze you with my YouTube SEO tips, let me share a stat with you that will make your eyes open even wider.

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, and it has the least competition for eyeballs across all social platforms. To put this in contrast, here is the number of pages competing for the term “search engine marketing” on Google and YouTube.

Guess which one is easier to get a first page ranking on?

You guessed it. YouTube.

You may ask… Why aren’t more people creating videos to go after YouTube rankings? It’s a combination of a fear of looking bad on video, the unwillingness to spend a day figuring out how to create a decent video, and wanting to hide in anonymity through a web page.

What most people do not realize is that you can remain anonymous behind a slideshow or screencast, and it takes half the time to create a video as it does a blog post.

You probably already knew that, though.

So… let’s move on and begin revealing the 17 secrets to mastering YouTube SEO.

#1 Target Keyword Phrases With Over 300 Monthly Searches

When you are doing your keyword research try to aim for words that have a minimum of 300 monthly searches. Although YouTube is the second largest search engine, it pales in comparison to Google. Going after lesser searched long tailed phrases is usually a waste of time and resources.

#2 Use The Keyword Phrase Directly In The File Name

When saving the file name for your video, be sure to include the keywords separated by hyphens. This file name is read by YouTube’s algorithm, and it can increase your chances of ranking higher.

If you were trying to show up for the keyword phrase “Best SEO Techniques,” then these are some good and bad examples of file names.

Bad File Name - videotake5.mp4
Good File Name - bestseotechniques.mp4
Best File Name - Best-SEO-Techniques.mp4

#3 Know What Types Of Searches Google Automatically Uses Videos For

There are certain types of Google searches that will always pull up video results first. The two big ones are:

How to’s - “How to Surf”
Tutorials - ”Adobe Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners”
By creating videos with these keywords, you have a better chance of ranking on Google’s front page in addition to YouTube.

#4 Use Your Keyword Phrase in The Title Of Your Video

When it comes to your title, you absolutely must include the keyword. The best practice is to have the keyword phrase be at the very beginning of the title. Here are a couple of good examples:

Target Phrase = Video Marketing : “9 Video Marketing Techniques That Pull Crazy Views”
Target Phrase = Beginner SEO Tips : “7 Beginner SEO Tips to Increase Your Google Rankings”

#5 Add “Video” to Your Title To Come Up On the First Page of Google

Google’s algorithm consistently uses YouTube videos for the top results for keyword phrases that have “video” in them. Here is an example title to convey this strategy.

Title Without Video Keyword – “YouTube SEO Tutorial”
Title With Video Keyword – “YouTube SEO Tutorial Video“

By adding “video” to your titles, it can give you a consistent flow of Google traffic to all of your YouTube videos. I added “video” to my title about search engine marketing, and I have had the #2 ranking on Google for “search engine marketing video” for over three years.

#6 Create a Keyword Rich Description with Over 250 Words

Your video descriptions are just as important as your titles when it comes to YouTube SEO. It is vital to make your description at least 250 words long and include the keyword 2-4 times.

#7 Link to A Related Blog Post in the First 15 Words of the Description

Over 40% of people that watch the entire video will click on the link in the first part of the description. Here are three ways to double that number:

Create Targeted Content - A big mistake most people make is just sending them to their home page. If your video has Pinterest tips, then create a link to a list of Pinterest tools.
Use an Annotation Call to Action - Create a call to action annotation within the bottom part of the video that points to the link. For example you can write, “Click the url below to see my list of 9 Vital Pinterest Tools.”
Ask Them to Click - At the end of each video ask them to click on the link in the description to see the great related content in your blog post.

YouTube keeps track from the moment they start watching your video until they hit the back button. If viewers go to your blog post after they watch the video, then it increases the average time on video. This is another key factor in determining YouTube rankings.

If they stay on your video page longer than the competition, then you will outrank them.

#8 Deliver Value Fast To Increase Your Video’s Average View Time

If your content stinks, then it does not matter how well your video is optimized for YouTube SEO. Take your time to go one step further than the competition.

Start Strong – Tell the audience how they well benefit from watching the entire video in the first five seconds.
Deliver Value Fast – Get right into delivering the most valuable tip or piece of information within the first twenty seconds.
Eliminate Fluff – Focus on what the audience wants and needs, do not spend time discussing your opinions.

#9 Make Longer Videos To Do Better In The Rankings

Just like long form articles perform better, the same rule applies to videos on YouTube. Long videos retain viewers for a longer period of time, which increases the likelihood of then engaging, commenting, and liking that video. The majority of top ranked videos are ten to fifteen minutes long.

SocialBakers did a cross section study on the length of videos on YouTube. They found that videos that were over 10 minutes long are rarely uploaded to YouTube. Even though 1-2 minute videos had 18 times the number of uploads, the 10 minute plus videos had nearly the same amount of total views.

#10 Make Videos on Statistics to Increase Inbound Links

YouTube also weighs into account the total number of inbound links to videos within a specific channel. If one video has several quality websites linking to it, then it can boost the rankings of all the videos within your channel.

An easy way to get links is to create a video that covers key stats related to a hot topic in the news. Reporters will typically search for statistics using Google and YouTube. When they find a stat to use from your video, then they will link back to the YouTube video as the source.

#11 Create Awesome Thumbnails To Draw In A Wider Audience

The thumbnail is the image that is displayed to people before they click on your video. In essence, it is a mini banner to draw people in. Be sure to use the most colorful and vivid shot from your video to gain the biggest audience possible. Here are some key tips for YouTube thumbnails:

Make It Recognizable - Choose a thumbnail that looks sharp and stands out from the rest of the results.
Create Title Cards - Create a custom thumbnail that has an image paired with the title of the video.
Use 1280 x 780 pixels - You need a higher resolution image because the thumbnail will also be used for the preview image in the embeddable video.

#12 Use Long Tailed Keyword Variations in Your Tags

YouTube allows you to include tags to describe your video. This aids in the search process for viewers and lets YouTube know what your video is about. Put the most important keyword phrase first and use long tailed variations for the remaining tags.

For example….

Tag 1 = SEO
Tag 2 = SEO Tips
Tag 3 = SEO Techniques

#13 Use an Annotation Subscribe Button in Every Video

YouTube’s SEO algorithm also includes the amount of subscribers that you have, and how many you gain from each video. Here are a few effective ways to use an annotation subscribe button to increase your channel’s subscribers.

Midway, After Giving Great Value - At some point midway through the video, you will most likely have a piece of content that your audience really needs. This is a great spot to flash the “subscribe” annotation for about ten seconds.
Ask for the Subscribe at the End - In the last ten seconds of every video, ask them to “click the subscribe button to get more great videos like this one.” Place the button in a prominent location of the video for about 15 seconds.

#14 Create Custom Related Videos With Annotations

All YouTube viewers are preconditioned to look at and click on the related videos that show up at the end of a video. A simple way to leverage this is to create thumbnail image annotations that link to your own videos.

Try and make it look as similar as possible to the default related videos that YouTube uses. Add an extra 20 seconds to each video that will show your custom related videos. This increases your video views and average time on video.

#15 Engage Your Audience to Increase Your Comments

Comments are another key factor in the YouTube SEO algorithm. Here are the best ways to increase the number of comments on each video.

Ask a Question at the End - Simply ask, “How did I do? Please give me some feedback in the comments.”
Offer to Answer Questions - Most people watching your video will think you are an expert on the topic. Offer to answer any questions they have in the comments section. You can take this a step further by offering a freebie to the person that asks the best question.
Respond to Comments With Questions - By asking your commentators questions, it can create a discussion that can lead to more comments and new clients.
Make a point to respond to all YouTube comments within a 24 hour period. This will keep the momentum going.

#16 Use Quora To Increase Your Video Views

Quora is a question and answer site that you can use to organically promote your video. Find the questions that your video can answer or enhance, and embed the video to be watched directly into your answer.

This will increase your total views and promote yourself as the expert at the same time.

#17 Embed Your Videos Into Your Most Visited Blog Posts

Before you create your next video, look at your analytics to identify the blog posts that get the most traffic. Identify a topic that you could cover in a video that will make your most visited blog post even better.

This will allow you to consistently create videos that add value to existing posts. In addition, each video placed on these highly trafficked posts will get new quality views every single day. YouTube will recognize this engagement and bump up the rest of the videos in that channel.

So there you have it… All seventeen YouTube SEO strategies that the pros use are now part of your YouTube arsenal. Make a plan right now to incorporate them into your video production process.

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Written by Omari MC

Making a living in music is still a feasible goal. In fact, there are more resources now than ever for artists to earn considerable revenue.

However, most artists treat their career as a product and not a business. If I were JUST selling my music I'd be leaving a good chunk of change on the table.

Also, this article is not for the people who somehow think that anyone who wants to make money off their music doesn't 'love' their craft... spare me the headache.

Just because a musician is just as good at their business side as they are at their music doesn't make them any less of an artist. It makes them more accomplished and well rounded.

That being said, here are some things I did to make a good jump in my music revenue!


We've all heard, "It takes money to make money."

And it's true to an extent, but I don't want other artists to think just because they don't have a budget they can't have their music dreams come true.

Start out small. Even if it's just $10 or $20 a week in advertising, but YOU HAVE TO start somewhere.

The spending I particularly increased on was my Twitter and Facebook budget. I use programs like and to handle finding new customers and scheduling posts to make my business more streamlined.

There are free options to sites like these, but it's well worth the investment to get the premium versions.

Again, don't think you have to spend $1,000/month in advertising right off the bat! Start with maybe $50/month if that's all you have to spend on your music. 

TRACK your results and see if it's working. If not, then use some of the marketing tips on the blog to increase your music sales and conversions.


Nearly a decade ago when I started making music I only had one product to sell: music.

But as any good business owner will tell you, I needed to expand what I could offer to my audience.

Artists told me they couldn't find a place online to get good, genuine music promotion. Being a producer myself with a once smaller audience, I knew the problem all too well.

So, I started offering organic music promotion services.

Word got around about the service, and I've since been getting more recognized artists purchasing from my service! (The song below ordered promotion off my page 

Maybe you don't have a big enough audience to offer promotion, but you can make t-shirts, tote bags, hats, you name it!

Be creative and poll your audience to see what else they'd be interested in buying connected to your music.


Music services that are making money usually have no problems in sharing it! You can earn a check from popular services online simply by promoting their products.

I knew that Music Crowns offered popular services for artists, so I started promoting them on my blog and social media accounts.

I also promote other products and services in my Next Level Marketing Center and earn income from that.

Affiliate marketing is an easy way to earn income because you don't have to actually make the product, you just have to draw attention to someone else's products.

All my affiliates are handled through



If you're not selling your merchandise or songs try tweaking the pricing.

Or maybe you don't think you're earning enough from merchandising. The goal is to find pricing equilibrium.

Example 1: I used to sell my ebook, Make Them Beg To Buy Your Music, for $5. I then wrote an additional 7 chapters to the book, made an expanded edition with even more valuable content, and was justified in increasing the price.

Example 2: I offer sales on my instrumentals for buy 1 get 1 free and buy 2 get 3 free sometimes to boost revenue. If I feel like sales are slumping, I may pass out a limited time coupon code. FOMO (fear of missing out) can be an incentive for artists to get off the fence and buy music.


Late last year I opened up a second site,, which helps artists grow their SoundCloud followers, likes, and reposts for free!

The site makes money off Google Adsense and I've placed banners for promotion and instrumentals on the pages for the artists who want to take advantage of more opportunities.


It is highly possible to make a great career in music independently. It's not going to happen overnight, but feel free to think along these lines when expanding your music business.

The 5 Steps to Finishing a Track Right

Sometimes silence is golden. But only sometimes.

Before you send your mix out for audio mastering, there are 5 steps you have to take to get the best results.

I used to get really annoyed when my masters would come back and a little mistake I had made was now loud and clear.

At first I blamed everyone else. But I slowly realized that it was all MY fault. I was making mixing mistakes that needed fixing.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Follow these 5 steps and finish your tracks the right way.


When you create a track you’re also creating the room that it’s in. Don’t be lazy and not clean it up before you have company over. Clean up your mix:

  1. Check your edit points – Go back into the mix to all the places where you made edits in the mixing phase. Listen close to the edit points. Make sure your fades are seamless and there’s no abrupt cut off or drop out. Just like a haircut, the smooth fade is the better fade.
  2. Solo your tracks – Listen to each track on it’s own. Make sure they’re faded in and out properly. These are the little things that you can’t fix after you export. So be safe and check before it’s too late.
  3. Take out the garbage – Take out the pops, the clicks, the blips, and the swishes that may have snuck into your mix. This is your last chance to remove all the little sound artifacts. Check each track in solo mode. Be thorough. Mastering can amplify and magnify these unwanted noises. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Headroom is something you should be considering throughout the mixing phase. But It’s a good idea to check it again while you’re finalizing a project.

This is the most important key to getting the most out of your mastering tool.

You need to leave a certain amount of space—typically about 6dBFs between ‘0’ and the loudest part of your track.

Hot Tip: don’t put a limiter on your master bus. Mastering will take care of that. Same with dithering.


The first thing you should hear at the start of your track is silence. Confused? Let me explain.

Mastering needs room to work. So leave one bar of courtesy space at the start of your track.

This will also give you the option to alter your intro or fade-in down to road if you decide that your original wasn’t working.



The last thing you should hear at the end of your track is also silence. So leave a bar of silence at the end of your track as well.

Even after the fade out you should be leaving a space of silence. This will ensure that all your reverbs and delays have room to fade out completely.

Delays and reverbs will continue long after the sound that they’re applied to. So be aware of how they tail off. Nothing is worse than having a delay cut off at the very end of your track.

Hot Tip: use headphones to be absolutely sure when your reverb and delay tails end.

Learn more about how to use reverb and delay in our how to mix music guide.

A little bit of silence is also great for giving the listener a moment to reflect on how much they enjoyed listening to your track. :)


Put on headphones and listen to your ENTIRE song all the way through. Better yet, do it twice. This is your final chance to be absolutely sure everything is in order.

The first time around listen for all the technicalities I mentioned above—artifacts, fades, edit points, reverb and delay tails.

Hot Tip: remember that Reverb and delay tails don’t ‘snap-to-grid’ in your DAW

This ensures that all your housecleaning is done.

Then listen again. But listen objectively. Stop being a mixer and just be a music enjoyer. Does your track do everything you want it to? Is it sounding perfect in all the right places?

It is? Perfect. Now you can finally be done the right way.


Your track is now perfectly polished and primed for mastering. Without all the mistakes I used to make.

Feel free to go ahead and master away.

Because friends don’t let friends release un-mastered music.

Why SoundCloud Will Be Worth More Than Spotify

SoundCloud recently announced it struck a long-awaited licensing deal with Universal Music, whose hit roster includes Kanye West, Adele and Taylor Swift. This latest deal provides SoundCloud with 50 percent coverage among the “Big Four” — Warner Brothers also has a deal with SoundCloud; Sony BMG and Sony/ATV are still holding out.

The Universal deal, in addition to SoundCloud’s latest round of funding, is a strong indicator that the Berlin-based music-content platform is a serious competitive threat to Spotify.

The YouTube of audio

While SoundCloud usually gets much less media buzz than Spotify, you wouldn’t know it based on their numbers. First, while both SoundCloud and Spotify have large user bases, Spotify has only 75 million active users compared to SoundCloud’s more than 175 million monthly listeners.

Why does SoundCloud have twice as many registered users? Spotify is more of a paid service for streaming music. The total number of users matters less to Spotify than how many of them are willing to pay. In contrast, SoundCloud is less focused on monetization (for now) and can afford to provide free content in the name of growth.

Second, SoundCloud has much better unit economics than Spotify. Why? SoundCloud’s producers, the users uploading content, are there to build a following and are not as focused on monetization. The agreement with Universal simply wards off any potential lawsuits over copyright infringement. In contrast, Spotify pays out 80 percent of its revenue to content license holders.  

As this stat suggests, the Spotify and SoundCloud business models are radically different.

SoundCloud has a platform business model where its content is created by its network of users, not acquired through licensing deals. For SoundCloud, the more audio producers that join the network, the more listeners will want to join. This increase in users, in turn, incentivizes more creatives to post their music or podcasts on SoundCloud, and the network effects continue to build from there.

Once you find an artist you like on SoundCloud, you can … get lost in a rabbit hole of music awesomeness.

In contrast, Spotify is primarily a reseller of music inventory owned by record labels and publishers. It’s simply a distributor for the latest releases, sort of like a Walmart for music streaming. Most of the songs on Spotify you could find on Apple Music, Pandora or another streaming service. As a result, Spotify lacks the network effects that SoundCloud enjoys.

Consider the difference between YouTube and Netflix. The distinction is the same here, but with music rather than video content. Given Netflix’s relative success, you might think this is a favorable comparison for Spotify, but it isn’t. YouTube is valued at $85 billion, or two times the value of Netflix. And you only need to understand one number to know why: Netflix will spend more on content in 2016 than any of CBS, Viacom, Time Warner or Fox. Like Spotify, the vast majority of what Netflix earns goes to license owners.

Could SoundCloud be the YouTube of music and Spotify its Netflix?

If you dig deeper, this analogy makes a lot of sense. Just like Netflix, creatives don’t build their own following on Spotify. Instead, they get famous on SoundCloud, just as the best users do on YouTube.

Fetty Wap started as a SoundCloud sensation before dominating the billboard charts. DJ titans Diplo and Skrillex each built their presence and notoriety by remixing already famous songs on SoundCloud and using their following as a jumping off point to produce original music. This also helps explain why SoundCloud has a much better relationship with its creatives than Spotify seems to.

Additionally, finding new songs and podcasts is an important part of the listening experience. But on Spotify, most of the music is content you can find elsewhere. The majority of Spotify’s content comes from major record labels and is freely available on other streaming services, like Apple Music or Pandora. But if you want to find the latest hot tracks outside of the mainstream, you’ll only find them on SoundCloud.

SoundCloud is increasingly becoming a place where users can discover unique content, such as new music and new artists. Users can follow each other, which allows you to find music based on another user’s musical taste and preferences. The platform provides a simple like-and-repost feature, which exposes troves and troves of activity that enables discovery by other users. Once you find an artist you like on SoundCloud, you can then see which songs that artist likes and get lost in a rabbit hole of music awesomeness.