Selling Music Online: CDBaby Vs. Tunecore

For independent musicians, availability is everything–if our fans can find our music, then and only then can they buy it. The Internet is a great tool for indie musicians for this reason, and with CD Baby and Tunecore’s digital distribution services, indie artists can easily put their music on some of the biggest online music distributors’ sites, like Rhapsody, iTunes, Amazon, Napster, eMusic, and more.

However, indie musicians are (by definition) not rich, and we need to get the most for our money. Here’s a breakdown of the differences in CDBaby and Tunecore’s digital distribution systems to help you choose the one that you need.

1. Annual fees

CD Baby is the clear winner in this category, as they charge a one time cost of for the entire setup. Tunecore charges a yearly fee in addition to their setup fee, which, depending on the stores you select, can be pretty significant. However, you do have to send CD Baby a physical product, meaning a produced CD ready for sale on their website. If you prefer to sell everything digitally, Tunecore has an advantage in this respect, especially when selling a single, which overall will end up costing less on Tunecore (though the yearly rates may eventually eat up the difference).

2. Speed

The time it takes either of the services to put your music up on iTunes, eMusic, and other online music retailers is pretty much the same. Tunecore does give you a projected date that your album or song will go “live” on, but it’s an estimate and often the processing is much faster. Expect to wait a few weeks in any case, but neither service seems to be able to determine when your songs are available, it’s all going to depend on the online retailers themselves.

3. Reporting

CD Baby’s reports are slow. So are TuneCore’s. Usually, iTunes and the other music stores send out sales reports about 45 days after the sales, so expect to be waiting at least a month in a half to see how your sales are going.

TuneCore does offer weekly “trending” reports for $2.97 each which show your buyers’ locations, what they bought, and more, but I’m somewhat irked that they charge extra without letting you know the amount of sales in the report–it might be worth $2.97 if I know that I can see the zip codes of 30 buyers, but if it’s just one, then it’s hardly worth it. Tunecore gets a slight advantage just for offering the reports, but they could be better implemented and more helpful.

4. Number of stores

CD Baby has more stores than Tunecore, but unless you’re planning on aggressively promoting at the websites of some of their smaller partners, it doesn’t really matter, you’re unlikely to see large amounts of sales from anything but the big boys (iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, etc.). One annoying thing about the Tunecore service is that you’ll have to pay for each store added, including different stores from the same company, for instance iTunes Japan or iTunes Canada. CD Baby doesn’t put this restriction on you, and offers more stores (even if you won’t see more sales, hey, they’re out there, right?). If you want your fans to have variety, CD Baby has the better deal.

In the end, I give a definite edge to CD Baby unless you intend to distribute music completely digitally (or if you’re selling a single). Both services are useful, but CD Baby’s lower prices, simple interface, greater variety, and experience make them slightly more valuable to independent musicians than Tunecore’s services.

A History of Blues Music

Blues music developed as a response to the end of slavery. No longer spending all their lives solely working in the fields and going to church, former slaves began to spread across the country and live fuller lives. Many of them became sharecroppers on their own personal farms as opposed to living together on large plantations. As the former slaves traveled, they began to encounter the cultures of different part of the country, and for the first time in their lives, they had to find work and make money. Men in particular had a difficult time finding jobs. As their lives began to expand, so did the subject matter of the music. The work songs of the slavery era began to transform into an early form of blues, as former slaves began to sing not about their work and their religion, but about their individual lives, travel, and personal struggles with integrating themselves into American society. African-American moved away from singing about traditional African topics, such as the gods, work, nature, and life after death as the adopted American culture, which focused on the individual and his personal life here on earth. Different styles of blues, such as country blues, urban blues, classic blues, and boogie woogie, developed in response to characteristics of different locations and time periods.

Early blues music copied the structure of European ballads, which consisted of between eight and sixteen lines. Eventually blues developed into the form we know today, which consists of a 12 bar structure – each verse has three lines, and each line four bars. Blues also incorporates the call and response technique. The words of the song usually take up only half on a line, leaving the other half for a vocal or instrumental response. The music also had an AAB format, in which the first two lines of a verse would the same, and the third one would be different. Early blues involved heavy use of the guitar and harmonica. As classic blues developed, other instruments such as the piano and European brass instruments began to be used. Boogie woogie blues employed a major use of the piano. Instruments in blues played the role of mimicking vocal sounds and provided a foil for the singing. Another major characteristic of blues is the personal subject matter. Blues songs tend to be sad and melancholic, and are mostly about the singer’s relationships, social struggles, travels, and personal tragedies.

Blues began to develop and the end of the Civil War when the slaves were emancipated. As they began to travel, they developed a music that was about their personal lives. Blues continued to develop in the Reconstruction era, when African-Americans began to disperse all over the country and build and develop their own societies. Early blues evolved into classic blues in the early 20th century. The mass migration of African-Americans from the South to larger, industrial Northern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and New York, along with the introduction of traveling minstrel shows and musical troupes, started the evolution of primitive blues into classic blues. Primitive blues was music meant solely for the individual, while classic blues became more formalized and was intended to entertain large audiences. 
Blues continued into the 1920, when it began to be recorded and take on more urban themes. The early 1920’s also saw the introduction of race records, which was music aimed strictly towards African-Americans. This was the time in which massive amounts of blues material began to be recorded. This was due largely to the fact that African-American were now working and earning wages that they could spend on entertainment and leisure. The Great Depression brought the end of classic blues, as African-American no longer had the money to spend on records. The decline of the commercial classic blues led to the emergence of urban blues and boogie-woogie, which was played mainly at parties. Boogie woogie and urban blues remained popular through World War I and well into the late 1930’s.

Early minstrel companies, such as the Georgia Minstrels, Pringle Minstrels, and McCabe and Young Minstrels provided the first opportunity for blues singers to reach a wider audience around the country. This led to the emergence of early classic blues singers like Bessie Smith and Gertrude “Ma” Rainey. Ma, or Madame Rainey, as she was sometimes called, toured the South with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels and became a very influential blues singer. She taught Bessie Smith, who became the most famous classic blues singer. Touring troupes such as The Rabbit Foot, Silas Green’s and Mahara’s exposed enabled the early blues singer to tour the country with their music. Other early classic blues singers include Ida Cox and Sarah Martin. 
Examples of later classic blues singers include Mamie Smith, the first blues singer to make a commercial record and Victoria Spivey, whose first record, Black Snake Blues, sold 150,000 copies in a year. Classic blues was dominated by women, who did not have the burden of traveling and looking for work like the men did. Country blues, on the other hand, was dominated by men, except for notable females like Ida May Mack and Bessie Tucker. Boogie woogie blues, which gained popularity after the decline of classic blues featured musicians such as Jimmy Yancey and Albert Ammons. Urban blues singers include Tampa Red, Sonny Boy Williamson, and the very popular LeRoy Carr.

Blues music began in the rural South, where men worked as sharecroppers of traveled the country looking for work. This led to the development of primitive and country blues. As more and more African-Americans traveled north post-slaver, blues spread to a wider audience and further evolved. The closing of New Orleans’s red light district, Storyville, in 1917 led Southern musicians to travel north in order to find work. They were eventually hired by larger Northern dance bands, who soon became influenced by their music. By the early teens and twenties, blues saw most of its development in the Northern industrial cities such as Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The theaters of the North led to the introduction of classical blues, which was a more formal and publicized counterpart to country blues. This also led to the development of a more urban blues, in which musicians sung about the difficulties of life in a foreign, industrialized environment. Quite often, the songs referred to the South as home and the North as a place of struggle. Boogie woogie blues also developed in the North, specifically in Chicago, where it first gained popularity. It was based on the tradition of early country blues singers, which relied heavily on vocals and the guitar. Boogie Woogie replaced prominent use of the guitar with the piano.

Music is Life

The bells ring in expression 
Giving me a clear feeling, 
Of complete and pure affection, 
Even when the hammers of war 
Bang upon the swords of hurt.

Music is my life. Hand drawn dry brush lettering. Ink illustration. Modern calligraphy phrase. Vector illustration

The endless flutes of merciful 
Angels gives me complete hope, 
For the future that awaits me, 
Yes I have great hope for future 
Even now when spears clash.

The infinite harps of saints 
On the bountiful white clouds, 
Gives me a feeling of protection, 
Protection that’s so very complete 
Even as the trumpets of hate sound.

The eternal music of pure love 
Gives me an assurance of victory, 
Yes heaven sends me peaceful glee, 
Even when this broken Eden is chained 
In all greed and wars complete!

The music gives me a fullness of life 
And the complete armor of expression, 
I am here in avid attention seeking, 
And yes finding the shores of peace 
In the clouds and the stars of soul.

America’s Music History

I know I am only 18 but the music of the past is very interesting, and although my favorite style of music is Rap there are many singers of the past that really interest me. From the 1950s to 1980s music has come from severe changes but on thing stays the same, these musicians are big influences on todays music stars no matter who they are. Some of the top musicians are modeled after many musicians and the era in which they came from, the following are four major eras of music in the U.S. most of which will seem like you know, while some of it not to well.

1920s and the birth of vocals and jazz

Ah yes the rich mans music, but at the time jazz was not for the rich man, in fact Jazz was built for the people mainly African Americans. With artists such as Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes, Jazz was possibly the greatest thing to happen to the U.S. because it lead to so much other music styles like rock and roll and soul, but most of all Rhythm and Blues that we all know today. At the time jazz was purely American and the most popular music of the people on top of being a different type of music not heard before.

1930s through 1940s – easy listening

As jazz continued to grow in popularity so did people adding lyrics to music, so it was not unusual to hear a poem read to the beat of Duke Ellington and his “American Music”. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s great singers especially Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin each scored hits cementing there spots in American pop culture and American culture itself. Easy listening is well known around the world and though much of it was cut out after the 1950s, many hits were still spawned in that era like “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin in 1952.

1950s – the Malt shop and Doo wop rhythm and blues

Personally this is my favorite type of music of the past with singers like Bobby Rhydell, Elvis Presley, Frankie Valli, Bobby Darin, on top of up and coming Rhythm and Blues singers Little Richard, Chubby Checker made this era the birth of Musical awareness in America. This Awareness came from one artist who many said had the ability to blend two types of music, the king himself Elvis Presley, his career lasted years and made him the biggest star in the world until the 1980s when he was dethroned by another king. With Elvis there was a widespread interest in the new type of music called rock and roll, an interest that spawned Johnny Cash whose outlaw country was a mix of rock and classic country. That was not all though with these artists there were also many African American artists wanting to get into singing, these singers include Chubby Checker, and Little Richard, but unlike them there were other artists that created a music for the Black race in America these were James Brown, Ray Charles and much more. The revolutionary music that these pioneers created spawned great music for the culture of a race and changed the landscape of America.

1960s – a change in the aspect of music

It’s 1960 and America is trying to win a war they get themselves into, and thanks to this there were many of songs about it, but nothing not even the war prepared music for the British Invasion led by Fab four Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. The British Invasion was not the only thing shaking up music because there is now also an official music for the African American people led by singers like the Temptations, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. Throughout the 1960s America was in turmoil, and music was used to further the cause of peace, and they are seen in the hippie movement a movement that used music based on drugged up singers and psychedelic musicians such as Jimi Hendrix. At this time there was so many types of music floating around nobody today could pick which was their favorite.

1970s – arena rock and the birth of pop

During the 1970s many of 1960s psychedelic rock stayed with some getting high honors like Grammies, but after a few years have passed that type of rock died out and gave way to arena rock legends like KISS. The music of the 1970s were based mainly on rock with a few good R & B songs coming out of it unlike other decades the music of the 1970s were leading to something that would change the world, but the music did not change anything until late in the 1970s after government began changing as well. Arena rock made metal famous a few years later, but at this time a new king was being born and in just a few years he was going take the world by storm.

1980s pop, rock, new wave, rap and Michael?

As the title shows there was a major change in music in the 1980s some that lasted, some that are immortal, and some that were just plain weird. During the 1980s the majority of the charts were ruled by Michael Jackson, the king of pop was and still is one of the top selling artists of all time. His music is legendary and is still being listened to today making him the top selling artists in the 1980s. The 1980s was not just about Michael though, in fact throughout the 1980s the rock genre had gone through so many different changes most of which were for the best some of which were just down right creepy. Artists like Tears for fears and many others embraced the new wave techno sound making a revolution in music, but sadly a revolution that never caught on which either saved or killed rock as a whole. The last few years of the 1980s bring in a new type of music, a type that continues to this day, a type that I call my favorite. Rap comes to the mainstream at the end of the 1980s bringing in artists like Run DMC the official kings of Rap, this music is possibly the most controversial type of music, but a type eventually everyone starts to like.

After the 1990s, music goes through many changes with boy band and Tupac and gangsta rap. But one thing is for certain: Music will continue to change, after all just look at how far we have come from the 1920s.

A History of Music in Muscle Shoals, Alabama

When most people think about music production and recording, they think L.A., New York City, Atlanta, or maybe even Nashville. Of course there’s no denying these places have certainly had their fair share of hit and star output, but one little known fact is most of the popular music during the 60’s and 70’s was recorded in the Shoals area of Alabama. (“Shoals” is short for Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield, Alabama)

Formally known as the “Hit recording capitol of the world,” Muscle Shoals has played host to some of the best and most famous artists and bands through out some of the most important and historical eras of music. Most people do not know the rich musical heritage the area has. For instance, born in Florence in 1873, W.C. Handy, “the father of the blues,” could be considered the pioneer of the Shoals long and vast musical tradition. Following Handy, in 1923, Sam Phillips, “the father of rock-n-roll,” was also born in Florence. Phillips later went on to record songs sung by some of the biggest names in rock-n-roll such as Elvis and Johnny Cash.

Today, the Quad-cities are still full of recording studios ranging from little in-home set ups to some of the more renowned studios such as FAME. There are over twenty recording studios still in use today in the area. FAME is probably the most famous of these. Located in Muscle Shoals, FAME has had many famous faces within its walls. A few of these faces include Aretha Franklin, Donny Osmond, Little Richard, and The BackStreet Boys. Another very famous recording studio in the area is New Cyprus Moon Studio located in Sheffield right on the river. Formally known as Muscle Shoals Sound, it is also located in Sheffield. Famous musicians who have recorded there include Cher, The Rolling Stones, Lynard Skynard and Willie Nelson.

Though the Muscle Shoals is not longer the recording capitol of the world, the area is still packed with a huge variety of talent. Musicians of all ages coming from countless different background can be heard and seen quite often. There are always local musicians playing live at various events and venues all around the Shoals. So when in town or near by, be sure to check out some of the local music and see for yourself just how musical the area really is.

-One of the best time periods to catch live acts in the area is during Handy Fest which lasts from late June into early August. Handy Fest is a fun spirited and eventful celebration in which the entire Shoals area honors W.C. Handy by having up to two weeks of back to back, night after night live music scattered all over the area.

Rockabye Baby Music for Your Baby: How it Can Make Your Baby More Intelligent

Most every parent has now heard of the “Mozart Effect”. Study after study has shown that playing music for your baby both in the womb and outside it has a world of benefits. Why? Because music engages both brain hemispheres at once giving your baby’s noggin’ a real work out.

What sort of benefits does music have for your baby?

-Can Improve fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are used to pick up a stick and beat a drum, and gross to bounce back and forth and dance to the beat. An example of this benefit of music for babies’ can be seen here.

-Improves vocal ability, listening skills and rhythm. A baby that listens and attempts to sing along is learning more than just a song.

-Improves memory and spatial reasoning. Studies show that music engages the same neurological pathways as memory applications and multiple step reasoning problems.

-Has positive physical effects on weight gain, heart beat and oxygen absorption. Music is especially good for premature babies.

-Can improve babies’ mood and make them more apt to learning or rest depending on the music.

-Can be used to establish educational and everyday routines.

What sort of music should I play for my baby?

Most studies push classical music as being the ideal music for babies’, and while that’s all fine and dandy no one wants to listen to Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven all the time, even if they are fabulous artists. Luckily, Rockabye Baby has a solution!

Rockabye Baby, like the lullaby?

Sort of Rockabye Baby is a Los Angelos based recording company that turns popular rock music into lullabies. They make music enjoyable for both babies’ and adults by integrating well known songs from artists such as; Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, AC DC, The Rolling Stones, and many, many more, twenty five different albums to be exact with more in the works. With so many soothing baby rock hits you can alternate your classical music listening with an up beat variety of your favorites. Rockabye Baby CD’s can be purchased on line here.

So turn off your television, and bond with your baby with your favorite song while making them more intelligent in the process.

Beer and Music

Beer and Music

Nothing helps raise spirits more than music and spirits. Raise a glass and a cheer and pair it with a song. Some beer styles seem to go better with some styles of music. From waltzes, blues, rock to folk, there’s something for everyone.

Irish Folk and Stout – There’s nothing more classic than a traditional Dublin tune dunked in Guinness. The creamy head of the brew meets the dulcet tones of the dulcimer and fiddle.

Polka and German-style Lager – They named a song after it: The Beer Barrel Polka. Teutons are tons of fun, especially when they trot out the tubas. Dance and twirl to the oom-pah-pah and the ¾ beat.

Rock and Roll and American-style Lager – Few things typify America more than rock and roll music and a cold brew. Grab a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, chill out, and rock on.

Waltz and Czech Pilsner – An accordion goes hand in hand, one, two, three, with the hoppy, golden elixir. Czech Saaz hops and a European malt blend create a unique flavor for everyone to enjoy.

Beer can also play a role in the making of the music. The neck of a beer bottle makes a great blues-guitar slide. The empty bottle itself is a great percussion instrument akin to a cowbell; plus it makes a ‘toot’ when blown across the open top just so. I’ve heard people play an empty keg like a conga drum.

Beer and music is a classic pairing. Remember to enjoy both, but enjoy them responsibly.

Music Soul

I use to hear you sing to me at night
chasing away the nightmares
Your lyrics reflected the struggle
in my mind
you sing as if you understood
my hidden fears
It told the story of a soul
that has no color
Repressed spirit that has lost its way
unrecognizable desires I don’t know
I cry out to you needing
to hear your song
Your music chased away
the bad dreams
that left my heart beating
to the rhythm of
my screams
I don’t hear the music
anymore you no
longer sing to me
My nightmares return
I need your song
Sing to me again
Music Soul