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July 24, 2017

How to get the attention of a Scout (and work with them!)

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Spotify for Artists Guide

Updated September 13, 2017 

Spotify is without a doubt the giant of the music streaming world, and a very good friend to artists (signed and unsigned) worldwide. One of the things we love most about Spotify, is their artists-only tool Spotify For Artists.

As a music service but also a tech company Spotify is constantly evolving so we have put together our one-stop-shop for understanding Spotify For Artists, which we will continue to update each time there is a new feature added to the service.

In this article we will explain: 

• What Spotify For Artists Is
• How To Get Verified on Spotify
• How to edit your Spotify artist profile & bio
• How to add team members to your Spotify For Artists account

Getting verified on Spotify is now easier than ever!

Spotify is very important to us here at Spinnup – it is one of the major online retailers we distribute to, and we collect important Spotify trend data which is displayed in every artist account under ‘Stats & Activity‘ to help artists gauge how their releases are performing from day one. Plus they started in Sweden, just like us!

Lately Spotify has been going through some changes, which can have an impact on each and every one of you, both as artists and as listeners. So if you find yourself asking, “what’s new with Spotify? And how will it affect me?” Well, we got you covered.

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Fan Insights / Spotify For Artists

Back in late 2015 we told you all about Spotify’s beta version of Fan Insights, but now *drumroll please* Fan Insights has been renamed ‘Spotify for Artists‘ and is available to all artists!

In the two years since Spotify launched data tools for artists, they have been talking (and listening) to artists and management teams all over the world to optimise this aspect of their service and make it as useful as possible.

Spotify describes the reincarnation of their data tool as “a one-stop shop designed to guide you through Spotify.” What they mean by this is Spotify for Artists will help you access improved audience insights, song data and play listing information

This helps you get to know your fans better by finding out where they live, how old they are, what features they’re using to discover your music, and what other artists they are listening to. Just read the testimonials of artists who have used the new Spotify data to make more informed touring and release decisions, which means you can too. 

As well as improving their data insights tools, it is now easier than ever to manage your Spotify artist profile and…

Get Verified!

No longer do you have to wait until you have 250 followers to even be able to apply for verification. Instead, now all you need to do is have access to Spotify for Artists!

If you don’t already have access to Spotify for artists, click here and follow the steps to access your account.

But if you’re already verified don’t worry, you don’t need to do anything to keep the pretty blue tick on your profile. The new verification system means you’ll use Spotify for Artists to add and remove playlists from your profile, but use your personal account to create and edit them.

What does this mean for existing verified artists?
  • You will keep your verification and all playlists will remain
  • You will now add and remove playlists in Spotify for Artists, but you create and edit them from your personal account, like always
  • If you’re using Fan Insights, you need to switch to using Spotify for Artists
What if I’m not verified?
  • You can become verified really easily, simply by accessing Spotify for Artists, no more 250 followers!
  • You will need to add/remove playlists in Spotify for Artists, but create and edit them from your personal account
  • You may need to wait a few weeks for the blue tick to appear on your profile.

Spotify-Playlist-Notification

Artist Profile & Bio 

Now that you’re a bonafide and verified Spotify artist you are able to freely edit your public profile! Get your creative hats on because now you can update your artist image as often as you change your outfit – sounds like a lot of work, but each to their own! You can also show people what music you’re jamming to by choosing your ‘artist’s pick’ that sits at the top of your profile, and add playlists – either ones you’ve created or your favourites that you want to share with your fans.

In September 2017 Spotify announced that artists can now directly edit their artist bio, which was previously unavailable. This is a great place to let fans know more about you or your band, and convey your personality, creativity or sense of humour. Have fun with it, but don’t go too overboard!

Electronic musician Caribou keeps his bio short and sweet, but is a nice touch!

 How to edit your artist bio, step by step: 
  1. Go to your Spotify For Artists profile and scroll down to ‘Artist Bio’
  2. Write your amazing, brilliant, creative, thoughtful bio in 1500 words or less
  3. Add links to your music, music you feature on, playlists – anything on Spotify! Just use the ‘@’ symbol to look up playlists, artists or albums
  4. If you have a Wikipedia page (if not, why not create one? It’s free and easy!) you can add a link to that here.
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Team Members 

In September 2017 Spotify added an extra feature to Spotify For Artists, allowing artists to add team members to their account. Being a musician is a tough business, and having a team around you to support and grow your career goes a long way to helping you become a success! Now your team can help you even more by accessing your data and profile.

All artists can add team members to their Spotify For Artists account in three different access levels:

  • Full Access – users that you grant complete access to all your features, including artist profile, stats, and the ability to invite and edit team members
    Recommended for: Band members, managers 
  • Edit Access – these users can update your artist profile, view streaming stats, invite new team members for edit or view access, and view all members and their contact information
    Recommended for: Booking agent, promoter, publicist 
  • View Access – these guys can view your streaming stats only
    Recommended for: producers, collaborators 
How do I add Team Members?

To add as many members as you would like to your team, simply signup or login to Spotify For Artists, and click the arrow next to your name. In the dropdown menu select ‘Manage Team’, which opens a page where you can input email addresses for the lucky few you will give access to, and set the access level for each.


There is so much on offer here for you to take advantage of, so access Spotify for Artists and explore the full rundown of new features on the Spotify blog.

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Do You Want the Best Sounding Recording Live in the Stores?

I learned two valuable lessons when studying Music Production at a University that shall not be named. The useful lessons that our lecturer told us all were that “if you want a good drum sound, get a good drummer!” and my personal favourite, “you can’t polish a turd“. Tuition money well spent I’d say. He was referring to recording and audio quality of course, and funnily enough, he was right. You really can’t polish a turd. So here are 5 things to consider to achieve the best sounding recording you could possibly have ready for Spotify and iTunes.

1. Don’t fix recordings in the mix

“We can just fix it in the mix”. “No god damn it, you fix it there and then”. Mixing is great and all when tweaking minor aspects to get that killer sound, but it should be used to enhance sound not fix it. If you’re recording your parts in and there are some minor issues that you could potentially fix in the mix, it’s always better to resolve the issue there and then and get a take that you’re proud of, not one that you’re quite happy with. It will make life easier.

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2. Record a lot of takes

There will most likely be one part of a take that you’re not too keen on or could do better. If you record several takes then you should be covered, you can chop and change and get that killer take. Don’t just settle for two good takes, settle for 4-7 great takes and then the choice is yours!

3. Don’t over compress!

The loudness war may be coming to an end with the streaming and download stores playing everything at the same volume, but dynamic range still speaks volumes (no pun intended… okay maybe it was). It’s what makes your chorus – you know, the main focal point of a track (90% of the time) – be the standout section of the song just by simply allowing natural dynamics to do their thing in the mix. You wouldn’t want the whole track to be on the same level for 3 minutes 30 seconds now would you?

4. Don’t over compress…again

Be wary of the fact that the streaming platforms compress every track that is sent to them so that all tracks play at the same/very similar volume. There are two things that you can do to prepare for this:

• Similar to point 3, avoid over compressing the master as the stores are just going to compress on top of that.
• Make sure that when recording, the track is as loud as you can possibly get it without over doing it. If your track is super quiet, God only knows how much compression and gain will be put on that track by Spotify.

5. Never bounce to an MP3

And last but not least, bearing in mind that “you can’t polish a turd”, never ever bounce tracks or convert to an MP3. You may be able to convert an MP3 file to a WAV or FLAC so that it fits our upload requirements, but does it have the sound quality of those superior files types? Well, the answer is NO, it’s an MP3 in disguise. It’s always best to bounce from a DAW to a WAV or FLAC straight away, then, in that case, you always have the best sounding file.

So there you have it, 5 important things to consider for the best audio quality. Simple!

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5 common pitfalls to avoid when commissioning videos & visuals

Creating music videos, design and photography is an incredibly important job in any release promo campaign. Great content is vital, and with music video production in particular being the most costly line item of the campaign budget – not to mention quite time-consuming, the music video experience can be quite disastrous if things go wrong. This article and our service aim to help you get the best music video, photography and design possible, every time – plus we’ll share a great discount for a contract…

Here at Radar we look for promising new creatives worldwide and connect them to labels, managers and artists. Radar is a free service for commissioners – we make our money through charging creatives a monthly subscription.

We’ve helped thousands of commissioners, from major labels to brand new up and coming artists and here we hope to help focus on success and avoid common pitfalls.

 

1. Write a good brief and set a good budget

  • The music video, design or photography should be consistent with the artists’ look and feel; give guidelines about what you mean by your look and feel.
  • ‘Open to all ideas’ isn’t as helpful as you’d think. Give creatives parameters to work within, share your likes and dislikes with them. Give examples of other content you like and say why you like it.
  • The opposite – giving creatives a shot-by-shot description of what you’d like – is unlikely to be successful either. Creatives by nature will want the opportunity to express their own creativity.
  • A good brief will strike a balance between making it broadly clear what kind of content is going to make you happy, and giving the right creative enough room to contribute their own expertise and creativity.
  • Spend time preparing your budget – there’s no such thing as the ‘right’ budget.
  • If using Radar, you have to state the budget up front, as part of the brief. As over-runs on budget are a common feature of music video production, we have a valuable feature to deal with that – fixed budgets. Commissioners have to agree they will pay the budget stated if they commission – and equally, creatives agree they will make the content they pitch, for the budget agreed.
  • Bigger budgets attract more of the better creatives.
  • You can indicate you’re willing to release more budget for the right ideas – this encourages creatives to pitch on spec for a bigger budget.

 

2. Shortlisting creatives and pitches

Analysis and research are a critical part of shortlisting a fantastic creative.

  • Is the pitch well-presented and written, does it give you a realistic and clear picture of what you can expect to see in the video, design or photography? Does the idea seem achievable within your budget?
  • Past work is the single best indicator of the quality and type of content you’re likely to get with this creative. What is their other work like? If they are a director can you see complete videos? Don’t rely on reels – it’s easy to edit excerpts from average videos into a good-looking reel. All Radar pitches contain a link to the creative’s profile, where you can see creatives’ work.
  • Check the creative’s Radar profile for reviews (this is a new feature, so don’t be put off if creatives don’t have many/any yet) or contact the creative and ask for people you can speak to.
  • Social proof. Do all the website and social links in the creative’s Radar profile work? Are there any weird gaps in their story? eg they say they’ve made 5 music videos but you can only see 2.
  • Beware of creatives offering to work for less than the budget to get the work – it might encourage you to overlook other issues you might later decide are important after all.
  • How do you feel about working with these people? Ability – can they be clear about how they’ll create the content, or are they a bit defensive or obfuscating? Attitude – are they polite and responsive? Or a bit arrogant, defensive or smarmy? If the creative is active on social media, do they talk like someone you want to work with?

3. Storyboarding

  • Being able to see a preview is one of the two most useful tools you need as a commissioner, particularly for commissioning video. It will give you a way to better understand what your prospective creative is planning and will give you essential insight into how the finished content will look.
  • As you’re still shortlisting at this stage, it’s not fair to ask for too much detail from the creative – but you do need enough information to build a competent picture of what the content might be with this person. (nb, It is fair to ask for more detailed storyboards or shotlists as soon as you have commissioned a creative)

 

4. Contracting

A contract is the other most important commissioning tool at your disposal. A good contract will take you through all of the below issues and more:

  • storyboarding/shotlisting.
  • sign off/ approval on casting, not forgetting dancers – check dancers’ credentials.
  • rights ownership.
  • delivery date.
  • We recommend 50% up front and the rest on delivery. Never pay 100% up front. Ask creatives during shortlisting how they are planning to cover the 50% costs which won’t be paid until you get the finished content.
  • approval schedule (often tied into cashflow). Clarify what you can expect at each point, eg first cut, rough cut, fine cut, delivery (you don’t need all these stages – discuss with your creative).
  • production insurance.
  • kill fees. These aren’t necessary, but you could agree to make a payment less that the total budget to finish the relationship if you’re not happy with the quality of the content by a certain point in the schedule.

5. Delivery and Production

The discussion and agreement you’ll have had when setting up your contract will act as a confident guide, taking you through the actual making and delivery of the content.

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a contract. If we ever hear about things going wrong with a commission, invariably it’s because they have not used a contract for whatever reason (“it was such a low budget it didn’t seem worth it”, “we got on really well at the beginning” etc etc). Make your life easy – use a contract!

Nb – if you’re in the UK, here’s a contract for £25 for music video, courtesy of Radar and via respected media production lawyers Wiggin. Go to http://www.thewidget.co.uk/m-document-sets/independent-record-label/

At this URL, login and choose the Video Production Contract at the bottom. When you’re given the option to apply the discount code, use 1PY3WQYC for your special Radar discount.

 

Summary

This guide will help you avoid the more obvious problems of commissioning content. It can protect you from commissioning creatives with a bad track record, commissioning ideas you’re not a fan of, and ultimately protect you from losing your money.

You’ll notice we recommend you spend time researching and briefing – possibly more time than you were expecting. Take your time, ask for the storyboard, agree a good contract and with a fair wind, you should all end up happy.

 

This post is brought to you by Radar Creatives. Radar is the biggest & best creative directory of filmmakers, designers & photographers for music marketers worldwide.

Want to post a brief for your next video (or to find a designer or a photographer? We’d love to hear from you – our service is free, no fee, no %!
Post your brief here radarmusicvideos.com/post-a-brief or contact Heather@radarmusicvideos.com

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Five must-have content assets for your next single release

As an artist or band working in the music industry, you are certain to need a lot of content to keep your marketing campaign alive these days. Leading content commissioning platform Radar Creatives share their five must-have assets you’ll need to make a success of your next single campaign.

1. Video
Your music video should be the centre-piece of your campaign and can be used to gain exclusive premieres, an increased reach on your socials and numerous placements on blogs. Aside from this main video, you may wish to consider a lyric video and a live session video as these assets will help your campaign run for longer with a more effective reach. Aside from them being more opportunities for premieres and blog placements, they are also great content to share on your social channels as video is favoured in many of the algorithms.

 

2. Photos
From promo shots to live photography, photos are fantastic and necessary content for your marketing campaigns. When it comes to promo photos, think of eye-catching ideas for your concept. Music blogs receive hundreds to thousands of emails a day and having photos that stand out is often cited as the reason for why they choose to feature an act. Avoid shooting in black and white. We know it can look amazing, but print press ALWAYS ask for colour! So ask your photographer for some black and white versions for your socials – but never lose your full colour options because you’ll be throwing your money down the drain and your PR will not be impressed. Aside from these more official shots, it might be worth capturing 360 photos when in the studio or back stage pre-show too, as this content is a real asset for your social channels.

3. Single art
Whilst we may now live in a digital world where physical sales are limited, visuals around your music are actually more important than ever. Great single art will open more doors for your campaign not just in music press but creative press too. Plus it is more visually stunning content for social channels such as Instagram.

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4. Social design
Making sure you have eye catching social covers and profiles is something that can often be forgotten about in your release campaign. By creating a few exciting social covers, you can build excitement and momentum ahead of your release and show yourself to be a professional and credible artist.

5. Gifs
A must for your social media, the gif. From promoting your single release to a live show ahead of release, gifs are a fun way to engage with your fan-base.

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So there it is – our 5 must-have content assets you’ll need for your next release. Want to commission the best creatives to help you achieve great results in your next campaign? Browse Radar’s talented creatives now: radarmusicvideos.com/creatives

This post is brought to you by Radar Creatives. Radar is the biggest & best creative directory of filmmakers, designers & photographers for music marketers worldwide.
Want to post a brief for your next video (or to find a designer or a photographer? We’d love to hear from you – our service is free, no fee, no %!
Post your brief here radarmusicvideos.com/post-a-brief or contact Heather@radarmusicvideos.com

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The Best Music Promotion Apps

This article originally appeared on the Rotor Videos blog

Music promotion is a tough gig. How do you cut through the noise and get your name out there? It’s not easy but it’s certainly not impossible. There are a few vital apps out there that can get you noticed. Here’s some of the best music promotion apps every up-and-coming artist needs.

Get Your Music Noticed

YouTube

Let’s start obvious. Download YouTube and manage your channel from your phone. Make sure you keep up to date with fans. Keep your eye on the comments section and interact with users.

Vimeo

Why only have a YouTube channel? Get yourself on Vimeo!

SoundCloud

Is your music on SoundCloud yet? This is pretty vital for every music creator. With a smart tagging system and categorisation, your music is open to over 250 million mobile users.

Audiomack

Similar to SoundCloud, Audiomack allows artists to share their music on a fan-friendly platform. The site lets artists measure the reach of their music with trend-based rankings. The analytics are simple and hugely beneficial. Aspire to feature on the ‘What’s Trending’ section, this shows fans where the hottest current music is.

Bandcamp

It certainly has a niche following but Bandcamp is an ideal platform for independent artists. It’s a simple opportunity for fans to connect with artists and show their support. It’s not easy to get traction on Bandcamp but once you do, you’ll see a massive surge in popularity.

Spotify

Spotify has transformed the music streaming genre. If a casual fan can’t find your music on Spotify, you can quickly fade into obscurity. Create a release on Spinnup to get your tracks on Spotify in a matter of days!

ReverbNation

ReverbNation is a great platform for any up and coming artist. Create a sleek mobile friendly site, get unbiased fan feedback on your music, promote your gigs and engage fans with sleek emails. It’s a great one-stop-shop for music promotion.

Last.fm

Add your music to Last.fm and the site will place your tracks on playlists with bands your fans love. This is huge for boosting your reputation among new listeners.

Get social

UStream

Connect with fans directly by live chats and personal, real-time conversations. UStream allows you to broadcast videos to anyone, anywhere.

SoundTracking

Dubbed the ‘Instagram for songs’, SoundTracking allows users to share the songs they’re currently listening to. With a strong community spirit, this is an app you should be taking advantage of.

BlueJay Music

BlueJay is a social radio app that allows users to stream live playlists to users around the world. Every week artists host playlist sessions on the app opening the airwaves to new listeners. Get yourself registered as an artist and start sharing your music.

Reddit (/r/music)

Reddit is a platform that sets the precedent for content to go viral. The content sharing community is crucial to the popularity of internet trends. This grassroots community is a great place to build a following. Keep your eyes glued to the /r/music subreddit, this will give you a solid understanding of current trends and how to infiltrate the industry. It’s also worth creating your own vanity subreddit – an ideal place for users to find your tracks.

Instagram

Anyone who’s anyone is on Instagram. It gives fans a snapshot of your life. Share regular updates, reach out to new fans and start creating an online community. The better you capitalise on the power of Instagram, the larger your fanbase will grow.

Twitter

Similar to Instagram, Twitter is crucial for influencers. Directly speak to new fans while reaching countless others with your music. Make use of high value hashtags to get the most reach. Tools like Hashtagify will help you with this.

Facebook

Another important place to grow your collection of fans. Share your music and regular updates with those who care about your work. Connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts in your artist app to track and grow your fanbase.

Buffer / Hootsuite

Keeping your social media platforms updated regularly can be a job in itself. Sometimes it’s just not possible to send live tweets or updates. Buffer and Hootsuite allow users to schedule social media posts in advance. Ideal for those with a busy lifestyle.

Gramblr

Gramblr is a scheduling tool for Instagram. It lets you streamline the upload process and manage your account from a desktop.

Make Some Money

iTunes

If a fan is devoted, they’ll buy your music. Get your tunes on iTunes as soon as you possibly can, get started here.

Google Play

Google Play may not be the most popular place to buy music but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you want fans to buy your tunes, ensure they can find you wherever they look.

Big Cartel

Get on the merchandise bandwagon. It’s a huge opportunity to build a brand and even make a bit of money on the side too. Big Cartel offers a simple-to-use online store that can be customised to your style. It’s inexpensive and an ideal place to start.

Bandsintown

Got an event coming up? Reach more fans and sell more tickets with Bandsintown. This live music platform lets you promote tickets, engage with fans, share tour trailers and gather insights. Ideal for your upcoming gigs.

SongKick

Songkick is the world’s largest artist ticketing platform and leading concert discovery service. Take control of the fan ticketing experience and ensure you sell more tickets globally.

Create Seamless Music Videos

Got a great tune but not sure where to begin with creating a video? We can help. Our inexpensive, seamless music video creation tools let you craft professional quality vids to ensure your tracks get noticed. Find out more about how it works here.

 

Diarmuid Moloney is CEO of Rotor Videos, an innovative new platform for creating unique and inexpensive music videos. Login to your artist app and go to the offers page for a special discount on Rotor Videos projects, exclusive for Spinnup artists!

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Quiz: How well do you know Spinnup?

What do you do when it’s Thursday afternoon and you want to give some free stuff away? Waste an hour putting together an interactive quiz to see who knows Spinnup the best, of course.

Below are 10 questions about Spinnup that will test your skillz and knowledge – we think they’re super easy, but hey that’s just us. Some of the answers you’ll know like that *clicks fingers*, and others you may need to head to our website or login to your artist account to find.

We’ve got a free single code for everyone who gets top of the class (read: 10/10 score), just email blog@spinnup.com with a screenshot of your shining achievement and we’ll send it over!

*Your free single code must be redeemed by August 31, 2017 and is valid for one free year of distribution. Code can only be used once per user.

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How to get the attention of a Scout (and work with them!)

One of the main goals of our Spinnup artists is the get the attention of the Scouts, and receive their valuable feedback. But what’s the best way to get the attention of a Scout? And how can you go one step further and actually get to work with a Scout, on their own music?

David

Spinnup Germany Scout David took some time out of his busy schedule as a singer-songwriter-producer-Scout to talk to us about his experiences as a Scout, including his work with German signing Chris Brenner, and how he invited a Spinnup artist he discovered to remix one of this own tracks! He also gives us his advice for getting the attention of a Scout – take note artists! It could be just what you need to take that next step.

Spinnup: Hi David, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Let’s start with you telling us a a bit about yourself

DP: I’m a full time songwriter/producer and artist. Most of the time you can find me in our studios at Tinseltown Music in Cologne, Germany. I don’t think of making music as a job, so it’s difficult to say what i’m doing in my spare time… but yeah, i like concerts, sports and watching football games a lot and tv series. I try not to overboard watching, which isn’t easy… I think I might have an addiction!

S: How long have you been a Spinnup Scout?

DP: About a year

S: How did you get into being a Scout?

DP: I worked with a German artist called Chris Brenner on a few tracks. He told me about his experience with Spinnup, and it sounded really interesting. In Chris’ case his experience with Spinnup resulted in him being signed by Universal Music Germany. To me this wasn’t a surprise because he’s so talented.

I visited the Spinnup site and contacted Karl (Germany’s Country Manager). We talked about music and Spinnup and it seemed like a good fit, so Karl invited me to be a Scout.

As a songwriter, producer and music-lover it is very, very interesting for me to get in touch with artists at an early stage of their careers  and to be able to offer them some help. Sometimes this is just by giving feedback, or introducing them to some industry contacts I know, other times I help out on their songwriting or production. In a few cases we have started working together regularly, or I have signed them to my own record label, Escape Artists Records.

S: Who is the best artist you’ve come across on Spinnup?

DP: I can’t choose who has been the best, there is so much good music and so many highly talented people out there. But i’ve got to say that I was very impressed with the first tracks I heard from Chris Brenner (of course), Romar and MOGUL. Right now I’m working with a German rap group called Yago (formerly named Vincent Green). I discovered them  a few weeks after I started scouting for Spinnup, and it worked out so well, that we decided to work on their music together. Their first single will be released on the 4th of August, I’m really proud of the results!

S: You also worked with MOGUL, how did he get your attention?

DP: MOGUL pitched me a song, ‘Making My World‘ and it is absolutely great. We emailed and talked a bit about music, he showed me a few more tracks, and as I released my own record a few month ago i asked him to do a remix… and lucky me, he did! And he did it in his own way, the remix feels totally different to the original track and it’s absolutely beautiful to hear how creative he worked on the track and how he felt it.

S: What do you think is the best way for Spinnup artists to get a Scout’s attention?

DP: It depends, but I think what’s important is to read the Scout’s profile and only push songs when you think, “yes, this fits”. Don’t push a rock song to Scouts who are only looking for Hip Hop or Electro, it just makes no sense.

But the best way to get attention is of course, the music. When you think it’s time to show your track to the world and you did the best you can, in songwriting and production, and you put your heart and soul into it… I think us Scouts will recognise it. Also it’s important to have a good Spinnup artist profile, with your social media links, pictures, videos – everything that helps to get to know you a little bit better!

For me personally, it makes me happy to read a personal message when you push me your song. It makes it so much easier for me to reply when I know what you are expecting from me and my feedback.

Get some tips on how to improve your artist profile & get noticed by the Scouts!

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How long does it take to get a top 10 hit?

We all know AC/DC’s anthemic single ‘Highway to Hell’, but did you know it took 40 years for the legendary band to get a top 10 hit?

While some artists like Chuck Berry and The Kinks found chart success almost overnight, many waited years if not decades for a hit. And some legendary acts like P-Funk and Velvet Underground NEVER had a top-10 song in the US or UK.

Visualising the birth of top hits from the greatest artists
Life and Times of the Greatest Artists visualises the careers of the 100 greatest artists according to Rolling Stone Magazine, and shows how long each artist took to score their first top 10 single in the US or UK.

What does the study show?

The longest wait
James Brown had to wait 12 years, AC/DC had to wait 40 years – even Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, had to wait 7. The average wait for a hit was 6 years.

See the 10 artists with the longest wait for a hit below:

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1. AC/DC – 40 years with “Highway To Hell” in 2013

2. Public Enemy – 25 years with “Harder Than You Think” in 2007

3. Grateful Dead – 22 years with “Touch Of Grey” in 1987

4. Nine Inch Nails – 17 years with “The Hand That Feeds” in 2005

5. Curtis Mayfield – 16 years with “Freddie’s Dead” in 1972

6. Bruce Springsteen – 16 years with “Hungry Heart” in 1980

7. Johnny Cash – 15 years with “A Boy Named Sue” in 1969

8. Bob Marley – 13 years with “No Woman, No Cry” in 1975

9. Ray Charles – 12 years with “What’d I Say” in 1959

10. Jay Z – 12 years with “Hard Knock Life” in 1998

No-Hit Wonders
The visualisation also shows the 9 artists that never ever had a hit, despite having careers that lasted decades:

No Hit Wonders

Among these:
Howlin’ Wolf
Bo Diddley
Parliament-Funkadelic
Velvet Underground

Additional data
Filters can be used to explore how these artists’ careers overlapped/intersected and to answer the following questions;
Which artist had the longest and shortest career?
Who had a comeback?
Which decade produced the most “great artists”?
Artists belonging to which genre of music had the longest wait for a hit?

Overnight success or decades of effort?
The piece would make a cool story for anyone that’s been plugging away for a while without a hit, as it challenges the preconception that the greats achieved chart success straight away, or that their musical vision were somehow fully formed from the start.

Explore the full interactive chart here – don’t blame us if you find you’ve lost minutes or hours of your time playing around with it

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