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5 things to avoid when mastering

There’s an old saying that never goes away – you only get one chance to make a first impression – and it never goes away because it’s true.

When your tracks are ready for global distribution through Spinnup you want to make sure they’re going to sound as completely amazing as possible. For that you need to think about how you’re going to master your recordings.

Friends of Spinnup Metropolis are one of Europe’s best professional recording studios and have some of the top mastering engineers in the world. We asked their advice on what NOT to do when using an online mastering service.

1. Do not “master” your tracks yourself before sending them for mastering
If you have been giving people reference files of your mixes with digital limiting to make them louder, remember to supply both your original mixes without limiting as well as your mixes with limiting to your mastering engineer. That way he or she will have an idea of how loud people have been hearing your tracks and it will be a useful guide for where to aim for with respect to loudness with the finished master.

2. Always export your master files at 24bit resolution
Never 16bit.

3. Send all files to your engineer in one batch
If you’re planning to release multiple tracks, for example a four track EP or a 12 track album, it is much easier to ensure track-to-track consistency if you make sure the mastering engineer has everything at the same time. If you send your files for mastering in separate batches it’s impossible to predict track-to-track juxtapositions and can lead to earlier tracks having to be remastered to match later mixes. Make sure they can be done all together.

4. Leave approximately 1/2 to 1db headroom in your files when you mix
Do not go “into the red”. When it comes to mastering that is a bad bad place.

5. Always be wary of over compression
Over compression is the one thing that cannot successfully be undone when you reach the mastering stage. Nobody wants that!

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5 tips for online resources for musicians

You’re visiting Spinnup. Welcome! As an ambitious musician where else would we recommend you check out?

1. BBC Radio 6 – BBC Introducing (
Fantastic site full of great advice for unsigned artists by industry professionals and well-known artists. Upload your tracks to get played on BBC 6 Radio.

2. Tom Robinson’s Fresh On The Net (
BBC Introducing (see above) host TomRobinson’s own music blog dedicated to new talent.

3. DIY Musicians (
Lots of useful directories for the unsigned artist.

4. Music Think Tank (
Interesting articles and elaborate case studies on the music business and more.

5. Indie Guide (
American-based DIY musician resource.

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5 tips for band practice

Before you take to the stage to impress and entertain a crowd, you’re going to need to practice. If that comes as news to you or you’re not convinced then please do go and think very very hard about what your ambitions are. Because when you get together with your fellow band members you want to get it right:

1. Be on time
Pretty straight-forward, nonetheless a big one because a) you won’t upset the other band-members who are on time and b) your band will have more time to practice if everyone sets up around the same time.

2. Realise the commitment you have made
In order to reach those moments of creative bliss musicians strive for you will have to make a lot of compromises in your leisure time and – depending on how far you’re going to take this whole music thing – your whole lifestyle. In other words, the band comes first. You will have to stick religiously to your band’s schedule so you’re always there for gigs, tours and, of course, band practice.

3. Don’t play mind-games during rehearsal time
This is a big one. For some reason mind-games can be very common within bands and often lead to break-up. Mind-games are a particularly nasty brand of passive-aggressiveness mostly caused by the sensitivity of each band member about their own skills and tastes. So make sure you don’t hold back with your opinion if you feel offended. Arguing, even to the point of yelling at each other, is better than instead poisoning the atmosphere by quietly sabotaging the band practice.

4. Be equipped
Ideally, your band should use as much of its own equipment as possible as this will help you find and refine your sound. Since you all have different positions in the band, make sure in advance that you’ve gone through the checklist so everything is in order for when you’re going to rehearse. Also, don’t forget a spare set of strings or drum sticks.

5. Wear ear plugs
Self-explanatory. For more info Google ‘pete townshend ear problems’.

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5 ways to get the attention of a Spinnup Scout

Your music’s been loaded up onto Spinnup – congratulations! Your creative genius can now be heard and enjoyed around the world.

But we all know that what makes Spinnup different is our unique network of Scouts. Through them lies the chance to get a record deal with Universal Music. So how do you get the Scouts’ attention? What are they looking for?

Here are our top five tips:

1. Write a song with a strong melody and catchy hooks
Ok sounds kind of obvious, and it is, but is by far the most important thing so worth saying right from the off. Your songs have to stand out, and the best way to do that is to have a tune that lingers in the mind long after the first listen.

2. Perform live
There’s no substitute for playing your music in front of a live audience – whether you’re in a band, a solo singer-songwriter, a DJ, whatever. Seeing the reactions of people who aren’t your friends and family, who don’t have to be polite and nice to you, is by far the best feedback you can get.

3. Work really really hard
Build your fan base, book gigs, grow your social networks – both online and real world ones, work work work on your craft, on making music. Show the world how motivated you are, how driven you are about your music. If you aren’t, it’s unlikely anyone else will be that interested either.

4. Don’t try and do everything yourself
But at the same time, don’t forget that as the artist, your job is to make unforgettable music. You don’t have to do absolutely everything, whether it’s recording, mixing and mastering, or designing posters or T-shirts, or anything else, on your own. Other people are very good at those other things, your skill is in making music, so focus on that.

5. Don’t give up
Ever. Nobody ever made it without some knock backs along the way. Even The Beatles were rejected multiple times – The Beatles! The only people guaranteed to fail are those who give up, so don’t be one of them.

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5 artists whose careers only got going once they hit 30

Someone once said that youth is wasted on the young. Well whichever bitter old thing said that, they did not account for all the young spending youth in the wilderness, preparing for greatness. Like these five.

1. Jarvis Cocker & Pulp

When Jarvis Cocker got a demo tape to legendary BBC radio DJ John Peel in 1981 things were looking up for the then 18-year-old and his band. As it was it took another 10 years before the Cocker-fronted Pulp finally burst into primetime in 1994 with their album ‘His ‘n’ Hers’. Cocker was 31 at the time of its release and within two years Pulp had become a household name and won the Mercury Music Prize. Cocker temporarily ‘guested’ during Michael Jackson’s Brit Awards performance and became, according to one music paper, “The Fifth Most Famous Man In Britain”.

2. Huey Lewis

He was known as Hughie Louis in 1971 when he joined the band Clover as lead singer, aged 21. Clover recorded a couple of albums but things didn’t take off and their frontman was still unsure as to how he wanted to be known – Huey Louis came and went, even Huey Harp took a turn – before he finally settled on Huey Lewis. The 1980 debut from Huey Lewis and the News wasn’t a hit either but finally in 1982 the stars aligned and a 32-year-old Huey led his band to global success including an Oscar nomination.

3. Leonard Cohen

As a child and teenager in Quebec the young Leonard Cohen was interested in both music and poetry. It was as a poet that he was first introduced to the world after he had his first collection was published in his early 20s. He continued to write poetry and novels throughout his 20s, only deciding to turn his attention to singing and songwriting in his 30s. His debut album, ‘Songs of Leonard Cohen’, was released a few months after his 33rd birthday.

4. James Murphy/LCD Soundsystem

James Murphy didn’t even start up hipster-beloved New York electro band LCD Soundsystem until he was an older and wiser 31-years-old. Success didn’t come until 2005 with the then 35-year-old Murphy’s eight minute masterpiece ‘Losing My Edge’. A song about getting older and worrying about keeping up with the kids. Six years later they were selling out Madison Square Garden.

5. Seasick Steve

It’s a familiar story – young musician leaves home, works through a number of casual jobs until he becomes more successful with his music, scores a record contract and goes on to win awards and play all over the world. Which is basically the career path of Steve Wold, better known as blues musician Seasick Steve, but in his particular case all that took almost 50 years! Yes Seasick Steve played music all his life but didn’t release his debut album until 2003 when he was 63 years young. Four years later he won the Mojo Award for Best Breakthrough and this youthful newcomer hasn’t stopped since. And neither should you.

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Social Media – Decoded

Social media has changed the way that artists promote themselves – in today’s world you can build a fanbase in your bedroom wearing nothing but your pants. In the past there were never the same opportunities for connecting with fans whereas now, when used correctly, social media can be very powerful in helping to spread the word about your music. It is an essential tool for all artists, from the very newest to the biggest and most famous in the world, so here’s what to bear in mind when establishing your social media strategy.

The key word to remember is ‘social’: it is called social media, not self-promotion media. This does not mean that you must never self-promote, rather always remember that you must be social. Try not just to inform people of gigs you are doing or things you have for sale, people will soon tire of having you endlessly trying to sell them things if you are not also giving a sense of yourself. Don’t overdo the retweeting, especially when it is from other people praising you – this only comes across as either being conceited or insecure or both. Ignore people when they are trolling you, they are not worth it. It never looks good to engage in a war of tweets and it shows that they have gotten to you. And it’s never advisable to be hateful on any form of social media, that will only make people dislike rather than admire you. It’s the kind of attention that never works out well for anyone.

What people want from any artist on social media, and the reason it has been exploding, is the sense of their idol’s personality it shows. If you post images or videos that you like you are giving people the opportunity to enjoy something you think is beautiful. People will appreciate the chance to discover something new and remember you for introducing them to it. They may even try and start a dialogue with you or listen to your music on the strength of you recommendation. Be active, honest and friendly, just as you would be in real life.


As well as using Spinnup to publish your music online on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and other digital stores you may also want to think about what you make available on services like YouTube or SoundCloud. You want to be showcasing your music wherever fans go. And make sure you regularly publish new music so there’s a great representation of what you are out there online so people can find you and listen to your music when they are looking for you.

Finally make sure all your profiles look clean and professional and have consistent names. Maybe use different variants on your logo for different banners and backgrounds. The more professional your pages look, the more pleasing they are to visit. The first impression many people get from you is going to be your internet presence, so make sure it’s the best one you can possibly give.

Social Media is just one of the things it’s important for a new artist to keep a close eye on. Here are 5 things every unsigned artist can change so don’t worry too much about.

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How to get a Spinnup Scout’s attention

Spinnup Scouts are always scouring the site for new talent to work with. But who are they and what exactly are they looking for?

Every one of our Scouts has been carefully chosen because of their background within music. The team includes people with degrees in music production, educations in music & event management, writers for various music magazines, former musicians, copywriters, music bloggers and employees of TV media channels and nightclubs across Europe. They’re all passionate about helping you with your music career and with their extensive experience and knowledge, they’re certainly up to the job!

Using their artist matching tool, which matches them to suitable artists within their preferred genres, they check out as many artist pages as they can squeeze in. They are looking for music that is new, fresh and effortlessly catchy. It doesn’t have to appeal to everyone but they want to see that you’re a dedicated artist making a statement by being yourself and believing in your music. So have your artist profile ready and give your releases cover art that fits and enhances your image. Take advantage of the other great features on your profile page too, such as linking to all of your social media accounts or adding a video of yourself – it could be a presentation or perhaps a peek at one of your live performances!

Each month, you’ll be given three “pushes” that you can use to push your music to the Scouts you are suited to. So do your research – read about them, get to know them and find the right ingredients to get scouted – push to the right scout and get useful feedback to help your music career. And if you get scouted, they’ll help you with marketing, promotion and more!

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