Monday, February 27, 2006 

Madalyn's Smart Tip

When giving out your CD to someone other than a fan like say a reviewer, promoter or some other industry professional be sure to take the wrapper off first. Many of us get a lot of CDs especially when we travel to music conferences and events. I was in NYC this past weekend for several music industry events. I came home with 7 CDs to check out. The wrapper was on 5 of them. My first thought is do I want to spend time opening each one? It's time consuming and frustrating to deal with. So it's possible I may not take the time to open them. Is that how you want any music industry professional the view your CD? To listen or not to listen because of a piece of plastic wrapper?

Of the 7 CDs sitting on my desk right now the two with the wrapper already off have the best chance of getting the first listen from me.

So my smart tip is to ALWAYS keep a stash of wrapper-free CDs set aside for industry people.

Madalyn Sklar
~providing one-on-one indie music consulting & coaching~

Monday, February 20, 2006 

Music Reviews - Quality and Quantity Matters.

CD's truly do come a dime a dozen for music reviewers don't they? So, how do we as music writer's keep our ear fresh and musically educated enough on what's out there to write fairly about what we are reviewing?

As reviewers there is no better way to gain respect for your words than by; being honest in a professional and kind way, having a good ear, and be able to communicate your thoughts about a product uniquely enough to set you apart from everyone else. It doesn't do you, or the artist, any good to lie about a CD that you feel is so obviously horrible...and it also does nobody any good to be too objective or familiar using the 'same ole same ole' review tactics and formula. When someone sends you a CD...they are expecting your individual opinion. BE HONORED. Make your opinion count in their lives as recording artists. The words you write can make a big difference in a music career! We are all dreamers! We are all grasping for approval and recognition. In that, we should also want for truth if we truly want to grow.

Always leave the artist with something postitive to repeat in their press kits. Be genuine, sincere and credible. Use the interior of the review to talk about what you would like to hear differently or explore details of the perfection of the product if that's the case. Comment on the good thing(s) about it no matter how few there may be...and be honest about it's shortcomings in a way that makes the artist want to improve or at least respect your opinion as a professional.

It could mean the difference between your review mattering enough to be circulated in their press kits...thereby giving you more exposure as a reviewer, and it being tossed in the garbage along with your opinion. As a reviewer, your review being seen and reputable, is important if you intend to stay in the field with any longevity. It's a two way street. We only care... when you do :)

Artists should always take advantage of the words written, and learn to edit! :) This is, honestly, one area where taking things out of context can benefit you. Though you do not want to twist and manipulate a reviewer's intention - using a small portion of a sentence, and sentence 'trailing' can leave you glowing in a review that was otherwise sketchy and balanced with some not too attractive comments.
An example:


The Eager For Press Poncho's June, 2005 release is a nice addition to their musically savvy and vocally gifted collection of recordings, but a tad disappointing in comparison to previous releases. The energy is delicious and though a bit in your face, one can't help but 'shake their booty' to the percussive genious behind the skins. The guitar licks need some meat along with the tidy stylings - but overall, they sound at home and blend with lead singer, Bell Tidout, very nicely.


The Eager For Press Poncho's June, 2005 release is a nice addition to their musically savvy and vocally gifted collection of is can't help but 'shake their booty'......tidy stylings. - Pete the Reviewer

When someone goes to the trouble of reviewing your CD, send them a thank you note. Even if you didn't like the review. Don't be afraid to be honest with those that review your product, but never approach what you consider to be a bad review with that "we are perfect - how could you say that?" arrogance and speak to the reviewer like they don't know what they are talking about and that their review sucked. While a reviewer is just one opinionated person..remember that while you are on your way are they and you don't know where they may be reviewing projects next. Respect a reviewer with class. Even if they don't appreciate your CD.

There are many reviewers out there that love to review and listen to artists as they rise and develop new products. So just because they may give you a bad one at first, or one not particularly favorable, take into consideration the ezine or publication's popularity and when you release something new...try again with the same reviewer. But, don't allow one person's opinion to direct your career or affect your esteem either. If you came away from reading an honest assessment of your music, then you have learned something. Bad or good.

Peace, and plenty of tunes!
Annette Warner

Please visit (JUST LAUNCHED!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 

GoGirls Get a New Tattoo While at Folk Alliance!

Yes, you heard right. While in Austin for Folk Alliance over the weekend I decided to get a GoGirls tattoo to celebrate "10 years" of our great organization. I didn't realize that three other GoGirls would get them too!

So first it was me. We went to Golden Apple Studios and it happened to be next door to Flamingo Cantina on 6th Street where our Melissa Ferrick show would be at later on. Then awhile later while setting up the show, GoGirls Elite member Leslie Starnes of Bon Terra decided she would get one too. Then Georgia Moncrief, GoGirls Artist Relations, got one. But she had to wait because I had to run next store to the venue and introduce Melissa Ferrick to the stage. :-)

After Ferrick's set, GoGirls Elite member Melissa Mullins got one too. Of course I had to offer them a LIFETIME membership to GoGirls Elite.

So then it got me thinking. I should offer this special to any GoGirls Elite member who does it. So here you go: if you get either the GoGirls or GoGirls Elite logo tattooed with photographic proof, I will give you a lifetime membership to GoGirls Elite. Just my little way of saying "rock on"!

Madalyn Sklar
~providing one-on-one indie music consulting & coaching~


When gigging becomes work.... are burnt out!

Having been working through a phase like that this past year, after 9 years of being somewhere (physically) musically 2-3, sometimes more, times a week, either for pay or volunteer...I have come to realize that the desire to perform does go away sometimes. And sometimes it goes away for a fairly long time! But, it doesn't have to mean you are through performing. There are many reasons we can become disenchanted with our musical muses for a period of time. Whatever the reasons.. when the time comes that you dread getting dressed for a gig or, when you can't wait to get off stage instead of the other way's time for rest. Simple. You need a rest and rejuvenation and time alone to write new material or not write at all..who cares, but you need a break...that is a real break to you.

Recovering from burn out can be a fairly long process. But soon you'll feel those stirrings again when it's time for you. Now that I am slowly but surely coming out of it ....I feel and see a new dawn in my writing, a new desire to perform with more energy brewing. But through the initial confusion, it hurt me to think I may never play again. Now, having experienced true 'burn out' for the first time as a performing songwriter and wearer of many other hats, I have learned to embrace it as another chapter in my life meant to rejuvenate me mentally and physically and as an opportunity to grow my muse to new proportions and heights.

Don't wait for burn out to happen before you start taking care of yourself. Not everyone can be a star, but it's guaranteed the ones that are...kept themselves shiny enough to be noticed. :)

Annette Warner
Editor -

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Saturday, February 04, 2006 

Email Etiquette

Okay it's time for me to rant about a pet peeve, email etiquette. It amazes me how unprofessional musicians can be when it comes to email. So many decide they should add email addresses to their mailing list WITHOUT asking first. Bad! So many send out emails to people they don't know (like me) with MP3s and .jpg files attached. Really bad!

Here is some free, useful advice:
DO NOT send MP3s to industry professionals unless they ask you too. What is more effective is to strike up a conversation with someone either by phone or email. Get them interested in you so they will want to listen. Then send them a link to your EPK or Myspace page. This makes you and your music more memorable.

Remember, when it comes to the music business you have to think like a business person. Play it smart.

Rock on,
Madalyn Sklar
~providing one-on-one indie music consulting & coaching~



    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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