Wednesday, April 30, 2008 

The power of community

When I started 12 years ago I had no idea that people would feel so connected to our community that they would go out and tattoo our logo on their body. But they have. We are now up to 25 members (men & women) who have dedicated themselves to our cause... supporting, promoting and empowering "women in music". I know, it's pretty darn cool.

The background goes like this...

For years people have told me I should get the GoGirls logo tattooed. I've thought about it but couldn't figure out where to put it. One day, Feb. 2006, on the way to Austin for Folk Alliance it hit me. I was staring down at my ankle and knew that was the spot. And for those who know me well, once I get an idea in my head it's over and done. ;-)

We had a jam packed weekend during Folk Alliance that year but I made sure we were able to find a tattoo shop down on 6th Street in Austin and turns out there was one literally next door to the venue where we were hosting a showcase featuring Melissa Ferrick. So between introducing acts on the bill I was getting the GoGirls logo tattoo. Then three of our members with me that night decided to do it too. Wow, that was dedication and something so unexpected. I told them all the LEAST I could do is give them a complimentary lifetime membership to GoGirls Elite. So by getting the tattoo they saved $35/year. Not a bad deal all around. I get FREE lifetime promotion on their bodies and they sport a cool tat and pay no membership dues.

So here we are over two years later and we're up to 25 members with a GoGirls tattoo. I'm so completely WOW'd by this. What a gesture that people feel so connected with our community!

So there you have it. A great example of the power of community!

Click here to see more photos of GoGirls tattoos.

I would love to hear your comments on this.

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 

"What is Twittering? You're always Twittering. Should I be Twittering?"

One of my music industry friends sent that message to me today via Facebook. I was going blog about this today and now I have an even better reason to. "What is Twittering. You're always Twittering. Should I be Twittering?"

Let me answer your questions...

Okay many of you are saying, "What the heck is Twitter?" I understand. I was there too once upon a time. Twitter is a super cool way to stay in touch with your friends, fans, family and colleagues. It's being referred to as "microblogging" because you only get 140 characters. You make it short and to the point, letting people know what you are up to.

I have a personal Twitter for my sillier side that includes normal everyday life. Some may find it cool, some may find it boring. You decide. Then I have a business Twitter for GoGirls. I use it to update what we have going on. I also link to cool resources, articles, etc.

One of the coolest things about it is that I can easily Twitter from my iPhone. Earlier while sitting in traffic I wrote this on my personal page:

driving with the top down in sunny 87 degrees Sugar Land, TX!!

Does anyone care? I don't know. But it's fun to let your followers know what you're doing.

Another cool feature is being able to send photos on demand and do "live" blogging. I use Twitpic to email photos from my iPhone and it shows up as a link on my Twitter page. It's really cool because I can be at a show or music conference and send photos in real-time as it's happening. I love that!

"Should I be Twittering?" Well that is up to you. Some people say the don't want another thing to do online. But if people are interested in you and what you do, Twitter is a cool way to keep them in the loop.

Bottom line... I have FUN with this. You can too.

Here is a cute little video that explains it all called "Twitter in Plain English":

So there you have it. Try it out and see what you think. Then tell me what you think. I'll be awaiting your comment!

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

Monday, April 28, 2008 

"Yoga For the Voice" giveaway

Dear Madalyn's Blog readers,

I have been developing and teaching "Yoga For the Voice" lessons for the past 15 years. And now, thanks to the Skype technology, I am able to offer these terrific vocal lessons over the Internet, so I can literally teach anyone with a computer and a Skype set up and a web camera how to sing really well.

I have decided to give away 10 free 30-minute "Yoga For the Voice" lessons (a $55 value!) to the first 10 blog readers who sign up. You must already have Skype already in place on your computer AND you must have a web camera, so that we can chat visually as well as aurally. Skype software is available for free at:

These free lessons must be completed on or before May 30, 2008.

Please e-mail me immediately if you would like to be considered for one of these five free "Yoga For the Voice" classes. My email address is Be sure to mention you saw this ad in Madalyn's Blog.

There is also an article I wrote on "Introduction to 'Yoga For the Voice' " available on the GoGirls Music website.

So send in your name now - you can be one of the first "Yoga For the Voice - Internet Version" students in the world!

all the best,

gulabi records
austin, texas
singer-songwriter/DJ. voice and piano lessons. "yoga for the voice."

NEW!!!! New website:

Friday, April 25, 2008 


I'm always on the lookout for great opportunities to help indie artists. Here is one worth passing along today! Have a great weekend, Madalyn

From the Music Connection Weekly Bulletin...

Now in its 14th year, the Temecula Valley International Film & Music Festival (TVIFF) is ready to roll again on September 17-21 and is now accepting entries for both film and music. The music competition component of TVIFF is designed to showcase the music and artistry of individuals and groups from across America and the world. Emerging, up and coming and unsigned performing artists and bands of all genres of music - from rock, jazz and pop, Hip Hop, R&B, Latin, Country, Folk, and World are accepted. Film and music entries can be submitted on line by logging on to for film and music. Deadline for entries, is June 30th. Applications can be downloaded also by logging on to

ABOUT MUSIC CONNECTION: Published every other Thursday since 1977, Music Connection magazine is a bi-weekly music trade publication catering to the music industry, its loyal fans, and support services. From its unique vantage point, Music Connection magazine has, for more than two decades, set its sights on every aspect of the music business, from decision-making in corporate towers to performing in local clubs. Whether discussing raw survival or the factors contributing to breakthrough success, Music Connection examines and defines the realities of music making. Founded on the principle of bridging the gap between "the street and the elite," Music Connection has garnered a solid foundation of active readers, and is commonly referred to as "the musicians bible." This leading music trade magazine caters to the seasoned veteran as well as the fledgling musician, and to the top executive as well as those trying to break into the business. Its broad appeal encompasses the songwriter, producer, studio manager, agent, attorney, publicist, label executive and, of course, the professional and semi-pro musician. Music Connection magazine is distributed through a network of newsstands, bookstores, 7-Elevens, AM-PMs, record stores, and musical instrument stores, the readership is over 75,000. Seventy percent of the readership is in Southern California, five percent in Northern California, and the remaining twenty percent throughout every major city in the United States and several foreign countries.

Thursday, April 24, 2008 

Recommended Resource... Indie Marketing Power

There are so many great resources and books available to indie artists. I'm always looking for the best ones for you!

Here is one of my favorites...

Indie Marketing Power: The Resource Guide for Maximizing Your Music Marketing
by Peter Spellman

Get the MARKETING power you need to make your mark in the new music economy. Seventeen chapters of resource-rich information and strategies to help you find and nurture your audience for maximum music sales.

Check out other recommended resources in the GoGirls Music Store.

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 

"Don't let what if stand in the way of what's next"

This is one great quote!! I found it today on Wyrdgrl's Myspace page.

So think about this for a minute. We spend so much time worrying about "what if this" and "what if that". Why not tell yourself just do it so you can reap the benefit of "what's next".

If you keep holding yourself back because of fear or of the unknown, you will never reach your full potential. You and I have the power to be so much more than we are. It's is okay to be scared. It is okay to not know what will happen when you take that leap of faith. Wouldn't you rather get to what's next?

Yesterday I listed the 10 Secrets To Success in my blog. I think #1 is the most important - How You Think Is Everything. Stay positive. Stay motivated. Visualize success.

I spend a great deal of time coaching, motivating and consulting with indie musicians as well as music industry professionals. Need help? Need an ear? Want an explanation on why web 2.0 social networks (Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc) are necessary for all of us in the music business - both musicians and businesses? Get in touch. Let's chat!

Copyright © 2008 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach, consultant and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world - U.S., Canada, Ireland and Japan thus far. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out for more info.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 

10 Secrets To Success

You know I love motivational stuff. I got this list last year and I keep in on my desk. I think you will find it useful. Read it and send me your comments. I would love to hear them! --Madalynsuccess

Investor’s Business Daily has spent years analyzing leaders and successful people in all walks of life. Most have 10 traits that, when combined, can turn dreams into reality.

1. HOW YOU THINK IS EVERYTHING: Always be positive. Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative environment.

2. DECIDE UPON YOUR TRUE DREAMS AND GOALS: Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.

3. TAKE ACTION: Goals are nothing without action. Don’t be afraid to get started. Just do it.

4. NEVER STOP LEARNING: Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills.

5. BE PERSISTENT AND WORK HARD: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.

6. LEARN TO ANALYZE DETAILS: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.

7. FOCUS YOUR TIME AND MONEY: Don’t let other people or things distract you.

8. DON’T BE AFRAID TO INNOVATE; BE DIFFERENT: Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.

9. DEAL AND COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE EFFECTIVELY: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.

10. BE HONEST AND DEPENDABLE; TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: otherwise, Nos. 1-9 won’t matter.


Monday, April 21, 2008 

Flickr rocks!

I am loving Flickr! It's a cool, great way to post your photos online and allow others to comment on them. You can arrange them by sets and collections and even place tags on the photos. I'm having too much fun with this. And I know there is so much more I can do. I'm just on the tip of the iceberg!

Also what I love about Flickr is that I can take a picture with my iPhone then email it to my Flickr page and if I want I can take one of those pictures and blog about it right here at Madalyn's Blog. All with my iPhone!! It is taking "live" blogging to a new level for me.

Click here to check out the GoGirls Flickr page I set up.

These sets were taken with my iPhone and immediately posted to Flickr within seconds:

Friends Fest
GoGirls/Hep C Aware Benefit - Houston, TX
Fox Houston TV "live" webcast
GoGirls/Hep C Aware Benefit - Los Angeles, CA
Kelly's Lot CD release party

Kelly getting down with a hula hoop!! I took this photo with my iPhone Friday night as we were getting ready to start our GoGirls/Hep C benefit. That is Kelly Zirbes of Kelly's Lot playing around with a hula hoop.

You can easily see my photo collection here...

So set yourself up with a FREE Flickr account. You can upload up to 100MB of photos each month. Or be like me and upgrade to the pro account for only $24.95/yr. It's well worth the cost.

I welcome your feedback!!

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


Friday, April 18, 2008 

How To Get Band Sponsorships & Endorsements

Learn how to get sponsorship deals!

Proven methods for getting big name companies to take you and your band seriously as an advertising vehicle for their products

by Tish Meeks

E-book Price: $19.99

"This book covers everything from where to look for endorsements to creating an image to writing a proposal. If you are serious and want to get to the next level this e-book will help!"
-- Madalyn Sklar, & IndieMusicCoach

Tish Meeks is well-known in the independent music community as the feisty front person of Texas Party Punk band, 3 Kisses. In addition to live music performance, Tish has worked with numerous bands across the US providing motivation, education and support to help them further their music careers.

Get your copy at

Thursday, April 17, 2008 

ReverbNation is rockin' with new features!

ReverbNation I'm so impressed with ReverbNation. If you are not familiar with them, they are a cool music company that according to their web site, "is responding to the changing music business paradigm." That right there is the missing link in the music biz and the reason for ReverbNation's success. They know what they are doing and they're doing it right! And the best part, it's free.

If you are an indie artist, they provide really great marketing solutions that sets them apart from the dime-a-dozen companies out there trying to compete. You have probably seen their cool widgets on Myspace, Facebook and other social networks. I have and they rock!

Co-Founder and VP of Artist Development Lou Plaia sends out periodic emails detailing what is going on with this fast rising company. The latest update came out today and I want to share some of this information with you.

Combined, Artists at ReverbNation reach over 24,000,000 uniques per month via our website, widgets, and applications. Content deployed from ReverbNation (widgets and apps) is now present on approx. 1,100,000 unique urls, and is being displayed a total of 180,000,000 times per month.

Wow, this is impressive stuff!

Now here is what excites me the most. They have a new program called Fan Exclusive Songs. It allows you to give access to full-length streams or downloads to those who become registered fans.

So check this out:

Initial data suggests that Artists that have designated at least one song as 'Fan Exclusive' have been growing their list of registered fans at a rate that is 600% faster than Artists that are not.

That is awesome! If you are not taking advantage of something like this, you are missing out. I was just talking in my blog recently about The Indie Music Box and how you need to set yourself apart from what everyone else is doing. Well here you go! This is a great way to increase your fanbase.

Embrace technology! Take advantage of web 2.0!

In addition to my 12+ years in the music business I also ran my own web development firm. Yes, I'm a techie in the music biz! If you would like to learn more about how you can take advantage of new technologies, get in touch with me to schedule a phone chat.

Copyright © 2008 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach, consultant and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world - U.S., Canada, Ireland and Japan thus far. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out for more info.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 

Believe in yourself

This blog post is being reposted from 3-7-06. Yeah, it's THAT good!

Many indie artists have a hard time believing in themselves. When it comes to their music, they don't take themselves seriously. It's not surprising since so many don't have the support system around them that is needed to take away self-doubts. They are told "you will never make it" one too many times.

Sound familiar?

The challenge is to overcome all self-doubts. To push forward and make your mark. Work on your craft, be the best you can be. Learn everything you need to know on the business side. No one says this is easy. But it starts with you. You have to believe in you.

Copyright © 2006 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach, consultant and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world - U.S., Canada, Ireland and Japan thus far. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out for more info.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 

Why Social Networking Is Important To Indie Musicians

I'm a computer techie geek. I don't mind saying it, especially now that social networks are exploding like crazy. It makes me seem much cooler, right? LOL. In case you haven't noticed there is more to promoting your music besides a web site (so old school now!), iTunes and Myspace.

Greg Rollett says in a recent blog post...
Social Media attracts more listeners, drives fans to buy your merchandise and keeps them coming back by offering fresh content from songs, pictures, blogs, videos, etc.

How true! I set up my first Blogger Blog in 2000 and started taking it really seriously in 2004. Today, my Madalyn's Music Biz Blog is quite the popular blog with regular postings that provide information and resources to indie musicians. Expanding social networks like Facebook, Flickr and Twitter allow you to post fresh, new content that will keep your fans interested in you and your music.

Here are three social networks you should take advantage of:

Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.

Flickr is a image/video hosting website, web services suite and an online community platform. In addition to being a popular Web site for users to share personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers as a photo repository. Its popularity has been fueled by its organization tools that allow photos to be tagged and browsed.

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send "updates" (or "tweets"; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service (e.g. on a cell phone), instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific or Facebook.

Here is an example of how I used some of these tools for "live" blogging this past weekend while attending the ASCAP Expo and several shows in L.A. It was quite cool!

With my iPhone I was easily able to email photos taken from the phone to my Flickr page and my Twitter page. When logged into my Flickr page I was able to then blog one of the photos with text that immediately posted onto this page. Cool huh??

You can check out my pages at:




Copyright © 2008 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach, consultant and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world - U.S., Canada, Ireland and Japan thus far. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out for more info.


Saturday, April 12, 2008 

2 things you need here!

2 things you need here!
Originally uploaded by
There were two things you saw EVERWHERE this weekend at the ASCAP Expo at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood... Starbuck's coffee and the expo guide. This conference was jammed packed with information, demos and resources. It was well worth the price for admission. If you're serious about your music, this conference is for you.

When asked what she got out of the Expo, Kelly Z. of Kelly's Lot said, "It was a class act conference. And how great it was to have it in my back yard of Los Angeles."

So that's the recap for now. Next week I'll blog more about this.

Rock on,
Madalyn Sklar

Friday, April 11, 2008 

Panel: Promoting Your B(r)and: Online and Alternative Marketing

Originally uploaded by
This was an extremely informative panel!! I couldn't post live because I was so busy taking 3 pages of notes!!

Here's what I have to pass along...

Roy Elkins - Broadjam

Get your music on every site.
When you get placement, write up a paragraph on your homepage. Have your successes on your homepage.
This will help you on search engines.
When it comes to your music, quality is key.
Putting your music on myspace isn't enough. You need to participate.
The web provides things. Makes it easier to get into film/tv, etc.

Patrick Faucher - Nimbit

Have your own website not just a myspace.
Be consistent when it comes to your branding.
Myspace is NOT your space, it's Rupert's space!!
Realize you're a brand. You have to look at the business like you do the creative.
You're the best marketer you have.
Look for ways to market and monetize.

Justin Goldberg - indie911

Surprised more artists are not using Google ad words and ad sense.
Most artists are not marketers.
It's important to have a team you trust.
Other platforms and sites are huge in other countries. Important to have that outreach.

Lynn Grossman - Secret Road Management

Looks at Yahoo and iTunes for specific lyrics to find artists.
On the show House (she's the music supervisor), she gets script in advanced and does searches, looking for artists as well as those she knows.
Pay attention to the shows. Send them what they're looking for.
Who is your audience?
Consistency is important when branding. Use the same visuals.
Build a foundation. Stay close to fans.

Jill Sobule - songwriter (remember the song, "I Kissed A Girl")

Raised $82,000 in 53 days at
Keep up with your fans. Tell them what's going on.
I think it's great to have this connection (the Internet) with your fans.

That's all for now! Hope you enjoy this post. Give me your comments!!

Rock on,


Madalyn taking notes at Jon Bon Jovi interview

What a great first day at the ASCAP Expo! Kelly and I spent time walking around, checking out the trade show booths and visiting with many old friends. We ran into a bunch of GoGirls too As usual people recognized me from Myspace. Very cool!

The best part was the interview with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. What a great pair! I thought Bon Jovi was extremely articulate with intelligent answers. He thought "Livin' on a Prayer" wasn't good enough for the record. Interesting! He said, "you just don't know".

Bon Jovi said their music theme was optimism. He said the song "It's My Life" is a timeless classic with an underlying theme of having faith in faith.

He relayed an interesting story about his duet "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with country star Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. When asked who's idea it was he said he wanted a female singer after originally having Keith Urban record it. He said their voices were too similar. Bon Jovi stated he needed a singer that had a voice and songs he liked AND needed to be able to interpret his lyrics. She was a perfect fit.

So to recap: ASCAP Expo good! It's well worth the cost. It's well organized and extremely professional with serious attendees. No wannabees!

Until tomorrow...

Madalyn Sklar
Madalyn's Music Biz Blog

Thursday, April 10, 2008 

Madalyn arrives at the ASCAP Expo in LA

Hey everyone, I'm in sunny, beautiful LA for the ASCAP Expo. Kelly and I walked around, bumped into Gail Silverman of Girls Rock Girls Rule, visited with Martin & Jude Folkman of the Musician's Atlas, saw Adam from Planetary. It's buzzing here!

We parked quite easily in a nearby lot, across the street from the hotel for just $10. From LAX it was an easy drive thru Englewood and Hollywood. Of course this was with NOT during rush hour.

Singing off for now...
Madalyn Sklar

Wednesday, April 09, 2008 

Heading to the ASCAP Expo in L.A.

Hey everyone, I plan to blog "live" from the ASCAP Expo this week in Los Angeles. Be sure to check back here regularly for updates and information. I hope to learn some new things to pass along!

Also be sure to "follow me" at Twitter:
I'll be sending updates very regularly there. You can stay up-to-the-minute with me and the goings on.

I'll be sending up photos from my iPhone to Flickr too. Check daily at

Rock on,
Madalyn Sklar

Tuesday, April 08, 2008 

The Indie Music Box

by Madalyn Sklar

The indie music box... are you in it or outside of it?

Most of us are in it because it's a comfortable place to be. It's easy to do what everyone else is doing. And yes, we let ourselves be in this box. Seems most musicians get trapped inside rather than thinking outside of it. There are so many indie artists out there doing exactly what you are doing. If you don't want to stand out, just follow alongside everyone else. It's so simple and unimaginative! Get my drift?

What can you do to stand out?
What can you do to make that impression and "wow" people?

Here's one example:

I was just reading a really great blog post by Mark Nissley called The Story of a Rock Star. In it he talks about his work with a rising star back in the 90s. It's obvious that he's referring to Jewel.

I was fortunate to work with one of the best star stories of the last decade. I first met this star before her 20th birthday. She lived in her van, and sang nights at a coffeehouses and bars. She was fortunate enough to get a spot in a San Diego club and was surrounded by some leading talent of the early nineties. She studied them and learned from them. There were more talented people around her, but she was the one to receive a big contract. She had one of the biggest debut albums of all time, with a number of subsequent albums.

There are many aspects to her story that can illustrate the points that I am getting to, but I'll just share one. I attribute a single reason this songwriter became a star. While all the very talented musicians around her spent their time between and after sets, hanging out back stage and drinking (among other things), the teenage girl did something different. She met her fans and really talked to them. She told her story at every show. She positioned herself at the exit and shook every patron's hand. She asked people if they liked her music. She asked people to come back and see her. One of those hands she shook was an executive from Atlantic Records. They came back to see her, and brought a contract.

Okay is the light bulb going off in your head now? Good!

See in my coaching practice I tell musicians this all the time... talk to people! Greet people at the door. NO ONE DOES THIS!! Well I take that back. I've seen very few people do it, and boy do they get results.

Be different. Be outside the indie music box.

I welcome your feedback on this. Comment and tell me what works for you.

Copyright © 2008 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach, consultant and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world - U.S., Canada, Ireland and Japan thus far. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out for more info.


Monday, April 07, 2008 

Self-Funding Your Career

This informative article is reposted from...

Madalyn's Note: Self-funding is the DIY (do-it-yourself) way to go these days. I think this article will give you some good ideas. In the GoGirls Music Store we sell a Word Document template that will help you fundraise. Click here for details on that. And give me your comments on this subject. I'd love to hear from you!


Atlanta-based soul artist, Melissa Young, has received critical acclaim for her debut album, "Just Up the Road" self-released on SugaShack Music. Blending sweet Southern Soul with a touch of Funk & R&B grooves, the disk was hailed a "hidden gem of 2007" by Billboard magazine, which stated that Young's "spirited, raspy vocals command attention from the first cut on this sure-footed debut."

In 1999 after earning an undergrad degree from Howard University and an MFA from New York University’s Film school, Young decided to devote herself to music, supplying background vocals to several artists including Reggae singer Ky-mani Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley, during his European tour.

Determined to focus on her own music, the artist successfully raised enough capital to record her debut release. Here Melissa tells AtlasPlugged how she managed to put it all together.

AP: Why did you decide to seek independent funding?
MY: Because I was determined to put out my music in the form that my heart told me to. At first I was financing everything out of my pocket but after recording I knew that I had to seek outside funding for mixing the album, mastering, and pressing my first 1,000 CDs.

AP: How much did you raise and how did you determine how much you would need?
MY: I raised approximately $75,000. I knew how much I needed because I did my research in advance. I listened to projects of different mixers and mastering houses, got referrals and price quotes from them and from several CD duplication houses.

I already had a business plan ready, it was the first thing that I put together even before the conception of the project. (I borrowed a program that formats business plans from a friend and continuously updated a budget to include with the plan).

AP: Where did you look for investors?
MY: I went to private investors - people that knew who enjoyed my music and wanted to see the music have a larger life. In the end the money came from people that simply believed in me as a person and as an artist.

AP: How did you approach potential investors – did you have professionals help you?
MY: I did not have any professionals help me get investors. I solicited anybody that I thought might be in a position to make an investment for the amount that I needed. You would be surprised at the type of people that will end up investing in music and entertainment.

And I asked people that I knew to ask people that they thought might make that type of an investment. For example one investor was a friend of a friend that I worked with. She forwarded my music to him and he came back and asked her if I needed an investor.

AP: What arrangements did you make with your investors?
MY: Both investors receive sale points on the CD at retail, that's what worked best for both of them. And we signed a contract. No business deals should ever be informal, even if it is dealing with the creative side of things.

AP: What Advice Can You Give Other Artists?
MY: First put the time and the effort into your music so that it is the best that it can be at that time. Go for quality on everything. Instead of waiting on money to show up for a fancy studio with a big name, I recorded in my home studio. I invested in a good mic, a good system to record on. I paid a good engineer and the rest was history. Don't skimp on the engineer!!! Once you have a good project, believe in it and lean on it.

Don't ever ask someone to invest in you or your music if you are not willing to invest anything or sacrifice anything. Afterall it's your dream not the investor's. You have to make it come true!

Melissa Young
SugaShack Music

Sunday, April 06, 2008 

Promoting With Tattoos now has 25 people who sport one of our tattoos. I know... crazy but oh so cool. It's become a creative way to spread the word. How do you get people to "ink" themselves for life? Well I think the odds for most will be low. That's where "temporary" tattoos could come in handy.

Give me your thoughts.

Rock on,
Madalyn Sklar

Friday, April 04, 2008 

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

by Madalyn Sklar

Reposted from GoGirls Elite Music Blog, 4-20-05. It's so good that I decided to run it again!

Okay today is the day to stop comparing yourself to others. It's time to appreciate all that you have accomplished. Do this... make a list of all the things you have done that make you proud. My list includes speaking on panels at some great music conferences, creating an online community supporting women in music, producing lots of benefit shows, being named one of the 15 people you should know in the biz by, being a mom, working out of my home.

Where am I going with this? Focus on the positive things in your life.

Yes, focusing on your accomplishments, your accolades, and YOU! It's so easy to get wrapped up in negative thoughts about where you are going in your music career. It's also easy to worry about what other bands are doing that you are not. Your CD is not selling as well as you would like. You can't seem to get enough people out to your shows. Focus on the positive. It's a great way to recharge and refocus your energies in the right direction.

So what if a band with bad hair and a shitty attitude is selling more music than you. So what if you don't draw as many to the club as your opening act.

Now take the "so what" and focus on you and your efforts. Why aren't you selling more CDs? Why aren't you getting more people out to your shows? Go back to YOU. Don't blame others. If you think your band sucks, do something about it. If you are tired of your drummer not giving a shit about the band, fire him! Take charge... take control... write out your goals... make a to-do list... then get back to me in 6 months and tell me how much ahead of the game you are.

I welcome your feedback!!

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

Thursday, April 03, 2008 

Marketing Smarts...

I had lunch yesterday with Alan Lett of Letthead Productions in Houston, TX. On the way out to our cars I asked him for a business card. As he walked over to his car I stopped in my tracks in awe. His cool Honda Element was draped in advertisement for his music. No overkill, just the back windshield. Brilliant was all I could think! Rarely do you see someone do this... use their vehicle to promote themselves. Big business does it, so why not you??

Give me your thoughts.

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

Wednesday, April 02, 2008 

Blogging about blogging...

Funny that today blogging is the new medium for sharing our ideas, thoughts and creativity across the vast Internet sea. I can remember starting my first blog back in February 2004. Yeah I know in the web world that is AGES ago! I founded, the oldest & largest online community of independent women in music, back in January 1996 when the Internet was an infant to most people. I can remember people talking about "those things on your computer". LOL. Yes it's come a long way since then.

I love embracing technology. That would explain why I started, a web-based business in 1996 when it was so new. And that would explain why I started blogging in 2004.

And over the weekend I finally ditched my beloved Blackberry for an iPhone. I'm now thinking how the heck did I live without this before?? And how did we survive before emails? Computers? Oh I could go on and on...

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


Tuesday, April 01, 2008 

Interesting blog post to check out...

I spend a great deal of time reading music business and internet marketing blogs. I'm always trying to learn something new and gain insight to other's perspectives. There is a new blog I love called copyblogger. Yesterday's post was quite interesting. Check it out and tell me what you think. And be sure to read my comment at the bottom of that post too.

The Jim Morrison Guide to Strategic Content Promotion
by Brian Clark

In 1966, The Doors were trying to make it to the pinnacle of the Los Angeles music scene by scoring a regular gig at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood. At the time, playing the Whisky was the LA way to land a record contract.

But you didn’t just waltz in and play the Whisky. You had to work your way up to it.

In the short film The Doors in LA, guitarist Robbie Krieger tells how Morrison and the band landed a regular gig at the London Fog. The Fog was lower on the nightclub food chain, but strategically close to the Whisky on Sunset.

Krieger says they convinced friends from UCLA and throughout the LA underground music scene to come to the audition show at the London Fog. Naturally, it was important to show management that The Doors could pull a crowd.

Turns out, all these friends did show up. The place was packed, the crowd was knocking back drinks left and right, and the show was a raucous success. Needless to say, The Doors got the gig as the house band for the London Fog.

But there was one problem.

click here to read the rest of the story...



    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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