Monday, November 24, 2008 

Do You Really Think Being A Copycat Will Get You Far?

or What I Don't Recommend Indie Artists Do!

by Madalyn Sklar

Okay I'm going to jump onto my high horse and preach. Ready?

I was reading a music business blog today. It was interesting and filled with a lot of "How-To" advice. Hey, I'm all for that. Let's help indie artists. Let's give out sound advice.

But then these words stopped me in my tracks...

"See How Others Do It - Then Copy Them!"

Hmm, I must say I do not agree with that. Indie artists already have so much stacked against them. Let's see, how about everyone and their brother having a rock band too, the difficulties in getting booked great paying gigs, the economy. You know I could go on and on on the negative side of the business. I like to focus on the positive.

What can YOU do to be different? Why copy what everyone else does?

I preach this a lot whether it's here on the blog, during a coaching call, a teleseminar, a mastermind session and at my workshops and panels. I say this over and over.

Be Different!
Step Outside The Box!
Don't Do What Everyone Else Is Doing!

But hey, we all know it's way easier to copy others. It happens to me more than I care to discuss. But I can tell you this. If you come up with your own creative ideas you will stand out. I do say it's okay to check out what others are doing. No need to re-invent the wheel, that is for sure. But why not come up with a new take on something. Why not spend time brainstorming new ideas. Try something. See if it works. If it does, great! If not, it's okay. Failure is okay!

Let me say that again...

Failure is okay. It really is. You just get back up and try something new. Poof. Done!

So my tip for today is don't do what everyone else is doing. Be different. Be unique. Be you.

Copyright © 2008

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 12 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.

Madalyn's Sites:


Friday, November 21, 2008 

I'm back from NYC...

by Madalyn Sklar

So I was away last weekend in NYC for two GoGirlsMusicFest shows - one in Brooklyn at Hank's Saloon and the other in the city at Otto's Shrunken Head. It was a blast! Everyone who wanted to play got to play so it was short 15 minute sets.

Here I am with Rosie Lopez from Tommy Boy, Rew our GoGirlsMusicFest Coordinator, Kiyomi from Hunter Valentine, ME, and Trish our NYC GoGirls Chapter Coordinator.

Rosie of Tommy Boy, Rew our GGMF coordinator, Kiyomi of Hunter Valentine, Madalyn the GoGirls Founder, and Trish our NY GoGirls chapter coordinator.

Me and the girls

Madalyn, Rew and Trish

Rock on,
Madalyn Sklar

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008 

Get Into the Rhythm: 50 Open Courseware Collections for Musicians

By Alisa Miller

Finding a place to take free classes can be a bonus for musicians struggling to pay the rent. The following open courseware collections include classes, entire courses, and lessons that are sure to please the musician in you. Select from college courses from some of the top-ranked universities, educational open courseware collections, music schools, and even podcasts and webcasts.

Click here to read entire article...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008 

Check out Crystal Clear... we did!

They rock! Plain and simple. You know, there are so many CD manufacturers out there but who really knows their stuff and cares about the customer? Hands down, it's Crystal Clear. Give 'em a call and see why we are happy customers! -- Madalyn Sklar

Madalyn Sklar at IndieMusicCoach & recommends her friends at Crystal Clear Disc, Promo, and Apparel for your CD/DVD replication, T-shirt/apparel, and other music promotional needs. Serving the regional and national independent and major label music industry for over 35 years, Crystal Clear has grown to become one of the largest, most experienced and respected replication and music promotional products companies anywhere in the country. Visit them on the web at or contact the head of Crystal Clear, Jim Cocke directly at 800-880-0073, ext 114 or Be sure to let Jim know you were referred by Madalyn Sklar for great discounts and special offers!


Monday, November 10, 2008 

Facebook Reaches 120 Million Users

Social-networking giant Facebook is continuing to grow like mad. In fact, the company grew its active membership total from 90 million users in early July to 120 million now, according to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer. While speaking at's Dreamforce conference, Sandberg also noted, “We got more (members) in the last three months than in the first three years of our existence.”

click here to

Madalyn's Note: I find these numbers to be quite interesting. It's truly the power of the internet and the power of social networking. While Myspace is a great marketing tool for musicians, Facebook is a great way to not only reconnect with old friends but find new fans.

Hey, be my friend on Facebook by clicking here. :-)


Thursday, November 06, 2008 

Tish Meeks Named Director of Operations for Social Networks for Musicians

November 6, 2008 (Sugar Land, TEXAS) - Tish Meeks, well-known front person of Texas band 3 Kisses, has been named Director of Operations for Social Networks for Musicians. In this newly created position, Tish will be responsible for client/account manager relations.

"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," said Madalyn Sklar, President of Social Networks for Musicians. "In the three years that I have been working with Tish, she has proven herself to be an incredible asset not only for her considerable independent music industry knowledge as an artist, but also for her broad range of consulting experience with other artists on managing their careers and increasing their grassroots marketing efforts. She is a true industry expert, and we're fortunate to have her on our team."

"In her new role," continued Sklar, "Tish will continue to provide internet marketing services to bands and music businesses while taking seriously the task of equipping them with tools they need to take their music career to a new level. The background that she brings to Social Networks for Musicians makes our company uniquely qualified to provide musicians from all genres with practical, proven techniques to assist in growing and marketing their independent music careers."

Prior to joining Social Networks for Musicians, Meeks earned her stripes in the music industry in California, touring, working behind the scenes, and honing her skills as a lyricist. Meeks is also a published author, and her first e-book, "How to get Band Sponsorships and Endorsements," was released in October 2007. Her work, "Legacy," also appears in the widely popular motivational Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, created by motivational gurus, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.

Social Networks for Musicians, based in Sugar Land, Texas, strives to provide independent musicians with the tools and knowledge necessary to effectively create, manage and market their projects through social networking sites.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008 

Giveaway @ GoGirls: Bandzoogle Standard Website account

Bandzoogle lets bands build great websites in minutes. All the stuff you need (like an online store, mailing list, blogs, media galleries) are built right in. You don't need to know anything about web design -- we do the techie stuff so you can concentrate on your music.

As a friend of, Bandzoogle wants you to win a free Standard account. It's valued at $149.95!

Sign up to win at

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008 

GoGirls Interview With Marian Call

by Annette Warner

Marian Call is smart, motivated and besides being talented, also ready to take on this industry with some tenacious stamina. Take a moment to read our interview and learn from her point of view about being a successful rising musician, as well as a bit about her new release "Vanilla" - which besides being my favorite aroma, is also now one of my fave independent CD's. - Enjoy! Annette Warner

What drives your music. When did you first know you had to do this thing called music or bust?

I grew up in a musical family and always studied classical and choral music, but I swore I'd never be a professional musician. After college I stopped participating in music for a couple of years, and realized for the first time that I'd probably spent forty hours per week making music for my whole life. There was a gaping hole there, where rehearsal and performance used to be. So I had to get back into it. At the same time, I discovered singer-songwriters and independent musicians I could really respect, folks like me who were classically educated but wanted to sing in a more soulful style. With those new role models I was able to find my own voice, and "break out" a couple of years after college with a sound that was my own. That's when I knew I had to try to make a life out of this.

What kind of advice would you offer up and coming artists that get discouraged other than don’t give up?

1) Learn to be a businesswoman. There are so many great artists out there today, and honestly, the ones who succeed will be the ones with business skills. That means good grammar, good people skills, writing, networking, financial savvy, attention to detail, and even some graphic design and computer skills. If you don't have these, find someone who does to help you. Because with these skills you can start making progress where you won't if you only devote yourself to your music.

2) Celebrate your victories. If you move on to the next thing directly without celebrating your milestones, you'll get discouraged very quickly indeed.

Describe your ideal venue. I know you love the coffeehouse atmosphere... tell us about it and why!

I love coffeehouses that also serve food, beer, and wine. That's the perfect mix of social scene and listening atmosphere, in my mind -- friends can talk in the back of the room, people can listen in the front, teenagers and families can enjoy it, but adults can feel like adults. I have some favorite places in Anchorage that are usually privately owned, not too pretty, and extremely friendly to folks from all walks of life. Playing there is a joy. But even more than cafés, I love house concerts. That's how music should be enjoyed -- in community.

The studio is my favorite place to be, though. I like writing and recording more than anything. Especially weird stuff, like my first punk song, the theme to the movie "Zombie Cheerleading Camp." That's my most creative space.

Describe your music's evolvement since you first started performing?

I recorded an album before I had ever performed any of the songs live, so the recording really came straight out of my head. Even the musicians playing on my first album didn't really know what the songs were supposed to sound like. That was good in that I really got to develop my own voice. But it was also limiting, because it was only my voice.

When I started performing live, to sell the album, the songs started evolving wildly. Since I don't play for myself -- I only sing and lead the band -- every musician approached the songs differently than I had imagined, and that gave the music much more life. I came to like the fact that I'm dependent on others to interpret my songs, because that keeps me from getting into ruts. I know people who perform their songs in exactly the same way for years, whereas my songs sound very different from one month to another. No two concerts are alike.

I also learned that though I love doing quiet, meditative ballads and gentle folk songs in the studio, when I'm doing live shows I prefer to rock out. It's just more fun. So now I write more upbeat songs, and I look for ways to reinterpret my slow songs such that they're a little more funky than the original recordings.

Tell us about the inspiration for your first major CD release 'Vanilla"..what inspired the name?

Compared to a lot of other artists and musicians, I used to feel a little "Vanilla." I'm a little white chick with a little-ish voice, and I don't really drink or smoke or misbehave. I've only had one boyfriend, who became my husband, I did well all through school, and I get along with my family really well. I don't really want to be any other way, but sometimes I used to feel boring as an artist, and unattractive, even unsexy for having such a humdrum life compared to the "bad girls." Not much heartache or nasty feelings or big adventures to write about.

But after a certain point I decided that I don't need to apologize for having a simple life and simple needs. So "Vanilla" as an album is my honest assessment of a simple life. The life most timid folks like me lead -- less late night adventures and disastrous love affairs, and more tiny crimes, like eating one too many donuts or telling a white lie when you didn't need to.

I'm comforted that because I wrote the album this way, I've had it resonate with people from across all demographics. Teenagers and seniors love it, Republicans and Democrats, geeks and nerds. Because everyone commits tiny crimes, and a surprising number of people think their own lives are a little bit "Vanilla." It is the most popular flavor.

What do you think is number one for a musician to think about before preparing for a CD project - and do you have any tips on saving time in the studio?

Be. Really. Really. Organized.

I had over thirty people in and out of the studio to make "Vanilla" over eight consecutive days. That took months of preparing all the charts, rehearsing, e-mailing to coordinate schedules, and keeping multiple different, cross-referenced checklists in the studio. I even bought a cheap $39 printer to have on hand there, for when people forgot music or we needed an extra copy of something. We used it many times. And once in the studio, we never once fell behind schedule.

It helped that I didn't know or care how big a task I was taking on. My engineer (whom I'd never met before the project) told me near the end, "When you contacted me, I didn't know you were a producer. I thought you were just a singer." "I'm a producer?" I asked him. "What does a producer do?" "What you're doing," he told me.

The biggest time saver, honestly, was learning to edit and mix the material myself. Instead of focusing on perfect takes, I was able to cut together takes I liked, and we got to work two or three times as fast on our expensive studio schedule. Plus, I had many "happy accidents" in the editing process that would never have happened if we'd recorded things in exactly the final form with no mistakes (or if I'd had someone else edit and mix the music). That saved me tons of money and took the album to a whole new level.

What makes or breaks a musician just starting out in your opinion?

There are lots of good musicians out there now. I think two things will distinguish folks who learn to make their music into a sustainable living:

1) The willingness to study, grow, and most of all, edit. Lots of songwriters believe the myth that the song just comes, in a rush of inspiration, and that editing that inspiration is sacrilege. But I have never known a song that doesn't improve with editing. And I've never known a songwriter (self included) who couldn't do with more music theory training. Even if you don't use theory to do something flashy, it's good to know why you're making the musical choices you're making, and it's bad to be limited by only knowing a few chords.

2) Business smarts and people skills. Musicians who don't treat their music like a business from the get-go can be awesome musicians, but will probably have trouble making a living at it. To make a living now, a musician has to write good letters, maintain websites, have a marketing strategy, do graphic design, treat everyone with courtesy even when it's hard, and network with strangers everywhere from the gas station to the symphony hall. Not saying I have all these things -- but that I know I'll need them, or people who have them, on my side.

Describe your toughest moment in your quest for a pro music career so far?

This fall I worked very hard and did everything "right" to produce my biggest concert to date. I got guarantees from dozens of friends that they'd be there, landed a major newspaper article, did two radio interviews, advertised on NPR, and fliered like crazy for a month. But the show was on a Sunday night -- and in the end that couldn't be overcome; not nearly enough people showed up. A lot of friends just bailed, and their absence made all the difference. After that night I had to really ask myself if it was worth all the work to keep playing, given how hard it is to get even friends out to a concert. But I decided that I'm still young and thick-skinned enough to give it a few more years at least. And I decided that I can save shows that big for Fridays and Saturdays from now on.

Are you planning a tour and if so…where do you plan to take your music?

I'm sort of permanently touring the western US and Canada for the next year, only very slowly. I'm trying to stop in each city long enough to really make a dent, rather than breezing through. Sure, that means playing a little less, but when I leave I have real friends who care about coming out next time, and I have a good feel for what I want to do there. Plus it's not so exhausting as rushing from place to place all the time. We plan to hit the west coast as well as Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and possibly Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho, before returning to our home state (Alaska) next spring.

Tell us something you want the independent music world to know about you.

I may not look like much -- no flashy costumes or sexy outfits, and terribly awkward dance moves -- but I have the songwriting power to stick with this business for decades, whether I'm writing for myself or for someone else. I plan on a long and fruitful career collaborating with all sorts of different artists across all disciplines. Getting to sing and play live is just icing.

What can your fans expect at a show?

Live shows are always relaxed, fun, and soulful. I alternate between humorous and heartfelt songs -- you'll probably laugh and might choke back a tear. As an audience member you'll probably have to participate a little at some point, whether it's shaking goat toenails or singing the zombie song. You can expect a few cover songs and maybe a little jazz, depending on the venue. And most audiences get a brand-new song or two, because they're added to the program all the time. This summer I did a live premiere at every show for two and a half months.

On gogirls music…

GoGirls music has given me lots of hope. It's good to have a support network, especially in such a competitive and sometimes discouraging business. I've found the GoGirls by and large to be very warm and friendly, and the opportunities they've provided have been more accessible by far than any of the other music networks I'm a part of. Props to Madalyn for all her hard work! I was thrilled to get a song on the GoGirls compilation CD. It was a little frenzied getting the paperwork off from Alaska, since mail can run a little slower and more expensive here, but all in all it was a painless process compared to some other compilation projects I've worked on. And I'm excited because it sounds like the copies of this CD will be put to really good use, and be heard by the right people.

More about Marian Call at

In addition to being the Founder, and Editor of, Annette Warner is a freelance sales Copywriter and Web Resource Developer with her own business; Awesome Webs. She also enjoys duties as a part time event planner and booking and music entertainment manager for several local festivals. She holds the position of Editor with the oldest and largest online community for Women in Music, and is the SC and NC Chapter Coordinator for the organization. She organizes and promotes the Wilmington, NC based and successful AWEsome 'Live Performance' Songwriting Competition now in it's 11th year. She is the owner of A. Warner Entertainment, a Live Entertainment Publicity Planning Agency. In short..."Some serious A'netteworking since 1995." Annette resides in Wilmington, NC with her tiny Chihuahuas, Kirby and Sofe. You can reach Annette at Awarner at coffeehousetour dot com.

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Monday, November 03, 2008 

Artist to Check Out: Davina Robinson

Here is an artist to watch...

From Davina's Myspace page:

"ROCK N' ROLL SOUL CHICK." An apt moniker describing Davina Robinson's powerhouse blend of rock, soul and wild woman attitude, recalling the magic of Mother's Finest and Betty Davis.

Davina Robinson is from Philadelphia, USA and based in Osaka, Japan. With her debut EP, The Blazing Heart, Davina has won accolades from the Billboard Song Contest, the Great American Song Contest, the VH-1 Song Of the Year Contest, the UK Songwriting Contest, and a nomination for "Best International Rock Song" from the Toronto Exclusive Online Music Awards. Davina was also selected to perform a showcase at Indie Week Toronto 2008.

In addition to her solo performances with her backup band, Davina has recently teamed with guitarist/composer Kohei as a songwriting collaborator, and they also perform as an acoustic rock duo.

Davina's voice has been described as powerful, rich and fierce; her style of rock soulful, pulse-pounding and smoking. With her proven songwriting skills and commanding vocals, this "rock n' roll soul" singer is blazing her way into the international scene.

Davina is currently touring California. More info at and




    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.

    Madalyn's Sites:
    * Social Networks for Musicians
    contact: madalynsklar(at)


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