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Personalized Song – The Personalized Song Blog by Carla Lynne Hall

Posted in A Day in the Life | 2 Comments »

Little Boy Singing
A personalized song makes a great gift

Since my personalized song business appears to be attracting interest, I finally bit the bullet and started a blog at The Personalized Song

Get a personalized song written for someone you love, and give the gift of music!

Personalized Songs for Valentine’s Day!

Posted in A Day in the Life, nyc singer | No Comments »

Give a personalized song for Valentine’s Day!

Once upon a time, there was a boy in my high school who had a crush on me. He was a nice guy, but I only liked him as a friend. To tell you the truth, I could hardly give him the time of day because I was too busy crushing on his best friend. Or perhaps I should say, the only reason I would give him the time of day was because I was crushing on his best friend! Ah, young love… Anyway, I felt bad for him, and went as far as trying to set him up with my best friend. That plan seemed like it was working until one day this young man visited my house for my birthday. I had just received my grandmother’s piano, but since I wasn’t into practicing back then, I had barely touched it.

During his visit, this young man gave me a birthday card which featured lyrics to a song that he had written just for me. He proceeded to sit at the piano, and played the most beautiful song that I had ever heard (it was about me, so obviously it was a wonderful song ;-))

In a matter of moments, this personalized song won over me AND my mother who was eavesdropping nearby. After playing hard to get for months, I instantly had a change of heart, and became his girlfriend. I also had to break the news to my best friend, but that’s another blog post.

The lesson that I learned that day is how much power lives in a song that’s written for someone you love. If you’d like to give a special gift for Valentine’s Day that will be remembered always, how about a personalized song for your Valentine? Until February 11, 2010, I’ll be taking requests for personalized versions of my original song, Supernova for $150.00 USD.

Imagine your sweetie listening to a song with a verse that is personalized just for him or her! When placing your order, simply include info such as their name, nickname, interests, zodiac sign, special moments, etc, and I’ll rewrite a verse, and record it professionally. If you’re planning to propose, let me know that as well, and I’ll create an extra-special version of Supernova.

$150 includes a professionally recorded song with personalized CD label too! Click here to read and hear the original lyrics for Supernova, my cosmic love song.

If you’d prefer an original song written from scratch, the price is $500 USD, and I’d love to do that too. For more info, just email me at moxiemaven64 AT gmail DOT com or via my contact form

Related Post:
Personalized Songs

Interview with Matthew Ebel, Singer-Songwriter

Posted in Future Legends, Indie Music, Interviews | 5 Comments »

Matthew Ebel is another wildly-talented singer/songwriter who granted me an interview in November 2008, which I am happy to share with you.

The Rock Star Life Lessons Blog Interview with Matthew Ebel, by Carla Lynne Hall

Matthew Ebel

Rock Star Life Lessons: How often do you perform?

Matthew Ebel: Right now I have a regular gig once a week in New Hampshire. I’m hoping to expand beyond that, obviously, but it’s my first anchor gig in New England since moving here. I’ve been looking for a booking agent for years now, but I don’t know how to get one that will actually WORK for me. I can perform my ass off, but convincing an agent to even return a damn phone call is like getting a label to solicit a submission.

Of course, during the summers for the last couple of years I’ve been doing a residence gig 5 days a week on Block Island. That’s a lot of fun, but a LOT of work. And good money. That one fell into my lap, but I’m glad it’s there. My performance partner, Ernie, got me that gig and he’s a blast to play with.

RSLL: What’s your traveling/touring schedule like?

ME: Right now, thin. I won’t take a gig unless it will at least break even, and that means I don’t tour much right now. Granted, a string of small-paying gigs will make a tour profitable, but I am so busy with studio work that I don’t have the time to book such a tour right now. In the mean time, I’m being flown out to conventions for gigs a few times a year. Those are the real good-paying gigs and they’re usually full of people who already know my music and will sing along.

RSLL: Over the summer, you were an Artist in Residence on Block Island. How do you get gigs like that, and what are they like?

ME: Like I said, that one fell into my lap… but like someone said once, luck is the intersection of preparation with opportunity. I’ll work it backwards for you: My friend Ernie already had the Block Island gig, but he doesn’t sing so he needed a frontman. He found me at the Podsafe Music Live gig we set up in Nashville when C.C. Chapman was coming to town. I was part of the PML thing at Edgehill because I was friends with Geoff Smith and Kevin Reeves, and of course C.C. I got to know all of them through podcasting all the way back in 2004. The thing that got me into podcasting was a geek friend of mine mentioning that some guy from MTV’s heyday did a regular internet show and that I should send him a song from the new album I was working on (that would be Beer & Coffee).

So I guess the answer to that question is I got the gig because I had a geek friend a few years before I got the gig. In the music business you can always see the road behind the tour bus but the road ahead goes in all directions.

RSLL: You are like the Podcast Music King! How did you get your music featured in so many podcasts?

ME: First of all, thanks! The key, I guess, was getting involved early. I lived in Nashville when podcasting really broke and everyone was all excited about it, so for me there’s a perfect comparison at work here: The Music City is one of the biggest ponds a small fish can be in- a well-established machine that funnels songwriters to publishers to labels to artists to session players and eventually to both CD sales and live gigs supporting those CD’s. It’s the standard rich-and-famous contract from the Muppet Movie with millions of musicians standing in line to get it.

On the other side there’s the cutting edge. A brand new medium (podcasting) that nobody but the pioneering nerds listened to, but something that had great potential. The smaller the pond, the bigger the fish you can be. I saw that small pond being fed by a river of excitement and innovation, so I could see that small pond getting bigger very soon.

I guess it’s a bit like surfing. There are thousands of waves, but only a few you can ride all the way to the shore. Once you’ve paddled through a few duds, you’ll figure out how to spot the wave that’s going to curl just right long before it even starts to rise.

Tossing this labored analogy aside, I guess I was just so excited about the medium itself that the other geeks like me could see I was genuine. I was in it for both promotion of my music AND for the promotion of this new medium. You can’t fake genuine enthusiasm, and New Media types in particular can smell a marketing pitch miles away. I just happened to be able to add my music to a very small pool and speak the vernacular of the geek to help spread it around.

Now podcasting is huge and major labels are toying with it, so it’s a wave that’s already curled and heading for the sand. What’s the next wave? You got me, I’m still riding this one.

RSLL: What other music-related ventures are you doing these days?

ME: Right now I’m trying to start my own wave. Over at there’s a new subscription service where my fans can sign up for brand new music and live recordings every single month, along with other exclusives. Gas prices are making it harder to tour every year. My fans, thanks to the internet, are spread out all over the world… but very few of them live in a concentrated enough area to support a real live concert. With the subscription, I can send new music and live shows to them without going bankrupt on gas and hotels.

I got the idea from Geoff Smith’s Ring Tone Feeder site. He’s got a subscription for iPhone ring tones, I’m doing new music and concert recordings. If I can get enough subscribers, I’ll be able to just focus on making good music and less on marketing to new customers. I’m hoping that this model will actually work so new musicians can earn a living off of their own music.

If you’re interested, check out the site at – I just sent out the first song to podcasters, too, so people can play some of it on their shows!

RSLL: How has your marketing yourself and your career changed in the last 5 years?

ME: Well for starters I stopped trying to figure out what my fans wanted and just started asking them. That was a big shift for me and fortunately my fan base, for the most part, is familiar with feedback mechanisms like blog comments, Twitter, and AIM/Yahoo/Skype. As for actual marketing, I’ve also come to the realization that I can be a marketer or a musician, not both. I’m trying to find someone now who will act as a marketing agent of sorts, someone who will make the noise and maybe do PR for me without having to function as a record label.

RSLL: What is one action a musician can take to build their music business?

ME: There are thousands of things I could say here, but since I’m geek-centric I’ll start with a big one: Don’t settle for a shitty website. Seriously. Register your own domain name ( does NOT count), hire someone to design you a killer WordPress site, and learn how to use it. Publish your blog via RSS and Twitter, update it frequently, and don’t settle for a shitty website. Ever.

If you’re cruising for a restaurant and the first thing you see are folding chairs and paper plates, you’re not likely to care how good the food MIGHT be, you’re heading to the next restaurant. Your website is your store front, your chance to control the user’s experience. It’s your jolly roger for your pirate ship. Make damn sure you’ve got one that strikes fear into the heart of your enemies.

RSLL: If you were starting all over today as a musician, what would you focus on?

ME: Starting from scratch? Music. I would make sure my music was worth paying $150 for the cheap seats to go listen to. I would surround myself with people who aren’t afraid to tell me what sucks and what doesn’t, people I trust enough to listen to. No matter how clever your marketing, you will be better off if your songs mean something, stick in people’s heads, and make people want more. If you can’t do that, you need to keep working before you start any marketing.


For Matthew Ebel, music is the key to the journey of life, not just the destination. The Massachusetts based singer/songwriter/keyboardist has experienced several musical lifetimes, each one providing him with the skills to accomplish that rare songwriting feat –to have his listeners emotionally inhabit the shoes of the characters he creates.

Fully immersed in the new digital music world, Matthew is committed to being a trailblazer for other artists. “I want to leave a legacy for other musicians and show them that it’s possible to be a one man operation or a small band and do it on your own. I’m always looking for new ways to do that for myself and I’ll be letting people know where I’ve succeeded and let them know what to avoid from my failures,” he says.

In 2009, Matthew plans to develop himself as a touring artist. “My goal is to be touring with a band,” he declares, following with a laugh, “across the country, globe or universe.” He’ll also be beginning the follow up to Goodbye Planet Earth, of which he says, “I’m going to get back to a more organic feel. I think I want to call it Songs for Geeks,” he says with an impish grin. It will continue to be a fascinating journey for Matthew and his music, as well as a rich and rewarding ride for those who choose to follow.

Matthew Ebel’s main website
Matthew’s Music Subscription Site
Matthew Ebel on Twitter
Matthew Ebel on Facebook
Matthew Ebel on MySpace
Matthew Ebel on

Interview with Rick Goetz, Music Coach

Posted in A Day in the Life, Future Legends, Indie Music, Interviews | 2 Comments »

The Rock Star Life Lessons Blog Interview with Rick Goetz by Carla Lynne Hall

Rick Goetz

Rock Star Life Lessons: How did you decide to be a musician’s coach?

Rick Goetz: I’m not really sure I decided it… It just kind of happened or maybe the profession picked me.

I was first and foremost a bass player as a younger man but I kind of fell into A&R at Major labels (Atlantic & Elektra) for just under ten years by way of playing in bands and booking and managing artists in college. For whatever reason I have had the same cell number since 1998. After my last A&R job people stopped calling me for record deals on that number but people never stopped calling me for advice on what to do with their careers both as musicians and as music executives. For the most part I was always happy to help (except for the occasional stoned guy who would call at 3 AM with questions that couldn’t wait) but it was surprising to me that people would seek me out.

After doing A&R I took some time off to work on various TV projects and ran a digital label in the EMI family and wound up putting together a consulting business handling licensing for tech start ups. The beginning of 2009 rolled around and eight out of my ten clients either went under or flaked out in spite of signed contracts. Around March of 2009 I got a call from someone needing help with their career and in a panic about money I replied that I’d love to help but I was spending all of my time trying to replace the clients I had just lost… They volunteered to pay me for my help which completely caught me off guard. I never wanted to manage artists (Tried it once in earnest after college and got calls from jail- no thanks) but the coaching/consulting relationship on a project by project basis makes a great deal of sense to me.

I also have an amazing coach in my life that helps me sort out all of the insanity and fear that goes on between my ears on a daily basis so I am a real believer in relying on someone who has been down a similar path who can be objective when you can’t see the forest for the trees.

RSLL: How has being a reality show producer affected your approach to the music business (if at all)?

RG: Well, I only got as far as getting a developmental deal for one project so I can’t speak volumes about the TV business but it taught me a ton. I got represented by ICM as a producer when I was in A&R at Elektra and had been very much used to being on the buy side of most business transactions. Going into Networks and pitching people about my ideas was not only remarkably humbling but caused me to re-evaluate the way I treated people in general. It taught me about sales and it made me realize that hearing pitches every day made me much better at pitching myself. It was helpful in realizing that while I have always looked at music as the slightly slow kid brother of the film and TV businesses there are ways you can apply the musician and music business skill sets to other businesses if you are willing to admit what you don’t know and partner with people who know more than you do.

RSLL: Is it more difficult for musicians to get synch licenses since the majors are doing it too?

RG: It’s difficult in general I guess. Put yourself in the shoes of a music supervisor – the phone rings and it’s an artist who just released their 2nd album and they play music of a certain style and the second line rings and it’s Sony who has some of the marquis acts in all of Western Music. Who do you call back knowing that at some point you WILL need the relationship with a label or a publisher that has that kind of market share? What I mean by that is I think to get songs licensed is a full time job and a really hard one if you have a small catalog. If you are part of a bigger catalog not only will the representative be taken more seriously but such representatives will already be in conversations with supervisors about other opportunities for a piece of music that you would never fit the bill for when a call comes in about something that will work for you. So yea- if we are talking about licensing original music as opposed to work for hire? Sure it’s more difficult but there are the options of being a part of licensing libraries like Pump Audio or Crucial Music etc etc…

RSLL: What has been some of your most rewarding moments as a coach so far?

RG: There are a few – I don’t discuss specifics about my clients publically without their permission but there have been several little victories for people who I have helped and most recently I started working with Tim Latham as a client and has always worked on some of my favorite records – everything from Tribe called quest to Lou Reed… That’s been very rewarding.

RSLL: Do you miss performing?

RG: Being on stage and feeling the adrenaline and the excitement? Sure! All the time. I still play from time to time but I really don’t miss the work and the struggle that went into making those moments happen.

RSLL: What is one action a musician can take to build their music business?

RG: Collaboration. Co-writing, session work, guest appearances on other people’s records. All huge steps in community building if done correctly.

RSLL: Do you think that live shows are still important in the internet age?

RG: Absolutely. For big artists they are also one of the few reliable ways to make money. The internet is a wonderful tool but if you have a show that is beyond music – if you have a show that is truly entertainment I think that won’t be replaced any time soon.

RSLL: Do you think that social media marketing may be a bit too distracting for musicians?

RG: I know it is for me. I’m a bit obsessive so I can get really caught up into mindless repetitive tasks that have a grading system. If you find your self esteem too closely tied to how many twitter followers you have it’s time to limit the amount of time you spend on social networking and dedicate any remaining time to shedding.

RSLL: If you were starting all over today as a musician, what would you focus on?

RG: First and foremost having fun. If you are doing music and it feels like a day job (and I don’t mean the paranoia about money part – I mean the work) then something somewhere has gone wrong. I find it’s considerably less fun for an audience if it’s not fun for the players.

Secondly I would really focus on my craft – I mean really shutting off the internet connection and the cell phone and doing all the boring work I glossed over that made my playing less than it could have been.

Third- joining or building a community of musicians to work with…

RSLL: Is there anything else that you think musicians should know?

RG: Some of the obvious apply – know all about how to set up your business correctly and work with a lawyer to do that. Know the ins and the outs of how money is made with music. I think above all else it’s important to remember that there really isn’t any one person out there who will make your career…except you.


Rick Goetz (center), flanked by Ahmet Ertegun (left) and Jason Flom (right)

Rick Goetz is a musician’s life coach with deep roots in the music industry. Throughout his music career he has been a major label A&R representative, a music supervisor, an artist manager, a reality show producer, a bass player and the head of a digital record label. Because of his varied experience he understands the complexities of making music and making a living making music from both the artist and executive perspectives.

As a musician’s coach, Rick provides strategic consulting for musicians, songwriters and entertainment executives. For artists he is able to speak from first-hand experience about how to expose their music to a wider audience. For executives he can advise on the politics of working with art and how to create more opportunities for them, and their clients or customers.

Rick’s Musician Coaching Site
Rick on Twitter

Take The Music Success in Nine Weeks Blogging Challenge!

Posted in A Day in the Life, Indie Music, Music Blogosphere | 1 Comment »

Music Success in Nine Weeks Blogging Contest

To commemorate version 2.0 of her book, Music Success in Nine Weeks, Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity is launching a blogging contest.

Basically, you read her awesome book, Music Success in Nine Weeks, follow its 9 Week Program, and blog your results. The winner of the contest gets one full Headliner Cyber PR campaign from Ariel Publicity. This campaign is worth $1,595 and will get your music into the hands of bloggers, podcasters and online radio station DJs, plus it will help you organize your entire Social Media attack plan (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

And why am I blogging about this, you may ask. For one thing, I am a fan, friend, and affiliate of Ariel’s (You can read my in-depth review of her book). I believe in what she does to help musicians build their careers. I’m also a former client myself, in addition to being a moderator on her online forum.

Most importantly, I am also a JUDGE in this contest, so I’ll be checking out participating blogs.

The first round of musician bloggers has been listed. Judging closes March 10, 2010 – Good luck, Everyone!

Interview with Natalie Gelman, Singer/Songwriter

Posted in Interviews | 1 Comment »

The Rock Star Life Lessons Blog Interview with Natalie Gelman, Singer/Songwriter by Carla Lynne Hall

Natalie Gelman

In November 2008, the lovely and talented Natalie Gelman granted me a generous interview, and I am happy to share it with you.

Rock Star Life Lessons: How often do you perform?

Natalie Gelman: It depends how you define it. I try to street perform on the subway in NYC three or four times a week but that often ends up being less because I go out to shows or get caught up in the business stuff. As far as official shows, I try to play every other month or so in the same region. I think that works out well so people (including me) don’t get burnt out. It helps you to keep people interested. But, there are times like this past week when I have a bunch of scheduled performances in the same week. This past week I had three shows in NYC, they were all showcases so it was a bit different and its important to take the opportunities that come so I promoted them all.

That said, I think as you build your audience its vital to not overstep their boundaries. If you over saturate them and are constantly telling them you’re playing at the same club they will lose interest in you really quickly, and not even, just won’t come to your shows, but might not even open your emails anymore. It’s better to be giving them a bit too little and have them wanting more.

RSLL: What’s your traveling/touring schedule like?

NG: I haven’t done too much touring in the past two years. When I first became a singer/songwriter I did one small tour and a huge tour up the East coast on rollerblades. I was really burnt out from that tour and all of the self-promoting after that. It takes a lot to do a tour right and get the shows booked, get media and press coverage and get people there. The small tour was marginally profitable but I realized over the course of the second tour that touring venues and coffee shops was not going to support me as a full time musician. I am starting to build tours now around higher paying gigs at colleges and see touring as an investment. To really make it work I think you need to re-visit the city every six months or at least every year to keep the interest of your new fans.

I read once that you should start in your hometown and build out in 100 mile increments. Starting in NYC you would branch out to Philly, Boston, Fairfield/Hartford in CT and then once you are reaching success in those markets try markets within 200 miles. Another touring idea I liked and use is to see where similar artists are playing and if they have returned to play there. It also helps give you an idea of routing.

It is getting harder to get people out to shows which is another reason I street perform and bring the show to them (more on that in a minute). I think the internet and live web streaming have filled that gap a bit in an interesting way. If you have a video camera and internet connection you can stream a performance on the web any time of day and people all over the world can start watching. It is interesting because there are usually chat rooms on the websites that host live web streaming so there is this interaction going on during the show between you the viewers and amongst themselves. It is really casual as if you were performing in a living room for a few friends in that sense. No mater how many people are there everyone has the same experience -they are watching you sing or play up close and depending on your equipment and internet connection (and theirs) they may be getting an even better show than they would if you were playing in a coffee bar with an espresso machine steaming milk in the middle of your most delicate and impressive song (of course, that’s just something that could happen). Its also a great forum to try out new material and get immediate feedback.
For web streaming sites check out www.Justin.TV and www.UStream.TV

RSLL: What is busking, and how did you get started?

NG: Busking is a term for street performing. I got started by accident when I was 17. I was showing a friend around times square after a show when someone asked me to sing for them. I took out my guitar and played a song while a crowd gathered. Next thing I know they are trying to give me money asking to sign up for my mailing list and asking me who I was.

The people who had asked me to sing were street vendors, The owner asked me to come back and perform next to his vendors every day for two hours. This went on for a week, it was great but the cops kept asking me to find a new spot. After a lot of hassle I did… underground.

I had this spot on the uptown 1,2,3 and 9 (back when there still was a 9) subway line at 42nd Street. I used to play there 5 nights a week when I was younger during rush hour because I was too young to go to bars for their open mics. I was really thankful that my friend was staying with me those first two weeks she stood next to me and would ask people to sign up for my mailing list which was great. I kept doing it every time I was back in NYC for break from college.

It’s a really amazing experience. People won’t listen unless you are committed to what you are performing but when you are the connections you can make down there are amazing. You are really making a difference in some peoples lives, bringing the arts to them. I have made friends with other performers and have has fans come out to shows five years later that had kept my small home made fliers and looked me up to see where I was and tell me how much they love the music and are happy I have a CD out now.

It’s always an adventure and it has made it possible for me to become a full time musician. I have street performed all over the country and there is a lot of work that goes into it. Researching where to play, what permits you might need etc.

If you want to get started in it, I suggest Google searching if the place you want to perform requires a permit. Some places like NYC have suggested permits. Also, if you are just going out don’t steal someone’s spot – its just rude. You can look around when you are in the area at where the good places to play are and pick a place a time of day that works for you and your target audience.

In a lot of popular street performing hot spots they are also big tourist spots so they usually have people who keep the street or subway clean. Those people are some of the kindest people in the world and they are your new best friends. Don’t feel awkward introducing yourself and asking them where people usually set up to perform if you don’t know the area. That has really helped me out when touring and in keeping up my morale in the subway when I’m having an off night.

RSLL: You’re really busy on the NACA college gig circuit. How did you get started, and what are those gigs like?

NG: I found out about NACA through a songwriter I met and performed with at Podcamp Boston, Rebecca Loebe. I had been playing a few college gigs regularly but didn’t realize what opportunity was there.

I just got started this year and decided to jump in full force and make some things happen in that market. It was really tough at my first conference because I was still getting comfortable with the lingo and pitching myself to dozens of student activities board bookers and their advisors. For me the shows I have played have been anywhere from fine to great. There are times when I have played in the student cafeteria to students who were interested, but on their cell phones and laptops a few feet from me, just too busy to really care. But there has also been times when the “new PA” system you are promised is one (bad) monitor so I unplugged and had a really personal experience playing my heart out to students that were so appreciative and picked up records and have kept in touch.

Now that I am in the college market professionally I realize that a lot of people look down on the artists that go to the conferences and push for college shows. I have heard it called “driving for dollars,” and lots of people seem to consider it selling out but if it enables you to get to tour and reach more people I don’t think it should have that type of stigma. The majority of artists don’t make their money back the first year they go to NACA. The best thing to do if you want to get started is to share a membership to NACA and/or booth at a conference to save money. If you don’t get chosen for a showcase you are going to have a tougher time but if you are (for lack of a better word) a hustler you can network and make it worth your time and money.

It’s definitely worth trying out, there were also many independent artists I met who are making over six figures a year just from playing the college market. They have built relationships up with advisors (who aren’t as likely to leave after a few years) and many have college booking agents as well who take care of most of their business.

Read Derek Sivers’ blog about the College Market:

Try out APCA. If you buy a booth you are basically guaranteed a showcase which is what most students want to see to book an artist.

RSLL: How has having online videos available helped you career?

NG: Having videos available online is great. Currently, I just use it to keep my international fans and folks from across the globe who found me playing on the subway while they were tourists in NYC happy giving them a taste of the best from live shows and home recordings.

I really like it because of the idea that so much of what I do as an indie singer/songwriter I have to physically be there to make new fans and be effective. It brings in the possibility of making money while I am sleeping because someone across the globe can find a video I put up on Youtube and buy a track on itunes.

I think videos can capture a lot of the performance experience and after the show you just release it into the online world and it has infinite possibilities of attracting new folks to your music. Its giving to your fans to share with their friends and return to on their own time. In general the cover songs I release get a lot more hits then my own songs but having people listen to anything and get your name out there works.

RSLL: What other music-related ventures are you doing these days?

NG: I write for an online magazine called iProng. I get to interview indie and mainstream artists about their careers which is a lot of fun and report on music conferences. I also sing backup vocals occasionally for different groups in NYC.

RSLL: How has your marketing yourself and your career changed in the last 5 years?

NG: I have really only been actively marketing my music for the past three years – although it feel like a lot longer than that. When I first started playing my own music six years ago I was still in college and just going at it for fun. I did collect email addresses at shows and while street performing but I wasn’t actively marketing.

Over time I have tried putting incentives in for my audience to reach my marketing and sales goals. Anything from free downloads to get someone to sign up for my email list to recording a personalized jingle for a podcaster or blogger who buys my CD. That definitely works and I think its great to look at what different types of companies from supermarkets to the local transit system do to sell their product.

Bob Baker of is a great recourse for thinking outside of the box and getting into the business mindset as an indie musician. Some things I have thought about recently that he has written about are offering a student or senior citizen discount, a bundle of 10 or 20 CD’s as a very reduced price for people to give out around the office or as stocking stuffers, a discount coupon when I ship an order out for a return customer or even a money back guarantee on my products.

When I first started out I was really concerned with getting radio play and getting my music heard that way. It quickly became an old model and while its great to have college or mainstream radio playing my music it means more personally and in terms of CD and download sales to have a podcaster who fills a niche market pick a song they love and rave about it on their show to listeners who listen because they have the same tastes.

RSLL: What is one action a musician can take to build their music business?

NG: That really depends on the person. There are so many things I can recommend but I think the most important thing is that you do something you love and you will keep doing because it is the journey that is most important. I can suggest for someone to get started micro-blogging, performing live online, adding behind the scenes videos to their website and Youtube among dozens of other things but if they don’t love it and wont keep doing it then I don’t want them to.

Its hard not to want to do all of those things but you will get burnt out if you try and hate it. The one thing I think is absolutely vital for the business is an email list. If you have nothing else you have to be collecting emails at your shows and building that database of fans and people who support your music. Have someone walking around the audience at your shows or walk around yourself… you may find the head of your street team signing up for your email list that night.

RSLL: If you were starting all over today as a musician, what would you focus on?

NG: It’s hard to say. It’s cliché, but I think its necessary for an artist’s growth to make some mistakes starting out and to try different things. What works one week or year may not work the next. You learn to adapt and be flexible as you age in the business.

If I had to focus on one thing I would have to say the fans. If you are doing that I think everything else will line itself up. When you are taking care of them you are practicing, making the best music you can and giving them the content, information and merchandise they need. They will appreciate your respect and support you more in return.


Singer / songwriter Natalie Gelman is quickly gaining acclaim and recognition for her music. Her passionate songs and voice have brought comparisons to Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos and Jewel. Upon releasing her debut album Natalie rollerbladed 1500 miles up the East coast from Miami, FL to NYC raising money for charity in concerts along the way. Currently the NYC native is touring the country in support of her album as well as performing in the NYC subway. As a street performer she has been featured on the front page of the NY Times and in numerous papers, magazines and TV shows across the globe.
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