Posted in RiverWalk News with tags on 11/17/2013 by riverwalk7

November 16, 2013
Musicians, Should You EVER Pay-To-Play? (DRAFT)
post follow up
Payola, in one form or another, is as old as the music business:

Labels pay radio stations to broadcast their music, producers pay DJs to spin their records in the club, and promoters ask live bands to pay-to-play at their event.

And it’s always been a hot topic amongst musicians.

So if you’re an artist, should you ever have to pay-to-play?

Here are two ways to look at it:

Why You Shouldn’t Generally Pay-to-play
Written by Shaun Letang

Ok, so should you pay-to-play? As a general rule, no, I feel you shouldn’t. Let me explain:

The majority of places which will tell you you need to pay to get on stage, most likely don’t have the biggest audience themselves. If they did, they’d be making money from that audience, and wouldn’t require you to give up your money to get some stage time at their gig or event. They’d be paying for more well known acts who will keep their paying audience happy. This is how the majority of popular events work.

It’s because of this that the amount you pay often won’t give you a good value amount of exposure. For example, if you’re paying say $100 or more to perform a gig, you’d in theory need at least 20 people to go on to sign up to your mailing list from there. You’d then need at least 10 people to buy a one off album from you, or three people to become recurring customers. Chances are though, that that isn’t going to happen from performing one gig where the audience isn’t highly targeted. This is especially true if there isn’t much of an audience, and most likely there won’t be.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong believer that at some stages you have to pay for promotion. That said, the method of promotion you pay for should be able to give you some real results. It’s like paying for a magazine advert; unless you’re combining it with a large scale marketing campaign to get wide-scale exposure, it’s not going to do anything for you. People will see your face, but not hear your music. They’ll then flick the page.

Pay-to-play events are notorious for not giving the musicians good value for money. Unless you’re guaranteed a set amount of highly targeted people turning up to this event and you’re free to promote to them as you need, than stay well clear. A lot of the time, you’ll be wasting your money paying to play. Instead, find open mike nights, show case events, and possibly even put on your own show.

Why Sometimes You Should Pay-to-play
Written by Lukas Camenzind

If you are a musician who feels it’s never OK to pay-to-play, I think you’ve got it all wrong.

Why? Because that’s an entitled and closed-minded attitude.

It’s an entitled attitude because you should consider having an audience and playing music for a living a privilege. Do you know how many people dream of being a rock star? Probably most people at some point in their lives.

It’s closed-minded because it ignores basic economics: If your band does not bring out any people, why are you expecting to get paid? For some reasons many musicians do…

The same musicians think that because Twitter and Facebook are free services, all music marketing should be free, too. Yet they are much more willing to spend money on instruments, recording gear or studio time. I know it’s more fun to buy gear, but the logic doesn’t make any sense.

I’ve seen bands play to an empty room for 3 hours and get paid $200. Is that better than paying $100 to play in front of 200 people?

I don’t know. I’d say it depends. But it’s silly to dismiss one opportunity from the get-go just because it costs money.

Yes, there are shady promoters. And yes, you should try to get the best deal you can. But if you think you’re not getting paid what you deserve, don’t just sit there and complain: Rent a space, sell your own tickets and run your own show. If people are actually coming out to see you, you’ll make the most money that way anyway.

What I suggest is that you look at pay-to-play opportunities like anything else: compare the costs and the benefits. Look closely at what you’re getting in return (and don’t forget to think about what else you could do instead, too). Look at the big picture. Then decide if it’s worth it to you. It just might be.

What do you think?
Now it’s your turn. Is it ever ok to pay-to-play?

To share your thoughts, leave a comment. And please share this guide so others can also get involved with their view.

About the Authors
Shaun Letang is the owner of Music Industry How To, where he shares music career advice to musicians, producers, managers and anyone else involved in the music industry. It’s your one-stop shop to learn everything you need to know about the music industry:

Lukas Camenzind is the owner of Posteram, a music marketing and artist management company. If you’ve ever wondered why some artists fail – while others have huge success – you can download his free report on what sets successful artists apart here:

in Gigs, Pay to Play | tagged Pay to play, getting gigs, ppaying for tour, promoter, promoters
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Happy New Year’s!

Posted in RiverWalk News on 12/31/2012 by riverwalk7

RiverWalk would like to thank you, family, fans and supports. For making 2012 a exciting year. We can’t wait for 2013. I hope and pray it brings bigger, better and more opportunities for us. Party hard and enjoy. Thanks again for reading my blogs. It’s really appreciated. More to come for the new year. God Bless Be safe! See everyone in the new year.

A Moment of Silence on Dec. 22 @ 10pm

Posted in RiverWalk News on 12/20/2012 by riverwalk7


Christian McBride · 17,479 like this

22 minutes ago · 

  • Nationwide Musicians’ Moment of Silence

    As the nation continues to mourn the innocent lives lost in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday, musicians around the country are organizing to send a message of sympathy and unity.

    Our circle of musicians includes Jimmy Greene, the father of Ana Marquez-Greene, one of the children lost. We ask all our fellow musicians, in all genres of music, and other performing artists in whatever form, to join us in honoring the memory of the victims, and in resolving to do our part to help prevent this kind of senseless violence from happening again.

    We are asking fellow musicians to observe a moment of silence at every musical performance in the USA on Saturday, December 22nd, 2012 at 10:00 PM in whatever time zone they are performing.

    Will you stand with us?

What Record Labels Are Looking For When Scouting Artists

Posted in Band Growth on 12/20/2012 by riverwalk7


What Record Labels Are Looking For When Scouting Artists


What Record Labels Are Looking For When Scouting Artists

So you have hot beats, your rhymes are on point and you even got major swag. What happens now? Is releasing ‘good’ music enough to get you signed?

Although much of the industry is revolutionizing how it does business, certain aspects of it have remained the same. Every act should be doing shows consistently and selling CD’s along with merchandise. That being said, stay up to date with approaching new ways to sell your music. Artists need to see forward-thinking movement. One example is, state-of-the-art mobile apps that allow you to charge your fans by credit card, on the spot! If they just want mp3’s, you can charge them right away and have a link automatically emailed to them to download your album. Selling units is of the utmost importance. Record companies want to see that you can move units without their help. The bottom line is, if you can’t sell records on your own, labels no longer have the interest nor the resources to sign and develop you.

Are you completely inspired by Drake and want to sound just like him? I didn’t think so. However, does his sound subconsciously influence how you sound? There is an interesting balance that should be considered here. Record label A&R’s love to hear familiarity in acts they are scouting. However, don’t (by any means) be a copycat. Borrowing elements of the hottest pop music of the moment can be used sparingly, but incorporate your own unique approach! Yes you are an artist, so you may feel inclined to write music that defies genres and sounds like it’s from the year 2040. Just keep in mind that a good song is like a good meal. Most people who like pizza, may be apprehensive of trying a duck burger over their favorite pizza. The argument then becomes, who is your target audience? Yes, many people eat duck but statistically pizza is consumed by millions more (also due to availability, supply etc). In this case, we are talking about record label A&R’s. They don’t want to market and sell a duck burger, they’d rather take a pepperoni pizza, add a dash of duck to it and voila! It’s all about a balance of pop appeal, uniqueness and believe it or not, talent. Just remember, you shouldn’t be 10 steps ahead of radio, but make sure you are a good 2-3 steps ahead.


Social media is so unbelievably important to record labels considering signing a new artist. Immerse yourself into this invaluable tool now. There are so many different ways to expose your music on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites (including the 45,000 sites that will launch by the time I finish this sentence). Once you have a product, you must spend a large part of your day submitting your music to blogs. The exposure a positive blog review can get you, can help propel you to another level. One of the most effective online campaigns, comes in the form of viral videos. Shooting clips can be done on quite the budget nowadays, so explore this idea as much as your resources allow.


Always remember that networking is one of the most important aspects of your career in the music business. The corny record producer from your neighborhood that you don’t like? Keep in touch with him. He may launch a label, get a distribution offer from Universal and be looking for music like yours! You never know, one person could change your life. All things considered, you absolutely should never burn bridges in this business.
If you take into account the aforementioned details and combine them with talent, hard work and persistence, there’s no limit to what goals you can reach!

What Are You Doing To Increase Your Radio Airplay?

Posted in RiverWalk News on 12/20/2012 by riverwalk7

Last week we shared some thoughts on the debate over “Payola” or pay to play on radio. Keeping with our radio theme, Bruce Warren, Program Director for WXPN in Philadelphia (and someone who has personally brought numerous unknowns to the national stage), shares practical advice to increase the amount of airplay for your music. Take a listen and get all the details behind these tips:

  1. Do your homework - learn all you can about the stations
  2. Know the rules - look for stations that are playing music similar to yours
  3. The battle is waged online - you need to have a social following
  4. Touring - you’ve got to be playing in the area at some point
  5. Label or no label? - Bruce doesn’t care, but the music quality better be good
  6. Promoters - sometimes they help, but not always

Tip #5 says you need the highest production value for your music. Check out Mastering from Universal available through TuneCore. You’ll pay for 3 tracks and get the 4th track free.

What are you doing to increase your radio play? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

How To Avoid Serious Mistakes When Choosing An Agent

Posted in RiverWalk News on 12/19/2012 by riverwalk7

How To Avoid Serious Mistakes When Choosing An Agent


How To Avoid Serious Mistakes When Choosing An Agent

Role Of An Agent
If you want to succeed as a live act in the music industry, you will likely need an agent. Agents strive to find great gigs for their clients at good venues and earn a nice commission in the process. Although they are also often involved in commercials, television events, tour sponsorship and other areas, music agents don’t generally have quite the same status or influence as those in the film business. This article contains some useful information on selecting the right agent for you.

Agents should not receive income from any aspect of recording or songwriting (with the possible exception of film music) and they should NEVER ask for this.

In the US, music agents are regulated by the union AFM (American Federation of Musicians), which allow them to charge a maximum of 10% (it can be more in some instances, but agents should agree to this 10% limit).

Some agents will take a lower percentage at around 5% for artists who generate substantial revenues at concerts. This rarely happens for film and TV unless you are a big player in these areas. They may also offer a sliding scale where they drop their percentage as you earn more, which can work out really well for both parties.

It is very important you check what is right for your situation.

Negotiating A Contract
The agency will probably ask for 3 or more years, but you should only grant them one year. This way, you can ditch them if things don’t work out, or try to negotiate bringing their commission down if you start to really progress as an artist.

If you do decide to go for more than a year, make sure you have a clause in the contract so you can exit each year if they or you don’t meet certain targets.

Choosing An Agent
If you have a manager, you’ll only deal with your agent occasionally, meeting them at your gigs or to discuss setting up a tour. Most of the time, they will talk to your manager. You should feel confident in allowing your manager to find an agent for you, although you should make the final decision.

If you don’t have a manager, you should be very particular about choosing an agent as they will report directly to you. When you pick an agent, ask yourself, how hard will they work on finding great shows and concerts for you?

Are they powerful and well connected, with one or more major clients and happen to be extremely enthusiastic about you and your music?

If you’re a megastar, this should not be a problem, but if not, then it is very unlikely they will have a keen interest in working hard to find those lucrative gigs for you or your band.

Remember it takes more work to establish a new artist compared to one already at or near the top and which one do you think pays more?

Although you can find a reputable agent like this, it is rare and you may find it better to find a young and enthusiastic agent who will work day and night on getting shows and concerts for you. Check their credentials and find out if they come recommended from a trusted source.

5 Things Needed To PRE-Prepare for a Crowd Funding Campaign

Posted in RiverWalk News on 12/18/2012 by riverwalk7


5 Things Needed To PRE-Prepare for a Crowd Funding Campaign


Over the last several months, I’ve been helping Ariel to prepare for the launch of her crowd funding campaign (which went live on Monday!). While we were doing our research, we came across article after article saying the same few things about crowd funding preparation that we already knew about:

  • You need to have an existing fan base – crowd funding is NOT a discovery tool.
  • You need to understand your target audience and create not only compelling rewards, but also a compelling story/ journey to bring them on.


But what we finding to be most unexplained was even a step further back from this. The crowd funding PRE-preparation… There are so many things that we needed to decide on that we have never even considered, and we want to share some of these things with you for your own crowd funding campaigns:

1. Choosing the right platform

There are several platforms available for crowd funding. While many of them seem to offer a similar experience to those funding the campaign (fund a campaign and in return become apart of an experience – oh yeah, and receive some pretty great prizes), choosing the right one for the campaign creator (us!) wasn’t easy. For us, it came down to understanding the focus of the platform itself, so that their support would be as effective as possible in planning, creating, launching and beyond.

We ended up choosing Rockethub because of their focus on educational products. We knew that Brian Meece and co. would be able to support our campaign and help us create an optimized experience surrounding education. And even though we love Rockethub, they have a limit on the character number for each reward descprition.

We were fortunate enough to pack each prize to the rim, but the character limit made it so we had to create a new page just to properly list out each reward.

2. Deciding the timing of your campaign

It is a natural thought to start out of the gate with all of the cards on the table, but we learned that it is actually far more effective to continuously update the campaign with more and more as time goes on to keep interest high and persuade those still on the fence about which package to go with (or for those on the fence

about funding the campaign at all).
Image Credit: Sponsume

As with any launch, there is a long tail effect where the launch starts with a bang but then trails off, slowly fizzling out as time goes on. It is important to plan out the campaign so as to counteract this effect, keeping interest high throughout.

3. Partnering with others for a mutual benefit


Crowd funding campaigns can very quickly become about me, me, me. This is especially true when creating the rewards. And rightfully so in many cases… after all, this whole experience is about taking your fans, followers and customers on YOUR journey.

But why not get others involved in this journey?

This was the question we presented ourselves, and decided there was absolutely no reason not to! So we reached out to several other friends and allies in the music industry and social media space to take part as well by offering up products and services for the reward packages. We help them to connect with their target audience, and in return they help to continue to drive attention to the campaign. Win-Win.

4. Creating ALL of the content needed for the campaign

There are two obvious pieces of content that you need for a crowd funding campaign:

  • Campaign Video
  • 8 to 9 Levels of Rewards


But something that we completely overlooked was the truly overwhelming amount of OTHER content that we also needed in order to launch the campaign, including:

  • Reward Graphics
  • Webpages
  • Blog Posts
  • Newsletters
  • Expanded Campaign Videos
  • Video Testimonials
  • Ad Banners
  • Skins (Backgrounds) for Social Media Accounts

5. Overcoming the Fear…

One of the biggest complaints about crowd funding is the fear of failing, but something that we personally came across was a different kind of fear. The fear we found felt resistance from sharing Ariel’s dream. This isn’t just ‘help me build a new product’… this is ‘I’ve got a dream and it’s in your hands to help me achieve it’. We found it incredibly difficult to find the RIGHT way of saying just how important this is to Ariel personally, not just to us as a company, without it coming off as cheesy or cliche.

Share Your PRE-Preparation Experience

Ariel’s first campaign just launched on Monday, so this list certainly shares some insight into our PRE-prep journey, but it may not be comprehensive. For those of you who have also launched a crowd funding campaign, what else did YOU do to PRE-prepare for your campaign? To check out Ariel’s fan funding campaign and all that we’re doing, go to:


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