Why You Should Treat Your Music Career Like a Startup

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rory Seydel and originally appeared on the LANDR Blog. Remember – if you need your songs polished instantly, give LANDR a try!]

The music biz is still the wild west — Here’s how to be an outlaw.

Howdy stranger.

Music promotion and growing your career as an artist is the most difficult thing you can do on this earth (trust me, I know).

I’d argue that growing a startup is the second hardest. (I know about that too).

For some reason I’ve been fortunate—or crazy—enough to try music and startups. It turns out it’s a lot easier if you learn from both.


They each require constant GROWTH. That six letter word that that can’t be ignored in any career — be it creative or business. Or creative business.

Here’s what I’ve learned, and what you should too:


This sounds obvious, but let’s face it: musicians aren’t the best at thinking ahead.

We live in the moment. And that’s fine.

But a little foresight goes a long way. Especially when it comes to the lifecycle of recording, releasing, promoting and touring.


Every good startup has a roadmap — or in musicians terms a longterm plan (hello dreams!).

They also have a short term plan (reality!). Just don’t be afraid to be fluid— ’cause when life happens, you need to be able to adapt.


Think of it this way: you spend 3-years working on your first record. But then you realize that your brand of obscure underground music resonates with no one.

Music changes at an insanely rapid pace, the internet decides the speed of consumption and taste.

So how do you stay ahead of the curve? Easy. Release your music while you’re making it.

Publish it to SoundCloud. See what resonates with your community, your audience, your friends.

Take the feedback you get and make more music. Your community is a super supportive laboratory where you should test all kinds of stuff. When it doubt test it!

If something works do it again—but better. If it fails then ditch it quick.

Release constantly and listen to your audience. They will guide you to your best work.


Remember that roadmap from your original plan? Use it.

Take 5 minutes a day to be inspired by your hopes and dreams. Don’t be afraid to be hungry.  Sacrifice in the name of your art.

Work in the moment and remember why you started creating music in the first place.

Stay in and work on your projects instead of going out. It’ll pay off faster than you think.


This saying gets thrown around constantly in business but it’s essential to quick growth.

People are afraid of failure. But as the startup gods have taught us: Failure is awesome!

It sounds weird but think of it this way: you learn a heap load more from failure than you do from mediocrity.

In mediocrity we pat each other on the back, learn nothing and don’t grow.

In failure we have no choice but to look at what can be done better, pick up the pieces and go back to the drawing board knowing what to avoid.


Startups are not afraid of technology (probably because they are too busy making it).

But musicians often are. Don’t be afraid. There are tons of hyper useful and creative music technologies being developed right now.

Get used to the idea that good technologies exist to make your life better. It’ll open up a whole world of possibilities.

Native Instruments, Ableton, LANDR, SoundCloud and Echo Nest are a few examples of technologies that are pushing the envelope to help you.

And with new music tech popping up daily there’s no sign of it slowing down. Get involved or get left behind.


Think Jobs and Wozniak — Lennon and McCartney. Kraftwerk or the way Kanye manages a teame of hundreds.

You need people around you. You need them to bring out the best in you, and you need to bring out the best in them.

The role of the conductor is often under regarded.



There’s a community for everything online. The sooner you find yours, the more successful you’ll be.

Look at the way Radiohead sells records. From booking a tour to setting up a website, you should be pouring most of your promotion time into music promotion. That means digital marketing, communities, sales and PR.

Don’t underestimate IRL. Hit the road and get involved face to face. Just make sure to update your Instagram as you go.

Having an antiquated business plan for your music career won’t cut it any more — you need a lean startup plan with smart strategists (AKA awesome bandmates).

So make a new plan. One that fits today AND tomorrow. And enjoy some rapid growth.

75 Tips & Tricks to Get Your Music Out of the Bedroom

[Editors Note: This is a fun, inspiring list written by Rory Seydel that was originally featured on the LANDR Blog. Think of it as a fun, creative exercise that’s meant to get you thinking differently about the way you make music!]

Sometimes you need a little inspiration to kick start the process. Here are 75 light-bulb inducing ideas.

1. Ignore every obstacle anyone has ever put in front of you.

2. Make music everyday – no matter how much time you have.

3. Set a deadline — and stick to it.

4. Learn to record yourself, and do it whenever and wherever’s possible.

5. Use LANDR to master 🙂

6. Do as much as you can on your own, see what’s missing, THEN get help.

7. Try Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, or buy the original deck of cards made for mixing music.

8. Write lyrics with concrete imagery.

9. Get out of the box.

10. Try a free trial from Ableton, it’ll change the way you make things.

11. Record every musical idea you have. Use your iPhone, tape recorder or dictaphone.

12. Keep a pad and paper by your bed.

13. Read about your favorite artists. They were once where you are now.

14. It’s never too late.  Anyone, at any age, can make music.

15. Learn about the origins of House music.

16. Use Garage Band, it comes free with your computer.

17. Get a 4-track recorder.

18. Play a piano.

19. Try collaborating through Splice.

20. Stop reading Pitchfork.com. Make music instead.

21. Attend a festival.

22. Buy something off Sample Magic.

23. Get a friend to sing the chorus.

24. Ignore every recording rule you’ve ever heard.

25. Read David Byrne’s blog.

26. Try to join the Underground Producers Facebook group (it’s invite only).

27. Block internet distraction for a chunk of time with the Freedom app.

28. Learn the Circle of 5ths.

29. Sing in the shower.

30. Set up drums in your living room.

31. Go on tour.

32. Ask questions on Reddit.

33. Recreate your favorite song.

34. Harmonize with a friend.

35. Learn about multi-band compression.

36. Stop playing the instruments, only play the effects.

37. Quit your day job.

38. Work nights.

39. Buy a drum machine.

40. Buy used gear only.

41. Use what you have already.

42. Delete every plugin that you’ve never used, keep only what you use.

43. Sleep less.

44. Quit a band and start your own.

45. Get the PolyTune app.

46. If you can’t figure it out, there’s probably a YouTube tutorial that can teach you.

47. Record it backwards.

48. Read Attack Mag.

49. High pass filter vocals.

50. Eliminate computers from your live setup.

51. Play your new song in front of people.

52. Record sounds that aren’t musical.

53. Learn about sampling.

54. Stop caring.

55. Subscribe to The Wire.

56. Sell your guitars and buy turntables.

57. Sell your turntables and buy guitars.

58. Ask yourself: What would Prince do? 

59. Ask yourself: What would Drake do?

60. Learn to play the drums.

61. Take frequent breaks from mixing.

62. Finish a song in one sitting.

63. Watch every episode of Fact Magazine’s Against the Clock.

64. Approach songwriting like a DJ approaches a party.

65. Buy a hardware synth.

67. Think about music in the shower.

68. Get familiar with Tone Generation.

69. Invest in monitors if you have the money, but work with what you got if you can’t afford them.

70. Get Reaper, it’s free. (Editors note: It’s not free anymore)

71. Learn to read music.

72. Check out Loopmasters for loops and samples.

73. If you have the opportunity, make music with a toddler.

74. Talk to other musicians.

75. Share your music with the world.

How To Ask For Feedback

[Editors Note: This article was written by JP Remillard and was originally featured on the LANDR Blog. JP is a mastering engineer with over ten years of experience, a musician, and a label owner. Polish the sound of your next release using LANDR Instant Mastering!]

Feedback: you need it. Especially if you’re trying to get better at producing music.

Feedback will make you a better producer. Critiques mean learning and growing. It’s a must for anyone looking to take their music to the next level.

So how do you get the feedback you need and use if effectively?


It’s simple. If you’re not getting feedback, just ask.

Ask someone you trust. Get feedback from people you respect, artists you can learn from and creators who’ve been in your shoes.

It’s a win-win. They get better from teaching and you get better from learning.


Knowing what kind of feedback you’re getting helps you to apply it in the best way possible. So know ’em.

Three types of common critiques are:

  1. Technical – Technical feedback is specific. Like “your reverb is too loud” or “your EQ’ing in this part could use a little work.” It’s the most practical and useful kind of feedback. If you’re wondering about a certain part then ask about it! 
  2. Directional – Direction deals with your artistic vision as a whole. If you’re putting your guitars away and picking up an 808 get some directional feedback first. Making drastic career moves is serious. Ask before you act.
  3. Opinion – Opinion feedback is someone telling you if it’s good or bad. It’s the hardest type of feedback to apply. But it’s also the most common. If someone thinks your music is good, then make more. If they think it’s bad, then make more anyways and continue to get better.

Andy Warhol put it best when he said:

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad. While they’re deciding, make more art.”



  • Don’t Jump to Conclusions – Don’t interrupt and try to explain why you did something a certain way. Take everything in before discussing it. Let your mentor flow through their feedback. It helps them get to the core of what they’re trying to say.
  • Encourage Honesty – No feedback is good unless it’s honest. Some blunt feedback might sting a little at first, but it’ll make you a better producer in the long run. Put your pride aside and strive to the get the most honest responses you can.
  • Make a Wrong a Right – If you’re told that something isn’t sounding right, or you did something incorrectly, ask how to fix it. Doing this turns negative feedback into constructive feedback and gives you something concrete to work on.
  • Relax and Take Notes – It’s a fact: writing ideas down helps you remember the stuff that counts. If you just listen, things go in one ear and out the other (you know it’s true). Having notes allows you to reference your feedback later.
  • Follow Up – Once you fix something based on feedback, go back to the source and make sure you did it right. You’ll never know if something is fixed until you ask the person who told you it was broken.
  • Build a Feedback Network – Surround yourself in producers. Having a network of creative people is the best way to be be constantly stimulated and critiqued. There are no solo geniuses. Brian Eno suggests that all great art comes from the Scenius.


If you want feedback, give feedback to others. Be constructive, positive, compassionate. Use ‘liking’ and comment spaces to support and interact.

Everything is an exchange. People remember all the little things you’ve done for them. When you ask for feedback on your own music, they’ll be more willing to help.


“Check out my SoundCloud bro” is the worst thing you can do. People can sense shameless self promotion. Not only will you not get the feedback you need, you’ll lose a listener forever.

Make it a private, human-to-human interaction. Call them by their real name. A specific approach triggers curiosity and avoids ‘the bullshit radar.’ Plus it makes the discussion more elevated and personable.



Don’t go to all the trouble of getting quality feedback and then do nothing with it. If you never change, nothing will get better. Sure, some feedback won’t work. But at least try it before you trash it.

Being a better producer means small changes. And small changes mean growth. So get feedback, apply it, and become a better musician.

How To Mix Bass Properly

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog by JP Remillard, and it originally appeared on the LANDR Blog. We’ll continue to share awesome content from LANDR in order to help educate TuneCore Artists who are producing, recording, and engineering their tracks!]

After seeing millions of tracks come through LANDR, I’ve found a trending problem — Mixes that lack low-end.


Think of your mix like a human pyramid. The lows are the sturdy bottom. They keep everything from falling apart.

If there’s no bass, then your mix has no base.

How does a track sound when it lacks low end?

  • Aggressive – Lacking lows makes everything else stand out. If your mids get pushed to the front, your track can sound good at first, but quickly becomes tiresome to the ear.
  • Cold – When the bass isn’t there everything in your mix gets a bit chilly. Bass adds roundness and warmth that nurtures the rest of your sound.
  • Weak – Flat lows stops the rest of your track from doing its thing. A well balanced mix pushes everything equally for that A+ champion sound.

So are your mixes coming out aggressive, cold and weak? Don’t worry. I can help.



The knee-jerk reaction is to go back to the mix, get fader crazy and push the lows. Don’t do it. The problem lies deeper.

Heres what you do in the DAW:

  1. Make your low-end mono – Pan your low-end to the center.
  2. Mix in the lows first – Turn down all channels except the lows (bass, kicks). You can now solo your lows at any time as a reference.
  3. Bring back the rest of the mix – Use your lows as a reference. You should hear the low-end just as loud as the other parts.
  4. Compress – Now it’s now time to use compression to glue your bottom end together and get it pumping in the mix. When it’s finally sitting right, compression will enhance all the essential parts.

Test some loops in LANDR before you make your final bounce. Adjust until perfected.

Snoop Dogg’s personal engineer, Frank Vasquez, uses LANDR to turn up the volume on his mixes. Check out LANDR’s “Behind The Board” interview with Frank below!

6 Tips For Mastering Live Music

by Dwight Brown

The gig was magic. The audience ate it up. You want to save that moment and pass it on in a single, EP or album.

So, how do you capture the magic of a live performance and transfer it to tracks that will have that ‘feels-like-it’s-live’ sound?

Master the music before you distribute it.

Your Mastering Tip Sheet:

1. Use the same settings for the entire album.

2. Stay away from using different EQ or compression from one piece to the next.

3. Remember to leave some headroom (-5dB).

4. Avoid having digital silences between tracks and opt for a continuous performance sound. Just like the experience at the gig.

5. Think about adding a touch of Altiverb with a similar room design (concert hall, rock club, intimate coffee house…).

6. Don’t be intimidated by the cost of mastering your live recordings. Whether it’s 2 minutes or 2 hours, LANDR Instant Mastering gives you the same low rate, $9.99. Just keep in mind that longer recordings need a longer time to generate a sample, so hang tight and wait for LANDR to do its magic.

Bring the vibe of your live event to your new release with LANDR, the company that masters live recordings for SXSW, Mutek, Igloofest, and Electronik Piknic.

LANDR Jump-Starts with a Big Upgrade!

As you may have already heard through the news, our friends at LANDR made a huge step forward. Their growing team of visionary tech-wizzards has updated the algorithm that will make your masters sound better than ever – starting today.

Masters with More Color, Clarity, and Focus

This LANDR update marks a massive leap forward. Your masters will be dramatically clearer, bringing more focus to your tracks with subtle touches of color, and a huge range of dynamics.

What’s New:

  • Wider genre detection.
  • Improvements on dynamics processing.
  • Updates to the corrective EQ, multi-Band compressor, multi-Band stereo enhancer and limiter.
  • Fine-tuned mix correction.

Try the new LANDR engine- Master a track now!

Sustaining the Future of Mastering

The technology will keep improving as LANDR just closed a round of financing with prominent investors such as Rap icon Nas – along with a few other heavy hitters such as Warner Music Group (WMG) and Plus Eight Private Equity (regrouping DJs Richie Hawtin, Tiga, John Acquaviva and Pete Tong).

Multi-platinum artist Nas says:

Technology has allowed for more creators to be birthed. More and more music is being made but certain parts of the process don’t have consumer tools to help make fine and crisp finishes.

I believe LANDR is an affordable groundbreaking technology to help musicians make music that has a quality finish like any major label artist with a budget. I’m excited to help the LANDR team take their technology global.”

Join the growing community of 250,000 musicians worldwide. Master your tracks with the New LANDR today.