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Blogging Etiquette For Musicians: DrunkenWerewolf Guest Article

Blogging etiquette is a tricky beast to tame. Having jumped through the hoops and hurdles of hosting your music online, you are far from done. Reaching out to tastemakers who can help to make the public aware of your work is a crucial, albeit challenging step to take.
It’s also a step that can induce rage from all four corners of the music industry’s schmorgesborg, sometimes to the point of insanity. That, it has to be said, is not exactly a kind reaction. As your driving instructor may once have told you following your third wing-mirror collision, we were all new to this once. Regardless, bloggers have a fiery temperament to match their passion for new music, and a little research on blogging etiquette will serve musicians who are new to the game well.
Beyond the nitty gritty and peculiar habits of individuals; the biggest blunder at large is to misname the object of your desires. Addressing a blogger by the wrong name, or even under the wrong blog, is sacrament to capital punishment, as far as us lot are concerned. While many will replace bashing their keyboard to bits with a gentle guffaw and the sound of trash hitting the can – we all have a point. If you’re not paying enough attention to get our name right, the chances are you haven’t really read our blog and you don’t “really dig” what we do.
“the fact of the matter is, in promoting… your music you’re trying to build a business, and all businesses need to be aware of their demographic.”
On a more personal level, misnaming will also rub our ego up the wrong way. We like to think we’re the only blogger privy to your work, and it would be nice if you could at least play along with the delusion for the time being.
Name set, the next bullseye to hit is knowing your target audience. I am aware: marketing, yawn. But the fact of the matter is, in promoting (and presumably selling) your music you’re trying to build a business, and all businesses need to be aware of their demographic. Bloggers are not excluded from this. Hip hop blogs are highly unlikely to cover the work of Vogue­-era Madonna. DrunkenWerewolf categorically will not cover men screaming about killing their ex with a meat cleaver while conjuring up an image of the Spirit of the Goat. MTV do not want to premiere the work of a brand new lo-fi trio from Kent. It’s not going to happen, ladies and gentlemen.
On the flip side, don’t be too hasty to exclude a blogger who might actually be open to your work. We get a lot of artists contacting us with an opening message of “we’re not from Bristol, but…” or “we’re not all women, but…” We are neither location nor gender specific, so I’m not sure where that misconception has come from. We’re also more than open to covering unsigned musicians, so don’t let that put you off, either. I don’t think any blog would openly admit to boycotting unsolicited artists, so you can but try if you find yourselves in this position.
“It breaks my heart when a musician contacts me with a stream, I really love their music, but I cannot find a single thing about them on the internet. The most basic requirement is a presence elsewhere, even if it’s a sparsely populated Facebook page.”
Name and taste down, the only essential left on your tick list is to provide some basic information about yourself. It breaks my heart when a musician contacts me with a stream, I really love their music, but I cannot find a single thing about them on the internet. The most basic requirement is a presence elsewhere, even if it’s a sparsely populated Facebook page. We need to be able to direct our readers towards some sort of website or social media account, so they can continue to follow your work after we’re gone (sob). We’re also not allergic to research, so linking to a page that permanently provides information on your project will save you the time of explaining yourselves again and again. It is, however, also really helpful to know your vitals: where you’re from, who you associate with, and whether you have any music available to purchase. This is especially true if you have a project name such as ‘Toast’ but your PageRank isn’t up there with the fairies, ‘cause Googling that word will not your band bring forth. If you fail to provide the above information, you’ll have to accept that some of us are going to get our facts all jumbled up, or omit information entirely.
With all of the above under your belt, you are now moving towards meeting individual expectation and ideals. This is fundamentally exhausting. If you’re emailing multiple blogs at one time, or creating a template – sensible you – your best bet is to try to find a happy medium. All bloggers will want to listen to your music, but few will want to download it straight away. Try to include a link to a stream of your work near the top of your initial correspondence for ease of access. Also, for some God forsaken reason I frequently find musicians have taken their music down before I can get around to covering it. Make sure what you’re uploading and linking to is the finished product, before you reach out to anyone about it.
“The key is to efficiently and effectively demonstrate your work within a maximum of 10 minutes”
Finally, a clear image with public rights or a clear credit requirement will come in handy, too. Above all it proves you mean business, but it also helps to categorise your work. That sounds fickle, right? That’s because it is – it’s really fickle. But the truth is the music industry functions on fickle antics. If anyone claims prejudice sentiment you can set me on them: otherwise you’re only going to help the blogger pinpoint your genre and ideologies via your clothing and/or dance moves. Dance moves are always nice.
Additional manoeuvres are a welcomed extra, within reason. By example of a really bad pitch, a musician recently emailed me 10 long paragraphs of information with no link to their music, and no multimedia attached. I love music, but I’m not going to spend a good half an hour reading an essay when there’s no promise of something fruitful coming out of it at the end. I’m fortunate enough to work freelance on the side, which means I have a lot more time to concentrate on music than other bloggers may do. The key is to efficiently and effectively demonstrate your work within a maximum of 10 minutes: anything beyond that is unnecessary, and liable to put bloggers off.

5 Awesome Games That Make You Smarter

Video games and music are a seemingly unlikely couple, however considering that they are two of the most entertaining things people love to do, its little surprise that the two mediums sometimes look to each other for inspiration. It only takes a short play of Mass Effect or a brief listen to John Lennon to work out there are some wonderful ideas out there.
This is no new relationship, musical games have been around for as long as the medium has existed. Only recently however, have people started to take the musical games seriously, as more than an irritating semi-musical tapping game and as a viable way to develop the same skills needed to master an instrument.
New research strongly suggests that the same areas of the brain that are developed within musicians after years of practice may be able to be targeted by specially designed musical games, and that many games might already be doing so. It’s true, video games are no longer a way to waste time, there is a lot of evidence to suggest they could be pretty good for you!
Here’s a few that might have been training your brain to be a musician without you even knowing.

[1] Music
Who remembers this brilliant little game from their childhood? This innovative game released on the original Playstation in 1998 may look simplistic but works incredibly similarly to today’s music production software. Using a library of pre-recorded samples in the same key, the game allowed you to arrange theses samples to create a song.
Despite the retro graphics, this game and its various sequels introduced gamers to musical composition and gave them a feel for how to use musical production software which today has helped many budding musicians reach stardom from their bedrooms.
Who knows how many dance music legends started out on this game without even knowing it!

[2] Parappa the rapper
Parappa the Rapper has to be one of the trippiest games ever to be released. Where else can you have a rap battle against a 2D onion dojo master?
Despite its off the wall themes and styling, this game sparked the trend of timing based gaming. The objective being to press the correct button at the correct time. It is not difficult to see how this translates to real life physical instruments, developing not only a sense of timing but a rudimentary experience of sight reading. Many games have taken their cues from this style of gaming since.
It’s also one of the best games to grace the original Playstation, if you fancy a retro gaming session and revisiting your childhood check out this game.

[3] Rock band
Bridging the gap between air guitar aficionados and people who want more of the real thing is Rock Band.
Following on from its early incarnations as Guitar Hero, this game extended the experience allowing play with multiple guitars, drums and a singer. This is really as close to playing a real instrument as a gamer can get without actually picking up a guitar, whilst still having the freedom to swing a guitar around your head in your living room.
Although still vastly simplified, this game develops great hand eye coordination that is important for playing both guitar and drums. The on screen commands develop a sense of timing that on the more advanced settings can train the gamer fairly accurately to real life.

[4] singstar
The bane of grumpy neighbours and embarrassed husbands everywhere, Singstar allows you to momentarily become a singing sensation regardless of your vocal talent.
That said however, Singstar works towards accurately developing your voice. The interface displays which pitch you should hit along with the lyrics; this is reminiscent of a musical stave and the software can judge whether you are hitting the correct notes fairly accurately.
So the next time you witness some members of a Hen Do butcher your favourite ballad, take solace in the fact that thanks to this game the next time they give it a try they might nail it.

[5] rjdj
This app is surely one of the most mind blowing inventions of this century, yet sadly is no longer available.
The app itself creates “reactive music”, which basically means the software changes the music depending on your immediate environment or “scene”. Using the sensors and microphones of the iphone, the music reacts to the user’s real world experience. Its like you’re in a computer game the whole time!

From a technological standpoint it represents the future of music games, in that it is a social experience. Games such as this allow record companies to build loyalty with their fans and maintain a near constant connection with them. Also offering virtual goods within the games or even real incentives such as merchandise and gig tickets, they can keep fans interested and immersed in the musical experience.
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