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Musicians' FAQ

What are your most pressing music questions? Chances are that if you're wondering about it, someone else has already asked. Check and see if your question is answered in our Musicians' FAQ.
  1. Music Demo Questions (8)
  2. Playing Live (25)

What is Spotify?
Spotify took Europe by storm and set out to do the same in the US in 2011. Learn more about Spotify music streaming services.

Can I Start a Record Label with No Money?
Can you start a record label with no money? I get this question a lot in my inbox. The answer? It depends on your definition "no money." Although record labels don't run themselves, your dream to start a record label may not be the impossibility you may think. Find out if you can start a record label with no money - or at least how cheaply you...

Who Clears My Music Samples?
Music samples have to be cleared before your recording is sold. Clearing music samples is a two part process in most cases, involving both the master owner and the publisher. Find out how to clear music samples in your music.

Who Votes for Grammys?
Who votes for Grammy Awards? Find out who decides who gets nominated for - and wins - Grammy Awards.

Should I Register My Band as a Business?
Should you register your band as a business? There are benefits to running your band this way. Learn more about setting up your band as a business.

Should I Pay for Music Promotion?
Should you pay for music promotion? This question is more complicated than you may think. Music PR companies charge for their services - and rightly so - but there is a lot of gray area. Learn more about whether you should pay for music promotion.

Do I Still Need to Press CDs?
Do you still need to press CDs for your album release? Find out if you CD pressing is still required to release a record or if you can go for a digital only release.

How Often Should Musicians Practice?
If you're trying to get a music career started, how often should you practice? Find out more about musician rehearsals.

Do I Need an Artist Manager?
As a musician, how important is it to have a music manager on board? Find out more about whether or not you need an artist manager to get your music career off the ground.

Should I Go to a Music Industry Convention?
Music industry conventions and trade shows can be great for your music career, but they can also be a colossal waste of time and money. Find out when musicians can benefit most from music industry conventions.

What is the Difference between Mixing and Mastering?
The difference between mixing and mastering confuses a lot of people who are new to recording process. Find out the different between these two important parts finishing touches on your record.

Does Where I Live Matter for My Music Job?
Does where you live make a difference for your music career? Find out if you need to relocate to make it in music.

Should I Pay for Music Distribution?
Should you ever pay for music distribution? Get the lowdown on paid music distribution services.

Do I Need a Record Deal?
Do you need a record deal? It seems like you can't go a single day without someone talking about how much the music industry is "changing" - but in real terms, what does that mean for you? One thing many musicians wonder about is if they should bother trying to get a record deal at all. Find out if your should get a record deal or release an album by yourself.

Do I Need Legal Advice?
Hiring a music attorney can be expensive, so you don't want to spend the money when you don't need to - but this is one expense you don't want to skimp on when you DO need an attorney. Find out when you need music legal advice and when you can skip the music lawyer.

Do I Need to Hire a Music PR Company?
Music PR can be extremely helpful in getting the word out about your band, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Find out when you should stump up the cash for a professional and when you should try to do your own music promotion in house.

Do I Need a Work Permit?
Touring can take across many national borders, but what about the legality of those border crossings? Depending on your circumstances, you may need a work visa in place before you play. Find out how entertainment work visas apply to you.

Music Downloading: Should I Go for a Digital Only Release?
With CD sales falling, many bands and labels are wondering if a digital only release is the way to go. Find out the pros and cons to see if this is the solution for you.

Should I Self Release My Album?
If the labels aren't biting, a self released album could be the way to go. However, self releasing a record isn't as easy as it sounds - could it be right for you?

Do We Need a Band Contract?
Band member contracts are a tricky line to walk, and a lot of artists feel uncomfortable even considering them. These contracts, however, may be important for your band - find out why.

Band Photos - Should I Get Color or Black and White?
Good band photos are great for your website, and they also help you get more press coverage, but they can be expensive. Having the right kind of band photos, however, is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. Find out how to make your band photos work for you.

When Should I Send Out My Press Release?
You know that you need a press release if you want the media to talk about your new album or your upcoming show, but WHEN you send that press release also plays a role in the coverage you get. Find out when to send your press releases for maximum exposure

What is a Session Musician?
Session musicians take part in many tours and recording sessions. Understanding their function, and how they should be paid, can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Should I Quit the Band?
Bands are like any relationship - sometimes they just don't work out. Find out when you should jump ship and when you should stick around to work things out.

Who Pays Mechanical Royalties?
Who is respsonible for footing the bill for mechanical rights royalties and how are they distributed?

How Can I Join BMI or ASCAP?
Royalty collection groups like BMI and ASCAP can make sure you get what you are owed is someone uses one of your songs. Find out how to sign up to get the protection you need.

Should I Ask for a Big Advance?
The lure of a big advance check can be pretty tempting, but is it really all it is cracked up to be? Advances have pros and cons; find out how to make the best choice for your band.

Does My Label Owe Me Money?
Your album is selling, but you haven't seen a dime of profits yet. Your label must be ripping you off, right? Not necessarily.

Do I Need a Contract?
You're working with a lot of people in your career - bandmates, labels, agents, managers, promoters - do you need a contract for each one?

Who Pays for the Recording Costs?
Should the band pay for recording costs, or is that the responsibility of the record label? Find out whose name should be on that studio invoice.

Can I Join BMI and ASCAP?
Can you belong to both BMI and ASCAP? Can songwriters sign up for BMI and sign up for ASCAP, or do they have to choose? Get the answer to this question about performance rights organizations on About.com Music Careers musicians FAQs.

Should I Release Music during The Holidays?
Are holiday music releases for major labels only or should indie musicians and indie labels release music over the holidays? Learn the pros and cons of holiday music releases and decide if releasing music during the holidays is worth your time.

How Can I Tell My Parents I Want to be a Full-Time Musician?
I hear from a lot of people who are worried about telling their parents about their music goals. These suggestions will make the conversation easier.

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