Thee Favorite Things in 2009:
1) House concerts. This last year I started touring with singer/songwriter Lauren Zettler, and our most successful outings always include a house concert or two. The audience gets a more comfortable, intimate performance and, and the musicians make more money and get to meet new fans. Other advantages when you're on the road: Food, and sometimes a place to stay the night!
2)Tumblr. Many of the house concerts Lauren and I played were hosted by people that connected with her on Tumblr. It's basically another social network/online blogging community, kind of like Twitter but without the character limitations. There are a number of musicians that I've had a chance to meet that have a Tumblr blog, and everyone would agree that it's a great way to connect with fans. As a bonus, it integrates with my website and the other social media sites I use so it doesn't feel like yet another site I have to update.
3) Scheduling or queuing blog posts, status updates, etc. Long story short, I've cut down on a lot of internet time but can still keep a consistent online presence by scheduling posts and letting them feed into other social networking sites using RSS or other applications.
Something You Learned This Year About The Music Industry:
Honestly, I didn't have any epiphanies about the music industry this year. Nobody really knows what they're talking about, and if there ever was a formula for success, it's completely irrelevant in 2009. Until the dust settles, I just plan on working as hard as I can. It sounds cheesy, but if I can be a little better this week than I was last week, then I'm headed feel like I'm making progress.
A 2010 Primer:
Because I don't believe anybody really knows what they're talking about, I think it's in every musician's best interest to develop themselves. A&R reps at labels used to develop artists, then managers, now producers end up with the job, soon it'll be up to the shrink. But I'm seeing a lot of great musicians take matters into their own hands and successfully defining their own careers. If you want to get into this racket, that's what you have to do.
I'm a freelance guitar player, blogger, producer, and consultant. My priority gig as a guitarist is alongside Lauren Zettler. We just finished a Christmas album called Sounds Like Snow (available on iTunes). As a blogger, I primarily write for MusicianWages.com, a site I co-founded with Dave Hahn. You hear all of my music and learn more at my website and find me on Twitter.