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Rules Of Life

When I was a kid, my grandfather, who had a blues/jazz bar in Toronto, passed to me a photocopied sheet with the title Reasons Why Radio Won’t Play Your Song. It was probably one of the first pieces of viral I’ve ever seen – no author, no date, no source, nothing except for a funny list of about 20 reasons.

I never forgot about that list throughout my years of working in the music industry. With an exciting extroverted passion for music, Music Directors of radio stations are, no doubt, the gatekeepers to get your song heard on the radio. I’ve spent many a meetings talking to the fine men and women about their roles, and why they love songs, and why they don’t. There’s still only one reason why they would – because it’s great. But that would make for a very short post. I found an extended list at Music Biz Academy that extended the same list to about 60. And that got me thinking – in 2014, how much different would the list look like? What would be added? So, with the help of anonymous MDs, PDs and radio pluggers across North America (you know who you are) and that list to start it off all those years ago, here are now many more reasons why radio won’t play your song.

1. Not for us or our sound
2. No room
3. No label support
4. I want to give record the best shot, so we will have to wait till when we have more room
5. There are no local sales
6. There is national action
7. Considering…
8. I’m watching and waiting
9. It’s the wrong image
10. It’s not modal
11. I need another copy
12. Poor reaction from test marketing it
13. The jocks don’t like it
14. No phone reaction
15. We played the import
16. We’re going to wait and see what the competition does
17. Will wait for the single
18. The record’s not in any kind of stores around here
19. Need approval from head office
20. I like it but the P.D. doesn’t
21. It was vetoed in the music meeting
22. Too hard
23. Too soft
24. It’s wimpy
25. Not as good as their last release
26. It needs to be re-listened to
27. It sounds too EDM-ish
28. It sounds too pop
29. We didn’t get the co-promotion
30. Trade #’s don’t merit airplay
31. Sounds like everything else
32. It’s not a good record
33. I don’t like it
34. The MP3 file wouldn’t play
35. The music file crashed my computer
36. We only play stuff that “rocks“
37. Saving room for when new releases get scheduled
38. Going into the library
39. We already have a female-fronted band on the playlist
40. We want to hear a hook
41. No tip sheet advertising
42. Nothing about it hits me
43. Don’t like the mix
44. Not enough guitar
45. Too many strings
46. Over-produced
47. Under-produced
48. Don’t like the band’s name
49. This song is not consistent with their last release
50. Our listeners won’t be able to relate
51. Too rhythm oriented
52. Send all our jocks copies
53. Can’t play too many singles
54. That music only works in the big markets
55. We’ll wait till more stations play it
56. Not our kind of music
57. Too alternative
58. Not alternative enough
59. Where’s the beat…the BEAT!
60. I’ve misplaced it, but its here somewhere, call me back
61. Our competition got on it first, we have to be different
62. I don’t like the cover
63. We didn’t get a co-presents on their last show
64. Too many vulgar words
65. We’re going for a younger demo
66. We’re going for an older demo
67. We don’t have an MD right now
68. We’re not the right station for this
69. The chorus comes in late
70. The intro is too quiet
71. We have too many song by the featured artist in rotation
72. There’s no release date
73. We missed the release date
74. No radio edit
75. I don’t like the radio edit
76. No campus radio promotion
77. Let’s talk when the tour starts
78. The .wav file was block because of the size
79. The YouSendIt file was blocked by my spam filters
80. There’s no story happening
81. They’re overexposed
82. I’m still waiting on feedback
83. Too much CanCon right now
84. Too much International right now
85. It sounds like something my mom would hate
86. We never received your submission
87. I don’t agree with the political view
88. We’ll play the song next week (they didn’t)
89. I’m watching the charts, it’s not very impressive
90. I’m waiting the charts, it’s pretty impressive
91. Their set at CMJ/SXSW/NXNE/CMW was way too long
92. It’s too country (from a country station)
93. It sounds like karaoke
94. We’re playing too many covers now
95. We love the song and band but have no room
96. The intro is too long
97. The chorus is too long
98. You know what? The whole song is too long (with Stairway To Heaven playing in background)
99. I’ll listen, but no promises
100. We should be playing this song but haven’t played the artist for years
101. I know this doesn’t help but your band has no relevance
102. I can’t take this band seriously until they sell 100,000
103. What are you going to do for ME?
104. Let’s face it, would you be working this song if you weren’t being paid?
105. We can’t play this. He’s/She’s way off-key in the chorus
106. Too much rap in the middle
107. The stations on BDS aren’t on it
108. There’s only one original member left
109. Didn’t the lead singer die?…oh…I thought they broke up
110. They’re only big in the east
111. They’re only big in the west
112. They’re only big in the north
113. I don’t care if they’re big down south
114. You sent us the wrong promo cds
115. We only play established acts
116. Why should I play a band that sounds LIKE Led Zeppelin when I can PLAY Led Zeppelin
117. Their website hasn’t been update in a year
118. It sounds like their last song
119. It sounds so different from their last song
120. We get no calls
121. Ever since they cut their hair….
122. I’m having trouble with DMDS
123. I can’t find my PD. Can you help me find my PD?
124. We’re a talk radio station
125. Sounds too ‘Active Rock’ for us
126. Sounds too Hot AC for us
127. Sounds too ‘Modern Rock’ for us (this, and the above 2 were all the same song!)
128. They don’t sound as good as they do live
129. They suck live
130. It sounds like something my mom would hate
131. Their video on YouTube doesn’t have enough views
132. Nobody’s listening to them on Spotify
133. Not enough Twitter followers
134. Not enough fans on Facebook
135. Didn’t they break up last week?

With thanks to all the MDs and PDs and labels who sent in their amazing stories. We couldn’t work in this business without each other. If you know the original source of the list, or have a great ‘reason’ yourself, please let me know!

As is often with the case from ads I’ve posted here from Thailand, you’ll know to get the Kleenex at the ready. This one is a simple ad  featuring an adorable, but fussy, baby and parents not sure what to do – yet. Wait for the tagline. Brilliant coming from a telecommunications company.

One week after delivering am impassioned mid-concert anti-war speech in England that some people dubbed “anti-Israel,” Eddie Vedder penned an anti-war essay on Pearl Jam’s website to clarify and expand upon his thoughts. Personally, Eddie has nothing to apologize for – really, is it a surprised he’s anti-war insomuch that Springsteen doesn’t like much of the government or big business, but such is life in a social media world.

July 16 2014
Most of us have heard John Lennon sing
“You may say I’m a dreamer,… but I’m not the only one.”
And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable. And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.
Currently, I’m full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay. When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other.
That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naïve. I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.
The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war. War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.
With all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?
We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.
I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.
“I hope someday you’ll join us,…”
Won’t you listen to what the man said.
— Eddie Vedder

On Twitter, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats shared some of the wonderful wisdom she’s received working for the animation studio over the years. Of course, never fail to make them cry several times during the movie is omitted.

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

From Inc.:

Career advice is in no short supply. In fact, you could probably spend the duration of your working life simply reading through the tips and advice already online. But as in all areas of life, the more common something is, generally speaking, the lower its value.

Many oft repeated truisms are more about wish fulfillment than reality (sorry peddlers of endless, uncritical “follow your passion!” posts). Plus, tips that everyone and their mother (and their college career counselor) knows are unlikely to give you an edge over the competition. So what are the true hidden gems of career advice, the truths that few people are willing to say out loud that can actually transform a mediocre career into a rockstar one?

That’s what a someone on question-and-answer site Quora wanted to know recently, asking: “What are a few unique pieces of career advice that nobody ever mentions?” The community responded with plenty of uncommon, thought-provoking advice.

Doing your job well is not enough.

Being excellent at your job is a surefire way to get ahead, right? Nope, say several responders, including Victor Wong, CEO of PaperG. “Most people assume just doing their current assigned job well is enough–so many associates at law firms think doing all the paperwork and litigation properly is the road to partnership, and many PR account executives think that getting a few articles written about their clients will earn them a promotion,” he writes, but “becoming a principal, partner, or senior executive with P&L-level responsibility requires a completely separate set of skills from entry and mid-level jobs.”

How do you make that leap? “To make the big jump to the next level, they’re really being benchmarked on their ability to deliver future value to the firm in ways that are not taught or explained to them: chiefly how much business are they are able to bring in,” he asserts. “People who can think of what to do and deliver are the ones who ultimately are more likely to get promoted to the top levels.”

Another anonymous poster agrees: “You don’t become a star doing your job. You become a star making things happen.”

Who you work for is hugely important.

We all wish we lived in a world where who you know matters less than what you can do, but that’s often not reality, and not always for unhealthy reasons. Knowing the best in the business often means you’ve worked with the best, and people rightly admire that.

“You don’t have to be passionate about the product you are selling. You don’t have to be in the most glamorous industry. You don’t have to work for the company with the best ‘brand’ identity or reputation in your chosen field,” insists Jeremy Boudinet, director of marketing for startup Ambition. What does matter is who you’ve worked with.

“Few things are as valuable as going and working for somebody that is going to want to teach you anything and everything they know. You’ll experience tremendous personal and professional growth if you have the best person mentoring you,” he says, so “figure out where the absolute best person to work for would be, and go work for them.”

Continue reading the rest of the story here.

From The Week:

If you say “I know,” what you mean by it depends on how you say it. If your spouse says, “My mother is coming to visit,” and you say, “I know,” does that mean “You’ve told me this already and I don’t feel like talking now,” “I’ve already made a grocery list for her,” “I’m aware and not looking forward to it,” “I’m aware that you’re looking forward to it and I’m happy for you,” “I’m aware that you’re not looking forward to it and I’m commiserating with you,” or what? It depends on the intonation. When you hear it in “I know, right?” the emphatic intonation shows that this is a fact that you are very aware of and find quite striking.

If you say “Right?” it can mean “Is that correct?” but it can also mean “Do you agree with me?” It reaches out to the other person — it requires a response, but it gives the other person the upper hand. Of course, when the person has just told you the thing you’re saying “Right?” to, you’re obviously not literally asking if what the person told you is correct. The “Right?” gesture is referring to the “I know!” gesture: you’re asking the person to confirm the reaction you have to it. You’re trying to build a shared experience, a social bond. The fact of asking for confirmation also implies that the topic may be subject to question or in some way not obvious — that other people are surprised by it, or perhaps that you were.

So “I know, right?” communicates first that the fact is striking and impinges significantly on your personal experience, second that you are seeking confirmation of its strikingness, third that you are presenting it as something that is not universally obvious and agreed upon even though it should be, and fourth that you are seeking to create a bond of shared perspective and emotion between you and the person you’re talking to.

Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, passed away yesterday at the age of 90. Below are a few excerpts from interviews that she gave on literature, politics, and her own complicity in South Africa’s racism. There are also two clips from Gordimer’s readings at the 92nd Street Y and Harvard.

The daughter of Jewish immigrants, she published her first short story, “Come Again Tomorrow,” when she was 15. At 21, Gordimer briefly attended Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg where she was exposed to the social and political atmosphere of South Africa, which would become the focus of her works. Gordimer’s short stories have been published in various magazines such as the The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Yale Review.

She was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature when she was recognised as a woman “who through her magnificent epic writing has — in the words of Alfred Nobel — been of very great benefit to humanity”.

Interview presented by the Nobel Prize in 2005:

An interview with the BBC’s HARDtalk:

Gordimer reading from her short story, “Loot,” at Harvard in 2005:

Gordimer reads two short stories at the 92nd Street Y in April 1961:

Via The New Republic

From Open Forum:

Following are 20 proven strategies that can help you boost readership and increase traffic to your blog.

1. Write more. Studies show that the more often you update your blog, the more traffic it will receive. Google gives higher priority to websites with fresh content, so if you want to get more attention from the search engines, update your blog at least twice a week.

2. Promote with social media. Share each new blog post across your social media networks, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. If you spend time cultivating your networks and share great content, social media sites can become some of your top traffic sources.

3. Write better titles. The titles for your blog posts are almost more important than the content itself. That’s because titles help potential readers decide whether they should click and read more. Pay attention to the article titles you see on magazine covers. They entice readers with promises and solutions. When you do the same, your readership will increase.

4. Know your niche. While you may be interested in sea life, exotic travel destinations, Little League baseball and weight loss, you’ll confuse your audience if your content doesn’t follow a clear theme. Decide who your target audience is, what they want to read and what specific messages you want to convey.

5. Include photos. Studies have shown that photos in blog posts boost readership. Not only does a photo make the post more visually appealing, but you can also include keywords in the Alt Image tag on the photo, boosting search engine optimization (SEO) for your site. Keep in mind that you can’t just pull any photo from Google because you risk violating copyright laws. Instead, locate royalty-free images from a site like Clipart.com.

6. Incorporate keywords. Speaking of SEO, keywords are at the heart of SEO. One of the easiest ways to generate more traffic to your website is to ensure that every page on your site has a keyword strategy. So for each blog post you write, choose one key phrase that you believe readers would use to find that post. Next, incorporate that phrase into the title of the post, the headline on the page, within the content on the page at least two times, in a featured image on the page and also as part of the page link. Keyword concentration helps Google understand what that page is about, which can ultimately lead to more traffic from the search engines.

7. Incorporate links. When you mention another company’s product or service in a blog post, include a link to that company’s page. Not only does Google like to see outbound links on your site, the company you mention may also notice your post and link back to you. Plus, readers appreciate it when you provide resources to make it easier for them to find the things they’re looking for.

Read the rest of the story on Open Forum