Music Industry | Coronavirus Information and Advice for UK Music Industry

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. This post is compiled from thorough research and the conclusions I reached based on that research.

Information on SARS-CoV-2 virus / COVID-19 disease

The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has exploded into a global pandemic. Many countries around the world are now in a state of emergency and trying to prepare themselves for the rough road ahead.

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2“Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

COVID-19 is not “just the flu”, a closer comparison can be made to the 2003 SARS epidemic. Current projections show that the virus is many times more likely to result in severe illness requiring hospitalization and potentially death when compared to regular seasonal flu, and it’s significantly more catching than a common cold.

While the majority of cases show those who are in general good health will be unlikely to require medical intervention, the elderly and those with underlying medical issues will have a significantly elevated risk of suffering severely or death.

Containment measures have not stopped the spread of the virus and healthcare systems around the world (including our own) are under-prepared for the potential effects of this outbreak at scale.

Behaviours need to change across the entire population in order to slow the spread of the virus to a manageable level, this will reduce the strain on our already stretched healthcare system.

UK Approach

The UK government guidance on this outbreak has been weak at best, at worst, dangerous. Anyone who has been paying attention to the unfolding situation is already implementing social distancing measures despite government resistance saying that “it’s too early”.

Though now the term “peacetime” is being used – as if to prepare us all for the upcoming “wartime” measures that will be rolled out following an emergency bill being pushed through parliament to give the government additional powers in an attempt to control the speed of the outbreak.

The main priority should be to avoid infecting those most at risk of severe illness, to save the lives of the vulnerable.

If you’re an employee with pre-existing health risks or getting on in age, you should strongly consider asking your employer if you are able to work remotely and self isolate.

In the upcoming weeks anyone over the age of 70 will likely be asked to self-isolate for months to prevent them catching the virus. If you have elderly friends and relatives, use social media or call them in order to check up on them regularly and make sure they have everything they need.

Live Events, Conferences and Travel

Live events and conferences both locally and internationally will be affected by the spread of this virus. As behaviours change, more people will opt to heed the warnings of experts and implement social distancing.

Metallica 13-07-2007 22.49.50“Metallica 13-07-2007 22.49.50” by Heini Samuelsen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Turnout to events will likely be lower if the events are to go ahead. Mass gatherings where there are a high density of people will need to have a thorough risk assessment done and chances are they should be cancelled.

International touring will become increasingly difficult, and potentially impossible as more travel restrictions are enforced.

This is not to say that there is no demand for music performances – quite the contrary. Music will be a great motivator through the turbulent times ahead, and will help many get through the ongoing isolation worldwide.

With current streaming technology it is possible to live stream video from anywhere with an internet connection. This can be used to connect and engage with audiences without coming into direct physical contact.

VR“VR” by gordonplant is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While traditional video stream is no true replacement to the experience of being at a live event, virtual reality (VR) technology is coming along in leaps and bounds. Currently, home VR is in the same price range as console gaming. It has become significantly more accessible as developments have been made in the field.

If you’re wondering how this relates to music, VR concerts are now a reality. As e-commerce integrates with VR, we will see merch stands at these virtual concerts that may take orders to ship to customers, or sell digital goods.

Working Collaboratively

The music industry involves a significant amount of working closely with others. Travel restrictions mean that it may become impossible to even get a few people together for a group jam session in the worse case scenario.

The internet will keep us all connected despite social distancing and potentially physical isolation, and there are many innovative creators that are developing solutions for problems faced by the music industry moving into a digital age.

Jammr is software in beta that enables musicians to jam together online in real time.

BandLab is a platform that allows musicians to work in a web-based DAW environment and make songs from each others recordings and projects.

Offices

Office spaces are up there with schools and conferences for population density. If your work environment has no set desk policies, then even more caution should be taken.

There may come a time where offices will need to be shut down. Businesses using office space should consider how to make remote working possible for any roles that could be completed remotely.

This may mean setting up VPN access to your network and providing laptops and headsets for employees who need them so they can work from home.

How to help

You can spread good hand washing practice using Wash Your Lyrics to generate an infographic poster with your lyrics on it!

Lyrics from “Keep On” by Another Enigma

Don’t stockpile excessively, other people need essentials too.

Please think before you buy“Please think before you buy” by duncan is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

If you start to feel ill, you should self-isolate to prevent further spread of the infection.

Engage with people around you and keep morale up, as stress and depression will weaken your immune system.

Music Promotion | How to Get Your Music on to Major Platforms

You’ve invested months or maybe even years into writing your songs, perfecting the composition and arrangement, getting the track produced and carving out the sounds. You’ve finally got the final master(s), no pun intended, and at long last you have a song or collection of songs that are ready to share with the world. Great!

The problem is, not all of your audience likes to listen to music in the same place, and if you want to grow your audience, you want to make sure your music is available on the platform they would normally use to listen to music.

Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Music and TIDAL are just a few of the ever increasing number of streaming platforms you can reach with a distribution partner.

Even if all platforms did accept uploads directly from artists (which most do not), there are so many that it would be incredibly time consuming to have to send all your music to each one individually. This presents a frustrating obstacle for artists, but their reasoning is fair and there is a range of companies that provide a solution to artists and labels.

Operating services like Spotify or iTunes and making sure the money goes to the right places heavily relies on metadata. They also want to present a professional and uniform visual for their users – that generally means no strange formatting in song titles, good resolution artwork, all contributors credited appropriately and all the data they need in the right place.

Stores may achieve this by screening who is able to directly submit works for sale/streaming in their stores through an application process, which means it is possible to submit directly to some outlets, however it is suggested that you start out by using a distribution partner.

Some great reasons to go down the distribution partner route include:

  • They have already jumped through all of the hoops required to distribute music directly to outlets.
  • They will be able to advise you on anything you are uncertain on relating to the distribution of your music and how to correct any issues with the release of your music.
  • They have already invested in the infrastructure required to effectively do this activity at scale and distribute to many stores.

There are a fair amount of companies that offer music distribution services but the top three that come to mind for me are Distrokid, CD Baby and Amuse.

1) Distrokid

Distrokid is the company I personally use to release music to stores.

For an annual fee, Distrokid allows completely unlimited digital distribution with a quick delivery to stores. You can choose to set a release date further in the future (this is generally advisable to allow for playlist consideration and pre-release promotion opportunities), but if you want it to go live as soon as stores process it, then you can release to stores “immediately”.

There are lots of optional add-on services priced on a per-release basis which can increase the renewal cost of the subscription.

I’ve had no issues, everything works as intended and although support through their ticketing system can be a little slow at times depending on their volume of queries, they can be reached for general advice queries on social media channels. If they can’t fix it there for you, chances are you’ll need to still raise a support ticket but they will tell you which one to raise, so it’s going to the right place.

If you want to sign up with Distrokid, my referral link will get you 7% off your chosen plan and get me $5.

2) CD Baby

CD Baby offer a pretty comprehensive range of services allowing artists to distribute both physical copies of their albums as well as digital distribution. They know their way around the publishing world and are happy to get involved on behalf of their artists.

Operating a pay-per-release pricing model along with taking 9% of all revenue collected, they also succeed when their artists do. This means it directly benefits CD Baby to promote the artists using their service, which may be an influencing factor when deciding which company to work with.

3) Amuse

Amuse is a great development in the music industry over recent years. They offer completely free music distribution to major outlets because they get to use the insight from the sales data delivered to them as the artists distributor to cherry-pick and invest in artists they see potential in, which puts them in a uniquely powerful position as a record label.

Summary

You should now know how to get your music on Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Facebook and Instagram, TikTok and potentially hundreds of other outlets – pick a distribution partner, upload your tracks and artwork, make sure your data is correct, pick a release date and you’re done.

If you already released a song to stores, don’t then try and get another distributor to re-release the same version. This can and will cause you frustration that is easily avoidable.

When your music is available everywhere, you should probably start keeping track of all of these links somehow… That’s a problem for another post, but spreadsheets and databases are your friend here.

What’s New? | March 2020

Music Updates

Last month was very busy and that theme will be continuing into the next couple of months with the upcoming release of “Ear Candy” on 31st March 2020.

The masters were sent for digital distribution in the middle of last month and I’m focused on pre-release promotion activity and getting everything ready for release day. All support and feedback received so far is greatly appreciated!

I’ve also just finished making a remix for a SKIO competition. The song is a really catchy new track from KINGDØMS called “Senses”. Listen to the original track and my remix below, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

What’s New? | February 2019

EP News

I missed the last months update as I’ve been working hard on my upcoming EP “Ear Candy”.

First round of listening to all of the tracks in order and outside of the DAW, plenty of notes on what I need to clean up. Busy week coming up then off to the distributor next weekend for a 31st March release date, which should give 6 weeks to do pre-release promotion.

More Music Updates

There is demand for beats, so I’ll be committing some time each weekend to building a library of them. I’m thinking it might be a place to start building the YouTube channel for my label.

New Merch

Once upon a time, I had a sweater and a t-shirt available in the store. I took the t-shirt down because it turns out there would have been up to an 8 week wait for delivery (although the sample eventually arrived after 3 weeks) and the manufacturer for the sweaters suddenly became unavailable.

I have the sample for the t-shirt still and I wear it often. I like it and am considering bringing it back, but there is very little I can do about delivery times from manufacturers. If I do bring it back, I will make clear about potential delivery timescales.

As far as genuinely new merch goes, I’ve just brought out a new hoodie and it is very comfortable, arrived in around a week. This one is here to stay, available in three colours.

I got the charcoal hoodie (dark grey) but I’m probably going to get another one of each colour. You should do the same. Buying my merchandise supplements my personal investing in my music.

I’ve also made the Full Vocal Chain preset available as a standalone product, so it will always be available. Keep your eyes open for updates on the Giveaways page!

Music Promotion | RepostExchange

If you’re just setting out into promoting your music, it can be difficult to work out where to start. Finding networks and groups of people with similar interests is a natural way to discuss your work with others and promote what you’re doing. Not only that, it opens up the opportunity to get feedback from peers in your field.

In this article I want to introduce you to a service called RepostExchange. This is a great place to start building your audience. It requires you to have a Soundcloud page and to connect your Soundcloud account to their service.

I want to make clear that this article is formed of entirely my own opinions and is not paid or sponsored content. I’ve been using the service, I personally like how it works and wanted to share this with others.

I have provided referral links throughout this article, so if you are a content creator on Soundcloud and you sign up using one of my links – I get credits (a virtual currency used on the site) to promote my music using their service. 

It doesn’t cost you anything to use the link, it just lets them know that it was me that showed you their service so they know to credit me if you are an eligible referral. If you want to sign up but don’t want to use my referral link, you can copy the link and remove everything after “.com” before navigating to the site.

What is RepostExchange?

RepostExchange is a site that consists of a network of Soundcloud users. As you might imagine, it primarily promotes your Soundcloud page, however there is an option to fill out your profile with other social links. This allows other members of the site to find you on their preferred platform, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to promote your other pages!

Credits

Credits are your currency on RepostExchange. You can earn them by reposting tracks and you can spend them on getting your tracks reposted by other members of the site. 

The credit cost for each repost is directly correlated with the reposting users legitimate follower count. RepostExchange ensures fairness by having functionality that allows them to check if your followers are legitimate.

The way to calculate the cost of a repost is:

cost = legitimate follower count / 100
round down cost to 0dp
if cost = 0 then cost = 1

A working example of this model:

  • You request a repost from another user who has 570 followers, it costs you 5 credits.
  • You have 40 followers and repost another users track, you receive 1 credit for your repost.
  • You request a repost from another user who has 65,500 followers, but only 24,400 are legitimate followers, it costs you 244 credits.
  • You have gained 260 legitimate followers since using the service, giving you a total of 300 and you repost another users track, you now earn 3 credits for your repost.

You can also get credits through other means; you can purchase them or keep an eye out for the Mystery Box codes in your email inbox and the codes in the podcast giving you either free credits or a discount on purchasing credits. 

If you’re spending the money on credits anyway, the smart thing to do is wait for one of these codes to come along – you can save yourself a fair bit of money, especially on the larger credit packs! You can viably use RepostExchange for free, purchases are fully optional.

Campaigns

Campaigns are simple. You select the track you want to promote, a credit budget for the campaign, any additional features or restrictions you may choose to apply and start your campaign.

From there it is put on the Campaigns page and any other members of the site can listen to your track and choose to repost it, deducting their repost cost from the campaign budget. 

Direct Requests

Direct requests are members sending their track directly to other members to request a repost. You can spend your credits to make requests to other members, or you can earn credits by accepting direct requests from other members.

Since the feature to add a short note to your direct requests was added, a small number of people have utilised it. This is where you can add a personal touch, and start building relationships with other members. 

If you can do it all for free, why pay?

There are monthly plans that give free campaign boosts and add extra functionality. By default, you will be on the Free Forever plan upon signing up.

While you can achieve positive results with zero expenditure, if you want to make the most out of the features, maximise your reach and run effective campaigns, you might want to consider a Pro plan that suits your usage of the service. 

If you find yourself running campaigns with large budgets frequently, consider purchasing a credit pack that comes with a free month of a Pro plan.

Free Forever plan members are also charged an inactivity fee of 10% credit balance for each week without reposting a single track. Paid subscriptions do not incur this fee.

Two new tiers of Pro plans and a bigger credit pack have been recently added. These plans are targeted to promoters and labels – music industry professionals that would use a service like this at scale.

Insights on correlation between RepostExchange activity and Soundcloud KPIs

Data has not been meticulously tracked before 2020, however from being active on the service most days, I saw an initial follower increase by over 700% within 3 months, daily plays became a reality and I’ve had some great music sent directly to me!

Since the new year, I’ve been tracking more closely so that I can explain the impact my RepostExchange activity has had on key Soundcloud metrics. I’ve also attempted to take deliberate actions and measure their impact.

A couple of things I noticed that you’ll want to take into account while using the service:

  • When you stop being active on RepostExchange, your follower count may slowly drop. This is because you are not gaining new followers through direct requests being sent to you. You could also see a drop in daily plays as you aren’t sending your tracks directly to people on this platform for them to listen to.
  • You will show higher in the recommended channels to submit a direct request to immediately after accepting a request or reposting a campaign track, this seems to be an activity-driven algorithm which limits the number of requests you receive based on how many reposts you have done that day. 10 seems to be the maximum reposts the platform allows before cutting off the influx of requests.

Summary

I like RepostExchange and the service it provides. It’s a great tool if you’re just starting out and their compensation model is scalable.

I believe it can continue to be a beneficial service for the music community wherever they are in their journey, for as long as Soundcloud remains a significant presence in the industry.

The other potential limitation is it’s user base. If people stop being active, the service will lose effectiveness.

On the other hand, if the active user base keeps growing, that means you can reach more people! So if you are going to join, I would encourage you to be an active part of the community. It benefits us all!

If you want to join RepostExchange, click this link.

What’s New? | December 2019

Music Update

My remix of Gallant – Sharpest Edges has had over 1,000 plays on Soundcloud!

Huge thanks to everyone who has listened to and supported this track so far, I really appreciate it.

Blog Update

I’ve been very busy getting my upcoming EP ready, but with production winding down for the holidays as it nears completion I have a little more time to be thinking about the content for this blog.

Going forward the posts will have an educational and informative theme to them. I know there are many other people out there who are on a similar journey and I’d like to think that sharing my own experience will help.

Merch Update

The jumper and tee have been removed from the store. Alternatives are being looked into and should be available soon.

Due to the popularity of the FL Studio Patcher Full Vocal Chain preset, it will be made permanently available in the store as a standalone item in the next update of the free presets and will remain free until 31st January 2020, after which it will only cost £1.

What’s New? | November 2019

New Music

If you aren’t already familiar with The Big Lez Show, then make sure to check it out here.

This remix has been something I’ve planned to make for a long time and I’m really happy with the way it turned out! Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments and if you like it, show someone else who you think will appreciate it!

The upcoming EP is on track for release in early 2020, some of the songs are ready. Lots of work has been done and there is still lots more to do! Expect a new set of accompanying products to support the release of the EP, including a new preset pack and clothing!


Engagement & Promotion

Huge thanks to everyone who has supported the Sharpest Edges remix. This track has so far peaked at #20 on the Repost Exchange Dance & EDM Top 40 charts and has been fluctuating in position but staying in the chart for most of November!

For anyone looking to promote their music and grow their Soundcloud fan base, the results of using Repost Exchange’s Free Forever plan have been initially very positive.

It’s also pretty simple, you can listen to music on campaigns and repost songs from there or you can review songs sent directly to you in order to earn credits. Credits are used to either run a campaign yourself or send songs directly to other members. The cost in credits of each repost of your track is based on the amount of followers the member reposting your track has, and the amount of credits you earn for tracks you repost is based on the amount of followers you have. It is a fair and proportionate system that benefits all users in various ways.

I personally have seen an increase in followers of over 675% over the 2 months I’ve been using it so far. In real numbers, that is growing from 41 followers when starting to 277 followers at the time of writing this post. Hopefully that growth continues to scale over time!

If you sign up through my referral link, I get free credits to promote my music! (It’s really easy, Repost Exchange links directly to your Soundcloud profile.)

What’s New? | October 2019

Contest Activity

I have entered two remixes into SKIO contests since last months update!

Gallant

Sharpest Edges


I really enjoyed working on the sound design for the synths in this track and putting together the visualiser for the YouTube video.



Cyrus Reynolds

When You Call


I’ve been working hard to promote this remix on SoundCloud and the initial reaction has been really positive. Huge thanks to everyone who has engaged with this track, I really appreciate the support!

This remix featured on the Repost Exchange Dance & EDM Top 40 charts at position #40 on 11th October 2019!



Channel Growth

The work I have been putting in to marketing and promotion has started paying off with some small but noticeable growth across all my channels. Reach and engagement is on the rise and this is always a good motivator to keep working hard!

Upcoming Releases

I’ve got a couple of projects lined up – I’m looking to release a charity single towards the end of November and I’m also planning an early 2020 release date for my upcoming electronic EP “Ear Candy”.

A remix of the song “Epidermis” by ANDRÆ will be coming in the near future! Check out the original song below!

Preset Packs

Following the release of my latest remix, for a limited time I will be making a pack of the Serum presets I designed for use in the track available for free in my store. You can find the pack here.

Make sure you get in quick though as from 1st November 2019, I will be charging for the pack.

How To | Add Custom FL Studio Patcher Presets

I give away a different FL Studio Patcher preset that I have created every week. To see what free downloads are currently available, you can find this on the Giveaways page.

This post is a step-by-step guide on how to add new FL Studio Patcher presets.

1 | Find the folder where your existing FL Studio Patcher presets are contained

Depending on the whether the preset is a generator or an effect preset, you will need to put the .fst preset file in one of two places.

You can load Patcher in both the channel rack (light blue dot) and the mixer FX chain (red dot). When loaded in the channel rack, you have access to the Generator presets. When loaded in the mixer, you have access to the Effects presets.

For effects, the default location on Windows is:

C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Image-Line\Data\FL Studio\Presets\Plugin presets\Effects\Patcher

For generators, the default location on Windows is:

C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Image-Line\Data\FL Studio\Presets\Plugin presets\Generators\Patcher

If your Patcher presets are stored elsewhere, you can find the directory path by loading Patcher and clicking the arrow icon in the top left to open a menu, then click “Save preset as…” to bring up a save dialog box. The directory path for User presets will be in the navigation bar, you can copy this and paste it into File Explorer.

By going to save the blank preset, you should open a dialog with the location where you need to save your presets.

Once you have reached your Patcher presets folder, you can create new folders and sub-folders to organise your presets.

2 | Move the preset into the correct folder

It may help you to keep track of your downloaded presets by creating a folder inside the Serum presets directory called “Downloaded Presets” and then having sub-folders for each site you download from.

Once you have created the folders you want, move each preset (.fst file) you have downloaded into the appropriate folder(s).

Each folder will appear as a header in the preset selection.

What’s New? | September 2019

Bandcamp

I have joined Bandcamp and all my tracks are available to download at a price that you think is fair, because you set it!

If you want to pay nothing, you can, however I will collect your email address so I can keep you up to date with upcoming new releases.

Follow me on Bandcamp!

* Downloads will not be enabled on Bandcamp for any remixes for certain competitions as I am bound to the terms and conditions for participation in the specific contest.

** Free download availability is limited. Once the free download credits I have run out, the minimum price will be £0.01 or more until I purchase or earn more credits.

New Space

For anyone wondering where I have been the past few months – I’ve relocated and now set up a new dedicated work space. I’ve been investing time into workflow optimisation for music production and building the foundations of my record label, Stonelion Records.


New Content

I will be adding regularly to the site with new content, so keep coming back to check what I’m doing for my fan community!

Weekly Giveaways

You may have noticed the “Giveaways” page already. This is a weekly free stuff page! Here’s how it works…

I’ll be giving you custom presets that I have created for FL Studio’s Patcher plugin, using only stock plugins that come with the Signature Bundle.

FL Studio Patcher presets will be either an effect preset or a generator preset and will be labelled in the file name.

For all the music producers out there that also use Serum, I will be giving you a fresh new preset every week to use!

In return for giving you these useful music freebies, I want to hear what you do with these resources! Send your work to me and tell me how you made it by emailing me at: fanworks@anotherenigma.com

“How To” Blog Posts

I’ve been on my musical journey now for 22 years and although I’ve built up a deep knowledge over this time, I’m always still learning and encourage my friends, fans and community to do the same.

I’m aware that what comes naturally to one person may not to someone else, so I want to share my knowledge with my community. In these posts I will cover a wide range of music-related topics.

If there is any specific topic(s) you would like me to cover, then I want to hear from you!

Email me your suggestions at: contentrequests@anotherenigma.com

Upcoming Releases

I’m working on original music, and an EP is on the horizon. I’ll keep you all updated with the progress of this project as it develops!

I have another couple of remixes in the pipeline, one is ready pending contracts and working with this artist has been great! I’m really excited about this remix and looking forward to working with him again in the (hopefully near) future!

The other remix is in progress and for a competition. It will be released to only my socials within the next couple of weeks, and I think it’s coming together very nicely.

Special Mentions

My latest single, “How About” has been promoted on Flash Jack’s Rock And Roll Circus! You can find their video here.