What does it take to be a good manager for a musician?

To be a good music manager you need to be organized, excellent with people and have a good understanding of the industry as it stands today. Clear communication between you, your client, venue, or record label is critical for success.

Your tasks as a manager also depend on what point your client is at in their career. If an artist is already signed to a record label, you’ll need to keep in mind what they want to achieve for the musician. If you’re managing unsigned artists, your priority will be to generate as much work as possible to get them noticed and paid. Notice we said “paid”; the artists already can work for free or lose money on gigs without you.

Each different type of music has its own scene, fan base and unique way of working. You need to have an excellent understanding of this, so you are giving the artist the highest probability of success. Put them in the right environment to thrive.

Get to know the structure of the companies with whom you are dealing with. Be clear about how business is conducted, who is the decision maker and what each person is responsible for. Then reach out and grab their attention and command their respect. Having an influential network helps, so always be professional but friendly and approachable to maintain and create new contacts. Kathy Salem from Night is Alive says, “It isn’t what you know, but who you know that matters, and what they think of you.”

You will also need to be able to cope well under pressure. Dealing with a range of different characters and organizations, all with their own pressures, can be challenging. When someone loses their cool you must make sure you don’t – it’s your job to keep calm, see the strategic picture and put out the fires that other people start.

The music business is a great industry to work in, but to be a manager requires drive and determination which is driven by a passion for music. It’s fiercely competitive, but once you’ve made it, it can be one of the most fulfilling and often financially rewarding careers.

Restcble management is what defines Night is Alive. Learn how our team can assist in selling-out your music venue by contacting us today!

 

Why We Like FAMU

If you don’t know by now, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, or FAMU, is an academic institution that is near and dear to Kathy Salem’s heart. Back in November, four talented jazz musicians from the school were inaugural recipients of the Kathy Salem Jazz Scholarship. Salem started the scholarship because she believes that it is important to foster the talents of the next generation of jazz musicians. The scholarship allows her to support the genre of music that she loves so much and enrich the lives of aspiring performers.

So, you’re probably wondering, “Out of all the schools that she could have supported, why FAMU?”

Allow us to share a few interesting things about this university.

Founded in 1887, FAMU is the fifth largest historically black university based on enrollment and the only public historically black university in Tallahassee, Florida. FAMU is also a land-grant university.

At its start, the school was known as the State Normal College for Colored Students. Four years later, the school became a land-grant university under the second Morrill Act and its name was changed to the State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students.

There were three Morrill Acts. One in 1862, one in 1890 and the last one in 1994. Under these acts, schools were designated to teach agriculture, military tactics, mechanic arts, and classical studies so the working class could obtain a liberal and practical education.

The second Morrill Act in 1890 was created to extend access to higher education by providing additional endowments for all land-grants, but prohibited the distribution of money to states that discriminated against students based on race. However, states that provided separate land-grant institutions for black people could receive funding.

While FAMU was eligible for the grant, it didn’t become an official learning institution until 1905. After a few more name and leadership changes, the school became known as Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1953.

Today, FAMU’s main campus has 156 buildings that are spread out over 422 acres of land. The university also has several satellite campuses in Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa. FAMU enrolls around 11,000 students annually from the United States and more than 70 countries. The university offers 54 bachelor’s degree programs, 29 master’s degree programs, three professional degree programs, and 12 doctoral degree programs.

FAMU is also home to a nationally ranked Jazz Ensembles that is composed of eighteen musicians selected from approximately four hundred musicians in the university’s band program.  The Jazz Ensemble is noted for its diversity of styles and is often invited to perform at jazz festivals across the country.

These are just a few things that make FAMU special. You can read more about the school and its history, here.

4 Tips for taking care of your health while on tour

Touring takes planning and effort, and you’ll want to make sure everyone is firing on all cylinders when it comes time to perform. There’s a lot at stake, too, and you risk losing out on money and booking future gigs when you compromise your health on tour.

Eat healthy food

Just because you are on the road doesn’t mean that every meal should be fast food. You need to pack some healthy food and snacks, so you aren’t going to the only places open at 3 am. (None of them are healthy.) Bring a cooler so you have some fresh fruits to snack on throughout the day. Make the effort to go to a grocery store; not only will you save a lot of money, but also your body will thank you for the quality food.

Don’t drive for too long at one time

If you’re traveling with two or more people, be sure to switch drivers every few hours. Arriving safely at your gig and going to all the scheduled gigs on the tour should be the end goal of your drives. Staying awake and alert goes a long way for safety.

If you’re traveling alone in a car, you have fewer options. For more safety and less stress, you should take a break every two or three hours at least for a chance to rest your eyes, relax from the tension of the road, and stretch your legs.

Exercise when possible

Yes, you’ll be busy traveling around, but at some point, you will have some down time. Take a walk, even if it is just around the hotel property or to a nearby park. Most hotels have pools so pack a bathing suit and plan on taking a swim and unwinding in the hot tub. Exercise will help keep your mind engaged and your body functioning well, which will help to avoid getting sick.

20 minutes of walking once a day is great, if you can get more then you should.

Drink lots of water

Whether driving or on an airplane be sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated.  Buy a bottle water and drink it during your flight.

Keep your blood circulating. Don’t sit in place for more than 3 hours whether driving or on a plane.

These rules may seem basic, but all of the musicians represented by Night is Alive follow them! How’s that for a #LushLife?

Learn more about our musicians and their schedules

What Makes Being a Musician So Great

Musicians are often the envy of the working world, and for good reason. Seriously, can you think of a more entertaining career? I doubt it. Here are a few solid reasons why music makers have the greatest jobs ever.

  1. Gratification and recognition. Your fans and peers express true interest and appreciation.
  2. Acceptance. Everyone wants to be accepted and have a sense of belonging somewhere in the world. Musicians are no exception and the music world is a very large and diverse place.
  3. Set your own hours. No punching a clock here. Just show up and do what you love every day.
  4. Day-to day variety. Not looking at the same cubicle’s interior every day. Something new every single day and this is how great memories are made.
  5. Meet and hang out with other cool musicians. Musicians are by far the most creative people on the planet. It is how their brains literally work and makes them exceptional at their craft.
  6. Inspire others. We all are looking for some inspiration at times and many times listening to a certain song or watching a performer can trigger some great inspiring life moments.

What about you? Why did you become a musician? Why do you think that being a musician is the greatest job ever? Have you had some great Gigs that you’d like to tell us about? Any tips you have for other aspiring musicians? Leave your most excellent comments below!

Where Did The Word “Gig” Even Come From?

Gig is slang for a live musical performance. Originally coined in the 1920s by jazz musicians, the term, short for the word “engagement”, now refers to any aspect of performing, such as assisting with and attending musical performance. More broadly, the term “gigging” means having paid work, being employed.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, the first documented use “gig” in this way appears in 1926: Melody Maker 7 September 1926, with the story byline stating, “One Popular Gig Band Makes Use of a Nicely Printed Booklet.”

Currently the term “gig” refers to a “set”, which is a term that comes from “set list,” which is a list of all the music that an individual or a band is going to play throughout the course of a performance.

In recent years, the term “gig” has been used in a broader context in the economy. Our new “Gig Economy” refers to the new reality that many people now work several jobs just to make ends meet.

Night is Alive books gigs for some of the highest-ranking jazz artists today. Learn how we can provide the right musician for your performance venue at our Contact page!

Top 5 Jazz Festivals for the Ultimate Jazz Lover

If “will travel for jazz” is your motto, you’re in the right place. We’re going to share some of the top jazz festivals from around the country, and the world,  that will probably be right up your alley. So, go get a good suitcase and make sure your passport is ready to go. We’re certain the urge to travel will be even stronger after you read this list.

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Image result for Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

Of course, we have to start with what has been ranked as the world’s largest jazz festival. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal was started back in 1979 and its goal was to bring some of the world’s best musicians to the public. Since then, festivalgoers have been treated to performances from the likes of Ray Charles, Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Tony Bennett, Pat Metheny group, Wynton Marsalis, Madeline Peyroux, Aretha Franklin, Esperanza Spaulding, Diana Krall and many more. The festival runs for 10 days in downtown Montréal towards the end of June. This year marks the festival’s 40th year.

Montreux Jazz Festival

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Montreux Jazz Festival

Created in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival takes place in Switzerland for two weeks in early July and it tends to draw more than 250,000 visitors each year. It’s been said to be one of Europe’s best-known events. While Montreux’s foundation was built on blues and jazz, many other genres have found a place at the festival as well. Montreux has seen historic performances by Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and Stevie Wonder.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

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New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest, started in 1970 when George Wein, the jazz impresario behind the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival was hired to design and produce a unique festival for New Orleans. Held during the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May, the festival has since turned into an epic event for the city and generates about $300 million dollars each year.

The Festival tends to blend a wide mix of well-known artists. Past performers include Dizzy Gillespie, Santana, Sarah Vaughan, Paul Simon, B.B. King, Dave Matthews Band, Tito Puente, Al Green, Lenny Kravitz, Abbey Lincoln, and Erykah Badu.

Newport Jazz Festival

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Newport Jazz Festival

The Newport Jazz Festival is held every summer in Newport, Rhode Island. It was established by socialite, Elaine Lorillard, back in 1954. It was the first outdoor music festival that was devoted entirely to jazz. Around 13,000 people attended the first festival. This year’s festival will be held August 2-4. Past performers include Roy Hargrove, Gregory Porter, Corinne Bailey Rae, Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Billie Holliday, Carmen McRae, Nina Simone, Muddy Waters, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Miles Davis, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Monterey Jazz Festival

Image result for Monterey Jazz Festival
Monterey Jazz Festival

This year marks the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 62nd season. Founded in 1958, the festival has donated its proceeds to music education from the very start. Dave Brubeck was instrumental in getting city approval for the first festival. He even performed for the city council to persuade them to let it take place. He ended up performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival 14 times.

Five hundred top jazz artists perform on nine stages during the third weekend in September. In addition to the performances, the Monterey Jazz Festival features jazz conversations, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, clinics, and an international array of food, shopping, and festivities.

We know there are many more festivals out there for jazz lovers like you. Tell us. What are some of your favorite jazz festivals?

Are Artists Suffering from Streaming?

Who is really buying music?  Where the money comes from now.

The music industry has gone through some monumental changes in the past 20 years.  What was once driven by consumer purchases has now become a subscription-based model that eliminates the need for physical record stores.  For the vast majority of the modern music industry, selling records was the main business focus.  While some fans still prefer to purchase a hardcopy, the popularity of Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Pandora have opened up a new way to access artists’ material.  This computerized marketplace has begun a new debate within the music industry: how will artists get paid in the world of the digital download, and where does the money come from?

Without a doubt, the way most big acts make their money is touring.  Many artists are under the impression that when signing with a record label they will see profits once their album is live.  While a record label can legitimize an artist and help them launch their career, labels expect to be paid back for the money they put up for the new artist.  Even as the album begins to pick up steam and sell, the label is paid first. For example, the Black Eyed Peas didn’t see a big paycheck until their second hit album.  Touring is different. The artists are paid for the shows they do. The more shows they do, the more they make. U2 is one of the most successful bands, and it all comes from the groups’ dedication to hit the road and tour.  A recent Citigroup report stated that of the $43 billion in revenue the music industry produced in 2017, only 12% when to the artist. Of that 12%, touring was by far the most significant profit center for musicians. While streaming services are increasing in popularity, these earnings are not enough alone.  Album and soundtrack licensing sales usually come in second with streaming services, publishing, and merchandise sold at concerts following in that order.

Streaming through a music service has in many ways replaced the era of purchasing a record or CD.  Each of these streaming services, Pandora, Apple Music or the largest of the services Spotify, all have different pay scales.  For streaming services, it’s all about the number of requests for a particular song or artist. This is where a new artist will find it difficult to break in.  Many up and coming artists are not going to have enough requests on the platform to see any real money. Many streaming services do not count a song until it has reached 1000 requests.  These services benefit famous artist disproportionally from a new artist.

While there are still many methods for musicians to make a living, social media and the new marketing trends are leading the way.  Instagram, Facebook, and the 24/7 information cycle require musicians that want to reach the top to have a complete package to get there.       

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Symbolic Jazz Albums

There are a lot of great jazz albums out there. Because of that, it’s kind of hard to nail down what’s a classic and what’s just a solid piece of work. So, we’re going to share some albums with you that have left lasting impressions on jazz lovers over the years. Please note that these albums are in no particular order.

 

John Coltrane
Blue Train

Coltrane recorded “Blue Train” in 1957 during his residency at Five Spot Café. At the time, he was a member of the Thelonious Monk Quartet.  He recorded the album with Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Kenny Drew on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.  “Blue Train” has appeared on a number of essential jazz album listsIt represents the pinnacle of Coltrane’s hard bop phase, right before he moved on to more globally inspired sounds. “Blue Train” was released on Blue Note Records in 1958.

 

The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Time Out

“Time Out” was recorded as an experiment to convey the musical styles that Brubeck discovered during a Department of State sponsored tour of Eurasia. The Quartet was only allowed to create it after they recorded a more conventional album made up of songs of the American South. The album featured Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass, and Joe Morello on drums. Critics initially panned the album, but despite the negative reviews, “Take Five” became a Top 40 hit single and remains the biggest-selling jazz single of all time.  Released in 1959, “Time Out” also became the first instrumental jazz album to sell over a million copies.

 

Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown

Sarah Vaughan

Vaughan’s selftitled album has often been called her greatest. Recorded in 1954, it is the only collaboration between Vaughan and jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, who won the DownBeat magazine critics’ poll for New Star of the Year that same year. In addition to Vaughan and Brown, the album featured Paul Quinichette on tenor saxophone, Herbie Mann on flute, Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Benjamin on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums.  ”Sarah Vaughan” has been recognized for it’s remarkable ensemble work, gorgeous standards, and an intuitive interplay between Vaughan and her horn players, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

 

These are just a few of the many essential jazz albums in existence. If you are interested in learning more, be sure to check back in the coming weeks when we discuss jazz festivals for the ultimate jazz lover!

5 Music Software Must-Haves

The art of recording has developed alongside advancements in technology.  In fact, tech mixes so well with the art of recording that it is now the only way to make music.  To have an album released nowadays and not be from the digital realm is an oddity.  Thirty years ago, it took rooms of mixing boards, amps, booths, tape recording equipment, and trained professionals who knew how all that equipment worked and all the little tricks to get the sound right.  That is no longer the case.

Successful artists still use much of the “old ways” to make their albums sound perfect, but the advancement of home recording software has leveled the playing field for those who want a richly produced sound without the expense and expertise.

If you are looking for a music software system to create your own home recordings, here is a list to help you find what works and is the best fit.  This list was created after researching what systems are available in today’s market, how long the system has been a force in the industry, and what level of tech is required to get the job done.

 

5 Music Software Must-Haves

 

  1. GarageBand ( Apple)

The best thing about GarageBand is that it is free and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Simply purchase an iPad, download GarageBand, and you are ready to go.  Apple packs a ton of additions to the stock program, and beats, instruments, and live recording are also part of the package.  It will not get you the same studio quality as some other systems on this list, but for very little money and hassle it will make your music sound great.

  1.   Ableton Live  (Windows, Apple)

Ableton Live has been making a name for itself for years.  Released in 2001, it was one of the only software programs that could change the tempo of the music without affecting pitch.  The ability to have a music software system that can record and mix live performances placed Ableton Live in a league of their own.  The mixing capabilities are still some of the best-designed software on the market today.   

 

  1.   Image-Line FL Studio (Windows)

This software system gained popularity for its ability to create amazing loops.  First known as FruityLoops, FL Studio is used widely in hip-hop and electronic dance music (EDM). FL Studio is also a favorite with producers for its ease of use and editing capabilities.

  1. Logic Pro (Apple)

Logic Pro has been on the scene from the beginning.  Logic Pro is a full-feature music production system that can create professional-grade music.  Apple purchased Logic Pro in 2002. The extra add-ons and features that Logic contains make it easy to control while maintaining a conservative user interface.

  1.   Avid Pro Tools (Windows, Apple)

Pro Tools is the top music production software system used today in the music industry.  Avid, the creator of Pro Tools, is the movie industry standard for video production, so it was only natural for them to own the audio market too.  Pro Tools has a few different levels available depending on where you are starting.  (maybe include a sentence or two about the different levels that are available, i.e. Pro Tools First, Pro Tools, Pro Tools Ultimate.) They also make proprietary hardware for their professional level software system.

 

While there are many programs to choose from, this list represents the systems that have displayed longevity, a strong fan base, and the ability to consistently get the job done.  Pro Tools as our number one pick offers a level of depth and focus that has made it a mainstay in the music industry, but any of these Top 5 Music Software Systems will deliver.  

 

Post Written by Michael Brigger

Standards All Jazz Fans Should Know

If you’re a jazz fan, it is likely you already know what a jazz standard is. If so, good for you! But don’t go anywhere just yet – we have some information you might find interesting later on in this post. If you don’t know what a jazz standard is, this next paragraph is for you, so keep on reading.

A jazz standard is a song that is regularly performed or recorded by jazz artists. Because these songs are played a lot, they are easily recognized by many jazz fans or music lovers in general. Those are pretty much the basics; a jazz standard is simply a popular song that tends to frequently reappear in the repertoires of a wide range of musicians.

The one thing that even jazz fans might not know is that a standard doesn’t have to be written by a jazz composer. A number of jazz standards were originally written for Broadway or Hollywood musicals, or they were Tin Pan Alley songs. In Europe, some standards were even purported to be folk or ethnic songs.

Now that we have determined what a jazz standard is, here are some examples of popular standards all jazz fans should know. Whether you’re new to jazz or a long-time fan, we’re pretty sure you will know some of these songs.

Jazz Standards By Decade

Since there are so many songs out there, we’re going to list a few jazz standards by decade to make things a little easier.

Jazz Standards from the 1920s or The “Jazz Age”

Here are a few popular standards that originated during the 20s.

Jazz Standards from the 1930s

Here are some jazz standards that were written in the 30s.

Jazz Standards from the 1940s

These songs were created during the 40s.

Jazz Standards from the 1950s

These songs came out of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era.

Jazz Standards from the 1960s

Here are a few popular tunes from the 60s.

Jazz Standards from the 1970s and 1980s

These last two decades delivered a handful of hits.

Of course, this is just as small taste of the jazz standards that are out there. So tell us: what are your favorites?

Post by Devon F.