How to Use Google Drive to Record With Musicians Across The Internet

This article explains how to use Google Drive (cloud computing baby) to coordinate and organize recordings (musical collaboration) with other musician across the Internet.

Remote Collaboration For Musicians

Do you have an interest in collaborating with other musicians? I talk to a lot of artist who want to do just that. This tutorial explains the collaboration process and provides instructions on how to effectively accomplish this with Google Drive. Continue Reading →

I wanna see my face on the cover

Not the cover of the Rolling Stone.. But magazine.

I’ve been featured, along with my friend, Clara Bellino, and Lunar Rogue.

Check out the magazine and article here.
matthew moran


Is Reverbnation a good social networking site for musicians?

NOTE: This post got a little lengthy. However, it covers some important ground so grab a coffee, tea, beer, wine, or water and cozy up..

reverbnation logoThe quick answer, No! It’s primarily a waste of time.

But there is more to the story and it involves the why’s and what’s of social media, making music, and gaining listeners. The truth is, you could insert a blank where I have Reverbnation above and get almost the same answer.

For instance: “Is Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/YouTube a good social networking site for musicians?”

The answer would be “no” for all of the above but let’s look at Reverbnation for a moment because it is uniquely positioned as a tool to help musicians grow their career.

What do musicians want from social networking?

The first question is what musicians want from a social network. The answer is new and engaged listeners. Oh.. they might say a place to network with other musicians and get support for their craft. The problem is, that answer is either a) a lie or b) ignorance.

It really isn’t difficult to “network” with other musicians. If you are a musician, you likely know several musicians already. And they know musicians, so in a couple clicks of the mouse, you can be “networked” with other musicians.

As it turns out, generally, when someone says they want support, what they mean is they want someone to “like” their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and, if the stars align, they want them to come out to a gig and support their music.

The problem is, other musicians make lousy fans. The reason is simple… we are narcissistic jerks who want our music featured. We aren’t primarily engaged in networking with other musicians in order to support their music and find new music to listen to.

FYI: This really doesn’t make you a narcissistic jerk by the way. It makes you an entrepreneur/musician.

You see, I network with other business owners to, primarily, help me grow my business. If, along the way, I find a business that I find useful and that I can believe in, over the course of my days, I will refer them to my network. But, I don’t, just because I am connected to another business, necessarily support them.

This is why, I rarely (NEVER) respond to the “Like my Facebook page and I’ll like yours” request. It is also why LinkedIn Endorsements are a waste of time.


That doesn’t mean I don’t listen to new music and become a fan. In fact, here are 4 musicians I enjoy! None of them asked me to “like their page.” I liked their page because I like their music. And by the way, that is because I heard them play live!

Jim Pipkin: I met Jim at the first acoustic showcase I ever played. Inza Coffee in Scottsdale. It’s closed down but it was a cool place. Jim played before me and I became very frightened. He can play and flat out write a song! The first song he played was Tommyknockers. Listen to it.. it’s a scary tune. He gave me great encouragement that night.

Bill Wickham: Bill’s an outlaw cowboy poet. No really.. I met him at the Glendale Folk Festival in Glendale AZ. I was in a songwriter’s circle – everyone just trying to impress the other songwriters in the group. He impressed me! Song after song! One of the prettiest songs I’ve ever heard, “Here I Go Again”.
FYI: Yes.. Bill doesn’t have his website up and so I pointed you at Reverbnation. ;-)

Bill Dutcher: He writes some songs and is one of the most entertaining and talented guitar players I’ve ever seen live. His looping, one-person harp-guitar rendition of Baba O’Riley is crazy! He was gracious and played on several of my songs back in 2009.

Julie Lindemuth: I met Julie at an open mic. She was too scared to climb on stage. We encouraged her to go for it. An open mic should be a safe place. She took the stage and beautiful voice, simple songs that are almost children’s songs but aren’t… and inspirational tunes! I told her I was a fan that night.. and I still am!

Back to our topic at hand.. Reverbnation…

Reverbnation – cool tools, confusing interface, no true engagement

Reverbnation has some neat tools. And for a time, I was really interested in them. The best of all tools was that you could upload songs and create a flash based player widget to embed on your website. People could show up to your site and listen to your music with a pretty effective player. They could join your mailing list. They could share your music.

And if that is what you use your Reverbnation profile for – to get access to those widgets – then cool! That can be effective.

However, their backend interface is confusing at best, too many unnecessary tools and you are subject to a LOT of spam in the form of “opportunities”. I don’t really need to cover those but the opportunities are ways for Reverbnation to monetize their site and you don’t have enough fans or a high-enough profile for those opportunities to be truly meaningful to you. Sorry!

By the way, I know this because, if you did have enough fans and a high-enough profile for those opportunities, the opportunities will be contacting you directly. It’s that phenomenon where professional athletes get free (actually are paid) to wear a product when, in fact, they clearly have enough money to buy the product. And the rest of us, who “need” the product must pay for the product…

I’m not complaining.. I’m just pointing out the law of popularity. Popular, money-making artists, are NOT using Reverbnation to build their popularity.

Reverbnation Charts

This is the big carrot that I find most amusing. Reverbnation has their own charts broken down by music categories. I’ll see artist touting that they are the #3 artist in their zipcode for the sub-genre, “polka folk acoustic punk”.

I’m always interested in knowing who the #1 artist in that category and zipcode is

I see performers posting this on Facebook. “I’m the #8 artist in my zicode for’alt-grunge trance’ – help me get to #7.” And this is the problem.. they believe getting to #7 or #6 or #1 is going to help them sell CD’s and get new fans to performances.

I had a fellow artist who was always publishing this stuff. I asked them about their performances and CD sales. They were discouraged because they weren’t getting anyone out to performances.

There are NO new fans on Reverbnation

That is probably a stretch. I think there are a few fans who do, in fact, sign up as fans on Reverbnation. However, I’ll bet, if you are an artist, most of your “activity” on Reverbnation is other artist. Some become fans without any comment. Others become fans and send a message like, “I’ve signed up as a fan. Sign up as a fan on my page.”

This is the Reverbnation equivalent of “Like my page and I’ll like yours.” To which I always respond, “but what if I don’t like your page?” (remember, I’m a narcissistic jerk).

I’ve even had someone sign up as a “fan” and leave a comment like, “Cool tunes! Check out my songs.” – with a link.

I always send a message, “Which of my songs did you like the best?”

In 2 years I’ve received 1 response that I felt indicated they had listened to the songs.

Bottom line on Reverbnation

Reverbnation is a great idea and has some cool tools. Most of those tools I have no real need for. I semi-maintain a profile (meaning, I login every 2 or 3 months) because.. well.. I feel like I should. I’m considered an “expert” on this social media stuff.

But for the most part, it really doesn’t do anything special for me. I no longer use the widget/players and I run my mailing list with mailchimp at the moment. I can add video and music to my website – built on WordPress – using built-in WordPress plug-ins.

Secondly, it diffuses my effort. This may be the most dangerous part of any social networking site. We all have limited hours in our day. The danger for musicians and entrepreneurs alike (I really view them all the same) is the desire or need or fear of being left out by NOT signing up for the “next” social network.

So.. everyone signs up for everything and all your same contacts follow you and you follow them. It is like a big roving band of gypsies or an incestuous tribe. Everyone is scrapping and clawing and grabbing at the few unpicked morsels and even reducing themselves to a sort of social media cannibalism.

There is a more rational way.

How do I find new fans/listeners?

And there we go.. let’s be honest. You want new fans! You want listeners. You want people to hear your music and to like your music. That’s okay! And it doesn’t make you a narcissistic jerk. You are a narcissistic jerk for other reasons but not because you want people to hear your music.

You want people to hear your music because you are a creator and that is what creators crave! Some type of acceptance of their creation.

Note: drop the B.S., “I only create for myself because it is in my soul.” blah blah blah blah. Then you wouldn’t be performing or on Reverbnation or Facebook or Twitter or even reading this blog.

Now that we are honest, how do we find new fans?

1) Make good music

Yeah.. there is that. That means you need to spend more time making music than you do moving up the “acoustic goth hip hop” charts in Southern Hastings Nebraska.

2) Perform your music… well!!!

Get out and play your music for people. And give them something they can take with them.. your music preferably. At first, it doesn’t matter if they guy a CD. Give it away! 1 or 2 engaging songs. Something! Trade them that for their email. Ask for their feedback. Shake hands with them. Thank them.. profusely! Connect with them.. it’s called “social networking.”

3) Reduce your social media footprint

What? Yes. Be in fewer places, not more places. If you feel compelled to setup an account on every site, do it. But then post information on where they can “really” find you.

My take is that you need no more than the following profiles and places to find you.

  • Your own website. This is where you get to be a true narcissistic jerk. It’s all about you! That’s good. It should have a blog attached. I use WordPress and recommend that. I host at Bluehost and recommend that (although, they’ve lost some luster of late due to some outages). I know some artist who are using Bandcamp and love it. It has great tools for artist and you can blog.But when I say, your own site, I don’t mean, “” or “”.. I mean, you pay for a domain and you get it hosted. Don’t say you can’t afford it. Go get a job and pay for that.
  • YouTube. I wrote about how my daughter connects with artist and why I should be using YouTube more. I won’t belabor this point. I shouldn’t have to.
  • Facebook. I suppose you should have a Facebook profile and also have a Facebook music/business page. I do. It’s sort of expected. However, I engage with listeners and readers WAY more on my Facebook profile than my “fan page.” This is largely because Facebook continues to remove features that let you connect with “fans” on your “fan page.”Truth is, they haven’t been called “fan pages” for awhile. They don’t let you send messages to your “fans” and  you cannot communicate with them directly via your page. Only through your profile. So guess what, your Facebook profile is probably your real source of engagement.
  • Ummmm… That’s it!

But Matt!! What about Twitter? Tumblr? Soundcloud? You are on them? Shouldn’t I be?

No.. if I can convince you to stay off those networks, I get all those fans!

Or…. It might be that you want to spend enough time and effort on your website, YouTube, and Facebook, to get 4 or 5 or 10, 20, 200 or more people engaged with your music. There are enough potential fans in those areas alone. Oh.. and playing live! That’s a topic for another blog entry.

You don’t get fans by being in “lots of places” online. You get fans by creating music that people like, taking the 2 or 3 or 10 people who like your music and provide them the means and the permission to share that music.

There is also the standard, promotion, PR, etc. And there is a place for that. But you need to first work on those first few passionate fans!

Do you agree? Disagree? Have a specific or general question? Leave a comment below.

Why you and I should be using YouTube more

Subtitled: What my daughter is teaching me about finding and winning fans.

Musicians, songwriters, performers… this is for you.

My daughter loves her music. So much so that she did the research, prompted and pushed, and had me sign her up to attend a performing arts high school in downtown Los Angeles.

We recently moved into the downtown area because she was commuting an hour and 45 minutes ONE WAY to her school. Here are a couple photos of the view from the hill behind out house. It is pretty epic. The dogs are cool too!

Dogs and Los AngelesLos Angeles by day

This works for me too as it brings me closer to both my consulting and opportunities for music.

A Tale of Two Artist

This is sort of an expose of my daughter finding two new artist, how she found them, and how she connects with them. I think it offers some insight into the mind and the method that some people, particularly youth, find and engage with new music.

Artist #1: Echosmith

Echosmith is an alt-rock/indie rock act out of Los Angeles. Young kids – very talented. A few months ago, my friend and music writer, Val King (Rock Revolt Magazine) asked if my daughter and I would like to interview this new act – Echosmith – for her magazine. She is in Georgia and seeks out writers and photographers in various cities.

It is sort of short-notice and we couldn’t make the show that day. But my daughter started listening to them and following them on Tumblr and YouTube. She kept telling me how much she liked them.

Platforms of choice

My daughter spends a LOT of time on Tumblr and YouTube. She’s 15 and I’ve found this to be pretty common. In fact, Facebook, as she describes it, is for 40 year olds. That’s sort of funny considering how it started. I don’t agree with the demographic but I do agree that 15 year olds aren’t connecting on Facebook… why? Their parents are there. We aren’t that cool – even though I know I’m cool.

Tumblr it touted as a blogging platform but it is graphically intensive and easy to post. It is more of a content network than a blog per se. And it’s phone integration works very well.


YouTubers are those people who are using YouTube as a primary mechanism for connecting with and engaging their fans. It is easy to post video, has great search tools, can be monetized to earn money, etc.

So, in addition to Tumblr, her primary content network of choice (the place she goes to listen/view content) is YouTube. And she religiously follows quite a few YouTubers. This is where artist and social networks collide.

Echosmith has a new CD. It’s good. Even I like it and I’m old!

We had the opportunity to go see Echosmith for the price of a CD. Good job by the way.. no tickets sold to the event. It was a “buy a CD and get into the show – and we’ll sign the CD as well,” show. That’s smart on Echosmith’s part. You want people to have your music!

But here is the interesting part. While at the show, in a small listening room of a venue called, Amplyfi, my daughter brought up a picture on her phone.

simplyspoons - Jon D

She said, “Dad, is that this guy?” – and she pointed me at a young man who was attending the Echosmith show, talking with his friends. It sure looked like the guy in the photo.

I said, “It could be, who is he?”

“He’s a YouTuber. Rachel’s favorite. I showed you some of his videos.”

So I took her phone, shows the young man the photo, and said, “Is this you?”

He laughed and said that it was. Then he came over and talked to Sara, took a picture with her, and then allowed me to shoot a little video hello to my daughter’s friend Rachel.

Jon D aka: Simply Spoons

Jon is a YouTuber. Well-known and obviously engaging enough to garner some notice. In fact, to my daughter and her friends, he is as much a celebrity as any other artist.

And here is the important lesson. Sara makes no distinction between an unsigned YouTuber or a newly signed major label act or a larger mainstream established act. If they are connecting on HER NETWORKS – they are celebrities to her.

This is an important lesson. I’ve always advocated that your content be strong and you make it the central element of your social media strategy.

However, I’ will also emphasize that you find where your demographic connects. A rough breakdown might look like this – though it really isn’t so clear:

  • YouTube: Everyone. All age groups are on there. Some don’t “subscribe” there but most younger people do. This is where I’m failing in my current social media/content strategy.
  • Tumblr: 14-20 year olds. Irreverent and graphically intensive with video.
  • Instagram: 20-40. Graphically mostly images
  • Pinterest: 20’s. Hipsters?
  • Facebook: 25-55
  • Email: Everyone. There is some confusion and mis-representation of this. But even Echosmith asked everyone to sign up on their email list. Why? Well.. lessons from Myspace. If your social network dies, you want a more direct means to re-engage your fans on the “next” social network.

I thought about this a LOT after that show. I spoke at the Independent Music Conference a few weeks after this. One of my topics was Online Presence and Social Media. I covered the basics but I also discussed this specific incident.

At a show for a more traditionally signed act, my daughter also met another celebrity.. one whose total fanbase was built organically on YouTube. I think this is an important lesson for artist and entrepreneurs alike.

What are your thoughts?

Wishes, Wants, and Needs

I was going through some old photos and found this picture that my older daughter took one day while we were on walk near my house.
I want more than 9 to 5

I love the sentiment. I’m not a big fan of graffiti, although, it is on a dumpster and is NOT gang related, so… I’m okay with it. Plus it gave me a blog topic. WIN!

I Wish, I Want! I Need, I Got!

I heard this phrase years ago from a motivational speaker. The idea is that if we “wish” we had something or could do something (I wish I was a writer.), we’ll always want it. On the other hand, if we make that “wish” a need (I need to be a writer), we’ll make it happen.

I don’t agree. That is far too simple!

There are all sorts of things people “need” that they do NOT go after with the focus necessary to achieve them. And there are plenty of “wants” we make happen that are clearly not needs.

I know many people who want things… wanna be I.T. professionals I’ve met through my book, wanna be performing musicians, wanna-be consultants and wanna be authors. But they are not those things.

The difference between the “wanna-be’s” and the “be’s” is sort of simple.. It’s the “being”. It’s the work.

There are a LOT of people who want more than 9-5. – but are not willing to put in the work needed. Incidentally, if you want more than 9-5, you are going to “be” more than 9-5. What I mean is that it is going to require more than 9-5 to get more than 9-5.

Especially initially. Unless you are a trust fund baby (if you are, contact me please, I have  wants too), you are likely going to have to work – sort of like a regular Joe – an everyday job to pay the bills, while simultaneously and in your “extra” time, putting the things into place that allow you to get that want or be that thing.

For instance, if you want to be a writer – you are going to have your regular job, paying your bills, and then, mornings/evenings, you are going to write.

As I wrote many years ago in my blog entry – A writer defined, “The Noun is wrapped up In the verb.” In order to be the thing (the noun), you must do the thing (the verb) that the thing (the noun) does.

  • Writers write!
  • Performing songwriters write songs and perform them!
  • Consultants consult!
  • I.T. Professionals learn and put technology into place!
  • People who want more than 9-5, put in more than 9-5.

What is stopping you?

I’ll give you a short-list of things I see that stop people from doing the work that turns “wanna-be” into “be.”


This one always gets me. “I don’t have enough time in my day.” And then, in speaking to them, they’ve watched an entire season of “Breaking Bad” or “The Sopranos” or “The Dome” or whatever! Football, baseball, hockey, dancing with the stars, etc. Hey, I like Justified! I’ve seen most of season #1 and some of season #2… some.

Sports teams/fantasy football, etc.

I’m talking playing on a team or spending hours each week on your fantasy football. Hey, I get it. But I don’t really. At least not until you’ve done enough time-slicing and allocation of effort to put things into place. Don’t tell me, for instance, about your great book/story idea that you just cannot get to because you are too busy – and then tell me about your various sporting activities – watching or playing.

Time-sucking friends

There are friends who are more than willing to steal your time. They will even tell you that you can do whatever it is later. Stop hanging out with them. The real friend is going to say, “Why don’t we get together at the end of the week AFTER you’ve done X work towards what you want to be.”

If they say, “You can do that later. Come out with us tonight.”BEWARE!!!! Or don’t complain that your “wanna be” is still just that..

This image was posted on Facebook recently. I re-posted it because it made me laugh. It’s true not just for writers but for anyone who wants to turn their wanna-be’s into be’s.
the muse writers really need

Inspiration is NOT your problem. Perspiration is… ie: DO THE WORK!!

The noun is wrapped up in the verb!

Workshops at The Independent Music Conference

I’ll be presenting again this year at The Independent Music Conference in Hollywood.

If you are a musicians, or know one, send them over to the IMC Registration (link above). There is a lot of great education going on there.

My two presentations will be:Two workshops for musicians

Online Presence & Social Media for the Artist/Entrepreneur

Social Media is still a hot topic.. and still one that creates a lot of confusion and wasted time.

I’ll cover a 7 step roadmap to simplify your online presence and social media planning and reduce the time you spend on the process.

Topics to cover:

  • Blogging with WordPress
  • How to use your newsletter
  • What about Reverbnation
  • Facebook vs. Twitter
  • The impact of video
  • .. and more.

Recording at home using Reaper

Reaper is an amazing low-cost alternative to pro tools. It has features capable of major studio production but provides a low-cost alternative to the songwriter who wants to record demos at home.

I’ll be setting up a simply recording setup and will go step by step from setting up a click track, recording a scratch track, and then recording guitar and vocals separately. I’ll also be covering some basic effects – reverb, delay, compression, and EQ.

If you get a chance, register and come on out!

I Like Totally Like You and other Facebook Lies

Not all likes are likes on facebookKeep Your Tongue Out of My Mouth – revisited

first.. I apologize for the length of this post..but it is worth it.  second: This was originally posted on my KreativeKnowledge site. That site is coming down for the time-being and I’m focusing my content and efforts here and at

It happened again.. out of the blue, someone came up and started smooching on me! Stuck their tongue right into my mouth! It wasn’t stimulating. It wasn’t romantic. It was disgusting and believe me, I’m trying to forget about it.

Oh.. sorry, no.. someone didn’t actually kiss me.. What they did was “friend” me on Facebook.. or as I put it, “general acquaintanced me” and then recommended about 15 different Facebook pages to me. Asked me to “Like” them.

The problem is, I didn’t like them (the pages I mean) and if they knew me, they’d know that most of them were grossly out of context. For almost every connection I get on Facebook, I send a personal note. I want to put the relationship in context – let them know more about me, let me know more about them… etc. What we do.. what we like (really like).. what our goals our, etc.

facebook likesWhen someone “Friends” me and then starts recommending I “Like” this, that, and the other thing, it is similar to someone saying hello on the street then suddenly grabbing you and laying a big sloppy kiss on you. If this is you.. stop it!!!

I “Like” totally, “Like” you

Remember the “Valley Girl”. Sherman Oaks Galleria. “Andrea” Some of you may not. I grew up in the “Valley” in the ‘80’s. I knew real life Valley Girls who were “Totally Like.. Awesome!”

They threw  the word “Like” into everything! Actually, you still hear it with some kids.. and it Like makes me Like totally Like question the intellect of the person speaking. I don’t LIKE it.

Used in this matter, it is a vacuous extraneous word.. meaningless through its overuse and lack of context.

But we see it here on Facebook and other Internet communities or media too. We can “Like” anything with a mouse-click.  We can even like a like. In fact, in the ultimate narcissistic coup, we can like OUR OWN LIKE.


Get it? Clever Matt.

We use and overuse the word, Engagement. The truth is, when I work with clients, there is an over-emphasis on “Likes” and an under-emphasis on true engagement. They want to build “Likes” on the Facebook page.  I get asked the question all the time, “How can I get more people to like me?”

It is sort of a funny question really. Outside of Facebook, how do you get more people to like you?

  • Be friendly
  • Listen
  • Help people
  • Be fun and encouraging
  • Be transparent but don’t be a bore
  • Don’t talk about yourself too much

Hey.. this sounds like a Social Media coaching session..

Show me yours and I’ll show you mine

I was on a community forum for musicians – Yes, I’m a rock star too! – and there was a discussion.. It started with this…


It’s the Internet equivalent of “Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”

Similar to reciprocal links on web pages – which Google actually de-values unless they are determined to be “true” links – ie: not just a link on  page of links that links to a site with a page of links that links back to your site in some circular and incestuous web triangle.

A true link is when I or another blogger mentions and links to another site or story because we found it valuable or it was in context with what we were writing.

In the same way, liking someone’s page for the sake of having them like your page, gives you a warm fuzzy feeling but does very little to extend your brand or influence.

Musicians do this all the time. But so do businesses. If I “Like” your page but I don’t really like your music, your product, or your service, and vice-versa… you’ve now lied to yourself, lied to me, and have a mistaken notion about your popularity.

The unpopular rich kid in school didn’t really have all those “friends” at his birthday party.. they were there for the pool, blow up slide, and ice cream. Then they left and never talked to him again. And he didn’t need the cheap toys they left.. daddy already bought him better ones.. he needed friends.

FYI: I wasn’t the unpopular kid and certainly wasn’t rich – but I’ve discovered that I really only had 4 or 5 friends in high school.. and they are still my friends. There is a social marketing lesson there…

Can we add a “I REALLY LIKE YOU” option?

I used to believe that Facebook should include a new “I REALLLY LIKE YOU” option. It would involve something more than clicking a like link. Maybe when the person clicks “Like” a popup ask them to write 2 or 3 sentences to describe what they like about that person or page. And maybe in doing so, they would agree that posts from the pages or people that they “REALLY LIKE” would show up on their wall until they had clicked a button that indicated they had seen and read the post.

It would be true commitment.

We already have a “I REALLY LIKE YOU” option

Then I thought about it. We already have this option. It is called, a website and mailing list.

You see, when someone “Likes” your page and leaves, they don’t really like you. And if you aren’t doing something to engage them – truly engage them – then you are lying to yourself about your social media marketing.


The timeline and the glut of updates works against you. It does. The number of people “liking” your page has to be “extraordinary” to turn “likes” into true engagement and into business.

If you have 500 people on your page, and you post an update at 10:00AM.. how many people are truly seeing it. I don’t mean, they see it in their timeline as one of 10 other items – but they are busy commenting on the cute video of a kitten playing with a dolphin..

I mean seeing it as in, they look at it, absorb the content, think about it, and visit your page or get additional information.


True story, I posted an article about something. Someone left a comment and “Liked” what I posted… But their comment as sort of a non-sequitor.. it didn’t make sense to the article.

Then they posted again… “Oh.. I just read it after I commented…” and they made a more relevant comment. What does that tell me (and you).. they “liked” and commented first to have their voice heard – but later they truly engaged.


You MUST publish high-value content on your own website via your blog. That’s why you must be capturing more than a “Like” – you MUST have a mailing list and use it.. or some other way to get true engagement and find out who “REALLY LIKES YOU”.


Remember our list above – how can I get someone to like me?.. Let’s repeat it.

  • Be friendly
  • Listen
  • Help people
  • Be fun and encouraging
  • Be transparent but don’t be a bore
  • Don’t talk about yourself too much

And we think that is totally bitchin’!

Oh… if you do like this.. consider “Liking” my Facebook page. If you REALLY REALLY LIKE IT, sign up on the newsletter.

The Story Behind The Song – Make You Feel

Occasionally, I discuss how a certain song comes about or songwriting in general. I do it when I play all the time. Every song has a story, doesn’t it? I was asked to do this on my blog more often.. And because I am so compliant ;-) I’ll oblige that request.

A quick note about home recording

Matt Moran discusses his songwritingI’ve been playing around with Reaper lately. Both to get some acoustic demos recorded for the band and also to have an acoustic CD for those coffeehouse gigs. See About Reaper Below.

Make You Feel – the song

I used to announce this song by talking about James Taylor’s song, Handy Man. That was until my guitarist at the time, Elliot, pointed out that Mr. Taylor didn’t write that song. It was written by Jimmy Jones and Otis Blackwell. I modified my intro to “made popular by James Taylor.”

The song is sort of funny.. Women find it sexy (hell, I find it sexy) but when you really break it down, it is about a schmuck telling women to send their friends to him.. he’ll fix their broken hearts.. all of them. He’s busy 24 hours a day! Sheesh! We are talking stamina and vitality.

That’s the thing about songwriting..  you can write a song that is non-virtuous and totally fictional, and create an image that is somehow appealing.

When i wrote “Make You Feel” I wanted to write about the same guy! I’m happy with how it turned out. This is an acoustic rendition but we love doing it as a band as well. I hope you enjoy!

Copyright © Matthew Moran – 2007 (this recording 2013)


About Reaper

Reaper, in case you don’t know, is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).. aka: recording software. It is basically like ProTools, Cubase, Logic, and others. They provide a free download eval copy that NEVER runs out.. But, if you are going to use it, pay for it. It cost either $60 or about $300 depending on whether you are a full-blown studio or an individual or non-profit.

It accepts every plug-in I’ve thrown at it and has great instructions – both a downloadable PDF and online community.

Tread lightly on their souls and how we see criticism

How do you see criticism?

is this how you see criticism

I have a book out – second one actually – from a major publisher. This makes me an authority – on writing, putting content in front of people, and certainly on the impact of criticism on your psyche.

Well, it allows me to claim some authority.. you can decide whether I am worth listening to or not.

I know a few writers and aspiring writers. I know some songwriters and aspiring songwriters. I know a lot of people who do things and aspire to do things.

I just had a conversation with a writer friend of mine (hi.. you know who you are). This person wants to write and has some opportunities. But they are caught up in analyzing particulars – actually, they have been for the most part of a year and probably even longer. I told this person (see how gender neutral I am being) that they were mostly just scared! Everything else -  all the analysis – was to mask the fear.

Called out! BAM!!!

Guess how I know that this person is scared? Because they (we/I) are all scared! I’d say scared shitless but I don’t really know what that means and I find the reference sort of gross.. poopy talk went out after 1st grade – ahh.. the sophistication of 2nd grade.

Why are they scared?

Because their soul has been exposed.. or at least that is how it feels. You put out an essay, an article, a poem, a song, an idea, and you are open for criticism. Sure.. you are open for kudos and kind words but as I mentioned before, our natural tendency is to focus on and hear more loudly the criticism.

I’ve told this story before but it is worth repeating.

I spoke for a professional organization a couple years ago. As part of the presentation, they provide feedback on the overall presentation, it’s delivery, and the perceived value. I’m going to show you what my feedback looked like and my perception of it.

The actual feedback.

This graph shows what was turned into me.. black and white, simply numbers in columns.
the actual critique

Pretty good right. 23 responses. 21 excellent. 1 Good. 1 Poor. Hmmmm……

My perception of the feedback

how I saw the critique

No seriously. It was like this in my head. I sat there wondering what/how I could have reached that one person more effectively. I wondered what I did wrong! If you say you don’t ever do this you are either a) crazy – and not in a good way.. or b) lying. Maybe both.. probably both.

I’m not suggesting you ignore feedback but something like this might be telling more about that one person in the “poor” column more than it reveals anything about your presentation, book, song, etc.

There is also something to be said about finding your audience. I may not be a fan of arrhythmic/atonal music (I call it noise) but there are people who do listen to it.

A better filter

This might be a better way for me to view it (below). I’ll bold those numbers a bit and highlight the positive. The numbers matter somewhat, so if you find what you are doing appeals to no one, you might try to determine why that is the case.
a healthy perspective

So tread lightly

When providing feedback tread lightly on the artist’s, speaker’s, entrepreneur’s, child’s soul! Remember, they, like me, are likely to filter it almost exactly as I did above.

And provide some positive feedback (I am not fishing for compliments here) because critics, in general, are abnormally active and often just plain mean. As people, we tend to be vocal about what we don’t like and let what we do like pass largely unrecognized.

Tread lightly on their souls.

Live Streaming for Writing, Speakers, Musicians, and Other Creatives

I’ve used live streaming for a few years.. although, far less than I believe I should have. This is an short overview aimed at musicians but will have relevance to others interested in live streaming as a medium.

I’ve streamed some presentations, some gigs with my band, and a few solo performances. More recently, I several videocast called, “Concerts, Coaching, Coffee, & Conversation.” In these I might talk about a topic or technology, answer questions or allow the introduction of another topic, and play a few songs.

It’s been fun for sure, and I am getting some great feedback and had a few people join my mailing list.

I believe this is a great medium for performers, writers, speakers, and others whose professional direction includes a somewhat personality driven medium – ie: people follow you and your product.

Below are some general lessons and then some technical specifics.

Here are some lessons I am learning and some goals moving forward.

  • Energy is critical, especially when response is hard/impossible to guage.
    This is true for any performer and even a speaker in live situations. When you have a tough room, it can be daunting. And at those times, it is even more critical to increase your energy.With live streaming, the room is tough because you cannot see your audience at all. You don’t know if they are eating lunch and have you muted and are actually just chatting on Facebook. Sure, you get the occasional chat that says, “good tune” or “ha” or “interesting” – but typically, 2 or 3 out of 10 people might make a comment. Are the others sitting there, arms crossed, a dour expression on their face?
  • Don’t script it but some notes might be helpful
    Live streaming is like self-shot TV or radio. You don’t have the crew to play off of – or at least, I and others I know do not. You need to keep things moving. I usually write some notes on a piece of paper, just to look at once in awhile. The truth is, most of the time, I can mostly wing-it.. but the notes have proven helpful in reminding me of ideas I wanted to convey.I also try to jot down 2 or 3 songs that I can choose from.. I more or less decide on the fly which songs to perform unless there is a song with a specific message related to my primary topic.
  • Tell personal stories to provide context
    Live streaming is different than webinars. I provide webinars and there is a more or less linear discussion; a more strict outline. In those instances I am teaching.With live streaming, I am “riffing” – sort of ad-hoc with some general idea of where I’d like to go. But personal stories liven things up and give viewers some insight into who you are and what makes you tick. Be comfortable that you are the host of your own show.. step into the role.
  • Test the technology
    Because stuff happens. I was running sound through my mixer into my computer’s mic in. I wanted the better quality and control using my mixer and condenser microphone. It sounded awesome through the headphones but coming into a non-passive input (my powered laptop), there was an awful hum. I didn’t know until viewers told me.Get that stuff dialed in prior and do a few test runs. Get a couple friends on the other side of your stream to give you feedback.

    While I’ve used the external mics on my laptop, there are challenges with this. Placement is difficult and if someone is helping  you by typing responses to viewers, the mics pick up the keyboard sound. I use a Yeti USB Condenser Mic – and it sounds awesome! I also use an external camera on a tripod – rather than my built in web cam. Both for quality and, similar to the built-in mic, positioning. I can place both the mic and the camera away from my laptop.

    Nike got this right. No amount of preparation will truly prepare you or make you better at live streaming than live streaming. Schedule it like it is an appointment (the past two weeks for me not-withstanding) and keep the appointment. If it turns out that it is just you and a friend… do the show anyway.

Here are some services I use or have used and my quick assessment of them.

  • This is pretty cool. Well integrated social media tools and the ability to have a producer control some aspects of the stream and the ability to bring others on video with you.. sort of a group video conversation.
  • Some guys out of the UK built this streaming site for musicians, by musicians. They’ve integrated a paypal tipping system.
  • I haven’t used them in awhile. They were one of the first truly effective streaming services. One drawback (and they may have changed this) is that unless you are paying their high fees, they have full-screen interruption ads – that stop your stream entirely – every 5 or so minutes. And you, as the streamer, have no idea when these are happening. That made it a no go for me.
  • They have a really nice “producer” app – you can show your computer screen while also showing your webcam. Their chat in their producer was so small and you could not modify the font, that I stopped using it.
  •  Not truly a streaming service. This is a webinar service. But it is free and if you do NOT share your screen or show slides, your video takes the screen. The nice part, is you can require registration and even payment for your show.

Are you streaming? If not, why?