- A professional music geek. Also broadcaster, writer, public speaker and consultant.
Alan Cross is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock and is a respected also known as a musicologist and documentarian. He’s written four books, works as a public speaker, has a national newspaper column in Canada and co-hosts a weekly podcast called Geeks & Beats. He also serves as head of Canadian Curation for Songza. Alan has been deeply involved exploring the present and future relationships between music, technology and social networking. More information can be found at www.ajournalofmusicalthings.com .
- radio, journalism, public speaking, writing, broadcasting, music curation, radio hosting
- indie rock, alternative, classic rock, music, alternative rock
Interesting project. Stevie seems to be experiencing some kind of renaissance right now, so your timing might be bang-on. Keep me posted as you get closer to the release date for the EP. Perhaps there's something we can do once it's out.
This is another good one. Nice stretching of your style. And you're right about the MGMT-ness of your production. Keep hammering away at getting on those playlists. Have you got yourself a radio plugger yet? What about a manager? Or a publicist. It's probably time to think about those sorts of things. In fact, if you're looking for a publicist, I have someone I can recommend. Just hit me up at email@example.com and I'll connect you. Meanwhile, keep dribbling out product on a regular basis for your fanbase. Remember, too, that you need to play the long game. It's gotta be about the music first before any money can come along. I'll spread this around through my usual outlets.
I like it. Good production with some unexpected and surprising twists in the arrangement. 1. I'd strongly suggest you submit this to SiriusXM, including the XMU and The Verge channels. They're all over this kind of sound. And the CBC (Radio 3 for sure) as well as any campus station you can find. 2. Carve out 30 seconds for TikTok. Someone might pick this up for...something and cause it to blow up big. You never know right now. 3. Keep contacting as many music blogs as you can. They're all looking to discover something new. That includes FYIMusic.ca. They're a great champion for new indie stuff. 4. Follow up on any and all social media reactions. That's an excellent way to convert people into fans, even if it is one at a time. I'll forward this to some of my contacts to see what they say. Good luck.
Good bit of Americana. Nice work with songwriting, performance, and production. Good video, too. Where did you find a Javelin in that kind of shape? (That IS a Javelin, right? Or is it some kind of Chrysler/Dodge?) This is the sort of music that spreads fastest through live performance. That's obviously very challenging but not entirely impossible right now. Do what you can. Meanwhile, you might want to consider a radio plugger to help you get this to the right people at the CBC, SiriusXM, and campus radio. It could also find so life on commercial radio--country, maybe?--that given the Canadian radio landscape, that may be a bit of a stretch. Still... Keep in mind that any musician today is in it for the long haul. Keep dribbling out new material to your fans on a regular basis. (Hip-hop artists have this figured out.) Keep pushing things on social media. (Don't forget TikTok!) I'll share this with the people I know. Good luck!
Nice. Definitely a Wallflowers sort of feel along with the Replacements. Good to hear some old-school emphasis on guitars. The question is now where do you go from here? Now it's time to market yourself. That's where the challenges come in. The old ways--getting signed, selling records--aren't terribly viable anymore UNLESS you have numbers to back you up. How many gigs have you played? What's your social media followers count across ALL platforms (including TikTok)? What are your streaming numbers (including YouTube)? One of the things I'd do is look at a platform called Viberate (www.viberate.com) which helps you track your music across multiple platforms in multiple ways. It helps musicians such as yourself nurture and plan careers, right down to individual songs. Second, radio airplay outside of campus radio could be tough as playlists seem to be tighter than ever. However, don't ignore the CBC and The Verge on SiriusXM, either. Finally, submit your stuff to as many blogs as you can. Every one of them wants to get credit for discovering the next big thing. I'll share this with my networks. That'll be good for about 100,000 people.
I like it! Nice pop-punk with a distinctive vocal delivery. Tell you what: If you send me a high-quality MP3, I might be able to use it for a radio feature here in Toronto. I'll need a three-line bio, too. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Very interesting. I like the wooziness of it all and the tempo changes. And I couldn't stop watching the video for some reason. Where do you see a track like this going? It's hard to classify it as radio-friendly except for perhaps speciality shows on stations like BBC Radio 6 and maybe NPR in the US. I see it more as a proof-of-concept, an introduction to what you can do and where you're at musically. That will mean gauging reaction (and providing reponses to) social media feedback. It might be worth floating this past music supervisors for use in film and TV. You never know what they might need. The other thing I'll do is offer this up on my social networks. That'll be good for about 100,000 people.
This is REALLY good. Nice work with songwriting, performance, and production. Wonderfully atmospheric. I hope you're considering how you might licensing this for some kind of sync opportunity. I can see this working well in film or TV. Tell you what: If you send me a high-quality MP3 after the album gets released, I'll see what I can do about getting you a radio play on 102.1 The Edge/Toronto. Use email@example.com. Oh--and send me a three-line bio so I can talk about you.
Nice. I like it. Good songwriting, performance, and production. I definitely hear the Smiths influence in the vocals, lyrics, and jangly guitars. No notes from me in this area. And I'm glad to see that you've embraced both TikTok and Instagram. Those are places where you'll have the best luck picking up social media traction. And make sure you respond to each and every comment that comes in. It's all about converting people into fans one person at a time. If you send me a high-quality MP3, I can see about getting you some feature radio play here in Toronto. I'll need a 3-line bio, too. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org I'll share this on my social networks, too. That's good for about 100,000 people.
Very nice. Smooth, atmospheric, and soothing. I can see this doing well in certain corners of the EDM world. It also has wide international appeal, which is more important than ever today. The goal now is to spread the word on the track. I'd concentrate on getting this song to as many DJs as possible using DJ pools and blogs. Another thought would be to team up with well-known DJs for multiple remixes. This song could easily be reshaped into different forms for different purposes. And I'm sure you're already thinking about ways to spread this throughout the yoga world. You no doubt have plenty of contacts. Make sure they know about the song for their classes. Well done. Let me spread this among my social networks. That'll be good for about 100,000 people.
Love the name "Incendiary Sweet!" Nicely done. Good songwriting and performance. I might have done the final mix a little differently--it sounds a bit too compressed for me--but it's a lovely song. Some tips: 1. You have to be in this for the long run. Nothing's going to happen overnight. Instead, work on building your fanbase one person at a time. This means having a strong social media strategy and responding to everyone who makes a comment on your tunes. 2. Think about posting a couple of 30-second clips on TikTok. If the stars align, someone will pick it up for...something and it'll go viral. 3. Playing live will be important. Easier said than done, I know, but things are starting to pick up. You'll get your shot. If you don't have an agent or a manager, now is the time to start looking. 4. Keep writing and releasing songs. The most effective strategy these days seems to be a constant drip-drip-drip of new material to keep fans engaged. The idea of saving everything up for an album seems passe in the digital era. 5. Consider a lyric video. You need to be on all the streaming services, including YouTube. 6. Start making friends with music supervisors. Maybe something like this could be placed in a TV show or film. 7. Once you have all your ducks in a row, consider a radio plugger to help you get your songs in front of the right people. Hope that helps! Good luck.
Another good one, although obviously more poppy. There's a definite late 70s vibe to everything, largely because of the string arrangement. (Real disco c. 1979). I'd consider using this as a B-side or bonus rather than a single because of its retro feel. Then again, this might work well in territories other than North America. I could hear this on BBC 6 Music or on radio in France. You might be able to extend your international reach with this one.
Very pleasant and uplifting! Good songwriting, performance, and production. Nothing much from me on those points. Something like this could easily live on a number of SiriusXM channels, so make sure you submit everything to them. It's also something that music supervisors might consider for use in TV and film. Finally, I'd really consider carving out a couple of 30-second bits for posting on TikTok. Something like this could turn into some sort of wonderful organic thing if it's picked up and spread. You could even do something yourself.
Well done! I like the vibe, performance, and production. Powerful message. Good video, too. A song like this could fit in any number of places: alt-pop, R&B, AAA, even jazz to a certain respect. You'll certainly need a plugger of some sort who can target all these different opportunities. You should also let various refugee organizations know that the song exists. You'll need a social media strategy to both spread the word on the song and the message. I'd target Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for your posts. Remember, too, that you're in this for the long run. It could take weeks or even months before the song finds traction somewhere. Don't be discouraged if things don't pop right away. Instead, keep writing and releasing material on a regular basis. That's the way it's being done these days: A regular drip-drip-drip of new material for fans. Keep them engaged! Good luck! I'll share this with my networks, which is about 120,000 people.
Pleasant stuff. A couple of thoughts: 1. This version of the recording seems to lack some high-end sparkle in the mix, resulting in a slight dulled impression (at least to my ears). 2. Same with the vocals. They sound a bit dry somehow. The singer has a great voice and delivery, but I'm not sure she comes through enough. 3. You're competing in a genre that's quite crowded with similar-sounding songs. (This would fit nicely in a category that some called "yacht rock.") You're going to have to fight to make yourself heard through all the noise. That might involve taking a 30 clip to TikTok to see if it has any possibility of turning viral. It's a struggle to get heard these days. Songs need to be absolutely GREAT to have a chance. To cut through. I'm not sure that what you've got here is enough to attract that critical mass of attention.
This is good. We desperately need more female-fronted rock these days. Here's what I need: Send me a high-quality MP3 or WAV file to email@example.com and I'll see what I can do about getting you a feature play on The Edge. Deal? Oh, and I also need a three-line bio. I don't recognize the studio. Where was this done?
This is good.. And you're right: there's too little of this stuff being made these days. Some good noise from just three guys. I can imagine how this might sound live. Powerful stuff. About the only thing I can suggest is to go hard with social media. You might even take the riff and post it on TikTok to see if anyone does something with it. Meanwhile, I'll share this with my networks. That's good for about 100,000 people.
Nice stuff. Certainly in line with what's happening with rock and alt-rock today. However, I'm not sure about the middle section starting at around 2:42. I see what you're trying to achieve with the dynamics, but the way it's produced it doesn't quite work. I'd almost consider an edit at 2:56 and restarting at 3:21. This would have the added bonus of bringing the song down to less than four minutes, something that might have an impact on radio programmers. (Silly, I know. But there are still people who think that way.) Give the edit a shot and send it around to some friends who wiill be honest with you. And good luck!
Love the title. Got my attention right away. Definitely a lo-fi recording without a lot of bottom end. Is this a demo or a final mix? If you're looking for advice, I'd look at beefing up the bass and creating a mix that has more stereo separation. It shouldn't be that hard to turn this into a Husker Du-like performance that would just KILL. The song is definitely there. I'd just like the recording to sound BIGGER, you know?
Okay, this is a first. No one has ever sent me material from a musical before. I'm not entirely sure I'm qualified to critique something of this nature, but I certainly enjoyed it. I hadn't heard of the project before. And I do love science fiction. Tell you what: Let me spread this around through my networks (that's about 100,000 people) to see if we can ignite any buzz. Deal?
I like it. Garage-y heartland rock. Sounds pretty radio-ready to me. But first thing's first. 1. Superserve whatever audience and fanbase you have so far. Turn them into evangelists for what you're doing. 2. Consider posting something on TikTok. Take 30 seconds--probably from the chorus--and get it up there. It costs nothing and could turn into something organically big. 3. Follow up on your YouTube posts with more music. You can't possibly have enough stuff out there. You're not going to make money selling your music--no one is--so use these last months of the pandemic to prepare people for your live return. Tell you what: Send me a high-quality MP3 with a three-line bio and I'll see if I can get you some feature airplay on 102.1 the Edge. Deal?
Nice work. It's a little hard to categorize in terms of genre, but it's certainly well done. A couple of questions: 1. What's your target audience? Whoever it is, make sure you pay very close attention to their feedback. Feed them more music as often as possible. 2. With material like this, data is going to be your best friend. When this is posted on the streaming music services, make sure you dig into the analytics to find out where you're getting traction. Where are your listeners? How many playlists have included your songs? Which of them have had the most plays? Data will be your guiding light about where to how and how to superserve your fans. 3. This might have legs in the world of sync and licensing. Maybe it's time to make friends with some music supervisors. Good luck. I'll share this among my social networks. That'll be good for about 100,000 people.
Nice production and performance! Everything sounds big and full. Very well done. Love the hook in the chorus, too. This sort of material should find purchase with the more mature (i.e. older, more experienced) music fan. There's something about it that reminds me of what we used to play on alt-rock radio in the 80s. A track like this would have been remixed into an extended dance mix in a nano second. I'm actually sad that the song ended. I'd love to have seen you experiment with a long rhythm jam after the second chorus before returning to it as a coda. Tell you what: Send me a high-quality MP3 (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with a three-line bio and I'll see what I can do about a feature spin on 102.1 the Edge/Toronto.
Nice. A bit long for radio these days so I'd consider some kind of edit. Keep it under 4:30 if you can. (I know that's not fair from an artistic point of view, but such is the world.) Other than that, good performance and production. I'm not sure this is strong enough to be a single, but it's certainly a worthy album track, something for fans to later discover and enjoy. To be single-worthy, you need a couple of memorable vocal hooks beyond the underlying guitar riff. Remember that you're competing with the other 75 million songs on Spotify, including the greats of all time. Your immediate goal should be to continue to write, record, and grow. Build that portfolio of songs. What do you envision for your music? Where will it live? And do you have an idea of the kind of music fan you want to reach? You'll have to find answers for these questions in order to help with your career. Keep working at it. Meanwhile, I'll share this around.
Very well done. Good chops on behalf of all the players. Nice production. And it's good that you have a music video, too. YouTube is a massive source of music discovery. That being said, the structure and nature of the song don't scream "hit single." This is an excellent album track, one for fans to discover once they are led to you. That's not a criticism; it's just how radio and streaming work. And it is good that you can demonstrate this kind of ability. Tracks like this will show your musical skills, something that is definitely appreciated by a portion of your audience. If you have something a little more commercial (i.e. something with simple hooks), focus on that as a single. But keep making music like this, too.
Nice work. Good songwriting, performance, and production. I particularly like the way the guitar comes through during the solo. Nice use of stereo imaging. You've got something up on YouTube. That's good. You can't make it without being found there. I like the idea of multiple artwork. That's something that far too many people are ignoring these days. Tell you what: send a high-quality MP3 to email@example.com so I can have it around for some possible airplay. And send a three-line bio, too. Meanwhile, I'll share this on my social networks.
This is really nice, certainly in keeping with the current sound of alt-pop. I'd definitely think about carving out 30 seconds for use in TikTok videos. I can see this sort of thing potentially blowing up on that platform. Interesting keyboard sounds, too. Right out of the mid-80s. Any vintage synths used in this song? Tell you what: Send me a high-quality MP3 along with a three-line bio and I'll see what I can do about getting you a feature play on 102.1 the Edge/Toronto.
Nice stuff. No notes from me on songwriting, performance, or production. Given your story, the most powerful thing you can do to spread the word is to play live. Obviously, that's not an option at the moment, but when things open up again you have a chance to be tremendously inspirational. Tell you what: Send a high-quality MP3 and a three-line bio to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll see if I can get you some feature play on 102.1 the Edge/Toronto.
I like it, although it took a couple of listens for everything to really sink once. Once it did, though, my head was bopping along. Good job with the visualizer video, too. You gotta have something on YouTube so people know you exist. What's the plan now? You'll need some kind of social media strategy to get the word out on what you're doing. I'd seriously think about getting something on TikTok right now as well as Instagram. Those are the big word-of-mouth platforms these days. And make sure you respond to everyone who leaves a comment. I should point out that the multiple uses of the word "godammit" is probably going to turn off some radio programmers. (Listeners can be so goddam sensitive these days.) Keep it up--and let me know when more music is available.
This is a very good demo that will benefit greatly from a professional studio and producer. I can imagine a few things I'd do with the mix to make the song sound bigger and more powerful without changing anything about the performances. Go listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Couldn't Stand the Weather" and you'll hear what I'm talking about. With the state of music today, I see this as a country song more than anything else. Once you get everything released, I'd get a radio plugger to focus on those sorts of stations as well as the CBC. And is there money in the budget to create a music video? Even a lyric video is better than nothing. You need ot be on YouTube. Good luck with the project. Let me share this on my social networks, too.
This is really, really good. I enjoyed it immensely. Nice songwriting, performance, and production. Obviously, though, in today's musical environment, you're working in something of a niche. Don't worry about that, though. Work to build over the long-term. Superserve any fans you have now and any new ones who jump on board. I'd strongly suggest that you check out the brand-new Spotify Fan Study (Just google it) and absorb the data and the recommendations. It provides some EXCELLENT advice for building a career. Good luck! Let me share this on my socials.
This is really well done, especially for a self-produced project. I can also imagine what this song could become in the hands of a professional producer in a pro recording studio. I'd treat this as a high-quality demo that should be shopped around. Two ideas: Get something up on YouTube, even a lyric video or a visualizer. Second, carve out 30 seconds from this song and post yourself on TikTok. This is the kind of material that could blow up on that platform, especially considering your age. The biggest user group on TikTok are people between 13-24. They're hungry for someone of their own age. Good luck and let me spread this around through my social networks. That's good for about 100,000 people.
Interesting track with its various movements. Excellent production, too. This might just be different enough to catch the ears of some radio programmers. I'd certainly be willing to give it a feature on my station. Tell you what: If you send me a high-quality MP3 and a three-line bio, I'll see what I can do, okay? Us email@example.com
Ah! You're back! Glad to see that you've been working hard on new material. The more you have in your portfolio and the greater your social media following, the better chance you'll have at attracting attention from the right people. Same deal as before: Send me a high-quality MP3 and I'll see what I can do about a feature on The Edge. Include a new three-line bio, too. Use firstname.lastname@example.org
Well done! Admittedly, this sort of music is outside my usual expertise, but I do appreciate the work that went into the composition, performance, and recording. What's the plan for going forward? Performance? Scoring for movies and TV? Further recording? Perhaps radio play on classical stations? The only thing I can offer is to share this with people on my social networks. That's good for about 100,000 folks. Well done and keep composing!
Nice. Given the sound, production, and arrangement, this might be best for a country crowd, although I wouldn't ignore adult contemporary stations and perhaps the CBC. I'd also start making friends with music supervisors. This sounds like something that could end up in a TV or movie production. Social media will be VERY important. Facebook should be one platform but think about TikTok, too. The lyrical sentiments in the song may inspire some TikTok videos. If they blow up, well... I'll circulate this around to my networks. Good luck!
Nice bit of alt-pop. Lovely harmonies. No notes from me on songwriting, performance, or production. Well done! A couple of questions: 1. Is there a video planned? YouTube is still the biggest music discovery site, so even a lyric video would be helpful. 2. And you're right: This has potential for synch and licensing. Time to source out some music supervisors at both production houses and agencies. Start by getting this track to as many blogs as you possibly can. 3. Social media will help, too. I'd carve out 30 seconds for a TikTok video. It can't hurt to see what might happen. If you send me a high-quality MP3, I can pass around. Deal?
Very interesting (and cool name, too!) Love the vibe and production. No notes from me on any of that. What's the plan going forward? Radio play? Streaming? Licensing and sync? All these avenues need to be explored. (A caution re: radio: Focus on satellite radio and campus stations. You might find some commercial stations willing to take a chance on a new music show, but that's a tough nut to crack.) If there's money in the budget, put up a YouTube video, even if it's only a visualizer or lyric video. You gotta be on that platform. Exploit the themes you explore in this song. Make sure it gets out to as many LGBTQ+ sites as you can. You're bound to find support there. Meanwhile, think about excising a 30-second clip for TikTok and posting something there. I can see this being a powerful song for going viral. Good luck--and please keep making music.
Interesting approach. This does have a similar production feel to some of the polished rock of the 80s (think Mike + the Mechanics and 80s-era Moody Blues) especially in some of the keyboard sounds. This may push the song outside the realms of some current radio formats, but I wouldn't worry too much about that. If this is what you do, then work on being the best that you can be. Good use of found video. You gotta be on YouTube or you just don't exist. That's a face. As for social media support, Facebook might be the best as users tend to be older and therefore more amenable to the slight retro sound of this song. The best thing artist can do these days is keep writing and releasing material. Build a portfolio. Create a YouTube channel. Refer everything to that link. And interact with everyone who makes a comment. Good luck!
Very sweet and wistful. The horns are an excellent production touch. This is certainly radio-ready for AAA, campus, and public radio like the CBC and NPR. If you have a good radio plugger, that's where his/her attention should be directed. Same thing for any publicist you might hire. Can you afford a YouTube video? Even a lyric video is better than nothing. YouTube remains the most popular streaming platform in the universe, so you have to be there. This song is certainly a candidate for a licensing/sync deal for movies and TV. Time to make friends with some music supervisors. And hang in there with the pandemic. This has to end sometime and you'll be back to playing gigs. Nothing beats having an audience tell you the truth about your material in real time. Lemme forward this around to some people, okay?
Very nice stuff. Tough to place genre-wise, but that's okay given that genres are so blurred these days. The only thing that stands out is how the vocal was recorded--not the performance but how the vocal itself was processed. I'm not entirely sure what I'd change, but another producer might be able to give you some advice on that. Same thing with the overall mix. It's good, but when I turned this up loud, I THINK I could hear different ways of blending the tracks together. Then again, I'm not a producer. This is something that should be directed (at least at first) at public, radio, community radio, and anyone who would be receptive to Jeff Buckley/Elliott Smith-style material. You should also work your social networks really hard on this in order to turn any early fans into evangelists. I'll give this a boost with my social networks. Hopefully this will get you some extra attention. Good luck!