Alan Cross

Alan Cross


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Alan Cross

Title
A professional music geek. Also broadcaster, writer, public speaker and consultant.
Bio
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 .
Website
Expertise
radio, journalism, public speaking, writing, broadcasting, music curation, radio hosting
Interests
indie rock, alternative, classic rock, music, alternative rock
Location
Toronto

Send to Alan Cross

help

Recent Feedback

Frederic Winther submitted media.

Sugar In The Clouds by Nova Waves

Alan Cross

This is good. REALLY good. There's a George Harrison wooziness. And I certainly hear the Radiohead influence. I found myself turning things up about 15 seconds into the song. I wish it was longer, too. Good job with the video. The things you can do when you're in lockdown, right?

Tell you what: If you send me a high-quality MP3 I'll see if I can get this some radio airplay on 102.1 the Edge/Toronto. Use alan@edge.ca for the drop.

Carmine Stoppiello submitted media.

Vacant Winds by Creeptones

Alan Cross

Well done! This track must have been a bitch to mix with all those layers. Nice harmonies, too. I hear a touch of Squeeze in the vocals. Good restraint. None of the players are looking to overwhelm the song with flashy bits. You've obviously learned that everyone needs to serve the song and not play to impress. 

Certainly no notes from me on songwriting, performance, or production.

It's good to see what you're in contact with as many blogs as you can. I'm always encouraging new artists to make friends with bloggers because every one of them is looking to take credit for The Next Big Thing.

I'm also guessing that you've figured out a social media strategy. Answer every response to everything you post. That's how you turn early vans into evangelists. 

Is there money for a lyric video? You want to have something on YouTube simply because it's still the biggest source of music discovery out there. 

As for finding a home for this song on radio, that might be touch. It sort of falls in the gaps between genres, something that commercial radio has a hard time comprehending. I'd study what Future Islands does. They've somehow managed to carve out a nice fanbase despite almost no commercial airplay. They live on campus stations, community radio, and SiriusXM. Is that a viable route for you?

Let be spread this around my networks. That'll be good for at least 100,000 people. Good luck and keep it up!

David Nyro submitted media.

Skeleton at the Feast by David Nyro

Alan Cross

Hi, David

Generally, this is pretty good. I do feel, however, that something different could be done with the way the vocals are processed. There's a definite Peter Gabriel feel to your sound which is very interesting. I'm not sure what production tricks should be employed, but I'd experiment with ways with various types of processing to bring out more of the character of your voice. 

Songwriting, performance, and production are well done, too. I wonder what a different engineer would do with the overall mix? That's not to say there's anything wrong with what you present; it's just that I can hear options. 

And yes, that is a cool guitar solo. I like the tone. Almost Gilmour-esque.

A couple of questions:

1. What are your long-term goals? A recording contract? Live gigs (when we can get back to them)? Licensing and sync? Each requires different and specific approaches.

2. I'm not sure where you are in your career right now, but what you can always do is build a following of early fans. Labels love when you can approach them with a turn-key solution. That will require a social media strategy in which you can turn these people into evangelists. 

3. Send out links (and where applicable, MP3s and hard copies) to as many music blogs as you can think of. That includes British music magazines like Classic Rock and Mojo. That's where proggy stuff gets the most love these days--at least in print. 

4. If there's money in the budget, get something on YouTube, even if it's just a static or lyric video. YouTube is still insanely important when it comes to music discovery. Meanwhile, make sure you're on all the streaming services. You need to be there when someone discovers you. 

5. I'll forward this through my social networks. That's good for about 100,000 people.

Jordan Paul submitted media.

Night Moon by Jordan Paul

Alan Cross

First, a very cool video. Nice use of public domain footage. 

Second, great song! I'm going to download it for future feature use on 102.1 The Edge/Toronto. I'll also forward it through my social networks. That'll get you to about 100,000 people. 

Marc Anderson DesRochers submitted media.

Tender Box by Marc Anderson DesRochers

Alan Cross

Ah! You showed up here, too! Good to cover all your bases.

Like I said in the email, this is really pleasant stuff. No notes from me on songwriting, performance, or production. It's all very good.

So what's the plan? A recording career augmented by live gigs? Full-time or part-time? Do you hope to license your material for sync projects? 

Canadian radio will be a tough nut to crack for this genre outside of the CBC and some community stations. Jazz-FM in Toronto might also want to give this a listen. However, don't limit yourself to this country. Try submitting material to the BBC and other foreign broadcasters. 

You'll need a social media strategy that has you answering every comment that comes in. Turn those early fans into evangelists. Give the nature of the music, I'd start with Facebook because it tends to be used by an older demo. But don't ignore Instagram or TikTok. (TikTok is the wildcard here. Interesting things are unexpectedly blowing up.)

Back to licensing. You might want to start making friends with music supervisors. Getting a song in a TV show, movie, or commercial can be a very big deal. 

Do you have a manager? You'll need someone to take care of the business side for you. Part of a manager's job is to beat the bushes with your best interests in mind. And when we get back to playing live, get an agent. This kind of music is best heard live in an intimate setting.

Any interest in signing to a label? Reach out to one every day regardless of how unlikely it might be that they'd be interested. You never EVER know. And what would be the harm in reaching out to a well-known artist or two? They're just sitting around with nothing to do, just like the rest of us. Maybe you'll make a friend.

Hope that helps. Meanwhile, I'll send this out on my social networks. Hopefully that will spur some interest.

submitted media.

Dead Planet by Down The Void

Alan Cross

Nice. Lo-fi garage metal. Makes me think of early Sabbath or bands like Killdozer. 

You didn't mention what kind of advice you'd like, so I'm just going to go ahead and offer up some ideas.

1. Make friends with as many metal blogs as you can. You know the metal community; they're always looking for new stuff. And once you find someone that likes you, they REALLY like you. Each of those metal blogs is looking to discover the next big thing.

2. You need a social media strategy that covers Facebook, Instagram, and maybe even TikTok. Make sure you answer every response that comes in. That's the way to turn early fans into evangelists. 

3. If there's money in the budget, throw something up on YouTube, even if it's just a lyric video. YouTube remains the biggest source of music discovery out there.

4. You also need to be on ALL the streaming music services. 

5. Once COVID goes away, start networking within the metal community, including promoters. People will be desperate for gigs. 

6. What are your long-term goals? A recording career? Touring? Getting something on the radio? Working full-time or part-time? Something else? 

Like I said, I'm into this kind of stuff. I'll share it on my social networks. Hopefully that will create a little buzz. Good luck!

Peter Snow submitted media.

Oh Not Tonight by The Soviet Influence

Alan Cross

Good stuff. No notes from me on songwriting, performance, or production. 

Tell you what: send me high-quality MP3 and a short bio (3 lines max) and I'll try to get this a feature on 102.1 the Edge/Toronto. Use alan@alancross.ca 

Meanwhile, I'll pass this around my social networks.

submitted media.

UNSAID by Rise In Veins

Alan Cross

Yep. This is good. We need this kind of music more than ever these days.

When it comes to promotion, you'll need a solid social media strategy. Make sure that all comments receive replies so you can turn early fans into evangelists. And if there's money in the budget, create a video for YouTube. Even a lyric video is better than nothing. And you are on all the music streaming platforms right?

Are you looking for radio airplay? Then you need a publicist/plugger to help get the right attention. Look for rock stations with new music shows and submit this.

Tell you what: Send me high quality MP3 and a short bio and I'll do what I can to get you a feature play on 102.1 the Edge. Use alan@alancross.ca. Meanwhile, let me promote this on my social networks. That'll be good for about 100,000 people.

Dread Fury submitted media.

Alan Cross

Interesting lofi sound. I like the choice of sounds (the organ surprised me--in a good way.) 

What's the plan now? Radio airplay? Licensing? Something else? A couple of thoughts:

1. If there's money in the budget, make a video for YouTube. Even a basic lyric video is better than nothing. YouTube is still the biggest music discovery platform on the planet. For some people, if you're not there, you don't exist.

2. I like the licensing potential of this song. It's got a vibe that would work well for moody TV shows. Time to start talking to music supervisors. Look how Michael Kiwanuka managed to leverage his music.

3. Is there a 30-portion of the song you could carve out for use on TikTok? Again, the moodiness of the track might lend itself to some sort of TikTok use. 

4. Make friends with as many music bloggers as you can. Every one of them is hoping to discover The Next Big Thing. Distribute this song far and wide.

5. You'll need a social media strategy, too. What about getting something out on Instagram? Facebook might work, too, because users tend to be older now. Older demos might be where you find the newest fans. And when you do find something responding to your music, make sure you engage them with a response.

6. Live gigs are obviously out of the question for the time being, but it's not too early to prep for the end of the pandemic lockdowns. Think about how you'd like to take this music to live audiences later this year.

Good start. Keep it up. I'll share this with people on my social networks. 

Silas Price submitted media.

Alan Cross

Damn. This is good. Great video. GREAT video. I couldn't stop watching because I wanted to see where it was all going. 

Is there something you can excise from this song for TikTok? You might have a chance at creating something organic and cool with it. 

Other that than, I have no notes. It's all good. I'll promote this on my social networks. That'll be good for at least 100,000 people. Here's hoping you get some good Patreon reaction.

Simeon Ross submitted media.

Alan Cross

Okay, this is great. Zero notes from me. In fact, I'm going to include this on my first "5 Songs You Must Hear This Week" list for 2020. That'll be up on January 5. Nice work!

submitted media.

Not Waiting by Keegan Chambers

Alan Cross

First, I love the video. Very stylish. As for the music, this is right now the same lane as some symphonic metal as well as Evanescense. Well done! No notes from me on songwriting, performance, or production. 

The trick now is to rise above the noise to get heard. That means working your social networks hard to turn all early fans into evangelists. And these days, that also includes TikTok. I'd carve out 30 seconds for use on that platform. Get enough organic growth and labels will start paying attention.

If radio airplay is in the cards, then you need a good publicist/plugger to get this in the ears of program and music directors.

Tell you what: Send me a high-quality MP3 and a quick bio and I'll get you a feature play on 102.1 the Edge. Deal? Use alan@alancross.ca 

Jeremy Harris submitted media.

Alan Cross

Even as a major Paul McCartney fan, I cannot forgive Macca for this travesty. Any attempt to rewrite it is welcome. I'm definitely going to post this on my website (look for it Monday, December 21) and share it on all my social networks.

Ben Andress submitted media.

hypnotic by TriTri

Alan Cross

Nice. In line with a lot of music that's coming out today, including length. Material in this genre is getting shorter and shorter, so a two-minute song isn't a bad idea.

Now that you've got the EP coming out, what's your social media strategy? You'll need to turn early fans into evangelists. But how? Instagram will be your friend, but you gotta get something up on TikTok. Get some buddies to do a 30-second video of them doing...something to your song. Post them, promote them, and pray that it takes off.

Read this: https://www.ajournalofmusicalthings.com/tiktoks-year-end-review-reveals-some-big-numbers/

You need to get some grassroots/organic traction outside the usual recording music industry lanes. The online route really needs to be studied. Good luck!

margø submitted media.

someone else by margø

Alan Cross

I like this. Another good one from you. But I kept waiting for a big anthemic chorus--and it never came. The song is littered with hooks but not the ONE BIG HOOK that will turn it into an earworm. That's where the chorus comes in--and it doesn't appear.

If you could rework this to include that anthemic singalong section, you've got a hit.

Jeremy Harris submitted media.

Faeces Foot by Tough Stains

Alan Cross

Love the name. And father-son? Cool! 

I'm not sure what I can do with this, but leave it with me. I'll figure it out. I'll also share this on my social networks.

Pete Henry submitted media.

Best of Me by Pete Henry

Alan Cross

Nice tight song. I'm guessing that this is a home recording, too, done live to tape. The rawness is good but it could still use a little sheen when it comes to the final mix. Not much, but I'd prefer a tiny bit more high-end with the master just to give it a little more sparkle.

So what's next? 

1. How are you going to promote this in a time when you can't play live.
2. Is radio or a record deal in the plans? If so, you'll need to demonstrate that you have a fanbase that will work as evangelists for you. And you'll need a plugged to help you out.
3. You need to be on every single streaming service out there.

Good job overall. I'll share this with people on my networks. That'll be good for about 100,000 folks.

Eamonn Conor submitted media.

Dig Deeper by Eamonn Conor

Alan Cross

Solid contemporary pop/hot AC. Nothing from me on songwriting, performance, or production. I have some connections with the Canadian radio industry, so let me pass this one. Meanwhile, I'll also offer this up to my social networks. That's good for about 100,000 people.

David Nyro submitted media.

Sanctuary by David Nyro

Alan Cross

I like this. It's aimed at a mature music fan who is still into acts like Warren Zevon, John Hiatt, Randy Newman, Cat Stevens, etc. Yes, it has a nostalgic feel, but it doesn't come across as dated. The vocals south authentic, human, and without that stupid sheen of perfection so much of today's music has. 

The only thing I'd recommend is offering a radio edit. At six minutes, this will be a bit long for some programmers.

In short, I think you have something here. It's now time to start getting the word out on what you're doing. That includes getting something on YouTube, even if it's just a lyric video. Over 2 billion people watch music videos on YouTube every month. You need to be there.

Targeted Facebook ads are a great idea, too. Narrow things down by demo. Find some people to give you endorsement blurbs, too. They help.

Good luck!

Jonathan Sohn submitted media.

Murder by The Mendozaz

Alan Cross

This is good! My favourite kind of stuff. Tell you what: send a high-quality MP3 to alan@edge.ca and I'll see what I can do about giving this a feature play on The Edge. Deal?

Boris Buhot submitted media.

Black Days by One Eyed Oracle

Alan Cross

I like it, but the mix sounds, if not a bit muffled, less sparkly than your past stuff. Not the vocals but the instrumentation. And the stereo image feels a lot tighter and concentrated. 

Beyond that, I like the Iggy-ness of the performance. If the music sounded bigger, it would definitely have better potential.

Sorry for the negativeness, but you come here for an honest evaluation, right?

Wax Theatrics submitted media.

Alan Cross

I like it. Shades of Ben Folds and even a little Talk Talk and Todd Rundgren. Nicely anthemic. too. Good video as well. 

Tell you what: If you send a high-quality MP3 to alan@alancross.ca (along with a three-line bio), I'll see if I can get this some feature play on 102.1 the Edge/Toronto.

David Nyro submitted media.

Alan Cross

Pretty solid stuff.

 I like the pre-chorus. It injects another hook into the song, including a couple in the first minute. Pretty good for sucking people into that magically 30-second zone on streaming music services.

A label might want to remix this to emphasize the rhythm track, which might make the song sound even bigger. I might augment the guitar in the bridge, too, bringing it up to add more of an anthemic soar to it. A couple of big, fat, layered chords might be worth a try. 

A final thought: removing eight bars on the extro. Get to that last chord a little quicker. 

Good luck. Lemme know what happens.


And you're right about sync opportunities. This has plenty of potential in that sphere. 

Simeon Ross submitted media.

Alan Cross

(Apologies. I thought I'd replied to this earlier this week. It may not have gone through.)

Clever video. So...Canadian (and I mean that in a great way.)

It's a nice track, although I do have some notes--the kind that you'd get from a radio guy.

1. The bridge seems a bit empty. Perhaps a guitar or piano line? That would add some emotional energy to the latter half of the song.

2. The song has half a hook. I'm not a songwriter, so I can't tell you what more it needs, but if could use a little more of an earworm in the chorus. 

That's about it--and again, that's just me. I'd encourage you to see how far you can take this track via all the usual pathways, including social media. Can you convert early fans into evangelists?

Brandon Linds submitted media.

SOS by Brandon Child

Alan Cross

Nice work. No notes from me on songwriting, performance, or production. Here are some things to think about when it comes to promotion.

1. You'll need a YouTube video, even if it's just a lyric one. The reality is that if you don't exist on YouTube, you don't exist.

2. A social media strategy is a MUST. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok will be vital to your success.  Once fans discover you, they're want to know more. Give them more. Answer every comment that comes in. And see if you can find someone to turn a 30-second clip of the song into a TikTok video. The goal is to generate organic word of mouth. If people believe the song is great, they will share it.

3. When the song is ready for release, don't ignore public, community, and campus radio. That can be a good ay to get started.

Good luck!

David Nyro submitted media.

Serious Nowhere by David Nyro

Alan Cross

You're the first guy in a long, long time to ask for specific feedback. VERY helpful!

Why, exact;ly, do you feel your vocals are lacking? I think your voice has character and an authentic flavour to it. It doesn't sound generic and has a nice rasp when you push it. Maybe what you need is a producer to help coach you through different ways of delivering lines. It's possible, too, that a good producer will help instill the confidence you need to turn in a truly stellar performance. 

So yes, you are too close to things. 

Maybe you need another approach, one that involves cultivating a fanbase via social media. Find early fans and nurture them into evangelists. Normally, you'd be able to get out and play live and start word of mouth that way. 

How about online fan concerts? Check out a site like Artery.is and see if they have something you could do.

Have you tried pitching things to public/community/campus radio?

I know it's rough, but if even people start to believe you're great, your music will bubble up organically. Good luck!

Meanwhile, let me share this on my social media networks. That should be good for about 100,000 people.

tiphanie Doucet submitted media.

Alan Cross

This is extremely pretty. Very nice video, too.

I know it's hard to rise above all the noise and competition, but you seem to be off to a good start. To make it easier, I'd consider hiring a publicist (if you haven't already) who can help your music cut through, including to music supervisors who might be looking for something like this for their projects.

Have you pitched to public radio like the BBC and the CBC in Canada? The CBC is often overlooked by foreign artists. What about a social media strategy? Are you responding to all comments that come in? That's essential when it comes to turning curious people into fans.

Tell you what: Send me a high-quality MP3 and I'll see if I can get you a spin on Canadian radio. Send it to alan@alancross.ca. I will also share this on my social networks, which is good for about 100,000 people.

Casey Conner submitted media.

Alan Cross

Okay. I like it a lot. Send me a high-quality MP3 to alan@alancross.ca and I'll give this a spin on The Edge in the coming weeks. Deal?

Anthony Marzanek submitted media.

Not Alone by TonyTone

Alan Cross

Very pleasant stuff. Well done! No notes from me on songwriting, performance or production. And it's good that you seem to be doing well on the streaming platforms. 

How's your social media strategy? Are you responding to every comment that comes in? You've got to feed that fanbase.

How often do you release new material? Current wisdom is to put out new songs on a regular basis in order to keep that fanbase engaged. This also builds a story that you can eventually present to a label or to radio.

Do you have anything on YouTube? Even a simple lyric video is better than nothing. You really gotta be there.

Back to radio for a second: Is that in your plans? If so, I'd start with campus and public radio (think CBC) to build up some airplay numbers. When you have some stats to back up your story, then you can think about hiring a radio plugger to help get you to music directors.

Good job. Keep it up. And good luck.

Rob Frank submitted media.

Alan Cross

Good stuff. Production is good, too. The sound is reminiscent of some of what was big with the alt-rock crowd around 1995, an approach that seems to be making a comeback. My only concern is the ending. It would sound a little awkward for radio, so an edit might be in order.

Now what? What are your plans going forward? Touring? Recording? Radio airplay? Let's take those one at a time.

1. Touring: Not much is happening now, obviously, but if you think you have a fanbase that would login to a live stream, I'd recommend looking up at company called Side Door Access to see if they can help set something up.

2. Recording: It's something you'll have to do, although it won't be your main source of income. Make sure that all your stuff is on all the streaming music services including YouTube. Even a lyric video will do.

3. Radio airplay: The best you can hope for at this point is some feature play on certain types of radio stations. Hopefully, there are still a bunch that has indie shows that showcase new and upcoming music. College radio should be targeted too. 

Time to start building a fanbase through constant and relentless social media engagement. Instagram and Facebook are your best bets, although you might be able to convince someone to do something with TikTok.  This means answering every message on every platform. Turn those curious people into evangelical fans.

Meanwhile, make as many friends with bloggers and writers as you can. They can help amplify what you do.

Tell you what: send a high-quality MP3 to alan@alancross.ca and I'll see what I can do with it. No promises, but just in case, you know?

Ricardo Temporao submitted media.

Alright, Alright by Brutus Begins

Alan Cross

Another good one. The lyrics are very Daniel Ash/Love and Rockets, which is cool, Love the video, too. 

Any updates on how things have been going doing the pandemic? Is the career gaining traction?

Send a high-quality MP3 to me and I'll see what I can do about this. Same address: alan@edge.ca 

Robert Dugdale submitted media.

Shady Tree by Rob Dugdale

Alan Cross

Nice stuff. There's a lot of "pandemic pop" in the pipeline and what's been released so far has been well-received. 

Good songwriting, performance, and production. No notes from me on those fronts. 

What's the plan for this song? Is it just something you're throwing out to the universe? Or are you hoping to achieve some kind of traction with the public? If so, 

1. You'll need to get this on all the streaming music platforms, including YouTube That will require some kind of video to go with this. Even a lyric video is better than nothing.

2. You'll need a social media strategy so that you can turn curious people into fans and fans into evangelists. Those people will help you rise above the noise.

3. It's too early to talk about radio. You'll need a story behind what you do and a portfolio of songs. 

4. Same thing when it comes to getting label interest. They want more than just a good song. They also want to know that you've got a fanbase. 

5. Make friends with as many bloggers as you can. They all want to say they discovered The Next Big Thing.

Hope that helps. I'll also share this on my social networks. That'll be good for about 100.000 people.

Tropico Don submitted media.

Alan Cross

Really nice. Well done. It's almost got an REM "Everybody Hurts" vibe. Must be the 6/8 time signature. A little Mazzy Star is in there, too.

Here's the question: now what? Where you want this song to go? Where do you want it to live? What are your career aspirations?

1. You'll need a social media strategy to turn curious people into fans and then fans into evangelists. That means answering every single comment that comes in. 

2. I don't know anything about your musical history, I don't know if you have a portfolio of tunes ready to present to a record label. If not, that's your first order of business. And once you start getting fans, you'll want to feed them new material on a regular basis.

3.As far as radio airplay goes, target college radio to start. Public and community radio should be on your radio, too. Once you get some traction there (i.e. airplay stats that can be used to promote yourself), you may want to consider hiring a radio plugger to help get you past all the noise and competition.

4. Do you have a manager yet? If not, it might be time.

I'll send this out on my social networks. That'll reach at least 100.000 people.

Anubis submitted media.

Blue Throat by Anu]bis

Alan Cross

Nice. This is the kind of material I like to have on when I'm deep in writing mode. 

I'm going to assume that you know all about DJ pools and everything to do with distributing club music, so we won't go there. But what are you doing on a social media level? Have you considered maybe getting someone to use your music for a TikTok video? Another option would be to make friends with a few music supervisors. There are definitely sync opportunities.

Let me share this with my network. That's good for about 100,000 people.

Brandon Linds submitted media.

Balaclava by Brandon Child

Alan Cross

Nicely done. Good songwriting and performance. I do think, though, that a different producer might change up the mix somewhat and--well, I'm not sure what. I just get the feeling that the arrangement could be filled out a little differently to give that lead guitar more background support. Something slightly muscular? I'd have to experiment in the studio.

But that's okay. The more you get out and play (when that happens again), I have a feeling that you'll find ways of modifying and evolving things.

Remember that you'll need a social media strategy to follow up on any interest you get. Turn those early curious fans into evangelists for what you do.

And the thing to do now seems to be to release music on a consistent basis. A new song a month is what fans are looking for. Keep them hooked and engaged.

Good luck!

Rob Flott submitted media.

Long Days Without Me by Leah Clark

Alan Cross

Lovely stuff. Well done. Good songwriting, performance, and production. No notes from me on any of that. 

This sounds pretty radio-ready to me. A couple of hints.

1. If you don't have a manager yet, get one. You need someone to knock on doors on your behalf.
2. Is there money in the budget for a video? Even a lyric video would be fantastic. YouTube is still the best place for music discovery.
3. Make sure this song is available on all the streaming music platforms.
4. You'll need a social media strategy focused on turning early fans into superspreaders of what you do. That means a presence on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.
5. Once you start picking up fans, they're going to want more. The thing to do these days is to supply a steady drip-drip-drip of new songs. One a month? Every two? That'll be up to you.
6. Radio airplay is something that still down the road. You need to build a portfolio of music and a good backstory, something to that sells you as an artist.
7. Just because you make music doesn't mean you have a right to be heard. It's up to you now to fight for attention. Good music--that is, music that the general population says it likes--tends to rise organically, Fans will find you--if you make yourself available.

Good luck. I'll share this with my networks. That's good for about 100,000 people.

Marcelo Quinonez submitted media.

Painful and Slow by Marcelo Quinonez ft. 33trees

Alan Cross

This is really good! Love the vibe, the songwriting, the performance, and the production. I can see why you're doing well in the sync world. 

Let me spread this through my social networks. That should be good for about 100,000 people.

Henry Alexander submitted media.

Crush by Henry Alexander

Alan Cross

More solid stuff. I'll definitely spread this around through my networks. That's good for at least 100,000 people.

submitted media.

Gogo Wyne by LATASHA

Alan Cross

I like it. Good production, arrangement, and performance. Nothing for me on any of that. Love the myriad of influences, too! Plus there's plenty to work with if you should ever decide to remix things.

Let me share this within my networks. That's good for about 100,000 people.

submitted media.

Alan Cross

Good stuff! I've been following your stuff for the last couple of years and have enjoyed it very much. 

Love the psych action of this track, too. Nice woozy. And you caught me JUST as I was about to start on next week's 5 Songs list. Consider it included!

Andrew Michelin submitted media.

Raise Me High (Official Music Video) by The All Canadian Soundclash

Alan Cross

Another nice one. Good video, too. 

1. Keep feeding your new fans new material as often as you can. You don't need me to say this, but you gotta fight for every inch when it comes to your career. You gotta cut through all the noise and competition. The first step is to communicate with your fans on a regular basis. Turn them into evangelists for everything you do.

2. Do you have a manager? If not, it's probably time. Same thing with an agent. At some point, COVID-19 will go away and you'll need to do gigs. 

3. Keep writing and recording. All you need is one hit. But it not only has to excite your fanbase but draw new fans to you. 

Femke Weidema submitted media.

Bring It On by We Are They

Alan Cross

I like this one, too. Great anthemic chorus, too! Elements of both 90s alt-rock and some early 80s New Wave. Works for me on all levels. 

Is there money in the budget for a lyric video for YouTube? That's still the biggest platform.

What's the connection to Dancing on Tables? And send me an MP3 of this one, too. I'll get it a play on Canadain radio.

The Gold Souls Group submitted media.

Got It (Official Music Video) by The Gold Souls

Alan Cross

Nice work all around! I like the 70s-ish soul influence. Great video, too. And I'm assuming that Sacramento doesn't get much musical love.

A couple of question:

Where do you see this song fitting in with today's musical landscape? If you're hoping for radio, I'm struggling to think of a format other than smooth jazz that would entertain playing this song. Public radio would probably be interested, too.

What are your long-term goals? Touring and performing? Licensing and sync? Recording? Studio work?

A social media strategy is key top any kind of success. Since your music is aimed at an older audience, I'd consider focusing on Facebook because the demo of users is more in line with what you do. Make sure you answer every and all comments. You need to turn fans into evangelists.

Back to licensing: It might be time to make friends with some music supervisors. You never know what kind of music they might need for a given project. 

One last thing: You probably realize that this kind of music isn't much in the mainstream. Are you prepared for the battle ahead?

Femke Weidema submitted media.

Tell Me It Ain't Over by Dancing on Tables

Alan Cross

I like the sound. Modern alt-pop. No notes from me on songwriting, performance, or production. Well done!

This is definitely radio-ready, but you'll need to present a story beyond what you listed below. How many gigs have you played? What's your social media following? Do you have a video for this? (Even a lyric video is better than nothing. YouTube is still the best place for music discovery.)

The great stuff will rise to the top, but it needs help getting past all the noise and all the competition. The only way that's going to happen is if people honestly believe they can deliver the goods. 

Another thing: Make sure you connect with as many blogs as you can. Every one of those bloggers wants to believe they have what it takes to find the Next Big Thing.

And have you submitted something to BBC 6 Music? This is just the kind of thing they might want to plug.

Tell you what: Send a high-quality MP3 to alan@alancross.ca along with a bit of a bio and I'll see if I can get it some feature play in Canada.

Vian Izak submitted media.

Forward by Vian Izak

Alan Cross

Another good one. I'm looking forward to the rest of the album. 

Remember that the biggest challenge now is to rise above the noise. You've got plenty of time to sort out a social media strategy. Turn fans into evangelists. Give your sound and image, I'm guessing that Facebook would be your best bet. It tends to skew a little older. And YouTube, of course--even if it's just a lyric video. 

Spotify is not the enemy, either. The goal is for your music to grow organically on the platform. Become educated on how streaming can benefit you. 

I also like the idea of releasing one song at a time. It's the drip-drip-drip approach that so many hip-hop artists use so well. Once you start establishing a fanbase, you need to keep top of mind with them. That means constantly engaging them with something new. 

Good luck. And keep in touch.
Are you plans to get a major label deal? Synch and licensing? Performance? Radio play? 

Andrew Michelin submitted media.

RAISE ME HIGH by The All Canadian Soundclash

Alan Cross

Another nice one. Hints of Tom Petty and Dire Straits. 

Your goal is now to rise above the noise and all the competition for attention. Can you marshall any of your fans on social media to become ambassadors for what you do? 

If you're interested in radio airplay, I'd start with college and community stations before hiring a plugger to push you at the CBC and commercial radio. And make sure you have a story to tell, too. Who are you? What makes you special? Why should anyone devote four minutes of their lives listening to you?

Have you pitched any labels yet? This kind of rootsy sound seems to be making a bit of a comeback in Canada. Labels might be interested.

Good luck again. And I'll share this on my networks.

Anthony Marzanek submitted media.

Alan Cross

Nice. I like the production. No notes on performance or songwriting either. Appropriately short, too, given that seems to the route hip-hop is taking. Shorter songs seem to equal more streams. We'll see, right?

So what's the plan now? Recording? Sync and licensing? Until that gets sorted out, make sure you spend as much time as you can on social media, especially Instagram. Not only do you want to post your best stuff but--and this is key--engage every single person that leaves a comment. You need to turn listeners into evangelists for your music. 

The great stuff will rise to the top, but it needs help getting past all the noise and all the competition. The only way that's going to happen is if people honestly believe they can deliver the goods. 

Another thing: Make sure you connect with as many blogs as you can. Every one of those bloggers wants to believe they have what it takes to find the Next Big Thing.

Good luck!

margø submitted media.

hazy by margø

Alan Cross

Another nice one. Certainly something that SiriusXMU would consider. 

Rather than offer personal opinions, let me recommend some reading about the kind of things you need to deal with.

https://lefsetz.com/wordpress/2020/07/30/daniel-ek-on-streaming-royalties/

If you have any other questions or if you'd like to talk further, just drop me a line at alan@alancross.ca

Michael Soiseth submitted media.

SOMETHING GOING ON by Raygun Carver

Alan Cross

This is excellent! Tell you what I'll do: If you can send me a high-quality MP3 and a quick bio, I'll get this a feature play on 102.1/The Toronto as part of my undiscovered gem segment. 

Send everything to alan@alancross.ca