Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Prayer of an Unknown Soldier

Below is an excerpt from today's "Today God Is First" devotional by Os Hillman (available through

"The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position" (James 1:9).

Most of us avoid pain. We keep our medicine cabinets loaded with pain relievers. We couldn't imagine major surgery without an anesthetic. We are so averse to pain that we think God must desire that we will experience pain-free lives. After all, a loving God surely wouldn't want us to suffer pain, would He? Although God takes no pleasure in our pain, we have to acknowledge that He sometimes allows painful circumstances to occur in our lives in order to shape us and make us more like Christ. Sometimes our times of despair turn out to be a much needed light into our soul.

I once came across the following poem written by an anonymous Confederate soldier, a devout young man who fought in the American Civil War. The lines of this poem express the soul of a man who has learned to view his times of adversity from a different perspective:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among men, most richly blessed.*

quoted in Austin Pryor, "Trusting God to Answer Our Prayers,"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tip of the Day - "No Big Heads Allowed"

Like the church, a successful artist requires an entire “body” to operate properly. In this age of the do-it-yourself mentality, many musicians and those involved with them sometimes take this concept a step too far. At the end of the day, it’s virtually impossible to be a self-contained unit capable of handling every process necessary to advance a musical career to a national level. Even the Lone Ranger needed Tonto. If a music team only consists of a head (artist) trying to take on all the responsibilities related to building a successful career (i.e. the full complement of label and distribution duties), the head will grow too large and, eventually, there will simply be one big, enormous head lacking a substantive body to support the weight. As you have probably guessed, the end result will likely lead to a remarkable implosion ironically comparable in nature to a star collapsing inward upon itself. How apropos. The same analogy that applies to the church also applies to the music industry. As a Pastor needs a staff to effectively minister to the body of Christ, an artist needs a team to service the body of fans nurtured through significant effort. To use another analogy, why spend time preparing a gourmet meal if you’re never going to serve it or if the patrons leave for another restaurant because the meal takes too long to arrive at the table? The more successful artists become, the more help they need in order to be a good steward with the opportunities God places in their path. Music is ultimately an impulse buy which is exactly why iTunes has been so successful. If your product is not readily available in all desired formats, the consumer will move on and find another artist to follow. In business, it's very hard to win over a customer yet frighteningly easy to lose one.

Service providers exist for a reason. They exist to help build a team capable of achieving the ultimate goal – the creation of demand and fulfillment of the demand in a timely manner. Every industry contains symbiotic elements which work together in harmony to achieve the given mission. Fundamentally, two simple truths are clear in relation to the music industry: (1) distribution without proper marketing and promotion will result in limited sales opportunities and (2) marketing and promotion without proper distribution will result in a great deal of wasted potential, effort and financial investment. Alexis Kelley, founder of LiveWire Entertainment Sales and Marketing states, "hopefully you can now see why distribution is a necessity, not a luxury, in marketing your recording to the masses. Do your research and put together a great package that demonstrates you not only have excellent music, but that you are a serious businessperson and also know how to market and sell your recordings!"* Excellent advice, indeed, if you're seeking to maximize your potential.

So the question is this - are you being a good steward with the opportunities God has placed in your path or are you just a big head with no body to support the weight of your success? Part of being a successful musician (particularly a Christian musician) is remaining humble and honestly assessing what you are and are not actually capable of. As your music ministry/career grows, so should your team. Find solid, competent team members to support your efforts in order to avoid being a big giant head in an industry where big heads simply can't survive. Don’t waste the opportunities God blesses you with by failing to see the wisdom in using available resources to their fullest extent. All parts of the body contribute to a healthy and successful career.

* Quote from the article "The Hows and Whys of Distribution" by Alexis Kelley

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tip of the Day - "No Excuse For Mediocrity"

Just because you're a Christian musical artist and place a priority on ministry doesn't pardon you from creating music that is less than exceptional. Music is an art form unto itself, and will only be fully appreciated by the masses if and when it is pursued with excellence.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tip of the Day - "Constantly Ask, What Do They Really Want?"

by Derek Sivers

Want to know the basic rule or marketing and promoting your music?

Constantly ask, “What do they really want?” (with “they” being anyone you are trying to reach)

Think hard, and don't take this one lightly.

Thinking of everything from the other person's point of view is one of the best things you can do in life. If done right, it will elevate you into the clouds along with a few select immortal beings.

Every time you lift up the phone. Every time you write an email. Every time you send out a press kit.

Think why people in the music industry are REALLY working this job. Try to imagine them as just a well-meaning human being who is probably overworked, looking for a little happiness in the world, and likes music (or the music world itself) enough to do what they do, even though they could be doing something else.

Think what their email “IN” box must look like, and how it would be unwise for you to send them an email with the subject of “hey” followed by a 7-page email detailing your wishes for success.

Think what people are REALLY looking for when they go out to a club (or church) to hear music. For some people, it's just a way to be seen to increase their popularity. For some, they're searching for some music that does something completely original and mind-blowing. Some are looking for total visual entertainment.

Nobody owes you their attention. Not your audience. Not a person you happened to call or email. Not even the music industry.

Let go of your ego entirely. Think of everything from their point of view. Be their dream come true. Do what they really want.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tip of the Day - "E-mail Etiquette"

by David C. Coleman

There is an extensive laundry list of proper etiquette to be considered when sending e-mail, but I'll concentrate on the Top 10 critical points to consider when communicating with industry contacts (or anyone else, for that matter):
  1. Whatever you do, never expose your contact's e-mail address to strangers by listing them all in the "TO:" and/or "CC:" fields. This is a pet peeve of mine. Use the "BCC:" (blind copy) function to protect valuable addresses. Nothing aggravates me more than finding my e-mail address exposed for anyone to pick off and indiscriminately add to an e-mail distribution list. I magically find myself added to at least one new unsolicited e-mail list per week. You can earn trust from those you communicate with by using the blind copy (bcc) feature available through virtually every e-mail program in existence.
  2. Related to point #1, NEVER add someone to an e-mail list they will need to unsubscribe from without first obtaining permission. Doing so is considered spam and carries civil penalties from the government if the issue is pressed. Bottom line - don't mass e-mail people who didn't ask to be on your personal e-mail list in the first place. It is acceptable, however, to add a known contact to an e-mail distribution list for which they must first opt into before receiving e-mail. In that case, they'll have a choice on whether or not to respond.
  3. Refrain from using the "Reply To All" function in most instances unless those included on the original e-mail truly need to access your comments. In most instances, replying to the sender alone is your best course of action. Use discernment before choosing one course of action over the other.
  4. Feel free to modify the "Subject:" field when the conversation turns in a different direction. This can help all parties involved locate specific conversations for reference at a later date.
  5. Do not type in all capitals. It represents a "shouting emphasis" and is tedious to read.
  6. Do not type in all lower-case letters. Typing e-mails solely in lower-case leaves a perception that you are either uneducated, lazy or an unfortunate combination of both.
  7. To the best of your ability, try to use proper grammar. Formality reflects respect. If you seek to be taken seriously, be courteous and respect others as a rule of thumb. In time, you can become less formal in your interactions after establishing a mutually respectful relationship. Also, it makes sense to use spell check before sending. It only takes a few seconds and can save you from embarrassment.
  8. If you're including an attachment, make sure it is actually attached before sending the e-mail.
  9. It is better to spread multiple large attachments over several e-mails rather than attaching them all in one e-mail. Some e-mail programs limit the total size of an incoming e-mail and will reject e-mails that are too large.
  10. Refrain from sending out very brief e-mails asking an industry contact to invest time and effort in you if you're not willing to present a thorough and cogent perspective of who you are, what you would like them to do for you, etc. The worst first impression reads something like this: "Check out my MySpage page and let me know what you think." Frankly, that's an insult to anyone in the industry and will never be taken seriously. It says: "I want something from you but I'm too lazy to actually approach you in a professional manner." If you want to be taken seriously, do your homework by searching a company's website to determine if there is a set procedure in place for soliciting your work for consideration. If you can't find something in writing, first e-mail and ask permission to solicit a full press kit and any other necessary information.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tip of the Day - Unique Styles Magazine

Unique Styles Magazine is looking for new Rap and R&B talent to expose through their online magazine and radio show.

Send a press kit, CD and any other promotional materials available to:

Unique Styles Magazine
6224 Kelly Elliot Road
Arlington, TX 76001

If you are seeking radio airplay, send your best single (320 kbps) along with a drop to Within the drop please state your name, where you are from, the show title (which is "The Unique Styles Show") and end it with "LG'z Up!" In the e-mail containing the audio files, be sure to include a link to your MySpace page or any other site which will allow them to learn more about you.

VERY IMPORTANT: Songs without a drop will NOT be considered for airplay!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tip of the Day - The Role of Record Labels

In the most narrow sense, record labels provide two basic yet critical elements - funding & knowledge. These elements are essential for success yet often hard to come by for many independent artists and labels. As a general rule of thumb, record labels are comprised of various departments which carry out essential tasks necessary for bringing an album to market:
  • A&R (Artist & Repertoire) - discovers new talent and acts as the intermediary between artist/management and the label. They're typically involved in assisting with song selection and choosing a producer for the album as well
  • Art Department - prepares all the artwork relative to album cover art, advertisements and any other necessary elements
  • Artist Development - plans the career of the artist and nurtures their growth over the course of time
  • Business Affairs - takes care of bookkeeping, payroll and other financial matters
  • Label Liaison - coordinates release dates and other critical processes with the distribution company
  • Legal Department - deals with contracts and all other legal issues
  • Marketing Department - creates the overarching plan for each release and coordinates the plans with the promotions, publicity and sales departments
  • New Media - engages in developing music videos, websites, social networking sites, etc.
  • Promotions - solicits music to radio for airplay, and tracks the successes and reports details to marketing, sales & distribution. Often responsible for promoting videos to relevant outlets as well
  • Publicity - responsible for getting the word out about each artist through editorial content (articles in newspapers, magazines & websites) as well as securing radio and television coverage for an artist.
  • Sales - the label typically interacts with the distribution company to ensure albums end up on retail shelves in appropriate areas by providing essential information regarding the overall marketing plan and the successes being achieved at radio and other mediums. The label can choose to participate in retail marketing programs to receive featured placement in the stores (new release wall, listening station, endcap, free-standing display, etc.)
In an indie world these activities will likely be consolidated into the hands of a few key individuals, but it is essential to understand the various elements and ensure all aspects are engaged in order to increase the likelihood for success at retail.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Daily Feast Devotional - The Message of the Cross

Daily Feast Devotional from

"The message of the cross..."
by David C. Coleman

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 1:18

Today is Easter…the day that Jesus conquered death and rose from the dead. Today is a day Christians celebrate a miracle unrivaled in history. Three days prior to that fateful day when Jesus emerged from a sealed tomb in victory over death, He was hung on a cross to die. Three days prior Jesus died the death of a common criminal. He was beaten mercilessly for the “heresy” of claiming He was God in the flesh.

In biblical times, Jews were required to sacrifice the best they had to offer as a payment for sin – typically the best specimen amongst their livestock. The message of the cross is this: Jesus, a man without sin, became that sin sacrifice for the sins of the world. He symbolically became the lamb that was slain in payment for all of humanity’s sin. He stood in our place and took all the punishment we deserve as imperfect beings – beings prone to sin. Acknowledging the fact that Jesus died for his or her sins and rose from the dead three days later gives assurance to the believer that he or she will one day join Jesus in heaven to live eternally. The world sees this belief as foolish. Many believe there is no God. Others believe Jesus was “just a man” or “a great prophet”. But He was much more than that. The power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who believe is evidence of the transforming power of Jesus Christ.

Easter is a day of victory. Easter is day on which God gave us the opportunity to establish a personal relationship with Jesus. No…Jesus is by no means dead. He lives in the hearts of those who call him Savior. Are you one of these people? Have you experienced the victory Jesus has provided for each and every one of us?

Lord Jesus, I pray that if there is anyone out there reading this who doesn’t know you as Savior, You will bind the work of the enemy in their life and open their eyes so they can see the magnitude of the sacrifice that was made on their behalf. Soften their heart. Show them that the world has nothing to offer them except broken promises and empty dreams. Speak to their spirit in a way that they have never known before. Shine Your light upon their life. Let them know that they are not “too dirty” or “too bad” to receive the free gift of salvation. Let them know that you accept them just as they are right this minute. Forgiveness is there for the asking, no matter how bad the sin. All it takes is a humble heart. A tired, haggard life can be made new. Restoration is available, but it is only available through you, Jesus.

If this is you, please pray the following prayer:

Lord, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank you for taking my place and taking the punishment I deserve. I believe you are God’s only son who came down from heaven to live amongst us in the flesh. I believe you died on the cross and rose from the dead. I confess my sins to you right now and ask to be forgiven. Make me new. I want to be one of your very own children. Thank you, Lord, for drawing me unto you. Amen.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tip of the Day -

As an independent Christian musician, band or label, it's important that you are promoting your activities to the music buying public in a timely and effective manner. One of the free tools available for you to promote your artist "brand" and any new projects currently in the pipeline is Many avid Christian music fans reference this site each week to see the week's hot new releases. If you don't have a profile set up with your past, current and upcoming titles in place, you're missing a golden opportunity to promote your project and your brand alongside all the top names in the Christian Music Industry. I recommend that you create a profile now and add coming release info as far in advance as possible. But it is ESSENTIAL that you keep the information current...particularly the street date. After all, that's what this site is all about.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tip of the Day - "C" Copyright vs. "P" Copyright

It's important to understand the difference between the two different types of copyright and to list the appropriate information on any project you release to the public. Fundamentally, the copyright symbols serve as a warning to unscrupulous individuals that the compositions and entire sound recording are intellectual property protected by the U.S. Copyright Office under penalty of law.

Everyone is familiar with the © Copyright symbol but not everyone understands what it represents. The © Copyright symbol basically alludes to the authorship of a particular work. On a music album it's possible for each track to contain unique copyright information although, in most cases, there is a main songwriter (or songwriters) responsible for multiple tracks. The full listing for a copyrighted item typically includes the copyright symbol, a person or company name and the year the item was registered for protection. For example, if track 1 was written by James Owens alone and proper copyright forms were submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office in 2008, the copyright would be listed as © 2008 James Owens. If track 2 was written by James Owens and Matthew Henry (and the copyright forms were submitted in 2008 as well), the copyright would be listed as © 2008 James Owens, Matthew Henry. Of course, it's always possible that the entire album was written by one person or group of people. In that case, all tracks would have the same copyright information (for instance, "© 2008 James Owens", "© James Owens, Matthew Henry" or, if a band, "© 2008 The Muckrakers").

There are other factors which can affect the way the copyright might be reflected in print as well. For instance, some songwriters either use a publishing company or have created their own in conjunction with one of the songwriting agencies (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC). So this might change the copyright to something along the lines of © 2008 Blue Moon Music (ASCAP). In other cases, a record label might own the copyright to the songs themselves. In that case, the copyright might appear something like © 2008 Jacob's Well Records.

The second (and less familiar) type of copyright is what's known as the sound recording, phonorecords, phonogram or phonographic copyright which is represented by a "P" within a circle. There currently isn't a HTML tag which will allow me to represent this symbol without using an actual picture of the symbol, so I can't add one here for the purpose of illustration. Just replace the "C" with a "P" in the symbols illustrated above and, voila, you'll know what it looks like. You can also look on any major label album or visit iTunes for reference. This particular copyright symbol alludes to ownership of the sound recording (i.e. the song as recorded by you or your band). If you're a solo artist or band without a label, the "P" copyright will typically be your personal name or band name. But if you are associated with a record label, the "P" copyright will typically be listed in the following manner: "P" 2008 Jacob's Well Records. Remember that the "P" would be replaced with the actual symbol in the examples provided in this paragraph.

Don't forget to protect your intellectual property by (1) registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office and (2) listing all appropriate information on your cover art and marketing materials.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tip of the Day - Poor Man's Copyright

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, "the practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a 'poor man’s copyright.' There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration." In a nutshell, a "poor man's copyright" provides you absolutely no protection under the law. Don't waste your time or money mailing a package to yourself unless you just really enjoy visiting the post office and/or getting packages in the mail! If you're serious about your music career, do your homework and follow proper procedure. Remember, the rules are set in place to protect your interests.

To learn more about copyrighting your material, visit the U.S. Copyright Office Website. If you're already familiar with the fundamentals of the process, the Copyright Office has set up a new online submission system dubbed "eCO" (Electronic Copyright Office). You can learn more about the new process HERE. Physical forms are no longer available on the website but are still available upon request. At the end of the day you're going to want to use the eCO submission process as it is faster, easier and will save you anywhere from $15 to $30 depending upon the alternate options available.

Monday, February 8, 2010 Digital Easter Promotion & CLG Distribution have been opted in to an exclusive opportunity to partner with to build an Easter Playlist & Free Download Promotion. There are only a handful of companies that have been given access to this program, so this is a tremendous opportunity. In all the promotions we have seen, those with FREE downloads have had the best results in creating impulse buys.

Congratulations to the CLG Distribution & artists who have been selected and submitted for consideration by

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tip of the Day - Are You an Artist or a Label?

Copyright © 2010 by David C. Coleman

If you are an independent artist trying to go it alone you are not only an artist. You are, by proxy, a label as well. On the new musical frontier, the opportunities are certainly greater. But so are the responsibilities. Risk vs. reward becomes a key element in the equation for success. As things continue to trend in favor of independent acts, reality reveals that you must learn to function as a label in order to break through. You must be willing and able to build a team of competent people around you who can carry out certain essential tasks...or be willing and able to do it yourself. Labels exist for a reason – primarily to provide knowledge and financial resources. That's what sets them apart. Regardless of the delivery method for music, though, exposure (and a good song, of course) will always remain the fundamental building block upon which your success will rest. Therefore, building customer awareness is crucial.

Also, remember that distribution and label activities are different and distinct. There are a very limited number of things distribution can do to generate interest...virtually none of which are aimed at the music-buying public. An inordinately large percentage of the digital tracks available to the public are never purchased even once. And physically, placement on store shelves is only half the battle. The cold, hard fact is that bringing product TO the public doesn't generate sales. Distribution, whether physical or digital, can only rise to a level directly proportionate to the marketing plan (and corresponding budget) available through the artist/label. It will typically require some sort of financial investment to begin any marketing campaign. From touring to hiring a publicist - it all costs money. As you can see, it all boils down to exposure and your ability to create demand. Distribution without consumer awareness is like a car without gas – you’re not going to get very far. So what are you doing to create awareness? Developing a structured game plan will help you get a leg up on the competition.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tip of the Day - The Downside of TuneCore

Copyright © 2010 by David C. Coleman

Considering the fact that my company deals exclusively with independent artists and labels, we tend to hear about all the “latest and greatest” opportunities available for artists/labels to market, promote and sell their music. TuneCore burst onto the scene with what, at first glance, appears to be an incredible offer: the artist/label gets to keep 100% of the revenue received from digital retail sales. This, of course, is great news for artists/labels that have a solid following and are able to generate sales on their own behalf. But there is definitely a downside to the TuneCore model (there’s always a downside, right?).

An in-depth study of the digital retail phenomenon recently discovered that approximately 85% (correction - 77% is the accurate figure) of the content available on digital retail sites is NEVER purchased – not even once! This is a very alarming discovery for all the do-it-yourselfers out there. Considering the nature of the TuneCore model, the initial set-up fees and annual “maintenance and service” fee can cost more than many artists accumulate in a full year's worth of sales. For instance, the initial set-up fee for an album containing 12 tracks delivered to 16 separate stores (iTunes, Napster, etc.) would cost $47.70. Boosting the track count on an album up to 20 tracks delivered to those same 16 stores would cost $55.62. Each year thereafter, a recurring $19.98 charge is assessed to “store” the content in the TuneCore database. As you can see, this can become quite cost-intensive, particularly as the law of diminishing returns begins to affect the sales of an album. Over the course of time, an album will typically begin to generate fewer and fewer sales per month. The various international iTunes stores are all counted separately so if you wish to deliver content to the domestic and five additional international iTunes destinations (Canada, Australia, Japan, etc.), you'll pay $5.94 to deliver content to the 6 separate iTunes destinations.

CLG/JesusWired deals with many digitally distributed titles. Some sell very well but, honestly, a good portion of the titles never accumulate $19.98 in sales for an entire year, let alone the approximate $50 necessary to list a title through TuneCore for the first year. So, as you can see, the TuneCore model can actually be an expense rather than a source of income for artists/labels that aren’t generating a respectable amount of sales. Once the model is dissected, it is a little less attractive than the tagline “get 100% of the royalties” might suggest. Nothing is ever free but the air we breathe! Effective marketing can often disguise the true nature of an opportunity. For those just starting out, a risk-free digital distributor is a safer bet. Besides, TuneCore and virtually every other digital distributor do nothing to address the issue of marketing your title to the various sites.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tip of the Day - Generating Music Sales

Copyright © 2010 by David C. Coleman

If you have music to sell you are in business – like it or not. The old adage, “it takes money to make money” holds true for the music business as well. You can always travel the pathway of the guerrilla marketer – hustling your music to every social networking site on the planet, but that is a long and winding road. When it comes to generating music sales, marketing is the key. Great music, professional packaging and sheer genius are only part of the equation. Exposure is king! Nothing can take the place of hiring a competent team of professionals to handle the various label-oriented tasks that are a part of any successful marketing campaign. I've met artists with great music who never succeeded because their music never made it to the ears of the music-buying public. I've also seen some pretty mediocre artists do very well because their music found life beyond the four walls of their bedrooms. The methods for reaching your target audience are in transition, but one thing remains true – a team of competent professionals can help you reach your goal much quicker. When considering an album release, plan to spend 3-4 times as much marketing the product as you spent recording it. Plan ahead. Seek out professionals with proven track records of creating success for other artists and hire them to take up your cause. If you did your homework and found legitimate professionals to partner with, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tip of the Day - Planning Is Free!

Copyright © 2010 by David C. Coleman

When it comes to releasing a CD project, planning out all aspects of the release is essential. Most independent artists begin the creation process with only one thought in mind – recording the project. They believe the artwork and many other creative/practical aspects of the project are less relevant and can be placed on the back burner until much later in the process. They tend to view those elements as an afterthought. If you seek to move beyond warehousing 1,000 CD's in your garage, you’ll want to think ahead and identify the various tasks which will allow you to actually create a buzz and sell music. Let’s be honest, with all the hype about the digital retail option killing CD sales, the CD is still the predominate vehicle for delivering music to the consumer. Beyond that, concentrating on a digital-only sales perspective is a sure-fire method of surrendering at least half of the potential sales opportunities available to you. An extensive study uncovered the fact that 85% of the tracks available for sale on the digital retail sites are never purchased – NOT EVEN ONCE! That’s a pretty alarming statistic. Even if you are turning sales on digital retail sites, you’re likely bringing in a very small amount of income from the process. At $.50 to $.60 a pop, the sale of a hundred singles barely fills your gas tank. What’s more, you typically can’t sell a digital album or single at a live show.

Selling CDs at shows is definitely a good source of income, so you’ll want to have all aspects of your project ready to send to the manufacturing plant when you receive the mastered CD back from the mastering facility. By doing so, you’ll ensure that you have product in hand to sell as soon as possible. If you’re looking to operate at a higher level, virtually any wholesaler or retailer you may approach will have some sort of schedule by which they conduct business (particularly distribution and retail chain stores). To meet the demands of their schedules, you might need to have certain elements locked in up to six months prior to the date you wish to release the CD. So the message is this – start thinking about all aspects of your project from the very beginning. Don’t leave anything to chance. Artwork, packaging, distribution, etc. are not things you can afford to put off until after you’ve finished recording. Music is a business as well as an art. To truly break through in an ever-increasingly indie-friendly yet competitive world, you’ll need to be able to step up to the plate with some knowledge and, often, some cash in hand. But one thing remains true – planning is free. You don’t have to invest anything but a bit of time and effort to develop a complete vision for the project by setting an agenda based on deadlines and due dates. In an Indie world, the risks are greater and the work harder, but the potential rewards are greater as well.