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5 October 2021

"Your music marketing can run on minimal effort like a well-oiled machine" - Jan 'Yarn' Muths

About the 


With over 2 decades of recording, mixing and music production experience, Muths interviews musicians, producers and engineers from the Australian East Coast and the world. Always curious about production workflows, gear, software, techniques, and strategies. The Production Talk podcast is a must-listen for anyone interested in music production from the Northern Rivers and far beyond.

The Production Talk Podcast - The modern way of producing music

In this episode:

  • Cloud drives, online services, social media tools, automation services - build your digital music infrastructure using FREE online tools.

  • Set up a file vault to preserve your masters for eternity.

  • Set up and feed your artist media pool.

  • Use social media tools to post to Facebook and Instagram at the same time.

  • Set up a social media schedule and engage your audience with regular and consistent content.


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Extra Content:

Free Checklist: Set up your digital infrastructure by following these simple bullet points.

Contact the podcast host Jan 'Yarn' Muths at

Disclaimer: The Production Talk Podcast is independent of (and not related to) my teaching responsibilities at SAE.


Jan 'Yarn' Muths or, in the studio


(auto-generated by a robot - please forgive the occasional error)

Hello and welcome back to the Production Talk Podcast again, it's fantastic to have you involved Today. We are going to continue discussing marketing and promoting your own music and after the last 2 episodes the interviews with Cheynne Murphy and Daniel Musgrave. Ah, we had a lot to take in and there was so much information that today I decided to do a little summary of what we've covered so far and try to sum it all up in bite-sized little trunks in practical to-dos that you can actually implement pretty easily. At the end of last week I ask you to please choose 1 aspect of dance interview and try to put it into action and I really hope that you made some progress with that and yeah, that eventually this will all pay back in a more successful music career. In order to allow more interaction between you and I I have decided to launch a Facebook group. It's the production talk podcast community page on Facebook and please go to the show notes and click the link if you want to join. Would like to use this place as a space for discussion for you to ask questions for me to answer or maybe even vice versa if you have any comments on the episodes any podcast episodes that you would like to to discuss further. That's the Place. You can meet up with other musicians who are probably in the exact same head space as you are and they might face the same difficulties and problems. So this is a space to support 1 another and help each other out. So I really hope you'll join the Facebook group. It would be fantastic to meet you there. So that we don't ah only meet each other once a week via podcast. But maybe even in between good. Let's get into the practical stuff last week in the interview with Dan Musgrave dan and I had a big discussion about posts on your social media channels. And we touch cloud-based technology and what that can do for your business. Also we briefly touched on automation which I think is a fascinating subject. So today I'd like to give you a couple of ideas of what you can do. To set your marketing on autopilot and get a lot of marketing done with the least amount of effort using mainly free tools and I think that's a fantastic thing to have so there's really no excuse to make a life hard marketing should be fun and once everything is nicely set up. You'll see that it can run on minimal effort like a well-oiled machine. There are many ways to do the same thing. So if you come across a better idea I would love to hear about this in the Facebook group but let me just get started with setting up a couple of Buckets the first bucket that I want you. To set up is modeled after a record company. All the big record companies and I hope the small ones as well should have what we call a file vault. That's where all the master tapes are stored on their air tied precious conditions and the idea is to preserve them there for eternity since. There is a good chance that you might be your own record company. You also need a file vault and here's what I recommend you set up, you need the files in 2 places we all know about data loss and what can happen to digital files. So. My recommendation for you would be to set it up on an external hard drive. But in addition in in the cloud as well and since this seems like double handling I want to just show you what I would do today if I had to set this up from scratch and I will try to do it at the absolute minimum cost. So step number 1 is to find yourself a free email address and that comes with free cloud storage the first 1 that comes to my mind is of course google but there are all kinds of other possibilities as well. So I guess find 1 that works for you. Find 1 that you're familiar with ideally and if you work in a team meaning in a band or in a small production team use something that the majority of of your team members are all comfortable with and maybe this is not the time to get really experimental. Unless of course you want to learn something new. There's nothing wrong about that. So let's get started with this email address. You could call it something like your band name file vault or just your band name internal at gmail dot com something like this. This should not be your official email address that you use to to interact with clients. It's like a hidden 1 that's only for you and your team members good. Okay, so once you have this set up ah use the cloud space that you get with this email address and set up. Folder that you call your file vault. That's where all the master tapes go in and every time you release something make new subolder inside this file vault and here's my recommendation of how I suggest you label those in reverse order with the year the month and the date For the simple reason that if you have many releases they will sort themselves pretty accurately in the correct order. So we start with a year let's say 2021? Underscore ah nine for september and then underscore twenty seven for the day of the month and then I would. Add one last descriptive little blur up here underscore your first ep or whatever the name is this is a really clear name and if you just follow this procedure for every single release then you should find a file structure that organizes itself very clearly. And that should hopefully explain itself good once you've set up your folder for the release set up subforders and the first 1 that you need is masters and inside the master sub folder goes the way file that you receive from your mastering engineer. This must not be. And m p 3 or any other data compressed format at this stage. It must be the original wavefile and it's also important that this wavefile has not been changed in any way I mean no data rate compression. No change in sample rate or bit depth. This is the original file that you'll always go back to. Next to the master folder I suggest you add another folder that I would call the Mixes. So if you mixed your own song. You may want to add the mixes the unmask that mixes there so that in the future you have the ability to release a remaster of your initial release. And that's what a professional mastering engineer would like to receive at this stage. They want a way file in 24 bit or 32 bit in the original sampa 8 and uncompressed good in in some situations if you work with external mix engineers. You might get additional mix versions. Instrumental mixed versions are particularly useful if you plan to to monetize your music via sync licensing websites. Ok, in other words, there should only be 1 mix but maybe other versions from it. Um, if you have early versions of a mix like you know. The very first mix that was a bit rougher on the edges. They have no place in there. Good this covers all the important things if you want to you can also add a third folder and call it raw recordings use the raw recording folder to upload all the original. Ah, recording files that contributed to the mix if you have a large recording session. Let this be ableton pro tools logic whatever this may be There's a very good chance that you have a lot of extra files floating around that you actually don't need anymore. Those don't belong in there. So what I'm trying to say is you need to create a slimmed down version of your recording session that contains only the relevant stuff that was used at the end of it for that. My recommendation would be to export wi-fis a lot of people. Refer to those nowadays as stems although from a traditional use of the word. It's actually incorrect. We would call this multitracks. However I understand that language is fluid and it looks like so the term stems has now latged on. So if that's what you call it. That's fine with me. The idea is that you export wavefiles. And they should all be rendered from the same starting point I think it's fair to assume that software will move on in the future and there might be a time in I don't know five years eight years 10 years time when you may not be able to open up the current state of the project because the software has moved on and old session files may no longer be compatible. However I'm sure that there will be daws around that allow you to import wavefiles which is a standard feature that every daw should know in its sleep. So it's a foolproof method to get back to the original recording session. The way you started the Mix. This can be used for a remix It can also be very useful if you want to collaborate with edm producers to make different versions of your song. Good. So that sums it up again. So in in your cloud drive. Have the file vault inside of subolder for each release and each release then needs the masters folder and possibly the mixes folder and if you have the space and if you can't be below that also the raw files that will basically set you up and make it future-prove. If you belong to a band. It is now a wise idea to share the access to this email address with all the band members so that in case, 1 of you loses access to their computer that somebody else could still access those files and save them in. When you choose your email address for this service. I would also recommend to quickly look up their policies and terms and conditions some email providers automatically erase email accounts after a certain. Time of inactivity and this may happen. You might um, you might find yourself going in hibernation for a couple of years and the last thing you want is then reunite ah at some stage in the future and realize all the files are gone so when you choose a platform to use as your file vault. Check out for how long these files are safe for that's a really important thing. Good. Okay I hope this is all clear now. Um I personally am very familiar with the google universe and I would probably at this stage recommend to use google. For that because the free email account comes usually with sufficient google drive space to set up your own file vault. There is an added advantage that I personally like Google has released a little application by the name of google drive which you can install on your personal computer. Which then makes your file vault accessible as if it was a hard drive if you then go into the settings you can tell the Google drive desktop application where to store the offline files to and for that I recommend to invest into a medium-sized external hard drive. So what I would do is probably go to the post office or Amazon or look at other places and buy yourself a medium- size usb drive. This doesn't have to be the fastest drive in the world but you want a reliable drive then connect it to a computer set up the Google drive desktop application. And in the settings prompt the google drive desktop application to use your external hard drive for your file vault to synchronize your file vault this way you have the files in both places all the time. So the way it works you simply drag and drop the files across to the Google drive. Desktop folder which now presents itself just like a hard drive and it's then copied to the external drive and from there it automatically syncs itself up to your google cloud drive this way in 1 single workflow step you've got the files on an external hard drive as well as online in the cloud. I guess that's what I would do. There are definitely many many options here. Dropbox is just 1 of them if you just search for free cloud drives. You will find quite a few see which 1 works best for you. But I believe the google drive is definitely a good starting point. This is it your personal. File vault get 1 if you don't have 1 yet. So ok, let's set up the next step for your infrastructure promotion is obviously the big point here and. To sum up what we discussed with Cheynne and Dan the first step for you should be to set up yourself a Facebook page for this page ideally choose the band name or artist's name as the name and try to keep it as simple and consistent as you can. At the same time. You also want to look at other social media platforms that you want to be present on Instagram comes to mind Twitter but there are quite a few more. My recommendation is to first search all of them and check for availability. The last thing you want is to have. Ah, your band name on Facebook but you can't get your band name on Instagram for example because it's been used already if you find that this is the case. It's not time to consider changing things. So for example for my Facebook appearance I was looking for the page by the name of mixed artist. However, the name was taken already. So I tried different things with underscore and all kinds of things. But I then settled for a name that I could apply consistently across Instagram and Facebook in my case, it's Facebook dot com slash mixartist dot com dot u and the same with Instagram. So before you sign up think about each platform that you want to be at and do a bit of research on ah name availabilities avoid clashes and find something that you can use consistently across all of them. You may also decide to choose a couple of social media platforms that you don't want to interact at. Which is perfectly fine. In my case, that's Twitter for example, never grew on me so I don't actually interact on Twitter but this said I followed Cheynne’s advice and set myself up an account anyway and all I do there is I left a message or an image that basically says thank you for finding me on Twitter. I don't interact here, please find me on Facebook and Instagram so that is still something I recommend you do on all the platforms that are commonly used once your Facebook page is all set up activate the Facebook business suite in the business Suite. You get a lot more control over scheduling content. Over the metrics of your page and you can also connect an Instagram account in parallel to the Facebook business suite that has the advantage that you can schedule and prepare posts inside Facebook business suite and then you can publish them either to your Facebook page. Or to your Instagram or even both at the same time which is definitely a smart idea because it literally saves a lot of time Daniel mentioned the Facebook content creator page which of course is another opportunity which of course is another possibility to do similar things. Ah, use that for a while however nowadays I do everything from my Facebook business suite and for a small business like mine that seems to work perfectly fine but definitely explore the options and see which 1 grows on you most. Added advantage is that from the Facebook business Suite. You can later activate an ad account and run paid advertisement if you choose to do so the infrastructure is there all it takes is for you to activate it create your ads and hit send. You can do this at a later stage. Good. Once you've got your social media accounts set up obviously invite all your friends to join and ask them to to ask all their friends again to please like and join your page so that you generate a bit of a following straight up. So once you've got the pages set up. It's now time to fill it all with content. And then keep pushing regular content. Maybe once a week every 2 weeks or even more often see how you go for that. You need material. So the next piece of infrastructure. We need to build is yet another cloud drive this time you use a cloud drive to upload all the relevant media from. Everybody involved so you might find that your drummer has got some amazing footage from a gig and maybe your guitar player might might have some great images from when you were traveling and so on all of those pieces of. Media you now want to consolidate into 1 place and there are different options for that that you can use yet another google account would definitely do and the same principle of uploading the files to the Cloud is is definitely an option. A couple of months ago I scored a free promotional cloudut drive by Deju dot com d e g w o dot com that was a really good bargain because it was fairly large and I didn't have to pay a cent at this time. That has changed I Believe so just keep your ear on the ground and see what's available and what's convenient to you. The idea is that everybody who contributes to the band. It gets access to it. It's ideally connected to everybody's mobile phone so that once you've got photos and videos on there. You can't just hit the sync button or share button. And it shares to this 1 platform and goes into the same pool from this pool. You can now feed your regular posts and ideally every band member everybody involved should continuously capture material and throw it in there and I believe it takes a little bit of discipline but I'm sure you can work that out. So does that mean you need to make time to post things several times a week no there is a better way instead. Just do it once a week or once every couple of weeks set an hour or 2 aside go to your Facebook business page go to the posts and. Schedule new posts. So go through your library of content that you have and simply just choose some interesting material and come up with a nice order so you might want to have a photo each week introducing each member of your band that would be a great starting point. You can schedule this so it's all happening at a regular time but you do all the work in 1 sitting so to speak use the opportunity to share your life some parts of your life I guess with your fans. So what I believe is that that fans and listeners are looking for a personal connection to you. So if you only ever show highly polished, housing kind of images think ah high-end Instagram influencers. Well okay, you know this might be your thing and that's perfectly fine but I find that most people sort of feel whether people are real. Or put on a face in their social media content and it is my gut feeling or I believe at least it works better for me that I connect better to people who are totally honest rather than the people who you know put on a very professional face. So see what you can do. But I think 1 of the best things you can do is make people laugh. So if you've got funny things happening if you've got a great time with your bandmates hit the record button hit the video button and capture some of this and yeah, share it that tells your listeners. Who you are and invites them into your life. Obviously you choose what you want to share there but it tells them about you as a person and that's generally something that people connect to really well I find you can go further. You can think about the branding of your. Ah of your band or your your artist and think about whether you want to work with particular color schemes whether you want to work with a particular outfit that is sort of like a reoccurring pattern some people do this very very successfully. I'm not sure if anybody remembers a band from the Ninety s I'm not even sure how to pronounce the name gore or g war or whatever I'm not quite sure somebody please tell me in the Facebook group if I pronounce this correctly or not I don't even remember their music but the outfits are just ridiculous and their life shows are just all. Build around that they so generated an image a certain vibe a branding around their band that is just very unique and stands out from the crowd. Maybe don't go as far as these people they were really far out there and probably be too far for most people. But um. Yeah, think about what works for you? What makes you special. What is unique about you as an act and try to push this through your social media content. So that people recognize a reoccurring pattern you may know this for music. People react well to reoccurring patterns if they're interesting. It's the same thing as a music where in music where you need to play the chorus more than once for people to really get it and you know it needs to sink in and then people are looking forward to to hearing the chorus again and the same thing applies to your to your branding. Don't hesitate to be political if you choose to do so but um, just be aware that with every yin comes a young young with a ying comes a yang I guess you know what I mean so if you decide to to put yourself on the political scale. This might actually attract quite a few listeners to you directly. However, it will also lead to some kind of a backslash because there's always somebody who's the of the opposite opinion. So just be a little bit careful with this. Yeah I think I would like to leave it like this. Don't go to the fringes. That's not a good place. Ah, at all I would say okay, so now we've got the content library build up with lots of material keep feeding it every week ideally you want to have a lot more material in your content library in your media library than you actually need on the daily basis for your promotion. We've been speaking so much about ah the infrastructure our digital marketing and all of this. Obviously let's not forget about your music. All of this serves a purpose to draw attention to your release and when it comes to releasing music. There's a big debate going on. We've spoken about this in previous episode. Whether it's smarter to release an album in 1 piece or break it into individual singles and release them every let's say month or 2 months and there's definitely certain pros and cons. So maybe you want to discuss this with your fellow band members and talk about what the wisest workflow is for you. What I would recommend is to discuss the option to release the songs as singles first and then later again as an album but it can feel like a bit of a rip-off if people just get this exact same content now just put into new container and sew it as something new. So my recommendation would be to make that special in a way that on the album you add something that is unique. It could be that you only ever release the radio version of 1 song and the album now contains the full extended version. Ah, that by itself makes it more interesting or it might be an extra someone there that has never been released as as a single or something that makes it a little bit worthwhile just as a journal idea good. Yeah now you can start scheduling your releases. And if you know when a song is going to come out. Um, now start to build up a bit of momentum leading up to the release State. So if you know let's say this is in 2 months ' time then go to your Facebook business page and start creating some posts so it could be that. Ah. Right? At the beginning. You just add a little teaser where you just you know turn into the camera and say hey listen everybody with sharing a secret here with you upcoming record where it's in the making and it's going to be amazing and then you keep feeding this thing every week again so bring it back into people's memories. By giving your your fan base just a little teaser of of little snippets that generate some interest anything. Fun is always welcome. Studio photos are always a head turner everything that's quite amazing or interesting. Anytime you have a good laugh see if you can get a camera up and going or let's say if you receive the very first mix from your mix engineer and you're just loving it. They take reaction shots of you know your first reaction to the mix I hope it's a good impression. Of course if you want to come up with a couple of examples there maybe just look up. The facebook profile of a pineapple laser. We had andy from pineapple laser in episode Nine. So if you just go Back. You can find all the links. They've got some amazing footage online of andy and ia of pineapple laser listening to the mixes and they're having just the best time ever. So that's very inspiring and I think this is something that people will really connect with so keep building and building and building towards the release date and hopefully by the time the release date comes you've generated some momentum and people with hopefully or latch on and listen and share and so on. It's always a good idea to invite your your fan base to contribute somehow. So if you have posts if you make posts consider turning them into discussions. You could ah um, also do things like hm I'm just working on this guitar solo I'm not sure about my sound What do you think that could be a little video snippet. And you could post it and see what comes back? Maybe think about more creative ways more interesting ways to bring up a discussion but in an idea world. You want people to react to the posts that you put out so that you can interact with your fan base. And in addition, it also serves it also helps. For your posts to come up in their social media feed again. And so if they're engaged the social media algorithms will keep reminding them if you messages and posts are shared to the same post good. Okay, so I think we've covered a lot of ground here that should hopefully help you to put yourself out there. I know that being out there on social media is not. Everyone's cup of tea. But it's definitely something that you need to do to the right degree in order to be successful these days and by that by the right degree. Of course I mean you know find a way. Where you implement all the underlying principles in your very own way be as creative as you can everything I said here should be taken with a pinch of Salt It's not a rule It's not a step-by-step guide. You know how much I dislike a cooking recipe style when we spoke about mixing that's not a wise workflow here. So take all of this as and as a starting point as an inspiration and now use your superpower which is your own creativity. You have tons of it as an as a musician as a self-producing musician and use this creativity to shape your promotion to to mode it to put your mark upon it. And surprise everybody. That's your mission. That's where you need to get to I also strongly believe in the strength of habits and routines if you um if you don't do something on a regular basis. It can become daunting. Unpleasant. It might be very easy to postpone things and if you develop good routines it sort of puts your mind on autopilot and it's just something that happens automatically and I find more effortlessly so good routines are actually you know fairly important to us. To people and I believe routines have a positive effect on. For example, my mental health so make marketing a routine for you as well where you do it consistently regularly. Every I don't know a couple of weeks you prepared for the next five weeks. And then you just hit the send button it all comes out on a regular basis and then all you need to do for the time in between is to see now what comments come back and you know give them a thumbs up or a like or reply ideally and make things easier. Good um, okay so. We've already spoken about the concept of cloud drives for your for your work if you want to you can now take this concept and move it to the next level and by the next level I mean to automate things. Automation is something that I love. In every sense of the word I guess um I use automation a lot when I mix but that's obviously not the kind of automation that we talk about here today I also use automation in my business and by that I don't mean that I move the faders and then magically they do the same thing again. But instead I mean that I connect parts of my business and set up automatic procedures that solve things for me. There is an abundance of tools words that can help you with that. Let me just mention too that I will also put in the show notes this zapier dot com or zapier. Saypi I'm not even sure how it's pronouned and also automate io I'm using both these services and for both I'm using the free tier so they both have an entry-level free account that you can sign up for and using these services you can automate certain processes. For example, you can um have certain triggers cause something else elsewhere. So while an image was maybe uploaded to your google drive. It can now make an entry in Let's say a spreadsheet or in your to-do list or can send you a reminder. So it connects services that otherwise it wouldn't speak to 1 another and again it comes down to using 1 ne's creativity to use this to the very best of your ability. So these automation services can save you a lot of time and make your life really easy. However, they're a little bit. Techie to set up at first so that might be a little bit of a learning curve. But I found that it actually paid off a lot for me eventually good. Let me just share 1 more element of my business that might be useful to you for example in my website I've got a little tool. That is called the uploader on my contact page There's a big red area where people just click and upload their files for me for mixing for that I use an external service in this case I'm actually paying for it but they even free tiers that you might want to use. And in this case, it's a service by the name of drive uploader that connects to my google drive. There are other services as well. So check out the competition and what they can do for you. The idea is that? um. From the point where a client uploads something to my website using drive uploader it automatically syncs to my google drive it goes into folder. It's timestamped and then from there it automatically downloads to my studio computer. All I need to do is just turn the computer on and it happens in the background. There is no action necessary on my end. To do all of this. So by the end of it I just literally just get a notification new files in there. Bam I double click and off I go saves a lot of file management from from my my work and I think that's just because I'm a very lazy person when it comes to the boring tasks. How about. You try to use those services or these tools for your own advantage. Let's just hope we eventually all get out of lockdown and we can play gigs again if you want to create some bonding with your audience. You could consider to put a little sign up on stage saying. Take photos and upload them here. Put a little tiny yeah url or something in there or maybe post it on your Facebook page or somewhere. So if you make your own uploader your fans can take pictures and videos of you and share them with you via 1 of those uploaders that again feeds your media content library. And at the same time. It's something that your fans are looking forward to so what you can do is then publish those and say fan Michael or fan Sarah or whatever their name is share this with us big thumbs up and thanks for sharing so that your fans can get named in your posts which again will tie them to you. That's ah, just another little idea that I came up with how you might be able to use automation services to your own advantage. You might need to add a little disclaimer on fair use and so on. But yeah, why not Why not do that hasht tagging of course is another thing all the. Pictures that you use you can set up automation or automated services that watermark all of the pictures. Automatically, that's for example, something that I warmly recommend. So if you publish something on your Facebook page or instagram. Why don't you just put a watermark in there with let's say your band name or your band name's website so that if people share it on that's the 1 thing that's sort of frozen into the picture and stays with the picture. Good. Okay, so I think we've discussed quite a few different concepts here today. It's. Not yet done this obviously more to be said. But I think we've covered a lot today. So let me just sum it up 1 more time we started with your file vault for your masters which I recommend you keep in a completely separate cloud drive then we spoke about setting up your Facebook page. And your Instagram page which are free activate the business suite for Facebook or the content creator page which again is free and start filling with content utilizing some cloud drives at automated upload and and content management services. Again, all of this can be had for literally no money so there's really no reason not to have it. The only thing that I believe might cost you a little bit is the the hard drive that I recommended for a second backup for a file vault so with very little budget. You cannot get really really far. And it really comes down to generating content on a regular basis publishing content on a regular basis and yes, presenting yourself to your to your fan base in a way that they just are curious to see what's going on what's about to happen Next. Keep them interested. So those are the tips for today good that's your marketing infrastructure. Those things are clear-cut to dos that you can literally sit down and go through now step by step and set it all up 1 after another if you do I would like to invite you to join the. Production talk podcast community on Facebook and post your Facebook pages there and discuss content that you would like to publish if you want second opinions if you want to ab test something. This would be a great place where we can help out of 1 another where you can basically test. Your designs and get some feedback hopefully constructive feedback of course. Yeah, so therefore please go over now to Facebook and search for the production talk podcast community group please join and meet me there. Let's keep the discussion going. Let's. Go into more depth on the forum and hopefully we'll get more interesting discussions going there. So good. This is all for today. So if all of this was a little bit much and you would like to get a little reminder of the individual steps. Why don't you just go to the show notes and have a quick look. I inserted a link in the show notes which will lead you into a little summary, an overview of what we've covered today and will basically break down all of these to-dos and steps into individual step-by-step bullet points. So if you could please go to the show notes find the link there. Click it will lead you to my website and on my website you will find a free summary of everything we've done like a big map that you can go through and tick things off 1 after another all right? You have no excuse to postpone marketing any further gets straight into it the sooner you start the better. Get yourself out there promote yourself and make some amazing music. Thank you for hanging out with me today I hope this was useful stuff to you and I shall speak to you again once the next episode is out have a great time bye for now so much.
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